Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Classics: B5 5:3 - The Paragon of Animals

Overall: 6.5

JMS's self-contradictions are kind of hilarious, but on the whole, this episode is only so-so.

Plot Synopsis:

The Lurker's Guide has a summary here.

The Skinny:

Okay -- reason number one why Byron needs to be punched in the face repeatedly: He's no better than Bester. Granted, telepaths do have legitimate grievances when it comes to how they've been treated in the Earth Alliance. But all that crap Byron spouts about telepaths being "superior" to mundanes comes straight from the aforementioned psi-cop's playbook. JMS may claim at the Lurker's Guide that Byron doesn't actually hate mundanes, but that's definitely not how it comes across -- so either the actor failed or the writing failed. Either way, FAIL has definitely taken place.

(And by the way -- that an official of the Interstellar Alliance politely asks for your help - and promises to pay you to boot - is not evidence that he is trying to enslave you. That's what we here like to call an offer of just employment.)

But anyway -- regarding the other half of the plot, I must say that I find the Declaration of Principles - and its application here - rather amusing. Why? Because as I understand it, JMS is a Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferer if ever there was one -- someone who was violently opposed to our invasion of Iraq. Does JMS even recognize the implicit message of what he has penned here? G'Kar's Declaration is basically a radical assertion of human (or sentient) solidarity -- and apparently, given how Sheridan handles the situation with the Enphili, it's also intended to serve as a justification for an interventionist foreign policy. So tell me, JMS: Why is it okay for Sheridan to send in the entire White Star fleet to scare the pants off the Drazi on behalf of the vulnerable Enphili, but it's not okay for the real world American military to destroy Saddam Hussein's brutal dictatorial regime on behalf of Iraq's vulnerable civilians? Because oil was involved in the latter circumstance? No, that argument doesn't wash because the Enphili also had resources that were potentially useful to the IA (as the Enphili spokesman stated explicitly). Because the Enphili intervention didn't devolve into a shooting war? Sheridan was merely lucky there. He had no way of knowing how the Drazi would respond. So sorry, JMS, but your product seems to conflict with your publicly-embraced politics -- and that makes me laugh forever.

Writing: 6.5

The script loses points for the Byron Fail discussed above. Otherwise, it's not too bad.

Acting: 6.0

I wasn't impressed with the guest performers here. The Enphili actor in particular made me wince.

Message: 7.0

An unintentional endorsement of interventionism for the win!

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