Monday, May 5, 2008

B5 S2 Ep3: The Geometry Of Shadows Redux

I was looking for a Techno-Mage, I may have taken a wrong turn. Sorry to have troubled you.

I went back to review scenes from Season 2’s The Geometry Of Shadows that essentially seemed fairly innocuous upon initial viewing, but in retrospect I knew there was much more than met the eye. The story centers on the arrival of the Techno-Mages who utilize smoke and mirrors through science to achieve magic.

Londo spots the Techno-Mage arrival and shares the following with Vir:
“Great maker!…a Techno-Mage. Looks like a human. We used to have them back home long ago. They use science to achieve the effect of magic. I haven’t seen one in years. They almost never travel. They don’t like to leave their places of power. To see even one of them is a rare thing. To see more than one at a time is considered a very bad omen. Three... This is definitely not good.”

You can’t help but laugh a little at this scene given all that transpires following The Geometry Of Shadows. It’s definitely another episode I appreciate more now.

This scene speaks volumes about Londo, his quest for power and lends more insight into the Centauri. Again, Stephen Furst as Vir has one of those shining moments.

Later, there is a scene between Londo and Sheridan whereby Londo offers his services in introducing the Techno-Mage to him. Londo's agenda, of course, is to actually meet the Techno-Mage himself. Londo is a masterful politician [or at times attempts to be] trying to manipulate Sheridan for his ulterior motives, but Sheridan is no slouch. Sheridan is a perfect example of never mistaking kindness for weakness. He is savy, unimpressed and clearly aware of the manipulation at hand.

Londo: “I could be of some small assistance.”

Sheridan: “And what would you get out of it?”

Londo: Oh, a clear conscience and a peaceful sleep. Uh-huh. I can see Sheridan rolling his eyes.

Interesting points:

Over 100 Techno-Mage are emigrating to an unknown location.

Sheridan mentions God’s presence in creation. Just hearing that sounded so definitive, so powerful and further exemplified the sheer balls in Straczynski’s writing to take risks, take a stand and be unafraid to tell his story.

The Techno-Mage [Elric] tells Sheridan:
Elric: That is why we are going away, to preserve that knowledge.”

Sheridan: From what?

Elric: There is a storm coming, a black and terrible storm. We would not have our knowledge lost or used to ill purpose. From this place we will launch ourselves into the stars.”
The final moments of The Geometry Of Shadows is the primary reason I wanted to watch this one again. I kept playing Elric’s words over and over in my mind and wondered if I missed anything. Michael Ansara is excellent as Elric. Some of these guest stars turn in some excellent performances thanks to the great material Straczynski has provided them.

Londo [following several spells by Elric]: Does this torment end when you leave or am I going to have to spend the rest of my life paying for this one mistake?"

Elric: Oh, I’m afraid you’re gonna have to spend the rest of your life paying for mistakes…. You are touched by darkness ambassador. I see it as a blemish that will grow with time. I could warn you of course, but you would not listen. I could kill you, but someone would take your place, so I do the only thing I can. I go. I see a great hand reaching out of the stars. The hand is your hand, and I hear sounds, the sounds of billions of people calling your name.”

Londo: My followers.”

Elric: Your victims.”

It’s interesting Elric points out to Londo that forces at work behind recent events would unfold with or without him. Clearly, Morden and The Shadows found their susceptible pawn in Londo, but would have found another to ensure the inevitable storm would come.

A very bad day to be born to the purple.
On the separate thread regarding the Purple versus Green Drazi war, I was particularly moved by the fine performance of the actors behind the make-up [especially the Green Drazi played brilliantly by Kim Strauss. What a distinctive voice!]. As nuts as they are, they deliver the message to Ivanova with conviction and it is a captivating thread in and of itself. I almost believed Green Drazi made sense for a moment.  The Geometry Of Shadows is a pivotal installment in the second season.

The Geometry Of Shadows: B+


Anonymous said...

Couple of notes:
- JMS' an avowed atheist
- The image of Londo's hand ("I see a great hand reaching out of the stars") has at least two connections, one, in Signs and Portents, when Londo tells Morden that he wants "to see the Centauri stretch out their hand again and command the stars", and two, in Coming of Shadows (I think) when Londo actually sees this hand in his dream.
- The Drazi conflict had to be re-written because Claudia Christian had broken her foot.
- "Purple!"- "Green!" - the best part, for me, is:
"You're killing each other over a stupid piece of cloth!"
"You do the same. For flag, for honour."
"That's different!"
"Is it !?"


The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Hey M....I remember those connections you referred to. I see Straczynski weaves alot of that into his story. Your reference to the Purple/ Green dialogue was memorable. I loved that scene and again Ivanova was great. I didn't know she broke her foot for real...great adjustment for the episode!