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vacantlook July 4th 17 09:59

Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
So, I have decided that I’m going to rewatch Babylon 5. I originally saw the pilot – “The Gathering” – when it originally broadcast. It was luck. Living on a farm in the middle of nowhere central Virginia, I grew up without cable/satellite/etc, so I only had access to like 5 broadcast channels. One day, in the middle of the day, I happened upon Babylon 5. My TV could barely tune the signal. I turned it on on the TV in my dad’s room and brought my small TV (which I mostly used for playing video games on my Nintendo) into the same room, and I tuned each to slightly different antenna positions so that when the signal faded out on one it came in on the other.

I watched “The Gathering” and was in awe. The ships, especially the Vorlon ships, were so unlike anything I had seen before. And I grew up watching Star Trek The Next Generation. But nothing prepared me for Babylon 5. The unity of story across seasons, the whole idea that a story didn’t have to end at the end of an episode, that was revelatory to me.

This will be a combination of both my thoughts on the show, having now long, long since seen the entirety of it, but also I want to try to reflect on my thoughts of having experienced these episodes in their originality. I did not get to see every episode as it aired, so there are limits to what I can say, but still. Why not experience it again. And I invite you to share with me; please comment as you feel a desire to do so.

And now, Babylon 5.

So, watching it now with a more discerning eye and ear, of course, there are some things that are cloying. Bits of acting that don’t really spark me. Areas where the performances, or the effects, or sets, or dialog aren’t as smooth as would be nice. But, I do have a certain nostalgia, so I can gloss over those moments. The scene of the drug smuggler isn’t the easiest, well flowing scene this show has ever done, but it does have character moments. Sinclair’s simple statement, “Because I gave you my word,” tells you a lot about him as a person. He’s a man for whom honor means a whole lot. He handles the situation with an attention to the possibility that someone could get hurt “in the crossfire.” He’s not a standard action hero, but he also isn’t unwilling to use force. He’s complicated. Complicated in storytelling is good.

“Oh, [another thing] ….” This is a common thing Straczynski does in dialog: have someone go to leave a room and then interrupt that leaving with an “Oh, one more thing.” Sinclair uses it with the drug dealer. It’s an example of how Straczynski, while he might be great with speeches and dialog of larger moments, the bland, boring, everyday sort of speech is often formulaic. It’s too much TV-speak and not enough actual-people-speaking style. As someone who’s written a bit here and there, dialog can be tricky, and it can take a few runs through the writing process, and it often takes a willingness to read out loud as you revise to ensure it sounds like something someone would say. JMS hits some fantastic points of dialog in this show, but not all dialog he writes is golden.

“The Gathering” gives us introductions to all (intended) characters, of course. Londo is funny but with a tragic sadness. G’Kar is fiery and looking for a re-ordering of the standard ways of the known galaxy. Delenn is cryptic but supportive. Kosh is inscrutable and foreboding. Lyta is fresh off the transport. Garibaldi is closest to a standard Hollywood action hero slash sidekick (he’s most like things we’ve seen before and expect). Carolyn, with her history with Sinclair, suggests something we haven’t seen before: an actual on-going relationship for the main character. Kyle is a hard-working doctor, but little else; though, his inclusion by nature of the actor chosen was a way of showing that Earthforce included people who weren't so American. (Despite Ivanova's being from Russia, that is something that is lost.)

Of all the characters, Takashima is one that I am most sad to have lost when the show had to renegotiate between “The Gathering” and the show proper. Knowing that she would have been the one to have shot Garibaldi in the back. Knowing that she would have been the one to have been “Control” programmed by PsiCorps to gather information and betray the others, eventually to have been revealed and removed from the story before the end of season two, with a young, dour Russian to replace her. I would have loved to have seen Takashima’s character played to its end. I love how when we first meet G’Kar, she basically is like “Deal with it,” to him. She’s strong. She carves that line and then dares you to cross. I come to this show mostly with Star Trek The Next Generation as my experience with science fiction. She’s unlike Yar, who still needed authorization from Picard or Riker to act. Takashima is authoritative. And she’s unlike Troi, who was, shall we say, squishy. She’s a bit more like Leia in Star Wars. Commanding. Sure of herself. And it would have been nice to let the character go where it was going to go. It certainly would have hurt more seeing her shoot Garibaldi than it did the nearly miscellaneous 2nd in command of security.

The story of this show is, from start to finish, very political. It recognizes that it’s hard to build something and even harder to get others to help you do it. Such a station is not easy, and it’s always on the edge of falling apart. With Star Trek at the time, there was almost always a sense of, of course it’ll end okay for everyone. Babylon 5 takes a few before it can definitively prove to you that that’s not so here, but it starts laying that thematic framing from the beginning. The politics of ambassadors, of gathering support of alien governments, of different people having different agendas, which sometimes clash with one another, it all ties together to make the on-going story tense.

Sinclair has a missing period of time in his memory. This is not resolved by the end of “The Gathering;” in fact it’s pointedly left open to tell you that the story is not over. It’s serial, not episodic. That was new for me.

I wonder what will happen next.

vacantlook July 4th 17 10:35

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
I so prefer the Minbari prosthetics and makeup in "The Gathering." It feels complete, more richly designed. The ears, especially, feel real, whereas in the show are blatantly a flat prosthetic. I've tried to find it but can't currently. There was a series of art pieces done to help sell the show. The one of Delenn had, then, him with blue skin and black eyes. The appearance of the character sure did change.

The lighting is also something I prefer in "The Gathering." The C&C especially is darker. They're in space. It makes sense. Limiting light where it's not necessary would save energy. And it looks nicer, giving it an in-space feeling. It's something I wish had carried over to the series.

Looney July 4th 17 15:36

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Okay I am not going to quote everything from the first segment. I am super excited you have started this journey and I can't wait to hear your thoughts. I'm not going to lie, you are going to hit a lot of moments where the acting and dialogue skid off the tracks a bit, but they are far fewer than the moments where it all hits a grand slam.

I very much agree on Takashima. Her being Control would have resonated so much more than random guy. I think it is a flaw in the show that they tried to get away with introducing that guy only a few episodes before he turned out to be the traitor. It was also odd because he didn't seem to be established as Garibaldi's second in command. Before Garibaldi says that he got shot in the back by his own second in command in Season Two I assumed Lou Welch was second in command.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458752)
I so prefer the Minbari prosthetics and makeup in "The Gathering." It feels complete, more richly designed. The ears, especially, feel real, whereas in the show are blatantly a flat prosthetic. I've tried to find it but can't currently. There was a series of art pieces done to help sell the show. The one of Delenn had, then, him with blue skin and black eyes. The appearance of the character sure did change.

I've watched The Gathering many times and my opinion is that the Minbari design is a little too close to the Narn design. They are almost the same shape with different skin tones. I will say that you are right about the ears. I also feel like the question of masculine/feminine figures into it. If Delenn maintained her original appearance it would have been tough to discern much being physically feminine about her. I could tell Na'Toth and other alien women were feminine, but that makeup made it very difficult to find anything feminine about Delenn appearance. I know that was a point when The Gathering was first conceived, but it wouldn't have worked moving forward in the direction they went.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458752)
The lighting is also something I prefer in "The Gathering." The C&C especially is darker. They're in space. It makes sense. Limiting light where it's not necessary would save energy. And it looks nicer, giving it an in-space feeling. It's something I wish had carried over to the series.

I definitely agree with this sentiment. This is something that worries me about a B5 reboot. I worry that when it comes to the look of the show the money people who come on board with JMS will insist the station look a certain way, bright and according to modern SciFi equivalents, ie Star Trek. I think there are parts of the station that should be bright, like luxury hotels, Ambassadorial quarters, and all of the open areas of the central core because that is where plants need to grow. But places like C&C should return to the look of The Gathering. I love the look and feel of B5 and messing it up is one of the things I fear most about a reboot.

vacantlook July 5th 17 05:55

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Midnight On The Firing Line

So there was a year between when “The Gathering” aired and when this first proper episode of the show was broadcast. There were changes. Takashima, Kyle, and Lyta were replaced with Ivanova, Franklin (who doesn’t show up in this episode but soon will), and Talia. Additional new characters are also introduced. Vir in this episode, and eventually we'll get Lennier and Na’Toth. This show really did have a large cast, and for the most part, the show is able to feel balanced in how much time is given to different characters.

In introducing two new characters – Ivanova and Talia – having them butting heads allows the plot of that interpersonal conflict to give us introductory revelations about the two of them while not feeling like an introduction.

The main plot of the episode is political, and though it’s wrapped up cleanly, it still feels like it has a certain level of weight. And there’s the little background bit about the election, but it’s referencing events that are mostly occurring well offscreen. We have to ask ourselves why is it important since it doesn’t impact anything in this episode, and that suggests it will have to be important later on. That suggestion carries with it the necessity that this show will be serial, not episodic.

We get to see a good bit of the Starfuries in this episode. I always loved the original Starfuries way more than the Thunderbolts that later start showing up in the show. I love how real the Starfuries feel. They move like they’re actually in space. It’s nice. The raiders are very much plot-of-the-week no matter when they're used in this show, but they are a reasonable trouble the people living in this world would have to deal with.

We get Londo’s prophetic dream referenced for the first time. I wonder if anyone who watched originally ever saw this and thought that it was more than flavor for the episode, that what he dreamed would indeed happen eventually. Londo’s sense of guilt over the danger his nephew is in is mournful and angry. G’Kar is angry too. He feels a absolute need for a sense of justice, but clearly goes too far for a long time. Neither one of them is right and both of them are right. In other words, they’re not clean characters; they’re complicated. Londo and G’Kar’s arguments feel deep, beyond the two of them, and long-lived. This show has history built into how characters react to circumstances and each other.

We get way more of Kosh in this than we did in “The Gathering.” He is, as Dr. Kyle said, “pretty alien.” That he is an ongoing character is exciting because a character as odd and cryptic and grandiose like him on another show would easily have only ever been a one-episode sort of thing. It’s understandable because one wants viewers/readers to be able to connect with and understand characters, and a very alien alien would need to be really odd, risking the establishment of that connection.

This episode, though it wasn’t the first filmed, works really well as a first episode. It has enough moving pieces to remain interesting, but still gives us significant character insight.

vacantlook July 5th 17 06:45

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Soul Hunter

I have never liked this episode, no matter how much I try. One of the complaints I often see in discussions about the ep is the idea that it makes a statement that souls are real, which I don’t get from the show at all. While it cannot be denied that the Soul Hunter does create something with the orbs, it could easily be a technologically produced imprint of a person’s mind. In a world with telepaths, a sufficiently advanced bit of technology could do that. (We even later see something similar having been done by humans of the future in “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars” at the end of season 4.)

I like the appearance aesthetic of the Soul Hunters, but the behavior is too silly for my personal taste. I think that might have a good bit to do with my dislike of the episode. It certainly isn’t that W. Morgan Sheppard is a bad actor. I love seeing him as G’Kar’s uncle later in the show.

We get our first look at the new doctor. Steven Franklin is a big personality. Definitely different than Kyle, and that we can experience such easily recognizable differentiation after only such brief experience with each of them takes some creative writing and production skill.

Once again, we get to see actual space behavior with the Starfury going out to grab hold of the Soul Hunter’s ship. I do love that. I can imagine some people would watch it and feel like it’s not exciting because it’s a more technical form of flying a craft, but that is what makes it feel more real to me.

Delenn’s agitation makes sense given what Soul Hunters have done to the Minbari in the past, but the performance of her freaking out is a bit too heavy handed for me. I think maybe a lot of what makes it not work for me is that Delenn/the Minbari problem with the Soul Hunter has too much expository telling instead of showing. The portion of the conflict that is shown – him capturing her – feels generic to me for some reason. It’s a very personal story, but I’m not sure we know Delenn well enough at this point for it to have as strong enough of an impact as it would if we had had enough time to fall in love with her character. Compare how the threat to her feels so much weaker here than in “Comes The Inquisitor.” We do get the fact dropped that Delenn isn’t just a simple ambassador, so that the Minbari have some unrevealed invested interest in this station and in Sinclair in particular are points that are emphasized.

The short scene of Ivanvoa and Franklin giving the memorial for the Lurker who died is strong and emotional. It’s a great moment.

This is definitely not a worthless episode; there are some good parts to it, but just not enough to excite me.

KoshFan July 5th 17 21:34

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
I'm delighted to see you re-watching, Vacantlook, since I am re-watching myself in order to show it to my sweetheart. We are well ahead of you, however... closing in on the end of Season 3. If you catch up, I'd be happy to bring my own reflections to this thread. As it is, I've got the S3 drama too much on my mind to dive back to the (comparatively) easy-going days of S1. I'll start my own thread, though I will not go episode by episode.

That said, I've always thought "Midnight on the Firing Line" is a stellar (pun half-intended) introduction to the series. I love the fact that G'Kar and Londo's fate is established right from the start. I also love the characterizations; Ivanova's scene with Talia is amazing, and the last line ("I very much doubt it") tells you that this show will not be like the other shows...

I always loved the StarFuries, too, perhaps especially because the first season always had a variant of the show's main theme play as their "launch" music.

vacantlook July 6th 17 20:09

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Born To The Purple

So, Londo “falls in love.” Does he really though? Aside from being beautiful and giving him attention when he wants praise and admiration, what does Adira bring to the table to truly be a display of a loving relationship? Given that Londo is so into Adira is the central premise of this episode’s conflict, it really needs more time than a single episode for me to really buy their relationship. Unlike with many guest characters in season one, the actor playing Adira does well with what she has. Her slaveowner, however, is generic and uninteresting.

Ivanova’s talking to her dying father is nice in theory, but Garibaldi’s tracking her spends too much time metaphorically doing boring paperwork. And the actual acting from her father and accompanying music is a bit too melodramatic. And how conveniently timed that he should die just at that moment that she called.

“What do you want, you moon-faced assassin of joy!?” Even rougher episodes can have some funny moments.

I do like the scenery for the restaurant scene, even if it doesn’t add much of anything to the story. It’s something that today’s CGI would make way easier, but I would have liked to have seen even more of the full interior of the tube of the station in this show. The show doesn’t quite hit me with the immensity of the inside of the station and how odd it would feel to be standing there and look up and see buildings and people walking around on what sort of is like a far away ceiling from your perspective.

Oh, and this is our second sighting of n’grath. I like that they were interested in giving us a non-humanoid alien, but is he really an alien or is he just a giant bug?

vacantlook July 6th 17 20:45

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Infection

First episode filmed. It shows.

So, Dr Franklin’s archeology professor shows up. Dr Franklin is a medical doctor. He had an archeology professor? I guess it must have had something to do with an elective or part of the xeno- part of Franklin’s xenobiology specialization. Still, it feels awkward.

Living technology. At the time this was written, I guess the idea was more of a revolutionary one? I can’t now imagine someone in the future being surprised that a more developed species would have such tech. It does lay the groundwork for the idea though, which’ll come back with the Vorlons and Shadows.

The actual being taken over by the technology though is cringe worthy acting, as is Sinclair’s rage acting while trying to piss it off.

The music is especially silly in this episode. Part that just played reminds me of first season Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s music.

The why-we-have-to-go-to-the-stars speech at the end though is nice. Still, it’s hard to slog through the rest to get to it though.

KoshFan July 6th 17 23:55

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
I can see Andrei Ivanov holding on to life until Susan calls again, especially if he knows she's likely to and he has some unfinished business. The brain can have more of an influence on the body than is sometimes acknowledged. Melodramatic, yes, but sometimes reality is more melodramatic than we give it credit for.

When I showed "Infection" to my sweetheart, I warned that it was one of the worst; and was surprised when my beloved said "It's the best one I've seen so far." Yes, it's painfully rough in execution, but the general themes (the impossibility of purity, becoming what one fears, and of course the speech at the end) are actually fairly solid, and I guess those were appealing enough.

My favorite bit of Infection that's not the speech at the end: we overhear Garibaldi telling the reporter the end of a story, which years later and without any fanfare we hear the middle of: how he and Sinclair met. All we hear is "...and three days later we walked out of the desert!", all cheerfully.

Naturally the reporter didn't get the full version of the tale, with all the Shadow ship/Psi Corps stuff. But I really like that Garibaldi holds onto this little secret, while hinting at it to various characters, through the whole show. Even when he mentions seeing "some of" the Shadow vessel/Psi Corps operation, he doesn't tell the rest of the crew that it's how he and Sinclair met.

Looney July 7th 17 05:45

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Okay you are going way faster than my current busy schedule can keep up with. :lol: Guess I will just make comments on Soul Hunter. Like most B5 plotlines I don't care for, JMS always comes up with an interesting way of dealing with it that ends up making me care for it. I have never been a fan of the "Soul" aspect, but I think it does give an added dimension to the B5 Universe. Is it really a soul in the orb or, like you said, just an "imprint of a person's mind"? And I love that Franklin points out this possibility in the episode.

I will also say that you made an interesting point when you said Londo and Adira's relationship needed more time. That is a common sentiment you will hear from me. I feel that so many episodes of B5 people feel are weak are actually only weak because JMS made the mistake of trying to tell too big a story in one television episode. A prime example of this I always like to point to is INFECTION. If that episode had been a two part episode it would have worked so much better because JMS wrote an epic plot there. I mean you have the extinction of an entire species to work with. I think that episode would be perfect if things had been given more time to create more detail and form. Everything feels rushed.

vacantlook July 7th 17 11:03

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
I imagine I'll slow down; I just kind of wanted to bank a few episodes while I have the time. Some of this is that I've been feeling a fair bit depressed, and I'm trying to distract myself. I don't foresee myself sticking to this level of frequency of posting.

vacantlook July 7th 17 11:04

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
The Parliament of Dreams

The introduction of Catherine Sakai. Carolyn Sykes was a pleasant enough character in “The Gathering,” but she along with the three main cast members who didn’t come over for the show had to be replaced. Of all the former lovers come to B5 – which given the nature of the show, I understand why that is how the show would have to deal with a story involving someone’s ex, but it’s a trope that gets used too much on Babylon 5 – Catherine Sakai is my favorite.

She’s interesting all on her own, not just through her connection to another character. She’s been enough of a presence in Sinclair’s life that Garibaldi recognized her on sight. She’s a business woman. A surveyor. Her and Sinclair’s history is extensive. She’s previously promised to stay away from him, apparently. “I don’t mean to alarm you, but your pants are talking to you.” Sinclair is clearly happy to see her from the moment he does.

To be honest, I don’t 100% fully buy the relationship between Sheridan and Delenn; I don’t not buy it, but it feels a bit more staged, and less organic. But pretty much from the first moment, I totally buy the relationship between Sakai and Sinclair. Some might think their banter is too clever, but I think it shows a significant psychological connection between the two. They have shorthand in their dialogue that feels so natural to me.

G’Kar’s song while fixing dinner is fun; I just sung along with him. But alas, he cannot eat due to death threat. This gives us our first real look at Narn culture. They have an organization of assassins. They have some form of governmental body that is organized by “circles.”

Sakai is not the only interesting, strong female character introduced in this episode; we also get Na’Toth. I love her and it sucks that she couldn’t stay in the show. She just flat out tells G’Kar that if she were the assassin, she would have killed him already. That’s a mighty forward thing to say to your new boss. She eventually has to think outside the box in order to save G’Kar, and she gets to kick him. Again, he’s her new boss.

Religion. The Centauri. It’s a party. There’s food, music, and plenty of booze. (I just saw a Narn attending in the background.) It’s not exactly the most pleasant of origins for a celebration: Centauri killing off an entire species. We learn that the Centauri is dominantly a polytheistic culture. Londo’s toast is fantastic. “But in purple, I’m stunning!”

Religion. The Minbari. Delenn is pleased to have her new aid Lennier arrive in time to help her with a display of Minbari dominant religion. Lennier is super passive. He lets slip to us viewers that Delenn is very high ranking in Minbari government. This might be the first time we’ve really gotten some information about how religious Delenn is. The Minbari display is much the opposite of the Centauri. Slow, quiet, and meditative. We get more hints of Valen. We get references to the Earth-Minbari War. We get references to the Minbari’s current governmental structure’s birth (“the nine”). In many ways, the display is very cryptic, much like the Minbari themselves.

Religion. Humanity. The premise has been that each culture is showcasing their dominant religion. This singularizes what they show us and unfortunately makes the aliens look like members of monocultures. And then Sinclair turns around and says forget the dominant religious display (and thus the premise of what they’re all doing), I’m just going to parade a bunch of different Earth religions before everyone. It’s nice. It makes a message. But it also raises the question of if he’s not going to stick to the dominant aspect of the display, then it would have been nice to have previously maybe had something of a point made that the various aliens weren’t anymore monocultural than humans were. I really doubt we’d be that special to be the only species capable of cultural diversity. In the human scene, there are some unfortunate stereotyping/caricaturing of some religions in the clothing used for the actors. And O’Hare mispronounces “Taoist.” I like the music that plays during the scene.

This is my favorite episode out of the first five.

vacantlook July 7th 17 11:36

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Mind War

This episode was one I have a definitive memory of sitting on the floor of my living room watching one midday Saturday when it first aired.

This is our first episode to really focus on human telepaths. The parts about telepaths in “The Gathering” and “Midnight On The Firing Line” were introductions. This is our first our first step beyond that introduction. And it’s our first direct look at the PsiCorps. We got Ivanova’s story of her mother in MOTFL, but we get the severity of what PsiCorps is in this episode. If we’re inclined to side with Ivanova because of her story, how the PsiCops treat Talia, and Ivanova’s being so immediate in giving her a glass of water suggests to the audience that we shouldn’t dislike Talia for being PsiCorps, but that we should have a problem with the Corps.

The Sinclair/Sakai relationship continues. She’s going to get her own plot this episode, and it’s not connected to Sinclair but to her job and her life. She’s more than just a love interest. We see how she works. And she gets to talk to G’Kar. We’ve had a lot of anger and militancy from G’Kar, but the previous episode and this begin to complicate his character for us. As he eventually tells Sakai, “no one here is exactly what he appears,” and then demonstrates for us himself in this episode. And we get to see the Walkers of Sigma 957. It’s easy to think they’re just some quick thing to be forgotten, but no, they return later in the series and in a big way. G’Kar’s conversations with Sakai in this episode give us our first real taste of how G’Kar is connected to larger cosmic and philosophical thoughts. This is the episode where we truly get our first realization that G’Kar is a very layered character.

Jason Ironheart is one of our major guest characters this episode. What was that I just said in the last review: they over use the trope of the ex coming to B5. Well here is Talia’s lover. (And instructor, which is creepy.) Ironheart is no longer a regular telepath. He’s become telekinetic. A product of PsiCorps experimentation. Turns out the PsiCorps wanted him to be an assassin. The idea of using telekinesis to assassinate someone quietly is something JMS would write in other of his work too.

The PsiCops are freaky. Walter Koenig as Bester is fantastic. The man many had loved as Chekov on Star Trek is now a villain, and he makes everything super uncomfortable. The other PsiCop however sometimes even looks like she’s physically chewing her lines of dialog. Not the best casting there, perhaps.

The human (or close enough) character becoming “something more” is a trope used so frequently it’s tiresome. It’s the necessary destination for this plot, but it doesn’t keep it from feeling cliché. I can’t remember how I felt about it at the time this episode was new though. But it enables Ironheart to give Talia her “gift.” The beginning of her ascent to greater telepathic power. Unfortunately, since Andrea Thompson eventually wanted off the show, she didn’t get to play this part of the plot to its conclusion seasons later.

I like the music in this episode. It has an appropriate amount of creepiness to it.

KoshFan July 7th 17 15:42

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Two of the best from Season 1. These two give G'Kar a lot more depth -- "Parliament" that he's even more dangerous than he seems (but also hilarious on occasion), "Mind War" that he's a lot more decent than he seems. And more eloquent.

I really like both Na'Toth and Catherine and wish they'd been around a lot more.


As to the religious aspects: there are some hints that the aliens are not so monolithic. The Minbari are really the only ones who only present one belief, and that makes a lot of sense, really. The Centauri have "gods by the bushel, gods for every occasion," so it's clearly a bit of pick-from-the-menu approach with them. We have two Narn beliefs mentioned -- followers of G'Quan and G'Lan. (Considering that G'Lan is later revealed to be Kosh, or at least a Vorlon, it's interesting that the Narns made a formal religion out of it. I think that actually ties in with something from one of the Psi Corps books, which I can go into if people aren't familiar with them.) But yes, more variation would have been nice.

The last scene with what Sinclair puts together is heart-warming, but maybe it doesn't stand up to full scrutiny, no. What makes it a big deal is that this episode says, "This is science fiction, yes, but religion is not going to be a punch line, a punching bag, or a plot device on this show." And that I appreciate.


I'm sorry to hear you are feeling poorly, VL. I have been, as well -- and I, too, armor my mind in tales in order to make it through.

Looney July 7th 17 18:20

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458775)
I imagine I'll slow down; I just kind of wanted to bank a few episodes while I have the time. Some of this is that I've been feeling a fair bit depressed, and I'm trying to distract myself. I don't foresee myself sticking to this level of frequency of posting.

Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 458778)
I'm sorry to hear you are feeling poorly, VL. I have been, as well -- and I, too, armor my mind in tales in order to make it through.

Sorry, don't take this the wrong way but HAHAHAHA. That is me laughing with you not at you. I do the same thing when I am depressed. I start watching B5 and wanting to talk about B5 or trying to plan to go to a convention where I might meet some B5 folks. It is tough because I want to post stuff about episodes and the shows all the time, but when I do I rarely seem to get a reply. I also get discouraged because I realize sometimes I am repeating sentiments I've stated before. You know what though, since 2013 I've tried to keep B5 in my life as much as possible and it really has made a difference. It is a little difference, but I have noticed it. What I mean by that is I am on of those people who WATCHES A LOT. I also collect A LOT. I've found focusing more of my attention on my love for B5 has really made me feel better. It can be discouraging at times, but it can also be WONDERFUL - see me in Galveston 2014 or at Space City Comic Con with Jan in Houston last year. Okay I am going to start rambling more than I already am so I am going to move on to the next episodes and save you the trouble of reading more on this topic. LOL I will just say this, times are tough as hell and I GREATLY appreciate being able to come here and talk to people who love something I love too.

Looney July 7th 17 18:38

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458776)
The Parliament of Dreams
I understand why that is how the show would have to deal with a story involving someone’s ex, but it’s a trope that gets used too much on Babylon 5

I don't think it gets used too much. I think it gets used poorly a couple of times, but on the whole I think people coming out of character's pasts really adds to the show. Unfortunately having too many of them be ex-loves might have been a misstep - See War Prayer for an example of an ex-relationship I didn't quite buy.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458776)
To be honest, I don’t 100% fully buy the relationship between Sheridan and Delenn; I don’t not buy it, but it feels a bit more staged, and less organic. But pretty much from the first moment, I totally buy the relationship between Sakai and Sinclair. Some might think their banter is too clever, but I think it shows a significant psychological connection between the two. They have shorthand in their dialogue that feels so natural to me.

I definitely agree with this. I have always felt that the Sheridan Delenn relationship was poorly executed. I don't think it is terrible, but I think it falls into the category of plot aspects that needed more time to evolve so they didn't feel rushed. Chalk it up to another weakness caused by telling a story in a TV show. You have a formatted structure you have to squeeze everything into and some things can't be given the proper exposition to make them seem real. Sinclair and Sakai it was pretty instant, but they had the benefit of previously being involved in a time the viewers never saw. They fell into a pre-established relationship.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458776)
They have an organization of assassins.

This raises a question that I think I know the answer to, but can't remember. Is the Assassin's Guild just an aspect of Narn society? Obviously Raiders and The Thieves' Guild are not specific to one race or government.

Looney July 7th 17 19:30

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458777)
Mind War
but that we should have a problem with the Corps.

Yep, prior to this it was kind of an "I don't know" about the Corps, but this episode definitely establishes - "Fear the Corps."

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458777)
This is the episode where we truly get our first realization that G’Kar is a very layered character.

Yes I think "truly" is the proper use here. This is the moment where G'Kar's layers really come out in an obvious manner. Personally I feel like G'Kar's best early moment that makes you question whether or not he is going to be the villain he has been to that point comes in Born To Purple. That whole episode gives G'Kar a lighter appearance, but the first moment is when Sinclair and G'Kar find Londo waiting to watch Adira dance. When Adira starts and Londo ushers the two of them to sit, G'Kar does so without hesitation. That moment is absolutely BRILLIANT to me.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458777)
What was that I just said in the last review: they over use the trope of the ex coming to B5. Well here is Talia’s lover. (And instructor, which is creepy.)

Absolutely agree in this instance. Making him an ex-lover felt weird, but I completely understand why JMS had to do it. If Ironheart had just been a friend or admired Instructor the weight of the situation would not have felt as real. If she didn't have a romantic attachment to Ironheart I don't think it would have been as believable to have her help him. Plus as we moved forward we had to know the emotional stakes had to be high for her to turn on the Corps. If Ironheart had just been a friend then it wouldn't seem as real later on when she defends the Corps, if that makes sense. Plus this does establish her beginning to turn from the Corps.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458777)
The PsiCops are freaky. Walter Koenig as Bester is fantastic. The man many had loved as Chekov on Star Trek is now a villain, and he makes everything super uncomfortable. The other PsiCop however sometimes even looks like she’s physically chewing her lines of dialog. Not the best casting there, perhaps.

Yes Felicity Waterman definitely seemed out of her element here. I don't know if it was her or poor direction or just not quite having a sense of how she was supposed to play it on both of their parts. I have to say that I feel like it is her because Koenig is so FREAKIN' AWESOME! If there was some question as to how they were supposed to play these characters I don't believe Bester would have been so spot on. I could be wrong though. Maybe Koenig just thought he should play it this way and she thought she was supposed to be a different sort. I will say the one thing that has always bothered me about this episode is that Ironheart vaporizes her. It just never made sense to me that he would go that far with her and pull back with Bester. It is one of those moments where they did it to illustrate what Ironheart could do, but at the same time it seemed to take the episode off course for a second. In the end it REALLY works because it makes certain she NEVER comes back. Nothing against Felicity Waterman, but the character just didn't come across as well as she could have.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458777)
The human (or close enough) character becoming “something more” is a trope used so frequently it’s tiresome. It’s the necessary destination for this plot, but it doesn’t keep it from feeling cliché. I can’t remember how I felt about it at the time this episode was new though. But it enables Ironheart to give Talia her “gift.” The beginning of her ascent to greater telepathic power. Unfortunately, since Andrea Thompson eventually wanted off the show, she didn’t get to play this part of the plot to its conclusion seasons later.

This goes back to something I said the other day. Normally this would be a plot I didn't care for. Like vacantlook says, "cliche" and I often say "SciFi for SciFi sake", but of course JMS then takes a plot I wish he hadn't done and turns it into something that works very well for me, or could have worked very well had Thompson stuck with the show - (PS I love her, but I love Lyta more.) ;)

vacantlook July 7th 17 21:58

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
As far as I can tell, the Assassins' Guild is Narn exclusive. I don't remember it ever being mentioned other than this particular instance. But it's well known enough that Na'Toth can discuss their procedures (the black flower) and can put on enough of a ruse (knowing they always send a backup in case the primary doesn't finish the job) to get into place to help G'Kar. One would think assassins would be more secretive with their ways.

Maybe if the show had been explicit and Talia specified she was an adult when Ironheart was her instructor then it wouldn't seem quite as creepy. But Talia has already informed us (through her conversation with Ivanova in "Midnight On The Firing Line") that she was raised by the PsiCorps. If she had said something like, he had been my instructor but then years later the relationship developed, then it wouldn't have been so creepy either. But without any kind of details like that, it's a bit weird. She was raised by the Corps and there had an instructor with whom she had had sex. I could really use some clarification on the timing of all that.

I wonder if Ironheart was fully in control of things when he vaporized the PsiCop. Like with that PsiCop, the guy playing Ironheart was okay, but not the greatest actor. So sometimes I'm not completely sure how I should read the character. The actor didn't seem to portray any facial expression of shock or anything over her disintegration, but narratively his powers were overwhelming him enough that he was causing the station to quake, so he could have been just trying to wack her with some kind of telekinetic push but overdid it.

I like the performance of Lyta more, I think, especially her blackeyed "What do you know of hell" or however the comment was, and the scene where she's discussing essentially being a telepathic superweapon with Garibaldi. I think I like the potentiality in Talia's narrative more. With episodes like the one she had in the second season helping the runaway telepaths, Talia pushing back against the PsiCorps would have been more personal that it feels for me when Lyta does it. Part of that, I guess, is that I really don't buy Lyta and Byron (because it wasn't ever supposed to have been Lyta in love with Byron in the first place, and I think that still echoes even if they did write the two of them together).

KoshFan July 8th 17 02:08

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Looney (Post 458781)
I don't think it gets used too much. I think it gets used poorly a couple of times, but on the whole I think people coming out of character's pasts really adds to the show. Unfortunately having too many of them be ex-loves might have been a misstep - See War Prayer for an example of an ex-relationship I didn't quite buy.

Heh, funny thing: I had to think about this for a second because "War Prayer" also has a great example of someone from a character's past that works just great: Delenn and Shal Mayan. Delenn also has Draal come through later in S1.

The only time I can remember an old friend of one of the humans coming through is Walker Smith, unless we count Kemmer in "Survivors." And of the ambassadors, only Londo has an old friend (his dueling buddy) turn up.

Stack that up against exes (once each for Sinclair, Talia, Ivanova, and Garibaldi, and twice for Sheridan) and family (Sheridan's sister, G'Kar's uncle, fathers for Sheridan, Ivanova, and Franklin) and I feel friendship is under-represented.

On the other hand, maybe that makes sense. It's mentioned that Garibaldi has almost no friends aside from Ivanova, Sinclair, and Franklin. Franklin's a workaholic. Ivanova's the same. Maybe the lack of friends turning up is supposed to tell us something.

KoshFan July 8th 17 02:13

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Looney (Post 458780)

Sorry, don't take this the wrong way but HAHAHAHA. That is me laughing with you not at you. I do the same thing when I am depressed. I start watching B5 and wanting to talk about B5 or trying to plan to go to a convention where I might meet some B5 folks. It is tough because I want to post stuff about episodes and the shows all the time, but when I do I rarely seem to get a reply. I also get discouraged because I realize sometimes I am repeating sentiments I've stated before. You know what though, since 2013 I've tried to keep B5 in my life as much as possible and it really has made a difference. It is a little difference, but I have noticed it. What I mean by that is I am on of those people who WATCHES A LOT. I also collect A LOT. I've found focusing more of my attention on my love for B5 has really made me feel better. It can be discouraging at times, but it can also be WONDERFUL - see me in Galveston 2014 or at Space City Comic Con with Jan in Houston last year. Okay I am going to start rambling more than I already am so I am going to move on to the next episodes and save you the trouble of reading more on this topic. LOL I will just say this, times are tough as hell and I GREATLY appreciate being able to come here and talk to people who love something I love too.

I hear you! I can start to feel myself running low on the stories I need, sometimes, and have to consciously remind myself of them. Last night was a little rough and I had to bring G'Kar back to mind, and the others, to get myself through it. Where would I be without G'Kar? (And Buffy, and Tiffany Aching, and Cazaril, to wander a little farther afield, fictionally...)

And where would I be without this site? I had some lonely years in college, a time when one is theoretically not supposed to be lonely, and this site definitely filled a hole. Markas in particular helped keep me sane.

vacantlook July 8th 17 05:27

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
The War Prayer

So, the big surprising revelation about this episode is the conflicting information we get: in this episode Delenn knows what a poem is, but in some other (I forget which) she has to be told by Sinclair?Sheridan? what a poem is. What??

Though that discrepancy exists, of course it’s not important.

Humans are prejudiced against non-humans. Surprise. Of course it is so very realistic. You know we’d totally be this way. Unjustly blaming the Other for systemic problems is so much easier that changing the system. Assigning responsibility for problems to some “they.” They’re taking our jobs. They’re buying up all the land on Earth. They’re the reason we’re not super mega awesome. If only they’d get out of the way and stop taking what’s ours. And that “they” is only ever defined broadly. It’s not, let me list these specific people by name or by specific organization. So here, it’s non-humans. It must be the fault of Delenn’s poet friend, she’s not human after all. It must be the fault of these two Centauri teenagers wondering how much sex they can have in public without being caught, they’re not human after all.

So, once again, we have a story of an ex coming to the station. This time, Ivanova’s. He isn’t really all that interesting of a character. He has no redeeming qualities to make him a complex portrayal, and he isn’t acted well enough to make him feel like an irredeemable asshole sort of a person. I do believe there are some people that are just too toxic that they’re not worth you trying to get through to them. But he’s not such a person. He seems far more like he’d be the kind of guy to agree with the militant bigots that would act against non-humans than to be leading such a group. The acting/writing of his character just doesn’t fully fit the intensity of someone who would be in that situation to act so directly.

Centauri have arranged marriages. Londo’s got three wives. Worthy enough world building for the Centauri culture. The teenagers oh so in love are bland. I wish I bought that they were actually in love, but I don’t. I also don’t buy that Ivanova and Malcolm once had a thing, so at least they’re not alone.

Oh, and it seems Ivanova has taken over Takashima’s regulation violating coffee plants. I wonder if she just found them one day, or if Laurel told her where to find them.

We get to see a bit more of Kosh. “We take no interest in the affairs of others.” Yeah, sure.

I think the only things I really like about this episode are a few lines/jokes by Londo. “Love! What does love have to do with marriage!!” and saying that his wives are the only thing that keeps him so far away from Centauri Prime. Londo: “And she will learn to live without [love].” And the poet responds, “As you did.” Those two lines are probably the most poignant part of this episode. I think that little moment is more emotional than the more labored tight shoes scene later.

This episode introduces the Abbai. Their visual design is nice; I wish they had been used more than they were. It would have been really cool though if they hadn’t been the same reddish-tan color a lot of background aliens on this show are (much the same color as the Brakiri, the Hyach). They’re fishy sort of aliens, so make them more colorful. Blues and greens that really pop.

Looney July 9th 17 17:22

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458789)
The War Prayer

So, the big surprising revelation about this episode is the conflicting information we get: in this episode Delenn knows what a poem is, but in some other (I forget which) she has to be told by Sinclair?Sheridan? what a poem is. What??

Though that discrepancy exists, of course it’s not important.

In fairness I think you are speaking about a moment from The Gathering, so you can't blame something from the pilot. Plus we are talking about a description given to her by Garibaldi. She may not have fully understood at that point that our word "poem" meant the same thing she knew as a poem because she was given a crude definition by Garibaldi.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458789)
Humans are prejudiced against non-humans. Surprise. Of course it is so very realistic.

Yes this is quite a poignant message in this episode because it still holds true twenty plus years later.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458789)
So, once again, we have a story of an ex coming to the station. This time, Ivanova’s. He isn’t really all that interesting of a character. He has no redeeming qualities to make him a complex portrayal, and he isn’t acted well enough to make him feel like an irredeemable asshole sort of a person. I do believe there are some people that are just too toxic that they’re not worth you trying to get through to them. But he’s not such a person. He seems far more like he’d be the kind of guy to agree with the militant bigots that would act against non-humans than to be leading such a group. The acting/writing of his character just doesn’t fully fit the intensity of someone who would be in that situation to act so directly.

This is another example where I wish the stories didn't have to be rushed an bottled up in one episode of television. If there hadn't been a need to put Tristan Rogers, the actor who played Malcolm Biggs, under a one episode contract we could have had this episode told properly. If Biggs had been introduced a couple of episodes earlier, and I really mean just an introduction that went no further than him tracking down Ivanova and telling her he was setting up shop, then I feel this plot would have played out so much better and more realistically. Don't get me wrong, it is a great plot. I feel it is something that could have been spread out more, but because actors guest shots need to be one and done or things get a little more complicated, ie a little more expensive, so why not shove everything into one episode and get it over with. You could have had attacks start and Biggs show up a few episodes earlier. He could have reconnected briefly with Ivanova so we know he is there for business and to see her. Then while the threat of the attacks is on going they could have dinner during an added scene in an earlier episode. Then bring in Shaal Mayan and the Centauri teens in the episode that wraps everything up. Instead of having the attacks and Biggs introduced in the same episode you could have used that time to give more depth to Mayan, her attack, the teens, and Sinclair's attempt to win Biggs' trust once it is revealed he is the ring leader. I feel the Sinclair bit in this episode is way too rushed unless we're all supposed to agree that Biggs is a Grade A Moron. All it would have taken is a couple of lines of dialogue and three or four Malcolm scenes spread out over a few previous episodes. Having said this I completely understand that we are talking about the world of television and money. Making the story work the best way possible only works if the budget says so. :rolleyes:

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458789)
Centauri have arranged marriages. Londo’s got three wives. Worthy enough world building for the Centauri culture. The teenagers oh so in love are bland. I wish I bought that they were actually in love, but I don’t. I also don’t buy that Ivanova and Malcolm once had a thing, so at least they’re not alone.

Yes a great bit of Londo background. As far as the other aspects see my above comments. ;)

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458789)
Oh, and it seems Ivanova has taken over Takashima’s regulation violating coffee plants. I wonder if she just found them one day, or if Laurel told her where to find them.

I have always wondered why Ivanova doesn't mention that her predecessor pointed out the coffee plants. Greatly disappointed that JMS didn't write that in.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458789)
We get to see a bit more of Kosh. “We take no interest in the affairs of others.” Yeah, sure.

Wouldn't it have been great to see an attempted attack on Kosh?

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458789)
I think the only things I really like about this episode are a few lines/jokes by Londo. “Love! What does love have to do with marriage!!” and saying that his wives are the only thing that keeps him so far away from Centauri Prime. Londo: “And she will learn to live without [love].” And the poet responds, “As you did.” Those two lines are probably the most poignant part of this episode. I think that little moment is more emotional than the more labored tight shoes scene later.

I agree.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458789)
This episode introduces the Abbai. Their visual design is nice; I wish they had been used more than they were. It would have been really cool though if they hadn’t been the same reddish-tan color a lot of background aliens on this show are (much the same color as the Brakiri, the Hyach). They’re fishy sort of aliens, so make them more colorful. Blues and greens that really pop.

Interesting question. I wonder if there was a budget question involved or a not wanting to seem too much like Star Trek question involved. :lol:

KoshFan July 10th 17 16:29

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Looney (Post 458806)
Wouldn't it have been great to see an attempted attack on Kosh?

Not really, in my book -- it would have made the episode much shorter.

"Stay away from Earth, you Vorlon scu--AAAAAAAAH my brain is melting!"

Looney July 10th 17 20:02

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 458820)

Not really, in my book -- it would have made the episode much shorter.

"Stay away from Earth, you Vorlon scu--AAAAAAAAH my brain is melting!"

:guffaw::lol::guffaw:

I wonder if they would even bother to ask Kosh about it or just assume he defended himself? Can you see Garbaldi trying to arrest Kosh until they were certain he only defended himself? And then Kosh going in front of one of the Ombuds?

Garibaldi, "How do we cuff him?" :lol:

Looney July 13th 17 14:20

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
What?! Did I kill this thread?! I've been busy this week so I figured I would have a lot of catching up to do with the pace that was set early on, but I see I am still the last to post. I sure hope we're not about to get a 10 episode update all at once. :lol:

KoshFan July 13th 17 16:02

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
VL did say he was probably going to slow down.

Looney July 14th 17 03:30

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 458842)
VL did say he was probably going to slow down.

Very true. I was just surprised is all. Plus I wanted to stir some activity in this area. :thumbsup:

vacantlook July 15th 17 05:46

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
And The Sky Full Of Stars

While there was a bit of a reference to Sinclair’s missing time in “Soul Hunter,” this is the first real, substantive episode to handle that piece of his history. Amnesia plots can be tiresome and cliché and common, so this really needs something more than just Sinclair’s lost his memory in order to be interesting. I think Babylon 5 does well with this plot by making it be a mystery that resulted in consequences. The war ended. Sinclair’s statements both in this episode and in the revised version of “The Gathering” make clear that Earth really had no hope to win the war; the Battle of the Line was solely a purposeful sacrifice mission to buy time for as many who could escape Earth to do so. So we know that the war ending, especially as a result of the Minbari surrendering, all in a relatively short time period that Sinclair just happens to not remember gives us this huge monumental shift in the galaxy’s politics but without an explanation as to why.

The two Knight characters are miscellaneous and ultimately inconsequential to the show as a whole. I read that Walter Koenig was originally going to have been one of the two Knights, but that a medical issue caused him to be unavailable for filming. They then, as we’ve already seen given the broadcast order to the episodes, put him in the role of Bester. Maybe that had something to do with why the Knights never again had anything to do with anything?? As they are, they, especially the main one, chews so much scenery it’s ridiculous at times. For me, they are mostly forgettable characters; unlike when I was done with Bester’s first appearance, I don’t really feel a need to see the Knights again. They, like with the later one-shot appearance of Bureau 13 (which had to be renamed for its respective production reasons) are both plots that kind of dead ended, despite their set-up suggesting something that should have brought them back into the show at some point. On rewatches, this kind of annoys me, even while I understand why things are the way they are.

The theme of what one did during the war also includes information about both Delenn, which we already know she was on the Grey Council, but we also learn she was specifically at the Battle of the Line. We also learn about Dr Franklin, who tells Delenn that he destroyed his notes rather than let them be used to create biological weapons. So we get this reoccurring aspect to Franklin’s character introduced here: that he’s willing to take a stand and act in defiance of orders to do something, especially if he thinks doing so will save lives.

It’s a little moment, but I like the suggestion from Delenn, and the resulting explanation for why Talia would be insufficient, that a telepath could help find Sinclair. Ivanova says Talia needs proximity and thus isn’t trained in search and rescue. That implies that there are telepaths who are trained. Given how much trouble the station has, they could use a fulltime telepath on staff who could handle search and rescue. It makes me wonder just how many telepaths there are. Babylon 5 is 250,000 residents, but as far as the show shows us, only one, shall we say, on-staff telepath. And that telepath is generally considered lower in skill level: P5. We know from future episodes that there are telepaths that come through B5 that keep their psi capability hidden. I kind of now think that there realistically should be at least a few more on-staff given the size of Babylon 5. But there is just the one officially available telepath.

“Now! Now!” the Knight says. He sounds like he’s trying to cough up a hairball.

This is the first time we get to see Minbari ships, unless I’m mistaken. I always liked their design. Suggestively aquatic, and narrow and tall. I guess a lot of space ships for sci fi shows/films get designed without being able to get away from the idea that it has to be laid out like a plane or aircraft carrier or submarine, but really, being in space (as a line in “The Legend of the Rangers” says) shape for a ship is less reliant upon those shapes.

So, the surviving Knight is shipped back home, his mind fractured from everything. The “maybe we’re both still inside” line is so expected and makes me groan. So many mental-located or virtual world stories put a line in like that, and somehow ever writer who writes such a line thinks they’re being clever, but really, they’re being cliché.

The episode ends with us finding out that Sinclair actually is starting to remember a little bit. It’s good that he earns something from having gone through that experience.

vacantlook July 15th 17 06:27

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Deathwalker

This is an episode I generally like going through again when I do rewatches. Mostly because I think the primary thing I think of when I think of this episode is the performance of the character Na'Toth. It makes me sad the actor couldn't do the role beyond this season.

Kosh does something other than get poisoned or sit? stand? float? in his quarters. He’s still super cryptic though. And he’s set his sights on Talia. Since Talia has to be written out of the show, what happens to her in this episode ends up being meaningless. I’ve seen it said that it was supposed to have something to do with Kosh rebuilding her personality after the Control personality was to be revealed and Talia’s mind subsumed by Control, but I don’t know. Whatever the plans for the data Kosh gains, it’s too odd with only what’s here to be satisfying.

Deathwalker, a Dilgar, with whom Earth once went to war. I like the visual effects make up design for the Dilgar enough that I wish we could have seen more of them. The Dilgar were apparently really nasty people, a Nazi experiments in space sort of story. I’m glad those experiments weren’t actually depicted on the show because such depictions, heck even just reading about them in historical writing, makes me utterly sick.

“Understanding is a three-edged sword.” Yay, Koshisms are one of the truly fun things this show gives us from the Vorlons.

So, the VCR, Abbot, or whatever he should be called, was apparently originally written to be played by Gilbert Gottfried. With all respect to him, I’m not a fan of his style, so I’m glad it wasn’t him. It would have been nice if the character didn’t flatten out as much as it does with the actor they did get though. Although, “Crab Nebula!” is out of the realm of obsurdist humor that it’s not all bad.

So if I understand things correctly, the Dilgar were decimated when their sun exploded. I think the idea left not fully expressed was that the Vorlons destroyed them by blowing up their sun because of having learned that the Shadows had made inroads into manipulating the Dilgar much in the way that they would manipulate the Centauri.

We get to see the League of Non-Aligned Worlds have some weight on events that occur at Babylon 5. We get to see the Abbai again, which is nice. And we get to see some odd League ships. The Drazi make their first real appearance, having only been miscellaneously in the background before now. We also get Vree ships, though lesser models than what show up later in the show in the various, shall we say, multinational fleets that fight. Too bad the Vree themselves are only used as a joke in one episode; I would rather have had the owners of such frequently seen ships belong to a species we got to see a lot more on the station. And the third of the three ships that come to B5 from the League in this episode is the Iksha, whom we never see again. Their ships were interesting; it would have been nice to see them actually in combat.

So, some Minbari are guilty of having supported Deathwalker. How interesting that after last episode wherein we learned that, much to Delenn’s approval, Franklin destroyed his research to keep it from being used to make weapons; here, we learn that the Minbari welcomed Deathwalker and her research so they could have weapons. Kind of makes Delenn look like a hypocrite, though I imagine she wasn’t not impacted by cultural expectation to help save face for the faults made by others. But still.

So Sinclair once again negotiates around the situation to try to find something that works to dissolve the tension, but the Vorlons show up to blow Deathwalker into rubble before her ship could get away. Kosh walks away with the comment, “You’re not ready for immortality,” which beyond being just a cool line, suggests that Vorlons are immortal.

KoshFan July 15th 17 19:02

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458854)
The two Knight characters are miscellaneous and ultimately inconsequential to the show as a whole. I read that Walter Koenig was originally going to have been one of the two Knights, but that a medical issue caused him to be unavailable for filming.

I really wish they'd been able to schedule Patrick McGoohan for Knight Two. He would have done a much better job and it would have been the Prisoner reference to end all Prisoner references in a show full of them. But I don't think the Knights are totally inconsequential. They do shake loose some of Sinclair's memories. More to the point, it shows further evidence that something's rotten on Earth -- and that, as is so often the case, much of the rot comes from people looking for the rot, but in all the wrong places.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458854)
It’s a little moment, but I like the suggestion from Delenn, and the resulting explanation for why Talia would be insufficient, that a telepath could help find Sinclair. Ivanova says Talia needs proximity and thus isn’t trained in search and rescue. That implies that there are telepaths who are trained. Given how much trouble the station has, they could use a fulltime telepath on staff who could handle search and rescue. It makes me wonder just how many telepaths there are. Babylon 5 is 250,000 residents, but as far as the show shows us, only one, shall we say, on-staff telepath. And that telepath is generally considered lower in skill level: P5. We know from future episodes that there are telepaths that come through B5 that keep their psi capability hidden. I kind of now think that there realistically should be at least a few more on-staff given the size of Babylon 5. But there is just the one officially available telepath.

I just went back to the "Mind War" notes to check Ironheart's (off-the-cuff) telepath stats, and yeah, you're right, there should be more. Ironheart says that only one person in a thousand has any telepathic ability. 250,000 people on the station, but they aren't all human, so call it 150 to 200,000. So there should be 150 to 200 telepaths available. Now, a lot of telepaths are probably even lower-level than Talia and Lyta -- Ironheart's numbers might include all the folks like Ivanova. I do think the more powerful teeps would be more rare. But you'd think there would still be a few more on staff, at least!

My guess? Psi Corps is rationing telepaths. B5 is seen as a risky post, as we know, and often perceived as a waste of resources. Bester says that the Corps is trying to keep telepaths off "the front lines." So B5, chronically underfunded, is also short-staffed in the telepath department.

When something seems illogical, blame the politics.


Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458855)
Deathwalker

“Understanding is a three-edged sword.” Yay, Koshisms are one of the truly fun things this show gives us from the Vorlons.

My favorite has always been "We shall meet at the Hour of Scampering."

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458855)
So if I understand things correctly, the Dilgar were decimated when their sun exploded. I think the idea left not fully expressed was that the Vorlons destroyed them by blowing up their sun because of having learned that the Shadows had made inroads into manipulating the Dilgar much in the way that they would manipulate the Centauri.

[snip]

So Sinclair once again negotiates around the situation to try to find something that works to dissolve the tension, but the Vorlons show up to blow Deathwalker into rubble before her ship could get away.

There's been that speculation that the Vorlon ship fires a warning shot at an unseen Shadow ship, since it misses Deathwalker's ship the first time... and it seems unlikely that Vorlon targeting systems are that bad.


Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458855)
So, some Minbari are guilty of having supported Deathwalker. How interesting that after last episode wherein we learned that, much to Delenn’s approval, Franklin destroyed his research to keep it from being used to make weapons; here, we learn that the Minbari welcomed Deathwalker and her research so they could have weapons. Kind of makes Delenn look like a hypocrite, though I imagine she wasn’t not impacted by cultural expectation to help save face for the faults made by others. But still.

Remember, it wasn't the Minbari as a whole who welcomed Deathwalker -- just the Wind Swords. The rest of the Minbari were scandalized, but kept quiet for that whole face-saving reason. If Delenn had made the mental connection when Franklin said he'd destroyed his notes, she probably would have said, "Good. That's how it ought to be done."

Looney July 16th 17 14:56

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458854)
And The Sky Full Of Stars

While there was a bit of a reference to Sinclair’s missing time in “Soul Hunter,” this is the first real, substantive episode to handle that piece of his history. Amnesia plots can be tiresome and cliché and common, so this really needs something more than just Sinclair’s lost his memory in order to be interesting. I think Babylon 5 does well with this plot by making it be a mystery that resulted in consequences. The war ended. Sinclair’s statements both in this episode and in the revised version of “The Gathering” make clear that Earth really had no hope to win the war; the Battle of the Line was solely a purposeful sacrifice mission to buy time for as many who could escape Earth to do so. So we know that the war ending, especially as a result of the Minbari surrendering, all in a relatively short time period that Sinclair just happens to not remember gives us this huge monumental shift in the galaxy’s politics but without an explanation as to why.

Yes JMS takes another cliche plot and turns it into something. One aspect I really like is that they take the time to introduce the Security Officer. The fact that they show the two Knights had inside help makes all the difference when telling this story.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458854)
I don’t really feel a need to see the Knights again. They, like with the later one-shot appearance of Bureau 13 (which had to be renamed for its respective production reasons) are both plots that kind of dead ended, despite their set-up suggesting something that should have brought them back into the show at some point. On rewatches, this kind of annoys me, even while I understand why things are the way they are.

And here is a detail that upset me. I agree that the Knight characters themselves really never needed to be brought back, but it would have been nice to have some explanation. Of course in this instance I think it is fine that they are not mentioned again. It just would have been a nice additional detail.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458854)
The theme of what one did during the war also includes information about both Delenn, which we already know she was on the Grey Council, but we also learn she was specifically at the Battle of the Line. We also learn about Dr Franklin, who tells Delenn that he destroyed his notes rather than let them be used to create biological weapons. So we get this reoccurring aspect to Franklin’s character introduced here: that he’s willing to take a stand and act in defiance of orders to do something, especially if he thinks doing so will save lives.

This quality in Franklin has always been a point of debate for me. I understand what it is supposed to tell us about Franklin, but once you've seen In The Beginning I feel like it actually detracts from his character. If Earth were really facing extinction and he still wouldn't use his notes then is that really all that noble of a stance he has taken? We're talking about all of humanity. Shouldn't that have been a desperate enough situation to warrant some debate? What I mean is that showing Franklin struggle with that debate would have meant so much more. If we had seen him just before the battle of the line being tempted to reveal his secrets or something I feel like I would have this doubt about his character.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458854)
So, the surviving Knight is shipped back home, his mind fractured from everything. The “maybe we’re both still inside” line is so expected and makes me groan. So many mental-located or virtual world stories put a line in like that, and somehow ever writer who writes such a line thinks they’re being clever, but really, they’re being cliché.

I agree, but at the same time I feel it serves a purpose - what if the rest of the series did all take place in Sinclair's mind?!?!?!?! :eek: :wtf: :lol: :cool:

Looney July 16th 17 15:02

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458855)
Deathwalker

This is an episode I generally like going through again when I do rewatches. Mostly because I think the primary thing I think of when I think of this episode is the performance of the character Na'Toth. It makes me sad the actor couldn't do the role beyond this season.

Kosh does something other than get poisoned or sit? stand? float? in his quarters. He’s still super cryptic though. And he’s set his sights on Talia. Since Talia has to be written out of the show, what happens to her in this episode ends up being meaningless. I’ve seen it said that it was supposed to have something to do with Kosh rebuilding her personality after the Control personality was to be revealed and Talia’s mind subsumed by Control, but I don’t know. Whatever the plans for the data Kosh gains, it’s too odd with only what’s here to be satisfying.

Deathwalker, a Dilgar, with whom Earth once went to war. I like the visual effects make up design for the Dilgar enough that I wish we could have seen more of them. The Dilgar were apparently really nasty people, a Nazi experiments in space sort of story. I’m glad those experiments weren’t actually depicted on the show because such depictions, heck even just reading about them in historical writing, makes me utterly sick.

“Understanding is a three-edged sword.” Yay, Koshisms are one of the truly fun things this show gives us from the Vorlons.

So, the VCR, Abbot, or whatever he should be called, was apparently originally written to be played by Gilbert Gottfried. With all respect to him, I’m not a fan of his style, so I’m glad it wasn’t him. It would have been nice if the character didn’t flatten out as much as it does with the actor they did get though. Although, “Crab Nebula!” is out of the realm of obsurdist humor that it’s not all bad.

So if I understand things correctly, the Dilgar were decimated when their sun exploded. I think the idea left not fully expressed was that the Vorlons destroyed them by blowing up their sun because of having learned that the Shadows had made inroads into manipulating the Dilgar much in the way that they would manipulate the Centauri.

We get to see the League of Non-Aligned Worlds have some weight on events that occur at Babylon 5. We get to see the Abbai again, which is nice. And we get to see some odd League ships. The Drazi make their first real appearance, having only been miscellaneously in the background before now. We also get Vree ships, though lesser models than what show up later in the show in the various, shall we say, multinational fleets that fight. Too bad the Vree themselves are only used as a joke in one episode; I would rather have had the owners of such frequently seen ships belong to a species we got to see a lot more on the station. And the third of the three ships that come to B5 from the League in this episode is the Iksha, whom we never see again. Their ships were interesting; it would have been nice to see them actually in combat.

So, some Minbari are guilty of having supported Deathwalker. How interesting that after last episode wherein we learned that, much to Delenn’s approval, Franklin destroyed his research to keep it from being used to make weapons; here, we learn that the Minbari welcomed Deathwalker and her research so they could have weapons. Kind of makes Delenn look like a hypocrite, though I imagine she wasn’t not impacted by cultural expectation to help save face for the faults made by others. But still.

So Sinclair once again negotiates around the situation to try to find something that works to dissolve the tension, but the Vorlons show up to blow Deathwalker into rubble before her ship could get away. Kosh walks away with the comment, “You’re not ready for immortality,” which beyond being just a cool line, suggests that Vorlons are immortal.

I just quoted everything because I am out of time to make long comments. I love this episode because there is so much detail about the past. This episode is what makes me hope that JMS' idea for a reboot feature might revolve around the Dilgar war.

vacantlook July 17th 17 20:33

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Believers

This is an uncomfortable episode, which I suppose is the point. I’m the kind of person who experiences sympathetic embarrassment easily, and I go through it a lot in this episode. The expression / discussion of the alien-of-the-week’s religion feels really silly and it often takes me out of the story, unfortunately.

This episode does touch at a real-world issue: the butting of religion against science as a conflict of culture. The easiest real-world example is refusing medical treatment, like a blood transfusion, for one’s child and saying God will heal them. If my memory serves, there was a case in the past few years of religious people not getting a child’s diabetes treated for such a faith reason. We can even remove obvious religion from the equation and still see the problem, for example within the anti-vaccination movement. Or in the opposite direction of forcing something some try to label as therapy on a child that has no scientifically proven validity: like conversion therapy used on LGBT youth.

“I’ll just walk to and fro for a while. Maybe over to my console. Maybe after that I can try pacing fro and to, just for the kick of it.” Sarcastic Ivanova is a joy. I don’t really see what her B-plot in this episode really does though. I guess the idea was that it would provide some action scenes since so much of the episode is philosophical discussion. It keeps the existence of the raiders present in the story arc. But really, that part of this episode doesn’t really add anything important. It’s just kind of miscellaneously there.

This episode, obviously, puts a lot of focus on Franklin, and once again we get to experience his willingness to defy orders to try to help people. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter since the parents reject and eventually murder their child. It’s a painful ending, but feels realistic. Maybe it’s because of my own personal turmoil with religious-based rejection, but this episode ends up too uncomfortable for me, so I’m not a fan of rewatching it much, even if I think it has powerful plot turns.

We do get another great Koshism: “The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.”

vacantlook July 17th 17 20:33

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Survivors

We start by seeing Garibaldi and Ivanova entering the core shuttle. While we’ve had characters on the shuttle before, this is the first time (unless I’m mistaken) that we’ve seen people getting on / getting off the shuttle. And their doing so brings us into the plot: sabotage in advance of the arrival of the Earth Alliance President.

This episode focuses on Garibaldi. I now a lot of people love Garibaldi as a character; to me, he’s okay, but he’s expected. There’s not really anything about him that feels particularly new to me. But he is an example of how common human problems will not go away just because we become a space-faring species. Garibaldi is an alcoholic. It’s a sensitive subject for me, given my family history.

We get a person from a character’s past coming to the station; thankfully, they’re not a former lover, for a change. She’s angry at Garibaldi, and he falls apart. I can’t help not being all that interested in their relationship. Major Kemmer comes in and stomps around. She tries to revive the injured man to get a name from him, and of course the expected answer is Garibaldi. “Why would a dying man lie,” she asks. He’s a man who is in an altered mental state, having just been chemically dragged out of a coma. His word is hardly reliable. That it’s treated as it is annoys me.

Then there’s Cutter, the guy who works under Kemmer. He is not performed with any subtlety whatsoever. Surprise, he’s the villain; except no surprise whatsoever, really.

“You are going to resist, I hope,” Ivanova says to Kemmer when Sinclair orders her off the command deck. It’s moments like these that makes me love Ivanova. “I’m a lieutenant commander in Earthforce, I do not take demands.”

The scene with Londo is nicely revealing about his character too. “I have been in your place. I can feel how you’re pinned,” he tells Garibaldi. Knowing what’s coming, this of course is foreshadowing what Londo will do and how it will impact him. The suspicion and antagonism between Londo and G’Kar isn’t as spotlighted in this episode, but it is there. “They won’t give you death, they’ll just take everything you value and leave you with nothing,” G’Kar tells Garibaldi, also foreshadowing some of his coming experience in the show. I don’t remember having paid as much attention to Londo’s and G’Kar’s parts in this episode before.

What kind of security does Babylon 5 have? Garibaldi leaves n’grath’s quarters, a guard comes around the corner, Garibaldi goes in the other direction, and the guard takes out his ppg and fires at Garibaldi. What law enforcement is that? Oh, look, there’s a person that because of the plot we know is Garibaldi, shoot him?? I mean, there’s little way to identify that it’s Garibaldi; he’s got a breather mask on, as does the guard, so not only is Garibaldi’s face obscured, so too is the guard’s vision. But then, we have a culture here in America now that law enforcement too quickly turn to shooting someone rather than trying to deescalate the situation, so I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising. But if that was where it came from in the story, maybe that’d be okay, but it’s not; the guard shoots at him because the plot says Garibaldi needs to be shot at. Not the smoothest writing, for sure.

It’s nice seeing the conspiracy plot arc is still brewing beneath the surface of the story, even if the acting and specifics are clunky. Some anti-alien “pro-Earth” group is trying to undermine President Santiago, who has a more alien-accepting policy position. As ungraceful as much of this episode’s characterization, dialog, and acting is, the anti-alien conspiracy plot is more involved and interesting than the previous one back in “The War Prayer.”

“Holding at T-minus 1,” really writer? Really? Ivanova’s hesitancy to follow through on Garibaldi’s warning is as unrealistic as the clichéd at-the-last-second stopping of the timer.

“Make sure nothing happens to [the President]; we need all the friends we can get,” Garibaldi says. Once again, this episode gives us foreshowing of the coming plot.

vacantlook July 17th 17 20:34

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
By Any Means Necessary

Hooray, another episode with guest actors that chew the scenery. That aside, I like that we get a sort of boring life episode. How does all the real life needs of the station go on when the bigger story arcs are taking place? Well, here’s a look into that. We also get to see the realistic situation of labor, which is necessary for our way of life, being so easily disrespected, like common workers are easily forgotten. We eventually see that too in Minbari culture; Delenn even calls everyone out on it in an episode much further down the line, if I remember correctly: “You forgot about them, didn’t you,” she tells the Grey Council (I am remembering that right, it’s like 4th season??).

The real life history of the fight for workers’ rights is a very tense and deadly story. No surprise that this episode seeks to fictionally tell that ongoing story in the future. Once again, Babylon 5 shows that the same problems humans have had and have now will not be solved by our future. Human nature and desire to exploit others is too deep for that. The negotiator keeps threatening the Rush Act (seriously, the number of times the words “Rush Act” are spoken in this episode is excessive); if I understand it correctly, the strikers would be arrested and replacement workers would be brought in. How in the world would that not be more expensive than just paying the existing staff more? Not that power usually really cares about budgetary/monetary/financial conservatism when the guttural thrill of using power to abuse those less powerful is an option.

The solution comes to Sinclair through a lot of luck and a bit of publicly manifestations of his subtle manipulation of the individual that was sent to B5 to stomp on the workers. As much as the show does put Sinclair in positions to punch villains, this story shows us Sinclair also operates with a canny mind.

Also, Garibaldi’s eventually “second in command,” or whatever his official position is, is alongside Garibaldi in the riot scene. He doesn’t speak any, but is this is first episode?

This episode gives us something we did not get in “The Parliament of Dreams”: Narn religion. And unlike in the alien religion in “Believers,” G’Kar’s religious practice is not awkward or embarrassing. Londo takes the opportunity to specifically taunt and antagonize G’Kar, and he specifically sites his doing so as revenge for what the Narn did to his nephew in “Midnight On The Firing Line.” So as much as Londo is a dick about it all, I simultaneously can’t blame him too much. Seeing G’Kar’s genuine expression of his faith gives us a new layer to his character. In the same way that his interactions with Catherine Sakai deepens his character, so too does this. Sinclair’s solution for the timing of G’Kar’s ceremony is reliant upon the reality of physics of light. Yay science!!

Wulf July 18th 17 17:00

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
I don't have much to comment on, but I'm enjoying reading your thoughts on each episode.

It reminds me why whenever I try to get around to a rewatch lately I don't make it through Season 1. I used to just blame it on Sinclair since he's the easy target, but no. The show really stumbled a fair bit in season 1 before it found its footing.

Don't get me wrong, I love the show and what it become, but "sympathetic embarrassment" is a good phrase to have handy.

Looney July 18th 17 21:20

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458875)
Believers

This is an uncomfortable episode, which I suppose is the point. I’m the kind of person who experiences sympathetic embarrassment easily, and I go through it a lot in this episode. The expression / discussion of the alien-of-the-week’s religion feels really silly and it often takes me out of the story, unfortunately.

This episode does touch at a real-world issue: the butting of religion against science as a conflict of culture. The easiest real-world example is refusing medical treatment, like a blood transfusion, for one’s child and saying God will heal them. If my memory serves, there was a case in the past few years of religious people not getting a child’s diabetes treated for such a faith reason. We can even remove obvious religion from the equation and still see the problem, for example within the anti-vaccination movement. Or in the opposite direction of forcing something some try to label as therapy on a child that has no scientifically proven validity: like conversion therapy used on LGBT youth.

“I’ll just walk to and fro for a while. Maybe over to my console. Maybe after that I can try pacing fro and to, just for the kick of it.” Sarcastic Ivanova is a joy. I don’t really see what her B-plot in this episode really does though. I guess the idea was that it would provide some action scenes since so much of the episode is philosophical discussion. It keeps the existence of the raiders present in the story arc. But really, that part of this episode doesn’t really add anything important. It’s just kind of miscellaneously there.

This episode, obviously, puts a lot of focus on Franklin, and once again we get to experience his willingness to defy orders to try to help people. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter since the parents reject and eventually murder their child. It’s a painful ending, but feels realistic. Maybe it’s because of my own personal turmoil with religious-based rejection, but this episode ends up too uncomfortable for me, so I’m not a fan of rewatching it much, even if I think it has powerful plot turns.

We do get another great Koshism: “The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.”

I think this is one of the most powerful episodes and I find it very uncomfortable to watch. I think one of the best moments is when Franklin is gloating and wants an apology. There is so much realism in that moment it hurts.

And as far as Ivanova's "B" story goes I think it serves a two-fold purpose. One it establishes that she is indeed a competent pilot and two it gives her character a be careful what you wish for tale.

Looney July 18th 17 22:00

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458876)

This episode focuses on Garibaldi. I now a lot of people love Garibaldi as a character; to me, he’s okay, but he’s expected. There’s not really anything about him that feels particularly new to me. But he is an example of how common human problems will not go away just because we become a space-faring species. Garibaldi is an alcoholic. It’s a sensitive subject for me, given my family history.

Yeah I am not a huge Garibaldi fan, but Doyle did make him serve so many purposes very well. He plays the 'Everyman' - rich man, poor man, troubled man, smart man, foolish man, funny man, manipulated man, hungry man, violent man, peaceful man, wise man, hero and villain. I don't think Doyle's acting talent is quite on par with some of the other players, but he does a great job at doing so many jobs. He doesn't always do them perfectly, but he pulls it off in some manner.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458876)
“You are going to resist, I hope,” Ivanova says to Kemmer when Sinclair orders her off the command deck. It’s moments like these that makes me love Ivanova. “I’m a lieutenant commander in Earthforce, I do not take demands.”

Yes this is one of those moments that really works for Ivanova. I have to admit there are moments where it is forced and doesn't work as well, but here it is well placed.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458876)
The scene with Londo is nicely revealing about his character too. “I have been in your place. I can feel how you’re pinned,” he tells Garibaldi. Knowing what’s coming, this of course is foreshadowing what Londo will do and how it will impact him. The suspicion and antagonism between Londo and G’Kar isn’t as spotlighted in this episode, but it is there. “They won’t give you death, they’ll just take everything you value and leave you with nothing,” G’Kar tells Garibaldi, also foreshadowing some of his coming experience in the show. I don’t remember having paid as much attention to Londo’s and G’Kar’s parts in this episode before.

I often feel that JMS wrote Londo and G'Kar and then wrote the series around them. :thumbsup:

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458876)
What kind of security does Babylon 5 have? Garibaldi leaves n’grath’s quarters, a guard comes around the corner, Garibaldi goes in the other direction, and the guard takes out his ppg and fires at Garibaldi. What law enforcement is that? Oh, look, there’s a person that because of the plot we know is Garibaldi, shoot him?? I mean, there’s little way to identify that it’s Garibaldi; he’s got a breather mask on, as does the guard, so not only is Garibaldi’s face obscured, so too is the guard’s vision. But then, we have a culture here in America now that law enforcement too quickly turn to shooting someone rather than trying to deescalate the situation, so I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising. But if that was where it came from in the story, maybe that’d be okay, but it’s not; the guard shoots at him because the plot says Garibaldi needs to be shot at. Not the smoothest writing, for sure.

In the past I felt this way and then I realized, throwing the identification obstruction aside, Cutter isn't acting alone. [SEE QUOTE BELOW.]

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458876)
It’s nice seeing the conspiracy plot arc is still brewing beneath the surface of the story, even if the acting and specifics are clunky. Some anti-alien “pro-Earth” group is trying to undermine President Santiago, who has a more alien-accepting policy position. As ungraceful as much of this episode’s characterization, dialog, and acting is, the anti-alien conspiracy plot is more involved and interesting than the previous one back in “The War Prayer.”

See the conspiracy plot is brewing and there is a "group" of conspirators, so that may have been why Garibaldi was shot at. Of course I am reading between the lines, but B5 is even more interesting if you can read between the lines and come up with a logical explanation that makes sense. Maybe JMS didn't intend for us to think the person who fired the PPG at Garbaldi was in on the conspiracy or maybe he did. :cool:

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458876)
“Make sure nothing happens to [the President]; we need all the friends we can get,” Garibaldi says. Once again, this episode gives us foreshowing of the coming plot.

Yep. Had I seen all of Season One when it originally aired I would have known at that moment Santiago was going to get it. ;)

Looney July 18th 17 22:08

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458877)
By Any Means Necessary

Hooray, another episode with guest actors that chew the scenery. That aside, I like that we get a sort of boring life episode. How does all the real life needs of the station go on when the bigger story arcs are taking place? Well, here’s a look into that. We also get to see the realistic situation of labor, which is necessary for our way of life, being so easily disrespected, like common workers are easily forgotten. We eventually see that too in Minbari culture; Delenn even calls everyone out on it in an episode much further down the line, if I remember correctly: “You forgot about them, didn’t you,” she tells the Grey Council (I am remembering that right, it’s like 4th season??).

The real life history of the fight for workers’ rights is a very tense and deadly story. No surprise that this episode seeks to fictionally tell that ongoing story in the future. Once again, Babylon 5 shows that the same problems humans have had and have now will not be solved by our future. Human nature and desire to exploit others is too deep for that. The negotiator keeps threatening the Rush Act (seriously, the number of times the words “Rush Act” are spoken in this episode is excessive); if I understand it correctly, the strikers would be arrested and replacement workers would be brought in. How in the world would that not be more expensive than just paying the existing staff more? Not that power usually really cares about budgetary/monetary/financial conservatism when the guttural thrill of using power to abuse those less powerful is an option.

The solution comes to Sinclair through a lot of luck and a bit of publicly manifestations of his subtle manipulation of the individual that was sent to B5 to stomp on the workers. As much as the show does put Sinclair in positions to punch villains, this story shows us Sinclair also operates with a canny mind.

Yes I think this is a brilliant episode in that it gives us this detailed story of life on the station. I wish there were more stories like this. I always wanted more details about station life and different places and characters on the station. Plus it brings in that realism of the struggle for workers' rights vs greed.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 458877)
This episode gives us something we did not get in “The Parliament of Dreams”: Narn religion. And unlike in the alien religion in “Believers,” G’Kar’s religious practice is not awkward or embarrassing. Londo takes the opportunity to specifically taunt and antagonize G’Kar, and he specifically sites his doing so as revenge for what the Narn did to his nephew in “Midnight On The Firing Line.” So as much as Londo is a dick about it all, I simultaneously can’t blame him too much. Seeing G’Kar’s genuine expression of his faith gives us a new layer to his character. In the same way that his interactions with Catherine Sakai deepens his character, so too does this. Sinclair’s solution for the timing of G’Kar’s ceremony is reliant upon the reality of physics of light. Yay science!!

One of the best "B" plot lines in the series that I guess is actually an "A" plot line because it feeds the overall arc a little more than the workers' strike story does. :thumbsup:

Looney July 30th 17 15:36

Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.
 
I thought I would expand more on what I said about life on the station after discussing By Any Means Necessary got my mind working.

I think it would be wonderful to have expanded universe tales about things we didn't see that don't even have to pertain to any great extent to main characters. We know there are 250,000 people on B5 at any given time. They all have stories and needs. They all have to eat somewhere, sleep somewhere, and have some reason or purpose. Those are all a fountain of stories we could hear.

We know there are a variety of stores, restaurants, clubs, and bars on B5, but why not hotels? Can anyone tell me one instance where a hotel name was mentioned? I know there are episodes that discuss accommodations for travelers, but I only remember ever hearing it referred to as guest quarters in certain sections. Why not hotel names? And if there are hotels how would they work? Would they just be demarcated guest quarters in a certain sections? :lol:

We also know from effects shots of the central core there are parts of the station that expand into the central core that look like buildings. What are they all? We know the Military Governor of Babylon 5 has an office in one of the buildings because we've seen the evidence. Are the other buildings hotels? Are they just quarters for people like Ambassadors to have windows? Are they corporate headquarters?

That last question brings me to another point, couldn't we have had more interaction with corporations that did have permanent offices on B5? There obviously were companies that did. Which leads to this question, why doesn't Psi Corps have offices on B5? Vacantlook brought up the notion that it seems odd that Talia is the only Telepath on B5. I agree and I want to know does she actually have an office? I guess she could and I think there is an episode where she does mention something like contact my office. We never see her there, but it is possible. But as was discussed, why aren't there more Telepaths around? We know they come and go from the station, but I mean permanent residents with certain duties. I guess we are supposed to assume that someone at Psi Corps Central thought B5 was so insignificant and temporary that they didn't need a presence on B5 and when they finally came to some realization it was too late and they could do nothing about it. Of course, after Mind War Bester would have had to suggest they put a permanent office staffed with Telepaths on B5. :rolleyes:

Okay I would love to expand on more, but I've got to go. :thumbsup:


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