Contents: Overview - Backplot - Questions - Analysis - Notes - JMS
Draal helps the crew attempt to contact more of the First Ones. Sheridan works to hide his conspiracy from the Nightwatch. Shari Shattuck as Julie Musante. John Schuck as Draal.
P5 Rating: 8.20 Production number: 304 Original air week: January 29, 1996 Written by J. Michael Straczynski Directed by Menachem Binitsky
Also bear in mind that wars aren't instant; in the real world, you have to line up support, get into alliances, move all your pieces around before you can get into it. We're taking a similar path here. Also, the term "shadow war" refers to more than just the shadows as a race; they refer to what's going on back on earth as well, as metaphor as well as plot point, and that's a huge part of the next batch of eps.
The next two are somewhat more straightforward, stand-alones (to some extent; there's some arc stuff there, however, which becomes more important later). Then the last two in this batch represent some of the best work we've ever done, "Messages From Earth" and "Point of No Return." They follow directly on the footsteps of "Voices," so those three together would be great for new viewers.
The shadows, but just by a smidge.
The one comment that I find most interesting, repeated here a few times, is that they didn't buy the Nightwitch (as some have dubbed her) because in her address to the Nightwatch, she was not exactly what you might call subtle, and thus nobody'd believe her, and see her for what she was.
I find it interesting because we always think we're smarter than that, when history proves *exactly* the opposite. The Big Lie, spoken not just openly, but loudly, firmly and with conviction, has been one of the most successful tactics in history. When Hitler and Goebbels stood before a crowd and blamed jews for destroying society, circulated pamphlets with ugly cariacatures, indicated that they weren't *really* human (this in actual newsreels provided to the medical profession members charged with eliminating "mental defectives and jews")...when Joseph McCarthy stood up in front of the nation waving a list of names of commies in the state department, the military, congress, showbiz, and the sciences...the public didn't suddenly wake up, hear the voice of the fanatic, and say, "Hey, this guy's nuts!"
They bought it. Because they were primed to believe it. Because they wanted to believe it. Because they were afraid *not* to believe it. No, she wasn't subtle. Because there's a time for subtlety, and there's a time to perform grandly for your hand-picked audience and go for the Big Lie. If she were addressing a larger audience, she might softpedal her message. To the Nightwatch, she's got to hammer them, just as the Hitler Youth were hammered, as the Anti-Communist Youth meetings were hammered about the Red Peril, as Croatian or Serbian soldiers were hammered about the need to rape women of the other "race" to make the resultant babies more ethnically pure...which happened.
Most of her dialogue was paraphrased from actual speeches given over the decades, or longer, by fanatical leaders to their followers. There's bits of Hitler, of Goerring, of Goebbels...bits of McCarthy, bits of Stalin, bits of Pat Buchanan and Rep. Dornan.
Because people fell for it. It did work.
It does work.
And it will *continue* to work...for as long as people think that THEY would NEVER fall for such a thing....
You don't need all of them. You just need *enough* of them.
Preferably, enough of them with guns.
Remember, too, that we just came out of the Earth/Minbari War about ten years ago, when we stood at the edge of extinction. The threat of a new alien race makes a good device.
Part of what appeals to me is the idea that the English/French animosity you often see (though clearly not in all cases) would continue not only into the future, but outside Earth. Realistically, if you go into Europe, you find people holding grudges 500 years old, or more. Seemed appropriate to carry this small one forward as well.