We had a short breather last episode, if you can call Neroon pounding Marcus to a bloody pulp either short or a breather. Last episode was setup. This episode is just as much setup, but also a huge payoff (with another type of setup of its own!).
Sheridan is assembling his fleet to take on the Shadows. Telepaths are being distributed across the ships to give them the best fighting chance. On top of the war preparations, Brother Theo has some friends over from Earth who are more than meets the eye. The stress is clearly getting to John and some of the people around him take some steps to address the issue.
In the meantime, Londo has some stress of his own. It seems the emperor has had enough with the feud between Londo and Refa. A Minister has arrived to determine which House to support and put the feud to rest. Londo is not particularly worried, though, and assures the Minister that the issue will be resolved shortly to everyone’s satisfaction. Ok, well not everyone.
The two stories intersect in one of the most macabre and chilling scenes of the series. The elegance of it is probably one of the most disturbing parts.
And as far as some of us are concerned, that is a good thing. This show is considered by many to be one of, if not the, weakest shows of the series.
Now, as far as the “A” story goes, it’s sort of hard to argue that point. The Zarg is rather lame for one of the most dangerous predators in the sector. Raul also gets rather bent about the firing of bullets from a steam pipe. It’s simply not how bullets or firearms work.
On the other hand, the “B” story is outstanding! Delenn is getting a promotion thanks to recent events. Our farvorite cranky Minbari from the Warrior Caste has some issue with that. And our favorite ranger has a conversation about it. Hilarity – as well as several sound thumps – ensue.
The “B” story saves the day and makes the episode quite fun to watch in spite of the Zarg and soggy bullets.
This is an episode that stands out most for returnings.
We have everyone’s favorite fuzzy alien returning: Zathras.
We have Commander Sinclair returning as the leader of the Rangers.
We have the most mysterious location in the series returning: Babylon 4.
Something that was set in motion in season 1 is about to come full circle here near the end of season 3. This episode is so big it’s going to take two parts to get all the elements of closure needed.
Time travel stories in science fiction series are very rarely done well. It’s not a lack of talent, they are just simply hard to do right and keep the whole cause and effect issues straight. JMS does a great job here. Be warned, with Raul on the cast, it’s going to be hard to avoid some of the philosophy of time questions. A Theory vs. B Theory of time does come up, so we understand if you need to medicate after this one.
No shrubberies. No coconuts. And certainly, no watery tarts.
But this is still one heck of a King Arthur story. And a satisfying thump they made!
What do you expect, though, when you combine the talents of Mira Furlan, Andreas Katsulas, and Jason Carter with the amazing Michael York. You cannot have that many top notch stage actors on a script without something amazing happening.
Michael sells it so well, you not only wonder if his character really is King Arthur, but you actually hope he is. That isn’t so far fetched, considering the extent to which the Vorlons have tampered with human history. The chemistry he has with Andreas/G’Kar is great. We see a hopeful side of Marcus that is particularly moving. We also have one of the most powerful moment in the series with Michael and Mira. Not a word was spoken. When you have actors that good, you don’t need words.
You think after the last three episodes President Clark might be a bit honked off at Sheridan & Co.? Nightwatch can’t be all that happy, either. I guess some people have no sense of humor. Go figure.
After all the crisis, Delenn decides to take matters into her own hands by having the rebirth ceremony. Yeah, we saw part of that in Season 1, as well. Though this time, there aren’t any possible weddings happening. Yet. Unfortunately, Nightwatch decides to express their displeasure with Sheridan by going after Delenn. I suppose, those three Minbari warships hovering in the background might have something to do with that.
Anyway, it does seem that Sheridan has had enough. He makes that rather clear in the end. We also have a few secrets revealed. Some of them will have an impact on the future of the story. Overall, this episode slows down the pace a bit after the roller-coaster we’ve been on. Pay particular attention to G’Kar. We will be contrasting him now with him in the future.
If this episode gives you a feeling that things are starting to ramp up, you wouldn’t be wrong.
We get several bits from the past becoming important now. Remember Draal? Remember the trouble Katherine Sakai got into at Sigma 957? Remember this little problem with the Shadows in the midst of all this Earth Alliance intrigue? Actually, let’s include the Earth Alliance intrigue, too.
Did you know those were related?
The audience isn’t the only one to notice something is up. Zack is noticing. G’kar is noticing. It seems with the sending of a Political Officer, that President Clark is noticing. And they all seem to want some answers.
This is absolutely a “Wham!” episode. There’s a lot happening. The arc is advanced in a big way. Little threads from the past – some planted back in S1 – are pulled together into the main story.
Another one of JMS’ deeply philosophical episodes.
Directed by Adam Nimoy, a fan favorite, and guest starring both Louis Turenne (Brother Theo) and the absolutely brilliant Brad Dourif (Brother Edward) we have one of the most intense examinations of forgiveness, redemption, and consequences that you will ever see on television.
Aside from the obvious theological implications, which JMS handles with profound respect, these themes are going to play a crucial role throughout the remainder of the series for all of the key characters.
In keeping with the tone of the show, Jim and Raul have a spirited but always thoughtful discussion that does not shy away from the hard questions.
JMS describes this episode as a day where everything that can go wrong does go wrong. That’s a pretty good description. Vir’s having a bad day; Londo gets him a promotion. G’Kar isn’t doing much better; his replacement has arrived. And Sheridan? His day is so bad dealing with the guilds that the station getting blown up seems to be an option for improvement. Delenn seems to be the only one where things are going good. She’s getting a new ambassador to Minbar from the Centauri. Yep, that actually is a good thing. At least for her.
I know what those days are like. Bet you do, too.
This episode is also Straczynski’s tribute to Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker series. Great classic SciFi I’d encourage everyone to read. At least give the original set of short stories a try.
For the penultimate show of the season, this is not what you would expect. Needless to say, that makes it perfect. This is one of the creepier shows in the series. It is also, as Jim points out, one of the most cost effective sets in the series.
Past meets present meets future in the pause and introspection that occurs just before all hell breaks loose in the finale. We also see some seeds of doubt planted regarding the Vorlons. Perhaps they are not quite as noble as Delenn seems to consider them? Time will tell.
Londo finally figures it out. His “associates” are far too dangerous to be around. Unfortunately he has figured it out far too late. The Narn-Centauri War reaches its final stage with some of the most poignant boom of the series. One scene in particular is just an incredible example of film-making. Yet, in spite of his repugnance of it, when the final time comes, Londo seems to embrace his fate and the evil associated with it.
As Londo grows away from the light, we begin to see the steps of G’Kar growing into the light. True, they are first steps, but we see the pettiness beginning to be stripped.
As dark as the episode is, we do have some lighter moments. One favorite character is back and we hear another mentioned. If you think this might be a clue; yes, it is.
For any other series this would be an amazing season finale. Guess what? There are still two more episodes to go and the just keep getting better.