7 thoughts on “Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “Convictions””

  1. Hmmm. I always thought ‘obnoxious guy’ was actually ‘drunk obnoxious guy’. was I wrong and he just can’t act his way out of a paper bag?

  2. With regard to our hosts’ “Here’s what you need to know” segments (words which always sound like they should be followed by retirement planning advice):-

    I like cutting it down to what you need to know for this particular episode. It’s an interesting exercise to ask how much a new viewer really needs to know (or should know, at any rate) to appreciate an episode.

    Here, the mad bomber plot is geared to enable a new viewer to appreciate it (on the basis of having watched television at some point in their life: this is a place where Sheridan’s I Am A Standard-Issue Heroic Space Captain bit is a strength). But the elevator and Lennier threads probably do require some grip on the characters and their histories to feel their full impact.

  3. Last time it was Jonathan Coulton; now a Tick reference? Chip! … That’s kind of it. I just needed to yell “Chip!” in a tone of hearty approval…

    I was going to include Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as my “Hey it’s that guy” for this episode, but you beat me to it, so I’ll just point out that mustache-twirling is the least of the gentleman’s abilities ( http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0846480/ ). Being a fan of cheesy martial arts films, I’ve seen Tagwawa all over the place. Most recently (and serving as evidence for any who doubt that he can deliver a nuanced performance), I saw Tagawa as the Trade Minister in The Man in the High Castle.

    Nerd Challenge! Does anybody aside from me remember Tagawa playing the warrior-missionary from the short-lived TV show Space Rangers?

    I hope my memory is not betraying me, but IIRC, I always knew it was a Vejar episode if I saw someone’s face lit up with a detailed reproduction of a console display.

    Regarding JMS and the monks, the fact that JMS shows respect for those who do not share his position on God (or lack thereof) has always been one of the things that I’ve appreciated about his work. But yes, he does (in several venues beyond B5) get a bit preachy about “this is how you religious people should be doing it” at times. It may surprise him (and some of my fellow listeners) to know that Christians have already thought about this one, and produced thoughtful reflections on the theological implications of sapient alien life. Examples that immediately spring to my mind come from the Vatican ( http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/believing_in_aliens_not_opposed_to_christianity_vaticans_top_astronomer_says/ ) and CS Lewis ( http://scientificintegrity.blogspot.ca/2010/04/religion-and-rocketry-by-cs-lewis.html ). Back when I was young and considering a career as a fiction writer, I also played with the notion of God having revealed himself to aliens in my (lousy) attempts at novels.

    As for the monks themselves; Chip, they actually do look something like that. Here is a link to the real-life abbey that Theo and his buds are supposed to be from: http://www.newmelleray.org/

    Interestingly, they do not support their work doing IS consulting. They make coffins. http://www.trappistcaskets.com/

  4. I have a theory for why it was (sort of) okay for Lennier to lie about having a terminal illness. That (drunk?) obnoxious guy was clearly embarrassing himself with his loud-mouthed behavior. By forcing an end to the conversation, it prevented further embarrassment. It’s a tenuous leap, and I’d bet Lennier knew it. Especially since he was also doing it for selfish reasons also. Hence his penance line.

    Still, it’s the closest reasonable justification.

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