[A special “Thank you,” to listener Big Brother (@back2babylon5 on Twitter) for letting me know the link wasn’t in the post. We should be fixed now.]
“Be somewhere else.”
Probably one of the strongest lines in science fiction television. Raw power and an absolute willingness to use it. We’ve seen some of the flirty or feminine Delenn lately, so we might have forgotten she was a member of the Grey Council – and the chosen of Dukat – for a reason.
But that’s just one of many “wham” points for this episode. All the tension we’ve been seeing build with the Earth Alliance explodes today. Clark forces the hand of Sheridan with a result I don’t think he expects. Hard decisions are made, but are they really that hard when you don’t have anything else to lose?
The moralities of command. Free press. Just war. The price of even a just war. All this and more are the focus of this episode of Babylon 5. Raul, Jim, and JP have a fascinating and extended conversation about this and more on this fan favorite episode that also won the 1997 Hugo award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
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.
The madness continues. Like Jim and Raul have said, Season 2 just never stops. This week, Vir makes a return from his new ambassadorial post on Minbar. He appears to be going native just a bit. Hardly a surprise, of course, but you cannot help but wonder if that isn’t going to get him in trouble somewhere down the line.
Oh, and did I mention our favorite “villain” is back? Bester makes a return to Babylon 5 except that this time he is the Good Guy. Or is he? Well, he is chasing down a black market drug operation that is peddling something called Dust. This drug gives anyone with the recessive gene for telepathy that ability for a short time. It allows what is effectively a telepathic rape of another. It’s also highly addictive and extremely dangerous. So he has to be on our “side” this time, right?
I do have to give Bester credit for being right about one thing; he and Garibaldi do make a good team.
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?)