Earhart’s: “The Summoning” Spoiler Space

Where did Lorien get that cool* ship after all? Howzabout Sheridan’s miraculous return and what that portends? Howzabout the future of the Shadow War? Spoil away in this thread.

(*) The management notes that “cool” is an entirely subjective term and that at least one** of the podcast hosts disagrees on the coolness of the ship.

(**) All right, it’s Chip.

16 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “The Summoning” Spoiler Space”

  1. A few disconnected observations:

    It’s strange how little suspicion Sheridan is subjected to after his return. Given that no one returns from Z’ha’dum unchanged, for all everyone else knows, Sheridan could have been a Morden-like Manchurian Candidate, returned to B5 to put the final coffin nail in all efforts to fight the Shadows. We know about Sheridan’s encounter with Lorien, but the characters don’t, and handling Sheridan’s return without skepticism does violence to the characters’ integrity and to the fact that they know less than the viewer.

    Contrast Sheridan’s return to Garibaldi’s and it’s hard to avoid noticing that the character reactions don’t flow organically from things they know. Put flippantly, the characters somehow read the script to know which one is the messiah and which one is Judas.

    I’ve never understood the Vorlon motivation for starting the world destroyer phase of the war at this point. If anything, I would have expected the Shadows to bring out their world destroyers first, to take revenge for the damage Sheridan–acting as a Vorlon minion–did to their capital, and the Vorlons to bring out their heavy weapons second, in revenge for the Shadows exterminating a few Vorlon minions.

    I’m also curious why no one considers Sheridan even remotely responsible for triggering the escalation of the war. The xenocidal phase of the Shadow-Vorlon conflict didn’t start until Sheridan opened the door by going to Z’ha’dum and kicking over the wrong ant hill. It’s unfortunate that no one ever calls Sheridan out for giving the Vorlons and Shadows an excuse to kill perhaps a few hundred billion (!) people when all was said and done.

    Finally, what was that I said a few threads ago about Delenn not being treated too well this season? 🙂

  2. “Don’t listen to her! She must be silenced!”
    My goodness, it’s like she’s a conservative on a college campus. 🙂

    @Cassandra: “I’ve never understood the Vorlon motivation for starting the world destroyer phase of the war at this point.”

    My take on it is that this is escalation following the death of Kosh. If I remember correctly, we were told that no Vorlon had died in a very long time, and they aren’t handling it very well.

    Kosh got off his encounter-suited butt and sent in a squad to take out some Shadow ships (one might argue that the Shadows and Vorlons see the deaths of Shadow vessels to be less important than the Shadows themselves, since it’s “just” a living ship with a member of the younger races wired into it, so for the purposes of my theory I’m going with the idea that no actual Shadows were killed in that conflict). So then the Shadows took it to the next level by killing Kosh. As far as the Vorlons were concerned, that meant that all bets are off, the gloves are down, the fecal matter has hit the fan, the Rubicon has been crossed, whatever metaphor you want to use. Time to cry havoc and let slip the planet-busters of war.

    1. With regard to the reaction to Sheridan, I think it has to be seen in the context that merely going to the fabled, mysterious, and terrifying Z’ha’dum and returning makes him a larger-than-life, essentially religious, figure. I don’t think it’s that people don’t return unchanged from Z’ha’dum (the existence of Morden is not general knowledge) – it’s that they don’t return at all from a place that basically exists in the territory of myth, not reality, in people’s minds. From this perspective, not only do they not have to know about the conversation with Lorien, it perhaps has a more powerful effect that they do not know what happened.

      There is, admittedly, a problem here in that we never really get a clear view of the transition from the various alien races’ responses to this Sheridan to their attitude in S5, when they’re back to treating him like a relatively normal political leader. Another problem is that the mythic status of Z’ha’dum is really only established for the Minbari, and we are left to assume that it has some sort of equivalent aura for the other races (except for humans, of course).

      As for escalation, it seems to me that Sheridan nuking the Shadows on Z’ha’dum is critical to the Vorlons’ decision to attack more aggressively. That it weakens the Shadows seems obvious from them calling off their attack on the station, and it makes sense that any sign of weakness in their hated enemy would encourage the Vorlons to try to win this thing once and for all.

      As for why more people don’t blame Sheridan – if I’m remembering right, Dureena Nafeel does in A Call to Arms. (*If* I’m remembering correctly. It’s been a while.) As for people right now – well, we mostly get the view from the station, and Sheridan saved the station. Then, shortly afterwards, he’s responsible for ending the war.

      1. Sheridan’s treatment in Season 5 is such an aberration that it’s hard to know what to make of it.

        The episodes produced in season 4 (this includes the series finale) leave no doubt that Sheridan is the messiah from when he returns from Z’ha’dum to the time of his death and then into the far future. Season 5 backtracks him into being just another (incompetent) politician who commands no reverence from others. It doesn’t make much sense for Sheridan’s reputation to make two massive reversals in such a short time.

        I think this is just yet another of those cases where it’s better to pretend that season 5 never happened.

    2. Why do the Vorlons escalate? Perhaps because they think that Sheridan has committed them into a new, more bloody conflict.

      To the Shadows, Sheridan must look very much a Vorlon protege. He’s been trained by Kosh, he spends a lot of time with Delenn who has always been working closely with the Vorlons. It’s going to be tough for the Vorlons to claim “well yeah he did nuke your homeworld, but it wasn’t our idea, honest”.

      Shades of how WW 1 started, a minor country commits some act of aggression, all the major powers start escalating for fear that the other side will do so first.

      1. I would say that Sheridan really is a Vorlon protege at that point. So if the Shadows think that (and Z’ha’dum, I think, suggests that they do, unless Justin’s account of their thinking is completely disingenuous), they are actually correct.

        But I think there is little reason to suspect that the Vorlons would claim to be unhappy with Sheridan’s use of a WMD on the Shadows, even if they didn’t suggest it. In that sense, I think the analogy of a otherwise non-aggressive great power dragged into war by one of its clients would not be exact.

        1. The Vorlons have been peaceful up till now. OK, they’ve been “cheating” by genetically modifying species and pretending to be gods, but the Shadows have been zapping people by the thousands.

          1. It depends on how you define “peaceful.” They’ve avoided committing their own forces, but they’ve been encouraging their proxies, the younger races, to organize to fight the Shadows in a war that they expect and say they intend to fight at some point. I think this fits better with “cautious” and “placing a lower value on the lives of clients than their own” (and their behavior now certainly supports the position that Vorlons place a low value on non-Vorlon lives!)

            Also, it’s worth remembering that the Vorlons won the last war, so the status quo in the galaxy presumably suits them better than the Shadows. You’d expect the Shadows to make the first aggressive moves to disrupt things.

            (The Vorlons have been remarkably hands-off in the last thousand years for people who are supposedly ideologically committed to control and guidance, but then, the Shadows, for agents of chaos who want to foment conflict, are remarkably keen on being at the head of a coalition of allies who display a great deal of loyalty and team spirit.)

  3. As a general rule, a Garibaldi keeps better if you wrap and refrigerate it.

    In rewatching, when we see the Vorlon fleet and realize what it is and what it’s doing…it’s like a metaphor for 2016, somewhere around March or so. Holy crap, this is gonna get *worse*!?

  4. Okay, now that I’ve listened to the podcast episode.

    Well now I feel all kinds of dumb. I knew about the biblical connection with 39 lashes (I had heard a theory somewhere that more than 40 lashes was considered too likely to be fatal, and that was why it was dishonourable to beat anyone that much. I could easily be wrong about that, but when I first saw the scene I got the connection when Cartagia said that the 40th stroke kills), but I had completely missed the crown of thorns. I’m posting this in the spoiler section, because now the scene coming up with G’Kar carrying a yoke looks way too obviously like Jesus carrying his cross. I knew that G’Kar was going to become a Narn spiritual figure, but I had completely missed the Christ imagery until now. [smacks forehead] I guess I just assumed that he was Narn Moses, instead of Narn Jesus. Oh well, I guess Sheridan coming back from the dead to save us all was so on the nose that I missed the other Christ figure.

    I’ve never seen Jesus Christ Superstar, but I found the scene on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfvYs4YUl_k
    Oh yeah. Somebody at Babylonian Productions was making a reference. I get Stephen’s Pilate reference, but Cartagia is clearly Caligula. Not only was Caligula known for his cruelty, capricious killing, and claims to godhood, he even *looks* like Cartagia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caligula#/media/File:Cropped_color_calligula.jpg

    One thing I’ve learning from listening to the History of Rome podcast: Never give absolute power to anyone under the age of 30. It just doesn’t end well.

    Alberta has ratcatchers? What do they do, turn the rats around and send them back to us in Saskatchewan? Like we don’t have enough rats?

      1. It really does have to be seen before one dies. Once. One of those things that one can only imagine coming into existence in the early ’70s.

        I don’t suppose our hosts could be persuaded to do a special episode on it? Perhaps at Easter?

        “So you are the Christ,
        Yes, the great Jesus Christ,
        Prove to me that you’re no fool,
        Walk across my swimming pool!”

  5. So the Vorlons have destroyed a populated planet, done an Alderaan on it. Within under a minute of screen time they’ve caused similar amount of deaths as the Shadows in the last few years. When I first saw this, well, it took me a few years for the penny to drop. Total bait and switch.

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