not a beautiful or unique snowflake (nothings) wrote,
not a beautiful or unique snowflake

Now I Watch All Babylon 5: "Legacies"

Season 1, Episode 17: Legacies

Plot: A Minbari warship brings the body of a great Minbari war leader who has died to Babylon 5 to lie in state. The body is stolen, and the Minbari commander blames Sinclair and Garibaldi for their ineffective search. With the aid of the B plot, they determine that Delenn stole the body and cremated it, following the wishes of the dead Minbari--a man of peace obliged to lead in the war. Delenn orders the commander to give up and apologize, by order of the Grey Council.

In the B plot, an orphan comes into her psi powers. Ivanova, given her mother's experience, wants to keep her out of Psi Corps; she and Talia spar. The girl accepts an offer from the Minbari to live with them, leaving Sinclair with a word she scanned from Delenn's mind: "Chrysalis". Perhaps that will be the title of a future episode.

The Title Means: I'm not sure.

Sinclair Action Heroics: Fisticuffs with a Minbari in the dark. (Not an entendre.)

Absent: Londo, G'Kar, Vir, Lennier

Comments: It's not written by JMS, and it kind of features a major guest star (the Minari warship commander), and most of the ambassadors and staff are absent (save Delenn and Na'toth). But, it hits on some major setting issues (the split between the Minbari religious caste and warrior caste; the Grey Council; Psi Cops). So it's not really an arc episode, but it's far beyond those guest-of-the-week episodes in being firmly situated in the B5 universe. Written by D. C. Fontana, best known for having written for ST: TOS.

The B plot just doesn't work for me, even ignoring the acting. The way Ivanova acts makes sense, but it seems like the Psi Corps should make a bigger fuss (although perhaps it makes sense that Talia chooses not to). Moreover, the girl, being an orphan with no attachments, is pretty perfectly suited to join the Psi Corps without losing anyone (the reason Ivanova's mother refused). It feels like there's a better story here where Ivanova learns she can't save everyone, or something. I guess the traditional line here would be that B5 comes from before the revolution that brought us smart modern TV, from before The Wire and Breaking Bad, and it's ok that it was simpler in its good-guys-win outcomes, especially given all the other things it's doing or will do subvert that. But I bet if we looked back though we'd find some TV that broke the rules. Peeking ahead at some second season episodes, I see that there's a lot of heavyhandedness, making evil overtly evil, and I think this is just an aspect of JMS's B5 style. Then again, he did go dark with Believers, so.

When I credited the actors playing G'Kar and Londo as the best actors on the show, I did Mira Furlan a disservice by omitting Delenn. I've noticed since I made that comment that she is just perfect. I always believe her, without fail. And I suspect she has the most challenging of the three roles. G'Kar and Londo are effectively human characters, with different cultural backgrounds and certain emotions emphasized and others downplayed, but we always understand what motivates and drives them. Delenn, though, is much more mysterious; while there are elements of Eastern mysticism there, much of it is just strange, and Delenn's thoughts and motivations are not so easy to read--but that makes her more alien in a (to me) convincing way, that I suspect is actually a harder acting challenge to make believable.

During a conversation with Sinclair, Delenn is constructing the device that will be activated in Chrysalis, the season-ending episode. I'm not sure if this is the first time we've seen it; I suspect it is. (Because it's also mentioned in the episode; it would be even better if it were just being gradually constructed every episode, but apparently that's a kind of continuity that B5 didn't pursue, at least this early.)

We get yet another replay of that flashback of Sinclair at The Line realizing it's a trap and watching that first guy get blown up. Should've counted them; it feels like at least 4 or 5 repeats of the same bloody footage so far.
Tags: now i watch all babylon 5
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