Thread: EpDis: Z'ha'dum
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Old October 7th 10, 13:02   #48
Estelyn
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Re: EpDis: Z'ha'dum

This episode is the pay-off for previous hints, glimpses and foreshadowings, and it manages to wrap up so many elements and still leave so much dangling. What a cliff-hanger! A large part of the suspense is the conflict Sheridan faces when confronted with his (dead) wife, and I think Boxleitner plays that inner conflict very well. The doubts about her, the loss of trust in Delenn, and yet seeing that love overcomes the latter - but not to triumph, but to suffer a hopeless end - all those make for powerful, moving drama.

As JMS says in his commentary, it's what is *not* said that makes for much of the emotional impact. The look on Garibaldi's face when he takes his orders - and the fact that he obeys without speaking out against them - and the farewell in between the lines of a weather forecast are heartwrenching. Ivanova's telepathic "knowledge" that something has happened and the bleak expression on her face adds to the impression of deep tragedy. And Delenn's reaction to both the situation of John's wife entering the scene and then of his leaving with the almost certain knowledge that it was a trap was heartbreaking.

It's hard to say what was more important in this episode, the excellent writing or the wonderful acting: both contributed to the high quality. And as cliffhangers go, jumping into an abyss (instead of "just" hanging from a cliff) takes the cake! Sheridan jumped once before to escape a bomb, but compared to this situation, that seems almost tame. Yet once again, Kosh is there, though he had said he could not help Sheridan on Z'ha'dum.

As one who had repeatedly read The Lord of the Rings before seeing this show, I was forcibly reminded of Gandalf's bettle with the Balrog in Moria (aided by the similarity of the planet's name to Khazad-Dm!) and his fall into the abyss. Back then, I was horrified and shocked by the wizard's death, and only much later do the readers learn that he came back to life. In this case, we viewers are also uncertain - JMS has killed off or moved major characters before. Would he do that to us?

Love G'Kar's reflective voice-over at the end...

As to the prophetic vision about the man in the middle, JMS gives more than one explanation: in the DVD commentary, he does say that it's Justin. However, somewhere else he mentions that it is Sheridan himself. I suppose this is the way prophecy often is: it is fulfilled on several levels. That is a very Biblical idea; interesting that it's also used by JMS.


PS: Did anyone else think it's ironic that Boxleitner's real life wife was cast to play the role of the wife who was no longer the woman Sheridan married?! And they even used their RL wedding pictures...
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Last edited by Estelyn; October 7th 10 at 13:23.
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