Sunday, March 16, 2008

B5 S1 Ep 17-21: Legacies, A Voice In The Wilderness Part 1 & 2, Babylon Squared & The Quality Of Mercy

We're coming in for a landing. I have completed the next five episodes of Babylon 5 Season 1: Signs And Portents. Again, uneven overall, but moving in the right direction with one true standout entry.

Remembering it has been 10 years since the Earth-Minbari War, Legacies is an important installment. It continues to construct the B5 universe offering further insights into the races of the Minbari, Narn and Centauri. We specifically are enlightened to the two tier warrior versus religious caste systems of the Minbari. It is fascinating to see these races and their mostly mysterious histories inextricably woven together via the space station. Including the peoples of Earth, there are some complex and deep running rivalries at play here with each represented by their respective ambassador. This peace is a seemingly delicate and fragile one.

I reiterate from an earlier post that I continue to admire Sinclair's wisdom and patience. O'Hare, while imperfect as captain, is admirable indeed. Sinclair is also alerted to the mystery of the "chrysalis" for the first time here. The more information we receive regarding the cross-section of these races in question the more fascinating the world of B5 becomes.

A Voice In The Wilderness Part 1 & 2 exhibit some of the most impressive visuals to date, while still employing heavy doses of developing CGI. The art form is clearly a work in progress. Even more impressive is the set design and the lighting as Sinclair and Ivanova must rescue an alient sentient that is powering a planet [Epsilon 3, the planet in which Babylon 5 orbits]. One thing to be sure B5 has been carried by its strong supporting cast in Doyle, Jurasik, Furlan and Thompson to name a few. Funny thing is, ocassionally, a performer will arrive in a guest role for the show and serve up a laughable turkey of overacting. It's the most bizarre and uncomfortable thing to watch and it lands smack dab in the midst of the developing chemistry of the regulars.
Babylon Squared is impressive science fiction mixing ideas and action with character growth. This one was solid. There are a number of plot points at work. Delenn is asked to relieve herself as ambassador by her own Grey Council. She denies the request imploring that her mission to determine the course of human destiny is unfulfilled. It is this prophecy and mystery which led to the premature conclusion of the Earth-Minbari War. Delenn dubs it the calling of her heart. She is a puzzle. The Grey Council threatens exile for her from this council. Meanwhile Babylon 4, caught in some kind of strange time flux, has reappeared. Tim Choate delivers a terrific turn as Zathras warning the rescuing B5 of the stakes. He is an extreme ideologue devoted to 'The One'. The One turns out to be.... well, I won't give that away. You'll need to see it if you haven't watched it yet. Not unlike Delenn who alluded to Sinclair's purpose in A Voice In The Wilderness, Zathras informs him "you have a destiny."

The Quality Of Mercy was simply astounding for the mere fact we witness the normally reserved and seemingly dexter-like character of Lennier, played by Bill Mumy, go completely ballistic and all roadhouse smashing mouths at the casino in defense of Londo. Clearly, Lennier is the River Tam of the bunch. He would appear to be of the reglious caste of Minbar, but he clealry exhibits that of a genuine warrior. His past could be interesting. Some crazy physiological developments crop up via the always surprising Londo to boot. As I've learned, the Centauri has 6 sex organs. While gambling/ cheating a strange appendage was assisting Londo at the card table. Was that little package the Centauri equivalent of a penis? Nasty!
Legacies: C
A Voice In The Wilderness Part 1: C
A Voice In The Wilderness Part 2: C+
Babylon Squared: B
The Quality Of Mercy: C [June Lockhart of Lost In Space guests, but never actually shares screen time with her former son Will Robinson]
Tender Moments with Mike Garibaldi.

A foreshadowing from Babylon Squared. Minbari Grey Council member to Delenn: "These are curious times Delenn. I feel a great change in my bones. A new beginning- en end, I cannot say. We are surrounded by signs and portents and I feel a darkness pressing at our backs." Chilling stuff.

Classic dialogue from Garibaldi mumbled to himself after learning his former love is married to a man named Franz: "Franz, what the hell kind of a name is Franz?"

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