13 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “Voices of Authority” Spoiler Space”

  1. “Unless there’s been a coup and nobody told me!”

    It’s appropriate to connect the line to the foreshadowing of Sheridan’s rebellion, but I always interpreted this line in the context of what already happened. After all, Clark seized power illegally through assassination. There really was a coup, and nobody told her.

  2. I think it was this episode, that cemented my love for Marcus — capable, quipping and just so darn likeable 🙂

    Also, I’ve finally caught up, yay!!!

  3. I’m a bit tougher on the First Ones scene than our hosts.

    The whole bit where the First Ones of Sigma 957 aren’t going to help until they hear that the Vorlons have said mean things about them… This isn’t a matter of not being Awe-Inspiring Lovecraftian Signs That The Universe Is Larger Than We Can Know. This is a matter of not having the maturity of the average 12-year old.

    So: is it…

    A) A really bad case of needing to resolve the problem quickly, and doing so with a bit of bad TV scripting to disastrous effect, saved only by the fact that, in Into the Fire, the First Ones don’t turn out to be all that important anyway…


    B) A heavy-handed but basically OK way of foreshadowing that “First Ones” in general aren’t the wonderful Tolkienesque superior beings that the show has fooled us into thinking that they are, and that the Vorlon/Shadow conflict is driven by considerations that aren’t all that much less childish?

    1. I figured B was pretty much a given. As the story progresses we see multiple times how the first ones aren’t nearly the incomprehensible beings they want us to think they are. They are in fact petty and often childish.

      The central conflict itself is, just as Sheridan describes, essentially bickering parents trying to force their kids to choose sides. They initially started out as a balance of ideas, but at some point one of them, each pointing the finger at the other, decided “my way or the highway” and the younger races have been caught in between ever since.

      Kosh lashes out at Sheridan because he is afraid to die.

      Justin, the Shadow’s representative to Sheridan, essentially tells him “do what you’re told” because he is making things difficult for them, which is not only kind of a childish outburst, but is inherently contradictory to the concept of chaos.

      Both sides expect the younger races to listen to them for no reason other than “dammit, because I said so!” and then threaten to hurt and kill us if we do not comply. Awfully bully like if you ask me.

      I think the idea that the first ones are just as inherently emotional beings as we are is at the very heart of the story. They like to think themselves above us, but their actions repeatedly prove otherwise.

      1. I’m prepared to go with B, too, but I can’t bring myself to view it as a well-executed version of B. The entire scene is too pat: this is a major diplomatic development and it turns on a piece of childish provocation that would barely pass muster in a sitcom.

        1. I too never bought the ego-driven motivation “The Vorlons said you would be scared” etc. Presented as you do with the B option – it makes more sense, but I agree its execution is sub-par. Infact this is probably the same issue lots of people have with the final resolutions “Get the hell out of our galaxy”… retreating with their tails between their legs etc. It does have logic when you break them down enough to not be the mythical entities but give them ‘human’ emotional weaknesses – but this never was communicated well – compared the complex and depth of the all of the setup etc

      2. I have to cut JMS some slack for this one. Is it even possible to write about the emotional and intellectual states of beings that are incomprehensible? To go with G’Kar’s comparison, if we are like ants to the First Ones, what would a TV show about humans look like if it was written by an ant? The closest I can think of that attempts description of such a being is Lovecraftian cosmic horror.

        Now that I think about it, I might like a B5 like that. The “younger races” get caught up in a conflict between a species that is vast and mind-shatteringly incomprehensible and another species that is vast and mind-shatteringly incomprehensible. We have no idea what the core of the conflict is, what either side wants, or what their strategies are, and all attempts to communicate with them have resulted in nothing but madness and death. But somehow, for reasons that we cannot understand, they include us in their fight. It wouldn’t be B5, but it might be exciting. Problem is, we’d lose almost all of the larger themes that JMS wanted to work with, and he couldn’t tell the story that he wanted to tell.

  4. This episode reminds me of how much history really does repeat itself. What’s going on in this episode is what’s happening to some extent here in America right now. Slanted news and rewriting the dictionary. Perhaps had Zack been a better student of history he might have caught on to what was going on a lot sooner. As an older person who grew up watching 50s and 60s sci fi films the sfx in Babylon 5 don’t bother me much. Compared to the ice cream cone alien in the original Star Trek the first ones in the episode looked pretty good.

  5. It is also one of my favourite things to hear comments from the first time viewers. I really like some blogs and podcasts that have B5-newbies watching the show for the first time. It’s fun to see how the skepticism of the first episodes changes to fanboyism, usually before the end of the second season.

    Even though this is heavily an arc episode and a lot of important and interesting stuff happens, it always felt a little lacking compared to its neighbours. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it, but maybe it’s about the emotion. Both Gethsemane and Dust to Dust have very emotional climaxes, and Voices of Authority, despite being a good episode, feels a little flat.

    Too bad this is the last time we get to see Draal, I always loved the overly dramatic John Schuck version of the character. He and Epsilon 3 were supposed to play a larger part and JMS had more plans for them, but when John Schuck got a broadway role he became largely unavailable. Most importantly, he was supposed to appear in War Without End, the published script has all the history exposition divided between Draal and Delenn, but the episode had to be slightly rewritten. Instead of explaining changed appearance for the second time JMS just decided to drop the character and related plot threads, because it wasn’t really necessary for the big picture.

  6. While this is a heavy arc episode, it doesn’t move the story forward at all. It *deepens* the story – and as such, while no big events happen here really, they are 100% necessary in raising the stakes and laying more groundwork.

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