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The Long Road
Maintained by David Boyd
Last Update on June 21 '99
Title: The Long Road
Episode Order Number: 102
Production Number: 107
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski    Director: Mike Vejar
First US Air Date: Wednesday 16th June 1999
Episode Message Board: Talk about the Episode here
Contents: [Plot] - [Regular Cast] - [Guest Stars] - [Review]
Plot:

    Reports of an Earthforce ship having some unusual trouble with the local population of a planet containing a mineral that will slow the effect of the plague, sends the Excalibur in support. What they find, however, is not what they expected...how often is a dragon a problem anyway?

Regular Cast: Gary Cole, Daniel Dae Kim, Peter Woodward
Guest Stars: Edward Woodward, Marshall Teague, Scott Peatty, Alison Lohman, Mik Scriba
Review:

By Lars Joreteg

Review: Crusade episode 2 - "The Long Road"

"The taking of hostages is a weapon of choice for a coward and a criminal - which are you?" - Alwyn

The second episode of Crusade is a substantial improvement over the first one. But what it lacks in action and suspense it more than makes up for by strong characters and an interesting story.

This episode takes place about two months after "War Zone". On the remote planet Regula 4, a mineral has been found that has certain anti-viral properties that may help against the Drakh plague or extend its incubation period. Earthforce has arrived and started a mining operation, but they are met with resistance. The Excalibur is called in to assist, but what can they do against a giant golden dragon?

The basic plot is very similar to many old Star Trek (original series) episodes, with the crew visiting a low-tech planet and solving a problem, but it is well done and refreshing here. Unlike many of the old Trek episodes, this dilemma has no easy or clean solution. (There is also no supercomputer to argue into self-destruction either) :-) Do the needs of the many always outweigh the needs of the few? There is also quite a bit of humor in this episode, and it works well. One example of a great scene is the tavern fight, especially with Galen and Alwyn commentary.

This episode primarily centers on two of the main characters, Gideon and Galen, and this gives us an opportunity get to know them much better. Gary Cole as Gideon is very likeable as usual, and we can see that he does have a diplomatic side. Peter Woodward plays Galen very well, and he has a lot of good lines in this episode. His reaction to the peanut butter scene was certainly great. :-) We also learn much more about his past and the Technomages - an order with very diverse individuals.

Edward Woodward (most famous for his role as the "Equalizer") plays Alwyn, the main source of the problems on Regula 4, and he is just wonderful as the main guest star. He also as great chemistry with Galen, not surprising since the actors are father and son in real life. Marshall Teague also does well as a typical single-minded Earthforce captain. If he looks familiar to you, it probably because he guest starred in several Babylon 5 episodes as the Ta'Lon, the Narn bodyguard and successor to G'kar.

Another performance I enjoyed was the Earthforce first officer, but I didn't really care for any of the colonist's performances.

While the effects in this episode are not as much in your face as a big space battle can be, there were a lot of effects and they were all very well done. The planets forest surface was rendered very well, and the PPG effects looked much better here than in "War Zone". The golden dragon certainly didn't look very real, but I don't think it was supposed be realistic. After all, how realistic can a huge golden glowing dragon be? Another minor scene that I appreciated was the shot of the Excalibur flying by from a "lower" perspective, very nifty - we don't need more of those typical side flyby's of ships, space is three-dimensional after all. A minor point, I know, but it's cool to see anyway.

Overall I thought this episode was a nice change of pace from "War Zone", and really shows Crusade's potential for interesting drama. Hopefully we will get to know more of the characters soon, I really look forward to the next episode.

Rating: 8.5/10

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

 
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