Babylon 5: Voices of Authority
September 29, 2018 4:42 PM - Season 3, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Ivanova, Marcus, and Draal seek out First Ones. G'Kar and a Ministry of Peace officer, separately, investigate the strange behaviour of members of Sheridan's "Conspiracy of Light"... "Zog? What do you mean 'zog'? Zog what? Zog yes, zog no?"

-It is decided that despite the First Ones being both immeasurably dangerous and deeply uninterested in the goings-on of the young races, they need to try to find First Ones to bolster their forces in the battle with the Shadows. Sheridan is supposed to meet with Draal but can't, because of a Ministry of Peace officer (see below), so Ivanova takes his place and babbles her way into Draal's heart.
-They hook Ivanova up to the machine to find traces of an First One near Sigma 957. Ivanova is psychically attacked by Shadows and sees visions: of President Santiago's death (s1 finale), of Clarke telling Morden he wants Santiago dead and Morden arranging it for him... Draal records the visions as 'proof' of Clark's complicity.
-Ivanova and Marcus go to communicate with the First One at Sigma 957, who is deeply displeased to hear the word "Vorlons." They try to leave without helping, but Ivanova uses some reverse psychology, saying roughly 'ohhh yeah, the VORLONS told us you were too CHICKEN', and yup, it works: they have the services of a First One.
-A female Ministry of Peace (which controls Night Watch) officer, Julie Musante, arrives on B5 to keep Sheridan from making politically poor decisions. He chafes at the yoke on his neck and tries to throw her off, but she is relentlessly at his hip--to the point of trying to seduce him. Because of this, he gives Ivanova the assignment with Draal.
-Musante is all very Orwellian: there's a massive internal crisis where EarthGov has been subverted from the inside. EarthGov has solved all problems (homelessness is impossible as everyone who wants a job is promised one; if they are homeless, it must be by choice!) Political disagreements are now forbidden. EarthGov and EarthForce will be purged. Free speech and free association will be 'suspended'.
-However, the Conspiracy of Light sends the recording of Clark conspiring to kill Santiago to General Hague. It is somehow, through spacemagic, linked to Clark's special code and is authenticated. It is broadcast on ISN, which causes a huge crisis and Musante is recalled to deal with it.
-Everything that makes Musante suspicious? Also makes G'Kar suspicious. He's heard about the Rangers. He's noted Ivanova's absence when she and Marcus go to Sigma 957. He gets nowhere, but promises to keep digging. He also gives Garibaldi the Book of G'quan, despite Garibaldi not knowing how to read Narn, and instructing him to "Learn!"
-Zack Allen, who is a member of Night Watch (but is not a fan of Musante or her extremism), and is also Garibaldi's right-hand man, gets tipped off that something is up when Garibaldi mentions a 'code' that he doesn't recognize. The code is Conspiracy-of-Light-internal, of course. Because of this and Garibaldi refusing to tell him anything, he and Garibaldi have a falling out at the end of the episode over their mutual distrust of the other, despite Zack not having told Musante anything.
posted by flibbertigibbet (5 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Posting early as I'll be unavailable next week.

All of the memorable quotes are, in my opinion, Ivanova babbling (with Draal), mocking (specifically, mocking Sheridan as he tries to not sleep with Julie), or griping (with and about Marcus and the Minbari).
posted by flibbertigibbet at 4:44 PM on September 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Anytime B5 touches on sex, it ages pooooorly. This episode: slut-shaming Julie Musante.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 4:52 PM on September 29, 2018 [4 favorites]

Watching this again tonight. Holy cow, the political officer at dinner with Sheridan...She could be a Trump spokesperson, her spiel is so dead-on. Scary bit of prescience, that.

Also, Claudia Christian’s freckles.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:31 PM on March 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

Yeah, watching this in the Trump Era is...uncanny.
posted by corb at 8:32 PM on March 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Agreed about Julia Musante looking uncannily prescient given the times we now live in. Straczynski should never have written the attempted seduction; it looks like a cheap way to try and "sex up" B5, but honestly, it's a trashy bit of plot and doesn't really make sense for Musante's character in any case.

That said... I did kind of enjoy the parallel with Season 2's Acts Of Sacrifice, but this time Ivanova gets to go off and do badass cosmic shit while Sheridan has to stay on the station and fend off an unwanted offer of political sex.

Headcanon: Musante had a recording device in the cabin and was planning to make a sex tape to blackmail Sheridan into compliance. The recording exists, but all it contains is Sheridan doing an extremely Sheridan version of Ivanova's Sex Dance.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:59 PM on April 20, 2021

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