Wednesday, September 26, 2012

B5 Rewatch: A Voice In the Wilderness (Part I)

Howdy folks! Welcome to another installment of the Babylon 5 rewatch! Today we'll be talking about the eighteenth episode of season one, "A Voice In the Wilderness (Part I)."

Spoilers, of course.

Let Me Sum Up

Ivanova informs Sinclair of some strange seismic readings the station has been picking up from the planet it orbits. There seems to be some kind of geographic turbulence coming from the surface. He gives her the go ahead to send a team out to do a survey and see if they can determine what's going on.

While approaching the planet, the survey team's ship is struck by a burst of energy from within the planet. Their controls are shorted out but they are able to establish an orbit and communicate to the station to be picked up. The doctor in charge of the team, Tasaki, wants to go over what information they did gather before the burst and from the burst itself and then return to the planet the next day. Sinclair okays it as long as they can safely find a way to do so. They are all worried that the planet might have become unstable or might be inhabited after all.

On the station itself, there is uneasiness among the human crew, particularly Sinclair and Garibaldi, at word of a revolt on Mars. It seems the colony is rising up against Earth and claiming independence. On top of that, Sinclair begins to see visions of an alien asking for help.

Meanwhile, an old friend and teacher of Delenn's, Draal, has arrived to visit her. He confesses that he feels a growing darkness among their people, something more than just the growing rift between the warrior and religious castes. It has left him feeling useless and outdated, so he has decided to "go to the sea" which seems to be Minbari for wandering off into the stars and never coming back. Delenn is distressed by this revelation but Draal says he does not need to leave immediately and wishes to spend as much time with her as possible before he goes.

Garibaldi reveals to Talia that an old flame of his lives on Mars and he needs to speak to her and make sure that she is alright. He enlists Talia's aid to try to secure a line of communication through a secret Psi Corps training facility on Mars. She is dubious about her ability to do this but agrees to try.

The survey team returns to the planet with an escort of starfuries. When Tasaki tries to dip down into the planet's atmosphere to take some readings (against Ivanova's orders), a round of missiles launches at the survey ship from the surface. With a distracting volley of fire from the starfuries, the survey ship manages to evade the missiles and return to Babylon 5.

Talia is unable to convince Psi Corps to let Garibaldi use them to contact his friend, but they do agree to look up any information about her. Unfortunately, the news is not great. They could only access the list of survivors and her name wasn't on it. A further search revealed no record of anyone by that name on the colony. So, either she left Mars, which Garibaldi doesn't believe likely, or something has happened to her. He decides that he will believe she's fine until he has confirmation otherwise and thanks Talia for her help.

The survey team's second foray to the planet did manage to determine that the missiles were fired from five miles beneath the planet's surface, through a fissure that Tasaki believes is artificial. He thinks maybe it was uncovered during the earthquakes and maybe the missiles are part of some long abandoned automatic defense system.

Garibaldi and Ivanova both agree that this presents a danger to the station until they know more. They also agree that it could potentially be a first-contact situation. The two of them decide to go to the planet and into the fissure to investigate, using a squadron of starfuries to provide cover fire and distract any more missiles. Inside, they discover a technological wonder of the likes mankind has never seen. They also discover a person, the alien Sinclair has been seeing in fact, plugged into a device at the heart of the facility. He asks for their help and they disengage him and take him back to the station.

As they head back to Babylon 5, Garibaldi is alerted that a jump point is forming, and a very large ship is arriving. He looks at the readout on the ship in shock and...

To be continued.

Commentary

Distinguished Minbari gentleman is distinguished. He looks like a jolly fellow.

They've been orbiting this planet for how long and they are just now doing a geological survey? Hmm. Going to assume it is just a new one in response to the current activity. Or hope, at least.

"Mr. Garibaldi is many things, but he is not omniscient!" (Sinclair)

...and there he is. Hah! Slightly stalkerish behavior though Garibaldi. Maybe just tell her you like her and ask her out instead, hmm?

Uh oh, random bolts of light from the surface of the planet are never a good thing, are they?

Oh good, they're okay. Though in need of help. I hope the energy burst doesn't hit the starfuries as well!

Meeting with Delenn and Londo. Interesting. Where's G'Kar? Okay, discussing trade routes. That makes sense I guess.

Oh, they did send previous surveys, good.

I do like that Tasaki not only seems resolved to go back and find out what's going on, but he also wants to make sure to do it with as much information and forethought as possible. Good.

An interesting recap of the conflict between the Centauri and Narn. Though...Londo, don't you think that maybe the Narn have a pretty good reason to hate your people? I mean, centuries of enslavement will kind of do that. Just, food for thought.

God, I bet sometimes Delenn and Sinclair feel like the parents of two particularly difficult children with the worst case of sibling rivalry ever.

"Without the hope that things will get better, that our inheritors will know a world that is fuller and richer than our own, life is pointless and evolution is vastly overrated." (Delenn)

Hmm. Something's up with Mars? It can't be anything good.

Oh, Delenn's friend found her. Seems like this Draal was one of her teachers, perhaps. Oh, he does seem jolly, yay!

Oh, contact with Mars cut off? Open revolt against Earth, huh? Like I said, not anything good.

Okay, random holographic dude appearing in Sinclair's quarters asking for help. That's creepy.

Well, at least Delenn is having a good day. That is a cool teapot! Hmm, seems like Draal is hiding something. Sounds like things aren't all peachy on the Minbari homeworld either.

Gonna guess going to the sea doesn't mean going on vacation. The call of the stars? That's poetic. It also seems in keeping with the Minbari mystic tendencies.

Oh, Garibaldi really isn't taking the news about Mars well. Poor guy.

Talia, wow, ice queen. Can't you tell the difference between when Garibaldi's being a goof and being serious? Aw, his lost love is still on Mars. No wonder he's so upset. Oh. Oh, he wants to piggy back on a signal from a classified Psi Corps post he's not even supposed to know about. Wow. Though, points to Talia for agreeing to at least try to help. She seems to like and deal with Garibaldi better when he's not actively trying to flirt with or hit on her.

Uh oh. Missiles. Well, I guess now we know there was definitely someone on the planet at some point in time, huh?

"Ivanova is always right. I will listen to Ivanova. I will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations. Ivanova is God. And. If this ever happens again, Ivanova will personally rip your lungs out!" (Ivanova)

Heh heh, Babylon 5 mantra. I love it. The best bits are when everyone else in control scurries when she notices them watching and then her little whispered apology to God. Dude. She is so awesome.

So, probably an automatic defense system uncovered by recent earthquakes. Oh, how cute. Both Sinclair and Ivanova are excited to go down and check it out.

Wow, Londo giving Garibaldi advice. Awesome.

"You looked as if you needed a friend." (Londo)
"I did. Thanks." (Garibaldi)
"You're welcome. Now. I go to spread happiness to the rest of the station. It's a terrible responsibility. But I have learned to live with it." (Londo)

Oh, but then he tricked Garibaldi into paying for his drink. Even better. This rewatch is giving me all kinds of Londo feels.

Oh, it's the holograph dude again, this time appearing to Londo. Interesting. Odds it has something to do with the planet? High.

Alright, diversion engaged? Yup? Okay, Sinclair and Ivanova off to explore. A very very dark pit. Ooh, pretty crystals. No life signs detected though.

No joy for getting Garibaldi a link to Mars. But at least the Psi Corps rep is willing to check on his friend's status. That's good. Though I agree with Talia on the completely paranoid bit, I am kind of amused that she was surprised by it.

Ooh, booby trap. Will cut down on tourism. Yes, Ivanova, it will. Snort. Dude, yay for science! I love these two together. Can we have a spinoff that's just The Adventures of Sinclair and Ivanova? Maybe with the occasional guest appearance by Garibaldi. Well, they've found something. Oh, is the planet a giant computer? Is that what the deal is? I am trying to remember. I mean, I kind of know what's going on with the holograph dude, but I am forgetting the why of it.

Oh my goodness. Wow. So I guess the Hokey Pokey has persisted all this time. That's...disturbing. Hehe, I like Draal. Oh man, it amuses me so much how confusing the other species all find humanity. Seriously. Because we are messed up, okay.

Oh, that is not the news that Garibaldi wanted. At least it's nothing concrete. He's gonna hold on to hope as long as he can.

Sinclair is geeking out. Uh oh, another earthquake. I sense they are not unrelated to holograph dude.

...and there he is in the flesh. Well. Nothing inspires kindness from others like a threat against them and theirs. A little clarification, please?

"It's a Russian thing. When we're about to do something stupid we like to catalog the full extent of our stupidity for future reference." (Ivanova)

Hmm. Is it wise to remove someone from a planet entirely when they were just plugged in to it? Well, I guess we'll find out.

Oh, and look, a new problem! Just in time for the "to be continued." Awesome.

--

That's it for this week! Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again on Monday for the second part of this story, "A Voice In the Wilderness (Part II)."



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Just A Bit Giddy

Okay, well, first off, I finished the penultimate blanket, whoo!

Sunshine and Roses by Cori 2012.



Pattern: Granny Ripple by The Lazy Hobbyhopper (available for free here)
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver in Cherry Red, White, and Bright Yellow (3 skeins each)
Hook: US I

I am overall very happy with how it turned out. I was kind of worried that the color combination in stripes would make it look like a flag, but after the first few repeats that feeling went away. I really do like these colors together actually.

So. One more to go! This one is just gonna be basic granny squares and I am thinking I will play with using a chain to join them rather than sewing them together. I gather it is actually pretty easy, I've just never done it before. But I think I've got a good tutorial saved somewhere in my bookmarks.

I did also finish one small quickie project on Friday, but I can't actually show it to you just yet.

In other news, Friday I was reading the Yarn Harlot's blog and she mentioned that she would be in Texas speaking at MadTosh today. I clicked on the link because I just recently discovered a MadTosh down the street from me and wondered if she could possibly mean that specific store.

She did.

After a giddy round of jumping up and down and making sure someone was available to watch the kiddo tonight, I managed to secure myself a ticket to the event.

You guys. I am SO excited about this.

So, that's what I'll be doing tonight. I need to dig out the socks I made for my daughter last winter and take them to see if I can get a first socks picture with her. Fingers crossed!

Hoping you are all having a fantabulous Tuesday!

Monday, September 24, 2012

B5 Rewatch: Legacies

Well, once more Monday has come around to find us. But don't despair! Monday also means a new installment of the Babylon 5 rewatch, yay!

Join me for the seventeenth episode of the first season, "Legacies," won't you?

Spoilers ahead, of course.

Let Me Sum Up

A great military leader of the Minbari, Branmer, died while on a diplomatic tour of the galaxy. While the Minbari are transporting his body home, they stop at Babylon 5. There is much ceremony about the visit, and the presence of a Minbari war cruiser is bringing up all kinds of unpleasant memories of the war for Sinclair.

Elsewhere on the station, Ivanova and Talia work to stop a young shoplifter in the Zocalo. Talia uses a telepathic mind burst to halt the girl and it knocks her unconscious. She realizes belatedly that the girl must be a telepath, likely one newly come into her abilities. She wants to send the girl, Alisa, to Earth to join the Psi Corps but Ivanova is against this plan of action. She claims jurisdiction over the girl, since she was apprehended in the middle of a crime.

Branmer's assistant, Neroon, has taken over his clan (the Star Riders) and is in charge of the parade of his body. When he arrives on the station, he is very hostile to Sinclair, clearly feeling just as uncomfortable in the presence of one of their decorated soldiers as Sinclair is. He demands specific security steps be taken while the body is on the station, even denying the presence of any human security forces to guard the body. Instead, he has brought a group of Minbari warriors to fill that task. Still, somehow, when they go to view the body the next day, it turns out to be missing.

Sinclair agrees to let Ivanova have a little time before Alisa is sent to join Psi Corps in order to explore all of the options available to the girl. Talia grudgingly lets Ivanova tell Alisa about what happened to her mother but also stresses the good telepaths can do when properly trained. Na'Toth makes an offer to Alisa to come live royally among the Narn. They have no telepaths and would like to take regular blood and tissue samples from her so that they can develop the ability in their species. Delenn also extends the offer to Alisa to live and train among the Minbari telepaths. They honor psi abilities, but reward them with respect, food, and housing rather than money.

While speaking with Delenn, Alisa touches her mind and sees that Delenn knows what happened to Branmer's body. She tells Ivanova and Ivanova has her speak to Garibaldi and then Sinclair. Sinclair goes to confront Delenn and learns that she had Branmer's body cremated, according to his actual wishes. He was of the religious caste until the war and only reluctantly took a position as a warrior. Delenn had planned to explain the disappearance of the body as a true religious mystery, which her people would have accepted. With Sinclair and Garibaldi's discovery of the ruse, however, she must rethink that.

She decides that she still wishes the transformation to be officially explained as a mystery, but also that she must tell Neroon the truth so that he ceases causing trouble with the humans. She speaks to Neroon privately and lectures him about going against Branmer's wishes for his own selfish desires. She tells him that he will keep the truth of the transformation secret and makes it an order of the Grey Council. Neroon isn't happy but accepts the decree. She also tells him to apologize to Sinclair for his treatment of him.

Sinclair offers to make a bit of peace by sending a personal message to the Minbari homeworld stating what a good warrior Branmer was. No higher praise than that of your enemy, he reasons. Neroon gratefully accepts this offer, touched. Sinclair hopes to see this as an opportunity to further cement the bridge between their two races.

Furthering that idea, Alisa decides to go to the Minbari homeworld for her telepath training. She thinks that it will be the best option for her personally, and agrees to help serve as a sort of liaison between humans and the Minbari. Everyone sees her off and afterword even Ivanova and Talia try to make peace with one another.

Commentary

A tour of the body of the Minbari's greatest war hero? Eeps. Uh oh, this is bringing up flashbacks for Sinclair. Oh, this will be a lovely visit for him, won't it? Sigh.

Ivanova's all dolled up today. Ooh, actually being civil with Talia?

Dude, Talia.  I don't know if your mind-blast was awesome or horrifying, but that is one hell of a way to stop a shoplifter.

Hmm. Weapons armed, huh? Isn't that a Minbari symbol of respect? Sinclair should know that, right? That's why they accidentally got into their war in the first place, isn't it?

He doesn't know? They don't feel like explaining their art to you, Warren. Apparently. Sigh. Thank goodness  for Delenn. Yeesh. Apparently I am getting ahead of myself on the whole reason for the war, but I swear it's got something to do with those open ports. Ah well, I guess we'll find out eventually.

Oh dear, pissing match between Ivanova and Talia. Sigh. It was looking okay earlier. But, bring in a telepath, and it all goes to hell. Heh. Good call Franklin. Also, hey, what say we wait for the girl to wake up and then ask her what she wants?

Poor Sinclair. It really is kind of cruel to ask him to attend ceremonies for this Minbari. I like that he is so staunchly gonna do it though. He is all about doing his duty, and more importantly, cementing an alliance between Earth and the Minbari. He knows that the Minbari could destroy Earth if they decided to.

Oh ho. Delenn isn't happy about the displaying of the body. Interesting.

Oh, poor Ivanova. Man, everyone's bad feels are being called to the forefront in this episode, huh? Though, yeah, it is creepy when someone doesn't know/understand not to just go reading other people's minds.

I would dearly love to see Delenn pull her Grey Council rank on this Neroon guy. She is seriously not happy about what's going on.

Ruhroh. Missing body. Seriously, who steals a body?

Okay, on the other hand. Can you really bitch at Sinclair for the body going missing when you refused to let him provide proper security in the first place?

"There's nothing more annoying than Mr. Garibaldi when he's right." (Ivanova)

Ooh, Sinclair talking it out with Delenn. I love this. Oh, he used to be a priest? No wonder Delenn is so upset. Hmm. Warriors still resent the surrender, Neroon among them. I smell a setup.

There...there are carrion eaters on the station? I mean, I guess it makes sense, a variety of species, after all. But, wow. Shudder. Uh oh, and a piece of Branmer's robe was found outside their quarters? Not good.

Na'Toth, are you trying to recruit Alisa? Oh dear. Well...might beat being in the Psi Corps. Hmm. The Narn are the only species without telepaths. Sarcasm, it is lost on Na'Toth.

Oh good, Alisa finally actually standing up for herself. So, Narn, Psi Corps, drugs...and Minbari.

"We do not all think the same way." (Delenn)

Thank you, Delenn. Seriously, why would you be surprised that an alien's mind seems alien? That seems like an oversight. I know, I know, it's probably meant to highlight that Alisa is young an inexperienced and untrained. Honestly, I feel like her character is just written extremely unevenly so far. She goes back and forth between sweet and inexperienced and manipulative and greedy. I get that she has been living hard for the last few years but, like I said, unevenly written.

Hmm. What is this she sees in Delenn's mind? What really happened to Branmer? What is this, freeze ray tech?

Oh no! Intruder in Sinclair's quarters! Neroon? My money's on Neroon. Yup.

Heh. I just realized that Alit sounds like "elite." Why do I doubt that's a coincidence?

"I wanted to make sure everything was on the up and up and nobody was sneaking around trying to pull a fast one. You might want to try it sometime." (Garibaldi)

Oh man. Delenn's keeping more secrets. She is deceptively sneaky. Why the Grey Council chose her for the station, no doubt. Hmm. I get why she would want to give Branmer the funeral he wanted, but did she not realize the trouble she was stirring up for Earth/Minbari relations? Oh. She wanted to explain it as a true religious mystery. Of course she did.

Oh, oh! Delenn smackdown! Dude. You know she can destroy your clan. Oh, he is not happy. But...yeah. Let's not incite a Minbari civil war please. That won't work out well for anyone in the galaxy, I am sure.

Hmm. Ooh, very nice diplomatic maneuver from Sinclair there. Especially since I am pretty sure he actually means it. As much as he distrusts them, I really do think he has come to respect the Minbari since the war ended. Course, that could be his soul talking, but hey, it's still impressive. I like also that Neroon is so appreciative of the gesture. That's good that he gets a little bit of mollification. He was just doing what he thought his people needed, I guess. Even if he was kind of being an asshat.

"We've fought long enough. Maybe it's time we started talking with one another." (Sinclair)

"You talk like a Minbari, Commander. Perhaps there was some small wisdom in letting your species survive." (Neroon)
"We like to think so." (Sinclair)

Heh. Heheheheheheheh.

Well, it seems like Alisa has caught Delenn's attention. She doesn't seem to mind being ratted out that much. Oh, I like that, Alisa goes with them and not only gets her training but also gets to help work things out between the humans and Minbari. Hmm. She would probably make a great Ranger one day. I wonder if we ever end up seeing her again or if the writers forget about her by the time we get to that...

"The future in exchange for the past. I think that's very workable." (Sinclair)

Ivanova is pleased. Hell, even Talia is being generous in defeat. Aw...I just want those two to hug. Oh, hey, Talia, asking to buy her a drink. Excellent. I approve of this.

"Chrysalis," huh? Foreshadowing. Dun dun dun. More of a mystery for Sinclair to parse out, yay!

--

Well, thanks for stopping by! I hope to see you again on Wednesday for the next episode, "A Voice in the Wilderness Part I."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

B5 Rewatch: Eyes

Howdy, folks! Welcome to the Babylon 5 rewatch! Today's episode is the sixteenth of season one, "Eyes."

Spoilers ahead, as always!

Let Me Sum Up

Garibaldi is working on his downtime project, rebuilding a motorcycle, when Lennier stops by to convey a request from Delenn. Her friend Mayan is returning to the station, and since Mayan was attacked by Home Guard on her last visit, Delenn would like to request a security detail for the visiting Minbari. Garibaldi agrees to the request and says he'll arrange it. Lennier expresses an interest in the motorcycle and offers to help Garibaldi with translating the manual.

In a briefing with Garibaldi and Ivanova, Sinclair reports that there have been a series of terrorist incidents directed at Earthforce stations all across Mars. Garibaldi thinks it might be the radical group Free Mars, but Sinclair says it seems to be a number of new groups, some even more aggressive than the Free Mars group. As a result, Earth Central wants to place an embargo on any shipments of weapons to Mars. They are worried that Babylon 5 might become a center for arms trading for the terrorist groups. Their trade agreements with the various aliens allow them to sell weapons on the station as long as the actual transfer of goods takes place elsewhere. Sinclair says they will need to begin monitoring the transactions and alert Mars of any incoming weapons shipments. They also need to start keeping track of any arrivals from Mars.

A man named Franks arrives on the station and begins asking questions all around the station about Sinclair and the station itself. He claims to be working for a company called Quartermaster Corporation, hoping to supply the station. The questions get called to Garibaldi's attention and he checks out Franks' credentials, learning he arrived with another man, Gray. Their story does seem to check out, but he alerts Sinclair anyway. Quartermaster is an independent military supplier located very close to Mars and could make a good cover for anyone trying to smuggle arms into the colony. Sinclair advises Garibaldi to look into the matter, discreetly.

Garibaldi goes to meet with Franks and Gray and Franks reveals that his real name is Colonel Ari Ben Zayn, from Earthforce Internal Affairs (which Garibaldi calls Eyes). Zayn, along with Gray, a Psi Corps specialist, is there to conduct a thorough investigation of the station's command staff. He claims that due to the events on Mars similar investigations are taking place on every Earth outpost, intended to gauge who is loyal to Earthforce and who isn't.

Zayn also claims that there are new laws in place not only allowing telepaths to be involved in such investigations but requiring command staff to submit to scans. Ivanova outright refuses to such a test. Sinclair says he wants time to review the new regulations himself and Zayn allows it, though he co-opts Garibaldi to help him with his investigation, overriding objections from both Garibaldi and Sinclair.

Lennier, not having much to do while Delenn is occupied with her friend's visit, gets engrossed in working on Garibaldi's bike.

Ivanova has a terrible nightmare about the whole telepath scan situation and decides to tender her resignation in order to avoid the scan, knowing that Zayn will insist. Sinclair refuses to accept, however, unwilling to let her risk her career or to leave the station. He reassures her that he has found a legal way to avoid her submitting to the scan and she gratefully thanks him.

Zayn studies Sinclair's file almost obsessively, stating he needs to know all of the man's secrets. Gray tentatively reminds him that deep scans are prohibited and Zayn calls him naive. He reminds Gray that a telepath was killed because of Sinclair's actions when Ironheart was on the station. He also lets slip that Bester might have something to do with the investigation, giving Gray pause. Sinclair arrives for his interview and pulls out the regulation details, pointing out that Zayn is in the wrong demanding a scan without further approval from Earthforce. Gray sides with Sinclair's interpretation of the new regulation and Zayn grudgingly dismisses him before beginning the interview.

During the interview, Ivanova contacts Sinclair to let him know there's been a development in their tracking of arms shipments to Mars. Sinclair makes to leave and deal with it but Zayn refuses to let him go, insisting the interview isn't over. When Sinclair tries to leave anyway, Zayn relieves him of command and says he is taking over the station himself. He charges Sinclair with interfering with an Earthforce investigation and smirks that he therefore is now freely allowed to force Sinclair to submit to a telepathic scan. He orders Sinclair confined to his quarters until the scan as he assumes control of the station.

Ivanova still refuses to submit to a scan, even though she knows it means she'll likely be charged with insubordination and dishonorably discharged. Garibaldi promises to try to find a way out of it for all of them.

He does manage to dig up information that Zayn was originally in the top ten choices for people to take command of the station, but, as we know, the Minbari rejected all choices until they got to Sinclair, significantly further down the list. In addition, Zayn is very close to Bester. They realize that Zayn must have come to the station with a purpose, one definitely not in Sinclair's best interests.

Ivanova, trying to drink her problems away, ends up getting into a brawl in the casino. Garibaldi goes to calm her down. He gets her sobered up and says he needs her help to reinstate Sinclair. They all go to Sinclair's interview/scan, and Zayn says he intends for Ivanova and Garibaldi to be scanned as well. Sinclair manages to turn the tables, however, accusing Zayn of holding a personal grudge for being passed over for the Commander position.

He gets Zayn really angry so that his emotions are running high enough that Gray can't help but read his thoughts, realizing that this is indeed a witch-hunt and there is some sort of conspiracy between Zayn and Bester. Zayn freaks out and pulls out a gun but Gray distracts him with some mental mojo, allowing Sinclair to knock him out with a punch, thus concluding his investigation. The record will show that he clearly overstepped his bounds and a subsequent mental evaluation will probably see Zayn taken off duty for the foreseeable future. That just leaves Bester lurking out there somewhere, but Sinclair is confident he will stay in the shadows for the time being.

Garibaldi returns to his quarters to find that Lennier has fully assembled the motorcycle. He is upset for a moment, having wanted to put it together himself, but he gets over it quickly, lamenting only that he's sad they can't ride it. Lennier shows him that it actually is rideable, as he installed a Minbari power source so that it would not require gasoline. The two take it for a ride through the station.

Commentary

Garibaldi is building a...motorcycle. In his quarters. Because, why not.

Lennier! Yay! Heh, he's curious about the bike. Of course he is. Aw, he wants to help. Buddy project, whoo!

Uh oh, something is afoot. What are these people planning for Ivanova?

Okay, this Franks guy is bad news. Good call Welch, thank you for reporting that.

Hah, Lennier is reading up on the history of motorcycles. "Sexual prowess and rebellion." Hehe.

Okay, Gray, why you putting those gloves on? That's...disturbing. Um, if this guy knows Garibaldi "intimately" shouldn't he already know that he doesn't drink anymore?

Internal affairs, huh? I guess that explains why Gray didn't think they needed to involve Ivanova with her spotless record. Oh, AND Gray's a telepath. Goody. Oh, new regulations upping telepaths' powers and involvement? That doesn't confirm earlier claims that they are trying to take over Earth's government. Oh, AND he's hijacking Garibaldi. Dude. Not cool.

Is it just me or does Gray seem kind of jumpy?

Zayn really isn't trying to make any friends here, is he? This...it's really not the best way to go about securing cooperation for his investigation.

Oh, Lennier. He wants to put the bike together himself! I love him so much.

Peekaboo? That's Garibaldi's password? Heh. Oh, good call, find out what you can about these guys. Can't hurt.

Sigh. Gray, I don't know if trying to bond with Ivanova is the best route to end her hostility toward you and what you represent.

"If I knew who God was, I'd thank her." (Garibaldi)

So, all of Sinclair's little rebellions against Earth Alliance and the brass at Earthforce are coming home to roost. Remember what I've been saying about how Sinclair has realized (or at least begun to realize) that if Babylon 5 is to serve its true purpose of acting as a bridge between the races of the galaxy, it can't afford to be wholly overseen by Earth? Yeah, now's when his actions in that vein are going to start coming back to bite him in the butt.

"Ah, Mr. Garibaldi. I was just about to embark on the mysteries of the fuel injection system. Would you care to join me?" (Lennier)

Oh, I think we've embarked on a journey through Ivanova's dreams. Oh, this is sad. Having Gray on the station is stirring up all of her feelings about her mother.

Huh. Where is Talia during all of this? We haven't seen her in a long time, now that I think about it.

Man, she really doesn't want to be scanned. I mean, I don't blame her, but she's willing to resign over it, wow. Good old Sinclair's got her back though. Huzzah for technicalities! Hmm. It occurs to me that Sinclair promised to keep himself from being scanned too. He probably wants to keep all of that Battle of the Line stuff to himself as well.

Oh, and of course Zayn wants to know all of Sinclair's secrets in particular.

Oh, Bester is involved? Uh oh.

Gray does seem to be kind of a nice guy though. Oh, siding with with Sinclair about the regulation. Burn on Zayn.

Oh Gray, she doesn't want to see you right now. Or ever, really, but, yeah. Oh, man. He has a crush on her, doesn't he? That's cute. Oh, you were doing so well, why bring up her mother. Bad call dude. Sigh.

Um. Sinclair doesn't have any real leadership ability? Really? I think everyone under his command, along with all of the ambassadors on the station, would grossly disagree. Ergh. Zayn's one of those who equate "not doing it my way" with "lack of competence." I dislike those people.

Oh dear. Using Sinclair's own love of technicalities against him. Well, really. Who didn't see that coming? But...Gray does seem to be one of the good guys.

Oh man, Ivanova does not take this well. Garibaldi, I hope you are right. Please find some dirt on Zayn. Please.

Ivanova, it seems to me this is a bad day for you to be getting drunk. Especially in a crowded bar. Just a thought.

Oh, Zayn was up for command of the station? That's not at all surprising. Grudge-city. Also besties with Bester. Not a good combo for Sinclair. At all.

"Are you gonna arrest me Garibaldi?" (Ivanova)
"No way. I wanna live to see the future." (Garibaldi)

Heh, Sinclair wants Zayn to be scanned too. He's getting his emotions worked up so that Gray can't help but scan him. Nice. Dude. Slapping a telepath is not a good idea.

Aw, Lennier is so proud of himself. Oh, and he managed to give it a "clean" energy source so they can ride it. Through the station. Heh heh. Whee!

--

So concludes another week of the rewatch. I hope to see you back here on Monday for our next episode, "Legacies."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Local Buys

So I am one of those people who tends to just buy anything I can online. I just do. That is generally the rule for yarn as well. But. I do love to check out my local shop every now and again, and when I go on vacation, finding a local yarn store is always on my "To Do" list.

My husband and I took a mini-getaway to Dallas at the start of the month and (in addition to visiting three comic book stores) he was kind enough to indulge me in checking out one of Dallas' fine local yarn stores.

I visited The Shabby Sheep and it was a nice little shop. I picked up a couple of things while I was there, even though I really don't need any more yarn.

Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool

Jojoland Fantasia

The first I envision becoming a pair of socks (probably for my daughter, though maybe I can get a pair of ankle socks for myself out of that).

The second, I couldn't resist. With college football starting up, I was drawn to the Illini colors (it is my very first home team, seeing as I was born a stone's throw from the University of Illinois). As I was petting this yarn I had all kinds of happy flashbacks to my very early childhood. These will make a lovely hat and some fingerless gloves, methinks.

So while I do generally prefer to buy my yarn online, there is something to be said for the adventure of visiting the local yarn store every once in a while. Or checking a new one out, as the case may be. You never know what kind of treasure you'll find there!

Monday, September 17, 2012

B5 Rewatch: Grail

Good morning! Thanks for stopping by the Babylon 5 Rewatch. Today I'll be nattering on about the fifteenth episode of season one, "Grail." Spoilers are abundant, as per usual.

Let Me Sum Up

Sinclair is surprised to learn from Delenn and Lennier that a very distinguished human visitor has arrived on the station. She suggests he come with her to greet this person. He turns out to be Aldous Gajic, on a quest to find the Holy Grail. Since the long history of searching for the grail on Earth has turned up nothing, Gajic has decided to extend his search to other worlds. He has reached out to the ambassadors on the station for help, and his quest has caught the eye of the Minbari. Delenn calls him a "true seeker" and his kind is revered among her people. She willing agrees to help the search in any way she can, despite Sinclair's skepticism about the grail's existence.

Elsewhere, Amabassador Kosh is apparently up to something. He seems to be helping a human thug, Deuce, who is trying to obtain blueprints of the station in order to get around security checks and otherwise locked doors. Deuce turns to an old colleague, Jinxo, who worked on construction of all five Babylon stations. Jinxo is not inclined to help, but Deuce tells him it's either that or get him the hundred thousand credits he owes him. To prove his point, he has Kosh use some kind of creature to brainwipe a woman who was set to testify against Deuce to the Ombuds later that day. The threat is clear: Jinxo either provides the blueprints or the money, or he gets the same fate as Deuce's witness.

Jinxo tries to steal the money from Gajic, and ends up in Gajic's custody after Garibaldi arrests him and he makes an impassioned plea that he needs to stay on the station. Jinxo explains to Gajic that he is afraid if he leaves Babylon 5 it will be destroyed or disappear, just like all of the others did the second he left them.

Garibaldi, after finding out about the witness' fate, makes it a personal mission to see Deuce dealt with. Franklin is able to deduce the kind of creature that performed the brainwipe and Garibaldi says that Deuce could easily have smuggled it onto the station. The creature, a Na'ka'leen Feeder, is quarantined in the Centauri sector. There isn't much data on it, but they decide to see if Londo knows anything about the Feeder. Upon learning there might be one on the station, Londo happily turns over all the information he has on the Feeders to Sinclair and then holes himself up in his quarters until the creature is dealt with, suggesting Sinclair do the same.

Gajic meets with Delenn and Lennier and they inform him regretfully that the grail is not in the possession of the Minbari. However, they have sent word of it to all of their outposts and should they ever hear anything about it, Delenn promises to have the information delivered to Gajic immediately. He expresses his gratitude for their help and Jinxo is surprised by it, given the Minbari-Human history. They explain that there are two castes among the Minbari, the warrior caste and the religious caste. While the warriors would not understand, they are of the religious caste and so are more than willing to help.

The Feeder, who is not actually Kosh, just hiding in a Vorlon suit, appears to be growing hungrier and demands that Deuce bring it more food. It wants older, more experienced minds. Deuce promises it will be fed soon enough. He orders his thugs to round up not only Jinxo but also the Ombuds, apparently deciding to rid himself of all of his problems at once.

Gajic and Jinxo go to Londo for help, and Londo prepares to charge them out the wazoo to look up trade records, but Vir, excited about the request and trying to be efficient, has already done it for them. He gives them a data crystal with anything that fit the vague description of the grail and they are on their way. Deuce's thugs show up and try to take Jinxo but Gajic defends him, knocking them out with his staff. Jinxo worries that this will only bring Gajic trouble but Gajic is unconcerned. Next they go to visit Ambassador Kosh, Gajic's last stop on the station. Jinxo freaks out when he sees Kosh, thinking he had attacked Deuce's witness, and runs off.

Gajic goes after Jinxo, following him to Downbelow. He tells him that he must tell Sinclair if he saw something bad involving Kosh. Jinxo doesn't want to, but Gajic insists. Before they can head back up into the station proper, however, Deuce's thugs find them again. Jinxo manages to get clear but they get Gajic. They call out to Jinxo that he has ten minutes to get to Deuce, otherwise they feed Gajic to the "Vorlon."

Jinxo decides to do the right thing and finds Sinclair to tell him what has happened. Sinclair was already looking for Deuce because the missing Ombuds had been discovered, so Jinxo leads him to his lair. Deuce calls the Feeder out to wipe the Ombuds but Gajic steps forward claiming the Ombuds is under his protection. Surprisingly, the Feeder backs off. Then, he comes out of the Vorlon suit when Gajic tells him to. They are looking at each other when Garibaldi and crew arrive, shooting up the joint. The Feeder scampers off and feeds on one of Deuce's thugs before the security crew shoots it.

Deuce manages to get away, shooting Gajic in the process. As Gajic dies, Jinxo promises to take up his quest. Sinclair witnesses Gajic making Jinxo his heir and then the man dies. Gajic's body is prepared to be sent back home to Earth and Jinxo accompanies it back. Delenn wishes him luck in his new quest and gives him a seed to plant with the body, a tradition with all of their true seekers.

Commentary

Ooh, sideswiped Sinclair. Dang, Delenn is all, dude, get your act together! Heh, it's probably gonna be a famous taxidermist or something.

Oh, what is with this dude's hillbilly accent? This is...oddly acted. Oh, uh oh. Tentacle attack? What the heezy? I don't....I don't have any idea what's going on, okay. Oh, hell, that was Kosh???? Something hinky is going on. This can't be good.

Oh lord, humans suing for damages to aliens who abducted their ancestors! Okay, that is amusing. Also, aw, poor judge, or Ombuds, I guess.

Well, Sinclair still has no idea who this guy is, but Aldous Gajic knows who Delenn and Lennier are.

...and, looking for the Holy Grail. Heh. Garibaldi didn't even try to hide that eye roll. Interesting angle, searching for the grail on other planets. I wonder why Delenn seems so in awe of Gajic? Ah, he is considered a "true seeker," and since what he is looking for is to benefit all mankind, they respect that. Okay. I can get behind that, I guess. It's a nice highlight of cultural differences.

I must also say that I do love when this show dips into Earth's mythologies and long-standing mysteries. They are very fun to examine in the context of realizing that we are not alone in the galaxy and it is possible other races had contact with Earth before we managed to get off of our world and realized that's what was going on.

"I wish him luck. He's probably the only true seeker we have." (Sinclair)
"Then perhaps you do not know yourself as well as you think." (Delenn)

Ooh. I like that. Just that simple declaration by Delenn gives a whole new perspective on the Minbari's apparent fascination with Sinclair. It also reminds me that we haven't seen these two interact very much, if at all, since Sinclair started remembering the Battle of the Line. Hmm.

Another brainwipe victim? What is Kosh up to? Goodness, why would Deuce trust such an apparently bad thief? Oh, does Garibaldi know her? Oh, that's right, she was going to testify against Deuce.

I like that Garibaldi is champing at the bit to clean out Downbelow, it clearly wasn't meant for habitation. Though Sinclair also has a fair point, many of the people there are just stranded. But...shouldn't there be a policy about letting people come to the station if they can't afford accommodations while they are there or transport back off? Or, knowing it's a problem, shouldn't Sinclair be working on program to help these people find placement rather than just let the issue fester? Hmm. Something to ponder.

Oh, wow, that's a really fair sentence, actually. But...he has to stay or the station will be destroyed? Really? Just like all of the others, eh? Hmm, fool's quest or not, Gajic does seem to command some respect even from humans.

Please tell me Garibaldi noticed Deuce give Jinxo that threat! Right there in the courtroom in a loud tone! ...and then pleads not guilty for extortion not two seconds later? Are you kidding me??? Um, can the whole courtroom serve as a witness?

Well, at least Gajic is asking Jinxo what he meant. Hmm, the Babylon Curse. This guy thinks it's his fault the first four stations went wrong? Hmm. Well, I guess I can see where he might think there's a correlation. Though I would perhaps have chosen to not to work on the fifth station, rather than to strand myself there.

"I would say you have the wrong nickname. They should have called you Lucky." (Gajic)
"How do you figure?" (Jinxo)
"To escape the worst each time is a blessing. You're a very lucky man. Perhaps each time you were exactly where you were meant to be." (Gajic)
"I never thought of it like that." (Jinxo)
"We never do." (Gajic)

Oh lordy, they need help from Londo. That's going to go well. Drinking and gambling, of course. Wow, that he is so terrified of one being on the station is not a good sign. Though, at least a scared Londo is apparently a very helpful Londo.

Ooh, education about the Minbari culture! Warriors and priests. It's a wonder they ever get anything done.

"The warrior caste would not understand. It is not their way." (Lennier)
"So we will not tell them, and spare them the confusion." (Delenn)
"These two sides of your culture, do they ever agree on anything?" (Gajic)
"Yes, and when they do, it is a terrible thing. A terrible power, as recent events have shown us. Let us hope it never again happens in our lifetime." (Delenn)

So...that's not actually Kosh, right? It's just the Feeder in a Vorlon suit. Now, the question is, does Deuce know this? Hmm. Also, does he not think no one will notice and suspect him when all of the Ombuds turn up with wiped minds? Really?

Also. Why the heck hasn't Garibaldi questioned Jinxo about Deuce yet? Their exchange was not subtle, dangit. Oh, okay. There he goes. Thank you Garibaldi.

"You been hanging out with Delenn too much." (Garibaldi)

Sinclair still isn't too up on Gajic's quest. Heh.

Dude. Vir. He already ran the search. Hah. Sorry, Londo. No extortion for you today. Londo's not having a good day, is he?

"Vir! What are you doing?!" (Londo)
"Why, being efficient, sir!" (Vir)
"A few more like you, Vir, and the entire Centauri Republic will 'efficient' itself to extinction!" (Londo)

I like that Gajic carries a staff to indicate he is a wise old man, even though there's really no need for it whatsoever. This show walks such an interesting line between sci-fi futurism and fantasy cliches. I kind of dig it.

Well, don't we all want be told we are full of infinite promise and goodness? Oh, the staff is actually a symbol of his quest. Well, that makes a bit more sense.

Gah, bright neon in the courtroom. That is not classy. Uh oh, bye bye Ombuds.

Heh heh, of course, the staff certainly is useful when thugs come around. Aw, Jinxo is full of infinite promise and goodness too. That's nice. I sense that the staff might be getting passed on by episode's end.

"See yourself for what you are, not what others try to make you." (Gajic)

Oh, Jinxo is not going to react well to seeing Kosh. I love that Kosh has a total non-reaction to being accused of sucking someone's brain dry.

Wow, I love that Gajic just walks right up and says he is protecting the Ombuds. I wonder why the Feeder backed off and then obeyed him? Did the staff come with mystical powers? Oh, and of course, in comes the cavalry, shooting first and asking questions later. Sigh. Now there's a loose (and likely skittish) Feeder. Oh, tell me it's going to wipe Deuce...nope, just one of his flunkies.

Oh, Kosh is not going to appreciate being tangled up in this whole mess. Or that Deuce convinced so many that the Vorlons were working for him. Though he doesn't seem to mind the part about them being feared.

Ooh, that's not a cryptic conversation between Sinclair and Delenn, is it? Not at all. Nope. Wow.

Oh look, Jinxo got a new coat. Go ahead, Garibaldi, pout. Sinclair seems a little more accepting of the quest.

Hee hee, Londo will only come out when he knows the Feeder is dead.

"No boom?" (Garibaldi)
"No boom." (Sinclair)
"No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow." (Ivanova)

So...wait. Deuce got away? That bites. I am going to headcanon that Kosh caught up with him while he was crawling around the bowels of the ship and let him know how unappreciative he was of the ruse. Just, let me have this, okay?

--

Well, that's it for today. See you back here on Wednesday I hope for the next episode, "Eyes."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

B5 Rewatch: TKO

Hello my lovelies! Welcome to another installment of the Babylon 5 rewatch! Today I'll be watching the fourteenth episode of the first season, "TKO." Are you ready to set forth on a spoilerific journey with me? Well then, let's go!

Let Me Sum Up

An old friend of Garibaldi's, Walker Smith, has come to Babylon 5. He runs into Garibaldi in the Zocalo and they agree to catch up over dinner. Arriving on the same flight is a rabbi, who it turns out is actually Ivanova's rabbi and an old family friend. He has come to pass on something her father left for her when he died.

Smith reveals to Garibaldi that he was pushed out of his boxing career when he refused to accept a temporary retirement to give another, heavily sponsored, boxer a shot at the title. The sponsor framed him to fail a drug test so he would be publicly destroyed and forced out of the game. It's been two years since he's been able to get a legitimate match. So he has come to the station to make history. He wants to be the first human to fight in the Mutai, a very brutal alien fighting competition. Garibaldi disapproves. Strongly. Smith won't be deterred, he thinks doing well in the Mutai will give him a shot back in human competitions.

Ivanova's rabbi goes to Sinclair to confide that he is worried about her. Sinclair is surprised to learn of the death of Ivanova's father, as she hasn't told him, preferring to keep such personal matters private. The rabbi then says that Ivanova has not yet sat shiva and asks if the Commander would be willing to give her a few days leave. Sinclair hurriedly assures the rabbi that she can take as much time as she needs. The rabbi tells Ivanova this over dinner that evening and she is very upset, pointing out that her father always tried to control her life and she doesn't need anyone else to fill his place now that he's gone. She storms out and the rabbi realizes he has misstepped badly.

Garibaldi takes Smith to the Mutari to find the Muta-Do and sign up to fight the Mutai. He is told that the Mutai is not for humans and that he should leave. He starts to get angry, dismissing the alien who tells him this, only to learn the man is the Muta-Do. The Muta-Do knocks him down and tells him again that the Mutai is not for him and he should go back to Earth. Another alien in the room watches this encounter closely. Later, he approaches Smith and tells him there is a way for him to fight in the Mutai if he is still interested, but it must be done with respect and care.

Smith gets tickets to the next Mutai fight and drags Garibaldi along. After the champion is declared, the Muta-Do asks if anyone will challenge him, and Smith steps forward. Apparently once the champion has accepted, no one can call off the fight, regardless of their feelings about the opponent's right to participate in the Mutai. The champion does accept. Garibaldi is extremely annoyed and worried for his friend. His worries only increase when a pack of aliens confront Smith saying that even if he has exploited a loophole, he does not belong in this fight. They accuse him and all Earthers of trying to steal and ruin and corrupt their ways and they promise him they will not allow him to ruin this thing.

Rabbi Yossel brings Ivanova's legacy to her. She apologizes for her behavior at dinner and he apologizes in return, acknowledging he handled things badly. The legacy turns out to be a family heirloom and Ivanova is excited to receive it. The rabbi says he is leaving the next day unless she has changed her mind about sitting shiva. She says no, and feels like she owes him an explanation. She tells him that while she was more or less okay with her father's lack of showing affection as a child, after her mother had to begin undergoing treatment from Psi Corps and could no longer show love, Ivanova felt abandoned by her father. When she left to join Earthforce, against his wishes, he acted like she was the one who was abandoning him. She says she could not forgive him for that, even now. Yossel sadly accepts this, understanding that without forgiveness she cannot mourn. Though he fears without the mourning she will always bear the pain.

Ivanova goes to see Yossel off the station and as he is leaving she thinks back on her father's dying words. She remembers his acknowledgement that he should have been able to give her love as well as respect, as well as his apology and request for forgiveness. In that moment she decides to grant it and calls for Yossel. He returns to her side, and she asks if he will sit shiva with her after all. He agrees happily. She sits shiva and shares memories of her father and kind of cleanses herself of the bad, taking the good into her. She gets a bit of a breakdown out of the way and is finally able to begin moving on past all of the years of hurt.

Despite being woefully under trained for the Mutari style of fighting, Smith manages to hold his own against the champion. The Drazi who made threats earlier does try to intervene and take Smith out mid-fight, but Caliban sees this and Garibaldi is able to stop him. The fight ends in a draw and Smith shows due respect to the Muta-Do and the champion, earning the respect of the champion and audience as well. Smith seems to have gained a bit of respect for the Mutari traditions and the Mutari seem to have gained a bit of respect for humans as well. The Muta-Do declares that humans will henceforth be welcomed in the Mutai.

All in all things end on a rather positive note. I know, it was a surprise to me, too.

Commentary

Heh. White Star Liner. I bet they have so much fun coming up with these ship names.

Garibaldi sees someone up to no good, they must be stopped!

Oh wow, is this an old friend of Garibaldi's who is actually happy to see him? That's new. So, a boxer. Garibaldi would be friends with a boxer.

Was that a Total Recall reference?

Oh, it has been a while if Smith doesn't know that Garibaldi is (mostly) sober now.

Ivanova is reading Harlan Ellison. That is awesome. Okay, old family friend there to talk about her dead father. Less awesome. Oh wow, talk about the silent disappointment. Passive-aggressive rabbi is passive-aggressive (yet very nice about it).

Oh lordy, rabbi, no! Why are you sharing all of Ivanova's private business with the Commander? That's not cool. I get that you're worried, but, dude. That's not cool. Especially for someone as private as Ivanova. She's a stubborn and driven woman. If she hasn't made time to sit shiva on her own, she probably had a reason for it. Yeesh.

"It's Treel. It's a sort of fish. The Centauri raise them." (Ivanova)
"Treel? It's kosher?" (Rabbi)
"That I can't say." (Ivanova)
"I don't recall Treel being mentioned in the Torah, so..." (Rabbi)

"How are things at home?" (Ivanova)
"They change. They stay the same. Russia is Russia." (Rabbi)

Okay, at least the rabbi realizes that she is refusing to sit shiva, not that she really hasn't been able to make time. Oh, wow. Crying Ivanova. Damn. Sigh. I know you meant well, sir, but if you know her at all you should have known that was going to blow up in your face.

Sigh. Yeah, let me sign up for your super special fight by being overly arrogant and dismissive. That always works. Heh heh, Garibaldi knew that was the Muta-Do.

Why do they keep calling them snakeheads? I see no snakes or snake-like heads. No scales. It is confusing to me. Also, it keeps making me think of Stargate's Goa'uld, who really did have snakes in their heads. Yes, I know this came first. But that's where my mind goes.

Oh dear. Now Sinclair has taken up the rabbi's cause. Granted, he knows Ivanova pretty well, and he would  be worried, rightly so, that she doesn't appear to be mourning her father. Though, she is very right in telling him it is her right to be emotional or not. It's an interesting line to toe, trying to be supportive and respect your friend's wishes and personal space while still making sure they are taking emotional care of themselves.

Hmm. Smith, what are you up to?

Okay, I guess I can see a little bit of the serpentine in their faces. But still. Snakehead seems extreme. The Drazi seem much more snake-like than the Mutari.

Smith really doesn't seem like he's down with exploring alien cultures and experiencing new things. Shoehorning your way into an alien tradition doesn't seem to be the route to go if you're so stubbornly stuck in human ways, seems to me.

Also, for the record: This extreme fighting doesn't look all that extreme. Am I just the jaded product of a violence-saturated culture?

Oh Garibaldi. Why that shirt? I mean, the colors are better than your last attempt at casual wear, but the pattern...sigh. I think so far this season Garibaldi wins for "Biggest Fashion Victim."

Lot of meddling going on in this episode, it seems.

Ooh, a legacy! I want a legacy!

Ah, the root of Ivanova's daddy issues. It gives us some very interesting insight into her character, and as to why she is so closed off, even with her friends. Of course, with everyone bringing up the issue she's been avoiding thinking about, it's a good bet she's going to have to start thinking about it.

Also, wow. Talk about the soulful eyes there. The camera man better be careful, he could drown getting that close-up.

"Nice punch." (Garibaldi)
"Glass jaw, but he kicks like a mule." (Smith)
"What is a mule?" (Caliban)
"You're training one." (Garibaldi)

Yeah, I am with Garibaldi on this one. Still trying to figure out Caliban's angle. It does seem like Smith has gotten the attention he wanted already. If he manages to survive the fight he probably stands a good chance at a comeback career.

I like that Sinclair is familiar with shiva traditions. Also, it's nice to get to see him be GoodGuy!Sinclair in this episode. I am sure he is enjoying the break as well. Speaking of nice breaks, it is wonderful to get to see Ivanova so wholly off-duty. She is getting rounded out nicely in this episode.

Hmm, that Drazi from earlier is there. I bet he's up to no good. Is that the guy Gyor beat at the last match? Because, yeah, nursing a grudge is a good way to do something stupid.

I am having a hard time with Smith's level of cockiness in trying to bull his way into the Mutai. It is a completely different discipline from boxing, and he is really not prepared for making the transition.

Oh, see, now you've just hit him enough to make him mad.

Bad Drazi, bad! Okay, way to go, Garibaldi!

Oh, and here come all of Ivanova's feels. Which is what happens when you bottle them up. Oh, I want to give her hugs.

Fight's still going. Whee. Man, I think those neon ring "ropes" would distract the heck out of me. Hmm. Well, I guess a draw is better than Mr. Arrogant coming in and just winning hands down. Can we learn to be respectful of a well-matched opponent? That would be nice. Is that where this is going? Huh. It looks like it is.

Oh, Ivanova. A joke about his girlfriend? Awesome.

Well, I'll be damned. A lesson of mutual respect. Smith learned something and the Mutari decided to be a bit more accepting of humans. Wow. Maybe that was Caliban's angle?

I...was this a happy episode? I mean, comparatively speaking, obviously, what with the angst and mourning and crying and whatnot. But, no, seriously, it ended on a good note. On a plausible good note, even. I am impressed. And remembering why I love this show so much. Damn.

--

Well, I guess that with that, I'll leave you. We've managed to wrap up another week of the rewatch. Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope to see you again on Monday with the next episode, "Grail."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Well, I Planned That Poorly

Sigh, just as I feel like things have calmed down a bit on the yarn front, I learn that I made a mistake on my mental calendar. I am in the midst of the first of two blankets I have left for the year, and I thought I had two weeks to get it done still. I am about a third of the way there. Here's a bit of a hint for it:

So much potential in this one little picture.

Of course, I found out this past weekend that the wedding it is intended to be a present for is actually this coming weekend, not the one after. Yikes! The wedding is out of town though, so we weren't actually planning to attend. As much as it galls me, that means that I will just have to gift it after the happy couple returns from their honeymoon instead of before they leave town for the wedding. Sigh. It's not the end of the world, I know, but it is annoying to me.

Still, the blanket itself is going pretty well (when I am not slacking), as I managed to pick a pattern that (once past the foundation row) is a very quick workup. I think I've come up with another relatively simple pattern for the next blanket as well. I just need to get the colors chosen and the yarn purchased (and then double and triple-check the date of the wedding and plan accordingly).

I have also been working on my shawl, getting at least about half an hour to forty-five minutes a week to work on it (though I want to try to throw at least another hour a week in there). I am really digging how it is turning out. As it happens, we aren't going to be able to make the wedding I was going to wear it to either, so it now has an open-ended deadline. I still want to try to get it done sooner rather than later, however.

So, that's where I'm at this week. Have a great week, and happy crafting to you all!

Monday, September 10, 2012

B5 Rewatch: Signs and Portents

Well, good morning folks. Thanks for stopping by the Babylon 5 rewatch! Today's episode is the thirteenth of season one, "Signs and Portents." Given that this is also the name of the season itself (each season of this series has a subtitle referencing its overarching story), I suspect this is going to be an important one.

Let's jump in, then, shall we? Spoilers ahead, as usual!

Let Me Sum Up

C and C receives a distress call from a fighter pilot that has come into contact with a group of Raiders. Before they can even begin to send assistance, the fighter is shot down, while the pilot is still on the comm with them. This leads Sinclair, Ivanova, and Garibaldi to implement new strategies not only to protect people traveling to and from the station, but also to try to track down and stop the Raiders. It seems they are somehow managing to escape much more quickly from attack sites than currently known jump gates should allow for. It definitely warrants further investigation.

Sinclair also pulls Garibaldi aside and confides in him that he has been starting to piece together what happened to him during the Battle of the Line, when he was captured by the Minbari Grey Council. He needs to figure out exactly what he went through and why, so he is asking Garibaldi to (unofficially) help him with gathering information so he can reach some sort of understanding about what actually happened.

A man arrives on the station and the security guard remarks that his identification has not been updated in quite some time. The man replies that he has been out of touch for a while, doing some exploration out on the rim of the galaxy. The guard asks if he found anything interesting out there and the man cryptically answers yes before leaving.

Londo, meanwhile, has paid a finder to track down an ancient Centauri artifact that is very valuable to his people. A symbol of Centauri nobility, once property of their very first emperor, it has been missing for over a century. Until now, as the finder has located it and brought it to Londo on the station. The mystery man, Morden, watches from afar and seems very interested in this transaction.

Morden goes to visit G'Kar in his quarters and asks him a simple question, "What do you want?" G'Kar is taken aback, wanting clarification, but Morden insists the question stands. G'Kar gives him a flippant answer and Morden turns to leave, then G'Kar calls him back and says he wants to see the Centauri people completely destroyed for what they have done to his own people. Morden smiles and leaves, G'Kar dismissing the man's question as nonsense once he is gone.

Another Centauri Noble, Lord Kiro, arrives with his Aunt, Lady Ladira, to retrieve the artifact Londo has had recovered. Ladira is a seer and prophetess and upon arriving at the station she has a vision of its destruction, claiming it will fall in fire, death, and pain.

Morden then goes to Delenn to ask her the same question. Before she can answer, she becomes unnerved and feels a symbol begin to appear on her forehead--a silver triangle. She turns to Morden and sees him as a shadow. She orders him to leave and after he is gone she says, clearly disturbed, "They're here."

A cargo ship headed for the station detects Raiders and calls for help. Ivanova and Delta wing are on standby waiting for just such an event and they quickly deploy to render assistance. When they arrive, Ivanova orders two fighters to stay back by the gate in case the Raiders double back, hoping to learn the secret of how they are able to ambush ships and disappear so quickly.

Londo prepares to deliver the artifact to Kiro for transportation to the Centauri homeworld when Morden approaches to ask him the same question he asked G'Kar and Delenn. Londo is irritated but Morden manages to goad him into answering that he would like to see his people restored to their former glory, taking their place once more as a power in the galaxy. He wants them to be what they used to be, he wants things the way that they were. Londo storms off and Morden seems very satisfied with the answer.

It is quickly revealed that the attack on the cargo ship was actually a diversion to empty out the station's Cobra bays so that certain parties could steal the artifact from Londo and Kiro and get off the station with it before another wing of fighters could be deployed to give chase. Thankfully, Sinclair has been focusing on the Raiders enough of late to realize that this latest attack really doesn't fit the pattern and is, in fact, a trap. He calls Ivanova back from pursuit of the Raiders and goes to warn Londo about the danger. Of course, Londo is already being held hostage by the thief, along with Kiro and Ladira.

The thief grabs Kiro and Sinclair steps aside, letting him get to the ship. He assures Londo that things are under control. With the advance warning, they already have another flight prepared to launch and they can block the thief from dialing the jump gate to escape. They will be able to retake the stolen Centauri ship and recover Kiro without too much fuss.

Of course, just as it looks like they'll do just that, a jump point forms and a large Raider ship, a command ship, appears. Fighters break off to attack the station and Alpha wing engages. But Sinclair had an ace up his sleeve and while Garibaldi gets the attacking Raiders into position, Ivanova returns with Delta wing to box in the Raiders and shut them down. The command ship does manage to get away, but they now know of its existence. Also, without any fighter ships, it is just a big target, and it will take them time to rebuild their forces.

It does turn out that the thief, who was a Raider, managed to get away with Kiro and the artifact, however. We learn that Kiro actually hired the Raiders to help him steal the artifact and take over the Centauri. The Raiders don't think they are powerful enough to do that second bit, though, so they double-cross Kiro, planning to take the artifact for themselves. If they ransom it back to the Centauri, they can make enough money to buy another command ship (or more) and replenish their fighters. They plan to ransom Kiro back as well, and to keep blackmailing him on top of that in order to stay quiet about his own involvement in their scheme. Before they can make good on that, however, a mysterious ship (similar to the one Sinclair's girlfriend Catherine encountered several episodes ago) arrives and destroys the Raider ship. The Shadows we have been hearing about have finally struck.

Londo believes that with the loss of the artifact his own career is over. He fears that this failure is too big for his government to ignore and expects to be replaced as ambassador very shortly. Morden comes to visit him, however, and presents him with the eye, then disappears before Londo can thank him or get an explanation.

Garibaldi follows up with Sinclair on the personal investigation he asked him to undergo. Garibaldi reveals that some digging turned up information that Sinclair had never been the first choice to run the station. Sinclair is unsurprised, saying he had always suspected as much. Garibaldi tells him that he was actually pretty far down the list. In fact, a whole line of prestigious people were rejected, one by one, until Sinclair's name was put up for the job. Sinclair asks who was rejecting the names and Garibaldi tells him it was the Minbari government. They were the first race to sign on to the project and did so on the condition they could have approval of the person chosen to run the station. And they wanted Sinclair in charge.

Sinclair goes to bid Lady Ladira a farewell and she tells him that her vision of the station's destruction still remains. She shows it to him and he asks her if it is a definite future or only a possible one. She replies that the future is always changing, so it is only possible. She hopes he will be able to find a way to avoid it.

Commentary

You know, as much as I joke about the stock footage (although I guess that is mostly in my head--be thankful you are spared this), most of it really is pretty nifty.

Hahahaha, oh my goodness, the computers on this station are the SO the precursor to SIRI, aren't they?

Poor Ivanova, I feel you, I really really do. It is so very much harder to get up when it's dark. Although at four-thirty? Yeah, that makes it even worse.

The Raiders are getting to be a much bigger problem, aren't they? Hmm, have they found a secret jump gate? I do like that Team Sinclair wants to be proactive and try to find a way to use the situation to their advantage to track down the Raiders so they can have a chance at stopping them.

Ooh, Sinclair is opening up to Garibaldi about his capture by the Minbari! I like that he is trying to find out what actually happened instead of just freaking out and confronting Delenn about it.

Hmm. Londo has managed to track down and recover a very important Centauri artifact, cool. Why do I suspect that he isn't going to just give it to a museum? Also, new cryptic guy from just from the Rim sure does seem interested.

Oh my gosh, this poor guy stuck in between Londo and G'Kar! I would not trade places with him for anything! Dude, I would be diving in that elevator and jamming on the close button too. I love that the relationship and rivalry between Londo and G'Kar so much. Especially since, while it is completely justified, the writers manage to make their arguments so entertaining and amusing without pushing them over into being caricatures. If that makes sense. They provide this (very necessary to the show) sense of levity but it is done in a way that doesn't degrade the conflict between the two. I really like that.

Okay, mystery man has a name: Morden. I knew he was important.

Can someone please show me a flow chart of the Narn government? They keep mentioning these numbered Circles, and I think I grasp how they are organized, but I'd like some confirmation.

Oh, G'Kar doesn't have feels about the Centauri at all, huh? Oh, yeah, I know who Morden is now. Yeah, definitely important. Also, yeah. Just. Well, we'll see more on that later down the road.

Hmm. Centauri prophetess? It's, um, it's not good when a seer gets that kind of look on her face. Oh good, prophesy of fire and doom! Well, it does give the episode's title some relevance, eh? Aw, this show was so cheery up until now.

Hey, those guys don't have crazy hair. Is it...is it a hierarchy thing? Dude. I would never want to advance to prominence in that culture.

Oh, oh. You're gonna be killed by shadows? You are so screwed dude. Yeah, scoff all you want, you have no idea.

Oh, what's this with the symbol on Delenn's head? Oh, is it a spidey sense? Look, Morden's gone all shadowy. That's not telling. She's kicking Morden out. That's definitely smart. Though, is it because she sensed his nefarious purposes or...well...something's going on. Hmm, I am guessing that symbol has something to do with the Grey Council.

Oh lord. This Kiro guy is unhappy to just be a wealthy noble. He wants power, he wants to stop the world from changing. That's never going to be a winning battle, dude. I like that Londo is kind of noncommittal about wanting to keep to the old ways.

Oh, wait, he wants everything back the way it was. Guess he's not so ambivalent about change after all, huh?

Oh, hey, remember when this episode was about the Raiders? Oh, is Ivanova actually going to get to do something about them? Go Delta wing, go! Um...okay. What was that about? So, the Raider attack is a trap?

Hmm. Morden hiding from Kosh. Interesting.

"Yes, yes. Look, what do you want?" (Londo)
"That's what I was going to ask you. What do you want?" (Morden)
"You are a lunatic. Go away. Pester someone else." (Londo)

Oh, good for you Sinclair, being suspicious about this attack. Hopefully that will serve you well.

Hmm, so, the trap was for Londo's artifact, which leads me to believe that Morden is involved. Thankfully Sinclair is a smart cookie and figured out something was up.

Wait wait wait. He gets his brains splattered across the docking bay? Really? We've already seen that his gun is, in fact, an energy weapon of some sort, not a projectile weapon. In fact, I don't know that we've seen any projectile weapons thus far on the show. So...no actual splattering of brains. How is that expression still in the lingo? How hard would it have been to come up with a threat appropriate to the actual weapon in use. Writer fail, guys. Just. Ugh. Sorry, sorry, that just pulled me right out of things.

Oh, Sinclair, that smile. Dude, you only think you're getting away with it.

Yup, Garibaldi ready and jump gate shut down. Of course, Ladira says the shadows are coming. That can't be good. Oh, Sinclair, you're getting too smug, stop!

Oh, so big ships can jump without a gate? And the Raiders have a big battle cruiser type ship. Explains a lot.

Can Morden sense Kosh? That's interesting.

Oh, I see where the smug was coming from. Hello, Ivanova.

Hmm. Kosh's suit was damaged. Presumably in his encounter with Morden.

Oh Kiro. You sad power-hungry idiot. You really thought the Raiders wouldn't betray you? Oh, and they're going to blackmail you on top of it all. Of course. Oh, wait, no. Won't get the chance. Hey, remember how you didn't believe Ladira about being killed by Shadows? Yeah, that was dumb.

"A gift. From friends you don't know you have." (Morden)

Okay, Londo, this right here, this whole encounter? That should be a huge red flag. You just accidentally sold your soul. Oops.

So. The Minbari wanted Sinclair to run the station. That deepens the mystery.

Oh, the station is still doomed? Damn. That's cool that Ladira can share her visions. It gives them a little bit more weight, I bet.

"Is it a vision of what will be or what might be?" (Sinclair)
"The future is always changing. We create the future with our words, our deeds, and with our beliefs." (Ladira)

Sinclair has had a hell of a couple of days, huh? There is so much going on in this episode. As I said at the start, it's an important one. The Raiders are kind of knocked out of contention, but with Morden and these Shadows, we get a new and rather ominous foe to focus on. One that's been hinted at thus far, but that hasn't really been shown too much. We also see that at the very least Kosh and Delenn have some familiarity with this foe as well, which suggests that they are not new, only mostly unknown. Then there is the doom foretold for the station, and Sinclair's discovery that the Minbari for some reason wrangled him into his current position without his knowledge.

It's going to be fun watching to find out how all of this ties together, eh?

--

That's it for today. I hope to see you back here on Wednesday for the next episode, "TKO."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

B5 Rewatch: By Any Means Necessary

Hello everybody! Welcome to the Babylon 5 rewatch! Today we'll be tackling the twelfth episode of season one, "By Any Means Necessary." Join me, won't you, on this spoilerific journey?

Let Me Sum Up

A computer malfunction occurs while a Narn ship is attempting to dock with the station, causing it to collide with another ship. Two members of the station crew are trapped by the subsequent explosion, and one does not make it. The cargo on the Narn ship is also lost.

The incident sparks turmoil with the docking bay workers and with G'Kar (and the Narn government). The malfunction appears to have been caused by a defective microchip and it is revealed that all of the chips in that part of the station are substandard, the contractor used the cheap stuff. They need to repair the bay and install new chips, which will cost money they don't have. Earth is not eager to up the station's budget, either.

Meanwhile, G'Kar desperately tries to track down a replacement for his cargo, a rare flower that he needs for a religious ceremony that must be conducted during the holy days of G'Quan, an observance that is happening currently. Despite his and Na'Toth's best efforts, they cannot find a way to have another shipped to them in time for the ceremony. Though it does turn out that there is one on the station. It just happens to belong to Londo.

The station's dock workers, unhappy to learn they won't be getting any sort of raise, new equipment, new staff, relief of any sort, start calling in sick. Which is their way of striking (since it is illegal for them to do so based on their employment contracts). Sinclair wants to help them but his hands are tied by lack of funds. He tries to reach a compromise with their leader, Connally, to get them to go back to work while he works on getting Earth to give them the funds they need to improve conditions. Connally says not without guarantees.

G'Kar goes to Londo to offer to purchase the plant, but Londo is unwilling to part with it unless G'Kar pays an extremely exorbitant sum. When G'Kar scrapes up the money, Londo says he changed his mind and will not be selling G'Kar the plant. He tells G'Kar to consider it a small taste of revenge for what the Narn did to their colony on Ragesh 3 (and to Londo's nephew).

Earth gets wind of the trouble and they send a labor negotiator, Zento, to try to bulldoze the dock workers into backing down. He threatens to invoke something called the Rush Act if they don't get back to work. He swears up and down that there are no funds to give them what they want, despite that they were promised raises the previous year. Apparently they did not get that in writing though. He says their experts assure him that they are staffed and stocked well enough to get through the next year, but the brother of the man who died speaks up that their equipment is so beat up it won't last them another two months. When Zento dismisses the claim, they decide to declare a full-out strike.

G'Kar tries to enlist Sinclair's help in procuring the plant from Londo. Londo, knowing Sinclair wants it for G'Kar, still won't budge. So G'Kar arranges for a holy Centauri item to go missing.

Zento gets the Rush Act invoked by Earth's Senate and harangues Sinclair to have all of the striking dock workers arrested. The security force goes to carry out the order and it looks like a riot will break out. There is a bit of a scuffle and Sinclair orders Garibaldi to pull back. Zento arrives and demands they all be arrested but Sinclair wants to talk to the workers. He confirms with Zento that the Rush Act empowers him to end the strike "by any means necessary." When Zento agrees Sinclair announces that he is reallocating a large chunk of the station's military budget to use towards meeting the dock workers' demands. Zento is outraged but Sinclair points out that it was Zento who gave him the authority. Sinclair also declares amnesty to the workers for the strike. His offer is dependent on them returning to work immediately and they gladly agree to do so.

So that leaves G'Kar and Londo to deal with. Sinclair orders G'Kar to return the Centauri statue. Then he points out to Londo that the plant is actually a controlled substance and only legal to possess for medical or religious purposes. Londo sighs and says fine, he can have the plant. He's gotten his enjoyment out of the game. G'Kar sighs and says it doesn't matter, it's too late. That's why Londo caved so easily. Sinclair points out that there is a way the Narn can still perform the ceremony and be considered within their time limit (due to light traveling through space and such not). This satisfies G'Kar's needs and the ceremony is performed.

Sinclair finally heads to his quarters to rest, only to have a message waiting from his Senator friend on Earth. The Senate will uphold his actions, but he has made some powerful enemies. Sinclair doesn't really seem to unsettled by this news. It is old hat to him by now.

Commentary

Oh, Ivanova clearly loves being on traffic control. Must be rush hour on the station. Uh, oh. Didn't she just say don't alter your course? Seriously? ...and chaos.

...is this a labor union episode? Oh lord.

Ooh. Narn religious ceremony! Uh oh, someone's dead and the Narn cargo is lost.

Ivanova has a point. She did tell the guy to stay where he was.

Great, substandard microchips. That's never a good thing. Let me guess, Earth doesn't want to increase the budget.

Hmm. I wonder what this G'Quan Eth is? I would guess it has something to do with their religion, since it shares part of its name with the deity. Oh, okay, it's the "holy days of G'Quan." I guess that explains why G'Kar is suddenly religious now.

Of course Londo has the sacred flower that G'Kar needs for a time sensitive ceremony. Raise your hand if you're surprised by this. Oh my goodness, Londo's smug face.

Surprise surprise, Earth doesn't want to give the station more money. When someone's died, doesn't that at least warrant a reevaluation of priorities? "Safely and efficiently" run the station. Translation--make due with the bare minimum.

Illegal workers strike, huh? Well, that's what happens when you make it so that people have no recourse against unsafe working conditions. Sigh. No one wants to compromise.

This has to suck pretty hard for Sinclair, considering he wants to give the dock workers what they are asking for.

Oh man, Londo is reveling in having this to hold over G'Kar. I wonder how long he's been waiting to dangle it in front of G'Kar?

Wait. Is the Senator really calling to bitch out Sinclair for the dockers' actions when he was just telling the Senator that the dock workers need to be given better conditions? *headdesk*

Look at this guy's suit. He's the best dressed guy on this whole series. Must be a villain. This Rush Act sounds extremely ominous.

Wow. Londo. I get where you're coming from, but way to be a dick. Do you really want to get G'Kar that mad at you? Hmm. So, the Narn all have different sects, and seem accepting of those who don't have any beliefs. Interesting.

"Babylon 5 is a military installation in the midst of hostile alien governments. It is vital to the defense of Earth." (Zento)

What, the? What? I mean, yes, okay. I guess the fact that it is run by military officers backs up that it's a military installation. But this guy (and apparently Earth, who sent him) do not see the station's purpose as what the alien governments or even Sinclair see it as. The station is supposed to be neutral territory, not a military defense. I am side-eying you hard Zento. So hard.

Sigh. I have so little patience for this kind of story line. I know it is supposed to show that the future isn't perfect and there's still class struggles and whatnot. But. In order to pull this kind of story off, you've once more got people who have to be acting just plain obtuse. This is basic maintenance and cost required to keep the station running. If it breaks down, everyone on it dies. That is simple math. Labor disputes that would be considered normal on Earth can't be allowed to get that point on a space station. It is just plain idiotic not to treat these people well and keep the workers safe and satisfied in their jobs. Especially on a station like Babylon 5, where ignoring the escalating conditions can (and case in point does) lead to a diplomatic incident with other races. If Earth can't afford to keep the station running properly, then they need to either scrap the project or work with the other alien governments to secure further funding.

Also, how the hell did the dock workers end up in what basically sounds like indentured servitude?

"Beg your pardon, Commander, but if someone's pushed you, wouldn't you push back?" (Eduardo)

Well, another tipping point for Sinclair to realize how out of touch Earth is with the station.

"Look, I can't force you to do this. But in the name of interstellar goodwill, not mention peace and quiet on this station, I'm asking." (Sinclair)

Poor Sinclair. He is not having a good week, is he? Dock workers going on illegal strike, the Centauri and Narn ambassadors at each other's throats. Everyone willing to break the rules to get what they want. Sigh. I wonder if he ever feels like he's just trying to herd cats?

Oh goody, the reporter's back. How is she allowed in C and C? Oh, and G'Kar and Londo too. Looks like the you-know-what's about to hit the fan. ...and there goes what was left of Sinclair's patience. Oh, and there's the Senator. Right on time. Hmm. Asking for the full text. Someone's looking for a loophole.

Okay, really. Could the security forces look any more ominous when they arrive?

Also, don't be pissed at the soldiers who are just doing their job when you're the ones who (with good reason yes, but still) pushed them to the necessity of unpleasant duties. Just because you (again, rightly so) are refusing to do your job, you cannot expect everyone else to do the same. Especially when you are talking about military forces, who are trained to follow orders no matter how unpleasant.

Can someone punch Zento? That might make this plot worth it. Guy is oilier than a snake oil salesman...wait, that got away from me.

Oh Sinclair, you are about to do something awesome. I love you.

"You should never hand someone a gun unless you're sure where they'll point it." (Sinclair)

Amen, brother. Heh. Zento's mad that Sinclair twisted the intent of the order. Yet he and Earth have been twisting the intent of the station itself.

Well, that's one problem down. Time to deal with G'Kar and Londo. Heh heh. The plant is a restricted substance. Well played, Sinclair. It pays to pay attention to the rules in detail. Furthering the theme of technicalities, Sinclair has a solution for G'Kar's missed deadline.

It's good that the Senator is on Sinclair's side at least, since he seems to have made more than a few enemies, in and out of the Senate, on this particular venture. Which is what happens when you push such a clever man into a corner. But no one's acknowledging that bit today. Sigh. Sinclair and the station are one step closer to a rift with Earth now.

So here is where we start to see G'Kar's spiritual side. We don't learn too much about his actual beliefs just yet, but we know that he does take his faith very seriously. That will come into play later on down the road, so it's nice to see the groundwork put down, even if it did kind of seem to come out of nowhere in this episode.

--

That wraps up another week. See you back here on Monday for the next episode, "Signs and Portents."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

And, At Long Last...

I know you guys are either sick of hearing me talk about it or eagerly looking forward to seeing it (or perhaps a little bit of both). So, at long last I present to you...

...the dragon blanket!!!

Watchdragons by Cori 2012.

Pattern for the Dragon Panels: Dragonscarf by Ravelry user Tina13 (available for free if you have a Ravelry account)
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver in Soft Navy (four skeins), Light Blue, and Coffee (two skeins each)
Hook: US J

Everything is just straight up double crochet with a little color work for the edging, dragon panels, and center stripe. It took me just under two months to make (and a whole lot longer to plan). I am fiercely proud of this thing and I know that it will be well-loved in its new home.

Every couple of years I get a really cool concept idea for a blanket. One that challenges me and really stretches the limits of my own skills while teaching me new things. This was one of those blankets. It's one for me to remember with pride for the rest of my days.

So, there you have it. Now, I am going to take a break by working on some super simple patterns for the next few (several) projects!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

B5 Rewatch: Survivors

Hello, there! Welcome to the Babylon 5 rewatch! Today we'll be looking at the eleventh episode of the first season, "Survivors."

I've made one more tweak to the format, moving the quotes into the Commentary section so that my reaction to them can be included within the rest of the flow. I think it works a little better that way.

Spoilers for everything, as always.

Shall we?

Let Me Sum Up

The President of Earth is coming to visit Babylon 5, ostensibly to present the station with a new squadron of fighter ships, though it seems likely he wants to push his own political agenda regarding alien relations. Before his arrival there is an explosion in one of the docking bays intended for the new ships.

The head of the President's security team, Major Kemmer, arrives and it turns out she's the daughter of an old friend of Garibaldi's, one who died because of him. She immediately takes over the investigation into the explosion, citing presidential authority, and despite Franklin's protests revives the survivor of the incident. He lives long enough to pin the finger for the bomb on Garibaldi.

Kemmer demands that Garibaldi be suspended pending the investigation and Sinclair has no choice but to concede. Kemmer then has Garibaldi's rooms searched and finds evidence to further corroborate the claim that he was behind the sabotage. She tries to arrest him, but Garibaldi runs. It is clear that Kemmer is exercising a personal vendetta against him because of her father and he fears he will have no chance to prove his innocence from prison. When Kemmer tries to initiate a public station-wide search for him, Sinclair shuts her down, deciding he is fed up with her bringing personal issues into a station matter and constantly pulling rank on his ground. Ivanova gladly helps thwart Kemmer.

Garibaldi goes to Londo in hopes of finding help to clear his name. Londo swears innocence of the whole situation and merrily points the finger at G'Kar. Garibaldi then goes to confront G'Kar, who points out that Londo has every reason to blame him and no actual evidence. He too swears innocence. Garibaldi tries to seek help from the ship's underworld, but he's made pretty much nothing but enemies among them and finds no aid from that quarter.

After getting beat up by some thugs, he flees to a bar to hide and makes the ill-advised decision to break his sober streak and drink. Then he drunkenly stumbles right into Kemmer's custody. While she is questioning him, one of her men brings her some items found in the quarters of the bomb blast survivor that indicate that he might have actually been behind the sabotage. They also point towards him being a member of Home Guard. Garibaldi quickly realizes that the survivor must have decided to frame him with his dying breath and then realizes that of the people who knew about that, only one of them could have planted the evidence in his quarters to implicate him.

That same person, one of Kemmer's men, Cutter, was responsible for the final check of the Cobra bays housing the new fighters. The fighters are set to launch for an aerial display to meet the President's ship upon arrival. Garibaldi convinces Kemmer to at least do another scan of the bays for herself and when she takes Garibaldi to do this, Cutter attacks her. Garibaldi manages to stop him and radio Ivanova to call off the launch just in time.

It turns out that Home Guard wanted to stop the President from announcing new, alien-friendly, policy. Framing Garibaldi was a lucky stroke, and one that Kemmer easily fell for because of her own past with him. With his name cleared and position restored, Garibaldi and Kemmer are able to speak openly about her father's death and to begin to repair the friendship they once shared.

The day is saved and Garibaldi is left to contemplate his own fallibility in turning to drink again and how to prevent himself from letting that happen again.

Commentary

Ooh, the President is coming! Uh oh, he's got an agenda. And he doesn't want to give his itinerary to station security. How does that even work?

Heh, snarky cynical Ivanova. Oh how I love you.

"Nothing my government does surprises me." (Garibaldi)
"That's a very Russian attitude. I commend you." (Ivanova)

Garibaldi + Ivanova might just be my favorite bromance on this show. Also, I love how even when Earth is a technically united country, Ivanova still very much clings to her Russian heritage. She seems like the only character who does that. It's interesting.

Seriously. Who came up with the Centauri hair style?

Uh oh. Boom! Oh, a thorough one at that, destroying all of the evidence and leaving the only witness unable to speak up about what happened.

Oh, Garibaldi's on a first-name basis with the head of the President's security staff? Oh. She seems happy to see him. Wow. Damn, not even on the station five minutes and already bowling over the station's command. ...and Garibaldi makes his escape. Thanks G'Kar!

Oh dear. Garibaldi, don't take your frustrations out on random hoodlums. Sinclair, what is that face? Ooh, backstory!

"Ever try to uphold the law when nobody cares?" (Garibaldi)

Ouch. Aw, that sucks to know a friend was killed when you were the actual target. Then they went and ruined his career too? Damn. Oh yeah, Garibaldi has alcohol issues.

Oh damn, Kemmer is overriding Franklin too? That's not going to end well for anyone. Air-lock threats, whoo! Oh dear. Framing Garibaldi.

"Why would a dying man lie?" (Kemmer)

Seriously? Why wouldn't a dying man lie? There's not any way he can get called out for it.

Oh, Sinclair is all about the faces today. Kemmer you'd better be glad looks can't kill.

I suspect this might be one of the straws that breaks the camel's back in regards to Babylon 5 breaking away from Earth authority. Because seriously, that's a lot of bullshit right there. Okay, not even letting him in his own quarters? That's just petty.

Okay, seriously, Garibaldi's not that dumb. Okay, well, mostly not. Sigh. Running, really? That's always a great idea.

Go Sinclair! Oh, Ivanova. I love you.

"You are going to resist, I hope?" (Ivanova)

Holographic knights dueling? Is this the future's version of video games? Can I get holographic Dragon Age?  Um, sorry, where was I?

Hmm, Centauri currency for the planted bribe, seek out Londo. Heh, "dapper" is not the word I would use. Could that outfit scream "early 90's fashion victim" any louder? The color choices, ugh.

Of course Londo has an idea of who was behind the frame job.

Ivanova, you constantly rock.

Oh, Londo thinks it's G'Kar? Interesting. I am not sure this really falls under his particular shady wheelhouse, though. Also, Londo is letting up that information (and helping point the finger) a little too eagerly.

I think Londo has two settings: maudlin and absurd.

Of course G'Kar is expecting him. Hee hee, the monitors are "malfunctioning." You sneaky suave bastard, you.

"Oh, my people watch him, his people watch me. We all watch one another here, Mr. Garibaldi." (G'Kar)

I love how everyone Garibaldi goes to is someone that he believes totally would have framed him, and they all admit they kind of wish they'd thought of it. I very much enjoy the blunt snarkiness. It's a much more amusing way to deal with all of the political tangles on the station.

Ooh, pretty new ships! Hello Zeta wing! I hope you survive the episode!

...and N'Grath is back! He thinks Garibaldi is setting him up, heh. Well, no one said clearing your name would be easy Garibaldi. Uh oh, cheese it, it's the fuzz! It seems to me trying to hunt down Garibaldi, who probably knows the ins and outs of the station better than anyone alive, is a silly idea. They'd do much better to try to draw him out.

Oh look, it's the hoodlum he went all rage-face on in the Zocalo. Who didn't think that would come back to bite him in the butt? Goody, he brought friends. Sinclair to the rescue!

Earthforce One, huh? Hmm. Just gonna leave that there. Maybe roll my eyes a little.

Going to Londo has helped him not one whit, I see. Paying for things with Centauri currency only convinces Kemmer she's right. Sigh.

Don't drink it, dude! We just learned about your alcohol issues, don't give in already! Don't be that guy who falls for the obvious plot device--sigh. Damn it. Bad idea dude. Bad idea on top of bad ideas.

That does seem like really oddly rushed character development. Very out of character for this series.

Sigh. Drunk Garibaldi. No. Just confirm her worst beliefs about you, that's wonderful.

Hmm. I don't trust that guy who wants to check the bays one more time.

President's here. What's going to hit the fan now?

Damn. Home Guard. Gee, the dying man lied. To cover up his own involvement.

Wait. You just found out that the witness you've based your entire investigation on was probably involved with the bomb and likely misdirected you with his testimony. Why the hell would you say everything is okay without one final sweep to look into new evidence? Seriously??

Okay, I have to give Garibaldi credit for appealing to her sense of duty and personal responsibility instead of just trying to convince her that her super suspicious soldier is dirty.

Kemmer, I question your competence, seriously. There is absolutely no reason for you to a) even need to take Garibaldi along do your own check of the bays, b) go with him alone when you suspect him of being a turn-coat and he suspects your subordinate of being a turn-coat, or c) not use a whole lot more caution around Cutter when there's even the slightest chance he might be involved in this nonsense.

I get that they want to set Garibaldi up to redeem himself and save the day (and Kemmer), but really? It's a bad example of people acting stupid just to move the plot along. Dislike.

But. Garibaldi saved the day! Also, we get to keep the new fighter wing! He's even properly remorseful about drinking again. Now he just needs to resolve his issues with Kemmer and all's well that ends well.

Yup. At least she admits she let her personal feelings get in the way of doing her job. Now, let's all actually learn from this experience and do better, okay?

Um, sorry. This episode is a little heavy on the morals and cliches. It brings out my snarky side.

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Well, that's it for today folks. We've officially made it half way through the season. I hope everyone who celebrates it is enjoying a lovely Labor Day. See you back here on Wednesday for the next episode, "By Any Means Necessary."