Tag Archives: tv review

Blogging Harper’s Island (Because Someone Has To)–Episode 10: Snap

I am all caught up, obviously, on episodes and now on writing about the episodes. I loved this one! Oh, snap! I guess the “snap” in the title refers to all the hangings; being hanged is supposed to snap your neck to kill you. The two state police officers at the very beginning were too cheerful to live past the credits, so the gunshots were no surprise. I wasn’t expecting an explanation for a head spade at all, however, so having him define it for her was fantastic! (But why would anyone be decapitating whales in this ethnic group?) I’ll be looking that up later and I fully expect to find all kinds of neat-o tidbits of information about this tool.

The show is definitely better when the characters are in one place interacting with each other than when they are all spread out interacting with the environment. This was some excellent mood and suspense and tension, and the fact that they only gave the innkeeper a name and dialogue last episode so they could off her in this one didn’t wreck it.

Goodbye, Maggie! Being shoehorned into the plot was no fun, and for us even less so. Im tired of women being brought on screen (in general) just so they can be killed.

Goodbye, Maggie! Being shoehorned into the plot was no fun, and for us even less so. I'm tired of women being brought on screen (in general) just so they can be killed.

Now that that’s out of the way… Shane totally owned this episode. I first only liked him on the show because he reminded me of Dale from The Riches (played by Todd Stashwick), but now I love him because he’s blunt, he’s different, he doesn’t really deal in paranoia, and he has a real sense of loyalty. The scene with him drinking the Scotch in Jimmy’s honor was unexpectedly sentimental, and he’s pretty self-aware, at least about his relationship to the island as his home and the people who come and go from it. He is such a treat after dealing with all these whiny, selfish, physically interchangeable wedding guests. I probably like Cal and Chloe so much for the same reasons (and not just because they are blond and thus easily distinguishable). Now I will gush about this couple: Wasn’t that the most romantic thing? The proposal was amazing, Cal is adorable and totally in love with her, and I am absolutely rooting for them both to live. I don’t think we’d have Cal getting Sully to do minor surgery if Cal was going to die, but I still have to worry that the show producers are going to be pricks and kill him in the name of being shocking. I’m hoping that Sully dies after being a hero. Not hoping that he dies, but them both coming back is unlikely, and I hope that it’s Cal that lives.

I was cracking up when they both ran to the driver’s side of the car.

Cal’s scene at the clinic or wherever that treatment room is was a little too much of a cliche (I’m looking at you, Master and Commander), but he’s got a reason to live. Sully has plenty of reasons to atone. Maybe we’ll see some sort of Dickensesque ending where Sully gives his life so that Cal can live on with his true love by his side. There’s certainly been enough Sully Attention on Chloe to make that kind of sacrifice fit into the story, should there need to be a 19th Century turn of events. I’m positive they are going to make it to the sailboat. Of course they are going to make it to the sailboat! We’ve got a dashing British sailor with a wound stitched up in a hurry. It would be an absolute waste not to have him at the helm, coming around the bend at full sail at sunrise like in some kind of pirate movie. As long as we’re playing with hero figures, I’d like to see Shane covering the group from the rear as they dash to safety. Did you see the way Shane primed that shotgun with one hand? Awesome.

Madison is acting the simpleton again, with flashes of normalcy. I can see why none of the adults want to tell her that her father is dead and I can see why she figures that he’s probably dead, but putting her in ankle socks doesn’t make you believe that she is mentally at age five. Her character is poorly thought out. She was set up to be weird at the beginning, but it turned into stupid somewhere. She could be weird just fine and be a pathological liar and still disseminate all the same wrong information, but they’ve got her level-headed one minute and then needy the next and then don’t even try to say that of course a kid would be scared and want to protect her mother. She changes as the plot requires. The big reveal at the end where she only said that it was Abby’s dad as part of the game was completely unconvincing. Why would she wait so long to say that, now that she sees her mother? Only because they needed her to keep her mouth shut until Abby was as far away from the bar as possible before it was revealed. Anyway…

I knew Jimmy wouldn’t die. He had a shouted warning and a heightened sense of awareness, which was plenty of time to jump in the water. I don’t know what kind of injury he has that is keeping him that unconscious, but maybe he was drugged. I mean, if Jin-Soo Kwon can survive a boat bombing and a rip in the space-time continuum and learn English, then Jimmy surviving a marina explosion in the water with a boat shielding him from the blast is practically a given. I’m a little confused about how a walkie-talkie is all you need to make so many large cars and trucks drive themselves, but I like gadgets. I can roll with that. The great sacrifice that Abby’s dad ends up making so Abby and Jimmy can be together forever and ever was a little forced, so that’s either a cheap, unsuccessful shot at romantic or we’ve still got something to learn about her father that he thought was bad enough to make surviving less attractive. I know Abby’s all reconnecting with her high school boyfriend and all, but one breakfast with the family does not destiny indicate. I’m still not entirely sure that Abby is not Wakefield’s genetic daughter, though. The father was adamant that he was her father, as he should be, but he is the one who raised her.

Goodbye, Sheriff! Theres something still awfully spooky about you, so I cant feel that bad that you died in a fairly clean way after having the chance to make everything right with your daughter. I cant figure out why you didnt ask just Abby to cut the rope, though.

Goodbye, Sheriff! There's something still awfully spooky about you, so I can't feel that bad that you died in a fairly clean way after having the chance to make everything right with your daughter. I don't know why you didn't just ask Abby to cut the rope, though.

Now that Wakefield is alive and walking around–if that’s really Wakefield–my “Wakefield’s Son” theory is disproved. Unless… unless… Maybe Wakefield’s son IS the one who was behind it the whole time, and the first time, too, and Wakefield’s only ever been involved trying to contain him. Maybe this hypothetical son is angry at Abby’s mother for giving him away, and trying to punish Abby for having the family he didn’t get to have. Sort of like how Frankenstein’s monster gets angry at scenes of domestic bliss. I can easily see the next episode starting with a meaningful conversation between Wakefield and Abby, where he explains all the ways he’s just a misunderstood fellow and where she does some posturing but then starts to believe him. It’s only episode 11, so I can’t see how this could be Wakefield with still two more episodes to go. I don’t think a hostage situation is going to play well. I bet someone gets killed while Abby is talking to Wakefield. It would be awesome if she brought Wakefield back to the bar. Heck, by that time they’d all be so hopped up on fear and fine alcohol it might just make the party more fun.

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Babylon 5–Season 2, Episode 16: In the Shadow of Za’ Ha ‘Dum

Before I say a word about the episode, I need to talk for a very short minute about The Mentalist. I watched season 1 of The Mentalist, and I liked it. I would watch it when people on the Internet were being crabby and I needed some cheerful characters. Towards the end of the season, there was an episode that solved a crime at a rustic boarding school: Episode 22, “Blood Brothers.” One of the students, Orrin, was played by a Jonathan Biggs, a young actor born in the mid-1990s.

Although I hate to do that thing where one assumes that all people of the same race with the same name are related, I admit that I started looking around to see if Jonathan Biggs was son to Richard Biggs, who I knew from his Wikipedia page had two sons. Well, the kid’s maybe too old (he was born before Richard Biggs got married) and a different Mr. Biggs is named as Jonathan’s father in his biography linked to above, but maybe we can play the game that they are cousins or something. Do they look as alike as Nicholas Cage and Jason Schwartzman? Those guys are cousins.

Yeah, I’m not seeing it either. But I had a lot of fun looking around. Not as much fun looking around trying to find–off and on since (I’m not joking) 1996–the name and artist of a painting that I have reproduced on a light switch plate, but I learned some stuff about some people. The payoff discovering the painting (I just found it TODAY!!!) is much greater, especially because it’s probably the most romantic thing I have ever seen in my life.

The Kreutzer Sonata by Rene Francois Xavier Prinet, 1901

"The Kreutzer Sonata" by Rene Francois Xavier Prinet, 1901

It’s swoonerific. I pretend I don’t know anything about the Tolstoy story of the same name, but the Kreutzer Sonata is a real piece by Beethoven. Take ten and have yourself a listen!

So on with our regularly scheduled program!

This episode was sort of empty in a lot of ways. I was very excited while I watched it, because it proved a few of my predictions right. I am so often wrong when it comes to show predictions that getting it right is a regular high. I predicted recently that the only reason we had a PsiCorps commercial in the investigative journalism episode was to remind us that the PsiCorps existed, and sure enough Talia Winters plays a key role (and a plot-moving only role) in this one. Talia moved the plot forward by being approached by that guy from the Ministry of Peace (can you get less subtle?) about his meeting, because there was no other regular character to use. Someone we knew had to go to that meeting so we would care about watching it. Later in the story it actually mattered that she was psychic, because we needed her negative response to that other guy…

OK. I’m going to look up the names now. BRB.

…her negative response to Morden as he walked through the halls (Morden is his name? Really? Gah!) proved that Sheridan was onto something and thus justified trampling on civil liberties like that. Plus we needed to see some psychic shadows before we could play around with wavelengths of light in the cell to see the evil creepy crawlies that flanked Morden. So, yeah. PsiCorps. It’s a no-brainer that they were going to come up again in the show, but I’m pretty pleased with my timing. Plus it’s in writing!

The other thing I totally called was that Sheridan’s late wife was on an archaeological dig that had something to do with whatever was in G’Kar’s ancient texts. That was also probably a no-brainer, but remember that I am watching this show just about completely unspoiled, and really unspoiled about the plot, so it was a pure prediction. It was an easy prediction, but I am claiming it.

The exposition with Delenn and Kosh was OK; there was really no other way to get that information out, and the images of a ship landing and people walking around the surface of a planet was nice to see, even if it was obviously all from a computer. One does get tired of being indoors all the time! The bits with Garibaldi and Ivanova protesting Sheridan’s behavior was OK; it provided some confirmation of things we already knew about their characters’ behaviors and beliefs, and highlighted the contradictions between rules and morality, I suppose. The WWII arm band stuff was painful to watch, only because it was straight out of every Nazi movie and 1984. Talia didn’t need to be there, and Sheridan didn’t need to bare his soul about WWII and the Enigma code to some guy we’ve never had to take seriously as a character before–the doctor and Garibaldi usually do the reminiscing with him–but we had to get that guy’s face Zack Allen’s face implanted in our minds because he’s wearing the armband now. We all know what that means! First you’re just earning an extra fifty credits a week, next you’re Hermann Wilhelm Goering with a long list of names and a cyanide pellet in your cheek.

Wiser, more articulate, more experienced, and more knowledgeable TV critics/bloggers than I would probably call this episode one of those ones where the producers are moving the characters into place so that real action can happen next, although they would use more articulate, knowledgeable words than that. So, yeah, everyone knows now what we’re fighting, what Kosh is, how the legends connect, and how Earth is going to fuck it all up and/or make it worse. Vir explicitly made it clear that he thinks Londo is up to no good and drew his lines in the sand. Still, the show managed to raise some interesting ideas within this limited context.

First is the idea of willpower. Is Morden actually behaving independently? Is he still the same person? Either Delenn or Kosh remarked that anyone who survived would not be the same, so we’ve got a little bit of the Monkey’s Paw thing going with Sheridan (does he really want to know if his wife survived this disaster?), but we also have the idea that humans can be coopted as pawns for evil. I’m not going to go so far as this preparing the way for sleeper Cylons in The New Battlestar Galactica, but one does have to wonder who else is not what they seem. Is that Man in Black who enlisted Londo in this whole mess (Lord Someone) acting as a Centauri (probably, but still)? I’m sure this will turn out to be one of those mindbenders that supposedly occurs when you are rewatching the series.

Second, and more interesting, is the comparison between what the Ministry of Peace is doing and what Sheridan is doing. Group/individual. Thoughts/actions. Within/outside of legal procedures. Right/wrong. Ends/means. You don’t have to have read Orwell to catch on that the Ministry of Peace is not the friend of freedom, but at least they’re totally upfront and honest about what they are doing. Sheridan is working alone and in secret, but you could argue that he is justified for doing so. Delenn, Kosh, Vir, and Talia all know that Morden is a bad person and deserves imprisonment, even if it can’t be justified (for pragmatic or moral reasons). Doing good takes you to bad places sometimes, and good intentions pave the way to hell the other times. This show may not be very graceful with its lessons, but it never shies away from complexity.

What’s pretty cool about having this episode behind me is that I have no idea what will happen next. All the pieces are in place and you could see most of them coming, but there’s still a third of the season left. Who knows how the teams are going to assemble? Big action is coming! For all that this episode was standing in place and waiting around, I end it as excited as I began it. Bring on episode 17! I’m ready for the real show to start.

Babylon 5–Season 2, Episode 10: GROPOS

You have no idea how fervently I count my blessings every day that I didn’t take upon myself the task of blogging about Lost. Christ, that show is complicated! It’s not helping me, either, that everyone’s name starts with the same frikkin letter. Don’t get me wrong–I’m loving it–but I’m just riding that wave. I have no original insight, and I never predict anything correctly, and mostly I just want to go to Hawai’i. And figure out what brand of eye makeup Richard Alpert uses so I can get it, too.

But I am blogging about Babylon 5, however sporadically, and there my responsibilities lie. I’ve stumbled on another episode I didn’t particularly care for, but rather than let it throw me off for weeks, I want to write it up and move on to the next one. GROPOS was OK; I didn’t hate it, and I did like it more than the Spiderweb one, but it was all function and very little plot or character. It had purposes to serve, and I appreciate why a story this intricate needs to pause for a moment and do some explicit storytelling (especially when there are events happening at the galactic scale and we really only ever see one station’s perspective). But it felt like an obligatory episode, and I feel like this is an obligatory write-up. Mostly I’m keeping things professional because I just found out from my mother that my aunt discovered this blog and sent her the link. I am already afraid of getting in trouble when she figures out how much time I spend writing this damn thing, and I have my fingers crossed that I haven’t said anything bad about my family on any of its pages. I don’t think I have. My brother might be annoyed at that bit I wrote about him and his old stuff, and the part where I copied and pasted from an email he sent to me, but he’s probably annoyed at me for other things. I think, anyway, that his girlfriend would laugh.

The GROPOS, I finally figured out, are the ground pounders, or the general infantrymen that run around and make a lot of noise with their feet. One of them is a kick-ass chick. Four of them die in an ill-fated attack that anyone could have seen coming, except the obstinate, arrogant, warmongering generals back on Earth. Well, more than four of them die, but we only get closeups of the good ones, the chummy ones, the ones with steel exteriors but hearts made of honey and love. Jumping to the end of the episode, I did think the scene where Garibaldi and then that other guy were reading the casualty lists was vaguely reminiscent of that scene in Gone with the Wind where the Atlantans are hanging out in carriages in the heat of the day waiting for the death lists to come off the telegraph from Gettysburg. It’s a terrible, sad situation, and I thought it was filmed well, at least so long as they were on the station. The gathering of people to witness a horror is a very universal experience, and the reactions of Garibaldi and the other guy (I am so sorry that I can’t remember his name; I actually don’t think I even know it) were very well played. Garibaldi really didn’t know Dodger, and the other guy had some rollicking good times with those fellows but they weren’t really friends. It’s sad to think of lives you’ve touched being extinguished, but the relative lack of grief for these people reflects how easy it is to be distanced from war–and thus how easy it is for conflicts to escalate far beyond what is necessary. It is a shame these vibrant people died. It’s a shame in theory, though. These were anonymous numbers sent far away to do some unpleasant stuff that no one really wants to talk about. So they let it go on.

Compare these scenes of mild disappointment (I am not criticizing these men) to the scenes of G’Kar’s balls-out anguish and hysteria. I don’t know if the producers of the show were trying to make a statement about the general public’s lack of understanding of the horrors of war–the blase’ attitudes people can take–but it was a very sterile treatment. I mean, the people of Babylon 5 were upset about it, but they made I-told-you-so predictions. No one is feeling it yet. They assume that bad things will happen because of it, but they aren’t viscerally anticipating them. Say what you will about G’Kar, but he thought his assassination plan through. He knew exactly what would happen. Babylon 5 is in a tricky position, and can’t really put up more of an argument against the troop deployment than it did, but they are still detached in a way that will take them further down the road than they mean to go. I am starting to speak in generalities, and I don’t have a firm mental hold on what my thoughts are, but there just didn’t seem to be a lot of personal involvement in the fate of those ground troops. My feeble predictive powers tell me that things will get worse before they get better, and hindsight will be 20/20, and regrets will happen. I am unhappy with my inability to get at my feelings and impressions better.

So I’ll stick with the simple stuff.

1. We learned that the doctor is a man of principle. We already knew that. Redundant. There was no reason to make the general the doctor’s father, unless down the road the doctor will have to choose between family and duty or something. We didn’t need the character development. And who was that actor anyway? He was like a poor director’s James Earl Jones.

2. We learned that the Earth government is arrogant and ignorant, and makes bad decisions.

3. We learned that war is hard.

4. We learned that Garibaldi is a sensitive man who takes women seriously, and who is capable of forming serious romantic attachments. We already learned that Sheridan was a worthy, eligible bachelor. Garibaldi has been sort of the bumbling fellow who doesn’t appear romantic, so this business of respecting the woman too much to want to hurt her (and this business of being completely unaware of what a woman wants) sort of plays against character (and sort of doesn’t). It’s a complexity, people! But we also hear quite a few unnecessary (to Dodger) details about his past attachments, and it’s not the first time we have heard of the woman who was swallowed up by Mars, so this sort of was a vehicle for getting us to think about his past and maybe–feeble predictive powers at work–learn what happens to her in a significant way. A little bit of bad Earth government, a little bit of Mars reminder… stuff is going to combine. I feel it!

5. We see an early version of the kick-ass sci-fi chick. They are a dime a dozen nowadays (Starbuck being a prime example), but I’m not sure when they first made their appearance. Well, there was Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley in Alien, but I think there was a long dry spell after that. Not that I’ve watched a ton of sci-fi, but the kick-ass chick is a fairly new phenomenon. So this was sort of a groundbreaking character as far as I can tell. I guess Dodger also was the lesson that war stresses people out and that women and men can be the same. The one thing that saved her from being totally cliche was her quick leap to the defense of Delenn. I don’t know exactly how badly Delenn was going to be hurt, but I really got the impression that something very bad had happened to Dodger in the past that made her ultra-sensitive to what those men were capable of. She sort of reminded me of the Susan Sarandon character in Thelma & Louise–that kind of history. But her character was way overwritten and the actress seemed too old to be playing a grunt. There was absolutely no reason for her to be plain old infantry–she could have been given age-appropriate responsibility without changing any significant plot points. The disconnect sort of was distracting, and detracted from her character. I dunno… maybe that was just the hair and makeup aging her. It doesn’t really matter.

6. We see that there are now two major conflicts involving Babylon 5, or the Earthlings, which is bound to cause problems. As the characters pointed out in the show, Babylon Station will lose credibility on one front if it arms itself too powerfully for another.

I don’t want to call this episode filler, exactly, but it was far more function than fun. 1440 words may contradict the next statement, but I don’t really have a lot to say about this episode. But I watched it, and I wrote about it, and I accidentally learned a minor spoiler while researching Marie Marshall’s age (and which I never found), and now I can move on.

I ate a lot of popcorn tonight, which means there’s a lot of salt in my system, and I am thirsty. This is as good a stopping place as any, I suppose.

/blogging

Babylon 5–Season 2, Episode 9: The Coming of Shadows

Well, I finally worked myself to exhaustion last week, and so I’ve been anti-computer and pro-housework lately. Plus I’ve been sleeping. There were so many things I wanted to write about, too, that I’m afraid I’ll never get to now: a bad recipe to slam, a book that turned out to be interesting and the periodical lesson I learned again about reading reviews on Amazon before finishing, my adventures with lavender and Gold Bond medicated anti-itch cream, and HOA drama and gossip. But I can’t talk about those things right now. I have to blog about the most recent episode of Babylon 5, because I am itching–ha!–itching to see the next one and I have a pile of laundry to do and if I move ahead with the show before processing the last one–a good one!–I’ll get myself all out of sorts.

The Coming of Shadows
My Gentle Reader, nevermore, told me a very long time ago that this one was a very good episode. Pretty much once I make up my mind to like a show, I like everything, but because we agreed on the weakness that was the Spiderweb episode I was especially eager to get into Shadows. Yes, it was very, very good. I don’t want to say that it was thin on plot, because the plot was amazing, but it was definitely streamlined with minimal extra story arcs. Everyone’s side story–they didn’t drop the side stories–tied directly into the Centauri/Narn politics. These were separate characters with very different goals, but nothing detracted from the drama. And drama it was! We learned a lot about the show’s mythology, too. I guess I’ll start with Londo and move to G’Kar.

Talking about Londo means talking about the emperor first. That business with the perfectly matched telepaths was something else. I don’t want to call it startlingly original, but their ability did come as something as a surprise to me. Centauri culture seems to be built along the lines of medieval feudalism, but this veiled group of women evoked a very Far Eastern vibe. But just when you think the Emperor has surrounded himself with some young lovelies in purdah, you find out that they are performing this amazing service for him. I am horrified, of course, to think of how those women have been completely denied a life of their own, and have no will or voice of their own, and are totally under the control of the men and the politicians who have placed them in that role, but it was way cool to learn that they communicate with each other from so far away. I suppose it’s worse than what the PsiCorps does to people who manifest psychic powers, because those psychics are at least acknowledged as individuals and given some autonomy over their own lives, but it’s really a matter of scale and not of principle. I also don’t know if those women would be happier in some kind of sexual servitude to the emperor, either. At least they’d be acknowledged as people and partners (to some degree) instead of cogs in a machine. Regardless, revealing that the Emperor was traveling with what amounts to a very large and hungry Blackberry and not some party to go made me appreciate his character more at the end. It’s a shame about the veils, but I suppose that does become a matter of function rather than control. If these women can transmit everything they see and hear, the veils probably act as a filter. I like to think that they won’t be honor killed if a man glimpsed their hair or faces. I also like to think that they’ll be allowed to retire a la Minority Report if one of them dies or loses her ability or something. I know they come as a set and they can’t be replaced within the group, but I hate to think of them being harmed when they lose a member. I guess in medieval feudalism they’d go to a convent. Based on what I’ve pieced together about women from Centauri, I guess that wouldn’t be so bad…

Londo.
If I hadn’t already read a long time ago by accident that Londo would turn into an “uber-villain” I might still have hope that he could come back from this episode, but his fate has pretty much been sealed for me. I would like to remind you folks that in my post for “The Geometry of Shadows” I warned everyone that the skinny man in black robes was up to no good. Lord Refa, I’m onto you.

(And now that I go back to look up that post so I can link to it, I see that “Shadows” has been a key part of the title. I am expecting a future episode named “The ____ of Shadows,” and will pay attention to the themes in it against this decision.)

I also applauded Vir for being the voice of courage and reason, if not exactly goodness. He remains so. I like to think of him as much nicer than Londo, with fewer ambitions and a firmer conscience even if the glamour of the whole ambassador thing affects him a little. He goes along with Londo’s games to a large degree (because when Londo advances, he advances), but he knows that genocide is bad. And not just because it’s bad morally–he anticipates the galactic consequences of such an aggressive, hostile act and takes them seriously. He doesn’t know what they will be, and he probably couldn’t predict any specifics, but he is not blinded by racial pride and power-hunger to the point that he thinks the Centauri can get away with it in the long term. I suppose Vir represents the voice of Joe Centauri, with little to personally gain and much to lose, and Londo is the man who can risk everything in hopes of great rewards. I am not surprised at all that Vir spoke up to Londo, but I was somewhat disappointed that he made no protest larger than a verbal “you’ll regret this someday.” I have a feeling that we’re not done with him. He protests, but then does Londo’s dirty work without a fight. Still, he knows this is wrong. At some point, he’ll go down with Londo–morally and in actuality–if he stays in alliance with Londo. I am still fully expecting him to hit his breaking point and walk away. I hope he walks away soon enough to escape more than damnation, if not soon enough to be redeemed. That is, I’d like him to act against Londo and be redeemed, but I don’t know if he will.

Londo’s actions don’t surprise me. What surprises me is that he is absolutely convinced he has to do this thing against the Narn while absolutely being convinced that it is wrong. He doesn’t want to be Emperor, and he is having nightmares, so I wonder what he hopes to gain or thinks will happen by participating in this plot? I don’t get the impression that he personally hates or even thinks about the Narn as people; he is certainly jovial enough with G’Kar when they are together. Maybe I haven’t been paying close enough attention to the show, but Londo’s behaviors hint at some deeper motivation than restoring the good name of his people or respecting and restoring Centauri tradition. He is not a man who has shown a great deal of respect for Centauri tradition to this point. There’s got to be some personal demon he hopes to kill or some personal slight he hopes to revenge behind this. Perhaps he’s mad at Lord Refa and cares more about this personal matter than the big picture. Totally selfish and tunnel-visioned I already see.

And I am allowing myself to believe that this episode proves the Centauri–as I predicted–have formed an unholy alliance with the creatures at the border, the ones foretold in G’Kar’s holy book and the ones spotted by that ship in hyperspace. They have short-term gains in mind and the arrogance to believe they can control this unknown force. They’ll be the ones opening the back door on the galactic peoples to let the evil in, without thinking about how that will hurt them, too. What will be interesting to find out is if everyone turns against the Centauri, if everyone takes pity and rescues the Centauri, or if it’s the Centauri that will be driven to the brink of (or beyond) extinction, in kind of a cosmic justice. Of course we’ll see the Narn act with grace when it comes down to it. The pastoral people always have an ancient and natural wisdom that achieves glory and teaches the city people about the true spirit of living. It’s country mouse and city mouse to the tenth power, with space ships.

And so we get to G’Kar.

Now his character never fails to surprise me. I haven’t seen him as just a Narn in a long time; he has been firmly established as a character for me, in a way that none of the other aliens (save Vir, maybe) have yet to become. When he felt so strongly about the Emperor’s visit that he vowed to take him out, it hurt to watch. He didn’t want to have to be the one to kill the Emperor, but it was necessary in his mind and he preferred the oblivion of death, the shame of imprisonment, and the possible agony of failure over the comfort of passivity. When he stands there and announces that the whole of his life will resolve in one of three ways, you have to admire his courage. I honestly thought we’d see something bad happen to G’Kar worse than facing this choice, that is). I was floored when the Emperor had a heart attack (or the Centauri equivalent) before G’Kar could get to him. I went into shock. He went into shock. I was so grateful that G’Kar was spared that awful destiny. Whether he had killed the Emperor or not, he would have triggered another attack from the Centauri and his people would have cursed his name forever. He was acting in their name, but since clearly the Centauri (or some of them) has this attack planned, he would have turned into a scapegoat. The second war would have been spun around G’Kar’s name. Now–thank god!–the Narn still have the moral high ground. How tragic would that have been?

Even though of course everyone watching the show knew that something bad was coming, it was exhilarating to learn that the Emperor came to apologize, that G’Kar was spared the awfulness of being an assassin, and his happiness that he lived to see a new day of intergalactic relations. He was ready to leave the unhappiness of the old G’Kar and the old Narn tragedies behind. Kudos to Londo, if such things can be given to him, for not ruining the moment when G’Kar shared the drink. Londo is a Prick Extraordinaire, but he isn’t heartless. He respects G’Kar and the plight of his people even if–to put it crudely–he wouldn’t give two shits for it. Londo hopes no one takes it personally, of course.

I don’t know what I expect from subsequent episodes. I can’t see how anyone could allow Londo to remain on the station, although I am sure they will. I know they will. I suppose Londo will deny all knowledge, and the Centauri are being what everyone has decided will pass for cooperative, and the two percent of the survivors of the attack are being allowed to leave (I think that’s what’s happening; I can’t remember). G’Kar will manage to not kill Londo. I hope G’Kar’s feisty assistant comes back. I know she got sent on or left for some mission, but I miss her. What I am really waiting for, as is everyone else at the exact same point of the season as I am, is to learn what the dark, shadowy forces hiding in hyperspace and written about in holy books are going to be. But we’re not even halfway through the season yet! Something else is bound to develop, and I don’t even feel like guessing what that might be.

I think I have to go put calamine lotion on my back now. That’s part of the adventures with lavender I haven’t been writing about. I also decided that I am going to combine two gift certificates I got for a spa (it was literally years apart that I got these gift certificates) for a “Taste of Spa” experience that includes two hours of massage and lunch. I just have to figure out when I want to go. I think I want this rash to clear up first.