Erika, Shannon and Chip debate the finer points of mixed martial arts and wonder aloud what happens when you have an episode without a discernable “A” plot. Grab a Zima and sit back!
Danger, Will Robinson! OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s enjoy a nice little reunion between two Lost in Space veterans (except they never actually share the screen) and learn the “finer” parts of Centauri physiognomy (“finer” is not meant literally). It’s a legal medical thriller and a barroom brawl thoroughly inhabiting the category, “It’s Better Than I Remembered It.” It’s “The Quality of Mercy,” up this week on The Audio Guide to Babylon 5.
Just a little, inconsequential story about that predecessor station to B5 that disappeared without a trace, right? Presenting “Babylon Squared,” with all of the signs and portents it entails. And because you can’t do a podcast about “something squared” with just three hosts, we brought in our guest L.M. Myles from Doctor Who: Verity! to help us process the mysteries of Zathras and time travel.
It’s two, two B5 episodes for the price of one, as Erika, Shannon and the convalescing Chip tackle both parts of “A Voice in the Wilderness.” What did they think of the mystery of Epsilon 3? Did the Great Machine’s choices of Sinclair, Londo and Draal make any kind of sense? And what did Steven say in the last podcast that left Chip spluttering?
Erika and Shannon are joined once more by Steven Schapansky of Radio Free Skaro to talk about an episode in which all of Sinclair’s chickens come home to roost. If you were one of those fans who wondered how the character could keep sidestepping Bester, military bureaucrats and politicians, “Eyes” cheerfully tells you, “He can’t!” What did our Designated New Viewer think? Which character/performance did our team prefer, Ari Ben Zayn or Harriman Grey? And which character commits Babylon 5‘s first legitimate barroom brawl?
And where’s Chip? Felled by one Ben Zayn of a virus. He’ll be back next time.
Erika and Chip are on opposite ends of the spectrum. One only has eyes for David Warner. The other would prefer a date with a na’ka’leen feeder than to watch “Grail” again. How does Shannon hold it all together? And who’s our special musical guest? (That last one’s easy. It’s the fantastically anthemic rockers out of Wisconsin, Sunspot! Check them out at sunspotmusic.com.
J. Michael Stracynski once described certain B5 episodes as “WHAM” episodes, episodes that kicked the series arc forward or had otherwise momentous events. “And the Sky Full of Stars” was the first. This is a bigger one. Or so Chip repeatedly and excitedly enthuses. To paraphrase Mr. Morden, “So tell me what ya want, what ya really really want.”
Union-busting and horticulture come together in a surprisingly good mixture, as the Dockworkers’ Guild, an officious Senate negotiator, Londo and G’Kar combine to give Sinclair his worst 48 hours yet. There’s a lot of stubble and open-collar acting, but also an intriguing look at the world behind the space station. Won’t you join us for “By Any Means Necessary”?
“Podcasting again, Uncle Mike?” Garibaldi has a Really Bad Day, but that’s peanuts compared to what almost happens to the Earth Alliance President. We reflect on what happens when Ivanova and Kemmer let their hair down, Garibaldi lets his guard down and Sinclair just tries to be everyone’s Dad.
(Got spoilery thoughts about this and future episodes of Babylon 5? You know where to go.)
Chip: “This is such a depressing (but good!) episode, I’m thinking about editing in a medley into the podcast somewhere to sort of lift our spirits. You know, The Partridge Family theme, Pharrell’s ‘Happy,’ that Ren and Stimpy ‘Happy Happy Joy Joy’ song…”
Jason Snell, host and leader of The Incomparable family of podcasts and this B5AG‘s special guest: “You’re all class, Chip.”
(Note from Chip: There will be no happy medley in the podcast. Not even Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Because my co-hosts are assassins of joy. But we had a great conversation with Jason about “Believers”!)