Sunday, 23 July 2017

BABYLON 5 Rewatch: Season 1, Episodes 17-18




A17: Legacies
Airdates: 20 July 1994 (US), 29 August 1994 (UK)
Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by Bruce Seth Green
Cast: Alyt Neroon (John Vickey), Alisa Beldon (Grace Una), Security Man (Richard Henry), Cart Owner (Patrick O’Brien), Station One (Marianne Robertson), Station Two (Joshua Cox)

Plot:    The Minbari warcruiser Ingata arrives at Babylon 5, but immediately opens its gunports. A tense stand-off ensues until Delenn arrives in Command & Control and points out that the cruiser’s targeting systems are not active. The Minbari warrior caste believe that displaying one’s weapons to a potential enemy or ally is a sign of openness and respect, and cannot comprehend why other species see it as a threatening gesture. The captain of the Ingata, the great warrior-general Branmer, has died and his body is being displayed at every Minbari colony en route back to Minbar where he will be interred with full military honours. The Minbari populace of Babylon 5 is the latest group to see the body. Delenn is annoyed by the tradition: Branmer was a great warrior, but only joined the warrior caste during the Earth-Minbari War. Before that he was a great healer and holy man, a member of the religious caste. His own wish was for a simple ceremony, but his executive officer, Alyt Neroon, is determined to see him honoured with a full military spectacle.

A young girl, Alisa Beldon, is thieving in the Zocalo when she suddenly passes out, generating a massive psychic blast as she does so. Talia Winters senses her pain and has her rushed to Medlab. Alisa is a latent telepath whose powers have just manifested. Talia is keen to have her shipped off to Earth to join Psi Corps as soon as possible, but Ivanova intervenes. It may be Earth law that human telepaths have to join Psi Corps, but there are loopholes in the law, mainly that if an alien government adopted her as one of their citizens, Psi Corps would have no hold over her. Talia is angry that Ivanova is trying to interfere in something that has nothing to do with her, but Ivanova is determined that Alisa will not suffer the same fate as her mother. The Narn make an impressive offer of money and luxuries in return for Alisa working for them and donating genetic material so the Narns might be able to breed their own telepaths, but Alisa scans Na’Toth’s mind and learns that, whilst she would be rich, Narn is no longer a welcoming world, having become a cold and harsh place following the Centauri occupation. Few non-Narn live on their homeworld and Alisa would be quite alone.

The viewing ceremony begins, but Neroon is enraged when Branmer’s body goes missing. He threatens war against Earth if this insult is not resolved quickly, but calms down again and works with Garibaldi in tracking down the corpse. The Pak’ma’ra, noted carrion eaters, haven’t seen it and every other avenue appears to be closed.

Delenn has a meeting with Alisa, telling her that on Minbar telepaths are honoured members of society. They aren’t paid money, but are provided for by the government, free of charge. Alisa scans Delenn’s mind and learns she is telling the truth, but also that Delenn knows something about the missing body. Thanks to her Grey Council training, Delenn is able to close her mind, but too late. Alisa tells Sinclair what she saw and Sinclair angrily confronts Delenn, who confirms she has taken Branmer’s corpse and disposed of it according to his wishes for a simple ceremony. She confesses to Neroon, but uses her authority as a member of the Grey Council to ensure he accepts the situation. Sinclair surprises Neroon by offering to make a public statement of respect for Branmer, who was a canny, but never cruel enemy during the Earth-Minbari War. Neroon leaves with somewhat greater respect for humans than when he arrived. Talia doesn’t agree with her decision, but accepts it and then offers the hand of friendship again to Ivanova by offering to buy her a drink. Ivanova tentatively accepts.

Alisa leaves for Minbar. Before departing, she tells Sinclair that when she was in Delenn’s mind, Delenn was thinking of a word she quickly covered up: “chrysalis”. She leaves Sinclair to mull the word over.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP


The Arc: The Minbari warrior caste itself does not know why the Grey Council ordered the surrender at the Battle of the Line, save that many of them do not like it. One Minbari captain, Sinoval, committed suicide rather than surrender. It isn’t mentioned here, but his ship, the Trigati, went into self-imposed exile with the entire crew rather than accept the surrender order. We find out what happens to them in episode B1. There is a suggestion that the Minbari assassin from PM, and his Wind Swords clan might be tied to these exiles in some way.

According to Neroon, and supported by Garibaldi, the death of the previous Minbari leader, Dukhat, took place during the first contact with Earth and directly led to the Earth-Minbari War. Garibaldi claims that Dukhat’s death was a tragic accident. We learn more about the first contact between the humans and Minbari in episodes B1 and C13 and see it for ourselves in D9 and TVM1.

We learn in episode C13 (and see in D9 and TVM1) that the Earth-Minbari War began when a Minbari warcruiser opened its gunports as a gesture of respect, only for the human warships to believe they were under attack and open fire first. Presumably Neroon is either mocking the B5 crew or trying to suicidally goad them into attacking his ship by repeating the act here.

The Narn are still trying to find a way of breeding telepathy genes back into their species. This was last mentioned in episode PM. We find out more about the Narn telepath situation in episode C14.

We learn that Minbari telepaths are honoured members of their society. We see Minbari telepaths in action in episodes C6, C18 and C21.

The long-simmering feud between Talia and Ivanova, begun in episode A1, draws to a close here. They have become friends, of a sort, by the end of the episode.

Neroon becomes a recurring character in the series. He turns up again in episodes B11, C19, D13 and D14. He also appears in issues 2-4 of the Babylon 5 comic (DC2-DC4) and in NOV9.

We find out more about Delenn’s mysterious plan in episode A22 (also entitled Chrysalis).


Background: Shai Alyt is a Minbari rank meaning captain or general. Alyt is the next rank down, referring to a commander or colonel.

In Minbari society, the caste of a mother takes precedence over the caste of a father in determining a child’s caste-by-birth, although they can later change castes if they so wish.

A Minbari Sharlin-class warcruiser is 300m long, weighs 200 “m tons”, can carry 2,000 “m tons” of cargo and has a crew of 600. It can carry up to 150 ground troops and is equipped with a “Class A” jump drive, twelve fusion lasers and six neutron cannons. A warcruiser has a maximum sublight speed of 0.2c (20% lightspeed), which is approximately 37,256 miles per second.

The Llort have a tendency to collect souvenirs, trinkets and items of value to other species.

The Pak’ma’ra are a race of carrion eaters who prefer to dine on dead flesh. Although a respected member race of the League of Non-aligned Worlds, other species find their culinary habits – and odour when having recently eaten – unpleasant.

Neroon has no idea who the Llort and Pak’ma’ra are, confirming that the Minbari have largely stayed aloof from galactic affairs and have only been drawn into them again by the Earth-Minbari War.

Earth Alliance-issued identicards act as passports, ID registries and have a function similar to “chip and PIN” credit and debit cards.

Alisa Beldon was born 12 July 2244 on Earth. She moved to Babylon 5 with her father in 2256 as he was searching for work. He passed away and she has been living in Downbelow as a thief ever since. According to Talia Winters, she is a high P10. Her family’s religion is Obeah.

References: “Gun ports” were originally the openings on wooden sailing ships which allowed cannons to be fired. Some ships had permanent holes in their sides for such guns, but others could be closed to reduce the risk of flooding in inclement weather. They were an innovation introduced in the late 15th Century, almost simultaneously amongst ships from Portugal, Spain, England, France and Holland. A ship approaching with gunports open might be considered to be about to attack, but in hot and warm weather the ports were generally left open to better ventilate the ship and lower the risk of disease.

It’s unclear what “gun ports” refer to in the Babylon 5 universe, especially for a Minbari warcruiser where all the weapons are externally mounted anyway. It’s possible the ends of the weapons are typically closed and open when they are about to fire (to reduce the risk of microparticle damage to the interior of the weapons).

Unanswered Questions: Why didn’t Delenn and the Grey Council simply announce the transformation of Branmer’s body at the start of the whole process. Why let Neroon have his head and pursue the investigation when he capitulates and obeys so easily at the end of the episode?

Mistakes, Retcons and Lamentations: Delenn’s religious acolytes use the Triluminary to stun the two warrior caste guards and steal Branmer’s body. However, Delenn doesn’t have the Triluminary yet, since she doesn’t receive it until episode A20. The original plan was that Legacies would air after Babylon Squared (despite being filmed earlier), but the extra effects work and production complications on Babylon Squared held it back until late in the running.

It’s unclear how heavy the Minbari warcruiser is: 200 megatonnes (two million metric tonnes) would be almost as heavy as Babylon 5 itself, despite being far smaller.

A tired and coming-off-duty Sinclair defeats a seasoned Minbari warrior waiting to ambush him in hand-to-hand combat. This seems a little bit of a stretch.

Delenn mentions “the gods”, but other episodes (most notably A5 and B4) suggest that the Minbari do not worship gods. Instead they worship the universe itself, believing that sentient life is the consciousness of the universe, split into trillions of shards so it may better understand its own nature.


Behind the Scenes: This is the first and only episode of Babylon 5 to be pitched cold by an outside writer to J. Michael Straczynski. D.C. Fontana came up with the idea for both storylines, which Straczynski found fascinating and a good way of introducing and developing the warrior caste Minbari.

Fontana was inspired by the story of Abraham Lincoln being assassinated and his body being taken in state from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois, stopping at many towns along the way.

The line “You talk like a Minbari, Commander” fired up Straczynski’s imagination and inspired him to consider a radically different direction for Sinclair’s character, one that was actually enhanced by Michael O’Hare’s decision to leave the show. Prior to this episode being written, Straczynski had envisaged two five-season shows (Babylon 5 and Babylon Prime) telling one story revolving around the Sinclair character. Straczynski’s revelation – coupled with perhaps a more realistic appreciation for what was practical or likely – meant condensing this story down into a single five-year arc. Realising it was the best decision for the show, Straczynski embraced it whole-heartedly and, based on fan reaction when the original arc was finally published, it seems to have been the best decision.

Caitlin Brown was uncertain on Na’Toth’s dialogue in this episode, particularly her more humorous material. The scenes were written for G’Kar and transferred over to Na’Toth when Andreas Katsulas proved to be unavailable.

Mira Furlan enjoyed acting opposite John Vickery and felt they built up a good rapport as actors, one that came into play in later episodes as well.

During the scene where Talia helps Alisa take control of her ability, the vocal line was taken, digitised and then played so we hear Talia’s words a split second before she says them (as someone thinks about what they’re going to say imperceptibly before they say it). It’s a striking effect that works pretty well.

Familiar Faces: John Vickery (Neroon) is known for his distinctive, elegant voice. He has appeared several times in Star Trek, as a Betazoid in The Next Generation’s Night Terrors, a Klingon in the Enterprise episode Judgment. His best-known role on the series was as the Cardassian soldier Rusot in the Deep Space Nine episodes The Changing Face of Evil, When It Rains… and Tacking into the Wind. A prolific voice actor, he also gave the vocal performance for Kenshiro in the English dub of the movie Fist of the North Star and for Scar in the Broadway version of The Lion King. He mostly retired from acting in 2012, following an appearance on Modern Family.

Grace Una (Alisa) had a relatively short career, with Babylon 5 as her first job. Her last role was as Jenny in Gone in Sixty Seconds in 2000.

Review: A decent episode with two stories unfolding in tandem, both with their own tensions and issues. The episode is enhanced by John Vickery’s theatrical, Shakespearian turn as Neroon, although Grace Una brings more enthusiasm than acting subtlety to the table, but since she’s playing a fourteen-year-old that does kind of work. The ending is a bit messy though and there’s a couple of really ripe lines. ****

Sinclair: “Let the warrior caste praise his courage and war and let the rest praise him for what he truly was: a man of peace.”
Neroon: “You talk like a Minbari, Commander. Perhaps there was some small wisdom in letting your species survive.”


A18: A Voice in the Wilderness, Part 1
Airdates: 27 July 1994 (US), 5 September 1994 (UK)
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Janet Greek
Cast: Draal (Louis Turenne), Varn (Curt Lowens), Derek Mobotabwe (Langdon Bensing), Dr. Tasaki (Jim Ishida), Security Guard (Craig Barnett), Earthforce Liason (Kelly Coyle), Bartender (Kathryn Cressida), ISN Reporter (Lenore Kasdorf), Psi Corps Officer (Patty Toy), Technician (Jerry Well), Station One (Marianne Robertson)

Plot:    Babylon 5 begins picking up odd seismic activity on Epsilon III, the planet Babylon 5 orbits. Dr. Tasaki and a geology team take a shuttle down to the planetary surface to investigate, but come under sustained fire by missiles fired from the surface. A second attempt to land is also attacked. The rather surprised command staff uncover evidence of some sort of artificial structure hidden beneath the surface. Sinclair decides to investigate personally and takes down another shuttle, using Starfuries to distract the missile batteries long enough for the shuttle to enter a canyon and locate an access tunnel.

The crew on Babylon 5 are shocked to hear that a full-scale uprising has begun on the Mars colony against Earth rule. Fighting is extremely heavy and reports are confused. Garibaldi becomes concerned about his ex-girlfriend, Lise Hampton, who he left on Mars two years ago so he could take the job on Babylon 5. Official channels are no help, so he confronts Talia and tells her he knows that the Psi Corps has a secret, unofficial base on Syria Planum. Shocked by this leak in security, she agrees to contact Psi Corps to see if they can locate Garibaldi’s ex. The best they can do is find a list of these uninjured in the fighting. Lise’s name isn’t on it.

A Minbari named Draal arrives on Babylon 5. An old mentor’s of Delenn, Draal has lost heart in the way the Minbari seem to be drifting, having lost their sense of purpose and place over the last few decades. Draal means to cast himself into the void of space and investigate other worlds and places, and has come to Babylon 5 to say goodbye to Delenn. Sinclair and Londo share a vision of a strange alien who asks them for help. Londo is bemused, but Sinclair and Ivanova locate the alien, Varn, in a cavern underneath Epsilon III. They return him to the station, just as the jumpgate opens and a large warship emerges...

The Arc: The colonists on Mars are unhappy with being ruled by Earth and have now launched a full-scale uprising against the Earth administration. The uprising continues into the next episode. We briefly see part of the rebellion in episode B6.

We discover in episode B15 that the planet’s full name is Epsilon Eridani III. Episode A20 confirms that Babylon 4, though built in the same system, was actually in orbit around the star Epsilon Eridani itself rather than any individual planet. TVM1 suggests, however, that Babylons 1-3 were all built in orbit around Epsilon III, like B5.

Comics DC5-8 explain how Garibaldi knows there is a secret Psi Corps base on Syria Planum.

Between DC5-8, A11, B5, B10 and this episode we can piece together a rough chronology of Garbialdi’s career: he served at the ice mining operation on Europa in 2241, from where he was booted after becoming a heavy drinker (following the framing and murder of his friend Frank Kemmer). He became an Earthforce marine during the Earth-Minbari War. By 2253 he had been booted out of Earthforce to become an independent shuttle pilot on Mars, which is where he met Sinclair. With Sinclair’s help, his commission was reactivated and he served in security on Mars colony before moving to Babylon 5 in February 2256. It’s unclear when he served on Orion IV (where he met Walker Smith), but it’s probably from there that he was fired from Earthforce before heading to Mars. Later episodes, especially D16, confirm that Garibaldi hates Mars, since he had some of the worst moments of his life there and it’s where his alcoholism was at its worst.

A Minbari character named Rathenn is briefly mentioned. This sounds like a throwaway line, but Rathenn actually turns out to be a somewhat important character on Minbar later on: he appears in DC1 and NOV9 before appearing in the flesh in episodes C16-C17 and C19.


Background: The planet Babylon 5 orbits is called Epsilon Eridani III and is – allegedly – uninhabited. Epsilon Eridani is a real star in the southern constellation of Eridanus. It is approximately 10.5 light-years from Earth and similar to our sun in composition. The star is surrounded by two immense disks of protoplanetary material and asteroid belts, and has at least two planets, including one large gas giant and another which has “swept” its orbit clear of material. For this reason, it is unlikely the system has three planets in real life.

Epsilon III has a gravity field of 0.75G (or about 75% of Earth-normal).

The alien facility on Epsilon III extends from five miles below the surface for an additional ten miles into the planet’s crust.

This episode confirms that Babylon 5 directly orbits Epsilon III directly. Pre-publicity release material for the series suggested it was actually located at one of the planet’s LaGrange points with respect to its moon, but this was not borne out by the series, as the planet would be a lot smaller.

Psi Corps has a secret research base called “The Centre”, located on Syria Planum on Mars.

Earth has colonised Mars, establishing a series of domed cities and underground facilities over the course of more than a century whilst they consider terraforming options. The descendants of the settlers – native-born Martians – refer to “Earthers” with disdain and have been demanding their independence for generations. Free Mars is the most popular civil rights and pro-independence movement, but has been criticised for taking up armed struggle against civilian targets. There are other groups as well, some of them far more radical than Free Mars.

Syria and Solis Planums on Mars (in the southern hemisphere) seem to be major centres of the colonisation efforts. There is also an ISN broadcast centre on top of Olympus Mons in the northern hemisphere and both a colony dome and prison complex on Mars’s moon, Phobos.

We late discover (episode D16) that Mars has a population of over two million people.

Londo married an exotic Centauri dancer as a young man. According to Straczynski, this is not one of his three wives mentioned in A7 and seen in B8, but an earlier marriage he was forced to annul by his family due to the scandal.

There is a Centauri-controlled jump gate in Sector 119. The Minbari bargain for free use of the gate in return for a trade deal through that region of space. We learn from this that many races charge fees for the use of their jump gates (which makes sense as they are huge, expensive and require vast amounts of power to operate).

There is anger in Earthdome from the poorer countries, spearheaded by the Indonesian Consortium, have to pay an equal share for the cost of operations in space but they do not get a fair cut of the profits.

One of Babylon 5’s more notable bartenders is a young woman named Kat, who watches Londo like a hawk to make sure he pays his bill. In this episode, she is running a bar in the Zocalo, but later episodes establish her as a manager at Earharts, the Earthforce officer’s club. She also helps out occasionally in the Casino. 

References: The Great Machine on Epsilon III is a homage to the Krell machine-city on Altair IV in the iconic 1956 SF movie Forbidden Planet. Straczynski was aware of the similarity when he was writing the episode, but what sealed it was Ron Thornton’s overhead CG shot of the bridge with all the machine elements running up and down the chasm.

The title of the episode is a Biblical reference: “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord” (Isaiah, chapter 40, verse 3).

The Earth Alliance’s disdainful treatment of Mars, resulting in a full-scale rebellion, was seen by some fans as being rather similar to SF author Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy, particularly the failed Mars rebellion that concludes the first novel in the series, Red Mars. Straczynski was familiar with Robinson’s work and had met him several times, but the relationship between Earth and Mars was part of the original story arc. More notably, Red Mars was only published a couple of months before Straczynski wrote this episode, and he hadn’t read it yet. More intriguingly, the later novels Green Mars and Blue Mars feature an organisation called “Free Mars” which may or may not be a B5 homage.

Straczynski, ironically, also wrote a pilot script for Spike TV for a TV series based on the Mars Trilogy in 2015. The project was put on hold due to Straczynski’s writing duties for the Netflix series Sense8.

Free Mars and the Martian independence movement are clearly inspired by similar pro-independence movements on Earth, such as the IRA and Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland and the AMC in South Africa. As with those struggles, the rights and wrongs of Martian independence and how that may be achieved are very complex questions.

Draal says he is “Going to the sea”. This appears to be an analogue to the elves in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium, who take the trip “to the sea” when they weary of life and pass beyond the great western ocean to Valinor, the Undying Lands. To those who like to compare Babylon 5 to Lord of the Rings (especially since Straczynski references Lord of the Rings many times in the series), this confirms the oft-stated analogue that the Minbari are similar to the elves in that story.

The Martian places mentioned in this episode are real geographic locations: Syria Planum is located just south of the equator, south-east of the massive Tharsis Montes. The plain is cradled by the Noctis Labyrinthus (Labyrinth of Night), a colossally complex canyon network, to the north. Solis Planum is located to the south-east. Olympus Mons is the largest mountain in the Solar system, almost three times the height of Everest and considerably larger in geographic spread.


Unanswered Questions: What happens to Dr. Tasaki and his team? They play a big role in this episode and then vanish in the next one.

Mistakes, Retcons and Lamentations: A lot of attention is paid to the fuel capacity of the atmospheric shuttles but not to the Starfuries, which seem to be able to fly all over the place without worrying about the limitation.

Behind the Scenes: The Babylon 5 pilot movie did extremely well overseas in many territories as a self-contained release on VHS, so Warner Brothers Home Video requested another extra-long “event movie” that could be released by itself. In return, they contributed to the budget of the episode. Straczynski was happy to comply, since it meant he could build some more sets and generate some more effects that could be used later on.

The extra money was spent on the sets for the Great Machine and for the CG, which was quite extensive and featured a lot of new shots in both halves of the episode.

Unfortunately, after production was completed, Warner Brothers Home Video decided not to contribute to the budget of the story after all. Since the episodes were recorded close to the end of shooting on Season 1, there wasn’t much chance to make up the money. A16, the last-recorded episode of the season, was dropped down to just two guest stars with no new sets or effects to try to help salvage the situation. Warner Brothers did release A Voice in the Wilderness as a stand-alone movie on VHS in the UK, but this was rendered a bit pointless when they started releasing the entire series on VHS a year or so later.

Straczynski wrote both Quality of Mercy (A21) and the Voice in the Wilderness two-parter whilst deep in the grip of flu. He has no memory whatsoever of writing Quality. The original script for the two-parter was not up to Straczynski’s standards, so he junked it and rewrote it completely from scratch, a process taking six twelve-hour days in his office with the stereo cranked up and forcing down vitamins and coffee.

Downbelow and the Epsilon III corridors are located on “Stage B”, located at the rear end of the converted warehouse where B5 was filmed. The actors didn’t like shooting there as it was very dirty compared to the rest of the sets, but acknowledged it did add some credibility to the scenes of them getting their hands dirty.

Peter Jurasik wasn’t very happy at having to sing the hokey pokey in front of the cast and crew, perhaps explaining Londo’s palpable anger in the scene.

The cliffhanger was originally going to be the alien, Varn, telling Sinclair and Ivanova that B5 is about to be destroyed, but as the episode ran short a few more scenes were moved up and it was decided to end on the ship coming through the jump gate.

According to Straczynski, the episode centred on a possible First Contact situation, in which circumstances it’s always best to send two or three command-level staff. Fans expressed scepticism that sending both the station commander and his first officer into danger simultaneously was a good idea.

Familiar Faces: This episode introduces the minor character of “Kat”, a bartender on Babylon 5. She returns in later episodes, named for the actress playing her, Kathryn Cressida. Cressida did some on-screen acting in the 1990s, including on Murder, She Wrote, MANTIS and Diagnosis Murder, but she is best-known by far as a voice actress in animation and video games. One of her first such roles was on the iconic game Baldur’s Gate. She later played Dee Dee in the animated series Dexter’s Laboratory, Venus in the cult video game Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, and Uta in adult animated comedy series Archer. More recently she has done voice work on The Wolf Among Us, Diablo III, Elder Scrolls III, Batman: Arkham Knight, Fallout 4, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst and Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Louis Turenne (Draal) had a long career in American theatre, film and TV, debuting on Shoestring Theatre in 1959. His more notable career appearances include The Postman Always Rings Twice, Galactica 1980 (as Colonel Werner), Mystic Pizza, and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. He suffered from ill health during the making of this episode and was unable to reprise the character later on. He was very apologetic to Straczynski, who appreciated his honesty and later wrote him a much less-demanding role (with less makeup) in Season 3 of Babylon 5. Turenne retired from screen acting after Babylon 5.

Review: The first half of this two-parter is dumber than a box of frogs (Straczynski throwing a lot of plausibility out of the window to do a Forbidden Planet homage and to hell with logic) but it’s still extremely entertaining. There’s lots of cool new CGI shots, it’s good to finally get off the station and the subplots – the Mars Rebellion and Draal’s visit to B5 – are both handled quite well. The regulars and guest stars both give great performances and it’s a fun joyride. Just park your brain in neutral before viewing. ***½

Ivanova: “On your trip back, I would like you to learn the Babylon 5 Mantra: Ivanova is always right. I will listen to Ivanova. I will not ignore Ivanova’s recommendations. Ivanova Is God.”

Dr. Tasaki: “What better way to go out than in the cause of advancing scientific knowledge?”
Ivanova: “Is this a multiple-choice question?”


Ivanova: “It’s a Russian thing. When we are about to do something stupid, we like to catalogue the full extent of our stupidity for future reference.”




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