Review: Babylon 5 2.02

by on Nov.09, 2008, under Babylon 5, Reviews by Bill Thompson, Television


Review: Babylon 5 2.02 vlcsnap 47801 300x168

That chick has scales all over her body, so not hot! Wait a minute, the scales are gone, she now has hair and she’s pretty good looking, I approve. Garibaldi’s awake, but based on the crap he’s about to go through for the next four years maybe he should have stayed in that coma. What’s the point of having a secret regime signature hand gesture when you go around showing it to people you tried to kill? Don’t go to the rim appears to be the lesson to be learned from this episode.

Written By: J. Michael Straczynski
Directed By: Jim Johnston

Bare Essentials:

A Plot – G’Kar has found that an ancient force in the galaxy is alive once again on the outer rim. He tries to convince the Ambassadors on Babylon 5 of this, and he dispatches a lone G’Quan Class Heavy Cruiser to scout the ancient enemies home planet and prove that they are back. The Shadows are prepared for their arrival because of Londo’s association with Mr. Morden and destroy the vessel the moment it leaves hyperspace. With no proof the Ambassadors shelve G’Kar’s theories on the returning enemy.

B Plot – Franklin and Sheridan use the alien healing device to revive Garibaldi and with the help of Talia he identifies his shooter as his right hand man, Jack. Garibaldi interrogates Jack and Jack reveals that there are forces at work that Garibaldi can’t even hope to understand. President Clark orders Jack and all evidence related to his case to be sent to Earth immediately, but along the way Jack and all the evidence is whisked away to never be seen again on an EarthForce ship that doesn’t appear on any official registries

C Plot – Captain Sheridan’s sister, Elizabeth, is on station to reconnect with her brother. The Captain reveals he is still reeling from the loss of his wife Anna over two years previous. Elizabeth brings with her a message that Anna left for John before she died and that message helps Sheridan to start to move on with his life.

D Plot – Delenn emerges from her cocoon as a half human/half Minbari hybrid.

More Arc, Less Arch:

Morden’s almost throwaway comment about destroying the Narn homeworld will come true less than a year later in The Long, Twilight Struggle.

The alien healing device makes its first appearance since The Quality Of Mercy. It will be back in a big way in Rising Star and has a minor appearance in Clark’s Law.

G’Quan’s delineations on the Shadows will be brought up again in Ship Of Tears.

Anna Sheridan’s last mission was aboard the science vessel Icarus exploring an unknown planet on the rim. What happened with the Icarus and the planet will be revealed in the episodes In The Shadow Of Z’ha’dum and Z’ha’dum.

G’Kar’s theories on the return of an ancient force that everyone else briskly dismisses will be revealed to be true in the episode In The Shadow Of Z’ha’dum. The planet, Z’ha’dum, he sends the G’Quan Class Heavy Cruiser to investigate will play a huge role in the rest of Babylon 5. Most notably in the episodes In The Shadow Of Z’ha’dum and Z’ha’dum, as well as in the books The Shadow Within and The Passing Of The Techno-Mages: Book II: Summoning Light, and Book III: Invoking Darkness. The fact that the Shadows have Morden tell Londo to notify him of any mention of happenings on the rim shows that they want to stay hidden and are not happy that G’Kar has been poking around their area of space.

The new order that Jack refers to isn’t just Psi Corps, but the entire Clark regime and most notably Nightwatch. This new regime becomes very prominent later in season 2, and all the way up till the end of season 4. Jack’s gesture of a tip of a nonexistent cap and the phrase “I’ll be seeing you” is a clear reference to Bester from Mind War. As Garibaldi later points out this signifies Psi Corps possible involvement in the assassination of President Santiago. He also links this very astutely to Vice President Clark being backed by Psi Corps in an election scandal, that was reported on in And The Sky Full Of Stars, and to his getting off of EarthForce One with the flu shortly before its destruction. All of this will be shown in episodes such as Hunter, Prey, Voices Of Authority, Messages From Earth, Point Of No Return and really hit the boiling point in Severed Dreams.

Who Are You? What Do Yo… Hey, I’m Asking The Questions Here!:

Okay, besides Lennier’s one sided conversation with cocooned Delenn being seven different kinds of creepy and giving me the heebie jeebies, it also doesn’t make much sense. The only other Minbari in history that used a cocoon was Sinclair/Valen and Lennier has no idea about that. This is the first exposure he’s ever had to something like this, how the heck does he know its going to be “soon now”?

Isn’t it just a little bit too much of a coincidence that Sheridan wanders in right as Franklin is about to hook himself up to the machine and work on Garibaldi?

Idiosyncratic Musings:

The fact that G’Kar is willing to set aside his hatred of Londo and the Centauri to confide in Londo about what is happening on the outer rim really stresses how dangerous and powerful the Shadows are. We’ve barely seen them at this point, but little moments like this imprint in our minds the idea that they are a terrible power.

I See What You Did There:

We get a flashback to Chrysalis when Garibaldi was shot in the back.

Say It Again Mac:

This exchange between Londo and Lennier is funny, but the incredulous and matter of fact way that Lennier reacts to Londo’s charge is amazing. Lennier, “Ambassador Delenn remains indisposed.”
Londo, “Indisposed. She’s in a cocoon!”
Lennier, “Yes?”

Another good exchange, Londo, “Why don’t you eliminate the entire Narn homeworld while you’re at it?”
Morden, “One thing at a time, Ambassador. One Thing at a time.”

Lost In Translation:

Elizabeth Sheridan, “She died on a deep space exploration vessel that exploded.” Watch it with that big bad exposition, it’ll poke someone’s eye out.

Lou Welch, “Go ahead, go for it. Make my fraggin’ solar year.” I, uh, I just, there’s really nothing I can say in response to that…

Yes, I Am A Fleet Junkie:

We are introduced to the Shadow’s Spitfire Class Heavy Fighter. The Spitfire is an extremely agile and deadly fighter that is the smallest vessel in known space that is capable of forming its own jump point. The Spitfire can be remote piloted from a Shadow Battle-Crab, but it also can be piloted by a lone internal pilot, although it is unclear whether that pilot is married to its ship like with the Battle-Crab. The Spitfire has the ability to cloak itself and carries an armament of one quantum bolt cannon as well as tractor beams. Like all Shadow vessels it is alive and protected by bio-armor. The Spitfire has the ability to take on any fighter craft from the lesser races and can hold its own with most capital vessels from said races.

The battle between the Frazi and the Spitfire was a bit too melodramatic with the dialogue at the end. But, it did show a Shadow vessel that isn’t indestructible and that can be out run. The Spitfires destroyed the Frazi easily, but we did see a Frazi destroy a lone Spitfire by ramming it and that G’Kar’s Frazi was able to outrun the other Spitfire to the jump gate.

We are treated to the insides of a G’Quan Class Heavy Cruiser. It’s very roomy and large looking. Of course as is the usual it is destroyed after a couple of shots in its “battle” with a Shadow Battle-Crab.

It’s Your Cultural Imperative:

Narn apparently sleep on rock like beds.

I Think This Might Be Based On Something:

When G’Kar tells Na’Toth, “I have looked into the abyss, Na’Toth. You cannot do that and ever be the same again.” he is quoting German philosopher and all around downer Friedrich Nietzsche.

The poem that G’Kar recites to Na’Toth is from The Second Coming by W.B. Yeates. The title Revelations is also taken from the poem.

You Look Mighty Familiar:

Beth Toussaint, Anna Sheridan, portrayed Ishara Yar on the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Legacy.

Beverly Leech, Elizabeth Sheridan played Rita Allen Poe, the wife of a corrupt scientist, on the episode Gimme, Gimme of Alien Nation. She was Catherine Farrington in the episode Sea Bride – June 3, 1954 of Quantum Leap. Finally, she also played Dayla in the Star Trek: Voyager episode Nightingale.

Mary Kay Adams, Na’Toth, appeared as Grilka on a couple of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes.

Casting Ahead:

Mary Kay Adams replaces Julie Caitlin Brown in the role of Na’Toth in this episode. She is a series regular for season 2, but she will only appear a few times.

Mr. Morden is back on Babylon 5.

Garibaldi’s aide, Jack, is back on screen for the final time.

Also on the security front Lou Welch appears again.

President Clark is back on the show, but this is the first time he interacts with anyone on B5, and the only time at that.

Anna Sheridan is seen for the first time, she will be back for a few more eps (with a different actress) and played a prominent role in the novel The Shadows Within.

Michael McKenzie is back again, this time as the navigator on the G’Quan that is destroyed.

James Kiriyama-Lem is back as a nameless med tech in medlab.

That Wasn’t Supposed To Happen:

I’ll discuss this more further down, but the fact that it’s obvious both in the visual and auditory sense that Na’Toth is completely different is a big problem.

The door to G’Kar’s quarters doesn’t close after Na’Toth enters and having to then be ordered shut by Na’Toth for dramatic effect does not jive with how the doors on B5 function. It also makes Na’Toth look like an idiot when she’s straining to read her papers with the light coming in from the open door instead of just turning on a light. Speaking of the doors on B5, the ones where Garibaldi is being held in medlab is quite the magical gaffe. Sometimes they open and close, other times they aren’t even there.

When Sheridan is drinking with his sister in his quarters he finishes his drink, and while he’s walking towards the sink the glass refills and he then has to finish it again.

It doesn’t really affect this episode, but the fact that a different actress plays Anna Sheridan later in the series does hurt the continuity a bit.

The Ombuds Have Decided:

Revelations is an episode that is full of wondrous things. At times it is beautiful in its vision and at other times it is bogged down in errors and clunky dialogue. All the plot points work in Revelations and push the series along as a whole. The acting is superb all around and Revelations delivers enough drama to constitute a well made episode. Revelations does pull you in with its various threads and it holds you tight and makes you care about what is going on. However, there are too many errors and inconsistencies in continuity along with some truly bad dialogue and some things that just didn’t sit right with me (such as the fact that Elizabeth Sheridan is a complete throwaway character) that take you out of the episode. Revelations ends up a good episode, but it could have been so much more.

I’m not a fan of the recasting of Na’Toth. As stated above it is a continuity blunder, the voice is different, the body is different, everything is different about the new Na’Toth. However the main problem with the new Na’Toth is the way Mary Kay Adams chose to play the part. Up until this episode Na’Toth had been strong, assertive and aggressive. But, now she is played as being meek, small and passive. The conversation between Na’Toth and G’Kar in the Zen Garden highlights that distinction perfectly. The old Na’Toth would have stood straight with G’Kar and made it seem like a conversation between peers. The new Na’Toth cowers in the mere presence of G’Kar rending a scared student at the feet of her teacher.

Using big bombastic music that screams “importance and power” to herald the arrival of Sheridan’s sisters shuttle was a very odd choice.

Revelations allows Sheridan to deliver some powerful moments. He shows how blindingly loyal he can be to a man he doesn’t even know when he helps Franklin with Garibaldi. Later he shows how human he is with a scenes full of loss, regret, love and finally acceptance in all of his conversations with his sister, aside from some dodgy exposition from his sister, in their first conversation in his quarters, and his final watching of Anna’s message. Points Of Departure may have been Sheridan’s introduction episode, but Revelations is the episode that brings you closer to him and allows Sheridan to truly become a part of the show.

I love that Garibaldi’s first remark upon meeting Sheridan is, “I don’t know you.” That shows how guarded and defensive Garibaldi is. It also contrasts nicely with Garibaldi’s later interaction with Talia. Garibaldi hates Psi Corp and he doesn’t trust telepaths at all, but he’s willing to allow Talia in his head because he trusts her. For Garibaldi it’s all about trust and those two scenes do a great job of showcasing that fact.

The scenes with reptile Delenn are weird and so out there that they allow you to be completely sideswiped when you find out what she has actually become. No one was expecting a beautiful half human/half Minbari to emerge. We were all expecting some sort of monster, and while some people within the universe think we did get a monster, those of us outside are able to recognize the wonderful job they did of distracting us from what Delenn was actually going to become when she was in reptile mode. This leads into when Delenn is actually revealed, and that scene is handled masterfully as well. The grace that Mira Furlan puts into that moment and the reactions of the other actors when they first see her and the music used give it an aura of being a truly awe inspiring moment.

As much as I love the intensity in the Garibaldi/Jack interrogation scene, what really makes that scene is how it’s shot. The extreme close-ups from odd angles give it a claustrophobic feel while at the same time giving off an old 1950’s crime drama vibe. A wonderful bit of camera work and direction in a scene that is quite masterful.

I don’t like President Clark directly contacting Sheridan about Jack. It’s a bit heavy handed in forcing down the fact that Clark is up to no good and shouldn’t be trusted. An underling of some sort (senate or military) should have been the one to contact Sheridan. As it is it’s a little too obvious in regards to the nature of President Clark when you have him sounding very fake and nervous when talking to Sheridan. Garibaldi’s musings about Clark as well as the later disappearance of Jack and all the evidence were more than enough to let us know that maybe there’s more to Clark than meets the eye, all of that makes his appearance very heavy handed.

I am completely enamored with the fact that in one instant G’Kar has it all figured out. He knows Londo is the leak and he knows the Centauri are in collusion with the ancient force. But, just as quickly as he figures it all out he dismisses it as pure fancy. A brilliant little nugget.




Revelations is all done with. Next up we’ll partake in a little wizardry with our purple, or green if that’s your style, in The Geometry Of Shadows.


Previous – 2.01

Next – 2.03

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