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Old July 8th 17, 04:27   #21
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Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.

The War Prayer

So, the big surprising revelation about this episode is the conflicting information we get: in this episode Delenn knows what a poem is, but in some other (I forget which) she has to be told by Sinclair?Sheridan? what a poem is. What??

Though that discrepancy exists, of course it’s not important.

Humans are prejudiced against non-humans. Surprise. Of course it is so very realistic. You know we’d totally be this way. Unjustly blaming the Other for systemic problems is so much easier that changing the system. Assigning responsibility for problems to some “they.” They’re taking our jobs. They’re buying up all the land on Earth. They’re the reason we’re not super mega awesome. If only they’d get out of the way and stop taking what’s ours. And that “they” is only ever defined broadly. It’s not, let me list these specific people by name or by specific organization. So here, it’s non-humans. It must be the fault of Delenn’s poet friend, she’s not human after all. It must be the fault of these two Centauri teenagers wondering how much sex they can have in public without being caught, they’re not human after all.

So, once again, we have a story of an ex coming to the station. This time, Ivanova’s. He isn’t really all that interesting of a character. He has no redeeming qualities to make him a complex portrayal, and he isn’t acted well enough to make him feel like an irredeemable asshole sort of a person. I do believe there are some people that are just too toxic that they’re not worth you trying to get through to them. But he’s not such a person. He seems far more like he’d be the kind of guy to agree with the militant bigots that would act against non-humans than to be leading such a group. The acting/writing of his character just doesn’t fully fit the intensity of someone who would be in that situation to act so directly.

Centauri have arranged marriages. Londo’s got three wives. Worthy enough world building for the Centauri culture. The teenagers oh so in love are bland. I wish I bought that they were actually in love, but I don’t. I also don’t buy that Ivanova and Malcolm once had a thing, so at least they’re not alone.

Oh, and it seems Ivanova has taken over Takashima’s regulation violating coffee plants. I wonder if she just found them one day, or if Laurel told her where to find them.

We get to see a bit more of Kosh. “We take no interest in the affairs of others.” Yeah, sure.

I think the only things I really like about this episode are a few lines/jokes by Londo. “Love! What does love have to do with marriage!!” and saying that his wives are the only thing that keeps him so far away from Centauri Prime. Londo: “And she will learn to live without [love].” And the poet responds, “As you did.” Those two lines are probably the most poignant part of this episode. I think that little moment is more emotional than the more labored tight shoes scene later.

This episode introduces the Abbai. Their visual design is nice; I wish they had been used more than they were. It would have been really cool though if they hadn’t been the same reddish-tan color a lot of background aliens on this show are (much the same color as the Brakiri, the Hyach). They’re fishy sort of aliens, so make them more colorful. Blues and greens that really pop.
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Old July 9th 17, 16:22   #22
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Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.

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The War Prayer

So, the big surprising revelation about this episode is the conflicting information we get: in this episode Delenn knows what a poem is, but in some other (I forget which) she has to be told by Sinclair?Sheridan? what a poem is. What??

Though that discrepancy exists, of course it’s not important.
In fairness I think you are speaking about a moment from The Gathering, so you can't blame something from the pilot. Plus we are talking about a description given to her by Garibaldi. She may not have fully understood at that point that our word "poem" meant the same thing she knew as a poem because she was given a crude definition by Garibaldi.

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Humans are prejudiced against non-humans. Surprise. Of course it is so very realistic.
Yes this is quite a poignant message in this episode because it still holds true twenty plus years later.

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So, once again, we have a story of an ex coming to the station. This time, Ivanova’s. He isn’t really all that interesting of a character. He has no redeeming qualities to make him a complex portrayal, and he isn’t acted well enough to make him feel like an irredeemable asshole sort of a person. I do believe there are some people that are just too toxic that they’re not worth you trying to get through to them. But he’s not such a person. He seems far more like he’d be the kind of guy to agree with the militant bigots that would act against non-humans than to be leading such a group. The acting/writing of his character just doesn’t fully fit the intensity of someone who would be in that situation to act so directly.
This is another example where I wish the stories didn't have to be rushed an bottled up in one episode of television. If there hadn't been a need to put Tristan Rogers, the actor who played Malcolm Biggs, under a one episode contract we could have had this episode told properly. If Biggs had been introduced a couple of episodes earlier, and I really mean just an introduction that went no further than him tracking down Ivanova and telling her he was setting up shop, then I feel this plot would have played out so much better and more realistically. Don't get me wrong, it is a great plot. I feel it is something that could have been spread out more, but because actors guest shots need to be one and done or things get a little more complicated, ie a little more expensive, so why not shove everything into one episode and get it over with. You could have had attacks start and Biggs show up a few episodes earlier. He could have reconnected briefly with Ivanova so we know he is there for business and to see her. Then while the threat of the attacks is on going they could have dinner during an added scene in an earlier episode. Then bring in Shaal Mayan and the Centauri teens in the episode that wraps everything up. Instead of having the attacks and Biggs introduced in the same episode you could have used that time to give more depth to Mayan, her attack, the teens, and Sinclair's attempt to win Biggs' trust once it is revealed he is the ring leader. I feel the Sinclair bit in this episode is way too rushed unless we're all supposed to agree that Biggs is a Grade A Moron. All it would have taken is a couple of lines of dialogue and three or four Malcolm scenes spread out over a few previous episodes. Having said this I completely understand that we are talking about the world of television and money. Making the story work the best way possible only works if the budget says so.

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Centauri have arranged marriages. Londo’s got three wives. Worthy enough world building for the Centauri culture. The teenagers oh so in love are bland. I wish I bought that they were actually in love, but I don’t. I also don’t buy that Ivanova and Malcolm once had a thing, so at least they’re not alone.
Yes a great bit of Londo background. As far as the other aspects see my above comments.

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Oh, and it seems Ivanova has taken over Takashima’s regulation violating coffee plants. I wonder if she just found them one day, or if Laurel told her where to find them.
I have always wondered why Ivanova doesn't mention that her predecessor pointed out the coffee plants. Greatly disappointed that JMS didn't write that in.

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We get to see a bit more of Kosh. “We take no interest in the affairs of others.” Yeah, sure.
Wouldn't it have been great to see an attempted attack on Kosh?

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I think the only things I really like about this episode are a few lines/jokes by Londo. “Love! What does love have to do with marriage!!” and saying that his wives are the only thing that keeps him so far away from Centauri Prime. Londo: “And she will learn to live without [love].” And the poet responds, “As you did.” Those two lines are probably the most poignant part of this episode. I think that little moment is more emotional than the more labored tight shoes scene later.
I agree.

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This episode introduces the Abbai. Their visual design is nice; I wish they had been used more than they were. It would have been really cool though if they hadn’t been the same reddish-tan color a lot of background aliens on this show are (much the same color as the Brakiri, the Hyach). They’re fishy sort of aliens, so make them more colorful. Blues and greens that really pop.
Interesting question. I wonder if there was a budget question involved or a not wanting to seem too much like Star Trek question involved.
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Old July 10th 17, 15:29   #23
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Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.

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Wouldn't it have been great to see an attempted attack on Kosh?
Not really, in my book -- it would have made the episode much shorter.

"Stay away from Earth, you Vorlon scu--AAAAAAAAH my brain is melting!"
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Old July 10th 17, 19:02   #24
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Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.

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Not really, in my book -- it would have made the episode much shorter.

"Stay away from Earth, you Vorlon scu--AAAAAAAAH my brain is melting!"


I wonder if they would even bother to ask Kosh about it or just assume he defended himself? Can you see Garbaldi trying to arrest Kosh until they were certain he only defended himself? And then Kosh going in front of one of the Ombuds?

Garibaldi, "How do we cuff him?"
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Old July 13th 17, 13:20   #25
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Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.

What?! Did I kill this thread?! I've been busy this week so I figured I would have a lot of catching up to do with the pace that was set early on, but I see I am still the last to post. I sure hope we're not about to get a 10 episode update all at once.
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Old July 13th 17, 15:02   #26
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Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.

VL did say he was probably going to slow down.
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Old July 14th 17, 02:30   #27
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Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.

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VL did say he was probably going to slow down.
Very true. I was just surprised is all. Plus I wanted to stir some activity in this area.
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Old July 15th 17, 04:46   #28
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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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Old July 15th 17, 05:27   #29
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Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.

Deathwalker

This is an episode I generally like going through again when I do rewatches. Mostly because I think the primary thing I think of when I think of this episode is the performance of the character Na'Toth. It makes me sad the actor couldn't do the role beyond this season.

Kosh does something other than get poisoned or sit? stand? float? in his quarters. He’s still super cryptic though. And he’s set his sights on Talia. Since Talia has to be written out of the show, what happens to her in this episode ends up being meaningless. I’ve seen it said that it was supposed to have something to do with Kosh rebuilding her personality after the Control personality was to be revealed and Talia’s mind subsumed by Control, but I don’t know. Whatever the plans for the data Kosh gains, it’s too odd with only what’s here to be satisfying.

Deathwalker, a Dilgar, with whom Earth once went to war. I like the visual effects make up design for the Dilgar enough that I wish we could have seen more of them. The Dilgar were apparently really nasty people, a Nazi experiments in space sort of story. I’m glad those experiments weren’t actually depicted on the show because such depictions, heck even just reading about them in historical writing, makes me utterly sick.

“Understanding is a three-edged sword.” Yay, Koshisms are one of the truly fun things this show gives us from the Vorlons.

So, the VCR, Abbot, or whatever he should be called, was apparently originally written to be played by Gilbert Gottfried. With all respect to him, I’m not a fan of his style, so I’m glad it wasn’t him. It would have been nice if the character didn’t flatten out as much as it does with the actor they did get though. Although, “Crab Nebula!” is out of the realm of obsurdist humor that it’s not all bad.

So if I understand things correctly, the Dilgar were decimated when their sun exploded. I think the idea left not fully expressed was that the Vorlons destroyed them by blowing up their sun because of having learned that the Shadows had made inroads into manipulating the Dilgar much in the way that they would manipulate the Centauri.

We get to see the League of Non-Aligned Worlds have some weight on events that occur at Babylon 5. We get to see the Abbai again, which is nice. And we get to see some odd League ships. The Drazi make their first real appearance, having only been miscellaneously in the background before now. We also get Vree ships, though lesser models than what show up later in the show in the various, shall we say, multinational fleets that fight. Too bad the Vree themselves are only used as a joke in one episode; I would rather have had the owners of such frequently seen ships belong to a species we got to see a lot more on the station. And the third of the three ships that come to B5 from the League in this episode is the Iksha, whom we never see again. Their ships were interesting; it would have been nice to see them actually in combat.

So, some Minbari are guilty of having supported Deathwalker. How interesting that after last episode wherein we learned that, much to Delenn’s approval, Franklin destroyed his research to keep it from being used to make weapons; here, we learn that the Minbari welcomed Deathwalker and her research so they could have weapons. Kind of makes Delenn look like a hypocrite, though I imagine she wasn’t not impacted by cultural expectation to help save face for the faults made by others. But still.

So Sinclair once again negotiates around the situation to try to find something that works to dissolve the tension, but the Vorlons show up to blow Deathwalker into rubble before her ship could get away. Kosh walks away with the comment, “You’re not ready for immortality,” which beyond being just a cool line, suggests that Vorlons are immortal.

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Old July 15th 17, 18:02   #30
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Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.

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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.
I really wish they'd been able to schedule Patrick McGoohan for Knight Two. He would have done a much better job and it would have been the Prisoner reference to end all Prisoner references in a show full of them. But I don't think the Knights are totally inconsequential. They do shake loose some of Sinclair's memories. More to the point, it shows further evidence that something's rotten on Earth -- and that, as is so often the case, much of the rot comes from people looking for the rot, but in all the wrong places.

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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.
I just went back to the "Mind War" notes to check Ironheart's (off-the-cuff) telepath stats, and yeah, you're right, there should be more. Ironheart says that only one person in a thousand has any telepathic ability. 250,000 people on the station, but they aren't all human, so call it 150 to 200,000. So there should be 150 to 200 telepaths available. Now, a lot of telepaths are probably even lower-level than Talia and Lyta -- Ironheart's numbers might include all the folks like Ivanova. I do think the more powerful teeps would be more rare. But you'd think there would still be a few more on staff, at least!

My guess? Psi Corps is rationing telepaths. B5 is seen as a risky post, as we know, and often perceived as a waste of resources. Bester says that the Corps is trying to keep telepaths off "the front lines." So B5, chronically underfunded, is also short-staffed in the telepath department.

When something seems illogical, blame the politics.


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Deathwalker

“Understanding is a three-edged sword.” Yay, Koshisms are one of the truly fun things this show gives us from the Vorlons.
My favorite has always been "We shall meet at the Hour of Scampering."

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So if I understand things correctly, the Dilgar were decimated when their sun exploded. I think the idea left not fully expressed was that the Vorlons destroyed them by blowing up their sun because of having learned that the Shadows had made inroads into manipulating the Dilgar much in the way that they would manipulate the Centauri.

[snip]

So Sinclair once again negotiates around the situation to try to find something that works to dissolve the tension, but the Vorlons show up to blow Deathwalker into rubble before her ship could get away.
There's been that speculation that the Vorlon ship fires a warning shot at an unseen Shadow ship, since it misses Deathwalker's ship the first time... and it seems unlikely that Vorlon targeting systems are that bad.


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So, some Minbari are guilty of having supported Deathwalker. How interesting that after last episode wherein we learned that, much to Delenn’s approval, Franklin destroyed his research to keep it from being used to make weapons; here, we learn that the Minbari welcomed Deathwalker and her research so they could have weapons. Kind of makes Delenn look like a hypocrite, though I imagine she wasn’t not impacted by cultural expectation to help save face for the faults made by others. But still.
Remember, it wasn't the Minbari as a whole who welcomed Deathwalker -- just the Wind Swords. The rest of the Minbari were scandalized, but kept quiet for that whole face-saving reason. If Delenn had made the mental connection when Franklin said he'd destroyed his notes, she probably would have said, "Good. That's how it ought to be done."
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