Watching Babylon 5 for the First Time, Season 5: Episodes 13-16

This is… ominous.

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! 

13: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father

I do not like the look of that title. 

This episode is a unique one in the overall series. For one, gives us a glimpse of the Psi Corps’s headquarters. It initially seems to be a day in the life of Bester. Of course, it doesn’t stay that mundane (sorry, I had to use the word!), if one could call any day in Bester’s lifeby that word. A murder investigation quickly takes Bester’s time and takes him to Babylon 5.

The murderer, apparently a Jonathan Harris, is a telepath who can apparently shatter minds if he manages to get to someone without defenses up. He flees to Babylon 5, and after a confrontation over gambling, we see that Harris’s mind is apparently itself possibly split into different personalities. But the plot thickens even more, as we see someone else is following Harris–an unknown quantity who even kills one of Bester’s colleagues. There’s a lot of detective work going on this episode, and several murders. Chen, one of the two other telepaths traveling with Bester, ends up dead as well. 

Eventually, Bester’s deductions and station security manage to combine to find and capture Harris. On the way home, Lauren Ashley, the other telepath with Bester, asks to deal with the “mundane.” Bester agrees, and we see the mundane floating through space, having been shoved out of an airlock. It’s a chilling moment, especially when we get back to Bester and Ashley and see Bester’s approval alongside her hero worship. 

14: Meditations on the Abyss

Delenn sneaks out of her quarters and gets in a… bar fight? She meets with Lennier after he intervenes in the fight. It turns out that she thinks there is more to the attacks happening on the border than she’s even revealed to others. She wants Lennier to investigate and is hiding it from Sheridan because she thinks he won’t send Lennier even if he’s the best one for the job. Lennier reveals that his own Day of the Dead vision told him that he would betray the Rangers, something that is clearly bothering him. Delenn doubts it, but there’s an interesting thread hanging out there.

Meanwhile, Vir! I thought this scene was hilarious as Mollari discovers a bug and then makes a number of colorful comments about the Drazi. But the Drazi seem to be in up to their elbows in everything nefarious. Mollari tells Vir that Vir will be the ambassador once Mollari departs. Mollari’s later stomping on the Drazi ambassador in public is a delight as well. But then Vir confronts the Drazi retailer who bugged the merchandise and, when pressed, comes back with a sword and destroys the guy’s stand. It was an intense moment that certainly shows a change in Vir I didn’t anticipate. But, as has been the case in pretty much every instance of change in a character, I don’t think it’s horribly out of character. This is a real change to a character, not just a convenient plot point that goes against Vir as an established personality.

Captain Enrique Montoya–the cadance and the way he says it echoes “I am Inigo Montoya…” from “The Princess Bride.” I don’t know if this is an intentional reference or not. He’s pretty fricking hardcore, too. He puts Lennier and a Ranger companion through a test without their knowledge as they start to run low on air. He lectures Lennier’s companion on the importance of various virtues for the Rangers. But later, we see Lennier get his what for as well in a turnabout test. Ranger training would be something I would wash out of very quickly. 

Dr. Franklin replaces G’Kar’s eye with one that matches, and also tells him he’s been reading his holy book. Franklin asks to come to one of G’Kar’s talks, and looks, well, at least amused by the insights of G’Kar. The episode ends with a great summary dinner among some of the senior staff… and then a scene showing Garibaldi in a drunken stupor. 

15: Darkness Ascending

Garibaldi dreams and then welcomes Lise into his cabin; Lyta works to sell the rogue telepaths’ services in order to try to find a new homeworld; Lennier and Delenn continue investigating while Sheridan starts to get suspicious; everyone’s cancelling appointments with the Centauri, which flags Mollari’s radar for strange diplomatic behavior. Just another day on Babylon 5. 

Lise is… unimpressed when she finds a half empty bottle of liquor in Garibaldi’s apartment. After a fight, she urges him to prove that he’s in charge of himself regarding alcohol, and he dumps the liquor down the sink. I’m hoping this will lead to a permanent fix. Meanwhile, Lennier has already (!?) rebelled against the Rangers because he wants to continue investigating the attacks. Oh, and Lyta goes to G’Kar to offer her genetic material of as many telepaths as she has access to as a trade for money, starships, and secrecy. Numerous double entendres ensue on the latter one, by the way. Just another day on Babylon 5, right?

…And on Garibaldi’s date with Lise, he spikes his coffee with liquor. Lennier records an attack (this makes me wonder if this counts as his rebellion or not). G’Kar agrees to Lyta’s terms, so the Narn and rogue telepaths will be working together to an extent.

The episode ends with Garibaldi urging Lise to leave because he believes the Alliance will be at war with the Centauri. The recording from Lennier shows Centauri ships attacking the innocent trade vessels. But, as was pointed out earlier, the Narn have access to some Centauri vessels. There’s got to be more going on here.

16: And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder

The Alliance meets sans the Centauri, over Mollari’s protest. Delenn and Sheridan say they have proof the Centauri Republic specifically carried out the attacks. But I wonder how they came to that conclusion simply from seeing Centauri ships. Of course, they then present a bunch of evidence to that effect. We see the evidence being handed to Vir and Mollari as the individuals testify to the gathered Alliance personnel. It’s pretty conclusive, and Mollari and Vir start to doubt the alleged disinformation campaign the homeworld is pushing as the real culprits behind the campaign. But this doesn’t stop Mollari from doubling down when he goes before the Counsel and delivers to them a categorical denial and ultimatum. 

This results in the Counsel telling Mollari that as he leaves the station to go back to Centauri and try to sort things out, he will not be allowed back. The Counsel is “satisfied” with the evidence that the Centauri committed the great crimes against the Alliance peoples. Surprisingly, G’Kar insists on going back to the Centauri homeworld with Mollari, but decides to do so without Mollari’s immediate knowledge. Meanwhile, Zack Allan discovers Garibaldi is an alcoholic as well, and after a stern talking to, helps him get presentable to go talk to Sheridan. 

Later, however, Garibaldi sleeps through a transmission from a White Star with extremely important information regarding the attacks on the freighters. This happens right as the first major conflict between an Alliance member–the Drazi–and the Centauri comes to a head with shots fired. The situation escalates quickly on station, as people of the various Alliance worlds. Then, Sheridan absolutely loses his crap on the gathered delegates and screams at them about how they wanted a war and have now gotten one. 

On Centauri, Mollari and G’Kar get locked in prison as Mollari protests the Regent’s actions. As an aside, Sheridan’s outfit in the scene where he sees Delenn praying is quite… something. I think it’s just a night robe but wow, somebody got carried away with their pattern! 

Anyway, things seem pretty grim right now. I want to pause and just make a few predictions, because it’s fun. 

  1. I think Mollari and G’Kar are going to bust out of prison.
  2. I think Lennier’s “rebellion” hasn’t actually happened yet, and may involve finding out something regarding the Centauri/Alliance war buildup.
  3. Lochley will, at some point, have a hugely necessary piece in the action. She’s barely even shown up in the last several episodes, so I think she’ll have a big part sometime.

Anyway, only 8 episodes left to find out!

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SDG.