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-   -   EpDis: The Paragon Of Animals (http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=9302)

Sindatur October 2nd 06 14:28

Re: EpDis: The Paragon Of Animals

Second, he was doubly an idiot, because he should have gone straight to Delenn. If anyone could wrastle the League into doing something positive, it was Delenn -- and if any race had spare planets lying around, it was the Minbari.

I'm not sure about the Minbari have spare planets laying around, but, I do remember yelling at the screen asking what are you doing you idiot. Go to Delenn, she'll make it right for you, she'll make them take care of you.

That one single action on Byron's part, I believe was what made the Teep War inevitible versus getting their desires and averting it. (of course this is assuming there isn't a bunch of unexpected stuff that came up, but, from what we know, it seems it all could've been avoided if he had just gone to Delenn)

Elipsis March 1st 08 23:17

Re: EpDis: The Paragon Of Animals
Started out with a B-- but upon further reflection, none of the telepath sequences were particularly interesting and I ended up kicking it to a C+.

How did this thread turn into the official spot to debate the validity of the Byron character?

Estelyn November 8th 10 18:55

Re: EpDis: The Paragon Of Animals
I can see why this thread turned into Byron-bashing - this is the episode that changed my attitude toward him. When he first showed up, I sympathized with the teep cause, but his outright arrogance, feeling better than other humans, successfully erased that from my mind. If that was the intention of the author, it succeeded! Isn't he acting just like the mundanes he so despises?

The colony starts to look like a cult community, intensified by the hippie/free love look of the teeps, and it sure looks like Byron is turning into a womanizer, taking advantage of the female attraction to him. As I don't find him attractive, I can't understand what they see in him.

I was amused over Garibaldi's comment on G'Kar, that writers are a sensitive bunch. Was JMS talking about himself? ;) I must say, I enjoyed his artistic affectations and the word duels with Londo. Their dialogues are a highlight!

The other conversation I liked was that of the Enphili, seeing the ships coming: he thought it was a new star, he stated, but they are not stars. But I thought - yes they are - they're White Stars!

I don't understand why Lyta chooses just this moment to turn to Byron - she'd just been thanked by Sheridan for her part in saving all those lives. What more did she expect?

Galahad November 10th 10 20:07

Re: EpDis: The Paragon Of Animals
A lot of the most irritating behavioural aspects exhibited by Byron come after his intimate encounter with Lyta. I've always strongly maintained that what she said would happen... exactly happened and that the experience telepathically burned him.

Up until that point Byron had been seeking nothing but toleration... but after he learned the truth telepathically (not conventionally), his quest for toleration became ambition... and that was the catalyst for what followed.

The allusion to cults is very apt... and you see the entire growth cycle of a dangerous cult in the evolution of the B5 teeps. Cults tend to start out as a small group of people turning inward, removing themselves from society and initially focusing on higher ideals such as peace and love. however their introversion skews their perspective and at some point an individual will consciously or unconsciously become aware of their influence on the people who depend upon them... and it's only a few short steps beyond that before they begin to abuse that power.

But credit to JMS he didn't write Byron black and white and he has him both eventually perceiving what the end result of his rashness and arrogance has triggered and even attempting to make some kind of amends (albeit too little, too late).

Yes the whole thing with the telepaths and Byron is uncomfortable to watch... but I put it to you that is exactly how you are supposed to be reacting to those characters, so we shouldn't be so dismissive of the portrayal.

I was much the same when I first watched Abigail's Party, I cringed through a lot of it and particularly loathed the character of Beverly. I remember voicing my discomfort to a colleague at work the day after which they said "Yes... that's the point, you are supposed to feel that way!"

Thus began my induction into the world of black comedy.

Alioth September 5th 11 11:36

Re: EpDis: The Paragon Of Animals

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 271933)
My reaction to Byron? First, he was an idiot, because he tried to scare people into doing what he wants. Which rarely ends well. Second, he was doubly an idiot, because he should have gone straight to Delenn. If anyone could wrastle the League into doing something positive, it was Delenn -- and if any race had spare planets lying around, it was the Minbari.

True that that would have been his best course--as we see that Delenn did sympathize more than the other Alliance bigwigs with their desire for their own world. But I don't know if he'd have known she was the "conscience" of the Alliance that she was--he was an outsider and didn't really know any of them personally (not sure how much opportunity he had to discreetly "read" her or what that would have told him). As a human, it was his fellow humans (Lochley, then Sheridan) that he first apporoached. But yes, he did some rash things. I think he was desperate, used to people rejecting them and not much caring about their plight (which made him bitter and tending to seek ways to force the issue--like the blackmail), and a bit self-righteous. Not sure what I'd have done in his situation.

I've said in another thread that with the few billion Sol-like stars in our trillion-star galaxy, there has to be some unsettled planet somewhere. They could have maybe even found one themselves after some research (and remember there was the former Markab homeworld, and also some worlds bombarded to extinction during the Shadow War even before the planetkillers came out), then only asked the Alliance for protection (although that probably would require membership, and they may not have been interested in that either) as their population was small and would still be vulnerable.

As for his arrogance which others mention--yes he does start to show it here. But up until this point I never knew that telepaths had to actively run noise, rhymes, or whatever through their minds in order to block out others' thoughts: I thought they had to actively seek to listen to the thoughts (with thoughts only "accidentally" getting through if they were intense enough), so it would be easy to choose not to. I.e. that violating privacy was an active act, not a passive one. But upon learning that it's a passive act, and they must exert themselves, actively clutter their brains, in order to not violate privacy, I guess I became more sympathetic. It's sort of like making someone of greater agility walk around with weights shackled to him so he'd be "equal" to everyone else (I think there was some short story I read about some dystopia like that). Yes, I'd be terrified if there were actual telepaths who could read my mind without effort. But in this universe, they can't help it, and asking them to actively cripple themselves doesn't seem right. Of course it's a complicated moral dilemma, as JMS intended it to be. But if they're seeking their own planet where they can keep to themselves, that seems like good way out for all concerned, and you'd think the "mundanes" of the Alliance would be jumping to help them do it.

I don't have the sheer loathing of Byron some seem to have here. He's flawed, he makes mistakes, but ultimately he does take full responsibility for them, which is better than many people do. And talk about being between a rock and a hard place....

Jade Jaguar September 6th 11 00:23

Re: EpDis: The Paragon Of Animals
I certainly never thought of Byron as stupid. He, and his people, were persecuted and desperate. I agree that Delenn was the one to talk to, about finding a planet for the teeps, which I think could have been done. I also agree that Byron didn't know that Delenn was the one to approach. Someone should have had the sense to suggest that to him.

Further, I think that Sheridan and Lochley, in giving the teeps up to Bester, committed as vile and immoral an act as giving up Jews to the Nazis in WWII, of sending escaped slaves back to the South in the USA. I don't give a damn what legal justification they had for it. It was wrong.

vacantlook September 6th 11 03:50

Re: EpDis: The Paragon Of Animals
I think that's my biggest disappointment with the reality of making the tv show: with Claudia Christian leaving the show, we never got to have Ivanova, afraid of love escaping her once again after Marcus's death, jump at the chance to be with Byron only to eventually call in Bester, one of her most hated people in the universe, to deal with the telepaths.

Jan September 6th 11 11:27

Re: EpDis: The Paragon Of Animals

Originally Posted by Jade Jaguar (Post 373483)
Further, I think that Sheridan and Lochley, in giving the teeps up to Bester, committed as vile and immoral an act as giving up Jews to the Nazis in WWII, of sending escaped slaves back to the South in the USA. I don't give a damn what legal justification they had for it. It was wrong.

As it happened, to the best of our knowledge no teeps were given up to Bester in the end. The ones involved with the violence would have been if they'd lived and that's fair since at least one person died. But that line of teeps going past Lyta were getting telepathic instructions on where they could go for help as they left, they weren't going into Bester's custody.


Jade Jaguar September 19th 11 07:30

Re: EpDis: The Paragon Of Animals
Okay, technically, you're correct. Although they intended to give them up, it didn't quite work out that way. But, without the threat, if the teeps had been, and known they were secure on B5, no one would have died.

Lennier's Tears March 7th 15 03:27

Re: EpDis: The Paragon Of Animals
I quite enjoy The Paragon of Animals, although there's a bit too much Byron for my liking, and even the title refers to the Byron story. It kind of makes it all about that, like how it's hard to think of Grey 17 is Missing as that episode with the Marcus/Neroon fight.

You can count me among those who hate Byron. Which isn't to say I think it's a badly written character. Just that I hate the character. He's not a nice guy. And that's OK, not all characters have to be "nice". It's just that there's so annoyingly much of him. I think it's the arrogance that bothers me most of all. Not just his whole "mundanes are so inferior" attitude, but .. everything about him. The randomly quoting Shakespeare stuff ... (I watched with someone who yelled "Shakespeare was a mundane!" at the TV during this bit. I laughed). I'm also with Estelyn in that his apparent attitude towards the women in his little group squicks me out. He appears to be quite receptive to their adulation, in true cult-leader fashion. It's creepy and gross.

Babylon 5 is always interesting in this way ... The human telepaths clearly have some valid issues that all of us mundane viewers can sympathize with. And then we have this arrogant ass as a champion of the telepath cause, going about it all wrong, too.

I too would have LOVED to have seen this storyline unfold with Ivanova in it. Now THAT would have been interesting. Alas.

I enjoy the declaration of principles bits, although I'm sad to see that all the ambassadors have gone back to their usual unreasonable shouty selves. I also like the Enphili story.

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