[Episode written by: JMS] (6/17/99)
A techmomage, forced out of the main group of mages like Galen, stands between the Excalibur and an important mining operation. We learn the true potential of a mage's power.
I want to say two things right off the bat: (1) this was a very good
non-arc episode writing wise and quite well done; (2) this was not a good
episode to put in the two spot when you need ratings and new viewers to
save a series. Ok...that said, overall this was a very interesting
episode. I was more than a bit surprised that they would go with
an episode that only involved two people in the main cast, especially in
relation to TNT's call to introduce the whole cast and pull them together
in War Zone. I guess this is a prime example of the two mentalities
trying to control things (TNT and JMS).
MUSIC: (1 STAR)
I truly tried in this episode to listen for a series of tunes which had anything to do with the action going on. And I succeeded darnit. The last scene when the Excalibur goes into hyper space was actually well tuned. Too bad it was just 5 seconds long.
There is a serious problem with the mixing. Some scenes which needed music had extremely light music which can't be heard, unless you strain.
Way too many instances of the same series of tunes being played over
and over again, like someone is playing with an organ. Um, what da
#$%$ is that? I don't know and I don't think anyone does. I
looked forward to every episode of C.F's composing on Babylon-5, and I
collect his CD's because the music was as good as the storytelling.
I can't imagine ever listening to Crusade's music on CD, and that says
something. I just hope JMS is not stubborn enough to make us suffer
through this forever.
ACTING / CHARACTERS: (2.5 STARS)
There are two levels of acting present in this episode: (1) the Gideon, Galen and Alwyn characters, and (2) the rest. The "rest" ruined the grading curve. Absolutely horrible. I don't know how many times I've seen stupid brutes in the B5 universe that can't carry a line. Please God, get these people out of the business. Luckily the horrible acting was minimized because the Gideon, Galen and Alwyn scenes dominated the episode. And although this was a "talkie" type of episode, I thought those three handled their roles really well, considering the crap revolving around them.
Galen is becoming (and I'll fully take responsibility for this) the poor man's Vorlon. You just gotta love him and his know-it-all attitude.
PLOT: (3 STARS)
A bit of a "talkie" episode, but a well done one. Certainly better than the non-arc shows we saw in season one of B5. I want to reserve my commentary here until I have the time to see this episode a few more times....stay tuned.
CGI: (4 STARS)
I'm sure a lot of you will be stunned to see the four star rating there for this episode. No...this was not a CGI intensive episode, from a B5 standpoint. There was very little action and battling, like we have come to expect from the fine people at Netter Digital, and thus many people will probably think I am nuts in this case, but let me elaborate...
In The Long Road we see the full scale introduction of a brand new CGI technique. In the past we have looked at CGI ships and said, "hey..that's darn good cgi." But you might have noticed a difference in this episode. A new design process that Netter is now using (and will use in the future I might add) is based on making the CGI ships look like they are actually physical models (like in the old Star Trek episodes). You might have noticed that the shading is different, the 3D modeling is more pronounced, and basically the ships suddenly do look more like they are models. This is a first, so clap your hands together and call the neighbors. It was done best in this episode when the EA ships were seen orbiting. A drastic change from the old B5 CGI scheme is instantly evident.
Although I heard that this new technology was coming to Crusade, I did not know what to expect. But in their first use of this, I have to say Bravo. I can't wait to see how they use this new feature in the future. It feels absolutely fresh, and in my opinion is instantly a bridge that makes Crusade its own series and very unique from B5.