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-   -   EpDis: Infection (http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=6760)

Lennier's Tears August 5th 15 21:56

Re: EpDis: Infection
 
Compared to the rest of B5, this episode isn't great. But, it does still have a lot going for it! I agree with Galahad, Alioth, and others above that there's a lot of details here giving us clues about what is going on back on Earth, and some themes that will become important later on are first introduced here. This might only become obvious after multiple re-watches, but that's OK. I love that there's so much detail and so much new stuff to discover during multiple viewings.

This is the first time on Babylon 5 that the "evil archaeologist carelessly endangers everyone because of greed and cluelessness" trope is used, and it's the most classic iteration of it, I think. Regular readers of these threads might know that I dislike that trope, because I have a hard time shutting up about it :p Yea, I don't like it ... But, I've watched it so many times, and it's so classic and over the top that I've come to sort of appreciate the ridiculousness of it. It kind of amuses me now.

I do like the "pure Ikkaran" story, because it's both an interesting topic for an episode, and it sets us up for more along those lines in the main storyline. However, I kinda feel like I'm being beaten over the head with it here. A little more subtlety would have been nice.

Stuff that stood out to me for some reason or other during this viewing:
  • Hendricks claims that Franklin was his favorite student. That's kind of weird, since they presumably only knew each other when Franklin was an undergraduate, who didn't go into xenoarchaeology or any kind of archaeology. Franklin must have been QUITE the exceptional student :p You may recall a similar story on the TNG episode "The Chase", where Picard's old mentor shows up to entice him into participating into "an adventure" related to a VERY IMPORTANT find of his. I'm not insinuating anything here, I'm sure that the similarity is a coincidence. The "evil" archaeologist trope is very common, there's bound to be similar episodes on other shows.
  • CLASSIC fictional archaeologist vests and jacket on Nelson and Hendricks.
  • I've known for a long time that episodes get shuffled around, and that Infection was filmed before the episodes that precede it on the DVD. Still, it was just now that I noticed, for the first time ever, that you can easily tell that is the case by looking at Sinclair's hair, which is much longer in this episode than in the previous one.
  • The "shortcut" conversation is interesting, for a few different reasons. Franklin tells Hendricks that finding someone else's technology is taking a shortcut, and he's criticizing Hendricks for doing it. This is ... weird. I think that's an odd opinion to hold, especially for a medical doctor. If he learned from an alien contact some new way to treat an illness, would he consider that a shortuct? Does he think every new development has to be researched from zero (whatever that means). But, the thing is that he's totally right about Hendricks taking a shortcut. Just not in the way that the dialog makes it out to be. I think that dialog could have been done better.
  • I really like the B5 combat uniforms.
  • The random "down below" sets are a little less exciting. It tends to just be a pile of crates, rearranged in various ways. Budget issues, I get it.
  • Not only is IPX introduced in this episode, Hendricks flat out states that the company is a cover.
  • I like how Sinclair's PTSD/survivor's guilt is brought up here.
  • I love all the stuff about the growing "pro-Earth movement" and the hints at the fallout from the Minbari war, and how eager certain people/organizations are to obtain superior technology. This is EXCELLENT, excellent stuff.
  • When Sinclair is talking to the reporter, there is something on the screens behind him that looks vaguely like an ocean map or something. I saw it behind Garibaldi in his security office in the previous episode, also. What IS that stuff? See screenshot below.

http://www.lotje.be/2015/08/i_1.jpg

Springer August 7th 15 00:05

Re: EpDis: Infection
 
The pictures in the background behind Sinclair are star charts. The style looks like they might be some of Will Tirion's.

Lennier's Tears August 7th 15 01:05

Re: EpDis: Infection
 
Awesome, thanks! :D Makes a lot more sense than ocean maps :p

Wulf August 12th 15 14:57

Re: EpDis: Infection
 
I remember disliking this episode in the past, but I rewatched it last night and can't really remember why. Not to say that it was an awesome episode, but for being the first episode filmed it's hardly an atrocity. Maybe I'm getting more accepting in my old age.

I'm also not remembering why I disliked Sinclair so much in the past. I had it in my head that he was a boring, deadpan actor. I'm still not ready to get a Team Sinclair tattoo, but he's out there doing stuff, emoting, and generally being a character. Maybe he levels out through S1? I dunno, we'll see if my Sinclair-apathy returns.

Smuggling things into B5 seems fairly easy. Surely some dust and weapons dealers must realize that they can just put their drugs in a box and then hang out with the single guy in charge of checking it out before killing him. Or slip him a few bucks to wave them through. It was this guy's second day and he had sole, total control over what was allowed through or not.

Speaking of, why hide the artifacts in the first place? He was visually inspecting the boxes, not running spectral scans and such. They'd have never been discovered to be organic on a visual inspection. Franklin didn't even know at first.

Not to mention, since when are organic things subjected to quarantines? People move freely, food moves freely, clothing (some of which must be organic) moves freely.... so what exactly are they quarantining?

The racial purity theme was a bit eye-rolling. Ok, maybe they screwed up the targeting parameters and wiped out their own race. I can buy that. But why project this whole "racial purity" onto it? Was there really any data that would have said "we are racists" instead of "we were rushed and our machines of war wiped us out"?

Good thing Franklin was able to convert that ancient, heretofore unknown storage device into something capable of interfacing with the B5 computers and translate their language that quickly. I've had trouble converting documents between different versions of Word in the past.

The machine was a fairly mindless killing machine. But wait, he was programmed with the thought patterns of the scientist that created him. Maybe if I say words to him... Yes! He's fully sentient and capable of understanding what he's done! ...Then why did he do it in the first place if he has a fully functioning personality with a conscience?

His gun gets 20% more powerful every time he uses it. Don't ask how, it just does. Remember how he just hit those two guys so hard they vaporized and left shadow imprints on the wall? Well, when his gun is 44% more powerful (at least, wasn't really counting) Sinclair is just thrown back a few feet. And the guy's engaging in fisticuffs, with a gun that can fire once and then needs to be recharged (except that we never really see him recharging or stopping between shots, so maybe it doesn't in spite of that being mentioned), why don't they just tackle him after he takes a shot?




>Favorite student
Geez, it's like you've never even been to university. Didn't you know that a minimum of 10 archeology courses is required for every course path? Franklin obviously did the recommended 20, and when you spend that much time with a man... well, things happen. Don't judge their love.

>shortcut
As you say, this could have been done better. I agree with what you said on the matter but have nothing else to add.

Lennier's Tears August 12th 15 18:12

Re: EpDis: Infection
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wulf (Post 451833)

Smuggling things into B5 seems fairly easy. Surely some dust and weapons dealers must realize that they can just put their drugs in a box and then hang out with the single guy in charge of checking it out before killing him. Or slip him a few bucks to wave them through. It was this guy's second day and he had sole, total control over what was allowed through or not.

Hah. Yea, that's weird. You can't even explain it away by saying "yea, there's usually more people but they were a bit short today and the other person just stepped out to use the restroom". If there had been anyone else nearby presumably they would have noticed the corpse before Nelson got the chance to pack up all his stuff and run for it. You'd also think that someone, somewhere would know that Nelson was the last person this security guard interacted with before collapsing.

Quote:

Speaking of, why hide the artifacts in the first place? He was visually inspecting the boxes, not running spectral scans and such. They'd have never been discovered to be organic on a visual inspection. Franklin didn't even know at first.
That's a good point. No one would have noticed. But, perhaps they were expecting tighter security?

Quote:

Not to mention, since when are organic things subjected to quarantines? People move freely, food moves freely, clothing (some of which must be organic) moves freely.... so what exactly are they quarantining?
Also a good point. Although maybe we don't know if food moves freely. We also don't know what people are asked about when they come in to the station. It looks as though everyone gets their ID checked, but that's about it. I don't see a lenghty customs form asking if you've touched any cows or have fruit in your bag, like when you come into the US in the RL present.

Quote:

Good thing Franklin was able to convert that ancient, heretofore unknown storage device into something capable of interfacing with the B5 computers and translate their language that quickly. I've had trouble converting documents between different versions of Word in the past.
I think quite a few of the B5 characters have such amazing skills, but we probably see it mostly from Franklin :D

Quote:

The machine was a fairly mindless killing machine. But wait, he was programmed with the thought patterns of the scientist that created him. Maybe if I say words to him... Yes! He's fully sentient and capable of understanding what he's done! ...Then why did he do it in the first place if he has a fully functioning personality with a conscience?

His gun gets 20% more powerful every time he uses it. Don't ask how, it just does. Remember how he just hit those two guys so hard they vaporized and left shadow imprints on the wall? Well, when his gun is 44% more powerful (at least, wasn't really counting) Sinclair is just thrown back a few feet. And the guy's engaging in fisticuffs, with a gun that can fire once and then needs to be recharged (except that we never really see him recharging or stopping between shots, so maybe it doesn't in spite of that being mentioned), why don't they just tackle him after he takes a shot?
Yea, all of that ... I tend to not pay too much attention when all of that is going on, and just go with "big monster, danger! Fight! Victory!" and move on.


Quote:

>Favorite student
Geez, it's like you've never even been to university. Didn't you know that a minimum of 10 archeology courses is required for every course path? Franklin obviously did the recommended 20, and when you spend that much time with a man... well, things happen. Don't judge their love.
Hah. I guess that would explain why Franklin doesn't think that an inappropriate relationship between, say, a medical doctor and their patient is a big deal ("The Long Dark").


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