Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Classics: B5 3:18 - Walkabout

Overall: 6.3

If you fast-forward through Franklin's plot, you'll find a decent episode.

Plot Synopsis:

The Lurker's Guide has a summary here.

The Skinny:

If I were doing an SFDebris-style review, I would definitely select Dr. Franklin as this episode's "Most Annoying Character." Yes, he was absolutely right to take a leave of absence; we definitely don't want our chief medical officer to make a fatal mistake while hopped up on stims. But all this New-Agey business about finding himself is such tiresome crap. Yes, that's right, I said it. Folks, the answer does not lie "within." If you want to conquer an addiction - or any other character flaw - the last thing you should do is spend weeks examining your own navel. Instead, get out there and serve others. Banish your innate selfishness and focus on the people around you. Actively look for meaning; don't wait for meaning to fall into your lap.

To be fair, though, this episode isn't all bad. Putting Pat Tallman's poor performance aside, those scenes which advance the Shadow War arc are actually quite good. I especially like the dilemma Sheridan's battle plan creates for G'Kar (surprise, surprise). Though I think Garibaldi's raking G'Kar over the coals is a bit unfair - after all, many Narn did die in the battle to defend Babylon 5 - it was definitely interesting to watch G'Kar struggle to choose between preserving his own meager forces and demonstrating his total commitment to the Conspiracy of Light. Ah, G'Kar -- you're going to be very surprised to see how this all turns out in the end. You won't free your homeland through military force; you will free it through submission.

Writing: 6.0

This is the score you get when you average out the A and B plots. Franklin's boring walkabout/tryst gets a 4; the continuation of the Shadow War gets an 8.

Acting: 7.0

I understand Pat Tallman is a lovely person, but I'm afraid she's not much of an actress. Without Tallman's awkward and over-done scenes, this episode probably would've merited at least an 8 on the performances.

Message: 6.0

On the one hand, I like that, once again, G'Kar is forced to make a choice between looking out for his own self-interest and serving the greater good. That is a nice continuation of one of the series' Big Themes. On the other hand, this emphasis on personal sacrifice is unfortunately blunted by Franklin's bitching and moaning. So what do we get in the end? A complete wash.

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