"There is hope, but it is at best a slim hope." "Yeah, well, I've never known hope when it wasn't on a diet."
IN THIS ONE... Galen tells Sheridan he must kill a Centauri Prince before he comes of age and attacks Earth.
REVIEW: While Over There feels a lot more like Babylon 5 than Over Here did, and it's always great to meet up with Sheridan again, the episode feels a little less worthwhile. There's rather more padding, for example, in the form of an unnecessary sequence with an ISN reporter sporting a cleavage cam. Is this just there to reference other characters or events? And though Sheridan is, like Lochley and her priest, tested by a moral dilemma and two impossible (and FALSE) choices, the solution is a lot more obvious, at least to this viewer. And if there's ambiguity in Galen's cryptic ways, much of it is dispelled by Sheridan making speeches about it. JMS and Christopher Nolan have something in common there. But being part of the same Lost Tales as Over Here means we get the same quality CG (future New York is just beautiful, Sheridan dreams of space battles, and the new Valen-class manta ship is pretty cool), similar shots tying things together (the spinning "epiphany" shot that wakes both Sheridan and Lochley up in their respective chapters), and of course, cutting costs by setting most of the action in dark rooms and in front of green screen.
The plot itself is very B5. Galen - who sadly, has nothing to reveal about Crusade - does his A Call to Arms thing and brings Sheridan a prophecy that would see Earth savagely attacked 30 years hence. Sheridan will be dead by then, but he can do something about it today by taking out a teenage Centauri prince who, as Emperor, will lead that action. Galen counsels murder, and the viewer may think Sheridan either squeamish or dense not to see this is the right course of action. Vintary is, after all, the son of the mad emperor Cartagia, and initially, it doesn't look like the apple fell too far from the tree. The kid threatens Vir, talks about deadly reckonings, etc. Is his a crazy psychopath, or just a sheltered kid who never learned or even experienced kindness? Sheridan anguishes over a staged Starfury accident and almost goes through with it. But the key is changing history, not killing the prince, and once Sheridan recognizes that, he offers kindness and sanctuary, adopting Vintari into his family, hoping for a different result. Hopefully, it worked. We have no reason to think it wouldn't. Sheridan's role as a historical "nexus" means he can literally change history. What he will do for Vintari is exactly what he's done for the galaxy: Put it on a better, more peaceful path.
Vintari's had fun this day, but he still finds it hard to put his trust in Sheridan. He doesn't trust his own family, so why trust outsiders? But then he witnesses the warmth between Sheridan and Lochley, and there seems to be no question that he's already on a brighter path. Sheridan will change the future through EXAMPLE. It beats murder any day. One final note: It's lovely how G'Kar has returned to explore the Rim, something associated with the after-life, for that's where Sheridan went on his dying day. The sad surprise that Dr. Franklin has joined him on this journey is likewise heartfelt. While these characters both return to the series' chronology - G'Kar on Centauri and Franklin at Sheridan's table - both actors had died by 2007. And are missed.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Pleasant enough, but a little obvious. It manages a certain amount of sweetness. Could do without the padding.
So end my daily reviews of Babylon 5, at least until JMS actually manages to get that feature film off the ground. Based on his track record trying to keep the franchise alive - Crusade cancelled; The Legend of the Rangers never going to series; and The Lost Tales abandoned despite plans for a Garibaldi/Londo follow-up - I won't be holding my breath. Thanks to everyone who's flooded the comments on these posts with appreciation and insight. Fans of this franchise have a real enduring (and sometimes tough) love for it, and I was happy to have this roving conversation with you over the last 4+ months. I don't want to have to miss you guys, so I hope you'll stick around. Next up: Doctor Who Series 8, because COMPLETIST.