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

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