Hello, there! Welcome to the Babylon 5 rewatch! Today we'll be looking at the eleventh episode of the first season, "Survivors."
I've made one more tweak to the format, moving the quotes into the Commentary section so that my reaction to them can be included within the rest of the flow. I think it works a little better that way.
Spoilers for everything, as always.
Let Me Sum Up
The President of Earth is coming to visit Babylon 5, ostensibly to present the station with a new squadron of fighter ships, though it seems likely he wants to push his own political agenda regarding alien relations. Before his arrival there is an explosion in one of the docking bays intended for the new ships.
The head of the President's security team, Major Kemmer, arrives and it turns out she's the daughter of an old friend of Garibaldi's, one who died because of him. She immediately takes over the investigation into the explosion, citing presidential authority, and despite Franklin's protests revives the survivor of the incident. He lives long enough to pin the finger for the bomb on Garibaldi.
Kemmer demands that Garibaldi be suspended pending the investigation and Sinclair has no choice but to concede. Kemmer then has Garibaldi's rooms searched and finds evidence to further corroborate the claim that he was behind the sabotage. She tries to arrest him, but Garibaldi runs. It is clear that Kemmer is exercising a personal vendetta against him because of her father and he fears he will have no chance to prove his innocence from prison. When Kemmer tries to initiate a public station-wide search for him, Sinclair shuts her down, deciding he is fed up with her bringing personal issues into a station matter and constantly pulling rank on his ground. Ivanova gladly helps thwart Kemmer.
Garibaldi goes to Londo in hopes of finding help to clear his name. Londo swears innocence of the whole situation and merrily points the finger at G'Kar. Garibaldi then goes to confront G'Kar, who points out that Londo has every reason to blame him and no actual evidence. He too swears innocence. Garibaldi tries to seek help from the ship's underworld, but he's made pretty much nothing but enemies among them and finds no aid from that quarter.
After getting beat up by some thugs, he flees to a bar to hide and makes the ill-advised decision to break his sober streak and drink. Then he drunkenly stumbles right into Kemmer's custody. While she is questioning him, one of her men brings her some items found in the quarters of the bomb blast survivor that indicate that he might have actually been behind the sabotage. They also point towards him being a member of Home Guard. Garibaldi quickly realizes that the survivor must have decided to frame him with his dying breath and then realizes that of the people who knew about that, only one of them could have planted the evidence in his quarters to implicate him.
That same person, one of Kemmer's men, Cutter, was responsible for the final check of the Cobra bays housing the new fighters. The fighters are set to launch for an aerial display to meet the President's ship upon arrival. Garibaldi convinces Kemmer to at least do another scan of the bays for herself and when she takes Garibaldi to do this, Cutter attacks her. Garibaldi manages to stop him and radio Ivanova to call off the launch just in time.
It turns out that Home Guard wanted to stop the President from announcing new, alien-friendly, policy. Framing Garibaldi was a lucky stroke, and one that Kemmer easily fell for because of her own past with him. With his name cleared and position restored, Garibaldi and Kemmer are able to speak openly about her father's death and to begin to repair the friendship they once shared.
The day is saved and Garibaldi is left to contemplate his own fallibility in turning to drink again and how to prevent himself from letting that happen again.
Ooh, the President is coming! Uh oh, he's got an agenda. And he doesn't want to give his itinerary to station security. How does that even work?
Heh, snarky cynical Ivanova. Oh how I love you.
"Nothing my government does surprises me." (Garibaldi)
"That's a very Russian attitude. I commend you." (Ivanova)
Garibaldi + Ivanova might just be my favorite bromance on this show. Also, I love how even when Earth is a technically united country, Ivanova still very much clings to her Russian heritage. She seems like the only character who does that. It's interesting.
Seriously. Who came up with the Centauri hair style?
Uh oh. Boom! Oh, a thorough one at that, destroying all of the evidence and leaving the only witness unable to speak up about what happened.
Oh, Garibaldi's on a first-name basis with the head of the President's security staff? Oh. She seems happy to see him. Wow. Damn, not even on the station five minutes and already bowling over the station's command. ...and Garibaldi makes his escape. Thanks G'Kar!
Oh dear. Garibaldi, don't take your frustrations out on random hoodlums. Sinclair, what is that face? Ooh, backstory!
"Ever try to uphold the law when nobody cares?" (Garibaldi)
Ouch. Aw, that sucks to know a friend was killed when you were the actual target. Then they went and ruined his career too? Damn. Oh yeah, Garibaldi has alcohol issues.
Oh damn, Kemmer is overriding Franklin too? That's not going to end well for anyone. Air-lock threats, whoo! Oh dear. Framing Garibaldi.
"Why would a dying man lie?" (Kemmer)
Seriously? Why wouldn't a dying man lie? There's not any way he can get called out for it.
Oh, Sinclair is all about the faces today. Kemmer you'd better be glad looks can't kill.
I suspect this might be one of the straws that breaks the camel's back in regards to Babylon 5 breaking away from Earth authority. Because seriously, that's a lot of bullshit right there. Okay, not even letting him in his own quarters? That's just petty.
Okay, seriously, Garibaldi's not that dumb. Okay, well, mostly not. Sigh. Running, really? That's always a great idea.
Go Sinclair! Oh, Ivanova. I love you.
"You are going to resist, I hope?" (Ivanova)
Holographic knights dueling? Is this the future's version of video games? Can I get holographic Dragon Age? Um, sorry, where was I?
Hmm, Centauri currency for the planted bribe, seek out Londo. Heh, "dapper" is not the word I would use. Could that outfit scream "early 90's fashion victim" any louder? The color choices, ugh.
Of course Londo has an idea of who was behind the frame job.
Ivanova, you constantly rock.
Oh, Londo thinks it's G'Kar? Interesting. I am not sure this really falls under his particular shady wheelhouse, though. Also, Londo is letting up that information (and helping point the finger) a little too eagerly.
I think Londo has two settings: maudlin and absurd.
Of course G'Kar is expecting him. Hee hee, the monitors are "malfunctioning." You sneaky suave bastard, you.
"Oh, my people watch him, his people watch me. We all watch one another here, Mr. Garibaldi." (G'Kar)
I love how everyone Garibaldi goes to is someone that he believes totally would have framed him, and they all admit they kind of wish they'd thought of it. I very much enjoy the blunt snarkiness. It's a much more amusing way to deal with all of the political tangles on the station.
Ooh, pretty new ships! Hello Zeta wing! I hope you survive the episode!
...and N'Grath is back! He thinks Garibaldi is setting him up, heh. Well, no one said clearing your name would be easy Garibaldi. Uh oh, cheese it, it's the fuzz! It seems to me trying to hunt down Garibaldi, who probably knows the ins and outs of the station better than anyone alive, is a silly idea. They'd do much better to try to draw him out.
Oh look, it's the hoodlum he went all rage-face on in the Zocalo. Who didn't think that would come back to bite him in the butt? Goody, he brought friends. Sinclair to the rescue!
Earthforce One, huh? Hmm. Just gonna leave that there. Maybe roll my eyes a little.
Going to Londo has helped him not one whit, I see. Paying for things with Centauri currency only convinces Kemmer she's right. Sigh.
Don't drink it, dude! We just learned about your alcohol issues, don't give in already! Don't be that guy who falls for the obvious plot device--sigh. Damn it. Bad idea dude. Bad idea on top of bad ideas.
That does seem like really oddly rushed character development. Very out of character for this series.
Sigh. Drunk Garibaldi. No. Just confirm her worst beliefs about you, that's wonderful.
Hmm. I don't trust that guy who wants to check the bays one more time.
President's here. What's going to hit the fan now?
Damn. Home Guard. Gee, the dying man lied. To cover up his own involvement.
Wait. You just found out that the witness you've based your entire investigation on was probably involved with the bomb and likely misdirected you with his testimony. Why the hell would you say everything is okay without one final sweep to look into new evidence? Seriously??
Okay, I have to give Garibaldi credit for appealing to her sense of duty and personal responsibility instead of just trying to convince her that her super suspicious soldier is dirty.
Kemmer, I question your competence, seriously. There is absolutely no reason for you to a) even need to take Garibaldi along do your own check of the bays, b) go with him alone when you suspect him of being a turn-coat and he suspects your subordinate of being a turn-coat, or c) not use a whole lot more caution around Cutter when there's even the slightest chance he might be involved in this nonsense.
I get that they want to set Garibaldi up to redeem himself and save the day (and Kemmer), but really? It's a bad example of people acting stupid just to move the plot along. Dislike.
But. Garibaldi saved the day! Also, we get to keep the new fighter wing! He's even properly remorseful about drinking again. Now he just needs to resolve his issues with Kemmer and all's well that ends well.
Yup. At least she admits she let her personal feelings get in the way of doing her job. Now, let's all actually learn from this experience and do better, okay?
Um, sorry. This episode is a little heavy on the morals and cliches. It brings out my snarky side.
Well, that's it for today folks. We've officially made it half way through the season. I hope everyone who celebrates it is enjoying a lovely Labor Day. See you back here on Wednesday for the next episode, "By Any Means Necessary."