"As I look at you, Ambassador Mollari, I see a great hand reaching out of the stars. The hand is your hand. And I hear sounds of billions of people calling your name." "My followers?" "Your victims."
REVIEW: Sometimes, you find pleasure in the little things - finally a Centauri with Londo's accent, Garibaldi's relatively slow (for TV) recovery, the show's ethos clumsily described in Vir's philosophy, of all people - because the big things... Let's start with the political satire of the Drazi "election". Just as plot, it's fine, if disposable fluff. I like that Ivanova gets a promotion AND additional responsibilities. I like that it shows Sheridan as more of a delegator than Sinclair was, less hands-on and probably better able to stave off a meltdown than his predecessor. And the idea of the Drazi's random political process/war is, on the surface, cute, with an amusing resolution. And I'd rather think of it as simply that. As a satire on the American political system, I don't think it holds water. The U.S. is highly politicized and even if I were to buy into the concept of "both parties are essentially the same", Conservatives and Liberals obviously don't THINK the same. The Drazi's complete lack of ideology is a nice absurdist, Kafkaesque idea, but its follow-the-leader approach isn't quite right. It's true that many people, especially those of a certain age, will vote a certain "color" all their lives, regardless, but the people they vote for will still have to present their ideology for it all to make sense. Here in Canada, where there are more parties, the two main colors ARE essentially the same, give or take. They might present themselves as different, but both are just right of center, at least in practice. But the Drazi aren't commenting on practice, they're commenting on ideology and process. Not an allegory, just an absurd extreme, and that's fine. I don't need to make more of it than is there, though I imagine JMS would want me too.
The other big thing is the introduction of the Technomages, though because they're leaving the known universe to escape the Shadow war, they won't become important again until, as I understand it, Crusade. So despite a major guest-star (to SF fans anyway) in Michael Ansara, and a couple of nice exchanges between him and Sheridan and then Londo, the only thing it really adds to the show's tapestry is that very powerful people are running from the Shadows, which makes what's coming all the more terrifying. And that's fine. I just think the Technomages could have been a little more engaging as a whole, or perhaps been introduced long before. As is, they show up, they leave, and in between they make fantasy references from Tolkien, Moorcock (Elric? really?) and AD&D (tell me that monster didn't come right off the original DuneonMaster's Guide). Again, their presence leads to some amusement, mostly in Londo getting cursed, but their brief presence doesn't make the best use of Babylon 5's novelistic structure.
The third story thread belongs to Garibaldi, who believes he's at a crossroads. The man who brought him onto Babylon 5, his only trusted friend, is gone, and he doesn't know this Sheridan. And because he failed to uncover a conspiracy right under his nose, he's not sure he's competent to be security chief anymore (I AGREE!). So a lot of soul-searching when we know very well he's not going anywhere. The show will eventually prove someone can leave the station and remain in the cast, but as of now, Garibaldi's been in EVERY episode (unless I'm very much mistaken, it's close if not, and he'd be joined by Sinclair and Ivanova if you take their predecessor or successor as the same basic character). The resolution is inevitable, which takes away from his personal journey and his need to prove to himself he's still relevant. We're again given insight into Sheridan's management style, but again, no great revelation. On character that's noticeably absent is the All-New Delenn, which seems inexcusable given her recent transformation. What is she doing during these events? Teaching herself to brush and wash her hair? JMS left us hanging on that one, and you can't tell me she has no opinion on the Technomages.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: Michael Ansara played one of the original Klingons, Kang, in another episode about people fighting for no reason, "Day of the Dove".
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - A waste of a great title. While not without its moments, it really feels like a throwback to the first season's plots of the week.