Monday, September 29, 2008

The Muppet Show S3: Pigs In Space & The Deadly Snack-O-Waves

The crazy adventures continue for... PPPPPIGGGGGSSS IN SPAAAACE! The Swinetrek crew is in deep trouble lost and bombarded by deadly snack-o-waves!

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

B5 S4 Ep2: Whatever Happened To Mr. Garibaldi?

Where's Garibaldi? There he is- on the floor there at the feet of Psi Corps. Uh-Oh.

The second installment for Babylon 5, Season Four, Episode 2, Whatever Happened To Mr. Garibaldi?, opens with a great pan across B5. It is the year 2261.

Our story opens with a recap of events from the tongue of Dr. Franklin via his personal log. You my friend are no G’Kar in the narration department. Lennier reports there is a problem with Delenn to Dr. Franklin. It would appear she is suffering through a depression of sorts without Sheridan by her side, in much the same manner as Ivanova.

Meanwhile, deep at the core of Z’Ha’Dum, Sheridan awakens. Lorien tells him there is no way off the planet and from the sounds [and looks] of it Lorien came to terms with that fact long ago. He is clearly a castaway of sorts, perhaps a prisoner. Straczynski loves to utilize the fine theatrical work of Wayne Alexander [here as Lorien], previously Sebastian [a.k.a. Jack The Ripper] in Season Two, Episode 21, Comes The Inquisitor, as his vehicle for serving up moral and philosophical questions or puzzles. His words are thought provoking to say the least. “Which came first the word or the thought behind the word?” Right. I’m going with ‘thought’ as an answer. I find that question far less difficult to analyze than the classic conundrum, ‘which came first the chicken or the egg?’ I am stumped by that one every time. It pains me to decide. Just when I think it’s the chicken I correct myself with egg and then when I’m certain it’s the egg I’m thrown into self-doubt and go back to my original answer- the chicken. Without the chicken there is no egg, but then the chicken had to come from the egg, just as the egg had to come…. Arggghhh! It’s enough to make one go absolutely mad.

Meanwhile, G’Kar has taken to searching for Mr. Garibaldi in a disco on a white planet [I’m not sure if we’re ever told of the planet’s name, if so I missed it]. Citizen G’Kar approaches a man named Isaac for information. An abandoned Starfury was located drifting in Sector 87 and G’Kar is determined to find his old friend. He hand carries a part from the Starfury complete with serial number. You gotta love serial numbers. You can find anything with a serial number, but the funny thing is do we ever actually right down serial numbers to anything we own? No. Music equipment. Computers. We just don't bother. Anyhow, the part is a match to the craft piloted by “a friend of mine, name is Michael Garibaldi.” It’s been two weeks now since his station colleague went missing. G’Kar applies classic G’Kar pressure as only the narn can.

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A brawl ensues filled with fisticuffs flying. G’Kar is backed by Marcus who has apparently followed him down to the planet to ensure his safety. The two are heavily outnumbered and quickly make haste in their escape from the melee. Interestingly the barkeep was keeping an eye on G’Kar. Marcus looks more like a ranger than ever and a bit of a dashing swashbuckler with his newly shorn, tidied-up locks. I had complained of his unruly hair in the past that left women swooning for him, but it would appear they have registered my complaints here. This is much better. Previously I could envision him rolling out from a smoke-filled van onto a fast food parking lot with Jeff Spicoli. No longer.

Marcus and G’Kar are wanted men and G’Kar cannot make heads or tails of it given the trivial nature of their altercation. Something doesn’t smell right.

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Back in the bar, the bartender is perusing a photo lineup of an assorted cast of characters with soldiers that look like Beefeater rejects from outside the Tower Of London. Apparently there is a fairly handsome reward for G’Kar captured dead or alive.

On Babylon 5, Dr. Franklin sorts through Sheridan’s personal belongings and invites Delenn to join him. She watches a film clip from Sheridan’s personal log in which he privately declares love for Minbari Delenn despite having fought the Minbari in the past. He is surprised by the irony as he has fallen for one from the very race that was once his enemy.

Watching Marcus and G’Kar slum it on the white planet in search of Garibaldi is terrific. They look like unhappy campers literally out camping. Marcus and G’Kar do get hold of Isaac once more before G’Kar is inevitably captured [apparently worth more money alive] and Marcus heads back to Babylon 5. G’Kar puts up a good fight before being neutralized and subdued with a stun weapon. I liked that cool knuckle-wielding stun weapon. Sweet! I liked it better than the PPG. Still I do like the sound effect for the PPG when it is activated. It's just kind of puny looking.

Meanwhile, back on Babylon 5, the rangers meet via their fleet of White Stars. Delenn informs them of preparations to strike Z’Ha’Dum in 7 days, or said another way, Z Minus 7 Days. It looks like the plan is to enact offense before The Shadows regroup and they're forced on defense.

Back on Centauri Prime, Londo is awakened from his slumber to report to the emperor immediately where he is given a gift. We all saw it coming. Enter G’Kar in shackles. G’Kar is pinned to a harness and wood and despite Straczynski's allignment to atheism there did seem like an allusion to the crucifixion sans nails of Jesus Christ. The emperor directs a question to G’Kar, “do you have anything to say?” The last and sole remaining free member of narn’s ruling body, known as the Kha’Ri [I had to look that one up for spelling], has now been captured. G’Kar struggles, but loyally expresses his singular goal and mission, “do you by any chance happen to know where Mr. Garibaldi might be?” I couldn’t help but imagine those words resonating within Londo. Not only did he seem to be visibly shaken by G’Kar’s fate before him, but also the fact G’Kar steadfastly expressed concern for someone other than himself must have moved Londo. It was a moving tribute to G'Kar's heart. Londo seemed deeply concerned regarding G'Kar's fate. There's so much going on in Londo's face. It's hard to tell. Peter Jrasik is a tremendous actor.

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Londo is transitioning into something greater before our very eyes. Is the future changing before us since Sheridan defied all premonitions by setting foot on Z’Ha’Dum? Londo is clearly moving to right some monumental wrongs here. He is making amends through his actions toward Morden and through his expressions of worry. You can see the gears spinning in his head plotting and scheming to make things right. With this we see the future changing.

We cut to a room where Garibaldi is imprisoned with a single chair. A male voice questions Garibaldi and he resists lashing out violently. Smoke fills the room and a gas-masked agent enters the room. It appears to be Psi Corps.

Londo visits G’Kar in what may be one of the most powerful, beautifully performed sequences of the series. This ranks up there with my previous favorite, the Sheridan and Kosh sequence from Season Three, Episode 15, Interludes & Examinations. Remember, I also love just about any of the Londo-G’Kar exchanges from the past three seasons. There are so moments that come to mind [it's getting hard to rolodex them all in my mind] and of course the elevator sequence between G’Kar and Vir from Season Two, Episode 21 [again], Comes The Inquisitor, is one of those sterling moments that tug at the old heart strings. This is simply incredible work that must be added to the long pantheon of great moments from Babylon 5.

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Is the hair standing on your back? Those are two truly stunning performers at the top of their game. They know how to deliver dialogue and even when they are saying so little they say so much. WOW! It’s a truly symbolic moment and a lovely one at that when the light shines into the cell upon G’Kar’s face as he lays on the floor following his negotiation with Londo to free his enslaved people. There is such power throughout that scene.

This image continues projecting from Sheridan's mind. It's a headscratcher.
Elsewhere, on Z’Ha’Dum, we discover Lorien is THEEE First One! So, was he captured and held imprisoned there by The Shadows all this time? Do they know he is still there? He clearly saved Sheridan. “Did you know you have a Vorlon inside of you? Well, a piece of one.” Of course we always had a sense this was the case. This wasn’t earth-shattering news, but it does confirm our suspicions. The Vorlons are an intriguing race. They almost seem parasitic in nature. They seemingly need humans to fuel their existence, yet it would seem humans are essentially being used, especially based upon the actions of New Kosh toward Lyta. Anyway, Lorien indicates both Sheridan and Kosh are alike in their fear of letting go of life. Yeah, I could see where that might be a hard thing to do. As someone who enjoys air I can relate to that. He tells Sheridan he is caught in between, “not embracing life, your fleeing death,” unable to move forward. Could this be the reference to the dream of Garibaldi, “the man in between is searching for you.” Could it be a reference to Kosh or to Lorien? Hmmm. Lorien urges Sheridan that he must let go and surrender to death. Okay. Lorien- could you be any more inspirational? I’d be like, ‘why would I want to listen to you since you haven’t exactly gotten yourself out of this dungeon in what seems like years.’ He asks Sheridan if he has anything worth living for… oh, just a little woman named Delenn.

There are many interesting changes and new currents at play already within Season Four.
*
Whatever Happened To Mr. Garibaldi?: B+

[and since this is partly G'Kar's search, you can actually here these very words spoken from his mouth as only he can say it.]

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Muppet Show: Pigs In Space

Seriously, does science fiction get any funnier than, well... pigs in space. When I was young we prayed The Muppet Show would have the latest serial installment of Pigs In Space. The segment was random so it didn't appear in every episode. We loved the adventures of Link [as in sausage link], Dr. Strangepork and Miss Piggy. If someone told me there would be a sci-fi serial based upon pigs in space I would have told them 'yeah right, when pigs fly.'

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Okay perhaps there is funnier, but this stuff is simply timeless and you know those special effects are really something special. Joking. Not at all. It's just a good old-fashioned goof.

The Muppet Show S3: Gonzo, Multiplication, A Piano & The Value Of The Autographed Card

The more I watch some of the older shows with my kids the more I realize just how soulless some of the tripe today really is. In fact, some of the stuff today is garbage in comparison. Funny thing is kids really get and like these old shows. Sit them down to The Brady Bunch, Little House On The Prairie or The Muppet Show and you'll see them absolutely bust a gut or fall in love just like you did.

I'll occassionally throw up some of the best moments from The Muppet Show when something hits me. It's all from the mind of the genius that is Jim Henson. Enjoy them and have a laugh.

Here's a great moment with the fabulous Gonzo.

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I like the following clips after his demise has been greatly exaggerated. He's a muppet after my own heart. He understands the value of the autograph card. Fantastic!

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Again, still milking those auto cards for all their worth.

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Knight Rider: Hot Car & Hot Babes [Not Much Else Under The Hood]

Cue the hot car, cue the hot women [some obligatory skin shots and sexual innuendo], a cheesy soundtrack and of course Michael Knight and you might just have the ingredients to a surprisingly successful guilty pleasure [or not].

The new and improved, state-of-the-art Knight Rider is all hot cool done with smoke and mirrors. The centerpiece is a slick black Ford Mustang GT and it is suuwwweeet! For the kiddies we get the ocassional Transformers-styled car mutations which also keep things interesting for car and truck afficionados. All in all, this ain't your daddy's Michael Hasselhoff folks, and you'll probably miss that about it. In fact, keep the kids away because the sexual innuendo does fly. In fact, the two leads were almost naked in the car within the first fifteen minutes. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Still, the acting is universally atrocious. There isn't a likeable character amidst the bunch of these shallow and vacuous [albeit sexy] meat puppets. You won't want your kids spending time with them.

Val Kilmer [Red Planet, Heat] adds a nice vocal touch to the on-board artifical intelligence known famously as K.I.T.T.. The yellow maintenance arms that work on K.I.T.T. in their top secret location are so smart they even get a name too. Nothing is too heady here. There's loads of nonsense and a mcguffin in the form of "The Package" keeps the stakes high and the action moving forward, and move forward at a breathless pace it does. Very fast! In fact, the pace is so swift you get the feeling it's creators don't want to allow you any time blowing holes in the plot. In fact, the artificial intelligence is just as interested in sexual allusions as the rest of the cast.

What I loved about it was, for a computer that's self-aware, this entertainment vehicle isn't taking itself seriously whatsoever. So many shows today [Lost, Fringe] are so SERIOUS. Don't get me wrong, thank God they exist. I couldn't live without them. It's just that this is a nice break from the rest of the pack. It's a throwback to cheesy-ass good fun, some very hot cheesy ass mind you. The engine rev of that Mustang and the road sequences just rock! The simplicity of it provides more excitement here than Fringe has mustered in three episodes. The swooshing sound effect of K.I.T.T.'s scanning, front, red light is clearly reminiscent of those classic cylons [from Battlestar Galactica] and there's a lot of old-fashioned thrills underneath this car's hood [not much else]. I like it. The plot is essentially rediculous, but there are enough questions planted about Michael Knight's past to keep most brain-dead couch potatoes interested. They even leave him shot and left for dead at the end of this one. What a cliffhanger! Not really. The whole thing is just as goofy as the original, but it's dressed up real glossy-like in a fine, sexy sheen. It dazzles, but I must admit it's unlikely to keep my attention for very long. I wanted to like it more than I did and to be honest it was pretty poor on many fronts. I could see this vehicle getting rusty fast.

Knight Rider [1982-1986; 4 Seasons; Glen A. Larson]: Back when life was simple as a black Pontiac Trans AM.

I do feel like Knight Rider serves up just enough eye candy and action for the testosterone-driven folk who were let down by the ephemeral Drive Fox dropped on us for about four episodes [with Nathan Fillion]. Drive attempted complex a la Lost, but for the motor heads only to crash and burn [have I used all of the car cliches yet?]. Knight Rider offers no such aspirations, but this thing just might get the kind of mileage and speed that the Bionic Woman just wasn't built for! [Nope there's one more]. But if you're going for the adult set the writing has to improve. If you want kids it needs to be more like a V6 on the scantily clad women. But make up your mind, you can't have it both ways.
*
This is just wildly mindless fun and there isn't anything intellectual about it. Quite frankly it's all very stupid, but what's wrong with that once in awhile? Still, bad writing, bad acting, good effects, smokin' hotties getting naked and hell, that freakin' car! Fuhgeddabout it! You know you big boys are comin' back. The question is: will there be enough of you for the long haul? I suspect the fuel necessary to keep this one flying may get too expensive.

Premiere: B-
*
Update: September 2009: By January 2009, the new and improved Knight Rider was axed from the airwaves. The problem was it was a little too slick and glossy for its own good. There was not much under that shiny hood. My assessment wasn't that far off. It lasted longer than some series, but not long enough. Poor acting, poor scripting overwhelmed the solid visual effects and Knight Rider finally lost fuel sputtering to a halt as viewers stopped tuning in.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

B5 S4 Ep1: The Hour Of The Wolf

Garibaldi has always been a big fan of Daffy Duck dating back to Babylon 5, Season One, Episode 1, Midnight On The Firing Line.

It's funny. I went back to Season One to find that scene I remembered featuring Garibaldi busting a gut over his cartoon hero, Daffy Duck. At first I scanned Episode Two, then I went back to Episode One and thank God I did. I thought it would be ashame if I kept searching and all along it was Episode 1. Well, it was indeed. Having scanned those two episodes as briefly as I did, I did catch a glimpse of what many fans have alluded to along the way. Those earlier episodes will have greater meaning when you go back to watch them again. I noticed much in the way of material that obviously meant very little to me at the time of my introduction to the series that were far more significant than I knew. Case in point, we see Kosh in a kind of shower scene and he appears to be a being of light. I didn't pay it much mind then, but it was much more significant seeing it now with all that I know at this point. Further, Londo even makes mention of a date with destiny scheduled to occur in 20 years. It would appear he was having premonitions even then. These are just a few examples. There is much more that escapes my memory but there is much there that is notable indeed. I digress, but here is our hero, Security Cheif Garibaldi, laughing at his hero's antics way back, way back, way back in Episode One, the very episode that launched the Babylon 5 series.

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It’s been a hell of a ride thus far. We are now entering Babylon 5, Season Four. It’s been a long time in coming. There are still many unanswered questions and the future remains as bleak as ever, but there are wee slight, glimmers of hope. I think. Let’s see where our journey takes us and especially for me seeing it for the first time. Here we go with Babylon 5, Season Four, Episode 1, The Hour Of The Wolf.

Seven days have passed. G’Kar narrates and recaps for us beautifully the events that closed out the final moments of Season Three and Z'Ha'Dum. Andreas Katsulas is pure theatre as we all know. The man can simply act. The man can voice too. He is as eloquent as they come. His narration is by far my favorite with Ivanova's input a close second in previous entries.

G'Kar the poet speaking of Ivanova after mentioning the loss of Mr. Garibaldi: "In a way I think we have also lost Ivanova. It is as though her heart has been pierced and her spirit has poured out through the wound. She blames herself. It is foolish. It is destructive. It is... human."


Following the inconclusive loss of Sheridan, Ivanova walks the station completely without spirit. She is as lost and alone as she's ever been. She is a rudderless ship without her captain and friend. While she has always been very much a strong personality, she also is equally prone to fits of hot emotion and heartache. She is less a leader and more an executioner and without Sheridan she has now been asked to take the fore and helm this thing called Babylon 5.


Londo has relocated to Centauri Prime to assist Emperor Cartagia. On the station, Delenn is a lady in waiting. She too is lost without Sheridan. There has been much impacting the emotional states of the female core upon the station within this epic tale as a result of consequences from the decisions made by Sheridan in Season Three, Episode 22, Z’Ha’Dum.

Meanwhile, The Shadows have paused and there is a pause in the war. There is a dark, somber, funereal tone that permeates every fiber of this entry.

Questions remain, where is Mr. Garibaldi and what has happened to Captain John Sheridan? Of course, our narrator, Andreas Katsulas, says it all much better than me.

The opening credits have been revamped for the new season and are solid with an ensemble effort by the various cast members in narration complemented with music dark in tone. Would we have it any other way?

The season kicks off with a noteworthy, all-star guest cast. Ed Wasser returns as the sinister Morden. Wayne Alexander returns as new character Lorien and Wortham Krimmer serves up a terrific turn as the extreme, flamboyant Emperor Cartagia.

On Babylon 5, Ivanova is pensive and alone in her quarters dealing with the loss of her commanding partner. She is doing her best to work through the losses as only she can.

The Gaim, Drazi and others discuss the odds of going head to head with The Shadows at Z’Ha’Dum and actually returning from there alive. Okay, maybe they have a point. They are arguing with Ivanova defending their preference to leave the alliance and protect their own homeworlds by going it alone.

Lennier informs Delenn, “He did not come again.” Delenn intends to find out why, but to whom was Lennier referring? Could Lennier have been referring to the selfish and shadowy Vorlon?

On the Centauri homeworld, it would appear Emperor Cartagia is quite the prat or spoilt brat. He is an ill-behaved man-child. But there is more to it as we come to learn he has mad delusions of martyrdom. His short, crew cut styled hair is a symbol of his break with traditional mores supplanted by self-reverential and arrogant behavior. The Emperor has plans concerning Londo's relocation.

On Babylon 5, Vir informs Ivanova he has received information from sources close to Londo that Sheridan was seen diving into a great, dark chasm, two miles deep. That’s convenient, I’d love to know how they got that information from a planet crawling with space bugs. Vir believes him to be gone. She is tearful yet again. By the way, Vir is half the man he once was. Literally, I mean it. He must have shed 50 pounds. Stephen Furst looks terrific and he isn’t nearly as rotund as he was in the previous three seasons.

Back on Centauri Prime, a crispy critter named Morden is awaiting Londo in his quarters.

Londo: “Mr. Morden?”
Morden: “In the flesh, what’s left of it. I’m just a shadow of my former self."


Emperor Cartagia gives new meaning to the Talking Heads.
Morden informs Londo The Shadows will be fanning out from Z’Ha’Dum as he chafes upon his flaking skin [resulting from severe burns exacted upon him by Sheridan in the Season Three finale]. The bad news, one of the allotted locations for their implantation is none other than Centauri Prime. Emperor Cartagia has approved and blessed their arrival. Londo tells him the emperor is mad [so much so the emperor enjoys speaking to several severed heads in the evening of those he decapitated that were disloyal to him]. Apparently fourteen Centauri opposed the decision concerning The Shadows arrival and they have not been heard from since. Morden looks to Mollari as his liaison to the Royal Court and as a continued pawn of The Shadows. Londo refuses to do his bidding. Morden assures him he will. Will he? That is the question to be determined.


On Babylon 5, Delenn pleads with New Kosh, escorted by Lyta, to get involved. She urges him to use his power to aid in determining the fate of Sheridan. Coldly, [well, colder than normal cold even for a Vorlon], New Kosh tells her, “His purpose has been fulfilled. No one returns from Z’Ha’Dum.” Delenn warns she will have no respect in reserve for the vorlon. Her well of good will will be dry. Arrogantly, New Kosh simply turns away and discards Delenn's pleas with his final parting, “respect is irrelevant.” Ouch.

Zack is back and looks sharp with his nifty new haircut. This is one of those special moments between Straczynski's special cast that make it easy for us to love this story.

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Do you not absolutely love the wisdom of G’Kar? I just love this Narn!

Straczynski brings us up to speed on yet another connection to an earlier premonition from his epic story. If you recall, and I know you do, Londo had a dream earlier waaaaay back in Season Two, Episode 9, The Coming Of Shadows, where he looked to the blue skies only to see the black Shadows vessels soaring above. At the time we didn’t know what it meant or where this transpired. In fact, for all we knew it was simply a dream attempting to speak to him. Well, apparently, there was much more depth to that moment than we actually knew. The Shadows were coming! The Shadows were coming! They were coming to Centauri Prime to be precise. Londo is there now and so are The Shadows. Yikes! The dream is a nightmare and now it is all too very real. I love how Straczynski continues to tie these moments with the past. Ingenious.


The Coming Of Shadows, looking back, is also notable for being one of the first times we witness Londo's prophecy of becoming the emperor of Centauri Prime and being choked to his death by his once fellow ambassador on Babylon 5, an eye-patched G'Kar. All kinds of stuff happens in that episode looking back. It was also a notably huge turning point in their relationship. Here is that moment from Season Two's The Coming Of Shadows.

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With The Shadows now arrived it is a fascinating character study as Londo is indeed a troubled man in conflict. He’s always exhibited signs of being torn in his decisions regarding his associations with The Shadows, but this is a man who is now having a change of heart if ever there was one. The regret fills every pore of his face more than ever. Reversely, the emperor is elated to have the alien occupiers as guests for his own warped intentions on Centauri. The emperor is a selfish, self-destructive juvenile. Londo is now beginning to exhibit signs of the Centauri we once believed him capable of being. He has always been there, but was overshadowed by greed and alien influence. Resistance was futile. I’m beginning to have faith that Londo may right this ship before all is said and done. As for the emperor, he has welcomed The Shadows as gods and he too wants to achieve god-like legend as a martyr to his people. The death of millions of Centauri would be of little to no consequence to reach his desired end. Londo is astonished by the god-complex that stands before him. He is disturbed by the darkness in the emperor’s heart. If there is one thing Londo has always believed it is the thriving success of his people. He has never turned his back on the Centauri. If anything he has always believed in the tradition and glory of Centauri Prime [especially with himself at the helm]. In this he is selfless. He places the Centauri above all else. Destruction of any race surrounding the Centauri to achieve ruling glory is a necessary by-product in particular the Narn. But this is unquestionably a part of the fabric of Centauri civilization as an imperialistic empire.

Cut to Lyta who is connected to New Kosh via an energy stream. “Is there anywhere else you need me to carry you,” she asks looking completely drained and exhausted. This was slightly disturbing. He is indeed a part of her; a parasite of a sort. He is the energy stream.

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Lyta looks really run down and ragged after the draining. Is this vorlon a renegade within his own kind? Does he have an agenda different than that of the vorlons? Is it something else entirely?

Londo contacts Vir to ask for his assistance back on Centauri Prime.

Now rested, Lyta visits Ivanova and there is a brief reference to the title of the episode. The Hour Of The Wolf refers to the period between 3:00 and 4:00 A.M. when you just can’t sleep. Lyta informs Ivanova that Sheridan let Kosh inside his mind. They were linked just like she herself was linked to Kosh for a time. Lyta believes she could sense Sheridan if they somehow got close enough to Z’Ha’Dum because Kosh is down there with him [or within him] no doubt. Ivanova knows there is more to what Lyta is telling her and Lyta confirms it by nodding in agreement, but without elaborating. Ivanova is so knackered and wiped out she doesn’t even care to know. She’s just pleased she can help. Ivanova confirms if they go to Z’Ha’Dum they will go alone and no one will be there to rescue them should it all go to shit. This is indeed an atmospheric episode for all the characters on Babylon 5. There is a nightmarish quality to the proceedings.

So the White Star launches and as they close in on the planet where all fear to tread, Z'Ha'Dum, Lyta’s eyes turn pitch black. She reaches into the darkness scanning for Sheridan on the planet below. You have to love those Lyta close-ups. “The Eye is looking for us,” she proclaims. The Eye senses their presence. It’s the Eye from Ivanova’s first encounter while inside the Great Machine on Epsilon 3 from Season Three, Episode 5, Voices Of Authority. The Eye is extremely dangerous and has a way of hypnotizing its prey. I'm not sure of all of its capabilities but it certainly is powerfully hypnotic. The female triad is overwhelmed by the enemy willing the team to enter Z’Ha’Dum airspace and land the ship there. Fortunately, it’s the little boy power from bonehead Lennier who saves them all. He wisely pre-programmed the ship to return to Babylon 5 should danger threaten the White Star. The group manages to escape Z’Ha’Dum and the trance established by the evil Eye.

Girl Power! Babylon 5's answer to the Spice Girls.

Ivanova: “Lennier get us the hell out of here.”
Lennier: “Initiating, getting-the-hell-out-of-here maneuver.” [Lennier gets the great one-liners.]

Cut to the bowels of Z’Ha’Dum and we see a small figure stumbling shrouded by a blanket. We cannot quite make the figure out, but we know it’s our fearless hero Sheridan.

Back on Centauri Prime, Londo fills Vir in on their current little emperor problem. “I need a friend Vir and I need a patriot, and you are both, will you help me please?” WOW! Vir finally gets his due, and the devil is beginning to turn. This is a huge moment for the pride of Londo. His character changes here, right before our eyes, reaching out for the first time for help, acknowledging Vir’s goodness and strength and indirectly admitting he may have made mistakes along the way by actually suggesting he needs Vir and he needs help. This is a monumental turn for Season Four. What a crossroads for Londo. To see him reach out to someone and rightly to Vir [a potential emperor no less] is a big moment in the character's growth indeed. Vir, as always, is happy to oblige. He informs Vir of a pretty big plan in the form of the emperor's assassination.

The White Star has returned to B5 and Ivanova continues to come to terms with the loss of her Captain. Her feelings for him run deep and she is sincere in her loneliness despite her inner strength. If there’s one thing we learn from this episode in my opinion, it is that some are intended to lead and others to follow. Some are excellent implementers confident in their abilities to execute a commander's orders. I feel Ivanova is best as second-in-command. I can relate to her comfort in that and when it comes right down to it, is there anything wrong with that? I don’t think so.

Down on Z’Ha’Dum Sheridan sits by a fire. It must be cool down there. He is visited by an alien life form to be named Lorien [only indicated as such by the opening credits at this point]. “Why am I alive?” inquires Sheridan. My only guess is because "you are the hand" my friend.

Season Four cast includes:

Bruce Boxleitner [Captain John Sheridan]
Claudia Christian [Commander Susan Ivanova]
Jerry Doyle [Security Chief Michael Garibaldi]
Mira Furlan [Delenn]
Richard Biggs [Dr. Stephen Franklin]
Bill Mumy [Lennier]
Jason Carter [Marcus Cole]
Stephen Furst [Vir Cotto]
Jeff Conaway [Zack Allan]
Patricia Tallman [Lyta Alexander]
Andreas Katsulas [G’Kar]
Peter Jurasik [Londo Mollari]

The Hour Of The Wolf: B