If you’re new to the book club, links to the previous episodes can be found here.
This week, it’s Season 3, Episode 2: “Convictions”
It’s difficult to discuss this show without occasionally wanting to discuss the next one (or the one after that, or the one after that)… or referring to the pilot.
Speaking of which, we never recapped the pilot, and the pilot is worthy of attention, now that we’ve had the Kosh Reveal. Anybody who wants to recap the pilot, feel free to volunteer in the comments.
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.
Hey, if you use Firefox, there’s a simple plug-in that makes this as easy as highlighting text, search Add Ons for “Leet Key” and you’re good to go.
Everyone sitting comfortably? Then onward!
We open with a couple of Drazi missionaries arriving on the station. Word is getting out about Kosh’s manifestation. Garibaldi and Zack are listening to them make “have you been saved” talk when Ivanova comes up looking for G-money. Garibaldi hands the missionaries off to Zack and departs with Ivanova. We pause for Zack to act uncomfortable around the religious.
Meanwhile Ivanova and Garibaldi are Walk-Expositioning. Ivanova says three anonymous messages came into CnC, “chaos is coming in four hours”, then three, then two, then nothing. Garibaldi thinks it’s a crank, but of course it won’t be because B5 doesn’t do “business as usual” episodes.
Cut to two scroungers trying to find something to sell down in the depths of the station somewhere. Scrounger Foo finds a Shiny inside what looks like some sort of bear cage, says, “Check this out!” and touches it, the doors drop on the cage (sucker!) and then there’s a quick whining noise and the whole thing blows up. Well, the cage bit I saw coming, but not the kablooie.
Cut to intro reel!
Back from reel, Zack is reporting the explosion to Red Shirt Guy and telling him to get ten guys and go Down Below for crowd control. Red Shirt Guy says, “Okay, but before that, we just got another ship in and you should take a look.” (B5 guys are blase’ about explosions here and there by now, I guess?) Zack gets introduced to Brother Theo and The Hooded Monks of Yore, who are “going to be staying for a while”. Ah, nothing like an angel sighting to bring out the faithful.
Down Below, med guys are doing med guy things and security guys are doing security things and aliens are milling about doing getting in the way things and Sheridan shows up. Garibaldi reports four dead so far, the Doc thinks there may be folks buried in the rubble still alive, so they’re doing search and rescue. So far none of the survivors saw anything. Garibaldi mentions that with all the junk and cannibalized wiring and whatnot, no way to tell what happened yet. Sheridan asks if he’s ruling out a bombing, nuh-uh, says G-money, but it’s odd because a bombing usually is a political statement and there’s not much in the way of value blowing up a chunk of Down Below. Do your security securitizing, says Sheridan, and we cut.
Ivanova is meeting Brother Theo. She’s sorry she’s late. Ivanova apologizing? Her hair is down in two episodes now? Gotta say, our cold-standoffish-I-am-Russian-uber-competent Ivanova is sending mixed signals this season so far. Brother Theo and his brothers are applying for permanent resident status on B5. Ivanova is surprised, people either pass through B5 or they work there. Brother Theo gives Sincere Theologian Dealing With Aliens: God appears in many ways, and he expects that God would appear to aliens in their own way, and he and his brothers are here to learn about the other races. B5 is the best place to see all the aliens. Ivanova understands the idea, but is worried about prosetylization. No, that’s not the idea, we’re hear to learn not preach. There’s not much space, returns Ivanova… we’re okay with humble abodes Down Below, returns Brother Theo Eminently Reasonably. “I’ll have a hard time justifying…” begins Ivanova, Brother Theo interrupts gently to say that all his brothers are highly skilled techie and research types, and will earn their place. Ivanova gives the Face Palm of Surrender, I think she sees a little of her Rabbi friend in the good Brother Theo.
This guy is too nice and reasonable and the sort of clergyman that one wishes every organized religious body had as their default preacher. He’s either a double-secret plant or his gonna get murdered or something terrible before the end of this episode.
I’ll pause here for a second to note that this is a topic that rarely gets play in SF. You either have no religion at all, or you have a religious-caste-empire sort of deal going on, but very rarely do you have interspecies ecumenicalism. The only two that pop immediately into my head is Alan Dean Foster’s Humanx stories with their United Church (which is a little bit star-chamber-cabalish), and James White’s mention of Padres in the Sector General series.
Over to Garibaldi Down Below, finding Suspicious Something, calling out to Morishi, another security guy. Hey, it’s that dude that plays only bad guys in martial arts movies. Garibaldi thinks he’s found the site of the explosion given debris patterns, and there’s nothing there that would explode naturally, so… bomb. Garibaldi goes off to meet with the Captain.
Somewhere in the public Upside of the station, Lennier is being chatted up by Random Talkative Guy. Lennier isn’t chatting much. Random Talkative Guy is Really Obnoxious. Lennier concocts a story about having a fatal disease to get him to go away (we’re forgetting Minbari don’t lie for the sake of a story joke, JMS!) Lennier gets up to greet Delenn, who is getting off a shuttle. Things went well, she starts to say, but they’re interrupted when an explosion goes off in the corridor between the shuttle gate and the shuttle. Lennier pushes Delenn out into the gate area, then grabs Londo, who was apparently on the same shuttle, and throws him bodily out, and then gets cut off by a pressure door coming down and gets hit by part of the blast.
Delenn pounds on the door, calling his name, we can see Lennier trapped underneath some debris. Cut to commercial.
Back from commercial, Doc is getting Lennier out to medlab while Londo asks that he gets the best care and Delenn worries and both of them kinda get in the way of getting Lennier to medlab.
Over to Garibaldi and Sheridan and what looks like every security guy we’ve met before around a conference table, the bomb is the same sort as the first bomb. Guess that call Ivanova was talking about earlier was some sort of terrorist demand after all. The bombs weren’t targeting expensive gear, just people. Garibaldi isn’t ruling out Home Guard or any other terrorist group. The Doc reports 7 dead, 19 injured, including Lennier. Minor panic going on over the station. Sheridan gives Orders. Halls to be cleared of groups larger than 10. Unidentified packages will be confiscated and scanned. Anybody in restricted areas will be taken in for questioning. While the orders are being given, we see a view of an alien getting accosted by two security personnel, the camera pans back over and there’s a glimpse of somebody in glasses. I’m guessing that’s our Mad Bomber… JMS trying to let the audience know it’s somebody in security? Somebody that knows how to hack the security feed? Misdirection? Just a guy watching from a normal viewpoint? Nice video editing to make it murky.
Medlab, Lennier is in bad shape, Delenn and Franklin are talking. Ivanova calls looking for Delenn, the next-of-kin of some of the Minbari killed in the explosion are waiting for her. Break!
Garibaldi and G’Kar are Walk-Arguing. G’Kar wants to blame the Centauri. Garibaldi wants G’Kar to let him do his job. Meanwhile Sheridan and Ivanova are Conference-Room-Arguing with Londo, who wants to blame the Narn. The station is getting Paranoid. Sheridan muses that they need to figure out what the message is behind the bombings, and then they’ll have an idea of who the messanger is.
Cut over to Medlab, Londo is getting in the way. Londo feels an obligation to Lennier. You owe him a couple of times over now, buddy. He wants to stick around and talk to the comatose Lennier, the nurse aquiesces. Londo Soliloquies. Londo tells Centauri-racist jokes. Londo just sits. Londo really doesn’t know how to deal with this whole gratitude thing. Fade to commercial.
Back from commercial, Garibaldi walks into Sheridan and Ivanova in the conference room to report another bomb, this one was found early enough to mostly evacuate, so no fatalities. Bomb looked like a primitive device, so not a pro. Sheridan starts talking about motive. The attacks seem random, maybe that’s what the guy actually wants, to make the fear as widespread as possible. Maybe fear is the message. In calls Morishi. The explosives have been traced back to where they were stolen (a ice mining colony) and what’s more, the bomber already been at this random bombing gig recently on Proxima III. Well, now we’ve got a clue. Sheridan tells Garibaldi to find out everything about everybody that came in on a ship from Proxima III in the last few weeks. Find out who is still here. Garibaldi’s on it. Ivanova also mentions that if the guy is just trying to sow fear, maybe he’s sticking around the bomb sites to see the reactions after the kablooie. Sheridan agrees, let’s check the security cameras to see if a face shows up a lot. Garibaldi starts talking about how facial recognition is a hard problem, muttering technical details, and Ivanova thinks she knows who might be able to help tackle the problem. Guess she’s got a job for Brother Theo’s crew.
Back over to Londo in Medlab. He finds out the time and has to leave
Medlab to run an errand.
Back to Ivanova giving Brother Theo the project spec for finding bad guys in video footage with the hooded crew playing backdrop. Brother Theo’s like, “Please, this is trivial, we got this”. Monks start doing techno-monking. Garibaldi thinks Ivanova is a nut.
Over to Londo hallwalking, he walks up to an elevator. The doors open and it’s G’Kar, and we get some rather nice non-vocal stare-acting. Always fun to see these two play off each other. After a Very Pregnant Uncomfortableness, Londo says he’ll wait for the next elevator, and G’Kar nods, but as Londo turns away there’s another explosion down the corridor and he jumps into the elevator to avoid being parbroiled. The explosion damages the elevator ang G’Kar and Londo are trapped. Cut!
On to Bomb Cleanup Duty, Ivanova and Franklin are surveying the damage. Three transport tubes are down, they don’t know if anybody is inside. Back in the elevator, G’Kar is probably musing about whether or not he should “accidentally” stab Londo a couple of hundred times, and then Londo wakes up. Londo tries the door, but it’s apparently hot. Londo calls for help, G’Kar looks amused in the background. Londo wonders how long he’s been out, G’Kar says two hours. Two hours? The door is hot, there’s probably a fire out there, we’re probably going to die from fire or smoke inhalation unless we pop the lid on this thing and go up the shaft. G’Kar chuckles. Londo gets grumpy, we can’t expect rescue, we’re probably going to have to work together to get out of here! G’Kar goes SMH, and says, “No.” Londo is confused, don’t you want to live? Oh, yes, but I’d much rather see you dead, chuckles G’Kar. So kill me, then, yells Londo. Oh, no, chuckles G’Kar, by your peace treaty, any Narn kills a Centauri and the Centauri will kill hundreds of Narn, including the perpetrator’s own family. But he doesn’t have to kill Londo to see him die. G’Kar is mightily amused by his good fortune. “This is insane, we must work together!” responds Londo. “As the humans say, ‘Up yours, die!'” retorts G’Kar, and he dissolves into cackling laughter.
Fade over to Garibaldi and Morishi going to visit Brother Theo, who has pegged the perp. See, even when you’re running an SF campaign, it pays to have a cleric in the party. Yep, it’s a guy in glasses, he was at every explosion site, just watching. A quick cross-reference of Proxima III ship logs, and they’ve got the guy, he works for station engineering, recently hired. Garibaldi tells Morishi to clear the area around his quarters and prep a strike team, and we’re back in the elevator.
G’Kar appears to be praying in Narn, or singing a hymn. Londo is sweating.
Back from the elevator, Garibaldi is Corridor Walking with a squad of troops and the Captain joins him. The guy is a quiet loaner, but he has a temper, he’s got disciplinary problems in his file. They get to the corridor and there’s a small boom, everybody hits the dirt. Mad Bomber guy gets on the PA and says he’s got a deadman switch wired to a bomb big enough to blow up the whole station, and he wants Sheridan in his quarters in 20 seconds or he’s going to blow the whole station to smithereens. Garibaldi gives Security Guy Disapproves, but Sheridan says he’s going in. Mad Bomber tells Sheridan to leave his link out in the corridor, Sheridan takes it off and is about to hide it under his shirt when Garibaldi points out that he might search him there, so Sheridan stashes the link in his drawers. Go find that big bomb while I’m in there with the crazy guy, says Sheridan, and he goes in.
Mad Bomber wants off-station. Mad Bomber is mad. Out in the corridor, Garibaldi figures that the homemade bombs aren’t really that dangerous, so if the guy actually can blow up the station and he worked in maintenance, maybe he’s rigged the fusion reactor. He tells Morishi to go check it out. Back in the Mad Bomber’s quarters, he’s going Full Space Madness. I’m struck between wondering if he’s just a random guy who has gone Ted Kaczynski, or if this is part of the FUD project that the PsiCorp guy mentioned back last week. Has PsiCorp been giving out samples of Space Madness to increase population-wide paranoia?
The security guys are scrambling around looking for the bomb, while Sheridan is negotiating with Mad Bomber. Kinda hard to negotiate with someone who is crazier than a bag of cats. Morishi finds the jerry-rigged bomb on the fusion reactor, Garibaldi tells him to start trying to take it off, figuring on the previous designs that the guy’s not sophisticated enough to put booby traps on it. Back in the apartment, Sheridan is showing that he really doesn’t know how to negotiate with crazy people by stressing the guy with the bomb and the gun out. Sheridan gets pushed, he gives Crazy Eyes to the crazy guy, and the Mad Bomber tells him to sit down or he’ll blow everything up. Sheridan sits down but inadvertantly beeps his link when he sits on it. Garibaldi hears it and tells Morishi to fast-track everything, and Mad Bomber guy starts Monologuing. He raises his hands above his head, because he’s crazy, and Sheridan jumps him, grabs the gun hand with one hand and clamps down on the deadman switch with the other. Fisticuffs ensue, including going through a window. Morishi has the bomb off the reactor and out in space. They strap it to a robot and it flies off. Mad Bomber gets the drop on Sheridan and triggers the bomb, and it blows up safely away from the station. Sheridan decks him, opens the door, and Garibaldi comes in to mop up.
Back in the Wonkavator, Londo and G’Kar are surrounded by smoke.
Cut to Medlab, Franklin is Looking Serious while checking the scanners on Lennier. Delenn appears. Lennier wakes up. Wry humor is traded. Lennier’s actually expressing regret about saving Londo, worrying that he’s made the future more dangerous.
Back in the Wonkavator, rescue workers come across Londo and G’Kar before they choke out. G’Kar is unhappy, Londo is amused at G’Kar, they trade fairly low-grade insults, camera fades out.