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A View from the Gallery [Season 5]

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As you know, the probe is blown up in hyperspace. But I was always of the understanding that you couldn't hold battles in hyperspace since it's too volatile and you'd just end up blowing yourself up. Maybe it's only with large battles, not single shots.

Probably the funniest part of the episode is when Bo and Mack are wondering exactly what the weird lawn strimmer thing actually does. This is simply a huge take off from Star Trek where you see people wandering around with strange contraptions scanning things, and you wonder 'What the hell are they exactly doing?' As it turns out, they don't know what it is either. It just shows how little we know about the workings of machines. It's hilarious to see Bo standing there carefully moving the strimmer above the floor, and then see them wondering what it does.

When Bo's in Medlab, it is a little far fetched to see Franklin talking with Bo, but it's only for a few minutes and everything's prepared. It gives Franklin time out to think about why he became a doctor in the first place; he's not really talking to Bo, he's talking to himself.

At least Corwin gets a few more lines than usual in this episode (that is, more than just looking down at his console and saying in an alarmed voice 'Jumpgate opening!') When he doesn't know why the console's stopped working, it seems no-one knows how anything works on B5 any more.

Heh. When I heard Lochley say 'real guano' I was a little puzzled his you get all kinds of swear words on Babylon 5, and shit (that's guano) has been seen before many times.

After Garibaldi and Lochley get off the lift, Mack and Bo very briefly mention pizza, responding to a remark of Garibaldi's. It's not as if they get the topic out of thin air. And what do you expect them to talk about, how they're going to die? It's a little morbid, and people tend to simply blank out thoughts of death. All this talk of fleets and downloading codes is a million miles from them - as far as they care, Babylon 5 has never been captured or (of course) destroyed since it was built, so they're secure in the knowledge that whatever the situation, they aren't in much danger of dying.

The battle. We get to see a few seriously massive alien ships coming out of the jumpgate, but we don't see them after that. They can't have been destroyed that quickly, can they? I'd have liked to have seen a few Starfuries skin dancing across the surface of one of them.

It's not surprising that Mack and Bo simply watch on calmly as the battle rages outside. As I said before, they're detached from the action. It's not happening to them, it's outside in space. They've got the utmost confidence in their defences, so maybe they aren't so complacent. It wouldn't have served much to start crawling underneath tables and wetting their pants, would it? They're not kids, they've been through worse battles before, not to mention Severed Dreams.

The plucked chicken reference was a obvious pull at the countless Internet fans who've complained at the shape of the White Star. Great stuff. So what about Mack and Bo saying there's a breaching pod coming? Humans have a tendency to say obvious and stupid things, as Douglas Adams has noted ('Oh, you've falled down a 50 foot well, are you OK?)

Anyway, you don't see Mack and Bo sitting back and chatting while they're in the middle of that firefight, do you?

My opinion of Byron was altered a little in the following minutes. It was very kind of him to let Bo experience once in his life how it's like being a Starfury pilot. Whether Byron did this out of the kindness of his heart, or he did it because he likes to indulge the lower species is open for debate. When the alien soldier jumps in, it's amusing to see all the teeps' heads turn to look at him one by one, and then he dejectedly walks out. These telepaths would be great to have in a battle.

The rest of the episode wasn't particularly notable, except for the Delenn parts where she insightfully calls them 'Worker Caste.' It's not a insult, it's more of a compliment. The Minbari couldn't survive without their Worker Caste, and someone's got to do the work.

I think it's more than a little insulting to call Mack and Bo 'morons' [as another reviewer has done so]. If you could see yourself on TV, then you'd probably realise the mistakes you make every now and again.

Not that I'm saying this episode was perfect. Not once do we find out the name of these aliens, which would have been nice. It also seems that after this episode, the aliens will be magically whisked out of the Babylon 5 universe to the land of Trivia. They're off to pick on someone else, and no-one's considered trying to find out where they've come from or launch a counterstrike, which is certainly what they deserve.

When Bo was inside the Starfury, I was surprised to see the rate at which the 'furies were destroyed in bursts of colour. Surely Babylon 5 knows better than to just throw their fighters at the aliens and have them chase them around in circles? The Interstellar Alliance could do well with some kind of medium size fighter between the Starfury and White Star in size.

All in all, A View from the Gallery was one of the most humorous episodes of Babylon 5 I've ever seen, and the action sequences were, if possible, better than usual. The sequence showing the Starfuries being launched seems to have been updated for the better.

Arc Rating: 4

It'll be higher if we ever get to see those aliens again, which is unlikely. Rest assured we'll probably see work on repairing Babylon 5 for several episodes from now.

Episode Rating: 7.5*


Added section, added value:

It's strange. I really like this episode now, it's one of my favourites. It has exactly the right mix of action, insight, humour and drama. I can't really explain it, but I just like it.

Aside from showing In the Beginning (another truly excellent B5 film), this episode is the perfect introduction for someone who has never seen Babylon 5 before.

Action: The attacking aliens, and the great CGI.

Insight: When Byron asks Bo whether he really, truly, wants to become a Starfury pilot, and Bo experiences the glory, and the pain, of attaining his dream.

Humour: The lawn strimmer incident, and when they're talking about Ivanova leaving because she wanted a bigger salary, were loud-out-loud hilarious.

Drama: There's more than a fair bit of drama when you're seeing that the station is taking one hell of a beating. The clash of personalities between Garibaldi and Lochley is interesting, a portent of Things To Come.

*Updated Episode Rating: 9