I like the rough edges, the hesitations, the stumbles. In editing 402 the other day, there's several takes to choose from in a particular scene, but I picked the one where the actor slightly stumbled over the line, because it was at the heat of the moment, and in that kind of situation, we all get flustered. It made it feel more real.
Love this bunch of eps, but I have one quibble- isn't it kind of surprising that G'Kar risks life and limb to go on a needle-in-a-haystack search for Garibaldi? This is the kind of thing one would do for a loved one or something, but I never fealt that G'Kar and Garibaldi were that close.
I was also reminded of Tolkien's words in his lecture "On Fairy-Stories", speaking of the derogatory usage many literature critics have for "escapist reading":A prisoner of war can legitimately try to escape from his captors. It is even considered by some that prisoners of war have a moral obligation to try to escape...
We have several examples of prisoners in the episode, with varying reactions: Sheridan is trying to hang onto life and get away from Z'ha'dum; G'Kar is sitting rather quietly in his cell; Garibaldi is trying to escape by aggressively attacking his cell, unsuccessfully so. The depth of thought that is conveyed in this aspect of the story is stupendous.Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and walk home?
Both Lorien and Sheridan are "in between", between tick and tock, life and death. That idea comes up repeatedly in this part of the saga.In the beginning was the word...
I think there are different ways of looking at what Sheridan went through. First there is the symbolism – Sheridan has to come back as someone different, changed, to be able to end the Shadow War, so to be reborn he has to die first. I also think it is partly a test of Sheridan, quite similar to the test Sebastian puts him under in Comes the Inquisitor – and I don't think it is a coincidence that Wayne Alexander played both characters. Lorien isn't going to waste his time with any dumb schmuck who falls down that hole – he wants to know if Sheridan is the right person. Who is he? Why should he live? Delenn gives him a reason to live, just as he was willing to sacrifice himself to save Delenn in Comes the Inquisitor. Maybe there is also a practical aspect – Lorien admitted that it might not work, so maybe he needs Sheridan to meet him halfway somehow and have the willpower to stay alive, to have something worth living for.
It is interesting comparing these episodes to Deep Space Nine. The first six episodes of B5 season 4 were airing at the same time as the first six episodes of DS9 season six, and both were essentially six episode arcs. I think both moved quite slowly to begin with, but while DS9 meandered until it reached Sacrifice of Angels, B5 was very purposeful in these first six episodes, there is not a scene wasted.