20 December 2012

B5 Review: Comes the Inquisitor & The Fall of Night

The final two episodes of The Coming of Shadows, Season Two where, in the aftermath of the Narn-Centauri conflict we see Delenn and Sheridan put to the test and we get ever closer to the coming darkness...

Comes the Inquisitor
SebastianG'Kar tries to rally the other Narn on Babylon 5 in to a resistance against the Centauri and gather support from others on the station. Meanwhile, Delenn is put before an Inquisitor who tests her readiness for the coming darkness.

This was a more interesting episode than I remembered or gave it credit for. I had forgotten about G'Kar and the Narn resistance and Garibaldi's 'involvement'. I remembered more about the tortuous encounters between Sebastian and Delenn and eventually Sheridan. 

We get a great look at how Delenn thinks and after all she's been through this season, we can relate to her position and answers to some of Sebastian's questions. But, why would Kosh test her in such a manner? 

We are also left wondering about the fact that the Vorlons have visited Earth in our past and that humans (like Sebastian) have in fact visited the Vorlon homeworld. Why have we been visited and why are certain people 'chosen' to be taken/invited to their planet?

Unfortunately the DVD transfer of this episode ruins a few early scenes, there's one moment where Sheridan is talking with a guard and both their heads are cut off due to a title appearing at the bottom of the screen which is a bit of a shame. But while this episode is a slower pace and a break from the recent action, the insight gained from it makes it worthwhile.

Rating: 7/10

The Fall of Night
KoshThe Centauri have continued their attacks since the Narn conflict into the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. Earth sends a representative to Babylon 5 to usher in a new era of peace and a member from Nightwatch gets in touch with fellow members on the station for an update.

The finale for Season Two: The Coming of Shadows starts ominously with Babylon 5 fighter squadrons performing Centauri battle tactics and League representatives warning that the Centauri may attack Earth next after invading Drazi and Pak'ma'ra territories.

Earth sends Frederick Lantze to talk with the different governments while Mr Welles accompanies him as a member of Nightwatch. When a Narn heavy cruiser jumps into orbit on the other side of Epsilon III and asks for sanctuary, Sheridan does all he can to offer assistance, before realising this gets in the way of Mr Lantze's plans after signing a non-aggression treaty with the Centauri Republic.

A firefight ensues when a Centauri warship arrives and attacks the station when they refuse to hand over the Narn cruiser. Sheridan destroys the Centauri ship with Babylon 5's upgraded weaponry proving the station can now handle itself. Sheridan is forced to make a public apology as a result of his actions but a terrorist attack puts his life in jeopardy with no known way of rescuing him. Kosh reveals himself to everyone and Sheridan is saved.

Meanwhile, Mr Welles touches base with his Nightwatch members and confronts Zack Allan about his lack of reports while other crew members are very quick to reveal secrets and goings on. Zack's fears are realised when a shop is shut down in the Zocalo based on his testimony. The episode ends with Ivanova's warning of coming trouble back on Earth and Warren Keffer finally tracking down the ship that ship he has been searching for - paying the ultimate price for it...

The Fall of Night isn't as emotional a ride as Chrysalis was for Season One's finale but things have changed once again. Kosh has revealed himself and the Shadows will know this, not only that, but Keffer's footage of the strange black ship has hit the news networks. Delenn mentioned that the next conflict is coming and it would seem events are in place for that to become a horrible reality soon. Meanwhile, the Nightwatch is revealing its true colours and it appears that there could be trouble brewing back on Earth...

Overall Rating: 8/10


13 December 2012

Trek Review: Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan

Admiral Kirk and crew come together again in an adventure that pits them against an old foe, Khan.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Movie Poster

Ever since I can remember, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was about those creatures that go inside your ears and Khan stealing Genesis. Now, in my first re-watch in a long time, I can appreciate the movie much more and take in the character moments as Jim Kirk battles a midlife crisis and comes up against an old enemy, one I'm sure he had long forgotten.

Chekov is assigned to a different ship in this film, the Reliant where he is the first officer to Captain Terrell (incidentally, I noticed this actor would later appear in Babylon 5!) They are looking for a planet devoid of any life to begin conducting experiments on a special project called Genesis. A project being overseen by Dr's Carol and David Marcus

On a planet that nears their requirement they come across the remains of a ship and her crew, led by a familiar face - Khan. Now with a means of escape, Khan takes the Reliant and maroons her crew on the planet in his quest to have vengeance against Admiral Kirk.

Khan

In their first encounter, Khan uses the Reliant to attack the Enterprise in a space battle that brings these two starships side-by-side like you would imagine in an old sea tale. When Kirk faces Khan, they are able to even the score and get away before taking on any further damage.

The crew head to Regula I, the space laboratory where Dr Marcus and her team were working on Genesis. They find the station deserted but some had transported within the planetoid below. Once there, they find the Genesis device and come under threat from Chekov and Terell, under Khan's control. When they fail, Khan describes his plan for Kirk and the others - leaving them marooned with no means of escape. This results in Kirk's famous KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN scene.

Enterprise at Regula I 

Interestingly, Kirk and Khan never actually interact face-to-face, they merely meet across the vastness of space via viewscreen and communicators throughout their confrontations. A recurring theme of the no-win scenario is played out through the film and how Kirk has dealt with such situations in the past may not help him face them in the present.

Star Trek II brings back those moments from The Original Series, of our favourite characters interacting as we're used to. They are not as detached as they appeared in The Motion Picture. They are definitely older, but still the same people we followed for three years of television. Khan brings a worthy adversary for Kirk but is totally blinded by revenge that he ultimately brings about his own demise. Then there is the ending...

Enterprise fires on Reliant 

Culminating in one final battle with both ships and crew facing the same tactical disadvantages within the Mutara Nebula. Khan's inexperience with a starship has him beaten by the Enterprise and her crew, but not wanting to give up, he plans to detonate the Genesis Device and take the Enterprise with him.

Fortunately, our heroes work to escape. But, while victorious the Enterprise and her crew pay a terrible price. The scene between Kirk and Spock hit a lot harder this time around and remains beautifully done.

Kirk and Spock

I only expected to rate this movie as high as a 4 but it certainly earns the extra half star. For the moment it's my favourite Trek movie, Star Trek VI is in danger of being toppled from its top spot!

My Rating: 9/10 or 4.5 Stars
Eleonor's Rating: 8/10 or 4 Stars (because of what happened to Spock!)