The Outer Limits: Don’t Open Till Doomsday

The Outer Limits Don't Open Till DoomsdayI think the most impressive thing about this strange episode is that it tells a story in a somewhat out of order fashion, in a way that was fairly uncommon for the time.  Barring that, it doesn’t have much going on and it’s a very slow-moving episode.  It’s a huge buildup to get to the part that the preview offers us in the first 30 seconds.  (I still think this is a deplorable way to try to keep viewers, but this particular teaser did not spoil the real surprise; it served only to whet the appetite!)

The Control Voice opens with a discussion about evil, and how evil has to be perfect and accurate to succeed.  This is not a story that illustrates a particularly perfect blend of evil.  It features a very weird creature that is one of 9 components that together will destroy the earth and then the universe – because of course it starts with Earth.  All it has to do is get back to its companions.  And it never does.  Earth is saved because evil is dumb. Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Reviews, Science Fiction, Television, The Outer Limits | Tagged | 2 Comments

Top of the Docs: Series 1 (2005)

Well look on the bright side: we didn’t make you wait as long as the show itself after that interminable hiatus between 1989 and 2005!

2005 was when Doctor Who did the decent thing and came back to our screens.  Welcome back to The View from the Junkyard’s Top of the Docs!  

series 1

Rose

RP: 9 – It’s not exaggerating too much to say that we owe the last 15 years of Doctor Who to the success of this episode. If this hadn’t done the business, we could have had a second failed revival of Doctor Who in ten years, and that would probably have been that. Instead, RTD skillfully stripped away all the extraneous baggage that had been weighing down Doctor Who, and got back to basics with a mysterious traveler in a blue box, a great companion, and both of them perfectly cast, and the same monster that successfully relaunched the series in 1970. Lightening did strike twice. It’s not perfect, but as a relaunch it did exactly what was needed.

ML: 7 – Definitely an enjoyable return that captured the magic of the classic series including using a classic monster but still had some issues to overcome, like burping garbage bins and other “lowest common denominator” stuff.  Needed a bit of work but was a welcome return to the world of Doctor Who. Continue reading

Posted in Doctor Who, Entertainment, Ninth Doctor, Random Chatter, Science Fiction, Top of the Docs | 2 Comments

Brave Story (Anime Review)

Grief can do different things to different people, and some of the responses can be the exact opposites of each other. For example, grief can make a person kind, or it can make a person cruel. Brave Story is a film that examines the two ends of that spectrum.

The two people suffering from grief are schoolboys Wataru and Mitsuru. The one problem I think this film has is that it never makes their grief equivalent, so it fails to quite function as an examination of different responses to the same situation, which is clearly the vibe they were going for. We are supposed to compare the actions of Wataru and Mitsuru, and yet they have suffered very different degrees of heartbreak. Wataru’s father has walked out on his mother, and she is unwell, suffering from her loss. Mitsuru, on the other hand, has lost his entire family to a violent crime, including his little sister. Mitsuru’s reactions are more extreme, but then so is the loss, so the comparison of different responses to tragedy doesn’t quite gel, but on the other hand it does give us an understanding of why the main characters in the film behave the way they do. Although Mitsuru ends up fulfilling the traditional role of the villain of the piece, we can never quite bring ourselves to see him in that way, and that’s because he is broken by an unimaginable tragedy. It also helps that the friendship between Wataru and Mitsuru, although uneasy, is developed strongly at the outset of the film, so it’s only natural to root for them both. This is far from being a black and white approach to villainy. There is a maturity here that is rare in a sword and sorcery film that borders on the isekai genre. Continue reading

Posted in Anime, Entertainment, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Edgar Wallace Mysteries: Clue of the Silver Key

Edgar Wallace Clue of the Silver KeyBernard Lee is back as Superintendent Meredith and he’s even more watchable than last time, mainly because of a very entertaining double act with young bobby on the beat Quigley, played with an endearing air of bewilderment by future Doctor Who producer Derrick Sherwin. Quigley is a constant thorn in Meredith’s side, and at one point he even asks him if he has heard the expression “if looks could kill”, and then has a good try at testing it out. Ironically the bumbling policeman is the key to Meredith’s survival at the end of the film, which is an amusing twist.

The mystery has a flavour of an Agatha Christie about it, with the detective even assembling all the suspects at the end, although this is a slimmed down version of the original book so it ends up as a small gathering with only one possible culprit for anyone who has been paying attention. Meredith makes a big thing of the aspects of the mystery that lead him to his man, the foreign eggs and the luminous key, but for the viewers there is a different clue that Meredith is not aware of, which will lead you straight to the identity of the murderer if you keep it in mind: it’s the moment that (fake) bank manager Hardwick calls to visit Harvey Lane, and his butler Binny is clearly having to do a bit of quick thinking to justify why the doorbell didn’t ring. Once you get your head around why Not-Hardwick was already in the house, you’re halfway towards solving the case. Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Brynhildr in the Darkness Episode 8

Brynhildr in the Darkness Kana blushingThe Clue Left Behind

The view from Igirisu:

The focus on Kazumi continues this week. Although she originally seemed like just one fairly minor part of an ensemble, her prominence has increased every week to the point where she is the secondary perspective character. Even the important scene near the start between Murakami and Neko, which takes place against beautiful sunset colours, is undercut by the shot from above of Kazumi looking on. Once again, this is her episode.

Last week she was fast becoming my favourite character, but in this episode she is far harder to warm to. The hardest thing to watch is her violation of Kana’s personal space, starting to strip her off to shame her. Seeing that inflicted on a paralysed girl is not pleasant, and it’s a relief to see Neko step in and stop her. Kazumi’s sexual aggression towards Murakami reaches new heights this week, and Murakami displays a remarkable degree of self control. We can only speculate as to his motivations because it isn’t exactly clear why he restrains himself, but I think it is a combination of awkward nervousness at a situation that is unprecedented for him, his love for Neko, and perhaps an admirable realisation that Kazumi is not pursuing him for the right reasons. She’s a lonely, frightened girl. Continue reading

Posted in Anime, Entertainment, Reviews, Television | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Babylon 5: The Wheel of Fire

Babylon 5 ArtworkIt’s hard not to see what’s happening here.  The series is wrapping up and threads are getting tied together.  We’ve been leading here for a while but with the Centauri conflict resolved, we really start to feel the loose ends getting neatly tied up.  We’ve known Franklin would leave at the end of the year and he does seem to have a bit more pep in his step.  Londo is gone, ruling Centauri Prime from a sad and lonely throne.  Sheridan and Delenn will be moving to Minbar.  Not sure if Lennier is still destined to betray the Rangers or if his confession of love was the extent of it, but that might still need a quick wrap up.  And this week, we find out that G’Kar will soon leave and take Lyta as a traveling companion while Garibaldi is heading to Mars to run Edgars Industries.  It’s all very neat.  But there are still some plot threads that need to be examined in all that.

Continue reading

Posted in Babylon 5, Reviews, Science Fiction, Television | Tagged | 1 Comment

Ravensburger Escape Puzzle Space Observatory

Puzzles: they’re everywhere.  I don’t mean like trying to work out why your son can’t close a closet door.  Those puzzles you don’t have to pay for.  I mean actual puzzles, of the jigsaw variety.  Walk into a Barnes and Nobel, the bookstore, and they have shelves of them.  Even my grocery store has some, albeit for a younger audience.  Now most of my game reviews are video games, because, what can you say about a puzzle?  “Oh, I put the 1000 pieces on the board and turned them all heads up and then did the edges…”  Ok, not really exciting or fun for a reader.  You know what is fun?  An escape room.  Alas, 2020 has made those a bit off-putting.  So when I saw a puzzle claiming to be an escape room, I was intrigued.  Especially considering who released it. Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Games, Reviews, Science Fiction | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Outer Limits: Controlled Experiment

Outer Limits 1963 titles logo originalA show like The Outer Limits typically stays in the realm of science fiction, horror, or periodically fantasy.  Rarely does one expect a genre show to take on comedy.  Yet that is exactly what we see here.  Controlled Experiment isn’t a strong episode.  It starts off with that damned preview of what’s coming then surprises us with a strong beginning.  The dialogue between Carroll O’Connor (Deimos) and Barry Morse (Phobos) at the “outpost” is so much fun.  Morse is especially fun because he’s coming to terms with human culture and finds humans a bit uncomfortable to be around.   Then the two get a message that a murder is going to be committed and it’s delivered with the expected brilliance of a being from another world: “”you will probably see someone kill someone.”   So Phobos and Deimos set up to analyze a murder and why humans are so prone to it as a hobby. Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Reviews, Science Fiction, Television, The Outer Limits | Tagged | 2 Comments

On Target: The Crusades

How I remember it!

This Christmas, my wife surprised me with a Doctor Who book that I’d never seen before.  Or, to be more precise, I’d never seen it like this before.  Many, many years ago, I’d read The Crusades in what I believed to be its original Target form.  I was, and remain, a devoted fan of the Target novels.  What I was used to had the classic logo followed by “And the Crusades” with the author’s name displayed below it.  That’s what I read many long years ago!

When I unwrapped my gift, I was dumbstruck!  What was this?  Would this be a new series of the original books that I’d start collecting all over again?  The cover was a bit of a surprise.  Where was the Target logo?  Was this even the same book?  I immediately went into my library to compare the two.  Yep, same book!  The only difference was that the cover art was different and it wrapped a hardcovered volume.  Well, it had been decades since I’d read it… why not try it again?  In fact, it has been a long time since I’ve read any Target books beyond the most recent releases… Continue reading

Posted in Books, Doctor Who, Entertainment, Random Chatter, Science Fiction | Tagged | 7 Comments

Amagami SS+ Plus

Amagami SS Plus Sae Fanservice Hot SpringsA quick recap to start with: Amagami SS is an anime based on a game, allowing the player to follow different routes to establish a relationship with any one of several different girls. For the anime, this was adapted very literally, with four episodes devoted to each girl, making it an anthology series of sorts. Amagami SS+ Plus is the second season, which revisits the relationships between main character Junichi Tachibana, and nearly all the girls from the first season.

It’s actually quite rare in anime for a relationship to be explored in this way. Most romantic seasons don’t go beyond the two characters getting together, or even get to that point at all. That’s a shame, because there is a lot of fun to be had seeing characters we have rooted for get together and then stumble through the early, awkward stages of a relationship. This series is a treat, because we get to see that in six different ways. Two episodes are devoted to each of the six main girls, and in each case the writers find something different and interesting to do. Continue reading

Posted in Anime, Entertainment, Reviews, Television | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Edgar Wallace Mysteries: Man at the Carlton Tower

Man at the Carlton TowerThis 1961 entry into the Edgar Wallace Mysteries series of B Movies is the first offering on the second DVD set. It starts in a very different way to any of the previous ones, with a burglary being committed. The opening sequence is very exciting, with a safe being methodically cracked in a jeweller’s shop at night, while a policeman does his rounds outside. Those were the days, when policeman used to walk around looking through shop windows and checking to make sure the doors were locked, and if a burglar alarm went off there was never a policeman far away, ready to come running. Nowadays they’re too busy… well, I don’t know what they do, to be honest. We mustn’t have rose-tinted spectacles, though, because this was apparently a dangerous time to be a policeman. The crook is intercepted while he’s making his escape, and shoots the policeman. So we have here a murder case, but not a premeditated one, and not the usual kind of mystery to solve. Instead, this film is about tracking down the criminal and finding the loot. Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Brynhildr in the Darkness Episode 7

Brynhildr in the Darkness KazumiFragments of Hope

The view from Igirisu:

There is a rollercoaster of hope and despair this week, with the possibility that the pills the witches need to save their lives could be replicated, and then the revelation that it’s going to take months. In a moment of inspired animation, the colour washes out of the scene. It’s subtle, and doesn’t last for long, but it’s enough to emphasise that moment of sadness, along with the horrible pause before Murakami delivers the news. Continue reading

Posted in Anime, Entertainment, Reviews, Television | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Babylon 5: The Fall of Centauri Prime

Babylon 5 ArtworkYou know this is a big episode when it gets an opening monologue with “previously on Babylon 5….”  The Fall of Centauri Prime is in many ways an ending.  It’s pretty clear that we are cleaning up and ending the chapters.  But The Fall of Centauri Prime does it very stylistically, as well as presenting a damned good story to boot!

For those of you, like me, who had hoped the last episode was ending with a mislead, we can all bow our heads in sorrow for the lost Centauri when the episode begins and we see Centauri has been decimated.  After the Regent accepts his own death, Londo takes control and ends the war.  But let’s look at the intricacies of this story more than recap the plot.  When we first started the series, we are introduced to the Narn, a defeated people who are angry and broken and want revenge against their oppressors.  They were “the villains”.  Through this series, we’ve seen them get trampled again, only to rise and now, they help deliver the final blows to their one-time oppressors.  The Centauri people are left broken, angry, and alone.  What’s interesting about that is if we remember Midnight on the Firing Line, the very first episode (after the pilot), Kosh says “They are alone… they are a dying people.”  Admittedly, when asked if he means the Narn or the Centauri, Kosh replies enigmatically as ever, “yes”, so perhaps there’s some room for interpretation, but I never forgot that line and hearing Londo announce it was an echo that resonated with me.  Or perhaps not an echo, but a “shadow of a shadow”! Continue reading

Posted in Babylon 5, Reviews, Science Fiction, Television | Tagged | 11 Comments

Call of the Sea

As frequent visitors to the Junkyard know, I am a fan of the works of HP Lovecraft.  Having recently read a graphic novel of one of his best works, The Mountains of Madness, I was still craving some time in that dark, mysterious universe.  There’s been a lot of talk about a new game that took us onto Lovecraftian shores, so I put my other games aside and answered the Call of the Sea.  The experience was a short one, but a good one.

Call of the Sea is an adventure game.  I don’t love adventure games because, since the days of Mist, they rely too heavily on abstract ideas.  Open the door by reflecting the light through the crystal to the eyeball of the bat and use the doohickey to beam that back to the unlocking mechanism… what?!?  I have rarely found an adventure game that one could actually get through without needing a walkthrough.  (I’ve only found 2 that I can recall!)  The problem for me is also that, at a certain point of working on a puzzle, I get tired.  How many times do I have to run back and forth to do things and try abstract ideas?  Return to Mysterious Island was one such game, where we could think through a problem.  Hungry?  Get a stick and string, find a worm, bait the makeshift fishing pole and fish!  Nothing abstract about that! Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Games, Reviews, Science Fiction, Technology | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Outer Limits: The Mice

The Outer Limits The MiceI found The Mice interesting for the wrong reasons: I felt like we were prepped for this one over the last two stories.  Tourist Attractions also features Henry Silva, and The Zanti Misfits posits what to do with the criminals of our planet… as does this.  So the placement is odd if nothing else.  The episode has the feeling of pregnancy: we know something is going to happen, and we know it’s going to happen soon… but we just don’t know exactly  when!  (This was a popular tactic of Alfred Hitchcock’s.)

Henry Silva plays Chino Rivera, a criminal serving a life sentence for murder.  He is given an offer: be a guinea pig for the Enterprise’s Transporter and if the test is successful, his parole board might consider reducing his sentence.  (Ok, I’m kidding about the Enterprise but bear in mind, this episode aired two years before Star Trek and features a teleportation experiment that would become the foundation for how the transporter worked in Roddenberry’s classic series.)  Mind you, all of this is told to him the night before the experiment, so he doesn’t have much time to decide.  The Chromoites will send one of their people to earth in exchange for Rivera; a sort of intergalactic exchange program.  But humans are nothing if not deceitful; we decide to send a criminal because we don’t want to risk anyone important.  Chino is far more likable than a murderer should be, but we are given reason for that: Chino murdered a man who was doing something bad to his sister and he warned the man to stop, multiple times.  At no point does Chino come off as a bad guy and had I been on the jury, he wouldn’t be in prison.  He showed no remorse for what he did for the simple reason that he had warned his victim.  But in the eyes of the law, he is a criminal, a monster.  Interestingly, the Chromoite may be one too.  Even though we are told by their people that he is a scientist, he shows all the behaviors of a criminal and commits far more wanton acts of murder than Chino. Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Reviews, Science Fiction, Television, The Outer Limits | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Doctor and the Enterprise

2nd Edition, 1986

Let me start this article by saying that I don’t usually do a lot of research for what I write.  I write from the hip, or from the heart, and it’s based on how I feel about a given subject.  This one, due to the unofficial nature of the book, I did a little research on… and I found some weird things.

Back in the mid to late 80’s, I started going to conventions.  They were glorious places where people gathered, all of whom loved all the things I loved.  We bought toys and took photos of celebrities and if we were feeling brave, made friends.  (Or upon occasion, we’d be “agonized” by Klingons…)  Back then, I didn’t have a lot of money but, to quote John Candy, I’m still a million bucks shy of being a millionaire.  But when you see a book with Tom Baker’s Doctor having a mind-meld with Mr. Spock, you are ready to dish out what little cash you have!  In this case, a whopping $9.95!   Now, what I have learned is that this book has gone through a number of iterations. My copy is a red one, pictured above. Continue reading

Posted in Books, Doctor Who, Entertainment, Fourth Doctor, Reviews, Science Fiction, Star Trek | 6 Comments

Amagami SS

Amagami is Japanese for a gentle or playful bite, the sort of thing a kitten or puppy would do to a sibling or parent. If you want to know the reason for that, you will need to keep watching right to the second of the two OVA episodes, but this is a series that rewards patient viewing in more ways than one.

Dating sim games are hugely popular in Japan, and are therefore ideal material for adapting to anime series. The obvious way to do that is with harem anime, but that is not always the case. The main problem that has to be overcome is what do you do with a concept that relies on a player following different paths through a game to end up with a variety of potential different girls? How do you turn that into an anime series? In the case of Clannad, the approach is to choose one of the girls to focus on, with the others becoming secondary characters. For Photo Kano, a big chunk of the series is given over to the favourite girl, with alternative timelines branching off after that. Although both approaches can work, the Clannad approach can leave fans of the other girls feeling cheated, and the Photo Kano approach can leave the series feeling a little disjointed. Amagami SS takes a far more literal approach to adapting the material, basically showing us six mini-series of four episodes each, but there is of course a lot more to it than that. Continue reading

Posted in Anime, Entertainment, Reviews, Television | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Columbo: Ransom for a Dead Man

Columbo Peter FalkWe start with a woman using letters cut out from newspapers to create a ransom letter, while a reel-to-reel tape player sits on the desk beside her. It looks like something from a different world now, but in 1971 this was a picture of a very modern crime, helped by cutting edge technology. Later in the episode, there will be a telephone call from a dead man…

The Motive

The victim hardly even gets a line to speak, so we don’t actually have the motive spelt out for us until around the 70 minute mark. Leslie Williams got bored with her husband, but wanted to keep cohabiting to retain her wealth and status. Her husband didn’t want to live a lie and was threatening to kick her out. So this is a simple one: it’s all about money. Getting revenge on her spoilt step-daughter is a bonus. Continue reading

Posted in Reviews, Television | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Brynhildr in the Darkness Episode 6

Brynhildr in the Darkness group picnicThe Reason For Her Smile

The view from Igirisu:

One interesting thing about this series has been the insignificance of the witches’ ratings in terms of their ability to beat their opponents. It’s an interesting reflection of the ways in which people’s worth is measured in life, particularly academically, which can never be a true indication of everything an individual has to offer. In terms of pure power, Kikako is awe-inspiring, but Neko easily out-thinks her and can stay alive by dodging her beams. Then Kotori has the brainwave to tie herself up and switch places. Murakami spots the chink in Kikako’s armour extremely quickly, figuring out how the “pre-fire charge time” can be utilised. He continues to be remarkably calm and resourceful in a crisis. Continue reading

Posted in Anime, Entertainment, Reviews, Television | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Babylon 5: Movements of Fire and Shadow

Babylon 5 ArtworkIt’s almost impossible to believe that so much happens here and it’s still just a regular length episode.  How can that be?  Delenn is sent on a mission to ask for a new ship.  Londo and G’Kar are knocked out and something is done to (at least) Londo.  The jumpgates are attacked and Lochley has to give the order to protect them at all costs.  Stephen and Lyta meet with Vir and go on an errand of mercy, then later, on the Drazi homeworld, they are attacked and make a major discovery about the war.  Garibaldi tells Sheridan that the whole plan seems to be to make everyone mad and Sheridan has to bolt off in the hopes of saving Centauri Prime.  Delenn and Lennier are attacked and set adrift in hyperspace.  And the Regent leaves Centauri Prime defenseless as enemies arrive at the gates.  WHOA!  Did I even blink?

The episode moves at a lightning pace and I find myself on the edge of my seat.  Again.  You’d think after all these times watching this series, I’d be ready for what’s coming.  But I don’t think I can be blamed.  This is war-time drama in space and that’s compelling viewing.  It’s attention-grabbing because interplanetary battles are fun to watch and safe enough because it’s pretty far removed from the travesties that real war commits.  This is fiction but it acts like it’s real.  Everything that happens plays like a real war.  Intelligence and negotiations, treaties and alliances, war councils and ministers of peace, attacks on civilian targets and strategic weak points… everything fits.  The irony is that the one thing that doesn’t is exactly what we discover to be the truth.  Sheridan said you don’t just start a war to annoy your enemies, and while that may be a strategically sound assessment, there’s more going on here than meets the (cycloptic) eye.  It is exactly what is happening and I’m reminded of Morden’s last words to Molari.  He said the Shadows had allies and they would come looking for revenge back when Londo finally did the right things in Season 4.  It feels like we are given a major piece of the Centauri puzzle connecting dots to what happened then and what is coming sometime in the future.  (Whether or not this is the cause of the future state of Centauri Prime, as seen in War Without End, remains to be seen.  That is 17 years away after all!)  The scene of Londo’s slow-motion run at the realization of what’s coming is spine tingling!  The entire episode is compelling viewing!

There’s little light in all of these movements of fire and shadow.  The moments we get come from some of the standard fare: Lyta and Stephen, specifically with his steadfast refusal to ask for directions.  Or better, the dialogue between Londo and G’Kar, most spectacularly when G’Kar causes himself to vomit up the previous night’s food.  And if you’re paying close attention, when John asks Delenn for something, she implies that she will wear that “little” thing but we are left to giggle sophomorically at what that can mean. But this isn’t an episode that needs humor, much as I appreciate the effort.  This is an episode that doesn’t give us a chance to breath.  Lyta is becoming more mercenary as she forces Vir to give her a very large sum of money to be used for a homeworld for telepaths.  Later, she uses her considerable powers to make an enemy Drazi to shoot himself in the head.  The discovery on the Drazi homeworld helps the alliance as it indicates that Shadow tech is being used again.  (How awesome it was to hear that Shadow-scream again!)  And whatever is done to Londo by those strange, long-fingered alien surgeons (seen in previous episodes, equally enigmatically) remains a question.   But the biggest questions in my mind are: can Delenn and Lennier survive the attack that has left them crippled and floating in hyperspace?  And was Sheridan able to arrive before the attach on Centauri Prime began?  (The evidence implies otherwise as the fade to black at the end of the episode shows ships firing as jump points open over Centauri Prime, but it could be a visual ruse!  We can but hope!)

As if all of this isn’t enough, the first seeds of something really big have been planted.  The mission to Minbar is to work on a joint Earth Minbari warship using Vorlon tech.  Will this be the turning point in the war?  Considering Delenn never makes it home, I wouldn’t bet on it.  Consider: there are four episodes left, then the finale.  Can she get the message to home by next episode and get the resources together to have it built before the end of the series?  If the timing of the show works in anything like real time, I’d think it highly unlikely.  But that can’t have been just a throwaway line, right?  It’s very hard to imagine that, when this show first aired, we’d have to wait each week to see where this would go.  I’m repeatedly amazed at how far ahead this series was, creating binge-drama 30 years before such a thing existed!  But for our site, persevere we must.  Those movements of fire and shadow continue…  ML

The view from across the pond:

Sheridan spends most of this episode looking haunted, and so he should. He just started a war unnecessarily. Whether he will shoulder any of the blame now that he has found out that he escalated things before sufficient investigation remains to be seen, but at last he knows the truth: the Centauri have been set up, and the attacking ships are empty. As I said last week, proving who made the gun isn’t the same as proving who pulled the trigger.

The path to finding out that nugget of information is hugely entertaining, and not always for the right reasons. Franklin is oddly willing to put his life at risk and abandon the many patients in need of his help on the station, which is in the midst of an emergency situation, in order to go on a mission for Vir. Strictly speaking that makes him a traitor to his people. Lyta, on the other hand, is there for the money. What happens with Lyta really puts into perspective the value of the Byron storyline earlier in the season, which turned her into the badass we see here. Seeing her make the Drazi attacker kill himself is still a shock though, and another reminder of how far that Byron storyline went astray, with the telepaths fighting their battles with traditional weapons instead of using their telepathic powers. Amusingly, the hotel Franklin and Lyta stay in is the same one that Garibaldi used. So that would be the one where he got attacked and nearly killed then. There’s no way to spin that apart from the makers of the show trying to save money on sets and CGI assets. Same hotel, same CGI view. And naturally they get attacked there.

While Sheridan races to use the information that he should have found out about before he started a war, Garibaldi’s drinking problem is oddly forgotten this week and he seems to be back to being his former capable self. After his alcoholism resulting in untold numbers of deaths last week, you would have thought he would be looking just as haunted as Sheridan, and if it was a trigger for him to get a grip on himself that could have done with being mentioned, although I appreciate that the episode was already a busy one to say the least. Meanwhile, Delenn and Lennier come under fire and find themselves in a sticky situation. How Sheridan could possibly bear to send his wife off on such a dangerous mission in an unescorted vessel I have no idea, but let’s face it the man has completely taken leave of his senses this year.

While all this is going on, Londo and G’Kar are able to achieve absolutely nothing on Centauri Prime, and Londo possibly has one of those creatures attached to him now. His kidnapping was very creepy, with those long-fingered aliens who looked very much like the traditional image of an alien abductor: very Roswell. When he was abducted that huge flash of light made me jump so much that it nearly knocked me out, let alone Londo and G’Kar.

Where Londo and G’Kar are to be found together there will always be great comedy, and this episode was in much need of those occasional moments of light relief. The pick of the comedy this week was G’Kar concentrating on “last night’s supper”, which made me laugh out loud. The episode was quite a rollercoaster of emotions, because I certainly wasn’t laughing by the end, although I would have had some cause to with Londo’s cheesy slow-mo running. The moment was far too dramatic to smile about a clichéd televisual tradition though. I was holding my breath from the Regent’s revelation about sending away all the ships and turning off the planet’s defences, to Londo looking up at the sky as the enemy ships arrived, and then what a way to leave us on a cliffhanger! And then I realised something. Not so long ago the Centauri were the enemy, Londo was a monster of a war criminal, and we would have been cheering at the screen when Narn ships got through to attack Centauri Prime. Now the Centauri coming under attack is a moment for us to shout “Nooooooooooo!” at the screen. We have been taken on a journey, with our loyalties and emotions twisted in all sorts of different directions. That’s clever writing.   RP

Posted in Babylon 5, Reviews, Science Fiction, Television | Tagged | 5 Comments