I'm finally at the end of the first season and the last disc has two really good episodes, a commentary by JMS and 4 other extras. I didn't watch the extras but I did listen to the commentary on the last episode. JMS did a pretty good job on that. He likes to talk about the show and he likes to explain why he did what he did when he did it.
The first episode is a nice mix of humor and seriousness. It gets rather grim briefly but, luckily for me, JMS likes to pour some light onto the darkness. I appreciate his jokes and mostly like his sense of humor. The second episode on the disc is the season's last and every bit of it moves the story arc forward. It's packed, from beginning to end, with nice little tidbits of story. His story telling style, and the resulting story, is the main reason I stand so fastly behind the production.
I certainly don't care for the completely serious type of tv show. I don't mind it in a movie once in a while but I just don't want to sit though hour after hour of depressingly sad drama. Of course, both are subjective and mutable according to the whim of my taste. Or what I've been eating. Mostly I'll pick a comedy over a drama. I bought a dirt cheap laserdisc of Shindler's List back in 1999 or 2000 and after 8 or 9 years I got rid of it without ever watching it. I paid a lot more for the Babylon 5 series DVDs and I've gotten many times that value in enjoyment.
The Quality of Mercy August 17 1994
Written by J Michael Straczynski and directed by Lorraine Senna Ferrara.
Dr Franklin is running a clinic in down below. Ivanova finds out and questions it's legality but the doctor talks her into helping. Someone is stealling Franklin's business and he finds June Lockhart running a clinic. She has an alien healing machine that fixes people right up. The problem is that it takes energy from someone else to do it. June has a life shortening illness that will kill her in 3 or 4 years so she doesn't feel to bad about giving some of her energy up. She wants to research the machine and leave a mark after she dies.
Mr Garabaldi has a killer in custody waiting for trail. Mr Garabaldi thinks the guy killed more people but Talia Winters won't go digging to find out. That would be against the Psi Corps rules. The killer is sentenced to the death of personality which is a mind wipe. He'd be reprogrammed to be a help to society, his old personality gone. I guess that's better than being spaced. That's Mr Garibaldi's wish, one of his team was murdered by the killer. On the way to cell the killer manages to escape for a while. He gets shot and winds up in June's clinic. He holds her daughter hostage to get some healing. It doesn't go too well for him when June, fed up with the murder's demands, reverse's the machine and pours her illness into his body. Nice one, June. Cure'd she leaves the station to return to Earth and start a new career. She leaves the alien healing machine with Dr Franklin.
Londo is told to get closer to the other aliens and he picks on Lennier to get to know better. Londo takes him to the station's naughty area where Lennier likes the lady dancers. When Londo finds out that Lennier is good at probabilities he rushes the Minbari to a gambling den. They get into a fight when Londo cheats at cards and Lennier kicks some ass. Lennier covers for Londo when they get arrested. They have diplomatic immunity but they have to answer to Sheridan for the damages. Too bad Londo takes a different path and Lennier's honor is wasted. We find out that the male Centauri can pick stuff up with the ends of their 6 really long penises.
Chrysalis October 26 1994
Written by JMS and directed by Janet Greek.
There is so much happening in this episode, one bit of business barely has time to finish before another is clammering for your attention, characters take chances and change the fate of their worlds. G'Kar and Londo are arguing over Quadrant 37. Someone kill's one of Mr Garibaldi's lurker informants. Mr Garibaldi believes he was onto something big. Sinclair get engaged to Catherine Sakai. Mr Morden offers Londo some help with the Narn problem. He only wants a favor in the future. Don't we all. If Londo knew where he would wind up do you think he would make the same mistakes. Someone would wind up there, I know that from seeing the series before.
Kosh tells Delenn "Yes" but we don't know the question. Kosh reveals himself to Delenn but we don't get to see anything. Always the tease that JMS. Mr Garibaldi gets a lead, pulls him in, and then someone lets him out of jail. No one knows who did it. It's the first clue that there's trouble in Mr Garibaldi's house. Trouble with a capital T and that spells terrorists. Mr Garibaldi finds some jamming devices linked to the President's space craft. He gets shot, by his own man, in the back, for all his good work.
Delenn tells Sinclair to come see her so they can talk about what happened to create the hole in his mind. She tells him she doesn't have much time but he has to find Mr Garibaldi first. The base at Quadrant 37 is blasted out of existance. Ten thousand Narns dead. G'Kar leaves the station. It's New Years and just after Midnight Mr Garibaldi turns up in one of the elevators. He's pretty screwed up. The President's ship explodes and he's killed. Vice-President Clark got off the ship early, he had a stomach bug, but he's ok enough to become President once the dust settles.
Mollari is upset with Mr Morden's big attack but Mr Morden tells Londo he's a hero at home. The guy who shot Mr Garibaldi is instructed by Sinclair to get the shooter. Ha ha, huh. He shoots the guy who was Mr Garibaldi's lead earlier in the show. He's one big scumbag that guy. We can see there's a big plot going on but the Senator's at home don't believe Sinclair when he tells them what he suspects. It's a pretty wild story and it's not over yet. When Sinclair gets back to Delenn he's too late, She's already in her cocoon and Lennier is crying. Mr Garibaldi might live, or not. We see the Shadows for the first time and they are not pretty.
Sinclair ends the episode commenting, "Nothing's the same anymore" and he's so right.