Sunday, April 6, 2008

B5 S2 Ep 10-11: Gropos & All Alone In The Night

The sultry-lipped Commander Ivanova.
This is shaping up to be one mighty, damn fine space opera!

The Babylon 5 Season 2 fun continues following on from the despair found in The Coming Of Shadows. That episode was so flat out powerful, I was like 'where the hell do we go from here?'

What is interesting at this point is even when an episode doesn’t quite succeed it’s still pretty damn good. The natural flow is there and that keeps things hopping. If I haven’t given the impression, I’m definitely hooked and caught up in these characters lives. There becoming like old friends. ‘The One To Be Pitied’ is always telling me, “these people are NOT your friends.” I tell her that's just not true, they are indeed my friends. Imaginary friends yes, but friends nonetheless. She's just jealous.

Does Robert Rusler really need to be in the credits for this show?
Gropos inevitably lightens the mood following the white-hot intensity of The Coming Of Shadows. We see B5 forced to accommodate an influx of 25,000 soldiers [a.k.a. ground-pounders, jarheads or gropos]. Leading the troops is Dr. Franklin’s estranged father. B5 is being established as a staging center for an assault. Meanwhile, following on from all the action Londo or Winters has had, Garibaldi finally, almost, gets a piece of …errr, the action. New defensive systems are installed on B5 equipped with pulse systems and tracking three times faster than the more antiquated system in place. Why do I get the feeling they’ll come in handy later? There’s a lot of touchy-feely drama and relationship moments in this one. I kinda dig touchy-feely. It worked just fine for me, afterall these are my friends. If not one predisposed to the enjoyment of a tug on the ol' emotional heartstrings, a good, old-fashioned, balls-to-the-wall, bare-knuckle bar brawl ensues. That was nice to get the blood going.

All Alone In The Night concentrates on Sheridan and Delenn. Sheridan is captured by an alien vessel and the story mirrors elements of the classic film Enemy Mine as Sheridan allies with a Narn for survival. Elsewhere, Delenn is summoned before the Grey Council for judgment from the nine. Culturally, we learn more about the Minbari. The council is comprised of three components of Minbari society/ caste: warrior [3 members], religious [3], worker [3]. Delenn is of the religious caste. Surprisingly she learns her position has been replaced by that of a warrior off-setting the balance of the nine. Delenn is treated as an outsider and in essence banished by her people despite her noble intentions as a bridge between human and Minbari. Loyally Lennier remains by her side. Delenn seemingly is alone in much the same way as Sheridan. Meanwhile, the Agamemnon is sent through the jumpgate to save Sheridan. All in all the acting was a tad overdone specifically by Richard Biggs and Bruce Boxleitner, but everyone's entitled to a bad day. Most interesting, Sheridan had a vision while aboard the alien craft whereby Kosh tells him, “you have always been here.” Kosh repeats those same words when he returns to Babylon 5. Sheridan looks entranced as Kosh walks away. This is the stuff that really captivates in B5.

The final act of All Alone In The Night is the most intriguing. Sheridan is visited by General William Hague. In relief, Sheridan indicates he’s been waiting on the station for a debriefing for six months and that he thought he’d been forgotten. So, Sheridan is clearly there as part of a plan initially designed by former President Santiago. Hague informs him that Psi Corp may be involved in the assassination of the former Earth President and he will contact him whenever possible with information as they move forward. The two patriots pledge to take back Earth by doing the right thing. Sheridan has observed those he can trust and calls a private meeting. Ivanova, Garibaldi and Dr. Franklin are all on board regarding his confidence. “We’re with you Captain. Wherever this goes, however it ends, we’re with you” assures Ivanova. Now, that’s loyalty folks! Tremendous qualities hard to find these days. One last thing, Ship effects are really beginning to shine in this series.

Gropos: [C+]

All Alone In The Night: [C] [Roberty Foxworthy guests with a small but excellent role in the final minutes]

Sheridan: "There’s only one truth about war. People die. Killing is part of a soldier’s job. We can’t deny it. We can only live with it and hope the reasons for doing it are justified."


Anonymous said...

Okay... well... if they ARE your friends, could you give them a call to see if they could pick up a pizza and some beer for dinner? They would be welcome to join us.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Ohhhhh you again! To quote my friend Londo with the cold drink in hand, "You are a lunatic, go away! Pester someone else!"

Anonymous said...

Warren Keffer was added to the semi-regular cast of the show thanks to the demand of PTEN Network - who wanted a "sexy, hot-shot, Han Solo-type" starfury pilot in the show.

JMS by his own statements hates that sort of characters and commented on the intrusion in his own distinctive way and humour: In his very first scene in "Points of Departure", we witness sexy Warren receiving a video-letter from his girlfriend, who tells him she's been dreaming about being in bed with him, and then proceeds to describe the wallpaper in great detail :)

Kind of amusing to hear you raving about the CGI now, as when you started watching the series, they were one of your biggest issues with it!


The Sci-Fi Fanatic said... makes sense that his input is rather minimal all season. I know I was hard on the CGI in Season 1 which is why I think it's only fair I mention how much I think it has been improving. The effects team must have been working around the clock. Cheers Mandy.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the CGI in season one were done on Commodore Amigas - the only platforms back then remotely capable of rendering that sort of CGI at all. Apparently one frame took about an hour of rendering time, and there are just 24 frames per second ... so much for working time. Later, I don't know exactly when, they moved to a DOS platform.

I do recall mentioning Straczynski that George Lucas and staff were present at some presentation (might have been at the Hugo award presentation) of either the pilot or a season one episode back in the early 1990s, and apparently they were quite interested in what the pilotwas accomplished by the B5 team. As we know, at that time Lucas was considering when time would be ripe for doing the CGI for his vision of the Star Wars PT.