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So we finally started the fifth and final season of Babylon 5.  As always, all comments taken from The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5.  Sound bytes are from the Down Below Sound Archive.

No Compromises:

"About the title
I picked "No Compromises" because that was my approach for this season: we aren't going to give an inch on the quality of the show."

You do like being snarky with your passive-aggressive tendencies, don't you?

"John Copeland and I just did the producer's cut on 502, the first S5 episode...and Tracy [Scoggins] is *terrific*. I think she's going to go over like gangbusters. It's a solid episode, and her presence adds a great deal to the show."

I remember meeting her.  That was actually one of my more memorable meetings.  Mostly because I was sick and miserable, but refusing to go home because I wanted to meet Captain Lochley.  So my parents got me an over-sized stuffed bunny that was just a little smaller than I was while we waited in line and they took my picture for the paper.  I still have that bunny.  She was pretty cool too.

"BTW, saw the first pass today on the S5 title sequence, based on my outline to the editors...looks pretty spiffy, and a big difference from what we've done before, stylistically."

Except it apparently has the attacking numbers that Nar so dislikes.

"Whose idea was it to put your name on the back of the station?
I confess it was my idea...damn taggers are everywhere...it's my one indulgence in 5 years. Doesn't any good artist sign his work?"

It greatly amused us when we first saw it.  XD  We're willing to let you be indulgent.

"This in some ways is my favorite title sequence. It took a long time to make it, and it was very difficult to assemble. Usually I can design the title sequence on paper, and the working with the editors part doesn't take that long...here it took a Long Time to painstakingly choose the images, use counterpoint dialogue, pick the high moments and make it all flow from one year to the next, sort of a Cliff's Notes version of the history of the show. And the music is terrific...very mature, solid sounding."

I've always liked this opening, but that's just me.  Not as awesome as Ivanova's, but still really nice.

"My local station didn't show the end of season 4. Should I avoid season 5?
My gut reaction...because S5 starts pretty cleanly, and Sheridan's new situation is set up right from the git-go, I think that you'd be okay to just dive in. Not knowing at the time that there'd be any kind of problem in the airing of the final 4, but having learned from experience that nothing about this show is EVER easy or predictable, I did sort of a primer about where things stand now in the top of the teaser, done breathlessly by Corwin as Lochley arrives.

(That ain't much of a spoiler since it happens in the first few minutes of the show.)"

You poor person.  I would have had pitch forks and torches ready had my local station not shown the end of season 4.

"Robin Atkin Downes played Morann in "In the Beginning." Coincidence?
We were impressed by his portrayal of Minbari, and that led to him coming in for Byron."

Wait, what?  I apparently need to watch In the Beginning again...

"Garibaldi is completely bald this season, and Sheridan has a beard. Whose choice was that?
Jerry has been shaving his head, getting shorter each year, and it worked for where his character is going, so I let it stay...Bruce would love nothing more than to get rid of the beard (I suspect Melissa doesn't like it also), but for me it's important to make the character visually different, and to give him a more mature look, so Bruce graciously indulges me."

Aaaaaaw.  The latter bit is a little precious.  I'd have hated that beard too.  I miss the clean shaven Sheridan.  Ah, well.

"We always start out slow each season...especially in this case, knowing that we're going to get a lot of new viewers, I structured the show so it would bring folks up to date asap on who everybody is, and where things stand. Believe me, there's plenty of tragedy and pathos lurking right around the corner. It picks up at the end of the season, after some very rough things for the characters, because I can't end it all on a downer, but at the same time, it has to have meat to it.

"Isn't the Psi Corps still formally a branch of EarthGov? If so, then wasn't Captain Lochley duty-bound to report Byron's people to the Psi Cops as soon as she found out that they were rogues?"

You'll find that question answered soon enough."

Tragedy, yes.  Pathos?  That requires one to actually like Byron or Lyta, which I've never been able to manage.  The Garibaldi and Londo angst are quite effective.  There will be more crying in the future.  Seriously, Londo.  Not even Marcus broke me that much. 

"About Lochley
It's easy to mistake the actor for the character in situations like this.

It's a vastly different character from Ivanova also, not meant to fit in the same place, do the same things, or be the same person. They're both strong characters, but different in their approach. Ivanova tended to be a shouter, and on the impatient side...Lochley is a thinker, and more inclined to the blade than the ball-bat. But both are equally lethal.

Lochley, I think, also has the maturity of character you need to rise to the rank of captain in the military, and the voice of moral authority, which both Sinclair and Sheridan had, in comparable positions."

Though, admittedly, they both look good in lingerie.  Ivanova with her Victoria Secret nightwear and River of Souls for Lochley...  XD

"Oh, she has a sense of humor...but we don't see it here in this episode any more than when Ivanova first came in, because both are in new situations and that requires a certain degree of seriousness. We'll see some of her humor along the way...it's also different from Ivanova's, more a sly kind of humor, the sort that slips past you and ricochets around the corner half an hour later to nail you between the eyes."

For having a more sly sense of humor, she still falls for the 'saving water in the shower' line.  Granted, I wouldn't have said no to Gideon either, but still.  I really did love her in Crusade.  Crusade needed to have gone on longer, if just to have more of their flirting.

"About Sheridan
There's certainly a messianic streak running through the character, though he himself might challenge that notion."

REALLY?  My, I never would have guessed!  JMS, you were just far too subtle on that one.  You need to make your references clearer. 

"What is G'Kar's position now?
A lot of that will be established this season, but technically, he's still the Ambassador from Narn."

I thought obvious position was obvious, but hey.  I guess not.  Probably goes hand in hand with Sheridan and messiah metaphors.

"The ship that brought Lochley was named the Acheron
Actually, the Acheron is the river of woe..."

Run, Lochley, run! 

"Why did you name the character Byron?
It's a play on words that becomes a bit clearer later."

Was it really?  I really haven't seen season 5 in a while...

""That last one is what hooked me. I figured you'd be spending the next few weeks explaining how you really hadn't broken the cardinal rule of B5 ["No cute kids or robots"] by introducing little Simon."

That means you went for the okeydoke...and thus didn't see the last bit coming. That was the intent."

Oh, JMS.  You and your dislike of kids.  I don't blame you.  Though robots are pretty nifty.  I mean, K-9. 

And finally, we are done with most of the G'kar angst, so we get to see him back to his amusing escapades from the first season, but much less bad guy vibes.  He does have a lot of good bits this season.

The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari:

"Is this the same story as "The Very Long Night of Susan Ivanova?
No, just that since I ain't doing that story, the title became available, and it was most apt for this episode."

*pouts*  I want to see the original story.  T_T

"Nothing like this was planned for Susan; I just liked the title and adjusted it."

You are cruel, taunting us like that. 

"Is Bill Mumy off the show?
Bill is still on the show; there's a bit of a break as his character is off on anla-shok training, but he does come back, and in fact has a rather substantial arc of his own at a certain point later in the season."

Which I am looking forward to Nar's reactions to.  XD  That, and Day of the Dead.  Though Day of the Dead is awesome in its own right.

"How did Londo know about Sheridan's shortened lifespan?
It's common knowledge within the inner circle of the Alliance advisory board."

It makes sense.  All his friends know.

"We're slowly bringing Londo full-circle, and what an odd little voyage it's been. And so much sadness yet to come."


"He can learn, yes, and he can better himself...but because of his actions, so many have died, so much grief has occured, that perhaps no amount of self-revelation can cover the blood on the floor.

There's an excellent moment in the Night Gallery movie, where a prison camp commandant has fled to Brazil and, years later, is trying to live out his life in peace, realizes that mistakes were made, is actually trying to find a better life...but as one man dies at his hands says, "You have hung too many Christs on crosses for any god to forgive you.""

Londo.  T_T

G'kar's actor had fun with this one.  I would have too.  And then there's Vir and Lennier being their usual awesome selves.  Plus have some more Vir, because I adore the moon-faced assassin of joy.  I kind of want to see the Doctor have a heart attack now, just to see what effects their writers would come up with...

The Paragon of Animals:

"Re: Hamlet...one of the wonderful aspects of Shakespeare's work is that it lends itself to reinterpretation and reinvention; cynical lines can be read with hope, and vice versa, and somehow, the darned thing tracks. One recent version of Hamlet mounted by Joseph Papp starred a woman actor in the title role, and it worked beautifully."

This is very true.  We had a lot of fun with different variations in my Shakespeare class.  <3

"I like the declaration a lot."

Don't we all.  Oh, G'kar.

"The funny part of it is...the editors made a point of dropping in my writing credit just when G'Kar says his muse is talking to him...."

Ha ha ha.  I didn't notice that. 

"Byron's feelings about mundanes comes out later in more detail...I wouldn't call it a hatred. A resentment, yes, and certainly there's a sense of having been mistreated...but he's surprisingly not a violent person, as we'll find."

He's a hippy.  He's even got hippy hair.

""I wouldn't be surprised to see Byron realize that the mundanes have talents that teeps generally do not."

Clog dancing...?"


"About the shot of Lyta looking into the council chamber
The Lyta-outsider view was to further reinforce her on the outside of the group."

Sorry, Lyta.  There really is no one who likes you.

Not a lot of comments on that one.  Have Sheridan imitating Londo and Londo and G'kar snarky-ness to make up for it.

A View from the Gallery:

"One of the things I always do is look for ways to turn the series format on its head, and show us our characters from other perspectives, since perspective is so much at the heart of the show. Whether that's jumping forward in time, or an ISN documentary, or seeing everything through the eyes of a third party (or two), it's always a risk, because it's never what one expects to see, and a lot of people like to see what they expect to see."

Maybe it's a risk, but it's also awesome.  Really, I've yet to complain, and I adore this episode to pieces.

"Writing a script is invariably faster than fixing an outside script. I can write a script from zero in an average of 5-7 days. On a few rare occasions it's gone longer, but when that happens, I find I lose the white-heat of the story, and it wanders a bit. In a few cases I've written a script in a day or two (A View from the Gallery all came out of my keyboard in one day, between about 4 p.m. and 3 a.m.)"

I know that feeling. I think that's why I need to put a cap on anything over 30k.  >.>  Not that my mind listens to me, but hey.  It'd be nice. 

"Did the actors who played Bo and Mack learn to mimic you and Harlan Ellison?
No, they didn't. What they did do...they got along famously, the two actors, and they spent their off-hours rehearsing the scenes, over and over, until they got it down to a patter, very natural. They loved the roles."

*snickers*  Oh, JMS.  You are protesting this a bit too much.

"While there was a little of Harlan in Mack, there wasn't intentionally any jms in Bo."

See above comment.  Though I don't think of Bo as very JMS like, to be honest.  It's just amusing that this came up.

"Lochley's hairstyle was really severe. Did she pull it back in a hurry?
Scoggins did exactly what you suggest, Diane. She figured, "This isn't about hair." She was awakened, and had to get to C&C fast, she ain't gonna do her hair, just ponytail it back.

She didn't realize, in making that choice, that it would make her a) look that severe in the uniform, since she was still getting used to it, and b) give her the Ivanova "peanut-head" as she used to call it. She later realized this was a bit of an error, and has never done it since."

Oops.  Sometimes that happens.  You have to love that the only bit of Ivanova we see in Lochley was an honest mistake though.  Yay for JMS not just replacing characters!

"Why could Byron alone project to Bo's head, while it took the whole group of telepaths to control the alien?
Because there's a substantial difference in will and intent in making a person who's come to murder you turn around, and creating a momentary illusion in someone's head. It's the degree of effort involved."

Makes sense.  Murderous rage is certainly different from passive and receptive curiosity. 

"Why wasn't Draal called?
I don't think Draal wants to be bothered each and every time B5 is in a hassle. He specifically said he wanted to be left alone. Otherwise you also get into a "god in the box" deus ex machina situation where, "Oh, we're in trouble, quick, get Draal." Truth is, if they called him every time they got in trouble, he'd never get ANY sleep.

Now, if B5 had failed in stopping this advance force, and the main fleet came in, then yeah, they might very well call him. But this was just an advance force, and she knew they could take it, and she was right...so where's the need for Draal? He should be a last resort ONLY."

Besides, calling on Draal for the small stuff would just make him annoyed and less inclined to help the next time.  Honestly, he probably knows what was going on outside the planet when he can see things halfway across the galaxy.  I'm assuming Draal would know if B5 was about to be terribly overwhelmed if his focus isn't elsewhere.

""Hmmm, wouldn't Draal likely be aware of what was happening so close anyway? And would it not be possible that he may also be aware of how strong the force was, how soon the white stars would arrive, etc, and thus know if he was needed as a last resort?"

You're not describing Draal, you're describing God, and he ain't in this show. For one thing, we couldn't afford him...."

Okay, I wouldn't go that far with Draal's omnipotence...  But hey.  I do like JMS's response. 

""The "let them attack someone else, just not us" was actually a little startling to me. If they were going to blow these guys up, I kinda wished they'd put a little more effort into it rather than just foisting them off onto the next, perhaps less-fortunate people."

Given that this is a little-known, distant, entire *race* out preying on weaker races, of which this was just an expeditionary force, how (short of planetary genocide) would you have stopped them? Moreover, is that really Lochley's (or B5's) mandate, to eliminate every hostile race out there?"

There's only so much you can do, after all.  Makes sense to me.

I really do love this episode.  It's so much fun, and the characters are quite endearing.  Plus, Londo.

Learning Curve:

"Lochley would never get away with chewing out a superior like she did Garibaldi.
That might apply in a straight hierarchical organization, but Garibaldi is not her superior; they are on parallel lines of command, not vertical, he doesn't answer to her, she doesn't answer to him. She has total and complete authority over the station and is answerable only to Earthdome and, in political matters, to Sheridan.

You may not think this sort of thing happens, but it does, and it would. You're talking to the only producer to go out and berate Angela Lansbury's son who was then directing an episode of Murder, She Wrote, in front of his whole crew, and still remain employed afterward.

Hey, it works for me.  I mean, as Lochley stated, Garibaldi's not even in Earth Force anymore.  So I don't see where they're getting this bit of Garibaldi as her CO.  Also, it always amuses me when JMS mentions Murder, She Wrote.  XD

And... that's actually the only comment on this one.  -_-;;;

The next episode is a fun one.  I'm looking forward to Nar's reactions.  <3  Now I've just got to wait for my mouth to stop being numb so I can finally eat something...