Earhart’s: “And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place” Spoiler Space

As we bid a fond farewell to William Forward, and a not-so-fond one to Lord Refa, let’s talk about where Londo’s (and Sheridan and Delenn’s!) actions take them…

21 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place” Spoiler Space”

  1. Oh my. This is one of my favourite episodes. There’s a lot in it that I could easily do without, cheap humour, Delen being weirdly and suddenly very human. Thankfully that doesn’t stick in later episodes.
    Though I do enjoy the little rivalry between brother Theo and our visiting preacher.
    The development between G’Kar and Londo is so tied up with pride, sadness, pain and solomn respect. Metaphors run heavy in this episode, I forgive the heavy bludgeoning as the story gets me right in the feels. And that ending. Oh my. Such contradiction, G’Kar carries and shows so much with that understated performance. Betrayal upon betrayal seems the main theme throughout, and that there is a price to pay, Refa with his life, Londo with his compassion and conscience, G’Kar with self respect. Plus all the collateral damage caused by the power struggles. It seems that most of our main characters have some form of deep revelation or change. There is a visible and tangible shift in power across the B5 universe, the episode is full of deliberate contradictions, tying up these personal and political shifts with religious iconography being possibly the most controversial. I think maybe that’s why this episode works so well for me. I’m not religious myself though have been, and I don’t find the contradiction offensive. Like I said at the start, it hits me right in the feels. With the impact the decisions that our characters make throughout, the ripple out effects of these choices. The serious and deadly consequences combined with the joyous singing and rediculous humour. Throwing everything up in the air and making us wait to see how it is all going to settle.

  2. What was the consensus in the end, I can’t remember – is this the killing of the one who is already dead? I can’t even recall what *I* thought, now. Right this moment I’m thinking that this was indeed it – that saving Morden wouldn’t have changed all that much, I rather imagine the Dralk were far more pissed off with Londo nuking a whole island-full of Shadows. Whereas Refa alive could have changed the course of events a whole lot more. Things would have been a lot different, whether Londo would have done as well as he did with his main rival in the picture is debatable; he might not get to be Emperor but it’d be likely his ultimate “fate worse than death” would have been avoided altogether.

    1. There isn’t consensus on this one among fans. Personally I strongly feel the list in the prophecy is sequential based on the language. That fits Morden much better. Not killing Morden would also have meant he didn’t put his head on a pike and brag about killing all the Shadows and their servants. While the plan to get rid of the Shadows on Centauri Prime in some ways makes Londo more likeable the fact was that it actually accomplished nothing. The Vorlons would have turned back and the Shadows would have left based on what Sheridan and Delenn were doing.

      1. I always figured that it referred to Sheriden in the future, just before Emperor Londo dies, since Sheridan dies (sort of. “Your Captain here was only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.”) at Z’ha’dum.

        (Had to double-check that this was the spoiler thread)

        1. The problem with the Sheridan train of thought for me is that I think Londo clearly took the third out, “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.” He allowed G’Kar to kill him to save his people. That means Londo did “kill the one who is already dead.” I think that more strongly rules out Sheridan than even Refa. My sense that the list is sequential comes from the fact that Morella first mentions two opportunities Londo has already missed. Then lists three more indicating the last is his final chance. But that isn’t explicit. The fact that Londo did spare Sheridan means that if he was the one who is already dead Londo wouldn’t have had to let G’Kar kill him.

          1. Truth is a three-edged sword, so:

            1) This whole prophecy was overblown and gibberish and who cares? Nostradamus was crap. 99% of prophets are. Loada rubbish!

            2) In ATRCO, the peppy gospel number is jarringly juxtaposed with a brutal slaying of a person beaten to death by rocks, by people who might well take joy in doing so. The director gives equal time to both. S/he seems to say, if you dig these musical hooks, you’ll love the savagery of this demise. G’Kar is positioned in the middle, rear stage, disturbed by that choice. A year ago, he’d have been fine with it, now, it might even be another sacrifice to him. If we put this over the prophecy question, in ATRCO, it seems the directors and JMS return us to ponder the question: can murder or capital punishment be justified? It’s a recurring question in B5: see PTGethsemane, see *those* Vir Vs Morden lines The answer in PTG appears to be ‘no’, as the wrong person has their life ruined, but it’s actually ‘maybe’, If the brother was killed by the state, it might not have provoked a revenge effort. The answer in ATRCO looks to be yes. Thousands of Narns are free because Refa is killed in cold blood along certain lines. The prophecy does not refer to Refa as Londo does not kill him, no more than G’Kar. Then there’s those Vir Vs Morden lines, which I find hard to balance with my own strong Christian moral upbringing, particularly as Vir’s comments in favour of Morden’s death makes much logical sense. And of course, Morden’s death is also subject to this prophecy debate.

            3) The third truth of Babylon 5 Prophecy Club is that like the moral argument commented on, prophecy is wholly subjective, fact in the realm of head canon.

            I’ve been missing the blog lately as I’ve been doing big press for my 1st novel. Click on my name link for info. Lots of B5-related pleasing themes there.

          2. I’ve always though of it as Londo successfully taking all three “outs” with their combined effects providing him with redemption. As I understand it, the first option in the script is written as”I” rather than “eye” signifying that the “I that cannot see” is some form of self, in this case Londo being unable for so long to see that he is worthy of redemption. This ties in nicely with Vir constantly begging Londo not to make the choices he does, insisting that Londo DOES have a choice even when Londo himself feels otherwise.

            He then saves Sheridan, at great risk to himself and his people as the Drahk will certainly kill him for it and continue to take it out on the Centari people.

            And so to prevent the destruction of his people he surrenders himself to his greatest fear, allowing G’Kar to kill him so as to prevent Sheridan’s enemies from knowing how he escaped, and thus buying Sheridan’s help in freeing his people, even though Londo himself will not live to see it.

            We see all of this in the series itself, however the Centari Trilogy of books actually goes into a bit more detail as Londo actually has a very frank conversation with G’kar about his personal interpretation. As these books are based on JMS’s outline I tend to consider Londo’s interpretation the “correct” one, unfortunate though it may be that it is in a tie in novel rather than the series proper.

            @Andy Luke Well yes, in the real world prophets are…anyway. But we actually see in Bablyon 5 that the Centari have a true prophetic ability. Most of the Centari prophecies we see or hear in the series end up coming to pass, and without the benefit of “future knowledge” like Valen had. And personally I still argue that even the one most likely to not be “true,” the destruction of Babylon 5, still does hold mostly true. In the final episode we see a single shuttle leaving the station and then the station explodes, much like Lady Ladria’s prophecy in Signs and Portents. The events of War Without End didn’t stop the destruction of Babylon 5 so much as change its context, with the exception of the whole “fire…pain” melodrama bit.

  3. The scene where Londo tells his plan via hologram is very nicely coordinated. The hologram is slightly imperfect just as it should be when it’s a recording made somewhere else. Londo is watching to all the wrong directions when talking to someone, and in addition to Refa’s reaction to Londo’s hand I also like G’Kar’s ghastly reaction when the hologram walks through him.

    I love Brother Theo in Convictions and Passing Through Gethsemane, and I really dislike him in Rock. He’s almost like a different character here. I think we would have seen more of Theo in season four had things gone differently, it’s quite obvious that when JMS was told that the fourth season will be the last all the non-essential stories had to go, possibly including further plans for the monks. However, there is someone who looks like a monk partying in the crowd in the beginning of Epiphanies, so they weren’t completely forgotten.

    By the way, we haven’t met Wortham Krimmer (Cartagia) yet, description should probably say “William Forward”? (EDIT: Oops. -Chip)

    1. The B5AG hosts explanation works, of Theo as different person around different people. His smarty pant wit is accentuated in this episode around colleague Dexter a colleague, whom he’s most def a foil for. The latter has a very warm intimate style, (shown to great effect in his conversation with Sheridan. I love how Dexter is told to mind his own business with convincing resolution, before he re-approaches differently and Sheridan does an about-turn. It would have been much easier to leave it at the point of conflict and have Sheridan think about what he said’. JMS – missionary for the church!) Theo is more what Sheridan’s comfortable with: cool, a bit reserved, doesn’t over-step the boundaries so. We don’t know his and Dexter’s history but that there’s a long history of Theo being irked by him, and his own stoicisim being broken down and adapting. You don’t have to be crazy to work here…

      1. I’ve never felt there was a problem with the characterization in the Theo-and-Dexter double-act. They’re friends who have a well-established mutual slanging match schtick that they’ve had for years.

        There are *other* problems. Dexter in this episode more than verges on a very well-known racially insensitive stereotype known by a phrase that begins with “Magical…” And this scene reinforces that by showing just how gosh-darned down-to-earth and real his religion is in comparison with stuffy Caucasian Theo Religion.

        1. Wasn’t sure if I agreed with you, because in the Sheridan scene, it’s a trope subverted. I agree though because JMS wanted it that way deliberately. It’s the characteristics of Dexter’s particular denomination accelerate towards the magical, the congregation of a particular skin colour. The cliche as I see it is less about race than about form of worship; pentecostalists, bless their socks, are a special type. He might have went for a non human similar but Occam’s razor and all that. As long as it’s not the Drazi…

  4. Having listened to the podcast:-

    I don’t quite agree with one of our hosts that Delenn’s reaction to Sheridan’s “It’s what I would do” is a hint that the Vorlon-Shadow conflict is an ideological disagreement.

    I see it as the opposite – it’s the last moment in which the Shadows still are what they’ve been represented up to this point, which is basically Sauron. It’s the whole LotR thing of not being morally able to use the enemy’s weapon. (JMS was explicit about the Tolkien influence.) Delenn reacts as if the Shadows define what evil is in the manner of that kind of archetypal villain.

    It is, in fact, just a version of the familiar trope of “If we do this, we’ll be as bad as The Bad Guy is.” This is of course a feint, as the Shadows are going to be revealed not as The Bad Guy, but The Chaos Guy.

    I’m not sure that JMS ever finessed this with complete success. He claimed that when we found out what the Shadows wanted, half the audience would agree with them. But this is difficult: on the one hand, JMS wants the Shadows to represent a principle of chaos in the universe (and the Vorlons to represent a principle of order), and that pushes in the direction of the simplistic. But he also wants them to have a credible case, and that pushes towards the more nuanced. Being JMS (and, to be fair, this being space opera), he tends to plump for Option 1.

    What happens (and in some ways this works just as well or better), is not so much that the Shadows stop being The Bad Guy as the Vorlons join them as The Other Bad Guys. (I’ve commented before that the death of Kosh is an important sleight of hand in effecting this.)

    As an ideological conflict, this really isn’t something that one can take seriously. But JMS pulls a very effective trick here by suggesting that one *shouldn’t* take it seriously – that the alleged philosophical justifications for both sides’ positions are fictions that cover up something more basic. As a philosophical exploration, this is childish. But as a metaphor for a bad divorce being taken out on the kids, this is good stuff.

    There’s something curiously brilliant about that actually: of all the things that one could put at the center of a Tolkienesque Space Opera Epic, exploring the intimate family experience of divorce and its effects on parenting is not the most obvious. It also makes Babylon 5 a quintessentially American story, of course.

  5. This is one of my favorite episodes of Babylon 5, I love every scene in this episode.
    I loved Sheridan and delenn scenes,they were so adorable and I even learned new English word “crotchety” from Them.
    I really loved the religious aspect of this episode especially the Reverend/Preacher , his speech about the enemy should be written in every point in the world today.
    I also loved the way he helped Sheridan when Sheridan was so much caught up w/himself that he can’t see anything else ,that was nice touch that a man of religious helped our hero. No one noticed that there was hint about
    Lorien ? here when Sheridan asked are you going to help me find god, and he replied when you meet god you won’t need me. Mmmm

    Sheridan character I loved seeing him tired that everything he went trough the past few months is catching up w/him Sheridan looked tired and burn out that was nice touch seeing him as not the hero knowing all and doing all.

    Another thing I loved seeing everyone, humans Minbaries pak’ma’ra and Rabbi sing together gospel song,now this thing we will never see on Star Trek.

    1. Lorien? The chaos of Z’ha’dum? No, I never picked up on that. Interesting point. In that spirit, it could be seen as resonating as a reference to Kosh, or Valen also.

      1. I think it was JMS giving us clues about what will be next, the way the preacher said when you meet god you will know it’s him I think was a hint about events that will happen next, the meeting between Sheridan and Lorien and the way Sheridan understood what is Lorien, I think.

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