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vacantlook February 28th 06 14:17

EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Refresher Links:
Lurker's Guide Main Page for Z'ha'dum
Lurker's Guide Extended Synopsis for Z'ha'dum

RW7427 February 28th 06 14:29

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
I voted A. One of the heavy hitters of B5. Awesome stuff indeed!

KoshN February 28th 06 15:41

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
No doubt about it, A+. Poignant, just the way I like 'em.

GKarsEye February 28th 06 15:51

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Although it's obviously and A ep, my one complaint is how rushed Sheridan's encounter with the human leaders of the Shadow side feels. Finally we meet the "man in the middle" and he up and gets all blowed up like 4 minutes later. I also have to seriously suspend disbelief that Sheridan somehow fought his way past freakin' Shadows, the baddest muthas in the galaxy, to get to that cliff.

KoshN February 28th 06 16:17

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Quote:

I also have to seriously suspend disbelief that Sheridan somehow fought his way past freakin' Shadows, the baddest muthas in the galaxy, to get to that cliff.

Well, we've never seen the Shadows move very fast, and it's not like they really have to chase him. After all, where do they think he's going to go? He's not going to escape off the planet. They probably expect The Eye to have the Whitestar destroyed (kind of like Anna/Battlecrab destroyed Kell's ship.). Also, it's just a balcony at the end of the hallway where he jumps. They probably didn't expect that.

I suspect that The Shadows don't value their individual members as much as the Vorlons do. I think the Shadows value the group much more than the individual. So, if John kills one of them in the meeting room, I don't expect they'd go into full "Kill John Sheridan!!!" mode.

The only time we've seen Shadows directly kill someone, it was Kosh, and he just stood toe-to-toe with them and fought it out, three against one.

Not much suspension of disbelief for me.

BTW, the Vorlons are the baddest muthas in the galaxy. :D It took three of the Shadows to take down Kosh, and it took B5 power grid, the B5 security force with PPG rifles, Sheridan, the last of Kosh and a bit of Lorien to take down Ulkesh.

vacantlook February 28th 06 16:22

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Quote:

Finally we meet the "man in the middle"

I just can't resist posting what jms said about the "man in the middle" in his commentary in the volume 3 scriptbook under "All Alone In The Night"....

"Garibaldi stating "The man in-between is looking for you": The meaning of this line resulted in heated debates among the Babylon 5 fan community, arguments that continue to this day. So part of me is tempted to let it go unexplained. But the larger part of me wants to annoy the hell out of the deconstructionists who say that authors never know what the heck it is they're really writing, so here goes.

"Some have speculated that this refers to Justin, who meets Sheridan in "Z'ha'dum" and refers to himself as "a middle man." And I've since noted that in one sense, yes, the description fits. That was one of the things I considered when writing this scene, but not the only thing. Images and dreams have more than one meaning. Other fans have decided that the main in-between is Sinclair, or Kosh, or Morden, and those interpretations are as valid as anything else in terms of what each viewer takes away from the scene. Art, I think, is what happens in the distance between the observer and that which is observed. Interpretation is half the job. So if any of those options are what people wish to interpret, then for them that interpretation is valid.

"But in terms of the author's original intent... what I meant and what I was thinking about when I wrote it... while there was the Justin aspect, which is the easiest to explain in a quick internet note or on a convention platform... the truth is that, knowing what was coming up in the story years down the road, for me the man in-between... is Sheridan himself.

"Again... look at the scene. He's looking up at himself, both here and in "Sleeping in Light." Consider the following exchange between Lorien and Sheridan in "Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?" (Emphasis mine.)

"LORIEN
If you did not hit bottom, then you are still falling, and all this is a dream.
(beat)
Unless... you're in-between.

"SHERIDAN
Between what?

"LORIEN
Between moments. When we are born, we are allocated a finite number of seconds. Each tick of the clock slices off a piece of us. Tick, a possibility for joy is gone; tock, a careless word ends one path, opens another. Tick, tock, tick, tock, always running out of time. Yours is almost used up. You're between seconds, lost in the infinite possiblities between tick and tock; tick, you're alive, tock... well, it was a good life, but a short one.

"And then, from later in the same episode:

"SHERIDAN
The others need me --

"LORIEN
They need what you can be when you are no longer afraid. When you are no longer looking for reasons to live, but can simply <u>be</u>.

"SHERIDAN
I can't.

"LORIEN
Then I cannot help you, and you will be caught forever in-between. You must let go. Surrender yourself to death. The death of flesh, the death of fear. Step into the abyss and <u>let go</u>.

"At the risk of being trite... the Sheridan that he is one day going to become is looking for him, waiting for him on the other side of his decisions.

"Quantum physics tells us that time is primarily a matter of perception, that we actually exist simultaneously in the past, present and future. To someone who can step outside of human perception, such as Lorien, or Kosh, who transmits this dream to Sheridan just as he does to G'Kar later in "Dust to Dust," all those Sheridans are equally real at the same time. (Hence Kosh's comment, "You have always been here," and Lorien saying that Sheridan is "caught between seconds," caught in the subjective perception of time.) So what we have here is Sheridan looking at himself on the bridge, from his return from death in "The Summoning," looking at himself looking at himself in "Sleeping in Light."

"We all look to the future, trying to see the person we will one day become.

"We all look to the past, to the person who was and the decisions made that brought us to where we are today.

"For Sheridan, those moments... are this moment, brought together.

""The past tempts us, the present confuses us, the future frightens us... and our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast terrible in-between."" (pages 52-54)

Quote:

I also have to seriously suspend disbelief that Sheridan somehow fought his way past freakin' Shadows, the baddest muthas in the galaxy, to get to that cliff.

I don't think disbelief has to be suspended too much if one views it as if the Shadows decided themselves to back off and use Anna once again, whom they send to Sheridan on the balcony. They very much would prefer to turn Sheridan than force him or kill him. Perhaps at that moment that Sheridan begins to fire on the Shadows and their agents, the Shadows consider what's happening and think that they'll definitely lose Sheridan to the chance to convert him if they themselves continue to attack. Try Anna, just one more time. And that gives Sheridan a moment to get away to the balcony.

KoshFan February 28th 06 17:08

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Okay, JMS's explanation there makes more sense than anything else I've ever read.

This was long my favorite ep ever, and still remains in the top five.

Springer March 1st 06 17:11

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
The last ten minutes is some of the best TV ever.

GKarsEye March 1st 06 17:18

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Quote:

The last ten minutes is some of the best TV ever.

Word.

Back when I got my sound system, one of the first thiings I did was watch this ep with the volume (and bass) cranked and when the Whitestar crashed into and blew up Z'ha Dum, it was so freakin' awesome I sported a half a pack of Rolaids.

Then I realised I needed to meet women or something.


That scene also my major Babylon 5 thesis: Sheridan kicks some serious ass! Hmm, let's see, I think I'll plummet to my own demise and then make a space ship loaded with nukes follow me into the heart of my enemies. He's like Chuck Norris without the lame infomercials.

Alluveal March 1st 06 19:58

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
lmao

Some Trekkie was trying to tell me that Picard ruled everything. Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE Trek, but it's no B5. And I'm sorry, but John "Get the hell out of our galaxy" Sheridan would totally own any Trek character... cept for Worf maybe.

FreeBaGeL March 2nd 06 02:52

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
My favorite episode, and despite its great ratings so far I still see it as somewhat underrated.

A for sure.

RW7427 March 2nd 06 03:57

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Quote:

John "Get the hell out of our galaxy" Sheridan would totally own any Trek character

Don't let hypatia hear you say that. She LOVES Patrick Stewart. ;)

butlerd March 2nd 06 15:33

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
This was THE episode that sold me on B5. I had my TV alarm set to TNT when B5 was being shown there so I ended up waking up just about every morning to B5 but I usually only caught the last half-quarter of the show but eventually curiosity overwhelmed me and I finally started taping some of the episodes and this was the most exciting and awesome few moments of TV that I have ever seen with the possible exception of some of DS9 and it led me to going back and watching the entire series once they started running B5 on Sci-Fi. Seeing the earlier episodes that lead up to Z'Ha'Dum made me appreciate it even MORE. Words alone simply can't describe how totally awesome this episode is! Now only if they would make more movies/TV shows like this............... :cool:

Enlightened_GKar March 3rd 06 10:44

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Arguably the best script in the entire 5-year run. Every main character featured in this episode leaves with at least one quotable comment. Furthermore, the juxtaposition of Sheridan on Z'Ha'Dum, Sheridan's message to Delenn, and the Shadows hovering over Babylon 5 all occuring simultaneously is carried out with skillful excellence.

The only qualm I can even dare mention is Sheridan mentioning the possible future he saw in "War without End." It was kind of counter-dramatic to talk about possible futures--it was just a bad idea to talk about the timeline in general, especially at that moment.

Still, "you cannot let that get in the way of the dream" of this episode. The scene on Z'Ha'Dum with Sheridan discussing the Shadows' doctrine amidst Morden, Anna, and Justin displays stunning dialogue. That entire scene is worthy of memorization. That shit is wonderful.
Even better is when things hit the peak once the Shadows drop the diplomatic act. (Ironically, Justin exclaiming: "But you do what you are told! And so will you!" before the Shadow steps in sounds unbelievably Vorlon.)
Sheridan's run through the corridors of Z'Ha'Dum is something I would pay money to see, but to leave it off screen is a gamble that pays off. Less is more may not be JMS' calling card, but leaving out that scene leaves so much to the imagination. Plus, Sheridan's bloody ascent to the top of the tower is thematically breathtaking. There is no more than five minutes of real time in between Sheridan firing his PPG at that Shadow and the climb to the tower, but leaving out that five minutes - somehow - makes a drastic effect.

The usage of Kosh . . . oh Hell yeah! Sheridan in his quarters preparing for Z'Ha'Dum and seeing Kosh in the mirror was good; having Kosh speak to him on the edge was better.

G'Kar's narration at the end is, quite obviously, well done, but what I like even more is how it is interrupted by Corwin's news to Ivanova:
"There's one more thing. We checked the fighter bays. One of the fighters we sent out didn't come back."
"Who was the pilot?"
"Mr. Garibaldi."

Check out Ivanova's expression when she hears this. Phenomenal acting. What a look.

From the moment the snowglobe shatters, this episode is perfect.

PillowRock March 3rd 06 15:46

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Quote:

It was kind of counter-dramatic to talk about possible futures--it was just a bad idea to talk about the timeline in general, especially at that moment.

Possibly slightly counter-dramatic.
However, JMS had always, as much as possible, followed the dictum that the logic of the situation will out.

Given that he had that glimpse of the future (or possible future) and discussed it Delenn, there is absolutely no way that he would not addess that issue at all in his message to Delenn.


Quote:

Less is more may not be JMS' calling card

When it came the First Ones (whether Vorlons, Shadows, or Walkers), I would disagree. The absolute rule of JMS' writing when he directly brushed up against any of the First Ones was always an extreme case of "less is more". He kept them out of view as much as possible, and when they were around he kept their words to an absolute minimum (or less). (Well, up until Into the Fire, anyway.)


Quote:

Check out Ivanova's expression when she hears this. Phenomenal acting. What a look.

There have been discussions of the acting on B5 around here in the past. In them, CC has generally taken a hit as being one of the weaker links in the cast.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to say that I have always thought that CC was a very good *reactor*. Where she tended to come up short (at least in comparison to the likes of AK, PJ, and MF) was when she needed to summon emotion entirely internally (such as entering the scene cold to tell Sheridan about EF's destruction of unarmed refugee ships). However, put Ivanova in a room opposite someone like Marcus or Zathrus or Brother Theo and just let CC react to what they're giving her ...... that was always a strong suit of hers.

Granite March 3rd 06 15:49

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Actually the moment when Anna is looking at Sheridan standing at the edge of the cliff is one of the most terrifying in the episode. You realize as the shadows move up behind Anna with her outstretched hand what truely awaits Sheridan if he chooses to grab hold.


...a note though: with regards to Justin's speech in the episode, can the shadows truely be considered evil. or was their philosophy just flawed. We learn later that the good guys (the Vorlons) are just as capable of unspeakable horrors (including subtle ones - telepath maniupulation)

Also let's not forget one of the most amazing quotes of the series (which closes the episode):

Citizen G'Kar: G'Quon wrote, "There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain."

GKarsEye March 3rd 06 15:56

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Pillow, though I'm usually one of the harshest critics of CC's acting around here, I do agree with your assessment.

Yes the Shadows are "evil." Philosophy, schmilosophy.

And the Vorlons are evil, too. Just because two groups are opposed to each other doesn't mean they can't both be deplorable.

KoshFan March 3rd 06 18:12

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
I would say that most Vorlons are evil. Kosh wasn't -- or at least he grew out of it. And we can't be sure of the rest. Or of the Shadows, for that matter; they may not have been monolithic either.

But that's just splitting hairs. The Shadows leading the fight were evil, just as the Vorlons who took over whenever Kosh wasn't around to restrain them were evil.

GKarsEye March 3rd 06 18:35

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
We've probably had this argument before, but I consider Kosh's participation, or at least acceptance of, the Vorlon eugenics campaigns on countless races to be "evil," or at least horrifically immoral.

Enlightened_GKar March 3rd 06 19:06

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Quote:


Possibly slightly counter-dramatic.
However, JMS had always, as much as possible, followed the dictum that the logic of the situation will out.

Given that he had that glimpse of the future (or possible future) and discussed it Delenn, there is absolutely no way that he would not addess that issue at all in his message to Delenn.


Quote:

Less is more may not be JMS' calling card

When it came the First Ones (whether Vorlons, Shadows, or Walkers), I would disagree. The absolute rule of JMS' writing when he directly brushed up against any of the First Ones was always an extreme case of "less is more". He kept them out of view as much as possible, and when they were around he kept their words to an absolute minimum (or less). (Well, up until Into the Fire, anyway.)


Any time you attempt to predict the future -- as Sheridan did in his message to Delenn -- the final assumption made leaves itself open to criticism. I love the continuity, but this was an extreme case of it. There have been thousands of works from Greek tragedies to corny Star Trek episodes about deciphering the future--it never works. If the truth is a three-edged sword, then arguing about how future events will occur is an infinitely-bladed weapon. You just cannot do it. Fogetit, Sheridan.

The less is more is just generality, because in general JMS wrote dialogue, plots, and siutations to their edge. Sometimes it was effective; sometimes it was not. Look at that. I just wrote another generality.

For more good acting look to Richard Biggs. (Taken from the scene where Franklin intersects Ivanova.)

Franklin (rushed): I gave him the report. I know he read it!
Ivanova: What report?
Franklin (grimly): There's a problem with Anna . . .

The script set it up so that I could train a monkey to deliver it well, but Biggs voiced it exceptionally.

Alluveal March 3rd 06 19:07

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Naw, the Vorlons aren't evil just as the Shadows really aren't evil. They represent an ideology: order VS chaos. I don't even think Ulkesh was necessarily evil, just fanatic and narrow.

I love Claudia's work. I can't find any weak moments, but I see her as this strict Russian who never lets emotion out. It's not entirely easy for her to BE emotional (Ivanova.) One of my favorite expressions from her is when they're sending Kosh's ship away and it goes into the sun. The look on her face, the tears in her eyes. Her looks say more than any words could.

And the scene when she is crying in Franklin's arms is one of the most harrowing and heart-breaking scenes I've ever seen on television.

Sindatur March 3rd 06 19:38

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Quote:

Where she tended to come up short (at least in comparison to the likes of AK, PJ, and MF) was when she needed to summon emotion entirely internally (such as entering the scene cold to tell Sheridan about EF's destruction of unarmed refugee ships).

Is it really fair to compare anyone's acting skills to Mira, Andreas or Peter? They're in a class all their own, IMHO.

GKarsEye March 3rd 06 20:06

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
Quote:

Naw, the Vorlons aren't evil just as the Shadows really aren't evil. They represent an ideology: order VS chaos. I don't even think Ulkesh was necessarily evil, just fanatic and narrow.

Well I guess it depends on what we mean by "evil." I personally don't like the word because it seems to imply that it's some sort of force that gets a hold of people or something.

So to me, "evil," is the same "really bad things," defined by some sort of morality and ethics that we as humans decide is right and therefore judged by action, not justification, for everyone has some sort of "justification." Serial killers were abused, Saddam Hussein was "pacifying" his population, Hitler and Milosovich were preserving their race, the janjaweed right now are protecting their own, etc. All "justified"- all evil.

Quote:

but I see her as this strict Russian who never lets emotion out.

Yeah, that's the idea, but she sure does let it out a lot.

Quote:

Is it really fair to compare anyone's acting skills to Mira, Andreas or Peter? They're in a class all their own, IMHO.

They're all actors.

Alluveal March 3rd 06 23:37

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
You also have to take into consideration the character and the way their parts are written.

KoshFan March 4th 06 20:40

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
[continues to hijack the thread]

Kosh certainly had his share of horrors on his hands. But he also restrained the other Vorlons from doing even worse things, and eventually (through his relationship with Sheridan) was redeemed.

Alluveal March 4th 06 22:50

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
I always wondered who Kosh was in the hierarchy of things. He had to be pretty important to the Vorlons.

aajay March 6th 06 15:24

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
For some reason I always hear the song Xanadu in my head when I hear/see Z'ha'dum.

RW7427 March 7th 06 00:58

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
:lol:

I don't think it compares to Xanadu though. ;)

KoshN March 7th 06 01:08

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
....picturing Olivia Newton-John as The Eye.

GKarsEye March 7th 06 02:17

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
RUSH
Xanadu

"To seek the sacred river Alph
To walk the caves of ice
To break my fast on honeydew
And drink the milk of Paradise..."

I had heard the whispered tales of immortality
The deepest mystery
From an ancient book I took a clue
I scaled the frozen mountain tops of eastern lands unknown
Time and Man alone
Searching for the lost Xanadu

Xanadu...

To stand within the Pleasure Dome
Decreed by Kubla Khan
To taste anew the fruits of life
The last immortal man
To find the sacred river Alph
To walk the caves of ice
Oh, I will dine on honeydew
And drink the milk of Paradise

A thousand years have come and gone but time has passed me by
Stars stopped in the sky
Frozen in an everlasting view
Waiting for the world to end, weary of the night
Praying for the light
Prison of the lost
Xanadu

Xanadu...

Held within the Pleasure Dome
Decreed by Kubla Khan
To taste my bitter triumph
As a mad immortal man
Nevermore shall I return
Escape these caves of ice
For I have dined on honeydew
And drunk the milk of Paradise


--this song preceded by a 3 minute musical intro...

(trust me folks, Rush got way better shortly after this album)

Elric March 7th 06 11:41

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
With out a doubt this ep is one of the finest moments of not just B5, but of television shows in general. A good example of how intense drama is far more engaging than lots of action and ships blowing the crap out of each other.

This episode also has the ultimate in cliff hangers, Sheriden jumping and Garibaldi going missing were great season enders, but what really made it for me was G'Kars speech voiced over various scenes in B5 and at Z'ha'dum - expertly spoken, and a reminder of what a great actor Andreas was.

I remember first watching it on TV with quite a few friends. When G'Kars speech was finished and the images faded away, we were all speechless.

FreeBaGeL March 8th 06 01:43

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
I remember back when we were all watching that guy as he went through watching B5, and had a huge rolling thread where he posted his thoughts on it and talked with everyone about it as he went along. Most here should remember it.

Anyhow, he went through the usual progression, a bit slow in season 1, starting to pick it up in season 2, and everyone kept saying "just wait till season 3".

People kept dubbing "Severed Dreams" as THE episode that would just make him go "woah", but in the end he saw that episode and his reaction was kind of "meh" and that it was good, but not as good as advertised by everyone. Anyhow, a few days/weeks later he simply posted the following:

Quote:

HOLY SH*T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And that was the whole post.





He had just watched Z'ha'dum.

RW7427 March 8th 06 15:16

Re: EpDis: Z\'ha\'dum
 
That's what makes B5 so good. There are lots of episodes to say HOLY SH*T after watching. :lol:

Elipsis November 12th 07 14:16

Re: EpDis: Z'ha'dum
 
Heavy and emotional. Just watched it with commentary, yes there was some cheating going on with the intercutting, but it makes the episode work. Can't give this anything but an A.

Telepath November 12th 07 20:45

Re: EpDis: Z'ha'dum
 
One of the best episodes of B5. When I firsted watched this ep, it was so touching I had to stay up late at night to watch it a second time. A+ stuff.

Kaz November 21st 07 09:55

Re: EpDis: Z'ha'dum
 
I gotta admit this episode had me glued to the screen the whole way through. Superb performances from evey member of the cast. Great way to set up intrigue for the following season.

Cannonade November 22nd 07 11:29

Re: EpDis: Z'ha'dum
 
I agree, it is one of my favourites.

I just love the part when Kosh tells Sheridan to jump down that massive chasm. That takes a lot of guts and trust to do that.

Jade Jaguar November 24th 07 15:11

Re: EpDis: Z'ha'dum
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cannonade (Post 312720)
I agree, it is one of my favourites.

I just love the part when Kosh tells Sheridan to jump down that massive chasm. That takes a lot of guts and trust to do that.


Yes, BUT - Sheridan knew he would be vaporized if he didn't, so he wasn't really risking his life, because he had already taken actions he was sure would lead to his death. He thought he had no choice, and Kosh offered him one.

Galahad November 24th 07 16:53

Re: EpDis: Z'ha'dum
 
However.... based on the information to hand, which would you prefer? An instantaneous death at ground zero of a nuclear assault, or tumbling down a chasm not knowing how deep... possibly cracking your bones against rock on the way down and then if not dying from the shock of hitting terminal velociy on decent... feeling yourself smack into the ground before finally dying?

Jade Jaguar November 24th 07 21:04

Re: EpDis: Z'ha'dum
 
I'd stay alive as long as I could, however I could. Your statement is a good reason for Sheridan not to decide to jump on his own. But, Kosh's statement is enough to give it a try...


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