19 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “A Late Delivery from Avalon” Spoiler Space”

  1. Is it just me or does the repeated figure of 1/4 of a million dead in the Earth-Minbari war seem low for a genocidal interstellar war? I noticed in in “And Now for a Word” and it was repeated here.

    It just doesn’t seem consistent with the other descriptions we read. Earth was desperate, the Minbari were intent on wiping them out, and yet there are 9 single battles in the 20th century that each took more lives than the entire war?

    Plus I was just watching “Grey 17 is Missing” and Neroon claimed to have killed 50,000 humans during the war. Are we seriously meant to believe he was personally responsible for 20% of the humans who died in the war?

    I could buy 1/4 of a billion but I double checked with captions and they definitely said million.

    1. I think the battles were all in space, between ships. The vast majority of humans were still on Earth.

      If the Minbari had gotten to earth, the death toll would have ballooned.

      1. Still doesn’t fit. If the casualty figures were that low then the limiting factor would be the resources to build ships and you wouldn’t risk a valuable ship on an unfit soldier. But here we clearly have a situation described where they were so desperate for fighters that they put McIntyre back on active duty even though he was mentally and emotionally unfit.

        We have also had several people describe themselves as being in ground battles against the Minbari. Garibaldi and the guy who was kind of nuts played by the same actor as Lt. Barkley from Star Trek in the episode with the Copernicus come to mind.

    2. Yeah Cheryl, the casualty figures were very much raked over the coals in previous episode threads. I’ve tried to find the link for you (it was good reading), but can’t remember in which episode it came up for discussion. Maybe someone more involved in it recalls? Pretty sure Voord99 was commenting on it. The consensus seemed to be that JMS was way off in his maths when compared with 20th century conflicts.

      1. Well if someone else can remember which episode it was in I’d love to see it. I just started the podcast a couple months ago and I was so intent on catching up I only checked a few of the episode threads. I did check the first episode I noticed the number in and didn’t see any comments. I had kind of decided I had misheard until they used it again in this episode.

  2. Listening right now. I have to point out one of my all-time favorite lines in filmed fiction of any genre:

    “You have something that does not belong to you. Actually, I suspect you have a *great many* things that do not belong to you…”

    Glad to hear Believers brought up in the conversation. When Franklin is *wrong*, with a capital “WRONG”, the degree of his wrongness is both magnificent and terrifying to behold. You know, the thought occurred more than once during the show’s original run, “These people need an on-staff counselor way, way more than the Enterprise does.” Because Franklin…is a brilliant, brilliant surgeon…but he is no psychologist. (And even if psychology was even a small part of his training, his ability to deceive himself long enough to tumble headlong into addiction is arguably a sharp disqualifier. Physician, heal thyself.)

    I used to be married to a postal worker…and so I’ve gotten more exposure than most to what the unions demand vs. what the postal service demands, etc. etc. …and knowing that, I totally buy the post office subplot. In fact, I bought an Earthforce Postal Service patch for my ex many years ago, as kind of a gag gift…it turned up while cleaning house, I’ll try to post a picture on Twitter for everybody.

    You know, while we’re going on about resources – Garibaldi shooting intercom speakers in elevators, etc. etc. – where are all of the new uniforms coming from? Does Delenn have a team of Minbari cranking out new uniforms, and does the rebirth ceremony extend to all station personnel? (Admit it, it is funny imagining this long line, almost a waiting-for-the-next-Star-Wars-movie-tickets line, stretching out of Medlab into the corridor, of people waiting to confess their vague innermost to Delenn. Thanks for showing up, here’s your new suit.)

    As far as “Aragorn” actually being a Ranger, I refer you to The Martian, and “Project Elrond”. Somehow, Valen must have known about Lord Of The Rings. How’d that happen?

    And finally, after seeing his work here, it just hurt my heart seeing York waste his talents on “Basil” in the Austin Powers movies. Now, I do get it, jobbing actor doesn’t keep gas in the cat and food in the car by turning down work…but his work on B5 demonstrated that he was so, so, so much better than the roles for which he was being cast. (He’s also better here than he is in Logan’s Run – true scientific fact. I asked Dr. Franklin.) York is one of those voices, up there with McCoy and McGann and Alexander Siddig and Roddy McDowall and Sir Patrick Stewart, who I’d listen to if he was reading the phone book.

    And speaking of knighthoods, a final note: for years after this episode, I irritated my B5-watching friends by insisting on reminding them: SIR G’Kar. “You mean SIR G’Kar did that, don’t you?” “No…Earl…it wasn’t really King Arthur, it doesn’t count.” “SIR. G’Kar.”

    SPOILER: Morgana Le Fay IS Keyser Soze, who IS the Kwisatz Haderach.

    Well, it was a nice try. Never met a meta I didn’t like.

  3. So last time I watched the series, about 8 months or so ago, I had the thought that Marcus’s comments about listing everybody as members of Arthurian mythology might actually be intentional, and his closing line, “Who’s Morgan Le Fay?” may be intentional forwshadowing. We are coming up on the return of Anna Sheriden, who will lead John to his death.

    I think Anna is Morgan Le fay.

    1. See, I should have finished listening to the podcast before hiyting “Post’ because yes, they did in fact discuss it in spoiler space.

      1. I think Anna is indeed Morgan for the viewer. On the other hand, she can’t be who Marcus means. Our hosts’ suggestion of Londo seems sensible.

        That being said, I think the mapping of Anna onto Morgan is pretty superficial. The two don’t have much in common beyond being (a) female and (b) not very nice.

        That’s OK, though: Marcus’ comparison of Kosh with Merlin turns on a comic feature invented by T. H. White for a children’s book, so I think reading some kind of profound Arthurian significance into this may not be the way to go…

    2. Wait, Didn’t I read in lurker guide in the episode ” Z’ha’dum” JMS confirming Morgan le Fay is Anna? It fits perfectly if John is Arthur Anna is his downfall..

      I thought the episode was great I love JMS playing w/myth and legend in his tales it adds so much richness and depth to the story. I loved that the main character in this story wasn’t our cast but the guest character played by the amazing Michael York he was amazing I felt got him even tho I only saw him in this episode, he played well alongside our regular cast.

      About spoilers not much leading to but we have hints about things to come Anna comeback and Sheridan downfall and the early start of the interstellar alliance w/the alien governments agreeing to provide defense for Babylon 5 making it the home place of the alliance.
      Also we have the beautiful command jackets Sheridan and Ivanova wearing I love them!

      1. Re: Morgan and Anna. Warning! Arthuriana is one of my geekinesses (not that I can claim to be a real expert, of course).

        The thing is, Morgan doesn’t have a real connection with Arthur’s downfall in any of the traditional versions. (In Malory, she is one of the queens who mourn Arthur’s death, so not even hostile at that point.) In many ways, Morgan is more of an adversary for Lancelot (with whom she is often romantically obsessed) and Guinevere (see under Lancelot) than she is for Arthur.

        This makes sense, because Morgan is a pretty marginal figure before the Vulgate (= big medieval French prose cycle) version of Arthurian romance. In the Vulgate and the other French stuff that follows it (by which Malory is heavily influenced – ironically, the iconic English version is actually pretty distant from typical English versions before that), Arthur is basically a crap king and not much of a human being (he merrily cheats on Guinevere, for instance). The attention and heroization focuses on Lancelot and his relationship with Guinevere (which is often presented much more positively than in “tragic” modern versions).

        Even then, Morgan’s not actually that important. She is more-or-less the equivalent of a convenient recurring villain who creates challenges for the hero. Where this changes is in modern times, especially in the last century’s popular culture, which has significantly altered the image of Morgan. For example, a connection with Mordred (e.g. Doctor Who, Battlefield) has become de rigueur, although Morgan and Mordred have no connection in the traditional versions, aside from a family relationship that never affects anything.

        In general, we tend to elevate Morgan(a) into a very major character, something that speaks to a modern fascination with sorcerous femmes fatales that probably reflects our own uneasy tensions surrounding gender. I suspect that this has roots in the Victorian reception of Arthurian stuff, but it’s not something that I’ve ever looked into.

        Not that there’s anything *wrong* with that. Quite the reverse: one of the things that makes Arthuriana so fascinating is the way that it has proved so capable of reproduction in new forms in the last century – forms which have entrenched themselves so thoroughly that they are in effect canonical as the “real” versions of the stories.

        To return this to A Late Delivery from Avalon: it’s this contemporary Arthurian legend to which it mostly alludes, I think, not its actual medieval origins. This makes sense in-story, because there is no reason for McIntyre to have put his identity together from anything other than versions of the stories that are current in (his) popular culture. Marcus’ reference to White’s The Sword in the Stone as if that were an age-old traditional tale is (whether or not JMS intended it this way, although I hope he was aware that he was not reflecting medieval stuff!) a nice subtle little nod to that.

        (The bit about the snake at Camlann is from Malory, though. But while Malory is – just about – actually medieval, the influence of Malory is in many ways greatest as part the Victorian revival of interest in medieval culture.)

        1. I myself is a bit Anglophile (well until brexit lol) I saw many versions of this story some of them had Morgena as the villain the recent of course is Merlin if anyone saw it.

          so maybe JMS took that from one of those versions?

          1. Yes, Merlin is an instance of the modern Morgan-as-central-character. (And, as so often, the show invents a connection to Mordred.)

            Probably the most prominent single pop-cultural instance of this modern “archvillainess” Morgan is Boorman’s Excalibur, I think. I’m sure JMS has seen it, and that would be one likely influence. But there may have been several influences. JMS was exposed to superhero comics growing up, and both DC and Marvel had versions of Morgan as significant villains in the ’70s, when JMS was in his late teens/early twenties.

          2. It’s a little known fact that David “Arthur” McIntyre was an avid collector of Jack “King” Kirby’s DEMON comics.

          3. Not enough exclamation points for Kirby, I think.

            Or should that be: Not quite enough “Exclamation” points for Kirby – I think!!!

            Incidentally, for those interested in 20th century Arthuriana in comics, Marvel Unlimited just added a bunch of the 1950’s Black Knight comics. Mostly of interest for Joe Maneely’s art, probably, and I’ve only read the first story so far myself. But an interesting curiosity that until recently was not terribly accessible.

  4. I honestly found Franklin’s arguments about Knightyman uncharacteristic and the sort of writing less like JMS and more like a fill-in writer. His cosmo-anthropological hitch-hikings; the value he attaches to his identity in burning his notes; his journey in Believers of measuring right to believe versus risk to life. His passion opposing Marcus just does not make any sense. Now I remember he’s a stim junkie. Those drugs are twisting his melon, man. Capital Wrong.

    1. He’s approaching it from a rigorously scientific standpoint, and he may feel that Marcus’ insistence that we just let McIntyre continue being Arthur amounts to a bunch of woo. Franklin isn’t wrong in seeking a rational therapeutic answer, but his approach in trying to drag McIntyre out of his carefully-constructed fantasy is, like you said, Capital Wrong. Seeking a soft landing for McIntyre’s psyche = good idea. Shutting off the engine and letting gravity sit in the driver’s seat for that landing = bad, bad, very bad idea.

      Franklin is a surgeon and exobiologist par excellence, and a very good general practitioner, but he’s no psychologist. And if there was even a peripheral character on his medlab staff who was a psychologist, that might’ve been an interesting obstacle as Franklin goes further and further down Stim Street. Someone, basically, to call him on his own crap, though that ultimately fell to Jennifer Balgobin’s character (funny that I can remember the actress’ name precisely, but not the character…Dr. Hobbs? Hobson?).

  5. A thought that occurred after rewatching.

    If you recall…there is a clip of McIntyre, from this episode, spliced into In The Beginning, which depicts the full context of the first human-Minbari contact/conflict.

    However, I’d almost argue that they shouldn’t have shown it in ITB. Follow me on this.

    McIntyre is a Gunnery Sergeant. He receives orders to fire, he targets and fires. If you can’t do that without moral dilemma in the moment, you are probably not going to make Gunnery Sergeant.

    The clip used in ITB makes no sense *in that movie’s context*. It’s a clip of McIntyre sobbing as he fires on the Minbari ship, which makes sense in the “their horses were on fire!” context, but no sense whatsoever in the context of ITB. Now, I know they wouldn’t be able to afford Michael York to shoot one second’s worth of sitting stone-faced as he fires and the explosion reflects in the visor of his helmet. So they really should have left him out of ITB: we, the audience, if we’ve been watching, we know McIntyre is one of the guys pulling the physical triggers upon that captain’s orders.

    Sobbing McIntyre always takes me right out of the story when I see him in In The Beginning.

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