SJ Review #407

Episode: 407 - Epiphanies
Director:
John Flinn
Guests:
Walter Koenig (Bester)
Damien London (Minister/Regent)
Victor Iunidin (Psi Corps Man)
Robert Patteri (Starfury Pilot)
Lauren Sanchez (Newsreader)

Synopsis:
Just as celebrations are taking place on Babylon 5, the Psi Cop Bester arrive on the station with bad news. Prime Minister Mollari returns to the station, leaving Centauri Prime under the leadership of a Regent.

Review:
After 'Into The Fire', this episode was bound to seem a little light-weight. Even with this in mind, 'Epiphanies' was still rather disappointing.

The first half on the episode was taken up with lengthy scenes in which characters talked at length about things which held little relevance to the plot, or to character development. This seemed as if Straczynski wrote the episode with new viewers in mind - the Great War is over, so he has to now sum up what has happened so far.

This would have been fine, if the script had been up to it. Unfortunately, this episode had perhaps the worst script of season four we have seen. The dialogue was cliche-ridden and overblown. Two particular speeches which stick in my mind as being awful are Sheridan's little "we won" talk at the beginning, which seemed horribly unrealistic and uncharacteristic for him (he's never been the philosophical type, really), and Garibaldi's talk about mistakes - "The kind of mistakes that take your breath away and haunt you for the rest of your life." I thought we had left behind this dull and trite dialogue this season. Evidently I was wrong.

Basically, the first half of this episode was completely pointless. It consisted solely of the main characters summing up the events so far, and some decidedly poor humour - most notably the Elvis joke. Maybe I was wrong in my previous reviews, when I stated that B5 had finally become a mature, adult drama. This sort of humour is more at home in Space Precinct, to be honest.

Perhaps I am being over critical - at any time in the previous seasons this episode would have been classed as excellent. It is in light of the outstanding episodes of season four already that makes 'Epiphanies' somewhat poor.

Having said this, the second half was very well executed. From the B5-Psi Corps-EA Starfury battle onwards, the episode was great. The dialogue improved somewhat - Bester's monologue to his cryogenically suspended lover was very interesting - and the effects were as stunning as ever. However, it still wasn't enough to justify the first half.

On the subject of the special effects, I have noticed certain differences in season four's effects and previous seasons. This is undoubtedly due to the change of the CGI team. The docking bay seems to change size every episode, for a start; the Starfuries seem to have suddenly become much more manoeverable than they ever were in the past and explosions are noticeably different.It just seems a little odd, that's all.

Probably the best scene in the whole episode was the very last scene - where we witness Centauri Prime beginning its journey on the road to destruction. This scene was *perfectly* timed. The moment where the screen faded to the credits was at the exact right moment - and longer, or any shorter, and the scene would not have had the same effect. The closing shot of the Regent's face was suitably nightmarish.

Despite the fairly good second half, and the brilliant ending, I feel the first half of this episode drags it down too much. Therefore, I cannot give it a particularly high mark...

Rating: 6.5/10

Simon Jones,
alt.babylon5.uk reviewer.


1997 Simon Jones.