12 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “No Surrender, No Retreat” Spoiler Space”

  1. “Earth stands alone.”
    Well, the dictator is here.
    “Humanitarian aid only.”
    Fair enough.
    ‘The military work for the voters.’
    #GreatManHistoryAlert #GreatManHistoryAlert

    The League are each donating one ship in defense of Babylon 5, which isn’t not getting involved, but protects their vested interests and Sheridan’s defence strategy, providing him essentially carte blanche leeway in the war’s aggression front. They followed him quick enough too.

    1. I do wonder how Sheridan got Minbari support to use the (Minbari crewed) White Stars against EA here. I would hope the Grey Council didn’t give Sheridan carte blanche to drag the Minbari state into any war he wanted, so presumably they gave permission at some point: without Minbari support, Sheridan would be doing little more than ranting on a street corner.

      Looking at the EA conflict through that lens, essentially the opening stages of the EA “civil” war are actually a proxy war with the Minbari arming Sheridan to depose Clark.

      Speaking of Minbari, I’m going to leave this


      2.5 hour autobiographical interview of Mira Furlan here for anyone who may be interested while Delenn is recovering from the starfire BBQ. The content is a little dark.

  2. There’s a scene around 39m into the final episode of B5 – everyone’s saying goodbye to the soon-to-be-destroyed station, Garibalidi’s the last one out the door, and on the way out he picks a shot-glass off a shelf and rolls it in his hands thoughtfully.


    I will never, ever be persuaded that it isn’t the same glass G’kar drank out of and that Londo took after he left.

  3. I have to disagree a bit about the “get to the lifepods” moment. While it might have been played a little more subtly, I think overall it was necessary to offset the ruthlessness involved in the way Sheridan weaponizes the telepaths with the Shadow tech. If Sheridan hadn’t been unhappy with the deaths of his own people here, he would have been too dark a character.

    1. Well, yes, just “the life-pods,” would have worked, though I think the cost of their war is well carried throughout this episode. THough cushioned by giving captains choices, Sheridan is making the status quo very difficult. His quest is a hostile provocation to the quiet life. This episode he’s part-complicit in the deaths of thousands aboard that downed ship. We see the cumulative ramifications of this in Intersections I believe, but for now he seems to be storing it with ‘the life’ of expected military service duty and setting it against the civilian fatalities, those ‘not in the game’ as it were.

      1. I’m usually the first to point out places where JMS’s desire to heroize Sheridan goes over the top, but “Get to the life pods” has never struck me as a particularly egregious example. Part of it is that this is Sheridan’s first military engagement with his own people since Severed Dreams – there’s no particular reason why he should be callous. Nor is saying it out loud particularly overdone by B5’s generally fairly heightened standards.

        The portrayal of Hall, on the other hand, does strike me as JMS’s desire for the baddies to be baddies manifesting itself. It’s a problem for me with the depiction of the civil war that JMS never wrestles with the fact that those loyal to noxious regimes, and capable of horrific actions in their service, can be decent in their personal relationships. And, as plenty of examples in World War II show (to pick the really obvious case) are quite capable of being inspiring military commanders who receive affection from their subordinates – and don’t have to be, as here, selfish careerists who don’t care about anyone except Number One.

        Instead, JMS plumps for “If the enemy is a Good Guy, then s/he is only fighting for Clark out of Respect for the Chain of Command and Civilian Control of the Military.”

  4. “…in Drazi space, on Centauri Prime, you’re going to have a telepath colony on B5 and that story’s going to be over.”

    Tactfully put, Chip! I predict a lot more emotion when that arc comes.

    I’m uneasy ranking your podcasts however this might be a best episode: strong focus and dissection on every aspect.

  5. Does anyone else think Londo and G’Kar’s making up comes a little quickly after this episode? Here, Londo had to twist G’Kar’s arm into doing the right thing, and G’Kar still is hardly able to stand to look at him. Next time we see them interact, they’ve been working together off-screent to hatch a secret plan to have the League back up the Resistance after Sheridan is captured, and the time after that, they’ve settled into the bickering old married couple rapport they’ll enjoy for the rest of their lives.

    I feel like we’re missing an awkward stage that comes after this episode where G’Kar has decided he’s willing to engage with Londo, but it still takes him an episode or two to actually thaw towards him. I’ve half-joked that maybe that was the function of the gag episode JMS wrote around this time where G’Kar falls in love with Londo, and he just half-forgot that he glossed over their friendship developing in the real episodes.

    1. I think the speed is due the need to establish their friendship by the end of S4. We needed to move as quickly as possible that scene with them joking around at the conclusion…

      …Well, OK, we didn’t need *that* particular scene, with voyeur G’Kar. But we needed a scene that showed their relationship, just not that one.

      As I’ve mentioned before, I suspect that, originally, Londo’s experience in The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari was going to play a role in this development. But I think JMS does a good job here, given the constraints that he was under. In particular, he leaves G’Kar’s wrestling with himself and doubts entirely off-screen, and trusts Katsulas to communicate his internal conflict with the “But not on the same page!” stuff (one of the most effective bits of humor for me in all of B5).

      I don’t agree with our hosts that the development of the G’Kar-Londo relationship is about Londo “earning” it, though. The moment you try to cast this situation in terms of any sort of moral accounting like that, you run into the problem that you are implying that there is something that Londo can *do* that would wipe out his crimes. There isn’t, and he certainly never does it by the end of S4, when the two are enjoying relaxed and friendly social relations.

      For me, instead, the scenes are as much about G’Kar’s ongoing moral progress towards being a person who can forgive Londo despite his crimes – it’s about G’Kar’s inner struggle between the old nationalist zealot and the new saint. Although Jurasik plays the scenes brilliantly, I don’t think these scenes actually give us new information about his state of mind that we couldn’t infer from his earlier conversation with G’Kar in the cell. But they give us information about where G’Kar is in his response to Londo.

      If TVLNoLM had been inserted somewhere around here, this might have played a bit differently, admittedly – one could see a statement of repentance as the “price” for forgiveness.

      But even then, I’d as much emphasize that G’Kar seeing that Londo is capable of repentance is important because it’s about him seeing that Londo is not the straightforward monster that he would have once assumed. Much of G’Kar’s journey for me is about him recognizing Londo’s shared humanity with himself (not literally humanity, but you know what I mean).

      1. That is a good point; so much time is spent on the idea that the “main plot” needed to be wrapped up by the end of season 4 (defined as the Shadows, Clark, and Warrior Caste situations) that I never included G’Kar and Londo’s relationship in it. It does make a lot more sense now that I’m considering a need to have a straight line between their banter in “Rising Star” to the flashforward in WWE if that was expected to have been the last we’d see of them. They needed to be definitively on the road to their friendship when the show was believed to be ending at that point for the future to make any kind of sense (especially in the version of reality where the show ended in season 4, we’d probably not get the trilogy of trilogies to flesh everything out).

  6. Our hosts mentioned in the podcast that they would be discussing the shortcomings and problems caused by the uncertainty over whether season 5 would happen or not.

    As someone who remembers season 4 of Andromeda, and to a lesser extent season 4 of Blake’s 7, all I can do is quote a Monty Python Life of Brian character “You lucky, lucky bastards.”

    1. These things can improve shows, too. I’m very much in the camp of people who think that Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s earlier seasons were better, and that may have something to do with the fact that renewal was doubtful from year to year in the early period of the show.

      It hurts Babylon 5 in particular, though, because so much of the appeal of the show is built around the 5-year unified story. And if you’re going to pick a part of a story to mangle, you’re not going to want to pick the conclusion.

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