5 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “Darkness Ascending” Spoiler Space”

  1. I’m curious as to why one of our hosts thought Sheridan was depicted out-of-character in trying to protect Delenn by recalling Lennier.

    After all, this is what Delenn said would happen in Meditations on the Abyss. While I know that our hosts had problems with the plausibility of that, my impression was that the problems were with Sheridan knowing how much Lennier meant to Delenn, not with the plausibility of Sheridan acting that way if he did know. At any rate, the fact that JMS has Delenn, a character who is intimately familiar with Sheridan, think that this is the sort of person that he is counts as pretty solid evidence that he is that sort of person.

    I suspect that my disagreement here is tied to the way in which I don’t in general see Sheridan as this morally grey figure that our hosts like to read him as. What I’d ask is: say this were an old black-and-white TV show from the 1950s, a Western. Not “Babylon 5,” but “Babylon, OK.” Sheriff Sheridan is the “Aw shucks, ma’am” hero of that show. Would you have the same problem with Sheriff Sheridan recalling Deputy Lennier from investigating the mysterious cattle-rustling because of Sheriff Sheridan’s wife Delilah?

    Or would you accept it as the way that kind of upstanding hero is in the black-and-white world of that kind of show? Because I think Sheridan basically is that character. Part of the challenge in writing a character like that is that if you want them to be in the wrong, they have to be in the wrong for admirable reasons, which is what this does.

    This makes for a critical difference from the moment when Sheridan ordered those Rangers on that suicide mission as a counter-example. When Sheridan does that, the story does not present him as being in the wrong. You can portray this kind of character as doing the right thing at a moral cost, particularly if he can have an oh-so-manly-and-serious moment in which he asks his fellow heroic (but secondary) figure if they have a family to show that he is aware of the terrible moral seriousness of what he doing.

    But I think one will have to search hard in Babylon 5 to find a moment where Sheridan is portrayed as going through with doing the wrong thing for reasons that reflect badly on him. (Even In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum and Shadow Dancing don’t really go there, especially not the first.) I think this is telling.

  2. Darkness Ascending: not ascends. Evokes Shadows, suggests their legacy. JMS loves to tease, to hide the easter eggs under the nose. The next two episodes will explore that rise of a darkness thought crushed in great detail. I think next episode’s ‘All My Dreams Torn..,’ is the perfect subtitle for the final scene in this one. Delenn’s embracing Londo, a resonant and powerful image. It stands up in repeats and is always a little jarring: the spontaneity, because Londo now as scapegoat possibly remembers his complicity in the Shadow War, and Delenn, who doesn’t know, is siezed by conflicting extremes of joy and grief. Mira Furlan is A+

  3. Looking into my unpublished archive of prose lately I see a lot of good work I’d labelled for the bin. The problem? Poor, poor titles. The title is the first words, the opening shot, and that impression, that angle has to be attractive and make some remark on the content. Finding the right title is a tightrope: conveying information while retaining secrecy. Often it is added in transit or post destination, as it can interrupt the flow, particularly on an ambitious or stressful work.

    Host, Hostesses, you’re finding your way to opinions on titles that are just negative mostly. Can I alter your opinion dna? Points of compairson: BSG, Firefly, Blakes 7, any Star Trek, particularly ST:TNG. Some mental content analysis shows these are all fat with generic episode titles. I mean, seriously guys. ‘The Best of Both Worlds’. WTF even is that? In tones that I can think of, only Farscape is consistently different in SF titling, and perhaps classic Who.

    I suspect the difference occurrs in context. Leaning towards fantasy and religion more than it does science, Bab5 uses titles evoking headers from chapters of holy and mythological works to convey the sense of gravitas. Comparatively, these other SF shows tend to fly the flag of science first. Yet, with the exception of DS9, only rarely do they explore cause and effect beyond a single episode. Narratively, other shows ask us to suspend disbelief in the reset switch. With this betrayal of primitive science, I think they have less of a claim to titles which are big and sweeping. I think we’re just trained to accept otherwise.

    Could you do better yourself? There’s a proposal, a game for the debate, Suggest an alternative title for each remaining episode, or for the podcasts. You could have a lot of fun adopting the JMS title style for these as well as more suitable headings.

    For example: ‘The Very Large Bazooka of Mr. Garibaldi’, ‘A Dinosaur And The RedHead’, ‘The Straw Man’s Hair’, ‘Silence in Atrocity’, ‘The Burden of Proof’

    1. For allusion, literary references, and just plain strangeness in episode titles B5 cannot hold a candle to Andromeda. (Which itself is properly known as Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda.) Not only did most episodes have titles that are intriguing or pretentious depending on taste, but they also often began with the text of a made up philosophical proverb or koan.

      (Full disclosure: I liked the Andromeda episode titles, and even the show itself for two and a half seasons.)

      Still, I think titles of TV episodes are more like the titles of book chapters, not books, and thus not very important. If I remember the title of a TV episode it’s much more due to the content, not the other way around.

      Andy, I second your suggestion that our hosts have to provide better titles if they’re not happy 🙂

      1. ROFL “The… Mathematics… of… Tears”

        Holy shizbits, slapstick pretentiousness all the way, I gotta try this. If only to find out about the Nietzscheans. Of course, should anyone be putting together an Andromeda podcast…

        (((‘Foul Play in Fresh Air’.)))

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