Earhart’s: “Ceremonies of Light and Dark” Spoiler Space

Amid the chaos…a costume! (Or four.)

(Bonus points if you get the reference.Β Hint:Β It was also a black costume. Oh, and keep your spoilers here rather than the other place.)

46 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “Ceremonies of Light and Dark” Spoiler Space”

  1. Toward the end, when Sheridan is on his way to pummel Delenn’s assailant and then pummel him some more, I found myself chuckling at Sheridan’s “No more!” rant. Like maybe he was going to bump into John Hurt on the way or something. “No more!”

    1. (I should’ve known you guys had already spotted all the potential “No more!” gags. Just listening to the show today. Heh heh.)

      Now, as for Smithers…

      1. “No more!” is *obviously* yet another closural feature that communicates to the astute reader that this is the conclusion to a tetralogy. Less astute readers will, of course, fail to grasp this subtle but unarguable significance of JMS’s writing here and simply dismiss it as overdone πŸ™‚

  2. I actually liked Sheridan beating that creepy guy, as a fan girl of couples and shipping Sheridan and Delenn I loved how pissed he was about what happened to his Delenn. And I loved that in the ceremony he admitted he was going to kill him but realized he couldn’t.. Also if anyone remembers in season 5 there was episode w/the Maintenance workers and they said that the guy couldn’t stand up for three days after Sheridan beat the crap out of him..maybe cheesy scene but I liked it as a fan of the couple..

    About the episode it’s not the best episode but I liked it a lot, we as viewers needed that see how the change effects the characters and how they will go on. For me this episode is epilogue and not part 4 of the holly trilogy, it ends the breaking from earth and it starts new chapter w/our people..

    Shallow note here but I loved loved the new uniform, all the actors looked fantastic , the final scene when they enter C&C they all look beautiful and fresh.. I loved that in future episode they gave Sheridan and Ivanova this captain jacket that made Bruce and Claudia look even better..

    1. Sheridan going after the attacker is a very pragmatic pummeling. Delenn is his most valuable ally right now, and one thing that the Night Watch wingnuts did correctly deduce is that Delenn is holding the Minbari defense of Babylon 5 together by sheer strength of will. So, somewhat scarily…Sheridan does have to be seen to do something about this incident, by both humans and Minbari. Dragging that attacker out by his feet is just the trick.

      The Night Watch crazies in this episode might have been a bit less of a sudden gear-shift if we’d seen a “street level” counterpart to the decidedly upper-crust Pierce Macabee venturing into Downbelow to recruit people with Home Guard sympathies. Night Watch was recruiting station crew members and others in key positions (i.e. their attempt to court Talia); it seems like there must have been a separate Night Watch effort to recruit…shall we say…less desirable elements. This episode’s Night Watch contingent would have seemed like less of a sharp right turn if we had seen some hint of that recruiting effort.

      1. the way the scenes was played Sheridan run after he guy and beat the crap out of him bc 1 Delenn ,who is his partner fighting the darkness , she helped Sheridan and Babylon 5 to get away from earth .she saved his life bc the creepy guy wanted to kill Sheridan, and she is his love . Second reason is of course the night watch thing he hated them , in a way it was him saying this is the end of Clark regime in Babylon 5 we are free NO MORE..

        I’m just a fan girl of Sheridan and Delenn so I focused on the couple angle …

          1. Yeas and I love it lol Sheridan and Delenn writing in Babylon 5 was perfect and this episode is another step big step in their relationship..

      2. It makes sense as Garibaldi and Marcus slip the odd credit to their contacts that Boggs’/Zartan’s Nightwatch might be downbelow/unemployed; cheap labour at 50 credits and a chance for career advancement. #thegangbeatboggs

        Off topic: According to Wikipedia citing a Toyfare Magazine Q&A, the Dreadnoks were originally supposed to be humanoid bears: like the then popular Ewoks. :O

        I could happily have an episode about ‘the view from the common man on B5’ occurring during and after secession; a ‘normalising’ bridge between the Nightwatch’s sympathetic fascists and Boggs in this episode. it would have a range of voices and emotions and point to the themes of (limited) choices that run through the series.

        1. I’m not as bothered by the characterization of the Nightwatch antagonists as our hosts and other people here. I always thought that the most overtly damaged of them (the Earth-Minbari War veteran) was probably sent by the Clark regime in secret to infiltrate the station, and had probably been hiding among the Lurker population in Downbelow. In fact, it would bother me if the Clark regime *hadn’t* been taking advantage of such an obvious opportunity.

          I do have the criticism that the characterization too easily allows the “normal” viewer to assume that s/he would *of course* not be among the Clark sympathizers, but B5 is hardly alone in being guilty of that sort of thing.

          I would however see it as contributing to the picture that I’ve argued that B5 presents of a politics of elites. By that, I don’t mean that JMS doesn’t show that the ordinary inhabitant of the the station supports Sheridan.

          What I mean is that this is *all* that JMS shows. One has little sense of a population with varying strains of opinion, made up of individuals with their own agency and debates between one another, and (critically – this is the “politics” part) we have little attention paid to maintaining the support of the ordinary person on the station as a problem of leadership that Sheridan has to face.

          Boggs and co. are not the least important part of how JMS does that: by implication, this is the only type of possible opposition that matters, and it consists of people who are (a) agents of the opposing power, and (b) in one case mentally ill.

          To repeat what I said in the earlier thread, this is not necessarily a criticism of JMS – all stories have to focus on something. But their choices of what to focus on can be interesting.

  3. What was Chip referring to when he commented about JMS changing costumes for no reason elsewhere in his oeuvre?

    1. Because we’re in spoiler space: TNT didn’t like the gray West Point-inspired Excalibur uniforms in Crusade and required them to be changed to the black duty uniforms. JMS wrote around the change.

  4. The ceremony, which lasts under a minute, throws up a lot of religious commentary by JMS. Delenn is soul-aware, anticipating the need for new uniforms but what good the personal confession? For the staff, they get to share their burden; it’s a relief, but does Delenn actually do anything with the knowledge? First sign in answering that is the new threads – symbolic of wearing those truths externally, which will affect their future actions. However, Delenn now has extra responsibilities from being in receipt of this knowledge, and I wonder if a) she needs the extra stress, and b) does she do anything about it?

    I say no to both, but I’m willing to look to be proved wrong.

    For speculation’s sake: what might G’Kar and Londo have given up based on what we know about them in the next few episodes? I don’t have an answer to that.

    1. For that matter neither Marcus nor Delenn share any secrets or give anything up. I realize that the former doesn’t participate and the latter is the organizer of the ceremony, but I also wonder about what they might have shared.

      On another note, does anyone else hate the song “Dry Bones” because of this ep? I personally cannot stand the song to this day- even if it’s with alternate lyrics like Chip did at the beginning of the podcast.

    2. Sometimes, merely sharing the burden of knowledge about oneself can be something of a relief. Takes me back to the second episode of Blake’s 7, where Jenna – while being telepathically probed by the Liberator/Zen – mentions the “innocence of being completely known”. There is something to that, about being on a hiding to nothing with at least one person. Most of us who aren’t battling ancient evils solve this by having very close friends; I think it’s reasonable to assume that the command staff, what with their conspiracy of light and their positions to begin with, are probably short on close friendships outside of one another, and that can only go so far within the chain of command. And jumping ahead to “And The Rock Cried Out”, we already know Delenn has a thing about sharing burdens. Of course, we also know from that episode that poison is the least of Refa’s worries, but that’s a whole different story. πŸ™‚

      1. (Apologies if I’ve spoiled B7. I always assume that anyone who digs B5 has sought out B7, then I remember how hard they’ve made it to seek out B7. It’s a really good show, and a precursor to the “arc-lite” flavor of B5’s first couple of seasons. Do recommend, disco-era costuming and all.)

        1. It’s been on my list to chase down for years, so many friends bring it up – especially durin discussion on B5

          1. First 2 series are brilliant and first quarter of series 3. It lost something after that. Blameless 7 didn’t quite work. And I thought the reveal about Avon’s past completely spoiled by its sequel. No spoilers here. And the finale of course is notorious.

          2. Eek. My comment Blameless 7 should be Blakeless 7. My thumb is bigger than the keys on my iPhone.

          3. I thought maybe “Blameless 7” was a modern “nickname” for the show that I hadn’t heard of yet! Ha! That’s right up there with Hateful BB-8.

        2. I saw it on VHS around 1990 – friend with an obsession. Ofc, the whole lot of it is on that Tube site, and well worth a look. Now that I think about it, the first episode is much more shocking than the finale.

  5. Lord Refa, I always thought that Londo lied to him and that there wasn’t no poison he just wanted to scare him..

    But if there was poison I still don’t think that “saving the man that is already dead” meant Refa. If I look at the all story, how not killing
    Refa would have help prevent Londo’s fate? at the time of the prophecy in “point of no return” I think londo couldn’t get away from his death as the Emperor, the question was, can he do something to prevent more chaos? If I remember, the technomage said he sees millions of Londo’s victims and that’s the thing I think londo was supposed to prevent ,the millions of victims that was supposed to be by his hands as being controlled by the taker..
    Saving Refa would have not stopped it. if Refa stayed londo wouldn’t be able get rid of the Shadows and the entire Centauri prime would been destroyed by the vorlons, over 5 billions lives .
    Saving Sheridan, the way I see it, helped saving more victims as Sheridan after his release maybe helped Vir to destroy the Drakh and get them away from Centauri Prime And maybe helped Vir to rebuild Centori Prime, if you see the final episode “sleeping in light” you see Centori prime looking peaceful..

    Ok long post sorry lol

    1. I just thought of something she said “Saving the man that a already dead” saving , if she meant lord Refa wouldn’t she say do not kill the man that is already dead? And londo poisoned him after the prophecy was given so it doesn’t make sense to me it’s lord Refa..

      Saving man that is already dead should be Sheridan he was captured, the Drakh wanted him dead, it wasn’t really londo doing he was influenced by the taker and when he could when he was drunk he knew he needs to save Sheridan and Delenn..

      1. I tend to stick to the school of thought that “saving the man who is already dead” was Londo’s release of Sheridan in the War Without End flashforwards. Even though older Sheridan is still alive at that point in the B5 timeline, it is not long, chronologically speaking, before his death (preordained by Lorien) does take place. So perhaps not literally dead, but his days are very literally numbered.

        There is no doubt in my mind that Londo had given Refa the first half of a binary poison. He was trying desperately to force sanity back onto the agenda on Centauri Prime, and eliminating types like Refa is playing for keeps – not a time for “beep beep, must be Earth humor!” bluffs.

        The reason I think so many of us like Refa is that he showed up just often enough to be a thorn in Londo’s side, and made his exit at just the right time. If there’s a mathematical formula for calculating just how often a guest star should show up without meeting the SAG definition of “recurring”, it can probably be derived from the number and frequency of Refa’s appearances on B5.

        1. Yeas I agree, it was also the timeline of when Londo’s “Gift” should be given to Delenn&Sheridan’s son and I think in the canon of Babylon 5 he was the person that helped londo and the Drakh kidnap his parents..
          It’s just fits that Sheridan Is the person that was worth saving than Refa that only means causing more harm..

        2. I don’t know. Londo is an established gambler, it’s fair to call him an addict; why wouldn’t he bluff Refa?
          OTOH, why would he? Damn you, Londo!!!

          It pains me to admit it, but you’re probably right. Londo’s threat is much too big a risk. Were Refa to sick the Shadows on him over this, he would have no guarantee the matter would be over. Besides, he’s beholden to Londo, well he was.

        3. I basically also agree with Earl, but I’d quibble about “trying desperately to force sanity back on the agenda.” I don’t think that captures Londo’s mental state in the scene in question, or in general at this point in the story.

          Rather, I think we still have quite a bit of the confident, on-top-of-the-world Londo here, making his move to achieve (as he thinks, decisively) a break with the troubling influence of Morden and his associates.

          1. Adding something else in the episode ” and the rock cried out no hiding place” we have the minister talking about the rivalry between Refa and Londo and mentioning that both sides accused the others in poisoning , there was no proof that there was poisoning..

            It can play both ways you can say he positioned him and didn’t plan to kill him w/the other half but bc of Morden play he killed him fast or it was all a lie and there was no poison..

            But in the other hand he did used poison to kill the emperor in season 4 so maybe it’s his thing lol

      2. The line actually is “You have three chances to avoid the fire that waits for you at the end of your journey. You have already wasted two others. You must save the eye that does not see. You must not kill the one who is already dead. You must surrender to your greatest fear, knowing that it will destroy you. If, at the end, you have failed with all the others, that is your final chance for redemption.”

        My problem is that I feel this is sequential. JMS confirmed that the eye was G’Kar’s. Refa’s death was before Londo failed to “save the eye that does not see” so it doesn’t work for me. Sheridan and Morden both work sequentially. I favor Morden since I think Londo drew the attention of the Drakh with this act. If he hadn’t done so they might not have been so focused on subjugating the Centauri. That was a big part of the devastation Londo was hoping to avert.

        1. You are right I forgot the exact lines thank you.

          I thought “saving the eye that doesn’t see” means Jakar’s life which Londo did. Morden I’m not sure he was dead from the Babylon 5 canon it was said that morden wanted to help the shadows to save his wife, I don’t think he was dead Maybr he was like Anna that the shadows put that device in him.
          About the Drakh I think they came after centauri after Londo destroyed all the shadows ships that were in Centauri prime, that was morden warning that Londo will pay for destroying the ships.
          and keeping morden alive still wouldn’t change that, the same goes w/Refa I don’t see how him staying alive would have changed anything in Londo faith..

          1. Morden was legally dead. That was Sheridan’s whole justification during “In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum,” a man who is already dead has no legal rights.

            I’m not going to take the list out of order here. “You must surrender to your greatest fear, knowing that it will destroy you. If, at the end, you have failed with all the others, that is your final chance for redemption.” Note that this one is only available if he failed at the other ones. That is significant because I think it is clear that this is the one we end up seeing play out. He surrendered to his fear of his death vision accepting G’Kar would kill him in order to allow Vir to take the throne and save Centauri Prime from the Drakh. This means that both of the other elements represent missed opportunities.

            Skipping to the beginning of the list we have, “You must save the eye that does not see.” This is actually the easiest to figure out because JMS explained it. He said “Yeah…would’ve been nice if Londo had at least tried to do something about the eye that did not see Cartagia’s splendor….” How would this have helped, admittedly season 5 isn’t the clearest in my memory but I seem to recall some close calls with everyone figuring out what the Drakh were up to in time to save the Centauri. My guess is that saving G’Kar’s eye would have led to a better relationship between him and Londo and they would have been able to act before Londo got the keeper.

            So now I come to the middle one which is the hardest. “You must not kill the one who is already dead.” I usually see three ideas for this one, Refa, Sheridan and Morden. As I said before I eliminate Refa because of the sequence. This occurs before Londo failed to save G’Kar’s eye. I eliminate Sheridan because Londo was successful in avoiding killing him and he wouldn’t have come to the last option if he had managed to take that out. That leaves Morden, as I said he was legally dead. So he qualifies on that score and Londo did kill him missing his opportunity to change his path. How would not killing Morden have helped? I really think this warning concerns other elements around killing Morden. Londo destroyed the Shadow vessels, killed Morden and broadcast that information, effectively bragging about it to the Vorlons. And yet his actions accomplished nothing. The Vorlons would have been drawn away by the events around the fleet anyway. All he accomplished was drawing the ire of the Drakh. Would they have been as intent on revenge if he had discretely blown up the Shadow vessels without going any farther, or was the warning about the whole plan with Morden’s execution simply be emblematic of the idea? The prophecy is cryptic enough I’m not clear but without any other candidates that make sense to me this is where I feel the preponderance of the evidence lies.

    1. Might’ve been a very late amendment to the script, perhaps on the shooting day. I wouldn’t put it past Harlan to have ad-libbed it on the recording day, either.

      By the way, on Garibaldi shooting the speaker: yes, stupid idea from a resource standpoint…but as someone who likes much of Harlan’s body of work but would probably not get along with Harlan the man, I found it strangely satisfying. I’m willing to hand-wave that one. πŸ˜›

      1. The story was stupid and cheesy but I did enjoy it and I laughed, it was JMS attempt to make people laugh good or bad..

        The line that made me laugh the most was “suck an orange” I died

        1. Can’t agree. Not that dopey humour hasn’t a place in B5 – Rebo & Zooty, the zip/fasten debate etc. It’s that it’s placed here amid an arc challenging form, genre and politics with less charisma than Scrappy Doo, without regard to the Poochie factor, less endearing than Warren Keffer.
          *mic drop*

          1. I understand, JMS humor sometimes goes over the top. sometimes it works, like the breakfast scenes and sometimes it’s too much and over kill, this time it didn’t annoy me as much as I understood that this episode is intended to calm things down and move the characters to the new chapter.. Some thought it was over kill.

          2. Yeah, but look at American politics, stardate: today. We are in the midst of critical, changing times…and it seems like fewer and fewer people are seeing that as an occasion for a bare minimum of decorum.

            Culturally, we have become Sparky. Sparky is us.

            It’s not the ship’s computer we want right now, but it is the ship’s computer we deserve. πŸ˜‰

  6. Btw other thing the podcast didn’t mention that I thought was nice touch was the military funeral and the missing flyby w/the lines from the stars we came to the stars we return and Ivanova reading the names. I thought it was nicely done and very realistic to any military in today.
    In the last episode we talked about the strategy w/Garboldi and the narns and someone said that Babylon 5 is more military structure than other SCFI I think this scene strengthen this idea.

    But something I noticed from season 2 when they started the conspiracy and more so after they broke away from earth the senior officers became more lossen up especially Ivanova and Sheridan that call each other Susan and John, Sheridan called Franklin Steven and Steven called Sheridan John, Sheridan even called Garboldi Michael few times.

    1. And catch that turn-on-their-heels that the four regulars pulled off – something tells me that might’ve been take 8 or later. Not easy to do with that kind of precision and coordination, especially when you’re talking actors who haven’t necessarily been in the military or played military parts.

      And, as Sheridan said to Major Ryan in Severed Dreams, that was that one last time he’d put on an Earthforce uniform.

      1. I noticed that too w/that Sargent yelling attention and they all turn around ,like a real military funeral I give the director here credit bc the way the scene was played and acted it looked real military And also huge JMS credit bc he added that scene that maybe is not that important but for me it was.
        I really loved it!

        And yeas Sheridan put that jacket for the last time he wear it again in season 4 when he resigned but after he honored his officers that died for the cause, he closed that door forever.

  7. I like the new uniforms but at the same the they remind me of many bad fan-made designs for future Starfleet uniforms that were floating about in the wake of the future “All Good Things…” uniforms, the rejected “Generations” ones and ultimately the “First Contact” ones.

    The two Crusade uniforms REALLY annoy me. First of all the grey bellhop ones: WHY?! We know the Earthforce uniform doesn’t change much in the next 20 years. And they’re awful. They make no sense in thenselves. If – as I think would have been better – Excalibur had been a Ranger ship, you could have had a uniform with Ranger, Army of Light and Earthforce elements and it’d have been better. The black replacements are better but still nonsensical in the same context as the grey ones. And worst of all, however hard I try I CANNOT fathom out the aired order/intended aired order/JMS’ revised watching order.

    1. Agreed: the TNT interference renders Crusade a mess. It wasn’t as bad when I watched it the first time on a weekly basis in the ’90s, still in something of an episodic-TV mentality. But when I rewatched last year, the problems that the absence of any one coherent airing order created with things like the Lochley-Gideon relationship really stuck out.

      It’s such a shame, because Crusade to my mind shows JMS as having learned some valuable lessons from Babylon 5: Gideon is a much more interesting character (to me) than Sheridan and puts a really successful combination of character and charismatic actor at the center of the proceedings. In fact, in general I think the characters of the main cast on Crusade are better framed than their B5 equivalents, although there are admittedly no standouts like Londo and G’Kar. I think the potential was there for Crusade to be a show that would have been absolutely fabulous.

      (And while I can be critical of JMS’s thinking about “You *can* fight city hall,” I admire things about him that go along with that: his willingness to walk away from potentially lucrative projects, as he did both on Crusade and Jeremiah, because of his disagreements with morally and aesthetically bankrupt studio interference.)

      On another note, I really would like to know the full story behind the bellhop uniforms: what made them decide to have new uniforms to begin with, and what thoughts went into the design in making them look like that. They seem inescapably designed to evoke (’90s) Star Trek to me – in fact they look more than a little like the kind of thing one might see on a Star Trek parody like Galazy Quest.

  8. Chiming in again as someone who watched this whole creaking mess happen week by week and month by month back in the dark ages of syndicated television:

    Lennier’s turn later on didn’t feel like it came out of left field for me, and as stated in this podcast, it’s Bill Mumy’s delivery in this particular episode which really sets everything up.

    Yeah, obviously there’s the “purer love” stuff. That bit alone is only half the package though. Marcus gets the other half: “We are not you.” That’s not just Occasional Badass Lennier, that’s This Is My Other Visage Lennier. His peaceful demeanor has always masked a layer of angry disdain. Whether it’s disdain of humans in particular or not is harder to tell (and is best left to the mind of the individual viewer, I think).

    It’s not the strongest, brightest thread in the tapestry but it’s there, and I think it’s reasonably consistent. “No one here is entirely who they appear.”

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