22 June 2014

B5 Review: Between the Darkness and the Light & Endgame

Sheridan's liberation fleet approaches Earth...

Between the Darkness and the Light
Garibaldi attempts to prove his innocence to the Mars Resistance while Marcus and Ivanova learn the liberation fleet is headed into an ambush.

Luckily for Garibaldi, he is brought before Number One, Franklin and Lyta to have his say. With Lyta's help, they are able to convince the Resistance of his innocence in Sheridan's capture. Further, he offers to assist in freeing Sheridan from his holding cell.

Following another conflict with Clark loyal forces, Marcus and Ivanova learn that some of the Earth ships that have defected are in fact feeding information back to Earth, playing both sides. They learn that a fleet of advanced destroyers, loyal to Clark are being dispatched to ambush them at an important rendezvous with ships from the League worlds. Ivanova opts to take the Whitestar fleet in advance and engage the enemy.

This has long been one of my favourite episodes of Season Four and the first highly action-packed battle sequence since the Shadow War is here as the Whitestar's engage Clark's Advanced (and enhanced) Destroyers. The end result is quite sad but that single battle I could watch on repeat - it follows a rather passionate speech from Ivanova too.

There are many other important points in this episode too from Garibaldi's redemption to Londo calling the League ambassadors together for a council meeting. By the end of the episode, everything is in place for the final confrontation we've all been waiting for...

Rating: 8/10

Clark's forces at Mars stand ready to take out Sheridan's fleet as they approach Earth.

This is it, the moment everyone has been waiting for ever since our crew broke away from Earth. On Mars, Franklin, Lyta and Garibaldi are helping the Resistance get their pieces in place while a massive armada awaits in orbit for Sheridan's arrival.

Meanwhile, Ivanova is taken back to Babylon 5 where it will be safer for her condition, despite the poor odds of her survival.

Sheridan's forces, in concert with the Resistance begin their attacks on Mars and with their secret weapons at the ready are able to disable much of the destroyer group that awaits them. This allows them to move forward to Earth, their final conflict and confront President Clark.

This episode brings an end to the campaign to free Earth and her colonies from Clark's rule. Rather than be captured, Clark takes matters into his own hands and threatens Earth in the process. Sheridan leads the Agamemnon in a heroic act to protect the planet with assistance from General Lefcourt in a timely arrival to the scene.

Meanwhile, Marcus learns of a possible way to help Ivanova and leaves the fleet following their attacks on Mars.

This is a symbolic episode as well, particularly with scenes of Minbari and Earth ships fighting alongside rather than against each other (as they last did when they were at Earth). Endgame provides the ending that most would expect with the huge battle sequences and action - however, the following episode will resolve a lot of the other matters - the important matters as Earth must recover from the damage done by Clark while he was in office.

Rating: 8/10

15 June 2014

No Star Trek Starships?

This is a very minor update - it seems Eaglemoss (or Bissett Magazines actually) haven't received the latest Star Trek Starship magazines at this point - so there'll be no Starship updates to the blog for another week (at least). Instead I've taken the time to put together an Index page for the Star Trek Starships collection to make it easier to find all the reviews once they're published.

I'm also planning to adjust the scoring for the first five issues so that separate scores are awarded for the magazine and the ship in each issue - I think this is fairer as in most cases the model ship outshines the magazine that accompanies it.

I'd also like to direct readers to some other great resources and blogs that are doing a similar thing.

Be sure to follow Star Trek Starships official Twitter account. They retweet images and have trivia questions submitted by their followers and subscribers. They also have a Facebook presence.

The Trek Collective has been my go-to resource for previewing models from the Official Star Trek Starships collection. They provide detailed reviews and overviews and serve as my inspiration to do the same. The site also includes information on all Trek memorabilia beyond the Eaglemoss collection.

starshipcollector is writing a blog on Wordpress dedicated to the Eaglemoss collection as well. Providing in-depth overviews, great photos and a rating system. Definitely worth a look, and I myself intend to read up!

While Eternity Toys and Entertainment have reviewed a few issues as well.

In other model related news, I might be getting back into building plastic model kits once again. I used to do this as a hobby when I was younger and have recently been inspired to get back into it from exposure to some Facebook groups. I even have two new models on the way over to me - so I can only suggest to watch this space.

I'll also be setting up similar index pages for the sci-fi series I've been reviewing - to make navigating the blog a little easier.

08 June 2014

B5 Review: The Face of the Enemy & Intersections in Real Time

The campaign to liberate Earth from President Clark continues...

The Face of the Enemy
Sheridan is placed in danger while attempting to locate his father with Garibaldi's help on Mars. Edgar's reveals the truth to Michael while Lyta and Franklin meet with the Resistance.

Following another fight with Earth forces loyal to Clark, Sheridan and crew realise that Clark has been providing more propaganda to the military - saying the ships who sign on with Sheridan have their crews killed and replaced with Minbari. This results in Clark's forces usually fighting to the death, to avoid the 'inevitable'.

Sheridan's old ship Agamemnon arrives and asks to sign on. No sooner does Sheridan come aboard, he receives a message from Garibaldi about his father who is on the run from Clark's people on Earth. John agrees to meet with Michael on Mars, despite their recent differences. Once there, Michael drugs Sheridan and he is taken to an Earthforce facility.

Fulfilling his part in the deal with Edgars, Garibaldi asks for the truth about what he's up to. Edgars reveals his plans for a drug that would help control human telepaths that is 100% contagious, harmless to 'normals' and if a telepath misses even one treatment, they will die. After receiving the information, Garibaldi activates a transmitter hidden in one of his molers.

This prompts a meeting with Bester, who gains the information from Michael and reveals the truth to Garibaldi (and the audience) about his 'altered' behaviour since he was taken by the Shadows at the end of last year.

Lyta and Franklin receive a cold reception on Mars and Ivanova joins the fleet to take Sheridan's place.

This is a great episode with a lot happening and a lot is revealed. We finally know why Garibaldi has been acting so differently throughout this season. There are signs that a war between 'mundanes' and telepaths is coming and the 'mundanes' just lost their advantage with Edgars virus and vaccine. Sheridan is now being held in an Earthforce prison but the liberation fleet continues to press on under Ivanova's command and will Garibaldi be able to explain to his friends what happened to him?

I also liked that there was a particularly darkened feel to this episode with the way it was shot and put together. Of course Christopher Franke's score also helped but there were some interesting cinematic choices on the part of the director.

My rating: 8/10.

Intersections in Real Time
Sheridan is interrogated by an Earthdome inquisitor.

The episode takes us through some of Sheridan's interrogation in a dark room, presumably somewhere on Mars. Each take is in real-time (think of the series 24) and opens up about what Earthforce want from Sheridan in order to allow him 'freedom' again.

Aside from some footage at the beginning of the episode which is used for exposition (showing Garibaldi and Ivanova), only Sheridan and Delenn from the main cast appear in this episode (and Delenn is only here as a vision with no lines). Aside from the opening titles, the station Babylon 5 is not shown or visited.

JMS wanted to experiment with this episode and while it has never been one of my favourites, on this recent watching I actually appreciated what was being shown and what was happening. The fact that if JMS had known a fifth season was going to happen and this episode would have been the cliffhanger would have been even more interesting!

My rating: 6.5/10