Babylon 5, "Mind War", S01E06, OAD 3/2/94 *spoilers*

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by gchance, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    Guide page: http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/countries/us/guide/006.html

    HEY, that's Chekov! See any nuclear wessels lately, Pavel? Bwahahaha!!! Oh wait...

    Now that's off my chest, I think that he pulls it off. After a few chuckles in the beginning it's easy to forget that Walter Koenig was Chekov. Sort of like seeing Denny Crane instead of Captain Kirk. The past few episodes have given us a glimpse of what is to come. The ride's just beginning, folks.

    - Once again, Garibaldi's in the elevator when Talia gets on.
    - Interesting. The security guy sure does seem enamored of the Psi Cops, it's like a celebrity's come onto the station.
    - As Bester walks in to talk to Sinclair, he speaks something directly to his brain. Something like, "I hope I didn't catch you at a bad time." Sinclair responds, "No, it's a fine time..." then realizes it wasn't verbal.
    - Psi Cops don't have to abide by the same rules as Talia and the rest of the telepaths.
    - This episode gives us HUGE insight as to what sort of person G'Kar is. Until the past few episodes he's been presented as a villain of sorts, but we're seeing him a little differently now. He spent a good amount of resources on helping Catherine Sakai. His reason? Just because. He dismisses it as not being what he seems, but it's a display of character.
    - To those of you just watching for the first time, did Bester's salute at the end look familiar? The grin on my face was unmistakable the first time I saw it.

    I think G'Kar's final speech at the end is great.
    Be seeing you.

    Greg
     
  2. stellie93

    stellie93 Well-Known Member

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    Loved this ep and the whole psi-corp idea. The Lurker is very helpful, but I ran into another name I couldn't place--Mollari? It sounds familiar, but I can't remember.

    I don't know if we have to spoiler stuff from the Lurker? So
    A quote from JMS regarding Ironheart as a recurring character: "I don't like beings with that much power running around the plotline."
    So funny. :D

    I was surprized that the psi cops couldn't sense where Ironheart was on the ship.

    There was mention of whether the government controls the psi corp or the other way around. What government are we talking about here--is it a united Earth government? I know elections were mentioned before, but I didn't get who exactly was the constituency.

    Ironheart says that we aren't ready for the kind of power he has--obviously true. But it brings up a common idea in science fiction that human nature and mankind is on a route to perfection--that we are better people now than we were 1000 years ago as if someday we will lose our selfishness and greed, etc. A religious theme, I guess, but I don't see much evidence of it over the last 1000 years.
     
  3. gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    Londo Mollari. :) He wasn't in this one.

    Yeah I don't remember, was this episode post-Borg? That would explain the comment. :)

    I think the idea was that he was too powerful. He was more powerful than the Psi Cops realized I think.

    In this case it would be the EA, Earth Alliance. Ironheart is basically saying hey, the government is supposed to control the psi corps but more and more it's going the other way. The election was the Earth Alliance President.

    Well I think that's the point. That we're moving towards perfection, but it's a long, hard road. Ironheart moved onto the next step of evolution, so to speak, but recognized along the way that we're not ready. This theme is explored a LOT in Sci-Fi(like with the Stargate, 2001, etc).

    Greg
     
  4. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Regarding Walter Koenig:
    By midway through Season 3, I made the conversion from thinking of him as Chekov first to thinking of him as Bester first.
     
  5. Fleegle

    Fleegle Chef-In-Training

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    Hooray, Bester! I think he's one of my all-time favorite characters. And yes, we're getting to see a side ro G'Kar that we haven't seen very often. I remember how much I sympathized with Londo and hated G'Kar when I first watched the series.

    The times that keep coming up, 10 years, 100 years, 100 years, both forwards and backwards all come into play later in one way or another. And really, think about how the world was 1000 years ago. Can you REALLY say that, as a whole, we aren't better then now we were then? Well, we're better as a whole now than we were 200 years ago.

    The Government in a Unified Earth Government. The president of the president of the Earth Alliance.

    That's Londo's last name.
     
  6. JYoung

    JYoung Series 3

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    "One million years" comes up again.

    You have to give Koenig credit here. He took the character of Bester and really ran with it.
    We also get more background on the Psi Corps, Psi Cops (they have their own Starfuries!), and telepaths in general.

    And Sigma 957 will be back....
     
  7. gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    Try to be a bit more covert. I'm trying to approach the conversations as letting people figure some of this stuff out on their own, or at least outlining things to remember.

    Like the eager security guy. Or G'Kar's speech. Y'know.

    Greg
     
  8. Mars Rocket

    Mars Rocket Loosely wound

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    This episode was good, but it wasn't great - none of them have been so far. Sometimes I get the impression that everybody who has watched the entire series before is judging these episodes by a different criteria than I am. When I compare any of these to the first season of BSG I find BSG to be far more compelling and well written.

    Anyway, my thoughts:

    Walter Koenig's acting was terrible at first - his lines were wooden and forced. I don't have a problem forgetting about Chekov, but I do have a problem believing he's not a bad actor.

    I really liked what G'Kar was saying to Sakai at the end:

    "They are a mystery, and I am both terrified and reassured to know that there are still wonders in the universe - that we have not yet explained everything."

    That's both smart and profound.

    G'Kar as a character came through as much more real in this episode - up to now he's been portrayed as more of a bombastic, stupid goof.

    When Talia enters the elevator and Garibaldi is already there Garibaldi stands funny, with his hands up under his armpits. He's a nerd. Talia doesn't so much as nod to him upon seeing him, but she apparently knows him well enough to elbow him in the gut for his lascivious thoughts? What's the time frame for these episodes anyway? How long has Garibaldi known her?

    Talia is referred to here by first name but Garibaldi by his last. Are any other characters commonly known by their first name only?

    Talia and Ironheart were lovers. And he was her teacher. Hmmm. They don't allow that kind of thing now. I wonder if it's more permitted in the future.

    Why was G'Kar wearing gloves all the time? Does he always wear gloves indoors?
     
  9. gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    I don't see it as a writing issue more as a stylistic issue. A lot has happened in tv show styles between B5 in 1994 and BSG in 2008. How do the episodes so far compare to this far into TNG? DS9? Seaquest?

    But you do have a point. I admittedly look at these episodes differently since I've seen the entire series. That's why I'm careful to post my memories of what I originally thought about them. At this point in the series I didn't have any problems with it. Yes, some (not all) of the acting was bad, particularly Sinclair. I've always hated Michael O'Hare's acting in B5, still do. Everything that comes out of his mouth sounds like he's a newscaster reading copy, even when he's cracking a joke.

    [quote0Walter Koenig's acting was terrible at first - his lines were wooden and forced. I don't have a problem forgetting about Chekov, but I do have a problem believing he's not a bad actor.[/quote]

    I think the problem with Bester is this particular episode. I remember when it first aired I was really looking forward to him appearing and when he finally did in this episode, it was like, "Oh... well..." I felt the same with Bill Mumy. Both changed my mind later.

    Without giving too much away, that was intentionally done. G'Kar stating that no-one is what he appears, that's really telling about the characters and their progressions through the series. People do things seemingly out of character (or the character we've come to expect them to be). Just like in real life. ;)

    I hadn't thought of it that way, but yes, Garibaldi's a nerd. He begs people to watch Duck Dodgers with him and develops inappropriate crushes. He hasn't known Talia very long at all, she only came onto the station in the 2nd episode.

    Not human ones. I think it's a militaristic thing. Friends call each other by their first name (Sinclair to Garibaldi and back again, also with Ivanova). But most of the time it's last name only. In the case of Talia, she's their resident telepath and not part of Earthforce. Many people will call her Miss Winters. Never Winters.

    Do I know this for sure? No, but that's how it seems. :)

    I got the impression it was very under the radar. Well, that and the psi corps radar, along with the corps in general, seems to be broken.

    Perhaps he's a nerd, too? Actually I think that's just how the Narn are. Talia wears gloves all the time as well, but we know that's just how psi corps is. :)

    BTW thanks for giving your thoughts on these things. It's easy to overlook them after living with this show for so long. The same with Star Trek.

    Greg
     
  10. Mars Rocket

    Mars Rocket Loosely wound

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    That's a really good point. There are only a few TNG episodes that I would say were really good, but overall I liked that series quite a lot. DS9 lost me about two years in and Seaquest for some reason I can't compare - I just don't think of it as being as important or serious. But I think you're right that the style of writing has changed a lot, as have our tastes in TV.

    BTW, don't take my comments/criticisms as bashing - I'm still liking this a lot, I'm having fun watching them and I'm looking forward to more.
     
  11. gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    I didn't take them that way at all. As I say, I welcome them. I mentioned Star Trek as an example before, but really with shows like that, who hasn't seen them other than people who don't like science fiction? You don't get that except with 12-year-olds or something. It'd be nice to view something like Star Trek with "new eyes".

    So for the record, I appreciate your (and others') new eyes. :)

    Greg
     
  12. Hunter Green

    Hunter Green Curmudgeon

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    I think I did by the end of S2.

    If he had let out a wolf whistle at her and said something crude, would they have to know each other a long time for her to elbow him in the ribs for it? Because that's kind of what he did, just in his mind -- but strong emotions have a way of breaking through the blocks. Admittedly, she took a risk to act on that, but she doesn't have to know him well for that -- just well enough to know he's an easy-going guy, not Mr. By The Books. And I think you only have to know Garibaldi ten minutes to get that point.

    I think the Narn homeworld is warmer than they keep B5. But it could also just be part of his "armor"/"uniform" which he is almost always in.

    It's also possible those weren't at the same time: i.e., he taught her one year, then they made whoopie the following year, while she was in other classes. Or it could have been a bit of naughtiness. However...
    It might not be discouraged in the PsiCorps because there's already a program to encourage -- nay, require -- PsiCorps people to breed with other PsiCorps people, to make stronger telepaths. Which we'll learn about later.

    Now for my own comments. This is one of those episodes, so common in season one, where I have to use a caveat. As part of a building storyline, as a glimpse into what's in this universe and what is coming in the story, this is another step up, another great moment. But as its own thing, it's a bit clunky. Miss Kelsey's Lips overacted (and Miss Kelsey did a little too, though who could see behind the Lips?), even Bester was a little cartoon-villian, and Ironheart was all over the map in terms of his acting. The story was fumbling with the weight of exposition and foreshadowing. I didn't feel any suspense about it -- the B plot had more suspense despite having so little happen in it.

    On balance I enjoy it just more than I'm annoyed by it. But just barely. If there was just one more bit of clumsiness, this would be on the list of "bitter pill" episodes -- watch it for what it'll set up for later, not for what it is itself. But it's also one of the bigger and more important setup episodes.

    It's episodes like this that make it hard to recruit people into B5. Seen as part of the tapestry, it's wonderful, essential, exciting. Seen on its own, it's likely to turn people off. How do you sell them on the setup without giving away the punchline?
     
  13. BeanMeScot

    BeanMeScot Sci-Fi Junkie

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    I have been watching the shows all along and I have to say that this was the best one I have seen. It's the first I really enjoyed.
     
  14. BeanMeScot

    BeanMeScot Sci-Fi Junkie

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    +1
     
  15. JYoung

    JYoung Series 3

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    Adding to gchance's comments, I think that most B5 fans would also say that the first season is a bit rocky and it does take it's time to find it's footing.
    I think that things really start picking up in Season 2.
     
  16. 3D

    3D Active Member

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    I couldn't agree more with JYoung. I'd say that it takes about two thirds to three quarters of the way through the first season for a first time viewer to get any sense of just how good things will get as you move into season 2 and beyond.


    I haven't been watching with everybody, but have been reading the threads to see the impression of first time watchers. I really wanted to respond to this, however, becasue your initial impressions are almost identical to my own when I first gave B5 a chance. I watched B5 on dvd about five years ago after reading its praises on another forum. I only stuck with it through season 1 because everybody warned me that it was a rocky start to say the least. I think Mind War was actually the first episode that I really enjoyed, but it still doesn't hold a candle to what's to come. If you go to the lurker's guide and look at the episode listings, you'll find that the ones in bold are so-called Wam episodes, meaning they move the overall story arc along more than others. There are only a handful of these epsisodes in season 1, although I believe that Mind War is the first of these episodes. Thinking back to my own experiences watching the dvds, episode 8, "And The Sky Full of Stars", was the first episode where I realized that in spite of the cheesiness of some of the earliest episodes, there was in fact the beginnings of a great story bubbling underneath the surface. That said, IIRC, it was a long wait between that episode and the latter part of the season where other episodes began to live up to that promise.

    I can see why you are more impressed with the first season of BSG than with what you've seen of B5. Even putting cinematics aside, I think that the first season of BSG was superior because it wasted no time jumping into an engaging story, whereas B5's first season seems to contain alot of filler. Four seasons in to BSG, however, and it's clear that, while it got off to a great start, it's overall arc (and I use that term extremely lightly) won't hold a candle to B5. Until you get a little farther in, you'll just have to take that last bit on faith. IMO, by season three, it's a role reversal. That is, BSG's superiority over B5 as to season 1 is akin to B5's superiority in quality over BSG as to seasons 3 and 4 (although I did enjoy the first few episodes of BSG season 3).

    One final thing, as I'm not watching along with everyone, I wouldn't presume to cast my vote, but I have a hard time believing that as you guys reach the end of the first season and enter the second, you'll be able to keep the new folks from watching several episodes ahead if you stick to the two episodes a week limit. I remember going through those episodes a full four episode dvd at a time.
     
  17. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

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    Comparisons between B5 and BG are a bit odd because, in my opinion, they both do things well but they're the opposite things. BG has very good acting, very good design work, and is very good moment by moment. B5 has very good Big Picture writing and very good science fictional elements (i.e., they know what science is and they're not afraid to use it). And each show is fairly to extremely bad at what the other is good at.

    If you could somehow graft each show's strengths together, you'd have the perfect show.
     
  18. busyba

    busyba The Funcooker

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    I think Ironheart said, "I'll see you in a million years." So if you take that as literal, it's likely that you wouldn't see much in just 1,000 years.
     
  19. busyba

    busyba The Funcooker

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    FYP. :D


    The impression I got over the course of all 5 seasons was that JMS' biggest weakness was dialogue. He can write a great monologue, but he can't seem to create a compelling conversation. At best, he can manage to have two people speaking monologues at each other. :)

    I always used to say that if you could merge JMS's storycrafting with Aaron Sorkin's wordsmithing, you'd get Joss Whedon (or at least, something that JW comes close to being).
     
  20. gschrock

    gschrock Active Member

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    That's kinda a shame, because quite frankly I feel that the later seasons of DS9 were some of the best Trek (and shared many of the good elements of Babylon 5).

    That said, there's no real question that there are a lot of weaknesses in the early episodes of Babylon 5. If I never watch Infection again, it'll be too soon. It's easier for those of us who have seen the whole thing to look back at some of these early episodes and notice some of the redeeming points in an otherwise bland episode.

    The episodes do get somewhat better in the later portions of the first season though IMHO. Personally, I've always been a big fan of the episode Believers that will come up in a couple weeks (although I know there's a lot of people that absolutely hate that episodes). And I feel the quality of episodes starts to pick up around there.
     

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