12 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “A Race Through Dark Places” Spoiler Space”

  1. I’m note sure how Talia’s other personality wasn’t discovered when she linked up with the other telepaths or that it didn’t take over to be loyal to Bester.

  2. ^ That, and how she got possible Future Teep Mad Skillz from Jason Ironheart, and they were never mentioned again. Or maybe we’re reading too much into making a small coin move slightly. But overall it’s all part of what makes Talia to be a very unsatisfactory character. Given how much is now coming out about the behind-the-scenes dramas, perhaps it’s time for the true story behind Andrea Thompson’s (brief) time on the show…

    1. I think Control probably had access to the Ironheart powers, but chose to use them only on the simple stuff through the Talia personality. The fuller use of them could have went into preventing detection, and here you have something Talia and Control (two personalities at odds), find mutually beneficial.

      I guess New and Improved Control (Now with real Ironheart!) had bigger plans than the original mission. There’s time in learning how to use that power, what to do with it, and between reporting and debriefing. “If Lyta Alexander hadn’t come along when she did…” could have been much worse for B5 than an intelligence breach.

  3. JMS was a master at making characters three dimensional. Like people in real life, each character had strengths and flaws, light and dark sides. His one exception was the Psi Corps. Outside of Talia and the assistant to General ben what’s-his-name, I can’t recall Psi Corps or its members being anything but stereotypical, moustache-twirling bad guys. Giving their police black uniforms modeled upon those of the Gestapo only further makes them one-dimensional baddies fit only for a children’s book.

    1. The Nazi uniforms have always struck me as a little odd in people who have every reason to know exactly what does not strike other people as sinister.

      But it’s like the black Nightwatch armbands, perhaps. I think that it’s meant as shorthand for the viewer to signal what’s going on, and that “in-universe” it doesn’t send the same message even though, historically, it should.

      I also do think that The Corp is Mother, The Corps is Father does quite a lot to show that, from Bester’s perspective (and not just Bester’s) he really is a hero. In everyone’s favorite arc, the Byron story, Bester also comes across to me as genuinely trying to do what’s right for his people and genuinely affected by what he sees as a tragedy.

      My pet reading is that Bester is a mirror of Sheridan. Just like Sheridan, he has an absolute certainty about right and wrong, and is absolutely certain that he’s in the right. Like other characters in B5, Bester shows how close that appealing heroic archetype of the decisive leader who does what’s right is to a villainous archetype.

      Not just Sheridan: I could obviously also have written “genuinely trying to do what’s right for his people” about Londo. It’s worth unpicking why we sympathize so much with Londo, who also does terrible things, and so little with Bester.

      1. I absolutely agree with this. I’ve always felt that Bester was simply trying to to do what he felt was best for “his” people. And that is why I actually really like Bester and the contrast that he provides. He is doing what he considers good work. He is protecting telepaths as a whole, even sometimes at the expense of individual telepaths. “Some must be sacrificed if all are to be saved.” He understands this from the very begining. But because it frequently brings him into confilct with our heroes we see him as a bad guy.

  4. One advantage that the broadcast order has over the Lurker’s Guide order is that this is a much better sendoff for the “real” Talia than Soul Mates.

    It wasn’t intended, but I find it effective how Talia’s story builds slowly to her turning against the Corps here, only to have that taken abruptly and tragically away in Divided Loyalties with the destruction of her personality. To turn against the Corps is to cease to be who you are – that gives me chills.

    It would work better if this episode came later, closer to Divided Loyalties, obviously.

  5. The underground telepaths strike me as a strong effort on behalf of casting to include non-white ethnics, and Gianin Loffler (playing the leader), has an odd look and speech to him that suggests a person with disabilities. Do similar choices return in the Byron arc? It’s commendable, casting the underground as visually vulnerable, disenfranchised and impoverished. It’s also a little on the nose at times: we only really deal with the theme of telepathy as disability much later when Lyta is sidelined by the people she fought for.

    I wasn’t thinking about the Psi Corp/Nazi analogy at all in this ep, but it seems a lot uglier with this ethnic/disabled thing in mind.

  6. I also would like to mention another shortcoming (my opinion!) about the way the telepaths were written. You would think that when telepaths get together that they would communicate solely via telepathy, unless a normal was in the vicinity who needed to be in on the conversation. In the private conversations between Talia and Bester, it would have been more “realistic” if they either did not say anything, and had sub-titles or if their voices were modulated/treated so we knew we were hearing their thoughts.

  7. The not-a-date: If you have to kick-start a slow-burn romantic plot arc, at least make it entertaining, and so the show did. For what it’s worth, it wasn’t jarring to me watching the show through as it aired (time travel the slow way, as it were). Sheridan’s golden-retriever outlook on life added to the fact that nuDelenn is a striking and magnetic personage who made a strong first impression… yeah, it tracks a lot better than you’d expect from a mid-90s mid-budget TV show, let’s be honest here. Televised SF’s handling of romantic entanglements is usually hamfisted at best.

    The we’re-not-saying-what-it-was: Every time I think about the “Ivanova’s costume came from the Victoria’s Secret catalog” bit at the end, I also immediately think about an episode of television later that same year which received an immediate, strongly negative initial reaction: DS9’s infamous Trill kiss. With that in mind, it’s kind of amazing that the Susan-and-Talia thing got as much on-screen shorthand as it did. Trek could weather the occasional outraged viewer reaction tempest. Bab5 couldn’t really afford to test the adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

    First time viewing thought, though, was pretty much “Garibaldi never stood a chance. Ivanova’s just too awesome.”

    With that said… I never entirely warmed to Talia. Something about Thompson’s acting style or something, I don’t know what, just kind of kept me at an emotional distance. I never connected like I did to most of the other main characters. She had moments, definitely! But.

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