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War Zone
Maintained by David Boyd
Last Update on July 19 '99
Title: War Zone
Episode Order Number: 101
Production Number: 108
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski    Director: Janet Greek
First US Air Date: Wednesday 09th June 1999
Episode Message Board: Talk about the Episode here
Contents: [Review 2]

[Review 1] - [Review 2]

Review 2: Crusade Episode 1 - "War Zone"

"And when your world is gone, who will support you? Who will you serve? Who will you be?" --Drakh Prisoner

In the year 2267, Earth lies in quarantine-- the first onslought of the Drakh War has resulted in Earth's bombardment of an advanced plague that threatens to wipe all life off the planet in about five years. In response, the Earth Alliance in coordination with the Interstellar Alliance has composed a crew to man the advanced destroyer Excalibur with a mission: to search the galaxy for the cure for the Drakh plague before it destroys all life on Earth.

Quickly, a crew is composed... Captain Matthew Gideon (Gary Cole), Lieutenant John Matheson (Daniel Dae Kim), Dr. Sarah Chambers (Marjean Holden) and Dureena Nafeel (Carrie Dobro), who is an face seen prior from "Babylon 5: A Call to Arms." Quickly taking post on the Excalibur, the crew are sent to a distant planet to capture a crashed Drakh ship (taken down during the initial attack on Earth). Fortunately, the planet in question is being excavated by a team from Interplanetary Expeditions, led by Max Eilerson (David Allen Brooks), who joins the Excalibur due to his abilities as an excellent translator.

Also, a friend of Dureena's and a face from Gideon's past, the technomage Galen (Peter Woodward) comes along for the crusade (cheesy usage of the word, I know) when invited by Gideon himself.

I can start off by saying that "War Zone" was a solid first episode, for being a first episode. However, it did begin in the un-JMSistic style of "let's kick some @$$!" Of course, JMS did put in a good reason for the fighting... hell, if a ship was en route to my home that just had a plague released upon it, then I'd be pretty angry with the universe and starship's captain too.

Also, the characterization and dialogue were both excellent, since those crazy ones who missed "Babylon 5: A Call to Arms" wouldn't kick themselves in the rear trying to figure out what prior events led to the episode. Some may have thought the explanations were unnecessary, but then again those few probably saw "A Call to Arms"...

The music by Evan H. Chen ("Babylon 5: A Call to Arms") was excellent and spectacular. It definitely gives it a mood which implies to the listener a feeling of discontent and worry, but that is needed in such a scenario as this series'. As long as Chen sticks to the basics, he is good. But he says he wants to try "new and different things." Be wary Chen, my friend, because those new and different things tend to suck.

The only real nag I can have about this episode is the on-planet special effects. The amount of realism in space is commendable, but on planet I still see cartoonish landscapes and the dry coloring. However, I know this will get better in time.

Rating: 9/10

Any comments? Mail me at

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