11 thoughts on “Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “The Long Dark””

  1. I think this episode probably counts as ‘unfairly maligned’ as I always thought people hated it even though I always loved this episode

    1. I also have the impression that it’s thought of as unusually weak. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I love the episode, but it’s perfectly adequate ’90s SF that supplies forty-plus minutes of pretty watchable television. No amazing highs, but no terrible lows either.

      I sometimes have the impression that an episode is more likely to be disliked if JMS said at the time that he felt that there was something wrong with it. As he did here, specifically with reference to the effects.

      But (as the Downbelow podcast pointed out), TLD offers the particular pleasure of seeing Dr. Franklin, a character strongly defined as “driven by a strong sense of morality,” violate his professional ethics in a big, big way…

      1. Ok so I should probably clarify why I love this Ep.. Probably because it scares the crap out of me, did the first time and does now, even though the effects look a tad dated….

        1. I didn’t object to the effects at the time either (and still don’t).

          Mind you, I was watching the episode on an old and tiny black-and-white TV (what used to be called a “portable television,” but wasn’t) which I picked up second-hand for, well, what I could afford at the time. This is quite a good way to watch the more horror-leaning episodes.

          I’ve never quite been able to accept that B5 in color is “proper” B5.

        2. This episode scared the heck out of my as a child. Mostly I think because the lightning alien reminded me of the monster hitting the perimeter fence in Forbidden Planet, and the screams that monster let out used to haunt my nightmares in a re-occuring dream.

          So yeah, thanks for that JMS. I appreciate that you like Forbidden Planet (and really, who wouldn’t?) but damn did you make this 13 year old crap himself.

  2. Halfway through the re-watch so can’t speak to story. V. disappointed now as then with Schultz. Perhaps it’s the direction, his tone seems all wrong. The actor imprinted himself on me when I was a chidling, helped me to love laughter and embrace acting through the A-Team, and marry my imagination with academic in Trek, but here, he’s far wide of the mark. I’m not sure what his character is supposed to be doing.

    1. It’s been a year and a bit since I last saw this one, but I think Schultz might have been deliberately trying to distance himself from his performance in The A-Team and do a “not at all comic” version of PTSD. The character of Murdoch received a lot of criticism for trivializing the condition, and these criticisms would have been only a little more than a decade old when The Long Dark was made.

      Certainly, I think it’s very likely that the casting of Schultz in this role is meant as a specific reference to The A-Team.

      1. If so, it was a good response. The scene between Schultz’ character here and Garibaldi is the only redeeming moment of the episode. Most of the rest is too much scenery chewing from everyone, but I believed that nice moment these two vets shared, bonded by experiences only they could fully appreciate.

  3. I’m sad they missed Amos’s line “Now, what would a man with everything in the world do with one of them?” in reference to counselors. It’s a fun poke at Schultz’s TNG character Barkley.

    Also, as someone who has lived with bipolar people and is bipolar themselves I actually found his swings surprisingly believable. Having received a 2am phone call with Amos’s rant on the Zocalo table from a family member, it added to the characterization for me.

  4. Growing up I liked this episode for the fire fight between the crew and the monster. I always liked stuff like that now looking back yea I see the flaws but I can over look them. But now I see this with my past experiences in mind and I understand what ties Amos and Garibaldi together because I too have had that dream and boy does it suck. I think the references to Ptsd (even thou they don’t name it) is great a lot of people in the 90s didn’t talk about ptsd and its effects but here we can see 2 who are dealing with it and there different ways of coping.

  5. In season one we had several potential “worst episodes” of B5, but for me it’s this one. Bad editing, plots that are brought up and then dropped and a not very effective creature. I loved Dwight Schultz’s quieter performances and this episodes “Ivanova Moment” was very funny, but it could not save it for me.

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