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Old July 27th 16, 20:11   #36
Springer
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 391
Re: Is it time to give season 5 another chance?

Before I talk about the next episode, I just want to go back to the appearance of the Drakh in the previous episode, when the Drakh saves Londo’s life. The implication is that they are telekinetic (though I suppose they could have equally stopped the knife in mid air with some kind of technology). I wonder if their telekinetic abilities were originally created by the Vorlons? Maybe it was the knowledge that they’d been manipulated by the Vorlons that pushed them to side with the Shadows? It would have been an interesting counterpoint to play with this idea later in the season, comparing the Drakh to the reaction of Byron when he discovered telepaths had been created by the Vorlons. It would have been a nice way to unify the two halves of the season.

Anyway, onto A Tragedy of Telepaths.

Like Point of No Return was the midpoint in a trilogy also including Messages from Earth and Severed Dreams, A Tragedy of Telepaths is also the mid-point of a trilogy, except this one is even more serialised than the season three trio. As such, this episode features a continuation of storylines rather than being its own story, so viewing it in that context it works really well. The pace is good, there’s no contrivances like the previous episode, and the arrival of Bester in the second half of the episode sets up the finale in Phoenix Rising.

We’ve also got the Centauri plotline unfolding – and hey, there’s Na’Toth! A little worse for wear though. The scene with Londo smuggling her through the Royal Palace is glorious. That feels like another loose end in the show tied up. Londo’s parable about why things are done just because that’s the way they’ve always been done and nobody questions it could apply to a lot of things in real life. It’s also another indication that the Centauri really don’t have the adaptability to really develop their civilisation much further. As Kosh said, they are a lost species.

A few little notes/nitpicks:

Shouldn’t Lochley be wearing a white shirt beneath her jacket as part of her uniform? Or was it just an excuse to get her in a tight top? I thought B5 was above that kind of thing, though the sexualisation of Lochley in River of Souls suggests that perhaps it isn’t.

Surely Lochley requesting Bester’s help has to be as huge a mistake as the one she thinks Sheridan made in allowing the telepaths to stay on the station in the first place. Sheridan, Lochley and B5 security could have dealt with the telepaths – like Garibaldi says, the ones who have barricaded themselves in aren’t a problem, and those that got out would eventually be captured or negotiated with, so why call in Bester and the Psi Corps just to inflame the situation? Maybe as an Earth Force officer she was obliged to, but still, it was a poor decision on her part.

There’s yet more over the top, intrusive music in this episode - the music playing over when G’Kar gets angry in the cells stood out to me in particular. The music really wasn’t this intrusive in previous seasons; imdb says the editor for this episode was Kathie Burr, who only became editor in season 5, so I’m guessing it’s her choice?

What makes Brakiri metal unique to any other metal? We also get more background on the Brakiri, that they’re pack rats, who take or buy technology from other species rather than invent it themselves. I love the amount of info we’re learning about the different alien species this season, definitely one of the plus points of season 5.

Though you do wonder, given the attitude of the different ambassadors – Brakiri, Drazi etc – whether they wanted the Alliance in the first place, as they don’t seem to want it to work. It’s the old characterisation of the ambassadors as short-sighted, self-interested idiots.

Overall a terrific episode that really sets up Phoenix Rising – hopefully it can maintain the standards set by this one!

Last edited by Springer; July 27th 16 at 20:26.
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