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Old May 15th 07, 02:21   #1
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New vote for worst episode ever: Between the Darkness and the Light

OK, so there are always a couple episodes people always pick when asked to name what they think was the worst episode of B5. Agreed, worst B5 is better than most stuff on TV, I'll give ya that, but I had a new revelation today. Here are some of the episodes most people pick as their worst:

1) TKO
2) Grey 17 is Missing
3) Grail

TKO a lot of people pick, and I can see why, but something about the boxing/alien respect thread I sort of liked, and the B-story with Ivanova was OK to me.
Grey 17 was really bad, but the B-story with Marcus and Neroon was also good, so in my mind, not a complete failure.
Grail, well thats one of my votes. Yea, it adds to tbe B4 mystique, but still....lot of weaknesses in this episode.

Still, I've been rewatching the series for the first time in a couple years, and the episode "Between the Darkness and the Light" jumped out at me as TERRIBLE in so many ways. I don't know how I missed it before.

Its too bad too, because it is sandwiched between two strong episodes IMO --- Endgame and Intersections in Real Time. This episode should be one of the great ones, but its far off the mark.

Also, I looked at the old discussion thread, and was SHOCKED, yes...SHOCKED that 13 out of 17 votes gave this episode an "A." I couldn't believe it. After just watching it, there were so many weaknesses in it, that it occurred to me that it could be the worst of the series.

Bad Dialogue
This episode has some of the worst dialogue in the series, and contains 2 of the top 3 cringe moments in B5 (Susan's "kick your sorry as back to Earth sweetheart" speech, and the Lyta "Sue somebody" speech --- the third being in a different episode, the Ivanova sex dance in Acts of Sacrifice).

The dialogue was just terrible. First, we have really FORCED dialogue when Franklin, Garibaldi, Lyta, and the Mars extra are in the tunnels. It is written to be light and funny, but has no place in this episode. The "Sip/Gulp" thing was sorta humorous, and it did make me chuckle, but man, when everyone walks off, and the camera remains on Lyta and she says when she gets back she is gonna "Sue somebody" then makes that frowny face and growls? Arrrggg! AWFUL! Bad writing. Bad delivery, and TERRIBLE job by the director.

The shortly afterwards, we have Garibaldi talking to the Guard to recognizes him. A little bit about "officially we are here to interrogate him, but unofficially, blah blah if you get me" and this guard just goes along with it?!? This little bit of dialogue is bad too, and it is just far, FAR too easy to talk a guard responsible for the most important prisoner on the planet out of letting him in.

Next, we go right into the scene with your next random unnamed guard who says "I dont watch television, its a cultural wasteland put there by the liberal elite" or some crap. People just dont talk like that. Another really bad scene. Forced humor has always been B5's shortcoming and this episode is chock full of it.

Then, speaking of forced, Ivanova's BRUTAL speech to the Advanced Destroyer fleet. "Negative on surrender?" "Kick your sorry ass sweetheart?" "God sent me?" Man, TERRIBLE. I know JMS is a talented writer, and while is strength is more in story, arc, and characters and he's never been a dialogue guy or a humor guy, he just came off really really really bad in this one.

Then we go to another bad Ivanova delivery --- her crash into the chunk of enemy ship. She sees this thing on the screen in front of her, and she puts both hands over her face, turns, and runs backwards....holding her hands crossed in front of her. It looks SO corny and SO bad. Again, whoever directed this episode? Fired. That entire segment was pretty far from believable. I really dont see that happening. She would have either stood there, knowing there was nothing she could have done, or dove for controls trying to change the ships direction, or simply dove to the floor, but that scampering she did was pretty lame.

It really should have been a good episode, and the ending with Ivanova and Sheridan was touching, and Marcus of course...but that last 2min scene isn't enough to save this one from my "Worst Ever" status.

I realize many people voted this one an "A" and I really gotta say....have you REALLY watched this episode without the fanboy bias? I just saw it again and it was really eye-opening to me...and then I wish my eyes weren't open at all. I always remembered the Lyta and Ivanova cringe moments, but never realized how many other scenes were poorly written, acted, and directed in this one.

Really a big dud between two great episodes....

Anyone have any new thoughts on this? Or am I just ranting here? (that last one is rethorical)
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Old May 15th 07, 04:34   #2
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Re: New vote for worst episode ever: Between the Darkness and the Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by Recoil View Post
OK, so there are always a couple episodes people always pick when asked to name what they think was the worst episode of B5. Agreed, worst B5 is better than most stuff on TV, I'll give ya that, but I had a new revelation today. Here are some of the episodes most people pick as their worst:

1) TKO
2) Grey 17 is Missing
3) Grail
You forgot "Infection" the other guy-in-a-monster-suit episode. The whole part with Sinclair vs. the Ikarran was played way over the top. It was blatantly lead-the-audience-by-the-nose with Sinclair's monologue directed at the Ikarran. Who didn't see that coming from five miles away?




Quote:
Originally Posted by Recoil View Post
TKO a lot of people pick, and I can see why, but something about the boxing/alien respect thread I sort of liked, and the B-story with Ivanova was OK to me.
I didn't mind TKO. Maybe it's a guy thing, but I've got nothing against what turned out to be more or less a "buddy episode."



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Originally Posted by Recoil View Post
Grey 17 was really bad, but the B-story with Marcus and Neroon was also good, so in my mind, not a complete failure.
Even the A-thread wasn't bad until they showed the Zarg and Garibaldi killed it in a way that is absolutely impossible. JMS' seems to have trouble doing monsters, except for "The Long Dark" (Now THAT was a well done monster. ).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Recoil View Post
Grail, well thats one of my votes. Yea, it adds to tbe B4 mystique, but still....lot of weaknesses in this episode.
Grail wasn't bad. Hell, I'd give it a 'B'.


For worst, I'd pick:

1) Believers
2) Survivors
3) any episode with Byron in it.


But "Between the Darkness and the Light" ?? No, not even close to the ones I listed immediately above.
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Old May 15th 07, 05:32   #3
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Re: New vote for worst episode ever: Between the Darkness and the Light

I just watched this episode on my own today and I find this episode to also be an A episode. Personally my opinion with the bad dialogue is very realistic. Please remember since the assassination of President Santiago..anyone and everyone has been wanting President Clark out of office. since the end of season 1 things have been getting worse to even worse non stop. First the crew had to deal with Londo declaring war on the Narns along with taking over the whole planet. Then You had the shadows coming out of hiding along with President Clark declaring martial law then everyone on B5 had to deal with Kosh2 and the whole shadow war fiasco and now as Sheridan is being dealt with Clarks people I would act the same way. For almost 3 straight years they haven't been able to catch a break with anything.

I completely get the way their dialogue was presented here. They are tired and pissed off. Susan's dialogue to me is being presented as a frusteration of her captain and everything that has gone wrong. As far as Susan hiding her face scanerio..How would anyone know how to react unless they are in that situation. The white star is being shot down like crazy. Susan is going out of her mind because of the whole situation taking Clark out of the whole picture.

Worst episode ever...far from it.

TKO and Grail are also some of my favorites.
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Old May 15th 07, 09:58   #4
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Re: New vote for worst episode ever: Between the Darkness and the Light

I agree that it does have some truly horrible dialogue, although I do find some positives in it, like the battle with the shadow-modified destroyers. And let's not forget there is some okay dialogue, like Garibaldi's 'yeah, I got a receipt from the psi-corps certifying my brain was dry cleaned' which usually makes me smile. Under the original plan, at least some of this episode would have been at the very beginning of season 5, so you start to see the characters beginning to claw their way out of the holes they'd have been in at the season 4 cliffhanger - I guess those may not be the easiest episodes to write.

My all time worst episode is actually Learning Curve, for bad acting, bad staging, being morally bankrupt and confirming a very nasty side to the Rangers (see also Rising Star).
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Old May 15th 07, 12:03   #5
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Re: New vote for worst episode ever: Between the Darkness and the Light

The only episode of B5 I regularly skip is Believers. Just awful.
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Old May 15th 07, 13:39   #6
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Re: New vote for worst episode ever: Between the Darkness and the Light

I like TKO and Grail!

IMO the worst ep is Intersections in Real Time.
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Old May 15th 07, 15:09   #7
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Re: New vote for worst episode ever: Between the Darkness and the Light

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IMO the worst ep is Intersections in Real Time.
There's a difference between "bad" and "no fun to watch". IiRT is a lot like such movies as Sophie's Choice or Death and the Maiden: endured more than enjoyed, but extremely good at what it is doing.

My vote for worst B5 episode always goes to Infection. It's the one that plays most like a bad wannabe-Trek episode. It aspires to be TOS episode with Nurse Chapel's old fiance Roger (the title of which escapes me at the moment), and somehow only manages to be even more over the top. (Yes, I know that this where B5 first introduces the possibility of "organic tech". That fact isn't nearly enough to redeem it.)
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Old May 15th 07, 16:03   #8
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Re: New vote for worst episode ever: Between the Darkness and the Light

I used to hate the fight part of TKO, but, have learned to appreciate it the last couple times I've watched it. Grey 17 is redeemed by the Marcus Neroon B story. Infection, I give a little slack, since it was so early on. Grail, I never had a problem with it, myself.

I agree, Intersections in Real Time, Believers, and Comes the Inquisitor were all very good at what they were doing, but, they are my most unfavorite to watch, they are painful, because of the very dark subject matter (Comes the Inquisitor being the least diffiult of the 3 to watch, IMHO)
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Old May 15th 07, 20:28   #9
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Re: New vote for worst episode ever: Between the Darkness and the Light

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I agree, Intersections in Real Time, Believers, and Comes the Inquisitor were all very good at what they were doing, but, they are my most unfavorite to watch, they are painful, because of the very dark subject matter (Comes the Inquisitor being the least diffiult of the 3 to watch, IMHO)
Oh, I LOVE Comes the Inquisitor. Sebastian's parting monologue to Sheridan was exquisite. It was delivered with just the right timing/cadence and is oh so chilling.
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Old May 15th 07, 21:29   #10
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Re: New vote for worst episode ever: Between the Darkness and the Light

Back to the episode at hand, I am still a bit surprised at how many people love this episode. I guess I should clarify why I think its one of the worst:

* I think the content / subject matter of the Episode is OK. I'd grade it a "B" I guess on it being core material to the story, some critical things happening, and some big battles.

* I think that the execution of the episode itself is worthy of an "F." Poorly written dialogue, bad direction, and lots of tackiness and cringe scenes means BAD EXECUTION on what was DECENT CONTENT.

Does that make more sense?
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