25 March 2014

B5 Review: Racing Mars & Lines of Communication

Season Four continues from the episode Atonement (and the movie Thirdspace if you fit it in) with Sheridan attempting to make contact with the Mars Resistance. Meanwhile, closer to the station a new threat looms...

Racing Mars
MarsIvanova relieves Sheridan so he can take some time off while Marcus and Franklin make contact with the Resistance on Mars.

Sheridan at first finds it hard to cope with the fact he has some free time on his hands, but finally decides to try to make amends with Michael Garibaldi, particularly after his televised interview with ISN. However, things don't go so well for the two who were once colleagues and friends.

These disputes do bring Garibaldi into the attention of a group of men on the station who attempt to recruit him into their cause which remains quite the mystery.

Franklin and Marcus make contact with the Mars Resistance through Captain Jack who introduces them to Number Two and eventually, following a near deadly mixup, Number One. They encounter a strange alien being that has influenced one of their agents though.

This was a far better episode than I remember it being. On the one hand we have the wedge between Sheridan and Garibaldi growing and on the other we have the beginnings of working with the Mars Resistance - the audience are also slightly clued up on the strange alien that Franklin analyses too - which brings up some troubling revelations about the possible legacy of the Shadows.

I give it a 7/10.

Lines of Communication
Drakh EmissaryMarcus and Franklin try to gain support from the Mars Resistance leaders while Delenn encounters a new, dark threat and realises there are serious problems on Minbar.

Delenn takes a squadron of Whitestar's to investigate some attacks on League ships. What she finds is a 'new' alien race that have been given shelter by some of the Minbari Religious Caste - but she soon realises they are not what they seem, and are in fact servants of the Shadow's who seek to become masters of darkness themselves.

Sheridan comes up with an idea to combat ISN and Earth's propaganda campaign against the station with his own Voice of the Resistance, enlisting Ivanova to anchor the broadcasts.

Meanwhile, Franklin and Marcus work with Number One on Mars to gather support from the other Resistance leaders. 

In this episode, we are reminded of just what Delenn is capable of when she's pushed.  Viewers are also treated to some colourful and intricate effects sequences showing what the Whitestar's are capable of against an agile and unknown enemy.

A decent episode with some more momentum for the storyline. I rate it a 7.5/10.

11 March 2014

B5 Review: Thirdspace

Babylon 5 enters the world of televised movies with Thirdspace, set in the middle of 2261 after the Shadow War.

The artefact arrives at Babylon 5After an engagement with the Raiders, Ivanova and her Starfury squadron come across a mysterious artifact floating in hyperspace. When they bring it to Babylon 5 to learn its secrets, and after the arrival of an IPX team, some of the station residents begin behaving differently - and even dream of a mysterious tower in an alien place.

Lyta attempts to destroy the artifact before revealing its deadly secret to Sheridan and Delenn - a major mistake made by the Vorlons a long time ago and one that now threatens everyone again. They created the artifact and paid a huge price for their arrogance.

Once the artifact is powered up, it opens a doorway to another realm, a 'thirdspace' beyond hyperspace. A violent alien race from the other side, who believe only they have the right to exist, come through and attack the fleet that has been pulled together at Babylon 5 while John sets out to destroy the artifact for good.

Thirdspace provides a nice break from the storyline of the show, while slotting in almost perfectly (i.e, very few continuity errors) mid-season. It has the ability to be watched with very little knowledge of the B5 universe for those who might not be following as closely.

There is a bit of a 'slow burn' in place as the artifact is discovered, strange things start happening and then the last half an hour or so is where everything reaches a climax in a stunning battle sequence to take out the artifact.

Thirdspace has a very different feel from the rest of the series with the story, the aliens and the music provided by Christopher Franke.

It's enjoyable and a little scary (in a different way from the Shadows), but takes a while to get into gear for the final showdown and sits outside the important story arcs.

I give it a 6/10 overall.