17 August 2016

Crusade Review: The Rules of the Game & Series Wrap-up

Crusade comes to an end (in its chronological viewing) with the crew arriving at Babylon 5 to negotiate with an alien race for access to their world - of course, things don't go to plan...

The Rules of the Game
Gideon is attempting to gain access to Lorka VII to investigate what happened to the original inhabitants of that planet. Negotiating with Lochley and a Brakiri ambassador at Babylon 5 appears to be a futile attempt - but it does allow the two Earthforce officers to further their relationship.

Meanwhile, Max meets his ex-wife who has run in to a bit of trouble, and with the help of Dr Chambers, Max is able to get her out of the mess.

Just for the familiar setting of the space station this episode just feels right, and while the self righteous Lorkan's are a race we have never seen before, we still get to see Brakiri and Drazi and just feel like we've come back home again.

The relationship between Gideon and Lochley was obviously heading to this point and it would have been interesting to see where it would have gone with a longer series run. It was also good to see more about Max and his past - along with Sarah who can clearly take care of herself just fine.

Rating: 7/10

It's just a shame that this is the last episode for the series and it feels even worse if you read about the potential storylines that would have rounded out the season - let alone some of the story arcs that would have been explored once the show really got going.

Crusade was by no means a bad series - I feel it just didn't have time to fully develop in to what JMS wanted it to be - and there's plenty of literature out there to suggest that there was a lot going on behind the scenes that pretty much sabotaged the show before it was given a chance anyway.

My own ratings average for the series puts Crusade between B5's first and second seasons for overall satisfaction, this with only 13 episodes compared to their 22.

There were some continuity glitches depending on which order you watched the episodes in (unavoidable in the broadcast or the chronological version!) but the quality of the stories definitely wasn't lacking. The cast all worked well together and it would have been good to see their threads develop over time, just like the B5 series did with all of its regulars.

As stated above, the biggest shame is the unrealised potential - all the unanswered questions without a Well of Forever for us to go to for that divine wisdom. I have read that stories would have looked more at the Apocalypse Box, the mysterious ship that destroyed the Cerberus and so on... the Drakh plague would have been cured and made way for something 'more' story wise - in typical JMS fashion no doubt. But we can only imagine now...

With the TV shows out of the way, there's only a few more Babylon related reviews left... and then I can restart the whole series and start again! haha :)

12 August 2016

Crusade Review: Patterns of the Soul & The Well of Forever

The search for a cure to the Drakh plague continues with the Excalibur crew find colonists have transferred it to another planet. Galen also presents the crew with a quest to a mysterious location that could hold all the answers they are looking for...

Patterns of the Soul
Gideon is ordered to head to a planet where a group of humans have landed and it's feared they are carrying the Drakh plague off-world.

What Gideon uncovers is a plot by an Earthforce General to have his dirty work covered up - but there is also a threat to a group of aliens living on the planet - the last remnants of Dureena's people.

There's more of Sarah Chambers' character development in this episode, and that's welcomed. The performances of the enhanced humans could have maybe been improved a bit and the twist for Gideon's solution was an interesting one. While we do get yet another reason to find a cure to the plague, and we see Dr Chambers' earlier developed antigen used in the field, the episode still feels a little slow.

Rating: 6/10.

The Well of Forever
With 'nothing on', Galen suggests the crew go on an adventure to find a mythical place in the depths of hyperspace.

Merging the navigational sensors of his ship with the Excalibur, Galen allows the crew to go on the quest - but it becomes apparent that Galen is up to something when he doesn't relinquish control after Gideon calls for the search to end.

When they do find the Well of Forever, Galen is able to fulfil a promise, and vows never to betray Gideon's trust again.

Meanwhile, Matheson is under scrutiny from 'Mr Jones', a telepath representative that conducts regular checks on other telepaths now that they are integrating with society.

This is an episode I've seen many times but it does have some good moment. Particularly when the crew come across the hyperspace aliens, the 'Fen'. The real shame comes at the end when all records of the location disappear and hardly any of our crew get the answers they may have been looking for - typical JMS writing!

Rating: 6.5/10.

The next review will finish up the series with the final of the 13 episodes that were produced and a summary of the series...