16 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “Epiphanies” Spoiler Space”

  1. PM Mollari in Centauri’s summer light, peeking out the curtains: brrr! It’s going to get darker than pastel out there.

    I remember being quite taken with how the Garibaldi story was paced in S5. The culprit follows his first major symptoms right here, in the open, yet JMS keeps pushing the correlation to the background. It’s very well done. Garibaldi’s resignation spiel is a logical reminder that they’re essentially living ‘Occupy B5’, and any awkwardness is lifted by G’Kar’s magnificent hug. His wisdom to Zack, too, it’s all done as (we can conceive) Garibaldi might do it, so the hypno-waves in the mirror fade into natural character transition.

    I was also struck by Sheridan and Lyta in the closer. It’s blocked by Lyta’s provocation, you know, burning a planet, but actually Sheridan is (intentionally written) as a real shit, a bully. It’s framed with Lyta’s declaration she’s already along the road to abandonment, and with Sheridan not bringing to her home thanks, or sympathies or pizza, but grand-standing threats and demands. And so it begins, the great man falls.

    1. Sheridan gave Lyta a well-deserved talking to and a warning not to do it again. He’s not being a bully.

      If Lyta had told Bester what she’d done to further piss him off, and she admitted (theoretically) that one possible motive for her action was exactly that, it would seem to Bester that Sheridan had broken his word. Bester would never trust him again.

      And since we’re in spoiler space, Lyta has helped the Drakh. If she hadn’t sent that telepathic warning or signal, B5 would have discovered that Z’Ha’Dum was still inhabited by the Shadow servants. Maybe they could have set up a blockade, or at least kept them under observation.

      Instead, thanks to Lyta, the Drakh got to carry out their evacuation and blow the planet up to completely cover their tracks.

      1. I may have made the argument I did overlooking that factor, but the shadows’ allies looked very near that jumpgate. It’s feasible they were already on their way before boom, though yes, I take the point Sheridan was a lot closer and would have seen this differently. Both he and Lyta are Vorlony, which could gives Sheridan an added insight. It’s clear Lyta regards the planet as off-limits and that she set off the blast, but that’s quite different from being the trigger to the dark servants evacuation.

        ‘He has hurt so many of my people…he has sent away so many loved ones…’ certainly adds to the interest of the scene. It feels full-on that Lyta probably doesn’t need Byron to galvanise her into armed action against the Corp. Without Kosh, I think her (former life as an) underground resistance fighter mode is bubbling over. Tallman classic.

        I take your point of Sheridan’s talking-to regarding command level decisions as fair play but threatening to turn her over to Corps and letting them ‘turn her inside out’ is a bit heavy handed. I guess I’m thinking of what Bester said about Talia’s “dissec-” which may not be what JMS intended. Or is it?

  2. *Off-topic tangential, I got distracted by reading about Bester on Wikia. (Koenig had learned his script, which he really liked, for an episode of Crusade that went unfilmed) I’m wondering about the novels now. Would anyone be able to link to, (or comment with), a good spoiler-free review of the Psi Corps trilogy?

    (I picked up the first two B5 graphic novels very cheap while on holiday in Brighton last week, hoping to get around to them soon!)

    1. The Psi Corps trilogy are IMHO the best of the B5 written works. Good writing and a great character to build around.

      Book 1 is really the history of the Psi Corps told through various characters. It starts in the near future (which means now our near past, so naturally seems off in places) and by skipping a generation or two at a time ends up a few decades before the start of B5. Lots of background detail on Vorlons, the Alexanders, the Psi Corp, and the telepathic resistance.

      Book 2 is Bester before the series. His upbringing, his work as a Psi Cop, and some previous interactions with other Psi Corp characters including Lyta.

      Book 3 is Bester after the series. At the time Crusade hadn’t even started, so the author was making it up, presumably with some outline help from JMS. Here the book contradicts the later unpublished Crusade scripts, but since those episodes never got made I’ll say it’s still canon. Or at least not non-canon. Alternate timeline canon? I thought this book was a satisfying end to the story, and still do.

      For me, the writing and portrayal of Bester in the TV series set a high standard, and this is a rare case of a spin-off book not disappointing in comparison.

  3. I have to give our hosts full marks for not giving into the temptation to name, let’s say…possible real-world parallels…when the subject of authoritarian megalomaniacs comes up. I cast my own pods here and there from time to time, I totally understand you try to just barely walk up to that line because you don’t want to lose anyone, and I know you don’t want to time-stamp it, but…gaaaahhh. You are stronger-willed (and far more professional) than I.

    Lyta, from here on out, is a fantastic study in how someone becomes vulnerable to radicalization. Don’t pull your punches on reminding everyone of that going forward.

    How does this bloody show manage to be more relevant nearly 25 years after it premiered than it was the first time around?

    Yes, G’Kar’s a perv. Anyone who’s put any kind of thought into guesstimating someone else’s pleasure threshold is a perv. 🙂

  4. I second the praise about not naming names, and would in fact urge even greater restraint than this. Bear in mind that podcast listeners come in a variety of political flavours, and using our beloved podcast as a venue for partisan attacks will just cause some listeners to leave, and others to turn our otherwise-civil comments board into just one more nasty political battleground. Since several of us here are also Whovians, I will direct attention to the Crater of Needles section of Gallifrey Base. We don’t want that here.

    1. I certainly understand the aversion to starting a flame war, but I think that B5 has always been political, and JMS has always meant for it to be relevant. It’s just scary how relevant it’s become. Or maybe, it’s just scary how politicized the concept of truth and facts has become.

      I mean, JMS said the Rush Act was named for “a leading American proctologist,” so I think we know where the show stands. Any ambiguity was in the interests of making it timeless and not too specific to issues of the day.

    2. I do appreciate what you’re saying, Prof, and I can’t imagine B5AG flipping into a party political broadcast soon. There’s a good tone here. B5’s real-world parallels are a large part of the show’s relevancy. For me, anyhow. Similarities with people, political situations, wars and their strategies, are so numerous that we (as commentators) would be doing a disservice to the series’ depth (and our own experiences) to ignore those. I imagine fake news, content, propaganda, will come up a lot next time, and probably should. As a media analysis nerd I’m quite looking forward to it. If we’re as respectful as we have been then it’s wins for all.

  5. This is the first episode since the effects company change to prominently feature Starfuries. I’ve always felt that Foundation Imaging did Starfury choreographies better than Netter Digital. Perhaps the amount of the required CGI was getting so large that there simply was no time to do everything as carefully as before.

    And a little correction, G’Kar’s blue eye is also a contact lens. Andreas Katsulas’ own eye color was brown, I believe.

  6. #DelennWatch Does Mira get to do anything here apart from show off her beautiful smooching? This ep really could have done with a stray line or two from Minbar but I don’t recall it happening, nor next episode, which would be a lousy build for such a important trilogy.

    1. I think that can perhaps filed under “S4 has a lot to do very fast,” like the accelerated pace of the Minbari war trilogy itself. But perhaps I make that excuse for JMS a little too often, even though I do think it explains a lot.

      We know that Thirdspace was originally going to be an S4 arc, so that’s 2 episodes that were simply and cleanly cut with no consequences for the overall storyline.

      If I’m remembering correctly (and I may not be…), the Byron arc was going to start in S4 as well, there being no reason why the telepaths have to wait for the Earth civil war to be resolved in order to seek refuge on the station. So that’s a certain number of minutes not available for Delenn and the Minbari arc as well.

      If I’m remembering correctly, the original plan was for S4 to end on Intersections in Real Time, which is episode 19 out of 22, and the defeat of Clark was to happen somewhere around the middle of S5. If that can be taken as an approximate measure of how much time was lost, and where, we have:

      S4: 4 episodes to work with, minus 2 for Thirdspace. That’s 2 episodes wiggle room. If some telepath stuff has to be fitted in there, that’s actually not a lot of extra time for Delenn’s arc and the Minbari civil war to be expanded.

      S5: In our fallen timeline, the defeat of Clark (Endgame) is only the second episode after Intersections in Real Time. If one throws in the aftermath (in Rising Star), that’s just one more episode. If this was really supposed to form some sort of sweeps month climax in S5, then it looks like it’s actually here that we lost the most time.

      Some things that support this:

      – Rising Star in particular and the formation of the Interstellar Alliance in general are perhaps the single element of the overall arc that seems the most horribly abbreviated and perfunctory.

      – I think many would agree that the pacing problems in S5 seem worst in the first half of the season, suggesting that JMS had to pad things out there and could basically get back on track in the second half.

      But, of course, this is a very crude way to look at it. It’s likely that S4-S5 was more extensively rewritten than you can tell by just counting episodes and speculating.

      Still, I think one can tell some things. When push comes to shove, JMS kept a fairly extensive development of things like Garibaldi’s telepath story (which, although I like it, does exactly one thing in terms of the overall arc, allow him to betray Sheridan and get away with it). And he allowed for non-plot-essential flourishes to the Earth arc like The Illusion of Truth. This does tell you something about where Delenn and the Minbari rank in his overall hierarchy of what matters in Babylon 5 as a series.

      Not saying he was wrong from a pragmatic point of view, either, despite the case Cassandra makes so effectively for there being a Delenn problem in S4-5 (once you subtract the Minbari civil war episodes). It’s always important to remember that at the time there had been exactly one really successful space-opera franchise on US TV, and that from the beginning JMS had to fight against the not unreasonable presumption on the part of executives that B5 was very risky simply by virtue of not being Star Trek.

      We’re all SF geeks here (not exactly going out on a limb), so we want more about the aliens and exploring their culture. (Just as, whenever another Star Trek series is suggested, some Trek fan always suggests an anthology series in which we could spend time on a Klingon ship or a Romulan ship.) But Babylon 5 needed casual viewers, and one can argue that may have made it a sad and unfortunate bit of prudence to keep the focus on human members of a basically recognizable military.

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