Babylonia!

We’re back on track with our eleventh installment of the Babylon 5 Viewing Club!

The introductory post was here, The Soul Hunter was covered here, and Born to the Purple was covered right here. After that was Infection. Then came The Parliament of Dreams. Following on its heels was Mind War. Then, RTod covered War Prayer. After that, I recapped Sky Full of Stars, then Dman recapped Death Walker! Jaybird hit The Believers. Followed by Patrick reviewing Survivors.

This week, Dman recaps By Any Means Necessary. 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! Let’s get to the recap!

By Any Means Necessary

We start B5 by playing the game Sim-Space Station™. The station difficulty is set to ‘Insane’ and the docking traffic to ‘Very Busy’.  Ivanova is tasked to handle the traffic. Let’s see what happens… Yep, it ends in an explosion and one dock worker dead. The cargo ship that blew was Narn. Roll the credits!

Sub-Plot

G’Kar is chanting for some religious ceremony. He is interrupted by N’Toth to be given the bad news about the cargo ship. It seems something very special was destroyed.

G’Kar is looking for a new G’Quan Eth (whatever that is) and he is very desperate for it. Londo wanders by and remarks that it is a holy week for the believers of G’Quan. Londo seems very smug and G’Kar blows him off. N’Toth , the Bearer Of All Bad News, tells G’Kar that no one can get a G’Quan Eth to B5 in time, but there is one on the station. The owner is… Londo. We see him laughing and gives G’Kar an annoying little wave as the elevator doors close.

Londo is going to enter his quarters when he notices the door open. Inside is G’Kar who mentions that the door was “unlocked”. G’Kar wants the G’Quan Eth. We find out it is a plant and Londo will sell it for 50k. G’Kar is irate and storms out.

Later, Londo receives a call from G’Kar, he has the money. Londo tells him that he has changed his mind and will not sell the plant. Londo tells G’Kar that this is a little revenge for episode 1. Wow, the writers of this show have actually watched earlier episodes. This was one of the first times the show has remembered earlier episodes. Back when B5 first aired this was incredibly rare and was yet another departure from Star Trek. Back to G’Kar throwing a fit and mentions that there is one last thing he can try, but does not want to. Then tells N’Toth that if this fails she has a task to complete and we get the sense that this is dastardly.

Right after Mr. Evil chews Sinclair out of the dock workers officially striking, G’Kar contacts Sinclair and asks to meet with him. Cut to the Council Chambers and Sinclair has a stupefied face on (who am I kidding, his face is the same as always) as he is told about the lovers spat between Londo and G’Kar. We find out about the ritual that needs to be completed. Sinclair tries to blow him off, but G’Kar will not let him. Sinclair relents and goes to talk to Londo.

Cut to Sinclair talking to Londo and asks for the flower. Londo says no. Sinclair tells G’Kar the bad news and G’Kar activates N’Toth.

Sinclair, Londo, and G’Kar are back in the Council Chambers. Sinclair tells Londo that the G’Quan Eth is a banned substance and he needed to confiscate it. Londo relents and gives it to Sinclair.  Sinclair will give it to G’Kar after he returns what he stole from Londo. G’Kar is still not happy because the wholly week is over. Sinclair then shows that his head is not just a hat rack and give G’Kar some BS about the sunlight traveling from his planet to B5 and if you used that to determine the end of the ceremony, G’Kar had a few hour left. Sinclair roles a 20 for diplomacy this time and G’Kar buys it. All’s well that ends well.

Main Plot

It turns out that the dock worker that died was the foreman’s little brother.  Cut the Sinclair finding out that Sim-Space Station™ is no fun on ‘Insane’ as he is told the equipment level is set to ‘Sub-Par’ and the dock worker levels are set to ‘Over Worked’, ‘Under Payed’, and their morale has dropped to dangerous levels. G’Kar does his normal barking that everyone ignores. It also seems that the B5 budget is up for review and Sinclair is hoping for an increase in it for the Dock Workers. He seems to have forgotten he is playing this on ‘Insane’. Sinclair is told that the Senator with the new budget is wanting to meet with him.

Sinclair has found out that there is no new money for the dock workers and is basically told to suck it up by the Senator and we find out that Sinclair seems to be that last one told, because the dock workers are already calling in “sick”. This is because the dock workers are under government contract and cannot strike.

Welcome back to Sim-Space Station™ as the line of ships outside B5 are piling up. The dock worker’s morale bar has dropped even more and the ‘sickness’ seems to have spred to all of them. In comes Garibaldi to collect the union boss babe to talk to Sinclair. The union boss leaves with Garibaldi. Sinclair seems sympathetic, but mentions something called the Rush Act, but the union boss scoffs at that (Chekov’s Gun). Union boss refuses to put the workers back to work. She leaves as Sinclair has another call from the Senator.

Sim-Space Station™ is sending a labor negotiator to B5 and it sounds like he is Famous…. Er… Infamous at stopping the illegal strikes. I’ll just call him Mr. Evil.

Mr. Evil is talking to the dock workers and roles a natural 1 on his diplomacy check. He comes off as a used car salesmen.  He is booed out of the room as Sinclair gets Mr. Evil out before he incites a riot.

Now we see Sinclair with a 5 o’clock shadow looking at numbers. He receives a call from Mr. Evil and he is pissed. The dock workers are officially calling this a strike. Mr. Evil shows his full colors by blaming Sinclair for this problem and will tattle-tail to the Senate. I must comment on Mr. Evil here in relation to Sinclair. I know I have gone on and on about Sinclair being a stone face, and he is yet again in this episode. The only thing that changes with his face in this episode is the 5 o’clock shadow. Yet Mr. Evil is the opposite side of the coin. His overacting of facial expression is ridiculous and in this scene they are completely over the top. I would rather have ten Sinclairs that one of this guy.

Next morning has Mr. Evil and union boss yelling at each other and no one giving in. Sinclair tries to be the peace maker, but Sim-Space Station™’s settings are too high and they fail. Mr. Evil invokes the Rush Act and will require the security personnel.

Sinclair walks on to the command deck and is hounded by a reporter, who gives a synopsis of the episode for those not paying attention. Then Londo and G’Kar com in yelling at each other and wants the other to be arrested for theft. In the best scene of the entire episode, Sinclair snaps and yells at everyone to get out. He threatens them with Ivanova, again. They all look scared and run off the deck. (Sometimes I wish the show would let us know why Ivanova scares the crap out of everyone. Still, a very fun scene.) The Senator calls then and the Rush Act is invoked by them.

The dock worker’s morale bar hits ‘Riot’ as the security teams move in to arrest them. We have a pathetic fight scene for 30 seconds before Sinclair pulls the security personnel back. Sinclair mentions gassing them, but….

Sinclair has a conversation with Mr. Evil and they go back into the room with the workers instead of using gas. For some reason, the dock workers let them get into the middle of their ranks. Sinclair then asks Mr. Evil if he had the authorization to stop the strike By Any Means Necessary (wink, wink, nudge, nudge at the title of this episode). Mr. Evil, not sensing the trap, agrees. Sinclair then tells the workers he is shifting 1.3 million from the military budget to them instead. They cheer and go back to work. Reset dock worker morale to ‘High’. Mr. Evil is not happy and runs back home to the Senate to tell on Sinclair.

I must say that this is a completely throw away episode. The only redeeming piece to it is the fighting between Londo and G’Kar.

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11 thoughts on “Babylonia!

    • I think it’s color. There are some tangents of this when G’Kar offers to buy certain human DNA from a future human woman in the show (reasons spoilers) and he mentioned that the Narn are interested in combining human and Narn DNA and essentially offers “we can do it in a lab or the more traditional way”. Nothing like serving your race and getting some alien strange at the same time. :)

      I have to agree about the subplot vs main plot. I’m much more interested in the internicine petty diplomat squabbles as they show more of a “real” life of diplomants-particularlly ones that have a long warring history.

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    • It’s not entirely color.

      ROT13ed for the spoiler averse:

      Aneaf unir ab angvir gryrcnguvp novyvgl.
      Gur pebff-fcrpvrf oerrqvat vf na nggrzcg gb pbeerpg guvf.
      Guvf vf na vzcbegnag fho-cybg cbvag va frireny cynprf nybat gur jnl.

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  1. To me this is a showcase for Sinclair’s deviousness. Firs the turn the Senate’s commands against itself, secondly he uses a chain of technicalities to please G’Kar without offending Londo. At times we’ve wondered how Sinclair got as far up the tree as he has, it’s episodes like this that help explain how he managed it.

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  2. This episode demonstrates one of the things I like so much about the show.

    In Star Trek, everything worked, pretty much. Even in DS9, you had to deal with “evil” or “interests” more than you had to deal with “the computers aren’t talking to each other” or “my communicator never gets more than two bars”.

    In B5? Stuff breaks. Whoa. You mean we still have to deal with crappy tech in the future?

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  3. Having finished Season One, I brought the box set upstairs to Maribou so she could start watching it and I watched the first episode again… and I realize that Londo was a rogue, a scamp, and a bit of a rascal until this episode in which he pretty much just became a jerk.

    Against the Narn, true.

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  4. Been away for a while. Just wanted to comment to say that I loved this one. It’s makes it umistakeably clear that JMS is a liberal (he named the Rush Act after Limbaugh, FYI; but it also seems partly inspired by the Riot Act, where “reading the Riot Act” was prelude to violent suppression of demonstrations), and it’s entertainingly down-to-earth – how many space-science-fiction works deal with labour unrest? The solution’s a sensible one, and both the union and the station are presented fairly sympathetically (or at least as sympathetically as police suppressing a labour demonstration ever can be…I didn’t much like Garibaldi and his black-uniform folks).

    The London-G’Kar dispute is also entertaining. Overall, the episode does a good job of showing why Sinclair is good at his job. He does seem far more liberal that I would expect of a military man, reflecting JMS’ own inclinations.

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