B5's Story Arc = No Free Will

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Steven Peterson

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Feb 7, 1995, 11:09:56 PM2/7/95
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[weak spoilers (if any) below]


I like B5 an awful lot...I don't argue that B5 is a fine show,
but the further it progesses, the more I find myself wondering if
the story arc in some respects undermines the series as
much as it makes it unique.

One continuing problem I've had with the arc is the inclusion
of "signs" and "portents" of the future in so many of the episodes
(Londo's dream in "The Coming of Shadows" is a good example).
As viewers, it certainly adds to the excitment of watching the
series...it's like a gigantic puzzle whose overall pattern slowly
comes into shape as each of these tidbits are placed together...
But as a story itself, the plot seems less than organic...indeed,
it's like a gigantic hand is slowly forcing elements of the story
towards an overwhelming and inescapable conclusion....

It's this overbearing presence of "fate" (i.e., the story arc),
that almost undermines the poignancy of the actions taken by
characters in the show; it strips away motivation. For example, Londo seems,
to me at least, less a man driven by ambition and greed and more a person
forced to action in order to fulfill his role in the story...

Londo's role so far seems an awful lot like Judas' role in the story
of the crucifixion of Christ. Judas didn't have a whole lot of choice
in his role as Christ's betrayer. Basically, god set Judas up in order
to carry out a predetermined plan....

In the same respect, the story arc has set up Londo (or at least it
appears that way right now) to be the heavy in the story...

And it's not just Londo...given all the signs and prophecies that
we've seen so far, it appears that the future of everyone on the
station is set....and so their actions, in a large respect, are simply
meaningless...they're all players on a stage clearly acting out a story for
our benefit...and that I feel undermines the "believability" of
what takes place...oh sure, it's a great story...and I don't argue
that...but the story arc is the only truly "live" character in this series...

I kinda wonder if that hand Londo saw in his dream wasn't the Hand of
Fate (i.e., jms)....

Stiv

Kirby Krueger

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Feb 8, 1995, 12:05:51 AM2/8/95
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In article <1995Feb8.0...@acad.stedwards.edu>,

Steven Peterson <ste...@acad.stedwards.edu> wrote:
>
>
>
>much as it makes it unique.
>
>One continuing problem I've had with the arc is the inclusion
>of "signs" and "portents" of the future in so many of the episodes
>(Londo's dream in "The Coming of Shadows" is a good example).
>As viewers, it certainly adds to the excitment of watching the
>series...it's like a gigantic puzzle whose overall pattern slowly
>comes into shape as each of these tidbits are placed together...
>But as a story itself, the plot seems less than organic...indeed,
>it's like a gigantic hand is slowly forcing elements of the story
>towards an overwhelming and inescapable conclusion....
>
[Some Deleted]

>And it's not just Londo...given all the signs and prophecies that
>we've seen so far, it appears that the future of everyone on the
>station is set....and so their actions, in a large respect, are simply
>meaningless...they're all players on a stage clearly acting out a story for
>our benefit...and that I feel undermines the "believability" of
>what takes place...oh sure, it's a great story...and I don't argue
>that...but the story arc is the only truly "live" character in this series...
>
Do you have difficulty reading novels? In most of them, there's a similar
structure. Were Frodo's actions meaningless, since Tolkein planned on
him destroying the ring from the start? Is a character in a book
unbelievable if they're set up to betray friends by the end?

I'd argue just the opposite. Every action Londo takes has a purpose.
It's believable because it's consistant, and shows a literary-like evolution
of the character. It increases the tension for me, over (eg) Star Trek,
where there's no sense of purpose to the show, and the actions of a
character aren't that important to development, if even remembered.
In B5, rather uniquely in modern television, there's a sense that there's
a story being told, characters are developing, and it all has meaning.
To me, Riker's actions are meaningless, since you know they're largely to
resolve the plot of the week, and won't have a lasting effect on his
overall character. Trek is just going to churn out new unrelated ideas week
after week. In B5, jms knows where we're going, things have purpose, and
the characters are alive and dynamic. IMHO, jms is to television as Neil
Gaiman in comics; nobody really is operating in the same league. May he
blaze a trail for a new paradigm in television.

The real test of B5 is whether or not it can hook new viewers, who lack
the rich background we've had up to now. We'll all see. As for me, I'm
in it for the full ride.


--
Kirby Krueger
kir...@netcom.com
{ The third line is strangely obscured. }

Douglas Biggs

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Feb 8, 1995, 1:36:44 AM2/8/95
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I would argue that you are kind of missing the forest for the trees here.
Yes, the story arc is the major component in the series, but then the story
is the major component in any written or performed work. The author has
a story to tell and he subliminates the actions of the characters (whom he or
she also creates) to tell that story. Indeed, the characters all must
revolve around the main threads of the plot or the audience will go to
sleep, leave the theatre or turn off the T.V.

I would argue that even in those plays/movies where we know the plot of the
show (ie. how it is going to turn out) we are drawn to watch it again and
again by the actions of the characters who have not free will. King Lear
is one of my favorite examples. Though we all know Lear's decision to
divide his lands among his daughters will lead to the utter destruction of
his family we watch the play again and again to see the disaster unfold with
a strange, almost voyureistic, fascination. The Japanese movie Rhan, which
is an adaption of Lear where a Japanese Shogun divides his lands among his
three sons, ends in a similar way. But no matter how many times I sit through
the three and one-half hour Rahn movie I still enjoy it and want to watch it
again. I am not quite sure what I am hoping to see acutally, maybe I am
wishing that one of the characters will figure the situation out and change
but that never happens; still I am not disappointed and want to watch it
again and again, (maybe so I can see where the character screwed up in life
so if a similar situation faces me I won't make the same mistakes!!)
I just wish Martin Balsem would not keep walking up the damned staircase in
Psycho to get stabbed to death by Anthony Perkins!! You would figure tht
after 50 years he would get a clue and STOP half-way up!!

strac...@genie.geis.com

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Feb 8, 1995, 5:10:21 AM2/8/95
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One problem, of course, is that your message about predestination
being a drag is that you think you know where it's going. When we first
went on the air, I saw many messages from people saying "Boy, this is
gonna get real boring, everybody's part is already laid out in order for
this to be a five-year story, Londo's the funny guy, G'Kar's the bad
guy, they're locked into their roles...."

Well, now...I think we see the flaw in that particular approach.

On the notion that "plots are less than organic," plots are by
definition not organic. Plots are artificialities which we graft onto
a sequence of events in order to give them meaning. As someone noted,
"The king died, and the queen died" is not a plot or a story; "The king
died, and the queen died of grief" IS a story, IS a plot; there is
connective tissue.

There is always a guiding hand behind the story, otherwise you'd
just have the characters sitting around and having random things happen
to them.

And not all foreshadowing is real foreshadowing; some is planted as
red herrings. Some foreshadows don't mean what you THINK they mean. I
have planted no end of turns, twists, surprises, reverses, double
reveals, backtracks, ironies and revelations all along the path.

I have always considered the Babylon 5 story to be, in essence,
future history. "Babylon 5 WAS the last of the Babylon stations. It WAS
our last, best hope for peace." Past tense. If I write a novel about
the incidents of World War II, then I'm dealing in history. The events
are set...but where the characters go is another question. You can read
all the information about how we got a thousand clues and foreshadows to
what was going to happen at Pearl Harbor...but it happened anyway. The
guiding hand of Fate...or a crucial bobble at the wrong moment? One can
look back at it now and argue both sides.

Finally, any time a writer writes a novel, the characters are all
going somewhere under the guiding hand of the author. That's what a
novel IS. Scrooge is GOING to be visited by three ghosts, and he's GOING
to reform, and that's the end of the discussion. Unless you're willing to
throw long-form novel writing out the door as an artform because it's not
appropriate that the characters should be on a specific and crafted
journey....

jms

Paul Harper

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Feb 8, 1995, 8:58:09 AM2/8/95
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I disagree completely that the five year arc spoils B5.

It is a particularly refreshing way to keep the ideas going
and to prevent stagnation and predictability from setting in.

Well done.

Paul.

p.s. Season 2 has just started in the UK and IT'S GREAT !

Dan Wood

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Feb 8, 1995, 12:26:58 PM2/8/95
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ste...@acad.stedwards.edu (Steven Peterson) writes:

>It's this overbearing presence of "fate" (i.e., the story arc),
>that almost undermines the poignancy of the actions taken by
>characters in the show; it strips away motivation. For example, Londo seems,
>to me at least, less a man driven by ambition and greed and more a person
>forced to action in order to fulfill his role in the story...

Well, one could get into a big philosophical debate about determinism, but
the basic point I want to make is that this *story* has already been written,
and stories function that way. I think people are used to episodic tele-
vision shows in which NOBODY knows where the story is going (much like life)
but when you tell a story about something that already "has happened" (e.g.
"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away") then you can focus on what it
was that led people down the paths they chose, or had chosen for them.

Compare B5 to any great written saga, and you will see the similarity.

--
------------------ DESIGN ACCESS, Keeper of the
Dan Wood <*> Department of Babylon 5 FAQ list,
dan...@netcom.com Diabolical and available at
------------------ Unauthorized Science ftp.hyperion.com

Christian Mogensen

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Feb 8, 1995, 4:14:33 PM2/8/95
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jms <strac...@genie.geis.com> wrote:
> On the notion that "plots are less than organic," plots are by
>definition not organic. Plots are artificialities which we graft onto
>a sequence of events in order to give them meaning. As someone noted,
>"The king died, and the queen died" is not a plot or a story; "The king
>died, and the queen died of grief" IS a story, IS a plot; there is
>connective tissue.

The quote is from Martin: Recent Theories of Narrative
"The king died, and the queen died" is a story.
"The king died, and the queen died of grief" is a plot.

I read this yesterday - I'm supposed to present this in an hour for
a course in interactive narrative (CS/English).

I don't really agree with Martin's theories though: I much prefer
hermeneutic interpretation - that the interpretation depends on both
the reader and the author (through the text).

> There is always a guiding hand behind the story, otherwise you'd
>just have the characters sitting around and having random things happen
>to them.

Life is random - we construct stories out of randomness. Was it Campbell
who said that we are story telling animals - it is our main function.
It is what allows us to sit down halfway through a TNG episode and
understand within 5 minutes what the plot is, what has happened in the
past and where the story is going. (Ok, so the TNG plots may help
a little here)

Christian "web-head <*>"

Tim McNerney

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Feb 9, 1995, 3:09:10 PM2/9/95
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I think the point is being missed here, at least in a number of the
replies that I have read. The problem isn't that the entire course
of the arc for B5 has already been written out, but that the characters
fate, internal to the B5 universe has already been determined.

An example is that one can lose sympathy for Londo in his decent into
hell when one can say, "Well, the fates have already determined that
he will do such and such, can't blame him for starting a war."

I don't necessarily agree that this takes away from the story, I'm just
pointing out that it is not the fact that there is a difference between
a lack of free will in the story and a lack of free will because there
is some guy out ther who controls your life with his word processor.

--Tim

Bryce Koike

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Feb 9, 1995, 9:02:48 PM2/9/95
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In article <mumblyD3...@netcom.com> mum...@netcom.com (Tim McNerney) writes:
>I think the point is being missed here, at least in a number of the
>replies that I have read. The problem isn't that the entire course
>of the arc for B5 has already been written out, but that the characters
>fate, internal to the B5 universe has already been determined.

And you, being considerably smarter than the rest of us, already
know all that is to happen?

I think half the problem is that you read this newsgroup. JMS'
little (and big) hints really alter the way we perceive the show.
Try avoiding this newsgroup for a year and then tell us that the
characters have already been determined.

>An example is that one can lose sympathy for Londo in his decent into
>hell when one can say, "Well, the fates have already determined that
>he will do such and such, can't blame him for starting a war."
>
>I don't necessarily agree that this takes away from the story, I'm just
>pointing out that it is not the fact that there is a difference between
>a lack of free will in the story and a lack of free will because there
>is some guy out ther who controls your life with his word processor.

Personally, I think your point is just that -- your point. It's
your personal prejudice, in fact, and not really any sort of fact.

When watching Wild At Heart recently, I "predicted" that the movie
would take a turn for the worse, and sure enough, things started
getting very dark. I also predicted a happy ending. Sure enough,
it happened.

When reading Shakespeare's Hamlet, I knew that it was a tragedy.
It's called a tragedy. Everyone knows that. And I knew that
Hamlet, being the main character, was the main tragic figure.
Because of that, I knew he was going to screw things up and he was
going to die in the end, the "generic" tragic ending.

Sure enough, it happened. Does it reduce my feelings for Hamlet?
Absolutely not. Why? Because I don't look at characters as just
elements to further a plot along.

You feel the way you do about Londo because you don't empathize with
him. That's the way you feel. I consider his fall from grace
terribly tragic, terribly painful. I also find that JMS has managed
to accomplish it in a truly beautiful and precise manner. Yes, I
empathize with Londo, yes I can feel for him.

Will Londo just end up getting killed, just a fallen figure? Maybe,
but I personally doubt it. I personally think that Londo will work
his way out of it somehow. Does this suddenly remove my emotions
for him? Certainly not. The fact that I think he will eventually
atone for his actions does not excuse him for those actions. Londo
has done what I consider to be an incredible evil and it looks like
he hasn't stopped yet.

So should I just sit back and say, "Oh, it's okay to slaughter all
those Narn, Londo, you'll ask for forgiveness in the end."

Hell no. It would be like going to a priest and saying, "I plan to
kill my parents, my wife, and my children. But I'll ask for
forgiveness to make up for it all and everything will be better,
right?"

Londo is "supposed" to fall from grace, so you can't feel sorry for
him? So then what should have happened to Londo? Just stay a
static comedic figure? Yes, and at the same time, you should be
upset that G'Kar was fated to show that he's not just a
one-dimensional spiteful warrior figure. And that Sinclair was
"fated" to be a hero figure.

In the same way, I shouldn't feel for the characters on the X-Files.
Mulder, who's "fated" to be this paranoid FBI agent. Geez, I mean,
all these FBI agents act the same way. Why should I feel for him?
His character has already been written.

I do pity Londo because what he's done can never be taken back. His
crimes will remain crimes forever and there is *NOTHING* he can do
to fully atone for them. Even if he finds a way to turn back from
his path, his evil will remain. The murders are on his hands, of
THOUSANDS. I may forgive him for this if Londo does find a way to
wrestle his way out of this situation, but that's not the same as
forgetting that he ordered it.

I suppose you hated Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles because you
knew Taran would end up becoming the hero figure, and save Prydain
from Arawn. I knew that the minute I finished the first book and it
certainly didn't make the later ones any less enjoyable.

In fact it's almost unheard of for an author not to set up
characters in such a way. Oh well.

Steven Peterson

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Feb 9, 1995, 9:36:22 PM2/9/95
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I feel that when I made my earlier assertions about B5's story arc,
I did not make my concerns exactly clear, and as a result, I ended up
sounding like I thought that B5 should not have a cohesive built-in story
line or that plot in fiction is irrelevant...that is not what I meant to say..
that is not it at all....

I understand that a story is driving by the hand of an author...
that's not a hard concept to grasp. I'm not abdicating throwing
plot out the window and having the characters on B5 sitting around
twiddling their thumbs hoping that something crosses through the
scene to prompt some action.

I don't dislike B5 having a story arc. On the contrary, I'm giddy
to no end about it. I like a good (and in this case great) story as
much as the next guy.

I have nothing but respect and admiration for jms' story-telling
skills. His work has been constantly intelligent and high caliber.
I laud his attention to detail. I respect his ability to create such a
tight, rich and complex narrative that intrigues and amazes me with each
new week. B5's a damn good story: gripping, mysterious, suspenseful,
and on and on and on...The only other piece of fiction that I've come
across in recent years that even comes close in comparison to "B5" for me
is Alan Moore's excellent graphic novel "Watchmen".

What concerns me occasionally about B5 is when the plot of the story
(and this, of course, is my own perception) rushes to the foreground
and makes itself overtly apparent.

Since the beginning of season two, we've been treated to the coming of
the Shadows. In terms of the plot, much of it seems to have "organically"
occurred...and by that I mean, the story seems to have been propelled forward
as much by the actions taken by the characters as by situations that seem to
have arisen naturally. What bothers me, however, are occurences of what
I perceive to be blatant plot manipulation.

As I watched season two, I'm amazed how we've had some reference to the
Shadows pop up in almost every single episode. Most of the time it seems
to make sense. But what I take to be a gratuitous appearance of a
Shadow ship in hyperspace or (what appears to be) a Shadow
warrior making its way onto the station via a derelict ship that just happened
to float by...these instances just seem to cry out "Pay no attention to
the man behind the curtain!" To me, these instances just seem like forced
story-telling. And when that happens, I feel that the reality
of the B5 universe is compromised...it doesn't just seem like coincidence
that these things are occurring...it's more like things are happening
because that's the way someone wrote it to happen...

Don't get me wrong...only rarely do such instances (or, in all fairness, what
I perceive to be instances) of overt plot manipulation occur...but when they
do, it bothers me...I'm not saying that makes B5 a bad show...I'm not saying
that makes the writing poor...to me these instances are just unnecessary
lapses in an otherwise great story...

Stiv

Steven Peterson

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Feb 10, 1995, 9:11:24 AM2/10/95
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I feel that when I made my earlier assertions about B5's story arc,
I did not make my concerns exactly clear, and as a result, I ended up
sounding like I thought that B5 should not have a cohesive built-in story
line or that plot in fiction is irrelevant...that is not what I meant to say..
that is not it at all....

I understand that a story is driven by the hand of an author...

Koriana Kent

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Feb 10, 1995, 10:29:26 AM2/10/95
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On Wed, 8 Feb 1995, Steven Peterson wrote:

> I like B5 an awful lot...I don't argue that B5 is a fine show,
> but the further it progesses, the more I find myself wondering if
> the story arc in some respects undermines the series as
> much as it makes it unique.
>
> One continuing problem I've had with the arc is the inclusion
> of "signs" and "portents" of the future in so many of the episodes
> (Londo's dream in "The Coming of Shadows" is a good example).
> As viewers, it certainly adds to the excitment of watching the
> series...it's like a gigantic puzzle whose overall pattern slowly
> comes into shape as each of these tidbits are placed together...
> But as a story itself, the plot seems less than organic...indeed,
> it's like a gigantic hand is slowly forcing elements of the story
> towards an overwhelming and inescapable conclusion....

It seems to me the examples cited could also be used to argue the
opposite point of view. We know there is a story arc, therefore we begin
to visualize every character's actions against that knowledge. Within the
space in which the characters live and breath their actions are based
solely upon their desires and motivations. To them they are making
independent choices regarding their own personal goals and failings. If
we did not know there was a story arc residing under the development of
each episode, we would also accept their actions as examples of beings
reacting to the world around them.

We know there is a story arc, we do not know anything about the outcome.
Londo's reaction will further it, of course. As a writer jms has a
direction he wants things to go, therefore it is not possible to portray
an infinitude of possibilities. What we do not know is how many of the
signs and portents will occur as they have been presented. In Londo's
case especially it was a dream sequence, it might be true, it might not.
It could metaphorically suggest all sorts of changes and possibilities
beyond the simple interpretation of fact.

Just my humble thoughts as a devil's advocate...

Koriana

Tim McNerney

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Feb 10, 1995, 1:15:16 PM2/10/95
to
Bryce Koike (bko...@sdcc5.ucsd.edu) wrote:

: In article <mumblyD3...@netcom.com> mum...@netcom.com (Tim McNerney) writes:
: >I think the point is being missed here, at least in a number of the
: >replies that I have read. The problem isn't that the entire course
: >of the arc for B5 has already been written out, but that the characters
: >fate, internal to the B5 universe has already been determined.

: And you, being considerably smarter than the rest of us, already
: know all that is to happen?

Let's try again, but slowly this time. I don't know what is going
to happen and even if I did, that is not at all what I've been saying.
I am saying that if characters in the story (see, not me, I am not
in the story. I am a real live human being) know that they are
fated to do something, they lose respsonsibility for their actions.
Consequently, I as a viewer can lose some interest in the characters.
Their struggles mean less to me if I believe they are simply resigned
to let the fates have their way. And I have not said that I think this
is the case in B5, only that I thought this was the point of the
original poster.

: I think half the problem is that you read this newsgroup.

And I think the other half of the problem is you don't.

: JMS'


: little (and big) hints really alter the way we perceive the show.
: Try avoiding this newsgroup for a year and then tell us that the
: characters have already been determined.

"They are characters in a TV show, they can't have free will. Duhh."

: >An example is that one can lose sympathy for Londo in his decent into


: >hell when one can say, "Well, the fates have already determined that
: >he will do such and such, can't blame him for starting a war."
: >
: >I don't necessarily agree that this takes away from the story, I'm just
: >pointing out that it is not the fact that there is a difference between
: >a lack of free will in the story and a lack of free will because there
: >is some guy out ther who controls your life with his word processor.

: Personally, I think your point is just that -- your point. It's
: your personal prejudice, in fact, and not really any sort of fact.

Nope. It is a fact. There is a difference between someone writing a
story about people who have free will internal to the story and someone
writing a story about people who don't have free will internal to the
story and are just living out what the fates have told them will
happen.

: When watching Wild At Heart recently, I "predicted" that the movie


: would take a turn for the worse, and sure enough, things started
: getting very dark. I also predicted a happy ending. Sure enough,
: it happened.

Post your address so I can send a plaque.

: When reading Shakespeare's Hamlet, I knew that it was a tragedy.


: It's called a tragedy. Everyone knows that. And I knew that
: Hamlet, being the main character, was the main tragic figure.
: Because of that, I knew he was going to screw things up and he was
: going to die in the end, the "generic" tragic ending.

I thought it was kinda a happy ending myself. Guess it's just
your viewpoint.

: Sure enough, it happened. Does it reduce my feelings for Hamlet?


: Absolutely not. Why? Because I don't look at characters as just
: elements to further a plot along.

: You feel the way you do about Londo because you don't empathize with
: him. That's the way you feel. I consider his fall from grace
: terribly tragic, terribly painful. I also find that JMS has managed
: to accomplish it in a truly beautiful and precise manner. Yes, I
: empathize with Londo, yes I can feel for him.

I don't believe I have stated anything about how I feel about Londo.
I think JMS is doing a fine job because he has given Londo only
glimpses of what it to come. What I have been saying is that if
one were to give a charcter complete insight into his future, then
I as a viewer would look at that character as a cog in the machine.
A loss of free will is a loss of responsibility for ones actions and
I think this would make for a less interesting show. And let me
repeat before you tell me that JMS is doing a great job, I have never
said he did. I am only pointing out that I believed the original
poster was trying to make a different point than the followups
seemed to believe (and I could be wrong on this also, but that is
for the original poster to tell me, not you) and that I think his
arguments are reasonable in general, though I don't believe them
applicable to the show as it is now.

: Will Londo just end up getting killed, just a fallen figure? Maybe,


: but I personally doubt it. I personally think that Londo will work
: his way out of it somehow. Does this suddenly remove my emotions
: for him? Certainly not. The fact that I think he will eventually
: atone for his actions does not excuse him for those actions. Londo
: has done what I consider to be an incredible evil and it looks like
: he hasn't stopped yet.

Bad Londo.

: So should I just sit back and say, "Oh, it's okay to slaughter all


: those Narn, Londo, you'll ask for forgiveness in the end."

See, the difference is between me knowing (or thinking I know) Londo's
fate and Londo knowing Londo's fate.

: Hell no. It would be like going to a priest and saying, "I plan to


: kill my parents, my wife, and my children. But I'll ask for
: forgiveness to make up for it all and everything will be better,
: right?"

Let me know when the next onramp to your tangent comes up so I can
joing you.

: Londo is "supposed" to fall from grace, so you can't feel sorry for


: him? So then what should have happened to Londo? Just stay a
: static comedic figure? Yes, and at the same time, you should be
: upset that G'Kar was fated to show that he's not just a
: one-dimensional spiteful warrior figure. And that Sinclair was
: "fated" to be a hero figure.

: In the same way, I shouldn't feel for the characters on the X-Files.
: Mulder, who's "fated" to be this paranoid FBI agent. Geez, I mean,
: all these FBI agents act the same way. Why should I feel for him?
: His character has already been written.

I think you're confusing fate with character traits. But then again
fate and trait do rhyme, so I guess it's understandable.

: I do pity Londo because what he's done can never be taken back. His


: crimes will remain crimes forever and there is *NOTHING* he can do
: to fully atone for them. Even if he finds a way to turn back from
: his path, his evil will remain. The murders are on his hands, of
: THOUSANDS. I may forgive him for this if Londo does find a way to
: wrestle his way out of this situation, but that's not the same as
: forgetting that he ordered it.

: I suppose you hated Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles because you
: knew Taran would end up becoming the hero figure, and save Prydain
: from Arawn. I knew that the minute I finished the first book and it
: certainly didn't make the later ones any less enjoyable.

Well gosh, no need to read that now. Hell, I don't even need to read
the first book to know Taran will be the hero.

: In fact it's almost unheard of for an author not to set up


: characters in such a way. Oh well.

Thanks. You've cleared me right up.

--Tim

Joseph Knecht

unread,
Feb 12, 1995, 8:33:28 PM2/12/95
to
Steven Peterson (ste...@acad.stedwards.edu) wrote:
[snip]

: As I watched season two, I'm amazed how we've had some reference to the

: Shadows pop up in almost every single episode. Most of the time it seems
: to make sense. But what I take to be a gratuitous appearance of a
: Shadow ship in hyperspace or (what appears to be) a Shadow
: warrior making its way onto the station via a derelict ship that just happened
: to float by...these instances just seem to cry out "Pay no attention to
: the man behind the curtain!" To me, these instances just seem like forced
: story-telling. And when that happens, I feel that the reality
: of the B5 universe is compromised...it doesn't just seem like coincidence

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
: that these things are occurring...it's more like things are happening

: because that's the way someone wrote it to happen...

[snip]
: Stiv


you're right. it's not coincidence. things are slowly coming to a head.
we (the viewers) already know the War will come. We're seeing more and
more evidence of the Shadow threat. and we're not just seeing how "great
and powerful" the Shadows are, we're also seeing how widespread they are,
how insidious, how nearly ubiquitous. this is how they work.
infiltration, subversion. only rarely do they use outright destructive
power, and when they do, it is with surgical precision. no survivors, no
solid IDs, only stories. rumors and myths. i believe their goal is to win
BEFORE anything so blatant and crude as a pitched battle in space. i
think the real battle will be fought by agents. Morden, Londo, Sinclair,
Delenn, the Rangers. who knows, perhaps the Great War will be fought
entirely behind the scenes, the only military combats fought by the known
species. the Narn-Centauri war works in the Shadows' favor. so would a
second Earth-Minbari war.


sorry, i rattled on for a bit. anyhow, back to the topic. individuals are
often carried along by currents far greater than themselves. but the
question remains, how do the "heroes" of the B5 saga act and react?
Londo's already taken his first few steps down the path of the Shadows,
but will he redeem himself? will the Technomage's vision become a
reality? that, i feel, remains to be seen. that's what keeps me watching.
wondering about the fates of the individuals i've grown to care about,
and be fascinated by. i know things are going to get a lot hairier, but i
want to see how it all turns out. the fate of the galaxy is as important
to be as the fate of Sinclair, Delenn, Sheridan, Ivanova, Garibaldi, etc,
etc. no more, and no less. it's all part of a great story being woven on
my tv screen on a weekly basis.

besides, i just love it when i go "ooooooh!" during the show. 8) whether
it's a plot point, or the incredible graphics, or just spotting things
like the Zima ads in the background, the show's got a lot of depth, and
appeals on many levels. kinda like the Simpsons, eh?

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