I'm back to close out my reviews.
Objects at Rest
This will more than likely put me in the minority, but I actually think this episode would have been a much more fitting series finale than Sleeping in Light (something that I will explain in my review for that episode below).
One of the things I liked best about this episode is that it offered both a sense of things ending and things continuing to go on that feels very appropriate to the story that JMS is trying to tell. There is also a greater sense of immediate closure in that the episode features the greater majority of the characters who have had prominent roles in both the series as a whole and Season 5 in particular.
There is also something incredibly powerful and poignant about the two 'farewells' that Sheridan delivers in this episode, the first being his saluted farewell to Babylon 5 and the second being his 'farewell' advice recording for his son or daughter. The series could very easily have ended on the latter, and there would have still very much been a sense of completion about the whole thing.
If there's one complaint I have about the episode, it is that there wasn't a flashback to Day of the Dead and Morden telling Lennier that he would betray the Rangers. It would've made his decision not to help Sheridan more impactful, IMO.
Sleeping in Light
I said above that I think, in some ways, that Objects at Rest would've been a much more fitting series finale than this episode, and said that I'd explain myself in more detail, so here we go:
While I understand what JMS was trying to do in concluding the series with this episode, I also feel that, for as much closure as this episode provides, it doesn't provide as full a sense of closure as it might've, primarily because there is absolutely no mention made whatsoever of a character who had an incredible amount of importance and significance to the series' final season, that of course being Captain Elizabeth Lochley.
JMS says that, after shooting SiL, he tabled work on the episode until just prior to the time that he had to finally turn it into Warner Bros., which means that there would have been more than enough time to do a small rewrite and reshoot on the episode to include some mention of Lochley, even if, as he claims, they were contractually obligated to use a credits sequence for the episode that reflected the cast as it was when the episode was originally shot at the conclusion of Season 4. Because Lochley is basically forgotten about, the episode doesn't provide the same amount of closure that it might've otherwise, and thus feels somewhat empty and incomplete.
It is rather unfortunate that there is this sense of things being not quite as complete as they might've been, because the episode itself is full of some incredibly powerful and poignant moments, from Sheridan and Delenn's final goodbye to Ivanova mentioning Marcus' name for the first time in a long time to the image of Delenn sitting on her balcony on Minbar watching the sun rise and reaching up towards the light to the image of Sheridan passing into said light with Lorien.
Overall thoughts on Season 5
As I've previously mentioned, I consider Season 5 to be the best season of the series, and one that, for the most part, succeeds in presenting a fitting conclusion and farewell to the universe of Babylon 5 and its characters while also offering a sense of things going on and the story not being entirely told, which is fitting given JMS' theatrical background and his skills as a storyteller.
Season 5 isn't just about bringing things to their conclusion, though, and JMS more than succeeds in giving us enough new storyline material to make us care about what's happening even as he's simultaneously wrapping things up. If I was forced to pick a favorite story arc out of the two featured in the season, I think it would ultimately be the Byron/telepath/Lyta arc (despite Londo Mollari being my favorite character in the series) simply because of the fact that it explores the theme of bigotry and is a much more character-driven and character-centric storyline than the Centauri/Drakh story arc, although the latter is ultimately of more import to the overall future of the B5 universe in some respects.
In closing my thoughts on the season, I'd like to finish up my 'essentials' list:
The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari
The Paragon of Animals
Secrets of the Soul
Day of the Dead
In the Kingdom of the Blind
A Tragedy of Telepaths
The Ragged Edge
The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father
Meditations on the Abyss
And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder
Movements of Fire and Shadow
The Fall of Centauri Prime
The Wheel of Fire
Objects in Motion
Objects at Rest
Sleeping in Light
Final thoughts on the series
I first discovered Babylon 5 around 2002 and was immediately hooked on it from the beginning. I recognized in the series something that I would only truly find in three other series (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Battlestar Galactica) a sense of fun and wonder that transcended the television medium to become something more than just a television show. Although the series never reached the same heights of overall critical acclaim that BtVS and BSG did, it joins those two series in standing the test of time and continuing to fascinate and entertain audiences long after their official conclusion.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that, without Babylon 5, BtVS and BSG (as well as other series such as Heroes Lost, and Smallville) would most likely never have existed at all.
With my reviews of the series' 5 seasons completed, I'd like to now ask people to answer the following set of questions:
Who is/are your favorite character(s)?
What is/are your favorite season(s) of the series?
What is/are your favorite episode(s) of the series?
What are your favorite quotes from the series (one or two from each season)?
What is the one story arc or plot thread you would have liked to have had more information on?