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EpDis: The Quality Of Mercy

This is a case of.......

  • B -- Good

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  • D -- Poor

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  • F -- Failure

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AA +++Lots of things in this episode Londo's real last hurrah before his descent into darkness and with a big shock it is with Lennier of all people.The healing machine that Franklin gets will of course be used later and another look into Psi Corp and what a brutal orgainzation that Talia is forced to belong to.
A very nice episode. Maybe it seems a bit out of place between after a short run of slightly wacky sci-fi-ish episodes, and right before Chrysalis. But of course that's deceptive - its a big arc episode itself, introducing the healing machine and the whole Centauri 'attributes' thing - both major components of the B5 story.

The scenes involving Londo and Lennier are priceless.

The A plots are a little cheesy for my taste, but its nice how they tie together like that at the end. I think some of the best B5 episodes are the low-key ones where several separate story threads are unfolding independently. It really helps to reinforce the illusion of B5 as a living, breathing place, where not everything revolves around 'plot device of the week' :)
The "death of personality" is an excellent and appropriately creepy way to highlight how freaky telepathic powers could be.
The problem with this episode, for me at least, is that I keep mentally completing it in my head "the quality of mercy is not Buffy," which is utterly irrelevant but shows you the addictive power of that other show starting with B.

Not a bad episode, not bad at all. It kind of gets lost in the shuffle between BSquared and Chrysalis, but it's surprisingly strong. A touch of foreshadowing here and there. Decent philosophizing. And Lennier's reactions to the various aspects of the station are priceless.
I agree. I love this episode.

About a year ago, I watched all the DVDs and graded each episode. I'm trying to remember why I gave this episode a B+, because I'm really tempted to consider it an A-.

I give Chrsyalis an A- (the only S1 ep. I give an "A" range grade) because it accelerates the story arc and has several dramatic moments, etc. But from a perspective of liking an episode just for the episode itself--not how it affects the arc--I would say QoM is my favorite episode of Season 1.
The "death of personality" is an excellent and appropriately creepy way to highlight how freaky telepathic powers could be.

But isn't the mindwipe carried out by a machine, not telepathic powers? :confused:
But isn't the mindwipe carried out by a machine, not telepathic powers?

No if I remember correctly it is carried out by a telepath cause Talia explains why she is reluctant to scan Muller because he was a killer on Mars.And didn't want to go through it again .
They say that it's done by machine. Talia's role is to scan and make sure that the machine does its job -- to make sure it's a different personality afterward than it was before.
I have to say, though, that for a criminal condemned to death of personality, his security was awfully light.
Hmm, forgot about the machine part.

For the foreshadowing fans, this is also a nice thematic prelude to Control.
This one of those episodes that has a lot of important and good bits in it (which are not necessarily the same things), but somehow the whole doesn't stand up (for my personal taste) quite as well as you would expect for the sum of those parts.

I dont really know why that is. I still think that it is a pretty good ep. It just doesn't strike me as being as good as number of others. For me it would not be an A range episode.
One of my favorite season 1 episodes.
The Lennier/Londo scenes are priceless - is it getting a bit cold in here?
Was also good seeing June "Lassie's Mom" Lockhart again. A good actress that gave a solid performance. Too bad she and Lennier did not have any scene together...even a passing look (gee you look familiar).
Death of personality would probably be deemed cruel punishment at this point in our history. It does seem a bit drastic, but warranted.
Am I the only one who thinks that Talia's reactions, showing her "client" fear so openly, are unprofessional? I realize that it must be terrible to be inside the head of a multiple murderer, but you'd think she would be able to keep herself at a safe distance to that personality. I guess it goes to show that she is in way over her head, having to take over duties for which she is not sufficiently qualified and trained.

It is interesting that the two plot elements which are completely separate at first connect at the end of the story. And of course knowing to which use the machine will be put in a couple of years is quite poignant.

Putting Londo, the most experienced in all kinds of vices, together with Lennier, who is still a babe in the woods at this time, is a very amusing idea. Again, knowing what will come in Londo's future makes his activities here seem like a very innocent pastime.
I realize that it must be terrible to be inside the head of a multiple murderer, but you'd think she would be able to keep herself at a safe distance to that personality.

I think the implication here is that the man is forcing Talia into these thoughts. It's not where she was trying to go in his head.
I like this episode well enough. It gives some info on Centauri and Minbari cultures (and biology :p), but it mostly gives a lot of information about Earth and its colonies/dependencies. Or partial info, that leaves me with SO MANY questions ...

The justice system is ... interesting. I feel like I've commented on this before. Maybe a time or two. Definitely in the thread for "Passing Through Gethsemane" ... Anyway.

It's sort of terrifying how that works in the Babylon 5 universe. One guy decides on guilt and sentencing, with a tiny bit of input of people who have no business making those decisions (referring to the meeting with Sinclair, Garibaldi, and Talia Winters). There's no appeals or anything, just, guilty verdict, and sentenced to death of personality.

Also, I think death of personality is no more humane than a "regular" death sentence. And I think there's some added ethical concerns about "creating" a new person to perform a lifetime of service, although that aspect of it doesn't really come up in this episode. I find it depressing to think that between the 21st and 23rd centuries, Earth evolves from a place where few countries still have the death penalty to a place where it's a normal thing that can be decided on by just one guy, with sentencing carried out essentially within hours (although of course it's possible that Earth has different rules for faraway places like B5 and this isn't how things go on actual Earth). I've become a lot less optimistic about the future of the human race recently so I don't think it's an unrealistic future, just a depressing one :p

Another thing we see here about the Babylon 5 universe is that medical care isn't free. At least not on Babylon 5. It's not news at this point, it was already mentioned in "Believers" But it always bothers me when it's mentioned. Also pretty depressing.

The list of little things:
  • I agree with KoshFan that security seems a bit light for the transportation of a known murderer to his execution.
  • "Stroke off" makes another appearance. I kinda like it :D
  • Is this the first time they've had a mindwipe ordered since the station became operational? It seems no one is really sure about procedures and stuff. Why is Franklin treating a part of his job as something that Garibaldi now owes him a favor for? This is confusing.
  • Another depressing thing: "I've got a quota to make, otherwise it comes out of my salary". I
  • How does Franklin have the right to check into people's accounts?? I guess that was part of Garibaldi's investigation into whether or not what Dr. Rosen was doing was illegal, but how can he (Garibaldi) just share information about their personal stuff like that? And how is Janice Rosen not all "YOU DID WHAT?" when he tells her he checked the account?
  • What are the items in that box in Talia's drawer, aside from the ID card and Psi Corps pin?
  • In the casino, Lennier says something like "Hmm, interesting, the odds of getting this particular combination are 5000 to 1 against" ... What type of Poker are they playing??
  • Thanks for explaining PPG wounds to us, Dr. Franklin.
  • The woman behind Londo in the screenshot below ... Is that her head or a hat that happens to match her skin color?

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