Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “Points of Departure”

At this point I am desperately hoping that there are at least a few of you who have never seen Babylon 5 before, are watching it for the first time, are stepping off at the spoiler jumpgate during the podcast, and had no idea what’s coming in this episode.

This thread is for you, as well as those who want to just talk about “Points of Departure” while smugly refusing to reveal the future.

14 thoughts on “Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “Points of Departure””

    1. Agreed. No spoilers, but as someone who started watching B5 after season 1 the Sinclair episodes always make me miss Sheridan. However, now that I’ve finally seen all of season 1 I appreciate Sinclair, but I’m still excited to revisit the episodes I watched during the original run 🙂

  1. A question for those of you who might have watched it first time round: how big a deal was the casting of Bruce Boxleitner? At the time, I’d never heard of him – or so I thought. I don’t actually know how big a deal Scarecrow & Mrs. King was in the US – as far as I can recall, it was briefly shown in the UK circa 1984. The fact it ran for four years (1983 to 1987) was news to me., and I didn’t recall him being the star of it. I’d never seen Tron so I didn’t know him from that. So I guess I’m asking, how big a deal was BB at the time? From what I did read in the SF press, I almost got the impression his being married to Melissa Gilbert made them TV royalty…

    1. From what I remember, it was a semi-big deal to land Boxleitner, who had been in a hit prime-time show. And yes, Melissa Gilbert, between her own TV career and starting her SGA work at the time, would have added to the newsworthiness of it.

    2. More of a shock than anything else. I recall the Usenet threads not even getting his last name right (Bruce “Boxbinder” I think it went?).

  2. I had never heard of him as well but god I am glad he was cast in this role. Not a Sinclair fan. After this series I saw him in some Lifestyle Channel movies but to me he is Sheridan. Tim I agree best captain ever but a close second to him is John Crichton. Weird how there both named John.

  3. One thing that I find a little amusing about Points of Departure is that, after all that stuff about how ultra-super-secret the Grey Council is in The Gathering, now Sheridan can just go around saying “He’s Grey Council, he has to be” in a tone that suggests that it’s no more unusual an observation than having figured out that Hedronn is really wearing contacts.

    1. Yeah, I wondered about that, too. How much does Sheridan know about the inner workings of the Minbari, and by rights should he?

      I have to say: Yes, Boxleitner is charismatic, and he’s fun to watch; but, like Erika in the last podcast, I am finding myself missing Sinclair! Sheridan has a little bit too much of the “gosh golly, gee whiz” about him in this episode for me.

      Was the pre-existing relationship between Sheridan and Ivanova written in simply to skip some of what would otherwise have been time spent on forging a relationship between them?

      Also: Is there any “inside info,” from the Lurker’s Guide or elsewhere, about what, if anything, we should read into the fact that Jeffrey Sinclair and John Sheridan (and, for that matter, JMS) have the same first and last initials?

  4. Coming from future season first time I watched this,”Oh. He’s in it ~this~ early? A Sheridan episode? Oh, right. He’s the captain now.”

    I remember being impressed with BB from Scarecrow & Mrs King.

    Both The Scarecrow and Sheridan are agents from a Reaganite-ish place. Both enter and upset a calm urban environment. It ~could~ explain how he knows about the Council.

  5. Woo, Sheridan! Like the podcast said, it’s nice to have someone with a lighter touch heading up the show.

    One thing that made me laugh: His speech is all about how he couldn’t wish for a better crew, but he freely admits it’s the same speech he gives everywhere he goes! It’s a bit like a stadium rock act telling the crowd that the one place that has a special place in their hearts is [TOWN NAME HERE].

    1. Ha! Nice call, Mike. It’s a pretty ingratiating piece of rhetoric, that’s for sure. I would think a seasoned commander like Sheridan might be more concerned with establishing authority, especially immediately after the President’s assassination by enemies as yet unknown, than with “getting in good” with the crew. It’s a surprisingly Star Trek-ky thing for Sheridan to do!

  6. I always liked both Sinclair and Sheridan, granted I know that there are people who liked Sinclair and those that didn’t, my sister loves the Sinclair character, myself I like him a little more than Sheridan who took time to grow on me. They are different types of personalities, Sinclair being the wounded character who I believe is suffering from a type of PTSD and is unsure of his position as Commander and has doubts because of the ‘hole in his mind’. Sheridan Came out of the War a Hero in a different way than Sinclair, scoring Earths only Major victory against the Minbari, and seems to have more confidence in himself, plus I think others back on Earth had more confidence in him as a Commanding officer and probably would of thought he would have been a better choice than Sinclair to run the station given at the get go. I don’t think Sinclair was really trusted because of his war experience and connection to the Minbari. From a personal point of view I also identified more with Sinclair, no I never served in the Military and I don’t have PTSD, but I have gone through my own very difficult times. I do identify with his introspective nature, I’m a quieter person who is a little withdrawn at times, mainly until I size a person up and get to know them a little better, which is also a skill that helps in my profession and I know what it’s like to have doubts about my role in life, which is compounded by the doubts of others. Overall though I like both characters. I remember listening to JMS say about the two that they are on the same journey, it’s just that Sinclair is further along his journey emotionally than Sheridan. Also if I remember correctly he wanted O’Hare to make the character act more withdrawn and distant, but if he’d been able to continue that would have changed over time. One last thing I will add to this already long winded comment, I was reading a blog from someone with PTSD who found Sinclair a more interesting and obviously relatable character than Sheridan and found it interesting that the leading man character was not exactly the Captain Kirk like hero of a lot of Sci-fi shows, and was quite annoyed when he was replaced by, what they referred to as ‘Good old never a day of PTSD, happy veteran John Sheridan who obviously wasn’t at the Battle of the Line, thus side-stepping the whole helpless, hopeless , terrified, trauma storyline’.

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