Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “The Ragged Edge”

Here’s the big thing we commented on as we recorded the podcast: this is the first time in ages, it feels like, that we’ve had the whole core cast involved in the story. What’d you think? No spoilers!

6 thoughts on “Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “The Ragged Edge””

  1. It is maybe revealing that the image that our hosts found to illustrate this episode is the exciting, dynamic shot of five familiar characters posed around a coffee table.

    There’s good stuff in The Ragged Edge, but after a telepath arc that took about an episode too long, this is a moment when I feel the need of picking up the pace by advancing the Mysterious Raids storyline a little more decisively than this does.

    I didn’t like the Garibaldi alcoholism stuff much the first time round, but I like it more now. Unlike the Franklin stims storyline in S3, this time there are actual consequences, as this episode shows.

  2. A commercial announcement, but one I hope is for a reasonably good cause and sufficiently obscure that may B5 fans might not be aware of it. Claudia Christian is autographing B5 books as a charity fundraiser, and if you buy enough you can even get a Skype chat with Ms Christian.


    I recommend watching the video even if you don’t want to buy the books.

  3. A technical question since I’m a space enthusiast.

    The Drazi ship that Garibaldi takes leaves B5, goes through a jump gate, and makes an atmospheric descent onto the Drazi world. That’s very impressive for a small ship. Everyone else seems to take a shuttle from B5 to a big ship, which jumps, parks in orbit, and drops the passengers off in another shuttle.

    Have we seen any other B5 ships do an entire journey from station/planet to planet/station?

    1. The closest equivalent that comes to mind are the “new” atmosphere-capable Starfuries that we see bomb Mars in S3. They probably could do this (although we don’t ever see it), since we do see Starfuries use jumpgates and they apparently have a fair amount of range.

      In general, range doesn’t seem to be a significant limitation on small ships in the B5 universe, just the need to use jumpgates. Catherine Sakai’s ship in S1 is quite small, and that one needs to be able to roam far from jumpgates to do its job. (Gravity isn’t really addressed, but one imagines that those Starfuries had to be able to get back up from Mars.)

      I suspect that the reason why we don’t see it in previous seasons is the progress in CGI that (as our hosts noted) this episode displays, that allowed more to be shown convincingly for less money. B5 was sensibly cautious about visiting planets.

      However, it’s interesting that we are now in the run-up to Crusade, part of whose remit was to exploit advancements in and experience with CGI that B5 had built up over its five years to visit a variety of different locations. This episode is arguably trying that out in preparation for Crusade.

      It’s a tremendous shame that we saw so little of Crusade. One of the discordant things about B5 is that despite being a self-consciously “big” story about the Most Important Moment in Human History, it was (ingeniously) contrived around its technical limitations in a way that makes it seem like it takes place in a rather Buck Rogers universe in which there are relatively few planets and only a handful of important ones. Space is very small in B5. One gets a real sense of JMS liberating himself from those constraints in Crusade and really trying to open up his universe and make it so much bigger.

  4. “Put your face in the book” is of course a great skit, but what is JMS saying about the nature of research and development? Stop, it would seem. Get off the internet and just implement the thing. By the time you finish your academic investing in the civil war, refugee crisis and the future of aerodynamics, it might all be irrelevant and the network might have cancelled you anyways. Just go!

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