A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by TheGodBen, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    It wasn't just to bring in Jack to fill in the episode; there's also a counterpoint Joe was going for here by showing us the Vorlons' version of Morden.
     
  2. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Would you believe I never noticed that? But that really fits in perfectly with Morden's backstory, revealed in the novels.
    The Vorlons' servant is a murderer, fanatic and sadist who they kidnapped and forced to serve them, while the Shadows' have a family man, who joined them willingly when they offered to end the suffering of his wife and child who had been trapped in the moment between life and death thanks to being the victims of a terrorist bombing of a jumpgate. I wonder if JMS had it worked out that that was Morden's backstory, and what his necklace meant, or if it was just a random bit of character dressing and Jeanne Cavelos tied it all together with a backstory of her own design later on.
     
  3. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sebastian as the Vorlon Morden seemed obvious to me from the start, actually. They're both humans who are being used to state the case for very non-human species; intermediaries who, in being allowed to be human, get far more dialogue, but also give us a very good sense as to what the elder races are really all about, in some sense. They're pretty handy narrative tools.

    Though Jack, eh. As I spoiler coded earlier upthread, I felt Torquemada would have been a better pick. Or, and let's be obvious, a Crusader! - Peter the Hermit seems an appropriately fervent example.

    Yeah, like Star Wars, where nobody ever doubts Luke's abilities, and nobody ever challenges his preconceptions, and... wait...

    Look, I like "Comes the Inquisitor", a lot, but the mentor -in this case the Vorlons - saying, 'ah-ha, this is the deep inner truth about goodness you must learn!' isn't wonderfully original or even semi-original.

    Wasn't he
    The Drakh, the 'shadow of a shadow'?

    That was pretty hammy.
     
  4. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ...but he was also Lorien and the Drazi con man who tried to guilt Sheridan into signing the false confession in "Intersections in Real Time." And, checking IMDB, he was the voice of the souls in "River of Souls" and a Narn in "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place," which I have no memory of him being in.
     
  5. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    Kegg please read what I posted, again. I said "in so many cases", not "every case". It has happened often enough to establish a strong trend, to the point where this is unusual. Regardless of how unoriginal you think this plot may be, the focus upon examination of and introspection by the heroes makes for an interesting story if handled well. Obviously, I and several others feel it is.


    David,
    He was named G'Dan and is the Narn with whom G'Kar first speaks upon his arrival on Narn in that episode. They meet in a bunker of some sort, looking out at the wasteland Narn has become
     
  6. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah. And I was citing Star Wars to make the point that that isn't even true for many cases, or is at at all typical. Honestly, I can think of more examples of stories where the hero's notions need to be challenged than are accepted uncritically (though then we may wind up arguing a bit over what that means, say, Avatar assumes outright that Jake Sully must take the hero mantle, but he's got a world-redefining arc on par with what Sebastian hammers home.)

    I've picked the episode as one of my best for the season, so I think it can be guessed where I fall on this issue. I sure as hell don't credit it originality (this is B5), but I do credit it with working.
     
  7. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I was raised from a young age by a family of vampires, so I like to count things. With Babylon 5 I'm counting the number actors from Star Trek that show up, and I've decided to claim that they're all Scott Bakula. Why Scott Bakula? So that I can count the number of people who ask me what the Scott Bakula counter is about. Speaking of which.

    Scott Bakula?!: 4

    Yes, over-writing! I've had a nagging feeling about some of the scenes in this show but couldn't think of a way to describe it, but over-writing sums it up well. I don't know what it means exactly, but it sounds like it fits the problem, and it was definitely a problem in this episode.

    I didn't assign a lower score because he was Jack the Ripper, if Sebastian had struck me as a good, charismatic character then he could have been Mother Teresa for all I cared, I still would have enjoyed his presence. But the problem I had was that all he did was talk and talk and shout and talk and shock and expel magic fire from his pimp stick. Oh, and then he gave a very boring revelation. Most hero characters in genre shows are the type that would sacrifice themselves for one other, the fact that Delenn and Sheridan fit this mould too does not justify the time I felt was wasted on electro-shocks. Making him Jack the Ripper only compounded the problem because it was supposed to be an interesting revelation and all I could think was "Get off the screen, you wanker!"


    Oh, I just watched the season finale. I'll talk about it tomorrow. :whistle:
     
  8. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So my guess was right, stupid joke.

    Gotcha:bolian:
     
  9. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I do. Originality is not just in plot elements (B5 does have originality there), but in how those elements are used and how the story unspools. Does it play like everything else that has come along, or does it definitely establish it's own identity and character?

    Babylon 5 is chock FULL of originality, especially in that regard.

    It would not have made the impact it did, if it was just another retread space opera.
     
  10. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You only think it's stupid because you fell for it. ;) It's not really stupid, it's esoteric. :shifty:


    The Fall of Night (***)


    Where to begin? Well, how about the beginning? The episode starts off interestingly enough with the Centauri deciding to push into space controlled by non-aligned worlds, an event which forces Earth to respond. This causes Sheridan to be optimistic about the Earth government for the first time in months, so clearly this is going to end is huge disappointment for him. Oh, and look, it does! :D Earth doesn't want to stop the Centauri, they just want to stop the Centauri from attacking them, so they're willing to sell out the non-aligned worlds. It's an understandable position for a race which was almost wiped out in their last major conflict, but it's a pity that Sheridan so overplayed his optimism that this reveal became so inevitable.

    Things are complicated when a Narn ship shows up asking for aid so they can get back to fighting the Centauri, and Sheridan decides to help them for obvious reasons. This is the best part of the show, the stand-off between Sheridan and Minister Lantz is good, but even better is the stand-off between Sheridan and the Centauri ship, you really get the sense that these two powers are on the precipice of war, an event which seems inevitable once the Centauri ship explodes. Once again, Sheridan is forced to choose between his principles and his government when he is forced to give an apology.

    But on the way to the apology ceremony, a disgruntled Centauri decides to blow Sheridan up real good, which must have been very hastily planned considering it was only, what, 2 or 3 hours since the event? Luckily, Sheridan does his best action hero move and jumps out of the moving train leaving the explosion behind him, but now he is going to very slowly "fall" to his death. But before that can happen Kosh decides to intervene and reveals that he is... an angel!

































































    :guffaw:

    A frickin angel?! Not a hot blonde chick in a skimpy red dress, but an actual angel, with wings and everything. This is one of the silliest things I've ever seen.

    Talk about your deus ex machina. Did the apology ceremony not happen because an angel showed up? Did EarthGov say "Sorry Mr Centauri Emperor sir, Sheridan can't apologise today because he was touched by an angel. lol." Did the Centauri say "Even though our ambassador didn't see an angel, we have decided to cancel the apology ceremony because our Joint Military Staff told us to. lol."

    A frickin angel. :lol:

    Oh, and now there is video footage of a Shadow ship, so I guess they're going to act soon? I just hope those guys don't end up being demons.
     
  11. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well...something extraordinary did happen. If an "angel" (stay tuned) did appear, fo sho...think people would just shrug and go about?

    Not to mention that explosion thing.

    Safe to say, schedules were probably rearranged a bit.
     
  12. AdmiralGarak

    AdmiralGarak Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm guessing the apology ceremony went about like this--

    Ambassador: "Captain! Tell us about the angel!"
    Sheridan: "First, I really should apologize."
    Ambassador: "For what?"
    Sheridan: "The Centauri incident."
    Ambassador: "The Centauri did something to the angel!?"
    Sheridan: "No, I mean the earlier thing."
    Ambassador: "Oh, that? There's a fucking angel here! For god's sake, man! We don't care about that apology business anymore!"
    Sheridan: "Oh... I'm sorry."
    Ambassador: "We don't care!"
     
  13. Can

    Can Commander Red Shirt

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    I like the Inquisitor episode. Yeah sure it can be viewed as a ultra hammy , well dressed powerful evil alien episode initially. But one thing JMS does in B5 is reminding that he is not just writing for audience he is also writing and exploring the character , events and structure of B5 universe within the story itself. For us sci-fi veterans this is cliched overacted god-like alien episode maybe. ( I remember some drew parallels between Sebastian and Q ) But these characters have doubts , weak points , unexplored depths and limits. Inquisitor reminds us that these characters are right person for the coming crisis and decent for the moment. It should have been cleared from Vorlon's and and other characters point of view. Sheridan and Delenn are taking serious responsibilities.

    "The Fall of Night" is our entrance to next phase in Babylon 5 story. Just like nothing is same anymore at the end of Season 1 now nothing is same either. Sheridan took a big step in defying the established policy of his goverment. Night Watch is becoming more active. G'kar still organizing resistance of his homeworld. ( I love how he tries to hide in bushes lol ) Londo is at dark side now. He is isolated in every sense because of his actions and his goverment's. And angel part is nothing like it seems initially...Just like everything else.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2010
  14. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    I'm trying to decide how much to say here. I suppose I'll just say, what the characters see is not necessarily intended to be the objective reality from the viewer's perspective.
     
  15. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    I always thought it was interesting that Londo didn't see anything, I wonder what he really saw.
     
  16. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    I loved this episode the first time I saw it a couple years ago, and I still think it's great. I especially liked the little Jack the Ripper twist at the end. I wasn't expecting it, and I thought it was neat.

    B5 is awesome at this type of storytelling. When shit happens, it affected the entire landscape, and there an be no going back.
     
  17. flavaflav

    flavaflav Captain Captain

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    The biggest complaint I have with "The Fall of Night" is the terrible effect of Sheridan slowly falling from the train. it just looks horrible. The deus ex machina angel ending I didn't mind since it actually worked for this episode. It works in the same way the Worm Hole Aliens in DS9 save the entire Federation by gobbeling up all the Dominion ships and cutting off access to the Alpha Quadrant. Corny to an extent, yet done in a believable way that helps to progress the story.
     
  18. OdoWanKenobi

    OdoWanKenobi Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly what he said: nothing. Each person saw their own version of a divine power. Londo believes in no such deity, therefore he saw nothing.
     
  19. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, to be perfectly accurate, he just saw a blinding blob of golden light, with no defined form. It didn't look to him like Sheridan just suddenly started flying under his own power and gently landed on the ground.
     
  20. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Come to think of it, was Garibaldi there when Kosh made his appearance? We know he's an atheist, so what did he see?