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Group Watch: In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum

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  • Group Watch: In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum

    I've *always* loved this episode since seeing it on the air back in the day. I find the emotional scenes where Sheridan just loses it to be riveting, and Garibaldi shows his loyalty to the law above all else. Just a good episode all around.

    Sheridan gets told about the Shadows here, which jumps our plot ahead by leaps and bounds. Also we receive answers to Delenn's question from Kosh from Chrysalis, further tying the series together. Seeing shadows on the station for the first time also is one of the creepier moments of the show. They could be anywhere!

    Of course, a lot of backstory from "The Shadow Within' Is really helpful in this episode to know exactly what happened to Anna and Morden when they went on the IPX mission. Morden gets revealed for who he is to a greater extent in this episode.

    And yes, the Nightwatch starts here. I remember it creeping me out from the get go back in the day..but I noticed that my girlfriend didn't react at all to it while she was watching it. Hmm.

    Oh yes..and best Vir quote EVER in this episode while he's talking to Morden. Does he have really long fingernails with that little wave, or is it just me?
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  • #2
    First on discussing episodes you skipped. I agree for the most part skipping "There All The Honor Lies" however for a couple things.. "One moment of Perfect Beauty" spoken by Kosh to Sheridan when he leads him to the chamber.. Sheridan was a lot calmer and of course talks like a Vorlon when Sheridan and Ivanova are talking "Beauty... In the Dark" (Ivanova "It must be working..Your beginning to talk like a Vorlon" Just that segment isn't important..but it is important Kosh continuing teaching Sheridan lessons which we all know is important for the upcoming season.
    I thought Londo telling Vir that if he had to be replaced that he would leave too was cool!..Also if you go to the Lurker's Guide you can see the translated lyrics of the chant in the Chamber that could somewhat be significant regarding Sheridan's character.

    The other episode Hunter, Prey I believe shouldn't be skipped in the sense of The Resistance continuation especially with Sarah showing up getting that crystal from Dr. Jacobs that is important with the Clark situation. We also learn more about a Volon ship (Kosh's) plus we see the true beginnings of Kosh teaching Sheridan along with the question that Vorlon's hate "What Do You Want"..This episode isn't important on it's own oviously but again for me it's the 2 main topics above.

    Now for this episode... One of the greatest things about this episode is that from this point on Zack Allen played by Jeff Conaway gets increasingly more screen time and of course plays important tasks in the upcoming seasons...without spoilers of course..I believe JMS adding JC is one of the best things to the B5 universe. According to my wife who met JC in person at a convention is one of the nicest guys when it comes to his fans who also played in Grease and Taxi as well. JC to his fans is comparable to Robert Englund. To me JC is one of the most underrated actors out there. For me Smart move JMS for adding JC!

    Don't feel bad about your gf not commenting on Nightwatch..my wife didn't really say anything about them either until a later episode which I will discuss at that time..

    Two other points on this episode is that JMS is a genius with episodes like this..He leaves you with unanswered questions for a while but eventually he will give you that wonderful powerful and suprising answer such as Delenn with Kosh at the end of the 1st season.

    The other thing is that smile by Morden at the point of the movie when Sheridan tells Zack to release him still gives me the chills being one of the creepiest characters in Cinematic or Television history. I would love to meet Ed Wassar for portraying Morden. If B5 was real I would be very afraid to meet Morden.

    Alex
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    "Faith...Manages"--Delenn and Lennier from B5
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    • #3
      I have to agree, "In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum" is a great and pivotal episode. Sheridan is getting a LOT of both background and development here, as does the entire Shadows-storyline. And of course Ed Wasser as Morden is just fantastic. I also like this creepy, mysterious moment where Talia looks at Morden and everything darkens around her (similar to the effect that was shown when Delenn met Morden first in season one's "Signs and Portents) - has always kind of a Lord-of-the-Rings-feeling for me.

      The beginning of the establishment of the Nightwatch-arcs is pretty interesting und thrilling, too.

      One small thing:

      Originally posted by SmileOfTheShadow View Post
      Seeing shadows on the station for the first time also is one of the creepier moments of the show. They could be anywhere!
      I could have sworn that we have already seen the Shadows on the station, isn't it in "Chrysalis" when they are in Morden's room and he's talking to them about Londo...?

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      • #4
        They are in Chrysalis, but you barely register them....
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        • #5
          Oh right. Forgot about the Chrysalis deal. Well, they're really brought to the forefront here.

          And Zach's progression as a character is really pivotal to the show, and really does start in this episode. What's nice is you get a perspective of just an ordinary guy who happens to be thrown into the situation, whereas a lot of the other characters seem to take on these larger than life roles. It's refreshing at times to have Zach there.

          And...as for skipping, yeah, there's important parts..but I'm just mowing past the non-JMS eps so I can get my gf caught up before July 31..and we're already way behind lol. You can start topics for them if you want. I won't be offended.
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          • #6
            While they were some amazing episodes before it I remember In The Shadow of Z'Ha'Dum as being a really "holy ****" episode at the time. Events like the presidents death and the start of the Narn/Centurai war were not totally unexpected but the share scale/drama of this was rather a shock at the time(espeically in the context of what was generally on TV in 1994).

            The fact JMS didnt overuse this kind of episode helps aswell IMHO. I'v finally gotten around to watching the new BSG on DVD and while I'm enjoying it I'm starting to feel a little beaten over the head with drama halfway though the first season. Making the characters a little less "heavy" for alot of the rest of B5 heightened the impact of this kind of episode greatly for me.
            Last edited by moreorless; 06-16-2007, 12:11 PM.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by moreorless View Post
              While they were some amazing episodes before it I remember In The Shadow of Z'Ha'Dum as being a really "holy ****" episode at the time. Events like the presidents death and the start of the Narn/Centurai war were not totally unexpected but the share scale/drama of this was rather a shock at the time(espeically in the context of what was generally on TV in 1994).

              The fact JMS didnt overuse this kind of episode helps aswell IMHO. I'v finally gotten around to watching the new BSG on DVD and while I'm enjoying it I'm starting to feel a little beaten over the head with drama halfway though the first season. Making the characters a little less "heavy" for alot of the rest of B5 heightened the impact of this kind of episode greatly for me.
              Yes, I feel (and Jan and I have had this discussion a number of times) that BSG is just too dark and too action packed. It really does take away from the story and make you not want to watch it, which is why I, and a lot of other people according to the ratings, have stopped watching the show. The beauty of babylon 5 is the fact that there's *hope* throughout the entire show. While episodes like this are tragic, you know in your heart that something's going to happen to mitigate that darkness. BSG...you just get more darkness. Even your heroes are all dark in their own way. Makes it very hard to relate to.
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              • #8
                This has always been one of my favourite episodes

                And even moreso since reading Shadow Within since it draws such an interesting parallel between Sheridan and Mordem... That Sheridan is prepared to break any rule, indeed to give up everything in order to find out what happened to Anna.

                Just as Morden wasprepared to btray everyone for the benefit of his family.

                Is it too hard a stretch to imagine that Sheridan could have made the same decision in Morden's position?

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