Thursday, February 14, 2019

You Talk Like A Minbari: Babylon 5, "Legacies" (season 1, episode 17)

Previously on Babylon 5...

Tonight, on an all-new episode: members of the Minbari warrior caste visits the station to display the body of a recently-deceased leader; when the body goes missing, tensions rise quickly.  Meanwhile, Ivanova and Talia argue over the proper course of action for a young telepath they encounter.

(season 1, episode 17)
airdate:  July 20, 1994
written by:  D.C. Fontana
directed by:  Bruce Seth Green

I'd stop short of calling this a bad episode, but apart from a few big mythology hints, it honestly doesn't do that much for me.  If you're sensing that this is going to be a lazy, dashed-off post, give yourself a P5 rating: you just read my mind.

Yep, there it was.  THE lamest thing I've ever typed.  Achievement unlocked!

Screencap time:

The arrival at the station of a Minbari warship sparks what might generously be called mixed feelings in Sinclair and Garibaldi.  This is made even iffier by virtue of the ship's mission: a sort of tour of the body of Branmer, the recently-passed leader of the Minbari warrior caste.  Branmer directly commanded the Minbari forces at the Battle of the Line, so this dude gave a lot of orders that resulted in the death of Sinclair's friends.

There are a series of hot looks exchanged between Talia and Ivanova in this episode.  This was 1994 television, so it's all mere subtext; but these two are either saphically engaged or are thinking about it (or trying NOT to think about, perhaps, in Ivanova's case).

Meanwhile, I took a screencap of this CNC officer because she's cute.  Hey, don't you judge me!  It's Valentine's Day as I write this, and if I want this cute actress from 1994 to be my Valentine, then by God, I ... eh ... ahem.

While Ivanova and Talia are lusting after each other, they witness an attempted robbery by a teenage girl.  As the girl tries to flee, she falls down in agony; she's basically experiencing the onset of her telepathic ability, a fact Talia recognizes immediately.  Talia wants her to be sent to Psi Corps immediately; Ivanova (under the semi-pretext of saying the girl needs to stand trial for the theft) wants her to stay on the station.  Ivanova, of course, is actually thinking of what the Corps did to her mother; if she can keep the girl, Alisa, out of their clutches, maybe that's a victory of some sort.

John Vickery as Neroon, the guy who's taking over Branmer's place at the head of the warrior caste.  Or maybe he's not the head of the entire warrior caste, actually; do I have that wrong?  I should look that up.  Nah.

In fact, I think he's just the head of the Star Riders, a specific clan within the warrior caste.  Delenn, as a member of the religious caste, is not all that thrilled with Neroon.  We get a bit of backstory: it was the religious caste (for the purpose of kidnapping and examining Sinclair) who ordered the warrior caste to surrender at the Battle of the Line.  To put it mildly, this created bad blood between the two castes.

Branmer is supposedly in there.  But when they open the casket, the body is gone.  Neroon freaks RIGHT the fuck out.

Sinclair tries to get some sense from Delenn regarding all of this.  She's kind of standoffish.

Say, whatcha building there, lady?

Is this the first Pak'Mara we meet?  Might be.  They are a race of carrion eaters; Garibaldi investigates them to find out if they stole Branmer's body.  They didn't, but Dr. Franklin has to engage in some (mercifully offscreen) mandatory stomach-pumping to determine that.

Ivanova takes Alisa to visit Delenn, who pitches her on the notion of moving to Minbar to serve as a telepath.

Eventually, the truth is learned: Delenn hired some dudes to steal Branmer's body!  Why?  Because Branmer had actually been a member of the religious caste prior to the war, and wished for his body to be handled in that manner after his death.  She, unlike Neroon, is determined to honor her old friend's wishes.

Neroon is pissed, but when Delenn tells him that the Grey Council has spoken on the matter, he becomes real conciliatory real quick.  Neroon isn't a bad guy; he's just determined to honor his former commander in what he feels is an appropriate manner.  But Delenn puts him in his place like the boss she is.

Neroon apologizes to Sinclair for all the trouble, and Sinclair -- in a good scene for Michael O'Hare -- gives a nice little speech about the respect he had for Branmer and how his death should help honor the idea of peace, and so forth.  Neroon is impressed and touched.  "You talk like a Minbari," he tells Sinclair, which seems like an awfully big compliment coming from him.  Neroon is played by John Vickery, who is a little hammy at times but makes this character pop.  He'll be back for several more episodes later on.

Not pictured here: Sinclair asks Alisa (who earlier read Delenn's mind briefly) if she saw anything much in the ambassador's thoughts.  The girl says the word "chrysalis" was there very strongly, but that Delenn shut that shit down when she felt Alisa's mind.  Say, isn't the season finale titled "Chrysalis"...?  I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

Bryant's rating:  ** 1/2 / *****

Not a bad episode, but the actress playing Alisa is fairly weak, and the missing-body plotline never quite generates any tension.

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