Tuesday, October 23, 2012

B5 Rewatch: A Distant Star

Hi there! Thanks for dropping in! Welcome back to the Babylon 5 rewatch! Today's episode on deck is season two's fourth episode, "A Distant Star."

Come, let's take a spoiler-full look, shall we?

Let Me Sum Up

An old friend of Sheridan's, Captain Maynard, brings his ship to Babylon 5 to resupply after a five year mission. His ship, the Cortez, is an explorer class vessel, a very rare kind of ship in the human fleet. The two reminisce a bit and Maynard seems surprised that Sheridan is so settled and satisfied with his position. It's nothing he was ever really trained for or wanted for himself. His comments stick with Sheridan, making him kind of grumpy about his job and worried that maybe it was given to him in order to put him on the sidelines without forcing him to retire.

The Cortez leaves the station and while in hyperspace there is a malfunction with the ship. They lose their lock on the next jump gate, which means they are lost. No ship that's ever gotten lost in hyperspace has ever come back. Maynard does manage to get a distress signal back to Babylon 5 and Sheridan comes up with a plan to try to bring the explorer ship back to the station. He wants to send out a series of fighter ships and spool them out like a lifeline, each locked on to the ship behind it. Hopefully the last ship will get far enough out that the Cortez can lock onto its signal and follow it back to the jump gate.

Elsewhere on the station, Franklin takes a closer look at Garibaldi's health in the wake of the security chief's shooting. The doctor decides that Garibaldi needs to go on a strict food plan (i.e., diet) to help him heal more quickly and stay in better health in general. Garibaldi objects to this stringently, especially seeing the list of foods he must avoid comprises of pretty much everything he likes. He tells Franklin he was just about to make his annual signature dish, a sort of Italian fondue, chock full of all of the things he can't have. Franklin insists, however. In fact, he thinks that it is high time to put Sheridan and Ivanova on diets as well, since they do such a poor job making sure they eat healthily enough or enough in general. As can be expected, no one is happy about this chain of events at all.

Delenn is also experiencing some upheaval. After her transformation, the Minbari on the station are worried that she is no longer actually one of them. They send a representative, Teronn, to speak with Delenn and try to get some answers about what the change entailed, why she did it, and what she is now. Delenn can't really give him any answers, however, since it all hinges around the secret fact that humans are being born with Minbari souls. Teronn says that if she won't give him the answers he seeks, he will be forced to go over her head and ask the Grey Council directly. Delenn is not happy about this but tells him to do what he needs to do.

The lifeline to rescue the Cortez does succeed, but not without interference from the Shadows. They take out the next to last ship in line, that of the squadron's commander Galus. The last ship, piloted by Warren, manages to still guide the Cortez back, however, by firing in the direction of the gate and giving the larger ship something to lock on to in order to plot a course. Unfortunately, Warren says if they come get him, he'll lose his lock and they will both be stranded for good, so they leave him behind, making the explorer ship's return to the station bittersweet. Warren, meanwhile, sees another Shadow ship while in hyperspace and he remembers that the first one was moving at a right angle to the jump gate. Warren quickly has his computer lock on to the new ship and from there is able to extrapolate the course back home, where he is rewarded with command of the Zeta squadron.

Garibaldi, determined to have his special meal, arranges to have the ingredients smuggled in under Franklin's nose. Unfortunately for him, a chance comment overheard by Delenn leads to Franklin finding out about it. The doctor confronts him and Garibaldi explains that it is the meal his father cooked for him every year on his birthday and it was a special tradition for them. Since his father's death, he's continued to make it for himself every year on his birthday. Franklin relents and agrees to let him have the meal if he makes enough for two and they share it together.

Sheridan, caught up in gloomy thoughts about the death of Galus, runs into Delenn. He realizes that she has been questioning her place as well. By talking with each other, they are able to put their situations into perspective and Delenn reminds him that the universe makes sure they are in the right place at the right time. The dicussion renews Sheridan's enjoyment of his job (and deepens his infatuation with Delenn).


Are we supposed to think this guy's a badass because he's got his cowboy boots all kicked up on the desk? Swamp Rat and Stinky, huh? Well. I guess they know each other.

So explorer ships are really rare, huh? Or are they just so busy exploring that most in colonized space don't get to see them that often?

Wow. That was a short cold open.

Aw, he stopped in just to see Sheridan.

Hello Delenn! We haven't seen you in a while. Are you getting back in the game? Yay!

Oh Garibaldi. Why would you tell Franklin about this meal? You KNOW he's just gonna tell you it's not approved.

Franklin, really? You are not going to be making any friends if you try to put the whole command staff on a diet. Also, are you going to include yourself in this? It's only fair. There's no way you're eating right all of the time. I don't have a problem with people being health-nuts. I DO have a problem with them trying to enforce their own eating habits on other people. Especially in such a judgmental manner. Doctor or not, that's not cool.

Interesting. Sheridan never wanted this kind of post. But he seems to actually love it on the station. Just shows how people's priorities change, I guess. Hopefully Maynard isn't going to give him a complex and make him think he needs to prove something to someone...

...damn. Nope. Looks like that is exactly what they're going for. Sigh.

It's that Warren guy again. Who is this guy?

Heh. Funny stories about hyperspace. It's like the Bermuda Triangle of space. Oh, and Maynard says there is something out there. I bet it's Shadow related.

"It's funny. You never know what you're gonna find when you look over the edge of what's known and into what's not." (Maynard)

Yup. Shadows.

Ooh. Sheridan is taking notice though. Too many people telling him there's something going on out there to ignore.

Garibaldi, what are you up to? Oh, smuggling in food I bet.

Heh. Sheridan's not going to go for your diet, Franklin. He's been enjoying the food too much since he got here.

Oh, the Minbari think Delenn isn't one of them anymore. Ouch. Dang, and going over her head ot find out what's up with her change. Boo.

Oh my god. Franklin. Give it a rest. Ivanova is going to shank you. Or hit you with that cane. Geez. Her, he wants to gain wait.

Please tell me we get to see the next mealtime involving Sheridan, Garibaldi, and Ivanova.

Aw, Ivanova noticed Sheridan's sudden dissatisfaction. Let it all out Sheridan, let it all out. Way to go Ivanova for calling him on it, too! Oh. He thinks he's been put out to pasture. That would lead to some grumpiness for sure.

Dude. Pat. ACTING.

Lost in hyperspace. No fun.

Meal time! Hah. They are blaming Garibaldi. Awesome. Heh. Short-lived swap. Poor guys.

Hmm. Far be it from me to be judging professional actors or anything. But the guy playing Pat was in the opening credits. Yet his acting skills seem a bit undeveloped. I find myself wondering if he's someone's son or nephew. Just. You know, just a thought.

Well, it's good they were able to get a message out, even if Babylon 5's not sure what to do about it.

Delenn seems to be experiencing some dissatisfaction at the changes in her life as well. See. She and Sheridan are perfect for each other.

Ooh. Delenn. Outing Garibaldi's food sneakiness. Not cool. I know it's not on purpose, but still. Dang.

Hmm. I like this lifeline idea of Sheridan's. It does sound risky but it also sounds like it has an actual shot of succeeding.

Well, Warren's one of the Brave Selfless ones it seems.

Sheridan is awfully fond of ancient Earth speeches and blessings, huh? I guess that's his thing. He's a student of history. I can get on board with that. (I think from a storytelling perspective it's good too, it keeps the futuristic setting comparable to our own scope of knowledge.)

Is Warren gonna be that last man on the line? Of course he is.

Oh. Maynard was Sheridan's mentor. That explains why he took the man's words so much to heart. He thinks Maynard is disappointed in him.

Damn. Shadow ships. Heading straight for the Cortez. Not good.

Oh Pat. That was much better. Good job! You get a cookie!

Warren, whatcha doing there? I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to self-sacrifice yet. You've only been in the opening credits for four episodes.

Why do I think that the ships that get lost in hyperspace never being seen again has a lot to do with the Shadows?

Dude. Franklin. You can't deny Garibaldi his birthday tradition meal? That's not cool at all. Okay, gonna let him have it as long as you can join in? I guess that's acceptable. Way to be a bro Franklin.

Oh Delenn I love you. She's gonna help him feel better about it all. See. Perfect.

"We are star stuff. We are the universe, made manifest, trying to figure itself out." (Delenn)

I truly forgot how much I love her character. Seriously. I, mean, Lennier is my favorite Minbari hands down. But Delenn is just awesome.

So, Warren has a head on his shoulders at least. Gonna try to triangulate a path based on the Shadow ship. Good call! Yay, he made it home! I'm still not sure who he is, but he seems okay. Well. Now he's the commander of Zeta squadron.

"Wait a minute. I didn't authorize dessert." (Franklin)
"Oh. Then you can't have any." (Garibaldi)

...and Sheridan's got his groove back. Good. Unnecessarily grumpy Sheridan is no fun. Thank you Delenn! Star stuff indeed.


That wraps up this week in the rewatch. I hope you'll be back on Monday, when I will be looking at the next episode, "The Long Dark."

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