Our long-delayed fourth installment of the Babylon 5 Viewing Club is finally here (pause for crickets)!
It’s very difficult to discuss this show without discussing the next one (or the one after that, or the one after that), or referring to the pilot; if you want to discuss something with a major plot point: please rot13 it. That’s a simple encryption that will allow the folks who want to avoid spoilers to avoid them and allow the people who want to argue them to argue them.
We good? We good! Everybody who has done the watchin’, see you after the cut!
Some more political background, here at the beginning. Even Lloyd’s of London thought the station was going to be toast. Another case of Sinclair being off playing fighter-jockey. Garibaldi makes inappropriate comments. I know the writers are trying to make him “likeable rogue”, but he keeps coming off as “skeevy”.
Quarantine on the station looks woefully low-security. One guy between an incoming ship and the general population of the station?
The good doctor’s archeologist friend gives us some meta-world exposition. Biotechnology is pretty limited, for the human civilization. Maybe the Mimbari have biotech, but the humans don’t, at least not sophisticated biotech (from the standpoint of 2013, B5’s human population seems behind the curve when it comes to technology). Space archeology relationship with B5’s earth civilization sounds a little bit like the world of Ridley Scott’s “Weyland Corporation”.
Ah, we find out that Garibaldi has a history of being a screwup. This is a huge surprise!
The alien bio-weapon-person-hybrid storyline reminds me a bit of the neutronium planet-eating carrot from Star Trek’s “The Doomsday Machine”. Turns out these superweapons destroyed their own civilization because of a programming loophole. Ah, the hubris of weapons developers.
Sinclair goes Full Kirk, and tricks the monster with a straight-up Nomad logic bomb.
Personal aside: the first time we saw this episode, a couple of friends abandoned this series as just a Star Trek, the original series ripoff. The parallels between some of the episodes and the some of the themes played out in ST:TOS don’t end with this episode, but I’ve always thought this is because a lot of the themes in ST:TOS are pretty much timeless science fiction themes, and the B5 treatment of a lot of those themes often comes from a different angle. End aside.
We have a nice little Garibaldi-Sinclair moment towards the end.
Garibaldi: “I think they’re looking for something worth dyin’ for, because it’s easier than lookin’ for something worth living for.”
Sinclair: “I don’t have an answer for you, and I think that maybe I should”.
Earthforce Defense, Bioweapons Division confiscates the alien artifacts. Will this turn out like Alien3?
In our last scene, we have the long-delayed interview between the reporter and the Commander. On behalf of a growing movement of Earthers, she asks him, “Is this all worth it, or should we pull back and keep to ourselves?” Sinclair offers in return a defense of the space station’s mission that pretty much defines the philosophy of the show… eventually, the Sun is going to blow up and take Earth, and all of Earth’s memories of all of its civilization, with it. Unless we go to the stars.