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Old June 20th 16, 23:32   #21
Springer
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 391
Re: Is it time to give season 5 another chance?

Learning Curve

I originally had this episode down as the nadir of the series but in truth it’s not quite that bad. That’s not to say it’s not without its problems, mostly from the side of the Rangers.

I’ve talked recently about the dark side to the fledgling Alliance and we see more of it here. I’m really getting sick of hearing Delenn talking about inflicting terror. In the 21st Century it just feels unsavoury, and I’m not sure it sounded much better in 1997 either. The two elder Rangers are incredibly racist and condescending about the Pak’mara and Delenn just sits there and tolerates it. And these are the Rangers who are meant to be the saviour of the Galaxy, the police force that will look after everyone?

And where does due process fit into their modus operandi? Of course the terribly cliched gangster got what he deserved, but it was just vigilante action on the part of the Rangers, with no oversight from the law. Shouldn’t he get a trial before the punishment at the very least? These Rangers do not feel like the organisation that Sinclair commanded, or which produced Marcus Cole. When Lochley says she doesn’t believe that Sheridan would have agreed to this - she was damn right because I didn’t believe it either!

Which brings me to the other negative of the episode, which is the soap opera surrounding Sheridan and Lochley’s previous marriage. Why didn’t Garibaldi just ask Sheridan why he hired Lochley? As Head of Covert Intelligence can’t Garibaldi just pull the files anyway? And why wasn’t Sheridan simply honest with Delenn about it right from the start? There’s too much of people acting out of character or not doing the obvious thing just for JMS to create distrust between the characters. The breakfast confrontation between Lochley and Garibaldi in the officer’s mess is a good example. It felt horribly staged, and why did all the officers applaud Lochley after her little speech? The same officers who had done what they believed to be the right thing and risen up against President Clark, now applaud someone who failed to act in the same way? It’s just contrived in order to make Garibaldi look bad.

The whole marriage thing also raises questions about how and why Sheridan is hiring people. For the moment it just seems to be friends and (ex) family. Coupled with the use of teeps and the seemingly above-the-law Rangers, it feels like he’s creating a dynasty rather than a democratic alliance of worlds and then putting in place mechanisms to protect that dynasty. Do we know if his son ever became president?
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Stuff I did like:
It was cool to see the Pak’mara Ranger, even if he was the butt of the Rangers’ cruel jibes, and the Abbai got another name check.
It was nice to see Turhan Bey again. A shame it couldn’t have been in a better episode.
We get a mention of Na’Grath and learn that some unfortunate fate befell him.
One of the gangster’s henchman has been in the show before, as a dust peddler when Ivanova met with some criminal underlords in season 4. Guess he’s gone back to his old habits.
It was cool to see Minbar again - this season has felt a little claustrophobic with it mostly being set on the station itself, so it’s always good to be reminded that there are other locations in the Galaxy.

Other stuff I didn’t like:
The slow motion action scenes when the gangsters attack the Ranger are dreadful. And when the Rangers get their revenge, the screams as the gangsters are taken out one by one sound way over the top and corny.
There seems to be a lot of music re-use from previous seasons, perhaps one of the signs of the smaller budget (I know there is original music this season too)
I would have liked to have seen more of Zack. At one point, when the gangsters plan to kill Zack, I thought that this could have quite easily become a Zack-centred episode, but nope, it wasn’t to be. Ever since the end of the Night Watch plot in season 3, I’ve felt Zack has been criminally underused.

I continue to find the dark and ugly undertones in the story concerning and it is making the show feel very different and not as enjoyable or relatable as the one we watched during the previous four seasons. Plus there’s still very little momentum so far this season, despite JMS highlighting that it was important to get the momentum back. However, next episode we have the return of Bester, and that’s bound to put a little oomph back into the storyline… isn’t it?

Last edited by Springer; June 20th 16 at 23:35.
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