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The Needs of Earth
Maintained by David Boyd
Last Update on September 01 '99
Title: The Needs of Earth
Episode Order Number: 111
Production Number: 101
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski    Director: Mike Vejar
First US Air Date: Wednesday 18th August 1999
Episode Message Board: Talk about the Episode here
Contents: [Plot] - [Regular Cast] - [Guest Stars] - [Review]
Plot:

    Despite her past experiences with the place, Dureena goes with Gideon to Praxis 9 to spring a fugitive who might have some useful information that would help in the search for a cure. Trouble is that information was stolen from his government. When warships show up to reclaim the information and the fugitive, the crew must decide how far they will go to protect the needs of Earth.

Regular Cast: Gary Cole, Daniel Dae Kim, David Allen Brooks, Marjean Holden, Carrie Dobro
Guest Stars: Tony Amendola, Bill Mondy
Review: By Lars Joreteg

Review: Crusade episode 11 - "The Needs of Earth"

"We have to put the needs of Earth first, our mission is to find a cure for Drakh plague, not give shelter to every refugee that we come across. Now we can either save him or we can keep trying to save the ten billion back home - Do the math!" - Max Eilerson

"The Needs of Earth" is yet another great Crusade episode, where the diverse plot gives something to enjoy for every taste.

A ranger brings information about an alien criminal on the run, having stolen all the important knowledge of his race. He has been captured by bounty hunters on the Praxis 9, a small moon outside Interstellar Alliance influenced territory. Captain Gideon decides that the potential benefits of all that knowledge outweighs the risks, and launches a rescue mission. But can they accomplish the mission before the Moradi ship arrives to recover the knowledge?

The plot of "The Needs of Earth" covers a lot of ground. What starts looking like an action/adventure episode suddenly turns very philosophical, which was an unexpected twist, but certainly a welcome one. What exactly are the real needs of Earth? Hope? A Cure? Both, according to Dr. Chambers, although Gideon clearly isn't as convinced. As captain he is willing to take risks, but he does expect tangible results. And when the Moradi ships surround the Excalibur, the crew has to choose to hand the fugitive over, or to fight, but the fugitive makes that decision for them. Assured that the all the cultural and artistic knowledge of his race is in safe hands, he sacrifices himself to save the Excalibur, something that surprises everyone except Matheson. In addition to the seriousness of the main story, there is a side plot involving Eilersons data crystal that I thought was very amusing. We also find out more about the past of Dureena, through her previous stay at Praxis 9 as a slave. Finally, my only real complaint with the plot is the scene where Dureena has to remove her gloves to key in the code, I thought that was just a contrived way of inserting some tension. But one thing that I really noticed about this episode was how long it felt - in a good way. After Gideon and Dureena returned from Praxis 9 with the fugitive I glanced at my watch, expecting 5 minutes to be left of the episode, but to my surprise there was 20 minutes left! I can't quite put my finger on what made the pacing of this story so good, but it was certainly very well written.

Gideon (Gary Cole) is very good in this episode (actually the first episode shot), especially in his interaction with Dureena and Dr. Chambers. This episode clearly illustrated what makes this character unique compared to previous Babylon 5 characters, with his willingness to break whatever rule he has to get the job done.

This is also one of Matheson's (Daniel Dae Kim) best episodes, if not the best one. His log entry monologue was great, as well as his farewell scene with the fugitive.

Dr. Chambers (Marjean Holden) and Dureena (Carrie Dobro) are also very good in this episode. Max (David Allen Brooks) is his usual great self, although we perhaps know more about him than we really wanted to know. :-)

All the main guest stars (the three Moradi) gave wonderful performances here, definitely some of the best guest appearances so far in Crusade.

The technical aspects of this episode were also wonderfully executed. There was some great FX, and the Praxis 9 surface shots were wonderfully executed on the sets, really giving the impression of being on a poisonous alien world. Evan Chen's music was also great, once again showcasing a wide range of music. The music may be uneven, but the potential is there, and this time that potential was tapped.

Overall this is a very entertaining episode of Crusade. Great character interaction and production values coupled with a wonderful plot makes this one of the best Crusade episodes so far.

Rating: 9/10

- Lars Joreteg (lars.joreteg@usa.net)

 
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