|Index||3 reviews in total|
I think it was very much a B5 episode in that it showed the characters had lives before the station ever existed. You see this in later episode in the series when the writers take the focus away from the main characters as in 'A view from the gallery'. The story arch was contained in Ivanova having to deal with the death of her father. The character building skills of the writers is what kept me watching the show. That and the knowledge that it only planed to run for 5 years gave me hope of a complete story arch. Consider this,one could see the Mu-tai as a simile of the coming conflict. One race pitted against another far stronger than itself but one it must face all the same. Remember the boxer tried to explain it to Garibaldi that the match was more about finding your limits in facing adversity than anything else. AKA the Shadow Way.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An old pal of Garibaldi's, a reputed boxer who was shafted for not throwing a fight, set up by those who wanted to benefit from dropping a bout to another inferior opponent, comes to Babylon 5 station to participate in the dreaded Mutai, an alien equivalent of UFC or something to that effect. But the Mutai's lead master will not accept a human and so Walker Smith, determined to return his name to prominence, has learned of another way to participate, by showing up at a fight as a spectator, challenging the Sho-rin, the champion. The challenge cannot be denied, and even though Garibaldi fears his friend will be taken apart, Walker is prepared to fight, his heart's desire to prove he still has what it takes to be a feared fighter, especially wanting to prove the boxing commission that they made a mistake about him. Meanwhile, Ivanova receives a visit from an old family friend from her native Russia, a Jewish Rabbi who knew her father. Ivanova has yet to sit shiva, a ceremony mourning the passing of her father. Ivanova was estranged from her father, a scholar/intellectual who felt that humans had no right in space until there was peace on Earth first. Despite his objections, she entered Earthforce and their relationship was severed, something her dying father, Andrei lived to regret. He was not a man who showed his love and when his wife, Ivanova's mother, died during the Psi Corps testing process (committing suicide), her brother perishing in the Earth/Minbari war, daughter needed affection more than ever, not to receive it. This is really a stand-alone episode that will not be remembered as anything that particularly spectacular although it does explore the character of Ivanova. The subplot with Walker Smith is meaningless for the exception that it causes alien warriors of the Mutai to respect the courage, bravery, and fighting spirit of humans. Don Stroud (Coogan's Bluff) is an alien who supports Walker in his fight in the Mutai.
For much of the first season of Babylon 5, the series still hadn't
established any sort of over-arching plot to connect the episodes like
it would have in seasons 2 through 5. In some ways, it was as if the
genius behind the series, Michael Staczynski was still trying to feel
for a sense of direction and in this case, the show had a guest writer
who seemed to have no feel for where the show was headed. Because of
this, so many of the season one episodes are self-contained in that
they don't connect well with previous or later episodes. This is pretty
much the way of sci-fi shows like Star Trek, but for B-5, this makes
these earlier episodes less satisfying.
In this episode, an old friend of Garibaldi who we have never heard about before suddenly appears on the base to announce he's going to fight in the Mu-tai--some sort of macho fighting competition where no human has fought before. In so many ways, it is highly reminiscent of the cheesy Jean-Claude Van Damme film BLOODSPORT. And, totally uncharacteristically for this show, the episode is ultra-violent and will alienate much of the audience. This is really like a WWF episode merged with BABYLON 5! Ugghh! What a horrible episode! In fact, there's very little to like about it, as the show does NOTHING to further the ongoing plots of the show and everything in the episode seems to have no context. In fact, some of the characters, such as Garibaldi, behave in ways that seem antithetical to who they have been and will be on the show. As a result of this lack of regard for continuity and a really dumb ultra-macho plot line to boot, this is a rotten episode through and through!
|Ratings||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|