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Old August 2nd 16, 17:31   #55
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 408
Re: Is it time to give season 5 another chance?

Originally Posted by Jan View Post
I'm really very direct.
Which if I may be direct myself, is going to rub people up the wrong way on occasions. I admit I may have overreacted and inferred too much from what you said and I apologise for that, but it's frustrating being dismissed out of hand.

We saw that Sheridan was reluctant to do it and allowed himself to be talked into it by Garibaldi. We saw that he knew it was ethically dubious and that it turned out badly. Personally, I have no desire to see him doing a regret scene.
To be fair, it took Garibaldi all of two minutes to convince him. It wasn't exactly a decision that kept him awake at night.

I don't want to use the word moral, because that's too preachy, but using telepaths to spy is wrong. Full stop. If JMS wants the characters to take this course of action, which goes completely against everything they've been fighting for, then fine, but at least lead the viewers towards questioning it, even if the characters don't. After all, good writing is meant to ask questions of the audience. I will admit, I didn't see it as a problem when I first watched season 5 as a teenager; this is probably my first cohesive watch through of the season since then, and ethically I'm having a hard time letting both the characters or JMS off the hook. Maybe I'm looking at it in hindsight with 21st century eyes, an era where we have all kinds of debates about privacy, but watching it today it really comes across as just fundamentally wrong. And yes, the characters have made ethically dubious decisions in the past, but it's easy to take them out of context and say they're ethically dubious. In the case of Lyta scanning the Centauri (it was in Passing Through Gethsemane, and it was to find Brother Edward) it was to try and save someone's life because it was the only thing they could do in the time they had. So when you put it in context the mitigating circumstances cast it in a different light.

Using the telepaths to spy on people and governments is of a complete different scale to what Lyta did. There were no mitigating circumstances. For them to go along with it, without any build up to it, without any concrete reason for it other than fear, was not in character for Sheridan or even Garibaldi (who, as we recall, may play it fast and loose out in the world, but in his job he's very strict about doing things properly). Since the politics of fear seems to be ubiquitous in the world at the moment, I'm naturally going to rail against this idea.

We already saw that she knew it was a bad idea before she did it. Her log entry talking about ending up with "a lot of dead people on the deck" is something people complain about regularly. I don't need to see her tell herself (or be told) that she'd told herself it would turn out badly.
I was actually referring to her not learning from Bester's actions in Strange Relations, where he and his bloodhounds used plenty of violence, even if it was within the law. Making the mistake once, fine, making the same mistake twice, is not smart. It's even worse that she thought it was a bad idea as she was putting the call in to Bester. So why did she do it? Maybe as an Earthforce officer she had no choice? But the way it's written just makes her look like an idiot (and before anyone starts, I like Lochley). In fact, I can just hear in my head Londo going off on one of his 'idiot' rants about her; 'Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots would do that!"

My comment about the number of episodes and number of minutes meant exactly that. I may be reading too much into what you've written but it seems that your impression might be that there was more pre-planning than there actually was. JMS wrote one episode at a time and while you think there was a problem filling time, I don't think that's the case. I don't know if you preferred arc-heavy episodes at all times and didn't like the off-format episodes? But given that those more experimental episodes had been set aside in some cases from the fourth season, they were stories that JMS did want to tell during the five-year arc and weren't filler.
I take each episode as it comes and don't mind whether it's arc-related or not. I don't view anything in the series as 'filler' (except maybe Deconstruction of Falling Stars, which was specifically designed to be 'filler', so it's an exception). But JMS had an entire 22-episode season to play with; it's not a scenario like at the end of season 4 where there's wasn't time to show Sheridan and Garibaldi's reconciliation. So I don't see the number of episodes as a reason for not including anything he could include whatever he wanted. JMS didn't include much about the right and wrongs of spying with telepaths because he presumably didn't think it was important, or it didn't occur to him.

Discussion often includes disagreement. That kind of goes with the territory. I don't accept that anything I've said or done has any bearing on your enjoyment or lack thereof in writing the reviews. I've enjoyed seeing them. But if you're going to post, you need to be prepared for people to not agree - sometimes bluntly. Sorry if that bothers you.
I never said I didn't want people disagreeing with me. JoeD80 disagreed but gave a reason for why he felt it was better the way it panned out in the show. I know that JMS was under no obligation to include anything in the show just because I might have wanted him to, I will praise what things I liked and criticise what he wrote if I think it was a bad choice, and be open to changing my mind if there's some good in-story reasoning that someone can present for why it was done the way it was. (As I think I said at the beginning of the thread, I'm judging the episodes from what's on screen, not what goes on in production because it's what's on screen that matters.)

Anyway, I think we've probably derailed this thread long enough. Let's kindly make peace and agree to disagree and move on.
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