Watching Babylon 5 for the first time- Season 3: Episodes 5-8

Not as such…. no.

I am very late to the Babylon 5 party. As it came out, I was a bit young for the show and the few times we tried to watch as a family, it was clear we had no idea what was going on. After several people bugged me, telling me it was the show I needed to watch, I grabbed the whole series around Christmas last year on a great sale. I’ve been watching it since, sneaking it in between the many things going on in my life. It quickly became apparent that I’d want to discuss the episodes with others, so I began this series of posts. Please don’t spoil anything from later seasons or episodes for me! 

Season 3: Episodes 5-8

5: Voices of Authority
Marcus Cole has a great voice. I could listen to his character talking all the time. I hope he gets a bigger place in the series going forward. Anyway, it’s becoming more and more clear the Earth government is trying to butt in on the running of Babylon 5 more than it seems they did before. And Zack Allan continues to spy half-heartedly for the Night Watch, a group that just seems scummier every time they show up. Ivanova sees proof positive that the former VP–now President–had the President assassinated, which seems like enormous news. I was surprised how quickly it managed to get leaked to everyone. I kind of expected this thread to be drawn out more as characters collected evidence, so I’m curious to see how this will play out. The notion of “ideological purity” being pushed by this horrible person from Earth is almost fearfully easy to see happening in real life. 
Contact with the “First Ones” was fascinating as Ivanova goes to talk to some terrifying burning mask people who answer merely “Zog” when she asks if they’ll help fight the Shadows. “Zog yes or Zog no?” was a great line! Ivanova still hasn’t fully developed as a character for me, but I enjoyed her frustration here. Her play to get these First Ones to join was also a great moment. 
There were many, many things that happened in this episode, and so many of them also seem to be forward-thinking. I enjoyed it, even though it watches as a kind of set up episode.

6: Dust to Dust
Vir is back! I was wondering if we’d ever see him again after he got sent away. I hope this means some more back and forth with Mollari, because he was my favorite in season 1, and having him turn into a serious villain has been rough. I want some more lighthearted moments with Mollari! I also hope there’s a redemption ark for him at some point, because he has really dug himself in deep. Anyway, can we talk about how Ivanova was going to blow up Bester to stop him from coming on board? She does not mess around. I loved how the way to fight back at Bester was getting more psi users around. 
I have to admit that there was no way I would have guessed G’Kar getting some Dust to try to turn himself into a psionic user would be a plot point. Yet somehow it works, because he goes straight for Mollari and forces the Centauri to reveal his awful past and plans. And, of course, humans are garbage again as the Psi Corps is a terrifying monstrosity of non-caring idiocy. 

7: Exogenesis
We have an “Aliens” moment right at the beginning of this episode, and I have to admit I was worried it was going to devolve into a kind of creature-of-the-week scenario. Yet Babylon 5 once again did not let me down. I love Star Trek, so take the following with that in mind: Babylon 5 has yet to disappoint me in the way Star Trek does time and again with some awful monster thing being a one-off that never shows up again. I don’t know if these parasite memory things ever show up again, but the way this plot played out worked super well and turned my fear of “Not again!” (thinking so many Star Trek episodes) into a delight for the great plot. Making the parasites into a kind of sympathetic creature that also is taken in by choice was not the twist I expected.
Marcus Cole… seriously, I adore him. His voice is amazing, and when Dr. Franklin asks him about whether he told anyone (for real) about them going to check on the possibility of horrible aliens, he delivered my favorite one-liner of the show so far: “Not as such, no.” It was a wonderful, hilarious moment in what is an otherwise intensely serious and even heart-rending episode. The sad part is especially felt by Marcus Cole as he basically undercut his friend’s desires without even intending to, forcing him to be separated from what he wanted–unity with some alien hive mind. Not sure the ethics of this strange situation, but that is just another thing that makes Babylon 5 so good.
Ivanova and the flowers–I thought this was hilarious too, and when she throws them at Marcus and he’s all like “She likes me!”–delightful. I don’t know if this episode is well-liked by fans or not, but I loved it.

8: Messages from Earth
I love archaeology in my sci-fi, but this episode did not scratch that itch as much as I initially hoped it would. I kinda thought we might see some epic journey of discovery and archaeology related to the Shadows, but instead we basically just get some woman saying she found one and then boom, there they are. Sheridan and the Minbari go to stop humans from taking over a shadow, certainly with ill-intent. I enjoyed Sheridan’s story about his dad on the rain. I recently lost my dad, and it just really reminded me of how gentle and kind my dad always was. Delenn playing rain on the ship was also a great character moment. 
Using Jupiter to crush the Shadow was pretty predictable, but I enjoyed the special effects and the intensity of it. Marcus Cole showing up with a flow chart to explain to Ivanova where everyone fits–including his parents–was also a truly fun moment. He’s quickly becoming my favorite character. 
Earth is also under martial law, now, apparently. Using the thwarting of evil plans as a stepping stone to more power is par for the course for awful people, and we again see the leadership of Earth is perhaps irreparably corrupt. It will be fascinating to see how this develops.

Links

Babylon 5 Hub– Find all my Babylon 5-related posts and content here.

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

SDG.

10 thoughts on “Watching Babylon 5 for the first time- Season 3: Episodes 5-8

  1. […] Watching Babylon 5 for the First Time Season 3: Episodes 5-8– The tension ramps up as more aliens are discovered, ancient archaeology finds some enemies, and Earth ramps up its shenanigans.   […]

  2. Arhimith says:

    Ahem. Just waiting for the next instalment here…. Patiently waiting….

  3. Eric Tadevich says:

    Ok. Having read your comments per episode up to this point – I’m very surprised you didn’t expound more on episode 6, when G’Kar takes the dust and assaults Molari. The fact that now G’Kar KNOWS that Molari was *directly resonsible* for the shadows return, the renewed war against the Narn, the use of space-WMD’s against the Narn homeworld – then transitioning to the dream/drugged sequence G’kar has of his father – making G’kar see the light of what vengence will mean for himself and his people. That if not stopped, the Narn race will be destroyed forever – and G’Kar’s eventual understanding and acceptence. THEN we find out its actually Kosh talking G’Kar down psychically from a severe psi-drug overdose that should have killed him, using logic, peace, and understanding. Fucking LOVE B5. Out.

    • J.W. Wartick says:

      I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I understood the sequence in that light. That’s some great exposition. I look forward to appreciating it more on the second watch through.

    • ShiraDest says:

      Hi, Eric:
      “actually Kosh talking G’Kar down psychically from a severe psi-drug overdose that should have killed him”
      Oh!
      I’ve seen this series 3 times, and I never got that: but that episode is a very difficult one to ‘grok’ (at least for me): the sudden change from anger to acceptance never really made sense to me -clearly I’ll have to watch it again! 🙂
      Thank you, Eric!
      Best regards,
      Shira

  4. Craig Bobchin says:

    I love reading your reviews of probably my favorite Sci-Fi show, and I am an original Trekker.

    If no one has suggested it to you, you should read the Lurkers Guide to Babylon 5 http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/lurker.html

    It has some amazing commentary on the show.

    As for the writer(s), all but a handful of episodes were written by series creator Joe Michael Straczynski (JMS, Joe, Great Maker). This is why there’s so much consistency and continuity to the show.

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