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The Third Age of Snuggles

It's that time again.  This time though, things are wrapping up.  The Shadows, the Centauri... and things are unraveling completely, like the Civil War with Earth and the Minbari.  And then there's Marcus, who snarks at everything.  XD  All comments taken from The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5.  Sound bytes are from the Down Below Sound Archive.



The Hour of the Wolf:

"Well, just finished the first (writer's) draft of "The Hour of the Wolf," the first episode of year 4, to be directed by David Eagle. It was a tough one, like all first-episode scripts...but quite interesting, in its way. Once again the show takes a somewhat different tone, I'm using some tools I somewhat developed in the background in year 3 and am now trying in foreground, very interesting mood change...a good start."

Admit it, you just wanted to go through the whole episode without actually resolving the cliff hanger you left us with.  Bastard.

"How do the actors get back into character after a long summer break?
Usually they just pick up the script...and get right back into it. They've got the characters down now, so there's not a lot needed to get back into it. Some of them run lines with each other, like Stephen and Peter, since that relationship is something very special, but mostly they just learn the lines and come in. Some of them want to see the final episodes, but some don't. The only one to see most of the last two episodes thus far is Bruce, who was just totally knocked out by them.

Peter has said that whenever he needs to get back into character, he just straightens and says, "MISter GARiBALdi," and he's right back into it."

That relationship is special.  Oh, Vir and Londo...  Also, I love how he gets back into character for Londo.  That is far more adorable than it should be.

"It's a terrific episode. The music now echoes season one because in some thematic areas, we're starting to bend back on ourselves, and close some circles, as you'll see soon.

That it affects the emotions is, for me, the goal. If you can make an audience *feel* something, in a medium as cold as TV, you've done your job right."

That final bit?  Yeah, that's the reason I've never quite forgiven RTD.  To me, he was just never doing his job right, since I never felt much while watching his episodes.  Sadness.

"I'll string out the Sheridan info for a while; as for Morden, as he said, his associates can repair flesh, replace flesh (though where they got replacements from is something I don't want to know)....

It's definitely a packed episode. I still find myself realizing that the end of act one feels like two acts. And the next three are every bit as intense, if not moreso. I love it...."

Yeeeeeeeeeeeah, I don't think I want to know where they got the flesh from either. 

"Did you have Londo put on his old coat so there wouldn't be the costume mismatch there was with Delenn in "Babylon Squared" and "War Without End?"
I never make the same mistake.

I just learn how to make new ones.

(And I'm very pleased with that scene...it's kinda goofy, with the minister in particular...he's just nuts. Well, not as much as Cartagia, obviously....)"

AHAHAHAHAHA.  So that was the reason, hm?  Here we were thinking symbolism and what not, and really it was just for continuity.  Bless. 

So I actually like this episode a lot.  There's a lot of good Londo and Vir moments, and G'kar wearing Garibaldi's hat.  Then there's the Ivanova bits, which are lovely.  I still really want that conversation between Ivanova and Natasha about the hour of the wolf.  Also, I like the religious symbolism JMS sneaks in there by having three women going to 'the grave' and not finding anything.  Because Sheridan is totally the second coming.






Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?:

"The script was easy to write story-wise, I think it only took me a few days (in general, the faster the write, the better the script, when it comes to something like this...writing in white heat is best), but *very* difficult from an emotional standpoint. I was just about as wasted after writing it as you were after seeing it. There's a lot of stuff in there that's difficult or painful to touch, and you can only hope that it comes out okay. I'm happy it did."

I get that.  It's always better when things get written fast.  Also, fast doesn't necessarily mean a couple days for me, just in how fast it gets written when I sit down to it.  Like, long fic is going way faster than Amy-verse did. 

"Sheridan's fall was like Gandalf's in "The Lord of the Rings," or like the descent into the underworld in Dante's "Inferno."
I've mentioned elsewhere that I was going more for the roots of this. Though the Dante thread you mention is closest in many ways (again, you dig into archetypes you end up with similar structures, that's the nature of the beast), it was Orpheus going into the underworld for his wife, and losing her, that was in the back of my head when I was blocking out that part of the story. (You can also toss in Christ's temptation by the devil, and descent into the wilderness, if you want.)

This will probably get me in trouble, but...on the one hand, I am always delighted and impressed with the breadth and depth of analyses and thought of the larger group of SF fans, and the insightfulness with which they apply those perceptions.

On the flip side of this discussion...for a certain percentage of them, that breadth and depth is only or primarily within SF and mainstream fantasy. The wellspring of material from which to draw when making comparisons is not often as broad as it should be in classical literature, mythology, medieval studies, and so on. They see a drop into a chasm, they think "Oh, Gandalf." Not understanding that the root of this goes back way, way, way further...to Orpheus and his kindred spirits.

I was copied a note from someone on another newsgroup who insisted that everything in the show had an elvish/Tolkein base, including and *especially* the names of everyone, citing the Agamemnon as meaning something or other in LoTR elvish. The symbol is RIGHT THERE, in the name, Agamemnon, and the whole unfortunate history of that character and his wife, and the Cassandra character (which is at the center of G'Kar's character)...and yet she says, "No, no, it's all a clue, it means this thing over here."

My background is as an SF fan myself, so I offer the above without stereotype or pejorative intent. But as well as reading SF, I spent most of my early adult life reading from classical sources. Goethe's FAUST informs Londo in many ways, as well as the history of early Rome, and Hegelian notions on the role of conflict, and the divine role of the emperor. You're talking to someone who read Plotinus' The Aenneads just for kicks, and whose favorite character was Zeno and his paradoxes. You want to talk Plato's perfect forms? The Socratic method of teaching? Greek tragic structure as embodied in Oedipus? The overall work of Sophocles? The Bible? I've read that one cover to cover twice...anyone else in the room who's done that, raise your hands and tell me you didn't fall asleep halfway through Numbers and Deuteronomy, the two most boring books in the whole darned thing.

There was a period in my life -- from around 1976 through 1981 -- when I devoured everything I could in these areas. Mythology. Existentialism. Zen. 18th century literature. I took part time jobs in libraries so I could get access to the widest possible range of books, especially new ones in areas that interested me. A lot of the details have washed away over the years, but the cumulative *sense* of that remains. I can still remember how excited I was when a brand new translation of the Inferno, the Purgatario and the Paradisio came out (from Penguin, I think), putting it all back into the proper lyric form, and I devoured them, one day each, then read them all again using the footnotes and marginalia.

All that time, I never knew I was preparing myself to write this show, because it could *only* be done with a generalist background, knowing a little about a lot of areas...just enough to get into trouble, ususally, but still the grounding is there.

Funny thing...about two, three weeks ago, I got an email from a woman who is a professor of medieval studies at a major university, who said she'd been nudged into watching the show by her graduate students, and is now a big fan of the show. She said that as she watched, she "clicked" constantly on the sources from medieval and classical literature, mythology, and other deep well sources, and was pleased to see them being used in a contermporary or futuristic venue.

Anyway, it's what I've always said about this show...you see the paradigm with which you are most familiar. Sometimes that's great, and sometimes it's a curse."

First of all... really, person?  You don't get that Agamemnon is from Greek, not Evlish?  Cause, seriously, read the Iliad or something.  Though I don't think I'd have connected Sheridan to Agamemnon, to be honest, but that's more because Aggy was a bit of jerk when all was said and done.  More than a bit.  Actually, he was an absolute asshole and I felt way more sympathetic to Clytemnestra.  I can see where he's going with that now that he's pointed it out, but it's not a connection I'd have made willingly.

Second, I totally judge you for the bit about the 18th century, JMS.  There is much judging going on.  >.>  Everything else I approve of though.  Just enough to get into trouble, indeed. 

"But the thing is, I wasn't *thinking* of LoTR...I was thinking of Orpheus going into the underworld, of the classical notion of descending into hell to find oneself or something else...it just bugs me when someone assumes that they know what was in my head at a time when I wrote something, and then take that as a given and start making me explain it or acting as if this is true, when it ain't."

The curse of literary writers rears its head.  Sometimes, a horse is just a horse.  Sometimes, there is no bird symbolism.  And sometimes, you're thinking of something else all together.  Oh, literary critics...

"Larry DiTillio made the point, while on the show, that some SF fans reared on ST expect everyone to talk like English earls, very proper. We go for vernacular every time. I like the rough edges, the hesitations, the stumbles. In editing 402 the other day, there's several takes to choose from in a particular scene, but I picked the one where the actor slightly stumbled over the line, because it was at the heat of the moment, and in that kind of situation, we all get flustered. It made it feel more real.

Slang and idiom have been with us forever, and always will be. Now, on the other hand, I don't go full-tilt bozo with it, by peppering the dialogue with lots of techtalk and futureslang because I think it becomes intrusive. So we try to find a balance. Some people don't like it, and like their SF to all sound the same. That's fine. Tastes vary.

Also, I use some dialogue styles that lean toward the theatrical, what you'd see on the stage, or hear in a radio drama. Other times I'm right in the gutter. You use different tools for different jobs. My influences are from Rod Serling and Charles Beaumont and Norman Corwin and Ray Bradbury, so you're going to hear those colors from time to time, and because you don't hear a lot of that particular style in TV these days, some people think it's bad...no, it's just a different approach to dialogue.

Look at Harold Pinter, then look at Christopher Fry, then look at Joe Orton. Between just those three you've got three very stylized, consistent approaches to dialogue, not like the other two at all, and between them more diversity than in a hundred TV shows. In theater, which is where I cut my teeth, it's *okay* to have dialogue that's somewhat stylized, or a bit more formal, a bit more literate, or whatever. In TeeVee it's all gotta be the same. To which I say...why?

(I've also made the mental assumption of a return to a new formality in 2260, since styles go in and out of fashion. People use the word Mr. and Ms. more often, there's a more formal stance with people you often get when a culture comes out of a major war, as we did after WW2.)

But dialogue tastes are utterly individual; what works for one may not and likely will not work for someone else. And that's okay. That's as it should be. As long as the totality works."

I like slang in dialogue.  It helps sets characters apart, though at the same time it's a bit of a curse.  Like, see Cap use modern slang like 'hot', 'awesome', and 'cool'?  Not okay.  Not okay at all.  He can do it ironically, or occasionally with a note that he's attempting to sound more modern, but in a POV?  Yeah, no.  You have to sound like the character.  Tony has a lot more pauses and halts to the flow than a lot of other characters I've written.  The Doctor, obviously, has to sound distinctive enough that you can tell which one he is based off the dialogue.  I like distinctive sounding characters.  There has to be something intrinsically them in the dialogue, be it quarky or slang-ish.  Lizzie?  Totally a valley girl.  Granted, I had to make sure it wasn't too much, but it was still fun because hey, I talk like that.  When the dialogue all sounds the same, then it gets kind of boring.  Also, I'm all for the more formality.  Don't ask me why, I just am.

""I watched _What Ever Happened to Mr Garibaldi_ last night and was struck by the scene where Mr. G was being questioned by the disembodied voice. That scene was very similar to the style of another one of my favorite shows _Homicide: Life on the Streets_. I'm just wondering if that was an intentional nod to that show."

This is kind of embarrassing, but...see, I don't watch much TV anymore. I don't have time. I think I've seen maybe two episodes of Homicide, total. So we were in with the editor to do our producer's cut of 402, and I was trying to describe what I wanted...jarring, disorienting cuts, don't worry if it matches, use conflicting takes or overlaps of takes...and finally the editor said, "Oh, you mean the Homicide look." And it'd been so long that I asked them to explain to me what that meant, and John got into it, me with him, and ended up with what we've got. I've got to start watching TV again, beyond X-Files, 60 Minutes and Simpsons. (Well, I've added Millennium, so that helps.)"

Oops.  XD  I get that feeling sometimes, that I really should be watching more/reading more than I have.  Sigh.

"Franklin said it was 14 days since Sheridan's death and 9 days since Garibaldi's disappearance, but the two happened at the same time.
This is a case where jms screwed up.

Originally, the script read, "It's now 14 days since Captain Sheridan left for Z'ha'dum and was presumed killed. Nine days since Mr. Garibaldi disappeared while on patrol."

I went to edit the first sentence to make it active rather than passive syntax. In handwriting on the page (after the first draft, the typists take revisions and implement them), I meant to write, "It is now 9 days since Captain Sheridan was presumed killed at Z'ha'dum." I either missed changing the days, or the typist didn't put it in (it happens), and that draft of the script is long gone. But without knowing which, I'll just take the rap for it.
"

I would laugh, except I make far worse mistakes when I make those sorts of edits.  Mostly in the form of just adding things in without making sure it flows with the rest of it.  XD

""In WHTMG, Marcus is talking to G'Kar about his friends and says he's had "Damn few of them, and most of them are dead." My instant reaction was "That can't be an allusion to Return to Zork." Can it?"

Y'know, if I were to read this group as an outsider, I'd think that this jms person was incapable of coming up with a single line on his own.

NO, it wasn't a Zork reference, for chrissakes. Can we possibly get any more obscure here? I don't even know what this REFERS to. Marcus came from a mining colony. The shadows struck, and killed everyone there. Hence, the line above.

There was some goofing around with SF references early on in the show; this got out of hand, and it stopped. I don't sit here, thinking, "Oh, goody, I can make a reference to The Day The Earth Stood Still here," or some other show. I write what is appropriate for the character to say. Period.

I'm sorry if I'm a bit cranky in answering this, but jesus christ, people, give it a rest and stop looking for references that don't exist. There are only so many permutations in the english language, and something has got to echo somewhere for everyone...but that ain't the source. "Oh, look, he use the word THE in this episode, he must be nodding at "The Ipcriss Files" or "THEM" just leaving off the M to throw us off."

Your point of reference is your point of reference, it's nothing to do with me. It's like a Rorscharch test, you see what you're familiar with.

As a writer, you work your brains out trying to come up with something, and you try your damndest to make it original, and fresh, and interesting...do you have any idea how infuriating, how maddening, how bottomlin *insulting* it is to have 10,000 people parsing every sentence and saying, "Oh, here, did you take this from that? Is this a reference to this over here?"

NO, IT'S NOT.

I allowed a little of that in the first season or so, often in scripts by other people, on a couple of occasions by myself, but that's the end of it, because everyone decided that the show was one big easter egg hunt. Fanfic is full of this stuff, which is perhaps why everyone keeps looking for it here.

If it's an absolutely blantant, and extremely recognizeable line, like the Tolkein reference in year two's "Geometry," then yeah...but some of this is getting so obscure and ridiculous that it's starting to make me crazy.

Can we *please* declare a moratorium on this for a while?"

Someone is a bit cranky here. XD  Still, I can imagine this would be very annoying after a while.

"About the shot of Sheridan as he sees the pit
"Was this scene redone for WHtMG? I'd have to compare, but I think I would've noticed that hopeful smile at the end of Z. It would've been just a -little- out of place, under the circumstances."

It's *exactly* the same footage, frame for frame. Only your perspective has changed.

Sort of like Shroedinger's TV show."

Shroedinger's TV show.  Oh, good Lord.  Franklin & Marcus, I Love Lennier, and Shroedinger's TV show.  Would the would be that awesome.

"Who thought up the cat sound when G'Kar extended the pike?
The cat was my idea. Cats are endless sources of humor."

XD  I can't argue with that one.

"I will, on *rare* occasions, address a note or correction directly to an actor while we're shooting, but in general I give any notes to the director on the set, who passes them on to the actor. There really can't be a multiplicity of voices talking to actors on the set...it can become confusing, and they can get contradictory directions. They can get skittish and lose concentration.

One occasion where I *did* do this recently...in the scene where Londo explains to Cartagia why he shouldn't be killed for being late, the director had Londo playing that scene submissive and nervous in rehearsals, didn't understand that the whole point of the exercise was Londo standing up to Cartagia, but doing so in a very sly way, not giving him any room to maneuver. Cartagia likes Londo because there's intelligence and steel, in a very manipulative fashion..."you think the same way I do," Cartagia says. So before we shot the scene, I pulled Peter aside and gave him the correction, and that's how we shot it.

But, again, those incidents are fairly rare."

Have I mentioned you are a control freak, JMS?  Still, it is good you give it to the director first for the most part. 

"What did the Vorlons tell Lyta about their intentions?
Only that they'd still respect her in the morning."

Oh, my.  That's never a good sign.

"Was there a reason the Psi-Cop had the same build as Bester and wore an opaque mask?
Who would do a thing like that?
"

*raises eyebrow*  You aren't fooling anyone, you know.

Garibaldi.  T_T  And that's only the start of it.  Garibaldi breaks my heart in the this season.  But have some Marcus snark in the meantime.






The Summoning:

"A planet-busting weapon is so improbable as to be more magic than technology.
Re: "magictech"...I believe it was Arthur C. Clarke who pointed out, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

You wanna go argue with Clarke, feel free.

Lemme just make one point here. In the handful of decades between the discovery of the atom, and its use at Hiroshima, we learned how to blow up substantial portions of the planet and render it uninhabitable. But it would've taken a lot of them, hundreds, to do the job. In the 50 years since then, with the development of thermonuclear weaponry, the job is even easier. It's been reckoned that you'd only need about 75 really decent sized thermonuclear detonations to render the entire continental United States dead and uninhabitable.

The shadows and the vorlons are *millions* of years ahead of us. We're talking differences in technology that are orders of magnitude beyond what we can hope to comprehend.

I think a planet killer eminently achievable."

Yeah, don't argue with Clarke.  That's a bad idea.  XD  And the idea of it made sense, to have hundreds of missles headed towards the core of the planet.  Then boom. 

"I don't see it really as a change of heart...they've always been very ruthless in their way. Remember, it was the Vorlons who simply decided to off Deathwalker in first season.

There's some amount of escalation going on, obviously, which will be explained a bit more in upcoming episodes, but they've always been this way, it's your perception of them that's at odds. You fell for what they wanted you to see them to be."

Yeah, they've just got no voice of reason to hold them back any more.  I miss Kosh...

"Who's the worse enemy, the Shadows or the Vorlons?
Who is the greater foe?

It is always the one closest to where you live."

That makes sense to me.

"Is Ivanova's hug a sign she's attracted to Sheridan?
No, it was just relief, letting her guard down, allowing herself to feel, which she hadn't done much before this. There's no romantic interest there. You can have situations where men and women work together, and can care about one another, without it turning into more than that.

Men seem to understand this less often than women."

NO, THERE WAS NOT.  It didn't even look there was.  And thank you, JMS, for pointing that out.  And writing relationships like that. 

ZOMBIE SHERIDAN RETURNS!  Also, have some Marcus snark since this is also the episode we learn he's Unicorn bait.  No unicorns were harmed in the filming of this episode.  The same can't be said for my fic.  And oh, G'kar....






Falling Toward Apotheosis:

"About the shadow cabinet
Yes, that's Andreas' head, which I personally moved over to where it would be beside Peter...who complained (in jest) that Andreas was again stealing the scene from him.
"

ROFL.  Smooth, JMS.  Very smooth. 

"Why is everyone acting strangely toward Garibaldi?
The main reason for the non-big reaction to Garibaldi is that none of them really know of anything that went on. He says he just got caught in the hyperspace backwash, and his ship got swiped. And it's a fairly thin story, so there's some questioning of what's not being said, or is this the whole story? So people are bound to be a bit more tentative...and, again, there's a big huge war on, and pilots returning from missions at the height of WW2 were given a handshake and told to get back into the plane for the next mission."

Also, Garibaldi is acting strangely towards everyone else.  He's definitely crankier than normal.  T_T

"If Vorlons are amorphous energy beings, how was Kosh poisoned in "The Gathering?"
Remember, they do have a certain physicality about them, even in that form, and the nature of the poison was such that it would affect that kind of life form using a crystalline base (note in the pilot the screen reads analyzing crystalline structure, and you filter light or refract or distort it using a crystalline structure)."

I shall take your word on that, JMS.

"What was Delenn doing at the fight?
Well, I think it's pretty obvious she would've known about it, given her proximity to Sheridan...and if I knew something this big was going on, sure as heck *I'd* want to be there to see it."

Well, that answers that question.

"All trace of Kosh is gone. He/it will never be seen again, in any form, exempting flashbacks, of which none are currently planned."

Oh, my G'quan!  They Killed Kosh!  You bastards.  *cough*  Sorry.  Babylon Park is still rather amusing...

"Did the original storyline call for the first Kosh to be killed in this episode?
Best to leave what might've been out...what is, is better."

:o

"Morden is living in denial...he's afraid, and hoping he's right. Centauri Prime has more civilians than any other planet or colony hit so far: three billion people. The shadows are hoping a figure that high will daunt even the Vorlons.

The wings are just how we perceived them, to some extent, though we did see a hint of wings as the last of Kosh emerged from Sheridan. (We also heard the wing flap sound, and the sound of Kosh's voice for the last time right after Lorien's "Now.")

Dr. Kyle saw the angelic form...even in its reduced state, it held itself together enough to maintain that form."

Denial is a great place to be.  Also, wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiings.  Vorlons that flap amuse me.

"Was Sheridan almost dead in "War Without End, Part Two?"
Yep, at the time of that flash-forward, Sheridan has at most 2-3 years left to live.
"

Well, that's a depressing way of looking at things...

"Too much depression and guilt lately, and she's been for the most part a passive character lately, while others acted around her. Now it's about time for her to start becoming active again. There's fire and steel in *use*, and fire and steel waiting to be called upon...time to shift from the latter to the former."

The return of BAMF Delenn is always appreciated.

"For my money, the truly frightening thing about Cartagia is that he is motivated entirely by whim, by caprice...he can give you something wonderful one moment, then turn around and have you killed the next. You *never* know which way he'll flip from moment to moment."

Bipolar, the horror story. 

"Only 3 billion people on Centauri Prime?
Basically, I figured with a culture in decline, often the birth rate goes down; it's also a fairly small world, all things considered...and a LOT of them live on other colonies, they've been spreading out a lot longer than we have...and of course they have always been sensible about birth control and population growth, one of their few wisdoms, and one we could learn from."

It figures the Centauri would be sensible about birth control.  It makes a lovely amount a sense considering how much intrigue, backstabbing, and sleeping around must be going on.

So, Zombie Sheridan doesn't have a heck of a lot of time left and he proposes to Delenn for lots of squees.  Life is good.  Also, Londo doesn't save the eye which cannot see.  Oops.






The Long Night:

"I'm writing 405, "The Long Night," and there's something that one character was supposed to do in the script, that had been the plan all along, that was my intent even as near as 1 page from where it was going to happen...then just as I got to that scene, another character stepped up and said, "no, let me do it." I was kinda flummoxed. "You?! You're the LAST person anyone would think to do this." The character nodded. "Exactly." And the symmetry was perfect, the impact would be greater...so that's who did it.

On one level, it's always wonderful when this happens; on another, it scares the hell out of me....

It's at the bottom of act two, you'll figure it out when you get there.
"

Oh, Vir.  It makes me sad that you've had to learn that you can kill a person.  He's right though, cause that worked way better this way.

"Which character has surprised you the most?
Probably Vir. He's surprised me on many levels. Suffice to say that in the first 6 somewhere next season, there's something I'd slotted for another character to do. I'd intended for that character to do it right up.... until the page before that other character was going to do it, when Vir stepped up in my brain and said, "No, *I* should do this." And as soon as he said it, I knew it was right. You'll see."

There's a reason you don't argue with the characters.  XD

""Has a character (not actor) ever suggested a direction to you that you didn't take, but later on seemed like the direction you should have taken? I would think they would all be fighting for screen-time, or is that just some actors?"

Not really, mainly because if my subconscious mind is sufficiently up in arms about something as to throw a fictional character at me and yell at me, it's usually a sign that I should Shut The Hell Up And Do As I'm Told. So when it happens, I *very* rarely ignore it."

This is very good advice. I've found I follow it quite a bit.  It really is just better to Do As You Are Told when the characters decide to go where they want to.  I'm certainly not going to argue with the Brigadier, are you?

"Did Londo's men weaken the chains after all, or was G'Kar just really determined?
That was one determined Narn."

BAMF G'kar does not need your weakened chains.

"The White Star mission in that ep has definite roots; during WW2 to convince the Germans we weren't going to land at Normandy, our own agents were fed incorrect information, set loose...and then info was leaked to the Germans allowing them to pick up the agents and torture the information out of them. This wasn't quite as bad as that, the crew at least knew what they were getting into...but there are often no good choices in war."

That scene always breaks my heart...

"He asked if Ericsson was married because, if he was, that was a call that Sheridan would have to make, over Stellarcom or in person, to notify her that her husband was dead. And, for Sheridan, I suppose there was a tinge of relief, knowing that at least he wouldn't be creating a widow as well as ordering Ericsson to do what was necessary."

Well, there you go, Cy.  Why he asked if Ericsson was married.

And on that note, have some Tennyson to make you feel better.





Into the Fire:

From the plot points:

"All the First Ones, including the Shadows and Vorlons, are gone, ushering in the third age of mankind (which seems to refer to the younger races as a group, not just humanity.) In the first age, man was too primitive to be considered part of the larger picture. In the second age, man was intelligent and aware of the greater world, but his fate was manipulated by outside forces. Now, with all the older races gone, man has entered an age of self-determination."

There you go, Nar.  I still think the third age of snuggles is better though.

And now from the Anlasyis:

"The representation of the Shadows and Vorlons while Sheridan and Delenn were talking to them was symbolic of their nature. The Shadows moved around, shifted form, and spoke with many voices, representative of chaos. The Vorlons were frozen in ice, cold and aloof and unchanging."

That's why.  Though it doesn't say why the Vorlons had the medieval chick thing going on.

From the Notes:

"The space background in the opening sequence, when the White Star awaits the arrival of more First Ones, is from a Hubble Space Telescope photo, part of the Eagle Nebula."

In case you weren't going to take my word for it.  XD

Now onto the JMS comments.

"One of the things about the way events come to a head and finish in ITF is that it's very unnerving...okay, *now* what? The ongoing conflict has become something you could count on, you knew the rough shape of what might be coming along. Now all that's kicked over, and you have to get on with the next aspect: making a new life.

What interests me, what I wanted to do with making this show, was in large measure to examine the issues and emotions and events that precede a war, precipitate a war, the effects of the war itself, the end of the war and the aftermath of the war. The war is hardware; the people are at the center of the story."

Oh, look.  Past the ending can be interesting.   XD

"So far the general reaction has been, "But...but...what NOW?" which is *exactly* the reaction I was hoping for.

Everybody keeps commenting, "This is the sort of episode you have at the end, not 6 eps into your season." Yep.

We're funny that way...."

XD  Why do things the correct way when you can stir things up a little?

"I've always preferred the arc, both inside an episode, and between episodes, and even in the course of a season, where there's the resolution and then there's time to consider, reflect, and show the impact of these things. It's not just about solving the technical problem that way...it's about the people who solve the problem and how they are affected by the problems and solutions."

Which is one of the reasons I've always been a little weary of the new Battlestar Galatica.  Well, other than the fact it's really not allowed in this household anyway due to my mother's fondness of the old series.  But everyone I've talked to about it says it's a constant level of tension... which not only gets boring after a while, but sometimes you just need a break from it to reflect and laugh.  Breaks are needed.

"It's often the aftermath that holds the greatest interest. The Civil War tells one kind of interesting story; the Reconstruction that followed, which endured for many years longer than the war, tells another, just as interesting story.

There's a line one of the characters will say soon, "The duration's going to be a lot longer than the war." It's a very true comment.

One of my favorite books is "Alas, Babylon," by Pat Frank, which is about a nuclear war (written in the early 60s). But the war happens entirely off-stage, way in the distance...and the book focuses on one small township dealing with the after effects, and the day-to-day realities of surviving in a changed world. I've always been partial to that kind of storytelling."

This somehow does not surprise me.

"As for the story being over...not by a long sight. Frankly, some of what's coming in the latter part of this season is more intense than anything we've done previously. We really focus in on the characters and the after-shocks of the war, in ways usually ignored.

After all, we all know how nice and calm and civilized Europe was after the War To End All Wars came to an end...we hardly heard a peep from that part of the world thereafter...."

Touché.

"Are you happy with having to hurry season four along in case the show isn't renewed?
Truth: I go back and forth. The "Into the Fire" thing, for instance... it would've likely been a two-part episode, but it still would've ended up exactly where it ended up. A few more big explosions, but I wonder also if that really adds anything past a certain point.

From a production standpoing, since "Fire" darn near killed us in the CGI department, it's probably a darned good thing it DIDN'T go for 2 eps. That puppy had something around 120 or 140 EFX shots.

Overall, I'm actually quite happy with how this season is going, in terms of the intensity of the arc and the emotions and incidents. Parts would've been a bit more laid-back if I had decided not to cover my bets on renewal, and maybe the situation has worked out to the best (again the ABA principle, Art By Accident).

So I dunno...all I know is what's in the episodes this season, and it's pretty cool overall...."

I'm rather interested in the other differences as well.  Cause this one did seem a bit on the short side to me, though there was a lot going on. 

"Have you found some way to slow down time or compress the episode into a shorter span? When I finished this one, I swore I had watched a two hour movie.

You did. We arranged for a time dilation bubble to appear over your house."

*snickers*  Oh, if only.

"Any reaction from the actor or staff on this one? Especially, Ed Wasser? (Might be a bit of spoilers in the answer to this one)

Ed wants to come back as an alien. I see no problem with this."

Ha ha.  Aliens are totally the way to go.

"The woman was in ice as a symbol of their ridigity, their inflexibility, "frozen in time," as the shadows say."

Further proof.

"Two ancient adversaries gave up just because Delenn and Sheridan told them to?
I think that, for me, what mitigates against that is that a) it wasn't just Delenn and Sheridan, it was with virtually every other major civilization around backing their play, and adding their support, their voice, even being willing to die for the sake of this confrontation. If it were just the two of them...they'd be scragged. The two forces needed to be shown that the others had turned against them, and that their true faces had been exposed.

b) The other key for me is that neither the Vorlons nor the Shadows saw themselves as conquerers or adversaries...both believed they were doing what was right for us. And like any possessive parent, they'll keep on believing that until the kid is strong enough to stand up and say, "No, this is what *I* want."

Most wars tend to end with one singular event...sometimes it's a big bomb, or a series of big bombs...and sometimes it comes with a negotiation. The two sides meet in a room, sometimes with representatives of other nations, and together they hammer out a truce, or a peace. There's the Nagasaki solution on the one hand, and the "let's meet in a room and talk about this" of Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat and Minister Begin.

Both work."

Also, because Delenn and Sheridan told them to

"About the final scene between Lorien and the Vorlon and Shadow images
One could almost argue for the whole scene as a classic "intervention" out of psychotherapy or group counseling.

Very early on, John Copeland asked me, "Okay, bottom line it for me, what's the war about?" I said, "It's about killing your parents." And his eyes went wide, and I explained, "No, not literally...but at some point you have to step outside the control of your parents and create your own life, your own destiny. That process is inevitable...and if there are indeed older races, and they're interfering, that puts them smack in the middle of that same process."

It's not about who has the biggest gun, because there's *always* somebody else with a bigger gun...it's about *understanding* your way out of a problem."

But patricide would have been so much fun!

"The main motive for going beyond the rim...there's a heck of a big Taco Bell out there...."

That's a reason not to go to the rim for me, but hey.

"The notion of the Vorlons and Shadows representing Order and Chaos goes back to the Babylonian creation myths, that the universe was born in the conflict between order and chaos, hence part of the reason I decided to name this show after Babylon. That's called *research*. It informs the show, but it is not the show."

XD  This is why we love you.

And so ends the Shadow War and starts the Third Age of Snuggles.  Cause that's how we roll. 





And I think I'll end this one here for the night.  I'll get through the other episodes we watched later.  XD

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
narwhale_callin
Nov. 13th, 2012 02:26 am (UTC)
There was a period in my life -- from around 1976 through 1981 -- when I devoured everything I could in these areas. Mythology. Existentialism. Zen. 18th century literature. I took part time jobs in libraries so I could get access to the widest possible range of books, especially new ones in areas that interested me.

He's very well read! I wish we had more TV writers who read all this good stuff.

The curse of literary writers rears its head. Sometimes, a horse is just a horse. Sometimes, there is no bird symbolism. And sometimes, you're thinking of something else all together. Oh, literary critics...

So true. Literary critics have the opposite of blindness. They see too much.

In theater, which is where I cut my teeth, it's *okay* to have dialogue that's somewhat stylized, or a bit more formal, a bit more literate, or whatever. In TeeVee it's all gotta be the same. To which I say...why?

Hm, interesting observation. Also: he really DOES have a bit of the theatrical way of writing vs. "conventional" TV writing.

Y'know, if I were to read this group as an outsider, I'd think that this jms person was incapable of coming up with a single line on his own.

Ouch. Calm down, JMS. The questioners just get overexcited.

As a writer, you work your brains out trying to come up with something, and you try your damndest to make it original, and fresh, and interesting...do you have any idea how infuriating, how maddening, how bottomlin *insulting* it is to have 10,000 people parsing every sentence and saying, "Oh, here, did you take this from that? Is this a reference to this over here?"

Truuuuuuuth. I feel your pain, JMS.

Shroedinger's TV show. Oh, good Lord. Franklin & Marcus, I Love Lennier, and Shroedinger's TV show. Would the would be that awesome.

Yeeeeeeeessssssssss! We need all of these to exist.

I don't see it really as a change of heart...they've always been very ruthless in their way.

Yeah, I've personally always been a little suspicious of the Vorlons. I thought they were on their own side, not on anybody else's.

Is Ivanova's hug a sign she's attracted to Sheridan?
No, it was just relief, letting her guard down, allowing herself to feel, which she hadn't done much before this. There's no romantic interest there. You can have situations where men and women work together, and can care about one another, without it turning into more than that.


Thank you, JMS. Thank you! Also, why wouldn't you hug someone back from the dead?

The return of BAMF Delenn is always appreciated.

Indeed! :D

I appreciate finally having an explanation of the three ages. :)

What interests me, what I wanted to do with making this show, was in large measure to examine the issues and emotions and events that precede a war, precipitate a war, the effects of the war itself, the end of the war and the aftermath of the war. The war is hardware; the people are at the center of the story."

This is also one reason why I like Gone With the Wind so much: it has the before, during, and after of the Civil War, and how it changes people.
narwhale_callin
Nov. 13th, 2012 02:27 am (UTC)
long comment too long
But everyone I've talked to about it says it's a constant level of tension... which not only gets boring after a while, but sometimes you just need a break from it to reflect and laugh. Breaks are needed.

Yes, that's actually one of my major peeves when it comes to other people's writing sometimes--the ones who seem to think that they must pull trick after trick after trick after trick until the tension is so constant it just becomes monotonous. The wind-up is interesting, but holding the elastic at tension for hours on end? Gets dull after awhile.

One of my favorite books is "Alas, Babylon," by Pat Frank, which is about a nuclear war (written in the early 60s).

NO
NO
NO
NO
NO
NO.

NO. I FUCKING HATE THAT BOOK. I FUCKING HATE THAT BOOK SO MUCH. **FOAMING RAGE** -250 POINTS OF RESPECT

One could almost argue for the whole scene as a classic "intervention" out of psychotherapy or group counseling.
Very early on, John Copeland asked me, "Okay, bottom line it for me, what's the war about?" I said, "It's about killing your parents." And his eyes went wide


lololololol

The notion of the Vorlons and Shadows representing Order and Chaos goes back to the Babylonian creation myths, that the universe was born in the conflict between order and chaos, hence part of the reason I decided to name this show after Babylon

Oooooo, smartness! O.O
dragonofmemory
Nov. 13th, 2012 03:13 am (UTC)
Re: long comment too long
What you are describing is basically Code Geass. I tried watching that show, I really did. Everyone fawns over it. I got bored after the third OMG! MAJOR PLOT TWIST! at the end of each episode. It's a formula. You use it too much, and it gets dull after a while.

NO. I FUCKING HATE THAT BOOK. I FUCKING HATE THAT BOOK SO MUCH. **FOAMING RAGE** -250 POINTS OF RESPECT

I shall take your word on that. I haven't actually read it.
narwhale_callin
Nov. 13th, 2012 04:05 am (UTC)
Re: long comment too long
I have never seen Code Geass, so I'll have to take your word for it.

Granted, I haven't read Alas, Babylon in YEARS. Like, since Grade 7. I don't remember a whole lot about it, other than just a foaming hatred for it. Basically about people trying to survive the fallout of a nuke hitting Florida. I have a feeling my bad-feeling for that book is because that was REALLY not the kind of genre I went for at that age, but nevertheless, it must've done something to make me despise it enough to put it on the Book Black List.

Book Black List:
Alas, Babylon
The Killer Angels
A Tale of Two Cities
Brave New World - (which I also begrudgingly respect)
All Creatures Great and Small
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22 - (though it's not its fault I hate it; just bad timing)
Mrs. Dalloway
most Russian writers
Charles Dickens in general
probably others

But I can see why JMS would like it, though.
dragonofmemory
Nov. 13th, 2012 12:34 pm (UTC)
Re: long comment too long
How is Killer Angels on that list? I liked that book. Granted, it was also made interesting by being the closest I'd ever seen to my style of writing at the time, but still. I've always had a bit of a soft spot for stream of consciousness.
narwhale_callin
Nov. 13th, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
Re: long comment too long
Killer Angels is on that list because (especially at the time when I read it, which was like...Grade 8, I think) I thought military fiction was extremely dull and I had no interest in it. Also because it had an exciting title but disappointed me with not having any actual killer angels in it.

FALSE ADVERTISING
dragonofmemory
Nov. 13th, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC)
Re: long comment too long
I read it in college and loved it. XD Also, I don't think you can qualify military fiction as extremely dull any more, given we've made a B5 fan out of you. XD
narwhale_callin
Nov. 14th, 2012 02:08 am (UTC)
Re: long comment too long
Well, there's also a bit of a difference between TV storytelling and reading the written word. I'm still not too sure about how much my perception of dullness in military fiction would change in that respect.
dragonofmemory
Nov. 14th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
Re: long comment too long
Babylon 5 is a novel in television format. Just saying.
narwhale_callin
Nov. 14th, 2012 11:58 pm (UTC)
Re: long comment too long
There's still a difference between the written word and the visualized story. The actors and the soundtrack and the whole plethora of visual and auditory elements bring a whole new dimension into storytelling that a novel essentially can't bring to its audience; thus, the whole military aspect of it can connect to me as a viewer in a more appealing way than if I were reading out all the details in novel format. (If I tried to read B5 in a strictly novel format, I guarantee I would get bored with it.)

It's essentially the same thing you get when you read a Shakespeare play vs. when you watch one; the performance aspect is the key to its success.
dragonofmemory
Nov. 15th, 2012 12:07 am (UTC)
Re: long comment too long
This is true, but at the same time, you're over looking one detail...

B5 has novels. Novels that were quite awesome. B5 also has a fix-it fanfic for the end of the fourth season that's written by JMS himself. It amuses me that JMS writes fix-it fanfic for his own series.
narwhale_callin
Nov. 15th, 2012 02:31 am (UTC)
Re: long comment too long
B5 has novels.

So? That doesn't mean I'd enjoy reading them. :P
dragonofmemory
Nov. 15th, 2012 02:44 am (UTC)
Re: long comment too long
Now you're just being contrary. The novels are awesome. Well, the first two Bester ones were a bit slow... But their problem was they didn't actually have a lot of Bester in them. The first one was about his parents and the second one was before he was all snarky bastard-awesome. He was too young. The third book though, was awesome both for Bester and Garibaldi. But the Technomage trilogy and the Centauri trilogy were both amazing.

Ye have little faith in JMS plots.
narwhale_callin
Nov. 15th, 2012 12:41 pm (UTC)
Re: long comment too long
Now you're just being contrary.

I'm honestly not, though. :P Those kinds of novels are dull reading to me. I'm a picky reader.
dragonofmemory
Nov. 13th, 2012 03:07 am (UTC)
I wish I've read half that stuff. Okay, maybe not the 18th century bits (hisssssssssssss), but the other stuff would be good. XD

Hm, interesting observation. Also: he really DOES have a bit of the theatrical way of writing vs. "conventional" TV writing.

Monologues. My kingdom for monologues. I love it when he uses them. Also, he is technically writing a novel in tv format, so using a more theatrical style sometimes helps with that.

Thank you, JMS. Thank you! Also, why wouldn't you hug someone back from the dead?

When they're decomposing and the skin is dropping off them and/or you can see their innards. But since Sheridan had none of that, he is officially safe to hug. <3 Honestly though, there's a moment in season five where Ivanova caresses Delenn... and that seemed a lot more sexually charged than this hug was, though they were both just sort of comforting each other at the time. Basically, commenter, you're totally going after the wrong ship.
narwhale_callin
Nov. 13th, 2012 03:51 am (UTC)
Okay, maybe not the 18th century bits (hisssssssssssss)

Even I'll agree with you on that--18th century is pretty blah to me. (Except sometimes the poems--the poems are sometimes interesting. Prose? No.)

When they're decomposing and the skin is dropping off them and/or you can see their innards.

That...would be a good reason.

Basically, commenter, you're totally going after the wrong ship.

Just to have thoughts on shipping in general: my mind is picky when it comes to shipping. There are some shows/books/movies/whatever that I absolutely CANNOT get on board any ships. I just...can't. And usually when I can't it's because the narrative is made in such a format that there's no room for outside wiggle-room. Like, Doctor Who? There's tons of wiggle room available. Lots of stuff could be happening off-show or out-of-narrative or whatever. But Babylon 5? No way. I can't see any wiggle room to navigate ships in. I just can't.
dragonofmemory
Nov. 13th, 2012 12:42 pm (UTC)
Poetry is always a different sort of monster. I usually take poetry on a case by case basis. Except for anything by Walt Whitman. >.> Or transcendentalism in general. It really didn't help being related to Emerson, because that was all I got from my grandfather growing up.

But Babylon 5? No way. I can't see any wiggle room to navigate ships in. I just can't.

YES. It is that exactly. Mostly because there is no wiggle room there. The characters are all written specifically with certain kinds of relationships in mind. If there is subtext, it is because JMS wanted it there. I just... can't ship B5 at all. It just takes them way too out of character, and then it doesn't fit with the show at all either.

Sadly, it also means any venture into B5 fic summaries is going to be scarring...
narwhale_callin
Nov. 13th, 2012 06:25 pm (UTC)
I...like Walt Whitman. ...and transcendentalism...

You're related to Emerson? That's pretty cool! As far as I know, I'm not related to anyone interesting ever.

Don't read the B5 fic summaries then. XP
dragonofmemory
Nov. 13th, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
I...like Walt Whitman. ...and transcendentalism...

>.>

Yes, sadly, on my mother's side. I know we've got a family bible with an inscription from Thoreau in it. I'm also related to Ulysses S. Grant as my other claim to fame. Or drunken escapades. But hey.

I try. But every so often I'll think, but maybe there's a good fic out there! And then I check. I usually end up crying just from the pairings.

Edited at 2012-11-13 07:35 pm (UTC)
narwhale_callin
Nov. 14th, 2012 02:10 am (UTC)
Quiet, you. I like what I like. (And generally, I will always love John Donne best.)

You say these things as if you're ashamed to admit them. I don't really understand why, because both are awesome. I AM NOT RELATED TO ANYONE INTERESTING AT ALL (as far as I know).

Mem. Just. Stop trying. Your life will be easier that way.
dragonofmemory
Nov. 14th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
If you say so.

Well, it's not like I particularly like either of them. So.

Probably. But I'm also apparently masochistic when it comes to attempting getting into B5 fandom.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )