Monday, September 17, 2012

B5 Rewatch: Grail

Good morning! Thanks for stopping by the Babylon 5 Rewatch. Today I'll be nattering on about the fifteenth episode of season one, "Grail." Spoilers are abundant, as per usual.

Let Me Sum Up

Sinclair is surprised to learn from Delenn and Lennier that a very distinguished human visitor has arrived on the station. She suggests he come with her to greet this person. He turns out to be Aldous Gajic, on a quest to find the Holy Grail. Since the long history of searching for the grail on Earth has turned up nothing, Gajic has decided to extend his search to other worlds. He has reached out to the ambassadors on the station for help, and his quest has caught the eye of the Minbari. Delenn calls him a "true seeker" and his kind is revered among her people. She willing agrees to help the search in any way she can, despite Sinclair's skepticism about the grail's existence.

Elsewhere, Amabassador Kosh is apparently up to something. He seems to be helping a human thug, Deuce, who is trying to obtain blueprints of the station in order to get around security checks and otherwise locked doors. Deuce turns to an old colleague, Jinxo, who worked on construction of all five Babylon stations. Jinxo is not inclined to help, but Deuce tells him it's either that or get him the hundred thousand credits he owes him. To prove his point, he has Kosh use some kind of creature to brainwipe a woman who was set to testify against Deuce to the Ombuds later that day. The threat is clear: Jinxo either provides the blueprints or the money, or he gets the same fate as Deuce's witness.

Jinxo tries to steal the money from Gajic, and ends up in Gajic's custody after Garibaldi arrests him and he makes an impassioned plea that he needs to stay on the station. Jinxo explains to Gajic that he is afraid if he leaves Babylon 5 it will be destroyed or disappear, just like all of the others did the second he left them.

Garibaldi, after finding out about the witness' fate, makes it a personal mission to see Deuce dealt with. Franklin is able to deduce the kind of creature that performed the brainwipe and Garibaldi says that Deuce could easily have smuggled it onto the station. The creature, a Na'ka'leen Feeder, is quarantined in the Centauri sector. There isn't much data on it, but they decide to see if Londo knows anything about the Feeder. Upon learning there might be one on the station, Londo happily turns over all the information he has on the Feeders to Sinclair and then holes himself up in his quarters until the creature is dealt with, suggesting Sinclair do the same.

Gajic meets with Delenn and Lennier and they inform him regretfully that the grail is not in the possession of the Minbari. However, they have sent word of it to all of their outposts and should they ever hear anything about it, Delenn promises to have the information delivered to Gajic immediately. He expresses his gratitude for their help and Jinxo is surprised by it, given the Minbari-Human history. They explain that there are two castes among the Minbari, the warrior caste and the religious caste. While the warriors would not understand, they are of the religious caste and so are more than willing to help.

The Feeder, who is not actually Kosh, just hiding in a Vorlon suit, appears to be growing hungrier and demands that Deuce bring it more food. It wants older, more experienced minds. Deuce promises it will be fed soon enough. He orders his thugs to round up not only Jinxo but also the Ombuds, apparently deciding to rid himself of all of his problems at once.

Gajic and Jinxo go to Londo for help, and Londo prepares to charge them out the wazoo to look up trade records, but Vir, excited about the request and trying to be efficient, has already done it for them. He gives them a data crystal with anything that fit the vague description of the grail and they are on their way. Deuce's thugs show up and try to take Jinxo but Gajic defends him, knocking them out with his staff. Jinxo worries that this will only bring Gajic trouble but Gajic is unconcerned. Next they go to visit Ambassador Kosh, Gajic's last stop on the station. Jinxo freaks out when he sees Kosh, thinking he had attacked Deuce's witness, and runs off.

Gajic goes after Jinxo, following him to Downbelow. He tells him that he must tell Sinclair if he saw something bad involving Kosh. Jinxo doesn't want to, but Gajic insists. Before they can head back up into the station proper, however, Deuce's thugs find them again. Jinxo manages to get clear but they get Gajic. They call out to Jinxo that he has ten minutes to get to Deuce, otherwise they feed Gajic to the "Vorlon."

Jinxo decides to do the right thing and finds Sinclair to tell him what has happened. Sinclair was already looking for Deuce because the missing Ombuds had been discovered, so Jinxo leads him to his lair. Deuce calls the Feeder out to wipe the Ombuds but Gajic steps forward claiming the Ombuds is under his protection. Surprisingly, the Feeder backs off. Then, he comes out of the Vorlon suit when Gajic tells him to. They are looking at each other when Garibaldi and crew arrive, shooting up the joint. The Feeder scampers off and feeds on one of Deuce's thugs before the security crew shoots it.

Deuce manages to get away, shooting Gajic in the process. As Gajic dies, Jinxo promises to take up his quest. Sinclair witnesses Gajic making Jinxo his heir and then the man dies. Gajic's body is prepared to be sent back home to Earth and Jinxo accompanies it back. Delenn wishes him luck in his new quest and gives him a seed to plant with the body, a tradition with all of their true seekers.


Ooh, sideswiped Sinclair. Dang, Delenn is all, dude, get your act together! Heh, it's probably gonna be a famous taxidermist or something.

Oh, what is with this dude's hillbilly accent? This is...oddly acted. Oh, uh oh. Tentacle attack? What the heezy? I don't....I don't have any idea what's going on, okay. Oh, hell, that was Kosh???? Something hinky is going on. This can't be good.

Oh lord, humans suing for damages to aliens who abducted their ancestors! Okay, that is amusing. Also, aw, poor judge, or Ombuds, I guess.

Well, Sinclair still has no idea who this guy is, but Aldous Gajic knows who Delenn and Lennier are.

...and, looking for the Holy Grail. Heh. Garibaldi didn't even try to hide that eye roll. Interesting angle, searching for the grail on other planets. I wonder why Delenn seems so in awe of Gajic? Ah, he is considered a "true seeker," and since what he is looking for is to benefit all mankind, they respect that. Okay. I can get behind that, I guess. It's a nice highlight of cultural differences.

I must also say that I do love when this show dips into Earth's mythologies and long-standing mysteries. They are very fun to examine in the context of realizing that we are not alone in the galaxy and it is possible other races had contact with Earth before we managed to get off of our world and realized that's what was going on.

"I wish him luck. He's probably the only true seeker we have." (Sinclair)
"Then perhaps you do not know yourself as well as you think." (Delenn)

Ooh. I like that. Just that simple declaration by Delenn gives a whole new perspective on the Minbari's apparent fascination with Sinclair. It also reminds me that we haven't seen these two interact very much, if at all, since Sinclair started remembering the Battle of the Line. Hmm.

Another brainwipe victim? What is Kosh up to? Goodness, why would Deuce trust such an apparently bad thief? Oh, does Garibaldi know her? Oh, that's right, she was going to testify against Deuce.

I like that Garibaldi is champing at the bit to clean out Downbelow, it clearly wasn't meant for habitation. Though Sinclair also has a fair point, many of the people there are just stranded. But...shouldn't there be a policy about letting people come to the station if they can't afford accommodations while they are there or transport back off? Or, knowing it's a problem, shouldn't Sinclair be working on program to help these people find placement rather than just let the issue fester? Hmm. Something to ponder.

Oh, wow, that's a really fair sentence, actually. But...he has to stay or the station will be destroyed? Really? Just like all of the others, eh? Hmm, fool's quest or not, Gajic does seem to command some respect even from humans.

Please tell me Garibaldi noticed Deuce give Jinxo that threat! Right there in the courtroom in a loud tone! ...and then pleads not guilty for extortion not two seconds later? Are you kidding me??? Um, can the whole courtroom serve as a witness?

Well, at least Gajic is asking Jinxo what he meant. Hmm, the Babylon Curse. This guy thinks it's his fault the first four stations went wrong? Hmm. Well, I guess I can see where he might think there's a correlation. Though I would perhaps have chosen to not to work on the fifth station, rather than to strand myself there.

"I would say you have the wrong nickname. They should have called you Lucky." (Gajic)
"How do you figure?" (Jinxo)
"To escape the worst each time is a blessing. You're a very lucky man. Perhaps each time you were exactly where you were meant to be." (Gajic)
"I never thought of it like that." (Jinxo)
"We never do." (Gajic)

Oh lordy, they need help from Londo. That's going to go well. Drinking and gambling, of course. Wow, that he is so terrified of one being on the station is not a good sign. Though, at least a scared Londo is apparently a very helpful Londo.

Ooh, education about the Minbari culture! Warriors and priests. It's a wonder they ever get anything done.

"The warrior caste would not understand. It is not their way." (Lennier)
"So we will not tell them, and spare them the confusion." (Delenn)
"These two sides of your culture, do they ever agree on anything?" (Gajic)
"Yes, and when they do, it is a terrible thing. A terrible power, as recent events have shown us. Let us hope it never again happens in our lifetime." (Delenn)

So...that's not actually Kosh, right? It's just the Feeder in a Vorlon suit. Now, the question is, does Deuce know this? Hmm. Also, does he not think no one will notice and suspect him when all of the Ombuds turn up with wiped minds? Really?

Also. Why the heck hasn't Garibaldi questioned Jinxo about Deuce yet? Their exchange was not subtle, dangit. Oh, okay. There he goes. Thank you Garibaldi.

"You been hanging out with Delenn too much." (Garibaldi)

Sinclair still isn't too up on Gajic's quest. Heh.

Dude. Vir. He already ran the search. Hah. Sorry, Londo. No extortion for you today. Londo's not having a good day, is he?

"Vir! What are you doing?!" (Londo)
"Why, being efficient, sir!" (Vir)
"A few more like you, Vir, and the entire Centauri Republic will 'efficient' itself to extinction!" (Londo)

I like that Gajic carries a staff to indicate he is a wise old man, even though there's really no need for it whatsoever. This show walks such an interesting line between sci-fi futurism and fantasy cliches. I kind of dig it.

Well, don't we all want be told we are full of infinite promise and goodness? Oh, the staff is actually a symbol of his quest. Well, that makes a bit more sense.

Gah, bright neon in the courtroom. That is not classy. Uh oh, bye bye Ombuds.

Heh heh, of course, the staff certainly is useful when thugs come around. Aw, Jinxo is full of infinite promise and goodness too. That's nice. I sense that the staff might be getting passed on by episode's end.

"See yourself for what you are, not what others try to make you." (Gajic)

Oh, Jinxo is not going to react well to seeing Kosh. I love that Kosh has a total non-reaction to being accused of sucking someone's brain dry.

Wow, I love that Gajic just walks right up and says he is protecting the Ombuds. I wonder why the Feeder backed off and then obeyed him? Did the staff come with mystical powers? Oh, and of course, in comes the cavalry, shooting first and asking questions later. Sigh. Now there's a loose (and likely skittish) Feeder. Oh, tell me it's going to wipe Deuce...nope, just one of his flunkies.

Oh, Kosh is not going to appreciate being tangled up in this whole mess. Or that Deuce convinced so many that the Vorlons were working for him. Though he doesn't seem to mind the part about them being feared.

Ooh, that's not a cryptic conversation between Sinclair and Delenn, is it? Not at all. Nope. Wow.

Oh look, Jinxo got a new coat. Go ahead, Garibaldi, pout. Sinclair seems a little more accepting of the quest.

Hee hee, Londo will only come out when he knows the Feeder is dead.

"No boom?" (Garibaldi)
"No boom." (Sinclair)
"No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow." (Ivanova)

So...wait. Deuce got away? That bites. I am going to headcanon that Kosh caught up with him while he was crawling around the bowels of the ship and let him know how unappreciative he was of the ruse. Just, let me have this, okay?


Well, that's it for today. See you back here on Wednesday I hope for the next episode, "Eyes."

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