Babylonia!

We’re back on track with our Eighth installment of the Babylon 5 Viewing Club!

The introductory post was here, The Soul Hunter was covered here, and Born to the Purple was covered right here. After that was Infection. Then came The Parliament of Dreams. Following on its heels was Mind War.  Then, RTod covered War Prayer. Last week, Patrick recapped Sky Full of Stars!

This week: Death Walker! (Dman does the honors.) 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!

Deathwalker

The opening scene has Talia doing some shopping when she runs into … Kash, Koche? We have seen him/it so rarely it is hard to remember his/its name. Oh, yeah! Kosh! Seems Kosh wants to hire Talia. Talia throws out some red tape b.s., but Kosh is prepared and will not take no for an answer. She is to meet him at the hour of scampering… I hope she knows when that is…

Cut to a Minbari ship landing and we see G’Kar’s aide, Na’Toth, looking for a passenger. Oh no! Does this mean an ex-lover is going to arrive for her?!? She recognizes a person she names Deathwalker and proceeds to beat the life out of this, Deathwalker. It does not look like Narn’s take breakups and seeing ex-lovers again very well… Security arrives at the same time refs do in pro wrestling when a face is neating a heel back stage and cart Na’Toth off. (Cut to credits)

Sub-plot:

Talia walks into the common meeting area and it looks like she is on time. She must have looked up the hour of scampering on Google. She mentions everything is in order for their contract. Again, why is the meeting room area so open that anyone could over hear these “private” meetings? She tries to get more about what this meeting is for and Kosh replies with his standard cryptic responses. Now enters a short man with a funny hat. His name is Mr. Abbot. Talia is asked to scan him but cannot, his mind is empty. Business starts and it is just the two spouting a bunch of gibberish.

The gibberish winds down and Kosk leaves. The next meeting is at the hour of longing. Quick, back to Google! Talia is pissed at the boring meeting and tries again to get an answer out of Kosk. Anyone want to guess how successful she was? She tries the short man Abbot, to see if he will give her more information on the talks, but all she gets for her troubles is some intense images of being trapped in a room of mirrors. She puts on her “I am being scanned by the Psi-Cops face or describing telepaths having sex face” from the Mind War episode and then leaves Abbot alone.

Talia is back the next day telling Kosk she wants to quit the job. Kosh says no and that is the end of the discussion. Abbot shows up and touches Talia, she has flashes again in her mind and she looks disturbed.

The gibberish continues to flow and Talia looks ready to pass out from boredom, when she gets another memory flash. This one has her about to be killed by a mugger. She is terrified. Kosh calls the meeting to an end, Abbot pops off his funny hat, Abbot has an open brain in a cybernetic container, and gives Kosh a data crystal. It looks like Talia has been played.

Main plot:

Sinclair is being updated on the assault by Garibaldi. He mentions that the freighter came from Minbari space. Garibaldi also mentions the name Deathwalker and they both seem to attach meaning to it, but they decide to tease us with this and say nothing else about the name. Cut to Sinclair and Garibaldi interrogating Na’Toth. Garibaldi makes a poor intimidation attempt. Still, they find out that she has a blood oath against a person named Deathwalker. Apparently this person went all Josef Mengele on a bunch of worlds including one that had her relatives. We get the date of the war, 30 years. Sinclair mentions that Deathwalker would be very old if this was the same person (I guess the Dilgar race has a fairly short life span). Sinclair wants answers and sends Garibaldi to find them. G’Kar comes in and oozes platitudes and apologies. Sinclair puts Na’Toth under house arrest.

Cut to the med-lab with Deathwalker being worked over by the medical staff. Sinclair comes in to see how she is and Dr. Franklins says her metabolism is amazing and she is healing faster than expected. It appears the Dilgar are all supposed to be dead. Now comes the history lesson of the war and Deathwalker (Real name Jah’dur). We are shown a picture of Jah’dur and it does not look like she has aged a day. Garibaldi comes in with a Dilgar uniform that he found in her ship with Jah’dur’s name on it. Sinclair says not to jump to conclusions. When in the hell have they not jumped to conclusions before? The only time they do not is when the conclusions are true! Garibaldi also found a strange drug. Franklins grabs it to take a look. Sinclair is told he has a request from a senator that wants to talk to him.

Back to Na’Toth telling G’Kar she must complete her blood oath. It turns out that the Narn were looking to get something from Jah’dur and that is why she was on B5. Next time G’Kar should do a little home work and not have a blood oathed Narn anywhere near Jah’dur. G’Kar tells Na’Toth that she would have to wait on her oath until after they get from Deathwalk what Narn wants, but G’Kar will help fulfill her vow after that point.

Sinclair is talking to the senator and he tells Sinclair to send Deathwalker to Earth. I guess Earth has good spies in Narn to know what is going on so fast. The senator pulls the need to know crap (see how well this worked out for Bester in Mindwar). Sinclair is ordered to send Deathwalker to Earth. Sinclair face is chissled from stone, but his voice oozes disgust over the order and the senator hangs up on him.

Franklin is goggling the serum like a 16 year old boy with a Penthouse mag, when Jah’dur wakes up, grabs her serum, and demands to see Sinclair… Wait wasn’t she here for the Narns? Why jump to Sinclair so quick? Alas, they never answer this whole in the plot. Cut to Sinclair being stopped by Londo asking about the Deathwalker rumors, Sinclair gives him the brush-off. Seems everyone is interested in Jah’dur. Sinclair enters med-lab to talk to Jah’dur. She name drops the Wind Swords, a Minbari warrior cast clan that sheltered her. She mentions Jeff’s “hole in his head” again. This seems to the worst, best kept secret ever. Then Sinclair asks who she is and…. What a shock… she is Jah’dur! Sinclair’s stone face gives nothing away, not even a glimmer of acting. Jah’dur tells Sinclair she has an eternal youth serum and she will work with Earth to complete her work for every race to have. Right, like the Earth we have seen from prior episodes would let this slip out of their fingers. Again, what happened to her meeting with the Narn and coming to B5 to meet them?

Sinclair runs into Lennir, Delenn’s aid, and asks him to check in on the Wind Swords hiding Jah’dur. Lennir says he will find out about it.

Cut to G’Kar trying to smooze  Jah’dur, finally, but she seems uninterested. Funny how getting the crap kicked out of you can hurt negotiations. G’Kar seems to know Earth wants Jah’dur and is ready to pay more. Jah’dur claims she is interested, but needs the head of Na’Toth as part of her payment. Almost surprisingly, G’Kar refuses. This is another moment when you relies there is more to G’Kar than being another Snidely Whiplash character. This one little scene turns out to be a very big deal. Every other race sells their morals for the immorality drug, but G’Kar, our “bad guy”, is the only person to keep to his morals. Wow!

Sinclair is getting an update from Franklin and Garibaldi. It seems Jah’dur told the truth about an immortality serum. Sinclair tells them that Jah’dur is to be sent to Earth and Garibaldi flies off the handle. This is actually one of the better acting jobs from Garibaldi for this season. Garibaldi also mentions that the League worlds would go nuts if they think Deathwalker is escaping justice, since those were the worlds the Dilgar and Jah’dur, messed with during the war. Speak of the devil, we cut to G’Kar frustrated over Earth getting Jah’dur and decides to let the cat out of the bag about her to the League races. Sinclair tells Jah’dur that they are ready to send her on her way. Jeff has contempt in his voice while talking to her, but you would not know it from the way his face looks. He asks why she wishes to help the people her race slaughtered. She claims this will be a lasting legacy of her race and likes the irony of that, does anyone buy that?

They take Jah’dur out and, surprise, run into the League ambassadors.  They want a trail and refuse anything else. Sinclair buckles and holds Jah’dur for a trail. He does not seems displeased with this result or happy with it, just another face chiseled from stone.

Sinclair is in the assembly room for the vote on a trail for Jah’dur. He tells Garibaldi there is a good chance for the trail to happen. The Centauri and Narn would vote no because they had dealings with the Dilgar during the war, but the League, Earth and Minbari should vote yes. Kosh refused to attend, as usual (too busy messing with Talia).  It is not a surprise that G’Kar and Londo vote no, Sinclair votes yes and the Minbari vote…… No! Sinclair registers some dull surprise at this shocking turn of events, while the League goes bananas, storm out of the chambers, and withdraw from the B5 assembly. Everyone leaves except Lennir and Sinclair. Lennir confesses that the Wind Swords did harbor Jah’dur and the Minbari as a whole knew about it. They are ashamed for doing this and want to keep it a secret, thus the no vote.

Jump to C&C and League warships start to come out of the gate. They all demand Jah’dur. Sinclair gives Ivanova the fun task of keeping them from shooting. It is pretty funny to see the look on her face when she was told to do this and how friendly she gets with the ships after being given this assignment.

Sinclair is meeting with main League ambassador asking for the ships to be removed.  Jeff drops the bomb of the serum to her. The ships move out a firing range in the next scene. I guess everyone’s morals are for sale on this show.

Sinclair is back with the League ambassadors and makes a compromise about Jah’dur. Finish the drug and then give her the trail she deserves. The League goes for this since Earth did help them win the war against the Dilgar. Whoa! Jeff actually smiles for a moment. It amazes me his face did not crack.

Sinclair and Garibaldi walk in on Jah’dur. She looks smug and Sinclair tries to take her down a peg or two. He has no affect on Jah’dur as she believe she will never see a trail and then tells them that the only way to make the immortality drug is to use stuff from other sentient beings. She says before it is all said and done, all the races will become worse than the Dilgar. Jeff’s face could have been chissled from stone, again, while the tirade is going on.

Cut to all the League ambassadors, Londo, G’Kar, Sinclair, and Garibaldi watching Jah’dur’s ship leave when Kosh walks in. Garibaldi shows surprise at his arrival, Sinclair does not even blink. Out pops a Vorlon ship and blows Jah’dur to hell. Everyone looks shocked or happy, except Sinclair who does not even try to act out dull surprise for the scene. He then monotones, “Why?”, but at first I had no clue who he was talking to. Sinclair does not even turn his head or move his eyes in Kosh’s direction. It was meant for Kosh though and he/it tells them they are not ready for immortality and walks away. Funny, that is the most direct thing Kosh has said. Jeff’s face is still like stone. I guess Kosh has the ultimate veto power on B5, because no one seems to want to go after him for killing Jah’dur.

Cut to Sinclair and Garibaldi talking at the bar. Talia comes up to them and tells them what happened to her with Kosh. She finds out Abbot can record thoughts and that is what Kosh did. He/it recorded her emotional responses. (The End)

I need to make a brief aside. This was the first episode for me that the actor Michael O’Hare really bugged me. Throughout the vast majority of this episode his facial responses were nowhere to be seen. I saw more from the aliens that had plastic covering their faces. But Sinclair has one facial response beyond none and that is dull surprise. The only way you knew Sinclair even had emotions was from his voice, but while O’Hare did that well, it only made the lack of facial responses that much more weird. Then, the final nail in the coffin for me, in the last scene, after all the struggles Sinclair had with threats to attack B5, personally crafting an agreement that avoids a conflict (which gave us the only non-scowl from Sinclair), finding out the horror of the immortality drug. Finally, Deathwalker was off his station and headed to Earth and BOOM destroyed. You would think he would have some reaction, I would have been happy with even a small smile, other than nothing. So, what was a huge moment in the episode, one that brings Kosh to the forefront of B5 as a player that no one wants to mess with, and Sinclair ruins it with some terrible acting. It was after this episode that I started to think O’Hare had to go.

15 thoughts on “Babylonia!

  1. Leave Sinclair alone.

    Don’t get me wrong: I knew *EXACTLY* what you were talking about when you said “stupid intense face” a few weeks ago and, yeah, he doesn’t exactly have a whole lot of range, but he does the whole “hey, we’ve just worked out a really good plan” smile/nod thing pretty well and he occasionally gives glimpses of why Ivanova and Ghirardelli would follow him to the ends of the earth.

    He seems like a fundamentally decent guy.

    Albeit one that cannot act.

      • The character is solid and I like the idea of this character, but O’Hare cannot act. If you muted the TV while watching an episode you would have no idea if Sinclair was happy, mad, bored, or whatever in 90% of it.

        Jaybird, I know you have watched the latest Judge Dredd movie. The actor they had for Judge Dredd gave more emotion from just his chin in one scene than O’Hare did in this entire episode.

  2. What kinda surprises me is that nobody goes all batcrap crazy on Kosk. They all just say “Well, I guess the Vorlon decided this on our behalf” and walk off.

    It’s like Babylon 5 has two councils. The one where Kost doesn’t show up or votes “where is the ‘I Fail To Give A Crap’ button, I guess ‘Abstain’ will do” when he does show up, and the one where the Vorlon do whatever they want unilaterally even when it involves killing sentient beings a mile or two away from the station by blowing them up and creating goodness knows how much debris… and people go with the decisions of the Vorlon council without complaint and they incessantly whine, kvetch, and moan about the other one.

    I guess the stakes must be lower.

    • Imagine that the Vorlons can kick everybodies’ collected asses six ways to Sunday (or, at least, the collected everybodies believe that this is the case).
    • That is why I said Kosh stepped up as a player. He basically pissed on everybodies Wheaties, and no one has the intestinal fortitude to do anything about it. They all know the Vorlon are out of their league and they have the ultimate veto power. But, without spoilers, remember this episode and how Kosh and the Vorlons acted.
      • With respect to your last sentence (big Vorlon spoilers rot13ed)
        Gur pybfvat pbairefngvba jurer Fvapynve fnlf “Tbq jbexf va zlfgrevbhf jnlf” unq zr penpxvat hc abj gung V unir shyyre pbagrkg.
        • Nterrq, jvgu gur Ibeybaf ybbxvat yvxr rirelbar ryfr’f tbqf, vg qbrf nqq fbzr uvqqra zrnavat gb gung pbairefngvba. Abg gb zragvba V guvax gur Ibeybaf guvax gurl ner tbqf gb gur erfg bs gur enprf.
    • Consider this: Deathwalker was on a Minbari ship, you know the ships that are so advanced that the whole of Eathforce managed to destroy precisely one of them in an all-out war for survival. One Vorlon ship one-shots that super advanced Minbari ship like it was nothing.

      That’s why people don’t pick fights with the Vorlons.

      • Indeed.

        You’ll see in the future how vastly superior the Vorlon is.

        That being said, I really like this episode. Particularlly contrasting it to Star Trek NG and it’s “humanity has evolved past xxx” crap. This episode shows quite nicely what I think the future of humanity will be-about what it is now. Dirty, back dealing, scrabbling for power, etc. Deathwalker is correct about human nature. “you’ll fall on each other like wolves”.

        Re Sinclair. I don’t like him is this role much. But I very much do in his future role in the show.

        • I agree about the Star Trek comment. I often compared B5 to NG for this first season and liked how B5 seemed to make sure they had a very different vision of the future.
          • Stuff that they have on the B5 Station Itself that, seriously, classy sci-fi doesn’t talk about:

            Gentlemen’s Clubs
            Fight Clubs
            Union Sickouts
            Mafia
            Ghettos

            Sure, maybe they (the classy writers) keep these things on Earth (or put them on Mars) but you don’t see them on The Culmination Of Diplomacy For Several Different Races.

    • Not only do the Vorlons intervene, but their intervention had nothing to do with Jah’Dur’s morality. They intervened to keep the other races from having immortality, because the Vorlon’s judged them “not ready”.

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