AB Review #418

Episode: 4/18 Intersections in Real Time
Production #: 418
John LaFia
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Cast: Wayne Alexander (Drazi)
Raye Birk (William)
Bruce Gray (Interrogator)

Sheridan is tortured...

This episode is a strange one. It only has two characters in it - oh - and a Drazi... but he doesn't count as he only has a few lines anyway!

Although a little bit heavy it ACTUALLY had my family glued to their chairs - except for my Dad - but being down at the Indian Takeway at the time I doubt that it could really have been POSSIBLE for him to be glued to his seat...

The main tool used by the director is the wonderful claustrophobicness of the set. It's dark and dusty and the only light source JUST lights up the room enough for Sheridan to see his interrogator.

This episode is mainly about mind games and being strong. The torture element is good but it isn't the major element in this wonderfully written script. I doubt that anybody (not even Shaun!) could have written a better script. It was quite amazingly done.

The mentality of the ending was good as well... I won't spoil it (although you should have seen it by now!) but it just makes the entire process seem pointless. This is clearly one of the best of the series. Well directed and brilliantly written. Easily gets my seal of approval... I can't wait until tonight’s episode! With a great performance by the interrogator, I would strongly recommend that you BUY a copy of this episode on tape...

Rating:10/10 - Best episode since the Long Twilight Struggle. Strongly deserves to be taped and re-watched repeatedly.

Andy's Star Trek comparison
Not really any IDENTICAL episode but I suppose that there a few like Chain of Command (TNG) that are highly similar. Waltz is good at the mind games part (DS9) showing Dukat as he really is but it isn't really the same. You also get the feel of a claustrophobic episode there!
In terms of production values I suggest that Waltz is the best match in terms of the small amount of sets. Chain of Command has similarly lit sets in the interrogation scenes!
The humour is non-existent.
Far tenser than most of what Trek has to offer. The closest episodes are ones where there is lots of action such as the episode where Jake and Bashir and helping the Doctors on a planet under attack by the Klingons or in the Best Of Both Worlds Part II. But in this episode you REALLY believe at some points that they will attempt to kill him. That is what makes it so tense.
No real comparison. The closest episode for enjoyment values was the marvellous Empok Nor (YES - the Aliens-style one!).

Points for Discussion (no spoilers for future episodes):
1. What other techniques will they use to break him?
2. WILL they break him?
3. WILL they resort to using a video-message on its own?
4. What will happen to him when they lose their patience with him?
5. Is Sheridan's father REALLY all right or will he be in the same situation as his son? Being forced to sign a false confession!
6. What would happen to Ivanova and Delenn if they were captured.

We Learn Here:
That Sheridan is valued and people will listen to him.
That they can't just beat Sheridan - they have to force him to make his 'confession' of guilt.
That almost everybody is 'expendable' in the system's eyes.
That Sheridan likes Corned Beef and Mustard sandwiches.

Andy's theories:
I'm guessing that he will break out of the jail soon but he will very probably be mentally scarred in some way. He certainly won't be reacting well to his treatment.

Character Ratings (out of *****):
Sheridan - *****
Delenn - Didn't do much did she?
Interrogator I - *****
Interrogator II - ****
Drazi - *****

Andrew Brack 1998