Re-watching Babylon 5 (* SPOILERS *)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by DigificWriter, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Location:
    Gov Kodos on Mohammed's Radio, WZVN Boston
    She was in Voyager, the Doc's Beowulf Holodeck episode, Heroes and Demons. She isn't an actor who leaps off the screen to me, but I can easily imagine seeing her in a role and be bothered thinking I've seen her in something. If I didn't watch so much Babylon 5, I'd be hard pressed to remember her name from one role to the next.
     
  2. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Location:
    UK
    ^I think I spotted her in Quantum Leap and I think she was in a very cheep looking show way back when on the Sci-Fi Channel. I think it was called Star Rangers, or something equally as cheesy.
     
  3. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Location:
    Gov Kodos on Mohammed's Radio, WZVN Boston
    Her filmography at wiki says you are spot on. She was on a number of sci-fi shows in the 90's according to that, so I can see someone around here getting a familiar feeling from her face.
     
  4. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Location:
    ...is insane. --JMS
    Happy 20th 'birthday' to Babylon 5! Today marks 20 years since the first frame of film was shot for "The Gathering". JMS wrote:

    JMS wrote this post about the day: http://jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-7455&topic=Spiderman
    "

    Huge thanks to everyone who contributed to this show. It's brought many, many people many hours of entertainment, helped form communities and even encouraged some good things to happen in the real world.

    Jan
     
  5. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    I'm back with more reviews.

    Rumors, Bargains, and Lies
    A good alternate title for this episode would've been Manipulations, because that's precisely what this episode is about. From Sheridan cannily manipulating the League of Non-Aligned Worlds into doing exactly what he wants them to do to Delenn manipulating Neroon and Neroon manipulating Shakiri, there's a lot of manipulation going on in this episode.

    The 'b' plot involving the Religious caste sinking to the low of actually conspiring to undermine Delenn and take their own lives and the lives of everyone else is also great, although it's not great in and of itself but because of the character development it allows JMS to put Lennier through. The episode really hammers home both Lennier's loyalty to Delenn and his willingness to lie to protect her and others, even if there's no real profit in doing so.

    Moments of Transition
    JMS and Walter Koenig once again prove that Alfred Bester is one smarmy bastard, although I did feel that JMS once again tried a bit too hard to let the audience see that there was more to what Bester was doing than meets the eye. I think it's pretty obvious by this stage that Bester never does anything straightforward, and we really don't need to have him reminding us of that.

    This is the episode that officially made me like Neroon; I thought the character was interesting and likeable, even if his positions put him at odds with either Sheridan or Delenn, but this was the first episode - ironically also the character's last episode - that I really saw just how noble of an individual he was. His completely unsolicited gesture of sacrifice was extremely poignant, and John Vickery played the moment perfectly. I also really liked the symbolism inherent in the Starfire Wheel ritual, as well as in Delenn reforming the Grey Council, particularly since, as we found out in Atonement, she carries a piece of Valen - the original founder of the Grey Council - in her DNA. With her having reformed the Council, she's effectively become 'Valen returned' for her people, which I think is a neat bit of symmetry.

    Although Talia Winters is still my favorite of the two main telepath characters in the series, I also love Lyta Alexander, and this episode really gives her something to do besides just being a pawn in other people's schemes. Even if it's not the way she would've wanted to do things, she's now taken control of her own life back, and I like that. It would've been nice to have gotten to see her actually get to work for Garibaldi once before William Edgars forced him to pull the plug on their relationship, but I digress.

    No Surrender, No Retreat
    This episode really reminded me of the Pegasus arc from Battlestar Galactica (Pegasus and Resurrection Ship Parts 1 and 2), with Sheridan having to go up against members of Earthforce the same way that circumstances forced Adama to take a stand against Cain.

    I think my absolute favorite part of the episode was the lengthy conversation between Londo and G'Kar. Over the course of a single scene, JMS, Peter Jurasik, and Andreas Katsulas encapsulated the entire complicated and tumultuous relationship between these two particular characters, and did so in brilliant fashion. What makes the scene even more powerful is that, despite Londo saying that he and G'Kar will never be friends and G'Kar being incredibly hostile and standoffish, we as an audience know that the relationship between these two will eventually evolve to the point where Londo is able to call G'Kar 'my old friend'. The bookend to the scene where G'Kar comes and has a drink while Londo is also drinking and telling him that he'll sign the mutual support agreement is also brilliantly written and acted and is also enhanced by what we as an audience know is eventually in store for these two characters as far as their relationship is concerned.

    The Excercise of Vital Powers
    I really don't like William Edgars; the guy is too self-assured for his own good and is just as much of a megalomaniac as President Clark is. He also doesn't have the charisma that somebody like Alfred Bester, who's also somewhat of a megalomaniac, to make you like him even though you're supposed to hate him.

    I understand what JMS is trying to do by associating Garibaldi with a guy like Edgars, but there are so many red flags going up as Edgars draws Garibaldi into his net that seeing Garibaldi slowly let himself be drawn into said net really doesn't do his character a whole lot of favors because not only does it make him rather unlikeable, it also makes him look rather stupid since it's clear he's being played and yet he doesn't seem to see that he's being played.

    I love seeing JMS put characters into situations where they have to do things that are clearly against their moral fiber, and he and Richard Biggs hit one out of the park in this episode with the 'b' plot involving Franklin finally making some headway with the telepaths rescued from the 'ship of tears' - thanks to some help from Lyta - only to find out that the reason Sheridan wants him to make said headway puts him in an extremely uncomfortable position. The scene towards the end of the episode where he and Lyta are in the hallway outside MedLab is brilliantly written and acted.

    I really liked this batch of episodes as a whole, because they really mark the 'coming together' of the various storylines that JMS has been setting up since Epiphanies and start to put us into the 'home stretch' as far as the season's second-half narrative is concerned.

    ***

    I'll be back later with reviews of episodes 17 through 20.
     
  6. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2000
    Location:
    New Zealand
    And happy birthday Claudia Christian!
     
  7. USS Fardell

    USS Fardell Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2001
    Location:
    Australia
    He probably saw her on the Voyager episode.
     
  8. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    I honestly swear that Marjorie Monaghan has been the lead in something that I've seen, but I don't recall having seen her in any of the stuff that her filmography indicates she has been in outside of B5, so she must just remind me of someone else.

    I said that I was only going to review episodes 17 through 20 in this batch, but decided that, because I had the momentum, I'd just watch the remainder of the season in one fell swoop.

    The Face of the Enemy
    In the commentary track attached to this episode on the S4 DVDs, JMS talks about Garibaldi as being a 'judas'-esque figure for this episode, and while I certainly see the comparison, I don't really know if it was necessary to bring things to this point in terms of Garibaldi's character. I think there are other ways that JMS could've handled Garibaldi's character arc throughout Season 4 that would've still accomplished the 'end goal'. Dovetailing his sleeper agent arc with the capture of Sheridan felt rather unnecessary to me, and felt like a blatant attempt to make Garibaldi a wholly unlikeable character for the sole purpose of being able to 'rehabilitate' him in the future.

    The best parts of this episode for me were the portions involving Franklin, Lyta, and Number One, because, as JMS points out in the commentary, there's a rather strong physical resemblance between Marjorie Monaghan and Patricia Tallman; I would also argue that there's a very strong resemblance between the two in terms of their characters, as both are very strong-willed women whose strong-willed nature is very much on display in their scenes together.

    The final scenes between Bester and Garibaldi where Bester puts all of the pieces into place and basically gloats about having played Garibaldi like a well-tuned fiddle work primarily because of Walter Koenig's performance; he was incredibly well-suited for the role of Bester because he's got this natural charisma that makes you want to root for his character on some level while also simultaneously hating his guts.

    Intersections in Real Time
    I didn't like this episode at all. I didn't get it or understand what its purpose was, so the less ultimately said about it the better. It felt both unnecessary and cumbersome, which is not something you want when you're ramping up the tension of your story arc and wrapping things up into a nice little package.

    Bruce Boxleitner does offer a very good performance, but it's not enough to overcome the superflous nature of the episode as a whole.

    Not only did the episode overall feel superflous, unnecessary, cumbersome, and ultimately out-of-place, so too did its ending. If JMS felt it was absolutely necessary to do an episode like this, he should have simply had Sheridan pass out at the end of the episode and wake up at the beginning of the next in a different room.

    Between the Darkness and the Light
    The three best things about this episode are Garibaldi's redemption (particularly the scene where he lets Lyta deep-scan him and she subsequently projects what she saw into Number One's mind (which, incidentally, seems like it should've been impossible, which makes me wonder if Number One might've been a latent telepath herself, which would be a nice bit of symmetry), the scenes that lead up to Ivanova's life-threatening injury aboard the White Star, and the scene where Londo - of his own volition - organizes the League into giving the Army of Light fleet their complete cooperation. It is a stirring moment for not only the character of Londo, but for actor Peter Jurasik, and is, for me, one of the absolute highlights of the series and season.

    The stuff involving Sheridan hallucinating being back on Babylon 5 was interesting, but didn't make up for what happens in Intersections in Real Time, and ultimatley loses some of its power and potency because it's inherently dependent on that episode and is therefore tainted by it.

    Endgame
    This episode is where it all comes together; everything that's been building since Epiphanies gets wrapped up and wrapped up in incredibly gripping fashion. There is about as much action in this one single episode as in the entirety of Seasons 1, 2, and 3 combined, yet JMS doesn't let the action overwhelm the poignancy of the story as it concerns our characters. From Marcus' noble yet completely misguided decision to give up his life force to bring Ivanova back to Sheridan's speech as he and his ships enter Earth space, the character moments in this episode are played perfectly and really compliment the action elements of the episode to a T.

    Rising Star
    This episode is one gigantic denouement and in lesser hands could've felt superflous. Thankfully, JMS has the skill and talent to make it feel not only relevant but also make it work incredibly well as both the aftermath of the storylines he'd been building since Epiphanies but also a bridge to both the future and to The Deconstruction of Falling Stars.

    Sheridan's scene with Bester, his resignation speech, and the scene on Babylon 5 between Susan and Franklin are by far the most powerful parts of the episode, and are perfectly played.

    The episode's humor is also perfectly played. Londo's ribbing of G'Kar is superbly acted by Peter Jurasik and really serves as both a nice commentary on their relationship and how far they've both come as well as a precursor to where their relationship ends up going in the future.

    I really would've liked to have seen Sheridan and Delenn's wedding, but in an episode where so much else is going on, I can understand why JMS chose to have it happen offscreen and to only talk about it.

    The episode's final scene, with G'Kar using his prosthetic eye to spy on Delenn and Sheridan's 'nocturnal activities' is not only the perfect way to end the episode, but one of the funniest things I think I've ever seen anywhere.

    The Deconstruction of Falling Stars
    I said earlier in my reviews that I didn't initially get why JMS would choose to end Season 4 with an episode like The Deconstruction of Falling Stars, but that my perspective on things was changed when I realized that, along with And Now for a Word, The Illusion of Truth, and Sleeping in Light, it forms part of a quartet of episodes that not only serve as a retrospective on the historical nature of the overall Babylon 5 narrative, but also, in many respects, a restructuring of that historical nature, and my perspective was shifted even further by actually watching the episode.

    I don't know how many people here would be familiar with author Terry Brooks' Shanarra series, but this episode felt very much like that series in terms of its overall structure, execution, and what it ultimately was trying to say and accomplish. The fourth set of scenes in particular felt very Shanarra-esque to me, with Brother Alwyn taking on the role of Shanarra's Druids, and was one of the absolute highlights of the episode.

    Another standout portion of the episode for me was the second set of scenes with Delenn making a surprise appearance to basically refute everything that was being said about her late husband. Mira Furlan did an amazing job in employing the 'glower' (which some people can do and some people can't), and seeing the reactions of the victims of her 'glower' only helped sell the moment.

    This episode really stands out as one of the series' best, not only because of what I talked about before in terms of its symmetry with ANfaW, TIoT, and SiL, but also because it represents JMS at his finest. It is truly his finest work to date and really serves as both a fitting wrap-up to Season 4 and an incredibly succinct commentary on Babylon 5 as a whole. The episode also forms the second part of a double finale, with Rising Star being the first part.

    Overall thoughts on Season 4
    I loved Season 4 as a whole, with only Intersections in Real Time putting a small blight on the season's incredible quality in terms of the writing, acting, and story pacing.

    There's an incredible amount of symmetry in the season from its beginning in wrapping up storylines from Z'Ha'Dum to its masterful double finale of Rising Star and The Deconstruction of Falling Stars, and the season represents some of JMS' finest work as a writer-creator. The season also brings our characters full-circle in a number of respects while also leaving just enough room for the future.

    As sad as it was to say goodbye to both Marcus and Ivanova, the way that it ends up being handled is pitch-perfect and brings both characters to a place where they end up leaving on their own terms: Ivanova as a Captain with an opportunity to find out who she truly is and Marcus as a noble, if misguided, martyr who sacrificed everything he possibly could to save a woman whom he loved yet who never returned that love while the opportunity was there.

    I mentioned earlier that Marcus is my second-favorite character in the series, but what I didn't mention - and didn't actually realize until right now - is that the reason he's my second-favorite character not only has to do with Jason Carter's masterful performance and JMS' incredible writing, but also because the character is, for all intents and purposes, the Severus Snape of the series, the only significant difference between the two characters being that Marcus is portrayed as a likeable guy whereas Snape was not.

    ***

    I'll be back later with reviews of Season 5 episodes 1 through 4.
     
  9. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    I was hoping to avoid another double-posting situation, but sometimes you don't get what you want.

    No Compromises
    With Season 4 wrapping up storylines into a neat little package, and with Claudia Christian leaving the series, Season 5 requires another 'restart', and that's exactly what we get with No Compromises. However, unlike in Season 3, there really are no minor story points that JMS can use to help flavor or enhance the episode, so he's forced to introduce some new ongoing story threads and he does so brilliantly.

    I may be in the minority, but I really like the characters of Elizabeth Lochley and Byron. Like Ivanova, Lochley is a hardass, but she's a different breed of hardass than Ivanova and is actually perfectly suited to commanding a place like B5 because she's uncompromising, and Byron has the charisma of somebody like Alfred Bester and the softspokenness of a Ranger, which makes him an interesting wildcard.

    The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari
    I really liked this episode. Even though it's largely standalone, the insight it provides into Londo's psyche is absolutely essential.

    I love that the people Londo saw in his internal 'dreamscape' were Sheridan, Vir, Delenn, and G'Kar because they have had the most significant impacts on him directly. There is one slight issue with regards to Londo's apology to G'Kar, though, in that this is actually the second time he's apologized (he also.did so last season in No Surrender, No Retreat, although, in that instance, G'Kar rejected the gesture).

    The 'b' plot involving Lennier served as a neat counterpoint to the Londo 'a' plot and once again brought back the story thread of Vir and Lennier meeting at the same bar counter and conversing, and injected a bit of humor into the episode courtesy of Lennier's hilarious reaction to Vir hugging him.

    The Paragon of Animals
    This episode was excellent from top to bottom, and really lets some of the characters shine.

    G'Kar as a bureaucrat speechwriter is a nice change of pace for his character, yet doesn't feel anathema to the character as he'd been used in previous seasons, and the closing scenes with him coming into the conference room and confiscating the copies of the ISA's Declaration of Principles was hilarious.

    It was good to get some more interspecies/interplanetary intrigue and conflict injected back into the series, and the plight of the Enfili and the Drazi's complicity in it make for great drama and give Sheridan an opportunity to assert himself in his new role, which is great.

    I said earlier that I really like Byron; the actor they cast in the role is really good and imbues the character with just the right amount of fire, charisma, and selfrighteous anger that you can't help but be drawn into his worldview. His scenes with Garibaldi and Lyta were highlights of the episode for me and really help sell him as this guy who could cause some trouble but who is inherently a good guy. He actually rather reminds me of Gaius Baltar in many respects.

    A View from the Gallery
    These types of 'lower decks' alternate-POV episodes can be really hard to pull off, and, for the most part, JMS is able to successfully do so. There are a few places where it felt like the characters of Mack and Bo were shoehorned into interacting with some of the major characters, but that's sort of the nature of the beast when you're doing an episode like this.

    Beyond JMS' writing, what ultimately makes the episode work is the fact that Mack and Bo are genuinely likeable 'everymen'. I particularly liked their interactions with Byron and Delenn, although it did seem somewhat convenient that they'd get 'herded' directly into the area where Byron and his fellow telepaths were holed up.

    Their commentary on Londo and G'Kar's relationship was also a highlight for me, especially since JMS actually references it in his commentary for The Deconstruction of Falling Stars.

    I'm also going to bring back my 'essentials' list for the season after it went away for Season 4 on account of not being needed due to every episode of S4 being essential (even if I didn't personally like Intersections in Real Time):
    No Compromises
    The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari
    The Paragon of Animals

    I want to close this post by making the following observation:
    In the DVD introduction to the season, JMS laments having to start the storylines for the season without any momentum, but I personally don't think he needed any, as he was easily able to successfully do a cold restart thanks to the strength of the show's characters both old and new.

    ***
    I'll be back later with reviews of episodes 5 through 8.
     
  10. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2000
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I never liked the fifth season for a couple of reasons; the main
     
  11. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Location:
    ...is insane. --JMS
    Season 5 has some of my favorite episodes ever, especially ones like 'The Long Night of Londo Mollari' and 'A view from the Gallery', but also the ones later on toward the end. I can understand people not liking a character or batch of episodes but folks really seem to go overboard when it comes to Byron and his followers.

    Jan
     
  12. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Location:
    Gov Kodos on Mohammed's Radio, WZVN Boston
    Byron just irks me, not over the actor whose fine in the job, but the whole telepath thing in season 5. Byron's poor pitiful us routine, the character assassination on Lyta, that telepath issues weren't given the constant fleshing out that even Clark and Earth gov got just make me not care much about Byron. Also, Zack's early summation of Byron being essentially a martyr looking for someplace to happen really summed up the guy. More unlikable cult leader than decent guy is how he came across to me in just about the whole arc.
     
  13. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    inside teacake
    You should read the psi-corp series, Byron is equally irksome as I recall, though it's fleshed out more. You can see how he ended up like that, though it doesn't make him any more likable.
     
  14. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Location:
    Gov Kodos on Mohammed's Radio, WZVN Boston
    Do you mean the Keyes Psicorp Trilogy? I read that, it was pretty good. I don't remember Byron, but that's probably just me deleting his parts in my mind.
     
  15. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    inside teacake
    He's not in it hugely. And yes that one.

    The techno mage trilogy is one of the best things I've ever read.
     
  16. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Location:
    Gov Kodos on Mohammed's Radio, WZVN Boston
    I don't have that one. I am planning to get it in hardcover when I come across a copy at a decent price.
     
  17. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 19, 2001
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    The telepath arc wasn't too thought out in my mind. Bryon said they'd work to pay their way but all they seem to do is laze around and then resent the idea of working as telepaths for Garibaldi when in reality they don't appear to be capable of doing anything else. And if they were given their own world, who among them would know how to fish or hunt or build? They'd have to rely on the League for all things they'd need to survive at least at first.

    And what's worse is that the telepaths are the perfect Start Trek people that JMS has always complained about, it's a closed society and there's no jealousy among them seeing as how Bryon is the only seeing any kind of action, there's peace among them and no conflicts among the group. :shrug:
     
  18. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Location:
    I said out, dammit!
    Marjorie Monaghan: I first saw her in the 6-episode wonder "Space Rangers" in the 90s as the ship's elfish pilot. The next thing I remember her in was a short-lived show about rescue EMTs. I wish she'd done more, 'cause I think she's really purdy. :)
     
  19. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    The big theme of the telepath story arc is summed up pretty succinctly in the S5 DVD intro: it's about bigotry. It's not really meant to lead to any major 'endgame'. Another thing I noticed - immediately, I might add - about the telepath story is that Byron and his group aren't really a colony; they're a cult. It therefore makes perfect sense that they wouldn't really live up to their end of the agreement Byron made with Sheridan.

    Season 5, as JMS says in the DVD intro, is an extended denoument for our characters and the station. The two major story threads - the Byron/telepath stuff and the Centauri/Drakh story - both reflect that sense of wrapping things up and showing the consequences of what happened in Seasons 1 through 4, and I don't think there's inherently anything wrong with that, although others may disagree.

    Regarding Lyta, I'm only barely into the start of her arc for the season, but I'm not seeing how JMS supposedly made her the victim of 'character assassination'. She's a rather directionless character, which leads her to make some poor choices, but that's what happens sometimes.
     
  20. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    I'm back. I once again apologize for the double-post, but I need to get my thoughts on the next batch of eps written down before I forget what I wanted to say about them.

    Learning Curve
    I said this before, but I really like Lochley as a character. She's different enough from any of the other EF officers we've gotten previously that she's able to bring a new perspective to things, and the fact that she didn't support the rebellion against Clark gives her some added levels of character that make for an interesting counterpoint to what we've seen in the past. Her prickly relationship with Garibaldi is very well played by both Jerry Doyle and Tracy Scoggins, and you can just feel the tension between the two of them permeating every single scene they're in together.

    I have to admit that the 'moradum' turned out to be something completely other than what I thought it was going to be, and I really liked the fact that JMS played against expectation by making it what it was. Turval, Durhan, Rastenn, and Tannier are really interesting characters who I wouldn't mind seeing more of.

    The ending with Sheridan telling Delenn about his previous marriage to Lochley really works well, primarily because of the fact that you don't actually find out what he told her until the following episode, and really drives home the fact that these two have a real relationship that isn't going to run smoothly all the time.

    Strange Relations
    I think this might be my favorite episode of the season thus far because it really starts to set up the building blocks for one of the season's two points of conflict: Byron's group going from being a benign cult to a threat to the station, setting up the events of the next episode really well. It also once again furthers the evolving relationship between Londo and G'Kar, once again moving these two further down the road towards the scene we saw in War without End concerning the end of Londo's life.

    G'Kar's reaction to Delenn's proposal that he take up the duties of being Londo's bodyguard was priceless, and, as I noted above, really helps to evolve the relationship between him and Londo. Londo's reaction was more subdued than I was expecting, yet didn't feel out-of-character in the least.

    Another reason I liked this episode as much as I did is because it really gives Captain Lochley an opportunity to assert herself in her role as station commander. The way she was able to maneuver things so that she wasn't going against Sheridan's promise of sanctuary to Byron and his group yet didn't have to make herself an enemy of Bester was brilliantly played and really helped sell the idea that she really was the best choice to take over command of B5 and that Sheridan knew exactly what he was doing when he hand-picked her.

    I also liked the scene between her and Garibaldi where she explains exactly why Sheridan picked her; although it resolved the immediate tension between them, you also get the feeling that things aren't entirely resolved and that there are going to be other confrontations between them. The ending of the episode where she realizes that she forgot to tell security to let Garibaldi go was also great.

    Secrets of the Soul
    This episode could very well be considered a direct sequel to/continuation of last week's episode - in terms of the Byron/telepath story - and an indirect sequel of sorts to Believers and Confessions and Lamentations.

    Robin Atkin Downes, the actor they hired to play Byron, really reminds me a lot of James Callis. I see a lot of similarities between the characters of Byron and Gaius Baltar, particularly the Baltar of BSG Season 4, and this episode really drives those similarities home. This episode also really marks the 'turning point' for the Byron/telepath storyline, both as a whole and in terms of Lyta's involvement in that storyline.

    Patricia Tallman does an excellent job in this episode of making Lyta's actions both believable and understandable, and you can really see her start to let herself go and finally start to believe that she's finally found a place and a direction after spending so much of her time on the station thus far being somewhat directionless and basically being tossed around by the waves of fate.

    Like I said above, this episode struck me very much as being an indirect sequel of sorts to Believers and Confessions and Lamentations. As in both of those episodes, Dr. Franklin is faced with a 'morality crisis' and has to figure out what to do about it, which helps strengthen his character and gives him something to do that is more in keeping with the character as he'd been established in Seasons 1, 2, and 3.

    Day of the Dead
    Even though this episode wasn't written by JMS, it still manages to really take the things that he's so incredibly good at - using the characters to advance the story he's telling and make what seems like a standalone episode have incredible significance - and not only do the same thing, but do it just as well, if not better.

    I love the conceit behind the episode's driving arc of certain characters being visited by the dead; it's a very Dickensian story point and also works incredibly well as a vehicle for exploring certain characters and giving us insights into them that we might've not gotten any other way. This is especially true with regards to Captain Lochley, as the things she talked about with her dead friend Zoe really made me want to know more about her background and who she was before she met Sheridan.

    The only thing that puzzled me about the episode was Lennier being visited by Morden; it seemed rather random and arbitrary given that the two of them had little to no interaction with one another.

    I also liked Penn and Teller's appearance and role in the episode as Rebo and Zooty; they reminded me a lot of Patton Oswalt's character from Caprica, Baxter Sarno, especially when they're talking to Delenn and Sheridan about how they feel that their comedy doesn't serve any real purpose.

    There are also a lot of similarities and parallels between this episode and the Season 7 Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Conversations with Dead People, to the point that I'd say that B5 actually got there first and did as good of a job, if not better, in using the conceit of that episode to advance storylines and expand on characters.

    The ending scene with Lochley and Sheridan once the 'Day of the Dead' is over is something I really wasn't expecting, but took the episode from great to awesome in one fell swoop. The look on Sheridan's face in that scene was priceless, and Bruce played things perfectly.

    ***

    This will probably put me in the minority, but I really think Season 5, thus far anyway, is the best season of the series; it's not really what you'd expect given the way Season 4 ends, but it still works anyway and actually manages to keep you guessing as to what's going to happen next. It definitely could've fallen apart in the hands of somebody who was a lesser storyteller, but JMS manages to make it all work and make it work well.