"The Memory of War" Review
First Published: 08/12/99
"The Memory of War" at first seems to be a rehash of "Racing the Night". The exploration of a mysterious alien city is interrupted by the mysterious and violent death of one of the crew members. But this time, the enemy is something very different.
During this mission, Galen warns Gideon that the planet they are visiting is dangerous. However, in this case, Galen's enigmatic ways are just a front. He doesn't know why the planet is dangerous. He just knows that the techno-mages are afraid of it.
The ensuing story is fairly thin, but that is made up for by the surprise twist when the force behind the killings - the same force that wiped out the planet's population - is revealed. The story is backed up by wonderful characterizations and truly amazing scenery.
Peter Woodward has much to work with as Galen in this script, showing emotions ranging from fear to outrage, determination to vulnerability. We also learn that techno-mages are exactly what their name implies: they use technology, particularly cybernetic implants, to evoke their powers.
Carrie Dobro also has some good moments as Dureena. She is the only one who appreciates the beauty of the alien city while the rest of the crew are hard at work ransacking it.
Speaking of the city, this is some of the best effects work yet in Crusade. The city looks alien without looking bizarre. Perhaps the window panes are what subliminally make the viewer say this is an alien office building. It's nice to see a foreign landscape that has a sense of normalcy to it rather than being filled with temples.
"The Memory of War" is host to the one major continuity flaw brought on by the reordering of episodes. Joe Straczynski alluded to this in a June Usenet post. In this episode, Dr. Chambers invents a nanotechnology virus shield that the crew already used in "Patterns of the Soul". If I had seen this episode first, I probably wouldn't have been so critical of the nanotechnology in my earlier review.
My only real complaint about this episode is Tony Dow's direction of the action sequences. There were too many fast pans, some of which seemed intended to cover for poor effects sequences.
Overall, "The Memory of War" was an enjoyable episode from a series that deserves a second chance.