Archive for April, 2008|Monthly archive page

Babylon 5: Revelations

Sheridan gets a visit from his sister and we learn more about the new Captain. G’Kar comes back warning of a coming darkness, but will anyone believe him? Delenn returns transformed. And Garibaldi finally awakes.

Another excellent episode, chock full of good stuff.

Sheridan’s sister Elizabeth comes. He is glad to see her, but it is also painful. She was long Anna Sheridan’s best friend before Anna married John. Anna went missing two years earlier and is presumed dead and John blames himself since he was too busy and into work, not even remembering to tell her that he loved her the last time they spoke. Elizabeth is able to put this idea to rest thanks to her last message from Anna, and John is finally able to say a good-bye of sorts.

G’Kar returns to the station warning of a coming darkness. Unfortunately, not even his own government is entirely convinced. But the Narn Regime has agreed to send one ship to Za’ha’dum, homeworld of the Shadows. Unfortunately, he makes the mistake of telling Londo (among a few others) about this. Morden had already talked with a very grateful Londo, going so far as to promise other “demonstrations” as needed, though not taking out the Narn homeworld. In return, he wants news about anything unusual on the Rim, where Za’ha’dum is. Wanting to pay his debt to Morden, Londo tells about this expedition of the Narn. The ship is destroyed and nothing is conclusively proved.

Delenn also finally emerges from her cocoon. She is now half-human/half-Minbari, in an attempt to further unite with the humans, the other half of the Minbari collective soul. Everyone is stunned, especially Sheridan.

In desperation, Dr. Franklin asks Sheridan for permission to use the alien healing machine to save Garibaldi. Sheridan insists on sharing the danger in the procedure. Garibaldi wakes up, and is very surprised at the changes that have taken place since he was shot. Not able to remember what happened, he asks Talia to help see if he missed anything. It was Garibaldi’s second, Jack, that did the deed. When questioned by Garibaldi, he denies being a part of Homeguard and gives the Psi Corps solute that Bester gave. Whatever is going on is very big since Jack and all the evidence regarding President Santiago’s assassination have all been disapeared by the end of the episode, much to Sheridan and Ivanova’s dismay.

On a final note, it is funny how they got Jack out of security command central. They said Delenn was out of her cocoon and had wings like a butterfly! As if that would really happen!

G’Kar escapes the Shadow’s allies to warn Babylon 5.

Elisabeth, Sheridan’s younger sister who is not afraid to speak her mind.

The new, improved Delenn. I like it:)

Star Wars: A New Hope Manga

So I read Star Wars: A New Hope manga version recently. It takes four volumes, giving plenty of space to tell the story. Whatever you may think of manga style, it words well for star wars since it is so expressive. Han and Luke arguing about flying, Leia complimenting Han on his ship, Han and Luke talking about Leia are just some of the scenes that comes to mind. I almost thought I was watching the movie, not reading the story. Overall, a very enjoyable experience. Highly recommended for true Star Wars fans and for manga lovers.

Babylon 5: Points of Departure

The Babylon project was our last best hope for peace. A self-contained world five miles long, located in neutral territory. A place of commerce and diplomacy for a quarter of a million humans and aliens. A shining beacon in space, all alone in the night. It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, the year the great war came upon us all. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2259, the name of the place is Babylon 5.

–Captain John Sheridan

The music for this season’s opener is much more militaristic and empire-like feeling. You really get a sense that something is coming. The visuals are different, but in many cases echo those of the first season. One nice addition is the cast being shown with their names. Not my absolute favorite, but still very nice.

Sinclair is reasigned, and Captain John Sheridan is the new commander of Babylon 5. A Minbari warship appears, and the truth is finally revealed about what happened at the Battle of the Line.

So the first season ended with a bang. The second season begins with changes in assignment. Sinclair is invited to be the first permanent human ambassador on Minbar. Captain John Sheridan takes his place. Ivanova likes this choice, since she served with him on Io. The Minbari, however, are not pleased at all. This disapproval comes in the form of Hedronn, a member of the Grey Counsel. He also disapproves of Delenn’s actions, which is shared by others and will have later repercussions. Sheridan took out their biggest ship during the Earth-Minbari War by mining asteroids with nuclear bombs, a tactic the Minbari see as cowardly. This is not the best time for this change, as a renegade Minbari Warship is in the neighborhood.

Lennier, with permission from the Grey Counsel, tells Sheridan and Ivanova what happened at the Battle of the Line. Sinclair was taken aboard one of their ships, and was interogated with a crystalis (among other things). To their shock and dismay, the Grey Counsel discovered that he had at least a part of the soul of Valenn, their greatest leader. They knew Minbari souls had been migrating away from the Minbari people, but they never imagined they were going to humans. Minbari don’t kill Minbari, so for this reason and to save Minbari souls, they surrendered at the battle of the Line. But this was something the Grey Counsel knew their people were not ready for. So they kept the reason for the surrender to primarily themselves. This is how there can be a renegade Minbari Warship.

Sheridan, thankfully, is a master strategist, and he knows the Minbari well so he is able to avoid disaster for Babylon 5. When another Minbari Warship arrives in pursuit of the renegades, they self-destruct which is a waste.

You have to love Sheridan’s fascination with fresh fruits and vegetables, which is understandable given how long he was in deep space. He also gives the same speech whenever he goes to a new posting. The story about the Dali Lama is especially interesting.

Delenn is still in her cocoon, although it has started to crack, and Garibaldi still hovers between life and death. G’Kar presumably is still investigating the attack on his people.

All in all, an excellent beginning to a new season. I miss Sinclair, but story wise Sheridan is needed.

Captain John Sheridan, who had the only real victor against the Minbari during the war. A very cheerful guy, but there is more to him than meets the eye.

Kalain, a renegade warrior on station to cause trouble for the new captain.

Hedronn, member of the Grey Counsel from the religious caste. He does not approve of Delenn’s actions, or of Captain Sheridan.

Warren Keffer, ace starfurry pilot and expendable.

Sheridan takes command.

Babylon 5: Crystalis

It is a time of changes on Babylon 5. Garibaldi uncovers a conspiracy and pays a heavy price for it. Sinclair has a proposal for Catherine Sakai. Londo accepts help from Morden, and the Narn pay for it. Delenn sets events in motion involving a crystalis.

Oh, this episode is chock full of goodness. To begin, the Narn and Centauri are arguing over territory again. Unfortunately, the Centauri are not in a military position to protest the Narn moving in war ships. So when Mr. Morden shows up again offering help, Londo accepts it and gets much more than he bargains for. All the Narn forces in quadrent 27 are wiped out in a moment by the Shadows. At this news, G’Kar believes someone else besides the major races is out there. He leaves Babylon 5 to go investigate. This is the first time we have seen the Narn at a real disadvantage. A nice change. And Londo is starting down a dark path.

Delenn is busy building her crystalis. With some encouragement from Kosh, she enters a cocoon. Before this, she agrees to tell Sinclair all about what happened during the Battle of the Line, but Sinclair arrives to late to hear what she has to say.

Sinclair and Catherine Sakai decide to finally get married. This is the sweetest part of this episode. All I can say is it’s about time.

One of Garibaldi’s informants from downbelow is murdered. His last words are that someone is going to be killed. As Geribaldi investigates, he finds jamming devices a shipment that was left behind on Babylon 5. And the target, the transfer point on Io where the President is. The President is going to be assassinated. Garibaldi is shot in the back by his first officer as he goes to inform Sinclair about it. By the time he is found and gives his message to Sinclair, it is too late. Babylon 5 is jammed and they can’t alert anyone. Later, no one believes it was anything other than an accident.

This is a great way to end the season. G’Kar is off on a quest to find out what is going on. The Earth President has been assassinated. Delenn is in a cocoon. Garibaldi is hovering between life and death. And everyone, including Sinclair, including us, is in shock.

Delenn finishes the crystalis as Lennier looks on.

The Shadows wipe out the Narn in quadrant 27.

Garibaldi is shot in the back. Watch your back, Mike!

The destruction of Earth Force One.

Delenn in the cocoon.

Morden confers with his associates.

Sinclair and Catherine know nothing is the same anymore.

Babylon 5: The Quality of Mercy

Talia is involved in the sentence of a murderer. Franklin investigates a questionable doctor in down below. Londo shows Lennier a new side of Babylon 5.

First off, the combination of Londo and Lennier is hilarious. Talk about opposites! Lennier is a little too shelter and naive still. Well, experience is sometimes the best teacher, and I guess the day was successful since I think Lennier did learn some new things. It isn’t surprising that Londo would cheat at gambling. What is a bit surprising is the way in which he does it. We learn more about Centauri anatomy than we want, about which we too will take a vow of silence. We also learn that Minbari usually don’t lie, but it is honorable to lie to help someone else save face and that Minbari can’t drink alcohol without going into a homicidal rage.

Poor Talia, being a telepath can’t be a fun thing. Especially at times like this when she has to go into the mind of a killer. I have to admit the idea of punishing criminals like that by wiping out their personality and giving them a new, benign one and then putting them to work helping the community they harmed is an intriguing one. Karl Mueller is one creepy guy, and I am not sorry to see the last of him.

The main story is Dr. Franklin’s discovery of a questionable doctor down below. He finds out about her because he operates a free clinic down below himself and he becomes suspicious when the number of people coming to him drops off significantly. Dr. Laura Rosen’s story is a sad one, and one that foreshadows later events. She became so worried about keeping up with work she started taking stims. This, however, didn’t really help things. When someone died, her license was revoked. She’s been searching for a way to redeem herself ever since. This is the first time we hear of the Alien Healing Device. The only problem is it takes the life force of one person to heal another. It was once used as a form of capital punishment, using the lives of criminals to save those who were terminally ill. Dr Rosen herself doesn’t care about this, since she has a terminal illness herself. And much to the skeptical Dr. Franklin’s surprise, it actually works quite well.

No offense Lennier, but Londo is probably the last person I would trust on Babylon 5.

Karl Mueller is not only a hardened criminal, he is probably clinically insane as well.

Dr. Laura Rosen’s Alien Healing Device actually works. But is it what she needs to redeem herself?

Janice Rosen, Laura’s daughter and very protective of her mother.

Babylon 5: Babylon Squared

Babylon 4 reappears. Sinclair and Garibaldi go investigate. Delenn gets a tempting offer from the Grey Council.

Sorry I have been going slower on these. I will try to get up to at least two episodes a week.

Okay, this is one of my favorite episodes and it is stuffed with important details and such that won’t make sense until the other half, War Without End, is shown in season three.

First, the comic moments. Garibaldi and Sinclair’s trick on Ivanova, teasing her about her dislike of mornings, is classic! And Garibaldi is a nut. Okay, so riding in a shuttle for three hours with nothing to do is no doubt boring, but he is reduced to discussing with Sinclair how they put on pants. (I’m a fasten, zip person myself).

Now, on to some more serious parts. Delenn is called before the Grey Council. They have been without an official leader, being lead for the past ten years by the Grey Council. And now they want Delenn to be the next leader. But Delenn doesn’t want to leave Babylon 5. She feels her work there isn’t done. The speech she gives about humans is very insightful and beautiful. Our diversity is our greatest strength and weakness. And her friend’s comments about signs and portents is also very telling. And he gives her a triluminary. It seems there are three and that whether she should have one or not, Delenn will need one shortly. We’ve seen one before in “And the Sky Full of Stars”. We have yet to see the repercussions of Delenn refusing to lead the Grey Council, but we will. We also learn that the Grey Council ended the Earth-Minbari War because Valen, their greatest historical figure, said they would meet a race and some of them have a destiny the Minbari cannot interfere with. Delenn has been trying to determine if humans are this race, and if so why.

The main part of the story is the sudden reappearance of Babylon 4 after disappearing four years earlier. First, sector fourteen has an unusual concentration of tacheon emissions The pilot who is sent out to investigate manages to return to Babylon 5 on autopilot, but dies of old age before returning to the station. Then they get contacted by Babylon 4. The station is loosing power and is unstuck in time and the people there need to be evacuated. Luckily, only a skeleton crew is aboard. Sinclair and Garibaldi head up the rescue effort.t

While on Babylon 4, both Sinclair and Garibaldi have a time flash. In Sinclair’s, Babylon 5 is being overrun. Garibaldi is holding a last stand to let some last people get off the station before it is destroyed. He wants Sinclair to get off, but a confused Sinclair doesn’t want to leave. Garibaldi goes back to his last fight with Lise Hampton before leaving Mars for Babylon 5. But everything happens exactly as he remembers it.

Also on station, the commanding officer, Major Krantz, introduces Sinclair and Garibaldi to an unusual alien named Zathras. Zathras isn’t from their time, and he is with whoever is causing all the strange things to happen on Babylon 4, including becoming unstuck in time. This is the first we hear of the One. Zathras says they need Babylon 4 for a big war, and if they don’t all will be destroyed. But it is unclear when this war is. Zathras calls someone in a spacesuit that keeps phasing in and out the One. After pushing Sinclair out of the way of a falling beam, he tells Sinclair to go since he has a destiny. Then the person in the space suit appears again and saves him. As Sinclair and Garibaldi leave on the last shuttle, someone tells Garibaldi to watch his back. It is an old Sinclair who says everything is happening just as he remembered it. Delenn is also there, but we only see her hand and hear her voice.

I like Sinclair calling Babylon 4 a Flying Dutchman. That is certainly what it is. And we have to wait until season three to understand what really happened to Babylon 4.

Minbari war cruiser and shuttle. The only ship I like better we don’t see until season three.

Babylon 4 is here today, but where will it be tomorrow?

Major Krantz is rightly very worried about what has happened on Babylon 4. I hope he and his people can adjust to living four years in the future.

Zathras knows a lot more than he’s telling. A very interesting and mysterious character.

Sinclair from the future?

Babylon 5: A Voice in the Wilderness II

Without a caretaker, the Great Machine on Epsilon 3 counts down to destruction, dooming Babylon 5 with it. The Hyperion arrives, complicating the situation. Draal makes a decision. The conflict on Mars dies down.

Here is the second half of this two part episode. First, Captain Pierce of the Hyperion arrives. Bad enough that this alerts the other races to the fact that something is up, but Captain Pierce is not very diplomatic and is rather hot headed too. Sinclair quickly clashes with him, especially when Captain Pierce tries to take command of the sector away from Sinclair — something Sinclair had been guaranteed by the President.

Meanwhile, Epsilon 3 continues to deteriorate, and Varn confirms the worst suspicions. He has been sick for a while, loosing control and concentration over the Great Machine, thus the earlier seismic activities. With no one controlling the Great Machine, it counts down to destruction. Draal, with Delenn, and Londo become involved when Varn calls out to them. They decide to go down to Epsilon 3 with Varn to save the situation. And in true Babylon 5 fashion, the last of Varn’s race arrive claiming Epsilon 3 for their own. Unfortunately, they are outcasts and violent. In the end, Draal agrees to take over custody of the Great Machine, with Varn using his remaining days to teach him. Draal quickly ends the fighting around the planet.

Fighting dies down on Mars, and Garibaldi finally gets a hold of his old flame, Lise Hampton. He is finally ready to make a serious commitment with her, but she is already married. Poor Garibaldi! And Sinclair’s position is also finally reaffirmed by EarthGov.

One episode highlight is the Hyperion, a very nice looking ship. I still prefer Minbari style, though. Ivanova’s response to Londo when he pesters her about what is going on is too funny! And Varn’s speech to Delenn about the Great Machine is beautiful.

The Hyperion, Earth Alliance heavy cruiser.

Captain Pierce is definitely hawkish.

Draal considers what he must do.

Lise Hampton, Garibaldi’s old flame. Too bad she’s married now that he’s ready to commit!

Babylon 5: A Voice in the Wilderness I

When Epsilon 3 begins having unusual activity on the surface, Sinclair and Ivanova investigate and make an amazing discovery. Pro-Mars independence groups try to gain control of the planet. Delenn has a visit from an old friend.

So we finally get to the first of the two part episodes for Babylon 5. First, Delenn’s old friend Draal. It is sad he feels there is nothing more he can do for his people. And we learn of the Minbari practice of “going to the sea” in such situations. Draal is an excellent character, actually very caring, but a bit crotchety on the outside. Londo’s discussion about the Hokey Poky is hilarious.

The unrest on Mars gets different reactions from different people. Garibaldi is particularly affected since an old flame, Lise Hampton, is on Mars and he can’t reach her. In desperation, he turns to Talia, since years earlier he and Sinclair discovered a secret Psi Corps base there. Talia is rather reluctant to help at first since it seems Garibaldi’s been stalking her recently (rather funny actually). But when she realizes that Garibaldi is serious, she agrees to find out what she can.

Meanwhile, Epsilon 3, the planet by Babylon 5 has an unusual amount of seismic activity lately. When the initial survey team almost doesn’t make it back, Sinclair becomes more and more suspicious, especially when it appears that whatever is causing the disruptions is mechanical in nature. Also, Sinclair is haunted by a figure calling for help. The Command Staff is particularly concerned because Epsilon 3 is supposed to be a sterile planet since if anything happens, Babylon 5 can’t move unlike a ship.

When Ivanova and Sinclair make it down below the surface of the planet, they discover highly advanced technology (centuries if not millennia ahead of Earth), and an alien, Varn, the one who has been calling out to Sinclair.

We are left with something new coming through the jump gate at this critical time.

Garibaldi gets a little too much enjoyment from stalking poor Talia.

Delenn greets her old mentor and friend, Draal.

The Great Machine really is quite impressive.

Varn inside the Great Machine.

Babylon 5: Legacies

When the body of a Minbari war leader goes missing on Babylon 5, the Minbari Warrior caste cause problems for Sinclair. Talia and Ivanova argue over the future of a young telepath.

It is nice to meet the warrior cast finally. It is interesting to see the similarities and the differences between religious and warrior. Delenn has a core as hard as any warrior, and even Neroon can be a little open minded. It is also interesting that even someone like Neroon doesn’t know the reason for the Minbari surrender at the Battle of the Line. This is also the first time we hear of the warrior caste’s tradition of opening gun ports as a sign of respect. And we see Delenn with her crystals again.

A funny part is Geribaldi getting up close and personal with the Pak’ma’ra. And Na’Toth is a nut asking about Alisa’s teeth.

And speaking of Alisa, she is a telepath who just became active. To say Talia and Ivanova disagree on what should happen to her is putting it mildly. And it is true that Psi Corps would take care of Alisa’s physical needs, definitely a consideration since Alisa is an orphan. And Ivanova does have a hard time coming up with alternatives to Psi Corps. The Narn would love to have Alisa, but Narn’s minds aren’t the most comfortable, and there is the question of how the Narn would really treat her. Going with the Minbari is probably the best option for Alisa. That is what I would choose, at least. Afterwards, Talia and Ivanova both admit they didn’t act the best over the situation, and start being more friendly towards each other. And Alisa not only sees where the body is, but also what Delenn is working on in her quarters: crystalis.

The proud warrior Neroon.

Alisa Beldon is happy to go to Minbar.

Babylon 5: Eyes

A Colonel comes on board with a telepath to determine the loyalty of the Babylon 5 crew. He has a particular dislike for Sinclair, and Ivanova wants nothing to do with telepaths.

i don’t like Colonel Ari Ben Zayn. We aren’t meant to like him. He doesn’t like Sinclair, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that he was in the top ten to command Babylon 5, but was passed over. He starts out seeming perhaps on the ultra-strict and straight side, but perhaps bearable, but he quickly turns the investigation into a witch hunt, questioning everything Sinclair has done. This is part of the repercussions for Mind War and By Any Means Necessary. Bester said as he left, “Be seeing you.” And the Senator warned Sinclair that he ruffled major feathers in the way he ended the strike.

This is all a reflection of the direction things are going on Earth. This is the first time we hear about the group Free Mars.

Interestingly enough, for all the problems Ivanova has with the telepath Harriman Grey, he is actually quite a decent person and is the first telepath we have seen and liked since Lyta and Talia. He even ends up helping to save the day. And whatever you can say about Psi Corps, Mr. Grey has made the best of things within those confines for himself.

Going back to Ivanova, she goes a bit berserk beforeĀ  Garibaldi calms her down a bit. She had certainly been having a rough day, though. This includes a nightmare in which she sees her mother being drugged by Psi Corps and then Ivanova is in her mother’s place. Very surreal, appropriate for a dream. And very much foreshadowing things.

Finally, I have to applaud the most amusing part of the whole episode (thank goodness, since much of it was serious and tense), Lennier discovering through Mr. Garibaldi the delights of motorcycles. Who would have thought? And the last scene with Garibaldi and Lennier racing down the corridorĀ  on the motorcycle is priceless!

Colonel Ari Ben Zayn, we are not sorry to see him leave. I hope he spends a good long time in an institution.

Harriman Grey, on the other hand, is a very nice guy. Him, I am sorry to see leave.

Zayn and Sinclair go head to head.

Garibaldi and Lennier getting ready to try out the motorbike:)