Babylon 5, "The Coming of Shadows", S02E09, OAD 2/1/95 *spoilers*

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by gchance, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. Aug 8, 2008 #1 of 21
    gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    Guide page: http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/countries/us/guide/031.html

    "How will this end?"
    "In fire."

    Malachi Throne is the Prime Minister! He's been a character actor for years, but us geeky folks remember him from the TOS episodes The Cage & The Managerie (same footage). He was also in the TNG Unification 2-part episode.

    Try as I might, I just couldn't casually watch this episode. It was just too stinkin' riviting.

    - The Centauri Emperor is coming to B5. G'Kar's extremely upset due to the torture his father received at the hands of the Emperor's father's hands. As far as the current Emperor (did they give his name?), he did nothing to G'Kar. However, this is completely in line with the Centauri, who hold great importance to honoring one's house
    - Kate Austen's not here, Mr. Ranger, you should fly to Australia instead.
    - Refa arranges a meeting with the Emperor for his blessing in their dealings, while at the same time has set up failure for him so he will look bad.
    - Both Londo and Vir are uncomfortable with Refa's plan, yet Londo moves forward.
    - The Centauri Emperor wants desperately to meet a Vorlon
    - G'Kar, rebuffed by Sheridan, has decided to assassinate the Centauri Emperor at a ceremony in his (the Emperor's) honor
    - At the end of his life, the Emperor is feeling remourse for not making choices and simply letting things be chosen for him. He feels a certain guilt about his people's past and wants to make it right, which runs completely opposite of Lord Refa, and to a certain extent, Londo.
    - The Emperor keeps 4 linked telepaths, two who stay at home when he leaves, while two stay in the palace, in order to know what is going on around him.
    - Before he has a chance to enter the ceremony, the Emperor has an attack of some kind, which we find out is just a symptom of his condition: basically he's dying.
    - In response to the Emperor's lack of ability to give his blessing, Londo makes plans to have Morden & Associates(TM) attack the largest Narn settlement.
    - Not only is Vir standing up to Londo, he's downright ARGUING with him over going to Morden.
    - On his deathbed, the Centauri Emperor relays a message to G'Kar through Dr. Franklin: an apology for all the things the Centauri did to the Narn people. WHEW, that was a close one. Had G'Kar assassinated him, he never would have gotten this message.
    - Meanwhile, Londo has a dream/vision:
    - It opens with a scene that's been described many times before
    - Londo, on the Centauri homeworld, is looking up to see a fleet of vessels flying overhead
    - He then sees his older self, being crowned Emperor
    - He sees an older version of himself, and G'Kar, whose eye is bandaged
    - G'Kar then chokes Londo, who appears to be passing out. Don't forget, Centauri can see the moment of their own deaths.
    - G'Kar, unaware what was happening at the time, shares a drink with Londo in response to the message from the Emperor
    - Refa has the Prime Minister killed, freeing a path to the throne
    - "Hello, old friend." Garibaldi gets quite the message from Sinclair.
    - The Ranger isn't after Kate Austen after all! Rangers are comprised of people who have been drawn to Minbar to work together to prepare for a fight ahead, against the coming darkness.
    - Sinclair says, "They are my eyes and my ears. When you see them, you see me."
    - G'Kar! How heavy was that table, anyway?
    - "Stay close to the Vorlon and watch for the shadows; they move when you're not looking at them."
    - If there was any doubt of Andreas Katsulas' acting ability, I think he's shattered them in this episode. HOLY COW.
    - Refa asks the Emperor for the blessing he was seeking before. Londo tells everyone he said, "Continue. Take our people back to the stars." In reality, he told him both he and Refa are damned.
    - The telepaths know something's up there, but why didn't they say anything? Obviously they've told each other, but are they going to relay the information to anyone else?
    - The Narn & Centauri are now at war.
    - The Emperor's nephew has taken the Centauri throne.
    - Sinclair gave a similar message to Delenn, who is also aware of the Ranger presence.

    GOODNESS GRACIOUS, this warrants another viewing. Even though I watched it closely, there was much so much meat to this episode. I felt every bit as good, as excited, as happy with this episode as I did when it originally aired.

    Man, I love this show!

    "
     
  2. Aug 9, 2008 #2 of 21
    tewcewl

    tewcewl New Member

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    This episode was excellent and kicked everything up a notch. I was deeply hooked after this episode. There's no turning back now.
     
  3. Aug 9, 2008 #3 of 21
    Craigbob

    Craigbob Well-Known Member

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    This is one of my favorite episodes. excellent acting by Katsulas. We also find out about the Rangers here. But if you re-watch earlier S2 episodes You'll see rangers walking around in the background.

    This episode also won B5 its first Hugo award.
     
  4. Aug 9, 2008 #4 of 21
    BitbyBlit

    BitbyBlit .

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    It's ironic that the medical condition that saved the Emperor from being assassinated by G'Kar, allowing him to relay his message privately, is also what prevented him from relaying it publically, where it would have had a far greater impact. (Although I'm sure in that case many Centauri would rush to the explanation that the Emperor was senile in his old age, and not to be taken too seriously.)

    First the Earther President dies, then the Centauri Emperor and Prime Minister. One we know was assassinated by his own people, and another we think might have been. And both the President and Emperor died while travelling to build up relations with other races, albeit the Emperor's was quite specific. "And so it begins" indeed.
     
  5. Aug 9, 2008 #5 of 21
    stellie93

    stellie93 Well-Known Member

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    Refa is the guy who was working with Londo? Have we seen him before? Is he a resident of Babylon 5? I thought I was beginning to figure out who everyone was.

    I'm surprised Londo lets Vir sit in on these meetings when he so obviously isn't in agreement. He must be very sure of his loyalty.

    I wonder if the emperor knows about the shadows, or if he just was saying they are damned because they started a war?

    When they showed the emperor looking up at Kosh with the shadow over him, I thought Kosh was going to show him his actual appearance, but we weren't going to see it. "Fire" As usual, that's clear.
     
  6. Aug 9, 2008 #6 of 21
    gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    Refa was in The Geometry of Shadows, he told Londo about the conspiracy to oust the Emperor and given Londo's rising status, asked him to come aboard. He lives on Centauri Prime.

    Greg
     
  7. Aug 9, 2008 #7 of 21
    Hunter Green

    Hunter Green Curmudgeon

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    The year the great war came upon us all.

    There's so much about this episode it's hard to think where to start. Vir's taking a stand, his comments about how one day they'll look back on this conversation. Londo's vision, the great hand reaching out of the stars, and everything else in it. Sheridan's "observers" ploy. Sinclair! Refa's return. The Emperor! G'Kar's line about propping him up a few minutes. Londo's toast to the emperor -- damned fine acting by both Katsulas and Jurasik there. Vir spurning Refa.

    Was that really only one hour? Damn. Felt like enough to fill three.

    Remember how we though things were being set up, back in the beginning: the role of the Centauri and the Narn, for instance? Wow.
     
  8. Mars Rocket

    Mars Rocket Loosely wound

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    I liked this one a lot, but it did prompt a few questions:

    1. What kind of weird command structure does B5 have such that the chief of security and the medical director are among the *3* staff members introduced to the leader of another world when he first comes on board?

    2. Couldn't the emperor have recorded his message? Yes, they might have said he was senile, but it would have still had *some* effect. Surely some Centauri feel the same way.

    3. Why would the emperor tell Molari he was damned? Why would he have any idea about what Molari was doing?
     
  9. Craigbob

    Craigbob Well-Known Member

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    1: Well I can understand Garabaldi being there, after all the Centauri are probably concerned about the safety of the Emperor. The Dr.? Who knows.

    2: He could've recorded the message, but remember, he said he wanted to stand side by side with a Narn and apologize. He could not stand side by side via recording.

    3: Londo has been doing things that has brought him to some attention and I'm sure the emperor has heard about them. Plus he probably knows about Refa and what his ambitions are.
     
  10. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

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    That's one problem I've always had with Star Trek-like shows (and B5, at heart, is a ST-type show). All missions always have to involve virtually the entire command staff (who are usually virtually the entire cast of the show). B5 was a better than most in this regard (and BG, for all its flaws, is great at avoiding it), but they still have the problem of having the main cast all being important people who would normally not stoop to doing a lot of the things that they end up having to do because A) they don't want to hire new cast and introduce new characters, and B) they want to give the cast they have something to do.

    (Then again, this problem introduced the human race to the concept of Red Shirts, so I guess overall it's worth it. :D)
     
  11. Hunter Green

    Hunter Green Curmudgeon

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    Well, one could argue that the Doctor was present because it was widely known that the Emperor is in very poor health. (On the other hand, that could also come across as tacky.)
     
  12. tewcewl

    tewcewl New Member

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    I was always under the impression that Garibaldi was there to showcase their security and if there were any questions about security from a new visitor, a new alien species or what have you, Garibaldi would be there.

    Same for Dr. Franklin as he's the head of the entire medical staff.

    Both of these people aren't just regular staffers working on B5. They have to behave ambassadorial at times because, really, who knows what else is out there and they have to be ready to make a good first (second, third) impression of the human race.
     
  13. gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    You're forgetting that this is the THIRD incident where Londo Mollari has been directly involved, each involving power (specifically Londo's) & violence:

    - The Eye
    - The Narn outpost at Quadrant 37
    - The largest Narn colony, in Quadrant 14

    After the first two incidents, Londo's name was being "spoken at the highest levels of Centauri government". After hearing of the 3rd incident in this episode and knowing full well of the Centauri "old ways", there would be no doubt in the Emperor's mind as to what's going on. Not specifically (as in he wouldn't know about Londo's involvement with Morden & Associates), but certainly he's figured out the ambitions of Londo & Refa.

    Stellie's called them Shadows, can I call them that now? :)

    Greg
     
  14. Mars Rocket

    Mars Rocket Loosely wound

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    More thoughts:

    Molari's reaction to the suggestion that Earthforce observers talk to the Narn survivors all but confirms that there's more going on than simple Centauri aggression. I can understand Sheridan & crew not wanting to take this information to the Earth government, but they should at the very least start treating the threat more concretely than Sinclair seems to be - he's talking in spiritual and mystical terms when there is clearly a real, alien threat out there (and in hyperspace) that needs to be addressed. I mean, really - saying things like "the darkness is coming" and "watch the shadows" is just silly.
     
  15. doom1701

    doom1701 Time for a new Title TCF Club

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    I don't think this is really a spoiler--more theorizing on the metaphysical aspects of the show--
    But it could be that the alien thread poses more of a metaphysical, ideological threat and will have a solution that must be metaphysical and not overt.

    Anyway, this episode is where it all really starts to come together. Even though it's a little cheesy, I get chills when I see the shot of the Emporer walking down the cooridor to the reception--the music, the slow motion, the reaction from the telepaths (I like how they seem to react just before the emporer collapses)--it all works together really well. And how they were so close to resolving this conflict, only to have it ramp up to another level, really blows me away.

    And I'll never forget G'Kar's line, (paraphrased) "I had the knife, IN MY HAND, and he had the nerve to start dying on his own!"
     
  16. BitbyBlit

    BitbyBlit .

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    That was probably his primary reason. The symbolism of standing next to a Narn and apologizing face-to-face was something that would send a strong message to both sides.

    The secondary reason I think was that he didn't want anybody to know about it until he made it, and once he made it, he wanted all the other races to know. Doing it in person in neutral territory was a way to guarantee that his message was heard directly by everyone, and could not be interfered with.

    I think he was well aware of all the attempts to usurp his power, and realized that if anyone even suspected of what he was about to do, he would be stopped.
     
  17. BitbyBlit

    BitbyBlit .

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    But they can only deal with things concretely when they have concrete knowledge of what they are dealing with. Right now they are aware of some power that somehow has ties to the Centauri, but that is about it. The only thing they can do now is gather information, which is what Sinclair is doing with the people he is sending out.
     
  18. JYoung

    JYoung Series 3

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    Imagine if the Emperor had been just a little stronger and had managed to make his speech (and G'Kar didn't have a chance to pull the knife).
    It would have been a very powerful statement and would have totally legitimized the Babylon Project. It would have been a shining beacon of peace and imagine the impact it would have had back on Earth.

    Well, that's not what we got. It's WAR!

    This episode is an absolute tour de force for Katsulas as G'Kar run through the whole gamut of emotions and he's a joy to watch.
    Jurasik is no slouch either, knowing that he will be damned but continuing down the road to Hell anyways.

    And my, my, Sinclair's been a busy beaver since arriving on Minbar.
    What else does he know about the Shadows and why does Garbaldi need to stay close to the Vorlon?

    There's so much going on in this episode, you almost need a scorecard to keep track of what's going on.
     
  19. Hunter Green

    Hunter Green Curmudgeon

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    Plus they have every reason to think this isn't really their problem, but someone else's. Still, it's a good point. They seem to be reactive, not proactive.
     
  20. DLiquid

    DLiquid Progressive User

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    This was a good one. For some reason all that I can think to comment on is that I like Sinclair's new haircut. :D

    Have they really not been called Shadows on the show? I've seen them called that so many times in the Lurker's Guide that I guess I didn't realize.

    I like that about a third of this season's episodes have a darkness or shadows reference in the title. By the way, this season's overall title is the same as this episode: "The Coming of Shadows." The first season was: "Signs and Portents."
     

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