2 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “Rising Star” Spoiler Space”

  1. Having listened to the podcast:-

    – I think the fly-by is one of the many things about this episode that has to do with the expectation at the time that the series was ending.

    It’s not really there to say something about Delenn, I think. It’s there for the viewer, to create a big punch-the-air moment for the White Stars and to fill in “this is what happens next” for the Rangers. In fact, that whole scene is really directed more at the viewer, to give them a prediction (in the form of a manifesto) of the bright future of the Interstellar Alliance over the next decades. (Sleeping in Light assumes that, and The Deconstruction of Falling Stars leaps forward in time past that point.)

    It probably also matters that it’s shameless space-opera Galactic Patrol stuff – our hosts are interpreting it as a statement about military threat, but I think it conjures up, for the viewer who reads it in terms of its SF antecedents, more a sense of a future in which the Rangers are all “Gosh, Chuck! Rigel 7 was just attacked by space pirates!”

    Of course, we then do get S5, in which we see quite a lot of the Rangers actually doing what they do.

    On a practical in-story note, I think one has to assume that Delenn cleared it with Earth authorities, because otherwise it doesn’t make sense. Earth has not been entirely disarmed (worse, Earth still has ships, but not planetary defenses), and we are in a tense and chaotic situation. All it would take is one Earth officer in charge of a destroyer seeing the White Stars approach and going “Oh, $%##!”and there would at least be a nasty incident, and possibly the renewal of the war. Given how the Earth-Minbari War started in this universe, it makes particularly little sense for Delenn in particular not to be aware of all that.

    But I don’t think it’s particularly important, because I don’t think that speech is so much about why Earth joins the IA, as using that as a way to sketch out for the viewer what the IA is and why its formation counts as the great climactic achievement of our heroes. Not that it doesn’t matter that Earth joins the IA at all, because it ties up thematic threads going back to S1, but I think the politics of how it happens are not particularly interesting to JMS compared to the result.

    – On another note, if the show had ended with S4, the “season finale” feel that Rising Star has would have given S4 as a whole something of the same structure as an individual B5 episode, with the climax, then a brief coda (Sleeping in Light). The season retains that, because TDoFS is almost as much of a coda as SiL would have been.

    I wouldn’t agree that S5 does the same thing, because I don’t agree with our hosts that Objects at Rest feels all *that* much like a season finale. OaR has individual scenes that feel like that (Sheridan leaving the station on the White Star, Sheridan recording a message for his son). But it also contains quite a lot that doesn’t – the Lennier material which counts as the most significant plot development of the episode, Londo popping up after that for a chat.

    OaR is a strange, ungainly, episode in its structure, at least three episodes in one, with no clear overall plot, and the “season finale or not?” whiplash of how it progresses adds to that. But I think it is not terribly surprising that JMS preferred to do something different in S5 than in S4.

    1. While I *like* your idea about the reasoning for the fly-by better than mine, I don’t feel that the show as presented on-screen bears that out. B5 has usually been pretty good about ensuring the score matches the desired mood of a scene. Delenn’s entire speech is underscored with, not an uplifting-space-future-is-awesome anthem-type piece. It’s a low, martial, imposing, almost-frightening theme. If they were going for your idea, then Franke missed a memo somewhere.

      And maybe the fly-by was planned, but then the direction has something to answer for, because nobody from Earth looked prepared for that. I suppose you could hand-wave it away by saying they knew it was coming, but didn’t expect it to be so intense. Either way, the outcome was very clearly that they were surprised and nervous, if not outright intimidated. Another missed memo? Maybe, but I suspect not.

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