Friday, February 23, 2007

Babylon 5: 5x03-5x06

So far, season five has consistently impressed me. While the show may lack the overarching focus that made the first four seasons so strong, that need to stick to the plan also meant the characters didn’t have much room to breathe. There was always a new threat to deal with, and after a while, that dehumanized everyone. But, now we’re getting insight into a different side of their lives and that’s fun to see.

On most great TV shows, the hook is the story, be it a family that runs a funeral home or a girl who slays vampires, but what really makes the show special is the characters. By the second season of Buffy, I didn’t particularly care about the everyday slaying of vampires, in fact I found the random action scenes distracted from the series’ real strength, which was its people. The reason shows like Lost and Heroes ultimately fail is that they are plot based, and eventually that gets tiresome. I have no desire to just hang out with Claire or Peter Petrelli in the same way that I would gladly watch Buffy and her crew sitting around doing nothing. One of the best episodes of the series, ‘Conversations with Dead People,’ was just talking and it was riveting.

The Babylon 5 people never hooked me in the same way that Buffy’s crew did. I’m a huge fan of Londo and G’Kar, and have had mixed reaction to the others along the way. But, I’m liking everybody more this season, the transition to the Alliance has created more distinct roles and viewpoints for the characters to take. I never found the Earth War as interesting as the Shadow War, so I’m happy to just have a season where there’s no massive events, it’s all about establishing a workable status quo to move the universe forward.

To that end, the threats are more of the powergrabbing variety, as in ‘The Paragon of Animals,’ and its focus on the Drazi alliance with the raiders. Here we see the way that greed will always remain and threaten the weak. The story itself is pretty solid, though it’s a bit obvious in the way that Sheridan and his circle teach a lesson to the other races.

Sheridan has a very different quality this season. No longer directly responsible for the welfare of the station, he feels more relaxed and human than he has been since season two. It’s refreshing to have scenes where he and Delenn are just being together, not directly involved in a major crisis.

‘Paragon’ also develops the telepath camp storyline, a storyline that’s rapidly becoming my favorite part of the show. Lyta is a character who’s always had a lot of potential, but she rarely got the narrative attention that she deserved. As Byron says, she’s been serving the mundanes, working for their agenda without any agency of her own. As many good shows will do, a deficiency with the writing is turned into a character trait, it’s not that Lyta didn’t get any good storylines, it’s that she has been unwilling to assert herself and find direction in her life.

A lot of this story reminds me of X-Men, right down to Byron talking about a world that hates and fears them. Byron takes the Magneto approach, saying that they shouldn’t dim their powers just to fit in with the mundanes, rather they should create a new society that will appreciate their talents. He’s a charismatic figure, and this message appeals to Lyta, particularly because Garibaldi is again seeking to use her for his own ends.

This story really takes off in ‘Strange Relations,’ where Lyta defies the Psi Corps, and shields the telepaths. The episode paves the way for the upcoming telepath war by showing us Byron as a divisive figure. The Psi Corps is all about making telepaths palatable to humans, keeping them under strict control and using their talents only in a regulated setting. It’s about turning them into weapons. Byron wants to move beyond that and create a world where their abilities can be fully integrated into ordinary life. In doing so, he would inevitably create a divide between telepaths and mundanes.

Lyta is caught between her loyalty to both Psi Corps and the people on Babylon 5 and her natural desire to belong. With Byron and his crew, she would find a togetherness and safety unlike anything she’s previously experienced. I love the scene at the end of the episode where they’re all singing and she lingers outside, then gets gradually drawn in, finally fully embracing the full potential of her identity as a telepath. This development works because it creates an interpersonal conflict that won’t be easy to resolve. We’ve already seen that the telepath colony was in retrospect considered the worst decision Sheridan ever made, and when it goes down, Lyta will be the one caught in the middle. I feel like this is the story they’ve been building to ever since we started to get details about what the Corps does back in season one.

Even as I loved the fact that Lyta was becoming a part of their group, there’s nothing like a bunch of people singing to make you think cult. Byron has created this cult around him, and I’m guessing that he’ll end up either getting killed or captured, prompting the riot we saw in ‘Falling Stars.’ This may also be the moment that unleashes all of Lyta’s power, sending her down the Dark Phoenix road. Byron kept referring to willows when speaking to her, reinforcing one character connection, and apparently there’s an upcoming episode called ‘Phoenix Rising.’

Side note, I know the Phoenix itself is a mythological entity, but did the story draw from any kind of myth, or was it a Claremont creation? The reason I ask is that I feel like it’s become a touchstone for a lot of works that followed, a new archetype to draw from. I suppose there’s always been stories about people being corrupted by power, but the specific way that Phoenix’s power is at first good, then becomes corrupt is a bit different, plus having a female protagonist separates it from something like Lord of the Rings. It may not be all new, but I would argue that the Phoenix saga synthesized a bunch of traditional elements into a new mythology that has gone on to influence many creators.

Tracking back, there was the fun standalone episode, ‘A View From the Galley.’ A bunch of this year’s episodes have been experimental in some way, and this one generally works, using the same basic idea as Buffy’s ‘The Zeppo,’ showing a typical huge conflict from the perspective of an ordinary guy. I suppose both episodes owe a debt to Rosencratnz and Guildenstern are Dead, something that’s reinforced when they meet up with Byron as he’s quoting Hamlet. I also got a C-3PO and R2-D2 vibe from the characters, particularly because of the tall/short combo.

The two of them may have been a bit excessive in their working classness, but I enjoyed spending the hour with them. It certainly worked better at making us care about the maintenance workings of the station than the similar ‘By Any Means Necessary’ in season one. There, I felt like they were doing a generic union story that just happened to take place on Babylon 5, here it was a story about Babylon 5 that just happened to star a couple of maintenance workers.

Seeing things through their eyes gave us a good sense of the way that the characters we know have been built into legends in the eyes of the ordinary folk. This is the beginning of the mythology that will persist 1,000 years into the future. My issue with this is that having these two guys profess their admiration for all the characters feels a bit self congratulatory at times. When the two of them talk about the power of Sheridan and Delenn’s love, it feels like JMS is talking about how great his writing was, to create that relationship. But, I suppose a scene like the one where Delenn smiles at them works better if we imagine her as a huge celebrity in this world, someone ordinary people would be in awe of meeting.

The best scenes of this episode were the scene where Bo and Mack get caught in the middle of a firefight, and then go to see Byron, who shows them what it would be like to be in the middle of the battle. This is an action that is analogous to what the show is doing for the audience, putting us in a different world, with higher stakes, making us wonder what we would do if we were in this position.

The other moment that bothered me was when he had the two of them accept Lochley. I found it odd that he would throw in a jab about Ivanova leaving for more money, from reading the online reaction at the time, I don’t think you’d want to bring that back up, particularly if your goal is to get the audience behind Lochley.

I’m actually going to come out in favor of Lochley. My major issue with Ivanova was that in the later years, she just became Sheridan’s echo. In the same way that Garibaldi’s dissent kept things interesting last year, Lochley’s outsider status raises tension within the station. You wouldn’t have a situation like the conflict with Psi Corps in ‘Relations’ if Ivanova was commander of the station.

I feel like having Lochley be Sheridan’s former wife is an unnecessary twist, the sort of cheap revelation that raises the stakes in their relationship without really earning it. It’s a suprising revelation, but it doesn’t really affect me because their relationship doesn’t seem particularly influenced by what they had. I don’t think I’d have any problem if they had just been in a relationship before, but having them married is the ultimate TV cliché to raise the stakes in a relationship. I also fear that it will pave the way for Lochley to become too friendly to Sheridan, removing tension from the station. I think JMS so firmly believes in Sheridan’s ideals, he’d be reluctant to have a character we’re meant to like who didn’t agree with him.

I’m still a bit frustrated by Garibaldi’s total return to Sheridan’s side. I think there should have been a deeper discussion of what went on between them. That said, I love his new incarnation as a Batman like detective. He has no scruples, doing whatever needs to be done to get the job done. The best moment for him is when he sees Bester and everything that happened comes rushing back.

‘Learning Curve’ was pretty much a dud. The story about the ranger was an example of a standalone that doesn’t work. I didn’t care much about the characters and the episode was too dependent on them. The storylines centered on the Minbari don’t usually work for me, and this was no exception. I think the makeup makes it tough to understand the characters. We can understand Lennier because he’s been around so long, but it’s tougher to understand these random new characters.

The stuff with Londo and G’Kar in these episodes was fun, particularly the revelation that G’Kar will be serving as Londo’s bodyguard. I’d imagine we’ll get some painful stuff later in the season, as Londo is gradually taken over by the keeper, and drifts away from his new friend. The downside of that plot is that it’s going to take the two best characters away from the station. Londo’s speech about leaving Babylon 5 is the start of what will presumably be a lot of introspection about the end of the station.

I’m really liking where the show is right now. The telepath colony plot is fantastic, and I’m eager to see Lyta go deeper into their world. Not every episode is working, but there’s enough good stuff here that I’m getting a strong feeling of forward momentum, only this time it’s more about character growth than narrative progression.

The Invisibles #13: 'Sheman: Part 1: Venus as a Boy'

‘Venus as a Boy’ is the first issue of the series that really feels like The Invisibles to me. While I enjoy most of the stuff before hand, it’s still in a formative stage, figuring out the groundrules of the world and the personalities of the characters. Here, everything comes together and we get a really strong issue that has both a lot of important thematic content and some really great character stuff....

I've taken down my posts on The Invisibles because they're all coming out in book form. The book, Our Sentence is Up, features revised and expanded versions of each blog post, covering every issue of The Invisibles, plus an extensive interview with Morrison himself. Visit your local comic store and order a copy now!

The Invisibles #12: 'Best Man Fall'

Sometime ago, I had the idea for a story that would focus on a random soldier in some kind of larger organization. Intercut with this would be a typical action story, focusing on a typical action hero. In the end, the stories would converge when the ‘hero’ kills the random guy. The idea of messing with traditional ideas of good and bad had always fascinated me, and this seemed like a great way to do this. The first time I read ‘Best Man Fall,’ I loved it, but part of me was annoyed because Grant had taken my story idea and done it so well, my story idea was pretty much obsolete. But, at the same time, I was overjoyed by the quality of this story and the way it fit into the world the series had already created. It was the first issue that really made me understand that this series would be something special....

I've taken down my posts on The Invisibles because they're all coming out in book form. The book, Our Sentence is Up, features revised and expanded versions of each blog post, covering every issue of The Invisibles, plus an extensive interview with Morrison himself. Visit your local comic store and order a copy now!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Invisibles #11: 'Royal Monsters'

‘Royal Monsters’ introduces a lot of elements that will go on to be critical pieces of the series, giving us our first real insight into ‘them.’ Much of this read has been devoted to trying to truly see beyond dualism and try to understand both sides of the conflict. However, an issue like this reminds us why, for all their flaws, The Invisibles are still fighting the good fight....

I've taken down my posts on The Invisibles because they're all coming out in book form. The book, Our Sentence is Up, features revised and expanded versions of each blog post, covering every issue of The Invisibles, plus an extensive interview with Morrison himself. Visit your local comic store and order a copy now!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Battlestar Galactica - 'A Day in the Life' (3x15)

‘A Day in the Life’ was definitely better than last week’s lackluster episode, but it’s another episode where some stuff happens and nothing really changes. It’s thoroughly enjoyable from moment to moment, but when the episode’s over, you’re left with the feeling that nothing has really changed.

The best thing about this episode is the visuals and story constructions. Battlestar is more avant garde than any other show on TV, possibly ever, in the way it works on a kind of subconscious level, freely blending memory, hallucination and reality to build its world. I wasn’t thrilled with some of the substance of the scenes with Adama’s wife, but their incorporation into the narrative was great, flowing seamlessly out of the real world stuff. Plus, the color correction made the dream world seem vivid and alive, a great contrast to the muted palette of the rest of the series. This is stuff that no other show on TV is doing.

There were a couple of fantastic scenes in this episode, most notably the final scene with Adama and Roslin, where they reflect on New Caprica. One of the reasons I loved ‘Unfinished Business’ was that it gave us such a contrast to the typical oppressive feel of the series. For the only time we’ve seen on the show, these characters were just living normal lives, free of an overarching threat. Looking back, I wish that season two had ended with the settling, then the first three or four episodes of season three focused on New Caprica before the occupation, then there were six or seven episodes about the Cylon occupation. I’m still unsure whether Moore and co. chose to cut off the New Caprica story solely because of budget reasons, or because they really thought it could only sustain four episodes. If the latter was the case, it was clearly a misguided choice, if the former, I would have tried to find a way to make it work, because that stuff was just so much better than everything that’s come since. I felt like the show had established a bold new paradigm, changed things forever, then three episodes later they’re back to the old status quo.

That said, I love the way they use the memory of New Caprica in this episode. For Adama and Roslin, it was a dream of being just people, not leaders. As his wife makes clear, Adama has constructed a persona to distance himself from the world. They both want each other, but their sense of duty gets in the way of a relationship. Her joy is clearly evident when thinking about their time together, and I too was wishing that they could recapture that feeling.

In the end, it was frustrating when Adama kept the picture. A more logical, if a bit obvious conclusion, would be for him to ditch it and symbolically move on. I suppose it’s tough to do that, but as is, the episode means basically no significant change happens.

New Caprica also haunts Callie and Tyrol. There, they were just parents, now they’re back on the job, fully committed to their work. The trapped in the airlock story was better than I expected, but still not great. I feel like they wimped out by not killing either one of them, particularly because having either one be a single parent would have made for better stories than the same bickering couple stuff we see with everyone on the show.

So, there was some good stuff, but I wanted a bit more. The show has been playing it very safe since New Caprica, and that’s not a good place to be. Also, we seriously need some Baltar and Six next week, two episodes without Baltar is two too many.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Friday Night Lights: 'Black Eyes and Broken Hearts' (1x16)

Hey look, a post that's not about Babylon 5 or The Invisibles, it's been a while since that happened. Anyway, in the wake of my B5 marathon last week, I got a bit backed up on other shows and didn't catch last week's Friday Night Lights until tonight. After watching it, I'm wondering why I waited, this show is so good it should be priority viewing from the moment it's aired. I'm not sure if it just caught me at the right moment, but I'm thinking this is the best episode since the pilot, capturing everything that makes the show so powerful.

There's three mains torylines in the episode. The major one is the controversy surrounding Mac, which carries over from last week. The story works well because it's the sort of controversy that could easily be built out of comments that are on the border between racism and just talking. In the scene where he says those things, I could see Mac getting pushed into saying what he shouldn't. The scene that really broke things for me was when Smash tried to talk things over with Mac, and Mac shot him down. That crossed the line and justified the walkout at the end of the episode.

Here, things are more uneasy. Eric wants to escape from the controversy, but it won't go away. The scene in the guidance counselor's office was fantastic, throughout Eric and Tami feel like completely believable characters and their relationship is the core of the show. The difference between great writing, like this show, and decent writing, like Heroes, is that here, the characters feel real, like they have lives independent of the plots that are created for them on the show. The world feels totally real, a function of the naturalistic acting and camerawork, but also the writing, the way that we know these characters from the moment they appear, yet they continue to reveal layers that surprise us.

The game itself was frustrating to watch, I was right there with Coach Taylor wanting the penalty call, and Riggins' attack on the rival player was a wonderful cathartic moment. The most powerful stuff came after the game, the other team's fans showering the Dillon players in garbage was a strong visual, and the pullover scene was the dramatic high point of the episode, taking a real event and turning it into a conflict more tense and dramatic than nearly any action sequence.

I think the episode lets Mac off somewhat easily here. Taylor is able to keep his coach and all his players, and finds a moment of healing at the end. But, that's just where this story ends, the tension is still there, it's just been resolved for the moment. For Smash, the critical line is Mac acknowledging that he made the mistake. I like the way that Smash's divide between his activism and commitment to the team is embodied in the two women in his life. I think we'll be getting some interesting confrontations between Waverly and Mrs. Smash later in the season.

All this was great, but it wasn't even the highlight of the episode. That was the stuff involving Julie. All the characters here feel like real high schoolers, even though Tyra looks like she's at least 25. Jason and Lyla have a more standard TV relationship, I prefer the goofy bumbling of Saracen and Landry. Those two are like people I knew in high school, a side of things you don't usually see captured. They're not geeks per se, they're just sort of there, goofy and awkward in the way that high schoolers are. Speaking of goofy and awkward, the casting on that JV team was great, with some people who look perhaps too real.

The scene at the strip club was hilarious, particularly Landry's stuff, and then led to some great drama with Julie and her parents. Julie is trying to assert her own identity, and that inevitably means clashing with her parents. The dynamic with her and Tyra recalls the Lindsay and Kim Kelly situation in Freaks and Geeks. That's the show that this most reminds me of. Every other show about high school is a glamourized version. While I love Buffy, I never considered it a great take on high school life. It was more a fantasy for the viewer, that rather than just being outsiders, you're engaged in an epic battle for humanity's future. That wasn't what my high school experience was like. It was more of the small triumphs and frequent troubles that these characters face. Both Freaks and Geeks and FNL are notable for refusing to play by generic rules.

Most high school shows are soap operas, and even though these shows use some of those generic elements, they're presented in an indie film style, dedramatized realist manner. FNL has some of the most beautiful cinematography on TV, capturing a unique environment in a dynamic manner. With Battlestar still stumbling, it might be time to bump this up to best show on TV status. I'm just curious how many playoff games they're going to have, there's still six episodes left in the season and I can't imagine there being more than one or two playoff games left. But, I guess we'll find out tomorrow.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Invisibles #10: 'Season of Ghouls'

‘Season of Ghouls’ is the first of three standalone stories exploring various aspects of The Invisibles universe. Grant said that he originally intended to do more of these, have a more fluid and experimental structure for the series, but commercial concerns led him to relaunch with Volume II and focus more closely on the main cast. I think that change also reflects his deeper engagement with the characters, they started to take control of the story, and did not want to be set aside for a month to deal with some random new people....

I've taken down my posts on The Invisibles because they're all coming out in book form. The book, Our Sentence is Up, features revised and expanded versions of each blog post, covering every issue of The Invisibles, plus an extensive interview with Morrison himself. Visit your local comic store and order a copy now!

Babylon 5: 'No Compromises' and 'The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari' (5x01 & 5x02)

After the massive tumult of season four’s closing episodes, pretty much anything was going to be a bit of a let down, particularly because we’ve got no cliffhangers carrying over. Instead, the season begins like most years of Buffy did, with everything at a relative calm, with only a standalone mystery to take care of.

‘No Compromises’ was the first episode shown on TNT, and there seem to be a lot of attempts to open the world to new viewers. The most obvious is the introduction of Captain Lochley. We don’t know too much about her yet, other than that she’s new and is a strict believer in Earthforce rules. Reading stuff online, I’ve seen a lot of venom directed at the character, probably because she replaced Ivanova, who was apparently a fan favorite. I was never a huge fan of Ivanova, so I’m not that angered by her loss, or dead set against her replacement.

However, at this point, I think it was a mistake to have a character so similar in temprament to Ivanova replacing her. We’ve already seen Sheridan dealing with a tough, standoffish second in command, what will we gain by using that same dynamic again? Considering the emotionally closed off nature of many of the crew, it might have been more interesting to have someone who was very emotional and open, with a lot of naiveté come in, as a contrast to all the battle hardened people on the station. Of course, JMS may have went this route for a reason, but right now, it seems like she will just bring the same dynamic we’ve already seen.

Outside of her introduction, this episode brings us a fairly standard standalone story, exploring the tension that lingers after Clark’s death. There’s not much of interest here, obviously Sheridan is going to survive, it’s just a matter of getting our people together and catching the assassin. The whole thing never had that much urgency to it, partially because of the way they respond. After he tries to shoot Sheridan, the guy runs out of the room and no one bothers to chase him, they just figure someone will catch up to him eventually.

A lot of times, shows seem to think that it’s best to do some standalone episodes, as a way of integrating new viewers into the world. Now, I can’t say for sure how a new viewer would respond to this, but I think they’d be more impressed by the scope and density of the early run of season four than they would be by the relaxed episode we’ve got here. I suppose things were different when this aired, before the DVD age. Now, you could show someone an episode like ‘Endgame,’ which would intrigue them enough to check out the rest of the show on DVD. Back then, new viewers would have no way of going back and seeing the whole series, so they’d need something like this to introduce them to the characters and world.

But, I always find it annoying when producers feel the need to compromise to bring in new viewers. Maybe JMS would have done this episode regardless, but I know with Battlestar Galactica, they frequently do standalones in an attempt to hook new viewers, but, considering the quality of those episodes, I don’t think they’ll do much hooking.

Ultimately, I feel like we do need an episode like this after all the tumult, it would be too much to go back into high drama. And, we do get the introduction of the enigmatic telepath Byron, and his group of telepaths, who will clearly play a major role later in the season.

I hope that the premiere hooked new viewers because right after that, JMS plunges deep into the series’ mythology for a thoroughly satisfying episode that has a standalone story, but a major significance for the series as a whole. I’ve talked before about the way that in their fifth seasons, Angel and The Sopranos scaled back on the serialization, instead presenting episodes with standalone plots that were heavily reliant on continuity, episodes that did some of the most illuminating character work in the series’ entire run. That’s what this episode does for Londo.

But first, let me cover the stuff with Lennier. In ‘Rising Star,’ Delenn seems completely clueless about Lennier’s feelings towards her, but we can see that her marriage to Sheridan is causing him deep pain. So, he makes the logical choice to leave Babylon 5 and do his own thing. The scene in Delenn’s apartment is the best material Bill Mumy’s had on the series, with both characters, and the audience, knowing exactly what’s going on, even though it’s never actually stated aloud. They’re in a pretty much unworkable situation, Delenn will not give up Sheridan, and Lennier is not happy with being so close to her, yet unable to go any further. It’s a conundrum with no easy answer, and I’m glad the show didn’t present one.

I like the way Sheridan functions in this episode, seemingly oblivious to what’s going on. He offers to talk to Lennier, but anything he says is just going to come off as patronizing. His joking about “three’s a crowd” works well because it emphasizes the fact that he is from a different culture than the Minbari, and will never be able to fully understand Delenn’s world.

That was good stuff, and it wasn’t even the best part of the episode. Londo has always been my favorite character on the show, and I always love dream sequences, so combining the two makes for something great. Throughout, I was thinking of the similarities between Londo’s experience here and G’Kar’s in ‘Dust to Dust,’ something that G’Kar mentions in the episode. In each case, the characters are made to confront their outdated notions of morality, and ultimately come to terms with their anger and move forward with a new mindset.

Throughout, there was a lot of great visual storytelling. Delenn’s outfit was interesting, recalling Ivanova’s in Sheridan’s dream. As in any dream sequence, there were a lot of subtle changes in appearance and location that created a nice, surreal feeling. A particularly strong visual was the heart under glass, which allowed for a strong moment of closure at the end.

Londo’s encounter with Sheridan is full of interesting stuff. For one, we get the evolution of Sheridan’s wardrobe, from Earthforce commander on. At one point, he’s wearing the same robes that Sinclair was wearing in ‘War Without End,’ possibly implying that he will take over control of the rangers with Delenn. After that, he wears a white Minbari robe, and vanishes in a ball of light. As we heard in ‘Deconstruction of Falling Stars,’ Sheridan was said to have died on Minbar, under mysterious circumstances. I’m assuming this is a preview of what will happen to him, that he will transcend his body and become pure energy. Why does Londo have access to this knowledge? We’re already aware that the Centauri have access to prophetic dreams, so it would make sense that his subconscious makes its knowledge of Sheridan’s future manifest.

I like the way that this episode plays with our knowledge of what will happen in the future. Londo claims that he cannot die because he’s seen himself in the future, something that the viewer is also feeling. Vir’s speech about prophesy as metaphor works both on a thematic level and as an attempt to restore some tension to the proceedings. I particularly like when Londo mentions that he’s always felt Sheridan would be there when he died, but never knew why. Sheridan has apparently not told him what he saw on his journey to the future. Has he even told Delenn the full story? I’m not sure.

The core of the episode is Londo’s confrontation with G’Kar. Watching the previous episode, I was thinking that, as much as I like Londo and G’Kar’s new bond, would G’Kar really get over having his homeworld destroyed so quickly? Londo seemed to have shirked the blame fairly easily. So, it was great to see an episode that made him own up to his crimes and acknowledge his responsibility. Throughout, we’ve seen him do bad things in moments of weakness, but always through intermediaries. He could play Morden or Refa for manipulating him, it was never his fault what happened. Yet, in the end, Londo made the choices and here he finally has to face up to that fact.

The callbacks to Centauri history are great. The bombing of Narn was one of the most powerful moments in the entire series, still holding a strong resonance in this callback. I also like the reversal of things in the whipping sequence. Even if it’s only on a metaphorical level, Londo is made to understand the extent of what G’Kar went through. His ego is broken down until he is force to acknowledge his crimes and ultimately apologize for them.

The scene at the end, where Londo apologizes to G’Kar is very powerful, it’s interesting how G’Kar seems almost overwhelmed by what Londo tells him. Is this what he’s been waiting to hear, or does it force him to acknowledge the fact that his new friend was responsible for so much death, a fact he had rationalized away. I’d imagine we’ll find out as things progress.

On the whole, this was a fantastic episode, taking full advantage of the series’ history to add power to an already strong story. I am a bit surprised that they sidelined Lochley and all the new stuff so soon, but I’m not complaining.

And just to wrap things up, I really enjoyed the new title sequence, though I don’t think it quite matches the epic season four opening. The major thing I’m missing is the preview of the season to come, I always liked seeing how JMS would foreshadow the events of the year right from the beginning. But, now that we’re at the end, I guess it’s fitting to start looking back.

And, one final thing, the top five episodes from season four. This was a tough one, but I’m pretty happy with this ranking…

1. Rising Star
2. The Deconstruction of Falling Stars
3. Into the Fire
4. Endgame
5. The Face of the Enemy

The Invisibles #9: 'Things Fall Apart'

This may be the least dense issue of the series, as always, there's some interesting stuff, but the surface narrative is just a fairly conventional action sequence. But, it's the little details in the issue that make it clear The Invisibles will not be a conventional action series. What does it mean when the random goon characters are more sympathetic than your supposed protagonists?...

I've taken down my posts on The Invisibles because they're all coming out in book form. The book, Our Sentence is Up, features revised and expanded versions of each blog post, covering every issue of The Invisibles, plus an extensive interview with Morrison himself. Visit your local comic store and order a copy now!