In the tenth episode of the third season of Babylon 5, this never ends, does it? Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Babylon 5.
Holy shit. This all happened? In one episode? And we’re not even halfway through this season, nor have multiple major plots been resolved at this point? I’M STRESSED??? How was this so good yet hurt so bad???
One thing that hits so hard about “Severed Dreams” is the sheer escalation of it all. At the start of this episode, Sheridan and his command staff are worried about what the presence of the Alexander will mean in this civil war. (Oh god, it’s a full-on civil war now, isn’t it?) Certainly, that’ll complicate things, right?
Fast forward to the end of this episode. Y’all, Babylon 5 is now an INDEPENDENT STATE, and countless of people were killed in the biggest, most personal battle we’ve seen yet. (I have to add that caveat, that single “yet,” because I am fully aware that there is probably something bigger and more terrible on the horizon.) It’s like this is “Point of No Return 2: A Bigger Point, More No Return-ier.” These people were pushed into a corner, and they had to defend themselves, and it means that they had to kill other humans in order to survive. That’s where they’re at now, and it only gave them one victory, and one that’s small! Relatively speaking, that is. I mean, it’s huge in terms of the emotional impact; they were able to successfully push back on this unconstitutional attack, and they established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. I don’t want to deny that this is important. But Clark is still in power, and this is just one necessary victory. What else will they need to do?
I know I’m jumping all over the place, but this was A LOT. There’s like a thousand new things to talk about! Oh god, let me delve a little deeper into Delenn, because LOOK WHAT SHE DID. As much power as the Grey Council has, I love that Delenn basically shamed them for not using that power for anything but themselves. Over the course of this show, we’ve seen how reluctant they are to get involved. (Unless, of course, it concerns shaming and humiliating one of their own. Wow, they were sure quick to do that!!!) Despite that there are these apparent prophecies (about the return of the Shadows, I assume), they’ve committed themselves to inaction. And that’s not new either! Part of the reason they were furious with Delenn was because she accelerated the timeline with her transformation.
Thus, what happens here feels not just like a recrimination from Delenn. Her breaking up the Grey Council is a condemnation, and she knows that without help from the Minbari, the galaxy will lose to the Shadows. Look what we’ve already seen them do! This episode alone confirms that they’ve basically been quietly manipulating worlds and races to go to war with one another, de-stabilizing EVERYONE in the process. It’s exactly what the Shadows intended the whole time, and unless these individual races stop fighting with themselves and unite against the Shadows, it’s all going to be over.
I say that fully knowing that this episode is about a bloody and violent civil war. This show does not hesitate to show just how awful that reality is. The space battles are intense and frightening, and I’m particularly thinking of Captain Hiroshi’s sacrifice in order to take out the Roanoke. It’s just SO FUCKED UP. But the battle on the station itself, after soldiers break through the hull, felt so much worse to me. I guess it’s hard to conceptualize death in the fights between spaceships because there’s just a huge explosion, and then everyone’s gone. But in those scenes of PPG fire and hand-to-hand combat, you can’t deny any of the dying. They’re right there. Look how many Narn are on the front lines in that scene; many of them rushed into that room fully aware that they’d die, and they did it anyway, all in the hope that their work would save others. And it did! Without them, would this battle have been won? If the Minbari did not behave the same way and enter the fray, would this have gone the way it did?
The war is here, y’all. And it’s only a matter of time before the Shadows make their move, and I’m sure that’s going to be even more messed up. I think it’s fine to appreciate the victory, though, and that image of Sheridan and Delenn being applauded for standing up to Clark… it’s powerful. This disaster is no longer unfolding privately either. With ISN finally deciding to broadcast news that had been suppressed, information is finally spreading. Will there be a rogue news broadcaster soon? How will the command staff deal with those on the station who don’t agree with what they did? I’m sure there will be folks who are furious that the resistance killed people, but I bet they don’t really care that President Clark killed people. THEY BOMBED MARS, Y’ALL. WHAT THE FUCK. Has Clark overextended himself? What about Psi-Corps??? Oh, I have too many questions, and I know they’ll probably be answered soon, so: wow. This was… wow.
This show is Too Much.
The video for “Severed Dreams” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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