Babylon 5–The Deconstruction of Falling Stars (1997)   2 comments

A Computer Interface from the Year 1,002,262

(SIXTY-SEVENTH IN A SERIES OF BLOG POSTS)

The Deconstruction of Falling Stars, the first episode filmed after TNT picked up Babylon 5 for its fifth and final season, is the last episode of the fourth season.  The present day in this unusual installment is 1,002,262, immediately before an unnamed and hostile force makes our Sun go nova, destroying the Earth.  The last person to leave the planet is a Ranger of the Interstellar Alliance.  He is reviewing historical records for transmittal to New Earth.

RECORD I:  January 2, 2262

This segment comes from an ISN talking heads broadcast about the new Interstellar Alliance.  The host is a calm, thinking man, but not all of the talking heads are the same way.  The Senator and the journalist want to give Sheridan’s new Alliance a chance to work, but Henry Ellis (the balding guy on the right), a former speech writer for the recently deceased and disgraced President Clark, is angry and frustrated.  The Interstellar Alliance is doomed to fail, he claims.

I assume that J. Michael Straczyinski (JMS for short) has seen too much of alleged U.S. news networks, based on this segment.

RECORD II:  2362

The Interstellar Alliance, despite the gloomy prediction of Henry Ellis, is a century old.  Three scholars–a historian, a political scientist, and a psychologist–discuss the Alliance during a stellarcast to universities and colleges.  They reach the consensus that Sheridan and Delenn were not as great as many people claim–despite the long peace the Alliance has created and maintained.  A person cannot change history or affect much change, for that work falls to forces of history.  Blah.  Blah. Blah. Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  (Is my sarcasm showing?  I have been in rooms in which I have listened to similar discussions about other topics.  They are all…horse hockey.)

A rather elderly Delenn, whom the panelists thought dead for many years, enters the room, accompanied by aides.  She shames the academics with a simple assertion:  John Sheridan was a good and decent man.  When one scholar says, “Of course, you would say that,” Delenn stares him down silently.  The scholars, Delenn states, know nothing and want to know nothing.  All that matters is that John Sheridan was a good and decent man.

RECORD III:  2762

Earth is again in a state of civil war.  One side, whose emblem resembles the SS logo, is making falsified “historical” videos to portray the founders of the Interstellar Alliance in a negative light, with the goal of influencing public opinion.  Daniel, an agent of this faction, states that Earth needs to leave the Interstellar Alliance because Earth needs “room to expand.”  (This sounds very much like “breathing room,” does it not?)  Daniel uses technology to conjure holographic sets and representations of Sheridan, Delenn, Franklin, and Garibaldi doing things they never did.  Yet Holographic Garibaldi tricks Daniel into revealing invasion plans before transmitting them to the other side in the civil war.  Then the nuclear missile hits.

This segment requires a high degree of incredulity, but it is just entertainment.  C’est la vie.

RECORD IV:  3262

It has been 500 years since the Great Burn and 1000 years since the founding of the Interstellar Alliance.  Earth is rebuilding very slowly with the subtle and disguised aid of the Rangers, including in the form of Brother Alwyn, head of a Roman Catholic monastery.  The Rangers are reintroducing technology to Earth over time, and Earth has a long way to go, having yet to regain any flight technology.

Our heroes have passed into myth, becoming “the Blessed Sheridan,” for example, and being portrayed in illuminated manuscripts:

Lorien:

A Ranger:

Brother Michael, a young monk experiencing a crisis of faith, seeks spiritual help from Brother Alwyn.  How can we know that the Rangers exist, and are helping us rebuild and recover?  Did the Blessed Sheridan really live?  Alwyn says that Michael must have faith.  The Rangers are probably here, just in disguise.  (And Alwyn knows for sure.)

This segment contains some excellent advice for any time.  Faith and reason, Alwyn says, are like a pair of shoes; one can travel farther in both shoes than in just one of them.

This segment is an homage to a classic science fiction novel, A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr.  Miller’s novel tells of how Roman Catholic monks in the futuristic former U.S. Southwest preserve knowledge during the centuries following a devastating global nuclear war.  Fortunately, the book and its follow-up, Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, are in print.

1,002,262

It is the last day on Planet Earth.  A Ranger finishes reviewing the historical records for transmittal to New Earth, actually the old Vorlon homeworld.  His soliloquy for Earth and the previous generations:

This is how the world ends, swallowed in fire, but not in darkness. You will live on, the voice of all our ancestors, the voice of our fathers and our mothers to the last generation. We created the world we think you would have wished for us, and now we leave the cradle for the last time.

Then the Ranger becomes non-corporeal, a being of pure energy which enters a somewhat familiar-looking encounter suit:

Humans have become as the Vorlons.

The Ranger’s vessel departs the solar system as the Sun goes nova.  Emblazed on the side of the ship is a familiar logo, that of the Rangers.  The Interstellar Alliance has endured for a million years.

Take that, Henry Ellis!  Take that, scholars from 2362!  Take that, neo-fascists from 2762!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 16, 2010 COMMON ERA

All images are property of Warner Brothers, and I do not profit from said images.

Posted August 16, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5 Season 4

2 responses to “Babylon 5–The Deconstruction of Falling Stars (1997)

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  1. Pingback: Guide Post: Babylon 5 (2262) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  2. Pingback: Guide Post: Babylon 5 (2263 and Later) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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