AB Review #108

Episode: 1/08 - And the Sky Full of Stars
Production #: 106
Director: Janet Greek
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Cast: Christopher Neame (Knight Two)
Judson Scott (Knight One)
Macaulay Bruton (Garibaldi's Aide)
Jim Youngs (Benson)
Justin Williams (Mitchell)
Mark Hendrickson (Grey Council No. 1)

Synopsis:
Sinclair is captured and placed in an artificial reality where two knights attempt to find out what he did in the Earth\Minbari war in those 12 hours of which he claimed he had 'passed out'.

Review:
"And The Sky Full of Stars" has an impressive script with lots of character building in it. Particularly noticeable is the way in which it is set out.

The plot is well thought out and generally original but the premise wasn't. Star Trek has featured abductions (as well as many other popular TV series) before but what makes this stand out is the brilliant way the Knights probe Sinclair. While Star Trek may have focused on the way to get the Captain back, Babylon 5 takes the approach of almost forgetting what is happening on the outside world and focusing on what is going on in Sinclair's head. The result is a fascinating storyline with great performances from two great actors.

This is perhaps the first episode to feature a soundtrack which compliments the viewing effectively. It only enhances the pleasure of watching this episode.

The ending is strange but a good one. Amazingly Garibaldi's head is almost hit with a shot from Sinclair and once again great camera shots of the characters makes it so much darker. The dark sets are fantastic as well.

One of the most fascinating bits about this episode is how it manages to portray Sinclair in a different light. He now changes from someone who needs a secret to exploit, to someone who has a secret to figure out (I won't tell you what it is but it's in the final 12 minutes of the show).

This episode featured a set of great performances, the best coming from the two knights. Knight One has previously appeared in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (in which he played Kahn's assistant and weapons officer). Knight Two was played as I said before by Christopher Neame who puts in a staggeringly nasty performance as a man who will stop at nothing to find out the truth.

Rating: 9.5/10 - A few bits which I didn't like but on the whole a brilliant episode.

Cult TV'S Rating: ***** out of *****

Andy's Star Trek comparison
No Star Trek episode really compares remotely to this - I am referring to plot here. The quality is around about equal to that of "The Best Of Both Worlds" (Considered to be a classic) There is no humour here. The tension is huge in this episode - I can't think of a good example except the Voyager show about propaganda (on video 4.2) but that wasn't nearly as tense as this. Perhaps "The Way of the Warrior" (DS9) or "The Visitor" (DS9) may be better comparisons. Finally I would rank this at around the same place as "The Visitor" (DS9)

Points for Discussion (no spoilers for future episodes):
1. Why was Delenn at the Battle of the Line?
2. What happens to Knight Two once he returns to Earth?
3. Who wanted to know what Sinclair had done at the Battle of the Line?
4. Why did the sight of Delenn bring Sinclair out of his dream\reality mix-up?


Andrew Brack 1998