Caught in JMS' Mind

Not that I don't love it, mind you, but Babylon 5 has invaded most aspects of my life. I tend to get that way with new obsessions, though, so I'm not overly-alarmed. Yet.

The intricacies and profundities in Bab 5 simply amaze me. And here are a few of my favorite of these things.

Possible spoilers ahead!! I will, however, warn you before I say anything I consider a spoiler. But there won't be any "spoiler space;" the spoiler will be surrounded by asterisks, so just scan ahead for the closing set of *****'s.

The main thing I like about Bab5 is the character development; the people in Bab5 are very real, very lifelike. They certainly aren't perfect -- JMS gives each person his or her issues and imperfections, just as we all do. JMS is very good at (among many other things) maintaining consistency in his characters' actions and words. Even if I don't like a particular character, I can appreciate the work that has gone into him or her; for example, I just don't like Sinclair. I don't know if it's Michael O'Hare or if it's Sinclair, but the guy just seems like a smarmy lounge lizard. However. I really appreciate what JMS has done with him. My mind sort of boggled over the whole situation in "War Without End I & II" but one thing became even clearer to me at that point than before; Sinclair would always sacrifice himself for the good of the station, of humanity, et cetera. He is always willing to put himself in a position of risk or danger, and doesn't ask his crew to do something he himself would not be willing to do. I respect that, despite the fact that he oozes all over the screen.

Garibaldi is another fascinating character for me as well; it takes a certain sort of person to be a policeman, and an even more specific sort of person to be willing to sacrifice himself for someone else. He reminds me a bit of Sinclair in this respect, but represents that kind of character even more than Jeff (see my comments on Babylon Squared below.) Garibaldi is the kind of guy I'd want for a big brother.

Getting on to the episodes, though, favorites include:

Midnight on the Firing Line", especially as it relates to "The Coming of Shadows": "MotFL" didn't really get me until I saw "The Coming of Shadows, which completely reverses G'Kar's and Londo's roles in "MLotFL." The relationship between these two is compelling; it is obvious that they would be friends under different circumstances, yet the tensions between their races force them into situations of betrayal and hatred. I enjoy how they torment each other (as in "By Any Means Necessary", when Londo taunts G'Kar with the G'Quan Eth,) but I feel the anguish each of them sometimes feels after they've done something brutal to their other's race. ***** Possible spoiler -- if you haven't seen "The Coming of Shadows" yet. ***** For example, in "TCoS," Londo decides to allow Morden's "friends" to take care of the Narn outpost, and it is destroyed, at the cost of many Narn lives. The Centauri emperor, on his deathbed and unaware of Londo's actions, attempts to make peace with the Narn Regime. G'Kar is awed by this gesture, and is extremely pleased and humbled. When he next sees Londo in the bar, he grabs him and begins to speak. Londo, thinking G'Kar has found out about the attack begins to defend himself, but stops short as he realizes that G'Kar is being more friendly than usual, and is in fact buying him a drink. Watching Londo's face as he realizes the impact of what G'Kar is saying in light of what Londo has done is just heart-wrenching. I can see that Londo can indeed feel remorse and guilt. Peter Jurasik did a wonderful job of conveying exactly what Londo was feeling at that moment. Then, when G'Kar finds out what has occured, and how he has been played for a fool by Londo, his outrage and heartbreak twist the knife even further. ***** End Spoiler ***** Getting back to "MotFL," Kosh's words are intriguing:

Kosh: "They are alone. They are a dying people. We should let them pass."
Sinclair: "Who, the Narn or the Centauri?"
Kosh: "Yes."

This brings in issues that come up repeatedly, most notably in "Z'ha'dum," but I'll get to that later. I love the Duck Dodgers bit -- I never would have suspected that Mr. Garibaldi's second favorite thing in the universe (do we really need to ask what he first is?) would be that, it was a very nice humor touch. Londo's death dream sequence is also very interesting -- since nothing is as it seems on B5, I wonder how things are going to play out.

"Signs & Portents": I wasn't as blown away by this episode as I thought I would be, but there are numerous interesting bits here. Morden is noticed by the ambassadors, and thought to be rather strange, but Londo and G'Kar do tell him what they want. ***** Possible Spoiler for this episode *****Delenn has her little triangle thing emerge, and she realizes that the Shadows are aboard the station and are with Morden. This looks like the same triangle that was shown to Sheridan aboard the Minbari ship in "And the Sky Full of Stars." Kosh now knows also, and it was demonstrated that he (or at least his encounter suit) can be damaged by the Shadows. I found it somewhat frustrating not to be shown the scene in which this happens, but I trust that JMS has his reasons. ***** End Spoiler *****

Eyes: I really liked Gray; he gave me a glimpse into the human side of the PsiCorps. He talks to Ivanova about his crushed dreams of being a fighter pilot, et cetera. The journey into Ivanova's psyche is interesting as well. I noticed that the actor who played Gray is, I believe, the same person who was the main characer in one of my favorite cheesy movies, "From Beyond."

Babylon Squared: This episode was somewhat frustrating, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Zathras was probably my favorite character in here. I watched "Babylon Squared immediately before viewing "War Without End I & II," so I had a sense of continuity. Damned glad I watched them all together, too, because I wouldn't have had as clear a sense of what the hell was going on. A couple of inconsistencies existed, but didn't detract from the overall effect, which was just really, really creepy. The greeny light on B4 is almost sick-making. The jump-cuts back and forth are really jolting, sort of along the lines of "Shadow Dancing." One of more powerful bits of this episode is the future flash of Garibaldi holding off the Bad Guys (whoever they are) while Sinclair and the others get away, once again putting himself in a position of extreme danger for the good of the others. When I think of situations like that, I invariably get a lump in my throat.


See what Jennie has to say about her favorite episodes.