Earhart’s: “All Alone in the Night” Spoiler Space

Sheridan flies a plane. Sheridan meets a Narn. Delenn has a meeting. Sheridan has a meeting. Yup, just a run of the mill day on Babylon 5 with absolutely no implications for the rest of the series.

Right?

16 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “All Alone in the Night” Spoiler Space”

  1. I’d originally watched this thinking it might be a filler, primarily through the setup with it’s throwaway Se1 Bermuda Triangle/alien anal probe tropes, it’s a great sleight of hand, then, wham Fight club ship! AAitN is a major arc episode; it primes up all the minor arcs: Neroon, Ta’Lon the best Na’Toth, Hague and the Agamemnon, Delenn and Council, Kosh and Sherdian, the telepaths, ‘the man in between’ that line give me a shiver. Some of this arc stuff could have been taken out leaving it’s production values, and you’d still have a strong episode. On re-evaluation, I’m placing this in the top 10. It’s a shame we never got to see the Strives (?) again.Ramirez: well he wasn’t the most convincing actor, but how he was reacted to, worked. I like Boxleitner’s final remark on him. Ohmygod, Sheridan was a spy! Hague’s planning a coup! They’re all planning a coup! Filler my arse! As camouflaged as Sheridan’s record.

    Btw, I made a few wee mashup jpegs for this episode. I hope you like them cos I do. [Link]

    I was wondering if I could have your thoughts on a thought I had. Lennier has a human soul: discuss?

    1. I agree there’s a whole lot to this episode beyond the initial plotlines.

      I would need to poke around various show sources to be sure, but I thought the soul migration at this point was one-way? Human population growing, Minbari population shrinking. So I’m not sure about the premise on Lennier. How did that occur to you?

      1. I think you may be right about the one-way migration. Certainly I’d forgot this when suggesting. Unless maybe I know something the Grey Council doesn’t!

        The idea came about because Lennier’s meeting with Morden struck me as a shoe-horn fit at the time of Day of the Dead, and conceiving of him as having a human soul (last week), seemed to make sense of this, and correlate well with a few other things about him.
        Lennier does not take up a lot of space or throw alpha bluster, as many Minbari males seem to. He’s gentle, kind and more aware of his shortcomings than anyone else we meet. He adapts very quickly to a multi-race hub for someone just out of temple. His love extends to Garibaldi and Londo, people who might be expected to clash with such a devoted ‘monk’. As we see in this episode Delenn is drawn to him with something more than common friendship. (If Delenn has a failing, sorry Delenn-fans, I think she does lead Lennier on, or take advantage of his sacrificial nature) After Delenn, I find the lad the most likeable of the regulars. His presence is certainly the most familiar to me. Perhaps it’s my religious and spiritual background. Perhaps it’s the good people I’ve met in my life. Or how I tie closely unrequited love, a personal religious fall and confused new direction. I certainly identify with Lennier’s humane aspects. Straczynski, Mumy and crew expertly present him as an alien while making him eminently relate-able. Maybe he’s an easy target for this argument; certainly he was for Morden.

        Btw, I very much enjoyed your discussion on Delenn (and Lennier) this time. I felt it really broke things down for me and led to a fuller understanding of character.

  2. There is a missed possibility in All Alone in the Night that only really becomes salient in S4-S5 that I wouldn’t mind JMS exploring if the projected B5 reboot ever gets off the ground.

    As the Northern Ireland correspondent points out above, our heroes are soldiers planning something that may lead to a *military coup* against an elected government. At the end, Sheridan says (emphasis mine): “for *now*, strictly within the rules.”

    This should be at least a little disturbing, and this isn’t a perspective that’s ultimately missing in the show. In S4 and S5 it turns out that there are a lot of decent and honorable military officers who find what Sheridan does between now and then profoundly wrong, for non-insane reasons.

    It would be interesting if this perspective had been more represented from day one. It’s always struck me as a little artificial that all of the main human cast are of essentially the same mind on this point and accept it as unproblematic.

    Instead, our foil for Sheridan and co. is Zack, whose story is that of a decent person who gets mixed up with fascists without realizing what he was getting into.

  3. I’m not sure the “man in between” is ever properly explained. The best (only plausible?) theory is I think from the Lurker’s Guide, that says it must be the guy Anna takes him to meet on Z’ha’dum. But even that doesn make sense, really.

    My take (and I’m not claiming it’s original thought, I may have picked it up somewhere) is that “the man in between” is The One Who Is, in between The One Who Was and The One Who Will Be. And since we find out eventually that Delenn IS The One Who Is, and she is indeed looking for him (both metaphorically and literally, in that she’s looking for him while he’s missing, but is also searching for a great hero, the man he will become – The One Who Will Be… and maybe even romantically, in that she’s looking for her lobster..) it would make sense. Of course she’s not a man, but then again who knows how much Vorlons really know about gender? And JMS’ original plan for B5 was to have Delenn start out as a man…

    Bonkers? Probably. Just you wait until we get onto Lady Morella’s prophecy!

    1. yeah the two theories I know are either Justin (who sends Anna to bring Sheridan to Z’ha’dum, because he literally says “think of me as a middle man”. But I always thought that the theory that Lorien was the man in the middle, he’s in the middle of the Shadows & Vorlons – felt more right.

      But going by JMS himself (as quoted on http://www.chronology.org/noframes/b-five/visions.html)

      Internet posting by Straczynski, 16 Sept 1996:
      “No, Sheridan isn’t the man in the middle…the man in the middle is the one out there who sent Anna. As Ivanova says, his opposite number. ”
      — jms

      Internet posting by Straczynski, 27 Oct 1996:
      “Yes, Justin is the man in-between . . . the “middle man,” as he describes himself. ”
      — jms

      so … that settles that! 🙂

  4. Having listened to the podcast:-

    One thing that makes the “Sheridan held prisoner” A-plot a bit less throwaway is that it’s giving us the “standard SFTV trope” version of a scenario which is going to be recur in more interesting (and for Sheridan’s character really, really important) from now on: In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum, Comes the Inquisitor, and Intersections in Real Time.

    All Alone in the Night prepares the viewer for those by putting Sheridan in the sort of imprisonment story that (in Andy Luke’s elegant formulation) Captain1950sFlagDad is supposed to be in.

  5. Re Lennier tying himself to Delenn and his feelings for her. Between the bits we see of MInbari culture on the show, and the bits we see in “To Dream in the City of Sorrows” which is supposed to be fairly canon, there seems to be a big tradition on Minbar on tying yourself to a teacher/mentor. Delenn does so with Dukhat, and you see it repeated in both the cultural veneration of Valen and within the Rangers the “We live for the one, we die for the one”

    I suspect that Lenniers feelings for Delenn are kept quiet not only because she is involved with someone else, but because she is his mentor, and thus not approachable in that way. Admittedly, I am somewhat annoyed by that whole declaration, because the one female (assuming we go with human genders here, admittedly I’m sure not every race defines things and cultural roles the way we would) has her protege falling in love with her, and that’s what’s prompted his fanatical loyalty somewhat diminishes his loyalty to her because she is the leader that the MInbari and the rest of what becomes the Interstellar Alliance.

    1. I certainly think Lennier’s loyalty is what he wants for Delenn, but works against him. If he didn’t spend so much time devoted to her and their duties, he could be out chasing some other skirt! Maybe he’s out now on Centauri Prime, with a deck of cards and a bottle of Bavari, getting some horny little Keeper blootered as part of the Emperor’s Official pub crawl!

    2. I think the podcast was spot-on about how horribly unhealthy Lennier’s attachment to Delenn is, and the mentor/mentee element is part of what makes it unhealthy to begin with. What we see of Dukhat and Delenn makes a nice point of contrast: she’s devoted to him, but it’s a teacher-student relationship between unequals (not even friendship, let alone romance).

      But the real point of contrast is the relationship of equals between Delenn and Sheridan. Actually, Delenn and Sheridan is the most healthy and adult depiction of a successful relationship that I can think of in SF TV: despite all the drama around them, the relationship itself is breathtakingly *normal*. Any other contenders?

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