Sunday, December 18, 2011

Classics: B5 5:17 - Movements of Fire and Shadow

Overall: 8.2

The middle episode of a trilogy is never as good as the episodes which proceed and follow it. Still, there is much to like here -- especially that nice cliff-hanger at the very end.

Plot Synopsis:

The Lurker's Guide discusses the details here.

The Skinny:

Regarding those aforementioned good parts, I think it's time to deploy a few bullet points:

  • First of all, I just have to point out Vir's genius. It's important to remember that without Vir's suspicion regarding the whole body exchange situation, Lyta and Franklin would not have discovered the Shadow tech on Drazi Prime. In other words, without Vir's quick thinking, the evidence which would've exonerated the Centauri if not for the Keeper would never have been uncovered. Vir for the win!
  • And speaking of Lyta, she is one scary badass now. I love the look on Franklin's face when Lyta telepathically forces a Drazi attacker to shoot himself in the head. "Holy crap!" he must've been thinking. "I'm glad she's on my side!"
  • There's also yet more Londo/G'Kar cuteness to enjoy. Naturally, Londo has just enough ego to suppose that "the people" would actually give two bleeps about his imprisonment. And naturally, G'Kar would judge the probability of Londo's hoped-for "popular uprising" to be vanishingly low and would have no trouble saying so. Without a doubt, the back-and-forth between these two is very funny -- and it's capped off by G'Kar's rather novel - and hilarious - plan to get Londo out of jail. Who knew the Narn could vomit on command?
  • Of course, the fact that Londo escapes doesn't really prevent his doom. The last scene - in which Londo realizes that Centauri Prime is completely and totally frelled - is a great lead-in for our next feature.

Overall, I enjoy watching this episode. Probably the only thing that's holding it back is the relative lack of a message. In the previous episode, we explore the sad reality of war and how it often crops up without all of the principal players wanting it. In the next episode, powerful themes of atonement and forgiveness dominate the story. But here? Here, the only thing you can take away is some very sensible advice: Don't make unnecessary enemies. Evil governments and evil people should be opposed, of course -- but if, like the Centauri, you behave in an aggressive and imperial manner in your dealings with other peaceful nations, you will ultimately get hit by the blow-back. It's proper to deplore the Narn and Drazi commanders' decision to go right for Centauri Prime -- but we must never forget the source of their resentment.

Writing: 9.0

This script is not quite as effective as the last (or the next), but it's still excellent.

Acting: 8.5

Here, we're treated to another solid slate of performances. Even Pat Tallman is better than usual (though still not great).

Message: 7.0

Eh. As I said above, the message in this episode is easily overshadowed by the themes tackled in the surrounding offerings.

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