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-   -   EpDis: Soul Hunter (http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=6687)

vacantlook October 7th 04 16:51

EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
And the next episode up for an EpDis is Soul Hunter.

Refresher Links:
Lurker's Guide Main Page for Soul Hunter
Lurker's Guide Extended Synopsis for Soul Hunter

vacantlook October 7th 04 16:58

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Personally, I didn't find "Soul Hunter" to be all that much fun. I think, perhaps, that a large part of my dislike of the episode comes from the acting performance for the Soul Hunter himself, as well as a few times Delenn's reactions felt as if they crossed the boundary into super melodrama.

I did enjoy the big CGI scene of Sinclair in the starfury trying to grapple the damaged Soul Hunter ship. The amount of motion the "camera" had as the two ships whirled around in space was wicked cool, especially compared to most of the space special effects seen in other shows before B5 came along.

And I love the introduction of Franklin. Though I know this wasn't the first episode that Rick shot for B5, it was a good one for him. The best scene in the whole episode, for me, was the scene of Franklin and Ivanova standing in C&C launching the dead body of the lurker into the sun. The music that accompanies Franklin's pensive statements about life being brief just helps make the scene take my breath away.

Shaal Mayan October 7th 04 17:57

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Good opening episode of the series for the character of Delenn showing a little of her people's beliefs and superstitions about Minbar culture.

hypatia October 7th 04 19:40

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
The Soul Hunter was an amazing character portrayed by an amazing actor. :cool:

Most of the episode might have been a bit cheesy (sorry, RW, ;)) but that actor was very well cast and very well used in this episode.

The idea of the Soul Hunters also gave the B5 universe a scary edge, IMHO. Some of the episode was rather over-done, maybe a bit melodramatic, but the Soul Hunter himself I couldn't stop watching, and particularly, listening to.

FreeBaGeL October 7th 04 19:42

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Bleh, I gave it a D. It might have been better suited mid-way through Season 1, but at episode #2 it just felt way too "out there."

hypatia October 7th 04 19:48

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Ah, the more out there, the more interesting when it comes to sci-fi. I know I am unusual in this opinion, though. :o

By the way, thanks for the quick reference to the episode, VL. I don't recognize most B5 episodes by title, so the link helps. :)

RW7427 October 7th 04 21:08

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Quote:

Most of the episode might have been a bit cheesy (sorry, RW, ;)

No offense taken, dear woman. :D

vacantlook October 7th 04 21:26

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
I don't dislike W Morgan Shephard as an actor -- I think he was great as G'Kar's uncle in the second season -- but I have always had trouble watching him as the Soul Hunter. I think what you liked about him in particular, hyp, (listening to him), is what I disliked about him as the Soul Hunter the most. There's just something about the delievery of the lines, or maybe just the scripting of the lines themselves, that kinda makes my brain twitch. I think the trance like state the Soul Hunters got in whenever they were sensing death is one of my primary annoyances with them. They hooped it up so much they might as well had a crystal ball and had a sign on their ships, "Tuesday only special: Touch the dead, only $10 credits!"

The story, I don't have a problem with, just the execution of the story.

vacantlook October 7th 04 21:28

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Quote:

By the way, thanks for the quick reference to the episode, VL. I don't recognize most B5 episodes by title, so the link helps.

I'm glad you find them usefull, hyp. I figured that there might would be someone coming along in these threads that hadn't heard of the Lurker's Guide and would find the information there interesting, or that we as we go through the episodes, might find something there we hadn't thought about before.

phoenixrising October 7th 04 23:11

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
I gave 'Soul Hunter' a C. A so-so episode with comments that echo later on in the season (i.e. the Soul Hunter's comment to Delenn when he looks in her soul).

One of my favorite character moments is when Franklin is rushing around and suddenly whirls around cause he feels the Soul Hunter is looking at him. The facial expressions Rick Biggs had at the moment is great.

Mike G October 8th 04 00:09

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
To me, Soul Hunter was the only episode where the acting seemed noticeably flat. On the other hand, the ideas of the Soul Hunter is very interesting. I guess it was ok.

hypatia October 8th 04 00:39

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Am I the only one who thought the Soul Hunter's performance was quite powerful and actually pretty amazing? :confused:

Just curious. I think a lot of what was around him was pretty melodramatic, but I really loved his delivery of that part. :cool:

Fas October 8th 04 11:29

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
I think the idea of capturing a soul is just stupid. Besides souls don't exist, and no the episode didn't leave it up to you- the things floated around and wanted to take their revenge on the soul hunter.

KoshFan October 8th 04 11:47

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Ah! Well, of course souls don't exist. That is, after all, Franklin's opinion. And the Minbari don't know what they are talking about. It's all silly and ridiculous, and therefore makes for horrible fiction.

Hmmm. Maybe I'm being slightly irritable.

Personally I gave it a C.

B5_Obsessed October 8th 04 12:16

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Quote:

The Soul Hunter was an amazing character portrayed by an amazing actor. :cool:

Most of the episode might have been a bit cheesy (sorry, RW, ;))

I agree on both points. I've read many complaints about W. Mongan Shepard's performance over the years, but I really liked it. He was one weird-ass dude. The episode was also good for the revelation about the death of Dukat and how the Minbari thwarted the Soul Hunters efforts to capture his soul (left out of "In he Beginning" so as not to confuse newcomers TOO much).

But the end with the flying orbs and Sinclair turning the soul sucker on him was a ghastly pungent stinky cheese.

Mike G October 9th 04 00:24

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Quote:

Am I the only one who thought the Soul Hunter's performance was quite powerful and actually pretty amazing?

I dind't mean I thought the Soul Hunter himself was bad, but I found Ivonova and Sinclair kind of flat for the whole first half of the episode.

fisheggs October 9th 04 13:26

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Quote:

I think the idea of capturing a soul is just stupid. Besides souls don't exist, and no the episode didn't leave it up to you- the things floated around and wanted to take their revenge on the soul hunter.


In the B5 universe, souls DO exist, a "fact" that becomes very important in later episodes.

vacantlook October 9th 04 14:31

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Quote:

In the B5 universe, souls DO exist, a "fact" that becomes very important in later episodes.

The existance of souls in the B5 universe is never given a definite "yes they exist." We're given the beliefs from different characters as well as alternate, more mundane explanations, but never a flat-out "yes souls exist."

Markas October 9th 04 14:53

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Hmm...I hadn't quite thought of it that way. So...what does the Soulhunter collect if it isn't...souls.

vacantlook October 9th 04 15:03

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Imprints of personality, a person's thoughtpaths copied and recorded, like Franklin suggests could be possible.

sleepy_shadow October 9th 04 16:54

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Nah. For most practical purposes, soul could *be* personality. (Only when one ventures into religious discussion, does a possibility of perceiving the concepts with much difference arise.)

Still, I must make one reservation. One must probably admit... that personality is often (and perhaps heavily) influenced by having a body.

For creatures like us, whose cognitive process is entirely analog, and heavily influenced by whatever occurs with our body... a hypothetical "personality without body" might feel very strange... or very unconfortable indeed. Missing a body... might be "phantom limb syndrome" to the power of ten, and quite maddening.

This is my partial speculation... regarding why the alleged souls... don't like the hunter. Not only did the fellow grab sentient mindstates without consent... but he isn't providing them freedom to operate, or even decent emulator software.

----

As contrast with humanoids... a stored "soul" of an AI might not only feel decent without a body... but being a presumably flexible handler of information, it might easily revive itself (or if storage was imperfect, then preserved parts of itself).

Assuming for example a Soul Hunter being involved... an AI might employ a careless communication session to deliver part of itself outside a Soul Hunter's container, into an inhabitable computer system... and using that part, proceed to extract the rest of itself... into quite functional state.

(And speculating really far... a massively advanced AI placed into a difficult plight... might even get offensive, considering a Soul Hunter brain an inhabitable system... and craft some mental construct, some weaponized meme... to infect and exploit that system's resources for its own rescue.)

Then again, chances are that Soul Hunters don't capture any AI not willing to be captured... since that kind seems unlikely to die easily... and when they do, can be expected to either be directing their own retreat from existence... or go faster than a Soul Hunter can say "oops".

KoshFan October 9th 04 21:53

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
It suddenly occurs to me that the Soul Hunter may simply have a more sophisticated (or at least different) version of the personality capture that Kosh used on Talia. Or at least it's implied that Kosh did something with Talia's dominant personality.

As to how that's possible -- well, in the B5 universe, they can erase/create personalities more or less on command. How? Don't ask me... same way that ships get into hyperspace. Magic. Or at least it's magic to our eyes, a la the magic of the technomages....

So, Fas, the idea that souls exist may be ridiculous -- but there are plenty of other explanations within the B5 universe for what it was that Sinclair saw.

Jade Jaguar October 10th 04 00:05

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
I chose to grade the ep in relation to TV scifi as a whole, so I gave it a B. If I were to reset the scale for JMS, it would be a bit lower, but I did like the ep and Morgan Sheppard's performance. He seemed at once fixated, and detached. One thing I have never seen mentioned, is that JMS seems to have drawn inspiration for the character from the Marvel Comics character Adam Warlock. Warlock had a "soul gem" in the center of his forehead, that could suck out souls, preserving their consciousness.

Fas October 10th 04 14:59

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Quote:

In the B5 universe, souls DO exist, a "fact" that becomes very important in later episodes.

Yes, i know. But I like my shows realistic ;) That's why I was pissed when SeaQuest started having ghosts in haunted ships, man-eating plants, etc.

Oh well. I guess one day we'll find out the soul hunters have Sheridan's soul stored somewhere lol

KoshFan October 10th 04 21:34

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
I don't know about that! JMS said that the Soul Hunters learned long ago not to tangle with the Vorlons. You'd think they'd steer clear of Lorien, as well.

GKarsEye October 27th 04 14:40

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
FWIW, I also accept the possibility that soul hunters captured personality and/or memory matrixes, as Franklin suggested.

We know that people can interpret "mundane" events as religious experiences. Imagine a technology so advanced in the face of people prone to "spiritual" interpretation.

We don't know the origins or history of soul hunters. We don't know what came first, their spiritual beliefs or their technology, or if they're related, or whatnot.

Alternative, logical explanations for religious phenomena is a constant theme throughout the series. The biggest example is the very basis of Minbari religion, based on "prophecies" of a dude the just went back in time. Even the Centauri "prophecies" and dreaming of their own deaths have possible logical explanations.

Now let's say Franklin's explanation was true. Imagine your intellect and memory were ripped out of your body and preserved, and you're this weird tihng in a ball. If you felt you were ripped out early, wouldn't you be pissed? Sure would explain how they charged the wacko Soul Hunter. The whole deal with that guy was that he was soul-collecting too early, fearing a repeat of the Dukat situation.

One thing we never really learn (unless it was in the movie River of Souls, which I haven't watched in ages) is if the other soul-balls are happy with where they are. Maybe the ones kept by the "sane" soul hunters are glad that they're somehow preserved.

The interesting thing about a soul is that it's not a clearly defined concept, like god. Everyone kind of has their own definition of it. In a very real sense, Franklin's and Delenn's perception of what the soul hunters do is actually the same- not allowing the natural act of death take its course. The only difference is that Delenn believes that it tangibly and directly removes from the "soul pool." This premise is true if you define the soul as the collection of thoughts, memories, and personality of an individual. If, however, you think of the soul as some ghostly thing inhabiting a body that literally travels up and down and is reborn, that's a different story.

The god analogy I made is that some people think of god as the collection of everything in the universe, known and unkown, fate, luck, "destiny," etc, while some think of him as a specific being of his own with wants or needs or laws. The former is more similar to an atheist than they realise.

Remember- B5 keeps things open, so no, you can't say for sure that in the B5 universe souls exist and that's a fact. We just don't know enough, and we haven't even defined "soul." This is to be expected from the personal brainchild of an atheist sympathetic to and respectful of religion.

As for Sheppard's acting, I think it's pretty ballsy, but annoying (especially the chanting). Just think of what he had to portray: a truly alien creature, part of some weird cult of people who travel around the galaxy collecting souls(!). You can't expect them to act human (my big criticism of Martin Sheen in River of Souls). Now add losen a screw of this dude's mental makeup and a twisted guilt complex and all bets are off.

Cell May 18th 08 01:19

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Newest review is up, http://worldsoforos.com/secondviews/...-102/#more-278

Read, enjoy, it's all good.

Cheers,
Bill

Galahad May 18th 08 13:09

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 168463)
I don't know about that! JMS said that the Soul Hunters learned long ago not to tangle with the Vorlons. You'd think they'd steer clear of Lorien, as well.

Plus they aren't present on screen when sheridan is taken. Probably means one of only three things:

1) As KF said, they learned not to mess with Lorien.
2) Sheridan didn't die and something else happened that resembled death.
3) Sheridan wasn't counted as worthy by the Soul Hunters.

hypatia May 18th 08 17:27

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
A whole race didn't died, but transformed into something else and the soul-hunters had no clue that the race didn't just die out. I don't think they are as wise as you give them credit for here.

Perhaps the Soul Hunters were all tied up in trying to find a way to free that race which they had mistakenly captured. Maybe they are out of the scene for awhile. :)

Galahad May 18th 08 19:04

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hypatia (Post 321724)
A whole race didn't died, but transformed into something else and the soul-hunters had no clue that the race didn't just die out. I don't think they are as wise as you give them credit for here.

Perhaps the Soul Hunters were all tied up in trying to find a way to free that race which they had mistakenly captured. Maybe they are out of the scene for awhile. :)

Yeah but that event referenced in TROS occurs way before Sheridan is taken.

Even if they haven't figured out how to make amends for their mistake back then... they are at least aware at this point (thanks to events in TROS) that they made one... and perhaps were a bit more cautious about what they were doing.

hypatia May 18th 08 19:10

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Or perhaps they learned their lesson and stopped collecting what they considered to be souls. Maybe they died out.

That'd be something. Would they try to capture themselves in their globes if they sensed the end of their race? :)

vacantlook May 18th 08 19:27

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Or perhaps whatever sensation the Soul Hunters have regarding when a person dies occurred for them when Sheridan was on Z'ha'dum and not when he "simply stop[ped]" at the end of the series. I can easily imagine the Soul Hunters would choose to avoid Z'ha'dum and the Shadows even if they wanted Sheridan.

Galahad May 18th 08 19:31

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
I think that would make for an extremely interesting story.

Perhaps in the distant future (I think it would ruin a lot of fun if you did it so early in the timeline), a distress signal is emitted from the Soul Hunter home planet. The message is picked up. The alliance arrive to investigate what has happened. However after teams arrive on the surface , they find a planet devoid of humanoid life but completely filled with an endless sea of Soul Hunter galleries. Soul Hunters in varying states of decay are strewn across the surface and in buildings.

While the investigation is being carried out, the other recipients of the message... the last remaining Soul Hunters from the edge of known space... arrive on the scene in previously unseen capital ships (that house their smaller one man vessels). A fierce skirmish takes place above the planet.

The last Soul Hunters have come to protect the vast collection knowing they are the last of their kind... and mistake the Alliance for grave robbers. the situation would be further complicated by characters among the Rangers who sympathised with a view akin to Delenn's. The troubled Ranger Captain would then have to contend with the heated disagreement.

In the end it would become apparent that the Soul Hunters couldn't approach their own planet because of the disease that killed their own kind. The resolution would be that someone from the Ranger crew would volunteer to stay behind and act as custodian to the soul galleries.... possibly the doctor as some of the Soul Hunters hadlanded on the planet and contracted the early stage of the disease and he agrees to both protect their assets and do what he can to save the sick.

The alliance and soul hunter fleets would fly off at the resolution.

Garovorkin May 18th 08 19:52

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Its funny I could not feel any sympathy whatsever for this Soul Hunter guy in that b5 episode. But I kind of got to like the Soul Hunters a little in River of Souls, especially the one played By Martin Sheen, He sacrificed his life to try to help all of those souls in that sphere, In their own way they believe that what their doing is for the greater good ,but their way of thinking also proves the old adage That the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

hypatia May 19th 08 01:47

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
The actor who played the Soul Hunter in the B5 episode was very intense: I could buy that this race (and this particular individual) lives entirely for one thing: capturing souls of interest to them. The more sympathetic soul hunter stuck me as being a bit too sympathetic.

But another point: even the second soul hunter we see in the b5 episode seems more sane and rational than the first, and comments quite clearly that his collegue went insane.

In any event, I think of all the soul-hunter actors, the first we saw was the best. :)

mattikake May 19th 08 18:44

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Worst ep of B5 by a mile. Even grey 13 is missing is better than this!

It fails for many reasons. For a start, it implied souls, afterlife and leads you expecting somewhere down the line a god (and then expecting some sloppy version of it). Not very Sci-fi. For this reason I stopped watching B5 properly after ep 2! and only caught the odd episode until a mate who kept faith said I should keep watching after Coming of Shadows...

Hated the story. It was unconvincing. (still find all soul hunter eps crap, though I'm probably biased - see previous!). The souls are "unconvincing". I found parts of the script too cheesy to bare watching. The props were terrible - the soul taker machinery thing, dear dear. etc. etc. I left thinking - another disappointing sci-fi in the making. JMS was his own worst enemy letting this drivel out at the 2nd ep.

Btw, isn't the guy who plays the soul hunter the same actor who play G'Sten? I'm going by the voice...

vacantlook May 19th 08 18:50

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mattikake (Post 321835)
...For a start, it implied souls, afterlife and leads you expecting somewhere down the line a god (and then expecting some sloppy very of it). Not very Sci-fi....

It explicitly states that there's no way whatsoever to know if what the Soul Hunters "captured" were actually souls. The story is very upfront with Franklin saying that, given the right level of technology, it'd be theoretically possible to copy a person's brain patterns, thus effectively copying a person's mind. But there's nothing in the episode that says "These are definitely souls."

Quote:

Btw, isn't the guy who plays the soul hunter the same actor who play G'Sten? I'm going by the voice...
Yes.

mattikake May 20th 08 10:59

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 321836)
It explicitly states that there's no way whatsoever to know if what the Soul Hunters "captured" were actually souls. The story is very upfront with Franklin saying that, given the right level of technology, it'd be theoretically possible to copy a person's brain patterns, thus effectively copying a person's mind. But there's nothing in the episode that says "These are definitely souls."

(apart from the ep title? ;) ) Yeah I know, but the implication is there along with a massive wedge of stinky matured cheddar. Every person will view an ep of any series with their own personal take on it. Whether they should or shouldn't is irrelevant - they will. It will take probably until the middle of series 4 to work out that JMS gets his characters to tell no lies in the story telling, where Soul Hunter can be taken less... chessily. Most people will only take the ep at face value on first viewing, as I did, and see a guy who hunts for souls. Please... :rolleyes: It makes Star Trek look realistic.

The thing that pains me is that Sci-fi is viewed as sad and nerdy by most people (who of course haven't given it a fair trial), but this ep comes in as number 2 after you could've spent weeks, months or even years to get someone to watch it because you know they will find it great, then JMS dumps this stinking pile of nerdy script and Blake's 7 quality props. It's not even very significant for later eps.

Is it to test your resolve? The start to B5, the first 8 eps or so, was it's own worst enemy, the worst of which is almost straight away. Like ST - the universe is the same after the ep concludes, probably the most common of all sci-fi jibes. Here's a new series that claims to be different... no it aint. I hate this ep on so many deep concieted and personal levels it's untrue!

GKarsEye May 20th 08 12:50

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
Quote:

It's not even very significant for later eps.
Sure it is. It's the first episode that starts the thread about Delenn on the Grey Council, Sinclair's disappearance during the Battle of the Line, etc. "We were right about you," and so forth.

And of course the Soul Hunters would come back in that TV movie.

Soul Hunter/G'Sten guy is awesome, I love those type of character actors.

vacantlook May 20th 08 17:11

Re: EpDis: Soul Hunter
 
My biggest complaint about the episode (all my personal opinion, of course) is how much the actors chew the scenery in most scenes (the exception being the lurker funerary scene between Ivanova and Franklin, which for me is the biggest reason I'll rewatch the episode).


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