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-   -   EpDis: Believers (http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=6998)

vacantlook November 24th 04 20:13

EpDis: Believers
 
Next is Believers.

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

vacantlook November 24th 04 20:22

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
"Believers" is an "ok" episode for me. I like that the resolution of the plot isn't a "pretty" one; there's no easy answer.

I liked the series of scenes of the parents going from one ambassador to another trying to get someone to speak for them and how none of them would jump onboard. Kosh's line "The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote," while being typically Vorlon, I think it also hints at perhaps some underlying regret or similar emotion from Kosh over his own instance of requiring medical intervention against the wishes of others.

It was a very good episode for Franklin and gave a lot for Rick to chew on as an actor.

What keeps me from viewing this episode as stellar though has a lot to do with finding the acting of the Shon character to be rather weak. Also, the that the religion of the aliens feels just sort of slapped together to suit a one-use need for this episode. I'd imagine there are plenty of people who disagree with me on this issue of their religion, but it's how it seems for me. I guess for so much of this episode's plot being reliant upon the "alienness" of the aliens, it just didn't feel alien enough for me. It might just be a side-effect of a one-shot alien culture since it's something that's gotten me about a whole lot of aliens in various episodes of Star Trek too.

So, for me, it's balances out to an average episode.

RMcD November 25th 04 04:26

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
A family of aliens with lumpy foreheads and a moral dilemma get lost on their way to an episode of Star Trek TNG and end up on Babylon 5 instead.. Sadly for them, B5 is a much darker and more complex place.. Brilliant stuff, well-written by Peter David, one of my favourite standalone episodes..

JBonetati November 25th 04 06:15

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Quote:

A family of aliens with lumpy foreheads and a moral dilemma get lost on their way to an episode of Star Trek TNG and end up on Babylon 5 instead.. Sadly for them, B5 is a much darker and more complex place.. Brilliant stuff, well-written by Peter David, one of my favourite standalone episodes..

Written by David Gerrold, actually.

Jan

RMcD November 25th 04 06:26

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Quote:

Written by David Gerrold, actually.

Jan

Oops, sorry.. :o

Could anyone explain Fingel (sp?) eggs? And Shakespeare corporation? I think they may be references but I don't know what to.

Shaal Mayan November 25th 04 11:46

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
I give this one and average grade but the ending can be a point of debate on whether Franklin was right or wrong.

Markas November 25th 04 12:13

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
I gave this one a C. Generally speaking, unless there's a really interesting twist to the storyline, I find all "science over religion" stories to be rather boring.

That said, I thought that the interaction between the parents and Franklin was well done.

rangerPHIL November 25th 04 14:09

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
The Fact that the parents were actually prepared to murder their own child ( even if they no longer believed it to be such ) was for me a powerful moment and thus pushes me to give believers a B.

:D

macmaccaman November 26th 04 07:57

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
One of a few episodes I can happily skip without watching again - gimme Grail anyday. David Gerrold should stick to tribbles, correct???

JBonetati November 26th 04 09:50

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Quote:

One of a few episodes I can happily skip without watching again - gimme Grail anyday. David Gerrold should stick to tribbles, correct???

Nope. His Chtorr series is wonderful.

Jan

fisheggs November 26th 04 12:04

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
I gave it a C and that was generous!It rehashes an idea I see all too often, that a parents religious views trump life, God will heal them if it's His will :rolleyes:. Or the infamous, they aren't covered completely so they had to return to the burning building or God will be offended. The premise that they can't be cut into is IMO ridiculous!! If you get a paper cut do you loose your soul? The acting was of course excellent and Kosh's line was pure Vorlon, but I personally found the premise flawed.

KoshFan November 26th 04 13:53

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Probably the best part of this episode was how Sinclair was involved in the situation. But of course we're all looking back on this episode with the advantage of hindsight. The story seems weak to us, spoiled as we are by the darkness of Seasons Three and Four, but the pure grimness of Believers was one of the warning signs that this would be no ordinary ST clone.

hypatia November 26th 04 14:33

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
I actually gave it a "B". People with almost equally strange religious views on medicine exist right here today on planet Earth. I find it hard to consider the premise all that hard to believe. Papercut means you have to be killed? No, just no major surgery.

I liked Franklin and Sinclair's interaction a lot. The sudden shift in attitude should have clued him in, though, as to what was going to happen.

And it was one of the first episodes to give you an idea that "this isn't Star Trek anymore". I gave the episode a B because I thought it was better than average, but I have a tough standard for "A" when it comes to B5. ;)

Shaal Mayan November 26th 04 15:45

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
That is one of the strongest points in this episode that this isn't a star trek style episode where the parents kept their religious beliefs at the end.In the boy would have died with or without the operation so everyone is right depending on there beliefs .Okay thats it from me.

Fas November 26th 04 16:21

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
How do you know Franklin would not have saved him?

Besides Babylon 5 is an Earth Alliance station... one thing is respecting the beliefs of other races, but Earth law is applied there or should. You would think the parents would be arrested for murder.

hypatia November 26th 04 16:43

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
You know, that's a thought that never occured to me. Were teh parents charged with a crime for this? B5 law is a bit vague, but out-right murder would almost certainly be covered, wouldn't you think?

Shaal Mayan November 26th 04 17:55

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
I don't think the parents were arrested for murder cause I think in the end it would be ruled even if they were charged it would come as religious beliefs or that the EA has no right to interfere with religious cultures but now I am sounding like STAR TREK. m

fisheggs November 26th 04 19:46

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
We are on the same page, but look ahead a couple of paragraphs :). The premise of the believers seemed to be that if their "shell' was broken ie by surgery, then the soul seeped out: major surgery/paper cut, bye bye soul is my reading on their beliefs. And maybe I didn't like it because I've met the parents evil-step-twins :cool:. Maybe if the kid had changed even a little bit then I might have had some sympathy. :confused: Again, for me, the "cause" was silly.

Jade Jaguar November 26th 04 20:02

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
I get your meaning about cuts. As a woodworker, I would think that there would not be many on their planet, unless they allowed "souless" woodworkers. I thought it was a reasonably good ep but, except for the ending, very Trek like. Not a favorite, but it did let you know that happy endings were not requisite on B5, a good sign on the first run.

vacantlook November 26th 04 22:47

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
I would say that Shon's parents seemed more concerned with "being cut into" not exactly being cut. So, I think their focus was on someone else cutting someone, not someone accidentally cutting oneself as a papercut would be.

StarForBram November 27th 04 07:42

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Easily the worst B5 episode IMO.

RMcD November 27th 04 09:52

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
I'm surprised by the mixed response to Believers.. I've always considered it a minor classic, at least in the context of Season 1.

Ninja_Squirrel November 27th 04 11:36

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Quote:

Easily the worst B5 episode IMO.

I agree. This one and Soul Hunter tie as my least favorite of the series. I still give both a D-. Rick Biggs' performance in Believers is the only thing that saves this episode from an F in my gradebook.

GKarsEye November 27th 04 20:10

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
I can't believe that in a series with TKO, a plot that is ultimately pointless and has nothing to do with anything, people can call this the worst episode.

I gave it an 'A'

Quote:

The premise that they can't be cut into is IMO ridiculous!!

Yes, it is
and the fact that it's a real phenomenon makes it a poignant episode.

Jade Jaguar November 27th 04 20:54

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
While I agree with your well-made point about Believers, I want to stick up for TKO, which I think is overly maligned. I enjoyed the ep, and its point is clearly that humans often do not respect aliens, nor their traditions, and are disrespected in turn for it. This point, racism, may be more often visited than the point made in Believers, but it is at least as important.

Sindatur November 28th 04 09:31

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
On a first airing of the episode, and considering the premise, it's an excellent episode, IMHO, however, it doesn't bear repetititive viewing in my opion. Definitely it showed this was not a Star Trek clone.

Regading TKO, the B story was very good, and developed Ivanova very nicely.

RMcD November 29th 04 07:37

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Quote:

People with almost equally strange religious views on medicine exist right here today on planet Earth.

I suspect the parallel being drawn in this episode is with Jehovah's Witnesses, whose beliefs do not allow blood transfusions even in extreme medical circumstances.

hypatia November 29th 04 07:39

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
And Scientology, where I think basically any medical intervention is considered a sign of spiritual need, not medical need.

aajay November 29th 04 11:00

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Always liked this episode. Interesting dilemna for Stephen and Sinclair.
Also has my favorite Kosh quote "the avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote"!

RW7427 November 29th 04 13:08

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Some of you here have called Believers the worst B5 episode. I'd save that destinction for Season 4's Intersections in Real Time. :lol:

Believers, IMO, is a good ep, but not really bad enough to warrant "worse" status. It's not one that I really watch on a regular basis, but I'll still pop it in the VCR every now and then.

GKarsEye November 29th 04 13:34

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Quote:

I'd save that destinction for Season 4's Intersections in Real Time

:eek: :confused: :( :eek:

Elenopa November 29th 04 13:35

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Quote:

Quote:

I'd save that destinction for Season 4's Intersections in Real Time

:eek: :confused: :( :eek:

I'm with you GKE

RW7427 November 29th 04 13:42

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Well, what can I say, I'm a Sheridan fan. :p I hate what that guy does to him. :lol:

PillowRock November 29th 04 14:06

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Quote:

Besides Babylon 5 is an Earth Alliance station... one thing is respecting the beliefs of other races, but Earth law is applied there or should.

No. They are very clear on this point in a number of places. *Anything* where everybody that is involved is of the same species (or political agregate) is handled according to the laws of that species.
Edit to add: Otherwise *all* of the Drazi would have been arrested for assault and battery.

Applying B5's EA laws to non-EA citizens (or using diplomacy to determine what should happen in some cases) only comes up when the incident is inter-species.

PillowRock November 29th 04 14:12

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Quote:

The premise of the believers seemed to be that if their "shell' was broken ie by surgery, then the soul seeped out: major surgery/paper cut, bye bye soul is my reading on their beliefs.

It has been a fair while since I've seen Believers, so I would have to check and see if it is actually stated or if it was just my "impression", but ....

My impression was that the "shell", for purposes of losing one's soul, was basically defined as the thoracic cavity rather than the entire body. The typical, everybody-is-always-going-to-had-them types of injuries to the limbs would not be in an issue. Until medical science becomes relatively advanced (long after such a religous belief would have become engrained), the mortality rate from the kinds of wounds that would count would be very high regardless of whether they tried to save the victim.

Ninja_Squirrel November 29th 04 17:34

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Quote:

...worst B5 episode. I'd save that destinction for Season 4's Intersections in Real Time.

I'm almost there with you. IiRT rounds out my bottom three. My six least favorite episodes of the whole series are:

(D-) Believers
(D-) Soul Hunter
(D) Intersections in Real Time
(D+) Infection
(D+) A Spider in the Web
(D+) The Paragon of Animals

To me, Believers feels too much like a bad Star Trek episode (not to imply that all Star Trek is bad; most of the older stuff isn't, but every Trek show had its fair share of stinkers). The one good scene in it is where Sinclair is yelling at Franklin. The way Franklin yells back does cement his character as having great personal conviction. It's just too hard to put up with the rest of the episode just for that one scene.

PillowRock November 29th 04 18:09

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Quote:

To me, Believers feels too much like a bad Star Trek episode

Naaahhh; in Trek the kid would live at the end, the parents would see the error of their ways, and the Federation's respect for all life would be shown to be "Right".

A lot of people (among those who were watching back during the original P-TEN airings, anyway) have a warm place in their heart for Believers, even if they don't really care for the episode, purely because this is point when it was cemented in our minds that this was not a show that was going to play by Trek-like happy-ending with Humans-always-on-the-unequivocal-moral-high-ground rules.

GR tended to put together his current issues based episodes to build toward espousing a particular POV by the end. Even in the very rare occassions when the Federation was not left on the high ground, the audiance *and* the main characters always knew that at the end and knew where the high ground was. JMS, by contrast, was much more likely to raise issues for examination but then leave the audiance to figure out their own conclusions. Both approaches are valid and have their place in the philosophical marketplace. It was just nice to see something that was different. Very few shows, of any genre, had been willing to leave their protagonists as having any possiblity of not being proven right by the end of an episode (up until that time, anyway).


And just for the record: "because it feels like it could be any other SF show if you just changed the names" is precisely why Infection has always been my least favorite episode of B5.

GreenMonkey November 29th 04 21:06

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
Quote:

Naaahhh; in Trek the kid would live at the end, the parents would see the error of their ways, and the Federation's respect for all life would be shown to be "Right".


Agreed.

Quote:

A lot of people (among those who were watching back during the original P-TEN airings, anyway) have a warm place in their heart for Believers, even if they don't really care for the episode, purely because this is point when it was cemented in our minds that this was not a show that was going to play by Trek-like happy-ending with Humans-always-on-the-unequivocal-moral-high-ground rules.

Agreed.


I liked the concept - the struggle between religion and science, and the consequences. There is no easy answer presented, and no easy cop-out.


This is the first ep where you see B5 is not just "another sci-fi show". I remember this ep from when I first saw the first 2 seasons of B5 in high school (and subsequently lost it when it moved to 3am).

Cell July 20th 08 15:21

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
New review,

http://worldsoforos.com/secondviews/...-110/#more-553

Estelyn May 17th 10 21:59

Re: EpDis: Believers
 
This episode provides much food for thought. The question, whose religion is right, is shown to be unanswerable. Is life to be preserved, no matter what the cost? How could this child have lived on, rejected by his own parents? As is asked in the story, what makes a religion false? And what I appreciate most is that there is no right answer, no happy ending, no moral precision. The parents do not come around and see the correctness of the doctor's actions. This ain't Star Trek, boys and girls!

However, I think the true contrast is not between Franklin and the parents - it's between Sinclair and Franklin. The Commander is willing to see the larger picture, to make his decision based not on his own feeling of superiority, to display wisdom and humility. The doctor - a character whom I don't really like, though his stories are often well worht watching - is arrogant, with the delusions of Godhead that some doctors show. He's also hypocritical - he criticizes his fellow doctor for insulting the patient's god ("What kind of god do you worship?"), yet his actions say exactly the same thing.

Dr. Franklin continues to be one of the characters I like least, and I think much of that feeling is based on this episode.

On the other hand, I love the light-hearted way that Ivanova uses sarcasm to get the assignment to fly the mission! That was very funny. I thought it was a bit of a copout to have her return after a situation that seemed hopeless without a word on how it was resolved. JMS did say something about it on the Lurker's Guide though.

Interestingly, JMS compares the main plot to a classic and much lauded episode of original Star Trek - "The City on the Edge of Forever", where it is necessary to allow the death of a character to save millions of lives later on.

One of Sinclair's sentences seems to sum it all up: "Sometimes doing the right thing doesn't change anything."

Oh, and I agree with what was said earlier - Franklin should have been punished for his disobedience. Letting him carry on means he doesn't suffer any consequences of his action - and maybe suffering consequences would have been a good lesson for him, perhaps even saving him the future problems ahead...


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