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The Memory of War
Maintained by David Boyd
Last Update on August 17 '99
Title: The Memory of War
Episode Order Number: 110
Production Number: 102
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski    Director: Tony Dow
First US Air Date: Wednesday 11th August 1999
Episode Message Board: Talk about the Episode here
Contents: [Plot] - [Regular Cast] - [Guest Stars] - [Review]
Plot:

    Ignoring Galen's warnings about the place, Gideon and the crew search a planet with ruins that seem to hold great promise of aiding the quest for a cure. But as night falls a deadly terror possesses the planetside crew and death takes them one by one...

Regular Cast: Gary Cole, Daniel Dae Kim, David Allen Brooks, Marjean Holden, Carrie Dobro, Peter Woodward
Guest Stars: John Saint Ryan, James Parks, Susie Park
Review:

By Lars Joreteg

Review: Crusade episode 10 - "The Memory of War"

"Have you ever wondered why there are so many dead worlds out there, let me tell you why - its because despite the best advice of people who know what they are talking about, other people insist on doing the most massively stupid things" - Galen

"The Memory of War" is another good episode of Crusade, the latest in a string of solid episodes. It is very enjoyable, despite some weaknesses.

According to legend, there is an alien world where all the inhabitants died off suddenly, one hundred years ago. Could the population have been killed off by the Drakh plague, and if so what valuable information could be found there? Thanks to some new leads, the Excalibur crew has finally found the planet, and they are going to try and answer those questions. But why is Galen so afraid of the place?

At the beginning, the plot starts out with what seems to be a ghost story. Thankfully it quickly veers off that path by providing an interesting explanation for the deaths that I thought was quite ingenious. Nano-technology is an interesting concept (well, more than that) that wasn't touched upon much in Babylon 5, but thanks to the Drakh plague (which is nano-tech related as far as I understand), we will see much more of it in Crusade. The fact that a technomage created the deadly weapon further illustrates that their order isn't quite as homogenous and innocent as we might have thought originally. Presumably the divided nature of the technomages will play a large part in the Crusade story. The temporary nano-technology plague-screen that was used in "Patterns of the Soul" is created here, and also explained much better. (This may seem to be an inconsistency, but originally "Patterns of the Soul" was supposed to be aired after this episode) My only problem with the plot was the anti-climactic resolution. The machine that was aware didn't offer much resistance to Galen, since he pretty much just walked down there and destroyed it. The final confrontation with Dureena and Gideon was also confusing and poorly edited. Exactly who was under the machine influence, and to what degree? But the main purpose of the plot was actually to further flesh out the background information on the technomage order, and it certainly did the well.

Gary Cole once again turns in a good performance as Gideon, even if it isn't his best so far. David Allen Brooks (as Max Eilerson) is also decent here. Marjean Holden (as Dr. Chambers) gets more airtime, and she is very good, this is her best episode yet.

Dureena's character (Carrie Dobro) is fleshed out quite a bit in this episode, and does a good job. There is certainly a growing relationship of some kind between her and Galen. And speaking of Galen, Peter Woodward is also quite good in this ultimately Galen-centric story, and he effectively shows us that Galen has a very human side. (as well as a cybernetic side) :-)

The production values in this episode were top-notch, in my opinion. There was some excellent CGI, with nice space shots, and a great alien cityscape that looked even better than the one in "Racing the Night". (By the way, did anyone notice that they re-used many buildings from that episode) :-) The only effects that were a bit lacking was Dureena's walk on the "force-field" (especially when running back), and the fireball with the technomage face (a little cheesy in my opinion). Another wonderful aspect of this episode was the attention to detail that was evident throughout the episode. The planet was in a binary star system, and the crew actually lit up the actors so that they had two shadows most of the time. Both suns also seemed to have different colors than our sun, and that was taken into account when lighting the scenes, further added to the alien atmosphere. It looks like the much-touted JPL scientific advising was put to great use here, and hopefully we'll see more of that. Regarding the music, unfortunately Evan Chen did not do as well in this episode as he usually does.

Overall, I thought this episode was quite good, and despite a somewhat lacking conclusion to the plot, the great character interaction and production values made this episode very enjoyable.

Rating: 8.5/10

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

 
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