I'm back to update my 'essentials' list, finish off my reviews for S2, and offer some overall thoughts on the season.
First, an update on my 'essentials' list:
Points of Departure
A Distant Star
The Long Dark
Spider in the Web
A Race through Dark Places
The Coming of Shadows
All Alone in the Night
Acts of Sacrifice
There All the Honor Lies
And Now for a Word
In the Shadow of Z'Ha'Dum
The Long Twilight Struggle
The Fall of Night
Now, my reviews.
This episode proves that, even after 35 (37) episodes, there are still new layers of character to be peeled away. In contrast to his actions in TCoS, Londo does what is right rather than what is easy, and you can see how difficult it is for him. The episode also offers a nice callback to B2 with its 'b' plot, which is a nice counterpoint to the Centauri and Londo
-focused 'a' plot.
Confessions and Lamentations
With the exception of TGoS, this season's previous standalone episodes have dealt with some pretty weighty material, and this ep continues the trend, bringing about a major change in the fabric of the B5 universe and doing it in fine fashion. The episode also really succeeds in upping the ante on the evolving relationship between Delenn and Sheridan, providing both with some great character development.
I really thought going into it that I'd be putting DL on my 'essentials' list and am really disappointed that I can't. The episode's content ought to have been pivotal, but not enough is ultimately dine with its various parts to make the whole work as well as it ought. We aren't shown Ivanova and Talisman making the decision to go to bed together, which robs the later reveal of Talisman being the 'Control' spy of the maximum amount of power it might've had, and the same thing can be said of the reveal's effect on Sheridan, Garibaldi, and Franklin as well.
Like TGoS, DL is a standalone that shouldn't have been a standalone, and ends up falling far short of its potential. It's still a good episode, but isn't as good as it could've been if things had been done just a little differently.
The Long, Twilight Struggle
If Divided Loyalties falls short of its potential, TLTS more than succeeds in avoiding the same fate, offering a fitting and incredibly tense 'pentultimate' exclamation point to the season and once again drawing in numerous past story threads and weaving them into a glorious whole that more than adequately sets the table for things to come and significantly disrupts the status quo of the season and series, doing so in fine fashion.
Comes the Inquisitor
Comes the Inquisitor, like TGoS and DL, is a standalone that ought not to have been a standalone, but where those other eps are standalones either because of their content or the execution of their content, CtI ends up as a standalone because of its placement. The episode really ought to have occurred much earlier in the season, and its placement as the pentultimate ep of the season ends up robbing its content of some of its oomph and strength, which is unfortunate.
One interesting thing about the episode is that, for me, it evoked strong parallels to And the Sky Full of Stars, striking me as being very much for Delenn and Sheridan what the events of AtSFoS were for Sinclair.
The Fall of Night
The Fall of Night felt very much like a direct continuation of TLTS and ought to have directly followed it, but it doesn't suffer in the least from the separation caused by the airing of CtI in between.
As with TLTS, JMS manages to flawlessly and adroitly provide some significant alterations to the status quo of the B5 universe while also tightening the proverbial noose and bringing all of the seasons ongoing story threads together into a single whole just as he did with Chrysalis. However, the one thing that differentiated TFoN from Chrysalis is that TFoN ends with a sense of the main story arc for the season being resolved, whereas Chrysalis ended on a cliffhanger.
Finally, my overall thoughts on the season.
Overall thoughts on S2
Like the second season of BSG, S2 of B5 starts out by resolving story threads that were either set up or left over from the previous season, but also sets up the new story arc for the season. However, after starting out with a lot of momentum, the season stumbles a bit with a standalone ep that should not have been a standalone in The Geometry of Shadows. Fortunately, it quickly regains steam and doesn't stumble again until Divided Loyalties, but again regains steam and finishes incredibly strong despite the misplaced decision to air CtI between TLTS and TFoN.
I'll be back later with reviews of the first four eps of S3.