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A weekend pretty much wasted, though this could be said of the past few free days in general... but then, on some level it was nice, just doing nothing for once, even if, on another level I maybe should be worried that unless forced to, I can so rarely rouse myself to any activity.

What also struck me yesterday watching the news is my recent rather appalling resigned cynical apathy towards politics, local as well as international. I will continue to vote, as a matter of principle, but there’s this lingering sense that it doesn’t make much of a difference anyway. I didn't used to think like that...

[On a somewhat less important, but still irritated note - I'm not a fan of the sport, but as it's impossible to ignore it altogether... I'm well and truly *sick* of seeing the winners of ski jumping events interviewed, every single one of them looking highly anorectic, sunken in cheeks, sharp noses and everyone pretending that nothing's wrong. This can't be healthy; those guys are athletes and they have the BMI of supermodels...]

B5: 1.17 Legacies

* Brilliant episode. Nothing superfluous or left open, the first and second plotline perfectly complement each other, Alisa brings a lighter (but not too light), more personal element into the tension-laden political atmosphere, and everything comes together just so.
* However, there is one fault/small plot hole IMO. After Neroon brushed Garibaldi's offer aside and specifically demanded that there be only Minbari guards, there surely would have been some diplomatic way to ask how the body could have disappeared under their very eyes? Or someone might have at least considered that this might be an inner Minbari thing. Now Sinclair seems to be convinced that the Minbari are inherently a honourable people, otherwise it would have even been worth giving a thought to the possibility that this was all staged to create a pretext for a new war.
* Do I remember this correctly? I believe in one of the movies it was explained how the Earth-Minbari war started through a similar misunderstanding, the Minbari ship keeping their gun-ports open as a sign of respect, and the Earth ship’s captain feeling threatened and starting to fire? Are we supposed to assume that this tragic error has never been cleared up or did MJS develop this idea only after ‘Legacies’, further exploring the possibilities? Obviously Sinclair isn't aware of the existence of this Minbari custom and Delenn, while giving some sort of explanation, makes no reference to what fatal consequences this sort of misunderstanding already has had. But later Garibaldi calls Dukhat's death a ‘tragic accident’...
Personally I’d prefer the historic parallel to be intentional, it’d give the scene an extra-dimension of meaning.
* They very well captured the atmosphere when the funeral cortege entered the station, the tension, the unease, the enmity still lingering, the potential threat of the Minbari warriors.
* Sinclair was very, very good in this episode. At first the tense man still troubled by his memories, who attends the ceremonies because it's his duty as commander of the station ("The war is over - at least, that's what I keep telling myself,"), whereas in the last scene, talking to Neroon you suddenly get a glimpse of what he was/will be, and it’s not just Neroon's "You talk like a Minbari". Something more real and generous, a different thing from the terse, formal barely-courtesies exchanged at the beginning.
* Though frankly it's rather amazing Sinclair is so relaxed about Delenn's machinations throughout this episode. However worthy her cause, that’s quite something she tried to pull off here, fist assuring his presence as a witness for her 'miracle', than pretending to be affronted at the disappearance of the body she herself was responsible for. And while from her point of view it’s understandable that she did what she had to do, disregarding the possibly disastrous consequences, it's also clear that at this point Delenn hasn't changed very much from the impetuous woman who had already triggered one bloody war over the loss of her mentor and friend. She believes she would be able to pull it off, and indeed manages to threaten Neroon into acquiescence, but she comes very close to starting a war over a personal matter again.
* Is there a back-story to Delenn's relationship with Neroon? Her coldness and arrogance are quite spectacular.
* I don't want to spoil myself by researching, but am I just making this up in my mind or is Ivanova is really a latent telepath, and her concern isn't just for the girl or her mother?
* I liked Talia with Alisa... unlike Na’Toth I think she genuinely cares for her and what happens to her and isn’t just trying to bring her over to ‘her side’. It showed that there was (ideally at least) another side to the PSI corps. I think to some extent even Ivanova recognises this, which is why she’s willing to have that drink with Talia in the end. I must admit the Talia/Ivanova relationship went completely over my head when I originally watched the first two seasons, or at least I have no memory of it at all, until Ivanaova tells Delenn she’d loved Talia in that ceremony after they’ve seceded from Earth. They’re good together, though... seeing Alisa off, very parental.
* Also liked the smooth and slightly more sinister Na'Toth... "Bon appetit" *g*
* Will Alisa ever turn up again? Can’t remember...

B5: 1.18/19 A Voice in the Wilderness 1/2

* Londo had some of the best moments in these episodes; I rather like the way his character is portrayed before the crises of the Shadow-war and the weight of the fate of the Centauri republic on him... disillusioned, jaded; stranded on B5, drifting, looking for a deeper purpose. The scene where he cheers up Garibladi is quite lovely…
And by the end it makes perfect sense that he would do what he did, promised favours or no. When Delenn mentions this to Sinclair, it doesn't even make much sense, because Londo clearly was aware it might be him who wouldn't come back. Did he even hope it would be him? "As a young and foolish Centauri, I swore that I would die on my feet doing something noble and brave and futile. Perhaps it was not so wild a dream as I thought. Or as foolish. It is better than waiting for the inevitable." So right and so wrong, in so many ways in hindsight.
It would have been an easier and cleaner end. Self-sacrifice is not only a leitmotif of this episode, but of B5 in general, and I always thought Londo’s ultimately was the greatest and most painful. Tragic, even if somehow fitting for his character.
* During the second episode everyone’s a little too relaxed for my taste, and, given the sheer scope of the problem, a little too confident they'd work out a solution, considering that in all likelihood they’d be blown to pieces one way or the other. And tens of thousands would die, no matter what, even in the best-case scenario. True, Sinclair asks Garibaldi to get Ivanova off the station if it comes to the worst, but there are no evacuations, which I think is rather irresponsible. And considering the number of people who knew about the peril, I also think it's highly unlikely that rumour wouldn’t have spread and started a panic, despite Sinclair’s efforts. Not everyone shares Sinclairs penchant for self-sacrifice or Ivanova’s Russian zen. Sinclair threatening to shoot Pierce down to protect the station was a very good moment (”If that's what's required to protect this station, yes.” "Ex-cu-se me?"), but there wasn’t quite enough build up for it to be fully effective.
* Sinclair is rather on the edge, the way he addresses Pierce, right from the start... Though it’s probably just one person to many, challenging his authority, after 'Survivors', 'By Any Means Necessary' and 'Eyes'. Or else he's getting a little more secure of his position, knowing the Minbari are backing him up, even if it isn’t clear yet what their reasons are.
* Something I really liked about this episode is the way they addressed the cliché of men choosing fate, friendship, doing-what-they-have-to-do over love, wives, girlfriends; how male friendships are often portrayed as so much more intense and meaningful than male/female relationships. I’m not sure even to what extent this happens in real life, but in literature and movies it’s a recurring theme. Prime example, ‘The Big Blue’, where one of the divers leaves his pregnant girlfriend behind, because it’s just so much more important to beat his friend/rival’s record. And of course he doesn’t come back.
I can’t even honestly say it works out for me, because I never much liked Lise and Garibaldi’s love for her is never quite as real or present as the emotionally complex relationships he has with both Sinclair and Sheridan, but it’s good they at least made this a recurring and consciously acknowledged theme in Garibaldi’s character arc and work it out in the end.
It was a good touch, too, that right after Talia tells him they couldn't locate Lise, the contact with Sinclair breaks off due to the earthquake, forcing him to consider he might loose them both...
I also liked him explaining to Sinclair how he never called Lise, equally afraid she might still love him (”And then we’d have to do something about it”) or not love him anymore. It makes a lot of sense.
* Strange almost, to see Garibaldi still at ease around telepaths…
* Liked Draal very much. Well acted, made sense. And the holographic projection after he took control of the machine, suddenly filled with the certainty of knowledge of events... very good. Personally speaking when he was first introduced I had some vague memory nagging at me Draal, Draal.. sounds familiar, wasn’t he in the B4 time travel plot-arc?... until that Oh. My. God. moment when I finally realised he was going to take the other’s place in the machine.
[Draal: " The third principle of sentient life is the capacity for self-sacrifice - the conscious ability to override evolution and self-preservation for a cause, a friend, a loved one.". He. Would make for an interesting B5/Andromeda crossover... "My feet are firmly on the path and the road beckons me down to the sea." Is anyone else having a LotR moment?]
* Delenn's pained "Tell me that it's a wonder, so that I may sleep when all that I can see in the night is this place."
* Sinclair and Ivanova walking across that bridge in the great machine... very impressive. Also the alien locked into the machine, later Draal; a very good, evocative image.



solitary summer

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