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.
[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.
Sorry to be a day late. I was in bed with a fever the last couple days. That is also as much boom as we get out of this episode. Just because there isn’t any boom doesn’t mean this isn’t a quite interesting episode.
Whenever we have a Marcus/Franklin paired episode, you can count on it being extremely engaging and always interesting. Not only do the two characters different perspectives simply beg for their pairing, there is an outstanding chemistry between the two actors. There will be several more of these pairings in future episodes.
Fortunately, I was not nearly as ill as Duncan is. A sinus infection, I doubt, would qualify me as a candidate to have a giant centipede plugged into my spine. Between this and the Londo’s problems in Sic Transit Vir, one worries that B5 has an issue with insects. No offense meant to the Gaim.
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.
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.
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.
Of the lighter Babylon 5 episodes, this is probably my all-time favorite. Both the A story and the B story have some of the most memorable funny moments of the show. In fact, it was so hard to choose an image for this post, I simply had to give you two. I just need to type enough to fill the space so two images fit.
In the first episode we get to meet Londo’s own personal Famine, Pestilence and Death. Along with Elric, the Technomage from The Geometry of Shadows, Timov is one of the favorite one-time appearance characters in the show. She is so popular that she has a central role in The Legions of Fire book trilogy. Jane Carr, who gave the role life, was just fabulous.
Normally, we don’t mention the B story in the notes, but in this case an exception must be made. Delenn is busy trying to come to terms with the human side of life. Not the easiest thing, if you aren’t born to it. She turns to the only person she can trust to put on her “girly side,” Susan Ivanova. Mira doesn’t get to do a whole lot of comedy in Babylon 5, but in this episode, she shows as that she has that mastered, as well.
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.
You’ve waited awhile for this installment, I know. So we made sure it was worth the wait. We continue on with the second part of A Voice In the Wilderness. We left the show with what appears to be an Earth warship popping out of the jumpgate to take over the situation. However, it would appear that not only Sinclair and the command staff, but Delenn, Londo and Draal seem to have other ideas…
Our discussion is joined today with a fan and good friend of the show: JP Harvey. JP is a retired colonel of the U.S. military, so is the perfect person to answer some of the military questions that not only abound in this episode, but that we’ve asked over the course of the season. We hope to get him back for a few more shows down the line.
Sorry we’ve been away, friends. Life has its periods of craziness. Just ask Susan Ivanova. But we are back and in full strength.
This episode was so good it couldn’t be contained in one episode. Seriously, though, this is an extremely important episode to the mythology. Multiple story lines. Great arc content. A wonderful homage to Forbidden Planet. Some of Londo’s best lines of the season – and some real understanding of the tragedy of his character. We also get some things set in motion that we won’t see resolved until seasons 4 and 5.
My advice? Watch this one again. Why? Just because…