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Author's Note: This article was written before the new Blackgaard episodes came out, pleading with the authors not to bring Blackgaard back from the dead. While the way that Phil Lollar brought back Blackgaard may have been marginally better than resurrecting him, the question of why he had to come back remains.
Remember back in AIO152: The Meaning of Sacrifice, when Donna and Jesse were discussing their soap opera "Young Hearts Turning"? Donna said that she thought the villain character had died in a tragic boating accident, but Jesse assured her that he had been rescued by some captain of another boat and had been living in some foreign country. Now AIO seems to be faced with a similar dilemma in the actual show. The central villain has been dead for nearly four years and now many are demanding that he come back.
The Blackgaard saga was the best continuing storyline in AIO canon. It began many years ago with the seemingly simple episode 19: Recollections and others like 73: A Bite of Applesauce and 155: Waylaid in the Windy City. Eventually it culminated in the intense 11 part series Darkness Before Dawn. The storyline stretched for many years, showing up all over the place. Every episode that focused on Blackgaard was a either a wonderful adventure story or good mystery. At the end of Darkness Before Dawn, however, Blackgaard basically committed suicide by setting off the detonator to a bomb in a tunnel that he was in. Aside from being in the explosion, he also had the Ruku virus, a deadly disease that kills its victims quickly. His death was reported in the news at the end of AIO334: The Final Conflict, and again by the lawyer Mr. Dunkee in AIO342: Welcome Home, Mr. Blackgaard. As far as AIO was concerned, Blackgaard was dead.
Let's get one thing straight right off the bat. Blackgaard can come back. No matter what we audience members argue about conspiracy theories and how Blackgaard "couldn't possibly" come back, the bottom line is that if AIO writers want him to come back, they are clever enough to allow him to come back. Whether it stretches believability to the breaking point or seems logical, writers could bring back any character from the dead no matter what happened to them. That's part of the gift of being a writer. ANYTHING can happen if only you write it.
Thus, the question we should ask is not whether Blackgaard could come back, but rather should he come back. The main problem with Blackgaard coming back is that it will start AIO down the slippery slope of regular television programs and movies. AIO has always set the course for originality and stories that sound far more original that anything on television. If they resort to bringing a character back from the dead, the cycle could begin. It's always seemed very tacky to me to bring back those who have passed away. It makes people question the credibility and honesty of the series. It also will bring up questions about other AIO characters. If Blackgaard didn't really die, then maybe Timmy (Tom's son) is still alive. Maybe Jenny lived through her troubles or Jerry wasn't really killed in Vietnam. Sure it would seem in bad taste to bring these characters back, but it is just the same for Dr. Blackgaard. And, of course, if they bring him back once, they will never be able to get rid of him. If they ever kill him off again, fans will simply say, "Oh, right! He's not dead. He'll just come back someday."
Then there is the emotional issues that the comeback would raise. I recently listened to AIO334: The Final Conflict again to try to hear how it would sound if I knew that Blackgaard was coming back. When I first heard this episode, I was very surprised. They had killed off a main character without bringing him to Jesus. How unexpected! This episode still makes me think sometimes. That conversation between Jack and Blackgaard in the tunnel is some of the best AIO dialog ever written. Take away Blackgaard's death, and the episode loses most of its power and the whole Darkness Before Dawn is reduced to just another little incident on Blackgaard's path of terror. It will cheat all AIO listeners if Blackgaard comes back again. Death isn't really that big of a deal since Dr. Blackgaard can defeat it, after all.
What should we do for a new storyline then? The new AIO seems in need of a big villain. Unlike the man himself, the Blackgaard storyline is far from gone. That mineral is still around somewhere. Bovril, Jellyfish, Rodney, Bart, Glossman, and many others who participated in the plot are still alive and well. Plus there is that mysterious person that Blackgaard was talking to on the phone about Applesauce in AIO84: The Battle, Part 2. What happened to them? There is still a huge area for storylines in this saga, with many questions left unanswered.
The reason I feel so strongly about this issue is because I feel so strongly about AIO in general. I don't want to see the series turn into a standard series with all the standard vices and meaningless characters. When an AIO character dies, it is very emotion because we as an audience have grown to know that character so well over the series. Let's keep it that way.