Sunday, April 20, 2008

B5 S2 Ep 17-18: Knives & Confessions And Lamentations

It's fitting to see Boxleitner play ball here. I have been a little slow of late to keep a steady pace with Babylon 5. I've been coaching baseball, shagging baseballs and running around the ballfield keeping up with my team of late. Folks! I'm in a lot of pain. Some nights I can't move. Anyway, if I get a little behind it's because I'm doing precisely what Sheridan is doing here along with a million other things. So my apologies in advance for any delays.

Despite the pleasant engagements of life outside the blogosphere, I LOVE this show! It bums me out when I cannot get to the screen for the next entry. It's interesting how certain elements of the show are true highlights for me, when those same sequences might not be for another. Granted, the show as a whole is mostly thrilling. I also like to take pictures of the things that stand out for me. Anyway, off we go...

Babylon 5 eases off the Shadows’ accelerator a touch, but maintains momentum concerning its many colorful character-driven stories and heavy drama for Episodes 16 & 17.

Knives [Episode 16] focuses on two threads. First, Sheridan visits a portion of B5 that is considered the "B5 triangle" as a result of strange phenomena. He finds an alien seemingly dead, but is grabbed and an energy force enters Sheridan’s body unbeknownst to him at first. Slowly, Sheridan is haunted by apparitions of significance. He discovers the alien that touched him in the ‘B5 triangle’ passed through Sector 14 [location of the time anomaly where Babylon 4 had appeared]. Of course, Sheridan is uninformed concerning B4 & Sector 14 due to the fact all records reflecting the B4 [Babylon Squared Season 1] incident had been destroyed, except those copied and retained by the always savy and vigilant Garibaldi. Sheridan slowly realizes the messages are the life form’s way of communicating to him to go home. Sheridan commandeers a Starfury to the site and a portal opens as the energy form rushes from Sheridan's body. Garibaldi is there to bring him home an incapacitated Sheridan.

Elsewhere, the sublime performance of Londo continues and it is a beautiful thing to behold. An old friend, Urza Jaddo, visits him. Londo learns Jaddo's entire house is being disgraced as traitor back on Centauri Prime. Urza looks to the prestige of his old pally Londo for help. Londo demands his friend and co-conspirator, Lord Refa, drop all charges against Urza, but this is problematic for Refa because he is the one that has brought those charges against the house of Jaddo. Well, things get heated. I love when things get heated on B5. Always good fun! Londo’s association with Lord Refa whom he refers to as an “assassin” incenses Urza. In the end, as is Centauri custom, Urza challenges Londo to a knife duel. Sadly, Londo dies. Kidding. Seriously, Urza dies, but dies with honor and as is customary under Centauri law his death protects his remaining family and House Mollari must assume care for House Jaddo as the victor. This is great space tragedy. It really is deliciously tragic stuff.

Confessions And Lamentations [Episode 17] places the spotlight smack dab on the reality of genocide. It’s like looking in a mirror for our own world. A ship of Markab is found floating in space. All aboard are found dead. A lethal infection has been brought aboard B5. Like the Bird Flu, will the viral strain mutate and jump species? Sheridan places B5 under quarantine. He places the Markab in an isolation zone. Lennier and Delenn break the quarantine to offer compassion to the dying. Before Delenn leaves, Sheridan tells her when they meet again to call him “John.” Something is stirring between these two. There is much tenderness in this episode. Dr. Franklin believes he may have a cure. When the seal is broken, Sheridan and company find Lennier and Delenn standing alone amidst plague-riddled bodies lifelessly strewn across the area. All have died. Delenn embraces Sheridan in agonizing pain and tears. It is quite moving. The plague is believed to have wiped out over two billion Markab and left the race nearly eradicated. The show fearlessly handles issues on the grand scale of civilization that give you pause.

Knives may be my favorite non-Straczynski-penned story. As a B5 friend has noted, Straczynski takes over writing chores from this point forward. It's a surprise to anyone he wasn't smoking 12 packs of ciggies a day and going on an alcohol bender from the stress of it all. It's a tribute to his talent and passion for the story because the series really flows with him at the helm. When he was 'in' an 'out' of those responsibilities in Season 1 it really felt disjointed at times among other establishing reasons. But strap on your seatbelt because you are now boarding the Straczynski express.

Knives: B+ [Carmen Argenziano guests as Ursa Jaddo; Argenziano is most notable for his recurring role on Stargate SG-1 as Samantha Carter's father Jacob/ Selmak].

Confessions And Lamentations: C

Londo [from Knives]: “The blood is already on my hands. Right or wrong, I must follow the path to its end. I want to sleep- if I can.” It's like friggin' William Shakespeare and Julius Caesar.

Delenn [from Confessions And Lamentations]: “Faith manages.” The sound wisdom of a true sage.


Anonymous said...

"Confessions" is the 2nd "Trek plot turned upside down", after "Believers" in Season 1. I don't think you'd have seen an ending like that in a Trek episode at that time.

Remember Delenn's decision to risk dying in there when you watch "Inquisitor".


Inkygirl said...

Yay for someone else watching through B5 for the first time! I've posted about your reports on my blog today, but you probably don't want to read the post yet because it's about an episode you haven't yet seen.


The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

M! Always great to hear from you. Remember, try not to prompt me for things to come. I like being surprised. I have stalled a bit so I haven't watched the last two yet and I'm concentrating on writing the entries prior to Inquisitor at the moment.

Great to hear from you :Deb! Yes, I am a bit behind on your B5 experience, because I don't want to read anything that gives it away. M! was the one who had told me about your blog. It's a nice one and I love your non-B5 stuff as well. You are extremely talented! Thanks for the plug but I won't be reading about it for awhile- must steer clear : ). Very kind of you. Like you, I am enjoying the series immensely. All the best! SF Fanatic!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I assure you, the remark about Inquisitor doesn't give away anything about the plot in that episode. It's just an implicit connection I myself realised only recently.


The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Thanks M! Whew! That's a relief... by the way, which Star Trek series were those two episodes related? I plan on going through Trek after B5. it's abit of a ways off but sounds like you're a fan of Trek like myself. I definitely hope you are around for that run as well. I've seen various episodes from every series, but it will become a mission for me to see Trek through from the beginning. : )

Anonymous said...

No particular Trek episodes that I could name ... there was one in TNG, I think, with a similar problem like in "Believers", but of course the parents came to their senses and the child live. For "Confessions", any episode where the doc finds the cure in time :D

I rewatched ST:TOS around Christmas, which was a mixed back after all the time. Some really great stories, and others that are straight for the bin - don't get me started on "Spock's brain". I don't own any other of the series sets, but I do have the Q collection and the Borg collection and re-watched the latter recently. It's a strange experience to get back to the TNG-universe after spending a lot of times in B5. It's an entirely different atmosphere. I'd be interested in your thoughts about the differences when you get there.

I'm not sure whether I qualify as a Trek fan. I do like TOS, parts of TNG and parts of DSß, but I didn't like Voyager and Enterprise at all.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

I gotchya M. Yeah, I've never seen anything like B5. It is entirely unique. Star Trek is cool but it's not gritty like this in many ways. It's cleaner, more professional, more sterile. I like them both but right now B5 is heading straight to the top of my list. : )

Anonymous said...

Sterile. Exactly. No-one has to worry about business affairs, no-one is forced to argue about rents or with the post office, no-one doubts if they have the right job, no-one ever visits a bathroom. The human element is missing. That's the most noticeable impression I got when I got back to watch these episodes from VOY and TNG.


TFKoP said...
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