13 thoughts on “Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “Ceremonies of Light and Dark””

  1. I am fine with this episode. I agree it shouldn’t be considered part of the holy trilogy at all. I think in today’s world Severed Dreams would be a season finale, and Ceremonies would be an excellent 1st ep back.

    While I join in the dislike for the implementation of the main plot line AND the terrible computer joke stuff (which crosses the silly line of it shouldn’t be in such a serious show, it should left to shows like Red Dwarf) – the rest of the character and plot developments (i.e. London & Refa) is the normal fine B5 form.

    So overall for me, this is a fine ep.

      1. Could be worse. A friend of mine back in the day when B5 was airing new episodes always called him Lando. Now there’s an interesting image. Who would out-gamble whom?

  2. Have been listening regularly and rewatching. Love the broadcasts. You were commenting on the annoying personality of the computer which Garibaldi had to try and turn off. I love it. Partly because it brings back memories of Eddie the shipboard computer on the Heart of Gold in Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. Especially in the original radio series. Remember how The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation gave it that jolly cheer up personality but also that scolding schoolmarm don’t-be-naughty- children voice. To say nothing about the lift/elevator which was bored of travelling just up and down and wanted to experiment with going sideways. How could you not love those scenes with Garibaldi after that.

    1. Hitchhikers is a good comparative point, also Red Dwarf but in several different ways. In episodes from Series 3 onwards this would likely be the central story of an episode; in Series 1 through the toaster it would merely be an entertaining sideline or where the computer tone shifts (literally), does it drive the story – Holly’s Hop Drive and hoho Queeg.

  3. Didn’t River Song get her time travel bracelet by poisoning Dorium Moldover’s drink (well, putting a mini bomb in it) then trading the antidote for the bracelet?

  4. I re-read the first couple of Dune books recently, and the Londo – Refa scene reminded me so much of the court intrigues in Dune, even to poison being the preferred method.

    Just me? Anyone else think Dune was an influence?

  5. Great review of the episode, you hit all of the major themes, but I think you missed the biggest one: this episode is basically a rebirth of Babylon 5 the series. The uniforms are the most visible part of it, but many of the themes of the show have been upended by the previous trilogy.

    The biggest clue for me? The very last line, Sheridan proclaiming that B5 is “open for business.” That’s the EXACT same thing that Laurel Takashima said at the end of “The Gathering”! That can’t be a coincidence.

    1. Yeah, this is something that’s was brought up in the Spoiler threads when discussing if this episode whould be part of the “holy trilogy.” Ceremonies of Light and Dark is the exact midpoint for the series and in many ways can be seen as the beginning of “Babylon 5 – 2.0.”

      And without getting into too much detail in the spoiler free zone, lets just say that given JMS’s original outline from the script books this concept would not be without precedent.

      So yes, I think the “Open for busniess” parelel is quite deliberate.

    2. The uniforms were a very important visual cue for JMS to represent the shift in the story, and the design was started almost a year earlier to get it just right.

      DP (Director of Photography) John Flinn’s direction was mentioned. This was actually fourth episode so far that he directed, and he was also DP in three of them. First one was TKO, and it was the one where he was a sort of replacement. The episode was originally planned for Jim Johnston, who had a vision how to do fight scenes properly with the tight resources they had. However, when the episode’s turn came Johnston was going to direct the previous episode in production order, Babylon Squared, and because of how the production was run no director could do two episodes back-to-back, unless they were a two-parter. Flinn had wanted to direct so he ended up taking a shot. His second episode was Soul Mates. Third one was ever so brilliant The Long, Twilight Struggle, one of my top three episodes in the entire series, which was also done with a different DP, Fred V. Murphy. Murphy did eight out of 110 B5 episodes, with Flinn doing all the rest.

      Kim Strauss, one of the most common faces in the alien actor team, was also seen completely without makeup in his very first appearance in Points of Departure, where he was a Starfury pilot talking with Keffer, credited as “Ensign”.

  6. Regarding the annoying computer A.I., you have to remember that the era this was written in was during the Windows 95 period of personal computing. Rebooting the computer was sometimes risky, BSODs, IRQ conflicts (kids, ask your parents), and general device driver problems. Writing a “computers are stupid and unpredictable” story line was probably pretty easy.

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