Welcome back to the Babylon 5 Season Two Book Club!
The first episode can be found here, Tod covered “Revelations” here, and then we hit The Geometry of Shadows back in early December before I fell off the Earth. Then we had “A Distant Star”, followed by “The Long Dark, then “A Spider in the Web”… then we got to “Soul Mates” then“A Race Through Dark Places”, then The Coming of Shadows and Gropos.
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.
Everyone sitting comfortably? Then onward!
Season Two, Episode Thirteen: “Hunter, Prey”
We open on the bridge of B5, Garibaldi’s looking for the other two Musketeers. Bridge flunky tells him they’re in Bay Thirteen. But nobody goes into Bay Thirteen, says Garibaldi. Cut to Ivanova and Sheridan walking up to a Vorlon ship. It’s Kosh’s ship, which has been sitting in the Bay pretty much since he showed up on the station. Sheridan has geekVorlonfanboy gushing, and he reaches out to touch the ship, which then extrudes a pseudopod of some sort that pops what looks like a targeting laser on Sheridan’s chest.
Ivanova says no maintenance crew will set foot into the bay. There are rumors that people that work near the ship have weird dreams about Kosh. Sheridan vows to learn more about the mysterious Vorlon just as Garibaldi shows up. He’s got some info to share on the QT. Exit the bay. Kosh comes out of the shadows, and stares at the ship. Some lettering bubbles up to the surface, Kosh nods, and we cut away.
Garibaldi tells Ivanova and Sheridan that there’s an Ultraviolet communique that there’s a system-wide APB out on Dr. Jacobs, who used to be on the President’s personal staff. Wanted dead or alive, shoot to kill if there is any resistance, and they think he’s on B5. What does this guy know? Cut to intro.
Back from intro, Bill and Ted’s history teacher is our guest of the week, playing Earth Special Intelligence Agent Cranston. He is in Sheridan’s office, apparently he’s the one on the hunt for Dr. Jacobs. Jacobs allegedly pulled a Snowden, and Earthforce wants him before he makes it to asylum somewhere. Sheridan agrees to help dragnet the station looking for the guy. Exit Cranston.
Garibaldi hangs back and mutters that Cranston’s story sound right but his innate suspicious is trippin’ out. Cranston isn’t telling them everything. Really, this is one time where non-paranoid types are going to guess that there’s some stuff going on, especially given the events of recent episodes. Garibaldi’s on the case, he wants to know what Cranston isn’t telling them and Dr. Jacobs is going to be the best guy to ask.
Cut to Garibaldi questioning Franklin, probably both because he wants to know if Franklin knows Jacobs and because Franklin already has a rep for sneakin’ folks off of B5. Franklin coinkydinkily not only knows Jacobs he studied under him at Harvard. Franklin is indignant (this is hardly a new portrayal). Garibaldi points out that the last time Franklin vouched for somebody, there was a biowar suit blowing its way through B5 and dead bodies everywhere. Touched a nerve, there, G-money. Franklin gives more Indignant.
Cut to Old Guy wandering through the station’s flea market lookin’-area, is this our wayward doctor? Hey, it’s not just Old Guy, it’s Tony Steedman, a.k.a. Socrates from Bill and Ted’s. He’s looking for an identity card. Black market shopping, not the traditional kind. Black market ID seller isn’t interested, Socrates looks too desperate, so he’s either security or running from Big Trouble, bigger than ID seller wants to mess with. Socrates leaves stall, Shady Lowlife Looking Guy comes out of the shadows with Dark Expression. Cut!
Elsewhere in the station, Sheridan is about to get on a lift when he gets one of those “somebody is lookin’ at me” feelings and turns around to see Kosh slipping around a corner. Sheridan heads after him, and tries to strike up a conversation. Kosh gives Mysterious. Sheridan wants to know how Kosh showed up in Dreamtime when he was stuck on the alien ship two episodes ago. Kosh gives more Mysterious and walks away.
Cut to Cranston organizing the search for Dr. Jacobs. Cranston says that Jacobs has been RFID-tagged, basically, and the search party is more to drive Jacobs to one of the stationary points where he can be scanned by a reader than it is to find him directly. Snowden and RFID tags, it’s a regular Bruce Schneier episode!
Cut to Garibaldi and Sheridan, stationwalking, Garibaldi is reporting on Cranston’s search efforts. Sheridan spots a red ribbon tied around a light, the camera Pauses Significantly, so it must Be Important Somehow. Keep an eye on Cranston, G-money, asks Sheridan and Garibaldi departs to make it so. Sheridan heads off to Dark Underbelly of the Station and rendezvous with a woman – ah, the red ribbon is a sign from General Hague, I must have missed that detail. She tells him that Jacobs isn’t a traitor and Cranston’s Special Intelligence Division reports directly to President Clark. Remember when President Santiago’s ship got itself all blowed-up and Clark had gotten off just before then, claiming to be sick? Hm, maybe Jacobs knows something about Clark not being sick? She and her team got Jacob off Io and to B5. This isn’t a plan, it’s an improv, and Sheridan isn’t happy about it or Cranston’s presence. Improvise! Adapt! Overcome! Find Jacobs before Cranston and get his sworn statement, then get him off the station… you’re playing the Game of Thrones now, Captain, and it’s win or die.
Over to medlab, Franklin is showing some interns Interesting Alien Biology when two security flunkies drop in looking for Jacobs. Bets on whether or not Franklin loses his cool? Franklin gets a buzz from Garibaldi. Wow, Garibaldi is using steganography, it really *is* the Bruce Schneier episode! Doc, get thee hence to Conspirator’s Quarters, post-haste. Cut to Jacobs/Socrates doing something that looks suspiciously like “disabling this RFID-tracker thingie” somewhere in the bowls of the station. Nope, he’s giving himself stimulants to keep himself moving. He’s barely able to keep ahead of the searchers, ducking through a hatch, one of their sensors picks him up briefly but they’re not sure it isn’t a false positive.
Cut to Franklin and Garibaldi chewing the fat about Jacobs. The doc is being a jerk about being right, Garibaldi is being paranoid. He wants to follow up on the sensor ding before Cranston’s folk do, but he can’t use anybody else on Security because the Captain is playing the Game of Thrones, so he’s asking the Doc to come along.
Cut back to Jacobs, who is in the Down Below, he bumps into Shady Lowlife Looking Guy. Gimme yer dough. Cut!
Back from commercial, Shady Lowlife Looking Guy is rifling through Jacob’s stuff and comes across a data crystal. I don’t think you want the info on that crystal, S.L.L.G., that’s “burn yourself down” level of info. Lowlife guy leaves Jacobs with a guard and goes off to get the crystal decoded.
Back up in Sheridan’s office, Cranston has eliminated all the main public areas of the station and figures Jacobs is Down Below. Sheridan throws him off the scent by pointing out “Downtown”, a lead-lined area of the station; Cranston muses that that’s just where Jacobs might go to evade the scanning. Cranston falls for the misdirection and leaves. Ivanova mentions that the section has been sealed off since the station went live, and it’ll take forever to cut a way through all the pressure doors. Sneaky, Sheridan. Before things can get too self-congratulatory, Sheridan gets a call, Kosh would like to talk to him. Kosh never wants to speak to anybody. Sheridan says he’ll meet up with him.
Over to Garibaldi and Franklin not making any progress looking for Jacobs. Chitchat. Old guy musing. Local pawnshop/black-market-ID guy we met earlier is trying to sell the old man’s watch, apparently he fences for Shady. Franklin spots it from too far away to notice and Garibaldi and Franklin accost the seller. Meanwhile Shady is trying to trade Jacobs to Cranston. Bets on whether or not that goes well?
Over to Sheridan meeting Kosh. Kosh is giving more Mysterious. Kosh dismisses Sheridan, who gets frustrated and rants at him for a bit, ending with, “What do you want?” which gets Kosh’s attention, “Never ask that question.” That’s the tag line of the Shadows, Sheridan. Kosh says he’ll teach Sheridan. About the Vorlons? No, about yourself, until you are ready to fight legends.
Hey, another Game of Thrones parallel, you’re not playing for the Iron Throne, Sheridan, you’re destined to fight whatever is behind the Wall.
Over to Jacobs and his guard, Garibaldi and Franklin bust in and Garibaldi gets stabbed rescuing Jacobs. Jacobs says Shady has the data crystal which is loaded with evidence. Franklin goes to hide Jacobs, Garibaldi’s going to go after the evidence. Cut to commercial.
Back from commercial, Shady returns to find his prize gone and Garibaldi. Garibaldi retrieves the crystal.
Back to the Captain’s office, Cranston wants to know why Sheridan isn’t as helpful as he appeared to be, given that B5 has used internal sensors to find things like Jacobs’s RFID tag before. Poo, says Ivanova.
Jacobs gives the data crystal to Sheridan, while Franklin patches Garibaldi’s arm. Sheridan has a plan to get past the internal scanning. A while later, on the bridge, no scan picks up Jacobs. He must not be on the station. Cranston is flummoxed. Kosh’s ship is leaving, Cranston gets suspicious and demands the Vorlon ship be scanned. Ivanova complies, there’s no human signs on the ship, just one alien though. The ship departs through the jump gate. Cranston heads off to try and find Jacobs elsewhere in the galaxy.
Kosh’s ship returns, Jacobs was on it, of course. Kosh’s ship is alive and intelligent, the scan picked up the ship. Sheridan passes the crystal to General Hague’s female agent. Fade out.