^ Even if you know the eventual outcome of something, it's still fun to be able to see how that outcome is reached, which is, for me, one of the things that makes Season 5 so enjoyable. Most of its major story threads are things that were set up in previous seasons, and the fun is in getting to see how the events that were foreshadowed end up coming to pass. I actually wish there was a way for JMS to have included more glimpses at future happenings in the B5 universe during the season, but wrapping up what's already been set up needed to be and rightly was more important.
I decided to add my next set of reviews to this post.
The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father
I've come to the conclusion that Alfred Bester is the Babylon 5 equivalent to Spike. JMS clearly meant for us as an audience to hate Bester just as audiences were supposed to root against Spike, but in both cases, the actors involved (Walter Koenig and James Marsters, respectively) made the characters so compelling that things backfired and they became fan-favorites despite doing rather despicable things.
I got the sense while watching this episode that the Psi Corps are really victims of their own hatred. They do serve a rather vital purpose, but have let themselves become as bigoted in some ways as the people who persecute them.
I mentioned in a previous post that the telepath story arc was about bigotry, and it is that theme that makes this episode work very well as the epilogue to that arc, since it pretty much sums up everything that Byron was trying to teach his group. I also realized that the episode also serves to really drive home the symbolism inherent in the relationship that developed between Talia and Ivanova since, whether they consciously realized it or not, what they had was a complete rejection of the bigotry and hatred that had twisted the Corps and their mission.
Meditations on the Abyss
This episode struck me as being very much a series of character development moments strung together - loosely - by the ongoing crisis involving the attacks on Alliance shipping lanes.
The episode is also really the first one that I can think of that is focused primarily on Vir and Lennier.
I got a major kick out of Vir standing up for himself and his forthcoming position as Ambassador by grabbing Londo's coutari and trashing the Drazi fruit-seller's stand, as much because of Londo and Zack's reactions as because of Stephen Furst's performance.
Despite the scene at the beginning between him and Delenn, this episode really isn't about Lennier looking for information. It's about him and Findell having a 'Learning Curve' moment, and really felt like a spiritual sequel to that particular episode, which I thought was neat.
This ep, like the previous one, felt very much like a series of character development moments strung together by the shipping lane crisis, although there's a tighter sense of interconnectivity with regards to the latter arc in this ep than in the last.
One of the things that makes the relationship between Sheridan and Delenn work so well is that they really are more alike than I thnk even they realize, something that is really driven home in this episode. I got a major kick out of Delenn derailing Sheridan's angry rant by agreeing that she shouldn't have gone behind his back and sent Lennier out on a fact-finding mission.
Speaking of, I didn't find the particulars of Lennier undertaking said mission to be as compelling as they should've been given their story significance, and I'm not sure why.
I liked seeing Lise again, and her lecturing Garibaldi about his growing alcohol problem was great.
Beyond the Sheridan and Delenn relationship stuff, my favorite part of the episode was Lyta's interactions with G'Kar. There is a major sense of chemistry between Patricia Tallman and Andreas Katsulas that I don't think you truly got to appreciate in their scene together in the original pilot, but that is more than in evidence in this ep. U particularly enjoyed the scene where G'Kar tests her integrity and her moral limits.
And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder
I've said it before, but JMS really knows how to up the ante, and he once again proves it with this episode.
There's so much stuff going on here that it's hard to figure our what to talk about, so I've picked out three things:
1) I loved the way the episode's beginning is structured. The overlap of the Council meeting's beginning with scenes that have nothing to do with it was a brilliant stylistic decision and kudos need to be given to whomever came up with the idea.
2) Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas really stole the show with their performances, Peter especially. Londo's statements in front of the Council are really powerful and help to remind the audience of just how good a statesman he is. I also loved the scene where G'Kar tells Londo that he won't testify before the Council and the scene where he tells Delenn that he's going back to Centauri Prime with Londo. I also got a major kick out of the scene where Londo dares the Minister to throw him in a cell alongside G'Kar, and thought it was hilarious when the minister called his bluff.
3) I loved Franklin sticking his neck out there to protect Vir.