Archive for May, 2008|Monthly archive page

Babylon 5: GROPOS

Babylon 5 play host to 25,000 ground pounders. Franklin comes to grips with his father.

The command staff are not overly excited when the 356th infantry division stops by for some R&R. Actually, the real reason they are there is to help the government on Akdor oust some rebels. It is between Narn and Centauri space, and Earth wants a government sympathetic to them near the area for when they have to choose sides in the Narn-Centauri War. As Sheridan has served on Akdor earlier, he is asked to help with planning the assault. New weapons, tracking, and other systems have been brought as well, enough to take on a war ship. Ivanova handles that part — as well as the logistics of trying to find a bed for everyone.

Franklin in particular is not happy to have the GROPOS on board and not just because of the disruption they are causing. His father, General Richard Franklin, is in charge of this group. As Fe was always gone, and when he was around ran the family like a boot camp. It doesn’t help that both father and son are quite stubborn. They actually both do love each other and admire things about the other, but have a hard time communicating this. Ivanova convinces Franklin to still try to talk to his father. She knows full well the regret of not speaking to her father, and unlike Franklin she knows the real mission of the 356 infantry division. Sheridan has had some clashes too with his father, but has managed to still keep talking with him and convinces the General to do the same. This is a nice touch, showing a bit the effect of life in the military on those left behind.

Mean while, Keffer has two new roommates: “Large” and Wang. Keffer isn’t happy at first, but “Large” in particular is a big, friendly guy with tons of stories to tell. Wang is a new recruit who really looks up to “Large”, both literally and metaphorically. The three soon become fast friends.

Delenn meanwhile gets the most negative reaction to her new look by a GROPO named Kleist. She is saved by another woman GROPO named Dodger. Sargent Major Plug is not amused and wants to throw them all in the brig, but Delenn through Garibaldi intervenes .

Dodger and Garibaldi meet up again and enjoy each other’s company. When Dodger starts taking things too far, though, Garibaldi backs off. For once he wants to do things right. Dodger doesn’t have time for that though, and storms off. Later, they meet up again, and she apologizes for getting so angry, she pushes too hard sometimes.

Also in the bar, it is now Keffer’s turn to tell stories, which in his case need a lot of gestures. Too bad a gesture knocks the drink out of Kleist’s hand. Kleist naturally starts a fight which is stopped when the General arrives on scene. The GROPOS are moving out. Sheridan accepts reparations, but there are too many to put in the brig, and that energy could be better expressed on the battle field.

Later, many on Babylon 5 watch an ISN news report about the battle on Akdor. Franklin is relieved to see his father talking to a reporter. Franklin calls it a victory with heavy losses. When the first casualty report is seen, however, “Lange”, Wang, Dodger, and even Kleist are now all dead.

The General, Dr. Franklin’s father. Impressive war record, needs a bit more work on the father side of things.

Kleist, a bad tempered GROPO.

Keffer and his new roomies, “Large” and Wang.

Dodger, a fun GROPO, but a bit impatient.

Finally reconciled.


Babylon 5: The Coming of Shadows

The Centauri Emperor comes to visit Babylon 5. A number of events, however, combine to lead to a disasterous result for everyone.

Okay, this is one episode that turns everything on its head again. No wonder it won a Hugo.

Emperor Turhan of Centauri Prime decides to come to Babylon 5 for a visit. G’Kar isn’t happy about this at all. When Sheridan refuses to keep the Emperor away, G’Kar decides to take matters into his own hands and kill the Emperor. Before he can do so, however, the Emperor has a heart attack and collapses. He insists on Franklin delivering a message to G’Kar for him. The Emperor came to Babylon 5 risking his health to apologize to the Narn for what his people did to them. This was the only action he chose in his life. G’Kar is quite surprised and touched by this.

Meanwhile, Lord Refa is on station again. They both believe the Emperor is old and weak (I am not just taking physically week here). When the Emperor collapses, they know the Centauri will so be fighting to decide who will lead. Londo decides to ask Mr. Morden for assistance in attacking a Narn outpost in Quadrant 14. Refa will get what Centauri forces he can there after to claim credit. This will assure their faction will be the ones in power. After Refa leaves, Vir does his absolute best to get Londo to change his mind about this, but Londo doesn’t listen, much to his later eternal regret. G’Kar sees Londo in the Zocalo, and buys him a drink, saying that after what he has learned about the Emperor he is finally to start forgiving. This after Londo has given the order for the attack. You can see Londo thinking it on his face — what have I done?

Londo has a dream. He sees dark ships racing across the sky above him — Shadow ships though he doesn’t know this. He sees himself as Emperor. The then sees himself as a sick old man, and finally, being strangled by G’Kar. all the while, a dark hand coming out of a sun interspersed between these scenes. All these scenes are very telling. By the time Londo wakes up again, the attack on Quadrant 14 has already begun.

G’kar is naturally enraged when he learns the truth. It takes Sheridan with a full security team as back up and strong arguments to stop G’Kar: killing Londo will only assure that any Narn survivors will be killed in retaliation.

Meanwhile, Garibaldi has a very persistent human visitor. (We also get our second sight of Zack Allan – we also get his name this time.) Finally, Garibaldi agrees to listen to him alone for five minutes. The visitor gives Garibaldi a message. It is from Sinclair. The visitor is a Ranger, both Minbari and Humans watching for now for the return of the enemy. President Clark naturally knows nothing of this. Sinclair asks Garibaldi to help the Rangers and let them gather information on Babylon 5. Garibaldi agrees, in return for information exchange. The Ranger readily agrees. (Okay, it may be late to start, but time to play spot the Rangers!) The Ranger also says that the ancient enemy are really the ones responsible for the attack on Quadrent 14.

The Emperor gets his last wish, seeing a Vorlon, but Kosh’s words are not comforting. Before dying, Refa and Londo come see him. The Emperor condemns their actions. Only they know it, however. Refa has also had Prime Minister Malichi assassinated to prevent him taking power.

Garibaldi passes on the information the Ranger gave him to Sheridan, but refuses to reveal his source. Sheridan lets it pass when Garibaldi says he will never be trusted again if he does reveal his source. Sheridan then uses the information to blackmail the Centauri into letting any Narn survivors go. The Narn declare war against the Centauri.

Two last notes. Garibaldi isn’t the only one to get a note from Sinclair. Delenn did as well. The conversation between the Emperor and Sheridan is excellent.

Prime Minister Malichi, loyal supporter of the Emperor.

Emperor Turhan no longer cares for the trappings of power.

Vir tries to change Londo’s mind.

What are those ships?

Londo as Emperor.

What have I done?

Zach Allen tells Garibaldi he has a persistent prisoner.

Ranger on duty.

G’Kar enraged. Not that I blame him.

Babylon 5: A Race Through Dark Places

Bester returns to Babylon 5, chasing a group of rogue telepaths and Talia gets involved. Sheridan tries to fight the bureaucracy and Delenn invites him on a date.

First, let’s talk about the infamous date. Delenn wants to learn more about being human, and this time she turns to Sheridan for help. When Sheridan asks her how, she suggests dinner and talking about anything and everything (except politics). When she arrives in an evening gown, heads turn, including Sheridan. One of the things they talk about is humor in Minbari culture. Sheridan is happy to learn that since he has a sense of humor, he is intelligent.

Unfortunately, Sheridan, with a reluctant Ivanova in tow, tries fighting the bureaucracy. They are cutting the budget, and say Sheridan and Ivanova have quarters that are two large. So either they pay thirty credits a week or move into smaller quarters. Sheridan is outraged. Garibaldi still locks them out of their quarters so they end up sleeping in Sheridan’s office. Ivanova is not pleased. Sheridan likes telling awful jokes. In the end, Sheridan ends up withdrawing the sixty credits from the defense funds on the grounds that he isn’t ready to defend anything without a good nights sleep in his own quarters.

The main story, however, involves Bester, Talia, and a group of rogue telepaths. Bester is chasing this group of rogue telepaths, and the latest lead is to Babylon 5. Much as the command staff don’t like him, they are forced to cooperate. Talia is as well. One thing Talia notices, however, is that while Bester has scanned her several times, he hasn’t picked up anything from her at all. While she and Bester meet for breakfast, several of the telepaths try to take Bester out. They fail, but capture Talia. Garibaldi especially is very put out by this. Talia mean while is confronted by the telepaths, who tell her the bleak truth about Psi Corps’ dark deeds, including impregnating a woman when she refused to marry her genetically perfect partner. Franklin meanwhile tells Sheridan to meet him in a certain time and place to meet with the leader of the underground resistance to find a peaceful solution, which ends up being himself. Sheridan is upset about this. He also doesn’t see how to find a resolution that doesn’t compromise his principles. Talia and the telepaths offer another option. They connect together and with Talia’s special abilities make Bester believe that he killed all the telepaths. The telepaths agree to leave, and Franklin can’t run the underground railroad for telepaths any more anyway.

Finally, Talia now has questions about what Psi Corps is doing, and turns to Ivanova. The two begin a real friendship at last.

Bester has the information he needs.

Delenn dressed up for dinner.

Talia wonders what exactly Jason Ironheart gave her.

Bester fights off the rogues.

United we stand.

Talia fights off rogues. Or does she?

Babylon 5: Soul Mates

Londo’s three wives arrive on Babylon 5, with interesting results. Talia’s old husband also arrives, with bad results for her.

Let’s start with Delenn. She calls Ivanova to her quarters in great distress. To put it simply, she has no idea how to handle human hair and it has gotten away from her. Clearly, what works for keeping a bone shiny and healthy doesn’t work for hair^^; Ivanova takes pity on Delenn and with some prodding agrees to teach Delenn the facts about her new human side. By the end, Delenn is much happier and looks more presentable. One interesting note, at the end when Ivanova says if there is anything else she can do, etc., Delenn wonders why she is having cramps. Oh, my.

Talia discovers her old husband, Mathew Stoner, is on board. Their union was very much encouraged by Psi Corps since genetically, they are a perfect match. And at one time, he was her mentor and she did fall in love with him. But that was before they really got to know each other. That was when they got the divorce. After, Stoner somehow left Psi Corps which no one does. When he gets a reluctant Talia to talk with him and she asks about this, he says he no longer has his telepathic abilities, and he is willing to do the same for Talia. Garibaldi immediately sees Stoner and doesn’t like him. He is also worried about Talia. He is a bit surprised, however, when Talia is enraged at his warning Stoner off. Later she apologizes, but says she is going with Stoner when she said she wouldn’t earlier. Stoner is an archaeologist and trades a Centauri artifact while he is on Babylon 5. Garibaldi gets Stoner thrown in the brig and really can’t seem to control his temper around the guy. When Talia comes to visit, he again gets her to go leave with him, before being knocked out by Garibaldi. Psi Corps has an interest in Stoner still. And the emotional inconsistencies point to only one thing: Stoner is now an empath. Since Talia and he are genetically compatible, he was no doubt ordered to get Talia to marry him again and go through the same experiments he went through. Garibaldi and Sheridan ship him back to Psi Corps without Talia.

In the mean time, Londo has invited his three wives to Babylon 5: Timov, Daggair, and Mariel. Timov barely tolerates Londo, and everyone knows it. Daggair is more fun loving. Mariel is frankly seducing. Sheridan, I would take Londo’s advice: for your own safety, stay away from her. As to why Londo has summoned his wives when he clearly has been very happy leaving them on Centauri Prime all this time, he is celebrating his Ascension Day, a very important day for a Centauri. As he is currently looked on very favorably by the Centauri government, the Emperor himself asked Londo what one wish he could grant. Londo wants a divorce from all his wives. The Emperor suggested that Londo keep one for appearances and social functions. So the wives are here for Londo to decide which to keep. G’Kar goes crazy this episode trying to figure out why Londo is so happy and friendly, even to him. Remember that Centauri artifact Stoner sold? It is boughten by Mariel and given to Londo as a present. Too bad it was probably booby-trapped by the Narn after they liberated themselves. Londo hovers between life and death. He needs a blood transfusion, but no Centauri on station matches his blood type. It seems the three wives will keep their status and money after all, exactly what Mariel and Daggair are hopping. But then Timov speaks up. She and Londo do in fact share the same blood type and whatever else she is she is a woman of principle, even after being Londo’s wife. She agrees to donate as long as Franklin doesn’t reveal it was her. In the end, Londo survives and decides on Timov as his wife, much to the other two’s disgust. At least she won’t stab him in the back. If she ever does, it will be to his face!

Delenn is having a bad hair day.

G’Kar can’t figure Londo out.

Londo is enjoying teasing G’Kar.

Timov, otherwise known as Famine.

Daggair, otherwise known as Pestilence.

Mariel, otherwise known as Death. So I guess that makes Londo War. Very appropriate.

Mathew Stoner will use all his abilities to get Talia, even his empathic ones.

Babylon 5: A Spider in the Web

Talia is the key to unlocking the mystery behind a murderer on Babylon 5. It is quite possible that thanks to this murderer, Mar’s last, best hope for peace has been ruined.

Taro Isogi, president of Future Corps, enlists Talia’s help to negotiate with Mars representative Amanda Carter to try and find a peaceful solution to the Mars problem. When Isogi is murdered, these negotiations come to a standstill. One puzzling thing about the case, Talia was with Isogi when he was murdered, but she caught a telepathic image from the murderer and then he left her alone. The murderer later comes after Talia to get rid of her, but the same thing happens again.

Mr. Garibaldi is annoying at first, but he really tries to get Talia’s mind of what happened and they share some things about growing up, which is sweet.

The murderer is actually Abel Horn, a member of Free Mars. The only problem is he is already dead. What Talia keeps seeing from him is the moment of his death during a fight with Earth. Actually, he was near death at that point. Then he was taken by Earth and given a brain implant, then given a deep scan where he was fixed on the moment of his death so the implant would work. This is Project Lazerus. Contact with Talia, however, has disrupted this and Horn becomes obsessed with figuring out what is happening.

He ends up enlisting the help of Amanda Carter. They knew each other years earlier and at one point she was a member of Free Mars too. This is a fact she tries to keep quiet, though in fairness to her, Free Mars was not a radical group at the time she joined. Carter gets Talia to come to her quarters, where Horn tries to get Talia to help him figure out what was done to him. Luckily, Sheridan and Garibaldi figure out where Horn is, and that Talia is there too and they intervene before anyone gets hurt. Horn forces security to shoot him, though, and that triggers a self destruct program in Horn that everyone barely gets away from before it explodes.

Later, when Garibaldi asks how Sheridan knew so much about Project Lazerus. Sheridan it seems likes to collect conspiracies and secrets, a nice new dimention to his character. Project Lazerous is apparently run by Beureau Thirteen. Thsi is the last we hear of it.

Two final notes. This is the first time we meet Zach Allen, Garibaldi’s new second. And Earth was sure pushing Sheridan to find any excuse bordering on the illegal to stop the meeting between Isogi and Carter, a good indication of the direction Earth is going.

Taro Isogi, a visionary friend of Talia’s. Too bad he is murdered.

Amanda Carter, a representative from Mars.

Abel Horn, a murderer who doesn’t even know his own past.

Talia thnks Garibaldi is amusing.

Babylon 5: The Long Dark

A visitor from the past gets the attention of everyone on the station when murders start taking place.

Babylon 5 encounters an old, deep range ship, the Copernicus. There are two people in cryogenic suspension, one of them, Mariah Cirrus, is still alive. Her husband, Will, is dead. And after further investigation, it appears he was murdered. Mariah, naturally, is the chief suspect. Dr. Franklin gets a little to friendly with her, in my opinion, even if she is prone to faining spells.

In the mean time, a lurker named Amis keeps causing disturbances, prophesying the end of the world, darkness coming, etc. and so forth. He attracts Garibaldi’s attention. But when Garibaldi digs deeper, it seems Amis is actually a war hero from the Earth-Minbari War. Garibaldi also had some experiences in the war that makes him think Amis isn’t just raving. His unit was wiped out, and it wasn’t by the Minbari.

Mariah is disturbed by dreams. Both Mariah and Amis are drawn to a darkness on the station. It is a Dark Servant. It fed on Will, and now is trying to draw in Mariah and Amis. With their help, Sheridan and his people are able to take it out.

It seems the Dark Servant, which is recorded in G’Kar’s holy book along with the Shadows, was trying to go to the same area G’Kar checked out earlier: Za’ha’dum.

Franklin and Mariah’s conversation about what had happened in the last hundred or so is very interesting, and also about how little things change or how little people learn. Mariah was sent out before contact with the Centauri, who gave Earth access to jumpgate technology.

Amis isn’t really crazy. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean there isn’t a Dark Servant out to get you.

Mariah Cirrus isn’t sure how much she likes the future.

The Dark Servant is finally revealed.

Babylon 5: A Distant Star

An explorer ship, the Cortes, passes through, with an old friend of Sheriden on board. When the Cortez runs into trouble in hyperspace, Keffer sees something in hyperspace while on his way to the rescue.

Captain Manyard brings the explorer class ship the Cortes by Babyon 5. He was Sheridan’s first commanding officer, and boy do they have stories to share about each other! Unfortunately, Manyard’s visit makes Sheridan restless. He wants to go exploring on the Rim too!

Meanwhile, in one of the funnier scenes, Dr. Franklin is putting the whole command staff on a “food plan”. No one likes this idea. Garibaldi wants his pasta, Ivanova wants her salads, and Sheridan wants his meat and potatoes! They try to switch with each other, but Dr. Franklin is keeping his eyes on his reluctant patients. Garibaldi finds this “meal plan” particularly aggravating. He always makes Banga Cauda for his birthday, since that is what his father always did. He even has made special arrangements to get all the ingredients fresh from Earth, and now Dr. Franklin wants to stop his party! Fortunately, once the good doctor understands the meaning this has for Garibaldi, he relents . . . as long as Garibaldi shares with him!

Sheridan isn’t the only one questioning where he is right now. The Minbari on Babylon 5 are questioning Delenn’s change. Is she even Minbari any more? When Sheridan and Delenn talk about their challenges, Delenn gives her famous “star stuff” speech, one of the best on the show. Sheridan is impressed.

Back to Captain Manyard, he tells stories of things seen on the Rim or in hyperspace. While in hyperspace, the Cortes has a malfunction and looses it’s ability to detect the hyperspace beacon, meaning they are lost with little chance of finding their way out by themselves. Babylon 5 hears their mayday, and sends fighters, each one going in a little bit further to look for the ship. This is the first time we hear of the ancient Egyptian blessing: “May God stand between you and all the empty places where you must walk.” Keffer is naturally on the scene, along with his flight commander Dallas. Just as they find the Cortez, a Shadow ship appears. Dallas is killed, and Keffer is damaged. He manages to let the Cortez know the right way to find the line of ships leading out. Eventually, he manages to make is way out as well. And now Keffer is leader of Zeta squadron. He is also very interested in what killed Dallas.

Captain Manyard, a very laid back guy.

The Cortes, explorer class ship.

Manyard and Sheridan enjoy swapping old stories . . . or not. “July 12th, 2253.”

It’s not a diet, it’s a “meal plan”.

Babylon 5: The Geometry of Shadows

A mysterious group known as the techno-mages passes through Babylon 5, attracting Londo’s attention. Ivanova gets a difficult diplomatic problem involving Drazi.

So this is the first time we meet Lord Refa, a Centauri with obvious influence and ambition. Londo agrees the two of them should work together on Behalf of the Centauri. They feel the Emperor is old and weak, and his son recently died leaving no clear successor.

Inspired by this and other recent events, when Londo sees some techno-mages he wants to get their approval as this would be a powerful symbol to the Centauri. (The first Emperor was given their approval.) Vir actually shows some backbone in trying to accomplish this, but is unsuccessful. So Londo manipulates Sheridan into getting involved. Elric, the chief techno-mage, exposes Londo and Sheridan is not pleased to put it mildly. Neither is Elric, who then haunts Londo’s quarters with holo-demons and such. Very hilarious, especially the part about Narn opera and Londo’s account buying up worthless stock.

Then comes a beautiful discussion of the nature of magic my Elric and Sheridan. Elric also explains why the Techno-mages are gathering. There is a coming darkness and they want to preserve their knowledge but not be used by the darkness. A nice touch by Elric, turning a crystal into an orange blossom for Sheridan. In the end Sheridan gives permission for them to leave. As a nice epilogue, Elric tells Londo he is touched by darkness. Warning him wouldn’t do any good, and if Londo were killed, someone would just take his place. But Elric does have some final words for Londo. He sees a great hand reaching out of the stars and millions of voices crying out. The hand is Londo’s, and the voices are the voices of his victims. Very nice foreshadowing here.

In the mean time, Garibaldi is struggling trying to decide whether to take his old job back or not.

Ivanova gets promoted to Lieutenant Commander, and as her first assignment, she is sent to work with the Drazi. They have a fight every five years to determine leadership. The only determining factor of the two competing sides are purple and green cloths drawn at random. This assignment becomes even more difficult when Ivanova gets in the middle of a Drazi fight and her foot is broken. Things go from bad to worse when the green Drazi start killing purple Drazi. The green Drazi even lay a trap for the hoppled Ivanova. Luckily, Garibaldi still is as sharp as ever and manages to figure out something is wrong and extracts Ivanova from the Drazi’s clutches. Ivanova even manages to come up with a clever solution. She takes the green cloth of leadership from the green leader. All the green Drazi now have to follow Ivanova, so he makes them all put on purple cloth. Now all the Drazi on the station are all one color again!

Thanks to this, Garibaldi gains the confidence to take back his old job. After all, no one knows the station like he does, or is as paranoid.

Lots of great moments in this episode. And just to set the record straight, I favor purple myself:)

Lord Refa, full of ambition and plots.

Green and purple Drazi explain the reason for their fighting to Ivanova.

The mysterious techno-mage Elric.

Sheridan gets a surprising gift from Elric.