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Old May 15th 08, 16:17   #61
GKarsEye
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Re: B5 Episodes You Prefer To Skip?

Believers ended perfectly. LOVE that ep, and it's one of the most important ones in the series. I remember when I first started my B5 fanaticism and started cruising the internets about it, a lot of fans credited this episode for getting them into the show. They observed that other sci-fi shows wouldn't end so boldly.

Sure a trial for murder would be immediately emotionally gratifying, but story-wise, the parents leaving the station, still profoundly sad, but with a kind of dignity no one else could understand- what a brilliant emotional punch to the gut. The end of that episode is one of the greatest moments of TV history, and frankly it's sad that not everyone sees it that way.

The only thing I hated about that ep was the kid itself, but children on TV always irritate beyond tolerance (and lest anyone think the mighty GKarsEye is some kind of monster, I do like children IRL).

Also, I love that their words for "mamma" and "dad" was "mamya" and "tatya," or something. Way to be creative.

Ok, back to Intersections, and now I'm gonna blather on, so beware:

The book I'm currently reading begins with a brief history of mid-20th century experiments using electro-shock therapy and sensory deprivation to correct undesirable behavior by wiping out a person's mind and rebuilding it. While destroying a person's mind proved easy enough, the rebuilding part is tricky. Turns out the human mind is way too complicated and delicate to try that.

But this theory was picked up and sponsored by the CIA, who then spread that technique to its allies in Latin America and the middle-east, as victim's accounts and some records verify. It became standard operating procedure for "harsh interrogation situations," (torture) and, when coupled with the promotion of a political ideology, was systematic and especially brutal.

The point is that Intersections taps into this- JMS was probably thinking of Stalinism when writing that ep, but it was pretty common on both sides of the Cold War all over the world. B5 gets points for even bothering with that sort of thing- psychological shock torture is an under-appreciated political and cultural force of the 20th century.

Trekkies would rightly point out that TNG dealt with this first, in the second part of a story about Picard et al infiltrating a secret Cardassian military installation, being captured and tortured by a Cardassian ("there are four lights!"). Like Intersections, it benefited from featuring two wonderful actors- Patrick Stewart, of course, and a wonderful character actor who I believe also played the grail seeker in Grail. Also like Intersections, it dealt with the idea of breaking down a person's mind and identity.

But IMO, Intersections surpasses that TNG ep because the TNG torture doesn't have nearly the kind of impact on that fictional world as Intersections. That is- what did the Cardassians really have to gain by having Picard brainwashed? They were really just using him as a negotiation tool against a rival government. IIRC, the brainwashing was more a personal pet project of the interrogator, who took his failure personally- so much so that he held Picard longer than he was ordered to once the political situation was resolved.

In Intersections, the interrogator specifically makes it clear that this wasn't personal- he is just a cog in the machine, to use a cliche. This was a more of a deliberate, systematic act of a tyrannical government as part of a political campaign to remake a society against the will of the people, made possible with the support of a greater power- a real, common, worldwide phenomenon during the Cold War.

Picard's torture was a consequence of a military/political situation and a rogue jailor- Sheridan's torture was the point of his capture, and that makes it resonate so much more for me.

B5 had some balls sometimes, man. You can't credit the show for subtlety, but frankly sci-fi has no time for that. Believers, Intersections, that evil news report ep- I just love that these episodes are so hated, when they're really pretty bold. They, not the pretty speeches of G'Kar or the bullshit Minbari spirituality or the fancy/cheesy computer graphics are the reason B5 is special. To me, dissing these eps are pretty much dissing the spirit of the series.
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Old May 15th 08, 19:44   #62
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Re: B5 Episodes You Prefer To Skip?

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B5 had some balls sometimes, man. You can't credit the show for subtlety, but frankly sci-fi has no time for that. Believers, Intersections, that evil news report ep- I just love that these episodes are so hated, when they're really pretty bold. They, not the pretty speeches of G'Kar or the bullshit Minbari spirituality or the fancy/cheesy computer graphics are the reason B5 is special. To me, dissing these eps are pretty much dissing the spirit of the series.
Yea my thoughts exactly. While the arc itself is pretty grand and amazing, it was these little "off the beaten path" episodes that made the show great.
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Old May 15th 08, 19:46   #63
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Re: B5 Episodes You Prefer To Skip?

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While destroying a person's mind proved easy enough, the rebuilding part is tricky. Turns out the human mind is way too complicated and delicate to try that.
Yes GKE science fiction makes things like change of personalty look easy to do but the human brain is the most complicated computer of all.It's hard to believe that Talia Winters can simply persuade the serial killer in "The Quality Of Mercy" that he's actually someone else.
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Old May 15th 08, 20:57   #64
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Re: B5 Episodes You Prefer To Skip?

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Yes, they (the parents in Believers) should have ended up on trial for murder.
No, they should not have.

It was always made *very* clear that on board B5, in matters that are completely internal to a particular species it is their own planetary legal system that applies. (In interspecies interactions, things are different. But his was deffinitely "internal" to their species.) It also very clear that under their own laws, those parents had not committed a murder.

Therefore, there is no reason to expect a murder charge in that case.

And every reason for there not to be any such charges. Bringing those charges would completely destroy any kind of legal neutrality of the station and clearly be substituting Earth Alliance law as a standard for everybody else to have to follow.
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Old May 15th 08, 21:32   #65
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Re: B5 Episodes You Prefer To Skip?

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...It's hard to believe that Talia Winters can simply persuade the serial killer in "The Quality Of Mercy" that he's actually someone else.
In "The Quality Of Mercy", Talia was not the one performing the mind wipe. Her job was to scan before and after to verify that the wipe took effect. There was a machine that was going to be used to actually implement the wipe.
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Old May 15th 08, 22:08   #66
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Re: B5 Episodes You Prefer To Skip?

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In "The Quality Of Mercy", Talia was not the one performing the mind wipe. Her job was to scan before and after to verify that the wipe took effect. There was a machine that was going to be used to actually implement the wipe.
I see.I thought that she was supposed to do it.It's even harder to believe that a machine is capable of messing with someone's mind that way.
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Old May 15th 08, 22:51   #67
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Re: B5 Episodes You Prefer To Skip?

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I see.I thought that she was supposed to do it.It's even harder to believe that a machine is capable of messing with someone's mind that way.
Well, I think you are more correct than VL is....

Talia was supposed to verify that the mind wipe occurred, that was all. Her job was to scan before, and after, and ensure it was done.

However, she was not the telepath who would end up doing the mindwipe. I'm sure it was some P12+ member of the PsiCorp (or a couple of them together) that would do the job...but it was never mentioned who.

I'm not sure where VL got the idea about a machine doing the wipe...I don't think that was ever hinted at anywhere. Throughout the series and novels more powerful telepaths were the ones doing such things. I don't think a machine COULD be programmed to do that...it has to be a "natural" skill that a telepath develops (brain to brain).
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Old May 15th 08, 23:20   #68
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Re: B5 Episodes You Prefer To Skip?

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I'm not sure where VL got the idea about a machine doing the wipe...I don't think that was ever hinted at anywhere. Throughout the series and novels more powerful telepaths were the ones doing such things. I don't think a machine COULD be programmed to do that...it has to be a "natural" skill that a telepath develops (brain to brain).
I got it from Dr Franklin, who has this exchange with Garibaldi:

Franklin: "When does he get wiped?"

Garibaldi: "Midnight tomorrow."

Franklin: "I'll have to check over the equipment, make sure the process is painless."

Garibaldi: "Do me a favor: don't check too close. If there's a little pain, I won't mind."

Franklin: "I'll pretend I didn't hear that."

Garibaldi: "Look, he iced one of my best men. He had a family, two kids, on the edge of getting promoted... it's not right."

Franklin: "And this is right?"

Garibaldi: "It's the law."

Franklin: "That's not what I asked. I'll take care of the machine, Mr Garibaldi. I assume you will arrange for someone to throw the switch?"

Garibaldi: "I've got volunteers backed up twelve deep."

Franklin: "More's the pity."
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Old May 15th 08, 23:26   #69
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Re: B5 Episodes You Prefer To Skip?

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No, they should not have.

It was always made *very* clear that on board B5, in matters that are completely internal to a particular species it is their own planetary legal system that applies. (In interspecies interactions, things are different. But his was deffinitely "internal" to their species.) It also very clear that under their own laws, those parents had not committed a murder.

Therefore, there is no reason to expect a murder charge in that case.

And every reason for there not to be any such charges. Bringing those charges would completely destroy any kind of legal neutrality of the station and clearly be substituting Earth Alliance law as a standard for everybody else to have to follow.
That is not true at all. The only time that "internal species" law applies is when you are under diplomatic immunity. The parents were not and therefore they were under the same jurisdictions as the rest of the residents of B5. It's no different than an alien living on Earth, they don't live here and operate under their laws, they live on Earth and are subject to their laws.
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Old May 15th 08, 23:36   #70
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Re: B5 Episodes You Prefer To Skip?

But Sinclair specifically said that in the episode, when Franklin came to him for intervention in the case.

It wasn't like they killed someone else's child. They followed their own rules "internally" as has been said. Sinclair would not interfere, as doing so would invalidate a great deal of what Babylon 5 was set out to do.
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