Watching Babylon 5 for the First Time- Season 3: Episodes 17-20

Heartbreaking scenes- commence.

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 17-20

Episode 17: War Without End Part 2

Before watching this episode I had a major sinking sensation that Marcus would die. He’s just such perfection that it feels like we don’t deserve him on some metaphysical level. He does not die in the episode, much to my relief. But I still think he will. It’s going to happen, and I’m going to be so angry when it does. (Obviously don’t spoil this for me. I hope I’m wrong.)

Anyway, what we do get from Marcus is a few great one-liners before the other main characters–and Zathras–take over for most of the episode. I was impressed by this episode on basically every level. The time travel elements that aligned with the earlier episode about Babylon 4 are interesting. They succeed because they are highly relevant to the plot. I am trying to figure out if all of these things that we have now had portents of will actually become reality. Are these possible futures? The show seems to suggest that there is but one timeline rather than an infinite number, so we may be seeing a possessed (???) Emperor Mollari at some point. We’re also set up to see Sheridan and Delenn fall much harder for each other… and have a kid? I think I heard that right. And G’Kar is going to lose an eye at some point and turn into some Narn assassin? I gotta admit that sounds awesome.

I also so enjoyed how Zathras was a huge setup for me earlier in the series. I didn’t write about him in my recap of season 1 at all largely because I thought he was some weird, probably insane creature. But here he is, and he’s absolutely integral to the plot. He’s kind of silly, but I loved how the story used him as such a setup and a way to announce the “One” who is apparently a reference to the three-Sheridan, Sinclair, and Delenn. 

Having Sinclair go back and become a Minbari/Human was a great plot point as well. It’s weird, but is consistent with the universe the story has set up so far. So many huge moments, and the action seems like it is just ramping up.

Episode 18: Walkabout 

Okay, we need to talk, Babylon 5. Is there some reason Dr. Franklin consistently gets steamrolled by the universe? This episode was harsh on him, and it’s definitely not the first time that’s happened. Here, we see him walking about the station, apparently looking for some meaning to his life. (I thought when I wrote this that “Walkabout” just meant walking around, but a few episodes later they used the term again and it apparently is a reference to this certain part of the station. The things you learn!) He becomes enthralled by a singer. He falls for her hard within a night, sleeps with her, and then wakes up to her stealing his doctor ID for drugs! Only it’s more complex because when he saves her from what he thought was an overdose, it turns out she has a terminal illness and couldn’t afford pain meds, which is why she stole his ID to get some pain relief. It’s heartbreaking and certainly points to some modern problems with health care system and the awfulness of situations that people find themselves in. Like–how is it that someone in our far future still must struggle with awful health care systems and feel the need to steal just to live her life? It’s awful, and perhaps more than a little on point.

And she’s dying! And there’s nothing Franklin can do, except leave her doing what she wants–bringing joy to the people at Walkabout with her voice. My goodness, the cinematography at the ending with Dr. Franklin walking out, refracted in the glass. Perfection

Meanwhile, in what is probably intended as the main plot of the episode, the new Kosh is on station, and he apparently wants to be called Kosh, so that’s convenient. He is Very Disappointed in You when it comes to Lyta. But she gets a chance to make up for it right away as she gets sent on a mission to fight some Shadows, based on the premise that the Shadows are weak to telepaths. She does quite well, especially when enraged by a memory from Sheridan’s surface thoughts of Kosh’s death. G’Kar shows up to save the day with the remaining Narn fleet after being prodded by Girabaldi to honor his own holy book. It’s a great moment there, too. But Franklin–wow, he needs to avoid tragedy for a bit.

Episode 19: Grey 17 is Missing 

B5 is trying to recruit telepaths to help fight the Shadows, to somewhat comedic effect. Ivanova is sent to find Dr. Franklin in order to try to recruit from the underground railroad he helped getting telepaths away from Psi Corps. That part of the plot seems like an obvious Big Thing to Come in the future, but for now is mostly tied up here. Dr. Franklin continues to not catch a break as he wanders around Walkabout on withdrawal trying to set himself straight. I really hope they didn’t pick this for his character just because he’s the only main black character so far. As a plot point, though, it is a good character piece and Dr. Franklin continues to be both sympathetic and wow… sad. 

Delenn gets caught up in a power play between castes of the Minbari as one of the Warrior caste guys, Neroon, says she needs to give him leadership of the Rangers or he will stop her at all costs. Delenn is insistent that no one knows about this threat. Lennier twists logic and thinks about who might be able to help. ENTER MARCUS. Once again, best boi is here to defend valor and win at life and everything else. Meanwhile, Girabaldi gets captured by some weird universe-is-us-we-are-the-universe-achieve-perfection-by-being-eaten-by-this-alien cultlike group. Yeah, that’s the description of them. Anyway, he manages to escape. 

We get this awesome juxtaposed scene of Delenn being set up as leader of the Rangers while Marcus and Neroon fight to the death. And my goodness I definitely thought Marcus was dead for sure. Like I said above, I had this strong feeling Marcus is going to die. He’s too perfect in a good way. But he doesn’t die! I was only sitting on the couch for like 5 minutes shocked and enraged by his death before realizing he will, apparently, survive. And he even got another amazing moment out of it because he fights Neroon, knowing he would die, and invoking Valen’s name to protect Delenn. Marcus is the best. The Best. Neroon visits Marcus at the end to tell him what the human fighting for Delenn meant to him, and Marcus once again wins the scene: “The next time you want a revelation, perhaps you could find a way that isn’t quite so uncomfortable.” The man is a legend. He better not die.

Episode 20: “And The Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place”

Mollari wants to capture G’Kar and have him executed, apparently for political gain. He enlists Vir to help. This is, of course, much to Vir’s chagrin. Meanwhile, a group of religious leaders shows up on station. Apparently they’ve been spying (!?!?) and bring information about what’s going on on Earth back to Babylon 5. Also there’s a peppy Baptist preacher whose first impression is: this guy’s going to be fun. Delenn is being somewhat flirty with Sheridan, which feels odd, but I know this is the direction that’s getting developed. 

The Baptist preacher finds Sheridan and advises him that he needs to be able to unburden himself to others. “After God created Adam he created Eve… because we all need somebody to talk to… Someone to help shoulder the burden.” 

Anyway, back to G’Kar–so he goes based on this tip from Vir to try to find someone. Meanwhile, court drama happens and Refa captures Vir, using a telepath to glean Mollari’s plan from him. He goes to intercept G’Kar himself, but in a fricking triple-cross, it turns out Mollari planned this whole thing as a setup from the beginning! He only let Vir in on enough to get Refa on the rabbit trail, and now has Refa trapped and blames him for the death of 5-6 million Narn before unleashing the Narn on him. G’Kar oversees the beating to death of Refa and walks away like a badass. During this scene, we have insets of the chapel on Babylon 5 having a kind of revival-type worship led by the Baptist preacher. It’s an almost Godfather-esque scene contrasting an intensely religious scene (and a somewhat odd choice on lyrics, though it matches the events as Refa runs looking for a hiding place) with a violent death. Masterful.

Finally, we see that Delenn and the Minbari have been making a bunch more ships for the Rangers so now they have a whole lot of White Star-like ships that are ready for action. Delenn and Sheridan make out, so there’s that. Z Minus 10 Days flashes on screen, and I’m waiting for Zombies to break into Babylon 5. No really, I don’t know if I missed something but I have no idea what this means.

Links

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

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SDG.