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Babylon 5 rewatch: S1E4 : Infection #b5rw 

There's a B-story about avoiding a reporter, which I think will be repeated several times in the series.

And there's a message about taking shortcuts (with alien tech) is bad, but we should develop our supersoldiers ourselves. (I guess?) Anyway, Dr. Franklin is a good guy and not interested in making weapons for money.

A middling episode. No lasting impact to the universe, but sets up some reoccurring themes.

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S1E5 : The Parliament Of Dreams #b5rw 

Going from an episode that's almost identical to a Roddenberry-era Star Trek to one that would never ever be done in Roddenberry's Star Trek: A festival celebrating everyone's religious beliefs and traditions! (Roddenberry was dead set against religion on the show.)

If you hadn't picked up that Centarui = Roman Empire yet, enjoy their holy bacchanal! Played for laughs but also the pathos that Peter Jurasik always brings.

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S1E5 : The Parliament Of Dreams #b5rw 

Oh, and we've got an assassin going after G'Kar, and the arrival of Sheridan's old flame (and intrepid space explorer), Catherine.

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S1E5 : The Parliament Of Dreams #b5rw 

I'm going to call G'Kar's assassin the A-story because it's only one with any suspense. The Sheridan and Catherine Sakai relationship is just character-building. The religious festival is world-building background, and โ€” oh wait! The Minbari ceremony has THIS! ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ณ

(Sorry for the image paste up, couldn't do this in only 4.)

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S1E5 : The Parliament Of Dreams #b5rw 

The G'Kar assassination plot is not complex but it's fun to watch him be paranoid of his new assistant, and his new assistant kikcing the crap out of him.

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S1E5 : The Parliament Of Dreams #b5rw 

(Also the assassin's wire frame glasses! How do glasses work when you have no exterior ears?)

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S1E5 : The Parliament Of Dreams #b5rw 

It ends with this great scene where Sheridan shares the religious traditions of Earth by introducing dozens of leaders of different faiths. I love this!

Any other show would have cut away after we got the point, like 3 or 4 in. Instead we linger and get 17 named religions from all over the world, and dozens more on camera. (Starting with an atheist! Presenting an atheists on equal footing on prime-time TV was daring! Still is!)

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Babylon 5 Rewatch: S1E6 : Mind War #b5rw 

This seems like it might be a self-contained episode, but it's one whose importance will be revealed through the rest of the series.

Ah, the days when the fascists had slick style. Psi Corps with their black ships, Psi Cops all dressed in black.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch: S1E6 : Mind War #b5rw 

Hi there, Walter Koenig! I honestly wasn't sure if he could be unlikable, but damn if he doesn't do a great job.
He's not exactly menacing. (Compared to his redshirt sidekick, who tries too hard.) He's the very model of humorless privilege. He is not bound by the rules of normies, hates every second he's in their worldโ€”except for the casual cruelty his position allows.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch: S1E6 : Mind War #b5rw 

The Psi-Cops are here to find that guy who vaporized those fighters in the cold open. That guy is a very bad person. The Psi-Cops say he's bad. But also we saw him vaporize those fighters in the cold open. So while there is supporting evidence, Bester can't even be bother to sell his lies because why would he?

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Babylon 5 Rewatch: S1E6 : Mind War #b5rw 

And how hard will it be to find this bad guy? (William Allen Young's Jason Ironheart) Well, Talia is his former student AND sexytime study partner! So, he'll probably check in with her if he's here. Let's rake her mind over the coals to see if she has seen him. (Also Bester's sidekick is chewing a lot of scenery for a sidekick.)

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Babylon 5 Rewatch: S1E6 : Mind War #b5rw 

This is a fantastic little exchange, the highlight of the episode to me.

After the Psi Cop mindfrak, Ivanova gives Talia a glass of water. Ivanova hates the Psi Corps like poison, but she doesn't hate Talia and can recognize her as a victim of the Psi Corps even if she is one of them.

And this might be the first time Talia sees it too.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch: S1E6 : Mind War #b5rw 

Then there's this exchange...

A long time ago I read that JMS thought every script should have several qualities, one of them was an action scene, another was taking a moment to laugh. (Wish I could remember the rest.)

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Babylon 5 Rewatch: S1E6 : Mind War #b5rw 

Anyway, Ironheart has been subject to experiments to turn him into a super telekinetic assassin. It also turned him into a super telepath, so he 'accidentally' discovered all of Psi Corps secrets. Which are, in summary, to turn normie humanity into their puppets. And their plans are already in motion.

That's the first of this episode's connections to the Big Story of the series.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch: S1E6 : Mind War #b5rw 

The second Big Thing is what Catherine Sakai is about to find while she does a survey of a dead system, Sigma 957.

G'Kar first gives her a a friendly warning, and then several ominous warnings to keep her away.

And, since we're only 14 minutes into the episodeโ€ฆ

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Babylon 5 Rewatch: S1E6 : Mind War #b5rw 

Ironheart's transformation into Telepath Prime is an occasional hazard to everyone around him. Which is how he gets found, but also easily overpowers Bester (and vaporizes his sidekick). In the meantime he tells Sinclair about all the nefarious plans the Psi-Corps is up to. (I've watched this twice and they give no reason why Ironheart decided to ally with Sinclair. Maybe his telepathy told him he could?)

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Babylon 5 Rewatch: S1E6 : Mind War #b5rw 

Sinclair helps Ironheart gets away (off screen) just in time to turn into a Starchild and give Talia some super secret telepathic powers.

Sinclar also gets Bester over a barrel. Bester's mission went to hell and who would believe the lab rat turned into a Starchild? So Sinclair is willing to support a cover story as long as Bester tucks tail and goes awayโ€”for now!

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Babylon 5 Rewatch: S1E6 : Mind War #b5rw 

Meanwhile G'Kar sent some Narn backup to see after Sakai's safety, who pulled her ship out of the planet's atmosphere and tow it home.

Back on B5, she demands answers from G'Kar about what she encountered. G'Kar gives her a great talk about how there are beings billions of years old in this galaxy, and we're the ants to their boot.

We're in a lived-in galaxy and we're only starting to see the complications.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch: S1E6 : Mind War #b5rw 

Satisfying in a "Here are some of the big pieces" way, and Bester is a fun bad guy, but sort of a middling episode otherwise.

Oh, and there was this SUPER AWKWARD scene that went on for HOURS. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE WORK CONVERSATION TALIA!!

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E7 : The War Prayer #b5rw 

Two episodes in a row with "War" in the title. A portent?

Maybe? The production/viewing order for the show is SUPER complicated. This article on different viewing orders is more than 10,000 words and is one of the most exhausting documents I've ever read. (For reference, I'm watching in whatever order iTunes serves them up. It seems to be close to the 'intended' order.)

babylon5.fandom.com/wiki/Viewi

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E7 : The War Prayer #b5rw 

Delenn is having a very chill time with an old friend who is also one of the master poets of the Minbari, something of a Bashล. (Minbari draws a lot from Japanese culture.)

However there are folks who are not fans of her poetry. Wait, no. They object to her on a more fundamental level. Her existence.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E7 : The War Prayer #b5rw 

This does not go over well with Delenn. Violence against non-humans has been on the rise across Earth territories, with increasingly high-profile targets. Apparently it's to the point where Garibaldi is having trouble getting a handle on it. (Which is no surprise because as far as we've seen, B5 security is like just Garibaldi most days. Pretty good for a station of a quarter million people.)

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E7 : The War Prayer #b5rw 

Just five minutes into the episode and it starts to feel creepingly familiar to today. A "patriotic" group of Earth firsters called "Home Guard" are riling up folks.

As Sinclair says, "Pro-Earth? They're nothing but hate peddlers playing off fear and ignorance to turn human against alien." Anyway, he's against it.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E7 : The War Prayer #b5rw 

The B-Story: If you were wondering how much Shakespeare is an inspiration for the Centauri, here is a couple doing their damnedest to reenact Romeo And Juliette, on the run so they can marry against their family wishes. (Danica McKellar, Winnie from The Wonder Years!)

Oh, and while Ivanova is in the embarkation area, why not start her story: An old flame! I'm sure reestablishing their relationship will bring her lots of joy.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E7 : The War Prayer #b5rw 

I like the B-story, it has a lot of little things going on. Vir pretending to be the ambassador to help the lovestruck kids. It shows the start of Vir's backbone and kindhearted subversiveness. And lets Peter Jurasik do his great work as the world-weary statesman fighting a battle between this duty and his soul.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E7 : The War Prayer #b5rw 

Back to the A-story, Garibaldi gets some face-to-face time with a properly awful Pro-earth dirtbag. G'Kar is inciting a riot, and that sets up an awkward but nicely real confrontation. On one hand, hell yeah, you can't expect folks to stand by and get killed by racist fanatics. On the other hand, Sinclair can't just have a riot that incites more violence.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E7 : The War Prayer #b5rw 

G'Kar's mob dispersesโ€ฆ to beat the crap out of our Scumbag Eartherโ€”who then gets a visit from Ivanova's boyfriend to recruit for the Home Guard. It certainly seems very 2021 to have an ex who has been recently radicalized.

Ivanova does a quick turn and is happy to set up her ex. Holy crap the scene where Sinclair plays the bitter racist is dark and mean and believable. (Much more so than the sneering parody of the Scumbag Earther.)

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E7 : The War Prayer #b5rw 

The wrap-up is a bit Made For TV, confessing the plans to kill a whole lot of people and the involvement of a lot of folks deep in the government. (*sigh* 2021). Oh and now that he's confessed, let's get an act of loyalty from you. Kill this nice fish lady?

Garibaldi and crew sweep in, arrest everyone, though not the last we'll see of such people, since folks like that can be easily manipulated.

And our lovebirds can marry whoever they want.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E7 : The War Prayer #b5rw 

This one's fine. Only tangentially relates to the bigger story, but hard to complain about the message. Didn't play it subtle, there's no mistaking it. A reoccurring theme of this season is that doing things the easy way might feel good, but doing them the right way is always better. (Also liked that both the subplots connected to the main one in some way.)

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E7 : The War Prayer #b5rw 

1. "All I could see was a shadow." ๐Ÿค”

2. Oh. My. God. Didn't that sweater go out of style in the 1980s?

3. Kosh is watching Earth TV. "Studying"

4. Good bit from Molari. "My shoes are too tight but it doesn't matter because I have forgotten how to dance." The button on the scene is also very nice, with Vir not understanding the story and Londo's "No reason that you should."

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

For those paying attention, the title references a line from the pilot episode where Sinclair, recounting the final battle with the Minbari. "โ€ฆand the sky was full of stars, and every star was an exploding shipโ€”one of ours."

Unfortunately these two gentlemen giving meaningful glances across a crowded room are not meeting for a tryst. Credited ominously as "Knight One" and "Knight Two".

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

B-story: This guy owes some bad people money. (Awkward introduction scene as we're shown this is a busy corridor and Sinclair is just steps away, but thugs also waylay him and give him a beating right there.) Anyway he owes money to Bad People and is suspended from his security job for gambling. I'm sure it'll all work out.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

See, he has a solution already worked out, delivering a power supply to our Knights. Who are building a particularly uncomfortable looking chair.

Wonder what they want it for?

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

Sinclair has a war-related nightmare. Seems like one he's familiar with. But something's not right. The station is dead. (I like that he puts on his uniform before running up to C&C. He's the commander and can't be seen running around in his sweaty pajamas just because the phones don't work.)

Pretty quickly we see he's still in a dream, this one controlled buy the Knights. They do some nice things with lighting to indicate Dreamland B5.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

C-Story: Sinclair is missing! This troubles both the command staff (obviously) and Delenn. (How did the Knights kidnap Sinclair and move him across half the station without anyone noticing? I'll assume there was some funny hijinks with the Knights dressed as cleaners pushing a basket full of dirty laundryโ€”and an unconscious Sinclair.) Anyway, lets go find Sinclair!

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

Meanwhile the Knights are poking around Sinclair's brain to discover why the Minbari surrendered on the eve of total victory. They believe Sinclair is a collaborator who sold out Humanity. So they dig around, and start finding things that Sinclair himself didn't remember: Being taken aboard the Minbari cruiser, tortured and interrogated by a group of grey-robed folks, before having his memory wiped and put back where they found him.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

Garibaldi figures his suspended-for-gambling security guy might be involved in Sinclair's disappearance, but they find him very much dead, so that's a โ€ฆ dead end. But it gives some hints where he might be, and gives a good indicator of how bad the bad guys are. Garibaldi & co are doing a good job of keeping the heat on.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

We get a ton of Intense Sinclair (I'm always a BIG fan of that). He goes up against these very arch villains (who have matching quilted vests!) but keeps it real and personal. He's still bitter about the war, but more furious about the indignity of having these assholes digging around in his mind.

He's been testing the limits of the dreamworld since he found himself there, and he uses what he learns to bash his way out.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

I like this bit. Sinclair has broken free from the VR dream machine but is still loaded with psychotropic drugs.

From his point of view he's breaking out of Minbari jail and so he takes a shot at his own security people. (Sorry Garibaldi, arrived just a little too late again!) But Delenn is there to risk her life to talk him down.

Why would she do that?

BIG REVEAL!

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

So here we are. Sinclair remembers being aboard the Minbari ship (though not what they found in him that ended the war) but he's not letting the smallest hint drop to Delenn.

Delenn has always known but is being Super Nice. Is that a ploy to stay close to him, or something else going on?

Oh, and this guy shows up, just to make sure we know exactly what is riding on this secret.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

It'sโ€ฆ pretty good as a stand alone. The Battle Of The Line visuals taxed the VFX team's capabilities so we see the same 3 seconds of footage a dozen times. But it keeps moving. Every time it repeats, something new is revealed. As the audience, we don't spend time laboring over what's real and what's virtual. Sinclair is the subject of the mindfrak, not the audience. The audience gets pulled around enough by the real reveals.

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

IIRC this is one of the few "must watch" episodes of the first season. It brings us up to speed on what we know so far (Minbari kicked Earth's ass and then ran away at the last minute and no one knows why.) and creates a new mystery: WTF is Delenn up to? (It has been hinted at previously, but this is a big step up from hints.)

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Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

Other stuff:

Beam weapons travel at the speed of light! (So rare in TV/movie scifi.)

Macaulay Bruton is only ever credited as "Garibaldi's Aide" but I think he might be a character worth keeping an eye on.

Lots of good Easter eggs in Garibaldi's newspaper.

Nice scene between Dr. Franklin & Delenn really bolsters the episode. Franklin destroying his records rather than help the war effort, and Delenn clearly gratified. But alsoโ€ฆ

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re: Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

@readsteven "Pros and Cons of Inter-Species Mating" ๐Ÿ˜†โ€‹

re: Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

@tsturm The question is: is that a targeted ad just for Garibaldi?

re: Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

@readsteven ๐Ÿ˜‚โ€‹

re: Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

@readsteven You've inspired me to watch B5! I just watched S1E1 and I immediately recognized what made me like the show back in the 90s. The cast is so good - no matter how shaky the special effects might be, the acting choices are phenomenal.

re: Babylon 5 Rewatch : S1E8 : And The Sky Full Of Stars #b5rw 

@tsturm I hope you continue to enjoy it! All the main cast is so great!

For all the hard scifi touches, it's more of an ancient epic with some splashes of Shakespeare. It'd definitely its own thing and a lot of fun.

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