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Ruling from the Tomb
Maintained by David Boyd
Last Update on July 19 '99
Title: Ruling from the Tomb
Episode Order Number: 106
Production Number: 111
Writer: Peter David    Director: John Copeland
First US Air Date: Wednesday 14th July 1999
Episode Message Board: Talk about the Episode here
Contents: [Plot] - [Regular Cast] - [Guest Stars] - [Review]
Plot:

    As every off-Earth medical and research person gathers at Mars for a conference on how best to coordinate their efforts in finding a cure to the plague, a seemingly random murder signals the existence of a threat from within.

Regular Cast: Gary Cole, Tracy Scoggins, Daniel Dae Kim, David Allen Brooks, Marjean Holden, Carrie Dobro
Guest Stars: Alex Mendoza, Juanita Jennings, John Novak
Review:

[Review 1] - [Review 2]

By Lars Joreteg

Review 1: Crusade episode 6 - "Ruling from the Tomb"

"What do you want me to do - wear sack cloth and ashes?" - Max Eilerson

"Ruling from the Tomb" is a solid character piece that, while lacking in originality, is yet another very enjoyable Crusade episode.

A medical conference about the Drakh plague is held on Mars, and the Excalibur crew has grudgingly suspended their quest for a cure to attend this event. But this gathering of important scientists is a tempting target for some doomsday cultists...

Peter David wrote this episode, and like all the Babylon 5 episodes he wrote, this one contains a healthy dose of humor. The plot of "Ruling from the Tomb" follows two lines that only intersect near the end of the episode. First we have the religious zealots/terrorists plot line. While not exactly original in any way, it is adequate. The main problem is that it seems pretty contrived, as if it exists just as a way of getting Lochley and Gideon to get to know each other. Their dialogue also starts out uninspiring and forced, especially in their first two confrontations. Once both of them got up to the Excalibur, however, things improved drastically. The dinner scene was very well done, with some great humor. Gideon's speech wasn't exactly the best one I've heard, but I guess its pretty good considering he improvised. :-) But what really saves this episode from mediocrity is the "shore leave" B-plot featuring the Max-Dureena-Trace triangle. There is a lot of funny stuff going on there, but we also find out some interesting things about the pasts of our characters. I was fairly certain that Trace would succumb to the "red-shirt" mortality syndrome, but was pleasantly surprised that he lived.

This episode is the first appearance of Captain Lochley (Tracy Scoggins) in Crusade, but unfortunately her entrance is less than stellar. That seems to be more a fault of the poor dialogue than the acting in the beginning, though, since she is a lot better later in the episode. But I hope that they will find less contrived ways of including her character in future episodes.

When it comes to Gideon (Gary Cole), this is unfortunately a sub-par episode. His performance seems rather uninspired compared to his usually wonderful work so far. He does have some nice moments though.

Max Eilerson (David Allen Brooks) is great in this episode, perfectly displaying his arrogant nature in very amusing ways. You've got to love his explanation of what a yo-yo is. :-)

Dureena (Carrie Dobro) lets loose a bit in this episode too, and she is quite good here. Dr. Chambers (Marjean Holden) and Lt. Matheson (Daniel Dae Kim) only have relatively small parts, but they both perform adequately.

The main guest star is Alex Mendoza, who reprises his role as pilot Trace, and he is MUCH better here than he was in "WarZone". His acting is good, and he manages to give his character much more depth. Hopefully we'll see much more of him in the future.

The other guest stars weren't that great, although John Novak did a decent job as the main terrorist.

Evan Chen's music continues to improve, and he displays a wide range of styles in this episode. From the religious prayer theme to the dance music to the rest - it is all good. Bring on that soundtrack! I certainly regret the statement I made in my "A Call to Arms" review, that a new composer was needed, I'm now convinced that JMS made the right choice. The effects in this episode weren't that plentiful, but the Mars shots looked better than the ones from Babylon 5 did. (well, one establishing dome shot was actually recycled from Babylon 5 season 4) I have one technical beef with this episode though - the sound editing was terrible. During several conversations the dialogue was so faint compared to the background noise that it was really hard to hear what was being said without cranking up the volume quite a bit. During one of the prayer scenes, the Joan of Arc dialogue was so faint it was barely audible, even thought there was no background noise in that scene. Did a microphone malfunction and they didn't notice until final sound mixing perhaps? Anyway, as annoying as those technical flaws were they didn't detract from the episode.

Overall I think this episode could have been executed better, but it was still very enjoyable due to the humor and great character interaction.

Rating: 8/10

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

 
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