Babylon 5: The Exercise of Vital Powers   Rewatch 
May 19, 2021 11:11 AM - Season 4, Episode 16 - Subscribe

Garibaldi journeys to Mars to meet his secretive employer at last. Meanwhile, Dr. Franklin and Lyta continue trying to free the Shadow-implanted telepaths.

We open with Commander Ivanova and a "Voice of the Resistance" segment. Territory continues to be won from the Clark regime, and more Earth ships have defected to the Resistance.

On Mars:
Garibaldi arrives on Mars with Wade, the grey haired man who has been functioning as his handler. Garibaldi is told that he must wear a blindfold for the journey to meet his employer William Edgars. He doesn't like it, but complies.

Once inside Edgars's compound, Garibaldi is unblindfolded and meets his old flame Lise, now Edgars's wife. She tells him he shouldn't be here... but Edgars seems happy enough to meet Garibaldi. Edgars sounds him out: What does he think of Sheridan? Garibaldi shares his suspicions that Sheridan's ego and ambitions are driving him to take over. Edgars suggests turning Sheridan in to President Clark, but Garibaldi resists this.

Garibaldi tries to get some sleep, but is hauled out of bed by masked intruders... who turn out to just be taking him to Edgars again, for a midnight chat with a telepath present. Edgars sounds Garibaldi out: does he agree that telepaths are a menace to society? Yes. Was he serious about opposing Sheridan? Yes. Does he remember anything after his earlier disappearance from Babylon 5? No. Oh, and "Are you still in love with my wife?" Garibaldi says no and leaves. The telepath isn't convinced (but is then murdered by Edgars's hirelings).

The next morning, Garibaldi goes to Edgars and demands to be told the truth about what Edgars is up to. Edgars tells him that President Clark has empowered the Psi Corps to carry out telepathic loyalty tests on citizens, including members of government. What does this have to do with wanting Sheridan gone? Edgars thinks that Clark sees Sheridan as a big enough threat to justify removing the last of the restrictions on the Psi Corps, giving them even more power. Edgars has no love for Clark, but would rather take him down from within, rather than risk a civil war which could end in the Psi Corps taking over. Is Garibaldi in? He needs time to think.

Later, Lise comes to Garibaldi's room and the two have a long-overdue emotional conversation about their breakup, Lise's marriage and Garibaldi's feelings. He tells her he loves her. She leaves the room.

Edgars enters a dark room full of telepaths in hospital beds. He talks with one whose skin is covered in weeping sores, asks him how long it's been since he had "the drug" (5 days), and tells him gently that it will all be over soon. As he leaves, he tells Wade "Put him down. Put them all down." The drug has been proven to work.

Garibaldi comes to see Edgars: he's decided he's in. Edgars demands that he turn over Sheridan as proof. Garibaldi argues for a while but finally caves and tells Edgars how to find Sheridan's father on Earth. Once Sheridan's father is in custody, he can be used to bring Sheridan in. Edgars asks Garibaldi to be the one to set Sheridan up; Garibaldi reluctantly agrees.

On Babylon 5:
Stephen is trying to revive one of the Shadow-implanted telepaths from cryogenic sleep. Every time he tries to remove the implant, the patient's vital signs go into the danger zone: the Shadow devices are self-defending.

Lyta is nearby negotiating a routine contract with Zack. She goes over to look at one of the unconscious telepaths, who sits up and reaches out to her. Stephen immediately asks her to assist him with the telepaths.

They try bringing the same telepath out of coma again, slowly and deliberately this time. The telepath awakens and they tell him the Shadows are gone, but he becomes agitated and tries to strangle Stephen. "Who am I? Why am I?... I can't live like this!" The telepath holds a scalpel to his own throat... but Lyta sends him back to sleep.

Later, Sheridan calls, and Stephen tells him that he thinks he and Lyta have found a way to neutralise the Shadow implants-- but refuses to do any more until Sheridan tells him why he needs the telepaths in the first place.

We don't hear what Sheridan says in response, but Stephen is extremely disturbed when he next speaks to Lyta, asking her if she'll accept a long-term job that involves going to Mars.
posted by Pallas Athena (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
flibbertigibbet's excellent, finely-crafted recaps cease at the previous episode... so I thought I'd continue them for completeness's sake. I don't know if anyone but me is interested in this show right now, but the newly remastered version is currently streaming on HBO Max, iTunes and Amazon Prime, and I hear it looks fantastic. (I'm watching my old DVDs, which are less beautiful, but free.)
posted by Pallas Athena at 11:19 AM on May 19, 2021

I will certainly follow along. I won't be watching the show, so I'll have to go off what I remember. Your summary really helps.
posted by Fukiyama at 1:55 PM on May 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

no HBO Max here, only Go, and it's still not listed, and I've been annoyed by this since I heard the announcement (Prime geolocked it as well, even with VPN - mark me as 'bloody annoyed'). I was so looking forward to a rewatch!
posted by cendawanita at 8:42 PM on May 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

There can never be too many Lyta Alexander episodes.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:01 AM on May 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

I've started a first watch in season 2 and will be following. May jump ahead to keep current, not worried about spoilers at all, I see it more as rereading history, you know the outcome but there are many ways to view how we got there. Wouldn't that make a great "universe" with many views of the same events, starting and stopping at different point... as long as not marvel ;-)
posted by sammyo at 8:09 AM on May 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

OMG, I am so pleased that people are watching!! Welcome! I'll do my best to keep things interesting as we head into the twilight zone of season 5.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:14 PM on May 20, 2021

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