Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “Meditations on the Abyss”

See, this episode title is almost a pun, because Lennier and Findell were meditating on the brink of asphyxiation, and, and, and…

…listen, you have to like this episode because Chip likes puns.

16 thoughts on “Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “Meditations on the Abyss””

  1. Overall, it’s a decent episode. I doubt it’s many people’s favorite episode, and it’s not close to being mine. But it’s solid B5.

    The main thing that stands out for me about it is Richard Yniguez’s performance as Captain Montoya.

    Montoya is a really bland character in the writing. He’s the perfect captain, and, well, there isn’t anything else there, is there? That’s not totally without interest, because it makes him a stand-in for Sheridan — except that we know that Lennier’s feelings for Delenn would get in the way of him ever having the same relationship with Sheridan as he has with Montoya. So that irony haunts this episode.

    But, nevertheless, the character of Montoya himself is pretty flat. But somehow, Yniguez makes Montoya seem far more interesting than is really there in the writing. One of the best guest performances in all of Babylon 5, at least for me.

  2. Concerning ship names, I don’t think it’s entirely a cultural thing. Minbari ships definitely got names too. I wonder if the White Stars are somewhat analogous to the old WWII-era PT boats. Those didn’t have names either. Maybe the building was just so rushed that they didn’t bother naming any of them, and the habit stuck after the Shadow War.

  3. I really don’t remember where I got this image in my head, but for me “what is truth and what is God?” scene represents JMS trying to explain his show to the studio execs. He always said that in the end he had to dumb it down to simple comparisons, such as the famous “Casablanca in space”.

  4. While not my favourite episode by far, G’Kar’s “what is truth and what is God?” speech is my all time favourite quote from any show ever – because it so perfectly fits my own thoughts about religion in general. And of course its funny as hell at the end when G’Kar has to make it all meaningless for them to ‘get it’.

    1. More disrespect for those of us who follow a traditional religion. Just a bunch of dummies too dim to grasp the secularist’s brilliance.

        1. Just for the record, Chip follows a traditional religion—he is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA)—but as someone who follows the religious tenet “But I Could Be Wrong About All This” VERY MUCH appreciates the tone and spirit of G’Kar’s scene.

          1. I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, but I could be wrong about all this,

            And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead, but I could be wrong about all this.

            I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting, but I could be wrong about all this.

            Yes, very traditional of you.

  5. Our hosts described B5 as a show about good people trapped by their own high standards.

    To me, G’Kar is in some ways the saddest of all. Sheridan and Delenn at least got to build the Interstellar Alliance, even though we know it will eventually fail. As that scene shows, poor G’Kar has already failed.

    1. No. He got what he wanted – to free his people. He also made sure he didn’t get what he didn’t want. First he rejected political leadership. This week he rejected religious leadership. Again. Yes he failed to convey his personal religious insights but then he never particularly wished to do so. The book of G’Kar was meant to be published after his death after all. And he has only eventually agreed to speak to his followers because they wouldn’t leave him alone. I think he finds his current situation frustrating but I don’t think he feels a personal failure. Nothing would make him happier than for all his followers to just go home.

  6. GO VIR! Today. He is. A man.

    Hang on just a moment. “If you are doing this because you feel you should be doing this, not because you want to, then your purpose is flawed. The desire to be Anla-shok must be pure and unselfish.” Somebody’s got their brain in backwards. Motivation by duty rather than personal desire is the opposite of selfish.

    1. Go Vir – now he is a man? He always was. He had more personal integrity in his little finger than any other Centauri we met including , I think, the old Emperor. That’s why everyone in his family thought he was odd – he didn’t conform to the degenerate wheeling and dealing standards of Centauri. I just love his vision of how the universe ticks.

  7. Have been watching B5 on The Pick channel every weekday evening followed by the podcast. Last episode was tonight but have caught up with the podcasts.

    It’s been a great spring and stopped my withdrawal symptoms from Dr Who.

    Season 5 feels different watching every night to watching once a week as I did first time round. Byron seemed to go on forever. As did Garibaldi’s suspicion etc after Bester meddled with his mind. Which disliked more than. Byron as he wasn’t my usual well lived character. This time they raced by.

    Looking forward to the rest of the podcasts.

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