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This is one of the episodes I tend to skip when watching B5, since it's fairly low on my scale of preference.

Rewatching it now I think that its purpose would have been best served by using the Ivanova thread as the main story and leaving the fight-club-like story of the Mutai as a B-track, and not the other way around as it was filmed.  

My very personal opinion, of course.

Former boxing star Walker Smith, an old friend of Garibaldi, comes to the station to fight in the all-alien Mutai contest, a kickboxing-style form of contact sport. His goal is to regain the popularity he lost through bad – underserved – publicity.  After a few initial difficulties, he succeeds and goes back to Earth with a new lease on life.

The only point of interest in this story (IMHO) comes from the warning Smith gives to Garibaldi – twice: first when he comes aboard the station and second when he's ready to leave.  In both occasions he warns Michael to  watch his back.

My vow about spoilers prevents me from saying more, except that this is one of the best examples of JMS's absolute deviousness. Bless him and his twisted soul.

Meanwhile, Ivanova receives the visit of an old family friend, Rabbi Koslov. The man has come to help her properly mourn her father, only to slam against Susan's brick wall of denial.  In typical Ivanova fashion, the Lieutenant Commander hides her grief under the trappings of duty first, and then – when the Rabbi obtains Sinclair's backing – she refuses to admit any feelings of loss. With gentle patience, Koslov manages to erode Susan's defenses, allowing her to finally give in to her sorrow.

What's interesting here is the realization that now Susan Ivanova is totally alone in the world: her mother took her life out of depression when the psi-suppressant drugs tampered with her personality; her brother Ganya died in the Earth-Minbari war; her father's now dead, leaving a host of unresolved matters between them.

Where this will take her, only time will tell...

This is hardly a quote-worthy episode, but there is one that needs mentioning and shows how Ivanova... will always be Ivanova, grief and pain notwithstanding:

Ivanova: "I'm ready to go back to duty, SIr."
Sinclair: "Good, I've had my fill of double shifts!"
Ivanova: "Perhaps we'll remember that the next time Ms. Sakai visits the station..."

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-19 06:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] damnedscientist.livejournal.com
Yes, I never really got into the fight-plot of this ep either. But I do remember all the aspects of the ep you describe, from both plots.

Once again, it shows how the seeds were laid in the supposedly weak Season 1 for important things which would be developed later. A bit like that other, more recent Sci Fi show we both love (no, not Space 1999, Farscape ;-) ).

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-19 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nymeria-55.livejournal.com
it shows how the seeds were laid in the supposedly weak Season 1 for important things which would be developed later

I like your definition, "supposedly weak".
Season 1 works better with hindsight, true, and it's much more fun when you can point at some details, grinning to yourself, because you see how they work in the big picture...

no, not Space 1999, Farscape

Far...what? Is that a new show? ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!!

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-20 10:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] diarmi.livejournal.com
Definitely meh episode. For whatever reason I was waiting for Garibaldi's friend to be actually guilty of cheating, that's what I thought I remembered, no idea why... I think I haven't seen this episode since the first time of watching B5. From what I hear it's considered among the worst ones...

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-20 04:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nymeria-55.livejournal.com
I think I haven't seen this episode since the first time of watching B5

When I do (except for this time, since I had a... duty LOL) I usually fast forward through the Mutai scenes and watch only the Ivanova ones. Not one of the strongest episodes, no...

But the good ones are just beyond the corner! ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!


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