We’re back on track with our sixth installment of the Babylon 5 Viewing Club! This week’s recap is from our very own Dman!
This week: Mind War! You can watch it here.
It’s very difficult to discuss this show without discussing the next one (or the one after that, or the one after that), or referring to the pilot; 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.
We good? We good! Everybody who has done the watchin’, see you after the cut!
(Hello, I am filling in this week for Pat and will give the synopsis for Mind War. Just a brief note, I have split the write up into the main plot and the sub plot. This is not the chronological order of the show. It helps my one track mind when I am writing; I hope you do not mind.)
The opening scene has a transport being chased by three earth Star Furies. The only difference on the fighters is they have the omega symbol painted on their tops (is this significant?). The fighters give the standard speech about surrendering to the transport. Suddenly lights flash on the outside of the transport, then one big flash. As the light goes away, only the transport remains. (Scene cut)
Brief flash of B5 (as if we might have forgotten where Commander Sinclair works), then Sinclair and Catherine are talking (she looks to have just finished a shower, I guess they are still a thing). Catherine has a job offer for surveying a planet. Sinclair goes “male protector” on her saying she needs to be careful around these big corps. She blows him off and goes to get ready. (Scene cut)
Talia is talking to some guy who asks questions about what it is like to be a telepath and if she hears everything people think. She says it is more like being in a hotel with thin walls, you can hear other people but not make out the words…. Except if the thoughts are very strong (Chekhov’s gun). They enter an elevator and Garibaldi is in it. He makes a face that I guess is supposed to mean he is thinking naughty thoughts about Talia. She ‘over hears’ those strong thoughts and gives him a shot in the gut (Bang! Gun used). (Scene cut)
Catherine is talking shop with the suit from Talia’s scene. The Corp is looking for ‘rare minerals’ for jump gates. The suit makes a cheap shot about her seeing the commander and keeping this secret. Talia is there to make sure Catherine tells the truth about keeping things secret. Sheesh, is this really that important for others to not know, yet you are in the middle of a busy section of B5 where anyone could over hear? I mean, there are people everywhere, walking behind them and so on, yet they needed a telepath to make sure Catherine did not blab to Sinclair. I think half the station knows about this job now. One last little detail turns out to be they need G’kar’s approval to enter that sector of space… and enter Snidley Whiplash himself! (Scene Cut)
Catherine is arguing with G’Kar to agree to her going into that sector. G’Kar, of course, is saying no and claims it is because the sector is not ‘safe’ and ‘strange’ things happen there. One has to wonder if this is like the Narn moving in on the Centauri sector, from first episode, because the Centauri had come to them for protection too. Catherine is not falling for it and calls G’Kar out. G’kar makes one of his first big quotes of the show, “No one here is exactly what he appears…” Then he ruins it with a threat, “My warning is sincere, ignore it at your own peril.” Catherine is not daunted and says she will go over his head. G’Kar then says he fears the commander will miss her when she does not return. Way to go Snidely! (Scene cut)
Catherine launches out of B5 in her survey ship. I guess she is off to the ‘strange’ sector. Cut to G’Kar in his quarters and he orders up a couple of heavy fighters to go to the same sector and he wants them well armed. Is Snidlely making his play for Sinclair’s main squeeze? Will Sinclair find out in time to save her from being tied to the railroad tracks? (Scene cut)
Catherine comes out of a jump gate at her destination and moves towards the planet she was sent to survey. (Scene cut, and was this necessary?)
The survey has arrived at the planet safely. Catherine mocks G’Kar’s fears, and right on queue a strange jump gate opens up (Scene cut)
Things look to be going well for Catherine, suddenly a bright light flashes and a massive tentacle monster or spiky ship looking thing appears next to her ship. It then leaves, yet the damage has been done and her ship has had its power sucked almost dry. Her orbit is now degrading; she has 2 hours to live. (Scene cut)
Catherine tries to get help or save herself, but there is just not enough power. (Scene cut)
The survey ship is getting close to the planet’s atmosphere now. Ship has enough power to detect two ships coming into the system. They are Narn! And they are here… to help?!? What happened to my Snidely Whiplash? (Scene cut)
G’Kar is walking on B5 when he is hailed by Catherine. She thanks him for saving her life, but asks why. This leads to one of my most favorite conversations from G’Kar. To me this one speech transforms him from Snidely Whiplash into something more complex.
G’Kar: [pointing to a nearby flower] What is this? [upon closer inspection, an insect is visible]
Catherine: An ant.
Catherine: So much gets shipped up from Earth on commercial transports, it’s hard to keep them out.
[As Catherine is talking, G’Kar carefully picks up the ant.]
G’Kar: I have just picked it up on the tip of my glove. If I put it down again [replacing the ant on the flower] and it asks another ant, “What was that?” …how would it explain? There are things in the universe billions of years older than either of our races. They are vast, timeless. And if they are aware of us at all, it is as little more than ants…and we have as much chance of communicating with them as an ant has with us. We know. We’ve tried. And we’ve learned we can either stay out from underfoot, or be stepped on.
Catherine: That’s it? That’s all you know?
G’Kar: Yes. They are a mystery. And I am both terrified and reassured to know that there are still wonders in the universe…that we have not yet explained everything. Whatever they are, Ms. Sakai, they walk near Sigma 957. They must walk there alone.”
We see the transport moving in space again and Ivanova’s voice comes over the intercom welcoming it to B5. We see a picture of a human saying thank you. No alien menace this week, just the good old home grown kind. (Scene cut)
Two people in black walk out of the docking area. One is a women and the other is… Chekhov, I mean Walter Koenig! Walter has a very bored look on his face and stares at the back of a security guys head. Suddenly the guy turns around and start a seemingly one sided conversation with Walter. He is a Psi-Cop. (Scene cut)
Sinclair is in his office as Walter and side kick is lead into the office. Walter starts the mind talk with Sinclair. Sinclair starts the one sided conversation and then realizes what is going on, gets pissed, and tells them to talk normal. He questions them about Psi-Core rules on not messing with people’s heads. We find out that there are loop holes for everything and the Psi-cops are pretty much THE loop hole. We then find out that Walter’s name is Bester (remember that name). They are looking for a rouge telepath and start giving Sinclair his marching orders. That goes over like a lead balloon and Sinclair starts to shoot it down. Bester comes back to say this is a very dangerous person that has already killed and is a threat to all of Earth. Cut to the man in the transport getting his room on B5. Everything seems normal until he gets a pained look on his face and then his room looks to be in an earth… er… space… er… station quake. The guy does an ‘I have to take an intense dump’ concentration face and the station quake subsides. Cut to Bester briefing Sinclair, Ivanova, and Talia about the rouge telepath, named Jason Ironheart (transport guy). He instructed Talia at the Psi-Core. We find out that normal telepaths are rated P1-10, but Psi-cops are, of course, P12s because, “Someone has to keep an eye on the rest.” Ivanova shows that she read the Watchmen graphic novel and asks the Psi-Cops, “Yes, but who watches the watchmen?” Bester then start to pull the “need to know” BS on what Ironheart was doing and seems to have some smug satisfaction in handing it out (would you like to place bets on this coming back to bite him). They claim he will sell out covert operatives to other races. Talia blurts out that Jason would never do that. Seems Jason might have been more than just an instructor. Which gains her the Psi-Cops’ attention. Now they want to scan her and Talia cringes, I guess this will not be pleasant…. And it is not, the cops circle Talia and she gets a pained look on her face and starts gasping in pain. This is too much for Sinclair and he tells them to stop. The Psi-Cops tell Talia to stay away from Ironheart in a nice creepy fashion. Talia is walking away from the meeting and Ironheart is waiting for her. (Scene cut)
Talia makes a pitiful attempt to brush Jason off and asks if he knows what they did to her with the scan. Jason says he did and that is why he waited until after they met with her. He claims million of lives are at stake too. He asks her to meet with him later. She seems to agree. (Scene cut)
Jason is explaining to Talia what happened to him. He was experimented on by The Core to make stronger telepaths. It was not pleasant. It succeeded for Jason. But the truth was to make telekinetic abilities in telepaths (this is a very rare ability). Jason has TK now and somehow this means he cannot go back or let Earth have him… huh? Why? (Scene cut)
Garibaldi talks to Sinclair about a lead on Ironheart. Bester comes in and picks the info out of Garibaldi’s head. Garibaldi then thinks some bad thoughts about Bester, which Bester tells Garibaldi he could try anytime he wants to and puts on a very creepy smile. (Scene cut)
Ironheart tells Talia that Earth wanted TKs for small jobs. Small enough to cut off the blood flow of someone and kill them. They wanted assassins. Then Jason gets the constipated look on his face again and another station quake happens. He tells Talia to go and that he cannot control this. Cut to Sinclair and Bester feeling the station quake. The lady Psi-Cop (call her Red Shirt) names it a mind quake. (Scene cut)
Sinclair is apprised by Garibaldi on the location of the quake and sees an energy shield has been created around that area. Sinclair now thinks he ‘needs to know’ the Ironheart threat level. (Scene cut)
Sinclair is dressing down Bester for not telling him Ironheart’s threat to the station. Nothing like that ‘need to know’ biting you in the butt. Of course, Bester using that line was like Chekhov’s gun again, you knew it was going to come back to be a problem. Bester breaks and tells the commander that Ironheart is not completely human anymore and they do not know what he is either. Cut to Ironheart trying to control his mind. Cut again to Bester talking about the experiments done on Jason. Claims Ironheart went nuts, killed the researcher, and fled. They kept his TK abilities a secret because they did not want another government to get him. It was a calculated risk. Ivanova insults them for a while. Red Shirt mentions they have a cut-off switch to take Ironheart down and the two Psi-Cop can burrow through and shut him down, together. But they need line of sight to do it. Cut to Talia going up to the energy shield and asks Jason to let her in. The shield goes down, Talia walks in, the shield goes back up. Jason tells her he had hoped seeing Talia would help him with control over the abilities… er… why? It did not work and now he needs to leave or people will die. We now find out that The Core is slipping its leash held by Earth Gov. They are starting to make a power base for themselves and they make great blackmailers. (Scene cut)
Sinclair is walking with a concerned look on his face. Talia runs up and wants to talk and lets out the bombshell that she has seen Ironheart. They find a private place and Talia tells Sinclair that Jason‘s TK abilities are about to blow. He wants to leave so that he does not hurt anyone. Sinclair agrees to help, but asks Talia what was between hey and Jason. She tells him they were lovers and then tries to describe telepaths making love. Talia puts on a face that I guess was supposed to be for fond remembrance, but it looked like the pained face she had when she was scanned earlier. Ugh, TMI, did we really need that? (Scene cut)
Sinclair meets Ironheart and Jason tells him that Psi-Core is about control of everything. Jason can now control energy and humans are not ready for that power, so Jason needs to leave and not give this ability to anyone. Cut to Ivanova and Garibaldi, Sinclair comms them to clear a path for him. He tries to be secretive. I do not think he took to heart what Ironheart said about telepaths and controlling secrets. (Scene cut)
Security is moving people out, when Bester talks to one to find out what is going on. Security claims it is a drill. Does anyone think that got past Bester? Didn’t think so. Cut to Sinclair, Talia and Jason walking through the cleared area. Jason can barely walk and looks to be in pain. Suddenly, they are surprised (they may be the only ones surprised), when Bester and Red Shirt appear. They start to shut Ironheart down and Jason starts to lose it. Another mind quake happens and sparks jump off of Ironheart (that’s new). Sinclair decks Bester to make him stop, but Red Shirt still tries to shut Ironheart down even to the point of trying to shoot him. He looks at her and she is gone. Bester wakes back up and shoots Jason, but it is not enough and gets the TK push to knock him out (why not another disintegration? I guess Bester has more to do on B5). Cut to the transport leaving B5 with Ironheart on it… and BOOM! It blows up. We see a computer rendering of a human looking like a bunch of energy, it gives Talia a ‘gift’ and then leaves. Cut to Bester getting blackmailed by Sinclair to keep his mouth shut. It actually seems to work. Sinclair tells Garibaldi that they need to keep their eyes open for Psi-Core manipulations. Cut to Talia and she can now move a penny with her mind. Ironheart gave her TK abilities. (Scene cut)