Raul and Jim are quite wrong in this episode. JP Harvey is NOT a guest. As of this episode he joins the podcast are our third host of the show and we are all much better for it.
Joining JP in our exalted guest list is the appearance of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. With those two, can it get any better? Well, yes it can. We also get the ever popular Marshall Teague back as Ta’Lon. OH! And Maggie is back!
A cast like this can only mean that we are in for a very special episode. This is the second part of the mid-season trilogy that changes the course of the show. After the events of last week, we find President Clark forced to make his move to consolidate power. That means bad things for Babylon 5 as the Nightwatch infiltration reaches a climax. Zach will have to find his way out from that spot between a rock and a hard place.
Londo is also having something of an existential crisis, so he pull in a bit of existential help. The outcome isn’t quite … well … it’s not what he hopes, but it is what he fears. He gets several puzzles added to his confusion with his answers. Of course. Vir also gets a few surprises along the way.
G’Kar explains his epiphany and why he is no longer what we saw in the beginning of the show. He also has a solution for a lot of the crew’s problems.
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.
This is one of the very few episodes that does not actually advance the main arc this year. That is, there is little to do at all with the Shadow War. That said, we do see a peek inside several of the characters; especially Sheridan, Londo, and G’kar.
Sheridan might be command rank, but he’s not above rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands dirty. His “I’ll fix it myself” attitude can almost be messianic at times. Hmmm… Foreshadowing? In the case of Londo and G’kar, it’s more of a looking back rather than a looking ahead. Both characters are about to undergo some big changes and having them trapped together gives us a very clear picture of where they are now and where they were in the past. This is especially true with G’kar.
And? And, we get some Narn singing. Unfortunately (or fortunately), Jim threatened Raul with great bodily harm if he tried to turn it into a sing-along.
This is it. This is the episode you’ve been waiting for. Prepare to have a lot of questions answered. Or not. We get a big reveal for which we have waited since The Gathering. Or not. We get a great hour-plus of Babylon 5 discussion. Or not. Ok, we certainly do get that whenever you put Jim and Raul on the same podcast.
So you really don’t want to miss it.
Join us as we discuss the incredible season two finale; something Raul calls one of the best season finales in television. Players’ hands are revealed. Things planted in season one germinate. We also see just how well B5 can take care of itself since Gen. Franklin’s “upgrades.” (Think that might play a role in the future?)
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.
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.
Actually, there IS some boom today. Or perhaps we should just say some “Boom shaka laka…”
This is an episode of contrasts. It has some of the funniest moments of the entire series with the Ivanova Dance. Yet, G’kar’s pleas for help and his reaction to the responses are some of the most heart-wrenching. Londo is not only dressing darker, reflecting his turn of status, he is just beginning to feel the price of his darker path.
It seems like each episode through the next several seasons just keep getting better. Most shows, you don’t find episodes like this until the end of the season when they are building to their finale. Heck, this episode could be a season finale with the Shadow war starting the next season. But no… JMS puts this one smack in the middle. If you’re new to the series, this episode will give you a hint of what is coming.
This is the arc episode of the season. The title of the episode also gives its name to the title of the season. This episode is also the first Hugo win for Best Dramatic Presentation for Babylon 5.
The season isn’t half over and the roller coaster has already begun…
Powerful drama and slapstick comedy in the same episode and only JMS could make this works so well! Just consider:
Green! Purple! Claudia’s talent for physical comedy is taken to a new level as she tries to mediate election season for the Drazi.
Then there are the techomages. Michael Moorcock fans, rejoice because Elric is brilliantly played by Michael Ansara. What is a technomage? Elric says it best, “It is within that ambiguity that we exist. We are dreamers, shapers, singers, and makers. We study the mysteries of laser and circuit, crystal and scanner, holographic demons and invocations of equations. These are the tools we employ, and we know many things.” This is their only appearance in the series, but there is a trilogy that addresses them and the do show up in the short-lived Crusade spin-off.