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Old July 15th 17, 05:46   #28
vacantlook's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Virginia
Posts: 11,925
Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.

And The Sky Full Of Stars

While there was a bit of a reference to Sinclair’s missing time in “Soul Hunter,” this is the first real, substantive episode to handle that piece of his history. Amnesia plots can be tiresome and cliché and common, so this really needs something more than just Sinclair’s lost his memory in order to be interesting. I think Babylon 5 does well with this plot by making it be a mystery that resulted in consequences. The war ended. Sinclair’s statements both in this episode and in the revised version of “The Gathering” make clear that Earth really had no hope to win the war; the Battle of the Line was solely a purposeful sacrifice mission to buy time for as many who could escape Earth to do so. So we know that the war ending, especially as a result of the Minbari surrendering, all in a relatively short time period that Sinclair just happens to not remember gives us this huge monumental shift in the galaxy’s politics but without an explanation as to why.

The two Knight characters are miscellaneous and ultimately inconsequential to the show as a whole. I read that Walter Koenig was originally going to have been one of the two Knights, but that a medical issue caused him to be unavailable for filming. They then, as we’ve already seen given the broadcast order to the episodes, put him in the role of Bester. Maybe that had something to do with why the Knights never again had anything to do with anything?? As they are, they, especially the main one, chews so much scenery it’s ridiculous at times. For me, they are mostly forgettable characters; unlike when I was done with Bester’s first appearance, I don’t really feel a need to see the Knights again. They, like with the later one-shot appearance of Bureau 13 (which had to be renamed for its respective production reasons) are both plots that kind of dead ended, despite their set-up suggesting something that should have brought them back into the show at some point. On rewatches, this kind of annoys me, even while I understand why things are the way they are.

The theme of what one did during the war also includes information about both Delenn, which we already know she was on the Grey Council, but we also learn she was specifically at the Battle of the Line. We also learn about Dr Franklin, who tells Delenn that he destroyed his notes rather than let them be used to create biological weapons. So we get this reoccurring aspect to Franklin’s character introduced here: that he’s willing to take a stand and act in defiance of orders to do something, especially if he thinks doing so will save lives.

It’s a little moment, but I like the suggestion from Delenn, and the resulting explanation for why Talia would be insufficient, that a telepath could help find Sinclair. Ivanova says Talia needs proximity and thus isn’t trained in search and rescue. That implies that there are telepaths who are trained. Given how much trouble the station has, they could use a fulltime telepath on staff who could handle search and rescue. It makes me wonder just how many telepaths there are. Babylon 5 is 250,000 residents, but as far as the show shows us, only one, shall we say, on-staff telepath. And that telepath is generally considered lower in skill level: P5. We know from future episodes that there are telepaths that come through B5 that keep their psi capability hidden. I kind of now think that there realistically should be at least a few more on-staff given the size of Babylon 5. But there is just the one officially available telepath.

“Now! Now!” the Knight says. He sounds like he’s trying to cough up a hairball.

This is the first time we get to see Minbari ships, unless I’m mistaken. I always liked their design. Suggestively aquatic, and narrow and tall. I guess a lot of space ships for sci fi shows/films get designed without being able to get away from the idea that it has to be laid out like a plane or aircraft carrier or submarine, but really, being in space (as a line in “The Legend of the Rangers” says) shape for a ship is less reliant upon those shapes.

So, the surviving Knight is shipped back home, his mind fractured from everything. The “maybe we’re both still inside” line is so expected and makes me groan. So many mental-located or virtual world stories put a line in like that, and somehow ever writer who writes such a line thinks they’re being clever, but really, they’re being cliché.

The episode ends with us finding out that Sinclair actually is starting to remember a little bit. It’s good that he earns something from having gone through that experience.
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