Crusade episode 11 - "The Needs of Earth"
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
Needs of Earth" is yet another great Crusade episode,
where the diverse plot gives something to enjoy for
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 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.
- Lars Joreteg (firstname.lastname@example.org)