Babylon 5: Dust to Dust
October 13, 2018 6:56 PM - Season 3, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Bester has his annual pilgrimage to B5 to investigate a telepathy-inducing drug called Dust, and engages in a bad cop/slightly less bad cop dynamic with Garibaldi. Turns out, G'Kar wants some Dust for his own reasons... "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."

-Various people are going mad on B5. Franklin figures out it means there's probably a new shipment of the telepathy-inducing drug Dust on the station; it causes people to accidentally penetrate each other's minds, often triggering horrifying memories.
-Bester was one step ahead of Franklin, and arrived at B5 trying to find the Dust source. Unfortunately, Sheridan et al. are currenly involved in a serious conspiracy against Earth, and can't risk Bester reading a stray thought. Delenn provides the first solution: a squad on Minbari telepaths following Bester around and psychically damping him. He is sufficiently displeased that he agrees to take the psi-reducing drugs that Ivanova's mother was subject to. (This, of course, rather unsubtly signals to Bester that something Extremely Unusual is happening.)
-This part of the episode turns into a buddy cop movie with Garibaldi as the marginally less bad cop.
-As previously established (pilot movie, s1's "Legacies") that Narn telepathy was bred out of the race, and the Narn are extremely interested in bringing telepathy back. So, yup, G'kar is ultimately the reason there's Dust on board; his source is just selling to as many customers as he can.
-G'Kar takes his dimebag of Dust, takes some, and goes into a telepathic rage and tries to telepathically kill Londo, injuring Vir in the process. He rips through Londo's mind, finding evidence of his involvement in the attack on Sector 37 and his dealings with Mr. Morden.
-It is at this point that Kosh intervenes. Kosh previously involved Sheridan's dreams, most noticeably when he was kidnapped by the Streib, and he pulls the same trick here. He gives G'Kar visions of his father, and of Kosh-as-angel-G'lan, warning that his current path will lead to the death of all Narn. Londo, previously reduced to tears in fear, and G'Kar, reduced to tears of exhaustion and religious ecstasy, finds a way to forgive. At least for the moment.
-The Dust dealer is arrested.
-G'Kar is arrested and sentenced to 60 days in prison, which he serves happily after pleading guilty. He tells Garibaldi to keep his copy of the book of G'Quan.
-Delenn and Vir talk about Londo after Delenn attempts to mediate another conflict over Centauri imperial ambitions, this time over Drazi worlds. She believes he is lost to darkness; Vir refuses to give up on him. Londo also heavily edits Vir's report on Minbar to be less Vir-y and more harsh (ancient and gorgeous cities are turned into old and un-advanced, etc). When informed that the Minbari are "deeply spiritual", Londo replies "Yes, now that you can leave in. It always scares people."
posted by flibbertigibbet (5 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This is an extremely important episode for G'Kar and largely determines his path for the next while.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 8:37 AM on October 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Huge episode for G'Kar; also huge for Kosh - recall that his thoughts on both the Narn and the Centauri at one point were "They are a dying people. We should let them pass." So his choice to step in at an opportune moment and attempt to influence G'Kar is interesting.
posted by nubs at 9:11 AM on October 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

I liked the buddy cop subplot (frenemy cops?), because the way Garibaldi and Bester butt heads is low key and professional, but also revealing for Garibaldi's character. He thinks so little of Bester that it doesn't occur to him that Bester could just be bluffing — no, Bester has to be cheating his way past the blockers. And Garibaldi usually hates due process and civil liberties, but he'll give a speech in favour of them so he can one-up Bester.
posted by Banknote of the year at 1:46 PM on October 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Given what later happens, I wonder why Kosh intervenes to keep Londo alive?

I know we, the viewers, need him and the plot requires him; but I wonder about an in-world explanation.

I suppose without Kosh's intervention: G'kar kills Londo; G'kar is imprisoned, turned over to the Centauri and executed; the Narn resistance rises to either rescue or avenge him, and they're all executed too. G'kar never writes his book or becomes a spiritual leader to his people, and the Shadows continue their work with the Centauri anyway. All hail Emperor Refa.

On this watchthrough I'm appreciating Andreas Katsulas more than ever. Both the drug-fuelled rampage and the scenes inside G'kar's mind were really excellent. Excellent work from Jurasik too.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:32 PM on April 20, 2021

Also, this was a great Bester episode, and I loved Bester and Garibaldi as unwilling buddy cops. Walter Koenig is just superb in this role.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:35 PM on April 20, 2021

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