Sunday, August 24, 2008

B5 S3 Ep18: Walkabout

I love when Shadows shrivel spew and sort of melt away. So cool.

I know it may seem unimportant and you may have absolutely no idea who I’m speaking of, when I say, Walkabout by The Fixx included some of my very favorite songs including Treasure It and Secret Separation. These were absolutely outstanding recordings brought to life by singer/ songwriter Cy Curnin. Yes, Are We Ourselves? indeed. That’s as far as I’ll digress here today. I can hear your sigh of relief.

We are now about to take a bit of a stroll with Babylon 5, Season Three, Episode 18, Walkabout. I thought it was interesting that, not only is Dr. Franklin [temporarily on leave] clearly on a walkabout journey, but Sheridan as well perhaps, and even Lyta Alexander who returns. She is one of the key players in the Babylon 5 mythology undergoing her own kind of walkabout since joining the Vorlons and now facing the impending aftermath in the wake Ambassador Kosh's murder. There is much soul searching at work here.

A rare, surviving Narn Heavy Cruiser is now stationed aside Babylon 5. Their need for mutual support has its benefits. Londo is displeased to put it mildly. Garibaldi is unimpressed by Londo’s displeasure and simply discounts his complaints.

As I mentioned, Patricia Tallman returns as Lyta Alexander. She’s an attractive actress who is always reasonably impressive on the series. She has inquired about Ambassador Kosh. As his aide, she is visibly upset by his demise and may bare some responsibility.

Meanwhile a new Vorlon ambassador has arrived to replace Kosh. Garibaldi informs Ivanova that Sheridan is on his own walkabout of sorts, walking outside the damn space station with magnetic boots. What!!! I think I'd find better places to walk perhaps looking out a space window would do just fine. There is a great shot where the camera pulls back from Ivanova as she looks out the window of command and control and we get a great external view of the station with Sheridan walking out on one of its longest appendages. The final shot is pretty nifty too as the approaching Vorlon replacement senses Sheridan’s presence and literally positions its ship right before Sheridan. Weird. Could it be picking up on Kosh? The skin of the Vorlon ship shifts leaving a message in Vorlonese [I thought that sounded good anyway] for Sheridan to see. I can't imagine he understands it, but perhaps the imprint left some kind of indelible mark for Kosh. It’s interesting that the Vorlon knew Sheridan was out there. Those are some pretty acute Vorlon powers.

G’Kar entertains Na’Kal, a returning hero of sorts, aboard Babylon 5. I believe this to be the Heavy Cruiser Babylon 5 assisted earlier on in the Season Two finale, The Fall Of Night. *** Okay, I have a quick point to make. I looked into my confusion. Robin Sachs is definitely the actor who plays the recurring character Na'Kal, but I'm not losing my mind and here's why. Previously the character Sachs played was credited as Na'Kai and now it's Na'Kal. Interesting. That a pretty major oversight in the editing department and in the actual dialogue unless Sachs is suppose to be playing a completely different character which I doubt. Hmmm, anyway, moving on. *** Na’Kal informs G’Kar of the good news. Some Narn Heavy Cruisers have been salvaged and some are being repaired utilizing the parts of those that have been damaged. Na’Kal prematurely touches upon retaliation against the Centauri with G’Kar. G’Kar attempts to deflect that idea by explaining the wisdom in protecting Babylon 5 with its remaining forces. G’Kar knows all too well “If Babylon 5 falls we all fall with it.” Not to mention you'd think the Narn as a race kind of needs to rebuild its fighting force to avoid a complete rout.

The Narn Heavy Cruiser is pretty good size next to Babylon 5.
Sheridan is informed Franklin hasn’t left his quarters in days. Garibaldi checks on him only to learn he’ll need to locate the whereabouts of Mr. Walkabout. Garibaldi catches up with him to learn he’s on a bit of a spiritual undertaking. This a pretty moving sequence and Straczynski really gives Richard Biggs the floor. I must admit I have increasingly become less and less of a fan of the Dr. Franklin character over time, but this is definitely one of those moments he's given to shine even if I'm still not completely recaptured by his limited skills as an actor.

The Vorlon replacement has arrived and is greeted by Captain Sheridan and Ivanova in their typically gracious manner. In what we've come to expect of the Vorlon style the new ambassador is puzzling. Per the Vorlon’s request, Kosh’s death has been rendered a secret. Sheridan is apparently to refer to the new Vorlon as Kosh in public [cue Twilight Zone theme]. Sheridan logically asks how the Vorlon should be addressed privately. The Vorlon replies, “Kosh” [excuse me, uh... come again - okay for clarity here on the blog we’ll refer to you as New Kosh]. Here we go again with more unsolved mysteries and the continuing mystique of the Vorlons. Ivanova justifiably reminds the encounter-suited Vorlon that Kosh is dead.

Classic lines:

New Kosh: “We are all Kosh.”
Sheridan: “Well, he’s a Vorlon.”
Ivanova: “Yup.”

The new Kosh is so hardcore he makes the old Kosh look like a giant, old teddy bear with a helmet illustrating the point this race of god-like beings seems to operate with unique character traits and distinct personality however limited.

You can find this in the Museum Of Modern Art, New York City.
Shortly after its arrival, in the smoke-filled or dry ice laden alien sector, the New Kosh through encounter-suit vision makes out some form of establishing marks on the wall, a message perhaps left by Kosh? New Kosh meets with Lyta. She tells him, “I’d heard you arrived. I was just coming to see you.” Suddenly, with a quick jerk of his encounter head, New Kosh places Lyta in a stranglehold. Yet again, a Vorlon goes all Darth Vader to send a message as Lyta clasps her neck and gasps for air. New Kosh demands to know where she was when Kosh died. She insists he was not with her, “not even a piece of him.” We know Kosh and Lyta had performed some kind of energy transfer at the end of the amazing Season Three entry, Episode 4, Passing Through Gethsemane. New Kosh tells her “failed.” She takes the blame for his loss. “I’m sorry he’s gone.” By the way, it’s notable that the end credits once again refer to Ardwight Chamberlain as the voice of the New Kosh labeled strictly Kosh here as well by gosh. It's like humans are clearly servants to the Vorlons [in exchange for something] and if you mess up you are going to be reprimanded badly.
"I Am Your Father."
Later, Sheridan inquires with Lyta how she’s making out with the new Vorlon ambassador. She is tentative and does indicate the Vorlons are taking the loss of Kosh hard. There’s a great moment when Lyta sort of drifts out of body and Sheridan’s voice becomes an echo and when he asks her “is there a problem?,” she hears the voice of Kosh and snaps back out of it [because, once again, could there be a piece of Kosh with Sheridan since his death in Season Three, Episode 15, Interludes And Examinations?]. Sheridan tells her “there’s something I need you to do.”

Franklin enters a bar where he finds a beautiful, sexy entertainer singing. It was an interesting moment within the series. It’s so different in rhythm for Straczynski as Franklin just sits there soaking her in with his bedroom eyes while she sings her little ditty. The lack of verbal give and take is so noticeable given the skillful Straczynski scribe’s normal scripted poetry that it feels like your just floating. It’s a pleasant break from the action just the same.

Sheridan calls a meeting of the War Council. He reminds all that the Shadows’ vessels are based upon organic technology and hence may be susceptible to telepathic interference. The hope is to jam the central operating system and leave the vessel vulnerable. So if a living organism pilots the ship I'm assuming the pilot would be the central operating system. Upon hearing the briefing G’Kar is uneasy with relation to the number of hypotheticals the council is forced to consider. Sheridan admits that there are a number of ambiguities and these theories must be tested via the White Star with Lyta's help. Sheridan is planning to engage a Shadows’ craft in the hopes of implementing the plan and proving their ships can be destroyed. Ivanova knows it’s risky and to date they've been victorious through a combination of ingenuity and a little luck. Now, Sheridan has a plan. I love when he tells everyone, “to minimize our losses”- yeah that’s a positive attitude to rally the troops- “I’ll take a skeleton crew.” Oh yeah, skeleton is right, with that kind of reassurance SIGN US UP! You’re just exuding confidence aren’t ya! So he starts picking people to join his crusade. Lennier is honored to go despite being potential spacebait. Sheridan would appreciate some back-up from the Minbari as well as the Narn Heavy Cruiser. Delenn quickly obliges. G’Kar indicates he will need to speak with Na’Kal. It was equally humorous when Sheridan asks if “anyone else” will join him. All of the aliens start looking down at the floor and their papers hiding their eyes. Yeah, COUNT US OUT! It reminded me of being called upon by professors in school. 'Who would like to solve this equation?' [The answer: heads down, eyes busy, pens writing, pencils tapping, tongues licking lips, fingers itching top of head]. Delenn brings up a great point. Lyta may not be powerful enough against the Shadows as a P5 [level telepath]. Ivanova suggests a Minbari telepathic contingent join the Minbari back up. That's right stick the Minbari out there!

Back in the bar “Steve” [as singer Cailyn prefers to refer to him], and Cailyn are makin’ those “I wanna’ sex you up” eyes. He does. She does. You know The Drill. She mentions something to the affect of being able to see someone’s soul by looking through a glass. Anyway, she does the nasty, or the beautiful; however you see it, and then asks the doctor to get her some drugs. Awww, man why’d ya have to go and do that? Here he was feelin' it for ya and you land that bombshell. Franklin is none too happy with being used.

G’Kar asks Na’Kal for his help. Na’Kal unabashedly refers to Sheridan’s plan as a “fool’s mission.” Na'Kal is obsessed with reclaiming Homeworld and selfishly flat out refuses to help. G’Kar somberly tells him Sheridan’s chances will be less without the aid of the Narn. Na’Kal’s response is pure cold as ice, “If he dies, then he dies.” Nice. Glad we could be of assistance Na'dick! G'Kar is not pleased by the response.

Ship’s Log.” I love when Sheridan records events via the Ship’s Log. It’s such a nostalgic nod to the glory of Star Trek, despite whatever problems Straczynski had experienced with the creators behind Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I love it. Whether it is a bit of homage or just coincidental I love that narrative style over science-fiction. The White Star is en route to Sector 90.

G’Kar lays in bed restless over the decisions that have been made concerning Sheridan. Garibaldi irate, justifiably, visits G’Kar and throws the book at him, the Book of G’Quan to be exact. He is extremely angry at G’Kar’s lack of spine and the thankless response of Na’Kal. G’Kar knows he’s absolutely right too and Andreas Katsulas does what Andreas Katsulas does giving us his emotional response simply through his eyes and facial expression. Did this guy win any awards at all for God's sake? Could Garibaldi be setting up a cavalry situation here should things not go well? I'm thinking. This is another sterling performance by Jerry Doyle and a deliciously subtle performance by Andreas Katsulas. Watching this I felt as though I had missed Katsulas for long stretches during Season Three. He played a big part in Season Two but has been reasonably quiet of late.

I have to say as much as G'Kar has clearly grown as a character and has accepted his fate for a higher calling he has grown a bit soft since his enlightenment. Garibaldi deservedly lets him have it. I hope it’s a wake-up call for G’Kar to get some of that fight back.

Have you noticed they like to focus on Lyta's eyes?
Meanwhile back in hyperspace, the White Star and Minbari are sailing. Lyta asks Sheridan how he knew Kosh had died. He tells her something touched his mind and he sensed it. You’ll recall him screaming for Kosh as he woke from a nightterror in Interludes And Examinations, while Kosh was slaughtered. Lyta is feeling very guilty over the death of Kosh. Sheridan comforts her ensuring her there was nothing she could do. Perhaps Kosh was speaking indirectly to her in some manner.

The White Star exits hyperspace while the Minbari remain there as insurance if all goes badly. Like a missile the White Star comes shooting out of the wormhole upon the Shadows’ vessel. Lyta begins to work her telepathic magic and goes into spasms screaming. Lennier reports the enemy ship is coming in on an “attack vector.” Sheridan gets Lyta to snap out of it and focus on the task at hand. She does as she sees a vision of Kosh being destroyed by The Shadows [or agents thereof]. “They tore him apart. Burn you bastard!” Yeah, it was pretty gruesome Lyta. Take care of those suckers! Lyta freezes the vessel in space as blood drips from her eye. She tells Sheridan If you’re gonna’ do something- do it now.” Sheridan demands a stream of continuous forward battery, yellow-green firepower [the antithesis to purple-pink firepower]. Lennier is forced to take the jump drive off-line. In other words no escape is possible for twenty minutes and you are completely screwed if things don’t work out in your favor. Fortunately they manage to subdue the ship and destroy it. Lyta is faint, tired and exhausted. She tells him it tried to break free. She thinks it may have sent a distress call. In other words, say hello to my little Shadows’ friends because they are coming your way to kick your ass! Ten minutes remaining for jump drive recharge. Lennier is picking up a “local disturbance” [that really sounds much nicer than it's going to be]. Yup! That would be the Shadows backup plan. A jump point opens and here come four Shadow spider craft. Leaving the area would be a good idea. The White Star makes a run of it and here comes the Minbari to assist. The Minbari have only three telepaths to contain three enemy ships while the fourth pursues Sheridan and company. Sheridan looks to Lyta for help but she’s useless, just plain wiped and plum tuckered out. The Shadow craft locks onto the White Star and Lennier gives everyone the good news. We’re not gonna make it,” ---unless the Narn arrive! We can pretty much thank Garibaldi for that. I just knew that was the answer to their success here, but I don’t think that was a surprise to anyone. Together the Narn Heavy Cruiser and the White Star tackle the fourth and final Shadows’ attacker. Furthermore, G’Kar brought a fleet of alien support with him. Nicely done G’Kar. Did you have to open up a can of old-fashioned G'KAr whoop ass to get him to comply? I wonder.

Lyta hears the voice of Kosh, “…and so it begins.”

Back on Babylon 5, Franklin finds Cailyn on the floor. It appears she has taken a hit of Metazine. She has not. He takes her to medlab. Dr. Lillian Hobbs informs him she is suffering from pain- neural paralysis to be specific. She will die. I have to admit there were aspects to the Franklin thread that very much reminded me of his previous career outlet as a soap actor on Days Of Our Lives, not that I ever saw any of his shows, but I know soap opera when I see it and that’s what it felt like. She has six months and he tells the folks in medlab to give her “whatever she needs for as long as she needs it.” It would seem here he didn't feel playing by the book achieved the greater good.

Lyta reports to New Kosh that someone may have a piece of Kosh. Could that special someone be Sheridan I wonder? Can I put money on it?

The final shot of Franklin visiting a now healthy Cailyn in the bar as she sings is sweet and the final shot is an image of him through a prism-like glass window where we see many images suggesting he may not have found himself but at the very least has a whole lotta soul. It’s a great piece of visual poetry.

I definitely enjoyed the Lyta thread more than the Franklin one [B/B-] here.

Walkabout: B-


Anonymous said...

As it turns out in "To dream in the city of sorrows", the new Vorlon's name is actually Ulkesh (I don't think that's spoiling anything).

Funny thing about Na'kal/Na'kai - is it actually Na'Kai in "The fall of the night's" credits and subtitles? I'll have to look that up on the DVD, since all the reference sites seem to list him as Na'Kal.


TFKoP said...

First off: 'Camphor' is one of my all-time favorite tunes.

Second off: check this out from


The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Hey M!

Definitely check those credits out in The Fall Of Night because I remembered and I went back and it is Na'Kai there. Wild oversight. No big deal but the opening credits of chapter two list Na'Kai unless I'm losing my mind and that's always possible.

TFKOP! I pretty much have everything by The Fixx and all of Cy's solo stuff. There's a great b-side from the Japan import of INK called Ships Are Safe In Harbour. It's outstanding like so many songs and it can only be found on the Japanese import. Doh! I hate when that happens! I do have it though! Cheers all!

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Great list from TFKOP off the link he listed above. The site lists the TOP 50 science fiction. I'll the random ones worth mentioning that basically appealed to me. : )

Top 10 Science fiction shows are [drum roll please....]:

47. Buck Rogers In The 25th Century. [I have to watch that again someday-cheesy but good-
Twiggi: "Beety Beety Beety What's up Buck!?"]
40. The Thunderbirds [these puppets rock!]
38. Batman [that's right WHAMMO!]
37. Space 1999 [I think I'd like to watch this again someday too!]
35. Battlestar Glactica [orginal]
33. Lost In Space [Lennier and company with Robot]
29. The Six Million Dollar Man [I loved that and Bigfoot and Wild Boy]
26. Stargate Atlantis
22. Andromeda [haven't seen it but might someday- very low on the priority list]
17. Firefly [this one needs to be much higher!]
14. Star Trek: Voyager
11. Lost [hmmm...verdict is still out on this one being this high]
8. Dr. Who
6. Stargate SG-1
5. BABYLON 5 [WOW! A nice entry in the Top 50! Sweet]
4. The X-Files
3. Star Trek: The Next Generation
2. Battlestar Galactica [I really need to see many of these and blog about them! This one clobbered everyone except....]
1. Star Trek: The Original Series

I think it's notable Earth 2 wasn't on the list because it sucked!
I was surprised Enterprise and Deep Space Nine didn't qualify somewhere on the list. STRANGE.

Thanks for the memories on that!