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Old September 20th 15, 20:56   #18
Lennier's Tears
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Re: EpDis: By Any Means Necessary

I find myself in agreement with several people here, specifically Vacantlook at the very start of the thread and Alioth's more recent post quoted below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alioth View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenMonkey View Post
The story is fine, it does help make B5 seem more real, etc. But I don't see any real character development, nor any subplot that helps a larger story arc - the reasons why I like B5 so much. I gave it a C. At least it didn't suck like "Grey 17 is missing" or "Infection".
If "Grey 17" was called "Denn'Shar" ("to the death", which was Marcus' challenge to Neroon in defense of Delenn--to me the real A-story), I think it would be remembered more as an arc episode.

While there's nothing too direct relating to the arc, we do get a good sense of the "flavor" of political trends on Earth with this one: that labor is being particularly devalued (this seems to increase or decrease in historical cycles), government is becoming more inflexible and less receptive to moral appeals (again relatively speaking), anyone without (percieved) power to exert is getting stepped on more, Zento reflects some glaring arrogance of the powers-that-be (no real attempt to negotiate whatsoever), etc.

I like the reference to the Matewan Massacre of the 1920s (although it's pronounced MATE-wan, not MAH-teh-wan as in the ep)--the movie Matewan about this pivotal labor-struggle event is one of my favorites.

I think Zento's acting was a little overdone, and while he is supposed to come off as very arrogant, I think the flunkie EarthGov would send in that situation would be more of a slick smoke-blowing bullshitter type (well he did try to do a little BSing, but he clearly wasn't very good at it) than an unsubtle heavy-handed ass--but maybe that really does reflect their real level of arrogance.
There's really very little I could add to that. I agree on all counts (including the Grey 17 comment) except perhaps on Zento. I do see what you mean, but I kinda like him like that.

By Any Means Necessary is a fantastic episode. It is a non-arc episode, except in that it builds on Sinclair's political position and the antagonistic relationship between Londo and G'kar and things like that ... but you'll find some of that in all non-arc episodes ... at least up until season 5. The main storyline of the episode certainly is non-arc, but everything we learn about Earth and its government is so relevant to the main arc. This isn't our first hint that there's something rotten in the state of ... EarthGov (see for example Soul Hunter, Infection, Mind War, And the Sky Full of Stars), but this episode gives us a really good look at the political situation. [VAGUE SPOILERS for later seasons' storylines, skip to next paragraph to avoid]. A Santiago presidency clearly is not a Clark presidency but everything is in place here for a Clark to come into power. A government so willing to invoke the Rush Act isn't that far from a government that establishes a Ministry of Peace and a Night Watch.

Neeoma Connally is a great character and I love that her position exists in the universe of Babylon 5. Taking contemporary issues and putting them in a fictional future is a staple of SF and obviously not something Babylon 5 invented, but it's one of the areas where the show truly shines. The idea of a 23rd century where people still have to fight for a living wage, and where sub-standard parts get installed because shady contractors with the lowest bid is pretty depressing to contemplate, but it makes for a great episode, and the B5 universe in general is both interesting and believable.

Random stuff and things from this viewing:
  • Again with the hats. I commented on this in the "Survivors" thread, too. Lots of people wearing hats. Not fashion hats, but cold weather hats. Is it cold in the docking bays?
  • Loving Londo's pajamas/robe combo. Fancy.
  • Londo calls the Narns "pagans". That's interesting. Is there a hierarchy of religions in the Babylon 5 universe, and if so, what determines which religion is to be taken seriously, and how exactly is "pagan" defined in all this?
  • Sinclair gets angry at all the unauthorized people present in C&C, and wants them gone. How do they get there in the first place? Is there no security?
  • The G'Quan Eth is a controlled substance, only to be possessed for valid medical or religious reasons. Interesting. I wonder what kind of drug laws there are in the 23rd century Babylon 5 universe.
  • Zento wears a square pin on his lapel (see below). Is that just decorative or does it mean something?

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