Tales from the Cultural Wilderness Journal

Monday, February 28, 2005

De-Cypher-ing Charmed

[Previous entry: "Cubed Charm"]

"From Fear To Eternity" sees the first appearance of Barbas, the demon of fear. He kills witches with whatever they fear most. It's also Friday the 13th, so Piper's superstitions are getting the best of her.

Prue is afraid of drowning, after her mother drowned in a lake. Phoebe thinks she's scared of elevators but is really afraid of losing a sister. And Piper? Well, we don't find that out because Barbas is only going off the signatures from the occult shop mailing list.

Anyway, Prue's mother comes to her while she's sitting on the bottom of the pool and tells her to let love in to her heart... amazingly this message allows Prue to swim out of the pool and defeat Barbas.

"Secrets And Guys" sees a boy named Max kidnapped because he's a budding young witch and can override security systems with his mind. Prue gets a message on the spirit board telling her to help him.

Piper's dealing with a pushy new head chef, who wants to throw out all her knives, and who is annoying all the staff.

Leo comes back, and Phoebe finds him floating in the living room fixing the chandelier. He has to tell her everything about being a Whitelighter, and how he screwed up by falling in love with a witch. He also tells her his orders come from a bunch of elder whitelighters called The Founders. The Founders? When did they lose that name? I'm guessing this is the only reference to them under that term...

Prue goes to help Max, finding where he's being held but getting captured herself... and then Max is wired with explosive...

Prue saves the day, but not before Max's father is shot... Leo turns up and heals him.

Phoebe accidentally lets slip the entirety of Leo's secret, but they think she's making it up as it sounds so ridiculous.

"Is There A Woogy In The House?" sees an earthquake release the woogy man from the Halliwell basement, just when Prue is hosting a dinner party for Bucklands.

Here we get evil Phoebe... a taste of things to come with the whole Cole debacle... and our first appearance of Grams.

After a two hour break to watch Ice Angel on TV (potential olympic ice hockey player taken from his life before time by bungling angel is brought back in the body of a female ice skater), we come back to "Which Prue Is It Anyway?" We open with a boxing match, and a demon with a sword - well, we presume he's a demon, but I guess he could be a warlock... and his sword's made of glass, and drains something out of the dead guy.

Okay, he's a Lord Of War, and their ancestor Briannon defeated him by taking his sword away. Now he's got to kill Prue to get them back. Oh, and he can't be harmed unless his sword is taken away from him first.

The incantation they find in the Book of Shadows to multiply Prue's power (so she can get the sword away) has a slight side effect - there's now three Prue Halliwells.

Phoebe decides to colour code them so they know which one was the original - black, pink and blue. Of course, when the pink one dies and Andy is called to the morgue to identify the body, he ends up with more questions than answers...

The bad guy, Gabriel, may be immune to weapons, but he's not immune to his own sword...

"That 70s Episode" sees a bad guy turn up who had apparently made a pact with their mother to give up their powers to him - and he's got a ring that she blessed that made him immune to them.

The sisters run away, try a spell out of the Book to undo the pact, and end up back in time. Cue amusing mix-ups, sentimental family reunions, more evil warlocky badness, and an attempt to use the event for personal gain (how much are IBM shares selling for anyway?!).

"When Bad Warlocks Turn Good" sees Eyes Only as an ex-warlock wanting to join the priesthood, but his warlock brothers want him back, and for that they've got to get him to do bad things.

Okay, they've got to get him to kill an innocent so they can form some evil coven of three warlocks who have lots of power and are pretty much unstoppable - like the evil version of the Charmed Ones.

Prue gets to believe in his general goodness, and Andy gets lots more questions when a woman is nearly sacrificed and the Charmed Ones turn up to save her.

I then decided to take a break from the Charmed episodes - with four remaining I should get it done tomorrow... Instead I decided to watch the movie "Cypher."

Jeremy Northam plays an employee of Digicorp who has to go undercover and visit a whole bunch of conferences around the country. While doing this, he meets Rita, who tells him he's being brainwashed to believe he's actually the person he's playing. Once he's brainwashed, he can get a job at rival firm Sunways. But they're looking for a double agent, which is why they hired Rita to interrupt the brainwashing so they could turn him.

The film's a little convoluted, but stylish as hell. The ending is pretty predictable, but it's still a great tale, and is a fun modern take on a cold war spy thriller.

"Out Of Sight" sees a boy grabbed by a demon in the park. Prue tries to stop it, but her powers go haywire and all she succeeds in doing is make the boy and the demon float in the air. Unfortunately, she's got a witness to this.

Oh, okay, she channeled her powers through her hands for the first time, which was why she was freaked out. And the demons blind people. The witness was a reporter and he's putting pressure on Prue to get a story.

Phoebe finds that there was a boy abducted thirty years ago who survived - he's now blind, but she thinks he can help.

The reporter goes to question Andy, who, after hearing the account of Prue levitating things, assigns himself to the case.

Piper's boyfriend, Josh, is leaving because he's got a job in another city. He's leaving the decision in Piper's hands as to whether he should leave or not. She eventually decides to let him go.

The reporter dies at the hands of the Grimlocks - just before Andy turns up and finds out that Prue and sisters are witches. We'll see how well that little revelations turns out for him in the next three episodes...

They save the boys, and by killing the Grimlocks, restore everyone's sight - including the blind guy from 30 years ago.

[Previous entry: "Cubed Charm"]

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Cubed Charm

[Previous entry: "Charmed Souls"]

"The Witch Is Back" sees a warlock trapped by their ancestor Melinda Warren accidentally released (okay, Prue is set up by her demonic bosses at the auction house) - he can copy their powers when they use them on him. The Charmed Ones summon Melinda to help them vanquish him - this is the first time one of their ancestors comes back... of course, their mother and grandmother make the most frequent appearances, but I seem to recall Melinda showing up again... Piper asks Leo out on a date.

"Wicca Envy" sees the demonic auctioneers astrally projecting to subliminally persuade Prue to steal a tiara from Bucklands. Piper sleeps with Leo - although she keeps accidentally freezing him during the act. Phoebe is looking for a job.

The police come to look for the tiara, but Piper manages to keep freezing them and move its hiding place, even though Rex the auctioneer keeps telling Andy where it is. Phoebe eventually hides it in the attic. Next thing we know, Leo is up there exhibiting magical powers and looking for it. When Piper finds him up there, he says he might have to return home at some point - and home is a long way away.

Prue gets thrown in gaol for killing a security guard at Bucklands. Piper and Phoebe break her out, but Rex gets a photo of them and insists they have to reliquish their powers or he'll turn them in. They go through with the spell and give the lantern with their powers in it to Rex. Hannah turns into a big black panther. Leo, meanwhile, does the glowy hand thing over the Book of Shadows, all the words come back, as do the sisters' powers. They freeze the panther in mid-air, move Rex in the way so Hannah ends up killing him, and then watch her get sucked back to hell.

Andy finds out Rex and Hannah are imposters, and finds the tiara in their office, so he lets Prue go. Leo says he has to leave, but that he'll be back, and disappears out the front door in a sparkle of glowy lights...

"Feats Of Clay" starts in Cairo, so presumably we hve an Egyptian themed story. Ah, Clay is part of a gang of three thieves, who are stealing an urn with a curse on it. Clay has to get it to San Francisco to get Phoebe to sell it. And Stacy Haiduk turns up as the guardian of the urn, killing one of the thieves with a tarantula... Clay still doesn't know about the curse though.

It ends up in the hands of Prue, who's got to save the auction house with a big sale. They find out the urn is stolen, and the auction makes the money necessary to save Bucklands.

The second thief gets killed by a scorpion once he's turned up in San Francisco and revealed everything to Prue.

Clay eventually breaks the curse by performing a selfless act, and the urn goes back to Egypt.

"The Wendigo" is the first "Charmed One gets turned into something silly" episode. In this case it's a sort of werewolf like beast that Piper gets attacked by and subsequently changes in to.

Piper's an AB Negative blood type... so's Andy, but Piper's worried if she needs a transfusion they won't have any.

Okay, this episode is rubbish... it was rubbish the first time I saw it, and it's still rubbish now...

Because I'm feeling like a glutton for punishment, I've now put on "Cube Zero" which is billed as a prequel to Cube. Considering how awful Cube 2 was, I don't hold out much hope for this one...

Ugh! Hope should not have been held out - it's extremely predictable, even the bits in the control room are obvious. You can see the setup for the start of Cube within the first ten minutes, and the controllers being part of the experiment is so unoriginal it's frightening. At least it's short!

[Previous entry: "Charmed Souls"]

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Charmed Souls

[Previous entry: "Charming"]

"The Wedding From Hell" sees a wedding, obviously, and some demonic shenanigans going on between the groom's mother and an old friend of hers who hasn't aged a day. Piper is taking a pregnancy test, and the box gives Phoebe a vision of a demonic baby being born.

Obviously the demonic baby is part of the wedding Piper is catering - there's a crazy priest with a magical knife, ancient fertility statues, strippers being eaten at the bachelorette party, and the demon Hecate trying to get married and pregnant.

Okay, this was very silly - I'm sure the demon make up has shown up in Buffy somewhere but I can't quite put my finger on it. Using Hecate as a demon is pushing her original portfolio a little far, but I guess it sounds mystical enough for this show.

The sisters need a third bathroom - and a larger boiler so they don't keep running out of hot water...

"The Fourth Sister" sees Aviva, a young witch given powers by Kali, try to wheedle her way into the Charmed Ones good graces. She's being pushed into it by Kali, who keeps appearing in the mirror to her and has given her the power of fire.

Prue takes an instant dislike to the interloper, who befriends Phoebe. Kali wants Aviva to steal the sisters' powers but she's having trouble going through with it.

Prue keeps failing to have a date with Andy, while Piper and Phoebe are fighting over Leo.

Aviva, intending to leave to avoid hurting anyone else, gets possessed by Kali, but fortunately, a good witch doesn't freeze when Piper uses her power on them, but an evil sorceress does.

"The Truth Is Out There... And It Hurts" sees Prue casting a truth spell to find out how Andy will react to her being a witch - she (and everyone around her) has to tell the truth for 24 hours, and then they forget what happened. It goes slightly awry when it affects Phoebe and Piper as well.

Meanwhile, there's a demon who's come back through time to kill off all the people responsible for finding a vaccine against him... yes, that's right, a vaccine against a demon who fires blue laser beams out of a third eye!

Anyway, Phoebe befriends the final victim, Prue tries to talk to Andy, and Piper goes after Leo. Of course, Prue's talk to Andy doesn't go very well, but she only gives him like an hour to come to terms with it!

Best moment by far - demon has Prue by the neck and is holding her off the ground at arms length, choking her. She can't pry herself free. Piper turns up, freezes the demon, and then uses a crowbar(!) to free her.

So we finish the disc, and now I'm going to finish Sea Of Souls, with the two episodes of "Voodoo Nights."

Okay, how to sum that up? It's not as creepy as the second story - there's just something about small children that can be extremely freaky... especially evil, possessed small children. But this has voodoo, it has crazy millionaire business tycoons, it has visions of snakes spilling out of the toilet.

This one does a much better job of gradually upping the tension than the previous two - the pacing is just a fraction better, and the music helps to propel the story along, especially when they're being chased around the London streets by evil thugs.

The female assistant (whose name is temporarily escaping me) has very little to do here - mainly sitting at a computer and making phone calls, with a brief aside into interrupting ex-boyfriend in the middle of the night to sit at his computer and make phonecalls - and the story is set up to shake the male assistant's scepticism. He gets magically attacked by the cultists - is it food poisoning, or are they really making him sick, making him see blood gushing out of taps that doesn't exist?

Not that we'll find out how much his convictions have been shaken, because the next series sees all new assistants for Douglas Monaghan.

[Previous entry: "Charming"]

Friday, February 25, 2005


[Previous entry: "The End Of Deadwood (For Now)"]

Charmed continues with "I've Got You Under My Skin" and Phoebe's at Quake consoling Piper over her new job... the manager quit and now she's left trying to run the place, for which she has no experience - she's a chef, not a restauranteur! Oh, and Prue? She's sleeping with Andy...

Music is probably intact... Natalie Imbruglia's Torn is on this episode, and I can't imagine they'd licence that and none of the rest.

Piper's worried witches are evil and going in to a church will get her struck by lightning.

Prue has an interview at Bucklands Auction House... and dinner with Andy.

A photographer that Phoebe runs in to turns out to be an age sucking demon who fires red beams out of his eyes.

Prue gets the job, but her bosses know she's a witch. It looks like they were testing for it, considering that the woman tried to spill a tin of paint over her.

Phoebe goes to meet the photographer but gets a premonition of the demon and tries to run. She doesn't make it though. Fortunately, Britney, who Piper has found, identifies the address at which she was attacked, so they can get there and save the day... oh, and vanquish the demon.

Phoebe learns she can't use her powers for personal gain... and that includes playing the lottery...

"Thank You For Not Morphing" sees the sisters get some neighbours across the street. They also get their father coming back into their lives. He wants the Book of Shadows so that no-one's after it or the sisters any more, but between Phoebe mis-understanding her premonitions and Prue's innate hostility to him, things don't go smoothly.

Of course, the neighbours being shapeshifting demons doesn't help!

Apparently Phoebe was a big swimmer when she was small... that'll be handy when she gets turned into a mermaid...

Obviously the father leaves at the end, but we get the first appearance of Leo the handyman.

"Dead Man Dating" gives the series its first ghost. And the opening music is Semisonic's "Secret Smile" so we're still doing well with the popular music...

Phoebe takes a job as a psychic. Andy asks Prue away for the weekend.

Piper spends the episode dealing with ghost issues - unless he gets a proper burial, he's going to Chinese hell. But the police haven't found the body... and once they do, they think it's someone else. Piper puts paid to that - freezing time and then taking a picture of the alledged victim with the paper declaring he's dead... then conveniently dropping the picture into Andy's inbox.

On to disc 2 and no trailers this time, thankfully. So we start with "Dream Sorcerer" and they're all in Quake... and Prue has a secret admirer. She turns the drink down because she's seeing Andy, and sends it back with the waitress. It turns out he's in a wheelchair...

Except, maybe he isn't - the waitress goes home and goes to bed, and then he turns up in her dream.

Piper and Phoebe try to summon their perfect man. Prue gets a call from the dream wheelchair guy.

Turns out dream wheelchair guy is a mortal researcher, studying dreams, and he's found a way to enter women's dreams and murder them. Of course, he ends up trying to get Prue, but she keeps being woken up before he can kill her.

With Andy and Daryl closing in, and Prue in the hospital, only the urging of Piper and Phoebe that hey, she can use her powers in a dream, allow her to knock the guy off the building he's trying to throw her off of.

[Previous entry: "The End Of Deadwood (For Now)"]

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The End Of Deadwood (For Now)

[Previous entry: "More Deadwood"]

The end of Deadwood, hopefully, but late home from work means that's probably all it'll be tonight...

And we kick off with episode 11: "Jewel's Boot Is Made For Walking" and who the hell is Jewel? Did I blink and miss her in a previous episode?

Swearengen is being hit up for a bribe by a magistrate in Chicago. Ah, Jewel works at the Gem - she's the disabled woman who sweeps. Swearengen mysteriously allows Trixie half a day off... is he going soft or something? Okay, Jewel is going to see the Doc - she's got a book with medical diagrams of a brace on a guy's leg, and she's hoping that the Doc can do something about her leg.

Utter is dining with Joanie again. Alma appears to be dining with Ellsworth, although it's interrupted by the arrival of her father.

Utter's taking his responsibilities as fire marshall rather seriously. But one of the less upstanding members of the camp is looking to make himself Sheriff. Swearengen obviously has a problem with appointing anyone Sheriff.

Trixie goes to see Sol during her off hours... things are going well until Seth walks in in the middle of it, but he quickly realises what's going on and leaves.

Swearengen wants Bullock to be Sheriff, but he's clearly against taking the position. He does accidentally let slip that his partner and Trixie are together, which might not go down well with Al.

The Reverend is getting pretty sick - he's wandering the street raving, preaching to oxen, and anyone else who'll listen.

Bullock has dinner with Sophia, Alma and her father. The post dinner smoke proves to Seth that the father is a crook, who's just out here for the gold claim.

Swearengen forces Sol into paying for Trixie's visit. We do get some of his sorry backstory in Chicago while he's in bed with one of the other whores.

Then we move on to the last episode, "Sold Under Sin," and the Reverend is on his last legs. The Magistrate comes back, along with General Crook, whose men want some respite. The General agrees to a parade at Swearengen's prompting.

Seth and Alma's father have a difference of opinion, and come to blows in the Bella Union... Seth's anger is still gettting the better of him. Then the parade starts, and a fight breaks out in the Chinese area - the Sheriff getting in over his head when the drug addict shoots one of the Chinese over nothing at all.

Bullock's temper continues to get him into trouble - picking a fight with the Sheriff, telling the barman at the Gem (who killed Alma's husband) that the father needs to die. Wu comes in looking for a solution to the shooting. The barman points out that Bullock is something of a hypocrite to be carrying around the Sheriff's badge, basically doing the job, but not wearing it.

Bullock goes to the General to suggest he give protection to Alma's father, as there are people in the camp who wish him dead. The General in turn pushes Bullock to become Sheriff.

Seth and Alma have a late night conversation - although, there's not a lot of talking involved...

Swearengen gives the Reverend his peace... I think if he hadn't the Doctor might have... But that's not the only killing that's going on in the Gem tonight... as Adams takes out the Magistrate for him.

Jewel's leg brace seems to be working, and she's not suffering any adverse effects so far.

And Bullock accepts the position of Sheriff. Which is a dumb fucking move, but considering his actions so far, he's pretty much been doing the job.

The soldiers leave, with Alma's father strung over a mule.

And that's your lot... Season one over with and now I'm intrigued where they'll go with the second. Obviously there'll be fallout from Seth's family coming to town, especially with his affair with Alma. The love triangle between Al, Sol, and Trixie will probably continue. But beyond that, anything could happen.

It's strange - there appears to be a law of diminishing returns on my DVD collection - the longer something sits on the shelf unwatched, the less likely it is that I'll want to watch it. If we ignore the shows I really have to get around to finishing (Sea Of Souls being top of the list), then Millennium Season 2 and Charmed are top of the must watch list, but Charmed, as the newer show, is edging out Millennium, even though I really want to know how the cliffhanger is resolved...

There's also a correlation with size of packaging - the six slim-packs that are contained in the aforementioned series box sets are much more shelf intensive than things like Wonderfalls or Keen Eddie... so those get pushed back until I can justify the time for very little gain (or I decide I really must watch it now damnit!).

Anyway, Charmed kicks off with "Something Wicca This Way Comes" which if I remember correctly is part one of a two part opener... we'll see...

Okay, Paramount have been evil and put trailers on the start of the disc... if they're going to do this, put it on the menu, but don't force us to watch it... Okay, the menu key is trapped, but skip forward takes us from Happy Days to Laverne And Shirley. Then Mork And Mindy (which is sitting on the shelf, so a trailer isn't going to change my mind on it!). Yes! Finally the menu. Oh, and the Previews are on the menu... so why force us to go through them every time? Evil blasted Paramount...

San Francisco... and it's raining... it did that a lot when I was there as well. It seems to have finally stopped here though... okay, woman feeding her cat... lighting candles with just a touch of her finger is a useful skill - saves on matches anyway. But someone's coming down her fire escape and lurking outside the window. Alright, he's got inside, and she's chanting... she turns around, appears to know the guy, and then he stabs her.

Cut to the Halliwell manor, and the ever gorgeous Piper comes home... Prue's already there. Oh, and there's a hell of a lot of foreshadowing in this little scene... Cue titles.

Oh, here's Timecop Andy Trudeau and his partner, Daryl Morris. One of them will be around as a guest star for quite a while. The other will get recalled to the future to track down Jack The Ripper (or whats-his-name Pascoe).

Phoebe has moved back the area from New York... and once she moves in everything changes. First the ouija board gives her a message saying ATTIC, then once she goes up there, she finds the Book of Shadows, and reads the incantation in the front... which causes the chandelier to glow and a photograph to change.

Phoebe continues to do some reading, but the damage has been done. Prue starts affecting objects around her (including her boss' pen and his tie); Piper accidentally freezes her interviewer, allowing her to add the port she hadn't had time to add to her sauce; and Phoebe? She's out for a cycle when she sees two guys on roller blades get run over by a car... but it hasn't happened yet, so she manages to head them off before it can. Oh, and there's the cat from the beginning.

Prue and Andy appear to know each other - when did that happen? And moving the cream from the jug to her coffee without seeing it anywhere in between seems to be beyond where her powers usually limit themselves.

Otherwise everything pretty much plays out as I remember it. And no, it wasn't a two parter...

[Previous entry: "More Deadwood"]

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

More Deadwood

[Previous entry: "Deadwood Night"]

More Deadwood, and we begin with "Bullock Returns To The Camp" where we presumably have Seth Bullock returning from his killing of Jack McCall... Okay, they turned him over to the federal marshalls rather than killing him. Swearengen discovers that Trixie and Alma have been faking being doped up.

Two children come to Deadwood looking for their father, who doesn't appear to be there... the son gets a job sweeping at the Gem Saloon, while the daughter gets a job whoring at the Bella Union... the son probably won't like that... nor will Swearengen, but what can you do? Ah, the two kids are working a con on the two managers...

Bullock threatens Swearengen over Alma's gold claim. And Trixie goes back to the Gem to take the consequences from Al.

In "Suffer The Little Children" some of the riders get back with vaccine for the smallpox, as well as news of a possible treaty with the Sioux. Innoculations take place at Bullock and Star's hardware store. Trixie goes missing. Alma decides to leave for New York with the child. Swearengen recommends an assayer for Bullock to examine the gold claim.

The Doc finds Trixie on the floor of his shack, having injected herself with something. She doesn't manage to kill herself though, and the Doc persuades her she should go to New York with Alma and the child.

Except Alma and the child aren't going to New York - they're staying put, and offering a hell of a lot of gold to Trixie.

The two children try to make their con on the Bella Union, but things go badly, and they get seriously beat up because of it. The manager shoots the boy, and forces Joanie to shoot the girl.

And Trixie returns to the Gem Saloon. To borrow my favourite phrase - this isn't going to go well... or maybe it will - she gives Swearengen the gold in return for her being allowed to come back.

"No Other Sons Or Daughters" sees Charlie Utter (Hickok's friend) opening a freight and postal business. Swearengen meets with the judge to determine who he needs to pay off for land rights under the new treaty. There's also a warrant our for him for the charge of murder in Chicago.

Al Swearengen decides to form a government. Joanie's planning to set up her own place and get out of the Bella Union, and Cy, the manager, has agreed to help her set up and keep her distance. Joanie's search for premises lead her to discover the remains of the children in the pig-pen, or at least their clothes. She runs in to Mr Utter, and they discuss the vagaries of starting a business. If Joanie's planning to open a brothel, will Trixie move over there? Or are she and Swearengen going to be an item?

The Reverend is getting mighty sick, twitching and shaking most of the time, and emitting a funny smell - okay, he only thinks he smells, but he's emitting no unusual odour. Calamity appears to be drinking again... maybe quite heavily. Bullock is threatening to send for his wife and son.

And the meeting begins - Swearengen has the bribe sheet - and the business leaders are all there to form an informal governing organisation. E.B. Farnham tries to appoint himself Mayor, and somehow gets nominated.

Bullock volunteers as Health Commissioner... but only because he didn't want to be sheriff and because the Doc had been arrested for graverobbing seven times... and then found out there wasn't going to be a sheriff. Utter becomes Fire Marshall.

Sol shows more than a passing interest in Trixie at the Gem Saloon, and I think Swearengen knows there's something between them.

Calamity Jane leaves the camp. Seth and Alma compare notes on Ellsworth and the gold claim... if he has a wife and child, should he be showing such an interest in the widow Garrett? Ah... he had a brother in the cavalry, who died two years ago, and his wife is his brother's widow (the child being his brother's).

"Mister Wu" is presumably about the chinaman and his pigs? We'll see... Bullock is regretting having raised his hand at the meeting. Farnham treats the position of Health Commissioner with the contempt in deserves in Deadwood.

Mister Wu comes in the front door of the Gem Saloon, which causes more than a little consternation. He wants to talk to Swearengen, but there's a bit of a language barrier. Two white cocksuckers stole the dope that some chinaman was supplying to Wu, that Wu would then supply to Swearengen. Al's really glad he taught Wu the relevant swear word!

Merrick (the journalist) tries to form the first Club in Deadwood. The Ambulators?

Swearengen tracks down the thieves, and volunteers to give up one of them to Wu. But one of them works at the Bella Union, and the other one is a major dope fiend. So who does he give up?

His payoffs to the Cheyanne government don't go all that smoothly, but he swings the guy around to his way of thinking when he includes him in the Wu situation. Swearengen ends up forcing the two of them to draw straws, but drowns the first guy who draws - his guy... who gets fed to the pigs...

The Reverend is determined to listen to the piano in the Gem Saloon. But his memory is going... and he can't even be sure he's recognising Bullock and Star correctly. He's possibly not long for this world...

So two episodes to go... and I have absolutely no idea where this is going...

[Previous entry: "Deadwood Night"]

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Deadwood Night

[Previous entry: "The End Of Highlander"]

Deadwood night, and we have four episodes down, starting with "Reconnoitering The Rim" and Alma's husband is killed for threatening to bring the Pinkertons in to deal with the gold claim. Swearengen has other problems though, when the Bella Union comes to town, and he's got to negotiate terms for who deals in what - they'll both have whores and liquor, but the Union'll have craps and poker.

"Here Was A Man" sees Alma dealing with her husbands death. She enlists Hickok's aid in handling the arrangements, talking to Swearengen about the gold claim (especially after Farnham tries to buy it back for 12 thousand). Hickok tells her she should keep the claim until she's had a competent surveyor go over it, and suggest enlisting Bullock for the task.

And then Hickok gets shot and killed while playing poker...

"The Trial Of Jack McCall" sees aforementioned trial being held in the Gem Saloon - and Swearengen working on getting the guy released as he doesn't want the law descending on his fair town. However, Smallpox does descend on it - what with the guy from the Union being dumped in the woods and all. Jack gets advised to leave town as quickly as possible. Bullock decides to take matters in to his own hands and rides out after him.

"Plague" sees the obvious - a major outbreak of smallpox. Jane comes back to town and helps the Doctor care for the sick, Trixie continues to try and help Alma kick her laudanum habit, Bullock gets attacked by an indian, manages to defeat him, but pretty much collapses afterwards. Hickok's other friend finds him soon after, and Bullock insists on giving the dead native a proper burial before they continue on after Jack McCall.

You know, if you get past all the swearing, this is a great fucking show! Of course, you've probably got to get past the nudity, the sex, and the violence as well, so this is definitely one to keep out of the hands of the children, but otherwise, it's a fantastic cast, well acted, and just all around good drama.

[Previous entry: "The End Of Highlander"]

Monday, February 21, 2005

The End Of Highlander

[Previous entry: "The End Of Crusade, The Start Of Highlander"]

Duncan is entertaining a woman after their night at the opera in "Black Tower" - there's a knock at the door and she opens it but there's no-one there. When Duncan turns back to light another candle, she gets dragged outside and kidnapped by two thugs, who leave a musical box of a knight from Keram Toys as a clue.

Scotland, 1634, and a man running through the woods is chased by a better dressed man with a sword. The better dressed man gets the worst of the end of the fight, getting a knife in the chest for his troubles. Duncan turns up at this point, and gets the guy's name Devon Marek, but also feels something when he touches him. The guy dies, and Duncan buries him, not recognizing the sensation of a pre-immortal.

So Duncan goes to confront Marek, who's got the woman as hostage. He's also got a whole bunch of armed killers there - bounty hunters, assassins, general thugs - and he wants to play a game. Marek hides the girl, Duncan tries to find her, and the killers try to find Duncan. He's then given 60 seconds to leave before the killers come on his trail.

Much running around and having Marek's henchman think it's a simulation for a video game, leads to Duncan taking out all the killers, and finding the girl. Then he goes to confront Marek, but the woman turns up to shoot him. Duncan just manages to get away by falling to his death in the lobby. Marek kills the woman, and then he and Duncan fight. Amazingly the quickening gets captured on video screens - wouldn't it have blown those out with all that electricity flying around?

"Unusual Suspects" sees the return of Hugh Fitzcairn... well, okay, it's set in 1929, so it's not really a return - I guess that's one nice thing about this show, they can bring anyone back in flashback.

Fitz's wife Juliette and he are hosting a grouse shoot for his business partner, accountant and lawyer... okay, is Roger Daltrey really playing the clarinet? Oh, Fitz has been poisoned - he's dead! The breaking glass when the wife screamed was a nice touch.

Cue Duncan's arrival - Fitz is hiding in the greenhouse - watching his funeral from afar. And he's broke again, because he didn't have time to set up a new identity to bequeath his money to. But he wants Duncan to find out who killed him...

A whole string of murders follow - and some very silly moments... especially Duncan talking to the moose. And obviously Fitz ends up bankrupt at the end...

"Justice" sees another test run for the spin-off show. So we have an immortal woman on the roof with a crossbow, and we have Duncan in a fencing club with an Argentinian Olympic fencer. On exiting, Duncan senses her presence and goes to confront her. She's trying to kill the
Argentinian, but takes the shot at Duncan and then leaves.

Duncan goes to his dinner appointment with the Argentinian. Katya, the Immortal, comes over the wall and meets Mia (the Argentinian's daughter)... who she obviously knows. Duncan senses her, and they end up fighting.

Armondo Baptista (the Argentinian) killed her daughter Elena. Elena was adopted when she was six years old on the streets of Buenos Aires, and Katya raised her for years, moving from place to place to hide the fact that that Katya wasn't aging. And then, in 1996, Elena was shot by Baptista, but because he was an important man in Argentina, he got away with it.

Elena was married to Armondo, but having an affair with his assistant Ramon. She's obviously upset when Ramon starts putting the moves on Katya. Armondo discovers the affair, and then discovers them in bed together. Grabbing a gun he goes to confront them and shoots them both. Then he regrets it and calls for an ambulance, but she dies on the way to he hospital.

Katya has dinner with Duncan, and then spends the night. We get a morning flashback - England, 14th Century - and she's a barmaid. A nobleman comes in and demands the inn be cleared (paying well for the honour) and leaving him alone with Katya. She wants him to make her an honest woman, but knows it can't work. He confronts his father over wanting to marry her, knowing that if his father disowns him, the throne would have to go to the Lord's worthless brother Leopold. The Lord gives in and says they can marry, and invites her to dinner. Once she arrives, she is accused of witchcraft and a sham of a trial is held. And so she is stoned to death.

Back in the present, Katya is still determined to get her revenge, so she breaks in to Baptista's house... but Duncan got there first... he fails to persuade her to give up her revenge but she goes to confront Armando, and they end up in a duel. Just as she's about to win, Mia comes in and finds them with Katya's sword at her father's throat. She can't go through with it...

Okay, why are Amanda and Methos in the credits? It's not as if they've been in this season so far. Even Dawson was only in the first two... perhaps one of them will show up in the next episode: "Deadly Exposure."

And it takes us to Miami Beach, Florida, and a not very funny stand-up comic. The next act though is a eye-catching one... we have our immortal, in a tight fitting PVC outfit carrying a gun and a badge... It's a strip act from the initial cop costume... although I don't think you're likely to see a cop dressed like that though.

Turns out she's a bounty hunter, but just when she's about to get her man, the DEA raid the place. Her mark gets shot though, and she chases the guy who shot him but he gets away. After this she's taking a vacation... her last one was two hundred and fifty years ago, so she's due for a break. I wonder where Regan Cole is going to turn up... Paris by chance?

She's in a cafe watching a photo shoot in the adjacent square. However, the photographer accidentally gets a shot of the guy from the teaser who shot Regan's mark. She throws the film away, but they don't know that so they grab her and kill her. On finding the camera empty, their boss is obviously not very pleased.

Regan gives the model a ride home, and pretty much gets his entire life story. Once they get back to his apartment, the thugs turn back up looking for the camera film. When she manages to take the thugs down with relative ease, the model has some obvious questions... and so do the police, what with the dead body and all.

Regan and the model find the film in the trash can and get it developed. Of course, the thugs are back, and she deals with them again. The dynamic between Reagan and the model is a fun one... they drop in on Duncan when they find the thugs were actually police.

Flashback to London, 1833, and Duncan is caring for his horse, when Regan turns up with a completely silly exotic name. She seems determined to get Duncan in to bed - this girl doesn't waste any time! Of course, Duncan should know better when she starts tying him to the bed. She gets her thousand pound reward for his capture, but the punishment is a private beheading, so she's having second thoughts... especially when the crime was just sleeping with the Duke's wife... So she stages an intervention... dressed as a nun as well... of course, Duncan gets his revenge by tying her to the coach...

The bad guy gets a photo of Regan, so he knows who he's chasing. But there's a million dollar bounty on his head, so Regan is interested in getting him. Then Interpol show up again... at least, he's probably Interpol, but he accidentally dry-cleaned his ID.

Regan realises that Kendall (the villain) is here for the joint anti-terrorism conference so goes to investigate... she manages to get a badge from a woman that vaguely resembles her and gets inside... she's definitely brazen when she's working... oh, but our friend from Interpol is there...

The male model doesn't make his rendezvous with Regan... so what's happened to him? He went back to his apartment to make a phone call, and now he's been shot. Okay, so they won't have a spin-off with her and the model.

Regan's being escorted to the airport, but she's the only one who knows what Kendall looks like, so Interpol need her. Kendall meanwhile has killed one of the conference attendees who looks a little like him and goes to the conference himself. He manages to smuggle an oxygen cylinder (with bomb inside it) inside. Fortunately, Regan met Doctor Bellows earlier, so knows that it's really Kendall at the conference, so she gives chase.

Unfortunately, after finding the bomb and confronting Kendall, he turns out to be wired with plastic explosive, and it's wired to his heartbeat. Fortunately for Regan, she gets four seconds from shooting him in the head to his heart stopping. So she pushes him out of the window into the river. Unfortunately, she's declared dead in the explosion so has to move on to a new identity... still in the bounty hunter business though.

"Two Of Hearts" sees Claudia Christian as our guest female immortal, Katherine. In this case, she's a cop in Chicago. It looks like they're trying to rescue a female hostage from the people holding her. Having to save her partner, she lets the thugs know that they're there. She gets taken hostage, and her partner shoots and kills her, before shooting the bad guy... did he know? It looks that way, as they both escort the original hostage out.

They screwed up the post titles chapter stop... The hostage is returned to her father, and he tries to pay them off, but they refuse the money. Perhaps they're private detectives... they're definitely intimate... He's having trouble dealing with the immortal side of her life. But she has personal business in Paris...

She's there to see a Bartholomew, who she has apparently been trying to see for 700 years. He's setting up a Mission for Kids, but she doesn't want anything to do with that... cue flashback.

She was a village healer in England, trying to ease the fits of a sick woman. She gives her yellowroot, which the woman who teaches her thinks is poisonous. Her teacher thinks she's learned more from Katherine since she came than she has taught her.

And then Bartholomew arrives - preaching of a crusade, and gods will, but recognising that another Immortal is present. He's trying to find recruits for the Crusades. Okay, he's a religious nut. And Katherine won't have anything to do with it. And then, by order of the Baron, they must tithe half of the coming harvest to him, for the Crusade. She challenges Bartholomew, but the Baron turns up and shoots her in the back, disposing of the body before Bartholomew can take her head.

Back in the present day, they arrange a meeting at noon in the car park. Of course, Bartholomew cheats, turning up with two guys with guns. Fortunately for Katherine, her husband turns up and saves her.

In the flashback, Katherine has been thrown in a charnel pit, and Bartholomew has chosen to go on the Crusade. But before going, he goads the Baron into destroying the village, killing everyone and burning it to the ground.

Of course, her husband has a sensible plan - get a lead on the money Bartholomew is ripping off and put a stop to his plans. They break in to the building, but the police find them and arrest them. Katherine has pretty much got as smart a mouth as Susan Ivanova. They do find a briefcase full of passports, guns and credit cards in a whole bunch of identities for Katherine and husband. And the police decide to end the surveillance of Bartholomew as they've found absolutely nothing after 9 months work.

Now they're unarmed, Bartholomew comes for them. And he's not being subtle. But they manage to get away over the rooftops. Once safe, Nick makes an ultimatum - he's either in all her life, including the immortal stuff, or none of it.

Well, they're back in the gun business, after a long distance call to the father of the girl they rescued at the start. And now, they're coming for Bartholomew's head. Of course, he's getting out of there, pulling thirty million dollars worth of diamonds out of the bible in his safe.

They end up in a conventional challenge - but Bartholomew brings his shield, which I think is the first time we've seen one of those in a challenge. Meanwhile, Nick breaks in but gets shot by the hired help. Fortunately he had a bulletproof vest on. He comes out and threatens to shoot Bartholomew, but Katherine tells him not to. And then she finishes it. Cue quickening. Nick sensibly ducked back inside and rounded up the diamonds. And then they go off to the Bahamas to talk.

So there was no Duncan in that one at all?

"Indiscretions" is the Methos and Dwason show... although it starts with three women in the back of a limo, one of whom doesn't look well. There seems to be some police surveillance though. And there's a wealthy immmortal... the women think they're in for a modelling shoot, but the ill one gets shot on arrival.

They screwed up the chapter stop again....

Methos, coming out of an abbey, meets the wealthy immortal from the teaser - Morgan Walker, who knows Methos as Doctor Adams. Methos ducks out of the duel, having no qualms about being called a coward.

Ah, the surveillance wasn't the police, it was a new watcher. And she's a little distraught about the murder. Cool - a history of the Watchers - started by Hammurabi when he saw Gilgamesh come back to life. The new watcher is a little annoyed at Joe, as he pulled strings to get her the assignment. Oh, she's his daughter, Amy.

Methos is in the back room hacking in to the Watcher's database. Looking up information on Walker, so he can avoid him. He was really looking for MacLeod to deal with it, but he's in London seeing Claudia Jardine play. Cue flashback...

New Orleans, 1808, Benjamin Adams is looking after a sick slave. And the woman there is flirting with him, as a prelude to the two of them ending up in bed together. But Captain Walker is back from running slaves, and not too happy about the good Doctor.

Of course, Dawson doesn't want to interfere in Methos' life, resorting to his oath to avoid helping... and obviously Method throws MacLeod back in hs face.

Amy is following Walker, but he discovers her and takes her captive. She claims to be a reporter, but he wants to know what a Watcher is. He's disturbed by the fact that she knows he's an immortal. And he has her journal.

Walker is still dealing in slavery, although his cover heading a modelling agency lets him find suitable candidates. He discovers Amy's tattoo, and he wants to know about Joe Dawson.

Dawson goes to see Methos, who's running away again. They're also being followed. Dawson wants Adam to help him find Amy, considering she was Walker's watcher. Flashback to Walker's discovery and subsequent killing of the slave the good Doctor spent the night with. Methos ducks out of the fight then, like he's trying to now...

Methos has spotted the tail, and Dawson pulls a gun. So do the guys tailing, but Methos takes the bullet. Dawson manages to shoot one of the guys, but the other one causes them to run away. And then they run out of gas... in the middle of nowhere...

They hitch a ride, the bad guys manage to follow them, there's another shoot out and Methos manages to deal with them. Walker calls to tell Dawson he wants to trade Amy for Doctor Adams. So Dawson goes along with it, finally giving in and telling Methos, who knew all along because Dawson is a terrible liar.

Walker and Methos fight, and the world's oldest man easily wins. A drink together ends the show.

That was fun - these two make a great team - and really should have done more together. Their bit part in Highlander: Endgame doesn't quite capture their dynamic here. The video intro bit on the disc does talk about this being the format for a possible anthology show spin-off - basically Methos and Joe sitting aroung telling tales about other immortals.

And so, on to the finale... starting with "To Be"...

Ah, there's Amanda... it's about time... but she's taken hostage right at the start, and a coaster for The Light Horse is left. Flashback to London, World War 2, and an irish immortal is trying to recruit MacLeod to the cause of Ireland against the English. They've planted a bomb in the bar and need to leave in a hurry. MacLeod obviously isn't too happy about this. Liam O'Rourke is the immortal in question - and he and his mortal girlfriend were sent to gaol for life. He stayed in there until she died.

Amazingly Methos wants to come along to help Duncan! Once they leave, O'Rourke comes in and takes Dawson hostage too. He leaves another note for Duncan, who has to go alone - and Methos wants to go along knowing it's a trap.

Duncan does go alone. And ends up in an impossible situation. So Duncan agrees to lay down his sword - his life for Tara's - in return for Liam's sworn oath that Dawson and Amanda will be freed. Duncan's determined that no-one else dies because of him.

Duncan kneels before O'Rourke, ready to give his head, when Methos turns up and shoots them all. But Duncan gets shot by O'Rourke and ends up unconscious on a moving train, rushing down the tracks.

Cue lots of flashbacks - all the people who have died throughout the series. And then he awakes to Hugh Fitzcairn. God's decided to hold an intervention, and Fitz has been sent as the messenger!

Duncan finds himself somewhere in France, and watching Amanda and some guy making out by a piano. This Amanda never met Duncan, in this world there never was a Duncan MacLeod... so what happens to Amanda when Duncan isn't around?

Unfortunately, the guy by the piano isn't her husband - her husband is stealing a whole bunch of bearer bonds - he's some guy she has to hide when her husband returns with the money, before Amanda kills him, via poisoning his champagne.

Duncan tries to intervene, claiming his car broke down, and he needs to call a mechanic. Amanda seems to be smitten with him, but he does succeed in breaking the champagne glass. And then the Hunters come for Amanda's head.

And now, alternate Dawson, busking for money on the street. What happened to the Watchers? They went over to the killing, and Dawson couldn't stop them... eventually, he just gave up. And there's James Horton...

Duncan wants to know what happened to Richie... but lets start with Tessa. Well, okay, lets start with Tessa next episode... In "Not To Be"...

Tessa has a family, two beautiful children, and was never killed in the street. And they screwed up the chapter stop again!

Duncan goes to Tessa's gallery, wanting to meet her. She's given up sculpting - claiming she wasn't very good. She gave up because there were no buyers. She meets Duncan in a cafe for a drink, when her husband comes in. The husband invites him to dinner.

The husband is rich, but only through working 70 hours a week. He's a workaholic and she wants to go away for a few days, which he objects to, but finally gives in. Duncan turns up for dinner, but the husband gets called away for yet another crisis at work. Duncan decides he should leave, but Tessa wants him to stay. She's clearly not happy here, and falling into his arms isn't going to solve anything.

And then, in a bar, Methos. Who's definitely a lot darker than he was before... obviously his falling out with the watchers didn't go well. And Fitz died here 280 years prior in the mess with trying to blow up King George, that he didn't have an annoying Scotsman to save him.

Methos fell in love. 1995, around the first time he and Duncan met, and his girlfriend wanted Methos to tell the Watchers that he was immortal. He buys her a ring and wants to propose marriage. But she tells Horton, wanting to stop the killing, and Horton kills her... and makes a pretty good attempt at killing him, before Kronos turns up.

Richie didn't do too well either, forever running. First from the police, then from the Immortals, not knowing what he was, or why people were trying to kill him. And then Methos turned up - became his teacher, taught him everything he knew, and then a test - to kill Joe Dawson... set up as one of the guys who killed Silas and Caspian. So Richie confronts Dawson... but he's never killed anyone before... and he's having a hard time doing it now. Dawson manages to get to him and he fails to go through with it, so Methos and Kronos take his head.

Two years later, and Joe's a shell of a man. Methos is questioning him to locate Horton, and he's still the master manipulator. Duncan turns up - and fights Methos, beating him.

So he's been shown what the world would be like without him. So he's got to go home, and keep doing what he does best - be the world's most annoying boyscout.

So Duncan and O'Rourke duel, and obviously Duncan wins. The end.

Then an hour and a half of Mulan 2 - this, to be fair, was rubbish. The storyline is predictable, the animation is cheap, the backgrounds are non-existent, and if it weren't for the cast reunion, there'd be nothing redeemable about this at all. And they don't even get Eddie Murphy back, but at least the guy voicing Mushu is a reasonably close match.

This is followed by an episode of Charmed that I could have easily skipped. They're building Drake up for his subsequent death, what with him only having one more week to live. There's also no sign yet of Leo's punishment, even though he knows something is coming because he's leaving messages for his sons... and the next episode is their 150th, so they're likely to pull out all the stops. The only other interesting note in this one was the villain, Mr Sark... well, okay, Baron something or other, but he was a bit thinly drawn here compared to Alias' Sark.

And now, on to Deadwood. And episode one is titled "Deadwood" just so there's no confusion. They appear to have borrowed the composer from Firefly for the theme music here, although there's no singing in this one. And we open in the Montana Territory, May 1876. The sheriff has a man in lockup for stealing a horse, and the guy he's selling it from turns up with a lynch mob. The sheriff hangs the guy in the gaol, so it's all legal-like, and then hands over his badge and sets off for Deadwood to open a hardware store.

He arrives about the same time as Wild Bill Hickock does. There's a lot of corruption in this town, but that's what you get when there's no law there. A guy comes in to town claiming indians have attacked a family who were travelling back to Minnesota, and when they ride out there, they find a survivor. The man who came to town meets a sticky end, but was it at the hands of Hickock, or the guy from Montana (Bullock)?

There's also a deal made on a gold prospecting claim, which Swearengen engineers between a New York couple and a seller. Of course, he's seeded the claim so it looks like it's paying, and he gets a cut of the sale. The wife of the guy who buys the claim, Alma, is clearly addicted to something...

And then "Deep Water" sees Swearengen (the innkeeper / chief con-man / Lovejoy) wondering if Hickock and Bullock are in league, considering they arrived at about the same time. Calamity Jane is worried about the child found in the attacked caravan. Brad Dourif as the Doctor is a great bit of casting in this...

Bullock and his partner are looking to buy their lot, so they haven't got to keep paying rent to Swearengen. He, however, doesn't like the possibility of a silent partner (Hickock) and doesn't apparenly like Jews (which Star is). Bullock obviously takes a disliking to Swearengen at the tone of questioning.

Alma gets a new supply of whatever drug it is she's addicted to from the Doctor. Her husband is still out trying to make his non-paying claim turn up gold.

The girl is awake, but the agents who attacked her caravan are going to have to kill her so she doesn't identify them and ruin Swearengen's activities. Jane isn't particularly tough when confronted.

Seth Bullock and Sol Star make another attempt at buying their lot. Swearengen has conditions on the deal - 500 now, half of six months profits, and then 500 in the autumn when he's got to know them better. Seth makes an attempt at a counter offer, that ends in a shouting match between him and the saloon owner.

So there's an attempt made on the life of the little girl, and an attempt made on the life of Hickock. Seth ends up backing up Hickock again.

[Previous entry: "The End Of Crusade, The Start Of Highlander"]

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The End Of Crusade, The Start Of Highlander

[Previous entry: "Crusade - Pointless Romance"]

The next episode "Appearances And Other Deceits" sees EarthGov's political affairs department come to the Excalibur to give the ship a makeover to make it play better to the public on Earth. Isn't the guy heading the team part of the Ministry Of Peace from B5?

Meanwhile, they find a huge ship with only one lifesign... the rest of the crew of it are dead. Of course, they have to send a team over to investigate. There was an explosion inside the ship, and the crew appear to have been at each other's throats trying to kill each other - they've all been exposed to space due to the explosion though. And Matheson finds the live alien in stasis.

Once in MedLab, the alien chooses to die, and one of the doctors rushes into isolation to try and save him, and something is transferred from the alien to her. Chambers is obviously annoyed with the doctor for breaking isolation protocols.

The infected doctor starts passing the same glowy thing to the rest of the crew and talking in a strange language. Meanwhile Eilerson is enjoying a salty thing while he struggles to translate the alien language. There's a contradiction as the spoken and written languages of the aliens appear to be different... and if the aliens gave the spoken record, who's is the writing?

Matheson realises something bad is going on when he finds alien writing scrawled on the walls of the bullet car.

The alien influence, realising Eilerson is a threat attempts to take him over, but he manages to slip away and they try to kill him... fortunately he escapes to warn the captain that they must seal off all the decks so that the influence can't be spread any further. But the soldier that saved his life getting him out of there is paralysed from the neck down...

The sealed in decks include Mr Wells, who becomes the alien's chief negotiator. After much discussion, and a hostage shooting on the aliens part, Matthew goes down there in an EVA suit, and gives a suitably cryptic hint to Eilerson on how to solve the matter.

So they depressurise the contaminated decks, forcing the alien presence to return to a single body, and they have sneaked the body of the paralysed soldier into an EVA suit in the contaminated decks, so when the alien presence returns to the single body, it can't move, and they can get it off the ship fairly safely.

And they get new uniforms... which obviously screws up the continuity more than it already has been.

On to disc 3, and we have Matthew sleeping, and a flashback to negotiations on Babylon 5 to give him command of the mission - the alien ambassadors aren't particularly happy with the choice considering he's a bit of a wild card, and he's managed to ruin at least one Drazi in a card game. In the meeting he makes a wager with the Drazi ambassador - they'll give him access to their space for four years, and then spend the fifth year in orbit of Earth, ensuring the blockade and preventing the virus getting off the planet while everyone dies. An interesting change, but it loses impact after the episode with Dureena's people because they're down to a one year timespan anyway...

Alright, they're on an alien planet, a dead world, with a city in perfect shape, even after hundreds of years. Gideon gets the feeling the city is watching them, which is obviously crazy, but then one of the team of investigators gets zapped by a laserbeam by something offscreen. They're "Racing The Night" and Eilerson has a problem - the walls are covered in equations - formulae for great energy, for improved transportation, for magic widgets that perform wondrous functions - but they're all incomplete. Only the first part is out on the walls... so where is the rest?

Dureena is off crawling through tunnels trying to get in to the other buildings they've been unable to open. She's apparently found quite a few skulls in these tunnels, and then, when one of them breaks open, she finds a big glowy thing. Unfortunately they discover the murder and call Dureena back before she can investigate further.

On inspection, all the crewman's internal organs have been removed! Then a whole bunch of flying things turn up - they look like really big floating cameras that've been used elsewhere in the show... and they get to engage in a completely pointess CGI chase scene with the Captain. Oh, and they've got lasers... Fortunately, Galen shows up to save him before he gets splattered against a wall!

Dureena seems to want to learn to be a Technomage - mainly for revenge on the Drakh - but Galen doesn't currently want to teach her. I wonder if that would have changed during the show? He seems to be willing to consider it once she has grown out of her rage, but not before...

Galen sends a homunculous of himself down to the planet to lure out the thing that killed the crewman - it's a silly looking CGI representation of him - which fortunately manages to get its head taken aboard one of the alien ships so they can see it travel underground... where there are hundreds of alien ships, wrecked, ruined, aging.

It turns out to be a laboratory - lure people in with the partial formulae - and then dissect them and experiment on them. All the inhabitants are in cryonic life support, buried miles underground. But the Excalibur's deep scans has triggered a response from the planet - holding the ship in some strange gravity field, while launching more of their ships to attack them.

An attack on the gravity field generator however causes the force to increase, pulling the Excalibur down towards the atmosphere - so Matthew decides to fire the main guns at the planet, even though they'll be dead in space for a minute when they do.

It does get the attention of the alien keeper, who communicates with them - a thousand years ago, the Shadows came to their world to set up a base, but when they refused, the Shadows seeded their world with the same plague that's currently infecting Earth. So after three years of failing to find a cure, they all went into suspension and set it up to perform experiments on all the visiting aliens to continue their search.

Galen is leaving again, and the Rangers are suggesting other targets. But first, Galen has a question - the world they were investigating wasn't on the list of targets supplied by the Rangers, so how did Gideon know about it? Oh yes, that mysterious Apocalypse Box... who made it? What does it know? Does it really lie occasionally? Not that we'll get any of these answers during the remaining episodes...

On to the ISN report of rioting still going on in some parts of Earth... and there's a female Pope... that's not going to happen any time soon. Franklin gets a mention in the report, but it's interrupted when the Excalibur arrives at their next destination and Gideon turns off the TV. Galen turns up to warn the crew away from going down to the planet, because they'll probably all die if they do in "The Memory Of War."

Over-the-top melodramatic entrance of Galen... who's determined that they shouldn't go down to the planet as it's a bad world... the last Technomage to visit it 100 years ago died there... and he's sure things will be bad if they go down there.

Of course, Matthew goes anyway. Once they're down there, Dureena goes missing again. She was following a bunch of markers but they dead end on a ledge. When she's called back down she finds a mechanism that creates a glowing bridge over to the next buiding, which obviously she crosses. Unfortunately, when she finds the mechanism on the other side, she finds it's running out of power and she has to run to get back across, but she does retrieve a data crystal for Eilerson to decode.

A whole bunch of people are killed on the planet, and Galen starts doing some digging. It turns out to be a nano-virus, created by one of Galen's order that infects the central nervous system and causes people to act violently and not remember doing it. And when night falls, the solar energy will diminish, and the virus can be activated by external signal.

So Galen gets to go down and wander around underground to try and stop it. Matthew stupidly decides to follow him while telling everyone else to lock themselves in their rooms. Galen does discover a recording of the original Technomage... or rather an AI... Genius Loci...

Eilerson is locked in, and there's a lot of screaming and banging going on outside his room.

Galen finds a giant machine underground but both Dureena and Gideon are there trying to kill him. He manages to destroy the machine, but his staff is destroyed in the process - it was a gift from the one who taught him, a part of him, and all he took with him when he left the order - at least, that's the perceived opinion, until Dureena goes down for some digging! Wow... is she covered in mud or what?!

And what is Galen hiding under his cloak... Chambers almost gets a glimpse of it when she's treating Galen's knife wound.

Chambers manages to reengineer the Technomage nano-virus to provide a shield for the lungs once inhaled that will allow them to move amidst those who are contaminated for 48 hours... didn't they use this earlier? Here we've got a continuity error.

Oh, and the Apocalypse Box is determined that Matthew shouldn't trust Galen.

On to Matthew watching alien porn in his quarters, when Dr. Chambers arrives, and it was apparently on Max Eilerson's data crystal that he turned in his last report on. That should be an interesting bit of information to hold over Max's head later. A Minbari Ranger comes aboard, with information that would require the Excalibur to break a whole bunch of laws for the next lead on "The Needs Of Earth."

So they're going down to an alien planet, to break out a known fugitive from bounty hunter hands. Matthew and Dureena go down to the domed cities to rescue him, and once down Dureena lets Gideon in on the fact that she's done this before with four others, but that they were all killed en route.

They get to the dome, but Dureena can't enter the combination necessary to get the door open with her EVA suit on. She needs to remove her gloves, but the atmosphere is toxic, so she has to try and hold her breath while she does it.

Once inside Dureena needs a distraction so Gideon picks a fight with the biggest guy there. Dureena manages to leave a sign for the local thieves guild, and she makes a contact that may allow them to find their target.

Then they need to get past another bunch of thugs, so Eilerson's alien porn comes in handy...

They get the captives out, including the guy they were sent to find, and make it back to the Excalibur, but his people turn up and try to bargain for him to be turned over to them. Of course, they resort to threats to make their point.

The alien won't give up his datacrystals until he's sure they're the right people to give them to... and while in Medlab he finds a bunch of data crystals, including one with Mozart recordings on them. At this point the alien decides to return to his people, but turns a copy of his data crystals over to Matthew first. On the transfer, the other aliens kill him.

But he's done what he needed to - handed over all the important knowledge of his people to someone who can appreciate it - the creative output of an entire planet - art, music, stories, every piece of art preserved because the government ordered that art was decadent and it should be destroyed. Books were burned, art was destroyed... all because it didn't support the government.

And then we're on to the next episode, Eridani Sector, and Gideon is smelling strange things between decks 14 and 18. There's a distress signal, and they pick up some "Visitors From Down The Street."

They pull in a life pod, and there are two aliens inside - a male and a female - who takes a hostage. This is set up as a very silly X-Files parody, and there's almost nothing memorable about it - alien world using hoax conspiracy to keep people in order. Communications with other worlds were picked up, and the government created evidence of human influence on the planet and then denied it, making people think it was true. Then the Government can't be to blame for any problems, as it's all the aliens fault - so the people don't descend into yet another civil war.

And the homage to the Cigarette Smoking Man at the end is at least worth a laugh...

And the commentary which Warner Brothers cut and so will be removed from future versions of the Crusade DVD package. So, Racing The Night was intended to be the pilot, but was pushed back to later in the series to allow a more conventional pilot to open the series. That explains my first comment about limiting it to four years not feeling like much of an impact after the Dureena episode.

Okay, and we get mention of Dureena's sword - where she disappears for two episodes, and comes back with no memories, but with a sword - the arc might have been interesting if they'd had a chance to film it...

And a hint of the ship that destroyed the Cerberus - it was intended to be part Shadow-tech, but part of the secret Earth project to integrate that into their ships... which would eventually have shown up in the final episode of the season (based on the script that might still be floating around the internet).

Hints on the Apocalypse Box - it has a curse attached... when Gideon died in the season finale, his consciousness was transferred to the Box (which is why the Box talks with his voice), so there'd be a way to bring him back.

So, one episode to go - "Each Night I Dream Of Home" - and the Excalibur is floating in space waiting for a rendezvous with an Earth ship - a Warlock class destroyer, which wants to transfer two passengers to the Excalibur. We could probably have done with a better shot of the destroyer considering it's the first one we've seen.

A senator comes aboard on a secret mission (as he's one of only a handful of Earth senators who were off planet when the plague hit) and orders the Excalibur to return to Earth and make a pickup there before proceeding to a test area. But once they set off, they mustn't stop for anyone or anything...

Meanwhile, Lochley is floating around in a Star Fury, obviously damaged and hanging in space, sending out a distress signal and needing pickup before she runs out of oxygen. Clearly this is going to lead Gideon into a conflict between his "never leave anyone behind" ethic and his orders.

Why is the senator travelling with a plumber? And why does he need to meet with Dr Chambers in private?

Oh, and due to orders, they've got to pick up the Star Fury without stopping, which means they're practically going to have to run her over! Hopefully the gravitic propulsion system will be able to slow and stop the Star Fury in the landing bay safely... okay, just captured.

That explains the plumber - he wants to be infected with the plague!

What can Gideon tell Lochley? Never eat anything bigger than your head! Never play pool at a place named Pop's! Never eat at a place named Mum's! But nothing about the mission...

So, back on Earth and they're making a pickup - a shuttle leaves the surface, ejects a lifepod, and then explodes. They have to pick up the lifepod, which is certified as uncontaminated, but the passenger may not be... but if the senator is willing to risk his life over it, Gideon thinks it must be safe enough to bring in to isolation on the Excalibur.

Helloooo Doctor Stephen Franklin. Still head of xenobiological research (but then he's still that when Sheridan dies in 14 more years). And the plumber is part of his research. They need to chart the spread of the virus once it enters a host body... so they need to infect an uninfected person to trace its spread.

Meanwhile, David the plumber makes a call home, which the Drakh pick up on, and notify the fleet to intercept them.

The Drakh plague infects all air breathing mammals, and there's evidence of its existence even though they can't actually isolate it - it keeps cropping up as mutations of other fatal diseases - ebola, hepatitis, etc. - and it can infect people who were on an island that had had no contact with the outside world for two weeks, so it definitely affected the whole planet.

So they infect the plumber - and start tracking the virus. It's spreading at an incredible rate, and not penetrating any of the non-critical areas of the body, it's also grown at an amazing rate once it entered, as if it's a zip file that is decompressing. It appears to be directed - it's a nano-tech virus that can think and direct its actions.

At this point the Drakh turn up, and they've got several minutes until the jump engines come back on line. The attack triggers the failsafe system in the medbay, threatening to kill David if they can't override it. They are attempting to get him out manually when he's knocked out.

So, they defeat the Drakh, rescue David, and return him and Franklin to Earth, but they get some evidence of the plague, so maybe they'll be able to make some headway.

Ah - a hint of a cure - the Technomage nano-tech virus had a central control system that ordered it, but there's no sign of a similar control system with the Drakh virus... so is it being controlled externally, or has it got some sort of hive-mind, communicating with itself, experimenting on humanity until it finds the right combination?

Watching the making of documentary, it's possible that it was this that Warner Brothers cut up rather than the commentary, as there wasn't really much empty space in that which could have been filled with stories of how WB or TNT or whichever party it was screwed JMS over. But the interviews in the documentary keep hinting at that...

So that's the end of Babylon 5, at least until Legend Of The Rangers is released... and possibly The Memory Of Shadows, although I have absolutely no interest in going to see that if the rumours are true and they're recasting the existing parts with big name actors. That would probably go down in history as one of the dumbest moves in recent TV/Movie history!

But anyway, before I descend into a rant, lets move on... to Highlander Season 6 - the season I haven't seen... at least, I don't think I have, although I've probably seen the season opener just because it was part 2 of a 2 part story.

So off with "Avatar." A year has passed since the events of the last episode, and Duncan MacLeod is in a Malaysian monastery, which is pretty much where he's been since killing Richie. Out of the game, on holy ground.

Then, at Richie's grave, Dawson is giving his respects after the year, when Duncan wanders back into his life. He wants the Watchers help to defeat Ahriman. Dawson isn't initially sure he wants to help. MacLeod is having nightmares about killing Dawson.

Ahriman is still around, currently as a flower seller, and affecting some woman who I don't recognise. He's also appearing in visions as James Horton to Duncan. Dawson's got a new place - Le Blues Bar. Duncan does some redecorating - putting pretty much everything from his barge in storage for 50 years. And Dawson decides he might actually help after all.

Oh, and that woman from earlier, who's still in a bit of a trance, decides to jump off a bridge into the Seine, right near MacLeod's barge. Before rescuing her, Duncan has to refuse to take his sword back from Dawson... this could be interesting if another immortal shows up...

Okay and Sophie Baines is relevant to this why? Oh, she actually died in the river and MacLeod rescued the demon instead... well, possibly - this episode is a little confusing.

Okay, Duncan sees her again, also sees Horton, then gets chased by a car with no-one driving it. Roses around Sophie keep turning from white to red. Duncan finds out Sophie is dead from Dawson, and Ahriman shows up to Sophie trying to persuade her that she died in the river. So is she dead? Or is the dead body the illusion?

Sophie goes to the morgue, Duncan is already there checking on the body, Ahriman persuades her she died and he's given her a second chance at life. If she weren't there, her brother might end up a criminal or drug addict or something, so she agrees to follow his plan to kill Duncan. When she meets him, she can't go through with it, but her brother tries. Sophie, realising Duncan is the champion and that her brother will do anything for her, jumps in the river again, knowing it would stop Ahriman's plan.

Then on to "Armageddon" which is hopefully the last part of the silly demon storyline. Ahriman is still around, haunting a priest friend of Duncan's, whose brother committed suicide, haunting MacLeod again, and now haunting Dawson with images of Horton.

It threatens the priest with his brother - suggesting that he's in hell and needs help to escape - it wants him to commit suicide himself. Dawson gets offered his legs back, in return for not helping Duncan - but he finally manages to turn it down. Duncan gets trapped in a dream, and the more he hates it, the stronger it gets and the more trapped he becomes until Dawson breaks the trance.

Duncan saves the priest, and then realises that peace is the answer. After some meditation in the church, he falls back into the vision, and has to keep throwing away his weapons. And so, giving up anger, and pride, and hate, destroys the vision - the freaky dwarf goes away, so we move onto Kronos, who Duncan does a pretty good job of calmly defeating, turning his attacks away or ducking them so they make no contact. And then, Horton, who gives some feeble verbal assault, then goes through flashes of the whole Ahriman arc, before disappearing.

So it was the battle within one person's soul - Duncan realised that Ahriman existed inside everyone, so it was his own peace he was seeking. After a drink with Dawson, he gets persuaded to take his sword back. And we've pretty much finished with the Duncan arc if my understanding is correct - now we've got the search for a female immortal lead for the spin-off series...

So, "Sins Of The Father" sees us back in World War 2 Poland with our first candidate Alex Raven. She's trying to project David his son Max, who have an important list that she must protect. The soldiers discover them and Alex does a pretty good job of defending them, but she and David are shot. Max comes out of hiding surrounded by the dead.

Paris, and Duncan is playing boules with George, who's retired to let his grandson run his bank. But George's car explodes just after Duncan senses the presence of another immortal.

Alex is following her promise, with Max, who is now an old man... but he still has the list, and George's grandson Grant is the next to be talked to about it... Alex confronts Grant in his car, gives him a number to contact her, and tells him to go over the bank records for the name David Leiner - something to do with a whole bunch of money.

Once Grant drives off, Duncan runs in to Alex and we get a flashback... she's lying on a blanket making out with Cameron, a guy who wants her to marry him. She has to tell him the truth about her life - that she was a Celtic warrior when the Romans invaded Britain. Then Gerard turns up and kills Cameron when he tries to defend Alex. She gives chase to Gerard, and Duncan who has heard her yells over the body manages to turn up just as she takes Gerard's head, and has the quickening in the middle of a stream, which is quite a cool effect, although the wet, transparent shirt is probably a little gratuitous. Then Duncan leaves.

Oh, she's got a motorcycle... trying to give her some style are we?

Duncan, however, has sword issues and we're getting a lot of flashbacks to his actions with it - when he first attained it, who he's fought with it, a whole bunch of fight scenes. Will he be able to pick it up again? Of course, the flashes end with Richie, and Duncan sticks the sword back in a chest...

Duncan goes to confront Grant, who appears to be trying to leave town. Duncan thinks Alex is there, but Grant claims no knowledge. Then Alex really does turn up, and she's wiring a bomb... or rather trying to defuse it. Okay, and Duncan's going to fight her with a stick!

After the fight, Duncan confronts Grant - the bank got into trouble a few years ago, and the Russian mafia got involved, although George tried initially to refuse them. Duncan asks to arrange a meeting with Alex, but Grant intervenes and shoots and kills Alex and Duncan has to get him out of there before she revives. He puts Grant up in a hotel.

Returning to his barge, there's an immortal there... Alex is making herself at home. Alex introduces him to Max. And then we flash back to the German attack - Max comes out of hiding, and Alex revives. Back in the present, Max still has his list - people who had their money in foreign bank accounts when they were rounded up... and they believe that Grant's bank was one of them.

So MacLeod and Alex go to ask Grant why he lied - but someone shoots Duncan through the door, and jumps out of the window. Alex gives chase, gets the killer, but an accomplice turns up and we have to suffer though her hanging from a footbridge over a busy road while they get away. Grant meanwhile is nowhere to be seen.

Duncan picks Grant's safe... Alex apparently doesn't know how to do that, but Duncan learned from a friend... presumably Amanda. Grant turns up when they find the safe empty. And everything comes out - Grant killed his grandfather who was going to give the money back. Alex and Duncan get taken out by a couple of thugs to be killed. Grant has Max at gunpoint, what with him being the only one who can link him to the money.

Duncan and Alex turn up, but Grant dies in an accident. Fortunately, George left Duncan enough clues for them to find the letters that prove the money was in the bank. Duncan and Alex have a heart to heart (and a game of boules) at the end.

Wow, that was a complicated episode. The woman playing Alex was good, and the character would have had better reason for good acts than Amanda does... of course, as the fanfiction says, Amanda is the biggest boyscout of them all - she just doesn't let anyone see it. But a spin-off with Alex Raven might also have brought Max along with it, and having Ian Richardson in the show each week could have been an interesting foil.

And now, do I go out? If I don't I need food... and I can't be bothered to face the weather... so I might just stay in.

Okay, I did go out... I didn't have any money to order in a pizza, so had to go out to visit a cashpoint at least... at that point it was easier to get food and go for drinks while I was fulfilling the initial requirement. Although I didn't stay out too late, so I'm back in time to at least watch a single episode of Highlander.

In this case, "Diplomatic Immunity" which amazingly isn't a screen test for the Raven series... but we have a rich englishman and his wife leaving somewhere in a Rolls-Royce, and then, just down the road, running a guy down. The wife comes out of the bushes, acting distraught, threatening to call the police, and basically getting the guy to write her a fat cheque to cover her future expenses without her husband. Once she gets it and they leave, her husband revives. It's a good con while it lasts...

And then, in modern times, they're trying the same stunt when Duncan walks into the middle of it and breaks up their con. Cue flashback: Willie has been challenged to a duel, and Duncan tries to intervene, thinking Willie has an advantage, what with being an immortal and all... but Willie wants to lose. So pistols at 20 paces (or 10 paces, or whatever). So, Willie turns, and shoots the hat of one of the spectators. The guy he's duelling then takes his time to aim, before shooting Willie in the chest and killing him.

Of course, Willie has embezzled 100 thousand pounds from his and his opponents company, so being killed gets him out of having to pay it back. What is it with the gentlemen thieves in the immortal world? Amanda, Kit Walker, Cory Raines, and now Willie Kingsley. They've all been around for a fair few years, and they're all petty criminals. How come none of them have lost their heads yet? They must have pissed off a few immortals in their time.

Cue the other kind of watcher, in this case Wesley the Wuss, borrowing the Ambassador's car (or whoever MacLeod's friend was at the event earlier) and then encountering Willie and his con job. But once Willie is dead, Wesley decides it's safer to kill the wife than pay her, so he clubs her over the head with half a brick and drives off.

So of course, Willie will blame the Ambassador rather than Wesley the Wuss. Well, the car is owned by the American Embassy, so there's no immediate link to any person... but MacLeod wants to try another lead. I'm guessing Duncan is going to have to take Willie's head at the end of this episode... even with his current refusal to pick up the sword...

Confronting the Ambassador leads to Willie losing it and wanting to attack him when they find out it's his personal car. So why does someone else have access to it? And why has the damage recently been hammered out? Oh, okay, he's not the Ambassador currently, but he's the deputy and he's got a chance of getting the position. But he was with a mistress when the accident occurred, and he doesn't want that getting out... he also didn't want something else getting out.

Wesley is the deputy ambassador's son. This isn't going to end well (how many times is that phrase going to come up here?!)...

Willie lets MacLeod confront his friend, but takes matters in to his own hands and shoots him. This puts Willie and Duncan into a fight - Duncan refuses to kill him as long as Wesley lives, but when did Duncan pick his sword back up?

"Patient Number 7" returns us to our trial of new female immortals. We have a woman with amnesia in the psychiatric ward of some hospital and the guy administering their medication decides to take advantage of the girl. But then two guys come in with guns and start killing everyone. They try to kill her, but she dodges at the last second and then beats them to a pulp before running out of there. But how far is a girl in a hospital gown going to get?

And then we cut to a taxidermist... talking to the two hit-men from the previous night. And their belief is that she didn't know them - she has amnesia, doesn't know who or what she is. She's forced to rely on instinct, but she'll probably end up meeting MacLeod...

Okay, her name is Kyra, and she doesn't recognize Duncan, even though he knows her... and they make a run from the police. Once they're under the bridge on the Seine, Duncan's trying to get her to remember, but beyond the hospital and the gun, she doesn't remember anything.

Cue flashback: Duncan was in an inn, in France, 1640, and Kyra enters... and certainly gets noticed. She does however manage to put both the random men and Duncan in their place... but then, for a member of the Queen's guards, she should be reasonable with a sword.

So they're sharing the only room in the inn, and sharing the only bed in the room, only strictly honerable circumstances... but with such a small bed, getting both of them in it honerably could be an entertaining event...

Duncan persuades her of the truth via her birthmark (inside thigh, shaped like a butterfly) and attacking her with a lead pipe, which she proves she can defend. So her instinctive swordfighting ability is still there.

Okay, so far Kyra is more interesting than Alex Raven, but we've not got a real feel for the character because she's got amnesia. But her husband was killed after they put away a criminal and he got out (he was immortal, and he's the taxidermist from earlier). He turned up at their door and tried to kill them - got the husband, but she went over the balcony.

And then she finds her gun collection...

And now, on the taxidermist's terms, they fight - at the observatory - and Kyra goes into it with her eyes open. She manages to defeat the taxidermist (and his henchmen) and we get a brief comment about her being a soldier for a thousand years, but beyond the France reference, who knows where else she served...

But she's a professional bodyguard, and will go where the work is...

And now, sleep... Black Tower can wait until tomorrow...

[Previous entry: "Crusade - Pointless Romance"]

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Crusade - Pointless Romance

[Previous entry: "Crusade - Technomage Subterfuge"]

Crusade again, and this time we have Dureena climbing a wall... oh, no, they've found a door they can't open... that says "Enter freely through the path of sorrows" which is convenient considering that the title of the episode is "The Path Of Sorrows."

Of course, Galen has the answer, once he verbally attacks Dureena long enough to make her cry... the meanie! Anyway, they can enter this place of healing, and what do they find? A funny looking alien of course... Cue titles.

Ooh, there's a stasis bubble around them, which gives Gideon a flashback to when he was floating in space - the Earthforce destroyer he was outside was running away from a strange looking ship - a bit like a Shadow ship, but not the same design - when it was destroyed trying to open a jump point. And Dureena's spotted that the Captain never walks away from a distress signal or leaves anyone behind.

Okay, it was the Cerberus, and Gideon was out surveying the damange from the initial attack of an unknown ship. He's down to 30 minutes air when the Technomages start passing him and he tries to hail them. And then, just when he thinks they've all left, Galen comes back for him.

Once back on Earth, Clarke's government declare it a malfunction of the jump engines.

And then a card game... and Gideon's opponent can't afford the bet, so he offers an Apocalypse Box instead... it apparently knows things that no-one else knows. The man who loses seems extremely pleased to have lost, and to have lost the box. The box also lies, apparently, not all the time, but just enough... and then the box makes a strange noise, the guy gets scared of it and runs off, at which point he's killed in a car accident.

Ooh, and now Matheson and the alien... flashback to Matheson while in the Psi-Corps - something to do with the capture a whole bunch of resistance members. They've captured one of the leaders of the resistance, a high-powered P12, but she's on sleepers because all the Psi-Cops are away mopping things up. So Matheson has to give her the drugs, as he's one of the strongest telepaths on hand.

When she's awake and lucid enough to talk to him, she suggests he looks at the records of the resistance members who have been sent back to Earth - all of them are dead. So then Matheson avoids giving her the shot, but finds out that the Resistance is planning a last strike on the Psi-Corps base they're in.

Galen apparently knows what it is and what it's doing... it feeds on sorrow as it has no such feelings of its own. The alien however, feels that it feeds on forgiveness. And it is apparently Galen who must forgive, rather than be forgiven. Flashback to Isabel and Galen, dying on a planet, and Galen wanting to go for help, but Isabel afraid that she'll die alone while he's gone.

They were betrayed by three of their own order and stripped of everything that made them what they are, so there's no magical aid. And Isabel says that one day, Galen must forgive God and the Universe for the design that Isabel should die.

Galen of course, is rather angry at having all this dredged up and nearly kills the alien because of it. Gideon decides that they should put it back for those who need it to find it.

Galen has received a mysterious message that came from "out there, in general" mostly lost in static, that just consists of his name, plus the word Love. Just like Isabel said she'd send him a message after she is gone...

Disc 2 opens with "Patterns Of The Soul" and the Excalibur is ordered to a human colony on an uninhabited planet that may or may not be infected by the Drakh plague. Eilerson is being pressured by his superiors in IPX to hand over more reports on technologies they can exploit, surveys of interesting finds, and such like.

So Theta 49, and the shapeshifting alien from the X-Files is one of the human colonists. But there appears to be existing inhabitants on the planet.

Cue the mystical nano-virus shield, that will protect those who breathe it in protected for 48 hours from contamination, even the Drakh plague. The leader of the 30 colonists will allow himself to be tested, but no-one else. Dureena meanwhile has gone wandering about the planet, and has found the other inhabitants. Just as she's discussing death with the hooded guy who's dying of old age, and talking about dying alone as she's the last of her race, she finds that he too is of her race. So she's not alone...

The colonists are infected, and Earthforce are acting extremely suspiciously about returning the colonists to Earth and deleting their ships logs. The doctor has also detected a cyber-organic substance in their bloodstream, so Gideon starts doing some digging to find out why Earthforce want them so badly.

The members of Dureena's race that are on the planet were brought there as labour. When they arrived, the Shadows appeared and destroyed the ship, but the lifepods made it to the surface.

The colonists made it off Earth before the plague was dropped, and the ship stopped off along the way and picked up some food that appears to have been deliberately contaminated to infect the colonists with. It was manufactured by the Pro-Zeta Corporation, which gives Gideon something else to dig into... or rather it gives Eilerson something to dig into...

Dureena has decided to hold the doctor responsible for any harm that comes to her people if Earthforce decide to move them. And one of the colonists decides to take matters into his own hands by taking Doctor Chambers hostage.

The leader of the colonists was a GROPOS in Earthforce before his transfer to the Bio-Weapons Division where he was experimented upon. The Earthforce commander who was in charge of the research arranged to have contaminated food supplied to the colonists.

Gideon fakes the death of the colonists, and then quarantines the planet as the virus has jumped species to infect the native fauna (Dureena's people). And we find out how Gideon was able to access Gold Channel classified information - he won someone's access in a bet...

The plague unfortunately works faster on Dureena's people than on Humans, so they've only got a year to live rather than the five for Earth... that'll certainly push things along, especially as the Shadows seemed very determined to destroy her race. And Eilerson shows he's a nice guy after all - hiding the fact that Dureena's people are on the planet.

For the first episode that the Doctor actually has something to do in, it's still not a great episode - hopefully her storylines will pick up later on...

Next, Captain Lochley is on Mars overseeing a conference on the plague and gets to meet Gideon. Chambers is giving the keynote speech at the conference and Gideon is hoping that security is suitably tight, considering the number of important researchers that are going to be present, and the target they make for the crazies.

And speaking of crazies, lets have someone stabbed before the titles... "Ruling From The Tomb" sees the return of Trace as the shuttle pilot, and desiring to escort Dureena around Mars... she's sure she doesn't need one, but both he and Eilerson are bickering over who gets the pleasure.

Franklin planned the conference, and picked Lochley to be in charge of security... so obviously she wants to find a cure for the plague so that she can go Earthside and thank him in person.

We have the lunatic doomsday cult - Sacred Omega - that believe the Drakh plague is the second coming of Noah's flood and will do anything to see it work it's way through the Human race.

Huh? When did Trace become a priest? The dead guy was a healer in the Foundationist Church, when Trace was there doing scut-work... and he was inspired by the guy to become a priest... not that he actually made it.

Eilerson gets the escort duty. Someone steals Eilerson's wallet and he goes after them, but Dureena deals with it before he can. Apparently she interfered because he was a sloppy thief and she hates to see sloppy thieves win. Then they go into a bar to celebrate and Max gets into another fight...

The mysterious priestly figure on Mars that Chambers ran into when she was waiting for Gideon earlier and who was subsequently in a church hearing voices, seems to know Trace as she ducks out of his way when he appears.

Lochley and Gideon arrange a dinner date... I'm not convinced by this romance but it's getting some good laughs.

Eilerson manages to avoid the fight, taking the easy way out and buying them all a drink. Trace comes in to join them.

The crazy priest guy has a bomb... this can't be good... but presumably Trace will recognize him and stop it. Oh, and it's Joan of Arc he keeps hearing the voice of, not that that's particularly relevant.

Of course, for Trace to recognize the guy, he probably shouldn't be getting horribly drunk with Max and Dureena... something happened in his past that made him lose his faith. Dureena can't dance, but Max and Trace are determined to teach her... well, Max is, Trace decides to take a walk outside where he's attacked by a guy with a knife. And so the other two are dancing while he's beaten up... until Dureena notices he's missing.

Trace knew the attacker from the Foundationist Church. He thinks he might remember a couple of other guys from that time, and he identifies the priestly guy... when the bad things happened, Trace left the Church and the priestly guy went crazy.

Wow, are we trying to gin up a romance here? The next episode, "The Rules Of The Game," takes them to Babylon 5 where they're not needed because they've got a perfectly good medical team of their own. Max's ex-wife is on the station. Gideon is negotiating with the Brakiri to be allowed into their space to investigate Lorka 7 - but he'll need to negotiate with the Lorkans directly.

Okay, Eilerson tries to deal with a thug who's trying to blackmail his ex-wife... this provides for some amusement but nothing particularly interesting... they do borrow the security collars from the beginning of The Running Man though.

Meanwhile, the Lorkans prove intractible, and Gideon and Lochley go for a wander in Down Below. The Lorkans decide to follow and attempt to kill them to prevent them discovering their trade in ancient artifacts from their world.

To be fair, this is a pretty slow and completely pointless episode, although we get a few more peeks into Eilerson's character, so it's not a complete loss.

[Previous entry: "Crusade - Technomage Subterfuge"]

Friday, February 18, 2005

Crusade - Technomage Subterfuge

[Previous entry: "We're Off To The Crusades"]

After yesterday's looooooooong viewing of Asoka (a hindi film about a great emperor / religious leader), I decided I'd better get back to Crusade tonight. I may say more about Asoka in an entry tomorrow...

So here we are with episode 2, "The Long Road",and we have a farming colony - Regula 4 - being terrorised by what looks suspiciously like a dragon. When they call for help, the Excalibur gets sent in... Of course, Captain Gideon is having problems with his basketball hoop - it's apparently defective...

Galen seems interested to find out what colour the dragon is, and invites himself along.

It seems that there's a mineral on the planet that prolongs life, so Earthforce have been strip-mining the planet. However, they've started suffering from a bunch of pranks - like stealing a starship, returning it two days later, but with the engines replaced with peanut butter.

Gideon and Galen go down to the planet on their own, at Galen's prompting. Matthew attempts to blend in, but tries to pay for drinks with enough money to buy the inn. Then, once the bar empties, a bunch of villagers come in and threaten the pair of them. Then Alwyn arrives - an older gentleman who apparently employs a whole bunch of people... and once he's got rid of the villagers, greets Galen warmly, as a fellow Technomage.

Things go bad when the villagers take a bunch of Earthforce miners hostage, and demand they leave the planet. Earthforce obviously send in the troops, but the guy in command is a little inexperienced. He does manage to see through the dragon... deciding it must be a hologram and therefore they can fly through it. Then they confront a bunch of the villagers in the inn.

Alwyn and Galen come in to deal with the troops, and their completely dead-pan conversation while Alwyn's holo-demons demolish the troops is great... and once they have them in custody, they want to release them and the original hostages, but the innkeeper doesn't want to give them up.

But the innkeeper's daughter has fallen sick - due to the mining she's suffering an overdose of the mineral. Gideon tries to stop the Captain of the cruiser that's running the mining operation, but he won't listen. Alwyn can't get the villagers to listen.

So they move to plan B. Alwyn goes into the mine, and uses it for a major conjuration which could shoot down the Earthforce cruiser (The Medusa). The cruiser has no way to destroy the target in time, so they order Gideon to do it - destroying the whole mining operation and apparently killing Alwyn.

Of course, Alwyn survives the minor explosion, but he's got to move on to allow the villagers to grow, and learn from their own mistakes.

And onwards we go to episode 3, the "Galen is a bit crazy isn't he" episode... really called "The Well Of Forever." So we have Psi-Corps... sorry, The Bureau Of Telepath Integration sending Mr. Jones to question Matheson to make sure he hasn't been breaking the rules. Apparently they're all called Mr. Jones... and we get some background - the Earth senate dissolved the Psi-Corps and reintegrated telepaths back into their communities, but the Bureau was set up to make sure there were no accidental scans of mundanes.

Galen turns up to suggest they go looking for a Technomage legend hidden in Hyperspace - the titular Well of Forever - he has a glowing rock that will give them the co-ordinates! Dureena has reservations, and so does Gideon considering it's extremely deep in Hyperspace. But they go anyway.

Mr. Jones goes too far with his scans of Matheson, digging out work related information. Galen has an interesting conversation with Dureena (who's redecorated her quarters to make them small enough for her comfort). Then they encounter the Fen - a barely sentient species that drifts through Hyperspace and tries to mate with the ship.

They get to the coordinates, but there's nothing there. Then Galen mutinies and won't turn control of the ship back over to Gideon until they find the Well. There's a lot that appears to have happened between Galen and the crew of the Excalibur before this episode that hasn't been shown - was that due to the network screwing up the continuity or was it just left unsaid?

Anyway, Galen apparently has a promise that he must keep, no matter what.

Mr. Jones wants to hold Matheson to a higher standard than other telepaths because he's doing such a good job of a career in Earthforce.

Gideon suggests Matheson take a walk outside, but of course Hyperspace amplifies a telepaths abilities, so it'd be a really bad idea.

And then they find the Well... Galen goes off to do whatever it is he needs to do, and Matthew follows him. Eilerson's scan of the Well finds it's full of precious metals and gems and stuff, but Dureena realises that it's actually a mausoleum and the precious metals are grave goods.

Galen was apparently in love with a Technomage named Isabel, who spent her life searching for the Well. When she died, Galen took her remains and vowed to one day find the Well and allow her to rest there.

Matthew uses Dureena to set up Mr. Jones - she can be extremely single minded when she needs to be! And Matheson gets his Hyperspace-walk. Oh, and Galen makes a very silly vow - he will never again betray Gideon's trust. I believe the source of the Technomages powers may break that vow when Gideon finally finds out... fortunately for Galen, the show was cancelled before he found that out.

And then Dureena... and her confrontation with Galen over whether the Well really was an open book for those who would listen - an answer to their questions...

Eilerson's question of "Is there anything in the universe I cannot have?" was plainly answered.

Matheson needed to go to the well with Gideon to get his answer.

Matthew got his answer, but wasn't listening for it, so will have to look elsewhere.

Dureena finds out that for one person it isn't always about money or power - in this case it was about love.

And for Galen? His question of why may take a little longer...

[Previous entry: "We're Off To The Crusades"]

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

We're Off To The Crusades

[Previous entry: "Film And A Half"]

So, the end of "A Call To Arms" sees Sheridan desperately trying to mobilize a fleet to defend Earth from the Drakh attack and the Shadow planet-killer. Of course, after the President's recent craziness, getting Lochley to accept what's happening is a bit tough! It's also a bit tough to get Garibaldi to believe him...

Fortunately, Garibaldi finds the intelligence leak that has been feeding information to the Drakh.

You know, I said this yesterday, but the music for this is really annoying. And it continues onto the series, so I'm going to be bitching about it for another 13 episodes yet.

Tony Todd doesn't quite make it, but he does manage to activate the planet-killer before it reaches Earth. However, the Drakh have a backup plan - a genetically engineered virus spread throughout the atmosphere. It'll take five years before it adjusts itself to Earth's ecosystem, at which time it'll wipe out all life on the planet.

So we have a quarantine. And we have a single destroyer - the Excalibur - set to go off and find a cure... well, okay, I'm getting ahead of myself, because that won't happen until the start of the series.

Meanwhile, I had two guest stars to point out - Marjean Holden, playing the Excalibur's navigation officer here, goes on to play the doctor in the series. The other is Carlos Bernard, who was the communication officer here, and was Tony Almeida on 24.

And then the commentary, which I'm not going to narrate... wow, okay, this is a highly technical commentary... they're doing a whole bunch of talking about lenses and depth of field and focus.

So, on to Crusade, and we open with the quarantine taking effect on Earth, and Daniel Dae Kim having to put down a fight with a bunch of Mars born crew over whether they should go back to Earth to enforce the quarantine. Unfortunately for them, the Captain is Sheriff Lucas Buck... well, okay, Matthew Gideon (Gary Cole), so they're not going to get very far.

Here they are back at Earth... and it doesn't look good - there's a lot of wreckage floating around from the recent battle.

And the titles, with the important questions: Who are you? What do you want? Where are you going? Who do you serve? And who do you trust?... okay, Vorlons and the Shadows take the first two, and I vaguely remember the where are you going question being used in B5 at some point, but I don't remember where...

Anyway, "War Zone" sees Gideon being summoned to Mars. And Galen gets the Kosh line - "and so it begins!" Meanwhile, an Earthforce destroyer is chasing one of the Drakh ships and intends to force it down on to a nearby planet - that succeeds, but the destroyer doesn't make it.

And there are people on the planet - well, okay, archaeologists with IPX. Cue Max Eilerson.

Mars, and Gideon gets a recap of the exposition that ended A Call To Arms. And then he's given the job of commanding the Excalibur, and finding the cure. He's only got a partial choice of crew so we'll see how well that works out!

Back on Ceti 4, really bad CGI Drakh take out a shuttle that was surveying their crashed ship.

Doctor Sarah Chambers is assigned as head of the medical team on Gideon's ship, but Matthew is allowed to choose the archaeologist and linguist. Oh, and Dureena's here as well and is insisting she's supposed to be on the team. Matheson (Dae Kim) is also desired by Gideon - he was his first officer before, and he wants him again, even though he's a telepath.

They've simplified Dureena's makeup from the film... I presume for cost purposes, and because it looked a bit dopey. And Galen is pursuing the Excalibur in his own ship.

Matthew gets ordered to go and invetigate the downed Drakh ship, and Galen makes contact - apparently he and Gideon have met before.

Ceti 4 - they arrive, they kill a bunch of Drakh but reinforcements are on the way to pick up the Drakh councillor, they meet up with Eilerson and the archaeologists, and find out Eilerson has a knack for languages, including being able to translate the Drakh message.

Then cue lots of battle scenes - first a shootout in the Drakh ship, then a space battle, and a couple of brief attacks by Galen, just to save the Captain and crew's life. They do manage to capture the Drakh Captain, and Eilerson has to do lots of translating.

Ah, Who Do You Serve is the Drakh question.

And two new recruits - Trace, the shuttle pilot from Ceti 4, and Eilerson, who isn't going to like it.

And the Captain's past? 9 years ago, he almost died, hanging in space. He witnesses the exodus of the Technomages, and one of them - obviously Galen - saved his life. But how did he come to be hanging in space? Ah, his ship was destroyed... How? Why?

Galen appears to be an outcast... he was threatening to expose the other Technomages hiding place, and now he's got to find his way on his own... but he's decided to interfere again. And he asks the questions of Gideon from the titles... and seems to be disconcerted that Matthew doesn't have a good answer to the last two (serve and trust).

[Previous entry: "Film And A Half"]

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Film And A Half

[Previous entry: "On To The Movies..."]

And, after the end of the commentary for "Thirdspace" (it had a bunch of the actors in it so it wasn't very insightful, but I'd started it last night so I thought I'd better finish it), we move on to possibly the worst of the B5 movies - "River Of Souls" whose only redeeming features are Tracy Scoggins in her underwear and a really poor performance by Martin Sheen... okay, that second one isn't really a redeeming feature, but I'm stuck for a number two here... at least Thirdspace was a big goofy mess that you can laugh at... this is just horrible!

Anyway, being about souls, it obviously has the return of the Soul Hunters in it, last seen in... War Without End? Soul Hunter?! It was quite a ways back anyway. Oh, watching the intro, it's also got Ian McShane in it... which still isn't a selling point.

Okay, so on with the film... big CGI temple... with architect Ian McShane toiling around in there... he'd have been better off sticking to selling art... oh, that was Lovejoy... well, it would have saved him getting his team killed by Soul Hunters...

Okay, it's set after the end of season 5 (well, after Objects At Rest anyway), as Sheridan and Garibaldi have both left the station... although Garibaldi seems to be visiting...

Ah, right, Garibaldi is there to meet Lovejoy - who was apparently being funded by Edgars Industries for research... research into eternal life.

Okay, Corwin's present to Lochley is very, very silly - a love bat?! What does he get up to on his off hours?

Okay, Richard Biggs gets a brief cameo, although he has to put on a stupid accent... wow, they're really putting their cast through crap during this aren't they?!

It's interesting that Corwin gets a bigger role here than any time since Ivanova had to interview him to see if he should be brought in to the War Council... oh, and he seems to have picked up a few of Ivanova's strategies over the years as well - if they attack, shoot once; if they don't attack, shoot twice because they're probably hiding something!

Strangely though, when Martin Sheen sees Lochley inside the soul globe at the end, Tracy doesn't have to put on a dumb accent... so why did they force Richard to do it?

Oh, and Lochley's modifications of the Love Bat are probably the best moment in this...

Okay, and although I really should go to bed, I'm going to attempt "A Call To Arms" instead... as then I can watch the commentary tomorrow before starting in on Crusade, which this is the backdoor pilot for.

And so off we go... the fifth anniversary of the InterStellar Alliance, and the destroyer class ship that was mooted during the 5th season finally comes to fruition... although this seems to be set after the telepath crisis, whatever that might be... and we'll probably revisit in Crusade (partly because there must be mention in one of the commentaries about the unfilmed script involving Bester).

One of the White Stars, carrying Garibaldi and Sheriden go to visit the construction, and the President is assured of their secrecy as nothing can keep up with a White Star at full burn... nothing that is, except a technomage. Cue Galen...

And new jumpgate effect... they've obviously updated the CGI at this point. And we get our first two destroyers - the Excalibur and the Victory. But the chief engineer... or whatever Mr Drake is, seems determined to hold them back until everything is absolutely perfect! He hasn't even taken it out for a test flight!

And when they do try, the engines fail... Sheridan gets a message from Delenn... well, it's supposed to be Delenn, but it looks more like one of Garibaldi's cryptic messages from Bester in season 4. Of course, 20 minutes of staring at gibberish might impart a little information, but he's going to have to sleep on it.

Meanwhile, on B5, Dureena arrives - she's a thief, and she's carrying rather a lot of weapons, which Zack looks suitably stunned by at customs.

The President is having very vivid dreams... and Galen appears to be in them. They're on a dead world - a destroyed world - that was part of a test of a weapon. It's Daltron 7 and presumably it's important to the plot.

On B5, Dureena's following mysterious signs on the walls - and she's being followed herself. And the music in this film is very discordant and overblown. She gets knocked unconscious and starts having visions of Daltron 7 herself. She initially believes it to be her world, which (according to Galen) was destroyed in the same way... she also sees the President, and a Drakh. On waking, she manages to make contact with the Thieves Guild, of which she's apparently a member.

And then, back with the testing, we get to see the big flaw with these destroyers... they've got a really big gun, but once it's fired, it takes a minute to recharge, during which time they've barely got enough power for gravity.

So, another vision, a chat with Galen, and then they're off to B5.

Ooh... Tony Todd makes a guest appearance. And his ship, the Charon, is also on its way to B5, against their standing orders...

Ah, a hint... Dureena is from Zander Prime - a world destroyed by the Shadow Planet-Killer towards the end of the Shadow war... and Dureena is one of the three faces that Sheridan has drawn. Tony Todd is number two. And then we've just got a drazi to find.

You know, there's a lot of incidental music in this that sounds like Lexx.

There they are over Daltron 7, and a bunch of weird looking pizza delivery trucks turn up... oh, maybe they're Drakh ships... fortunately they don't recognize the extremely human looking (and obviously human named) ships... but then they're new ships. And that's a familiar looking guest star on communications...

And with 24 minutes to go, I'm going to call it a night!

[Previous entry: "On To The Movies..."]

Monday, February 14, 2005

On To The Movies...

[Previous entry: "The War With The Centauri"]

More war in "Movements Of Fire And Shadow" and the President has authorised the White Star fleet to start attacking the Centauri. But he wants to build a destroyer-class White Star, and needs the Minbari to agree before Earth will... so Delenn has to go back to Minbar... which is risky now that the Centauri are targeting jumpgates.

Vir meets with Franklin and Lyta because the Drazi aren't returning the bodies of Centauri lost in Drazi space during the war... and so they have to go to the Drazi homeworld... Although Lyta demands an extortionate amount of money for her services.

Londo is still in a cell with G'Kar. But the Drakh knock them unconscious and drag Mollari away. They perform some experiments on him.

The Narn and Drazi believe that the Alliance don't have the stomach for the war, so they're planning a secret strike against Centauri Prime. Amazingly, Michael manages to find out about it!

Delenn's White Star encounters four Centauri ships in hyperspace and is nearly destroyed.

Lyta and Franklin discover there were no Centauri on board their ships that were destroyed... only strange Shadow-tech attached to all the systems.

G'Kar continues writing in his cell. The Regent meets with Londo, but someone is telling him that he will be dead by morning... and that Londo will be Emperor. But his last order was to order all the ships away and turn off the planetary defence network, leaving the planet defenceless.

"The Fall Of Centauri Prime" picks up where the last episode ended - with the combined Drazi / Narn fleet attacking Centauri Prime directly.

The Drakh reveal themselves to Londo... how they want a new homeworld, how they want the Centauri beaten and dependent on the Drakh, how they have planted fusion bombs throughout the planet to ensure compliance, how the Regent had a Keeper that controlled his actions.

Delenn and Lennier are being very fatalistic about their drifting in hyperspace.

Londo says goodbye to G'Kar... but doesn't really tell him anything... he really should have mentioned the Drakh and the Keeper. G'Kar forgives Londo for his past actions. Londo submits himself to the Drakh. And then gives the surrender order... Sheridan wants Londo's help in finding Delenn... but the Drakh don't want to help.

Delenn manages to attract Centauri attention... and in their final moments, Lennier admits his love for Delenn. And then, the Centauri lock a tractor beam on them and tow them to safety.

Vir returns to Centauri Prime to meet with Londo... and on bursting in gets a frosty reception. Vir is appointed Ambassador to Babylon 5... mainly to keep him safe. And the rest of the Alliance is asked to leave.

And then Londo, alone, walks to his inauguration.

Ah... it was terrorists with an atomic bomb that destroyed San Diego...

And the Vorlon homeworld is off limits for one million years - until they've earned the right to go there.

G'Kar's cult of personality has indeed gotten out of hand... when he returns to the station in "The Wheel Of Fire" he finds a whole bunch of chanting Narns waving statues of him in customs. And Michael is forgetting times of meetings and then coming completely unprepared and clearly drunk. Garibaldi gets suspended until he works out his problem...

Narns keep coming to the station on a pilgrimage to learn from G'Kar.

The bombings of Psi-Corps installations appear to be the work of amateurs, but each bombing has the words Remember Byron painted nearby... and the money trail leads back to B5... so they're required to detain Lyta for questioning.

Lochley tries to have a heart-to-heart with Garibaldi... apparently her father was an alcoholic.

Lyta resists arrest... apparently you can't stop someone who's been touched by Vorlons... fortunately the President is there to stop her.

Lochley arranges for Lise to come to the station... Who suggests he come back to Mars to run Edgars business interests... and he sees a way out of the telepath problem frustrating him and the station (presumably Bester and Lyta).

Delenn gets a little frustrated at the Narns, who are boycotting all Alliance ships until G'Kar returns to the Narn homeworld to lead them. But during her rant she collapses. After some tests, Franklin finds that she's pregnant.

G'Kar decides to leave the station and travel the stars... and would like Lyta to go with him. Garibaldi gets control of the telepath funds that Lyta has been collecting.

And then we get Lyta's counter-proposal - there will actually be two accounts: one to help the telepaths, and the other to do all the covert things she wants done to create a force that can be used against Psi-Corps. In two years she'll check back and if he's held up his end of the bargain, then she'll remove the blocks that prevent him from harming Bester. In return, Garibaldi finds out how powerful Lyta is... she's the Vorlon's doomsday weapon, designed to end the Shadow War if they were out of other options... the telepathic equivalent of a thermonuclear weapon.

"Objects In Motion" sees Number One come to Babylon 5 and have trouble getting through customs on her Martian identification papers. She's here to meet Garibaldi, who's slightly sick due to lack of alcohol. And she brings good news - in the next couple of days, someone is going to try and kill him and Lise. Apparently it'll be an inside job within Edgars industries to hide the illegal medical research they've been doing.

They hold a going away party for G'Kar and Garibaldi to trap the assassin. They stop him, but one of the Narns decides to kill G'Kar at the same time and in the confusion, Lise is shot. Garibaldi uses Lyta to determine who hired the assassin - the entire board of Edgars Industries.

Lise and Garibaldi get married. G'Kar and Lyta leave the station. Zack turns up to see her off... but manages not to say anything again. Garibaldi confronts the board, and is definitely plays hardball - but then Tessa Halloran (Number One) has become the new head of intelligence for the Alliance. So the board have to resign... and if Garibaldi and Lise don't die of old age, a whole lot of money will be paid out to kill the ex-board members.

Two to go... although, really only one to go as the last is the show finale rather than the season finale... so on with "Objects At Rest" - so what is there still to wrap up? Lennier betraying the Rangers? The President wants a quiet departure... yeah, that's going to happen!

Ta'Lon arrives, looking for G'Kar... who sent for him before he left... and left him a message naming him the new Narn Ambassador to Babylon 5. Franklin appoints his replacement as he's leaving... of course, she was the only other doctor who was ever present in the show, so it wasn't really a tough choice!

Lennier arrives to help Delenn move. Tessa stays on the station, as she'd get more information there than back on Minbar... Garibaldi meets with the troublemakers in Edgars Industries... and appoints them all to the board.

The White Star that is returning the President to Minbar has a coolant leak in the weapons system, and the President gets trapped in with the leak. Lennier, who could hit the access panel and release him, instead chooses to leave him in there and run off, but then changes his mind and goes back to help, but the President has already got out on his own. Lennier takes a flyer and runs away...

You have to give one thing to the Minbari... they give good CGI... and Londo is at the Alliance headquarters when they arrive. Londo wants a drink, but there isn't any available... and his associates prevented him from bringing any of this own... Delenn almost catches a glimpse of Londo's Keeper. And Londo gives an urn to their child - when they turn 16 years old, they are to be given it.

Lennier is off trying to earn forgiveness... oh, and the urn has a Keeper in it...

The remaining 19 years are weighing heavily on Sheridan... and he decides to start recording his thoughts to his child so that there's something to pass on when he's gone... for his 21st birthday.

And then, "Sleeping In Light" set 19 years later. The President knows the end is coming - he's having dreams of Lorien...

Ivanova is an important General. Vir is Emperor (which places In The Beginning before this). Garibaldi has a daughter who is a big tennis player... and Franklin appears to be visiting then on Mars. And Franklin is still Chief of Xenobiological Research. And the Rangers are visiting all of them, calling them to Minbar.

So one final dinner party... and a toast to absent friends... G'Kar, Londo, Lennier, and Marcus. Now, we know Londo and G'Kar die at each others hands, and we saw Marcus die... so that just leaves Lennier's death a mystery.

And Ivanova is pretty angry and bitter here... I know some of it was due to the fallout of season 5 that never happened as the actress left.

Ah, and David Sheridan is out on Ranger training, which means they resolved the bit with the Keeper.

Delenn is current President of the Alliance, as John stepped down two years prior. And John is head of the Rangers. But when he leaves, Delenn would like Ivanova to take over the Rangers.

And then a last hoorah though Babylon 5 before they turn out the lights, because Sheridan wants to go out for a Sunday drive... So John departs on his own... wanders into Customs on B5, and finds no-one there. The current commander hurriedly arrives, and informs the former President that the station will be decommisioned and destroyed (it'd be a hazard to navigation if left intact), so there's just a couple of people plus the shutdown crew on board. Zack's still there... although he went back to Earth briefly in the interrim - he's also acquired a limp in the intervening years.

And then it's on to Corianus 6, where the Shadow War was ended and Lorien departed the known Universe. And then, Lorien reappears for one last cryptic conversation. And then, in a burst of light, he was gone.

All the airlocks were sealed, and there was no body on board the ship when the Minbari went out to find it.

And then, one final goodbye to B5... everyone comes to look round... they turn out the lights... and then, indeed, the station ends in fire.

And then, on to the movies... first "In The Beginning" (as I did The Gathering when the pilot was supposed to be watched... at the beginning). Now, we have the prequel movie... the history of the Earth / Minbari war, bookended by a couple of scenes on Centauri Prime, just before Sheridan and Delenn are released and G'Kar shows up. And of course it spoils the important plot point from season one - what happened at the Battle Of The Line and what the connection is between Delenn and Geoffrey Sinclair.

I like Londo's comments that the child who is asked "What do you want?" did a lot better with the question than he did... and so we have a story... a story of war, and battles, and a true story.

Okay, I know Londo takes a lot of blame on himself, but why is he blaming himself for the Earth / Minbari wars?

Sheridan is offered the Executive Officer position on the Prometheus... how things might have turned out differently if he'd been there for first contact with the Minbari.

Hey, it's Byron playing a Minbari! And there's our shot of Michael York.

Ah, now we get Londo's mistake... the Narn mission to have the Humans and Minbari negotiate was disrupted by the Centauri, because they thought it was an arms shipment, and they wanted to prevent closer co-operation between Humans and Narn.

So this ends where the Londo / G'Kar death scene begins in War Without End... with Delenn and Sheridan meeting in the prison cell.

Then we have to watch the two rubbish movies, first with "Thirdspace" which probably has something important to say but is basically a big goofy fourth season mess. Okay, yes, it's set between the two wars in Season 4, so we'd be about when Delenn wandered off to deal with the Minbari Civil War non-event.

Considering Claudia decided not to do the fourth season, she sure came back for a lot of the movies!

So they find a big object floating in hyperspace and tow it back to B5. Lyta goes suitably crazy (writing "There is Danger. Remember." all over her quarter's walls. IPx turn up wanting to investigate the thing. And it's over one million years old.

Zack admits his feelings to Lyta, but she's in a world of her own and doesn't really hear him babbling on. Ah, and that's why he doesn't ever say anything later... as he promises he won't ever bring it up again unless she mentions it.

As Lyta says, one mistake among many... so many others... so where are all the other Vorlon mistakes (other than the telepaths, which they clearly make the point about in the series)?

[Previous entry: "The War With The Centauri"]

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The War With The Centauri

[Previous entry: "Bored Of B5"]

Lets see how long it takes me to get bored... "Phoenix Rising" sees the conflict with the telepaths escalating. Byron and Bester appear to have a personal emnity. Garibaldi tries to kill Bester but is incapable... Bester implanted two of Asimov's laws of robotics in his head.

Byron reveals that he was a P12, and therefore Bester's protege. He was out collecting a bunch of blips on a mundane transport... they get the telepaths back, but Bester demands that the transport be destroyed in retaliation. And Byron is forced into pulling the trigger. Which was what led to him leaving the Corps.

The telepaths from Byron's group that decided to take the fight to the enemy and escaped the siege are running loose on the station, and they take over Medlab to secure hostages... just after Garibaldi comes in looking for drugs that'll break a telepathic block.

And here's the scene from Deconstruction with Garibaldi being held hostage, and the President determining that the Alliance will not negotiate with terrorists. Fortunately, Byron and Lyta manage to get there and save them.

Byron negotiates a surrender, but Bester interferes... Lyta is forced to leave the other telepaths, and Byron becomes a martyr...

Garibaldi falls back into the bottle...

"The Ragged Edge" gets us back to that mysterious raider issue (now that the telepath arc can be put on the back burner).

Ta'Lon took G'Kar's book, and had it published... and it's a best-seller. G'Kar has become a religious icon in the month he spent on Centauri Prime.

Garibaldi has to go and talk to a transport pilot that escaped a Drazi ambush... his old friend and he then proceed to get very drunk. Unfortunately, his friend doesn't last much longer than that...

And the pilot is killed by a bunch of people in hooded robes... but Garibaldi gets a trinket from one of them before they get away... and once he makes it back to the station, Londo identifies it as a button from a Centauri Palace Guard uniform.

Franklin takes the position as head of Xenobiology research at Earthdome, beginning in the new year... so pretty much just before the end of the season.

Disc 4, and we're past the halfway mark... well, okay, we passed it with The Ragged Edge, but nwo we're marching on with "The Corps Is Mother, The Corps Is Father" - where we get an insight into the inner workings of the Psi-Corps.

They're chasing a rogue who's killed another student there... and then fled to Babylon 5. So Bester and two students have to proceed there to catch him. We get a glimpse of the Psi-Corps mothership that remains permanently in hyperspace so no-one knows it exists.

They become worried when the rogue exhibits capabilities greater than that of the P10 he's rated... eventually they discover that he's a multiple personality, and one of those is a P12.

Then, in "Meditations On The Abyss" Delenn gets up in the middle of the night, and goes to a secret appointment in a seedy Down Below bar. It is Lennier that she is meeting... and she's sending him on an important and dangerous mission. He needs to determine whether it truly is the Centauri who are the raiding ships.

Londo decides that when he becomes Emperor, Vir will be the new Ambassador to B5.

Lennier does a whole bunch of training with other Ranger recruits.

And Garibaldi is really off the wagon.

Michael Garibaldi is having nightmares about failing everyone in "Darkness Ascending." Although Lyta seems to be testing the limits of her abilities and that might have something to do with the nightmare. And Lise comes to the station.

Lise discovers that Garibaldi is drinking again, and demands that he doesn't drink as long as she is on the station.

Sheridan finds out about Lennier's mission, and recalls the White Star he is on. Lennier goes rogue to try to find the Centauri base.

Lyta accepts G'Kar's original offer from the pilot to donate her genetic material to the Narn in return for resources necessary to find a telepath homeworld. And we get an answer as to what Lyta's pleasure threshold is.

Unfortunately, Garibaldi is failing to keep his promise to Lise... ordering coffee, but then sneaking out and adding spirits to it.

Lennier finds a whole bunch of Centauri ships when he gets to their secret base. Meanwhile, Centauri Prime insinuate to Londo that the Alliance are trying to plant evidence to blame the Centauri for the attacks.

G'Kar makes Lyta an offer, but she turns him down. He wanted to know if she would spy on the other Ambassadors' thoughts in return for the deal... and she gives the correct answer.

Lennier records a Centauri attack and sends a distress signal to alert the Alliance. He brings the evidence to B5. And Garibaldi insists Lise leaves.

"And All My Dreams Torn Asunder" sees the council meeting organised in the last episode - and the evidence against the Centauri presented.

A blockade against the Centauri is declared, and when Londo gets a response from the Regent, he's forced to withdraw from the Alliance, and declare that they don't recognise the authority of the blockade. And the Centauri declare that any attack on Centauri ships will be considered an act of war.

This forces Londo home to determine what is going on... and leaving Vir to represent the Centauri on B5. G'Kar decides he must go with Londo, to continue to act as his bodyguard.

Garibaldi is incommunicado... okay, he's actually drunk or hungover, so he's neglecting his duties. However, he now needs to alert the White Star fleet of Centauri movements so that they can prevent a shooting war. Lets hope he doesn't drop the ball this time...

Oh well, looks like he has... he's drunk again... and the White Star ship is going in alone... and we have a lot of shooting... and Michael's probably going to be out of a job...

G'Kar is placed under arrest after the war starts... ordered directly by the Regent... but Londo insists that wherever G'Kar goes, Londo goes... so they imprison the Prime Minister.

Only 6 to go, but I've got to go out and forage for food... although hopefully not literally... I'm not going to be out in the rain trying to spear a wild boar or anything... maybe something slow moving like an armadillo or a hedgehog, but definitely not a wild boar!

So four and a half hours tomorrow, and then it's just 4 films and 13 episodes of Crusade... and then I can watch something else... Yay!

[Previous entry: "Bored Of B5"]

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Bored Of B5

[Previous entry: "Rangers And Telepaths"]

One more B5 will put us two discs down, and it's "Day Of The Dead" at least for the Brakiri. Earth comedians Rebo and Zooty come to the station (played by the suitably unfunny Penn and Teller). And so do a few old friends and enemies. Presumably whichever guest stars they could lure back...

Lennier drops by for a visit, and he knows about the event - one night every 200 years, that there are strange tales about. And Lennier is also a Penn and Teller fan. Lochley, however, clearly isn't.

The Brakiri need to buy the station for the night, so that it is Brakiri territory and the Day of the Dead will occur. Well, a chunk of the station is anyway...

And so it begins... although G'Kar is outside the Brakiri zone by choice (he's decided to sleep in C&C rather than in his quarters)... Lochley finds herself out of communication with the station (but then, she's on the Brakiri homeworld now)... Londo gets Adira back... Garibaldi finds Dodger in his shower... Lochley finds her friend, Zoe, in her quarters, although she's been dead for 20 years - they were definitely a couple of drug-addicted partyers in their youth... and Lennier? Lennier, who's hoping to get a word with Marcus again, instead ends up with Mr Morden. Morden does get to tell him that he will betray the Rangers.

And Zoe brings a message from Kosh - "When the long night comes, return to the end of the beginning."

And then, we're dealing with raiders while "In The Kingdom Of The Blind" - but they're destroying the ships without taking the cargo, and there's military precision to the attacks. Londo is back on Centauri Prime with his Narn bodyguard... G'Kar.

Something is afoot in the Royal court... the Regent is very rarely seen... he's been drinking a lot, when he cultivated sobriety before... and a whole bunch of normal information is being classified and withheld from general distribution.

Byron's telepaths, wanting a homeworld in return for what was done to them, start spying on the Ambassadors for information. And then they challenge the council - give them a homeworld, or they'll reveal all the secrets they've gained. Unfortunately, and against Byron's wishes, this ends in violence.

An assassination attempt against Mollari is foiled by the Drakh. He gets a cryptic conversation with the Regent. And he's left to wonder (as he plans to return to Babylon 5) what they are doing with the Centauri ships... and then we find they're the raiders everyone's worried about.

And the telepaths, including Lyta and Byron, are under siege.

Although I don't really care (I just want to get through this damned show), the next episode, "A Tragedy Of Telepaths" sees the siege with the telepaths continuing. Lochley has a solution, but she's worried no-one will like it...and a call to Bester really isn't going to be good...

Londo still hasn't managed to leave Centuari Prime, and is puzzled by the increase in ship and weapon production. Interestingly, there's fresh spoo being delivered to somewhere in the south end of the palace... and only Narns can stomach it fresh... so where was it going... ah! There were underground cells there... and yes, there's a prisoner... one G'Kar has a close personal attachment to - Na'Toth.

Lochley goes in to talk to the telepaths. Garibaldi brings a piece of Brakiri ship to the President's attention, that was found at the site of an attack on the Drazi by raiders.

Londo and G'Kar smuggle Na'Toth off Centauri Prime. Bester arrives to stop Byron's telepaths from interfering with the capture of them. And the ones remaining outside the siege decide to go on the offensive, raiding a weapons locker, and then trying to kill Zack, Lochley, Bester, and the others trying to cut into the contained area.

The Bloodhound units are back on B5.

It'd be one more episode to the season mid-point, and to the end of the initial telepath arc, but I've managed to lose interest, so we'll watch something else... in this case, the second double-episode storyline of Sea Of Souls... which, as with the last one, is either called Possession, or Shades Of Evil.

They're out somewhere, with a small boy who seems to be remembering a past life - he remembers how he died, who he was, and his former wife. He also remembers the last words he spoke to his wife before he died... but the research is contaminated - one of the army colleagues of the dead guy lives next door to the boy.

Meanwhile, in London, Michelle Collins' son is remembering living by a lake. And he's speaking fluent Spanish... because George could speak it. Lets be fair, all supernatural shows have to have a freaky kid in them... and Joe is definitely that.

Oh, well that was neat... and yes, definitely freaky kid... I probably should put some more plot here, but I was so engrossed I completely forgot...

[Previous entry: "Rangers And Telepaths"]

Friday, February 11, 2005

Rangers And Telepaths

[Previous entry: "A Slow Start To The Season"]

Ranger training, involving meditation under difficult circumstances, but some of the trainees are going to Babylon 5 (including one who can't seem to get the meditation bit down). And Babylon 5 gets a new organized crime leader. It's definitely a "Learning Curve" for the new Rangers and for Garibaldi... or maybe Zack.

Trace is the new leader, and Zack is putting together a good investigation into his recent activities... so Trace wants him killed.

One of the trainee Rangers gets in the way of the attempt on Zack's life and gets seriously injured. But there's something in the Ranger training about the application of terror, and so Delenn is pulling rank on Lochley to handle the matter. Lochley lets slip that she knows more about Sheridan than they're letting on... what's the back story here?

Okay, dumb bit of training... the moment he's fit enough to walk (even though he's not fully healed) he's let off to fight those who inflicted the punishment on him.

Delenn finds out in this episode, but we have to wait for the next before the audience finds out... well, okay, maybe not, but now Garibaldi knows something is going on. Londo is leaving for Centauri Prime. He'll eventually be the second Emperor Mollari... the first also ended badly... and Londo isn't looking forward to his having to go back and forth until the Regent dies. And there's an accident in the docking bay in "Strange Relations."

Psi-Corps are back, so this'll probably be a Lyta-centric episode, especially after Franklin finds her borrowing medicines from Medlab for the telepath colony. So, Psi-Corps Bloodhound units led by Bester. Of course, Garibaldi isn't going to like this...

Delenn and G'Kar want Franklin to quit Medlab to go out and compile the ultimate treatise on cross-species medicine.

Bester wants the telepaths on a variety of charges, but Sheridan doesn't want to give them up, so Lochley is caught in the middle.

Londo manages to escape a bomb on the ship there to return him to Centauri Prime, as the accident earlier had prevented him from boarding.

Lyta goes up against Bester and his Bloodhound unit to protect the colony... but Bester can get Security to help him this time...

Sheridan and Lochley were married for about three months many, many years ago... which was why the President chose her... he knew he could trust her, even though she was on the other side during the war. She tells Garibaldi, but he's still not allowed out of the brig as he still wants to throw Bester out of an airlock.

Byron decides he has to be a martyr... going down with the rest of his colony. Fortunately, Franklin's medical protocols (based on his new position) requires a 60 day quarantine.

G'Kar gets to be Londo's bodyguard on Centauri Prime... which is a pretty crazy idea... G'Kar initially balks at it until he realises that he gets to stay near Londo in the Centauri Royal Court.

Let me be fair... the singing telepaths at the end are extremely cult-like...

"Secrets Of The Soul" sees the station getting overrun by Byron's telepaths... there's a lot of them arriving... and Zack is jealous of Byron over Lyta.

Apparently Lyta is a Brightly Coloured Fast Moving Object (a BCFMO according to Byron)... and Zack really should have admitted he was in love with Lyta... the dope.

And why does the Hyach history only go back 800 years? Considering their civilizations is supposed to have been around for 7000 years, what happened to the rest of their history?

The telekinetic amidst Byron's band is seriously beaten by a thug in Down Below, and Byron and Lyta have to stop the rest of the band from taking revenge. Unfortunately, Zack finds Byron with the first victim, and throws him in the brig... so he's not there to stop them going after the others.

And then, finally, Byron and Lyta sleep together, and the telepaths discover where they came from... they see halls filled with incubating telepaths on the Vorlon homeworld, and Byron decides they need to demand their own homeworld, as they wouldn't even be what they were if it were not for the war between the Vorlons and Shadows.

[Previous entry: "A Slow Start To The Season"]

Thursday, February 10, 2005

A Slow Start To The Season

[Previous entry: "Babylon 5: The End Of Season Four"]

And so we're off with Season 5 of Babylon 5, and they've got a new Captain on the station, Elizabeth Lochley. And then we get a Ranger tied to a chair, who gets shot and then has a sign hung around his neck saying "Special Delivery for Babylon 5"

So, new title sequence, and this shows a montage of clips from the preceding four years, with all the catchphrases of the characters scattered throughout... and the extremely martial theme tune which doesn't really sound much like their previous one... I've no idea how anyone would know it was the same show the way the theme changes!

Anyway, on with "No Compromises." Garibaldi is trying to set up some inauguration ceremony and bugging Zack over it. Byron (well, okay, mysterious guy in hall, but can I just use his name?) is also on the station. He wants to meet with Lochley and is really mysterious about it...

The Ranger is found floating around the station... and Sheridan is receiving death threats. But he's got better things to do, like bug G'Kar - who now has to write an oath of office and a declaration of principles for the new Alliance and its President.

Byron isn't the only telepath - there's a whole bunch of them wanting to set up a colony on the station. And one of them, a young boy who doesn't speak, can send images of things he's seen to other people.

Sheridan overrules Lochley's decision to refuse the telepaths, declaring it a political decision. And after Lochley jumps down Garibaldi's throat about having resigned Earthforce, Garibaldi gets given the Covert Intelligence position for the Alliance.

Well, that was pretty lacklustre... Delenn and Sheridan's bed is at the Minbari 45 degree angle... and Lennier has requested to be replaced. Londo is having a customs issue in "The Very Long Night Of Londo Mollari." After taking a sip from his impounded Brivari, Londo collapses and is rushed to Medlab.

Lennier decides to join the Rangers, leaving the station because he can't reconcile his love for Delenn with her being with Sheridan.

Londo appears to be trapped in some strange dreamscape after suffering a heart attack - the left heart, which acts something like the human kidney and can't be repaired. He's got to live through the night to get the artificial replacement that's on its way from Centauri Prime.

So, Londo has to apologise to G'Kar for all the bad things he's done, and Lennier leaves. This series is really off to a racing start... yawn...

Signing the Declaration Of Principles is a major sticking point for the league worlds in the new Alliance. Apparently a few of them are against legislating morality... maybe they could have a word with the Republican party?

And then we cut to a world being bombed... who are they? Why are they being bombed? And can we stop with the hero worship of the Rangers? Perhaps we'll find out in "The Paragon Of Animals"

Garibaldi wants to use the telepaths to gather intelligence for the Alliance... everyone else has military telepaths, why shouldn't the Alliance? So Garibaldi gets to approach Byron to ask... but Byron appears to have a problem with authority, and has something of a political movement of his own going on...

Lyta makes a reappearance when the Ranger makes it to B5, critically injured, and they need to get information from his mind. Ahhh. They were the Enfili, and they want to join the Alliance in return for whatever they can give.

She's persuaded by Garibaldi to try approaching Byron again... and they stop the Drazi attack on the Enfili homeworld... she's also a little shocked that Sheridan actually thanks her for something.

Of course, once they've persuaded everyone to sign the Declaration of Principles (after using the Drazi as the perfect counter-example) G'Kar decides to revise it again... and it's better this time!

Lyta returns to hear more from Byron about his political agenda... this isn't going to end well... (and how many times have I used that phrase with this show?).

Finally on this disc, "A View From The Gallery" sees an alien attack on the station from the perspective of two maintenance workers.

Okay, this is a dumb episode... and where the hell are the White Star fleet?

Garibaldi is suffering the stress of the position... that'll go badly at some point...

Of course, we get a brief Delenn interlude where she realises that these two nobodies are the equivalent of Minbari Worker Caste and thereby is appreciative of everything they're doing...

And yawn... this is a really slow start to the season... now, I know they had to shuffle the storyline around with Claudia leaving and the fact that they should have started where Intersections In Real Time left off so they'd have had the Earth war conclusion to play into the season with... stupid networks... renew the show so they don't have to monkey around and give this dead period where nothing much happens...

[Previous entry: "Babylon 5: The End Of Season Four"]

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Babylon 5: The End Of Season Four

[Previous entry: "Lots Of B5 (And No Football)"]

Last two episodes, and we've got a wrap up episode first. "Rising Star" sees Ivanova up and around after Marcus sacrificed himself to heal her.

Londo and G'Kar are forming a very strange friendship, and the Regent of Centauri Prime is dying, so Londo'll have to go back and be Emperor in the new year... and we know how that turns out...

Bester comes to visit Sheridan on Earth (where he's turned himself in to face the consequences of his actions against Clarke), and he's a little upset that his lover might have been one of the telepaths that were used on the Mars mission. Of course, there's lots of threats and counterthreats here, and Sheridan has Bester's number as to what he's planning to do in the years ahead.

Garibaldi is looking for Lise on Mars, and he's not pulling any punches to find her.

Delenn has a plan that Londo finds very amusing... and more than a little crazy. When Sheridan resigns his position in Earthforce (to allow the rest of the crew amnesty for their actions) Delenn comes forward with the new Interstellar Alliance. A flyover of the White Star fleet, and a quick overview of their activities, followed by an offer to allow Earth to join, lead to them needing to find someone to negotiate with - the President of the new Alliance - John Sheridan.

John's father is released... and appointed as new Earth Ambassador to the Alliance. Obviously Earth has to concede something for membership, and Mars gets independence...

Ivanova, promoted to Captain, takes a position in command of one of the new Warlock class destroyers. Delenn and Sheridan get married...

And where is G'Kar's artificial eye?

And then we get the strange episode - "The Deconstruction Of Falling Stars" which sees a Ranger from faaaaaar in the future reviewing historical records of what for us is the future.

So we start with Sheridan and Delenn's return to Babylon 5 after their marriage. Still on January 2nd 2262, we have an ISN report with a bunch of talking heads arguing over the future of the Alliance.

Then we skip forward to 2362. Another bunch of talking heads on Earth, and in this case, they're playing down the contributions of Sheridan and Delenn - where they were just the nexus around which everything revolved and they themselves didn't do all that much. Apparently the first year of the Alliance was a bloody year, and the colony of telepaths was a bad idea.

So we have a Telepath War coming. And footage of Garibaldi being held hostage by some group - he's obviously been beated, but we don't see or hear anything from them. We do see Sheridan and Lochley decide not to bargain with terrorists for hostages, which obviously sells Garibaldi out... and the last shot we see is of someone firing a PPG at him.

And then there's the fiction that Delenn is still alive and living in seclusion, even though there's no way she could have lived for 140 years... at least until she wanders into the show. And she's still as melodramatic as ever.

Next, 500 years into the future, 2762, and we get a virtual environment, with a holographic cast. We do find out that Babylon 5 was destroyed in 2282 (or thereabouts), and that Earth's current policy is that the Alliance's policies are restrictive.

And we're back to facts the government have endorsed - propaganda to get Earth to break with the Alliance. Oh, okay, EarthGov is split, and heading for a civil war.

And while they're reprogramming Sheridan and Franklin to provide propaganda, Garibaldi is hacking the system to transmit the whole conversation and their complete plans to the other side.

And then, 1000 years later (so 3262), and Earth seems to be in a bit of a dark age. The Rangers are posing as monks and they're trying to preserve the knowledge that would have been lost 500 years ago, presumably in the war Garibaldi started...

They've got a book of records, and Lorien is in it, although space is closed to them so there's no way to determine the truth of it. Ivanova The Strong? Prophecies of Delenn the 3rd? The Rangers coming back to Earth... erm, you're having a crisis of faith but they're already there...

And then, the present... well, 1 million years after 2262... records being conveyed to New Earth, and the sun is going supernova... which seems a bit early doesn't it? Anyway, we see the human Ranger has evolved into a non-corporeal form in an encounter suit. In only a million years? Although I guess the timescales probably work out for the difference in age between the Vorlons and the Humans.

Okay, and there we are with the end of series 4. One to go, plus a bunch of not very good movies, and the killed-before-its-prime Crusade. And then we can watch something else... Yay!

So season 4, how was it? It started well, building up Sheridan's return, and the Shadow War finale... then it sort of lost its way for a bit... they had this Minbari Civil War going on that I either blanked out on large chunks of or it was really disjointed and not particularly interesting to follow. Then we had the war against Earth, which had a few good space battles, lots of interminable buildup, some good Garibaldi stuff, and then two naff slow episodes at the end. Not as stellar as I remember anyway... and now we've got to suffer through Season 5... which if I remember correctly starts really, really slowly! It should pick up a bit towards the Centauri Prime episode who's title pretty much gives the game away...

[Previous entry: "Lots Of B5 (And No Football)"]

Monday, February 7, 2005

Lots Of B5 (And No Football)

[Previous entry: "Buildup To Mars"]

More B5 (no, I'm not watching that football game that the rest of the country seem to be obsessed with) and they open with Garibaldi showing that he's still a nice guy, even if he has a difference of opinion with the Captain. Mysterious stranger is still watching him. "Conflicts Of Interest" sees the Captain wanting Garibaldi's link, gun and badge back, and Edgars sends someone to be smuggled onto the station... someone who Garibaldi knows... welcome back Lise Hampton...

The Captain tries to get G'Kar and Londo to work together, in agreeing to let the White Star fleet and the Rangers patrol the border zones to keep the Drakh and other dangers away.

Garibaldi has to rescue Lise from a firefight in Down Below. Ivanova has to go to Epsilon 3 to get the power to allow the Voice Of The Resistance to broadcast to Earth... and there's another 9 or so Zathras-es...

In "Rumours, Bargains And Lies" the Minbari Civil War starts, with fighting in the capital city. And Sheridan tries to get the League worlds to sign on to his defence policy with the White Star fleet... and he's come up with a cunning plan to get them to agree without having to persuade them... either that or he's gone crazy.

Delenn meets with Neroon, acting all mysterious and high-handed again... can this woman do anything that isn't completely melodramatic and over the top? Okay, they're just going to try and work together to end the war without either the Warrior or Religious Castes winning.

Meanwhile, the Captain tells G'Kar and Londo not to talk about the White Star ships, and he sends Marcus out to blow up a few rocks... and the Drazi Ambassador is suitably confused by all of this... especially after Franklin asks for more blood supplies from each of the League worlds.

Unfortunately, Delenn's subterfuge makes the rest of the Religious Caste on board think she's selling them out, so they decide to sacrifice themselves and the ship. Fortunately, Lennier is around to resolve the problem.

Ivanova is asked to mention that absolutely nothing happened in a particular sector of space during her Voice Of The Resistance broadcast. So of course, the Ambassadors think that there's an invisible enemy out there that only the White Stars can see.

"Moments Of Transition" sees Lyta out of work... she can't get a job as a telepath as she's not in Psi-Corps. The Minbari Warrior Caste have decided to end the war by destroying the city where the Religious Caste are holed up.

Bester comes back to the station. Lyta is struggling for money and has been asked by the station to move to smaller quarters. She finally gets a job with Garibaldi.

The Religious Caste agree to surrender, and they hold it in some old sacred temple. But Delenn has a cunning plan... Using the Starfire Wheel to choose a new leader, as traditions dictate... or at least traditions before Valen formed the Grey Council... Shakiri tries to back out of the necessary sacrifice, but Neroon uses his own words against him, and so he too steps into the Wheel.

Edgars forces Garibaldi to fire Lyta... so she's back out of work... and back in Bester's clutches. Bester is also manipulating Garibaldi, but we don't yet know why...

And Delenn forms a new Grey Council... just not in the usual 3x3 formation as of old.

Earth crosses the line... killing civilians at Proxima. Sheridan makes the decision to fight back.

So the war starts in "No Surrender, No Retreat." Sheridan declares the mutual protection treaties between the League worlds and Earth null and void. So they can only render humanitarian aid while he fights to free Earth and its colonies from Clarke's rule.

Proxima 3 has to be rescued before they surrender - they're blockaded by a number of Earth cruisers. Sheridan wants Franklin to start defrosting the telepaths... he's obviously got a plan. And the Earth cruisers have to be given a chance to surrender before they start destroying them. It's going to get messy out there...

Proxima 3 is liberated. And Garibaldi goes to Mars... and he isn't coming back...

So then, with Garibaldi back on Mars, he's worried that it'll get him killed this time, as it nearly has the last three. Sheridan's war fleet continue freeing colonies on their long march to Mars and Earth. "The Exercise Of Vital Powers" sees Franklin trying to do more work on the telepaths, but the implants are determined to kill the patient if you try and tamper with them. Fortunately Lyta turns up and manages to make contact with the implanted telepath.

Garibaldi gets to meet William Edgars, and he's let in on some of the plots and shenanigans that've gone on back home. He just doesn't tell him everything... like what he's doing with a bunch of sick telepaths.

Sheridan informs Franklin what he's planning to do with the telepaths... and Franklin realises quite how much Sheridan has changed since his trip to Z'ha'dum. He and Lyta are going to Mars...

And Garibaldi agrees to set up Sheridan for capture...

Then I stupidly took a break to watch "Jason X" - it's pretty much the only one of the Friday The 13th series I've seen, so I've no idea what the backstory is. It's just fun to see Romy and Becka from Andromeda having switched roles.

Then back to B5, and the war is heating up, Garibaldi is setting up the capture of Sheridan, and Franklin and Lyta are doing stuff on Mars. "The Face Of The Enemy" sees Number One and Lyta at odds on Mars - she obviously doesn't like telepaths.

Sheridan gets word from Garibaldi that his father has been captured, so obviously the Captain goes running off to Mars where he gets tranq-ed and captured (well, after an over-the-top stylish punch up in a bar, with strobe lighting and heavy rock soundtrack... what was the director thinking?!).

Ivanova takes over the fleet, just as IsN announce his capture (intercut with his torture).

In return for the capture, Edgards lets Garibaldi in on his plans for the telepaths - a virus that only Edgars Industries has the antidote for... one that they can carefully control to keep the telepaths in line. Fortunately, Garibaldi finds nothing wrong with the plan. Unfortunately, Lise overhears the whole conversation. Oh, and Garibaldi has a transmitter embedded in a fake tooth.

Which leads back to where all this started - Bester. The Shadows had come to B5 and Sheridan had gone to Z'ha'dum. They knew only three people could replace Sheridan... one of which being Garibaldi, who they thought they could adjust to serve them. The telepaths were called in to help with that process, and Bester intervened.

And then it's the "two men in a room" episode - "Intersections In Real Time" where an Earth interrogator uses every trick in the book to break the Captain and force him to sign a confession.

Oh, and Wayne Alexander doesn't make a very convincing Drazi.

Then, more torture in "Between The Darkness And The Light" but this time they've altered the Captain's perceptions so he thinks he's talking to Franklin after having escaped.

Garibaldi tries to get in touch with the resistance - to tell them his side of the story - but he's fortunate that Franklin wants to hear his tale before killing him. And that Lyta is there to scan Garibaldi to verify the truth, and is capable of transmitting it to Number One so that she believes it.

Meanwhile, Ivanova's war is going reasonably well - they're cutting through the Earth Cruisers that keep getting thrown in their path. Eventually they're going to get to Mars though...

G'Kar and Londo have managed to get the League to agree that they should help Sheridan in return for his help to their worlds during the Shadow War. So they're lending warships to Ivanova's fleet.

Garibaldi, Franklin, and Lyta, along with random resistance member (who's been a guest star on every show in existence... Melinda Clarke) go to rescue Sheridan.

Ivanova finds out about an ambush Clarke is planning with some new design of warship with crews completely loyal to Earth. So she decides to engage solely with the White Star fleet to prevent the remaining Earth destroyers in the fleet from being destroyed.

Unfortunately, Earth has adapted Shadow tech and integrated it into their new warships... this can't be good. And, although they manage to defeat them, Susan is critically injured when a chunk of debris impacts her ship's bridge. So she's dying, she's got maybe a week to live... and Marcus will move heaven and Earth to save her...

There appears to be someone reenacting the football game in real-time above my bedroom, so I'm going to have to watch the last episode on this disc rather than go to bed...

Ivanova is being moved back to B5 ahead of the attack on Mars. And we find out what Sheridan has planned for the frozen telepaths - one per destroyer in the Earth fleet surrounding Mars. Garibaldi is scouting some installation on the Martian surface - presumably we'll get a hint of what it is eventually. So here we are in the "Endgame" and Garibaldi is taking Earthforce installations - well, the perimeter guardposts for some base anyway.

Lyta's taking a big risk, having to go outside to contact the telepaths.

Marcus is obsessed with finding a cure for Ivanova, and Lennier is hedging about whether there's anything that could help her. It doesn't look like Marcus is going to leave the subject alone though.

The telepaths do their job pretty well, disabling most of the fleet, and allowing Sheridan to continue on to Earth. Meanwhile, Marcus has discovered the alien healing device that was used to heal Garibaldi after he was shot in the back... this isn't going to end well...

Clarke takes his own life, but not before leaving a very worrying message - Scorched Earth - that turns the defensive batteries on Earth itself.

Oh, and all I can say is it was a good job his attempts at stopping the Mars fleet weren't entirely successful!

ISN finally comes back on the air with the truth, and Franklin tries to get outside the jamming range so they can stop Marcus... it would have been nice if Claudia Christian had given earlier notice that she wouldn't be back for the next season, so they could have kept Marcus around...

[Previous entry: "Buildup To Mars"]

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Buildup To Mars

[Previous entry: "Catching Up"]

Saturday dawned... well, okay, Saturday mid-day-ed and I managed to get up to watch the last three episodes of Two Point Four Children. Still vaguely amusing, but they really need to get an actress for Jenny who's got some comic timing and isn't quite so bratty... hopefully next series is when they change.

Then, I watched more Doctor Who, in this case Ghost Light... more mysterious seventh doctor... and although the storyline takes some watching to make sense, it's a fun little tale.

After then spending an age trying to guess films over here, I decided I'd better get back to Babylon 5 (especially after today's DVD shipment arrived). I need to finish this up a.s.a.p. so I feel freer to start another series.

So we get to "Atonement" where Delenn is recalled to Minbar for some Dreaming ceremony, G'Kar gets given an artificial eye that will still send images to him outside of his body, and Franklin and Marcus are sent to Mars to set up lines of communication.

We get to see a little bit of the prelude to the Earth-Minbari war... we'll come back to this when I finally get to In The Beginning, but for now it's enough to know that the Minbari race is no longer pure (well, duh... Valen was human... he obviously had children... they've had a thousand years).

And we get Marcus singing... yeesh!

Then we get "Racing Mars" and Marcus and Franklin are getting on each others nerves on their trip to Mars, and Ivanova orders Sheridan to take a vacation.

The antagonism between Sheridan and Garibaldi steps up a level... what with a major shouting match. It does however bring Garibaldi to the attention of a mysterious group.

Marcus and Franklin are suitably wound up by Captain Jack, who turns out to be their contact with the Underground. Of course, their new identity has them posing as a married couple, but that's the least of their problems.

Okay, the Minbar have a whole bunch of pointless rituals involved with two people mating, but the night of discovering each other's erogenous zones doesn't seem to be too much of a hardship!

Captain Jack gives an interesting fact here - destroying the keeper doesn't help... it grows back if you try to kill it or even if it leaves on its own...

Okay, the Minbari ceremony where they discover each other's erogenous zones has an audience... okay, they're a bunch of religious caste nuts but still... they pretty much guarantee there's no real sex going on... except maybe for the occasional WhooHoo!

"Lines Of Communication" sees Ivanova setting up The Voice Of The Resistance to counter the ISN lies that are currently being perpetrated... oh, okay, it's really about Franklin and Marcus' negotiations on Mars and Earth's responses.

Meanwhile, the Minbari have a problem... Delenn gets to meet the Drakh... now at least if they were as out of phase as the Shadows, we wouldn't have to put up with quite as much blurry CGI... but they're looking for a new homeworld since they lost their own... and they're not willing to admit that their homeworld was Z'ha'dum...

Ooh, and Delenn isn't much into the whole "we beat you, now go away" principle... they beat the Drakh within an inch of their lives and now they're going back for more! Obviously Delenn gets a completely over the top final line - in this case "End This!" - but it'll have to wait an episode or two...

Considering the branch point here - with Delenn returning to Minbar to try to avert the forthcoming civil war - There's nothing significant about Delenn's future actions, and arguing Sheridan can make a significant impact on the war against Earth is stupid considering his ties to Earth... but at least they get dinner...

[Previous entry: "Catching Up"]

Saturday, February 5, 2005

Catching Up

[Previous entry: "2 Point 4 Doctors"]

Well, I did well there didn't I... where are we, about a month and already I'm having trouble keeping up... Lets see, what have I watched since the last entry?

Well, there was more Doctor Who in "The Leisure Hive" - a Tom Baker adventure with waaay too much early CGI work. Tom didn't seem to be all that in the mood for it, appearing pretty sullen throughout...

Then I accidentally got sucked into "Sea Of Souls" - I watched the first of the three stories (both parts), which is either called "Shades Of Evil", or "Possession", depending on whether you take the packaging or the DVD menu as gospel... there aren't any titles in the episodes themselves, so someone in the marketing department screwed up somewhere.

Anyway... psychic twins, one of whom is less than stable. Great cast, well acted, and the twins played by the same actress appears to have got to the point where it's completely seamless when they appear on screen together. Of course, one of the twins dies, and we're left with lots of mystery as to which twin it was... and I wasn't expecting the ending, so that was nice. We'll have to see if the other two stories hold up as well.

Tonight saw me indulging in pointless Sci-Fi in "The Fifth Element" - big goofy film, and amazingly I didn't hate Chris Rock's performance tonight, which usually grates on me very rapidly.

And now I'm back in dithering indecision mode... watch something else... go to bed... if I watch something else what do I put on so I don't go waaaaaaay past midnight... I'd quite like to put on something I can keep only one eye on as I'm still frantically entering DVDs over on DVDSpot... link will be forthcoming once I'm done...

Heh, you can tell I've been too long at entering data on DVDs... I've decided to watch Anime, which I obviously can't do if I'm trying to type at the same time, as I need to read the subtitles. So here we are with Little Snow Fairy Sugar, Volume 2. Cue Saga, the young extremely organized girl, who accidentally finds a fairy one day. Said fairy, Sugar, is an apprentice, and has to find a seed and then a twinkle to make it grow (or bloom or flourish or something). It's been a while since I saw the first disc. Anyway, Saga's life is pretty much turned upside-down by the waffle fiend Sugar.

Anyway, here we get the introduction of the Elder fairy, who's apparently in love with Ginger... the rain fairy that was around earlier.

Okay, this show is way beyond cute... and it was definitely written with small children in mind. But it's still really endearing, and the animation is gorgeous...

But I really have to get back to something serious tomorrow!

[Previous entry: "2 Point 4 Doctors"]

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

2 Point 4 Doctors

[Previous entry: "B5, With A Vengeance"]

I really should be continuing with B5, but I feel like taking another break... this series is daunting to get into... so instead we'll go with 2 Point 4 Children, series 1, which may or may not be as funny as I remember it. Actually, the three episodes I watched were quite amusing still... even with the first actress playing Jenny (who, to be fair, is the least funny member of the cast).

And then, as I was cataloguing Doctor Who for DVD Spot, I ended up wanting to rewatch Remembrance of the Daleks. Having read the synopsis on the back of the box and seeing that it harkened back to the first episode (I'd obviously missed that fact when I first watched it), I decided it was worth rewatching. But there really aren't all that many links back to the start of the show (of course, it'd be difficult considering most of the cast of that would be dead now).

And this is the suitably mysterious and all-knowing seventh Doctor that we know and love, a break in the silly episodes that went before and took up the rest of this season. He regains the air of manipulating everything around him when the final series of the show starts. And to be fair, that's the seventh Doctor I love, from Battlefield and the continual hints that he may have been Merlin, to Ghost Light's continual manipulation of Ace, to The Curse Of Fenric's chess game against the evil head of the vampires.

It'll be interesting to see what sort of Doctor they're writing the new one as... I'm not a big fan of Ecclestone, and the thought of having failing songstress Billie Piper as companion is a scary one, but then I guess it's no worse than Bonnie Langford. Are they going for the effete dandy of the third and sixth Doctors, or the mysteriously knowing expert with a bit of darkness in his past of the second, fourth and seventh Doctors? Or do we even have to put up with a return of the cluelessness that the fifth exhibited? And yes, I'm stereotyping horribly here, but it does sort of match up with my preferences for which I like.

Seven, Two, and Four... probably in that order. The rest are all much of a muchness, although Five and Six lose out due to having really annoying companions... Nyssa is watchable, but Tegan, Adric, and Peri need to be taken out and shot. Of course, two of them appear to die horribly, so I can't complain too badly!

But is there any logic to the DVD releases? Ignoring the USA only release of the Key To Time series, they're fairly scattershot in their releases. A story here, a story there. I know there's a whole lot of stories to release, but it'd be nice if there was a little logic...

Of course, in the case of the first two Doctors, they're constrained by the fact that there are big chunks missing. And in the case of the last two, they're contrained by the fact that there just aren't all that many stories to release. And there's some logic in wanting to release a story for each Doctor each year, as there will be people only buying the stories from some Doctors. But it'd be nice if the Tom Baker and Peter Davison stories were being released in some sort of order. I mean, how am I supposed to follow any sort of ongoing storylines?

[Previous entry: "B5, With A Vengeance"]


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