'Tis an episode filled with wonderful highs and embarrassing lows.
The Lurker's Guide has a summary here.
Looks like it's time for another edition of Praises and Complaints. Let's get the complaints out of the way first:
- Sheridan's jailbreak is waaaaaay too easy. Surely Bester would've informed the Powers That Be that Garibaldi is no longer a good little brainwashed traitor. (Although -- perhaps allowing Garibaldi to free Sheridan serves Bester's nefarious purposes in some way. After all, I don't imagine Bester has forgiven Clark for the latter's willingness to hand his teeps over to the Shadows. Still, even if we assume that JMS really had thought of this angle, the execution of Sheridan's escape still feels incredibly lame.)
- And speaking of things that are too easy, I don't think the battle sequence in Sector 300 adequately conveys the menace of Clark's Shadow-tech-enhanced destroyer force. Granted, Ivanova is mortally wounded, but we don't see much in the way of "holy crap!" badass weaponry.
- You know that part when Lyta threatens to sue "somebody" for the grave insult of being called a good liar? That basically goes over like a lead balloon thanks to bad writing and a bad performance from Pat Tallman.
- I also don't care for Ivanova's "God sent me" speech for the same reasons mentioned in point three -- and that's pretty unusual. Generally speaking, Claudia Christian has no problem selling those moments.
Now the praises:
- For the most part, Jerry Doyle is only a so-so actor. However, I was very, very impressed with him in this episode -- particularly in his early scene with Franklin, Lyta, and Number One. Bravissimo, Jerry. You really out-do yourself here.
- In the same vein, Bruce Boxleitner, Mira Furlan, Jason Carter, and Claudia Christian all put in absolutely spectacular performances in that late scene at Ivanova's deathbed. They actually succeed in getting this committed Centauriphile to tear up a little bit.
- And finally, because I am a Centauriphile, I certainly can't leave out the fact that my boys have their own moment of awesomeness. I love how mature Vir is in the council room scene -- and I especially love that Londo finally lives up to Vir's faith in him and surprises the hell out of Delenn. Seriously? That whole scene is just one big bucket of awwwwwwwwwwwww.
This is the result I get when I average out the scenes that work and the scenes that don't work.
Pat Tallman and the actress who plays Number One are pretty meh. However, I have to give the rest of the cast credit for really giving it their all. (See the discussion above.)
There are no super strong themes here, but I'm adding one point to the six point neutral for the redemption arcs we have going for both Garibaldi and Londo.