A compilation of notes made whilst watching each episode after I've already seen the whole Babylon 5 series - stuff that I didn't notice before, or that takes on a whole new meaning when you know the rest of the story. There are also a few things I had noticed before but feel like commenting on anyway. These are not reviews, and since any part of the series may be mentioned in a single episode's comments, reading of these by anybody who hasn't already seen the whole story is strongly contraindicated.
This year has relatively little in the way of long term foreshadowing, probably because until it was mostly over JMS thought it WAS the last season. From what he said in his script collection (being issued as I write this), Season 5 was a happy surprise.
When asked about Sheridan shortly after he arrived (and was still being referred to on the net as "Captain Smiley"), JMS said he'd play with him for a while then drop him down a pit. Lo and behold, he did, didn't he?
G'Kar turns detective, even tries on Garibaldi's slouch hat. Zack introduces the phrase "The Egyptian God of Frustration." And so Sir G'Kar, the Red Knight embarks on a quest that like many a search for the Grail passes through something else entirely (and in this case horrific), but does ultimately result in the thing he wants most of all, freedom for Narn. Passing through a lot of heavy symbolism on route, of course.
Like a bad parody of them, Cartagia's ambition makes Londo's old desires seem miniscule. Of course Cartagia is insane. Londo, desiring only to do the best for Centauri Prime has probably done more to trash the place than any of its enemies.
The row of heads - yeech....
Ulkesh continues to show himself both darker than Kosh, and abusive where Kosh was caring. Remarkably dumb of someone who must count on others to accomplish some of his goals, even if he does consider the station responsible for Kosh's death.
Londo's idea of a profession of friendship is most unflattering to the friend, but does have a certain ring of truth about it. Of course he's just heard Morden describe himself as a friend, which does rather debase the term.
Hmm.. Once upon a time Londo apostrophized Vir as a "moonfaced assassin of joy." Well, he's going to assassinate someone, anyway....
As Our Hero continues his journey through Hell, here comes his guide (so who doesn't read Joseph Campbell?). Both Shadows and Vorlons are rather petty for theoretically superior beings (Well, Kosh wasn't petty - cryptic, yes); Lorien outranks them both, and his own manner is that of someone who wants to help. Far more adult in outlook.
Now both Londo and G'Kar have claimed Garibaldi as a friend; nearly the only friend is Londo's case, the only non-Narn friend in G'Kar's case.
Both G'Kar and Marcus do seem to prefer the direct approach.
Anna's letter, Sheridan's personal log - absolution for the viewer.
G'Kar talks Marcus into leaving - once again the latter misses the chance to die heroically, since there's no real doubt what would have happened if he'd been there.
Rather a lot of people are falling off that cliff, this episode.
I suppose Londo should be used by now to people giving him what he really doesn't want any more. Of course the implications of this are something he never wanted. Londo has done a lot of growing up over the last few years.
Even Garibaldi doesn't know where he is. But wouldn't you just know Bester would be involved (even though we aren't shown who that was who walked in the room until later.) i think Bester manages to be even nastier than Morden which is an impressive stunt.
Once again, Londo and G'Kar in a very small room and unpleasant circumstances. In the elevator mutual survival just wasn't enough for G'Kar - this time both have something they consider more important to bargain with.
This one you could subtitle "Secrets and Monsters." It's got lots of both.
What's happened to Garibaldi may be subtler than what happened to Talia, but it's pretty danged evil all the same. He will survive, but it's going to be a wild, vicious ride.
My word, the things you find in hyperspace.
'E got better!
Again I find myself thinking of Lyndisty - as with her father's treatment of the Narns, the Vorlons decide to root out the Shadow "infection" by killing all exposed to it.
Nothing like having your biggest ally suddenly become a bigger threat than your enemy. Nice alligator, Joe!
As a favor, Cartagia shows Londo his "shadow council". Not particularly well preserved, either, judging by Londo's frequent use of his handkerchief to breathe through. Meanwhile the conversation brings Dark Star to mind - "Hello, bomb?"
Garibaldi isn't that wrong in being suspicious though as it happens Lorien is legit. He's just a little more so than he was before. But circumstances are sure not helping him deal with it!
So the first Vorlon ambassador is doomed by his people's assistance in the war, the second by their attacks. Though their own actions played a part in both cases too.
There has been much discussion as to whether Londo misses another chance when he does not make any suggestions to Cartagia as to what to do about the look in G'Kar's eyes. Perhaps had he suggested a blindfold? Or perhaps not. One can only dance on knives for so long at a time. This will haunt him in any case.
Once again, Londo, G'Kar, and an assassination plot. Vir under stress babbles - as it happens he's right; he is capable of violence under exactly the right circumstances. But he's not really meant for it. In a way this is just as well; the memory may trouble him, but he's far better off than he would be if it did not.
Others, too, will have some nasty lingering memories. Sheridan gives a Ranger ship suicide orders... at least it's clear all involved parties know what's up.
I'm writing this a few days before July 4, and someone outside has been setting off fireworks. They stopped just before the Narns started. Timing is all.
Off we go...
Londo finds out the truth about the death of Adira. Regardless of which death the prophecy refers to, that of Refa or that of Morden, if either, it would appear Morden is the factor that convinces Londo to miss his chance to change his fate.
Morden loses his cool, for the first time we can be sure of, when Londo blows up the Shadow ships.
There goes Sheridan's favorite weapon again. If they were small enough you'd almost expect him to carry a tac nuke as a sidearm.
"Consider it a gift." Londo gives rather nasty presents himself, doesn't he? Vir waves. Interesting to consider that it really wasn't necessary to show the back of the head - that gesture and Vir's expression tell us all we really need to know.
Four seasons after we encountered the phrase, we finally find out what "The beginning of the third age," means.
Who'd believe we were only 6 episodes into the season?
The trouble with shoving your other problems into a corner to deal with a really big one, is as soon as you've done so they all come crowding back... and they've had kittens in the interval.
Or, as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. Mind you, Lyta is the one this really applies to in the whole series!
Leastwise they get to start with a really big party! Even if Sheridan is still a bit too haunted by the cost of the victory to party. Trust Delenn to know what to do about that.
The regent is selected - poor fellow! So innocently happy.
G'Kar welcomes Garibaldi back. Alas, we're about to lose him again for awhile.
ISNzombie - the rocks start flying. It's still way too early to let Our Heros down out of that particular tree.
G'Kar tries to read Londo out of his universe. This will not last - and they would both be astounded to know they are going to be good friends.
Ummm.... Bester, you should see what happened to the last guy Lyta gave that look to!
Sheridan is quick on the uptake - given his history with major explosions, one can see why.
Something weird about watching a telepath thinking aloud. Then again, he probably doesn't think of thoughts as private anyway. And talking may help set aside the knowledge that she isn't listening.
Ok, Sheridan - do recall Lyta is not under your command. Guess experience with major explosives doesn't entirely count with people. As for Lyta's comments, regardless of whether or not Bester deserves to know what it feels like to lose someone you love, what on earth has Caroline done to deserve to be that someone?
Enter Zack with a pizza - at least someone's doing something nice for Lyta today.
The departure of the Shadow allies from Z'ha'dum brings to mind Gandalf's comment about Saruman "I fancy he could do some mischief still in a small mean way." So they do, so they do.
And speaking of beings who could do mischief... Nearly skipped this one - I never was much fond of watching hatchet jobs. Not but what every fan watching knows where JMS got that from. Any article you could write before even seeing the interviewee is one you should probably assign to someone else; well, if you're being honest anyway which of course the ISNzombie reporter is not.
John's worried about his parents. Justifiably, Clark IS capable of using them to get to him, as we'll find later.
Zack's been taking Garibaldi lessons. Pity it turned out to be a reporter he used them on. OTOH, given what that reporter has in mind, maybe the pity is he didn't give him more of a scare. Sigh....
Yes, Sheridan, you will be dealing with the Shadow legacy for quite a while. Then again, you presumably remember a certain scene on Centauri Prime, far in the future.
Garibaldi goes PI - quite well, too. Meanwhile, we learn a bit more about the programming; why he felt it necessary to quit.
Cut to the ISNzombie report. As if we needed any more evidence of the vicious character of Earth's current government, here's a scene right out of 1984, which they seem to figure everybody will be fooled by; or at least if they aren't they'll pretend to be. Yeah, the "journalist" would have made it all up anyway if they'd forbidden him access, but at least nobody on board would feel responsible for helping him. But hey, what would you expect from anybody who kept his job under Clark?
The truth is the first casualty - as usual. Note also the way the first element of the trap sprung on Sheridan nine episodes later is slipped into the end of the report (and primed by the first story they report.) Ever handle a hagfish? Excuse me while I go wash the slime off.
Another bit of casual deception by Lennier and his sly sense of humor.
Ivanova's off to the Drazi festival, complete with green scarf... :) She returns - looks like it must indeed have been some party. Drazi - from deadly annoyance, to running gag.
G'Kar's new eye - he can take it out and see himself. See other things, too.
I wonder if that pin Delenn wears constantly came originally from Dukhat. Though it might have something to do with her position as ambassador, I suppose.
Now we see the other side of the story we saw in A Late Delivery From Avalon. It was Delenn who gave the order that began the war with the humans.
When later she comes to herself, another Minbari says it's too late. Too late? Is it really ever too late to halt a catastrophic course? Perhaps not - now she finds what Dukhat was trying to say, and it changes everything.
Worrying about "purity" is no better for Minbari than it was for the Ikarrans.
Spinmeistering would appear to be a common Minbari trait.
G'Kar has no idea how lucky he was that Marcus allowed himself to be sent away rather than join him on his travels, has he? Poor Franklin!
"And that's when I shot him, Your Honor." Oh, what a strange trip this has been. But they're almost there, anyway.
Poor Sheridan - forced to take some leave, flipping channels, nothing is on but the ISNzombie ragging on B5. And there's Garibaldi. Garibaldi has no idea himself why he's so angry, but this doesn't stop him from unleashing it on Sheridan. Who doesn't know either, of course. Of course those sinister jerks that intercept Garibaldi in the hall later are no help either.
Who knew a covert operation could be so amusing? Oh, the hazards of traveling with Marcus.
And we see the Mars shuttle for the first time.
Ivanova and the smugglers...
Another Keeper.. and more about them.
Poor John - a good reputation can be quite as deadly as a poor one, and there is no way to get through to Garibaldi in his current state. Ironic that Garibaldi thinks it is Sheridan who is in a bad mental state. Far worse, what he does about it. Another strongly mythic incident.
Minbari really do seem to have a ritual for everything, don't they?
Franklin and Number One; the beginning of a beautiful (if short) relationship. Not that this is entirely new for the good doctor.
Get rid of the Shadows and Vorlons, and we get raiders again. Though the Drakh are a nastier bunch than the first ones and with more motive to be vicious.
It's amazing John doesn't put a shoe through that screen from which the ISNzombie is holding forth. I'd be sorely tempted.
Poor Ivanova. Woken up in the middle of a sleep period to be given an assignment she doesn't particularly want. Though the Voice of the Resistance is a good idea.
Enter the Drakh. Not quite as quasi-invisible as the Shadows, but there's certainly a family resemblance in the effect. Even if this one does look like more like Skeletor. :)
It really doesn't pay to anger Delenn, does it?
Sigh.. poor Marcus.
The "Duck Amuck" clip - a nice big hint as to what's going on. Followed by a client who is going to be truly bad news in days to come. Just one more part of why Garibaldi will wind up driving a stake into Bester's grave, many years later.
The ten Zathruses. The Epsilon "shotgun" comes down from over the metaphorical mantel not in a fight, but as a way for the Voice of the Resistance to communicate.
More punctured romance; Lise again. Oh well, at least ultimately it'll work out for Lise and Garibaldi. After an awful lot more tsuris, to be sure.
The inevitable air ducts.
Bester's stunt hasn't damaged Garibaldi's competence in a pinch any! Of course as we'll find out in Deconstruction of Falling Stars Garibaldi can still pull a fast one in just about any circumstances.
Captain Smiley is now Captain Snickers. Captain Sneaky? Glad to see Sheridan's not lost his sense of humor entirely... A lovely ruse, that. Don't raise the bridge, lower the river!
A thousand years of peace, and still the old resentments remain. So very human, the Minbari. Though at least the Minbari stand to find their way back out of the mess next episode.
Our first reference to Rebo and Zooti, as something Londo can't quite understand. Yes, we do get to see them later.
Franklin does the worry walk... very well, too!
Ah, the Voice of the Resistance. Amazing what you can do with a simple, totally accurate, and impressively misleading statement.
Once again, Lennier saves the day. He is basically a hero, which will make his ultimate tragedy all the more telling.
OK, (very) occasionally I can sympathize with Bester. Walter Koenig must've really loved that role.
But even more with Lyta. Some reward for helping save the galaxy. War's over, everybody kicks you, or tries to take advantage of you, even your friends.
Bester watches Lyta as she leaves, and there's Garibaldi, looking enigmatic. And if he knew what Bester had done and was still doing to him, he would probably have been over there twisting his head off, or at least trying to.
Oh yes, the Scott Adams cameo - looking for his cat and dog (Catbert and Dogbert!)
Neroon's final act; compare that with his introduction.
Oh what an SOB our Bester is. It hadn't occurred to me last time that he was probably the one who finked on Lyta to Edgars (presumably through an intermediary). Of course considering what Edgars is actually doing with that serum, while his tactics are abominable, Bester's motives make sense.
Clark, otoh, just wants to retain power and in one act causes the deaths of far more people than Bester may ever have. He'll get his (not that that was ever in doubt.)
The war begins in earnest.
Sheridan wants the Shadow-damaged telepaths mobile; the most dubiously ethical tactic from the his side of the war is already being considered.
Garibaldi will do things his own way. At least that's what he thinks.
"Trust Ivanova, trust yourself, anybody else, shoot 'em!"
Londo say he and G'Kar will never be friends... but they'll be something quite similar sooner than either of them has any notion.
As always, the trouble with a civil war is that all of the casualties are yours. :(
Garibaldi leaves Babylon 5 for good. A quiet exit with dramatic results. Next episode Bester's geas will make him agree to something he will always regret.
What I mostly notice in this one are those moments when there is no background music in scenes involving Garibaldi. On the train, seeing Lise again, talking with Edgars, agreeing to betray Sheridan. Just one more way to emphasize how he is slightly out of focus with everything around him. Isolated. This feels more ominous than any background music could be.
"Everything is illusion". Now I find myself thinking briefly of "Deconstruction of Falling Stars." There, his surroundings, and he himself, really are illusion..but this time with no geas to warp it, his mind is his own, and he pulls off the seemingly impossible.
Of course he's still Garibaldi - tell him not to touch anything, he touches everything. He's not totally changed; merely warped. He's got more chance than Talia ever had, agonizing as it will be.
Garibaldi paces the room - flashbacks to the "programming" scene. Of course Garibaldi doesn't trust telepaths; on the whole he doesn't trust anybody. Early in the series he said, jokingly, that he didn't trust himself. Not so humorous, now that he's about to pull one of the biggest betrayals in a series which has plenty of them - Clark's coup d'etat, the Vorlon attacks, Bester's treatment of Garibaldi (though at least there was no trust lost there to begin with). Edgars' murder by proxy of the telepath. The list goes on...
Hope for the shadow-altered telepaths turns into something else; Sheridan tells Franklin his plan for them and it's devastating. More betrayals - even the "good guys" find themselves using them. Just as Garibaldi is about to betray Sheridan for all the wrong reasons. At least the Judas motif doesn't get carried too far - Michael gets to redeem himself.
OTOH, the telepaths who do not die in the war end the series with still no cure. There's a downside to sending all the First Ones away. In any case, it's clear it's going to take humanity quite awhile to grow up enough to see telepaths as anything but a menace. Byron's idea next season of finding their own world is a good one, catastrophically stupid as his method of attempting to achieve it will be.
I'm going to cheat just a bit - I watched the commentary version of this after the regular one, and JMS and Mike Vejar point out the glowing bits in the background to indicate the ship repairing itself. Somehow this had missed my notice, but it's neat enough I'm going to mention it here anyway.
Sheridan trusts his old crew on the Agamemnon, correctly, and Garibaldi, alas incorrectly.
I suppose beating someone to a pulp counts as "proper care and treatment" from the Clark government's point of view.
Edgars and Bester - both see a real danger, both do evil things to combat it, and both see no other way to their ends. What Sheridan plans with those frozen telepaths is pretty nasty too. Nothing so simple as good versus evil, here. According to one of the books, Garibaldi sneaks out and drives a stake into Bester's grave after the latter's death. Small wonder...
Sigh... even with the DVD I can't quite make out all the names on the shuttle route map next to Bester; just Gagarin City, Capital South, Mars.
Echoes of "Survivors" writ large at the end of the episode - Garibaldi is completely on his own. He's also the character most likely to be able to survive this.
And there goes the ISNzombie again...
This Kafkaesque nightmare would make one hell of a one-act play, with minimal staging. It had quite an effect on me first time around, and I'd just as soon not do that again, so with all due apologies, I'm skipping it.
Note - I find that usually I use the last names of human characters in here, except Lyta, whose first tends to be used. Not sure why.
Garibaldi establishes his bonafides...and that one should NOT annoy Lyta Alexander...
Leastwise Garibaldi has not lost his distinctly sardonic sense of humor. He should, however, start wearing back armor. Ouch! More irony with the old newspaper in the background with the Santiago Elected headline.
At least Ivanova managed the bed this time.
I recall Ivanova with the raven on her shoulder in Sheridan's vision; guess we do get to see Ivanova as the Morrigan after all.
I guess I can forgive JMS for not showing us the wedding later, since we do get to see Delenn and Sheridan reunited in this episode.
To be honest, this is one plot sequence I've never quite believed - if Ivanova is in good enough shape to do all that talking, I would not expect her to die given their general tech level, certainly not with a week's lead time. There's the same feeling that nothing should be allowed to interfere with the plot that I got from parts of Believers.
And here comes the Aggie with a bone in her teeth...
Marcus is right; it really doesn't make that much sense to send Ivanova back to Babylon 5 unless they have a chance of healing her. See my comments last episode.
Meanwhile, back at the war. Does this tactic count as a series of involuntary boarding parties of one, deployment of a secret weapon, or Mission Impossible? Or just proof that not even the "Good Guys" are necessarily all that good? At that, some of them would doubtless have volunteered if there'd been a way to ask them. But... nobody in this show has a moral monopoly.
Speaking of which; oh Lennier...never mind picking one path or another, just head straight down the middle. He didn't tell Marcus, he didn't exactly not tell Marcus either.
The Garibaldi sense of humor strikes again. Why anybody takes him seriously is a good question sometimes.
ISN returns!! And I can stop using the subscript key...
All that trouble and sacrifice to get Ivanova back, and then two eps later the season is over, and the actress decamps before the next. Oh well...
Acting President Luchenko quotes her lines rather than speaking them - the question is is this a fault of the character or the actor playing her?
Londo and G'Kar are indeed becoming friends in a weird way.
Susan and Marcus, John and Anna, Alfred and Carolyn, Michael and Lise - damaged romances, but at least one of 'em came out right in the end.
I don't see why the kidnappers would've brought in an unidentified box, let alone pushed the button on it, but I do like the rescue scene all the same. Go Garibaldi!!
More in the busted romance department, Lennier's hopeless love for Delenn.
And there goes the rug out from under several Earth politicians and generals... :)
All in all, effectively a final episode since if the next season hadn't happened, "Sleeping in Light" would have followed, and it's really more of an epilogue.
One of my favorites, though there isn't much to say about it in terms of forshadowing of coming episodes. The whole future of the B5 universe, yes...
Someone in the back of the party with a sign, "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi".
You can certainly tell Garibaldi has recovered - he instigated the party, and greets the newlyweds.
The inevitable panel of rude people who interrupt each other and shout - though to be honest they were less rude than their usual modern equivalent.
Pause for a sideswipe at the academics a hundred years later. From the way the academics speak of them, it would appear things went badly for the telepaths; either they're all dead, or the remaining ones are if anything, more socially despised than ever.
Teasing us with the shot of Garibaldi being fired upon. This IS a preview of a future episode.
We learn that the B5 station will be destroyed 20 years after "Rising Star".
Garibaldi gets one last chance to pull the bad guy's underwear up over his head; the computer hacker IS in the computer...
Bits of history, through a nod to "A Canticle For Leibowitz" and all the way up to the end of the Earth as Sol goes blooey.