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

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