Babylon 5: Exogenesis
October 20, 2018 2:35 PM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Ivanova seeks to discover if Lieutenant Corwin is suitable to join the Conspiracy of Light. Franklin and Marcus discover something strange happening with the Lurkers... "Word is, something screwy's happening back home." "This is not exactly a revelation."

-Marcus has many Lurker (downtrodden, homeless B5 residents) contacts. Many of them have begun acting strangely, and he is expecting an important 'package' so this is doubly concerning. Additionally, some Lurkers are showing up dead, but with no clear cause of death. He and Franklin investigate, only to find aliens adhering themselves to the spines of the affected Lurkers.
-Turns out the aliens are the symbiotic Vindrizi. They had a strange failure to attach that killed the last host (presumably due to drug addiction causing complications), and the new attachment is also going poorly.
-They capture Marcus and Franklin and they order that Franklin heal both the Vindrizi and the host-apparent. He does so, which provides an opening for Marcus to escape. He tries to use Franklin's (stolen) link, but fails since it's not his; this does trigger an 'unauthorized use' alert, which hits Ivanova's feed, which gets her to dispatch Garibaldi to 'save' Franklin.
-The Vindrizi are historians of the galaxy, living for millennia and passing knowledge down to their hosts. Except, not quite: they were creating more to be living annals, with their bodies--and their hosts' bodies--as the parchment.
-The symbiotic attachment is also entirely voluntary--and they prove it be detaching one guy from his Vindrizi. Turns out the dude is Cole's friend, and he's bummed as he can't be reattached and he really liked being a host.
-Franklin, mollified, reaches an agreement with the Vindrizi and saves the attachee and attacher.
-Meanwhile, Corwin ('that guy' from CIC, who has 0-3 lines an episode) is promoted to Lieutenant. Ivanova is tasked to find out if he is suitable to join the Conspiracy, if he's neutral, or if he's definitely an enemy. Because this is an Ivanova B-plot, this means he mistakes the entire thing for a romantic gesture and brings her flowers. She pops that balloon quickly; he blanches, lies, and claims he found them outside her door.
-Corwin values loyalty to Earth Command and is deemed unsuitable.
-Later, Franklin implies that Cole has a thing for Ivanova, which causes her to assume he left the flowers (which Corwin bought and then pretended he didn't). Ivanova calls Marcus over to return 'his' flowers. He's baffled, and upon leaving her quarters, says "Maybe there's hope for us after all..."
-Marcus compares Garibaldi to Marley in one scene, and exclaims "Are there no workhouses?" Good on ya, Marcus.
posted by flibbertigibbet (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This episode suffers from, uh, some wasted potential on a few different levels. It feels very by-the-numbers.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 2:38 PM on October 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yeah, definitely wasted potential. The twist at the end isn't enough to save the Vindrizi plot that was completely bog standard up until that point.

And what kind of answer did Ivanova think she'd get from Corwin? She may as well have passed him a note in class that says "Do you think it's OK to disobey orders? Y/N". Build some rapport first. Or at lest get him drunk.
posted by Banknote of the year at 12:40 PM on October 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh, and I just noticed that JMS called this one the weakest of season 3. That is ... not a widely-held opinion.
posted by Banknote of the year at 1:49 PM on October 22, 2018

I am watching this with Mr. Corb and he has taken to calling Duncan “RenFaire McFedorakin” for his flagrant flirtation and I /can’t unsee it/.
posted by corb at 9:12 PM on March 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Poor Corwin. She didn't even let him finish his coffee!

Though, I have to say, sterling job by Joshua Cox as Corwin. Guilelessness can be really hard to play, and he holds up his half of that scene decently. The scene with the flower vendor was nice too-- solid character acting by that guy. "Roses never offend a woman... except by their absence." Turns out they work on (male) Rangers too. Who knew?

(Yeah, I don't love the attempt to sell this romance to the fans... bisexuality is marvellous, but canonical same-sex relationships were vanishingly rare in 1990s TV, and this feels like an attempt to erase that side of Ivanova's nature. Stephen speaks for all of us with his zinger: "You are so far from being her type, you might as well be in different galaxies.")

(And yes, Marcus is a giant piece of cheese, but it's been a long, locked-down year, so.... pass the crackers.)
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:51 PM on April 21, 2021

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