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.
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.
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