26 December 2013

B5 Review: The Long Night & Into the Fire

Londo and Vir continue to work to bring down Emperor Cartagia while the Army of Light prepares to end the conflict that surrounds them.

The Long Night
Londo meets with Centauri officialsThe Army of Light continues to gather at Babylon 5 and prepare for the conflict to come while Ivanova reluctantly goes in search of more First Ones with Lorien.

On Centauri Prime, Londo and Vir meet with some officials and plot the downfall of Emperor Cartagia while on Narn. Londo meets with G'Kar, who has had one of his eyes removed at Cartagia's request, to make sure that their deal is still intact.

Vir retrieves a needle to be used on Cartagia and delivers it to Londo, who is full aware of the consequences of what he is about to do. However, things turn out quite different during G'Kar's procession as Cartagia lashes out against Londo forcing Vir to take action instead.

With Cartagia gone, Londo is appointed Prime Minister of the Centauri Republic and his first action is to withdraw their forces from Narn in order to better protect homeworld and then to look at removing the remaining Shadow influences.

Amongst all this, the Army of Light are alerted to a new Shadow weapon which has been unleashed and is obliterating Vorlon touched planets. Lennier reveals they have located the next Vorlon target, Corianna 6 with a population of over 6 billion. This pushes their timeline forward and Sheridan convinces the League worlds they have to engage the Vorlon's in order to save Corianna's people. But, in doing so, he intends for the Shadows to be at the conflict as well.

This is most definitely an important episode for the series as finally, the mad man Cartagia is taken care of and we see Londo continue in his ascension towards what he sees is his destiny in becoming Emperor one day.

It's also important as Narn is freed after over a year of occupation under the Centauri and we get to see the resentment in the Narn people compared with the knowledge of the truth by G'Kar.

All of this occuring as a build-up to what we'll expect to be an ultimate showdown as Sheridan leads the Army of Light from Babylon 5 for Corianna 6.

Rating: 7/10

Into the Fire
Londo and Vir on Centauri Prime
The Army of Light make their stand against the Vorlon and Shadow fleets at Corianna 6 while Londo finds out some disturbing news about Mr Morden.
Ivanova and Lorien finish up their search for the First Ones while Sheridan and Delenn lead the Army of Light against Vorlon listening posts before continuing on to Corianna 6. Meanwhile, Londo and Vir are working to remove the last Shadow influences on Centauri Prime before the Vorlon fleet arrives. 

By the time Ivanova catches up with the fleet, the Vorlons and Shadows come out of hyperspace and with some detonations of nuclear bombs among asteroids taking out some of their ships, Sheridan manages to get their attention and the fighting breaks out.

Londo is informed of Morden's implication in Adira's death. Londo meets with Morden to ask him to remove the Shadow fleet from Selini, which he refuses to do. Londo has Morden's 'Shadows' killed by his guards and on Morden's continued refusal to remove the ships, Londo destroys the island and the ships on it. He has Morden taken away, who promises Londo that the Shadow allies will remember what he did today.

As the battle rages on, the Vorlon Planet Killer nears its target and Sheridan is forced to signal the First Ones to intervene. The emerge and take out the Planet Killer before entering the battle against both the Vorlons and Shadows.

On Centauri Prime, Londo informs Vir he has told the Vorlons that the Shadow influences have been removed - but a Planet Killer eclipses their sun and Vir points out that Londo is touched by the Shadows. The Planet Killer leaves orbit as the Vorlon fleet at Corianna 6 calls for reinforcements - saving Centauri Prime.

Sheridan and Delenn are then pulled away by the Vorlons and Shadows and the battle pauses. Each of them discuss that the two older races have lost their way and cannot continue to look after the younger races like this. That this is no longer about each race looking after the younger races but about which ideology is right, that of the Vorlons, or that of the Shadows. 

Once it is found out that Lorien was helping broadcast the conversation to the rest of the fleet, the Shadow Planet Killer attempts to eliminate them - but other ships take the missile hits for them. As the Vorlon and Shadow emissaries reappear to Sheridan and Delenn, Sheridan sums up what they have learned. Lorien convinces the two races it is time to move on - and they, along with the First Ones and finally Lorien, depart beyond the Rim.

Returning to Babylon 5, Sheridan tells Delenn of the 'third age of mankind' they are now entering and all the uncertainty that lies ahead now that some of the magic has gone...

This episode wraps up the major conflicts of the Shadow War and it's worthy to note that this has happened fairly early in the season. It was a special effects feast at the time it came out with such massive and dramatic battle sequences that amazed at the time. On the DVD conversion, some of the sequences appear to suffer a little in terms of smoothness but the way the battles are shot is still quite impressive.

The story is important as it sums up why these conflicts have been occurring and it sees the maturing of the younger races, including the Humans and Minbari - while Londo's story develops - with the removal of Mr Morden, has he perhaps lost another opportunity to avoid the future he fears is coming?

My Rating: 8/10

05 December 2013

B5 Review: The Summoning & Falling Toward Apotheosis

Season Four continues in the aftermath of Sheridan's visit to Z'ha'dum and Garibaldi's disappearance with the Vorlon's revealing their next course of action in the Shadow War...

The Summoning
Cartagia tortures G'KarZack makes an important discovery regarding Mr Garibaldi's whereabouts while the League worlds decide not to assist Delenn in her plan to attack Z'ha'dum.

Marcus and Ivanova take a Whitestar to enlist some of the First Ones to help them and Londo & Vir are subjected to seeing G'Kar tortured by the will of Emperor Cartagia.

While tracking down a ship believed to have Mr Garibaldi aboard, Zack and team retrieve the Chief but not before the ship explodes.

Marcus and Ivanova come across something else entirely while searching for First Ones. Hidden in Hyperspace, a massive fleet of Vorlon ships, including some never seen before that dwarf even their largest cruisers. The Vorlon have taken matters in to their own hands it seems, with Lyta being kept out of Kosh's thoughts and these new ships obliterating entire planets that have been touched by the Shadows.

As the League worlds rally against Delenn's attack on Z'ha'dum, a mysterious ship arrives at the station and Sheridan returns, with Lorien in tow. Sheridan is able to turn around the League worlds and regain their support.

On Centauri Prime, Cartagia is displeased with G'Kar and his reactions to Centauri humiliation. Londo and Vir are forced to witness and plea with G'Kar to give the Emperor what he wants in order to save both their worlds.

The Summoning is a good episode for the season as pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place and the wheels are beginning to turn once again - albeit, not in a good way with the Vorlon rampage and G'Kar's torture. There is at least some hope with the return of Garibaldi and Sheridan that things may return to 'normal'.

My Rating: 7/10

Falling Toward Apotheosis
Garibaldi confronts KoshThe Vorlon's take drastic measures in the war against the Shadows while Londo pleads with Cartagia and Morden to have the Shadow ships removed from Centauri Prime and Sheridan plans to have Kosh removed from the station.

The Vorlon Planetkillers are on the loose and destroying any worlds touched by the Shadows - the rules have changed. Ivanova presents information from Babylon 5 about colonies offering assistance to fleeing refugees.

Word of the attacks reaches Centauri Prime where Londo confronts Cartagia and Morden who both insist the Shadow ships will remain as Centauri Prime is too big a target for even the Vorlon fleet.

Sheridan begins to put his plans into motion but needs Kosh removed from the station. Garibaldi and his team confront the ambassador and he refuses to leave. Lured out by Lyta, Sheridan is able to trap the ambassador and with the help of Lorien unleashes the final remnants of the former Kosh to fight the new ambassador and leave the station.

Finally, Cartagia remains displeased with G'Kar's lack of performance and offers Londo to suggest a form of punishment. Londo dismisses the question leaving Cartagia to ask for one of G'Kar's eyes to be removed - fulfilling another prophecy from Londo's dream...

An important episode in the development of the Shadow war with our perception of the Vorlon's finally turned around as they rampage through the galaxy and the removal of 'bad' Kosh from the station. Londo and Cartagia are now to travel to Narn where it would seem the plan to remove the crazed Emperor may take place - but what about the Vorlon fleet that will almost certainly have Centauri Prime in its sights?

While there are some nice developments, including the realisation that Sheridan has only 20 years at most left in him, thanks in part to Lorien's life energy transfers and the proposal between Sheridan and Delenn, the episode is mostly centered around the Vorlon problem and works to add pieces to the puzzle of what's to come rather than stand out on its own.

My Rating: 6/10