James K

James is a government policy analyst, and lives in Wellington, New Zealand. His interests including wargaming, computer gaming (especially RPGs and strategy games), Dungeons & Dragons and scepticism. No part of any of his posts or comments should be construed as the position of any part of the New Zealand government, or indeed any agency he may be associated with.

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15 Responses

  1. Reformed Republican says:

    This episode really displays the talents of both Andreas Katsula and Peter Jurasik. You covered the reasons for Katsulas, but I am also impressed by Jurasik’s ability to invoke pity, despite the horrible things Londo has done. There always seems to be this core of a guy who wants to do right, but does not know how, and who is easily sidetracked by his love for his nation.

    Regarding G’Kar’s early “Snidely Whiplash” characterization, I think that was intentional. Most of the characters were presented as certain stereotypes early on, only to reveal later that they are not exactly what they seem.Report

  2. Pinky says:

    I’ve never been shot in the fracas, so I don’t know how badly the Narn was hurt. Then again, the Narn probably have thick, leathery fraci.

    This episode was a little to on-the-nose for me. The ambassador’s analysis of Downbelow was heavy-handed, and Ivanova’s sex scene was a lot funnier the first viewing than the second. As for Londo and G’Kar, we saw them in their new roles, but it would have been better to see them beginning their new roles, I think. It’s always more interesting to see characters become something. We see a little of that in Sheridan in this episode (at least on a long arc). We definitely see it in G’Kar’s fall into despair, which was the strongest sequence in the episode.Report

  3. Dman says:

    These are the episodes that sold me on the series and made this my all time favorite sci0fi show. I love the change happening to Londo and G’Kar. They are slowly changing places from where they started. Though Londo is being portrayed in a reluctant light and looks to be building towards tragedy.

    I thought the Delenn moment was great too, since it show that the writers of the show paid attention to the prior shows. Too many TV series forget what they have done between episodes. Another thumbs up from me.Report

  4. KatherineMW says:

    I can’t decide whether the Lumati subplot (and especially Ivanova’s resolution of her dilemma) is hilarious or just dumb. It didn’t remind me of the Prime Directive at all, because the Prime Directive is only applicable to species that aren’t yet aware of the existence of sapient life on other planets than their own; it’s not about superiority, it’s about an ethos of “first, do no harm”.

    The episode was pulling out all the stops to make me sympathize with Londo. Nope, didn’t work, still want him to die. He does terrible things by his own choice and for his own benefit, is only getting worse, and we’re supposed to pity him because those actions make people like him less? Jurasik is good, but I’m not buying it.

    Also made me angry with Delenn, because nyy ure zbenyvmvat vf whfg n ehfr. Fur jnf arire tbvat gb uryc gur Anea, orpnhfr vg zvtug gvc bss gur Funqbjf gb Zvaonev njnerarff bs gurve erghea; naq rira vs fur jnagrq gb uryc, fur pbhyqa’g orpnhfr fur ab ybatre unf vasyhrapr jvgu ure tbireazrag. Fur’f pnfgvat gur oynzr ba gur Anea sbe n pubvpr gung’f nyernql orra znqr ertneqyrff bs gurve npgvbaf.Report

    • Pinky in reply to KatherineMW says:

      V znqr n pbzzrag erpragyl nobhg Senaxyva ynpxvat uhzvyvgl. Va zl rfgvzngvba, ur arire ernyyl yrneaf uvf yrffbaf, orpnhfr vg arire bpphef gb uvz gung ur unf nalguvat gb yrnea. V guvax gurer’f fbzr bs gung va Qryraa nf jryy. Fur’f fb pregnva gung fur’f gur evtug crefba, ng gur evtug gvzr, npgvat sbe gur evtug ernfbaf, gung fur qbrfa’g rire dhrfgvba urefrys ba gur ovt cvpgher. Jung fur’f tbvat guebhtu evtug abj jvgu gur Terl Pbhapvy vf gur pybfrfg fur trgf gb uhzvyvgl.

      V guvax uhzvyvgl vf n ovt gurzr sbe gur fubj, be ng yrnfg ubj rnpu bs gur znva punenpgref’ gevnyf sbepr gurz gbjneqf frys-njnerarff. T’Xne’f whfg fgnegvat qbja gung cngu. Lbh ungr Ybaqb, ohg sbe zr, ur’f gur zbfg vagrerfgvat punenpgre va grezf bs ubj ur frrf uvf ebyr va gur havirefr. V pna’g fnl gung ur’f rivy. Ur’f tbg guvf frafr bs varivgnovyvgl, juvpu cebonoyl pbzrf sebz uvf fubrf orvat gbb gvtug, nygubhtu V’q org gung nal fcrpvrf jubfr zrzoref pna frr gurve bja qrnguf cebonoyl unf n fgebat frafr bs sngr. Ohg gurer’f fbzrguvat urebvp nobhg gur jnl ur rzoenprf uvf pngnfgebcuvp shgher jvgu gur pbasvqrapr gung ur pna orne gur oheqra bs vg, nf jryy nf znxr vg orggre.Report

    • James K in reply to KatherineMW says:


      The way the Prime Directive is played depends on the series you’re watching. At its best it was a compassionate doctrine, but in the early seasons of TNG in particular, there were several episodes where the crew let whole populations die to natural disasters, and congratulated themselves on their superior morality for doing it.Report

      • daveNYC in reply to James K says:

        The latest Trek movie, Into Darkness, had a bit of this too. The crew does some technobabble to prevent a major volcano eruption that would have wiped out a sentient species and all Starfleet HQ can do is get pissed that the aliens saw the space ship.Report

    • daveNYC in reply to KatherineMW says:

      I buy the transformation more, but that’s possibly because I buy Londo’s statements that he’s only doing this for his people. I’m able to buy it because he’s not really using his new power to party hard, and he isn’t that excited about his rising status.

      It also doesn’t hurt that Season One established that the Narn and the Centauri, at this point in their civilizations, are both pretty dickish. Also remember that the reason the Centauri are putting boot to head is because when Morden asked his question, Londo stated he wanted to restore his people to greatness. All G’Kar wanted to do was kill Centauri. None of this makes Londo a good person, but it does make it easier to view the Narn/Centauri conflict as something more complicated than Empire vs. Rebel Alliance.Report

      • KatherineMW in reply to daveNYC says:

        My issues with Londo flow directly from that episode in which Morden was introduced. G’Kar wanted to destroy the Centauri because he saw them as being, always and forever, a threat to the survival of his people. He wanted the Narn to be safe from them. (And the instant he got an indication – a few episodes ago, with Dr. Franklin telling him the Centauri Emperor wanted to apologize – that the Centauri might not inevitably be a constant threat, he was willing to drop his hostility and mend fences.)

        Londo’s wish was more expansive, which was why Morden chose him. Londo didn’t just want his people to be safe and then live in peace. He wanted respect, he wanted power (for both himself and the Centauri generally), he wanted the restoration of the Empire. It’s not about survival; it’s about power and prestige and crushing anyone you need to in order to get that power and prestige. That strikes me as a more fundamentally aggressive desire. And Londo’s reasons for starting the war were ultimately self-serving: they weren’t in response to any immediate threat or Narn provocation, they were in order to enable him to gain power and status and respect at court.Report

    • Dman in reply to KatherineMW says:

      The Lumati plot was dumb. Thankfully it is a throwaway. I cannot hate Londo, I see a guy that feels he has no choice to do something else because it would have meant the end of his people. And once the boulder started rolling down the hill, he could not stop it, just make very minor corrections. You can say he was an idiot for getting that boulder started, but not hate him.Report

  5. Damon says:

    I liked the Lumati plot for this reason. While it was clear the humans don’t like “downbelow” and view it as a societal failing, the Lumati don’t. They see the existance of the place in two completely different ways. That, folks, is why they are alien. And it’s a nice reminder that even human commonalities are just that…human centric.Report