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EpDis: The Long Night

Shadow Dancing

  • B -- Good

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  • C -- Average

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  • D -- Poor

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  • F -- Failure

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Another great episode. As aajay says, it was a shame to see such a great character go, but at least he went in style ;) It was also quite a shock that it was Vir who finally did the deed.

I remember a poll some time ago (probably a few years) about "best death", this was the one I voted for.
Another A in a long series of As. Vir surprises us in a wonderful done scene, and the Erickson deal was very well done and somehow caused me to care about a character that was just introduced moments ago. JMS made the right call showing nothing but Sheridan listening to the audio when the sacrifice is made.
^ And Ericsson's prize for self-sacrifice? To come back as Malcolm's dad! :D

Great episode this. One of my favourites. The plotting to bring down the Emperor is so Roman Empire-esq. :)

And Wortham Krimmer I thought was superb throughout. One of the best actors of B5, IMO. Great job of this Caligula cameo.
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Gotta agree with Elipsis on this on, Vir's scene was quite possibly one of his finest.
This episode is very moving in several ways. The Ericsson part of the story is well written and acted, showing one of the tough decisions that must be made. The lives of a few must be lost to save many others. The most poignant parts of the dialogues are those between the lines.

In the first scene on Narn homeworld, I couldn't help wondering - where did Londo find Centauri allies he could trust in order to include them in the conspiracy?!

G'Kar continues to evoke Biblical associations; the reference to the eye being plucked out because it offended comes from one of the Gospels and refers to temptation in the original context. The image of him carrying that yoke definitely reminds me of Christ, carrying the cross, stumbling under its weight. And his breaking the chains could well be an echo of the story of Samson in the Old Testament, who breaks the pillars to which he is chained and takes numerous of his enemies with him in dying.

Having Vir being the assassin is a surprise element! JMS said that the character insisted on taking that task, and he, as the author, listened.

The "in the middle" theme continues with Sheridan's remark about being caught between the two races who are fighting each other with no regard for the fate of the younger races.
Wow, I'm surprised there's not more posts here ... Is everyone just too blown away to comment? Or is it just that it's a great episode in a series of great episodes? I think this one is really great. It feels like the deep breath before the plunge. The baroque lighting, especially in the Centauri bits adds to the drama quite a bit ...

"Giants in the playground" does sum up the Vorlon/Shadow situation pretty well ..

I like that conversation between Ivanova and Sheridan where she asks him to promise her he won't hold her back. It reminds me of what a tragic character Ivanova really is. I don't think I could properly appreciate that when I was younger. It's such a damn shame we didn't get to see the rest of her planned story.

I would really like to know who all those Centauri are in the secret meeting with Londo. Is that just what is left of the Centauri government? It's so obvious to everyone that they need to do something about the Cartagia situation that they're all on board with this thing? I love how dark and red all these scenes are.

The whole assassination bit is great. Cartagia's outrage, Londo sort of starting to freak out to the point where he tells Cartagia to be quiet, and then Vir having to do the deed. I like how Cartagia's dying words are "No .. I was to to be a god, you understand!

You'd think that drunk Vir would be funny, but it really is just tragic. I love the conversation he has with Londo where Londo tells him he envies his innocence.

That scene where Ranger Ericsson gets ordered to his death is .. interesting. Sheridan clearly made this plan, which includes someone having to die, but he can't quite say it out loud. That makes for the awkward situation where Ericsson is all "don't worry, we won't let it fall into the wrong hands" and everyone in the room shuffles their feet and looks down. There's a lot of self sacrifice in Babylon 5, but I think this is the first time someone gets ordered to their death by someone else. Alas, poor Ericsson.

Incidentally, what is it that Ericsson says at the end of the conversation? It sounds like "Iszil z'ha veni", but I think other characters have said "Enthil z'ha veni" (guessing at spelling again) in other episodes. I know what iszil z'ha and enthil z'ha mean, but what is "veni" ?

I love the ending of this episode, with the largest fleet ever departs to meet their fate at Coriana VI...
Yes, it's Isil'zha, veni. Isil'zha means 'the future', as seen in "In the Beginning" and JMS once posted that the name of the Ranger pin is also Isil'zha. In 'Learning Curve', Turval and Durhan say "Entil-zha, veni" to Delenn so it seems like 'veni' may be a term of respect?

There's also a conversation between Marcus and Franklin in "A Late Delivery From Avalon", where Franklin asks Marcus about the ranger pin, and Marcus says the Minbari call the jewel in the center "iszil z'ah" or "the future" so clearly JMS has been consistent with that :)

In "Grey 17 is Missing", when Neroon is about to smash in Marcus' head, Marcus says what sounds like "Iszil z'ha senti". This is from memory (well, I watched it last week), and Google isn't confirming, so I'm not sure .. But it definitely wasn't "veni" that time.

I'm just really curious if either of these have an actual meaning, or just more of a general meaning, or maybe they just sounded cool :p
In Grey 17 Marcus says, "We live for the One...we die for the One...isil-zha, sendi...in Valen's name."

Just for fun I put the words into Google Translate and let it detect the language:

Sendi='send' in Esperanto
Veni = 'come' in Romanian
Isil'zha doesn't tranlsate

I found this post from JMS:
Zha is the usual reference for the future, whose meaning changes
depending on whether it's a suffix or a prefix, and what it's up
against. Isil-zha usually means change, changing the future, coming of
a new age; entil-zha is the one who creates or guides the forces
creating the future; and z'ha'dum (with the broken zha) is the death of
the future, or the dark future.

Ah yes, of course "sendi" with a d, not "senti". Sounds much nicer! Too bad the meaning must remain a mystery.

I guess I've been spelling all my "zha"s like the broken ones in Z'ha'Dum, but that's clearly wrong based on that quote from JMS.

That must also mean that everyone is using the Minbari name for that planet. Interesting!
Having seen these episodes so many times, you start to notice the little things after your umpteenth viewing.

Those Narn fireworks seem pretty heavy duty, like incendiary devices going off right outside the window!

The Shadow planet killer missiles burrow down "10 miles, 20 miles, nearly to the core of the planet" - how small is this planet!? Mini-planets aside, the Shadow planet killers are pretty terrifying. I believe Harlan Ellison came up with the idea for them.

For some reason we can hear the sounds of the space battle on the audio recording at the end.

The structure of this episode is interesting. The first half focuses mostly on the Centauri plot, leading up to the death of Cartagia. The second half is the Ericsson plot. It makes the episode feel a little uneven. Still good stuff though. Poor Vir.

Love the reading of Tennyson at the end.

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