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Old November 29th 17, 10:52   #17
b5historyman
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Re: JMS approved Chronological viewing order

Quote:
Originally Posted by okesh_naranell View Post
Just to caveat: of course everyone's entitled to their own rewatch episode order - some might prioritise plot continuity, others character development, episode pacing, jms' original intention, or just nostalgia! This is just my two cents...

My rationale (which I think is the same as b5historyman's) for 'Signs and Portents' coming quite late is based on the below "prop continuity":
- Delenn is given the triluminary in 'Babylon Squared'
- Delenn's "agents" use the triluminary in 'Legacies'
- the chrysalis device is 1/3rd built in 'Legacies'
- the device is 2/3rds built in 'Signs and Portents'

Based on this the order goes 'Babylon', 'Legacies', 'Signs'. Since other factors place 'Babylon' quite late in the season, this means 'Signs' ends up even later.

It does seem strange when one's used to 'Signs' position as an almost out-of-nowhere glimpse of the broader story, which then recedes before resurfacing at the season finale - however I think it can also work as a near-season end "mini-climax" (similar to 'The Long, Twilight Struggle' or 'Shadow Dancing') by tying up the season's Raiders storyline with a big space battle!

But for me the most compelling argument to place 'Signs' after 'Babylon' is to strengthen Delenn's late-Season One character arc. This is one of my favourite parts of Season One because it's all but invisible on first viewing, with the sub-text only evident on re-watching.

With the above order, Delenn's story goes:
- standing before a Grey Council skeptical of the Shadows' return, Delenn asks to remain on Babylon 5, with only the self-belief instilled in her by Dukhat to drive her
- her fellow Councillor (who I always head-canon to be Jenimer btw) gives her the triluminary as a coded endorsement and signal that he believes she is the one prophesied to undergo the change promise by Valen
- Delenn begins building the device, in the meantime using the triluminary in obtaining Branmer's body
- as she continues to build the device, Delenn is visited by Morden. Sensing the presence of his companions, she realises: "they're here"
- fueled by her recent encounter, she sends Lennier to Kosh with the question "Have the Shadows returned to Z'ha'dum?". Kosh responds "Yes."
- knowing the fatal risk she could be taking, Delenn goes to Kosh to voice her last doubts. Remembering the advice of her mentor, Delenn looks into the face of a Vorlon and her doubts are removed. She completes the device and enters the chrysalis

If 'Signs' comes before 'Babylon', as well as the inconsistency of the chrysalis device-building, it seems odd to me that her recent encounter with what she strongly believed to be a Shadow agent wouldn't be part of the discussion over whether or not Valen's prophecy is at hand. With the above ordering Delenn has already been shunned by the Grey Council and is left alone to wrestle with the implications of Morden's visit and whether she has the strength to do what must be done...

I won't pretend there isn't a bit ret-conning/"head canon" going on here, so of course it's possible to "head-canon" these things the other way - perhaps the changing state of the chrysalis device indicates Delenn had previous bouts of doubt and she constructed, then deconstructed, then reconstructed it... As I said earlier, it's just a question of which elements you want to prioritise for your own ideal viewing experience...
Pretty much as I saw it Joe authorised it and he posted on the matter, which I copied at the top of the thread.
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