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.
The roller coaster to the end of season 2 continues in a big way this episode. It turns out there’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing close to the command staff. A favorite character we haven’t seen in a very long time comes back. Oh, and it turns out that even the Minbari cannot resist a good gossip column. Delenn even has an excuse.
We also learn a lot about why Susan has such an issue with telepaths. As everything else in Babylon 5, there’s more than you think.
This episode would have been a lot different if the original cast from the pilot were still around. Jim and Raul talk about that, as well.
Dinner and a movie with a Minbari? Well, not quite. Meditation in lumberjack mode? That’s a bit closer. As with most things Minbari social customs, a simple dinner date is, well… not quite simple. Just ask Lennier.
This episode starts a bit light, but it doesn’t last long. It seems that one of the key races we’ve had since the beginning is about to go away. This is a episode that takes a hard look at faith vs. blind faith. Naturally we will get a bit philosophic at times. Of course that isn’t unusual for Jim and Raul.
The real part of this story, though, is the development of the relationship between John and Delenn. That takes this from what would be a largely stand-alone episode and turns it into one that is important for the big story.
This isn’t a Gremlins podcast, but it should have been. We were plagued with recording issues, but wow! Troy is damn good. I’ve said for years, a good editor is worth his weight in gold and this episode is proof.
But about Babylon 5… That this episode includes the name Zha’ Ha’ Dum, you might expect this to be a major arc episode. You would be right. This was the second episode that was up for the Hugo.
In this episode we get an idea of just how far Sheridan is willing to go to achieve an objective. Morden is not only back, but he’s apprehended and John isn’t going to let him go without some real answers. Finally, after a season-and-a-half, we finally get the background we have been after. And while we don’t see what is inside the encounter suit, we do learn what the Vorlons are.
One of the most priceless Vir moments also occurs in this episode. Will we get a payoff for the effort? We’ll just have to wait and see. A big part of Franklin’s story is set up, as well, though it will take until late season 3 to climax. We also get our first introduction to the Nightwatch. Hmm… wonder where that is going to go?
In this episode we learn that not everyone at ISN is like our beloved Jane (aka, Maggie Eagan). The bias of the press is a bit subtle here, but there are still some fair elements. We’re not sure if the problem is Babylon 5 itself or just the extraterrestrial races. One certainly gets the impression that there is something going on between ISN and President Clark. We’ll find out a lot more about that in Season 3, however.
Keep this episode in mind when you watch Severed Dreams in Season 3 and Illusions of Truth in Season 4.
A lot of lighthearted moments in this episode and some seriously comic Londo moments. Keep these images of Londo in mind because in just a few episodes we are going to see him beginning to realize the darkness he’s helped create. Not everything in this episode is about some deep space franchise, however. Sheridan begins his training under Kosh with a moment of perfect beauty. Right in the middle of his career nearly unravelling.
Oh, and let’s not forget a fan favorite makes a reappearance this episode. This time we get to see her without the Narn makeup.