19 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “A Day in the Strife” Spoiler Space”

    1. Ok so is that space jazz JMS’ idea of future music or is it more like Demolition Man where in the future they have completely ludicrous ideas of our present day culture?

  1. If I was going to carry anything forward from this episode into the rest of the B5 story arc, it would be that this episode highlights that Franklin is becoming hooked on stims.

    I am not sure how much else it adds to the story as a whole, and although I do find it fun, at least in parts, this does come across as the alien/conundrum of the week that is so common in Star Trek for example.

    1. Yeah, rewatching it it occurred to me it’s much less about the nominal A plot, and more about the various B plots which all seem to be about complicity and personal responsibility.

      Vir feels complicit in what Londo’s doing. Londo justifies it to himself as necessary but spares Vir any further involvement. The new Narn ambassador is a collaborator but for sincere reasons, and tries to make G’Kar complicit in the Narn’s suffering. Talon is trying to do good but isn’t sure who he’s protecting from who and how much good it’s doing.

      And Garibaldi knows what’s going on with Franklin and tries to intervene, but ends up basically letting him do what he’s doing (and will end up feeling guilty about that later IIRC)

      I actually really liked it, the ‘A’ plot (and the space jazz) is just the weakest part of it.

    2. Oh, those aliens, they’re so alien, with their alien things and they’re always sending us crosswords to do, and sacrificing their third-borns, and honoring above all else, things like Bovril, put on cushions for Bovril Year, which is every 0.1 earth years, until we explain coffee, and they find this really odd; imagine that! Then they’ll get into some weird BDSM stuff because coffee is poisonous to them. But why? Why? We tried to explain the decaff alternative was better suited to their biology, there’s no need to cut off our sleeves and put coathangers between our chins and heads. They’re so alien!

  2. I can safely say nothing says future like jazz… I live in a normal sized city in Florida sort of a second rate community and I have never expected much out of the shopping here and this past weekend I am buying a inflatable Ultraman and on top of that find one row over I see them. Babylon 5 action figures and acouple of sets of the micro machine B5 ship (3-4 in a pack). The dolls include 1 Captain Sheridan 1 Ambassador Delenn both are standard 6 inch dolls. The third doll however was a 2.5-3 inch Leta Alexander. As I have not gone back to the store to buy them just yet I will not mention its name for fear of Internet sale. Oh yea these are late season 3/4 dolls so I mention them here due to the uniform Sheridan is wearing could be a spoiler.

  3. I admit that before my first complete rewatch in over a decade last Summer I totally remembered all the other plots, except Stephen’s stims and Vir going to Minbar. I think I just did too much B5 back in the day, and it left its marks.

    The idea of leaving Londo completely alone is nice, but it doesn’t quite work as well as it could. If Misery Loves Company hadn’t been cancelled after only eight episodes things might have played out differently. Now Vir’s absence is barely noticed, especially when two-month Christmas break between Passing Through Gethsemane and Voices of Authority took most of it. Vir gets back in just nine episodes in Sic Transit Vir (when using Master List order), and even before that he’s visiting in two episodes. In the end Vir has just as many episodes in season three as he did in season two.

    But my favourite behind the scenes story about A Day in the Strife is one of the many synchronicities that happened during the production of B5, “the day we almost lost the show” as JMS said.

    During the shoot, ironically an episode with union negotiations, there was a short union-related strike that halted the production. Originally B5 was a non-union production (somewhat ironic, considering union issues handled in the show), and because the show was shot in LA, a strong union area, it was only a matter of time before the unions would come knocking on the door. While the salaries were on par with union wages, most of the crew either weren’t union members, or had turned over their cards, which of course made the unions unhappy.

    It was thought that a one-hour TV drama could not be produced with under one million dollar budget in LA while also satisfying the unions, because no such contract model existed. Warner didn’t want to give more money, so basically the options given by the lawyers were to shut down the production, or move it to Canada. JMS and the producers did something that no other show had done in similar situation, presented their budget in full detail to the union representatives, and asked what they could do to help. After a couple of days of negotiations and budget rearranging unions were satisfied, with last dollars being saved by JMS and John Flinn giving up their pay for one episode. A new contract model was created, and the Babylon Contract is supposedly still in use today.

    This incident was also the distraction that in JMS’s opinion ruined the Exogenesis script. He had written the beginning, but as a union member didn’t write during the strike. When he continued it after the pause he had lost the fingerprints of the story, as he says. JMS admits that it’s one of the cases where not using script outlines got back at him.

  4. That’s quite a story, Sami-Pekka. 🙂 ty

    Misery Loves Company, of course. I never saw it, though often thought it could have been a B5 spin-off. Pitch: the grave but eager to please Vir causes chaos in his new home through comical mishaps with enlightened but prude Minbari monks, punctuated with cameos of Londo ringing him up at 3am to whinge about stuff.

    1. I would watch the heck out of a Vir fish-out-of-water spinoff sitcom.

      Other plot threads would include:
      – The Centauri demanding he accomplish increasingly absurd diplomatic tasks
      – His hapless pursuit of a beautiful but scornful warrior-caste Minbari, also pursued by his rival, the slick and devious Pak’ma’ra ambassador
      – A father-figure-type monk taking him under his wing, training him in the Minbari ways and offering sage advice in the 3rd act of each episode

      1. From the diary of Vir Cotto, Centauri Mission to Minbar

        Day 5: My meeting with the province mayor today. Apparently, my bags didn’t get lost, no, they were impounded, because they have this thing about not allowing material possessions, which means my comb, my gameboy, everything! I told Londo, I told him. This was not a good idea.
        My stomach kept me awake all last night. When I arrived I thought it was a day of fasting, and the next day, I thought it was a day of fasting, and I wondered where I might get some fast food, but apparently you have to order a spoo-burger online and it takes six weeks to arrive.
        I have my very own assistant. I couldn’t believe it. He seems afraid of me? We went to church my first morning. The experience was beautiful, chimes, crystals, the moonlit sky. Then the second morning, the third, fourth, fifth; the experience…not so much. So he, I, the mayor and dozens of chefs wait to eat, when I pass out! I wake up in hospital, (sober and hungry I might add), and these aliens looking at me, I just pass out again. I told Londo, and now the phone’s ringing, I have to tell him again.

  5. Having listened to the podcast:-

    I think Londo is both better and worse than our hosts read him as being.

    First, at one point, the Centauri were described as the aggressor against the Narn. It’s not that simple: season one still happened. Londo’s desire to prevent the Narn from ever being a threat to the Centauri again has some uncomfortable basis in the facts of Narn actions only two years before.

    (The Centauri are obviously the original aggressors in the sense that they started this all many decades earlier when they first conquered Narn. But see The Coming of Shadows.)

    From that point of view, while Londo may clearly be enjoying himself in his scene with Na’Far, I think there’s no reason to doubt his sincerity when he reveals after the fact that he was deliberately trying to humiliate Na’Far to see if the Narn still retain some pride.

    Which raises the question of the Vir scene. Again, I don’t think there’s any reason to doubt that he means it when he says that Vir is simply not suited to take the actions that Londo claims are necessary. But OK: why then try to preserve Vir’s innocence? Why is Londo so fond of him? I read the scene as suggesting that Londo actually does acknowledge, deep down, that Vir is morally superior to him and values that – otherwise why try to spare Vir from exposure to the brutal moral environment that Londo claims is necessary.

    This will be picked up in Sic Transit Vir when Londo is a little too pleased when he thinks that Vir has been responsible for horrific atrocities against the Narn (validating Londo’s position) but is also more irritated than enraged when he finds out that Vir has been acting directly against what Londo ostensibly believes is an absolute necessity.

    So, better and worse: Londo is better because he’s not a straightforward monster, worse because he’s persuaded himself that being a monster is necessary despite – on some deep level -knowing otherwise.

    1. I agree. Londo is trying to protect Vir’s innocence. This isn’t necessarily altruistic: “My shoes are too tight.” Londo has lost his own innocence and knows the pain of becoming aware of that fact.

      Londo is my favorite character in the show. He’s deeper than most would assume.

  6. Indeed! He’s been Clark’s puppet, Hague’s spy, and grows into the prog-Kirk, esp now he’s a starship captain again.

  7. Before commenting on here, I’ll watch the episode, then go for a director’s-commentary approach, subtitles with the B5AG, and make some notes. Should you ever fancy a guest Skype-in, I’ll be well equipped, unless it’s the one with the two janitors, because then I’ll just growl and swear. Here’s what I have for ADitS…ADitS…mmm, medical.

    ADitS.

    – I loved the awkwardness of Garibaldi and Franklin’s dinner, and how JMS and the actors saw it through to their discussion, rather than say, cutting away (after the doc throws down his napkin)
    – Londo’s conscience: interesting our podcasters noted his selfishness. I interpreted Vir’s send-off as an investment in Londo’s future, akin to an addict’s moment of clarity. Maddalena in the non-spoilers mentions how Londo doesn’t tell the audience a whole lot, (he talks a lot but he isn’t saying anything), and I think this underscores both investment/ignorance arguments well.
    – Love Ta’Lon’s “that gives you a two-to-one advantage”, and it shows G’Kar isn’t the only wise Narn about. Helps de-mythologise him, even suggests Ta’Lon (his philosophy community) may have inspired G’Kar’s growing awareness.
    – Corwin: his appearance is always welcome. For me he feels like a teamster from the moment, actually, Ivanova’s line, “are you okay with this?”

  8. Ta’Lon’s throwaway line to Sheridan about “They’d say that there goes a man who will live to 150” made me a little teary 🙁

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