Watching Babylon 5 for the First Time, Season 4: Episodes 21-22

She thinks she’s winning here.

I am very late to the Babylon 5 party. As it came out, I was a bit young for the show and the few times we tried to watch as a family, it was clear we had no idea what was going on. After several people bugged me, telling me it was the show I needed to watch, I grabbed the whole series around Christmas last year on a great sale. I’ve been watching it since, sneaking it in between the many things going on in my life. It quickly became apparent that I’d want to discuss the episodes with others, so I began this series of posts. Please don’t spoil anything from later seasons or episodes for me! 

Babylon 5, Season 4: Episodes 21-22

21: Rising Star
Ivanova sits in the medlab mourning Marcus in some of the most emotionally wrenching scenes in the entire series. I don’t know what to say. I am devastated. 

Back on Earth, Bester meets up with Sheridan in an attempt to find out about his lover and whether Sheridan sacrificed her for the sake of the battle. Sheridan angrily torches Bester’s motivations, but then reveals that Carolyn is still on Babylon 5. Sheridan also notes that Girabaldi is finishing personal business before he almost certainly will be coming after Bester. And we immediately get a quick scene showing us what Girabaldi is up to–tracking down Lise. 

The interim President and Sheridan then have a conversation in which she basically forces him into two extremely poor options, either forcing him from command or bringing him up on a stacked jury for court martial. Sheridan says he will resign after the options are laid out. Sheridan, when he is given the chance to speak after  taking the deal, resigns only after stating that he loves Earth and that he is doing it for amnesty. I am sure there will be more to this. 

G’Kar then follows up Sheridan’s brief speech with his bombshell that the League of Non-Aligned Worlds voted to dissolve and create its own, new alliance. Delenn explains that the Rangers will now be the ones guarding the safety and peace of the alliance worlds, as a White Stars fleet overflies the Presidential palace. 

I knew it! Sheridan is the President of the new Alliance! I love this so much. It’s so fantastic. Oh my goodness what a fantastic scene when Sheridan gets to leave and see his dad. It’s absolutely beautiful. The scene shortly after with Mollari and G’Kar is another perfect scene in a series of fantastic scenes. I adore this show, so, so much. And the artificial eye missing from G’Kar? A bit creepy but also… so on character. 

Babylon 5 Endures! Triumphant!

22: The Deconstruction of Falling Stars

So I read that Babylon 5 got cancelled about halfway through season 4, so they decided to wrap up the series in that season, tying off loose ends much more quickly than may otherwise have happened. But then towards the end, the network decided to renew the series for a 5th season after all. This meant that, apparently, they had to come up with more story for the upcoming season. This episode, it seems, is a way to lay the groundwork for that next season.

We see many news stories, talking heads, people debating the use of the Rangers after the fact, discussing Sheridan’s legacy, and more. The whole thing is presented in a series of cuts which is apparently someone watching all of these in a row. We finally see some insight into what’s happening as we see someone is trying to re-write history. They’re [unsure who “they” are here] using “goodfacts” as opposed to “realfacts” 500 years later, attempting to justify breaking out of the alliance in order to set up a preemptive strike and attack. But a holographic Girabaldi manages to hack the system and stop it just in time. Then, we jump forward another 500 years and see some monks talking about the events that happened in the interim. Earth has lost quite a bit of technology and no longer do humans ply the stars. Sheridan and others have become myths.

Finally, something like a million (!?) years after the events of the main series, we see someone sending all of these sequences off to “New Earth.” The episode ends with Delenn waking up next to Sheridan as they discuss whether they’ll be remembered in a a hundred or a thousand years. Delenn assures Sheridan history will take care of itself and they settle in together. End of season 4, one of the best seasons of television I’ve ever seen. 

I honestly enjoyed it quite a bit, and despite some people saying they really don’t like season 5, I’m looking forward to diving in and seeing what happens next. 

Links

Babylon 5 Hub– Find all my Babylon 5-related posts and content here.

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

SDG.

Watching Babylon 5 for the First Time, Season 4: Episodes 17-20

Well, this is awkward.

I am very late to the Babylon 5 party. As it came out, I was a bit young for the show and the few times we tried to watch as a family, it was clear we had no idea what was going on. After several people bugged me, telling me it was the show I needed to watch, I grabbed the whole series around Christmas last year on a great sale. I’ve been watching it since, sneaking it in between the many things going on in my life. It quickly became apparent that I’d want to discuss the episodes with others, so I began this series of posts. Please don’t spoil anything from later seasons or episodes for me! 

Babylon 5, Season 4: Episodes 17-20

17: The Face of the Enemy
Garibaldi is clearly feeling it with his upcoming betrayal of Sheridan. Sheridan, meanwhile, discovers that the President is telling Earth Force people that they’ll all be killed and replaced by Minbari if they don’t surrender. But one of Sheridan’s allies talks some of the Earth Force down while his old ship shows up. Sheridan is too trusting, in my opinion, as he decides to go over to his old ship. Meanwhile, Franklin and Lyta go to meet up with Mars resistance forces. 

Garibaldi does ultimately seem to go the distance and tranquilizes Sheridan in the middle of a bar after he used his dad as bait to bring him in. And here we have a disturbingly poignant psuedo fight scene as Sheridan attempts to fight off those sent to apprehend him as music goes on hauntingly in the background. This scene is one of the more powerful in the show so far, as we see Garibaldi juxtaposed against Sheridan getting beaten by Earth Force brutes. Then, a news story of his capture is played over scenes of Sheridan being beaten by his captors. As Garibaldi’s betrayal ramps into high gear, he learns of Edgars’s plan to fully control telepaths by forcing them to take a drug. And then we see Garibaldi taking a tooth out that sends a signal to Bester!? 

I just need to pause for a moment and truly reflect on this! The whole plot was brought about by Bester, who set Garibaldi up as a kind of inside man, to spy for him. And then Bester, once he gets the information he needs from Girabaldi, apparently releases Garibaldi from his psychic trap. But the whole thing was set up, in a way, by the Shadows themselves, since they targeted the telepaths and tried to trap them between enemies. Bester releases Garibaldi and leaves him in abject sorrow. He’s believed to be a traitor by everyone.

18: Intersections in Real Time

Sheridan is tortured and questions in some of the more excruciating scenes in the show. It’s not terribly graphic, but since we’ve become so invested in Sheridan as a character, it becomes horrible just to not know whether he’s going to get through it alive. The lengthy sequences also remind me of the scenes with Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation “The Chain of Command, Part II.” In fact, the whole episode is quite similar to that show. I’m not suggesting they’re copying with Babylon 5 by any means, just that that TNG episode is among the best in all of TNG, and Babylon 5 takes the idea of an episode (or two) of interrogation and moves it into one entire episode in which we watch them trying to break Sheridan down. 

“The truth is fluid,” says Sheridan’s tormentor. “My task is to make you desire to believe differently.” Going on, the episode shows this man use any number of tricks on Sheridan to torture him mentally and physically. It’s got al lkinds of shades of 1984 as well, especially when the man leaves with a track on repeat talking about how to be released. Finally, they offer Sheridan “one last chance,” to confess to his “crimes,” which he denies. He’s carried down the hall with an overlay of words from the Bible while he sees a vision of Delenn in the distance. It’s unclear where the words or vision came from. 

He gets taken to another room, but he sees a robed and masked figure, who turns out to be the alien that he saw taken away and killed. Is it a vision again? Everything is unclear as the episode ends leaving Sheridan with a new tormentor. This is one of the most visceral episodes of the entire series so far, and I was left desperately wanting to watch the next one. Of course, before I could do so, I had to go to work! 

19: Between the Darkness and the Light

[I wrote the reactions here in real time, so be ready for the twist.]

The episode begins with a scene we as viewers know immediately is wrong–Sheridan back talking to Dr. Franklin, apparently unharmed. Right away, we see that the awful people set up by the President to interrogate Sheridan have been drugging him in an attempt to get information from him. On the flip side, Garibaldi is captured by the Mars resistance forces and interrogated by them. Lyta and Franklin manage to manage to convince “Number One” of the resistance that Garibaldi is in fact telling the truth by using Lyta’s telepathic abilities. 

Also, excuse me a massive fanboy squeal here, because we have a redemption arc for Mollari! It’s not much at this point, but Mollari works with G’Kar to unite the allied worlds to agree to work together for the sake of Sheridan. Ivanova and Marcus work to try to get away from an apparent ambush set up by Earthforce [edit: I just found out it’s Earthforce, apparently, and there’s no way I’m going to go back and edit all my uses of Earth Force, so here’s where I start getting it right] destroyers while Garibaldi, Dr. Franklin, and Number One also work to try to rescue Sheridan. 

And in that rescue, we have one of the greatest one-liners in the whole series from one of the Earthforce guards: “I don’t watch TV. It’s a cultural wasteland filled with inappropriate metaphors and an unrealistic portrayal of life created by the liberal media elite.” Garibaldi: “I couldn’t agree more.” Absolutely epic. The thing that makes this even more awesome is how much it fits with our current narrative in which the alleged liberal media elite are purported to be controlling all information/media. It’s a great tongue-in-cheek moment that is probably timeless. 

Ivanova thanks Marcus for the compliment he gave her many moons ago since she’s now learned enough Minbari to know what he actually said. But the Earthforce destroyers also have Shadow technology all of a sudden, so it initially looks quite bleak. And it is… so bleak. The White Stars fleet manages to destroy the Earthforce fleet, but only with critical injuries to Ivanova. 

Delenn and Sheridan are reunited and it’s beautiful. 

Wait… wait a second. Wait!? Ivanova!? No! No! That’s not okay! Damn! Oh my gosh. I cannot believe that just happened. 

NO! NOT OKAY!

20: Endgame

Ivanova’s not dead yet. Are they toying with my feelings? And worse–those of Marcus!? 

Anyway, the final attack is being prepped, as Garibaldi (whose recovery is remarkable) leads a scout mission on Mars for the attack while the Alliance ships get ready to strike from space. Earthfroce has apparently decided to set up one of Sheridan’s old teachers as his rival for one of these final battles. Meanwhile, Marcus tries to find a way to save Ivanova. I’m also writing this episode reaction real-time and I just remembered a solution and I’m not happy about it. Remember that weird machine that could transfer life force from one person to another? I bet Marcus is going to find it and transfer his life to Ivanova, sacrificing himself for her. He’s too good! I can feel this is going to happen. Please, no! Great, and then he finds out about the alien healing device, just as I predicted. I’m… not happy about this. 

And there he goes, flying off, his vivid blue eyes foreshadowing what I’ve already guessed will happen. I knew from the beginning he’d die! I said so! 

Anyway, back on Earth, the awful President Clark kills himself, but only after deciding to go down in flames, arming the defense grid and taking whatever casualties he can with him, specifically, though, he’s turned the defensive systems towards Earth in order to take as much of Earth as possible with himself. Sheridan pushes the fleet to the limit in order to try to save as many people of Earth as he can. Sheridan’s old commander saves his life, destroying the last platform just before Sheridan’s ship would have rammed it to destroy it. 

After a beautiful scene with ISN coming back online, we have… the scene I’ve been dreading for more than an entire season. I didn’t know it was going to happen, but I did know. Marcus looks at Ivanova’s body and says “I love you,” as he closes his eyes. 

Damn.

Links

Babylon 5 Hub– Find all my Babylon 5-related posts and content here.

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

SDG.

Watching Babylon 5 for the First Time- Season 4: Episodes 9-12

Nothing could possibly go wrong.

I am very late to the Babylon 5 party. As it came out, I was a bit young for the show and the few times we tried to watch as a family, it was clear we had no idea what was going on. After several people bugged me, telling me it was the show I needed to watch, I grabbed the whole series around Christmas last year on a great sale. I’ve been watching it since, sneaking it in between the many things going on in my life. It quickly became apparent that I’d want to discuss the episodes with others, so I began this series of posts. Please don’t spoil anything from later seasons or episodes for me! 

9: Atonement

I enjoyed the opening with Zack Allan here clearly missing Garibaldi. I can’t wait to see what happens with Garibaldi and how he’ll come back. Like Zack, I think it’s just a matter of when, not if. G’Kar gets an eye which can see outside of his skull independently, and I suspect that will be important later! And, guess who’s here!? It’s Marcus, baby! And he’s acting as a bodyguard for the Doc, which can only end well. As they prepare to go, Dr. Franklin stops to tell Sheridan he’s willing to look into the disappearance of Sheridan’s’ father. It’s a touching moment, especially when one thinks about Dr. Franklin’s own father and the issues that we’ve seen there. I think it takes on extra meaning because of that, and Franklin is basically just trying to say what he thinks is important. 

Delenn goes back to Minbari to face some kind of inquiry into her sex life and dreams, which is both weird but also not unexpected. As we see these flashbacks, we discover Delenn was the deciding vote in going to war against the humans in the Earth-Minbari war. We also find that the Minbari have had human DNA in them for some time. The Minbari leadership is apparently trying to cover this fact up, due to some awful xenophobia about purity. Delenn is unimpressed by the appeal to keep it a secret. 

And we leave the episode with Marcus singing, which immediately jumps this episode into the top episodes of all time. He even continues over the credits!

10: Racing Mars

Marcus and Dr. Franklin continue to Mars, picking up an ally (??) along the way. Their cover is apparently as a married couple on honeymoon, a story to which Marcus takes with gusto, of course! Meanwhile, Garibaldi and Sheridan get into a shouting match over Garibaldi’s interview with ISN. Ivanova, back on station, is trying to enlist black market smugglers to bring supplies into the station. It sounds like a sweet deal–they’ll fix the ships, they’ll pay well, and they’ll excuse various past ills. 

On Mars, the erstwhile ally turns out to have betrayed Marcus and Dr. Franklin, probably because of some creepy mind control creature. Garibaldi is getting recruited by some strange unknown group that is trying to paint Sheridan as mentally disturbed, which seems… bad. 

Overall, this episode feels mostly like a setup, introducing a slew of new characters and contact with existing but heretofore background factions. We’ll see where it goes.

Also, I’m still wanting to know what the heck that eyeball on the Centauri’s shoulder was. 

11: Lines of Communication

Sheridan has a revelation while watching ISN to try to counter the propaganda from Earth with its own “voice of the resistance.” Marcus and Dr. Franklin try to spur cooperation between Babylon 5 and the resistance on Mars, while Delenn goes out on an expedition. Team Marcus seems relatively successful, and a potential relationship between Dr. Franklin and the leader of the Mars resistance is raised by Marcus.

The Drakh, with whom Delenn is coerced into speaking in person by another Minbari, apparently are deeply involved in the inter-caste conflict between the Minbari. The Drakh have rather interesting costumes and some sort of phase-shift effect or something. Delenn is forced by Forell, whose family was lost to the elements due to Warrior caste unpleasantries. But the complexity shifts up, as the Drakh react poorly to it being Delenn to whom they are speaking due to their own service to the Shadows and her victory over them. So was this a setup by the Drakh, who seemed to not know who she was at first? Or was it actually the beginning of a potentially larger conflict within the Minbari castes. 

Either way, Delenn is supremely unimpressed by the Drakh’s treachery, and she turns her fleet around to fire on the Drakh and destroys all of their ships. She then goes back to B5 and tells SHeridan she has to go home for a while to help figure things out. Sheridan comments that he’s sure “Stephen has his hands full…” and the scene switches to Marcus playing with his Minbari staff (not a euphemism!) and overhearing what sounds like some physical pleasure happening with Stephen and “Number One” (I forget her name, if she’s given one yet).

Zathras is back with all of his witty dialogue!

12: Conflicts of Interest

Garibaldi is doing some good things in Downbelow. His newfound friends seem to be… not so friendly, though. After Sheridan orders Zack to get Garibaldi’s inenticard and other things–including his weapon(s)–from him, Garibaldi indicates to his “friends” he is willing to go up against security. 

Ivanova finds Zathras and is very confused. I am very excited by this, though, because Zathras is entertaining, if confusing. Garibaldi is the contact for Lise–his ex! She and Garibaldi get some privacy to talk things out a bit, and she explains what’s happened since we last saw her. She tells a story of injustice at the hands of Martian courts and estrangement from her first husband. She’s remarried since to a wealthy man who is now paying for Garibaldi’s undercover op. 

Sheridan tries to enlist the help of Mollari and G’Kar to help fight the raids along the borders of the Non-Aligned worlds. Each objects, but Sheridan reasons that if they can both allow the White Star fleet and the Rangers to patrol the borders of their empires, they can help usher in an era of peace. 

Garibaldi gets involved in some fighting and discovers his security clearance has been cancelled. And we get a scene similar to the endless Jeffries Tubes in Star Trek as Garibaldi directs his friends down a duct while awaiting to trap his enemies. But as Garibaldi waits in ambush, he realizes the other faction (I’m starting to get confused by how this is all playing out) must have a telepath to read where they’re going. The security forces on Babylon 5 manage to intercept the others, who commit suicide once stopped. Sheridan gives Garibaldi another lecture before the latter heads back to his apartment and deletes a message from Lise because he decides “it’s over.” I wonder if it really is over. She’s shown up a couple times now–are they teasing something? Her husband offers to hire Garibaldi, and he expresses interest. This seems to point towards more involvement, not less.

The first episode of news as run by Ivanova says, basically, that the truth will out! I certainly hope so.

Also, I’m left with this episode still wondering what the heck happened to Garibaldi? Why is he acting this way? And–why is there an eye on that Centauri’s shoulder?

Links

Babylon 5 Hub– Find all my Babylon 5-related posts and content here.

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

SDG.

Watching Babylon 5 for the First Time- Season 4: Episodes 5-8

“This episode seems like a series finale.”
“Yeah, I’m confused, too.”

I am very late to the Babylon 5 party. As it came out, I was a bit young for the show and the few times we tried to watch as a family, it was clear we had no idea what was going on. After several people bugged me, telling me it was the show I needed to watch, I grabbed the whole series around Christmas last year on a great sale. I’ve been watching it since, sneaking it in between the many things going on in my life. It quickly became apparent that I’d want to discuss the episodes with others, so I began this series of posts. Please don’t spoil anything from later seasons or episodes for me! 

Season 4: Episodes 5-8

5: The Long Night 

Londo’s planning is apparently accelerating as he’s gathered a bunch of Centauri together plainly voicing his plan to rid them of Emperor Cartagia while he’s vulnerable outside of court.  Sheridan exhorts Ivanova to find more of the First Ones in order to help fight the battle/stop the Shadow/Vorlon war. She reveals her own innermost fears in a touching moment, and Sheridan gives her backing that she asks for.

I just want to pause here and say I didn’t expect this. Yeah, the Shadows were fore, er, -shadowed as a major enemy even in season 1, but the Vorlon always seemed some powerful, probably protectorate type of people who, at worst, wouldn’t back the humans in the war. Now they’re major players, but not on the side of the humans nor with the Shadows but as a major antagonist themselves. It’s a surprising development. It shows, too, how deep the show is. A generic space opera, this is not. It’s got far more depth than I ever expected. 

Mollari runs to G’Kar to make last-minute adjustments to the plan and this makes me realize there’s a lot more going on here, because Mollari tells G’Kar not to directly harm the Emperor because otherwise he won’t be free and his family will be harmed. Mollari insists his people will take care of things. So what is G’Kar supposed to do? Again, layers of subtlety that aren’t expected in a show like this on the surface. Moving on, the plan goes somewhat differently from planned. Did G’Kar actually break super reinforced chains? Vir ends up killing the Emperor because the Emperor was fighting with Mollari. 

The council of allied worlds decides to send a suicide mission into Shadow space to try to set a trap. It’s kind of a strange moment as Sheridan asks the captain if he’s married. One wonders about all the rest of the crew of the 5 total ships being sent in. The Narn try to make G’Kar into a new emperor, which he roundly refuses. Instead, he tries to lead the people towards renewal. But other voices of the Narn demand vengeance and war. Seems like this is another major plot that may unfold. 

6: Into the Fire

Ivanova works to continue to get the First Ones in order to try to fight the war against the Shadows and/or Vorlons. Meanwhile, Sheridan and Delenn work with Lennier to lead a huge strike force against the baddies. Marcus and Lyta, meanwhile, set up some nukes around on asteroids, presumably as some kind of minefield?. Back on Centauri, chaos reigns but the newly minted Prime Minister Mollari seems to be establishing order.

Lorien and Ivanova’s conversation about the First Ones, particularly his variety of First Ones, is revealing. He talks about the universe making short lived peoples. His own people nourished and helped other races of peoples. But he also talks about how his people as a group have lived so long that they’ve left behind joy, hope, and love because of how transitory it is. Humans and other peoples whose lives are brief “can imagine that love is eternal.” He tells Ivanova to embrace that illusion as a gift. I can’t decide if this is horrifically ominous or simply cynical.

Finally getting the truth behind Mollari’s love’s murder. Morden killed his love, and Mollari went to Morden. Mollari absolutely loses it. It’s a startlingly genuine and well-acted scene as Mollari comes to grips with the fact that he went down the path he embarked on due to a vile deception. He was played, as he says. And he does not wait around to exact his vengeance. He has his guards kill the shadows that accompany Morden. Morden says Mollari is insane, and Mollari responds: “On any other day, you would be wrong. Today? Today is a very different day.” OMG HE BLEW UP AN ISLAND! OMG. That was EPIC! I admit I was extraordinarily surprised that Mollari didn’t have Morden killed. But I was even more surprised when, later, he  has Vir go check on the last of the Shdow’s influence. His head is on a pike, and Vir is able to wave at Morden’s lifeless eyes, just as he said earlier. Mollari is definitely climbing back into my favorites on the series.

I’m trying to figure out why Sheridan used the nukes to blow up the Shadows and Vorlon instead of just letting them blow each other to pieces. Why not just mop up whoever was left? Apparently it’s because he’s acting in dfense of a planet of innocents that the Vorlon are planning to destroy due to Shadow influences. Sheridan calls in the First Ones, against Delenn’s advice, because he thinks with his heart instead of his head at times. 

The scene with both Sheridan and Delenn being tested by the Vorlons and Shadows independently is fantastic. The Shadows see themselves as pushing evolution–and Delenn calls them on their ideology. The Shadows happily grant that it’s about ideology. Meanwhile, the Vorlons try to claim a moral high ground, attempting to manipulate without revealing their own deceptions. Both Sheridan and Delenn reject the reasoning of these First Ones and their false dichotomies. I have to admit I’m shocked by the revelations here, that the Vorlons were basically using everyone else for their proxy war against the Shadows. In a way, the Shadows have been telling the truth the whole time. And now the Shadows and Vorlon just… leave? 

Lorien leaves Delenn and Sheridan with words that they must guide others to greatness and to move “beyond the rim” in some sort of higher plane of existence. Vir and Mollari celebrate a brief, wonderful moment of success. Delenn and Sheridan reflect on the apparent end of a terrible war. Delenn suggests they can make their own legends and future, and it’s a simply fantastic moment. It feels like the end of the series, to be honest, and yet there’s still 1 2/3 seasons left!?

Literally my face watching this.

7: Epiphanies

Somehow I knew it would be the awful Earth government that would be causing trouble after the Shadow War was ended. I wonder what the Earthers were doing during the time Babylon 5 was out there, I don’t know, uniting multiple alien species into an alliance that defeated the First Ones. The surprises keep coming at a breakneck pace in this episode, though. Bester seemingly gets sent to destroy B5; Mollari’s back on station; Garibaldi resigns after some weird light show thing appears to activate some memory buried in him, and Elvis impersonators are still a thing in the future. The speed with which some of these developments play out is surprising, as it is in the most of the season so far. However, the writing is so good and the acting is well done enough to maintain the sense of reality it all has, such that even at a seemingly rushed pace, it is enjoyable. 

Bester: “Haven’t we learned by now to trust each other?” Sheridan: “No. Sit down.” I loved this confrontation over Lyta. It had elements of humor to it, along with a sense of possibly bigger things going on. I don’t think Lyta’s done being developed, especially after the early comment she makes about no one being interested in hanging out with her. After a disastrous attempt to check out Z’ha’dum which apparently sets off a trap that blows up the planet, he checks in on his love in the cryo chamber. Sheridan outs Lyta as a pretty powerful telepath who apparently set off the trap herself. Zach enters immediately after Sheridan leaves and in what is possibly his best moment on the show so far, offers Lyta a pizza and help. 

Wait, what the HELL is that eye on the court person’s shoulder doing there!? What!?

8: The Illusion of Truth

I started this episode with the thought that “I better find out what the heck is that eye on that court guy’s shoulder.” Keep that in mind.

There’s a renegade news agency come to Babylon 5 to try to tell the “real story” of what’s going on. Lennier gets roped into showing them around the station. Shortly into the episode, though, it appears there may be something more nefarious going on with these news folks. Not only do we seem to see the cameras taking pictures at somewhat odd moments, but also the way the reporter guy pushes questions on Sheridan/Delenn. They’re questions that are structured to drive wedges between people. 

Garibaldi is out and about causing trouble still. We also get some insights into his flashbacks when he sees a picture of a creepy alien and has a flashback with a voice saying “You work for no one but us.” 

And then we get the actual news story. A remarkable example of disinformation. That seems an understatement, but the way this is done in the show is masterful. Calling in the expert psychologist to analyze Sheridan and others. The painting of everything in a nefarious light seems 100% on brand for what’s going on on Earth. They use Garibaldi to play up fears about Sheridan. Along with that, they play on the cryogenic chambers to create a completely fabricated storyline about what’s happening on Babylon 5. The whole thing is pretty awful and honestly raises some questions about how easy it was to create a compelling counter-narrative painting Babylon 5 as some kind of alien factory for producing weapons. What does this mean about some of our own news? How careful should we be of disinformation ourselves? These are questions worth asking, especially in this age of information. Track down your sources, see who’s telling you what, try to discern why they might spin stories that way. Most importantly: never reduce yourself to one outlet for news/media consumption. 

I’m left wondering one thing above basically everything else, though. What the hell is that eye doing on that guy’s shoulder!? 

Link

Babylon 5 Hub– Find all my Babylon 5-related posts and content here.

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

SDG.

Watching Babylon 5 for the First Time- Season 4: Episodes 1-4

This guy is the worst! *Imagine the GIF of Jean Ralphio from Parks & Rec singing “The Wooooorsst” here*

I am very late to the Babylon 5 party. As it came out, I was a bit young for the show and the few times we tried to watch as a family, it was clear we had no idea what was going on. After several people bugged me, telling me it was the show I needed to watch, I grabbed the whole series around Christmas last year on a great sale. I’ve been watching it since, sneaking it in between the many things going on in my life. It quickly became apparent that I’d want to discuss the episodes with others, so I began this series of posts. Please don’t spoil anything from later seasons or episodes for me! 

Season 4: Episodes 1-4

1: The Hour of the Wolf

The various people of the alliance are losing confidence in Babylon 5’s mission and are apparently willing to abandon it. Some justify this by claiming the war is over, but as others argue with them, several admit they don’t think it’s over but that they’d rather pull back to their own planets and try to survive. The B5 mains are left disgusted as the alliance apparently falls apart in front of their eyes. 

We net get an introduction to Emperor Cartagia, who surprises Mollari with his short crest of hair. Apparently this is due to his desire to wander amongst the common people and do whatever he pleases without having others defer to his rank. I’m already getting A Bad Feeling about this guy at the beginning, and every scene in this episode going forward confirms it. He later reveals he is letting the Shadows come to burn the planet. Morden survived–UGH!–and convinced the Emperor that he can get godlike power if he just lets the Shadows hide out on his planet. I’d be asking why the Shadows are so swift to go into hiding. Because the Vorlon are mobilizing? Yes, we’ve seen the Vorlon defeat them, but en masse are the Vorlon really more powerful than the Shadows? (Edit: see below, layers upon layers of space opera going on here!)

Apparently Not-Kosh (the new Vorlon ambassador after Kosh) is using Lyta to walk around among humans, and it looks creepy. Cue up another Bad Feeling. Also, I fricking knew Sheridan was alive! I mean, obviously that kind of got spoiled by the cover of season 4 having his face on it, but I knew it instinctively anyway! YES! But who’s this weird alien?

2: Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi? 

The title alone is the question I asked when they were talking about Garibaldi being missing in the previous episode. The weird looking alien starts off extremely cryptically, telling Sheridan he’s dead, and he checks for a pulse, but there is none. Then, the alien goes on to say that Sheridan might be in between moments–life and death. On Station, Dr. Franklin works to help with Delenn’s apparent health problem. 

Meanwhile, G’Kar is working to track down Garibaldi, and the discussion gets heated. But! YES! Enter Marcus to save the day! I did not expect that, but I should have, given how often both G’Kar and Marcus seem to get into brawls. Later, after they go on the run, G’Kar and Marcus talk about how they met. Turns out Marcus followed G’Kar, and he delivers yet another fantastic line: “I heard you were looking for Mr. Garibaldi on the assumption he was in trouble. So I went looking for you… on the assumption you’d probably get into trouble.” They verbally spar, making fun of the Minbari weapon Marcus uses, and then get down to the business of finding Garibaldi. In a touching moment, G’Kar mentions Garibaldi as his friend who wasn’t a Narn, and Marcus talks about how few friends he has and how many have ended up dead. G’Kar gets shot when he’s in hiding! Captured by the Centauri! 

Delenn gets pulled from her stupor by a recording of Sheridan, and she summons the Rangers to “Strike one last blow that will be heard and remembered 1000 years from now.” Back with the Centauri, Mollari is summoned by the Emperor to be presented a gift–and before he even said it I guessed it would be G’Kar. But seeing G’Kar completely in chains and tied to a post was more emotional than I thought it would be. Mollari, though, looks absolutely horrified at first, and maybe a little confused. And now I’m confused by Mollari’s response. Am I possibly right about a redemption arc for Mollari? G’Kar’s words when the Emperor asks–Do you by any chance happen to know where Mr. Garibaldi might be?–are so on point. A quick cut to Garibaldi shows him imprisoned… somewhere? Then it’s back to Mollari, now having an intimate conversation with G’Kar in which he reveals the torturous death G’Kar is going to endure. But Mollari doesn’t want that to happen, and reveals that he sees the Emperor as a “monster” on the throne. Mollari wants G’Kar to kill the Emperor, but G’kar makes Mollari promise to have the Centauri leave Narn if he does so. It seems a massive win-win, and a surprising one–can Mollari really guarantee the promise he made? But maybe G’Kar is just so desperate that he’ll accept even the faintest possibility. 

Sheridan is apparently talking to the one who claims to be the first of the First Ones. The strange alien says Sheridan has a Vorlon inside of him. And also he may be able to bring Sheridan back by “breathing on the embers” of his life. Looks like Sheridan is coming back, and that he did die! 

Guess who’s back, back again. Sher’dan’s back, tell a friend.

3: The Summoning

I loved the opening with Marcus and Delenn carefully avoiding telling Ivanova that she can’t actually speak Minbari well. G’Kar being dressed in a torturous jester costume in order to be laughed at by the insane Emperor’s court… not so much. It’s awful. And going from there, the scene where the Emperor complains about torturing G’Kar and not having him scream or anything while his hands are covered with blood… it’s just absolutely terrible. Not in the sense of it being bad television, but in the sense of it being so awful to watch and realize what G’Kar is going through. It’s a rather masterful way of building tension without having to show all the blood and gore on the screen. There’s an element of using one’s imagination that can be worse than anything they could have shown.

Not-Kosh and Lyta’s relationship seems clearly abusive. She finally pushes back enough to be shown into Not-Kosh’s mind. But while watching the episode, I really doubted Not-Kosh would show her anything. Garibaldi is back and confused. Meanwhile, the awful Emperor–and my Nero comparison continues to seem ever more appropriate–tortures G’Kar into screaming before the final stroke that would kill him with an electric-whip. The Emperor must be destroyed. (Also, as a side note, the 39 lashes are the number traditionally ascribed to Jesus, due to Deuteronomy 25:3. See also 2 Corinthians 11:24, where Paul says he received 40 lashes minus 1 on 5 occasions. A fascinating, and I’m sure intentional, parallel.)

SHERIDAN IS BACK! And just in time to stop a complete rebellion and destruction of the alliance. “We thought you were dead!” “I was. I’m better now.” 100% epic. And then he goes on to pump up the crowd and reunite them with the power of his words right before snuggling Delenn. Kickin’ ass and takin’ names: Sheridan. Lorien is on Babylon 5 now and Garibaldi is supremely unimpressed, which doesn’t surprise me. 

Lyta later reveals that the Vorlons have decided to destroy everything that the Shadows touched, apparently deciding to burn everything in the galaxy in order to try to stop anything having to do with the Shadows continuing to exist in any way. So that seems… bad.

4: Falling Toward Apotheosis 

A Babcom message from Ivanova informed viewers that the Vorlon are blasting more planets, which, as I said above, seems bad. Garibaldi remains skeptical of Sheridan and especially Lorien, while people on Babylon 5 are apparently viewing Sheridan as some kind of savior figure. 

The depth of the Emperor’s insanity continues to be revealed as we see the truth behind the severed heads incident, along with his obsession with becoming a god. He also continues to show parallels with Nero as he wants it to “all end in fire.” Nero, the Roman Emperor, allegedly stage acted while Rome burned (though the common phrase about fiddling while Rome burned is wrong, because fiddles weren’t invented yet), and here Emperor Cartagia (possibly a reference to Carthage, the long-time enemy of Rome? How many layers of depth are going on here) wants to turn the world into a pyre of destruction for what he thinks will be his elevation to godhood. 

Back on B5, the leaders seem to be planning to bring the fight to Not-Kosh, apparently by killing him? Dr. Franklin’s face after this discussion basically reflects my own skepticism. His face says it all: “Uh, how the hell? What? That’s not gonna happen, but you’re really gonna try it?” I truly didn’t expect this to develop in this episode, but we move from the planning to immediately trying to forcibly remove the Vorlon from the station, and it obviously does not go well as Not-Kosh easily defeats the whole security contingent, though apparently without having anyone permanently harmed. And Lyta–I forgot to mention she’s been modified with gills or something?–seems to be in on the game, trying to set up Not-Kosh for some kind of trap. And the trap gets sprung right away in this episode! The slow burn of seasons 1-2-most of 3 is over. It is GO TIME in Babylon 5. And the Not-Kosh creature is a creepy electric apparition. Also, this is unrelated but why the heck is Delenn there? 

OMG did Kosh just go to do battle against Not-Kosh!? They get sucked out into space with some kind of crazy First Ones vortex and go to the Vorlon ship, which explodes? I’m so confused and amazed by what’s happening with the Vorlon. I knew something wasn’t right about them! I didn’t express it, that I can see, in previous reviews but I thought something possibly bad with the Vorlon was going on with how Kosh was. On the flip side, now I sound like I’m siding with Morden in saying the Shadows are to be pitied, which is not at all true.

Mollari tries to convince Emperor Catargia that he must spare some of his people so that he can be worshiped. Redemption arc, begin? Part of his plan also seems to be to free G’Kar to act against the Emperor. Going back to Lorien, Delenn, and Sheridan we learn Sheridan only has till his 60s to live, which is pretty rough on Delenn. But they get engaged! 

At this point it’s worth noting how enthralled I’ve become by Londo/Vir/Cartagia’s storyline. Mollari was my favorite character in season 1, but he quickly became a “bad guy,” and I hoped for his redemption. Now, we see him looking on with horror as his people are led by a monster. It’s a fascinating rise, fall, and perhaps rise again that we’re witnessing. It’s so good. Obviously G’Kar is a huge part of this, as well. I am amazed by how they’ve managed to create basically a whole secondary storyline with new characters that is just as compelling as the main plot.

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SDG.