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5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +3 points

I'm sure I'm not the first one to say this, but I think the problem with this movie is proooooooooobably that it's set in the middle of the season but can't be an essential part of the season's plot. It has to be a self-contained story, and given that B5's great strength is in how unusually serialized it was for the time... by definition, this has to be weaker. :(

It might also be kind of too long for the story it's telling, but an overly-long episode of the fourth season would still be stronger by virtue of tying into the season's overarching story.

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +1 points

I really do like that Zack took her silence for a "no", though. A lot of the time, uncomfortable silence is treated as "NOT AN ACTUAL NO, THO", and man I really like how apologetic Zack was. Like, yeah, it's unfortunate for him that Lyta wasn't actually present for it, but he totally did the right thing with what information he had, and it's an enormous and much needed contrast for more typical "keep on trying even through clear rejections" messaging from most mainstream media.

Gur snpg gung guvf vf npghnyyl gur raq bs nal cbffvovyvgl bs gurve eryngvbafuvc -- gung ur ernyyl qbrf rknpgyl jung ur cebzvfrq gb qb naq sbetrgf vg -- znxrf zr rira unccvre, nf fnq sbe gur punenpgref va gur zbzrag nf vg vf. Naq gur fubj qbrfa'g znxr Mnpx sbyybj ure sberire yvxr n qrwrpgrq chccl, rvgure. Ur'f qvfnccbvagrq, naq ur fgvyy yvxrf ure yngre, ohg uvf yvsr vfa'g, yvxr, ehvarq ol guvf zvfpbzzhavpngvba, rvgure.

V'z nyfb... fb, fb, fb fnq jr qvqa'g trg gur irefvba bs Frnfba Svir jvgu Gnyvn vafgrnq bs Oleba. Znlor V'yy yvxr Oleba orggre vs V whfg cergraq ur'f Gnyvn, ebznapvat Vinabin, sbe gur jubyr guvat ybybyby..... :(

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +2 points

I can definitely see this. The Disneyworld Main Street USA version of human culture would totally include some sort of weird Elvis character.

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +3 points

Actually this makes me wonder -- with all of the other parallels, do Vorlon ships, themselves alive, *also* have 'lesser' sentient beings as their cores?

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +6 points

That's also fair. It's hard to conceive of the Shadows as scared because their faces aren't very emotive in ways we can understand, but yeah. Fair.

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 3 replies · +9 points

I still think AJB's point about Morden is a really good one, though. Trying to convince the Shadows to withdraw their request for safe haven would have been an interesting tactic and it makes sense to have tried.

Onnnnn the other hand, the last conversation Londo had with Morden wasn't very lucid. He might think reasoning with Morden isn't likely to be productive at this juncture, and he lacks another liaison. Hmm.

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Steven U... · 2 replies · +16 points

I'm just here to note that Steven struggles to get the Diamonds to call him by his name instead of continuously calling him "Pink", but that Rose would probably have had the same struggle.

Pink Diamond is who she was born, but Rose Quartz is the shape and the identity she chose for herself. She lived that way for thousands of years. I can easily imagine her trying and failing to get the Diamonds to call her "Rose" just as Steven is trying and failing to get them to call him "Steven".

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 2 replies · +3 points

- FOOTNOTE: On the subject of Ericsson.

Maybe I'm alone here. (I doubt it! I bet there are some other folks who feel the same way.) But boy, did Bryan Cranston's Ericsson not work for me.

You can kind of tell how much he didn't work for me by the way my notes up there entirely gloss over his presence in the story. I exclaimed very briefly over "Sheridan's plan", and then Sheridan listening to the end of Ericsson's life by himself, but I didn't have anything much to say about the character himself.

I've liked Cranston's work in other shows. (Breaking Bad is not among them, I've never seen it and I don't intend to change that now.) Certainly I know he's capable of fine, emotive performances that make me care about the character. So I'm not going to dismiss what happened here as just... bad acting.

In some respects? The writing for this is totally adequate. I think it's a pretty good moment when Ericsson misunderstands what's being asked of him and vows to keep the plans safe from the Shadows. But in other respects? It's just very... rote. Cliched. The fact that Ericsson doesn't have a wife and two beautiful kids and a dog waiting for him at home is the only square missed in this paint-by-numbers setup.

Maybe Cranston was specifically told to be stoic about it. He's a Ranger, he's meant to have been trained not only in how to fight but in how to accept death. Meditation and the Minbari religious philosophy that all life is transient... those are things he was specifically taught. But the combination of Cranston's stoicism and the cliched setup make it difficult, for me, to care that this character is going to die. Why should I be more invested in his survival than he seems to be?

Add to this how upset everyone on the White Star is about Ericsson's death and their more emotional responses start to seem almost overwrought, and the contrast there is... kind of unintentionally funny.

I don't know, maybe I'm just too jaded as a viewer, but I'm pretty sure there's still room in my heart for noble, self-sacrificing minor characters. Something about this just didn't gel with me.

I do still like the very last scene of the storyline, though, where Sheridan is listening to Ericsson's forced, fake calls for help, knowing that no one can respond to them. Knowing that, on some level, Ericsson probably really is frightened and really would kind of like a ship to show up and rescue him after all.

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +7 points

(For example, Sheridan's comments in "And Now For a Word" (S2E15), where he accuses Senator Quantrelle of "armchair quarterbacking", and points out that any time you lose the war, you just have to wait a few years for folks to come out of the woodwork with confidence that you could have won if only they had been the ones to do the fighting. To a lesser extent, we also see this sentiment reflected in a few of the older Centauri -- sometimes even Londo "Those Were the Good Old Days" Mollari is contrasted with someone who manages to make him look tired of war.)

In the throne room scene, G'Kar is again written as the grizzled veteran who knows that you shouldn't go to war lightly, now no longer interested in revenge against the Centauri at all despite the personal price he has paid himself -- but G'Lorn, despite being written as young and ignorant and bloodthirsty, accuses G'Kar of not understanding his need for revenge because G'Kar has not been here, on Narn, suffering under the occupation. G'Lorn challenges the familiar reading the show usually presents by asserting that he (despite not being visibly scarred or exhausted) has endured the worst of the occupation, and that G'Kar's pain and suffering at Cartagia's hands doesn't compare with what the rest of the planet has endured.

He's not even necessarily wrong about this, because the occupation has been going on for more than a year now and G'Kar has only been suffering for Cartagia's amusement for a few episodes -- and Londo himself gave us a timeline for the journey to and from Narn of six days, with only one day spent on Narn itself, which indicates that the worst of G'Kar's on-screen suffering was indeed in a very short window of time.

But also... suffering doesn't really work like this. Pain and suffering are tremendously relative. G'Lorn has no right to dismiss what G'Kar has been through as nothing, no matter what he has personally endured.

(And what has he personally endured? Between the way he talks and the lack of scarring, visible exhaustion, or even tattered clothing, G'Lorn's presentation is a bit confusing. Which is why I say that I'm not sure this flipping of the script was really intentional. G'Lorn claims grizzled veteran status, but he doesn't look it or act like it.)

- Sheridan just listening to the message from Ericsson by himself. :(


oh dear

well, I'm sure this won't go badly.

- CONTINUITY: Sinclair left Sheridan a Tennyson poem. Catherine Sakai would snicker.

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +5 points

- Coriana 6's "six billion people" makes me wonder how many people there are on Centauri Prime. So far we've heard casualties in the millions only...

- sob Londo not everyone's killed before you know.

VIR: How much more until I can look in the mirror and not see myself? Because I keep looking, and I'm always there.

I love this line. It makes me hurt for him.

- Londo's speech here to Vir is long-overdue, but satisfying all the same.

Then, at the end of it, both of them notice the fireworks, and the conversation takes a different turn.

- This is very belated, it's been three episodes now since the new haircut debuted, but it was nice of Lorien to stop long enough for Sheridan to find a stylist on the way back to B5.

- Man, Sheridan's plan. Sheridan's plan.

- G'Kar's rejection of the call to strike back at the Centauri is definitely the result of his character arc until this point.

As others have also noted in the comments, S1!G'Kar would have been right there with G'Lorn. But there's also a sort-of... reversal here in the dynamic between G'Kar and other, warmongering Narn, which I'm nnnnot completely sure is intentional?

Way back in "Acts of Sacrifice" (S2E12), we began to see G'Kar pit against Narn who were younger and angrier than himself: Narn who didn't see the value of winning themselves allies, who were proud and arrogant separatists. G'Kar pointed out to those Narn how easy it was to be brave from the safety of Babylon 5, and the contrast between Narn old enough to remember the last war against the Centauri (and wise enough to know, for example, that the last victory against them had been a war of attrition that was fundamentally different from open space conflict) and Narn who were young, green, and eager for the glory of battle was... reflected on all sides of other conflicts in the show, too.