"Ruling from the Tomb" Review
First Published: 07/15/99
With "Ruling from the Tomb", Peter David delivers the show that J. Michael Straczynski promised. This is not Babylon 5. Even with the participation of Tracy Scoggins as Captain Elizabeth Lochley, Crusade is something completely different.
Last week's article took "Patterns of the Soul" to task for several continuity errors and other problems. One could list similar problems with "Ruling from the Tomb", but something about this episode begs the viewer to ignore the flaws.
The Excalibur brings Dr. Chambers to Mars to deliver the keynote address at a conference about the Drakh Plague. Gideon, already irritated that he's at Mars instead of out looking for a cure, is concerned about security at the conference. This puts him at odds with Lochley, who has been brought from Babylon 5 to oversee the security. The ensuing turf war is underscored from the beginning with romantic tension. Gary Cole and Tracy Scoggins obviously had a lot of fun portraying their characters' relationship.
Meanwhile, Eilerson, Dureena, and Trace the pilot visit some of the seedier streets on Mars. These scenes are very entertaining. David Brooks and Carrie Dobro have a marvelous chemistry. Unlike the moments between Gideon and Lochley that hint at future romance, the relationship between Eilerson and Dureena is more like brother and sister. They can dislike each other openly, be frank at times without embarrassment, and have deeply hidden respect for each other. Eilerson is continuing to grow into an intriguing character. If Crusade is renewed, it will be great to see the fall that Eilerson's pride goes before.
Peter David strikes another blow against TNT with Gideon's solution for capturing the villain, which avoids the fight in a crowded hall. This reveals even more about Gideon's character. Playing what was essentially a horrible practical joke wouldn't even cross the mind of other heroes.
The source of the voice in the villain's head is also a surprise twist. A telepath or controller using an implanted transceiver was expected. Sometimes the simplest solution is best.
"Ruling from the Tomb" is the best episode of Crusade so far. It would have scored poorly as a Babylon 5 episode, but it successfully convinces the audience that Crusade is a new creation to be judged on its own merits.