Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Classics: B5 5:1 - No Compromises

Overall: 6.7

A purely utilitarian stage-setter.

Plot Synopsis:

The Lurker's Guide has a summary here.

The Skinny:

Ah, the fifth season. The fifth season had some problems, I'll grant you that -- problems that I will discuss in upcoming reviews. But I don't hold to the popular opinion that the fifth season should be dismissed entirely. There are clear indications here that JMS is getting tired, but as any committed Centauriphile will tell you, this is also the season that contains the Best Scene EverTM. So let us sally forth and give each fifth season episode a fair hearing, shall we?

Regarding No Compromises, I don't have a great deal to say -- probably because JMS didn't have a great deal to say either. While viewing this episode last night, I noticed that several scenes ran longer than they needed to, as if JMS had to fill some empty space in order to hit the forty-five minute mark. Did G'Kar's explanation of Narn naming traditions really add anything to the plot, for example? Hey, I love Andreas - and G'Kar - like burning, and as a fanfiction writer, I found the information provided there mildly interesting. But that dialogue is extraneous when you get right down to it.

This episode exists for three main reasons:

Number one, JMS needed to introduce Captain Lochley. Now, Lochley's hard ass approach to command is not especially interesting, but the fact that she's keeping her loyalties during the civil war secret is. We'll come back to that once the character has evolved a bit more.

Number two, JMS needed to introduce Byron. As we'll discover in future reviews, Byron is a character whose storyline doesn't really succeed in the long run -- but I can't fault this particular episode for those later failures. Here, Byron's role in the overall plot works just fine.

Number three, JMS needed to officially install Sheridan in his new office. And actually, I found Sheridan's idealism here rather amusing -- in part because I know what happens later and in part because I agree with JMS' basic complaint in re: our remote leaders.

Of course, as a leftist, JMS probably doesn't understand why our leaders feel so distant. Leftists, after all, are not known for their ability to track unintended consequences. In reality, it is people on the left who have insisted that we be ruled by an "intellectual" elite. It is people on the left who have consistently attacked ordinary citizen politicians, calling them "idiots," "hicks from the sticks," etc. If some leftists are now disatisfied with the political class, they have only themselves to blame; after all, it is they who have made it virtually impossible for the true "people's representative" to come to power.

Yes -- we would get better leaders if those leaders were closer to the rest of us. But we'll only accomplish this ideal if we get rid of the career politicians who are currently infesting Washington and replace them with folks who've actually worked for a living. And I'd just like to note, for the record, that it was a conservative commentator who famously declared that he would rather be governed by the first 2000 people listed in the local phone book than by a group of Harvard dons.

Writing: 6.0

There's nothing here that really screams "awesome!" to me. Hence, I shall give this script an average score.

Acting: 7.0

The performances aren't too bad, but they're not amazing either.

Message: 7.0

Again, I agree with JMS' assessment of our leaders, though I obviously draw different conclusions with regards to what we should do about it.


Just one highlight, actually:

SHERIDAN: I thought we agreed on a discreet presence by security.
DELENN: This is discreet. At least, far more discreet than Mr. Garibaldi would've preferred: having each guest strip-searched on his way in.
SHERIDAN: Well, I'm glad you talked him out of it. I have no desire to be struck blind by the sight of Londo naked. (LOL!)

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