Friday, May 23, 2008

B5 S3 Ep2: Convictions

Beautiful Ivanova- looking very 'just rolled out of bed'. Love it!

Babylon 5 takes a small breath with a near standalone story in Season Three Episode Two’s Convictions. With all of the threads woven into Straczynski’s storyline is anything really standalone anymore?

Drazi missionaries arrive along with a dark, cloak-hooded sect led by one Brother Theo. A bomb explodes blowing a man to smithereens in the Down-Below. Straczynski sets the tone alluding to fanaticism taken to its extremes. I love how Straczynski weaves the thought-provoking into his own original story.

Later, another explosion rocks Babylon 5. Super Lennier to the rescue as he saves Londo and Delenn but is left behind a firewall that closes to secure the area. He is badly injured and slips into a coma. There is a sweet sequence once again illustrating Londo’s long forgotten heart as he speaks to the comatose Lennier in medlab. He tries to reach him and comfort him in his own way, ever thankful for Lennier's intervention. That’s twice Lennier has put his neck on the chopping block for Londo. Again, I love how Straczynski never portrays his characters as completely good or evil.

G’Kar believes the Centauri are behind the bombings. Londo believes the Narn are to blame and tries to pin it on them for his political advantage. Sheridan knows it is premature to point fingers.

This is another of those amazing, what I like to refer to now as, ‘elevator moments,’ because they happen in an elevator [brilliant! I know].

Another bomb leaves G’Kar and Londo unintentional roommates. Here they are trapped together in a delicious sequence. It's this combination of dialogue and acting that really allows for Babylon 5 to shine.

Later, as G’Kar and Londo are fading, G’Kar sings a variation [slowed down I believe] of a song he sang joyfully in The Parliament Of Dreams, putting a little twist on the words.

Patrick Kilpatrick plays a tasty psychotic fanatic a la John Malkovich as the crew discovers Robert Carlson behind the bombings. He holds Sheridan hostage. Sheridan has a comlink in his underwear that bleeps and angers Carlson. Still, he manages to keep Carlson talking just long enough for the rest of the crew to find the bomb. The bomb is located next to the fusion reactor and would have been disastrous literally dissolving Babylon 5’s very existence, like a powder keg, but is hastily jettisoned into space in a nick of time. I am surprised more bombs aren’t smuggled aboard Babylon 5. I suppose the parts to make them could slip through easily enough. Based upon the breach of the fusion reactor it's a wonder why this space station doesn’t have a more sophisticated bomb-detecting system. It feels like an accident waiting to happen. In fact, remember Babylon 1, 2 & 3 folks! Hasn't anyone theard of the three strikes your out rule? Why wasn't this made an essential part of the design schematics for 5? Perhaps this should be kind of a top priority.

In the end, G’Kar’s desire to see Londo perish in the heat and smoke is foiled by their rescue.

Londo: "Bastard."
G'Kar: "Monster."
Londo: "Fanatic."
G'Kar" "Murderer."
Londo: "You are insane!"
G'Kar: "And that's why we'll win."

Good news for us. It would have been awful to watch Babylon 5 without our two favorite fanatics at each others' throats.

Convictions: B


Anonymous said...

It was just the right moment to remind us that Londo isn't a complete monster. Interesting that in this episode, Lennier saves Londo's life, while G'kar is prepared to sacrifice his own to see Londo die.

I never quite got the message the bomber subplot is trying to get across: In 9 out of 10 cases, a bomber tries to send a message, Garibaldi said. I still don't really understand what message that is.


The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

I'm assuming we never really find that out. But, I definitely enjoyed the episode as a whole. Granted it's hard to make sense out of irrational behavior.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's just that Straczynski normally doesn't set up such message things without resolving them. I have the feeling I'm mssing something.

You've certainly become gratious with your ratings :) - what's your rating scale, A to F, or A to D? In terms of numbers, I would've given "Convictions" 3 out of 6.

You've got two more stand-alones ahead of you before it re-enters the main arc - one ("Strife") I don't really care much about, and one ("Gethsemane") that's on par with "Inquisitor" for me.


The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Hey M!

Perhaps I have a solid 'B' was more in order for Convictions, but sometimes even some of Straczynski's lesser material is still thoroughly engaging. I haven't been doling out the 'A's that much but you haver to admit most of Babylon 5 since Season 2 has been GOOD or better. I basically grade A through F and I think, judging by what I've seen, it's unlikely we'll see anything lower than a C again. Just a hunch. You know better than myself though. I enjoy the material though and a 3 out of 6 isn;t far off from a B, so my subjective enjoyment of it must clearly have been higher than yours. : ) I look forward to seeing Passing Through Gethsemane based on the fact you and I were very much in agreement with regard to Comes The Inquisitor. Thanks again M for keeping me honest. ;)

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Sorry for not proofreading my comment. I hate making spelling errors and punctuation gaffs. My apologies!

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

M! I was watching the next episode and I looked down at my notepad where I jot down the grade next to the episode and it was only a B next to Convictions which is interesting, based on what you were saying. It looks as though there was a typo in my entry and I didn't actually grade it as high as I thought. A Day in The Strife is going well....

Anonymous said...

Judging from your gradings up to now, I don't think you'll grade any entire episode lower than C (I don't think you actually have graded an episode in Season 1 lower than C, or have you?) There are a few subplots within certain episodes, one in Season 3 and a couple in the first half of Season 5 I'd grade lower, but I don't think you'll grade an entire episode lower than C.


The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Someday, and I'm sure I've said this and you have, I'd like to go back and start from the beginning. That first season was tough to watch it was satisfactory enough to get me by. I would like to go through this again someday down the road. I know what you mean about the subplots.