Thursday, May 1, 2008

Not With a Bang

Another TV post. And, herewith, a spoiler warning for those few people who (like me) have waited a few extra years to watch Babylon 5.

The Shadow War just ended.

And the moral of the story is: Spout enough cliche's at the bad guys and they'll run clear out of the galaxy (universe?) to escape you.

That and the Shadows are really big wimps, scared of the dark. So are the Vorlons: "Will you go with us?" the Shadow representative asks the first old one plaintively. "Then we won't be alone," the Vorlon adds. Oh, and they want to know if all their friends will be waiting for them when they get there (wherever "there" is.).

It was, to put it mildly, a letdown. I mean, this sort of "talk them down by demonstrating our maturity/logic/stubbornness" is something James T. Kirk can get away with (kind of), but it really doesn't work here.

And, while I can see making all sorts of thematic and moral arguments as to why having a war end with a lecture rather than a battle is a good thing, I can't see any real plot-related arguments for having the big letdown. Yes--peace talks are good. Cliche'd monologues, not so much so.

That and the Shadow and Vorlon motivations as revealed by the exposition made no sense at all. Nor did their quitting "You can kill us," Delenn says, "and then those who come after us, and those who come after them..." Quite right, and I'm not sure why they didn't.

Actually, the Shadow motivations made some sense & were consistent: They foster growth through violence, and have a great time running around asking people "What do you want?" and then giving it to them--as long as it is sufficiently bloody. (And why did they side with the Centauri & not the Narn? Their representative asked both amassadors). The Vorlons, however, are supposed to be trying to drive people toward order. When I thought that they thought they would win the war by wiping out everyone who had followed the Shadows, it made a certain amount of sense, but when it turned out that their goal wasn't to wipe out the Shadows, themselves, it stopped making a whole lot of sense. Dead burned out planets are orderly, but the dead can't then agree that you were right all along and it is better to keep books in alphabetical order. I guess maybe they were hoping for a head start with the living sentients while the remaining Shadows recouped?

It was confusing, frustrating, and a complete letdown. For this we had Sheridan's Second Coming?

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