Crusade episode 8 - "Appearances and Other Deceits"
Eilerson was right about all this - I hate it when he
is right, he'll be insufferable for days!" - Gideon
plot where aliens are trying to take over the crew can
hardly be considered novel in a science-fiction setting.
But while that particular concept may be common, in
"Appearances and Other Deceits" it is executed very
well, resulting in an immensely enjoyable episode.
two Earth Alliance political representatives, intent
on improving the "image" of the mission visit the Excalibur,
the crew find a huge alien ship drifting in space. Only
one survivor is found, but what happened to the rest
of the crew?
approached this episode with some trepidation, since
the preview made me fear the worst - a Star Trek rip-off.
But as the episode moved along, it started veering off
from what I expected, and it ended in a satisfying and
surprising way for me. And unlike the last Crusade episode
("The Rules of the Game"), these aliens provided a credible
threat, thus heightening the tension. Just as "The Long
Road" can be seen as an homage to classic Star Trek
episodes, in a way "Appearances and Other Deceits" is
an homage to a typical Star Trek: The Next Generation
episode. But both these episodes provide new twists
to old ideas, making what could have been very cliched
story something fresh. The main difference here is Gideon,
someone who has no qualms about wiping out someone who
is threatening his crew. And this time the aliens are
the ones who want to negotiate, but they make the fatal
mistake in underestimating the Excalibur crew. In addition,
the final words of the aliens give some chilling information,
making us wonder what could have been. I also liked
the condolence letters scene; it's nice to see the "redshirts"
get some recognition sometimes. The B-plot of this episode
is about the visiting political representatives, who
have orders to make the mission seem more heroic and
inspirational to the people back home. This is done
through new uniforms, which provides some amusing situations.
And regarding the new uniforms, the sure look like bellhops
:-), but I'll get used to them.
Cole (as Captain Gideon) gives a very strong performance
in this episode, clearly one of his best so far. Gideon
has complete dedication to his crew, and it is made
abundantly clear here.
Matheson (Daniel Dae Kim) is finally given more screen
time, he has hardly been seen since "Path of Sorrows".
But he is solid as always, a good authoritative presence.
Eilerson (David Allen Brooks) once again proves to be
a wonderful presence, a character that grows more three-dimensional
and likeable with every episode. This is probably his
best episode yet.
Chambers (Marjean Holden) is also getting some long
overdue screen time, giving her best performance so
far. The character feels quite a bit wooden, though,
and her dialogue is heavy at times. Is it a fault of
the writing? Probably - the actress isn't given much
to work with. I'm sure this character will improve with
time, though. But I did like they way she chewed out
the med.-tech. :-)
standout guest star in this episode is John Vickery,
who in an excellent performance reprises his short role
on Babylon 5 as Mr. Welles, a nightwatch representative.
(from "Fall of Night", the season 2 finale) In addition,
the actor has also had another recurring role on Babylon
5, as Neroon of the Minbari Warrior Caste.
guest star is Wayne Wilderson, as the very effeminate
designer travelling with Mr. Welles. He provides much
of the comedy in this episode, but unfortunately he
goes a little bit over the top here and there, but he
is still amusing. Luanne Ponce also guest stars as a
med.-tech, she is adequate enough.
production values of this episode were very good, and
it was nice to see some more of the Excalibur. The effects
were quite good too, the alien ship was well done and
exotic. Evan Chen's music is very good in this episode
too, providing good suspense throughout the episode
but especially in the scenes inside the alien ship.
Once again Evan Chen shows off his varying styles of
music very nicely. Stephen Furst (who played the character
Vir throughout Babylon 5) also directed this episode,
and he did a great job. He gives us very interesting
views, and I especially liked once scene on the bridge
where the camera rotates 360 degrees around Gideon and
Mr. Welles. Very cool stuff, in my opinion.
this is my favorite episode so far, what could have
been very cliched turned out to be fresh, while also
providing excellent character development.
- Lars Joreteg (firstname.lastname@example.org)