Babylon 5 #111: Objects in Motion

"I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we’ve exchanged. Long after we are gone, our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit that the part of me that is going will very much miss the part of you that is staying."
IN THIS ONE... Garibaldi and G'Kar both suffer assassination attempts at their going-away parties. Number One takes the former's job.

One last assassination attempt story for the road? I'd be rolling my eyes something fierce if it weren't for the fact they actually made this one work. Every time there's been an assassin on the station in the past, it's only highlighted how bad security was. Not here. Zack really is more competent than Garibaldi ever was. The killer doesn't look like one, which makes him harder to spot, and he's playing a bit of a chess game with our heroes to get at his target. I'm not sure how sound Sheridan's plan to draw him out is - is a crowd really the most "controlled" environment? - but the killer gets a link to monitor security, something Zack notices thanks to a crucial clue, and which is used against the assassin. Well done! And then in the chaos of the arrest, a Narn fanatic pulls a gun on G'Kar and Lise ends up getting shot as a result. Thought for sure Zack would buy it there, nice feint, and Lise'll be fine too. Usually, these deals end with some limp stand-off after the would-be killer just strolls in. It's a huge improvement.

By turning the assassination attempt into a DOUBLE assassination attempt, the episode ties every thread together rather nicely too. Number One returns to the station with the tip-off and ends up getting Garibaldi's old job (I was actually surprised she wasn't more of a cast member after her introduction in the Mars rebellion stuff). Garibaldi, though on the road to recovery (I like Lise in these "detox" moments, so willing to support her future husband but matter-of-fact about it), has already decided to go to Mars to help run his wife's company, but of course, the "board" has too much to hide and lose, and try to have them both killed. Garibaldi uses Lyta to extract information from the assassin and Number One's contacts to get dirt on the board - both women a vested interest in seeing the Big G in charge, after all - which is all he needs to make those corrupt businessmen resign. It's fun.

Unlike most shows, Babylon 5 is using a NUMBER of episodes to make its goodbyes, which has its virtues, but can come off as a touch overwrought as well. G'Kar has made at least one goodbye per episode for the past three episodes now, and though Katsulas is always good in them, it is starting to feel a bit redundant. Especially when Sheridan is involved in both his farewell AND Garibaldi's equally teary goodbyes. At least the melancholy is counter-balanced by action beats (the main plot), political stuff (Free Mars' problems with Earth Alliance red tape), and lighter moments (Franklin and Number One's booty call).

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Though B5 has pulled one of its stock plots out of storage for this one, it's thought out rather better than in the past, and as we head into the very last stretch, everything seems more important than ever.


Anonymous said...

Now that season 5 is wrapping up, I think an overall appraisal is in order: season 5 is overall pretty solid, and is unjustly maligned. No it wasn't "necessary", and no it wasn't really part of the big five year plan. But still it was, for the most part, good stories about characters we cared about.

And I'd still rather much watch season 5 than season 1.

Ryan Lohner said...

The whole assassination story here is based on the death of Anton Cermak, mayor of Chicago, in 1933. FDR was coming to town, and Cermak's bodyguards were worried that Al Capone would try to gun Cermak down in the public forum. They stopped that attempt, but missed an unrelated lone nutcase who tried to kill Roosevelt. He missed that target but wounded and killed several others before he was brought down, including Cermak.

G'Kar's farewell speech here was the centerpiece of a memorial video for Andreas Katsulas, used in counterpoint with the theme from Dragonheart. It's an incredibly moving piece, worth checking out:

LiamKav said...

The thing with season 1 is that it occured first, so you had no idea how good the show could get. After the highs of the Narn-Centauri war, B5 spitting away from Earth, taking Babylon 4 into the past... anything was going to feel like a letdown. I like Lochley as a character, but not making her a distraction was too big an ask at this point in the series, and the fact that she's missing for half the episodes doesn't help. Likewise, the wrapup of Londo and G'Kar's storylines are good (even if G'Kar does start to veer towards the preachy), but they're also missing from too many episodes.

Also, I've tried, but Garibaldi's story just didn't do much for me. I liked that we had someone who had an addiction problem who'd kept it under control, and having him fall off the wagon seemed to be too easy a story, plus I don't think it played out as well as Franklin's version.

And Sheridan's goatee remains stupid.

LiamKav said...

I've just got back from spending the weekend in Stratford-upon-Avon seeing the RSC, and I've realised that I haven't remembered Byron once. This is not good. If we don't rememeber Byron, then what was the point?

Anonymous said...

I haven't forgotten him; Bryan Cranston's sacrifice was what made possible for Sheridan to force a final confrontation with the Shadows.

You were right, Bryan. You were right all along.

Madeley said...

I for one will ne'er forget Brony.

Anonymous said...

Madeley, I think you win this, whatever it is we're doing.

LiamKav said...

- I was rolling my eyes during Garibaldi's "Zack came up with this?" "You taught him well" "Guess I did" bit. Mainly because I was thinking "yeah, he saw everything you ever did and then decided to do the opposite."

- The killer's plan was reliant on no-one being on the other side of the transport tube when the door opened. Pretty risky.

- When Marcus tried to use Franklin's link back in season 3, it flashed up in C&C. That doesn't happen with the assassin. Place has gone to hell since Ivanova left.

- I also thought we'd be seeing more of Number One. She's definitely one of the better characters we've had recently.

- One fairly large problem with Garibaldi's plan... an assassin could kill him, then kill the board and collect the money. He'd better hope that assassin's follow all that "only kill who you're paid to kill" nonsense that they do in most fiction.

- You know the story/rumour regarding the original Star Wars, that Lucus cut the story in half and moved the climax (the attack on the Death Star) to the end of the first act in order to get everything into one film? When they were planning Return of the Jedi, they came up against the problem that they'd already USED the climax of the story once. An idea through lots of the early drafts involved there being TWO Death Stars. For some reason, this came to mind when watching B5 have a final roll of the assassination attempt story.


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