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Walkabout [Season 3]

This is a response to the review above [which said that Franklin was a loathsome waste of time]. Franklin's scenes aren't that bad - what do you expect, a bloody episode full of shooting? There had to be something else, and since the medical officer doesn't get up to much on B5 anyhow, it's a good idea to get him going Walkabout. Exactly why Franklin is in the 'inner circle' of B5 is beyond me, since he's just a doctor. Probably got something to do with his telepath railroad that did it.

Anyway. Franklin's scenes offer a good balance against the raw action of the usual White Star SFX. Usually (and this happened in Shadow Dancing) whenever you've got a pretty big battle going on, JMS will throw in some character development scenes to prevent the episode from becoming one big CGI sequence. Usually, it doesn't work and whenever the character development scene appears, you're thinking 'For God's sake, just get on with the bloody battle. Who care's if Franklin's dying/Sheridan's talking to his dad/Delenn is talking to some bloke with a tea-towel on his head - who cares when Babylon 5 going to be blown up/Shadows are kicking ass? If you break the flow of a story, you just get the viewer annoyed and he won't identify with the characters. Sometimes, JMS gets it just right.

In Walkabout, I got the feeling that Franklin really was looking for something. At last, we don't see him looking anxious in the Medbay, we actually get to see him being himself. As an added bonus, the music was pretty decent as well. The reviewer above seems to conveniently forget about the entire plotline about the singer's situation. In more down to earth way, we find out that for some people, Babylon 5 is their last best hope, even if they are dying. Not everyone ends up happy, but that's life - which is what Babylon 5 is all about. Franklin does admittedly have clichéd dialogue but that's what most people would say in his case.

There are three types of Babylon 5 fans: the ones who watch it for the explosions and the CGI, the ones who watch it for the story, and the ones who watch it for both. I've got the feeling that the first type of fans will be very disappointed with Season 5 so far (hope I'm not giving much away here) and the second type will love Season 5. In Season 3, the consensus in America was that big explosions equal big bucks. Not that the CGI sequences are bad in any way, but if Franklin didn't go walkabout, you wouldn't have much of a story. If Franklin simply stayed in the Medbay and was a good doctor, he wouldn't be real, he'd just be some two dimensional person who is tiresomely predictable. No-one's perfect, and JMS is trying to show that with Walkabout.

If you have too much of a good thing, namely, action packed episodes such as Point of No Return, Severed Dreams, Shadow Dancing et al, you don't have a story. Likewise, if you just have a story, it's turned into a soap. You need both elements.

Myself, when I watched Walkabout, I expected to be bored with the Franklin storyline and was watching the episode purely for the battle scene. JMS once again has pleasantly surprised us.

Mind you, that doesn't stop me from fast forwarding the tape when I get bored to watch all the flash CGI.