7 thoughts on “Earhart’s: Spoiler Space for “A Spider in the Web””

  1. I can’t remember if this story thread of bureau 13 ever got fully explained or resolved. Can anyone help me out. I remember that DS9’s ripoff section 31 got a proper run, but from memory it petered out on B5 which was a great pity.

    1. I read that after they did this episode it was brought to JMS’ attention that a board game was already using the name Bureau 13, so JMS out of respect for not stomping all over their property, never used that name again.

      1. Ah, I didn’t know that. It fits in well as a hint that the Psi Corps and their friends in the Clark/Shadow camp are already deep in some serious doo-doo.

        There are a few episodes in this season with Season 1 type disposability. With re-watch, this piece on the man who was the B5-verse’s biggest usb stick, isn’t one of those. There’s a lot of tangenital foreshadowing here and some great character writing. Stephen Furst is particularly joyful to watch.

    2. To be fair, while it wouldn’t strike me as unlikely that DS9’s Section 31 might be a wink at Section 13 here, I think “ripoff” might be a bit harsh.

      Section 31 is thematically quite a bit different in what it’s doing in the story, I think. It’s clear that Section 31’s goals are sincerely altruistic, for one thing. They represent a particular aspect of DS9’s critique of Star Trek’s defining utopianism (which is what I like about DS9). DS9 suggests that a more “evolved” utopian society has to be something of a fiction, and can only be approximated at the cost of sweeping under the carpet all the “unevolved” violence and nastiness that are still going to be there and may even be necessary to keep the whole thing going. That’s Section 31.

      B5’s sinister human conspiracies are a little different, because they’re more mysterious in their motives. As has been noted here before, Clark is a remarkably obscure figure given his importance in the story. (Paradoxically, we end up understanding the Great Old One-esque Shadows a lot more precisely. ) But their goals turn out to be all about fascist authoritarian control.

  2. A Spider in the Web gives me the distinct and welcome feeling of a season getting back on track after having been derailed a little by the replacement of its central character. Definite sense of a return to threads left hanging from season 1, and their further development.

    In particular, I think this is the first time that independence for Mars is presented as something for the viewer to sympathize with, planting a nice little element to be paid off in S3-4.

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