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Group Watch: War Without End

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  • Group Watch: War Without End

    Blows me away every time. Makes me want to say "zomg! best episode of the show evar!!" But..I say that for a lot of episodes. That said, if I made a top 5 list, I'd have to put this on there. And I'd consider it one episode, because it really is just split up.

    It's nice to see Sinclair return, and I'm glad that O'Hare returned for this episode and there wasn't some sort of animosity. I would have hated to see Babylon Squared go unresolved. Amazing feet in television that there could be an episode that doesn't pay off til so far down the line with nothing in between as it is.

    That said, they *really* pulled it off. Not just sorta. Having watched the show this many times every scene is just like "ooh!" "ooh!" "OOH!"

    I liked the Sheridan/Sinclair dynamic..each are very different, and there could have been a rivalry there, but both are so secure in who they are by this point that they pair up very nicely. This epsiode benefits hugely from the comic "In Valen's Name" as well as the novel "To Dream In The City of Sorrows." They fill in so many backstory questions that we all doubtlessly have, and I suggest those reads. Very good on both parts.

    JMS is really good with writing an episode to allow footage from previous episodes to intertwine, which shows his skill in keeping continuity. This one amazes me as it is, but we see it to an even greater extent in In The Beginning. Very cool tricks.

    And poor Mr. Garabaldi, he starts getting left out more and more, starting at this point, and it pays off next season big when hee feels it.

    Of course, the most interesting parts to the episode (other than the resolution of a prior thread) is the future scenes. We learn so much about the fate of Londo here, as well as the future of our other characters that we have to wait for. Not to mention the past bit about Sinclair. This episode really has a lot of payoffs, including Londo's vision of his own death. We see that it wasn't out of hatred, but G'Kar was really mercy killing Londo. I also like that In The Beginning ties in with the scenes here.

    I've always wondered if "David is safe" referred to the Urn with the keeper. What do you guys think about that?

    Time travel was done very well by JMS. Time travel usually scares me when it's done because it's so easy to abuse...*cough..enterprise...*

    Everything gets nicely resolved here. Except..where the chrysalis machines *originally* come from (yes, I know they originated on epsilon 3..but how, why? ), I suppose.

    Just imagine how much work this one was to write.
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  • #2
    WWE certainly blew me away the first time I saw it, it's big and epic and features a shocking twist that spans all the past three seasons as well as giving us amazing new glimpses of what's going to happen in the near and distant future..

    There are obviously a few contortions that had to be built in to get it all to work, and I think I tend to focus on these more on repeat viewings - for example the signposting ('Hey, do you think we might meet Valen?', 'Dunno, it'd be an honour though'), or the awkward explanation for Sinclair's ageing. The dialogue and acting seem quite patchy throughout; I like the last few scenes a lot, but I don't buy the way the characters react to some of the things that happen to them early on (eg. seeing Sheridan become unstuck in time), and Michael O'Hare seems awkward and definitely not on his best form in part 1.

    I suppose it feels like a bit of a diversion into more high-blown adventure fantasy, with our heroes doing impossible things, then shrugging them off with a few quips. I think I really prefer the episodes on either side (Interludes and Examinations and Walkabout), and rest of series 3 in general, for the darker tone and realism. But that's not to say I don't think WWE is fantastic, especially for its ending, and needed to be done, it's just that the bar is raised so high at the end of S3 that some of it's flaws maybe stand out more than they would have elsewhere.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SmileOfTheShadow View Post
      I've always wondered if "David is safe" referred to the Urn with the keeper. What do you guys think about that?
      Read the Centauri Trilogy ... the answer lies therein.
      The Optimist: The glass is half full
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      • #4
        Originally posted by RMcD View Post
        WWE certainly blew me away the first time I saw it, it's big and epic and features a shocking twist that spans all the past three seasons as well as giving us amazing new glimpses of what's going to happen in the near and distant future..

        There are obviously a few contortions that had to be built in to get it all to work, and I think I tend to focus on these more on repeat viewings - for example the signposting ('Hey, do you think we might meet Valen?', 'Dunno, it'd be an honour though'), or the awkward explanation for Sinclair's ageing. The dialogue and acting seem quite patchy throughout; I like the last few scenes a lot, but I don't buy the way the characters react to some of the things that happen to them early on (eg. seeing Sheridan become unstuck in time), and Michael O'Hare seems awkward and definitely not on his best form in part 1.

        I suppose it feels like a bit of a diversion into more high-blown adventure fantasy, with our heroes doing impossible things, then shrugging them off with a few quips. I think I really prefer the episodes on either side (Interludes and Examinations and Walkabout), and rest of series 3 in general, for the darker tone and realism. But that's not to say I don't think WWE is fantastic, especially for its ending, and needed to be done, it's just that the bar is raised so high at the end of S3 that some of it's flaws maybe stand out more than they would have elsewhere.
        I like the action/adventure fantasy though. There's a time and a place for it, and Babylon 5 doesn't categorize into anything, which is nice. It's very nice to know that the same man who *writes* the beautiful character pieces like Walkabout can write something like this and vice versa.

        As far as the Centauri trilogy...I'm through book 2, starting the third soon!
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        • #5
          Originally posted by SmileOfTheShadow View Post
          I like the action/adventure fantasy though. There's a time and a place for it, and Babylon 5 doesn't categorize into anything, which is nice. It's very nice to know that the same man who *writes* the beautiful character pieces like Walkabout can write something like this and vice versa.
          WWE blew me away. The fact is, the story is *so rich*, to me it has *everything* a good story needs : Action, imagination, character development, mythical elements, a sense of realism, not to forget humor.

          I have this sense, that if I met some of the characters on the street, I would not even be surprised...

          and the story itself builds a modern myth. What is more archetypical mythology than the story of Sinclair/Valen ?

          JMS makes very good use of the mythology already known, giving them his own twist(s) - just think how many versions of the Messianic myth we have in this story

          Sinclair/Valen
          Sheridan
          Delenn
          G'Kar

          Did I forget anyone ? Please fill in the blanks, if any.
          Jan from Denmark

          My blog :

          http://www.babylonlurker.dk

          "Our thoughts form the Universe - they *always* matter"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by SmileOfTheShadow View Post
            Time travel was done very well by JMS. Time travel usually scares me when it's done because it's so easy to abuse...*cough..enterprise...*
            It rather turns the average time travel cliche on its head IMHO, normally its used to inject extra tension but here many of the biggest plot points are revealed well before they happen.

            I didnt have a problem with the aging explanation personally, Sinclair keeping Garabali in the dark gave it weight beyond typical technobabel IMHO.
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            • #7
              Even though the 4th season is one of the most climatic seasons and resolves so many issues (without spoiling anything) War Without End by far makes the 3rd season my all time favorite season ever! WWE does so much to wrap up the first 3 seasons nicely including In the Beginning (depending of course when you decide to see the movie)(being the I watch ITB first it helps the knots for this episode.) Finding out about Valen, G'Kar and Londo mercy killing because of the keeper, seeing the foreshadow of season finale and the use of time travel to tie up the 1st season's Babylon Squared very nicely done!

              I love Sinclair's look at Delenn and Sheridan when they are touching each other. One of my favorite quotes "Everyone has it's keeper" by Londo. Also seing Zathras one more time but used more is very nice. He's soo funny and I love him explaining "You are the one that was, you are the one that is and you are the one that will be" to me I couldn't think of any other character in B5 to explain that. Plus it's so hard to imagine that he passed away in a skiing accident up in Washington a few years ago..but it makes me appreciate JMS using Zathras in this episode even more.

              Greatest 2 part episode ever!

              I love it but pretty much everything else is explained by everyone already.

              Alex
              "The Babylon project was our last best hope for peace..It Failed...In the year of the shadow war it became something greater...Our last best hope for victory..the year is 2260..the place Babylon 5"--Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova (opening main title narration from B5)

              "Faith...Manages"--Delenn and Lennier from B5
              "Oh, boy, is this GReAT!!"--Stephen Furst as Dorfman (Flounder) from Animal House

              V--"For Victory. Go tell your friends"--Abraham Bernstein from V
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Babylon5fan07 View Post
                Also seing Zathras one more time but used more is very nice. He's soo funny and I love him explaining "You are the one that was, you are the one that is and you are the one that will be" to me I couldn't think of any other character in B5 to explain that.
                An interesting line is in the script that didn't make it to the screen. After Zathras explains the three Ones, he continues:

                And then the three will be two, and the two will create the one.
                Which would seem to give us a glimpse into David's future.

                Plus it's so hard to imagine that he passed away in a skiing accident up in Washington a few years ago..but it makes me appreciate JMS using Zathras in this episode even more.
                Minor correction: Tim Choate was killed in a motorcycle accident in LA on his way to a play rehearsal.

                I had the pleasure of meeting him once at a convention. He was really enjoying meeting people and didn't quite have the 'people are going to hand me $20 bills for my autograph' thing down yet. He seemed embarrassed to charge me for even one of the (I think) three things he signed for me.

                Jan
                "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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                • #9
                  Fantastic

                  This episode grows on me. In general, I'm not terribly fond of time travel episodes, despite being a huge Doctor Who fan. But the way this episode both answers our questions and steadfastly refuses to answer them at the same time is breath-taking.

                  Probably the highlight for me is the scene with John and Delenn in the Centauri prison. Beautifully lit, wonderfully acted, convincingly written. Wath the contrast between Bruce playing confused and frightened; and Mira playing confidence and brave. And wouldn't you just *know* that their first kiss wouldn't really be their first kiss!

                  And, of course, a bravura performance from Peter as the aging Londo trying for one last act to save his soul.

                  Once again, the theme of self-sacrifice (Sinclair for Garibaldi; Delenn and John for David; Londo for Sheridan and Delenn) is omnipresent.

                  Plus, how good does JMS have to be such that almost everything works? He threw this episode out in season one and it landed, with only a few dings, perfectly in season three.

                  PS - Lucy and Ethel?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jan View Post
                    I had the pleasure of meeting him once at a convention. He was really enjoying meeting people and didn't quite have the 'people are going to hand me $20 bills for my autograph' thing down yet. He seemed embarrassed to charge me for even one of the (I think) three things he signed for me.

                    Jan

                    I, on the other hand, would gladly exchange my signature on a picture for $20 from you.

                    Jon
                    Flying Sparks Web Comic - A Hero and Villain In Love. Updates on Wednesdays
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jan View Post
                      An interesting line is in the script that didn't make it to the screen. After Zathras explains the three Ones, he continues:


                      Minor correction: Tim Choate was killed in a motorcycle accident in LA on his way to a play rehearsal.
                      I apologize..I don't know why I thought he was in a skiing accident. I must have read it a year ago somewhere and was mis-information. Nonetheless, I didn't realize that he was the Navy Doctor in Pearl Harbor and in one of my favorite comedy's Coach either. I will have to check him out in those. I own Pearl Harbor and must check it out. I'm very jealous that you got to meet Tim Choate..If only he had lived longer I wish I could have met him..great to hear he's so down to earth.

                      Alex
                      "The Babylon project was our last best hope for peace..It Failed...In the year of the shadow war it became something greater...Our last best hope for victory..the year is 2260..the place Babylon 5"--Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova (opening main title narration from B5)

                      "Faith...Manages"--Delenn and Lennier from B5
                      "Oh, boy, is this GReAT!!"--Stephen Furst as Dorfman (Flounder) from Animal House

                      V--"For Victory. Go tell your friends"--Abraham Bernstein from V
                      myspace.com-babylon5fan07

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RMcD View Post
                        ...and Michael O'Hare seems awkward and definitely not on his best form in part 1.
                        After reading "To Dream in the City of Sorrows" it is very much understandable for me why Sinclair is so... strange. He talks less, he doesn't smile a lot, why the scar. If you wouldn't know what happened to him, you'd think he's working on his aura of the "unapproachable" and "mystic" Entil'Zha.
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