Babylonia!

This is a guest post by our very own Katherine!

We open with breakfast – Garibaldi is complaining about about the slop they get, and Ivanova receives bacon and eggs (hard to get on a space station) courtesy of Marcus.  It’s a long way away from Star Trek’s replicators.  Elsewhere on the station, Marcus saves a woman from numerous attackers, but she’s knocked unconscious and is taken to Medlab.

The news reports the ongoing Senate investigations of President Clark’s involvement in former-president Santiago’s death.  Earthdome has revealed the video of the Shadow ship, presenting it as an alien race threatening Earth and thus justifying additional security measures.

Garibaldi stops by the prison block to visit G’Kar, who is feeling very philosophical and is writing down his thoughts.

The woman Marcus saved is named Dr. Mary Kirkish; Garibaldi contacted her, and she has risked her life by coming to Babylon 5 with information.  We get a lot of drums in the soundtrack to tell us this is Important.  She’s an archaeologist, and she reports a dig on Mars seven years ago where they found a Shadow ship.  The team draw the clear conclusion that Earthdome is already aware of the Shadow ships, and by releasing the video they’re not trying to learn more about the Shadows – they’re trying to find out who else knows about them.

Dr. Kirkish reveals more about the dig.  A worker who touched the Shadow ship died immediately, and a week later they were ordered to stop digging and move back.  Several days later, a second Shadow ship released the other from the ground, and both flew away.  The government ordered them to secrecy and broke the team up so that they couldn’t discuss the incident.  Garibaldi, who was on Mars at the time, saw a bit of the dig and, going by there later after the ship had left, found a damaged Psi Corps badge.

So far, this is stuff the audience already knows – in the first episode of these season, Earthdome sent Mr. Endawi to the station to find out what everyone knew about the Shadows, and we learned that they and the Psi Corps are working with Morden.  But now we get to the big news – another Shadow ship has been found, on Ganymede, and Earthdome intends to bring the ship back to Earth, study it, and find out how to use it as a weapon.

[Spoilers for this season and the next: rot13] Lbh pna frr sebz Qe. Xvexvfu’f nppbhag naq ure ernpgvbaf ubj jryy gur Ibeybaf unir qbar gurve jbex.  Xvexvfu xabjf abguvat nobhg gur Funqbjf, ohg fbyryl ba gur onfvf gung gurve fuvcf ner greevslvat naq svg jvgu rirel qrrc-frngrq vzntr bs gur qrzbavp va gur uhzna fhopbafpvbhf, fur’f cbfvgvir gung gurl’er rivy.  Vg’f yvxryl gung guvf vf fbzrguvat gur Ibeybaf unir gevrq gb vasyhrapr va fcrpvrf, whfg nf gurl’ir perngrq vzntrf bs gurzfryirf nf natryvp svtherf.  Vg zrnaf jr unir nhgbzngvp “tbbq thlf” naq “onq thlf” frg va bhe urnqf orsber jr xabj nalguvat nobhg gur npgvbaf bs rvgure fcrpvrf.

Sheridan decides to take the White Star to Ganymede and destroy the Shadow ship – which means he may need to fire on Earthforce ships when they come to stop him.  He intends to not be captured under any circumstances, and has a cover story and faked death prepared for if he doesn’t survive, so that Babylon 5 doesn’t come under suspicion.

There’s a very sweet moment between Sheridan and Delenn when Sheridan is trying to get some sleep on a very uncomfortable Minbari bed.  He tells a story about always sleeping better when it was raining; one time when he needed to get to sleep for an exam, his father went outside and sprayed the hose on the roof to make it sound like rain, so that he could fall asleep.  Delenn says something to the ship to make it sound like it’s raining, and they hold hands as Sheridan falls asleep.

Back on B5, Marcus is noticing that Ivanova isn’t paying attention to his report, and responds with humour, as is his wont.  “There could always be an attack by a giant space dragon, the kind that eats the sun once every thirty days.  It’s a nuisance, but what can you expect from reptiles.  Did I mention that my nose in on fire and that I have fifteen wild badgers living in my trousers.”  Ivanova’s not in the mood for humour, and is pissed off at Marcus and at the whole situation, and worried about Sheridan.

The White Star arrives at Ganymede.  Delenn reveals that Shadow ships need to merge with a person in order to function, and that having an unprepared person merge with the ship can drive it insane, causing it to destroy anything around it at random.  The Shadow ship merges with the person Earth has sent, screams, and takes off, destroying the Ganymede base.  The White Star goes into combat, with the advantage of the Shadow ship being disoriented due to the botched merging, but its weapons have little effect on the ship.  Sheridan lures the ship into Jupiter’s gravity well, hoping that the White Star will be able to escape but the Shadow ship will be trapped.  Sheridan dives towards Jupiter until the White Star reaches its absolute limits of endurance, then has the ship turn around: the Shadow ship is trapped and destroyed by the pressure, and the White Star makes it out – only to be fired upon by the Earthforce ship Agamemnon, Sheridan’s former command.  Delenn recommends that they jump into hyperspace while still in Jupiter’s atmosphere – a tactic which is dangerously explosive – and the White Star manages it and escapes.

The news reports that Clark is considering a new plan to “provide Earth with greater security”, and is using the destruction of the Ganymede base as justification (and blaming the White Star).

In the episode’s other plotline, Nightwatch is being creepy and fascist and will be amping up their political arrests and surveillance.  And they’re getting suspicious about Sheridan.  At the end of the episode another Nightwatch member Zach he’s informed Earth of Sheridan’s four-day absence, and tries to get Zach to spy on Garibaldi and get information out of him on Sheridan’s absence.  Zach’s increasingly unhappy with being part of Nightwatch.

Marcus, meanwhile, has responded to Ivanova’s complaint about not knowing where he fits in on the station by creating a helpful organizational chart.  She’s amused, and he likes making her laugh.  But we end on a serious note, as ISN announces that President Clark has declared martial law.

The plot’s taken off with a vengeance.  What does everyone think?

Also, if anyone is interested in doing recaps for any of episodes in Season 3, please say so in the comments.  I’m happy to do quite a few of these, but I’d rather not cover the whole rest of the season myself, and it’s good to get a range of perspectives in the recaps.

(Picture is “Space” by Sweetie187. Used under a creative commons license.)

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7 thoughts on “Babylonia!

  1. As someone who has had powdered eggs that weren’t *THAT* bad of approximations of scrambled eggs, I’m surprised that eggs would be a problem. Bacon too, now that I think about it.

    Real wine, now *THAT* is something that they’d probably be smuggling. “I’m so used to powdered alcohol!” That sort of thing.

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  2. One thing that struck me about the whole Night Watch storyline is how ham-handed and obvious a criticism it was of the government… but then about how it was pretty much made in the last window when that criticism wouldn’t have started a mini-battle in the culture war that was obviously criticizing (side).

    Imagine that storyline coming out in 2004. (No politics.)
    Imagine that storyline coming out in 2013. (No politics.)

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    • Come to think of it, that’s a good point. Season 3 aired in 1995/96; the show lasted through 1998. Only a few years’ leeway there.

      I would think that Nightwatch’s blatant Nazi parallels would dissuade people from doing that, but I’ve certainly heard a fair few comments re: Captain America: The Winter Soldier along the lines of “HYDRA had a point” or “the protagonists shouldn’t have released that information, it would have endangered agents in the field”. Plus the writers of the Civil War comic thinking that Iron Man’s side was the right one, and that they were writing him as a good guy.

      Says a lot of unpleasant things about the direction politics has taken.

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