Okay, that grade might be a touch inflated because of my excitement over Vir's return, but this episode was in fact quite good.
First of all, this episode has the best Delenn scene we've seen in quite awhile, displaying the strength and initiative that until this point has been somewhat in eclipse in the fifth year.
"You broke my finger!"
"True. But you have nine others, for the moment."
G'Kar, meanwhile, seems to be bearing his new burden well, though I definitely have a somewhat lower opinion of his followers. His speech in the sanctuary is absolutely deserving of its fame among the fans.
"What we perceive as God is the byproduct of our search for God. It may simply be an appreciation of the light, pure and unblemished, not understanding that it comes from us. Sometimes we stand in front of the light and assume that we are the center of the universe. God looks astonishingly like we do. Or we turn to look at our shadow and assume that all is darkness. If we allow ourselves to get in the way, we defeat the purpose, which is to use the light of our search to illuminate the wall in all its beauty...and all its flaws...and in so doing better understand the world around us."
As I said yesterday, I am a believing Catholic, but this speech resonates even with me.
This episode also gets quite a few points for Londo's evil humor, which improves any episode in which it appears. Taunting the Drazi ambassador about his "unfaithful" wife is classic Londo. Muahahaha.
Then there's Vir. (Yay! Vir!) Vir learns in this episode that when you slam a sword into something hard, it hurts. Hee. I admit, at first this scene makes me laugh. A lot. It's Londo's reaction that makes it funny. It's Zack's re-telling that makes it even funnier. Upon reflection, however, I see the darker edge to all of this. As Sheridan correctly observed, Vir has never lost his temper like this before. But I believe it makes perfect sense now. We've seen other signs that Vir is beginning to fray around the edges- his nightmare in "No Surrender, No Retreat," his public emotional outburst in "The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari," etc. His sword-wielding tantrum here fits into this pattern. I think the Drazi's ridicule hit a very personal nerve and unlocked a whole lot of bottled up frustration and anger. Thinking about this scene this way, I am impressed with how emotionally true it really is.
And speaking of fraying around the edges, we have the true focus of this episode- Lennier. Lennier's quiet scene with Delenn was painful in all the ways it should have been. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. His slight hypocrisy with Findell is psychologically interesting as well- at this point, he still has not truly examined his own selfish motives for joining the Rangers.
And all through this episode, I felt the coming tragedy rushing ever closer...