BPP Crusade 102 – The Long Road

crusade-long-roadThings kick off with a large, orange blob threatening some Earth Force folks and they’re calling for help. We quickly learn they’re crew from the Medusa, detailed to guard a planet-based mine on Regula 4. Meanwhile, the Excalibur is tasked to assist with the problem. Turns out the society there has rejected most forms of modern technology and they have… a dragon problem.

While is is the second episode broadcast, JMS intended for this to be episode 6, so if you feel like you might have missed some of the development of the crew’s storyline, you know why.

Why is this mine so important? And is there really a dragon? Turns out an old friend of Galen’s is also on the planet – a fellow technomage, Alwyn, who is doing his best to temper the frustration and anger of the villagers with the desire for the Earth Force folks to stop mining and leave. With a sense of desperation lurking among the Earth Force members, conflict seems inevitable. When additional Earth Force troops arrive, they’re taken hostage, reinforcing the perspectives of leadership on Medusa.

Alwyn pushes for the release of the hostages, and in an almost predictable turn of events, a young girl in the village falls ill, due to dust from the mine, bolstering the attitudes of the villagers about the need to rid themselves of the mine and Earth Force troops. The threat to her health is confirmed by Dr. Chambers onboard Excalibur, and we also learn that this same problem will eventually threaten the entire population. Tensions are definitely high. When Alwyn warns the villagers that holding hostages will only work against them, they won’t relent. He tells them they’ve forced him to take care of the problem his way, and they’ll have to live with the consequences. Without telling them what he’s doing, he goes to the mind and appears to be using his powers to directly threaten the Medusa. Medusa orders Excalibur to fire on him, which they do, destroying the mine and apparently killing Alwyn. BOOM! While the mine is now gone, they must now live without their wise advisor.

Calmer heads prevail and the villagers agree to help Earth Force find a better location to mine for the mineral that might save Earth, and won’t threaten the health of the people on Regula 4. Then, as the episode ends, we discover that Alwyn may not be as dead as he appeared…

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP Crusade 101 – War Zone

crusade-war-zoneHere we go! Having finished the original series and the movies, we’ve made our way to the spin-off series “Crusade”. For the fans of the B5 time line, the events in this series take place in 2267, just five years after the original series ended, and a year after the events in the movie “A Call to Arms”. This episode originally aired on June 9, 1999, and was the first of only 13 episodes that made their way to television. There were apparently a full 22 episodes planned, but the series was canceled early. It appears there was some intent for another five-year story, similar to Babylon 5, but after seeing this episode, it was the opinion of your hosts that it may have been more wishful thinking than a well-planned and five year arc. We also agreed that while this is clearly a follow-on series in the B5 universe and timeline, it’s definitely not Babylon 5. (Not a criticism; just an observation.) As a result, this episode felt much more like the first episode of a new series than perhaps it could have as a deliberate follow-on to the original storyline.

The show opens with a nice and concise recap of the events that brought us to the start of this series. Earth is quarantined after being contaminated by the Drakh virus we saw released at the end of A Call to Arms, and humanity as we know it has an estimated five years or so to find a cure, or die. With loose plans afoot to start the search for a cure, Captain Gideon, with his ship and crew have been ordered back to Earth. As the show begins, we see his crew attempting to mutiny (BOOM!) to prevent going back, apparently considering in a panic that the only reason they’re returning is to go back to the surface and be exposed.

Things quiet down and Gideon meets with his leadership to receive his new assignment: he will become the captain of the Excalibur, now designated as a research and exploration vessel, with the mission to find a cure. He is given a new crew, chosen for him, but quickly establishes that he won’t take the mission without his First Officer from his old ship, and also the addition of Dureena the thief. The new cast/crew is established.

Elsewhere, we see an Earth Force destroyer chasing down a Drakh vessel they believe was one of the ships that attacked Earth and released the virus. Following some more BOOM, the Drakh ship ends up crashing on Ceti 4. Ensuring the word gets back through a jerry-rigged beacon, we see handsome, daring men in flight jackets, with chiseled jaws and voices that at times sound almost like they’re from a movie from the 1940s or 50s rather than a TV show made in the 1990s and set in the 2200s. (A bit much? Maybe.) We also hear about the continuing tensions created by the power of giant companies vs. governments, and specifically IPX (from our previous reviews). The Excalibur still needs to complete testing / trials but now, due to the urgency of finding the cure, we see the ship and crew being tugged from mission to mission. We also see the return of Galen (the Technomage). While you can make the connections yourself to the ultimate mission of the ship, initially it seems we keep seeing Excalibur taking care of business that isn’t quite a direct line toward solving the problem. It wasn’t clear to us if this was a rapid attempt to create a sense of urgency, a way to quickly introduce us to the new crew as they work through a series of issues, or just a choppy start to the new storyline. In the end, we all agreed that as with any new series, we should give it several episodes to find its groove.

Excalibur races to Ceti 4, and we also see that the Drakh have help on the way too. The result is we get some more BOOM, perhaps as a reason to show there the Excalibur either had a few weapons we didn’t get to see before, or possibly some quick upgrades that were made to its secondary guns. The main gun (which we see fired) still drains the ship of power though, resulting in a minute of vulnerability as the necessary power levels are restored.

As the episode ends, Galen is waiting for Captain Gideon, and Gideon asks him for help. We also hear some familiar questions from Galen, and Captain Gideon’s answers:

What do you want? To find a cure for the Drakh plague.
Where are you going? Anywhere I have to.
Who do you serve, and who do you trust? I don’t know.

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

 

BPP – A Call To Arms

calltoarmsWelcome to our fifth and final review of the Babylon 5 movies.  A Call to Arms originally aired on TNT on January 3rd, 1999.  The movie depicts events that happened one year before the spin-off series “Crusade”, and one year after the events in the movie “Legend of the Rangers”.

After the last movie we reviewed, this one was refreshing and felt like it comfortably belonged with the series.  As the movie opens we see Delenn is the Vice President, and we learn Sheridan has been keeping below the radar.  We quickly see why:  he’s been involved in the creation of a new hybrid Minbari-Human-Vorlon technology destroyer class of ship.  There are two prototypes complete (Excalibur and Victory) and the time has come for Sheridan to see the fruit of the work.  He boards the Excalibur and we’re introduced to Mr. Drake, the lead engineer, who will guide Sheridan’s orientation.

Things get tense right away when it becomes clear to Sheridan and Garibaldi that the demonstration flight will be the first time the ship has operated out of dock—there was never a shakedown cruise to confirm engines and systems work as designed.  With the likelihood that something will go wrong, Mike is mad, and Mr. Drake gets a little more time to ensure the ship is ready to sail.  While all this is going on, Sheridan receives a message from Delenn, takes it in a private room, and we get our first indication something is amiss.  The message wasn’t from Delenn at all.  Instead, it was a jumbled series of images, and Sheridan ends up zoned out for a half hour, only interrupted when Mike comes in to check on him.  Thinking he had just stepped into the room, he’s surprised to hear Mike tell him he had been there for 30 minutes, but explains away the lapse in memory by saying something was simply wrong with the message.  Later, he’s visited by Galen in a dream and shown a vision of a place called Daltron 7.

On B5, a dangerous (and very interesting) woman called Dureena arrives, with an apparent fascination with knives that surfaces when Security checks her.  She clears Security and asks a simple and odd question:  Where do the lost people go?  The answer:  Down Below.  She’s on her way and in short order we discover she’s a member of the Thieve’s Guild, and meets with the local group on B5.  Later, she’s also visited in a dream and told to “choose her target wisely.”

The demonstration of the new ship goes as well as can be expected, but with two disturbing events occurring:  Sheridan is visited again by Galen, told about the Techno-mages, and warned of a coming attack on Earth by a race called the Drakh (a subservient ally of the Shadows); and when the Excalibur’s main guns are fired, it drains the entire ship’s systems resulting in a total loss of power and rendering the ship vulnerable for at least 60 seconds. Regarding the Drakh, it seems they’re planning to take the Shadow’s place, and take revenge on the Earth for its role in the demise of their former Shadow masters.  Sheridan has also been sketching the busts of three unknown people, and has Mike looking into the mysterious Daltron 7.  In short order Sheridan meets Dureena when he passes by B5 to explain the emerging threat to Earth to Captain Lockley, and realizes she’s one of the people she’s had visions of and sketched a picture of.  Her connection?  She’s one of the few (if not the only) surviving members of her race after the Shadows destroyed her planet in the Shadow War.  She joins Sheridan.  An Earth Alliance ship also arrives and is commanded by Captain Anderson, the second person Sheridan had sketched a picture of.  He’s also been having visions similar to Sheridan’s, he’s convinced him to come along, and the two of them concoct a plan to use both prototype destroyers to attempt to save the Earth.  They slip away from B5 unnoticed.  They’ll visit Daltron 7, and then find a way to confront the Drahk to prevent them from using a planet killer on Earth like the one used on Dureena’s home world.  They slip away from B5 unnoticed, and in some cleverly orchestrated moves, steal the Excalibur and Victory, and our three heroes (Sheridan, Sherman and Dureena) head toward Daltron 7 before Mike (now chasing them) catches up.

Arriving at Daltron 7, they find the planet destroyed, and a dead Drazi with an important recording.  The Drazi is the third person Sheridan had sketched out.  They take the recording and go, and almost immediately end up confronted by Drahk fighters, who don’t appear to recognize the ships and therefore don’t just attack right away.  As they negotiate with Dureena, she attempts to bluff.  It was good, but the Drahk don’t believe her.  It appears they’ve been tipped off by someone!  A big black hole (a null field) appears in space and the Drahk run in.  Sheridan decides to fire into the hole and pursue.  When he emerges on the other side he discovers an incredibly large fleet ready to go on the offensive, with a planet killer weapon prepared for Earth.  He hastily withdraws, calls to fill Lockley in on the threat, and makes an appeal to her to contact Earth and plead the case to have the fleet position itself around the planet to fight.  Meanwhile, Mike arrives at the secret base where Excalibur and Victory were, learns that the ships are gone and with some hesitation, brings Mr. Drake along as his pursuit continues.  Shortly after this, he discovers the leak—none other than Mr. Drake—who has traded away humanity for what he believes is a better and safer deal with the Drahk.

Given the size and lethality of the attacking fleet, Excalibur and Victory arrive at Earth pleased to see the message got through and the fleet was in position.  Shortly after, the attack begins.  Given the size of the attacking force, along with the fight happening so close to Earth, Captain Anderson has a plan that just might work:  the Earth fleet with punch a hole for Victory and Excalibur, who can then use their more powerful weapons to destroy the planet killer.  He hole is made, but somehow when Excalibur fires, it misses the actual ship carrying the planet killer.  With no time left, Victory rams the control center of the attacking force, destroying the weapon.

Just when it appears all is well, however, the Drahk begin doing something else, effectively spraying the surface of the Earth with…something.  As the movie begins to close, we learn that it’s a biogenetic plague, engineered by the Shadows, but not optimized for use on humans.  The result, humanity has five years to attempt to find a cure, or perish.  The movie ends with the decision to use Excalibur as a search and research ship, and humanity begins a crusade to find the cure, setting the stage for the follow-on series “Crusade”.

Now that the movies are complete, Raul, Jim and JP will finish out the television-based Babylon 5 story by watching and reviewing the one-season series “Crusade”.  Please stay with us as we work our way through this final bit of television content!

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

 

BPP – Legend of the Rangers

legend-of-the-rangersThis is our fourth movie review of five for your hosts. “Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight” takes place in 2265, between the end of Season 5 (2263) and A Call to Arms (2266). It originally aired on January 19th, 2002 on the Sci Fi Channel. Written by JMS, it was intended to be a pilot for a new series, although it did not go to series due to low ratings.

The consensus from your hosts going in was this may be the least favorite of the movies we’ve looked at. As we’ve seen with other movies in the set, the volume of content in the movie probably warranted an episode-length effort, but it was drawn out to fill the time required of a feature-length film. There was so much promise for some incredible Ranger-focused story, providing real depth to a very interesting character set in the B5 universe. We were a little disappointed. The movie opens with some boom, and with a new ship, a new threat, and a mystery that the Interstellar Alliance has discovered: or perhaps awakened.

The storyline for the movie begins when we see a Ranger (David Martel), who chooses to withdraw and survive a lost battle to fight again another day, being reprimanded and punished for staying alive. At this time in the history of the Rangers, with the Shadow War behind them and so far from a credible interstellar threat, there is emphasis on the Ranger’s motto—an oath—that obligates them to “live for the one, and die for the one.” G’Kar, still a delegate for his world, is present on Minbar and takes the opportunity to add his thoughts (wisdom) to the debate about the Ranger’s fate, resulting in some softer options for how to punish Martel for surviving.

We learn the new ship we saw is called the Valen: a first-of-a-kind cruiser class Ranger vessel, with capabilities different from the White Stars. Another ship is also brought into the story: an old Ranger attack ship called the “Liandra”, supposedly haunted by its former crew who died onboard. As a result of the discussions about Martel’s future, he is detailed to command the old and under-maintained Liandra, along with a small, rag-tag crew. The little bit of background we get about this diverse crew could have been (should have been?) a much more significant and interesting part of the story, but this is one of the places movie fell short. The Liandra and Valen launch on mission to take an Alliance delegation to a secret conference on Beta Durani 7.

They arrive to discover the colony destroyed, and they’re attacked by three vessels sent from a previously unknown entity called The Hand. Both ships end up disabled, the dignitaries are moved to the Liandra (living for the one), and in a heroic effort the Valen is destroyed when it rams one of the threat ships (dying for the one) to allow the survival of the dignitaries.

The last half of the movie revolves around learning more about The Hand, and how to deal with the threat. The Hand appears to be another old race (never mentioned in the original series or other movies) who have arrived from another space (but not Thirdspace)—a place of apparent total darkness. We also learn there’s a traitor onboard the Liandra and among the Alliance ambassadorial delegation, further frustrating the effort to defeat the threat.

When it’s all said and done, The Hand is defeated through a plan involving a minefield, selectively shooting mines, the use of grenades, and a race back to the nearest Jump Gate. When the battle is over, our heroes have destroyed The Hand’s capital ship with 50 grenades, making this whole part of the storyline almost comical. The known universe is saved, and as things begin to wrap up back on Minbar, the Council seems apologetic for its earlier philosophical stubbornness, closing the loop on what may be a more balanced approach to the motto: to live for the one and die for the one; and attempting to make it clear why the movie’s subtitle was “To Live and Die in Starlight”.

Was it hideous? No. Was it good? Not really. There was a lot of promise with what the story was built around, but if the movie was intended to sell someone on the production of a new series, it miserably failed. Frankly, it was surprising to us that it was written by JMS, and left us with the impression the movie may have actually convinced producers that he wasn’t really serious about this concept as a new series.

Please join us next time as we review the final movie of the set: A Call to Arms.

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP – River of Souls

river-of-soulsThis is the third movie of the Babylon 5 movies (not including The Gathering) and originally aired on November 8, 1998 on TNT. It takes place in the year 2263 between the 5th season of the series and the start of the spin-off series “Crusade”. If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, you probably recognize the title of this episode from Hamlet. Overall, an okay movie, but like many of the others it seems to be an idea that would fuel seasonal episode, stretched out to fill the length of a feature movie.

The movie kicks off with an awkward Indiana Jones type of character (Dr. Bryson), who is nowhere near as cool or polished as Indy. He’s looking for something specific, with a clear indication that something bad is going to happen. We quickly learn this reckless archeologist is after an object called a soul orb. With his prize in hand, it appears to communicate with him, but we don’t know if he understands or perhaps he’s deluded. With protective systems functioning, he has to flee to protect himself and the orb he’s stolen.

Meanwhile, there’s a quiet moment on Babylon 5: or is there? We catch a glimpse of a vendor running a holographic brothel and quickly conclude that the relative calm may become a storm. This is more assured when Michael Garibaldi shows up on the station to deal with a business matter related to something Edgars had begun: a project called Life Eternal that Dr. Bryson belongs to, and the orb he’s stolen has some relationship to this business—now Michael’s business. Michael wants preliminary data on what’s been discovered, while Dr. Bryson continues his deeper analysis. The attempts at deeper analysis follow in some fairly clumsy scenes where the good doctor seems to know all he needs to do is apply high voltage to the orb to discover more and communicate with it.

Picking up the brothel storyline again (making it predictably clear this storyline will intertwine with the orb storyline), there’s some sort of problem with the brothel resulting in Zack being turned loose on the problem, and making an internal business problem a larger one. Seems this business isn’t operating legally. If it is, then it’s just barely legal. In light of the attention this illicit business is receiving, the vendor’s lawyer shows up and begins trying to make trouble for the station.

Then a Soul Hunter arrives, looking for something stolen by Dr. Bryson—the orb. It appears this orb contains souls under the protective custody of the Soul Hunters and Bryson is putting them at risk. Shortly thereafter, we learn that a planet’s worth of souls are contained in the orb. Dr. Bryson is making the argument that they are being held prisoner while the Soul Hunter argues they are being “preserved and continued” rather than allowing them to simply pass from existence. Regardless, the souls are angry. With a Soul Hunter onboard the station attempting to return them to bondage, and no apparent way to elude the Soul Hunter, the angry souls convince Dr. Bryson to destroy the station. In their words, “better to destroy the station and embrace the darkness than to go back with them.”

With some souls having escaped the orb, they begin to wreak havoc in a variety of ways, to include occupying characters in the holo brothel. In an effort to intervene, the brothel is destroyed, Lochley is hurt and in a coma, and is pulled into the orb where she learns the truth about the imprisonment of these souls. The orb is in fact an unintentional prison for a billion souls who were captured by the Soul Hunters through a horrible misunderstanding. Thinking these people were dying and going extinct, they were captured and entombed right at the moment of apparent death. Sadly, they were actually freeing themselves from the constraints of their bodies and evolving beyond the physical (like the Vorlons), but instead ended up captive within the orb. Many had gone mad over time, and all now want to exact revenge or die, or both. Lochley comes out of the coma and informs the crew, and the Soul Hunter, of what she’s learned just as a fleet of Soul Hunters arrive to back up their agent. In great sorrow, the Soul Hunter already onboard the station is convinced of the error and takes the side of the B5 crew and the souls in the orb, now working to correct the thinking of the arriving fleet, and to free the souls.

The story begins to wrap up as Dr. Bryson continues to try and destroy the station by detonating the station’s reactor. Captain Lochley and the Soul Hunter attempt to save the station and free the souls. They find Dr. Bryson with the orb at the reactor, and in an act of sacrifice, the Soul Hunter forfeits his own life to prevent the destruction of the station, saving the orb and the life of Dr. Bryson.

The movie ends on a lighter note when Captain Lochley explains the finer points of why the loss of the holo brothel doesn’t come with a burden of guilt for the station or Lochley.

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP – In The Beginning

in-the-beginningYour faithful hosts may not have enjoyed Thirdspace very much, but we did enjoy In the Beginning. It felt like it belonged with the series. The end of the movie ties in with War Without End from Season 3, but this movie also involves a period of time 10 years before the series began, AND approximately 15 years after it ended. Are you ready?

G’Kar and Delenn set things in motion through their opening monologues and the show kicks off with Centauri Prime in flames. Emperor Mollari is old and still on the throne, sad and alone in his thoughts. He’s interrupted by two kids (Luke and Lisa) and their nursemaid, who humbly apologizes for the unintended interruption. Londo assures her it’s okay and asks the kids, “What do you want?” Luke wants to hear a story, and Londo quietly suggests that the boy did better answering that (dangerous) question than Londo did. With that question we’re reminded of the Shadows and Londo’s role significant responsibility for the war with the Shadows. But this isn’t the story Londo will tell. Instead he takes us back to Earth’s first contact with the Minbari, and the Earth-Minbari War.

Londo is a young ambassador to Earth when the military becomes aware of the Minbari. Plans are formed for contact, and Londo warns them that the Minbari should be avoided. Emboldened by what Earth believed was a significant military victory, they dismiss Londo’s warning and tell him, “The decision’s already been made.” Londo’s parting comments to the Earth’s military leadership are that he hopes, “In your stumbling around, you don’t wake the dragon.”

We learn the Rangers are something akin to an aging and hollow force, originally postured to stand against the Shadows. They now languish due to the long-time absence of the threat and a growing dismissal and even disbelief in Valen’s prophecies that pointed them at the coming conflict. With disbelief running strong, the Grey Council decides to settle the matter of the likelihood of the Shadow threat by checking on a verifiable part of Valen’s prophecy and setting out for Z’ha’dum. In a brief moment of happiness for us as fans, we see Delenn become a member of the Grey Council. Then tragedy when the Earth and Minbari expeditions encounter each other.

BOOM!

Through a series of arrogant decisions and misunderstandings, we once again see the beginning of the Earth-Minbari War, and Delenn’s emotional direction given in response to Earth’s forces firing on the Minbari fleet to counter attack and “show no mercy.” In short order we learn that Minbari forces are decimating Earth’s.

As desperation grows, two key things happen: Delenn learns of the relationship between humans and Minbari—they share souls, and realizes that they can’t continue to kill the Earthlings due to the edict that Minbari don’t kill Minbari. In an early exchange with the Vorlons (here’s where they first appear chronologically!), Delenn also learns that the humans are critical to a victory against the Shadows in the upcoming war. She begins to work to find an acceptable way to stop the war with Earth, without betraying the still secret relationship with the Vorlons, all as the Battle of the Line approaches. Meanwhile in desperation, Earth approaches the Narn in an effort to acquire advanced weapons, without which Earth will lose and humans quite likely exterminated as a race.

A series of events unfold that place Sheridan in charge of combat forces, and Delenn is sending Lenonn to negotiate peace by arranging a meeting through the Narn. As the battle continues, nukes are involved (BOOM!) and Sheridan scores a significant and needed victory to boost morale. He also receives a new mission and finds himself in a meeting with G’Kar and Franklin. Lenonn makes the meeting just in time to be killed by the Centauri, and in this we learn of Londo’s culpability: the death of Lenonn was based on the Centauri belief that they needed to prevent an alliance between the Narn and Humans. Lenonn’s death was an attempt to disrupt this, not realizing the meeting wasn’t to form an alliance as much as to negotiate peace and end the war. As a result, the battle continues. Minbari ships begin attacking the Earth directly and the end of humanity as we know it is at hand. The speech that fueled the Battle of the Line occurs as we hear the declaration for “one last battle to hold the line against the night” as refugees attempt to flee and somehow preserve the human race. Meanwhile, Delenn is desperately looking for a way to end it.

In a twist of events, during the Minbari interrogation of Sinclair, it’s revealed to the interrogators that Humans have Minbari souls, and Sinclair may possess the soul of Valen. Delenn now has the information she needs (known to others now), to end the war. As battle stops, the mistakes each side has made become clear and a new project is announced in order to attempt to prevent something like this from ever happening again: the Babylon Project.

The movie ends with Londo wrapping up his story with some tear-jerking comments to the nurse, and leaves us with the impression the story may have been his final act for his people.
You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP – Thirdspace

thirdspace

The first of five Babylon 5 movies we’ll watch and discuss.  If you have the same box set as some of us do, Thirdspace is the third movie, but the one we start with.  In terms of the show’s chronology, it takes place between Seasons 4 and 5.

The movie opens with a monologue by Sheridan.  He tells us we’re between the wars in the year 2261.  The raiders are a problem and we see a dear friend right in the middle of the fight addressing the problem:  Susan Ivanova.  In fine Ivanova fashion, when the raiders threaten her squadron with the power of a larger mother ship, Susan brings in a fleet of her own, and the raiders relent.  Seeing Susan after so long is like coming home.

Lyta has a job as a sort of Telepath Private Eye and we watch her dealing with quarreling brothers to resolve a disagreement between them.  During this scene though, she isn’t feeling well…caused by something in Hyperspace.  When we see this object adrift, along with the nearby Starfuries, we see just how big it is:  massive, at nearly 1/2 a mile across!  Before long, the plan forms for the Starfuries to tow it into the vicinity of the station.  As it draws closer, Lyta is having pretty horrible visions.

The object shows signs of having received weapons fire, and because it’s a unique and possibly ancient artifact, it draws the attention of the quickly arriving Intergalactic Planetary Expedition (IPX) vessel commanded by a Dr. Elizabeth Trent.  In addition to drawing in IPX, we see it can also draw power from objects (like maintenance bots) that get too close, suggesting something a little sinister about this old artifact.  As we learn more, it’s revealed that it’s over one million years old!  Trent argues that it’s within IPX’s pursue and authority to examine the artifact and ultimately wins the day.  She also comes across as fairly disingenuous.

Lyta’s state worsens as she begins to apparently lose her mind…scribbled notes, mumbling…with it all unfolding in what should have been an intimate moment of courage for Zach.  Alone in the elevator, he finally has the courage to admit his feelings for her.  Her response:  a disheveled glare.  He quickly backpedals and lets her know it’s okay that she (apparently) doesn’t feel the same in this sad but somewhat comical moment.

Odd events continue to happen.  Somehow Trent knows about Lyta’s past, including the fact that the Vorlons altered her, and letting us know there really is probably something more to Trent than meets the eye.  Things get a little stranger in the Zocalo and Susan is hearing things.  The artifact is quite possibly a doorway, or a gate similar to a jump gate, but much more powerful:  a super jump gate.  We quickly learn the artifact is just that.  Where jump gates allow passage from regular space into and through hyperspace, the artifact is a similar technology that allows access to a third form of space.  Traditional jump gates allow very fast travel from point to point through hyperspace, the artifact and similar gates allow for instantaneous travel through “thirdspace”.  In this case, with the proximity of the artifact, we learn that it’s the cause of the emerging chaos on Babylon 5 and that in this control of people, it’s working to power up and become operational.  We can also say with confidence it seems to be controlling Trent.

The Vorlon in Lyta finally comes out and teaches everyone what the artifact is.  It’s a gateway to another dimension, created by the Vorlons in their attempt to find their god, and perhaps become gods themselves.  It backfired.  The beings on the other side were powerful enough to scare the Vorlons, and in essence they were the opposite of life as we know it in this universe.  They were anti-life.  She reveals the only way they can shut the artifact down at this point, and ensure those on the other side don’t come through the gate and destroy our universe.  It involves Sheridan, a space suit with a jet pack, and a nuclear weapon.

As things are getting dire outside the artifact, with the fight favoring the enemy, the Whitestar fleet finally arrives, and holds the enemy at bay to some extent.  Sheridan, protected only by luck, flies through the swarm of ships, delivers the nuclear device within the artifact, and runs.  The device goes off, the artifact is destroyed and the gate closes as a giant ship is coming through.  Sheridan somehow avoids destruction in the nuclear blast, it’s confirmed Trent was under the control of the beings behind the artifact, and things begin to return to normal.

The movie ends as it began:  with a monologue from Sheridan.  It was all true, and all a lie.

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

 

BPP 522 – Sleeping in Light

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With the last show leaving us satisfied with a very appropriate and emotional season ender, the SERIES concludes with this episode. If you thought the last one tugged on the heart strings, this one beats it, hands-down. Things begin with a monologue by Michael as we learn 20 years have passed since the incidents on Z’ha’dum and Lorien extending John’s life. The show opens with some certainty that John’s departure from this life is imminent. Listener, I hope your heart is ready.

John is having dreams that specifically lead him to believe — or know — that it’s time. He’s not hiding anything from Delenn and while he isn’t blunt about it, she suspects as well. As he rises early with Delenn to enjoy the sunrise, we see that at some point during the time between his arrival on Minbar and now, he’s become the Entil’Zha. As the opening scene concludes, we learn it’s time to send the messages…

Back on Earth, we see Susan is back, now a General, and tired (or angry, or both) of the politics that revolve around her rank. Earth appears to still be in the Alliance, but it also seems things are generally cold toward the Rangers. A Ranger arrives and hands Susan a message.

Vir is Emperor now and is interrupted by a Ranger who delivers him a message.

Stephen and Michael are together on Mars and a Ranger delivers messages to them too.

In each case, the recipients quickly react and depart for Minbar. The messages were in fact the notification that John’s time is drawing to a close, and his call to his friends to come see him. But where’s Zack? As the various messages are delivered, we learn that one was sent and returned, giving us a hint that it might have been intended for Zack.

With everyone assembled, there are quiet and heartfelt moments for the group at dinner, and a toast to those no longer with us. As the evening continues, there are side discussions going on as well, including a significant one between Delenn and Susan. We learn that John and Delenn’s son David is in deep space and that Delenn is now the President of the Alliance. In this capacity, she invites Susan to become the next Entil’Zha. While it’s not really joy on her face, we catch a glimpse of a moment of joy in the midst of all the sorrow as she’s asked to essentially rejoin the Babylon 5 family she’s been away from for so long.

After everyone heads to bed, John and Delenn have another quiet moment. In that moment he notes it’s Sunday tomorrow. He talks about when he was a boy and reminisces about how his father used to take them all on a Sunday drive. There was never a specific destination, rather it was just a drive. He tells Delenn he wants to go for a drive. The evening ends quietly and intimately, with tomorrow ominously approaching.

The next morning John is in his full Alliance uniform and Delenn is dressed stunningly. It’s here that we learn it was understood the evening before that John will be going for the drive and this is his goodbye to Delenn. It’s early morning, they embrace, he cries (for what may be the first time in the series!), and in one of the heaviest moments of the series, she tells him “good night, my love.” He walks away, pauses, then departs, and we know this is the last time they’ll be together.

John arrives on a deserted Babylon 5 to take a final stroll there, and finds Zack. We learn now why Zack didn’t come to the gathering on Minbar. A message was sent for him, but he was on Babylon 5 and never received it. In a moment of grace very typical of the honor of John Sheridan, he saves Zack the heartache of knowing he’s dying or that he missed receiving his message. Zack offers to walk him around and in carefully selected words, he responds, “I know the way.”, foreshadowing his pending death. It appears Zack was right—he just might be there until they turn the lights out. We’ve learned that Babylon 5 has come to the end of its useful life and is scheduled for demolition, so the lights will go out soon.

As things begin to wrap up, we seen Sheridan heading to Cortana 6. He’s fading, and he’s waiting. Back home, we see Delenn. She knows. Then Lorien joins John and explains he’s not only there for John, in fact they have waited for him to live out the remainder of his life. Now the time has come for him to move from this journey ends and “another begins.” With tears in our eyes and heavy hearts, John is consumed in light as he quietly passes away (falls asleep), and Babylon 5 is destroyed, dying with him.

But in a moment that makes us smile just we see JMS in a cameo finally turning out the lights.

Susan gives us the closing monolog as the show ends. Susan takes the position of Entil’Zha and we see Delenn finally sitting…alone on a bench. And next to her, we see the spirit of John, now sleeping in light. But don’t stop there, be sure to watch the closing credits (and listen to the music!). What a way to close out a series that arguably stands alone in quality television storytelling.

With the original series behind us, please join us as we begin our reviews of the movies in the official Babylon 5 universe!

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP 521 – Objects at Rest

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As this episode opens, your hosts discuss that this is the SEASON ender—and it sure feels that way. You’re correct in that there’s one more episode, but the agreement is that the next and last episode is the SERIES ender. The situation: John and Delenn are leaving Babylon 5 and heading to Minbar to move into the new, permanent seat of the Alliance. Things kick off with a dialog, perhaps some reflecting, between Sheridan and Lockley about the adventure we’ve all participated in: “where does the time go?” And also the question, “what’s out there?”, answered by “the Rim” and then beyond that, “the truth.”

Ta’Lon is back on Babylon 5 and asking for G’Kar, apparently unaware he’s left the station for good, and a bit puzzled since G’Kar summoned him. He goes to G’Kar’s room, ends up picking the lock and enters, looking for something—anything—that might have been left for him. He finds a message from G’Kar informing him he’s the new Ambassador to Babylon 5. In one of the coolest scenes that carries a lot of punch, we see G’Kar talking to Ta’Lon side by side, as if they were in the same room, as G’Kar explains to him that he is the right choice for Ambassador because he’s more warrior than priest. (It seems whether he wanted it or not, G’Kar left the station because he had become more priest than warrior.) In the end we see a overall parallel in the story lines as Vir has replaced Londo, and Ta’Lon has replaced G’Kar: the old and the new.

As the replacement for Michael, Tessa appears to have settled in nicely, and is it just us, or have they softened her appearance? She looks comfortable. As for Michael, we find him running the daily operations of Edgars Industries, and in a move that is probably typically Michael, he has replaced the Board members with a handful of trouble makers from within the company, gives them all raises, and a significant challenge to put all their talk into action. We suspect these loudmouths and discontents might actually become credible leaders.

We also watch the transition of responsibility for Med Lab between Franklin and Dr. Lillian Hobbs. As he passes her the reins, Franklin strolls off to join Sheridan in a quiet and heartfelt conversation in the corridor.

Speaking of Sheridan, he has an awkward moment and conversation with Lennier as Delenn leaves them alone briefly—these two men who both love her. Then Delenn shares some final words as she and John prepare to depart the station. In a moment of writing perfection, Sheridan (who wanted to leave quietly) says nothing and defers to Delenn, who eloquently shares that there are no “goodbyes.” As always, Zack is there too and makes a passing comment about remaining on Babylon 5 and being there when they turn off the lights. Sheridan makes his last flight as a commander onboard the station, and in those final moments, turns his ship to view the station’s command deck. In what can only be a tearful and heart-wrenching moment, we have a single scene where we see the new command crew and the old.

Then we have some boom! There’s an accident and a toxic leak onboard John and Delenn’s ship and John rushes to the aid of others. He find himself in a room that needs to be sealed off to protect the others onboard, but thankfully Lennier is there to help, but in an angering and surprising turn of events (and in the shadow of Delenn’s love for John), we watch Lennier seal John in the room rather than ensure he escapes. Lennier then runs. John escapes and after some amount of time Lennier returns with help. It’s not clear if his return was the result of a guilty conscience, or believing John would be dead at this point, to hide his involvement in John’s undoing. Regardless, Lennier flees, apparently for good.

As they arrive on Minbar, John and Delenn are greeted with fireworks and an old friend, Londo, who they learn is now the Emperor of Centauri Prime. Londo makes an attempt to let them know things are not what they appear, hinting that he’s being controlled by others, and for a brief moment, Delenn almost sees his Keeper! He gives them a precious gift to pass to their future son when he turns 16. What is revealed to us is that gift contains a hibernating Keeper intended for David. In this same scene Lennier calls and apologizes to Delenn, and makes it clear to her he’s going away until he finds a way to redeem himself. Then as we watch Londo depart, he stresses once again they’re all friends no matter what, putting the events of War Without End into perspective.

As the episode and season ends, Delenn observes John recording a father-to-son message to David, for him to listen to when he turns 21—words John won’t be there to share at that point. As we listen, we see a wonderful montage of the crew, old and new, at a minimum to highlight the events of John’s recent life that contributed to the formation of the wisdom he’s now passing to his son.

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP 520 – Objects in Motion

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This is the beginning of the end of the season in that this episode starts the real wrap up of where people are, and where they’re going. As the show opens we see Number 1 (we learn her name is Tessa) arriving on Babylon 5 to a less than warm reception. Dr. Franklin recognizes her though, and helps her ease through security. We quickly learn she’s looking for Michael on what appears to be urgent business — yes, she has her serious face on. Or is that her normal face? She’s taken to see Michael and finds him less than gracefully enjoying his very honorable and deliberate battle with detoxifying his body and breaking the addiction. Lise greets Tessa at the door and is a model of dignity and grace. The awkward situation is punctuated when Tessa reveals that there will be an assassination attempt on both Michael’s and Lise’s lives. Those behind the hit are none other than the current Board of Directors for Edgars Industry. This only emboldens Michael in his resolve to protect his wife and what has become her company. He forms a plan for how to deal with the situation once he gets to Mars.

Related, we also learn that Earth is putting a real squeeze on Mars, hoping to create an environment of real trouble through civil unrest, so that they can come in and “help” quell the problems. Politically, Earth is trying to make an unhealthy Mars so they can then be the good guys and provide the “cure.” Tessa and John work a part of the solution though by facilitating the establishment of a formal relationship between Mars and Minbar, creating a situation that will limit or even prevent Earth interference with its former colony.

G’Kar appears to be growing very impatient and even cold toward his followers, at least one of which expresses real and serious (although almost comical) discontent toward him. G’Kar, knowing he’s leaving with Lyta, maintains his professionalism though. He wants no party or celebration to honor his contributions to the Alliance, but one is set up anyway, not just for G’Kar, but also to say farewell to Mike as he moves to Mars with Lise. The more sinister side of the public celebration is to set the stage to draw the potential assassin out. Security has a plan and is waiting. Sure enough the assassin exposes himself and is caught, but in a moment of genuine surprise, the disgruntled follower of G’Kar attempts to kill him. He misses though and ends up hitting Lise.

As we witness G’Kar and Sheridan saying goodbye, G’Kar shares a few final thoughts. It’s a special moment that will play into the next episode. We also learn that Lise will recover. By her side in Med Lab and in that moment, he and Michael decide not to delay their marriage any longer and become husband and wife in a bedside wedding.

In a moment that tugs the heart strings, G’Kar and Lyta depart, with Zack watching from afar. His love for Lyta hasn’t ever diminished.

Finally, after Michael and Lise arrive on Mars, we watch him surprise the Board. He has all the dirt he needs on every one of the Board members, he lets them know, then informs them they will all resign. Where did he get the dirt? Only from his replacement as the new head of Alliance Intelligence: Tessa. And as the show wraps up, what about Stephen? We’ll let’s just say as he wraps up a meal with Tessa, there’s another “oh, Stephen” moment, reminiscent of their time on Mars during the war.

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!