Zocalo: Spoiler-Free Discussion of “Into the Fire”

And thus an interstellar war ended with a bang and then…a whimper? And we’re left to wonder just whether that satisfied and what comes next. Talk about this episode and events leading up to it here.

9 thoughts on “Zocalo: Spoiler-Free Discussion of “Into the Fire””

  1. OK, I’ve been disappointed with Into the Fire since I saw it on first broadcast. Not for the reason that JMS thought that people wouldn’t like it – that it’s not a big space opera battle. I like that an awful lot. For me, it’s not that I don’t like what Into the Fire is trying to do – it’s that I don’t think that the episode manages to do what it’s trying.

    But this post is really for me to make my most absurd and trivial objection, which, oddly, is still one that somehow matters to me. I really feel that the backdrop to all this should have been the station. There’s some sort of implicit sense that “This is supposed to be the story of *Babylon 5*” that this violates for me.

    1. I don’t think it would necessarily have made sense to have the final battle at B5. Although it might’ve been more traditionally dramatic, it would lessen the scale of the conflict by making it about “just” the station rather than about the whole galaxy.

      Besides, B5 was always presented as the “nexus” where these events were decided, but the show has already been to Earth, Minbar, Centauri Prime, and Narn.

      1. Oh, I’m not against the show going to other places. It just feels to me (and this is very much a matter of how it feels) that, since this is the pivotal episode for the main plot of the series, that it should have had the familiar sight of the station in the background.

  2. I never had a problem with the *idea* of how things ended – and no problem with the “Get the hell out of our galaxy, the both of you” speech. But the rest of the execution here is lacking and most importantly the shadows and vorlons whimpering “you will come with us?” and “so we won’t be alone?” completely undermines everything else we know. JMS has said he originally wanted this to be a two parter – it was compressed due to the threat of no season 5 etc, but that he thought it was fine as a single ep. I think the rush is within these talking parts – they should have required much more discussion – the battle halted and talks taken DAYS to convince all the first ones to leave.

    1. I’d forgotten or didn’t know that JMS said that he originally wanted this to be a 2-parter – thank you for that. I think he was right, for reasons which I’ve said elsewhere in spoiler threads, and which are basically the same as yours: the conversations with the Shadows and Vorlons should have taken longer. Mind you, a 2-parter might have meant more screen time for Lorien, which would not have been welcome to me 🙂

      But I’ll say something nice about the episode: the actors playing the Shadows in their conversation with Delenn all do a great job (and come across as having fun away from their usual roles).

  3. There’s plenty of high drama in this episode. But rewatching, I particularly noticed a little exchange between Lorien and Ivanova on the White Star. Lorien says something profound, Ivanova gives him a look, then another look, and stomps off to the bridge chair.

    IMHO lots of actors can *say* funny lines, but *being* funny is harder. Stephen Furst gets a lot of mentions for his physical mannerisms, but I think Claudia Christian is very good too. Did she do much comedy before or after B5?

  4. Kinda surprised that Ed Wasser’s performance wasn’t mentioned; Peter Jurasik was on fire here, but Ed was on fire right along with him. It’s such a great contrast to his smoother-than-smooth Space Mob demeanor when Morden just comes completely unglued when he figures out that Londo’s gotten one up on him, especially once Morden’s ever-present “escorts” are…um…shown to the door. The last scene between Londo and Morden is just fantastic; in the pre-DVD days I’m pretty sure I wore out that stretch of my VHS tape with this episode on it. Maybe some scenery chewing for both of them, sure, but this is delicious scenery dipped in chocolate, so why not chow down.

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