Babylon5 – The Lost Tales

This is a review of the 2007 straight to DVD movie. While it sells itself as a movie it is actually more like two shortened episodes that take place at the same time. Those two stories play one after the other as opposed to being the traditional A story with B story filling the games. It is sort of like a double A-side.
I’m not entirely sure why it needs to end with the B5 boom scene and some G’Kar quoting. It feels a bit of a heavy introduction and tries to tie into a heavy back-story. That isn’t really necessary. They don’t need a big recap. Only an ardent B5 fan will end up watching this latest excerpt.

Over Here
In a normal TV series, this would be a called a bottle episode. Thirty minutes with two locations and three characters, only one of which is main cast. Alternatively it could be the A plot from a full length episode, but someone forgot to add the B plot. Irrespective of that, it produces a deep story diving into the emotional and expressive side of things.
When approaching a story that might have religious currents, JMS usually goes with the scientific explanation, debunking any aspects of faith. Here we have a slightly religious commanding officer and a weary Priest with a lose grip on his faith confronting a diabolical enemy and defeating it with thought and a solution that ties into religious dogma. Normally possession is always be caused by aliens but unusually, that is not the case here. The whole episode is well acted (although the possession might be a bit heavy), and places the priest in an interesting dilemma. Over Here is a strong dramatic piece.

Over There
This is the expansive episode. There is a variety of locations and a sense that they are travelling through space as well as with the story as Sheridan journeys to B5 for the 10th anniversary of the Interstellar Alliance, picking up a representative of the Centauri Republic along the way.

Having just watched plenty of B5 recently I didn’t really need the scene with the journalist. It was nicely done with plenty of shout-outs to the original series but I don’t think that it played anything much into the original series. The story as a whole is was not one of life’s disappointments but it was mean of Sheridan to conduct the interview in such a disorientating environment. How does he get away with being a political leader that infrequently speaks to the press? Personally I think that Sheridan invented quantum space as a setting that really just makes everyone feel wobbly while he was under interview.

I find Galen to be a little disappointing. He is a lot more aggressive than was seen during Crusade. He adopts a very hard tone and only really relaxes to his normal self when saying that Sheridan didn’t have to take any actions should be choose not to. The final scene with Sheridan was much needed. Without Sheridan verbally explaining Galen’s plan, Galen would have come across rather abrasively and not at all heroically. At least this is typical of his Crusade persona. Galen cannot just explain things openly and instead pulls a very risky gambit to manipulate people into reaching his ideal outcome.
I do have to wonder about how an enemy fleet can get close enough to Earth without being detected that they can cause such massive devastation. It is also unusual to hear that only Earth could prevent the rise of the Centauri. Are the Minbari in decline to such an extent that they are a a lessor power than Earth, or is it because Humans act as the glue that holds the Interstellar community together?

I like how Prince Ventari is introduced. Since Sheridan is supposed to kill him he needed to be a character that is instantly dislikable, and he comes across as just the right amount of crazy, paranoid and megalomania. He is very much a spoilt child that could break everyone’s toys and then throw them out. He talks about bring about a reconing, how he will reclaim glory for the empire, that his enemies will suffer and his open dislike and unhidden threats with regard to Vir, then just before it is time to kill him he opens up about his issues, about how he has no friends, only feels safe away from Centauri Prime with Sheridan, had no chance for fun as he grew up, his joy at getting to fly a Starfury and his dreams.
The about turn with his presentation (nicely done with plenty of foreshadowing and hints), allows Sheridan to see the opportunity to steer Ventari towards a brighter destiny and offer a chance to learn kindness. The laughter this presents brings the theme to a conclusion (laughter being an important theme in this episode).

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