Lochley and Sheridan

Episode 90: “No Compromises”

Somewhat to their surprise, the cast and crew and showrunner got their fifth season. But to quote some guy way back in the first, “Nothing’s the same anymore.” Sheridan’s wearing a suit, not a uniform. Ivanova’s gone. There’s a new face in the command center wearing a regulation Earthforce uniform. And then there’s Byron. Welcome to the TNT year of Babylon 5!

One thought on “Episode 90: “No Compromises””

  1. A general thought on S5:

    In the podcast on The Deconstruction of Falling Stars, I think part of Steven Schapansky’s objection to it was the self-congratulatory smugness of it all, the “yah boo sucks” to people who thought the show would fail. (Am I remembering correctly? It’s been a few weeks.)

    I’m sort of OK with that by itself.

    My problems with The Deconstruction of Falling Stars are mostly with the Great Man stuff in the academics scene. If you’re going to go there, it’s incumbent on you to portray the way politics works in its complexity and show how leadership was indispensable. You can’t write a story in which you handwave away loads of things that should complicate matters for the great leader and his decisions and then turn around and say “People who disagree are stupid and wrong and would just shut up shamefacedly if challenged.” It falls under “Address your opponents’ best arguments with your best arguments.”

    And there is the problem that, after TDoFS, the equation of Sinclair/Sheridan’s struggle with JMS’s struggle to make the show isn’t just a matter of the little joke of insisting that the central character have the initials JMS, so that scene is – among other things – saying that, yes, I am the Great Maker and Babylon 5 doesn’t owe anything significant to other people. And the rest of the episode dresses this up in religious language: faith manages.

    (Note that what faith manages to achieve is worldly achievement, the making of the show, and the comeuppance of doubters. “Faith” here corresponds to the belief of the great leader that he will overcome all obstacles: Sheridan’s messianism after coming back from Z’ha’dum. Again, I think it’s hard to read S4 as offering any critique of Sheridan’s messianism unless you’ve decided in advance that no story could ever present it as correct.)

    But that’s a pardonable exaggeration for JMS to entertain for a moment. JMS really was indispensable, and B5 is extraordinary in the degree to which it is his personal creation, in the corporate, co-operative, enterprise that is television production. A brief victory lap is really understandable at the end of S4.

    But it still means that, after TDoFS, the subtext has become text, and hangs over S5. Everything that happens on the show from this point on can be read as being about the show itself.

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