Zocalo: Spoiler-Free Discussion of “And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder”

After all their hard work, it looks like the Interstellar Alliance can’t prevent war from breaking out. Talk about how they got here without spoiling future episodes in this thread.

3 thoughts on “Zocalo: Spoiler-Free Discussion of “And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder””

  1. It was actually very common for JMS to write quite a bit of direction in the scripts, not unlike the snippet in the Lurker’s Guide, and with many details all the way down to the reflections in the Narn bombing scene in The Long, Twilight Struggle, or viewing Franklin through the glass in the end of Walkabout. He just made it very clear in several occasions, such as on their common commentary track in The Face of the Enemy, that he explicitly trusted Mike Vejar, and that they had almost telepathic working relationship. With The Face of the Enemy JMS could have only very simple directions in the script, because he made sure he could get Vejar for the episode.

    I always thought the fifth season is much better than many made it out to be, so I didn’t even have to rediscover it, and rewatches have just reaffirmed my view. It’s not as strong as third or fourth season overall, for sure, but it’s easy to think about the first half only, and forget that most of the second half is just as good as any other part of B5.

    1. Agreed. I think the delay in showing the last episodes did not help the later episodes of season 5 at the time, and may account for some of the failure to appreciate how good this part of the season is. But watched in reasonably quick succession, this is absolutely great stuff (as our hosts and their guest brought out very well).

      Not that this episode is flawless. But for me it’s revealing that one of the flaws isn’t really in this episode — it’s the consequence of packing so much stuff into S4.

      Characters like Delenn are more sympathetic to Londo than they should maybe be, based on what the show has shown us about their interactions with him. (It is worth remembering the atrocities that Londo was defending only two years earlier in S3.) It’s as if they’ve been viewers along with us and have seen all the moments of moral progress that Londo has made that we’ve seen, but, really, the only person for whom that’s credible is G’Kar.

      But this is because Londo’s story had to be so sidelined during later S4. With a bit more development of his role in the formation of the Interstellar Alliance, this would make sense. And as it is, JMS contrives very well to make you not notice it (in part because it’s easy to overlook that Delenn and co. haven’t seen everything that we the viewers have seen).

      And obviously, the performances are great. Jurasik’s Londo is the inverse of the Londo in The Long, Twilight Struggle. That Londo went from doubt and horror during the bombing of Narn to doubling down and representing his government’s position before the Council with vicious gusto. This Londo goes from similar (if more sympathetic) forceful rhetoric in service of his government when he defies the accusation to doubt and intense concern.

      I wouldn’t go as far as our host’s guest in saying that this is my favorite B5 episode. For me, that’s The Coming of Shadows. But it’s damn good. This is the show that S1 seemed like it was going to be, about high politics and diplomatic intrigue between great powers, before the show became about fascist takeovers and thousand-year old prophecies. Not that the other stuff was bad, but sometimes it’s nice when a road not taken gets taken after all.

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