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Old July 17th 17, 20:34   #35
vacantlook
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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Re: Rewatching Babylon 5.

By Any Means Necessary

Hooray, another episode with guest actors that chew the scenery. That aside, I like that we get a sort of boring life episode. How does all the real life needs of the station go on when the bigger story arcs are taking place? Well, here’s a look into that. We also get to see the realistic situation of labor, which is necessary for our way of life, being so easily disrespected, like common workers are easily forgotten. We eventually see that too in Minbari culture; Delenn even calls everyone out on it in an episode much further down the line, if I remember correctly: “You forgot about them, didn’t you,” she tells the Grey Council (I am remembering that right, it’s like 4th season??).

The real life history of the fight for workers’ rights is a very tense and deadly story. No surprise that this episode seeks to fictionally tell that ongoing story in the future. Once again, Babylon 5 shows that the same problems humans have had and have now will not be solved by our future. Human nature and desire to exploit others is too deep for that. The negotiator keeps threatening the Rush Act (seriously, the number of times the words “Rush Act” are spoken in this episode is excessive); if I understand it correctly, the strikers would be arrested and replacement workers would be brought in. How in the world would that not be more expensive than just paying the existing staff more? Not that power usually really cares about budgetary/monetary/financial conservatism when the guttural thrill of using power to abuse those less powerful is an option.

The solution comes to Sinclair through a lot of luck and a bit of publicly manifestations of his subtle manipulation of the individual that was sent to B5 to stomp on the workers. As much as the show does put Sinclair in positions to punch villains, this story shows us Sinclair also operates with a canny mind.

Also, Garibaldi’s eventually “second in command,” or whatever his official position is, is alongside Garibaldi in the riot scene. He doesn’t speak any, but is this is first episode?

This episode gives us something we did not get in “The Parliament of Dreams”: Narn religion. And unlike in the alien religion in “Believers,” G’Kar’s religious practice is not awkward or embarrassing. Londo takes the opportunity to specifically taunt and antagonize G’Kar, and he specifically sites his doing so as revenge for what the Narn did to his nephew in “Midnight On The Firing Line.” So as much as Londo is a dick about it all, I simultaneously can’t blame him too much. Seeing G’Kar’s genuine expression of his faith gives us a new layer to his character. In the same way that his interactions with Catherine Sakai deepens his character, so too does this. Sinclair’s solution for the timing of G’Kar’s ceremony is reliant upon the reality of physics of light. Yay science!!
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