"They need to believe." "Not in me."
REVIEW: Apotheosis is "the glorification of a subject to divine level"; the "fall" in the episode varies from thread to thread. In the case of Emperor Cartagia, it's a moral fall. His madness has led him to believe that he can rise to godhood by letting the Vorlons burn his world to a cinder. In the previous episode, I was content with Cartagia's portrayal, even though I've despised JMS' other psychotic villains, mostly because we had Caligula as a historical example, but now it strains credulity. He's gone from careless disregard for his people and delusions of grandeur, to crazed, irrational genocide. Really pushing it. Londo learns to navigate the choppy waters of his logic and convinces him to go to Narn (where surely, a god is in no danger) to try G'Kar and make a public show of his madness. It's hard to say if the mercurial Cartagia trusts Londo at all, because every time he shows him one of his special places, it comes off as a not-so-veiled threat. The theater of tortures last episode, and the "shadow cabinet" (ha) of heads in this one. When Cartagia is being a twisted sadist, I buy it. (G'Kar loses an eye for the sake of that portrayal, taking us closer to the vision we have had of the future.) But when he's justifying the destruction of Centauri Prime itself, he loses me. It's too much.
On the station, Sheridan has become a Christ figure, one that literally "fell" into a sort of godhood, one he rejects. POV shots do show us how people's perception of him has changed, and we might even note his more centered demeanor ourselves. A resurrected man assembling followers - the attack on Z'ha'dum will just have to keep until the army is big enough - but also offering a "promised land" for refugees created by the Shadow-Vorlon conflict, in the form of the planet below. It's all very Biblical whether Sheridan wants to acknowledge it or not. Garibaldi, perhaps cast as Judas (remember his PsiCorps conditioning even if he doesn't), doesn't trust Sheridan (or at least, God--I mean Lorienn), when ironically, he's the hidden danger. He's kept out of the loop for a reason, at least, and it isn't because he's become irritatingly sarcastic. It feels like Ivanova is just as sidelined, playing TV presenter while the refugee crisis escalates, a reminder that B5 doesn't have ISN anymore and has had to inform its population through internal channels, but it's also an effective narrative tool to increase tension without having to show all that sweet destruction (still, some nice Vorlon fleet CG in here).
Sheridan's new status is explored further in his plan to kick Kosh 2.0 off the station. He's going up against an angel, this one. As the main action plot of the episode, it's a long sequence, but somewhat disappointing. I do like that they have to trick 2.0 out of his quarters with a feint and a lure. Lyta is sent in with the revelation that the 1.0 is inside someone, but it's a good thing 2.0 doesn't really care to understand humanity because she's a TERRIBLE actress. Not Patricia Tallman, but Lyta herself, ugh. Could she be more obvious? Then comes the ambush, which is just people firing at 2.0 while he remains frozen, and it's interminable. Eventually, the creature is released from the encounter suit, and rather than looking like an angel, it's a Cthulhoid energy monster (so if they had a choice about how they can be perceived, why did the first Kosh not adopt some more discreet form a little over a year back?). And then the first Kosh is released from Sheridan's body, and the monsters fight, eventually exploding out of the station and blowing up the Vorlon ship. Done. These "gods" have fallen never to rise again (presumably). Except this saps Sheridan's life and it's revealed he's on life-force support thanks to Lorienn's healing hands. He was/is dead and this boost will last at most 20 years. Awkwardly, this is told to Delenn twice. The second time, she's upset it's a MERE 20 years, given how long the Minbari live. But Sheridan calls it a good run, at peace with the notion of his death (that was the whole point of his experience); all he wants is to spend that time with her and it'll be worthwhile. The marriage proposal is awkward, but Delenn really has nothing to compare it too. Now all they have to do is survive to the wedding...
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - The action plot isn't as clever as it needs to be and JMS straps us with another unbelievable psychotic agenda. Nevertheless, a thematically sound exercise with some interesting revelations and plot movement.