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vacantlook April 21st 06 21:52

EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Refresher Links:
Lurker's Guide Main Page for Into The Fire
Lurker's Guide Extended Synopsis for Into The Fire

B5_Obsessed April 29th 06 19:04

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
I remember gettin halfway into this episode and saying, "I think this going to end tonight." Such a surprise. Of course, we know all the reasons behind the timing, but I still enjyed the episode. I liked that, in the end, the war was stopped not by a bigger gun, but by Sheridan and Delenn thinking their way out of it.

vacantlook April 29th 06 19:16

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Yeah, I too like that the war was ended by understanding, not by being bigger, stronger, etc than that which they're trying to beat.

Jade Jaguar April 29th 06 22:51

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Quote:

Yeah, I too like that the war was ended by understanding, not by being bigger, stronger, etc than that which they're trying to beat.

I never thought they would win by being stronger, etc. I was convinced that Sheridan's strategy was to pit the Shadows and Vorlons against each other, and try to get out of their way fast. After the Shadows and Vorlons had concluded their battle, hopefully only a few, damaged ones, would remain. Then, Sheridan and his allies, including the few remaining other First Ones would try and clean up what remained. That seemed like a sensible strategy. So, I'll admit a bit of dissappointment at missing out on what might have been the biggest space battle of all sci fi TV. But, intellectually, I found the surprise peaceful ending satisfying.

Springer April 30th 06 14:15

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
I liked the story, but I didn't think it was written so well. There's some atrocious dialogue ("Get the hell out our galaxy" indeed) and the Shadows and Vorlons came across as being a bit wimpy in the end, needing Lorien to go with them. Also, I remember reading an interview with the director, Kevin Dobson I think, so said that when the Shadow and Vorlon materialise on the White Star, he had wanted them to materialise as giants outside the ship, like giant greek gods, but JMS said no, which in my view really limited the grandeur of what should have been the most grand and wondrous episode so far.

The battle scenes are really good though, the First One ships are wonderful, and all the scenes on Centauri Prime are gripping. So although I didn't have a problem with the ending to the Shadow War per se, I did with the way the episode was made.

RW7427 April 30th 06 18:50

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Yeah, I kinda don't like the way the battle ends either. After the Vorlons, Shadows, and the Alliance all bring huge numbers of ships, you'd expect "the mother of all battles", but it's not even half of that. But, I suppose the way that it DOES end is the way that it really should.

B5_Obsessed April 30th 06 20:57

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Quote:

Yeah, I kinda don't like the way the battle ends either. After the Vorlons, Shadows, and the Alliance all bring huge numbers of ships, you'd expect "the mother of all battles", but it's not even half of that. But, I suppose the way that it DOES end is the way that it really should.

See, this is where we've been spoiled by B5. You have to remember, this is not Star Wars, it was a weekly tv show on a limited budget. There was no way they could keep giving us more and more with the time and budget they had, although at times it seemed like they could. As I recall, Z'ha'Dum was being pieced together right up until air time. That's pretty scary.

Sindatur May 1st 06 13:43

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
I liked it, because every other show (Trek) would've made the Alliance win through some Dues Ex Machina "Bigger Gun".

It was funny, even alot of still die hard fans today, back when the episode first aired were complaining about the fact that it was a wimp out that Sheridan "talked" his way out of a fight. You see very few of those comments now from those same fans.

GKarsEye May 1st 06 14:23

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
My only criticism is that the action seems to happen so fast. And I guess the imagery they went with when Sheridan and Delenn confronted the Vorlons and Shadows was kinda lame, but then again I don't know what could possibly not have been lame.

But yes, I do absolutely love the way that story arc ended.

PillowRock May 1st 06 15:36

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Quote:

As I recall, Z'ha'Dum was being pieced together right up until air time.

Well, Severed Dreams was delivered for its uplink a matter of minutes before it was due to be transmitted to the affiliate stations.

B5_Obsessed May 1st 06 19:13

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
I thought it might have been Severed Dreams.

Joseph DeMartino May 3rd 06 15:46

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Quote:

Of course, we know all the reasons behind the timing

Contrary to much misunderstanding "the timing" had almost nothing to do with wrapping the show up in 4 seasons. The Shadow War would have ended, at most, three or four episodes further into S4 than it did - and that's assuming that "Into the Fire" was the two-parter JMS originally envisioned. The plan was always to wrap the war early in S4 and then start dealing with "the duration" - including the two civil wars and the beginnings of the Alliance. (Not to mention the building Teep Crisis, which would have started slowly with the quiet arrival of Bryon's teep colony late in the season, prior to the showdown with Earth, while B5 was still a rogue state.)

Regards,

Joe

PillowRock May 3rd 06 16:29

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
I've seen quotes from JMS (don't know that I could find them again now, but that's a different problem) saying that the S4 cliffhanger, assuming that he had known that S5 was a go, would have been Intersections in Real Time. That's only a shift of 4 episodes by the *end* of S4.

A View from the Gallery was orginally envisioned as being an attack by an EFfleet loyal to Clarke during S4.

By the time you allow for that episode and a few partial episodes integrating Byron's group into the community of B5, I figure the Into the Fire could only have been *maybe* 2 episodes later than it turned out to be.

Sindatur May 3rd 06 17:48

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
It's always been my understanding, that things would pretty much gone as they did, except it would've been smoother. yron's people would've started arriving late season 4, and the Earth Civil war would've spilled into Season 5 a bit. So, rather than a start and stop, certain elements of season 5 would've started a bit earlier, making other elements of Season 4 last a bit longer, providing a much smoother integration.

crazyhorse July 16th 06 23:04

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
First time round I was expecting more.As you watch the series again it does seem a little better although the moralality wins over all theme seems a little weak.After all these years still not really sure over this one although it is one of the few.Some good kick ass action and effects though.

GaribaldisHair July 17th 06 13:25

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
It isn't a question of morality winning over all ... the end of the shadow war is about nothing more complex than the younger races realisation that they can stand on their own two feet and shake off their "parents", who have spent the last several thousand years arguing over how best to bring up the kids.

The whole point, for me, is that neither the Vorlons nor the Shadows are good guys or bad guys, they have just lost sight of what they were here to do - which was guide the younger races until they were big enough and daft enough to stand on their own two feet and then "get the hell out of the galaxy".

Through Sheridan, the younger races now have a strong enough understanding of what is going on to make that happen.

I, for one, am really pleased that it didn't end with the mother of all battles, because having built up the power of these two races over three and a bit seasons it was clear that the younger races could never win by strength of arms and I think it would have been a cop out to do it that way.

I found this way to be unexpected and very satisfying but, obviously, YMMV.

crazyhorse July 17th 06 13:54

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
A simple let them fight each other to death and take out what's left over would do to win the war.It was more the childlike manner in which they behaved that annoyed me.I would never of believed that the Shadows would walk away so easily.
Yes I was after the mother of all battles but like real life the hype never matched up ;)

puzzle July 17th 06 17:02

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
It probably wasn't a real fight (and hardly a fight to death) for some parties involved. More likely a game, throwing some dice over who gets the plastic chips on table. Remote-controlled ships being plastic chips.

The equivalent confrontation on human scale would probably be a computer game with bets of real money (or at most a game of paintball). Some game-players get addicted to games, some who do may be insane to start with. The murder of Kosh Naranek probably involved some who were. Reminds me of a news headline from last year, telling how one guy had stabbed another (with fatal consequences) when the other sold a virtual item they jointly used in an online game.

Kosh Naranek could have probably saved its life by keeping in mind that some could be insane, and being more careful, whatever physical countermeasures that would have meant in Vorlon terms.

In the eyes of First Ones, the game probably wasn't new either. That round only proved new enough to bring some fresh air and sanity into the situation. Perhaps it was the stains of their own blood on the cards. Perhaps it was the opportunity to have a longer talk than usually, with some pieces from the game who knew about its usual passage. Could have reminded of how pointless it would be keep raising stakes.

"Fuck, we played this the last dozen times. They died and it took millions of years for other species to replace them. The faint-hearted say it's ethically doubtful to play with live toys, the stingy say it's inefficient, the demanding say it doesn't develop you. I'm both and I say it's boring too. I'm packing by bags, I've got a hyperspace hike booked to the end of Universe. Fuck this stupid galaxy, I'm outta here."

That might have been the sentiment among some.
Use of real weapons would have been different.

Esclation to real war would have probably meant going at stars and planets with effective tools. The most effective known tool against massive objects without engines, is a microscopic singularity. With First One technology, this kind of stuff would probably be not only feasible but cheap to make.

vacantlook July 17th 06 18:21

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Quote:

I would never of believed that the Shadows would walk away so easily.

Except that Lorien told them then it was time to go. Lorien is the being whom the Shadows thought so highly off so much that they kept coming back to Z'ha'dum all the time.

PillowRock July 17th 06 18:42

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Quote:

A simple let them fight each other to death and take out what's left over would do to win the war.

The way the Shadows and Vorlons had been built up, I don't think that the younger races could have taken what was left, either.

Does anybody really think that *every* single ship in the galaxy (from either the Shadows or the Vorlons) was at that battle?

crazyhorse July 17th 06 18:48

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Quote:

Quote:

I would never of believed that the Shadows would walk away so easily.

Except that Lorien told them then it was time to go. Lorien is the being whom the Shadows thought so highly off so much that they kept coming back to Z'ha'dum all the time.

So why the hell did he just not tell them to stop being silly buggers and wiping people out.
My point was(I think)that the Shadows and Vorlons behaved like spoiled kids who had misused their toys.Expected a little more from them than "ok,we've been told off,we'll go and play nicely somewhere else".

hypatia July 17th 06 19:18

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
I've wondered that, too. Why was Lorien just hanging out underground when apparantly all it took was his company for the shadows and vorlons to happily go skipping off beyond the rim.

I suppose the Vorlons and the Shadows had to learn first that these younger races weren't going to play their game anymore. Lorien alone wasn't enough to convince them to take off and leave us alone, the realization that they had no constructive purpose anymore was.

That and having "Daddy" come and say "it's alright, I'll go with you". :)

PillowRock July 17th 06 20:14

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Quote:

I suppose the Vorlons and the Shadows had to learn first that these younger races weren't going to play their game anymore. Lorien alone wasn't enough to convince them to take off and leave us alone, the realization that they had no constructive purpose anymore was.

There is also the question of whether Lorien was waiting for evidence that the younger races were ready to be left alone.

It's one thing for him tto know that the babysitters have started worrying more about their methodology debate among themselves than they are about doing their jobs as well as they might. It's something else for him to be convinced that no supervision at all is better than what they have now.

Didn't Lorien make a comment to Sheridan (when he was still dead on Z'ha'dum) about being the first to make it "this far".

Maybe the Vorlons and Shadows would have left earlier if Lorien had gotten their attention sufficiently vigorously and told them to. But maybe *he* was waiting to do that until the younger races had demonstrated to his satisfaction that they didn't need their older babysitters any more.


Naturally, we are well out into the realm of speculation here ...... not reasoning supported by a whole lot of hard evidence.

hypatia July 17th 06 20:34

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Oh, that makes sense, though. No, that's a great explanation, Pillowrock. :D

crazyhorse July 17th 06 20:34

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
He waited long enough.What's the worse the younger races could of got up to without the older races?Have a few wars,we know that happened even down to the extent of the Dilgar being exterminated.Where were the older races then with their so called guiding hand?As I see it they did nothing to really help any of the younger races at all apart from modifying them for there own purposes.The only guidance given was to counteract each others machinations.In the end the older races come across as more childlike than the younger races.

vacantlook July 17th 06 21:05

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Quote:

Does anybody really think that *every* single ship in the galaxy (from either the Shadows or the Vorlons) was at that battle?

No, especially considering that we were actually shown that they weren't, i.e. the Vorlon fleet that was sent to Centauri Prime that the Vorlons recalled when their fleet at Coriana got smooshed. It's not a far step to realizing there are plenty of other ships elsewhere in the galaxy.

Quote:

Didn't Lorien make a comment to Sheridan (when he was still dead on Z'ha'dum) about being the first to make it "this far".

Yup, he did indeed tell Sheridan that he was the first one to make it that far.

KoshFan July 18th 06 11:51

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
PillowRock's explanation for why Lorien waited as long as he did is, I think, spot on.

Another tidbit: someone once pointed out that the real pivotal moment came when the Shadows fired their missile at Sheridan's White Star and the Drazi ship intercepted it. When the Vorlons and the Shadows realized that the younger races were no longer willing to die for them, but instead for each other, they realized that playing their game would be a lot harder now. Plus there's Lorien telling them it's time to go... and let's not forget the other First Ones all standing around, tapping their feet impatiently.

puzzle July 18th 06 23:08

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
That was also one of my pet peeves about situational consistency.

A missile whose counterparts seemed quite capable of burrowing deep into a planet, through kilometers of quite hard rock... had trouble leaving a smoking hole into a Drazi ship, and continuing on its course unaffected.

The answer of course, might be that the missiles might require a program to tell them when to slip through an obstacle, and who instructed the missile to fire either forgot or didn't bother to configure it.

KoshFan July 19th 06 11:25

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Most likely, it was configured properly... for killing a ship.

Elipsis November 20th 07 05:01

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Heavily philosophical, I am always torn between wanting to see this end in explosions or reason. I suppose we get our explosions with the earth conflict. I would've liked to have seen this as a 2-parter, but after reading the lurker's guide, I've got to agree that more shooting and space battles wouldn't have changed the way it had to end. Sheridan himself said that they could not win that battle, and to have them do so would have been unnatural given the strength of the first ones.

The story always gets me wondering why the Vorlons went nuts when they did. Perhaps it was the death of Kosh, but I feel like the reasons as to why the Vorlons and Shadows don't attack each other is essentially valid.

It goes beyond wanting to leave the other side alive so they can see that you are right. To erase the other side would be to admit defeat. It would have meant admitting that the idea of evolution through chaos was more attractive to the younger races, and thus must be destroyed. If the Shadow idea was truly weaker than the Vorlon idea, it would fall on its own without Vorlon intervention. It's analogous to wanting to be the fastest runner in the world. Rather than training to be the fastest, you simply kill everyone who runs faster than you. Of course, doing so wouldn't really make you any faster, you'd simply be the fastest person that anyone else knows about. Ok, that was a silly analogy... but the point is that for one race to eliminate the other would have been admitting idealogical inferiority. So IMO it goes a little bit deeper than leaving the other side around just so they see you succeed.

Jade Jaguar November 20th 07 05:14

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Elipsis (Post 312582)
Heavily philosophical, I am always torn between wanting to see this end in explosions or reason. I suppose we get our explosions with the earth conflict. I would've liked to have seen this as a 2-parter, but after reading the lurker's guide, I've got to agree that more shooting and space battles wouldn't have changed the way it had to end. Sheridan himself said that they could not win that battle, and to have them do so would have been unnatural given the strength of the first ones.

Well, I disagree, I think it easily could have ended in defeat for both the Shadows and the Vorlons. When I saw B5 the first time, Sheridan's strategy seemed obvious to me -- he was trying to incite a direct conflict between the Shadows and the Vorlons, in hopes that they would nearly wipe each other out. At that point, his forces, including the other First Ones, would try to take out the few weakened survivors. That might have worked.

So, I was surprised, and perhaps a little let down, that we didn't see an epic space battle. But, I like surprises, and liked the way JMS did handle it.

vacantlook November 20th 07 06:43

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Elipsis
The story always gets me wondering why the Vorlons went nuts when they did. Perhaps it was the death of Kosh....

Indeed it was. jms has said that Kosh worried about what Ulkesh and the other Vorlons would do if Kosh's moderating voice was absent. We got that answer in that the Vorlons decided to ride around the galaxy and blow up planets.

mattikake November 20th 07 11:03

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
I think the only thing missing from this episode, was a private scene where Lorien turns to the Shadows and the Vorlons and says something like "Yep, that worked perfectly. We made them understand for themselves, by themselves. Right, on to the next Galaxy...!" ;)

I mean, c'mon. 2 races who are billions of years more advanced that us who don't have the wisdom and presence of mind bot to get dragged into an arguement? That makes them look pretty dum, but I guess you have to appeal to the audience! (In that not that the audience is dum but that it has to relate to humans, as I'm sure we couldn't comprehend an intelligence billions of years more advance than our own. In fact we'd probably even be unaware of their existence, they would be so much 'higher'. Whatever, still cool though.)

Kaz November 21st 07 10:21

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
I loved it when the Vorlons and the Shadows realised that the other races wouldn't fight for them anymore. Great story arc tie-up.

Estelyn October 12th 10 13:07

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Very little of this episode takes place on Babylon 5 - we see Centauri Prime and the White Stars, for the most part.

I too like the way JMS solved the situation. There could be no military victory, so he chose a moral one. It reminds me very much of The Lord of the Rings: there too the powers of darkness were too many to defeat in battle. The conflict could only be won by destroying the the source of the enemy's power.

And like that victory, it does not end the story - there's more to come. B5's "Scouring of the Shire" will still have to take place. What has gone before was preparation for that, and like Gandalf, Lorien is no longer there to help. The characters have grown up.

I was moved to see Londo's attempts to save his planet, down to asking Vir to kill him, since he was the last one there to be influenced by the Shadows. Self-sacrifice is an important step on the way to redemption.

And yes, it was a very amusing touch to see that Vir is the one person who got what he wanted, just as he told Morden long ago!

Lennier's Tears February 16th 15 02:35

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Ah, finally I can take a breath again. All that tension-building comes to a head in this one, and it's pretty glorious.

The space battles in this look great, even after 20 years. There's a few new gorgeous nebulae as backgrounds, too. And I just love how the White Stars move.

But this is mostly not about space battles ... I am pleased that the story didn't have the younger races win an actual firefight against either the Shadows or Vorlons, let alone both. Not even a Sheridan trick could have gotten them a victory. Well, I suppose it was a Sheridan trick that .. did the trick in the end, but not in battle. And that is as it should be.

I enjoy the symbolism in the way the Vorlons and Shadows communicate in this one. That might mean it's a bit over the top, because I can be quite thick in picking up on metaphors and such. On the other hand, it might just mean I've watched this many, many times :p

I think this story, and this outcome makes sense. If you have a universe (or a galaxy, although I get the impression that the two are sometimes used interchangeably on this show, presumably to express that that is the extent of their known universe?) in which older races shepherd younger races until they can take care of themselves, and then move away, then clearly this is that time for the Vorlons and Shadows. I'm not so sure about the other First Ones. But if, of all peoples, the Drazi (purple ... green!) are falling on their swords for the cause, clearly the time has come. The younger races are ready.

I enjoy that conversation between Lorien and Ivanova, where they talk about the perceptions of an immortal being versus those of a mortal, and he tells her only those with a short lifespan can imagine love is eternal, and she should embrace this remarkable illusion, for it might be the greatest gift her race has ever received. I don't think she believes him.

The Centauri Prime bit is great, of course. We all love to see Morden lose his car salesman cool, and get his ... And Vir doing the little wave. He so deserved that. Vir, I mean, although one could say the same about Morden.

And now the real work must begin ...

Springer February 16th 15 11:20

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lennier's Tears (Post 451139)
I enjoy that conversation between Lorien and Ivanova, where they talk about the perceptions of an immortal being versus those of a mortal, and he tells her only those with a short lifespan can imagine love is eternal, and she should embrace this remarkable illusion, for it might be the greatest gift her race has ever received. I don't think she believes him.
.

I found it interesting that there was a hint of regret in Lorien's voice when he was telling Ivanova this?

Lennier's Tears February 17th 15 00:29

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
Yea, I think you are right, I also get that impression. It's hard to imagine what one would be thinking if one had lived millions (billions?) of years, but it seems to me that it would make sense for one so old to be perhaps a tad melancholy. Everyone he used to know is long, long gone. On the other hand, perhaps all those years alone would get you really used to this idea, and you wouldn't care at all? Personally, I like the idea of the melancholy First One :)

Springer March 4th 15 19:04

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
The Pillars of Creation! Although of course nebulae wouldn't really look like that up close. The Hubble images are false colour, in reality all these colourful nebulae would look mainly red from hydrogen emission. Plus they'd appear quite diffuse up close. But it is cool that they used the Hubble images as backgrounds.

Love the First Ones ships. I've been lucky that I've been able to buy some of the models of the First Ones ships that were originally made for the Babylon 5 Wars strategy game.

I'm in two minds about this episode. Of this 6 episode arc, I think this episode is the weakest in terms of drama. Don't get me wrong, I love the story, the idea of the ancient beings leaving the Galaxy and the younger races stepping up to the plate is awesome. Its just that it ends up being talking heads and I don't find the visuals used particularly interesting - black backgrounds and spotlights, a woman in a block of ice and the Shadows masquerading as various B5 characters. I feel JMS should have just let his imagination run wild here, it almost feels like he's playing it safe and it feels a bit dull. Sheridan lectures his way to a victory, I think it would have been better for the viewer if he could have got his point across by actions somehow, rather than static talking.

I should mention that the Centauri scenes are excellent. Morden's haircut looks rubbish though! Maybe it's a 90s fashion.

I do really like the ending, the shot of B5 outside of the window, getting closer. There's a Minbari ship on patrol - I did wonder if any ships had stayed behind to protect the station in case President Clark's forces took advantage and tried to take the station. Thinking about it, that would have been a hell of a shock if Sheridan had arrived back to find that!

Other little things: I think moving the Lorien/Ivanova scene from The Long Night into this episode hampered the flow of the episode. For one, Ivanova wouldn't just be hanging around, she'd be busting a gut to meet up with the fleet. There has also obviously been a line added to Ivanova's narration at the beginning where she talks about going back to B5 - the audio sounds different. And the scene with Delenn telling Ivanova to "haul ass" seems needless.

When Sheridan and Delenn are talking to the Vorlons and Shadows, there's a weird bit of editing - Sheridan's talking, and there is music in the background, then suddenly it cuts to Delenn and the music just stops suddenly.

Why would the Shadow cloud cause everything to get cold? Are the White Star's jump engines really solar powered?

The shot of the Shadow ships leaving looks like the shot of their ships arriving, just run in reverse.

The end of an era, and the dawn of a new age.

Lennier's Tears March 4th 15 23:27

Re: EpDis: Into The Fire
 
I never could figure out why it gets so cold when the Shadows move in. Good question.

I agree about that moved Ivanova/Lorien scene. She looks like she's just casually packing her bags, it doesn't really fit. But I can see why they wanted to keep that scene even if they couldn't fit it in its proper place. As I said upthread, I do enjoy that conversation :)

LOL at Morden's 90s haircut. He's not the most stylish of the B5 characters ... Even when not shedding skin flakes all over the place.


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