Friday, August 7, 2009

B5 S5 Ep16: And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder

Two of the finest science fiction characters ever created. In fact, two of the finest characters ever created [period].

A haunting vibe opens the latest entry thanks to the synthetic stirrings of one Christopher Franke. Sheridan wakes and tries to recall a sleepless Delenn back to his bedside. She looks disturbed into the night station air. Morning comes and Delenn hasn't moved a finger. Sheridan drops a slipper in slo mo and words from a previous Sheridan speech resound over his face as Delenn joins him at his side. They are both pained to realize they will need to do something they would rather not have to do.

An advisory meeting adjourns and Londo and Vir are blocked from access by Zack under the orders of Sheridan. Londo is indignant and feisty and justifiably demands entry. Vir has his back. Sheridan and Delenn present evidence to the council/ alliance that the Centauri have been responsible for the attacks on the shipping lanes. Sheridan knows he will honor the promise to defend those of the alliance that have been attacked. It is with a heavy heart Sheridan intends to fulfill that promise. Will it be war with the Centauri? Can it be stopped? Will Londo be able to gather evidence/ proof it is not his people behind these atrocities or are they? We shall see as we enter the airlock of Babylon 5, Season Five, Episode 16, And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder.
Dr. Franklin is called before the alliance as a material witness and submits to questioning about attack weaponry and their affect as far as damage to the physical body. Franklin testifies to the Centauri weaponry and how the bodies had trauma consistent with Centauri munitions. Garibaldi adds his two cents. This does seem a slight conflict of interest given all of the close associations of these players. It doesn't seem very unbiased or neutral. G'Kar is sent to summon Londo and makes some brilliant points about what he witnessed while on Centauri Prime with Londo. G'Kar knows Londo was not officially in the mix. This is one of those exchanges we have come to appreciate over the years. It is very good and very sincere. Is it me or does G'Kar almost hesitate as if to tell him something else?

Londo presents his case, his side of it, before the alliance. Londo shreds the evidence before the court calling the evidence a "joke" and "circumstantial." Londo knows something is amiss out there in the stars. Londo is incensed. He is downright pissed at being questioned. It's understandable how he feels. He has come a long way and is a changed man. He knows this about himself, despite others lack of conviction for him. That's the problem isn't it? We are held hostage. We are a captive to our pasts. No matter what we do moving forward all people ever do is look back and allow the past to influence and impact further judgment. The mistakes we've made never truly get forgotten. Is forgiveness ever truly granted? Lennier steps into the fray and offers further evidence of Centauri involvement. Londo swallows hard and heavy on the images of Centauri destruction presented before him. Lennier looks saddened by the information he must deliver. Lennier certainly shares a past and has some feeling for Londo. Sheridan asks Londo for his reaction. He insists he can offer nothing until he speaks with his government. Sheridan informs Londo the Centauri WILL be isolated from the alliance from this point forward. A blockade will go into effect and Centauri vessels will be boarded. Sheridan indicates it will continue until the attacks cease and an apology is issued along with reparations to the affected races. Get your wallet out brother!
You can't help but feel as though there is indeed a Shadow play in the works of a sort. Given the funky creatures we glimpsed in Episode 8, In The Kingdom Of The Blind, we know there is more happening behind the scenes outside of the Centauri. Something is out there attempting to force another conflict. Will history repeat itself?
The Centauri stand very much alone. Vir and Londo discuss the situation while waiting to hear from the Centauri government. Londo cannot understand the acts of aggression on civilian targets. It just never happens out of the blue. EVER Vir mentions, kind of, reminds Londo of a little thing called the Narn episode, when their people, kind of, like, wiped out that race almost. Of course, Londo has an answer for that. That is war you see. Well, in all of that mess, much of it was ignited by the Centauri, it's a bit convenient for Londo to twist fast and loose with history to fit his argument. Still, that's Londo and we love him for it, despite his stubborn nature. The minister reaches out to Londo indicating the Regent has informed him the attacks are a fraud. This is a set up. Londo is having a hard time accepting any of the minister's excuses. Vir stands behind Londo and is as dubious as the rest of us who are watching. The minister wants to pin it on the Narn claiming Lennier was set up and the vessels were fit by the Narn. Wow. History may be repeating itself. It will depend on Londo this time as it did last, but how will he respond to this one? I'd like to think Londo would swallow his pride and want to get to the bottom of this one- the truth. We shall see.

Later, Londo gets tough, standing before the alliance and pulling out of the alliance indicating the Centauri will not recognize the blockade. I thought it was an interesting juxtaposition to see G'Kar over Londo's shoulder for a change. Londo was looking for understanding this time and he was the one in the hot seat. Londo informs his ships will be defended by a Centauri war vessel should they be attacked. What is wrong with you Mollari? You know something wasn't right down there. Londo plans to leave for Centauri Prime. Sheridan warns him not to walk away from this. Londo makes it clear that any attack will be considered an act of war. Londo informs Vir as he exits that he somehow expects to prove the alliance wrong. Still, he needs to go home to figure this out. Vir must stay behind on Babylon 5 so he can be representin'.
Delenn visits G'Kar in his quarters. He tells Delenn he will be joining Londo for his return home. He suspects he is in grave danger unaware of the forces at work. Both G'Kar and Delenn know Londo would never allow, approve or support such random attacks. His nature wouldn't allow it. I must admit I recall the discomfort Londo exhibited throughout the Centauri-Narn war as the wheels were in motion and things seemed out of his control. He never took any joy or satisfaction in the destruction of the Narn. Further, I remember him literally turning away from it with some disgust in that famous image from within the Centauri warship. G'Kar feels he must be protected at all costs. This is quite telling.

What really struck me about G'Kar here [and you know how much I have always loved his character going way back to Season Two], was his truly unflinching loyalty and friendship. He bravely stands by his newfound friend in Londo and will sacrifice his life for someone who once inadvertently spearheaded the absolute destruction of his entire race. This is truly profound within his character in the series. He is really something special. That segment is a truly beautiful display of kindness and genuine love. I like how his reference to changing aspects of his book and passages he wrote earlier he feels differently about now reflect how much he has changed. The character witness on Londo emphasizes how much Londo has changed as well. Also, the goodbye seemed so final.
Sheridan and Zack are searching for Garibaldi who has been drinking as usual and apparently dozed off. Zack tests Garibaldi by tossing him a few oranges. "Your hand eye coordination sucks." Garibaldi can't catch a thing and Zack is on to him. Zack calls him on it. Its ironic that actor Jeff Conaway would fall victim to alcoholism and drug use himself in real life years later. Garibaldi is defensive as expected. I liked this sequence.

That had to be tough to Garibaldi's ego, but people are going to die. Zack was indeed a good friend.
Sheridan shares his plan with Garibaldi. Sheridan's plan to enforce the blockade using the White Stars is complicated and Garibaldi responds accordingly. "It sounds unbelievably ugly." Sheridan needs Garibaldi to relay information to him quickly. He tells Sheridan he can be relied on, but can he? Will the alcohol cause him to hesitate? Will people [or aliens] die? Hopefully he is on track thanks to Zack, but as anyone who has had to deal with alcoholism knows, the individual has to help themselves too and that remains to be seen.
Love those infamous sky shots!
G'Kar arrives with Londo on Centauri Prime. Great clip, though I'm not sure why G'Kar likes it even less now. Perhaps because he has tasted peace finally. The barbs by G'Kar are hysterical though.

That's an erie moment with G'Kar and Londo looking into the sky and certainly recalls the frightening, ominous tensions surrounding the arrival of the Shadow vessels way back when. The shot certainly recalls that moment and immediately heightens and elevates the drama for us. Well, the answer is, Garibaldi cannot be relied upon. He snoozes off thanks to another drink. Not good at all. With the information not relayed to the White Stars in a timely fashion a battle ensues between the Centauri and the Drazi. War is not averted and a skirmish results.

Zack reports to Sheridan's quarters and informs him of the bad news. Vir attempts to reach out to Londo, but is placed on ice by the smarmy minister. Londo is "unavailable." Vir is ripped! Franklin visits Vir and wants him removed from his quarters to new quarters. There is a fear Vir will be targeted by the various races. Vir is cornered by three Brakiri and Franklin is asked to walk away. Of course we know Franklin enough to know he is a good, stand up guy. Franklin attempts to distract them with a ploy and then the fisticuffs start flying. It's pretty smooth. Stephen Furst is so funny as Vir. His odd, penguin-like walk. His movements. He is such a geek. He is so funny as the freak Centauri. You gotta love him as the tough Centauri geek.

Sheridan asks Garibaldi what happened. The alien races are in a tither and are royally irate after the attack. Garibaldi's actions [or lack thereof] have made matters worse and the flames of revenge are being fanned. Where are the White Stars they demand!? Lennier steps between the Drazi and Delenn. It is a very cool Mumy moment. Things are getting hostile. Sheridan, who knew things were being pushed to the brink, is really feeling the heat. You really feel for him here. He reaches deep inside himself to pull this thing together. OH! He tells them all "Damn all of us to Hell, because that is exactly where we're going!" No one says "Hell" better than Boxleitner. Here's that potent moment.

The minister visits Londo in his quarters. He is informed the Centauri are officially at war with the alliance. He is informed G'Kar will be arrested. Londo resists the Regent's orders. G'Kar is so cool. He has seen it all and remains fearless, unmoved and unafraid of anything. Londo is adamant that he is his guest and shall be treated as such. This is a beautiful moment and a classic!

I thought some of the camera work, lighting and angles were a bit more impressive than they had been of late. I suspected Director Goran Gajic had a hand in that. His name was so unique and so striking I decided to look into it. To my surprise, I found Gajic is a Serbian film, TV, theatre director and is married to none other than Delenn. That's right, he is married to the one and only Mira Furlan. Delenn sits pensively in her quarters where the episode first began. She is praying staring at a candle. It is a representation of all life. These are truly poignant words. This is a precious moment.

This was clearly a video heavy entry on my part, but there was just too damn much to want to share with you all over. There were so many wonderful moments. This was not awkward as many of the episodes had been to date. This was classic Babylon 5. This was a real return to form. I loved this episode's drama. This entry offered a lovely piece of work from the pen of Straczynski. This is what I was missing people. It's all right here. "Life is precious because each flame is unique. When it goes out it's gone forever. And there will never be another quite like it." And while I wonder about history repeating itself it's obvious events will never be exactly the same and one such dynamic that already gives me hope is the bond between Londo and G'Kar. That gives me hope. Will it lead to the fateful end of Londo when G'Kar has his hands wrapped around his throat or is that a future which has been altered? This was a powerful entry in what amounts to a rather lackluster Season Five. Nothing torn asunder here.

And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder: B+ [It almost deserves an A for best of the season]


Havremunken said...

Hey man,

Back from vacation, good to see that you've gotten through the weak stuff and are taking care of the good part of S5.

I won't say much tonight, except one thing; This is far from the best of season 5. Maybe so far, but overall... not even close.

So have fun. :D

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Cheers man. Good to see you are well. I will enjoy the remaining episodes then. Thanks.