Episode 142 – Thirdspace

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An old alien artifact is found and things get crazy. Join us as we discuss the Babylon 5 movie, “Thirdspace”.

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One Response to “Episode 142 – Thirdspace”

  1. Voord 99 Says:

    [Spoilers for Wheel of Fire]

    OK, so if Londo is my favorite character, G’Kar is the second, and not by much.

    G’Kar is, at first appearance, a much less tragic character than Londo. But G’Kar, like Londo, is ultimately a failure, as Wheel of Fire shows.

    He’s not a *personal* failure. G’Kar transcends the vindictive person that he is at the start of the series and becomes a genuine saint – not one like Vir, who seems pretty much to have been born that way, but one who had to overcome his own self.

    But as a religious and political leader, he’s a failure, because while he can inspire his people, he can’t seem to teach them what he has learned. They remain trapped in the same prison of hatred of the Centauri that G’Kar has escaped. This leaves G’Kar himself – a character who is literally imprisoned on three separate occasions in the course of the story – finally metaphorically imprisoned in the role that he has inadvertently created for himself as the person everyone respects and in fact worships, but no-one really listens to.

    Given that we know that the Drakh have deliberately made the Centauri into what the Narn once were, a broken and resentful people, and have used the Narn (alongside the Drazi and Brakiri, and to a lesser extent the entire Interstellar Alliance) as their instruments in doing so, this suggests an ominous future for the narrative. And G’Kar himself has said that he thinks that his people will never forgive the Centauri. There is no prospect of the Narn displaying the kind of generosity and mercy in future that might enable Narn and Centauri to achieve the kind of rapprochement and mutual forviveness that the marriage of Sheridan and Delenn suggests that humans and Centauri achieve.

    So why *does* G’Kar fail like this? The narrative doesn’t offer clear signals, leaving it for the viewer to decide. For me, a critical point is that while G’Kar rejects his earlier self’s anger towards the Centauri, he never has a moment like Londo’s in The Long Night of Londo Mollari – he never apologizes or acknowledges his earlier self’s culpability in the origins of the Narn-Centauri War. Without modeling that, he can’t lead his fellow Narns to accept the difficult truth that while nothing could possibly justify what the Centauri did to them, that doesn’t erase the fact that what they were doing to the Centauri beforehand was wrong in and of itself.

    It’s appropriate, for me, that an episode that brings out the tragedy of G’Kar’s story, should end with the same image of Londo that the previous one used to cap the tragedy of his.

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