Tuesday, July 28, 2009

B5 S5 Ep14: Meditations On The Abyss

Love the colorful image of G'Kar.

It's hard for any series to retain a high level of quality five years on. I consider Lost Season Five and think about how disappointed I am with that series despite its high production values. It's no surprise Battlestar Galactica called it a day after four seasons. So, to see a degradation in quality for any series in its fifth year seems conceivable. I ask you to point to any series that didn't have a drop in quality along its series run somewhere along the way. It's fairly common to lose footing as characters and storylines change and develop in directions that are welcomed as interesting, exciting or fascinating, whilst other directions are quite to the contrary.

That all being said, we launch into Babylon 5, Season Five, Episode 14, Meditations On The Abyss looking for a substantial change in quality. Sheridan and Delenn wake in the night as Delenn heads to her quarters for some "papers." Later, Delenn is cloaked in a station bar. She is approached by an impolite customer. She breaks his finger. This is quickly followed by a solid beat down compliments of a much missed and beloved Lennier. More secrets from Sheridan? Hmmm.

Delenn asks Lennier to look into Centauri involvement with the Drazi regarding attacks on the shipping lanes. You see, this storyline is fairly uninteresting coupled with the telepaths storyline [for me], which is why I am fairly disappointed in Season Five. Director Mike Vejar returns to shake up the visual proceedings. This is a promising sign. Lennier asks why Sheridan is not informed. Delenn knows there is danger and she knows his instinct would be to protect her. "He does not know you as well as he should," whispers Lennier. Ouch! Too shay mon ami! Exactly the problem as I've seen it. Lennier has much love for Delenn and understands the conflict Sheridan would have based upon his love for her. Lennier would suffer from the same conflicts out of love for her as well. Delenn asks Lennier to stay awhile. He admits, "it would not be wise." He lets her in on a little secret. During Season Five, Episode 8, Day Of The Dead, during the Brakiri Day Of The Dead, Lennier was visited and informed he would one day betray The Rangers. They both find such a prophecy hard to believe, but will it be one to watch or will this be a loose end thrown into the wind?

Vir also returns for this entry [out from behind the camera], another missed face. There's a funny commentary on fast food with a place in Brown sector dubbed McBari's. He is a big fan of the "golden headbones." Londo and Vir discover a chip in a bag. Londo learns Vir purchased the goods from a Drazi merchant in the Zocalo. Londo proceeds to intentionally talk smack about the Drazi so the chip delivers the information back to them. He tells Vir the Drazi females will mate with any species just to avoid the males of their own kind. Ouch! Ha! That is some serious smack-a-rooni! That's worse than a "your mama" joke. Londo smashes the chip and chalks it up to the nasty and sordid proceedings of politics. Londo indicates Vir will be promoted to ambassador to Babylon 5 when Londo becomes emperor.

Lennier reports to White Star 27 also dubbed the Maria [you'll note the vessel's special marking].

G'Kar is going to receive a matching prosthetic eye. The Drazi informs Sheridan and Delenn that the Drazi shipping lanes were attacked yet again. Sheridan's investigation continues. The Drazi ambassador suspects the Centauri are involved. Sheridan informs there is nothing conclusive to date. Unexpectedly, Londo enters the room and Sheridan informs him it is a private meeting. Londo steps in to inform the Drazi and the rest present that his room was bugged earlier. Tempers are getting heated. I know the allure of alien politics is inevitable in the UN-styled Babylon 5 universe, but what is missing here is a real nasty enemy to play against especially after four solid seasons of Shadows play.

Lennier converses with a fellow Minbari and it is almost adversarial in nature regarding the human ways versus the Minbari ways. Lennier does not bite. He also makes every effort to explain human thinking to his Minbari counterpart. Lennier offers him counsel, but he turns down his offer with some disdain. It's an interesting illustration of cultural differences and the need for understanding.

In one of the more impressive moments for the make-up/ effects department, Franklin removes G'Kar's prosthetic eye. It's a pretty impressive moment. In fact, upon further inspection, it appears Franklin is working on a full, mock-up of G'Kar's head. The head never moves and sounds come from his mouth but again his mouth never moves. That's a first. Franklin also tells G'Kar he is reading his book. He asks about a circular stain in the book. It is a coffee stain left from Garibaldi. It has been reprinted in every book. Franklin hopes to sit in on some of G'Kar's lectures. Again, if I'm not mistaken, that is a full-on, fake G'Kar head in the eye removal frame.

Lennier launches in a cool new ship. It's the first we've seen of this vessel as far as I know. The captain/ Ranger launches Lennier and his fellow Minbari. Oddly, the Maria jumps through a wormhole leaving them in their vessels with only a little more than an hour's worth of oxygen. Lennier reckons they may have received a distress call. The nearest planet is three days a way. They are in a very difficult situation. The two discuss making an effort to stretch out their air supply for two hours. They go into a meditative state. So why were they launching and where were they going? Were they exploring the shipping lanes? Hopefully Lennier will find out very quickly.

G'Kar tells his people they cannot be free unless they learn to laugh at themselves. These are age-old wisdoms. I'm surprised it took G'Kar's book to teach these people such simple truths. He continues to enlighten his people with the light and illumination of his book's wisdom. Truth is "the river." God is "the mouth of the river." The Narn are very impressed. They exit in awe of their master. What then is the land?

In deep space our Minbari heroes are in dire straits with air supplies almost depleted. The Maria returns and saves our two Minbari brethren. Lennier passes the captain's intended test.

On the station Vir confronts the Drazi seller regarding the implant in his goods he purchased earlier. The Drazi calls Vir weak and foolish. I was surprised to find Vir walk away from the fight initially bu then quickly found out why. Vir returns to wreck his market stand. Londo looks on smiling as Vir rubs grapes in the Drazi's face. "Now he is ready to be the ambassador for the Centauri" declares Londo. Ha! Vir has come a long way! He did not disappoint me. I knew he was far less fearless than when we first met him way back in Season One. He was a bit of a shrinking violet or shrew back in the day. He's grown a pair of real stones along the way to complement his compassion.

Lennier and three other Minbari are being put to the test with a firing exercise. The captain has designed the test so that one or some may fail. Lennier takes the challenge with his usual centered grace. Lennier makes his quota of four. There are only thirteen homing devices. Lennier's friend may fail. To make matters worse his young cadet decides he will commit suicide. What a nut! Lennier stops him by dismantling his engines. The sequence is played out and intended to be suspenseful. Quite frankly, it just wasn't and the graphics are fairly weak which don't help matters. When brought before the captain, Lennier protects his fellow comrade, saving face as only a good Minbari can. The captain gives a failing grade to Lennier and his partner is given a neutral grade. Lennier's new teammate is reassigned to a recruitment office. The captain knows what Lennier is made of and appreciates what he did for his partner. The An'la'shok training continues.

Delenn, Sheridan, Zack and Franklin share a meal together. They laugh about Vir's confrontation. Zack tells them all how Londo was like a "proud father" at watching Vir tear the place apart. It is noted Garibaldi is absent from the dinner party because, you guessed it, his descent into the bottle continues.

This is pretty classic. I don't make light of his drinking problem either as someone who has seen it up close. There's a touch of humor in this sad state of affairs.

Meditations On The Abyss: C

Saturday, July 25, 2009

B5 S5 Ep 13: The Corps Is Mother, The Corps Is Father

It's the wee little girl from National Lampoon's Vacation, the original, all grown up and looking hot and not so wee!

We are officially well beyond the half way point of Babylon 5, Season Five and it has been less than thrilling to be blunt. In fact, my boy wonder asked me if I thought it was boring. My response was quite simply, "as a matter of fact, yes, it has been less than enthralling." I'm sorry to say it, but I must be honest here. It simply hasn't had the tension, the excitement, the suspense, the build that previous installments have offered. It has been Babylon 5-lite. Perhaps there was some wear on writer J. Michael Straczynski over the four year span or it had something to do with his lost scripting. I don't know. It simply hasn't been as good as the previous four seasons, and yes I am referring to Season One as well to boot. Season One was better than this. Even with all of Season One's troubles getting things going, it was definitely more engaging than the episodes I've seen here in Season Five thus far. I remember being on one of the science-fiction mailing lists and seeing the random comment from one of the posts. The person wrote something to the effect that 'Babylon 5, Season Five should never have been made'. While brutally honest, I can understand such a take. Still, it's not over and I do have a way to go and I don't have all the facts.

Having said all that I am about to run headlong into one of my favorite storylines [NOT!], the Psi Corps. To quote Charlie Brown, "Good grief!" We shall see. Here we go with Babylon 5, Season Five, Episode 13, The Corps Is Mother, The Corps Is Father [and hopefully, The Corps Is Not Boring]. It is notable that our boy, who has been noticeably absent in front of the camera, Stephen Furst, is back in the director's chair. Grumble, grumble. 'Robble, robble, robble' [tribute to the Hamburglar].

They are a creative bunch, those telepaths.
We kick things off at Psi Corps central where the hallways are littered/ populated with brainwashing signs and techniques like OBEY, TRUST THE CORPS, PROTECT THE FAMILY or THE CORPS IS MOTHER, THE CORPS IS FATHER. Nice. A couple of newbie interns are greeted by Bester who is revered as a bit of a hero. With heroes like these who needs Heroes. Bester plays it funny with the two interns. Actually, he thinks he's funny, but he is most definitely not funny. He is quite dour. He's a bit of a Debbie Downer. "Reports of our depression have been vastly exaggerated." Really, have they Bester? Bester is about as unfunny as they come. He's pathetic. He's an elitist who is full of himself. He's his own greatest fan.
Love those killer special effects!
It would appear we are going into an entry that will explore or flesh out Psi Corps in greater detail. It would appear this is an entry for Psi Corps fans. Bester takes his trainees on rounds to view the variety of training exercises. They witness some spidery-like tentacles in a deep scan exercises complete with staggering special effects, staggeringly bad, but they give you the idea of the mind games in play.

Elsewhere, a member of Psi Corps is found murdered due to blunt force trauma. It appears a student has gone rogue and killed the fellow Psi Corps member. The killer is a P10 and must be found.

An eager Psi Corps beaver!
Later, we find Bester resting in a rare moment of down time. His pretty little trainee visits him in his quarters. I would have to use my Psi powers to keep her interested in staying in my quarters for the evening. So, I'm thinking to myself, this girl looks so familiar and I look up the actress' name, Dana Barron, and it turns out I have seen her before. Barron played Audrey Griswold in National Lampoon's Vacation [1983] waaaaaay back. She is a cutie. She's matured into a very attractive babe! Please excuse my shaking of the camera. I had a major itch on my ankle and it was KILLING ME! My arms had tired and I simply couldn't reshoot the clip.

So we learn Bester was taken in by The Corps when his parents were killed when he was just one month old. WOW! She wants to stay at his place. Maybe he is playing with her mind. Let's face it, Bester's no prize and she's ready to de-robe and offer her Vacation package ways to him. Dang! ENH! Wrong! Bester says his heart is already taken. You might say, what a good guy telepath, but he's not. He's still a jerk. Why would she offer her Vacation special to him like that? Ugh. You'll recall he has a girl on the side as he cheats on his wife. He's obviously in love with her and he could have cheated again, but he really loves Carolyn. So he could have cheated on the girl he cheated with behind his wife's back. Yeah, great guy.

Bester is informed the killer, Jonathan Harris, has escaped to Babylon 5. Like the Minbari, the Psi Corps is all about perception and they want no one to know about their internal matters. The head of the unit calls it a "family matter." Bester is given the inside scoop regarding their rogue family member. He was being trained in attack probes, which means he can effectively disrupt other telepaths. He's a "mindshredder!" Good God seriously! This is when sci-fi crosses a bit of a line and becomes a touch of silly funny. I just kind of found it humorous. Nevertheless, something has gone wrong with Harris' training.

Part two of the installment sees events and characters relocate to Babylon 5. Bester and his two trainees arrive on the station. Harris is there as well. Zack is the first to greet Bester and he is not welcome. In fact, he tells Zack one of their own Psi Corps cops has been killed by another Psi Corps member and Zack responds with, "... And this is bad because...." Ouch! You get 'em Zackadoodle!

Harris gets involved in a conflict on the station and gets angry whereby he shreds a poor fellow's mind.
Later, Bester passes off something to one of the Drazi. Bester tells his teep trainees to stand guard, but the male trainee is a bit overzealous and tries to take the initiative to claim the target for himself. The girl from Vacation protests that he is violating Bester's direct orders. If he's not careful he'll end up with shredded cheeseburger brains. After entering the room he trips and falls over a dead body and scream like a little girly teep.
Bester's protege and potential bunk mate.
So basically dead bodies are turning up at the hands of our rogue teep friend Harris. Franklin discovers the fallen are being murdered "from the inside out." That's what mindshredders DO! Duh!Bester says the murders are at the hands of a P12, not a P10. Upon exiting medlab, Bester tells his little intern teeps "this could be bad, this could be very bad." Bester warns Chen, the wee male training teep, not to engage Harris. I suspect Chen is too stupid, to hold back. He'll be dead in the next five minutes. Chen is onto something and tries calling Bester before he is stabbed by someone and killed. Well, he died like I thought he would, just not by Harris like I suspected.
Ah, the old, close-up camera only trick.
As it turns out the video monitors have captured Chen's death, but for whatever reason the range isn't enough to capture the killer's face. Okay. Sure. But we do get a tattoo on the hand. What is this, a close-up only camera? The killer is working with Harris to make money. Harris just wants enough to get away from the station. The killer likes the business transaction portion of their relationship.

Bester is still working with Vacation girl to find Harris. They review a video that captures Harris enraged and yelling "he said let it go." Harris is both a P10 and a P12 because they missed the fact that Harris has a multiple personality. Nice twist. Not really. Bester is putting it all together. Vacation girl is quite amused by all of the investigative work. I swear she's ready to drop her clothes and get to it with Bester boy. No question about it.

A shootout ensues and Harris reverts back to another personality. An interesting premise on paper, but not as exciting in the execution. And so ends another exciting Psi Corps mission installment. Once again our epilogue sees Vacation girl offering Bester a back rub. She is ready to rub anything and everything on his little Chekov body. Dang! Makes me wish I was a teep.

Lauren, the Vacation girl teep-in-training, wannabe-with-Bester assassin implements her first cold-blooded, anti-mundane assignment and blows the on-board mundane out of the airlock dispatching with any need for paperwork or non-teep issues. She is endearing herself to Bester very nicely as she proves her killer instinct to him. Perhaps he will reconsider enjoying a romp in the hay with her after all. Move over Carolyn. Anyway, Furst delivers a fairly uninteresting episode in direction and the story was once again weak in comparison to Straczynski's earlier work in the first four seasons. Sorry, but this isn't cutting the mustard.

The Corps Is Mother, The Corps Is Father: C

Kirk & Bones: At The Beach

Bones: Sure was a great idea for Scotty to bury us in the sand. I remember my folks doing that to me as a young child.

Kirk: Yes, those were the days Bones.

Bones: Scotty, you can dig us out now. Scotty. Scotty!? SCOTTY!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kirk & Bones: Gone Sunning

Kirk: Ah Bones, nothing like the twin suns of Orion.

Bones: Beats a day in sick bay Jim.

Scotty: What's wrong with the two of you? For God's sakes men ya have yer boots and yer briefs hangin' out in the wind among other things. Why not get into a proper pair of summer shorts mates?

Kirk: You need to get in touch with your inner self Scotty. Sometimes you just need to let yourself go, set yourself free.

Bones: Yeah mon, pass me some Orion weed mon. Let your hair down Scotty. Drop your drawers and communicator mon and join us.

Scotty: Not a tribble's chance in hell. I think you've had an unhealthy dose of solar radiation affectin' your Klingon- cooked brain matter. I'll sweat it out here in uniform like a real man. Aye!

Kirk: Suit yourself brother.

Scotty: Ah, the hell with the both of ya. I'm headin' back to the ship for a pint.

Bones: Great, would you be a good pally and beam us down some of your best scotch on the rocks when you get there.

Kirk: Nice and send us down the two new brunette interns in the tight red shirts we met on the bridge yesterday.

Bones: Ay, karamba. Good call Jim. Hard to top that one.
Kirk: That's what I'm hoping for Bones. That's what I'm hoping for.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stargate SG-1: Continuum

A team that will be sorely missed in the world of science ficiton. Here they are together in their final run for Stargate SG-1.

The wonderful partnership of O'Neill and Carter - friends with potential. SG-1 wormholes its way to watch the execution of the last of the remaining System Lords, Baal, in Stargate SG-1, Continuum. The symbiote will be executed before our favorite, fearless military team. The team here consists of Cameron Mitchell, Samantha Carter, Jack O'Neill, Daniel Jackson, Teal'c and Vala. It is good to see the six together in one frame as it was a rare thing throughout Season Nine and Ten of the SG-1 series. Baal makes the suggestion he may not be the last. You'll recall, there were many clones made of Baal as seen in Insiders [Stargate SG-1, Season Ten, Episode 4]. The execution begins and Mitchell is very much looking forward to the extraction.

Flashback to the Atlantic Ocean 1939 on an ocean freighter where in the cargo hold a stargate activates blowing out and burning a round hole clear through the ship's hull. Enter Baal and some of his Jaffa minions. Baal leaves a bomb behind on the boat before waltzing back through the stargate intended to destroy the stargate. The surviving captain of the ship manages to throw the bomb through the gaping hole where it explodes in the water.

"Have you ever tried to find a bathroom in a pyramid?" Yes, Richard Dean Anderson is back as the always flippant, but beloved Jack O'Neill.

Suddenly, Teal'c and Vala disappear out of the blue. A number of the good guys begin to disappear as well. O'Neill is stabbed by Baal as he tries to grab him for answers. Mitchell quickly fills Baal full of lead - dead. People begin vanishing and as O'Neill slides away he tells Mitchell, Jackson and Carter to get out of dodge. They run and flee through the stargate as the city slowly disappears behind them landing on the aforementioned ocean freighter now frozen deep within the Arctic ice.

Carter, Mitchell and Jackson are quickly headed for trouble freezing to death and decide making a break for it is their only hope. They blow a hole in the ice and climb to the surface. Much was made of the filming of this movie in the frigid temperatures by Browder and company and there is indeed an air of authenticity to the look and temperate feel of the location shooting. Daniel's leg is frostbitten and he is unable to move. Carter and Mitchell venture off to find help. In the end, Carter and Mitchell find unexpected help on the surface in the form of Jack O'Neill. This is, of course, an O'Neill they have yet to meet at this point. There is an impressive sequence with the surfacing of a submarine through the ice cap. Still, I felt it should have been a little more dramatic given the effort and time placed into this unique and special on location moment.

Unfortunately, for me, we have one of these alternate timeline stories going. Part of me is not a big fan of these threads. They get tiresome to me. Alternate realities, alternate timelines, alternate realities within alternate realities within alternate timelines, blah blah blah. A good science fiction story doesn't have to be built around an alternate timeline, though some are. Don't get me wrong it can work just fine, but I felt I was a bit alternate timeline fatigued at this point. I had seen plenty of them in Stargate SG-1 and I've lost interest in Lost. So at this point I wasn't loving the general plotline. As I mentioned, as a result of the alternate time angle, Jack clearly didn't know Carter, Mitchell or Jackson. They were strangers to him.

Jackson, minus a leg, Carter and Mitchell do their damndest to explain where they are from, when they are from and the threats posed to Earth. Yes, I think we've seen elements of this before through the ten season run of Stargate SG-1. It just wasn't feeling all that fresh. If I was in the room when it was being pitched I would have said, 'no freakin' way! NO alternate timelines!' Still, I did like the split screen. I thought it was effective and interesting. It challenged my pathetic ability to concentrate on more than one thing at a time otherwise known as multi-tasking.

Some of the lighting was also not impressive in some sequences. Some scenes were solid and some of the spectacle was definitely there for a straight-to-DVD film. Anyway, with little convincing to O'Neill, and then Landry, it is decided our displaced trio would be entered into a relocation program complete with a new identity. O'Neill and Landry certainly recognize Carter who is apparently an astronaut who is presumed dead. Jackson is nutty as a fruitcake in their timeline and they aren't buying any of his stories, despite picking up the energy signature of the stargate on satellite. It was that very stargate that got them into their current predicament, still alternate timeline O'Neill and Landry are suspect. The friends are relocated to different sections of the country and are required to not make contact with one another.

Mitchell drives a classic, yellow Ford Mustang classic! Shhweet! Jackson contacts himself to let himself know everything he wrote about the pyramids is sooo true. A Goa'uld spaceship is spotted by Carter. It makes the news and our heroes contact one another for the first time. Because everyone knows, our friends just cannot keep apart. They are like brothers and sisters as comrades-in-arms. They simply cannot stay quiet.

An imminent invasion of Earth is upon them. As the Baal fleet approaches, Teal'c is one of the Jaffa serving Baal. We are also treated to the surprising return of Peter Williams as Apophis for a brief moment, before he is summarily executed by Baal. I must say I've always been a big Cliff Simon fan. The actor is brilliant as one of SG-1's arch nemesis. He is simply a pleasure to watch in the series and this is all I base my opinion on of the actor. We also find Vala is by Baal's side as a Goa'uld.

Don Davis appears as General Hammond. I had forgotten he filmed his part for Continuum before passing away and it was a huge, pleasant surprise to see him despite not registering the fact he was very much apart of the credit roll. He was always a treasure on that series. I love the man. I love when Carter, like myself, is excited to see Hammond and he doesn't know who they are. Such a sock to the gut for her. Most SG-1 fans were pretty pleased to see him here despite the bit role.

The President calls Mitchell, Carter and Jackson. They are called to his office. The government needs their help. William Devane as the President is always a hoot. He's a natural as President of The United States. Does he actually play anything else? Our fearless trio have their mission and off they go, but will they make it in time?

It was amusing to see all of the familiar Goa'uld faces on board Lord Baal's vessel including: Vince Crestejo as Yu and Steve Bacic as Camulus to name a few. The ships are entering Earth airspace. Baal calls the President and must end the call when Vala/Quetesh [with her Goa'uld symbiote] sticks a sword through his belly. Teal'c reports to Baal [now with the sword through his gut] that the Earthlings have found the stargate. Quetesh makes an effort to kill Teal'c. Teal'c runs for it and rings away from the vessel to one of the fleet ships.

Quetesh gives orders to the to Goa'uld System Lords to waste Earth and orders Teal'c's death, once again a hero to the Jaffa. Quetesh plans on exiting to Praxia. Teal'c knows the only way to finish this fight is to stop Quetesh. He knows of another stargate.

The bombardment of Earth begins. The air force fighters take airborne. With the gate destroyed in the Antarctic it is determined the Russians have another gate. Mitchell and company are enroute. Firefights ensue with the Goa'uld. The Russians assist in taking them out.

In a hangar, our trio reaches the Russian stargate. An Al'Kesh lands on the roof and a forcefield goes up around the hanger. It is Teal'c to the rescue. Teal'c doesn't know his friends of course in this timeline. He rings in to use the stargate as well. He's there to avenge Baal's death, the final task of the Jaffa for a master. An attack commences on their location as a standstill persists. With weapons drawn they are lowered with the intention of working together. They all get through the gate in a nick of time.

Teal'c wants to know why he shouldn't kill Mitchell, but Mitchell tells Teal'c he is a good man. Jackson explains how Baal changed things up and made Teal'c his first prime and Vala/ Quetesh his queen to control them. They begin working quickly before Quetesh arrives.

She arrives and the battle begins. As the Jaffa ring down they are eliminated while Sam works diligently on the time device. The body count begins to pile up. Jackson is shot and killed by a staff weapon. Carter, too, is shot in the back. The gate is activated and Mitchell jumps through while Teal'c is killed as well. Vala arrives and Teal'c blows them up as his final act of dying a free Jaffa.

Flashback to the ocean liner in 1939 where Mitchell, heavily made-up, is the ship's captain [something referred to the Grandfather paradox]. That's a pretty cool moment. This time they are prepared for the boarding party. Baal is killed with a single shot to the head. History will not repeat itself. You'll recall the tagline to the film. Mitchell saves the day.
It's hard to believe these wee little Goa'uld were a problem for over ten years. Go figure.
Returning to the extraction of Baal, the System Lord is removed and killed. Baal is now de-balled and Vala is right there to pick up the pieces. She is a sex fiend. I like her! The anti-climax of it all is pretty funny. All is well and Jack O'Neill is buying lunch no less. It's a bit much to see Richard Dean Anderson always as the funny man. I liked it in the series because it was a mix of the comedic with the serious. The older actor he is, he gets saddled with the humor card in excess. He's much less the action man and more the comedic foil at this point. I know our dear actors get older and become less the action stars [i.e. Star Trek, the original actors], but Richard Dean Anderson isn't that old. He's still cool damn it!

Sam is such the geek. You have to love her. Continuum was a bit disappointing. I'm not sure I liked it even as much as The Ark Of Truth. I was a little surprised by that. It's a bit of a glorified episode of Stargate SG-1 without being quite as good as some of those. Oh well, I always have the series and the fond memories. I suspect I will return to them some day right here. I think I shall catalogue all of my favorite Jack O'Neill moments beginning with this final film.

Continuum: B-

Sunday, July 12, 2009

B5 S5 Ep 12: The Ragged Edge

Bald and Naked is Beautiful! Daffy Duck thinks so too.

Sheridan arrives at the League meeting and no one is there. A boycott is in full effect as the races are displeased that Babylon 5 and the alliance are unable to protect their respective ships in the shipping lanes from attack.

Tensions rise as we enter Babylon 5, Season Five, Episode 12, The Ragged Edge.

G'Kar and Londo have returned to Babylon 5 after a one month absence to Centuari Prime. G'Kar is greeted with overwhelming support. Londo makes good fun of his popularity too. His razor sharp dialogue is worth a look here. I hate when some of the best scenes occur during the credit roll, but what can you do.

Garibaldi awakens to a Bab Com message from Zack. He had a fairly difficult night's sleep. That happens when you dance at length with the old demon bottle. Garibaldi is clearly off the wagon as some old friends are creeping back into his life. A meeting is held between the key players on the station. It is determined a human survived one of the attacks escaping via a lifepod in the shipping lanes. It is believed he made it to the Drazi homeworld. The group needs the human survivor to testify regarding what he saw. Garibaldi has contacts there and agrees to go to the Drazi homeworld to find this man. Sheridan wants Franklin to assist. Garibaldi insists it's a solo mission. His guy will not meet with him if he learns Franklin is along for the ride. Franklin is annoyed a touch. Nevertheless, Sheridan complies agreeing with Garibaldi concerning his take on the situation.
Marshall Teague returns as Ta'Lon. G'Kar learns his Book of G'Kar has been "liberated" by Ta'Lon and his people and brought back to Narn for safekeeping should anything happen to him. He discovers there may be as many as 600,000 copies in print on homeworld and that it may outsell the Book of G'Quan [this of course is one of G'Kar's personal favorites and the source for much of his own wisdom and inspiration]. G'Kar is now officially a religious icon. It is amusing to see the growth of G'Kar's character from ambassador, to rebel gun runner, to citizen and now to religious figure and cult hero. At first, G'Kar was displeased by the violation of his writing privacy. He is definitely overwhelmed by the news, but quietly honored by the move. It turns out the book has been a red, hot seller and speaks to the reason for G'Kar's sudden rise in popularity on the station.

Franklin confronts Garibaldi regarding why he wouldn't want him along on his mission. Now, I really didn't find it all that suspicious that Garibaldi didn't want Franklin along for the trip. Apparently Franklin was picking up on Garibaldi's personal drinking habit and avoidance of him. Garibaldi plays it so straight I just couldn't see how Franklin could see through his charade. Honestly. Franklin tells him he is always around to talk if there is a problem hinting to Franklin's superhuman ability to read between even the smallest of lines. He's a near telepath!

Classic line: G'Kar suggests checking out his book, the Book of G'Kar. Londo replies, "Well as Mr. Garibaldi says, I think I'll wait for the movie." Londo and G'Kar's antagonistic friendship is a trip and one of the highlights of Season Five.

We are about to learn more about the Drazi than we have to date within this entry as Garibaldi arrives in space dock. I've always found it a bit surprising we have heard very little about this race which has played a significant peripheral role within the series. Garibaldi meets up with his old friend in his temporary quarters. They are old friends going back to Europa.

The Drazi have narrow streets to prevent invaders or armies from getting down their roads. The race was originally an outdoor race. They used to have servants/ slaves which might explain their sometimes elitist, entitled attitude. I always find geographical history fascinating and how that plays into the psychology of a people. It's quite interesting.

Garibaldi's friend makes arrangements to coordinate with the surviving pilot. The old friends essentially get blitzed together and Garibaldi is out cold. As his friend exits Garibaldi's room he is shot and killed by a blue PPG blast. When he snaps out of it a precision signal light appears on Garibaldi's shirt emitted from the park below. As Garibaldi enters he encounters a Drazi over his friend's body and a fight ensues. Garibaldi uses the oldest trick in the book with a shoulder flip of the Drazi straight over the side of the balcony. See ya! Unfortunately as it turns out, that Drazi is very much alive. Later, Garibaldi carelessly makes a run at the cloaked men/aliens guarding the prisoner and is quickly dispatched by too many fists of fury to overcome. What the hell kind of attack plan was that? It certainly was less than wise. When Garibaldi gets to his feet he finds the surviving human pilot is dead. Garibaldi is on the run and contacts Delenn for a White Star pick up. He needs help. Delenn requests White Star 26.

Back on the station, Franklin receives an urgent incoming message from Earthdome. The Narn are holding vigil outside of G'Kar's quarters. A NEW cult is forming apparently. God please, no more cults!!! G'Kar tells Ta'Lon he has no interest in leading. Ta'Lon believes these are new days and new ways of leading are needed. "It is about unlearning hatred and unlearning fear," declares Ta'Lon. Ta'Lon is a warrior and knows the spiritual hand of G'Kar is needed. Please, no fawning or pawing please. Ta'Lon feels they both have their own unique "burdens to bear." Amen, don't we all.

Garibaldi is rescued. Sheridan doesn't understand why Garibaldi didn't hear the scuffle back on the Drazi homeworld. It seems a bit out of character for a gumshoe who doesn't miss much. Garibaldi's lies begin. First it was a cold, now it's he was tired and konked out. He refuses to acknowledge his booze problem. A cocktail of trouble is brewing for our dear man Garibaldi all over.

Londo enters the meeting and asks Garibaldi, in his battered state, what happened to him. Garibaldi serves up one of his classic retorts, whatever you do "don't ask for a raise." Londo sees Garibaldi spinning something in his hand. Garibaldi is unfamiliar with the piece he picked up on the Draz homeworld. Londo tells him it is a button to a Centauri palace guard. Londo inquires where he got it. He replies [somehow I should think untruthfully] he picked it up in the Zocalo. Garibaldi is protecting what he knows I suspect. It is unclear why at this point.

A follow-up meeting indicates Garibaldi did pick it up on the Drazi homeworld and that the Centauri are somehow involved potentially. Delenn suggests Londo cannot be trusted, but does not believe he is involved. G'Kar tells the group, "tell him nothing." G'Kar's take is out of protection for his new friend. G'Kar shares his story regarding their visit to Centauri Prime and the forces at work there. G'Kar is definitely looking out for Londo's best interest. Londo is scheduled to return to Centauri in approximately 4-6 weeks. This explains Garibaldi's caution with Londo.

Franklin records in his journal. He is dealing with tough decisions and it appears he is planning on departing the station.

G'Kar begins his Book of G'Kar teachings to his brethren. He emphasizes embracing diversity. The Narn questions G'Kar's teachings in the beginning of his book regarding his belief that the Centauri cannot be trusted. He is exasperated as he tries to explain these teachings are dynamic and constantly changing. His followers believe the book is holy and every word must be true. G'Kar tells one of his Narn brothers to place his face in the book. And for their first lesson the book is shut- right on the Narn's face! WOW! That's a harsh lesson.

Franklin approaches Sheridan with his news. He will be leaving the station to work for Earthdome. Sheridan is dismayed. Sheridan doesn't mix words. He is not at all pleased with his decision to take up the head of Xenobiology for Earthdome. Sheridan tells him how much he values his friendship, but relents out of respect on his choice to leave. The final shot is of Garibaldi sleeping off yet another alcohol-induced sleep, while Franklin attempts to reach him with his news. His affection for the Looney Tunes knows no bounds. "ehhh, What's up doc?" Garibaldi apparently won't be finding out just yet.

Overall, there are some plot points that move Straczynski's story along, but on the whole the entry was fairly snooze-worthy. Ebbity, ebbity, ebbity, that's all folks!

The Ragged Edge: C-