"Before man can seek salvation, there must be the smell of damnation."
IN THIS ONE... Lochley invites a priest to Babylon 5 to conduct an exorcism.
REVIEW: Getting us back into the groove, this 2007 DVD release returns to the destruction of Babylon 5, with the same beautiful music and updated effects. Manipulative, but you know you love it. Then the calendar is set back, and suddenly that B5-shaped cloud isn't debris, but a nebula, and we turn around to face the station 10 years after the founding of the Interstellar Alliance. Colonel Lochley is still in charge, and in fact, the only franchise character in the story. For a while there, it's not even clear this story is about her, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Before diving into the plot, let's just say that while The Lost Tales were done on the cheap, with two or three sets and a minimum of actors, it does offer much updated CG of the station, both inside and out. It looks good, especially the rounded floor of that shuttle bay (man, I wish they'd have done the terraformed interior of the main cylinder). Sounds good too, with fine funereal music to accompany what is essentially a horror story.
Over Here deals with a crewman possessed by the Devil (or A devil) and the priest called in by Lochley and played by the always dependable Alan Scarfe, whose dilemma becomes whether to show the demon to the world and thus give religion a much-needed boost; or exorcise him now and risk his soul for refusing this gift from God. It's an interesting question, and both Scarfe and the possession-playing Bruce Ramsey a excellent in the two-hander, but it's Lochley (ah, finally) who cracks it. Playing the detective, she catches the demon in a lie, namely that he WASN'T seeded in the stars, but wants to be released to them. Both the choices he offered had him eventually exorcised on the station, but seems like the crewman had just returned from a vacation on Earth, and so... The demon was Earthbound and hitched a ride. Lochley has never been so badass as when she faces down the Devil and tells him she'll be sending him back to Hell. Hell being Earth, and Earth destined to be destroyed a million years hence, with holy humanity off-world, and the devilish evil trapped in a sublimating prison. We're in a small cell for most of the episode, but JMS manages to make it huge and epic. Wow.
But is it a Babylon 5 story? If you're going to try and resurrect the series in some form, is this the kind of tale you should be telling? A one-off supernatural story that unequivocally confirms the existence of God and Satan, of Heaven and Hell? (That's as maybe. I'm sure I can use my SF knowledge and on-screen evidence to suggest something else is going on, if I want to be real secular about it.) Only at the end, when Lochley makes reference to the events depicted in The Deconstruction of Falling Stars, intimating an even greater master plan than before, a REASON why humanity must move to the stars, become akin to First Ones, etc., that Over Here becomes a worthwhile piece of the puzzle. JMS might be over-egging the Messiah pudding, but that's what B5 is all about.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - I was afraid this was going to be slightly irrelevant and not at all about Lochley except as a story enabler, but JMS saved it at the end, he really did.