Thursday, November 12, 2009

B5 S5 Ep21: Objects At Rest

Because You Demanded It! [As Marvel's Stan Lee always put it].

It almost feels strange to return to Babylon 5 nearly two months after finishing my thoughts on Babylon 5, Season Five, Episode 20, Objects In Motion. It feels like I hitched a ride on a Minbari Cruiser for two months only to return to visit old friends I haven't seen in months and kind of miss. It's funny how weeks can feel like an eternity. Time flies as they say. There's no doubt about it.

Well, I finally succumbed to iTunes and a download of Episode 21 and Episode 22. It kills me to do that after reviewing box set after box set on DVD, but the fact of the matter is I simply have not seen the box set on sale. On a brief getaway over the summer I lost my Disc Five from the Babylon 5, Season Five DVD Box Set and it just never turned up. I hoped. I prayed. I performed small prayers and the occasional dance in front of my goldfish tank. It just wasn't meant to be. You watch, I'll probably find it days after hitting the Publish Post button on this post.

So my fellow B5 friends please excuse any degradation in JPEG picture or MPEG video quality on any of these clips I might present to you. They have been extracted from my Dell flat screen computer. In the end I think the results were fair, but the quality did suffer a touch.

So, where were we? When we last left off there were many goodbyes. Well, I've re-briefed myself by taking a look at my last entry. I know some of you mentioned the wisdom of watching these episodes while connections and mythology for the show were still fresh within my mind. You're not wrong and I have a feeling this was a good idea. So without further adieu, Babylon 5, Season Five, Episode 21, Objects At Rest.

They never did play up the angle of former husband and wife. Not much was learned about this relationship in the end.
Our entry opens on the bridge of Babylon 5 as Sheridan and Lochley reflect back on what has been a full year together aboard the station. Wow. Has it been that long? "Where does the time go?" considers Lochley. Sheridan looks into the blackness of space and indicates time is out there on The Rim and "beyond that" the truth is out there. I knew the truth was out there just like The X-Files always said. I just didn't know it was out there. Sheridan refers to a new headquarters on Minbar for The Alliance and it looks as though he'll be leaving soon as well. I was moved by the sincerity in Sheridan's voice. These are hard things to handle going forward. I was not as moved by Scoggins in her role. I suppose she just never had the time needed to win me over and become the fully formed character I wanted to believe in. She always sort of scratched the surface.

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It's kind of surprising these two were married once, but in some ways they seem to have come to terms with their relationship as friends and professional comrades.

Elsewhere Vir informs Ta'Lon that G'Kar has gone. As Vir exits, Ta'Lon enters G'Kar's room. The voice recognition system in G'Kar's quarters recognizes the voice of Ta'Lon and a message is retrieved for delivery to him by G'Kar. I'm assuming this may be the recorded message G'Kar intended for later delivery noted in Season Five, Episode 20, Objects In Motion. It would seem the message was intended for Ta'Lon. How's my memory guys? I'm going to miss the emotional currents that run through this series. Seeing some of it play out here makes me realize how much I have missed it stepping away for so many weeks. So much science fiction is fast and flashy, albeit very well-executed, but rarely deep [Battlestar Galactica], while others attempt emotional, but fall flat on poor dialogue and bad ideas [Stargate Universe], not so with Babylon 5. G'Kar asks that Ta'Lon speak for the Narn in his absence. It's a rather moving request. G'Kar has always trusted Ta'Lon as a friend and has faith in his fellow Narn's strength as a warrior. G'Kar feels he himself had become "more priest than warrior" in the end. G'Kar indicates copies of his message will be forwarded to Sheridan and the others. They will accept him. His final words are important. "Serve our people reasonably, fairly and with honor."

Meanwhile, Dr. Franklin is notifying his replacement, Dr. Hobbes, of her new responsibilities. I can't help but imagine she might have been a fine doctor on Babylon 5 for five seasons. Franklin bids farewell to Sheridan over a serene score by Christopher Franke. Clearly, this entry too, appropriately, is also about goodbyes once again. It makes sense. We'd hate to see a whole set of new threads develop with only one episode remaining.

Delenn is visited by Lennier who is offering his services to help see to Delenn's safe return home. As he looks upon a framed picture of Delenn and Sheridan you can't help but sense there is something clearly not right upstairs in the ol' Lennier wiring. He appears on the verge of a breakdown over his jealousies and personal demons. I suspect he's preparing to do something fairly boneheaded.

Sheridan is briefed by Number One who you'll recall is Garibaldi's replacement as Sheridan's right hand [wo]man. She is the new head of intelligence in place of Garibaldi. She doesn't hold a candle to the man in the humor department. She has no sense of humor. She's stiff as a board. Speaking of Garibaldi, to my surprise, he is still very much with the program, literally. Garibaldi has called a meeting as head of Edgars Industries. He has optioned to promote several mid-level employees who are unafraid of speaking up about problems within the company. He expects all to speak out, stand their ground, make their cases and if they're right they receive a bonus. And if they're wrong he will "eat you for lunch." That's our Garibaldi. Granted, I'd like to think he performed a little background check on them. No one wants a bunch of YES men, but heck who wants a bunch of bitchers, moaners and complainers either. Dr. Franklin departs the station.

Elsewhere on the station Sheridan is annoyed the media knows more than they should about his departure time to Minbar. He wants to keep things quiet remember. No fanfare. Delenn steps out the room as they prepare to leave and Sheridan is left alone with Lennier. Sheridan, now alone with Lennier, appears a bit awkward and has difficulty making eye contact. There's no question Sheridan, in his heart of hearts, suspects Lennier has a thing for his wife. Nevertheless, he does welcome Lennier to stay with he and Delenn anytime he's on Minbar, in a separate room of course. So much for Sheridan's quiet, unfanfare-like exit. ISN has broke news of their travel time and Sheridan is now expected to say a few words to all those who are there to see him off. I suspect leaving isn't easy and certainly emotional, which is why he wanted things kept hush hush. Delenn steps up and speaks on their behalf. She talks of how hard it is to say the human word "goodbye." There is no such word in Minbari, because the idea of meeting again is immerse within their culture. "We will pass this way again."

A less emotional farewell is bid to Zack, but he was a steady, good guy throughout the series. Aboard the Minbari craft Delenn inquires as tot he whereabouts of the Captain. As it turns out the Captain was instructed by Lennier to remain on Babylon 5. Lennier felt it would be "more symbolic" if Sheridan and Delenn captained the vessel for the return home. Hmmm, I will take him at his word on that one, but it feels peculiar. Sheridan looks at the move positively and considers it to be a fine idea. I can't help but feel as though Sheridan handles Lennier with kid gloves so to speak. He's got to be thinking Lennier is a bit on edge and sort of uneasy about his marriage to Delenn. Anyway, something smells fishy about this. I may be overreacting here, but it just doesn't feel right. Sheridan brings about the White Star and it's kind of funny to see the faces that populate the helm of Command and Control on Babylon 5. It's a bit like looking at an alternate universe of a comic book. There is a cast of familiar faces and new faces, promoted faces and veterans. It's interesting. Lt. Corwin, Number One, Vir, Lochley, Zack, Ta'Lon and Dr. Hobbes. This is the new face of Babylon 5. It's funny to note all of the replacements that will keep the seats warm for those who have departed from Londo to G'Kar and Franklin to Garibaldi. Lochley respectfully salutes Sheridan who in turn does the same. The White Star departs.

Sheridan goes for a stroll. He's a bit restless in knowing his departure from the station is permanent. You can understand being fidgety on that one. A coolant leak in the weapons system is discovered. Sheridan rushes to the aid of a downed ranger due to the coolant vapors. An emergency door seals him inside with the ranger. Lennier arrives and Sheridan is relieved, but finds Lennier hesitates to open the sealed door and runs away from helping him. Was the coolant leak manufactured? Was this simply an opportunity for Lennier? I don't think it was manufactured. Sheridan is stunned Lennier runs but must move to plan B. Sheridan uses the Ranger's fighting pike to attempt to shatter the glass emergency door. Lennier is clearly torn and shaken by his decision or indecision. His actions tear at him. Meanwhile, Sheridan breaks through the glass with the weapon. "I can't" declares Lennier. Lennier realizes his error in judgment and rushes to aid Sheridan. What's intriguing here is the timing of the events. Obviously, Lennier makes the right choice too late as Sheridan has inevitably rescued himself. How will it all play out? Wow. Here is the conclusion as the two meet face to face.

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Will the shame of his actions be too much? To be honest, Lennier has been conflicted throughout much of Season Five, but he did appear to reacting a touch out of character. It just didn't feel like Lennier, but I suppose crimes of passion can happen even for the Minbari. Bloodshed is certainly no stranger to the Minbari based upon its history, but Lennier is a bit out of sorts. It's a tough one to reconcile.

Delenn reaches out to Lennier who has hastily vacated in his vessel out of shame. Delenn and Sheridan speak. She knows Lennier has had feelings for her. All of his writings and actions to this point indicate what Lennier has done is contrary to who he really is despite his objection to their union which is noted in his writings. His actions do seem a bit fanatical. It was, if you will, a weak moment, in Delenn's opinion. In truth he would not want harm to come to them and it is truly fascinating to see Delenn loyally advocate for Lennier at a moment of near death for her husband. Yes, he wouldn't want to harm you Delenn, but Sheridan is another story.

This scene, this predicament really spoke to me. I was having a moment one day while in the shower about this very issue. I was considering how we are judged by our actions and how we strive to do the right thing day in and day out. I have high standards, for myself and for those around me. A decision was made by someone in my life who I knew to be a decent man and who I knew made a decision that was contrary to his record of actions and behavior. I had thought about all of the good and all of the right that person had done as long as I had known them and yet he made a foolhardy decision that suddenly everyone around him was judging him by. All that had gone before that was good in his life seemed to be meaningless. It meant nothing. It was seemingly forgotten. Yet, a single action, a single decision was all that anyone was willing to define that person by. I found it troubling, so much so that it consumed my thoughts for a time. Certainly the poor decision is always relevant, but often doesn't warrant excommunication. As I said, I showered thinking of it. I suppose we all do some of our best thinking in the shower. There's something about the hot rush of water over the old birthday suit that allows us to open our minds isn't there? I had applied what happened to that man to myself. I thought what if all that I had done so far in my own life had been suddenly washed away by the stupidity of one decision. It could happen. It could happen to any of us. We're not immune. We're human. I try very hard to lead a good life, be a good man, do the right thing and yet one thing could suddenly wash it all away. It's a hell of a place to be walking that kind of thin line. I knew based upon my contemplation on that issue I was not willing to cast that man aside based upon one event, based upon a single act. He was not to be discarded to me. I pray we're all given a second chance, maybe even a third if such a thing happens in our lives. Let's just hope forgiveness is an option. I digress a bit there. Shower over. But this sequence captured those same thoughts I had some days ago.

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There's a bit of Sheridan, Delenn and Lennier in all of us. It's a fascinating question and one to always keep in the back of our minds. Is there room for redemption? Is such a possibility available to all of us? I'm not so sure. Politics calls and Sheridan is willing to cut Lennier some slack in the hopes of setting things straight. Sheridan is a good man indeed. He kind of goes with the logic of 'what happens on the White Star stays on the White Star.' What a guy!

On Minbar, Sheridan is greeted by Emperor Mollari, but how? I was even more shocked to see him [over Garibaldi]. I thought for certain there was no way Londo could ever leave Centauri ever again. I suppose his keeper is still keeping tabs on him allowing him to travel accordingly with a short leash. "There's politics and then there's friendship" points out Londo. Funny, but a great fact of life.

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That is an interesting moment. Clearly, Londo is hampered by his spidery, creepy-eyed keeper. I believe Delenn was significantly touched by the Shadows and their dark forces enough so that she can sense the keeper and you'll note the haze of the creature's outline in the aforementioned clip. I'm still trying to grasp the significance of that moment. Could it have been her encounter with the Drakh emissary in Season Four, Episode 11, Lines Of Communication? Londo gives Sheridan and Delenn a gift, an urn, to be opened when their child, male or female, turns sixteen years of age. Will it be chock full of bravari?

Delenn is summoned away and in her quarters a holographic image appears of Lennier to greet her. Lennier apologizes for his betrayal. He never intended harm. All of it was a mistake. Lennier will never forgive himself. He informs Delenn he is going away to seek redemption. He asks Delenn to apologize to Sheridan for him as he is ashamed to face him himself. Lennier says goodbye, in a manner of speaking, afterall there is no goodbye on Minbar. Lennier knows he will not earn her love, but he will earn her forgiveness. It's good to see some resolution to this, but you have to wonder if Lennier would allow his pain to cloud his judgment this severely. It was an odd way to go out with the Lennier thread and an unfortunate ending for such a loyal cohort. Having said that, it does clear up the visit by Morden to some degree in Babylon 5, Season Five, Episode 8, Day Of The Dead. Though his date of termination is still unknown based upon those ghostly events, he did indeed betray the An'la'shok by his horrific action. Granted, if reflection upon his death was intended to be figurative, Lennier may have indeed died in a manner of speaking after all and is looking for rebirth here.

Those one-eyed critters are certainly one strange bit of impressive science fiction indeed.
Delenn and Sheridan see Londo off. He tells them both they are his "friends." It's goodbye again, but without the politics. As Londo exits, those who he serves grant him one hour of freedom including a drink. "Now we await the passage of years" informs the creature upon Londo's shoulder. They can talk!? Inside the urn on Minbar lays a keeper sitting and waiting for the day it is to be awakened. Creepy stuff. Yikes! It's a special delivery for Sheridan and Delenn's child to be. So I suppose the question is, did Londo know thus what he brought forth to his friends? Did he bring such a vile gift unknowingly? I'd like to think he didn't realize what was inside that sealed vessel, but something tells me he may have known under orders from his keeper. Gosh, what betrayal that would be if it be so. Further, why? What plans do the Drakh have with this maneuver? Is this payback on behalf of The Shadows to get Sheridan? Is this the precursor to a third installment to a war without end? They are a patient lot as they put it.

At night, Sheridan wakes to record a message. Sheridan reflects on Lorien's life-giving power. If all remains true, Sheridan has roughly nineteen years remaining to live. His message is for his child to come and the day he or she will come of Earth age, twenty-one. Sheridan will not be there when that day comes. He shares his wisdom in the message. His thoughts are juxtaposed with images of all those who have touched his life and ours. It is a moving tribute to the show. Delenn will be his/her greatest champion and advocate. Her courage and compassion are unmatched. Wisdom and fire come in equal measure within Delenn. He really speaks of his love for her. He speaks of mistakes. We all make them. Some will be huge. You can learn from them. You can become stronger from them, but falling down is inevitable. No matter where you are home is always there for you. Home is not a place. It is where passion takes you. You will make friends and lose friends. The process is difficult, but change will result. Life is change. Everyone will find their own way, and their way may not be yours. Treasure that. In the end, it will all work out. The road is never easy. Stay true to what you believe and things will work out. "Never start a fight, but always finish it." Delenn enters and she and Sheridan recall the advice of Sheridan's father. Some of it is cliche, but it is also true. The part about mistakes certainly references what I mentioned earlier about our own imperfections.

There you have it friends, episode 21 of Babylon 5. It was like slipping into a comfortable pair of shoes. It was also a bit like never having stepped away. Objects At Rest felt good. Season Five really began to turn around for me around Darkness Ascending. On the whole, there was a gentleness and a feeling of reflection about the entry, the Lennier incident aside [strange way to go out on Lennier]. It was a pleasure seeing these characters coming to terms with their lives. I enjoyed the look back and the always shining little moments from J. Michael Straczynski. This is a fairly solid way to go. One left, can you believe it? Actually, I suppose you're finding it to be something of a small miracle I got this post finished.

Objects At Rest: B

7 comments:

Havremunken said...

Yaaaaaaaaaay!

You were right about G'Kars message. :)

And yeah, these last two are definately the show in goodbye mode. Not all threads are resolved, but we do get some sense of wrapping up on the fates of most of our friends. For the most part they turned out ok.. For Londo and Lennier things ended ... differently. It's not your typical feelgood sendoff, at least not in all cases. But you'll see more on that in the final episode.

I think that the White Star with Sheridan and Delenn leaving Babylon 5 is an absolutely awesome piece of television. You literally see the next "generation" of crew and ambassadors ready to take the rains and have their own adventures. The music is a powerful masterpiece by Franke, and you'll hear this particular theme again, in a similar yet different situation. I am probably repeating myself, but the music is a huge part of what gives Babylon 5 this epic, saga-ish feel.

Lennier's moment of weakness and betrayal of Sheridan (and thus the rangers) can perhaps feel a wee bit rushed in the grand scheme of things - it would normally be such a big thing that it would be a much bigger part of the episode to let it give the proper emotional impact. But yeah, he hesitates, they both know he is thinking "If you were gone, then MAYBE, one day.." - and he acts on it. Yeah, he regrets, but it is too late, and it is one of those nexus points where you know things have changed forever and can never go back. Seeing how Sheridan rescued himself, I really feel for poor Lennier here. I also think that he wouldn't get the bone-babe if Sheridan died and she found out what happened. ;)

Okey, just one more to go - for all I know you've already seen it. For me, while Sleeping in Light is not the best episode of the series, it is probably one of the more emotional series finales in television history. But more about that when we get there. :)

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

HA! Yes, back in action with B5. I kind of like the goodbye mode. It's a nice vibe, but I must admit the Lennier au revoir wasn't so nice. Your points about that were spot on.

"perhaps feel a wee bit rushed in the grand scheme of things - it would normally be such a big thing that it would be a much bigger part of the episode to let it give the proper emotional impact".

Londo I can understand and it makes sense.

Yes,that picture of the crew is like Babylon 5 TNG or Babylon 5: The Next Generation. Funny.

I like Franke's stuff, but I prefer my music a little more symphonic and a little less electronic when it comes to the scores. Am I saying that right?

And you're right, Lennier would have been a wishbone and Delenn would have been pulling it had Sheridan been harmed.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU !!!,like I said You do have a way with words !!!!,I LOVE Babylon 5,keep it ,PLEASE !!! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh and the screenshots AWSOME !!!!

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Thank ya! Well, I do wish I had my actual DVD for this one. The screen shots did suffer as a result a touch. C'est La Vie.

Ulysses31 said...

Delenn is slightly telepathic; this is made clear from the earlier seasons. For example, when Ivanova and Talia are squabbling over the newly-discovered telepathic child, she says that Delenn "closed up real fast" once Delenn realised the child was scanning her. Only a telepath can close their mind to a scan. There's also the time when Delenn senses that Morden is not alone when he is asking his infamous question, despite the Shadows being invisible and undetectable by normal means. All this means it isn't much of a challenge for Delenn to notice the traces of a Keeper nearby.

Londo almost certainly knows that he is setting a trap for their son. This is why he is so insistent on having some alcohol and so agitated when he realises there is none available; he knows that that is the only weakness that Keepers have, and so the only chance he would have of warning Sheridan and Delenn about the plot would be to get drunk. This is confirmed after he leaves, when he asks "What now?" to his masters. He is fully aware of the role he had to play.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

U31- thanks.
Great points. Delenn's telepathic nature escaped me or my memory fails me.

"What Now?" definitely made me suspect he was aware of his actions. Still, your input was very clear and thorough and it makes sense now why he was desperate to have alcohol at that meeting. Good point.