Earhart’s: “Convictions” Spoiler Space

This one’s a standalone episode that doesn’t have a lot to do with the overarching plots of the Shadow War and the Earth conspiracy–or is it? Please include your spoilery thoughts about “Convictions” here.

6 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “Convictions” Spoiler Space”

  1. I feel like the analysis of the quality of the story is spot on, but I feel that one major element was missing from the discussion:

    Just last episode, you pointed out that the entire third season was written and planned by JMS, this episode does a lot more than establish the feeling of tension and paranoia in the B5 universe. The mad bomber (who is hopefully not a long-lost descendant of mine!) was interested in sowing chaos for the sake of chaos. As we discover in the season finale, this is exactly what the Shadows are up to as well! The only difference between Carlson and the Shadows is that he was doing it with no goal at all, and the Shadows did have a higher purpose behind their chaos.

    So, that makes this episode much more than a scene-setting piece. It’s thematically introducing the idea of chaos in an orderly universe. You’re right that it wouldn’t fit in in a 13-episode season, but I think it’s a much more important part because of this theme.

    1. That’s an interesting point that does a lot to save the bomber storyline for me. When I listened to the podcast, I was impressed by how much time our hosts managed to spend on it – I would have been tempted to go straight to the elevator.

      Note that your observation can easily be repurposed as a defence of the Zarg plot in Grey 17 is Missing. This is very important.

    2. In addition to the theme of chaos, Carlson’s psychology fits criminological research on mass murderers. Mass murderers are typically between the ages of 25 and 45, socially isolated and withdrawn, and are motivated by feelings of helplessness and failure.

      “Save me from loners and quiet guys.”

  2. A couple of comments on the elevator scene:

    – Chip was right that sticking Londo/Jurasik and G’Kar/Katsulas alone in a confined space together is an obvious thing to do. One thing that’s less automatic is the discipline with which JMS held that moment back until the third season of the show. In fact, I don’t think they’ve had a really extended scene together before this – that their stories are so intertwined makes it seem like the actors spend more time onscreen together than they actually do before S4.

    – The humor of the scene is really important, because (I think) humor is presented as a redemptive force in the Londo/G’Kar arcs. In the near future, the humor here looks forward to, and contrasts with, the moment in Dust to Dust when G’Kar finds it laughable that Londo was sent to B5 because he was washed-up. That, for me, is an important moment because it’s the moment when G’Kar starts to view Londo as an individual, and not as the Centauri oppressor. The two moments are interestingly different. In DtD, it’s easy to see what’s funny about the incongruity between Londo then and Londo now. But this moment is only funny if you finding a way to effect the death of Londo/a Centauri as funny per se – there’s nothing particularly ironic or otherwise ridiculous about the manner of Londo’s death.

    – I have to say, in contrast with our hosts, I don’t find that this makes it plausible that G’Kar could trust Londo enough to strike the deal in And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place. Which is to say, I think it’s clever writing on JMS’s part to leave all that carefully offscreen and to make Refa’s death tremendously colorful so as to distract one’s attention. Nothing wrong with contrivance if it’s well done. But seriously: watch B5 up to that point, and try to script the conversation between the two in your head…

  3. Couldn’t help but to reply to Chip’s comments about Brother Theo & the monks.

    I’m a Catholic priest who’s watched B5 “religiously” since my college days (long before seminary).

    I appreciated JMS’ portrayal of religion – he gets lots of the details right – even tho he is an atheist. (I suspect he grew up Catholic… He gets *too* many details right.)

    Chip’s thoughts that the monks seemed a bit too ‘old fashioned’ given the future setting: These monks are Trappists – who seek to live a more austere and contemplative life. Their monastic vesture (called a ‘habit’) looks pretty much spot-on.

    Furthermore the Rule of St Benedict offers a motto for their life: “Ora et labora” (Prayer & work).

    It has been the tradition of monks to take on secular professions that will help “pay the bills” – and in this instance, their technical skills. All the while they’re living their lives as monks – praying, taking time for study.

    So – even a space station set in a the future CAN have monks who still look like monks. Believe me, even modern-day monks enjoy wearing the throw-back habits of the past, too…

    And when Brother Theo (who is definitely a priest) comes back in a few episodes to give the “Apostolic Pardon” over a dying man – I was struck (even in the 1990’s) that JMS used the actual formula that we priests currently use. It gave that moment a bit of gravitas.

    ====

    Looking forward a bit to the end of the series (or at least to the end of Season 4 – (Deconstruction of Falling Stars) –

    They portrayal of the Ranger monks also depicts monastic life well (albeit in a comedic way) – maintaining technology & “learning” even though the broader society still is catching up. — still echo Brother Theo’s monks too. – Traditional structures that allow those to seek a “higher calling” whilst at the same time rightfully live in the current days with current technology.

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    Great job on the podcast, guys. Thanks for all y’all do!

  4. Would I liked to have seen more of the monks? As characters, definitely. But I agree that there is too much going on to dedicate much room for these characters. They’re fine as they are.

    It is a bit too bad, though. If there is anyone whom I would trust to deal with religion with maturity and respect, it is JMS. Being a Doctor Who fan, I am reminded of the occasional fan discussions about having an actively-religious Companion (some of us liked the idea of Rita joining the tardis crew after “The God Complex.” Sadly, that was rendered moot). However, given the hamfisted way that the Doctor Who team has (mis)handled religious topics, I simply do not trust them to not mess it up.

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