"What have you done to your quarters?" "I made it the right size. I don't know why everybody else always makes things huge. This is the way I like it, nice and small."
REVIEW: This one definitely seems like it's been shown in the wrong order. Not only are we STILL not really looking for a cure to the Drakh plague, but everyone is trusting Galen a lot more than they should given that he has yet to prove himself to the team. Gideon refers to important conversations we've never heard or seen, and to Dureena's ability to focus on death so absolutely, something we might have seen in A Call to Arms, but he wasn't there, and Crusade has only ever shown her as a positive influence. The character development is all over the place, and not just because we're TOLD things rather than shown them. Matheson's secret mistakes are uncovered by a new breed of PsiCop (a rose by any other name, really), but he's made to ignore them after his own indiscretion, so we don't know what they are. Never has a mystery so dull been laid in. Give us a clue, at least! Tantalize us! Nope. And when the crew comes across the Well of Forever and it seems to become what they want to see, why does Max the archaeologist see dollar signs and Dureena the thief see a giant mausoleum? Those reactions seem completely reversed! It wouldn't have taken much tweaking to give them the same attitudes, but NOT have Dureena school Max on what is essentially his field. In any case, they don't get to explore the thing, and we're left with cryptic answers to cryptic questions, in what feels like writer Fiona Avery desperately trying to emulate JMS' style.
There's some merit to exploring hyperspace if it's going to have its own ecosystem and native(?) structures, but perhaps not so much if it's going to be an excuse for puerile humor. Again, it's way too soon in the show's history for the loss of dignity incurred when a giant hyperspace jellyfish humps the Excalibur. As we explore the sub-universe, we also get to see more of the ship, but I'm wondering why they went through the trouble of making it more submarine-like - with the tube-like bridge configuration enabling some as-yet-underexplored depth of field, and the more naval uniforms - if everything else aboard would look like you were in a giant food court or hanger. I admit the gym is pretty cool now that they've filled up the CG matte painting, but even the larger Babylon 5 was more claustrophobic than anything on the Excalibur. Even Dureena seems to think so in the one scene I did like, where she's made her quarters smaller (or at least, shorter, it still seems a huge space to me). I like how it really relates to the main plot, a huge magical discovery to everyone but Galen, who in fact only wants to go there to bury his dead love and make pretty speeches. From the large, to the small.
Beyond the pseudo-mystical claptrap Galen continues to impose on the show, there's the half-formed subplot about Matheson getting his regular(?) deep scan from a Mr. Jones - all these "Watchers" carry the same name to make it more impersonal - which could have been better used to reveal information on the Telepath Crisis caused by Lyta. Alas, despite whatever changes occurred, all we get here is a hypocritical bargain basement Bester, and not a very interesting one. One wonders why he's aboard during this mission - we're still working from B5's open port playbook, looks like - and why Matheson didn't get checked out BEFORE joining the mission. Because the ship's resident telepath acts like the sweetest kid on deck, there's really very little reason to think his sins are all that great, even after Jones' pronouncements, and I don't even feel connected to his "plight" about going out in hyperspace because that increases one's powers to uncontrollable levels. Whatever. At least Gideon has some agency in this thread, tricking Jones into compromising himself (not that he has any reason to think he would) and doing something nice for his first officer. Not so in the A-plot where, for the second time in a row, he's relegated to the role of witness to Galen's shenanigans.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - There's one scene here I liked, and a whole lot of material that seems unearned or badly paid off. Ultimately, The Well of Forever is just boring.