Re-watching Babylon 5 (* SPOILERS *)

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

  1. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    Whoops, never finished it!

    The main reason being my two least favourite storylines during the first four seasons were Centauri heavy episodes, or the Telepath story.

    ...and what does season five comprise mainly of...?
     
  2. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    While I personally never had a problem with it, I think it is fair to say that part of the reason some people don't take to the telepath storyline is because for all the talk of Psi Corps abuses, we never really saw what it was like to grow up in the corps. We never saw the fear, institutional paranoia, implied self hatred and the walls of secrets all hidden under a veneer of wholesome normalcy, so the mundanes won't get upset.

    Of course showing all that would have been a whole other show, so there's only so much JMS could do to communicate why these people are the way they are.
     
  3. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    The first telepath underground that Talia and Franklin were helping certainly came across far more sympathetically than Byron's crew.
     
  4. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^Sure, but that's because they didn't *do* anything other than hold hands and not want to die, plus we actually got to hear some of what the Psi Corps had done to them.

    Byron's lot just swanned around acting like broody teenagers who have just discovered Edgar Allen Poe and the colour black. I can see why some people had difficulty sympathising with them.
     
  5. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    That and through Byron's dialogue we got the racist separatism that Psicorp was teaching. Byron, and I think the rest of his gang, were all Corp escapees. The first underground were a lot of folks who'd not joined and were avoiding it all together. They weren't high lighted as a group of supermen, but as a persecuted minority. Byron's group were a batch of the Aryan supermen now calling themselves persecuted, but were (Byron, at least) one of the elite knocked of his high perch and wanted a new place from which to call every one else inferior.
     
  6. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    You're mis-remembering, I'm afraid. In "A Race Through Dark Places", Telepath #1 had been experimented on just like Ironheart had been. He says that they made him a P12, maybe even a P13. The woman who talked to Talia had her powers awaken at puberty and was taken into the Corps. She refused a genetic mating two years later. She was drugged and impregnated by the Corps.

    Byron doesn't say anything at all about whether the members of his group were in the Corps or not. One of the 'rogues' who didn't barricade themselves talked about "not going back there", though.

    JMS never addressed it that I recall, but I thought that it was interesting to note the unconscious bigotry on the parts of both the telepaths and the mundanes.

    Jan
     
  7. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    One thing I like is how the issues and evils of racism often pollute and destroy societies in Babylon 5. The Centauri celebrate destroying the Xon, the Markab accelerate their destruction because they view contact with aliens destructive but end up making the plague easier to spread amongst themselves. Almost all the races of Babylon 5 have segments espousing some form of seperatism, while G'Kar's philosophy of being one, and how if we deny the other we deny ourselves, is set up as the moral counter weight to that separatism. Looking then at the genetic herding done by the Vorlons and Shadows, their goals are equally ugly and and should 'get the hell out of our galaxy.'

    Thanks for the details about earlier seasons, Jan. For me, the telepath arc was given sympathetic characters that we could view things through in the first few seasons. Also, Talia and Lyta were, while not completely accepted being Psicorp, were not rejected by the crew, either. Byron's group wasn't really given that chance, and most of the speaking was done by him and a lot of his speeches were too self pitying. Having Lyta fall into it and her and the station crew be suddenly on the outs with each other just didn't fly right as a story for me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
  8. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    You mean Lyta being on the outs with the crew? I understand that reaction because the first time around it seemed like she'd really changed suddenly and for no real reason. Next time, though, I watched how she was used over and over again and then just forgotten or treated incredibly shabbily. No wonder that once she ran across Byron who seemed to value her as a person and as a telepath, she drank it up like a plant that had been deprived of sunshine and water.

    Jan
     
  9. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The only two people Lyta 'fell out' with were Garibaldi and Zack; although she interacted with others, they were the only two with whom she actually developed true relationships, and the only reason she even had any type of relationship at all with Garibaldi was because she'd developed it during her first tenure aboard the station (making her relationship with Zack the only significant thing she was able to cultivate for herself in the nearly two years since her return prior to falling in with Byron); the majority of her time back aboard the station the second time around was spent being relied upon as a 'tool' or 'pawn'; Kosh and Ulkesh used her as a carrier vessel because they'd modified her specifically for that purpose (thus taking any control she might've had over her own life away from her), and Sheridan and Franklin relied on her to act as the 'switch' for activating the telepaths that Sheridan used to help liberate Earth because she was the only person available to help, again taking any control she might've had over her own life away from her. By the time Byron comes along, she's spent the better part of two years being used (exactly as she herself says) and, by falling in with him and his lot, she's finally able to get some control over her own life back.

    Lyta really doesn't have much of a character arc in Seasons 3 and 4, so Season 5 is really the first time since her initial appearance in The Gathering that JMS is able to truly focus on her and give her some actual character development instead of her being just a human tool whose sole purpose is to act at the whim and behest of others.
     
  10. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Again with the double-posting (sorry).

    In the Kingdom of the Blind
    I really wish I knew the title reference for this ep, because it's neat and I'd like to know where it came from.

    Although we don't have much, if any, information about Byron's backstory at this stage, this episode really conveys this sense that there's something personal driving his insistence on dealing with things in a non-violent fashion, which adds to his character and, for me, makes him even more interesting than he already was. There've been some comments up-thread that he and the rest of his fellow telepaths weren't sympathetic, but I have to disagree. I think Byron is plenty sympathetic, even if he and his group get themselves into an extremely untenable situation by trying to force the issue of a Homeworld of their own.

    With the telepath story ramping up, JMS needed to introduce another major crisis in order to keep the story momentum going, and that's exactly what he does with regards to unknown raiders attacking ISA member world shipping lines.

    I loved actually getting to see the very scenario that Londo described when Delenn told him about the plan to send G'Kar back to Centauri Prime with him as his bodyguard play itself out. The reactions of various denizens of the Centauri Royal Court were great, as was G'Kar's response to their uncomfortableness. You could see the undisguised glee in his face as Vitelli and others glared at him and whispered behind his and Londo's backs.

    I find myself really wanting to know why the Drakh want to keep Londo alive, although I'm also wondering why Londo didn't see the silouhette of the Drakh that saved his life because, despite the darkness of the corridor, he was close enough to have been able to get at least a vague glimpse at the creature.

    This is the episode where we finally see for ourselves a good majority of what Londo tells Sheridan and Delenn in War without End concerning the Keepers, which I thought was neat because it gives just enough away for astute audiences to start drawing connections, but doesn't give everything away quite yet, leaving some questions unanswered.

    A Tragedy of Telepaths
    There is nothing so dangerous as a man or a group with an agenda or a cause, and this episode really drives that point home. Every one of the characters that has a major role to play in it has an agenda or cause of some kind, from Byron and his group to Londo and G'Kar.

    Byron's little goodbye speech to Lochley was really well-acted by both Tracy Scoggins and Robin Atkin Downes, and you could see her attitude starting to shift just a bit even though, by this point, she's already 'called in the hounds', as it were, by contacting Bester and the Psi Cops.

    I loved the interaction in this episode between Londo and G'Kar; it's good that their road to the point where they can call each other 'old friends' isn't smooth, and you can really see that G'Kar is so outraged by the thought of Na'Toth being locked up and forgotten that he's almost ready to go back on his word to protect Londo. Londo, to his credit, takes everything in stride, and, in perhaps the best indicator we've gotten to date of just how much he's changed and just how noble he truly is, doesn't flinch at all in the face of G'Kar's outrage and agrees to do everything that is within his power to get G'Kar the outcome he wants even if he can't do things the easy way and simply order her release.

    Sheridan's gamble of putting White Stars out there to serve as 'watchdogs' was neat and well-intentioned, even if it ended up exacerbating tensions rather than easing them. As good of a soldier as Sheridan was, I think I like his arc in Season 5 the best because he really does make an excellent political figure.

    I want to revisit that scene in Brown Sector between Byron and Lochley; as noted earlier, you can really see her attitude towards Byron and his group changing as he says goodbye to her, which adds a lot of additional emotional weight to the situation once the escalation of violence by the telepaths who walked out on Byron before he and the rest of his group sealed themselves inside Brown Sector forces her to actually rely on Bester, since you get this sense after her little chat with Byron that she might've been regretting her decision to ask for help (or at least I did).

    Phoenix Rising
    There is nothing so dangerous as a person or a group of people with an agenda or a cause, and this episode is proof positive of that. Every single person who has a major role to play in it has an agenda or a cause that is driving their actions, from Lochley and Sheridan's desire to end the crisis to Garibaldi's attempt to kill Bester to Byron's desire to atone for the atrocities he was forced to commit as a Psi Cop.

    Speaking of which, I really liked the scene where he tells Lyta his history and why Bester has such a personal vested interest in apprehending him. It was a really powerful scene that was perfectly acted by both Robin Atkin Downes and Patricia Tallman.

    There was bound to be a point at which Bester's smarminess and inflated sense of his own self-importance was going to come back and bite him and others in the butt, and there's therefore a bit of grim satisfaction in actually getting to see it happen.

    It was great to see JMS finally reveal the exact circumstances of the telepath hostage situation he teased in The Deconstruction of Falling Stars, and the part of the episode where Byron makes it into the Medlab and shoots Thomas is really powerful. I loved the solution he came up with to resolve the entire situation, but, in typical fashion, nothing ever runs smoothly, and Bester, as I mentioned above, finally pushes one button too far.

    Byron's decision to kill himself and the rest of those responsible for the violence was really powerful and made me sad because you can truly see the despair in his face as he makes the decision and tells Lyta to walk to safety.

    I knew that Garibaldi's alcoholism was going to rear its ugly head thanks to the S5 introduction, but wasn't quite sure whether or not it would make sense, and I'm happy to say that JMS proved me wrong. There's something kind of perversely funny in the fact that Bester knew exactly what he'd eventually want to do and made sure that he couldn't, because it only makes the mistakes that Bester ends up making with regards to the Byron situation work even better. I loved the scene between Bester and Sheridan where you can, for the first time, truly see the humanity in the character as he realizes that, this time, he went too far and, in the process, killed any shred of goodwill he might've had with anybody aboard B5. It's too bad that he doesn't end up learning from the situation and letting it change him for the beter, though.

    The Ragged Edge
    As one storyline ends, another begins. This episode was the perfect way to kickstart the second half of the season, arc-wise.

    The character stuff in this episode was excellent. From Garibaldi slowly sliding back into the bottle to G'Kar discovering that Ta'Lon and others have turned him into a religious figure, this episode had a lot of great character-building moments for everybody. I loved the way that G'Kar dealt with the question of just how much of the content of the 'Book of G'Kar' is and should be regarded as set-in-stone gospel; there's just something hilarious about the mental image of G'Kar slamming a book on someone's head, and it's great that we actually don't see it happen.

    I loved the scene where Londo provides the key to the whole mystery surrounding the attacks on Alliance member world shipping lanes. The decision to keep him out of the loop afterwards was really well-played by all of those involved, especially since you just know that, at some point, it's going to backfire on them somehow.

    I really liked the scene between Sheridan and Franklin where Franklin essentially tenders his resignation as head of Medlab and a member of B5's crew. I liked the references to Dr. Kyle and the revelation that his (Kyle's) position on B5 was meant to be finite from the beginning because it helps provide some context to the character's departure and the changes that were made to things between the shooting of The Gathering and the shooting and airing of Midnight on the Firing Line.

    In closing, I want to update my 'essentials' list:
    No Compromises
    The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari
    The Paragon of Animals
    Learning Curve
    Strange Relations
    Secrets of the Soul
    Day of the Dead
    In the Kingdom of the Blind
    A Tragedy of Telepaths
    Phoenix Rising
    The Ragged Edge

    I still stand by what I said earlier about S5 being the best of the series, and am really interested to see how the rest of the story plays itself out.

    ***

    I'll be back later with reviews of episodes 13 through 16.
     
  11. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    Even if I hated every other thing about season 5 (which I most emphatically don't), it's worthwhile just for the conclusion of the Londo/G'Kar arc. Which has been seen but the journey is so much more.

    Not posting much on this thread but I'm enjoying reading your reviews.

    Jan
     
  12. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ 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.

    Edit:
    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.

    Darkness Ascending
    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.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  13. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Kingdom_of_the_Blind

    http://www.pride-unlimited.com/probono/idioms2.html

     
  14. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Thanks, Candlelight.

    I'm back with four of my last six reviews.

    Movements of Fire and Shadow
    There is a lot of stuff that this episode has to cover because, for all intents and purposes, it is the pentultimate episode of the second half of the season (with the last four episodes of the season being the 'epilogue to the epilogue' that is S5), but JMS once again manages to juggle all of the balls he's got up in the air - while throwing a few new ones into play as well - with aplomb, once again demonstrating his skills as a writer.

    There are two words that I think describe the events of this episode extremely well: escalation and desperation. Lochley's opening log narration really helps sell the idea that as things escalate, people are becoming more desperate, and we see that desperation in full force with Vir reaching out to Franklin and Lyta and Londo needing to get out of his and G'Kar's cell in order to try and get to the bottom of what is happening and why.

    Something that JMS has proven he's incredibly good at is making an audience think one thing and then doing something completely different than what might be expected, and he really did this with regards to Lyta's character; it seemed very much as if there wasn't anything else to be done with her story after she made her deal with G'Kar, and JMS brings her back into things by demonstrating that she's more powerful than we thought she was. It's a nice 'character evolution' moment, and leads into the events of Objects in Motion (episode 19) very well.

    BTW, I loved that G'Kar's solution to getting Londo out of the cell without going back on his word was to deliberately make himself vomit.

    The ending of the episode with the Drazi and Narn ships bombing the heck out of Centauri Prime was pretty surreal, and the perfect way to cap the episode and lead into the next one.

    The Fall of Centauri Prime
    I said back during my S1 reviews that Born to the Purple was my favorite episode of S1 and one of my favorite B5 episodes in general, but I finally found an episode that surpasses it.

    The Fall of Centauri Prime is, quite simply, a masterpiece of storytelling and acting from every single person involved, but particularly Peter Jurasik. As the 'true' finale of Season 5 - at least from a storyline standpoint - the episode does everything that it needs to to wrap up the Centauri arc for the season, but also serves as a springboard to and for the events of the final four episodes, all of which, as I noted above, are basically the 'epilogue to the epilogue' for the season and series.

    If, for some reason, you were only able to watch a single episode for each of the main characters of the series, this would be the episode you'd want to watch for the character of Londo. Everything about who he is and the journey he's gone on are summed up by this single episode, from his start as a 'washed up old republican dreaming of better days' to the evolution of his relationship with G'Kar, and Peter Jurasik absolutely knocks things out of the park. The sense of tragedy his performance evokes as Londo slowly pushes everyone who is important in his life away and willingly chooses to make a 'deal with the devil' in accepting a Keeper is incredibly powerful and poignant, and makes for riveting storytelling.

    It's become sort of a cliche for a character who holds unrequited love for another character confessing that love because he or she thinks he/she and the character he/she loves are about to die, but what makes this particular instance with Lennier and Delenn work as well as it does is Delenn's reaction. Much was made of this idea that Minbari don't usually lie, but Delenn not only proves that adage wrong, she does so without even missing a beat. You get the sense from Lennier that he knows she's lying, but is so mortified by his 'moment of weakness' that he's willing to let her lie to him just to avoid having to deal with the situation, which is brilliant.

    The Wheel of Fire
    As the start of the 'epilogue to the epilogue', this episode could've fallen flat on any number of levels in less deft hands, but it not only succeeds, it succeeds with flying colors.

    I haven't really mentioned JMS' theatrical background thus far in my reviews, but am doing so now, primarily because, of all of the episodes in the series, this is the one where that background and what it taught JMS about storytelling comes to the fore in full force. This episode is, effectively, a single-act play focusing on the characters of Garibaldi, Lyta, and G'Kar, and everything about it reflects 'theatrical structure'.

    I've said before that I love Captain Lochley, and this episode provides yet another example of why. In one fell swoop, we're given an explanation for the stuff that was hinted at and set up in Day of the Dead re: her background AND an explanation for her antagonism with Garibaldi at the beginning of the season. The fact that the two characters are basically 'mirror images' in terms of their problems is great, and Tracy Scoggins really nails the pathos of the scene where she confesses all of this to Garibaldi in the transport tube.

    Before I move on to talking about G'Kar, Garibaldi, and Lyta, I wanted to say that I got a major kick out of the beginning of the episode where Lochley basically sets G'Kar up for an ambush by the numerous pilgrims who came to B5 to deify him.

    I really like the relationship between Lise and Garibaldi; it feels real and organic, and the way Lochley got Lise to come to the station was brilliant. Garibaldi's conversation with Lyta (I'll get to her in a second) let us see a bit of the 'old' Garibaldi start to re-emerge, which was great. I also liked the scene where we find out exactly what Lyta's counter-proposal was. It is just borderline nefarious enough to be believable, but not so nefarious that it turns Garibaldi into a bad guy.

    Talia is still my favorite telepath character from the series, but Lyta is a very close second. I mentioned in the last review that it really seemed as if Lyta's story was over, only for JMS to not only bring her back into the fore, but to twist what we thought we knew into something completely different, which he does in this episode. I loved the reveal that she had been funneling the money G'Kar had agreed to give her to fund a telepath resistance momement against the Psi Corps, and I also loved the way she used her abilities to create a standoff situation with Lochley and Zack. The way Sheridan came in at the last second to defuse the situation was also great; if it were anyone else, I don't think Lyta would've backed down.

    Another highlight of the episode for me was the moment where Franklin reveals that Delenn is pregnant. Sheridan's look is priceless. I do wish we would've seen the scene where Delenn finds out, but the ending conversation between them in her quarters does make up for things somewhat. Her teasing Sheridan about staring at her was great, and really led well into the final shot of Londo just sitting on his throne, sad and alone.

    Objects in Motion
    This episode struck me as being very much the 'bookend' to No Compromises, in that there are a lot of similarities between both episodes, not just in terms of the fact that both deal with assassination attempts, but also because of the characterization moments present in both episodes.

    I really liked seeing Number One again, and liked that we got to find out her real name. I love the chemistry between Marjorie Monaghan and Richard Biggs, which made it nice to see them start to rekindle their relationship from the time that Franklin was on Mars.

    There are a lot more similarities between G'Kar and Lyta than just what is talked about in this episode, because both are or have been 'lost souls'. This is why G'Kar is the perfect traveling companion for Lyta; he can help her - or at least attempt to help her - reach the end goal of finding her purpose (she's gotten started on the path thanks to Byron, but isn't quite to the end goal yet).

    This episode felt very much like the ending of the BSG S4/series finale Daybreak Part II, especially in the scene where G'Kar says goodbye to Sheridan and Delenn. I was reminded very much of the scene in Daybreak on the African hillside where Starbuck says goodbye to Lee without actually saying goodbye. Speaking of G'Kar, I didn't really get the sense that his rejected worshiper was desperate enough to try and kill him, but, in the end, I don't really think the purpose of that particular plot point actually had much to do with G'Kar himself, and more to do with Garibaldi and Lise's storyline, so it all ends up balancing out.

    I got a tremendous sense of satisfaction out of Garibaldi outwitting the Edgars Industries board, especially when he brought Number One/Tessa Holloran into the proceedings. You could see the palpable glee in his face knowing that he didn't have to be intimidated by them and their attempt to assassinate him and Lise.

    Delenn wanting to walk the entire 5-mile length of B5 was also a great character moment and a highlight of the episode for me.

    ***

    I'll be back later with reviews of episodes 21 and 22, overall thoughts on the season, and some final thoughts on the entire series as a whole.
     
  15. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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:
    No Compromises
    The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari
    The Paragon of Animals
    Learning Curve
    Strange Relations
    Secrets of the Soul
    Day of the Dead
    In the Kingdom of the Blind
    A Tragedy of Telepaths
    Phoenix Rising
    The Ragged Edge
    The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father
    Meditations on the Abyss
    Darkness Ascending
    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?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  16. Sakrysta

    Sakrysta Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2001
    Location:
    Sakrysta
    I love most of Lyta's arc in this season. I felt like - finally - JMS had begun to really deal with what telepathy for some would do to a race. In a lot of ways I completely sympathized with the motivation behind William Edgars' dark ops against telepaths - not the actual ACTIONS mind you, but certainly what drove them. Humanity being what it is, well, let's just say I'm hugely grateful we don't actually have telepaths.

    But back to Lyta, JMS simply took her to the logical extreme conclusion of what anyone would do who had gone through what she had. She tried the system - yeah, one encounter with a Vorlon ruined that. Still, she tried to work within the system until she couldn't bear it anymore. The Vorlons seemed to be her salvation. Kosh took her under his wing and cared for her, and she finally had a purpose. Well, until the Shadows killed him and the other Vorlons decided to use and abuse her. After THEY were finally gone, the Resistance could have offered her something, but ignored her instead - that is, until they needed her.

    Like was said above, it's no wonder that when Byron came along, she was so drawn to him. I have to disagree that Byron was all that charismatic a leader, but at least he was addressing the issues that had turned Lyta's life into a horror. After his death, you could see her trying to cling to his ideals while all the time not really espousing them fully. From the beginning of their interactions she debated with him about the best methods to promote their cause. Once he was gone, she had nothing left to lose and only one thing left to live for. Why not use every weapon at her disposal?

    Byron and his followers ... *sigh*. I get what JMS was going for. I really do. I wanted to like that story thread so much. But I did NOT like the actor playing Byron. I found his followers to be mostly colorless, long-haired, wide-eyed zombies. Almost none of them had names or ever spoke. They would just come running in and stare at Byron, and suddenly he had a new speech to make. Seriously, what was with all the hair? All the men looked like Fabio wannabes, and the women weren't any better. And the way none of them ever spoke except Byron was just creepy. Near the end, they tried to bring a few of them forward and give them voices, but it was just the few, and they were all the "bad guys."

    Don't even get me started on the "singing." Oh. My. Word.
     
  17. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2000
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Who is/are your favorite character(s)?

    I was always a fan of Garibaldi, except for his paranoia turn during the fourth season. Other than that being an ensemble cast I pretty much liked all characters. I wasn't much of a fan of Londo or G'Kar during the early seasons but both characters grew on me once their universes began to fall.

    What is/are your favorite season(s) of the series?

    Season three without a doubt. So much happens between the first and last episode it's quite amazing (though the same can be said for season four). The build up of G'Kar's character, the split from Earth, the Shadow war gaining momentum and Babylon 4 shows up in there too.

    What is/are your favorite episode(s) of the series?

    Babylon Squared and War Without End for starters, as I found the Babylon 4 storyline most fascinating. The main key arc episodes also stand out for me, like Signs and Portents, Chrysalis, The Coming of Shadows, In the Shadow of Z'Ha'Dum, The Long Twilight Struggle, The Fall of Night, Severed Dreams, Z'Ha'Dum, Into the Fire, No Surrender No Retreat, Between the Darkness and the Light, Endgame and Sleeping in Light. None of the season five episodes really stood out for me, and - with the exception of Racing the Night - neither did Crusade.

    What are your favorite quotes from the series (one or two from each season)?

    Too many to mention. The show was full of so many profound comments I can't list them all here.

    What is the one story arc or plot thread you would have liked to have had more information on?

    I would liked to have seen a non-rushed season four, with more of a resolution to the Shadow war (not that I didn't like what we got), the spilling over of the Earth war into season five and more focus of the Minbari civil war.

    Part of me wanted to see In Valen's Name - the 3-part comic featuring Babylon 4 - made into an episode during the fourth season, but the other half of me likes the ambiguity of the fate of the space station.

    I've enjoyed this thread DigificWriter, most enjoyable.
     
  18. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Location:
    ...is insane. --JMS
    Who is/are your favorite character(s)?
    G'Kar. Londo. Sinclair.

    What is/are your favorite season(s) of the series?
    Can't say that I've got one. I'm a fan of the entire story.

    What is/are your favorite episode(s) of the series?
    Born to the Purple
    The Parliament of Dreams
    The Geometry of Shadows
    Comes the Inquisitor
    Severed Dreams
    A Late Delivery from Avalon
    Atonement
    The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari
    The Fall of Centauri Prime
    and all-time favorite of ANY TV show: Sleeping in Light

    What are your favorite quotes from the series (one or two from each season)?
    Far too many. But the Declaration of Principals would top the list.

    What is the one story arc or plot thread you would have liked to have had more information on?
    Crusade

    Jan
     
  19. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    I figure I ought to answer my own questions, so here we go.
    Who is/are your favorite character(s)?
    1) Londo; 2) Marcus; 3) Delenn; 4) Sheridan; 5) Talia (with Ivanova/G'Kar [tie], Lochley, Vir, Kosh, and Garibaldi/Lyta [tie] rounding out my Top 10)

    What is/are your favorite season(s) of the series?
    Season 5 (as I already said earlier) (although the entire series is awesome as a whole, I really liked S5)

    What is/are your favorite episode(s) of the series?
    Born to the Purple (S1)
    Mind War (S1)
    Bayblon Squared (S1)
    The Coming of Shadows (S2)
    GROPOS (S2)
    And Now For a Word (S2)
    Passing through Gethsemane (S3)
    A Late Delivery from Avalon (S3)
    War without End (S3)
    Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi? (S4)
    Racing Mars (S4)
    The Deconstruction of Falling Stars (S4)
    The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari (S5)
    Day of the Dead (S5)
    The Fall of Centauri Prime (S5)

    What are your favorite quotes from the series (one or two from each season)?
    I'm partial to the majority of the quotes that are present in the S5 opening, although I also like Delenn's rebuke of the scholars in The Deconstruction of Falling Stars.

    What is the one story arc or plot thread you would have liked to have had more information on?
    I would've liked to have seen more of what happened to and with G'Kar and Lyta, specifically what happened to cause G'Kar to lose his prosthetic eye replacement (since, by the time he and Londo strangle each other in 2278, he's wearing a bandage over his face again) and what role Lyta played in the Telepath War. I also would've liked to have seen what happened to Captain Lochley and, as I said, wish that JMS would have at least mentioned her fate in Sleeping in Light.
     
  20. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    The Ambassadors are my Favorite characters (Londo/G'Kar/Delenn)

    I don't really have favorites beyond that, I love almost all the B5 Regular and Recurring Characters/Actors.

    I never really took to Talia, nearly as much as I took to Lyta in the Pilot (and of course her return), so between the two Pat's Lyta wins out (This is of Course assuming Bester is in a Class All His Own)

    Quote, I really Like Delenn's "Only One Human Captain Survived...He is Behind me, You are in front of Me, if you value your Lives...BE SOMEWHERE ELSE" and Of Course "You came much further to say even less" is of course, incredible. So many awesome quotes to choose from.

    As Far as everything else, it almost all matters, and adds to the tapestry, so aside, from removing a couple A or B stories and blending S4 ending and Season 5 beginning better I really wouldn't change anything, and can't really pick favorites, because without the building up, you can't have the Wham episodes, so how do you choose if the Building blocks or the Wham is Favorite?
     

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