Our long-delayed fifth installment of the Babylon 5 Viewing Club!
This week: The Parliament of Dreams! You can watch it here.
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!
We open with some Garabaldi plot exposition! We’ve got a religious conference going on B5 this week (no religion). We’ve got some post 9/11 level security theater going on here; when the underworld baddies have access to guns, I don’t know that holding up a pilgrim’s ceremonial dagger qualifies as the best use of the Chief of Security’s time (no politics).
Garabaldi spots a woman that he obviously recognizes, and mutters “never fails”. Ah! We must be up for some Garabaldi-focused ex-relationship problems this week, right?
Cut to G’Kar, cooking himself dinner in his quarters. Looks like the Narn are fans of braised pork heads? A nice little domestic scene interrupted by a courier bearing something “important” in the form of a data crystal. Duty overrides G’Kar’s desire for dinner. The crystal carries a recording from one of old G’Kar’s enemies, apparently, who tells the ambassador that (a) he’s dying and (b) soon G’Kar will be, too.
Dun dun dun!
Back from commercial, we find that G’Kar’s old enemy is a big fan of the Klingon proverb “revenge is a dish best served cold”. He’s liquidated all of his holdings upon death to pay his entire net worth to a professional to put the kaibosh on G’Kar, someone “close” to him, who will kill him within 48 hours of receiving the message (this is holding a grudge by anybody’s standards). Ah, paranoia!
We cut over to Sinclair and Garabaldi and it turns out that the Trouble Woman spotted in the opening scene isn’t Garabaldi’s ex-relationship problem… she’s Sinclair’s ex-relationship problem.
We move on to a large banquet thrown by the Centauri, a “celebration of life”… apparently a traditional celebration where they commemorate the victory of the Centauri over the other sentient race from their homeworld, the Xon, who were wiped out by the Centauri. Nothing like a celebration of genocide! Londo is rather well lubricated, and Ivanova seems to be enjoying the party quite a bit. Londo hits on Delenn and then passes out… er… “becomes one with his inner self”.
We have an uncomfortable scene between Sinclair and Catherine Sakai, the mystery woman ex-relationship, who is a planetary surveyor. Sinclair’s got a nervous little schoolboy thing going on, apparently this is an on-again off-again relationship. Fcbvyre nyreg: jr’yy frr ure ntnva.
G’Kar is an interesting mix of the easily frightened and quick to display stubborn bravery, isn’t he?
We’re introduced to Lennier, Delenn’s new aide. We’ll see him for a while. He’s deferential to the point of near-obsequiousness due to Delenn’s position on the Grey Council, which she makes clear must remain a secret.
G’Kar arranges for some personal protection, but being unwilling to go to station security (as he’s unwilling to explain why he’s a target of assassination), he goes to the Underworld and we get to see our buddy N’Grath again. (T’Xne’f obqlthneq qbrfa’g cna bhg.)
We get a glimpse of Mimbari ceremony, as well. (Nabgure fcbvyre: guvf prerzbal pbagnvaf hfrshy vasbezngvba nobhg gur Zvzonev).
Ms. Sakai gets a big payday, she and Sinclair get a moment. It’s interrupted by station duties and she’s ready to storm out, but he stops her, we get some osculation.
Turns out it’s not G’Kar’s new aide N’Toth that is the assassin in disguise… it’s the courier. He kidnaps the ambassador and begins a regimen of torture that is to end with G’Kar’s execution (all apparently part of the contract). The assassin’s guild has strict rules about contract enforcement. N’Toth tracks them down and pretends to be the assassin’s backup, and under the guise of delivering a beatdown to G’Kar, she disables his bonds and rescues him.
G’Kar deposits some money in the assassin’s account, thus ensuring that he’ll be thought to have betrayed his contract, reinforced by the time deadline has passed and G’Kar is still alive. The assassin flees, assuming his brethren are going to shortly arrive and terminate their turncoat.
We close out the episode with Sinclair introducing the ambassadorial crew to “the dominant religion of Earth”, a very long receiving line of various faiths (including atheists) from a Catholic to a Shinto and everything in between.