Babylon 5: Eyes
March 10, 2018 8:33 AM - Season 1, Episode 16 - Subscribe

[minor arc episode] Sinclair and his staff are investigated by internal affairs because of the past year events, thanks to Jeffrey "haven't found a rule I wouldn't bend" Sinclair. Meanwhile, Garibaldi and Lennier bond over rebuilding an Old Earth motorcycle. "I must admit, Mr. Garibaldi, I am fascinated by this vehicle. Do you realize that it was a symbol of masculinity in your society at one time?"

-Ivanova is terrified of being scanned by telepaths and would rather resign.
-The bombing of Phobos base has caused something of a loyalty crisis inside Earthforce--there are suspicions of splinter groups, and internal affairs has arrived to investigate the station's staff and administer loyalty oaths.
-While telepaths generally are prohibited from scanning minds, Earthforce personnel are subject to scans for the purpose of investigation. Because of this, Colonel Ben Zayn is accompanied by a telepath named Gray.
-One of the investigators, Ben Zayn, was himself passed over for the job of B5 commander. (We had previously learned why--the Minbari vetoed every other candidate.) Because of this, his investigation is effectively a witchhunt.
-Ben Zayn seizes control, loses his shit, and is shut down by Gray.
-There are now terrorist attacks on Mars.
-Ivanova has a nightmare of her mother, flanked by Psi Corps personnel who are preparing to inject her with her anti-psi drugs. Ivanova becomes her mother as she realizes "there is only one way out."
-Lennier builds a motorcycle and bonds with Garibaldi. He is also something of a historian and linguist.
-The motorcycle was not product placement.
posted by flibbertigibbet (2 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was wondering why Harriman Gray seemed so familiar! Jeffrey Combs also played Weyoun in DS9.
posted by expialidocious at 1:03 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

This one got me thinking more about how political intrigue is depicted on B5. Jeffrey Sinclair is not particularly savvy at politics, despite the political aspect of his job. In Deathwalker, he went into a major vote without a firm nose count ahead of time, using a vague stereotype about honour to assume Lennier would vote the right way. Senator Hidoshi warns Sinclair about enemies in Earthdome, but Sinclair doesn't ask followup questions like "who are they" or "how do I defend myself". This is an interesting character flaw that I wish B5 had been able to define and use more effectively. (After all, the Minbari insisted Sinclair be in command because of his [spoilers]; his political savvy didn't figure into it.)

There's a lot of valid reasons for Sinclair to have political enemies, and they have some legitimate grievances. This episode could have been about Sinclair being out of his depth (politically) against his enemies, and struggling to cope. But instead Sinclair just has to outlast Zayn, until the reveal that Zayn is just a loose cannon operating on a personal vendetta. It's an endurance test, instead of personal growth.

Although since B5 aired, shows like The West Wing and House of Cards upped the ante for depiction of political intrigue. So it's hard to judge B5 now by the standards of its time.

And this is not the first, nor the last, time that someone opposing the command staff turns out to just have a personal grudge.
posted by Banknote of the year at 12:52 PM on March 22

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