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Old August 5th 15, 21:56   #41
Lennier's Tears
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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 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 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.

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