AB Review #114

Episode: 1/14 - TKO
Production #: 119
Director: John Flynn
Writer: Larry DiTillio
Cast: Theodore Bikel (Rabbi Koslov)
Greg McKinney (Walker Smith)
Soon-Tek Oh (The Muta-Do)
Don Stroud (Caliban)

Synopsis:
Garibaldi's friend wishes to enter in a fighting tournament and Ivanova is given leave to carry out a Jewish ceremony.

Review:
This is a mixture. A good subplot but one of the worse episode premises that I've ever heard of. A fight to the death... That's where I should start off. No one dies - how can you have a fight to the death where no one dies? However, countering this is the brilliant performance by Theodore Bikel (Without my encyclopedia I can't back this up but I have a sneaky suspision that he played Worf's adoptive parents...). He gives a brilliant performance and this is the first episode where Christian gives a good performance (I hope she does give at least another good one).

The music was good and created a good atmosphere - jumping between the two styles adds to the action. The fight scenes are well done for fight scenes but I would just like to point out that the damage done to these people was negligable whereas I am sure that most people would have died within seven or eight of those punch\kick combos... I know that I would have...

McKinney gives a mediocre performance as Walker Smith. While Soon-Tek Oh gives a very good performance as the Muta Do (No Muta D'oh jokes here!). It will be important to the arc only because of the fact that Susan Ivanova has now been made into the last surviving member of her immediate family.

On the whole I enjoyed the Ivanova storyline but not the Smith story. The way they incorporated the Jewish faith into the story was fascinating. I can't say whether DiTillio is a Jew but if not he went to a lot of trouble to find out all about the customs...

Rating: 5/10 - In comparison with Infection this episode is OK but not excellent. Watch it for Christian's performance.

Cult TV'S Rating: 1/2 out of *****
An old friend of Garibaldi's enters an alien boxing match. This is without a doubt the worst episode of Babylon 5 ever.

Andy's Star Trek comparison
No plot is similar in Trek.
It looks similar to Sons of Mogh (DS9) in appearance.
There were effectively no jokes.
The tension was negligable, around the level of Q'pid (TNG).
I enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed Real Life (Voyager)

Points for Discussion (no spoilers for future episodes):
1. How do the aliens really feel about humans?
2. What happens to Walker Smith?
3. Was the dish that Ivanova and Rabbi Koslov were sharing Cosha or not?
4. Will a human ever enter in the tournament again?
5. Did Garibaldi think that Smith would come out alive?
6. What species was the alien who attempted to shoot Smith?

We Learn Here:
Ivanova's brother Ganya was killed in the Earth-Minbari war, a year after her mother committed suicide.
The Alien species, even the Centauri agree that humans are invading into their territory and dis-honouring their customs.

Facts About The Show:
The writer came up with the Shiva idea himself; he also came up with the idea of naming the boxer after Sugar Ray.
The book that Ivanova is reading is Harland Ellison's autobiography whuch should be published around the year 2000...
Channel 4 never showed the show during the initial series run!

Andy's theories:
The fact that the aliens are showing signs of taking a stand against the Earth Alliance shows that they're begining to resent the humans. This indicates that they're getting fed up with human 'interference'.
The Centauri appear to be yelling the loudest...

Character Ratings (out of *****):
Sinclair - ***
Ivanova - *****
Dr Franklin - Was he in this one?
Garibaldi - ****
G'Kar - Not Featured
Londo - Not Featured
Delenn - Not Featured
Kosh - Not Featured


Andrew Brack 1998