Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Babylon 5: Back on the Roller Coaster

Long time readers may recall that a couple of years ago, kitanzi and had undertaken the project of watching Babylon 5 for more-or-less the first time. We were moving along at a pretty good pace, and then…we moved. And the DVDs disappeared into a pile of boxes, and didn’t turn up again for quite some time. At which point we were bogged down in other things, and….well, we just didn’t get back to it.

Recently, as we were wrapping up the current TV season, I said “We really should get back to that”, so we popped the appropriate DVD in, figured out where we’d left off, and dove back into things.

I don’t have as many fresh insights on Season 2 as I did on Season 1, because of the rather disjointed way we experienced it, but…

  • I like Sheridan. I like him a lot. And it looks like something more than a professional relationship is developing between him and Delenn, which will be interesting to keep an eye on. (I’m actually spoiled on this, but there’s a difference between “knowing where it goes” and “knowing how it got there”)
  • We get a lot more of Kosh without actually getting to know much more about him. Kosh is fascinating because he’s one of the most successful alien characters I’ve seen at being really alien. The big reveal on him at the end of the season was quite a surprise, and we’re still not entirely sure of all the ramifications. yet.
  • The Londo/G’Kar storyline is masterful. Londo becomes more tragic by the hour, and by the end even he has realised that he’s gone down a road he does not want to be on, yet cannot find his way to turn from the path. I’m wondering if Londo will be fully redeemed in the end, and what sacrifices he will have to make to achieve that.

    G’Kar has his world fall, and is left stranded, stripped of all but his honour and his desire for revenge. The scene between G’Kar and Vir in the elevator, where Vir tries to apologise was a stunning bit of acting on both actors parts.

  • “Comes the Inquisitor” may be my favourite single episode of Season 2. At the end of it, kitanzi and I both let out a breath and went “Whoa.” (I find it interesting, and someone in the comments of the Lurker’s guide also pointed it out, that in the finale, Kosh risks all his efforts to remain hidden, in order to save a single life, which echoed strongly against the themes of this episode.)
  • The whole political situation on Earth seems eerily prescient, looking back on it from 2009 and in light of the previous Administration and their attitudes towards the war effort. We never quite got so bad as to have a Night Watch, but there’s definately some resonance.
  • Really didn’t see the thing with Talia coming. That’s a whole giant can of worms, and I have a feeling that’s not the last we see of her.

We’re already nearly halfway into Season 3, because once we crested the top of the hill about episode 9 or 10 of Season 2, it’s been really hard to stop. But I’ll save my reflections on that for another time.

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13 Comments

  1. “Comes the Inquisitor” may be my favourite single episode of Season 2.

    Yep, I thought it was very powerful. That’s why I wrote a song about it!

    • Heh. I always wondered what that song was about. I’m not sure I ever actually married the title to it when i was listening to it, even if I would have recognized Delenn’s name. (Which, to be fair, I might not have at the time I was first listening to that album.) 🙂

  2. Oh, you have *so* much fun ahead of you.

    (Now I want to watch the whole thing again for, what, the fifth time?)

  3. I should check out that show. Came across your journal, was wondering if you’d like to become friends.

  4. There was a flurry of guesses on rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated back in the day on the meaning of the name “Kosh”; I remember one poster trying to link it to Koshchei the Deathless, a figure out of Russian mythology, but it didn’t seem right to me. Koshchei is unambiguously evil, for one thing.

    Then one day I stumbled on an early JMS post from his GEnie days, before the pilot had been produced, where he spelled the name “Khosh”. That gave it away; “khosh” is Persian for “good”. That makes Kosh yet another reference to things Iranian or Iraqi, like Zagros 7, the Tigris and Euphrates sectors, the name “Minbar” (Arabic for “pulpit”), and of course Babylon itself.

  5. Once I finish working my way through the complete Farscape boxed set I picked up I must get round to rewatching B5. The last season was a bit disappointing for me as much of the good stuff was crammed into season four when five looked in doubt but still one of the best shows out there.

    The last episode of season four was intended as the end of the arc and is probably the best closing episode of any SF show and up there with the closing episode of MASH for best closure of any show I can think of.

    • Fun fact -- the last episode of Season 5 was filmed as the last episode of season 4, and then they filmed a new ending for season 4 when season 5 was given the green light.

  6. Lucky you, getting to watch it for the first time! We’re rewatching for the second time.

  7. One thing JMS mentioned in an interview a number of years back was that every character also had some sort of exit from the show written up, just in case the show wanted the actor to leave, the actor wanted to leave the show or was otherwise gone due to major illness or death. OK, he didn’t mention the illness or death part explicitly that I recall, but it was strongly implied. I believe the lady playing Talia decided to exercise that.

    • Yes, he said a few times that certain pivotal plot developments could have been fulfilled by a selection of characters; when one exited, a different one stepped up, and that’s partly the way history happens. It was an observation entirely compatible with the B5 universe.

  8. Yay, Bab5! Just skip season 5; finish off with 4 and you’ll leave with a pleasant taste in your mouth… okay, maybe not skip 5, but all the best stuff came before then. So YAY! I was talking about this show this evening, and now I see this. Makes me want to watch it all over again.

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