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  1. - Top - End - #451
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    Default Re: Yora reviews Babylon 5

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    I think the thing that annoyed me most about this episode was the idea that the Markab are essentially dying because they believe the disease is a punishment for their sins, and thus they can just avoid it by not being sinful. The idea that the entire population of their planet believes that so strongly that they all died contradicts the idea that there's a Markab doctor on the station, because he clearly doesn't believe that claptrap and is furthermore able to help Franklin find how to cure the disease (albeit he dies himself in the process)--are we supposed to believe he's the only enlightened Markab in the galaxy? That no other doctors on their homeworld could possibly find out the same things he did?

    Since I just flat out didn't believe the central premise it robbed the denouement of the story of its weight, so this is definitely not among my favourite episodes.
    I rather buy it if you do the whole City/town -> planet thing a lot of space shows do, scaling down the size/culture of planets.

    The Markab doctor is complicit in covering it up until Franklin calls him out on it. That's what gives him the opening to discuss it with someone. Social pressure can be stifiling. If something's simply "not discussed" it can be hard to start the discussion unless you know you have a receptive audience at the start.

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    Default Re: Yora reviews Babylon 5

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    I think the thing that annoyed me most about this episode was the idea that the Markab are essentially dying because they believe the disease is a punishment for their sins, and thus they can just avoid it by not being sinful. The idea that the entire population of their planet believes that so strongly that they all died contradicts the idea that there's a Markab doctor on the station, because he clearly doesn't believe that claptrap and is furthermore able to help Franklin find how to cure the disease (albeit he dies himself in the process)--are we supposed to believe he's the only enlightened Markab in the galaxy? That no other doctors on their homeworld could possibly find out the same things he did?

    Since I just flat out didn't believe the central premise it robbed the denouement of the story of its weight, so this is definitely not among my favourite episodes.
    I can't recall, is there ever a number given for the Markab population on the station? Since we have no information about what things were like on the homeworld, we don't know how much whatever voices of reason were being shouted down. I mean, one of the first things I would imagine to have happened is that anyone publicly suggesting that drafa is back and not actually associated with sinful behavior just got slandered with the notion that they had the disease (and, of course, got it the way the folklore says) and was thereby discredited.

    It's also worth noting that Dr. Voice of Reason here seems to have be unusually chummy with non-Markab (is he literally a xenobiologist?), so it's not entirely implausible that he's literally the Markab in the best position to see drafa for what it is. Again, it really does hinge on exactly what you assume about the size of the Markab population off-world (and Babylon 5 specifically), how much of the population works in medicine, how much exposure they have to off-world ideas, etc. With the sheer lack of information, it's just as easy to assume that the Markab were unlucky enough to have the exact worst combination of factors for this.

    Also, regarding the timetable, wasn't there something about how the disease can be dormant and undetectable in a person for years at a time? Even if they're not contagious during this time, you get a bunch of people infected from, say, a tainted water source. They move on with their lives to other continents, other planets, and who knows where and when the disease gets set off, suddenly you have multiple "patient zero" cases all over. (What might cause them all to go off at once is another question, but, again, I feel like there's a plausible answer somewhere.)

  3. - Top - End - #453
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    Default Re: Yora reviews Babylon 5

    Per JMS:

    Quote Originally Posted by JMS
    "You have to listen a little closer. The dormancy period is several days to several weeks, as Franklin says; once the disease *comes out of dormancy*, then it kills within about a day."

    (Regarding Survival) "There would've been a very few on deep space patrols, or on isolated worlds that would've survived, yes, as was indicated in the narration at the close of the episode, but you're talking about very, very small numbers. The race is still effectively dead."
    He apparently also consulted a medical/biologica advisor on whether the disease was technically possible.

    Incidentally, if they hadn't come up withthe vaccine, the Pak'ma'ra were next. And because B5 recycles air the disease is always there now...
    Last edited by tomandtish; 2020-02-27 at 05:29 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #454
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    Default Re: Yora reviews Babylon 5

    Quote Originally Posted by huttj509 View Post
    I rather buy it if you do the whole City/town -> planet thing a lot of space shows do, scaling down the size/culture of planets.
    But that's the thing, just because that's often done doesn't actually make it any more believable. I just don't think a planet-wide monoculture is reasonable among an intelligent species, and this is the most glaring example of it I can think of in any SF TV series.

  5. - Top - End - #455
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    Default Re: Yora reviews Babylon 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Watcher View Post
    I can't recall, is there ever a number given for the Markab population on the station?

    ...

    Also, regarding the timetable, wasn't there something about how the disease can be dormant and undetectable in a person for years at a time? Even if they're not contagious during this time, you get a bunch of people infected from, say, a tainted water source. They move on with their lives to other continents, other planets, and who knows where and when the disease gets set off, suddenly you have multiple "patient zero" cases all over. (What might cause them all to go off at once is another question, but, again, I feel like there's a plausible answer somewhere.)
    Ivanova says 5,000. 4,000 of which go to the isolation area when the embassador calls on them to do so.

    A disease spreadig widely over many months before it is detected is absolutely realistic. But then people won't all be dying within two or three days. That's the one thing that feels unbelievable to me. Everything else I can absolutely belief.
    Well, except for Franklin finding a cure in one night when a whole civilization did not find one in a year. Given the cultural context, I can even belief that any Markab scientists who worked on a cure didn't have the resources to protect themselves from the disease and died before they had any good results. But if it was that simple, at least one of them would have done it before.
    Stretch the whole thing out over a season, and I wouldn't really have anything to complain about.
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  6. - Top - End - #456
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    Default Re: Yora reviews Babylon 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Ivanova says 5,000. 4,000 of which go to the isolation area when the embassador calls on them to do so.

    A disease spreadig widely over many months before it is detected is absolutely realistic. But then people won't all be dying within two or three days. That's the one thing that feels unbelievable to me. Everything else I can absolutely belief.
    Yeah, the "all the dormant cases go active at once" thing is a little weirdly convenient. On a planetary scale, there might be some quasi-plausible explanation. Something along the lines of a volcano going off and releasing just the wrong chemical into the atmosphere, which then causes some set of physiological reactions that rouse the disease from dormancy. But that wouldn't explain why it'd suddenly all pop at once offworld.

    I guess something like a tainted water source is the best explanation, though. Somehow, a water reservoir (or some similar widely used public resource) gets tainted with drafa. People who drink the tainted water get infected. They're all infected at more or less the same time, so each person's countdown starts at roughly the same time, and is long enough for interstellar travelers to get where they're going.

    As an analogy, imagine something gets into the New York City water supply. Not only are the residents drinking the stuff, but so are various tourists, business travelers, and others who will, in a matter of days, go off to other far flung places all over the world. They were all infected the week of June 29, 2015, but it takes 4-6 weeks to go from initial infection to symptoms starting to arise and lead up to death. Thanks to modern travel, those traveling people who drank could be literally anywhere on the planet by then, meaning that, between late July and mid-August, the disease suddenly appears everywhere at once. And if those carriers were contagious the whole time, they've spread it all over their homes, workplaces, and other hangouts, where others have picked it up and spread it yet further. Efforts to contain the thing aren't possible because it's already spread so far before anyone is even aware there's a problem. So I can see it as plausible that this goes from isolated incident to interstellar catastrophe surprisingly fast.

    Of course, if cases of drafa have been popping up for a year without this domino effect, that raises the question of what started the endgame. AN underfunded lab meant inadequate bulwarks against the samples getting out?

    The social commentary part is that if drafa had been treated as a practical problem from the start, they would've already developed the antidote/cure/vaccine/whatever well before the whole thing dominoed out of control. Probably still would've been a lot of death, but it wouldn't have been literal extinction.

    Well, except for Franklin finding a cure in one night when a whole civilization did not find one in a year. Given the cultural context, I can even belief that any Markab scientists who worked on a cure didn't have the resources to protect themselves from the disease and died before they had any good results. But if it was that simple, at least one of them would have done it before.
    Stretch the whole thing out over a season, and I wouldn't really have anything to complain about.
    The cure in one night only comes about because drafa jumps from Markab to Pakmara. If prior outbreaks of drafa have (by luck, apparently) been pretty tightly confined, that crucial clue never arose. (I'm presuming that this specialized neurotransmitter production cell is common to all central-nervous-system-having species on the Markab homeworld, so animal cases wouldn't help clarify this.) If it helps with suspension of disbelief, it's just as easy to assume that Franklin's prototype isn't perfectly effective and has to be tweaked a lot to handle future cases of drafa (in Pakmara), but that sort of nitty-gritty medical thrust and parry isn't terribly exciting storytelling.

    I kind of appreciate how vicious and sudden the whole thing is. I think a season-long drafa arc would've either had too little impact or pulled too much focus. And given that Markab have been part of the largely undifferentiated crowd that is the League, the former is much more likely. To have a similar level of oomph with the longer timetable, it'd have to happen to someone more (narratively) prominent, like the Minbari, the Centauri, or the Narn. And that would basically rewrite the whole rest of the series. Plus, Franklin racing to find a cure... again, it seems really hard to keep that in the audience's mind without it overwhelming the main plot (it is a matter of life and death on a planetary scale, so it's hard to have it recede into the background).

    Spoiler: Early-to-Mid Season 5
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    Plus, those of us who've seen the full series know how well the "group holed up for weeks on end" sideplot worked out. Turning the drafa thing into a multi-episode arc just feels like it would've ended up being Byron before Byron. And coming in Season 2 might've literally killed the show.


    I'll grant it's not the platonic ideal of handling this topic, but I'm having trouble picturing a better way to do it. Plus, as the activists like to say Silence = Death, and I feel like holding out for a perfect way to treat this subject is essentially an excuse not to cover it at all. It's a prettier rationale than "I just don't care," but that only comforts the person saying it.

    I dunno. Maybe it's just because I've got a few people close to me with HIV. I might be too young to have been anything more than a distant observer to the height of the crisis (I was born in 1982, came out in 1999), but the rise of AIDS and the lack of response to it because it was written off as "eh, they deserve it anyway" still hits somewhat close to home.

    TL;DR: Short of Fighting Drafa: The TV Series being a thing unto itself, I'm not sure I see handling of this that's much better.

  7. - Top - End - #457
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    Default Re: Yora reviews Babylon 5

    Thing is, though, you're implicitly assuming that this *had* to happen, but why is that? There isn't any point where the Markab all being dead makes a difference apart from:

    Spoiler
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    When Sheridan blows up the jump gate in the Markab system in order to destroy the following Shadow ship. However, I'm sure another justification could have been found for that to happen. Perhaps more importantly, the Markab homeworld is a whole lot of free real estate that's open for anyone to grab, and since most races aren't susceptible to drafa, you'd think they'd be after it for its resources!

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    Default Re: Yora reviews Babylon 5

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Thing is, though, you're implicitly assuming that this *had* to happen, ...
    Not my intent, so I apologize for making that unclear. If anything, I was trying to drive at the idea that he didn't have to have this plot at all, but went out on a limb and did it anyway. Despite his protestations as recorded on the Lurker's Guide, he had to have known in advance that people would see this as a reflection of the AIDS crisis in particular. In an era when no one would have even expected him to address the issue (much less faulted him for failing to do so), I appreciate that he went and did it anyway.

    As I understand it, he thought it was an important story to tell, so he told it in spite of it not being required.

  9. - Top - End - #459
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    mad Re: Yora reviews Babylon 5

    S2E19: Divided Loyalties

    One of Sinclair's Rangers meets an injured man in some sewers on Mars who gives him a data crystal with information that has to go to Babylon 5 before he dies.

    Sherridan and Garibaldi have a secret talk on the toilets about taking Talia into their conspiracy to fight back against the government takeover. They trust her and she would be really useful to have.

    Talia and Ivanova are out eating something during their break. Talia has repairs at her quarters that will take until the next day and Ivanova offers her to stay in her quarters over the night.

    Ivanova gets called away because a ship came out of hyperspace and isn't moving or answering any calls. The ship is tugged into the station and the search team find one unconscious woman on board. Garibaldi recognizes her as Lyta Alexander, who was the first PsiCorps telepath on the station who was recalled to Earth immediately after making telepathic contact with Kosh when he was unconscious. (E0: The Gathering)

    When she wakes up she attacks Franklin and demands to see the whole command staff immediately because one of them is a traitor. Half a year ago she escaped from PsiCorps and hid in the underground on Mars until she can find a way to reach Vorlon space, but nobody ever goes there because any ships are immediately destroyed. Someone in the Mars underground found out about a secret PsiCorps project about creating artificial personalities that are hidden in a person's mind until they are activated by a telepath and replace the original personality with full access to its memories. The new personality will then willingly share all secrets with PsiCorps. There's also a chance that the new personality could be aware that it is at risk of being discovered and make the person act unconsciously to protect it. Lyta has the telepathic activation key and wants to use it on all important staff member to see if anyone reacts to that.

    Sherridan needs some time to think about it and is quite agitated, but Delenn manages to cheer him up.

    Ivanova is grumpy about the idea that a strange telepath she doesn't know wanting to do something to her mind. She asks Talia if she knows Lyta and if she thinks they could trust her. Talia doesn't know her very well and it was years ago, but she doesn't think she would turn evil. However, she reveals that Lyta originally started training as a Psi Cop before she decided to switch to commercial negotiation observer.

    Talia wakes up in the night and notices that Ivanova seems to be gone.

    Garibaldi has two security guards take Lyta to a cell with a bed where she can sleep and stay hidden, but on the corridor the lights turn out and the two guards are shot and Lyta manages to escape.
    She calls Delenn to ask for help.

    In the morning Talia asks where Ivanova went, and she said she was on a walk, needing some time to think. She has a terrible secret she needs to confess and is afraid to do so, but Talia tells her not to worry too much and she will help her with the fallout whatever it will be.

    Delenn delivers a message to Sherridan that Lyta wants to talk with him, but demands to see the whole command staff together without anyone of them being alone. Sherridan agrees and tells Delenn to tell Lyta they will come to any place and time she wants to set.

    In his quarters, Sherridan finds Ivanova waiting for him rather distressed. The reason she avoids telepaths is because she has weak powers and is afraid someone would report her to PsiCorps. Sherridan tells her Lyta is on the run from the PsiCorps as well, but Ivanova doesn't trust her telling the truth about that.
    Ivanova is stressed out and says sometimes she doesn't know who she is anymore, and Sherridan remembers a vision he got from Kosh in which Ivanova said "Do you know who I am?", which makes him rather nervous and fortunately they are interrupted by a call that Delenn wants to see them now in his office.

    Delenn brings Lyta to the office and then leaves. Sherridan tells Lyta to start the process with him. Garibaldi remembers to give his gun away before it's his turn, and then pranks everyone with a stupid jump scare. Sherridan says that they will test Ivanova last if everyone else comes out clean. They have all officers come to his office to get brief praise for their good work to give Lyta a quick chance to test them.
    Ivanova becomes increasingly nervous as nobody is reacting to the test. Lyta is not very diplomatic about thinking they really should try Ivanova now. They get quite agressive and Sherridan says that conflicts like this might be the whole plan of PsiCorps. Ivanova gives in and Lyta tries her, but finds that she is blocking the telepathic contact. After some stronger trying, Lyta is convinced it's not Ivanova either.
    Talia comes walking into the office and Lyta quickly tries her, causing her to switch and try shoting her with Garibaldi's gun. Garibaldi overpowers her and drags her off to confine her to her quarters, while she's shouting at Lyta that PsiCorp will find her.

    They consider what important information Talia knew, but they conclude that the only thing she knew is that Franklin was involved with smuggling rogue telepaths to safety and that Sherridan knew about it. But since that event included Bester being tricked into letting over a dozen rogues escape, PsiCorps will probably be all hush hush about it. That's not good, but PsiCorps almost certainly knew where their loyalty was already, so it's nothing too catastrophic.
    Garibaldi remembers that Talia mentioned that Kosh once did a recording of her mind without her permission and says he wants to investigate that.

    Ivanova goes to Talia to tell her she doesn't blame her for being the traitor, but Talia doesn't care anymore. But just out of spite she tells Ivanova that she put thoughts and feelings into the old Talia's mind while she was sleeping, to make her get closer to Ivanova and gain access to more information. Ivanova is devastated but simply walks out without taking it any further.

    Lyta goes to Kosh's quarter to tell him she is back. She has to leave again, but assures him their secret is safe with her and she blocks all memories of him when she is among other people. She also would like to see his true form again and he comes out of his suit, revealing again the pale white light and sound of wings.

    --

    I actually had expected more from this one. This episode relies heavily on suspense and suspicion that by its nature relies on not knowing who, if any, of the main characters will disappear from the show, or at least be lost to Team Good. When you know who it is, you're just not feeling the mistrust or fear for characters who look suspicious. Since I first saw this episode well over 20 years ago as a kid, and I also saw the first two episodes out of order, I really don't have any clear memory of how I felt about it back then. It might actually be quite good, but on rewatching it, much of it feels like going through the motions. It's not terribly entertaining the second time, or the fourth time.

    The acting is pretty good and we get plenty of really good scenes with Ivanova. Talking first with Talia and then with Sherridan about her secret is acting that is well above the regular standard for the show. I was thinking if there was some kind of obvious real world issue allegory with these scenes, but I couldn't find any. There is of course the akwardness of the conversations, but Ivanova's specific situation doesn't really have any parallels with the gay or HIV issues that people were awkwardly dancing around in media in the 90s. I guess the actors and director would have taken inspiration from shows and movies about those issues that were being made at the time, but I see this as coincidental.

    The romantic undertones of this episode lie elsewhere, though it's also with Ivanova. Later seasons would be much bolder in promoting a queer accepting future, but at this point they are still maintaining plausible deniability. As flimsy as it might be. You'd have to be really deeply in denial to think Ivanova and Talia are talking about being good friends.

    I don't know why Talia dropped out of the show, but I very much suspect that boredom with the role on the actresses side was a serious contributing factor. They did a little bit with her in Season 1, but up to this point she's been completely wasted in season 2.
    In S2E1 Revelations, she only appeared because Garibaldi needed a boost remembering who shot him. In S2E6 A Spider in the Web, S2E7 Soul Mates, S2E8 A Race Through Dark Places, and S2E16 In the Shadows Zahadum she plays a major role, but each time she's basically a pawn for other people who are only interested in her telepathic abilities. And in S2E14 There All the Honor Lies she only has a cameo with almost no dialog which could just as well have been taken by "Random Pedestrian #3".
    Not sure if that's the reason, but I'd been pretty fed up with this role at this point.

    Which is sad, because watching the show this time as a grown up, I see the character with much more potential and a much better performance than I used to. Normally I am totally against remakes and think reboots are dumb, but seeing how much went wrong in the production of Babylon 5 out of inexperience in the planning and unforseen changes in the cast, and of course the show being cancelled early and then getting bought for another season by a different company, I think this one would be really interesting to give a reboot. And Talia is one of the elements of the show that I'd really love to see getting a complete overhaul to make use of its potential.

    On the other hand, I assume Talia being out being a major reason for Lyta coming in again. Which I think gives the whole show a really significant boost. It's been a long time since I've last seen it, but in my memory Lyta is hands down my favorite character and I have no shame in admitting that I am a fanboy for that character. I am hoping the next two seasons can make her live up to my lofty expectations.
    It might have been my prejudices for her, but I think the show made a noticeable shift in tone the moment she walks on the scene. She has an aggressive energy that all the other characters lack. She is sharp in a way that Sherridan, Ivanova, and Garibaldi and G'Kar don't have. They all have a certain dignity, quiet restraint, and deliberation in the way they behave. Lyta is different. It's hard to put into words, but where the other characters have solid impact, Lyta stings. The others wrestle for dominance in confrontations, while Lyta just goes with a knife to the throat.
    Anyone know what I mean? You can also look at Bester and Neroon as villains. Confrontations in Babylon 5 usually involve a lot of posturing and veiled threats covered in politeness, with people quietly seething on the inside and making their distaste for the other known through claiming intellectual or moral high ground. But Lyta doesn't do any of that. She more displays frustration than contempt and goes for the quick kill instead of impressing the crowd.
    I'll have to rewatch more episodes with her to really make definitive statements about this, but seeing her appear in this made me notice how she's different from the rest of the cast very quickly. And I think this bleeds over to the rest of the show in the next two seasons as well.

    Ivanova has almost a Knight Solaire symbol on a lamp in her quarters.

    This episode is definitely on the Don't Skip list, but I was expecting so much more from it.
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  10. - Top - End - #460
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    Default Re: Yora reviews Babylon 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    S2E19: Divided Loyalties

    --

    I actually had expected more from this one. This episode relies heavily on suspense and suspicion that by its nature relies on not knowing who, if any, of the main characters will disappear from the show, or at least be lost to Team Good. When you know who it is, you're just not feeling the mistrust or fear for characters who look suspicious. Since I first saw this episode well over 20 years ago as a kid, and I also saw the first two episodes out of order, I really don't have any clear memory of how I felt about it back then. It might actually be quite good, but on rewatching it, much of it feels like going through the motions. It's not terribly entertaining the second time, or the fourth time.
    Especially with how heavily the episode implies that Ivanova is the mole. (She's had some brushes with the Corps before via her mother, she's conspicuously unaccounted for when the mole attacks, she's refusing to participate in the screening with everything she can think of, etc.)

    The romantic undertones of this episode lie elsewhere, though it's also with Ivanova. Later seasons would be much bolder in promoting a queer accepting future, but at this point they are still maintaining plausible deniability. As flimsy as it might be. You'd have to be really deeply in denial to think Ivanova and Talia are talking about being good friends.
    Even that much implication with regular cast member is positively brazen by 1995 standards. There's been a handful for gay and lesbian characters in TV in the early 90's (the BTQ part of the acronym would have to wait, unfortunately), but they were exclusively guest characters, appearing (at most) two or three times over the course of the entire series. A faltering step forward, but a step nonetheless. (And, one that works a lot better than Star Trek's "The Outcast".)

    I don't know why Talia dropped out of the show, but I very much suspect that boredom with the role on the actresses side was a serious contributing factor. They did a little bit with her in Season 1, but up to this point she's been completely wasted in season 2.
    In S2E1 Revelations, she only appeared because Garibaldi needed a boost remembering who shot him. In S2E6 A Spider in the Web, S2E7 Soul Mates, S2E8 A Race Through Dark Places, and S2E16 In the Shadows Zahadum she plays a major role, but each time she's basically a pawn for other people who are only interested in her telepathic abilities. And in S2E14 There All the Honor Lies she only has a cameo with almost no dialog which could just as well have been taken by "Random Pedestrian #3".
    Not sure if that's the reason, but I'd been pretty fed up with this role at this point.
    My understanding has always been that this was the reason. I seem to recall reading somewhere that she straight up asked JMS if her character was going to get substantially more screen time and the answer was essentially "no." (I'd have to run the numbers, but I have a feeling that, while they become a lot more prominent and plot-critical, Lyta's actual rate of appearances doesn't increase.) And I can definitely see where having to be available for a show (which means turning down other potential work) but not always getting used (and therefore paid) would be a frustrating-at-best position to be in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    It might have been my prejudices for her, but I think the show made a noticeable shift in tone the moment she walks on the scene. She has an aggressive energy that all the other characters lack. She is sharp in a way that Sherridan, Ivanova, and Garibaldi and G'Kar don't have. They all have a certain dignity, quiet restraint, and deliberation in the way they behave. Lyta is different. It's hard to put into words, but where the other characters have solid impact, Lyta stings. The others wrestle for dominance in confrontations, while Lyta just goes with a knife to the throat.
    Anyone know what I mean? You can also look at Bester and Neroon as villains. Confrontations in Babylon 5 usually involve a lot of posturing and veiled threats covered in politeness, with people quietly seething on the inside and making their distaste for the other known through claiming intellectual or moral high ground. But Lyta doesn't do any of that. She more displays frustration than contempt and goes for the quick kill instead of impressing the crowd.
    I'll have to rewatch more episodes with her to really make definitive statements about this, but seeing her appear in this made me notice how she's different from the rest of the cast very quickly. And I think this bleeds over to the rest of the show in the next two seasons as well.
    It hadn't really occurred to me before, but I think you're right.

    Spoiler: Like, everything to do with Lyta, all the way to the end of the show
    Show
    She spends so much of the plot getting yanked around by circumstance. I feel like a lot of the characters end up where they are because of their own choices: they are, more or less, where they want to be and doing what they want to be doing. Lyta just keeps getting batted around by fate, and the one major decision she does make for herself, joining up with the Vorlons, turns out very much not as advertised. So I feel like there's this undercurrent of sheer rage in her (the "under" part falls away in late Season 4).

    Plus, all I can think of now is her "persuading" the Martian Underground to give Garibaldi his chance at redeeming himself.

    Lyta: :fires automatic rifle wildly into the ceiling: "AND I MEAN IT!"

  11. - Top - End - #461
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    S2E18: Confessions and Lamentations
    What I like most about this episode is that it's a subversion of the usual "single episode plague" plots that...heh...plague all Sci-Fi shows of this era. And I'm not pointing a specific show out here - they're common as muck. The doctor character needs an episode in the spotlight, so they whip up an illness for him to investigate and he proves how awesome he is by solving the problem by the end of the episode and saving the cast, the world, or both.

    In this case Franklin finds a cure, but he's too late. Rocks fall, everyone dies. It blew me away at the time, and while the episode isn't as good in retrospect I still like it when the main cast fails at something. Not everything has a happy ending.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Watcher View Post
    And I can definitely see where having to be available for a show (which means turning down other potential work) but not always getting used (and therefore paid) would be a frustrating-at-best position to be in.
    Is that really how it works? Surely the actors are paid a flat fee to appear in a season of the show, not per appearance? I know that when Alexander Siddig was talking about the abrupt end to the Dorne plotline in "Game of Thrones" he said he'd been paid for a lot more work than he eventually had to do.

    JMS famously had "trapdoors" in place for all the major actors in case they couldn't continue for some reason. You do wonder if this was always intended to be Andrea Thompson's trapdoor--the part where Garibaldi thinks back to the memory recording of Talia Kosh made back in season 1 implies otherwise, because why remind everyone of that if you didn't intend it to go anywhere? I mean, if Andrea had instead decided to leave at the end of Season 3, how would that have been handled?

    In any case, I guess she got her wish to find a role with more meat to it--she played a fairly major character in NYPD Blue from 1996 to 2000.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Watcher View Post
    Even that much implication with regular cast member is positively brazen by 1995 standards. There's been a handful for gay and lesbian characters in TV in the early 90's (the BTQ part of the acronym would have to wait, unfortunately), but they were exclusively guest characters, appearing (at most) two or three times over the course of the entire series. A faltering step forward, but a step nonetheless. (And, one that works a lot better than Star Trek's "The Outcast".)
    If Talia had stayed on the show, I do wonder how far the networks would let them go with it. I actually think its a big step forward as its never called attention to. If you made either of them male the scenes and dialogh could play out the same way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    S2E19: Divided Loyalties
    On the other hand, I assume Talia being out being a major reason for Lyta coming in again. Which I think gives the whole show a really significant boost. It's been a long time since I've last seen it, but in my memory Lyta is hands down my favorite character and I have no shame in admitting that I am a fanboy for that character.
    Here's the thing about Talia, she was was brought in because of the year-long gap between the pilot "The Gathering" and "Midnight on The Firing Line." the actress who played Lyta was unavailable so they created the character of Talia to take her place. Apparently the actress was difficult to work with and she eventually made an ultimatum. "I want a bigger part role right now or write me out of the show" they said its coming be patient. She wouldn't back down, so they "killed her" off and brought back Lyta.

    So in essence Lyta replaced the her own replacement.

    Originally Kosh was going to restore Talia, using well remember that whole subplot from Deathwalker? Where Talia oversaw the Kosh's negotiation with the brain under the hat guy? That was supposed to be Kosh making a backup of Talia because he knew what the PsiCore had done to her.

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Is that really how it works? Surely the actors are paid a flat fee to appear in a season of the show, not per appearance? I know that when Alexander Siddig was talking about the abrupt end to the Dorne plotline in "Game of Thrones" he said he'd been paid for a lot more work than he eventually had to do.
    Oh its per appearance, some contracts might be per season. But that be only for the biggest names on the show who probably appear every episode anyway. Whenever your watching a show and you see someone appear for five seconds to deliver two lines then he disappears. That's just so he get a paycheck for that episode and is entitled to residuals, hell that's why extra's don't speak. If an extra speaks he's entitled to residuals

    In Siddig's case he was probably paid or contracted for X number of appearances in that season and was thus obligated to go along with it. In short they're paid per episode but contracted for X number of episodes that season.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    In Siddig's case he was probably paid or contracted for X number of appearances in that season and was thus obligated to go along with it. In short they're paid per episode but contracted for X number of episodes that season.
    They also plan ahead sometimes if the actor requests it (and they want to continue working with that actor). Vir gets sent to Minbar for a good chunk of season 3 because Stephen Furst had another project he wanted to do. So Vir is absent from the show except for 2 or 3 episodes where he gets character focus, then gets reassigned back on his last episode of the season to restore the status quo.

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    When the Hobbit movies warped into whatever it is they ended up, the dwarf actors that were not of the four who get some real focus refered to themselves as the world's highest paid extras. They were hired as secondary characters and got paid accordingly, but they basically did nothing except occasionally get into costume and stand in the background.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Watcher View Post
    Of course, if cases of drafa have been popping up for a year without this domino effect, that raises the question of what started the endgame. AN underfunded lab meant inadequate bulwarks against the samples getting out?
    Could it have been a biological warfare attack on the Markab? An earlier episode implied that the Markab were involved in (or at least aware of) the last Shadow War and had some idea that the Shadows were stirring, so that would give the Shadows good reason to preemptively strike at the Markab.

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    And infecting a species with an extinction threat plague to see if their culture is robust enough to effectively deal with it, would certainly be consistent with the Shadow's extreme Darwinism. (Which could also explain why the plague was ultimately so easily curable as the Shadows would want it to at least be theoretically possible for the Markab to pass their "test" and thus couldn't make the disease uncurable at the Markab's level of technology.)

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    S2E20: The Long, Twilight Struggle

    Londo is called to Centauri Prime where Refa is totally sorry, not sorry about Lord Urza's death. He tells him the war with the Narn will soon be at an end and they need him for the final battle.

    The station notices an energy surge on the planet below and Draal introduces himself to Sherridan with a holographic projection in his quarters, and invites him to come visit the underground installations on the planet.

    G'Kar gets a visit from a Narn General who informs him the war is going terribly and they are close to defeat. They have a last ditch plan to destroy the main Centauri supply base in the border region with all ships they have. With some luck this will cripple the Centauri fleets to the point that their advance will slow to a crawl, which gives the Narn a chance to rebuild their forces or make the Centauri think continuing the war is not worth it.
    The downside is that they have to pull off the defense fleet for the homeworld, but if they don't defeat is inevitable anyway. G'Kar wished he could go and fight with them, but the general tells him his work to get support from the other species is the most important element in their entire strategy.

    Unfortunately, Refa's spies have already found out about the plan. Refa wants Londo to get his mystery friends to destroy the Narn fleet when it attacks the supply base, so that they can use all Centauri forces for an attack on the Narn homeworld. Invading the Narn on their own planet will be impossible, so instead the fleet will cover it with massive kinetic bombardment from orbit. Then the Narn will simply starve and they can invade later when there won't be much resistance left.
    Londo is appalled by this plan, especially because kinetic bombardment is outlawed by all species, but Refa says such interstellar laws no longer have to concern the Centauri Republic. Londo is also very concerned if his allies can be trusted and thinks relying on them is a risk. Refa tells him everything is already prepared for the attack and all the generals are waiting for the signal to go and end the war. The only thing they still need is for Londo to make his call to set the trap at the depot. Londo can't let everyone down and gives in, but tells Refa that this is the very last time that he will call his allies for help. Refa doesn't care, because after this time they won't be needing them anymore.

    G'Kar is called by Franklin to medlab to talk about the latest Narn refugees they are currently treating. One of the Narn told him before he died that he was torture by the Centauri who interrogated him for a long time about the defenses of the homeworld. The refugee ship only managed to escape because the Centauri fleet that had invaded their planet suddenly left in a hurry, which is something the Centauri military never does. When the Minbari attacked the Humans, they ignored most of the colonies and had their whole fleet go straight for Earth, and the Centauri might be planning something similar. G'Kar thanks him for the information and has to make an urgent call to the general leading the attack on the depot. The general says the fleet is about to leave and he doesn't have time to discuss such weak evidence for a Centauri attack.

    Sherridan and Delenn take a shuttle to go down to the planet. Draal tells Sherridan he knows about the Shadows planning an attack, and that Sherridan is secretly working at fighting the corruption in the Earth Alliance government. He has decided that he will give him any assistance that the facilities on the planet can provide.

    When the Narn fleet arrives at its destination, they are ambushed by five Shadow ships with no Centauri anywhere. It's obvious something is up, but since the jump drives need time to recharge the Narn general orders the ships to attack. The Narn are doing some damage to the Shadow ships but suffer heavy losses before they are ready to jump back to hyperspace. As they power up their jump drives, the Shadows fire some energy at the jump points which causes them to collapse and destroy the ships that are entering them.
    G'Kar senses a disturbance in the force.

    Draal also senses it and tells Sherridan he has to return to the station immediately because something terrible is happening.
    Once he and Delenn have left, Draal is calling for Zathras, but nobody is comming.

    Ivanova tells Garibaldi that EarthForce intelligence got news about the Centauri invading the Narn homeworld and security has to get ready for riots between Narn and Centauri on the station quickly.
    When the news appear on TV, everyone but the Narn and Centauri immediately hurries off the main street and fighting starts quickly.
    The Centauri fleet flattens the Narn homeworld and Londo watches on horrified from his quarters on one of the cuisers.

    A few days later G'Kar gets a call from the homeworld that they have no choice to surrender with all the infrastructure on the planet being basically wiped out. G'Kar wants to return to help, but since he's the only member of the parliament outside of the Centauri blockade they give him the order to do the unthinkable and request asylum from Sherridan.

    Londo returns to the station and is escorted by heavily armed station security. He tells Garibaldi that the Centauri have an announcement to make to the diplomatic council.
    He proclaims that the Narn have surrendered and that the Centauri have dissolved the parliament and are putting all members on trial for war crimes. Sherridan says Earth wants to send observers to the trials but is refused. Also, for every Centauri who is killed by a Narn, they will execute 500 Narn. And the Narn homeworld will from now on be a colony ruled by the Centauri.
    Sherridan tells Londo he won't extradite G'Kar to the Centauri and Delenn gives the support of the Minbari. G'Kar leaves the council quietly, but tells Londo this isn't over.

    When Londa later watches the news, he hears that the Centauri are already starting to begin conquering more territory, which quite concerns him.

    Delenn, Garibaldi, and Kosh introduce Sherridan to the rangers and tell him they are a secret organization of special agents working to prepare for the coming fight against the shadows.

    --

    After the terrible first half of this season, these episodes keep on giving. We had a good amount of cold war escalation before, but now its full on.

    Somehow I don't have much to say about this one. It kind of speaks for itself. We get great performances from Londo and G'Kar as usual. That stuff with Draal is pretty pointless filler, though. I guess they wanted to have this conversation shoved in somewhere, but given the major importance of the A-plot, it feels rather inappropriate as a half-hearted B-plot.

    One thing I noticed this episode is that when Londo is at his most agressive and angry, it's usually when he is delivering statements and demands from the Centauri government that he doesn't agree with. This has happened a couple of times before in earlier episodes.
    It comes across to me as Londo knowing that he can't morally defend the decisions made by his government, and instead of letting everyone see that he regrets what happens but is powerless to change it, he just outright refuses to engage in any debate and makes it clear that he doesn't want anyone to talk back. He pulls it off quite believably to act like a heartless jerk, but viewers know what he said in private about the issues in question earlier.
    I always really love it when writers can create and use characters like this. The first times they seem to be acting strange in inappropriate situations, but when the writers stick to it and the actors understand the plan, it becomes a pattern that viewers can recognize as the character being under great stress. I noticed something similar when watching Deep Space Nine, with Dax reacting to hopeless situations with enemies closing in by making sarcastic jokes that quickly become mean and not at all funny. It's a great method to add weakness to otherwise very strong characters. (I have to use that in my own writing.)

    G'Kar really has a terrible lot in life. Every ten episodes he gets to a point where he's really close to breaking. Which from high ranking, badass politician-warrior-priest really is quite impressive. And sometimes he does snap, but he always recovers and perseveres through the indignities.
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    My theory about the political instability of the Centauri Empire being the actual source of their decline is somewhat vindicated by their lust for more conquests. After all, powerful power factions in the Republic that supported Refa probably want their slice of the pie. It's just easier to conquer a bigger pie than accommodate smaller slices.

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    The speech given by G'Kar to the council after he's been ordered to leave by Londo is quite possibly the finest piece of acting from Andreas Katsulas in the entire series, and it has some seriously stiff competition there. In fact, everyone in that scene absolutely nails their reactions to what's happening--Londo even has the grace to look rather guilty when G'Kar tells him that, no matter what, the Narn will eventually be free.

    Oh, and an interesting point to note: the battle between the Narn fleet and the Shadows is deliberately set up so you never see them both onscreen at the same time, to try and give an impression that the battle is taking place over a vast distance where the ships can't see each other. It doesn't entirely work because of the way the SFX team show the beam strikes on each side--the Shadow beams clearly rotate as they cut through the Narn ships, which wouldn't happen if the firing ship were a long distance away, and when several Narn vessels fire together on a single Shadow ship the beams appear to converge from sharp angles, whereas they'd appear as a single beam at those distances. I guess the latter one is because you'd get people thinking five of the six beams missed their target and the Shadow ships weren't anything like as tough as they should be, but still slightly annoying to my mind.

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    I never got any such impression. Or would even have considered that there was such an intention. I remember it feeling like typical sci-fi battle distance, which is super up close.
    What wouldn't surprise me is to not have mixed fleets in the same shots so you can use some of them again for fight scenes against other enemies.
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    I really like the Londo window shot with the mass drivers. It's one of the perfect visuals of the series.

    And it's right in the middle of Londo's personal arc too. And you can just SEE the emotion.

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    To be honest, I disagree with you on that. I think that Londo is fully capable of stopping what is going on but is choosing not to. He could have flat out told Refa to take a hike when Refa was asking about the diversionary attack. Remember that only Londo has the contacts/contact to request Shadow support; Refa doesn't and has to go through Londo.

    Remember that when Morden asked Londo what he wanted that Londo wanted everything back. All the space that the Centauri had, all of the prestige and power. All of the glory. Londo wants it still more than he wants to keep his conscience clean. Nor does he want to stop. It would mean giving everything he wants up.

    Londo is angry and aggressive because the other powers are refusing to be put in their place. The Narn were also at war with the Centauri and may have encouraged through defeating the Centauri the other Neutrals, who were said to have been part of the Republic, to leave.

    I don't think that Londo has reached the point of seeing what he is doing as wrong enough to stop
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    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    To be honest, I disagree with you on that. I think that Londo is fully capable of stopping what is going on but is choosing not to. He could have flat out told Refa to take a hike when Refa was asking about the diversionary attack. Remember that only Londo has the contacts/contact to request Shadow support; Refa doesn't and has to go through Londo.

    Remember that when Morden asked Londo what he wanted that Londo wanted everything back. All the space that the Centauri had, all of the prestige and power. All of the glory. Londo wants it still more than he wants to keep his conscience clean. Nor does he want to stop. It would mean giving everything he wants up.

    Londo is angry and aggressive because the other powers are refusing to be put in their place. The Narn were also at war with the Centauri and may have encouraged through defeating the Centauri the other Neutrals, who were said to have been part of the Republic, to leave.

    I don't think that Londo has reached the point of seeing what he is doing as wrong enough to stop
    I think both are true to some degree. To quote a character from later on "There is always choice. We tell ourselves we have no choice in order to comfort ourselves with a choice we have already made."

    Yes, he could pull the breaks and bring all this to a crashing halt. He doesn't because deep down inside he doesn't want to. But unlike Refa, he's profoundly uncomfortable with the realities of conquest. He doesn't want to bombard the Narn homeworld or lay out brutal occupation policies, but his desire for glory (or perhaps his sense of duty to the Republic or something) keeps getting the better of him.

    He doesn't agree with the Centauri policy, but can't bring himself to abandon his ambition. He doesn't disagree strongly enough to put up a meaningful fight against it. Like so many characters in so many stories, the person he's really angry with when he's shouting and carrying on is himself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    To be honest, I disagree with you on that. I think that Londo is fully capable of stopping what is going on but is choosing not to. He could have flat out told Refa to take a hike when Refa was asking about the diversionary attack. Remember that only Londo has the contacts/contact to request Shadow support; Refa doesn't and has to go through Londo.
    Londo could have stopped the ambush and saved the Narn Fleet but Refa still would have still bombed the Narn homeworld. Or ambushed the fleet when it came out of hyperspace then moved on to bomb the Narn homeworld. The only difference Lando would make is getting more of his own people killed.
    The Centurai were already winning the war and Refa had already made his intentions clear he was going to bomb the planet from orbit. So even without Lando's involvement Refa would have eventually moved on to the Narn homeworld with the mass drivers.

    To actually stop it, he'd have to tell G'Karr that he knows the Narn are planning to attack the supply depo and Refa is planning to use that chance to assault the Narn Homeworld. But that would make Lando guilty of treason.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    Lando could have stopped the ambush and saved the Narn Fleet but Refa still would have still bombed the Narn homeworld. Or ambushed the fleet when it came out of hyperspace then moved on to bomb the Narn homeworld. The only difference Lando would make is getting more of his own people killed.
    The Centurai were already winning the war and Refa had already made his intentions clear he was going to bomb the planet from orbit. So even without Lando's involvement Refa would have eventually moved on to the Narn homeworld with the mass drivers.

    To actually stop it, he'd have to tell G'Karr that he knows the Narn are planning to attack the supply depo and Refa is planning to use that chance to assault the Narn Homeworld. But that would make Lando guilty of treason.
    What does Han Solo's old friend, who he won the Millennium Falcon from in a bet, have to do with this?

    The Babylon 5 character's name is Londo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I never got any such impression. Or would even have considered that there was such an intention.
    This comes straight from the DVD commentary on that episode which I watched years ago, so I'm happy enough to believe it. It's certainly the only time in B5 where we see a battle like that, as far as I can remember.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Droid Tony View Post
    I really like the Londo window shot with the mass drivers. It's one of the perfect visuals of the series.
    And you can totally imagine a few door down, Refa and his friends are having a party.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    And you can totally imagine a few door down, Refa and his friends are having a party.
    "Tonight we celebrate like it's THE END OF THE WORLD!!!"

    (beat)

    "Just not ours!!"

    *screams of celebration *

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Watcher View Post
    I think both are true to some degree. To quote a character from later on "There is always choice. We tell ourselves we have no choice in order to comfort ourselves with a choice we have already made."

    Yes, he could pull the breaks and bring all this to a crashing halt. He doesn't because deep down inside he doesn't want to. But unlike Refa, he's profoundly uncomfortable with the realities of conquest. He doesn't want to bombard the Narn homeworld or lay out brutal occupation policies, but his desire for glory (or perhaps his sense of duty to the Republic or something) keeps getting the better of him.

    He doesn't agree with the Centauri policy, but can't bring himself to abandon his ambition. He doesn't disagree strongly enough to put up a meaningful fight against it. Like so many characters in so many stories, the person he's really angry with when he's shouting and carrying on is himself.
    My impression of Londo during this arc is that he is "riding the tiger". You're doing something incredibly dangerous and you can stop any time, but if you do stop you will be eaten by the tiger. So the only choice is to cling on as desperately as you can and hope the tiger gets tired and you can escape at a later time.

    Londo at this point doesn't feel like he has any choice. He can't end the war without betraying his own people. He can't reign in Refa without ending his own political career. And whatever he does, he's unlikely to be able to stop the Centauri now that they've re-acquired a taste for conquest*. Londo believes the only way to save himself is to keep pushing forward. No matter the cost.

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    G'Kar's speech to him in the dream sequence is one of my favorite speeches in the entire show. Londo built up a wall of excuses to justify what he did, and "G'Kar" (likely Londo's own conscience) completely demolishes those excuses. Whether or not Londo could have stopped it, he had a responsibility to TRY.


    *Whether or not this belief is accurate, I'm not sure. I'm talking about what Londo believes. Londo has convinced himself that he doesn't have the power to stop it.

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    S2E21: Comes the Inquisitor

    G'Kar is giving speeches in the public area calling for war against the Centauri, though few people are interested. Vir watches from the distance, though he doesn't seem distressed but rather looks determined.

    Kosh tells Delenn that he has send for an Inquisitor to come to the station to test her, to be sure she can be entrusted with the duties he has in mind for her in the coming war.

    G'Kar meets with a human arms trader to buy large amount of small weapons. He can deliver it, but it will be very expensive. G'Kar tells him that they can provide the money, but its everything the free Narn have left as their last hope at saving their people. So he better make sure the delivery will be exactly what they are paying him for.

    A Vorlon ship arrives at the station and Sherridan goes to greet the passenger alone. The inquisitor is a store-brand John Malcovich with a suit and top hat, who introduces himself as Sebastian, who has been taken from London by the Vorlons 400 years ago and been in their service ever since. Sherridan believes that claim and wants to know everything he can tell them of the Vorlons and their world, but Sebastian refuses to reveal anything.

    Garibaldi goes to G'Kar to remind him that he's free to make deals with arms dealers as he likes, but the weapons can not be shipped through the station to maintain it's neutrality. Though he also has some recommendations for trustworthy suppliers working in this part of space that G'Kar should contact.

    Sherridan thinks Sebastian is creepy, but Delenn insists to meet with him alone in an empty warehouse in Gray Sector. Sebastian gives her pain handcuffs she's going to wear throughout the examination. If she wants to quit, she just has to take them off, and then will be dismissed as the candidate for the position the Vorlons have in mind for her.
    He begins his examination by asking "Who are you?", but any answer she gives him is not satisfying and she keeps getting zapped for it. He thinks she is overconfident and too stubborn and not qualified for the tasks ahead, and it is his job to make sure she won't doom others when she fails.

    Vir is getting distracted by a Centauri who wants an audience with Londo and escapes in an elevator without noticing that G'Kar is already inside it. G'Kar doesn't say a word and only looks at him disapprovingly. Vir feels he has to say something and deeply regrets what has happened and tried what he could to stop it, but G'Kar thinks it meaningless.

    G'Kar tells the other Narn that he has found weapons suppliers and is working on getting into contact with people on the homeworld to deliver them. The other Narn are sceptical about the price tag and have doubts that the weapons will actually reach their destination. It's not that they don't trust G'Kar's sincerity that he will do it, but his ability to pull it off. Before they push over the money, they need some proof that he can get through the Centauri blockade. If he can do it, they will follow his leadership, but if he can't they demand that someone else will take his place.

    Sebastian thinks that Delenn is overconfident and thinks of herself as too important. She tells him she thinks he really just enjoys his position that lets him to bully others and thinking he's serving a greater purpose with it. That quite annoys him and he goes back to his earlier questions to which Delenn has no satisfying answer and she gets zapped again.

    G'Kar goes to Sherridan and tells him that he absolutely must get a message from a family on the Narn homeworld to prove his ability to be the Narn leader. He doesn't ask how Sherridan might be able to do it, and is satisfied when Sherridan tells him he will try.

    The obvious solution is sending a ranger, but Garibaldi thinks this job is too big for them. Sherridan tells him that they have no more time to prepare and the rangers have to be able to do it now.

    Lennier goes to check on Delenn and finds her in a pretty rough state. She tells him there is no choice and he must leave while she will continue the examination. Lennier runs to Sherridan to tell him that he thinks Sebastian will kill Delenn. Sherridan goes to them and Sebastian had been wondering when he will show up. He knocks out Sherridan with Vorlon magic and ties him up on a wall to test him.
    Delenn gets back up and tells him to leave Sherridan alone. Sebastian says he will spare him, but then Delenn will die. Only one of them will survive. Delenn tells him to kill her then, because it's her duty to save others and if she dies someone else will take her place. Sebastian is pleased with that response and thinks they are both the right people in the right place at the right time.

    Sherridan goes to the command center and tells Ivanova to check the archives if they have confirmation that Sebastian was really living at the address and at the time that he told him.

    G'Kar gets the return message from one of the Narn leader's family and shows it to the others, and they tell him that they have full trust in his leadership.

    Sherridan takes Sebastian to his ship and before he leaves, he tells him that he checked his identity and discovered that he disappeared on the last night of the Jack the Ripper murders. Sebastian admits that it was him, and that the Vorlons have taken him away to make him work for a good cause.

    --

    Oh, well... Can't say I'm a fan. This isn't quite a bottle episode, but sitting between two big effects and action episodes at the end of the season, this one was clearly made with a very tight budget in mind. It doesn't have any action and almost no special effects, and I assume almost the whole effects budgets for the episodes went into getting the Narn and Lennier into mask. And aside from G'Kar, their parts are so small they probably did all of those in a single day.

    G'Kar's plot does make some progress for his overall story, but doesn't actually accomplish anything. In a condensed version of the series, all of it would be cut. Except for the short scene with Vir in the elevator, though that scene seemed much more important for Vir than for G'Kar. Oddly enough, it also was the only scene with Vir in it, other than the one shot were he stands on a bridge. It's a good scene. I guess they just didn't have any other good point to squeeze it in. It could have happened pretty much at any point in the last three episodes.

    Now Delenn's story is what I consider to be the weaker part. I get the idea that they wanted to show that Delenn's and Sherridan's roles in the future will have to be selfless ones, and that they are not into it for either fame or the power they will gain. Which is a good one. But the execution with the Inquisitor doesn't really click. That Jack the Ripper reveal at the end is a bit silly, but I think it's meant to be foreshadowing that the Vorlons have been watching and occasionally meddling on Earth for a long time. It's just not clear in this episode for how long this really has been going on.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

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