Babylon 5: There All The Honor Lies
July 15, 2018 4:46 AM - Season 2, Episode 14 - Subscribe

Sheridan kills a Minbari in self-defense, but it seems as though he is being set up to lose his command... Meanwhile, Ivanova runs a gift shop, Sheridan and Kosh seek understanding, and Vir receives a message from Centauri Prime. About 'truth': "Ah, yes. The favorite song of the legally ignorant."

-Sheridan is jumped by a Minbari and kills the Minbari during the struggle. Sheridan heard the Minbari say "Death first"; a Minbari witness, who says Sheridan killed the Minbari in cold blood, says it was the Minbari phrase for "I yield to you."
-If Sheridan goes to trial for the murder of a Minbari, regardless of the outcome, he will lose the B5 command. Too scandalous.
-Lennier and Garibaldi run parallel investigations. Garibaldi is fine--the gun is untraceable, this is a frame job, etc. Lennier is, as always, hyper-competent at everything and breaks the case wide open through his knowledge of Minbari customs (Minbari CAN lie... to preserve someone's honour, as recalled by Londo during the B-plot) and his relationship to the lying witness (they come from the same Minbari 'fane'). He gets the corrupt witness to confess to the setup, with the B5 command staff hidden in the room. Whoops.
-Why set Sheridan up? He's the Starkiller, the only human to take down a Minbari ship. The dead dude was a Starrider, the clan who hid the Deathwalker from s1 and are called 'fanatical'. Some Minbari want him gone.
-Why is Lennier, not Delenn, heading the investigation? Local Minbari think she's a half-blood freak now.
-Main B-plot: EarthAlliance wants more income for B5. They make a gift shop. Ivanova is unhappily put in charge. At one point, Londo has a meltdown because the Londo doll doesn't include the many-tentacled Centauri genialia, making him look... unmanned. This meltdown recalls how Lennier lied to preserve Londo's honour during the gambling sequence, last season. Sheridan also throws a John "Bear"idan teddy bear out the airlock, where it hits Keffer's ship.
-Minor plots: Sheridan and Kosh visit a non-human monk in Downbelow and Sheridan has a religious experience, with Gregorian chant. Vir receives news from the Centauri government that he is to be replaced by someone more 'worthy', but Londo vetoes the replacement. This also just makes Vir madder: his opinion never enters into the calculation.
posted by flibbertigibbet (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There's a notorious story behind the bear. SF & comic book author Peter David, who wrote this episode, had gotten B5 showrunner J. Michael Straczynski a custom-made Vermont Teddy Bear for Christmas prior to the episode being filmed. Joe hated the thing. So JMS took Peter's script, which already had the gift shop B-Plot, originally intended to be a dig at Paramount's extensive merchandising of Star Trek, and rewrote it to include the bear. You see, the bear had been embroidered with Joe's initials, which for self-insert reasons, were shared by the station's commander (as well as the previous commander). John Sheridan became Joe's mouthpiece for his feelings about what he saw as an inappropriately cutesy gift, which is why it got tossed out of an airlock.

So naturally, Peter decided that he had to respond, and did so with the show he was making at the time, a children's sci-fi show called Space Cases. The space ship crew at the center of that show's plot discovers a nearly identical bear floating in space, prompting one of the characters to comment “What kind of dope would throw a perfectly good bear into outer space?” as they retrieved the thing. Turns out that it was booby trapped by a race of evil aliens called the "Straczyn", who had laced the bear with a fatal virus that almost killed of the crew in their second episode.

There's more to the story, but I'll let Peter David tell it.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:20 PM on July 15, 2018 [8 favorites]

That story is glorious. Also I’m kind of kicking myself, that I’ve been binge watching and still didn’t remember Lennier covering for Londo in the casino.
posted by corb at 8:34 PM on March 22, 2019

I liked the character moments in this episode, especially Vir’s cri du coeur in the bar. Lots of heightened emotional moments which felt (to me) a bit reminiscent of fanfic— is it cheating? Are characters meant to reveal that much of themselves? Have we earned that?— but Peter David is a good enough writer that he carries it off, and the actors warm to his dialogue, keeping it true without overplaying it.

It just remains to be noted that the Amazonian lawyer (whose character seems to serve no real purpose) is Julie Caitlin Brown, formerly Na’toth, here in a role without facial prosthetics.

Poor unloved bear, all alone in the night.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:26 PM on April 14, 2021

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