Babylon 5: A Day in the Strife
September 22, 2018 6:04 PM - Season 3, Episode 3 - Subscribe

An alien probe arrives at B5, with an ultimatum: answer its questions to receive a reward; fail, and die. Delenn makes an offer. Garibaldi confronts Franklin. Sheridan bumps into an acquaintance. "I don't know what my superiors would say if I started showing up everywhere with a Narn bodyguard." "They will say, 'Here is a man who will live to be a hundred and fifty!'"

-There's an alien probe that will nuke B5 if it doesn't perfectly answer its 600 sci-tech-etc. questions. If they DO pass, it promises cures to all diseases and advanced tech. Ivanova loses her mind for much of the episode trying to get the 600 answers with Lt. Corwin.
-Londo meets with a Narn rep, chosen to replace G'Kar (by the Centauri) as Narn ambassador, about safety on the Narn homeworld. He is flagrantly offensive, talking about work camps, executions, etc. The Narn responds pleasantly; Londo allows him to contact G'Kar as a reward for his obeisance. Vir is horrified, but Londo insists that they must break the pride of all Narn if the Narn are to stop being a threat.
-The Narn rep goes to meet with G'kar to try to convince him to surrender and return to Narn homeworld. The food drops aren't much; the Centauri are purging Narn homeworld is response, and are threatening retaliation of Narn familymembers of B5-residing/G'Kar-aligned Narn. G'Kar says no, only for a pack of G'Kar-aligned Narn to attack the rep ("blood traitor"), and Ta'lon. Ta'Lon (who carries a blade which must draw blood once drawn) and G'Kar stop the fight and G'Kar agrees to go to Narn to stop this madness. When he tries to leave, bands of loyal Narn say the resistance of the Narn race is worth more than the safety of individual Narn family members, and G'Kar agrees to stay on B5.
-Knowing that Vir is horrified, Londo goes to a very frosty Delenn, who strongly disapproves of his recent actions. Londo asks, as a favour, that Vir becomes the Centauri ambassador to Minbar; when Delenn asks why he wants her to advocate for this appointment, he says Vir must be kept away from what 'must be'. Londo is sad about ruining what he and Delenn had; Delenn rebuffs this attempt to open up and implies they never had much. Vir tries to refuse the appointment out of loyalty to Londo, but eventually goes to Minbar.
-The bodyguard of the above-mentioned Narn rep is Ta'lon, last seen when Sheridan beat an alien control device out of him on the Streib ship. He disapproves of the Narn rep, not knowing if he is to protect him from aliens or other Narn, and offers his services as bodyguard to Sheridan. Sheridan is iffy on the idea and by the end of the episode, Ta'Lon becomes G'Kar's bodyguard after he outsmarts G'Kar (Ta'Lon has the weapon of the hand, G'Kar has the weapon of the heart and mind, so Ta'Lon is outmatched).
-Franklin is abusing stims (sci-fi cocaine/methamphetamines). He's snappy and has weird energy peak/troughs, and is making mistakes. Garibaldi calls him on it; Garibaldi is rebuffed as Franklin says a variant of "stim problem? what stim problem?"
posted by flibbertigibbet (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I had totally forgotten that this episode ever happened until I recapped it.

I missed the ending of the probe plotline due to a power-loss situation that erased part of the post:

-Sheridan figures out the probe is lying. It's a pre-emptive strike, targeting potential alien threats; if they get the 600 questions right, they'll be nuked. He cancels the transmission (stressing out everyone), but is correct.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 6:06 PM on September 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

When Ta’Lon and G’Kar are having their discussion to convince G’Kar to stay, you see the silhouette of a man on the stairs in the background. I assume it’s Garibaldi (since he went to talk to G’Kar) but it’s never shown who it is.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:33 PM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh, very nice catch Thorzdad!
posted by corb at 3:37 PM on March 24, 2019

It occurs to me: it was genius to bring back Ta'lon for this. Without his backstory, if a new Narn character had decided to quit being the bodyguard of the Centauri-approved leader and join the resistance, he would have been so obviously a mole that we'd have been yelling at the TV if anyone trusted him. But because it's Ta'lon, we've seen him tested under extreme duress and we know his fides is bona.

The bar scene with Sheridan was great too. Ta'lon could so easily have been a one-episode character, but instead of being dropped into oblivion he gets to survive the war, come to Babylon 5 and have a quiet drink with his former fellow-prisoner. It's just kind of nice.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:24 PM on April 20, 2021

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