Episode 052 – And Now For a Word

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An ISN reporter spends 36 hours on Babylon 5, during which a crisis breaks out.  Shane joins us as we broadcast our thoughts on episode 2×15 – “And Now For a Word”.

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One Response to “Episode 052 – And Now For a Word”

  1. Voord 99 Says:

    [Spoilers for In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum]

    I think it’s been a while since I mentioned how much I was enjoying the podcast, but that last episode was a particularly good one.

    As for In the Shadow of Z’ha’Dum:

    Wait, did Sheridan just become interesting? How did *that* happen?

    I think this is indeed the episode in which B5 lands on the trick to making Sheridan a positive asset to the story as distinct from not getting in the way. It lies in embracing the fact that Sheridan really isn’t complicated, deep, or much like a realistic person at all. He really is just a Heroic Space Captain. He could be the marshal in some ’50s TV show set in the Old West. It is breathtakingly easy to imagine him saying “Shucks.”

    So the thing to do is to put Sheridan in stories that explore what’s attractive or not about that kind of figure. In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum is an important story because it serves to establish early in the character’s history that there are very unattractive things about it. It shows that Sheridan is only beneficial and admirable elsewhere in the story because he inhabits a plot that is arranged to make his rock-hard moral certainty a positive feature. He’s *this* close to being a fanatic and an authoritarian, and, importantly, it’s Garibaldi, who’s perhaps the furthest from Sheridanesque perfection among the major human characters, who calls Sheridan on it. Because let’s face it, there’s something a little fascist about Heroic Space Captains, and when I say “a little,” I mean “very.”

    B5 has loads of characters (Londo! G’Kar! Delenn!) that are complex and flawed. It has room for one who isn’t, and Sheridan, by being essentially a character from a different type of show entirely, illuminates the others by contrast.

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