Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

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12 Responses

  1. Damon says:

    This is one of my favorite episodes. I love the whole Londo story. He’s a rogue and not above getting some “payback” from his wives for “all the money they’ve managed to” steal from him over the years, and he’s smart enough to pick the correct wife to keep.

    I also found the Delenn storyline cute in an odd “what would happen to an alien if they were made human” aspect. Lots of aspects of our biology that isn’t discussed with non humans and is “just the way it is”.

    Vir is, of course, Vir.


  2. Reformed Republican says:

    This was one of my favorite episodes as well, though I had forgotten about the telepath plot. Londo is a jerk, but his wives are also truly unpleasant. They were arranged marriages, and his family did not have a lot of influence, so he would not get the best choices, I am sure.

    This episode and the last one remind me of one of the things I really liked about this series. There are several independent long-term arcs that go on at once. There are the issues with EarthGov, such as the conspiracy to assassinate the president, the hints at the Psi-Corps’ shadowy workings, the Free Mars movement, and the Shadows. All of those plots are constantly moving, and even if they are not in the foreground, there are frequently background indications of things occurring off-screen.Report

  3. Pinky says:

    “Settle on the rules, people! Three minutes of explication ought to be enough to square this all away!”

    I wholeheartedly disagree. B5 is at its best when it doesn’t provide explanations. This kind of ties into RefRep’s point. There’s always stuff going on, and you never quite know what it is, and the characters have even less information than the viewers. And who would tell us the rules, anyway? Bester? Would you believe him? And the writers would be under no obligation to follow the rules, because there’s always going to be the exception, or the surprise twist.

    In a weird way, the show gets boring in later seasons when everything’s happening. There are too many answers. I like the show better when it’s Casablanca in Space, always something happening out of view. No, the show would have been over in five episodes if everyone got together and admitted what they knew and worked as a team. It’s better with secrets, hidden identities, people not knowing who they’re working for or against.Report

    • Patrick in reply to Pinky says:

      I don’t mind you not telling me the rules, to be clear. Hm, I didn’t write that criticism well.

      I mind when the writers don’t know what the rules are (see also: Lost, X-Files, etc). At this stage of the game, it’s not clear to me that the writers knew what the rules were.Report

  4. KatherineMW says:

    I find the rules of telepathy fairly clear in B5. The Minbari, Centauri, and humans have telepaths; the Narn don’t. Among humans, telekinetics are extremely rare, and typically insane when they do exist. PsiCorps is trying to expand the range of telepathic abilities through breeding and experimentation, seeking to create stable telekinetics and now apparently succeeding at creating empaths.

    I liked the minor Delenn plot, it makes sense to show that she’d have challenges adjusting to being part-human.

    Talia’s arc seemed to be moving a little too fast since last week, I agree. And I don’t see why Stoner would deliberately antagonize Garibaldi (he’s clearly using his empathic abilities to provoke dislike rather than trust) rather than keeping a low profile; even if he’s a real jerk, deliberately being a jerk should come second to succeeding at the mission. Unless at some level he resents PsiCorps for experimenting on him and wants to make their lives difficult by getting himself into situations where they need to bail him out – but that’s a stretch, as theories go.

    The Londo story was fun, and Timov is definitely awesome. But given that we know Babylon 5 is seen as a backwater post with little/no upward mobility, hence Londo’s earlier grousing about his career being a dead end, it’s hard to see why Mariel would have gone after a marriage with him rather than someone more high-status. She likes powerful men; Londo hasn’t been one. For a female Centauri, she’s attractive and clearly a seductive type; regardless of her family background, she seems like she could have done better. Maybe she was expecting more upward mobility than Londo actually achieved (until recently)?Report

    • Patrick in reply to KatherineMW says:

      My critique about the telepathy powers is that it isn’t clear what powers are actually covered in what umbrellas.

      Maybe this is me reading a lot of speculative fiction.

      Take what Stoner does this episode. We call it projecting empath because that’s what Sheridan calls it, but in most multiverses the ability to use mind control (as distinct from emotion control) comes part and parcel with telepathy. Usually. Not always, of course. In B5 telepathy is mind reading only, unless you’re significantly powerful, at which point you can send thoughts, too. But then there isn’t really a good logic behind a lack of mind control; if you can read somebody’s thoughts, and you can send thoughts to them, there’s no real reason why you shouldn’t be able to send thoughts crafted in their voice back to them. Mental ventriloquism, if you will.

      Astral projection, object reading, clairvoyance, precognition, emotion reading, empathy, mind reading, mind-sending, mental shields, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, aura reading, aura manipulation, etc.

      There are many, many esper abilities and it isn’t clear (at this point in the story) what the actual package of powers really is.Report

      • James K in reply to Patrick says:

        I think the unclear nature of the powers is helpful to the plot. If you’re not in the Psicorps telepathy is mysterious, poorly-understood and frightening. As for the apparent rarity of mind control – the ability to talk is common, ventriloquism is much rarer.Report

      • Patrick in reply to Patrick says:

        Yeah, but I don’t get the feeling that psi powers are that mysterious to many or most of the main characters.

        Maybe this is just a feeling thing. It doesn’t feel right.

        It doesn’t feel like they’re spooling out a mystery that has an endgame. It feels like they’re making stuff up as they go along for plot convenience.

        I can’t remember if I felt this way the first time through the series, but it feels that way now.Report

    • James K in reply to KatherineMW says:


      But given that we know Babylon 5 is seen as a backwater post with little/no upward mobility, hence Londo’s earlier grousing about his career being a dead end, it’s hard to see why Mariel would have gone after a marriage with him rather than someone more high-status.

      I see House Mollari as being high status but low power. Basically Mollari matted once upon a time, but it no longer does. A young, ambitious house might hitch itself to a house like that as a way of gaining respectability. Similarly a prestigious but largely unimportant job like ambassador to B5 is the perfect job for the head of a house like that.Report

    • Pinky in reply to KatherineMW says:

      Londo’s been moving up, though. Maybe 6 months ago she would have walked away from the marriage, but his name is getting mentioned these days in high places, and she’s the type who would know that.Report

  5. James K says:

    Some thoughts on the telepath sub-plot:

    1) I agree Talia’s motivations are inconsistent – she has been pretty pro-corps in the past, even if she doesn’t like everything they do. It’s enough to make me think the story was written for Ylgn Nyrknaqre, but that seems unlikely.

    2) I think the reason Talia didn’t shield herself against Stoner is that he was using an ability she knew nothing about. It’d be hard to protect yourself from an ability you don’t know exists.

    3) The final scene with Stoner shows just how smart Garibaldi is. Tell him a perp has a power he’s never heard of and in the blink of an eye he’s devised an effective countermeasure to it with nothing but the resources he has on hand. Star Trek (except maybe DS9) would have solved that problem with technobabble.

    4) I’m wondering if it’s Garibaldi’s paranoia that made him dislike Stoner so much. Like he could feel the influence Stoner was having on him at some level, and that awareness was making Garibaldi annoyed.Report