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Again I'm posting before my lovely partner, I might come back and add in once she does but no promises.

‘Midnight on the Firing Line’ or ‘And so it begins...Again’

So here we are, B5’s unofficial second pilot in the first actual episode. And it is much better than the actual pilot, I just don’t agree with people who say you should start with MotFL and not The Gathering. I give this one about a 5/10 on the B5 scale of awesomeness, it’s solid but there’s so many awesome eps that even on a rating scale where I’m not planning it out I have to account for that somehow.

Even though Jeff is probably the most active character in this episode he’s pretty uninteresting most of the time, and where he is interesting it’s mostly due to the people around him. Okay, G’kar brings out Sinclair’s temper that’s basically what I mean. Which brings me back to my point from my Gathering thoughts about what it might have been like with Sinclair around for more of G’kar’s transformation. It is kind of weird that Jeff seems to pissy about the way the Narn helped the humans during the war, he’s totally Ned Stark-ing it here, “You helped us for selfish reasons, that negates the good and gives me the right to be pissy about it.” Yeah it actually is more about his dislike of G’kar’s actions, but it’s still awkward.

No, this episode’s crowns go to Londo, G’kar, and Ivanova, with Londo probably taking top honors. Even clockwork_sky is already feeling confused by Londo and whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy leaving me with no idea how to answer that because that is a far more complicated issue than she has any idea of right now. But both Londo and G’kar are patriots here, and very passionate ones. They both have their reasons for what they do and that’s what will make things so complicated throughout the series.

Also, oh JMS, you managed to sneak so many mentions of other plotlines in here I love it. The Mars situation, the political climate on Earth, the Psi Corps as an uncomfortable organization, Londo’s dream. While primarily pointing out the fire that will grow so much larger than it is now. I won’t say this ep lit the fire, because the conflict between the Narn and Centauri goes back before this episode but it’s not hard to see how Midnight leads to Chrysalis leads to Coming of Shadows; one day it’s border conflicts and the next it’s full scale war...and the next that war is revealed to be small potatoes in the larger conflict.

Anyway Londo and G’kar power their way through the episode, but Susan kind of swoops in turns in the more emotional scene at the end. Leaving aside that JMS could never seem to commit to a timeline for Ivanova’s mother it’s always been about the most important thing in her backstory and it’s well discussed here. And the quietness of the scene really works to establish how it affected her.

I also really found myself really enjoying Vir. He often slips through the cracks with me even though I do like him so I wanted to point that out. He didn’t get to do a lot of heavy lifting but he makes me smile, and like everyone else, he doesn’t have a clue what’s ahead of him.

Of the big players only Delenn didn’t get much to do (at least Garibaldi got the big scene with Londo), but she’s much more Delenn than she was in the pilot. I probably would have knocked the ep up another point if it had included some Delenn badassery, but with so much going on something had to give. But she did get to bitch slap G’kar (even if he didn’t notice) in the council session and she was cute watching TV with Michael at the end.

Speaking of the council meeting, wow do the background aliens look unfinished. Sorry props/wardrobe department, but not a good first outing. On the other hand the main races looks are so much better here (well at least the Minbari and Narn, the Centauri are only slightly better, odd since they’re also the least alien looking) and I know you’ll work the others out sooner rather than later so I’ll not make too big a deal about it.

Hmm, I think that’s most of what I wanted to say but I don’t want to close out on a less than awesome point so...oh yeah, I really do love the music. And the humor, and the first appearance of our favorite ISN reporter, and the fact that I’m sure my partner in crime has no idea that we’ll actually see how Londo’s prophesy plays out let alone *how* it plays out.

I love this show.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 20th, 2011 08:21 am (UTC)
It's easy to diss season one, but it's only when you re-watch it, that you realise how much ground work was being laid for the later 'boom' episodes. :D
Dec. 20th, 2011 04:54 pm (UTC)
Season 1 definitely has more stinkers than the rest of the show, but even most of those have something that becomes important. For all the times I've watched the show I've never sat down and documented my thoughts on each episode as I went (oh to have had more internet options in the mid-90s) which gives me the chance to think and talk about aspects of the show and how they connect.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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