Episode 132 – Strange Relations


Bester comes looking for the telepath colony. Join us as we relate¬†episode 5×06 –¬†“Strange Relations”.

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3 Responses to “Episode 132 – Strange Relations”

  1. Voord 99 Says:

    [Spoilers for Secrets of the Soul]

    You know how, back in Season One, we really didn’t need to hear Talia talk about telepaths’ intimate relations? You know what else we didn’t need?

    One of the things I have very much enjoyed about your podcast is you pointing out all the way that Franklin’s professional ethics are terrible despite the fact that JMS clearly thinks of Franklin as this highly moral fiery idealist. The A-plot this episode is yet another episode that depends on Franklin being the Voice of Goodness in the World. As an S1 episode, it would have been pretty good. By this point, it’s a typical B5 standalone Moral Lesson story, adequate but not spectacular. I have one nitpick – we’ve never seen the Hyach before this, and it would have been much more effective if this reveal had focused on the Brakiri or one of the other several established races in the Alliance.

    One of the things that is interesting about the episode, though, is that it uses the revelation of secrets to link this story, that falls under the heading of “Feels more like the first season of a new show,” with the other story, in which Byron discovers the role of the Vorlons in creating his “people.” That second story is based on tying up the loose ends of a long-running story.

    As I’ve said, I find that I like the telepath arc more than I used to, and I find Byron’s turn at the end to be effective television. I think, however, that it would have been better if JMS had made it less about the Vorlons and more about Sheridan’s use of telepaths in the Shadow War – and even more about his sacrifice of the telepaths-on-ice to win the Earth civil war. “You used us as if we weren’t people to save yourself, and now you owe us” is a good bit more compelling than “Millions of years ago, aliens mucked around with your DNA without your consent, and now you owe us.”

  2. Voord 99 Says:

    Apologies for not proofreading that properly. Remarkable number of mistakes.

  3. Voord 99 Says:

    [Spoilers for Day of the Dead]

    Since I think you will have Andy Luke there, hello to Andy, with whom I have exchanged words in comment threads for another Babylon 5 podcast.

    It’s appropriate that you have a comics writer and artist on, because one thing that’s important about Day of the Dead is that at the time, Neil Gaiman wasn’t yet NEIL GAIMAN!!! Nowadays, Neil Gaiman is a good deal more famous and more of a presence in geek (and not just geek ) culture than JMS. At the time, he wasn’t – except for comics readers. Or at any rate, a certain type of comics reader. (Like, err umm, me. I was exactly the right age and disposition to be obsessed with Sandman when it came out.)

    Neil Gaiman likes certain things and he does them again and again. He does them well, obviously. But pick up any Neil Gaiman story, and there’s a decent chance that it will be about stories themselves, that it will show off magpie pieces of knowledge acquired through wide reading, that it will contain dark elements but wrap that dark stuff around a core of sentimental optimism.

    And especially the third of those applies to Day of the Dead (but notice how much Day of the Dead is a story about Babylon 5 as a story, too). The thing is, Gaiman is a very different writer from JMS. I’d say that he is more different than any of the writers who wrote non-JMS episodes in S1 and S2. And this episode of course comes after an immense stretch of JMS-only episodes. So it’s a radical shift in tone, theme, and even genre – this is not the same “hardish” science-fiction that Babylon 5 usually tries to present itself as.

    Which is artful and appropriate, because the story itself is about stepping outside normal reality.

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