Monday, October 22, 2012

B5 Rewatch: The Geometry of Shadows

Well, another Monday has rolled around, and you know what that means.

Join me, won't you, for a spoilerific look at the third episode of the second season of Babylon 5, "The Geometry of Shadows."

(Which, for the record, I still think is an absolutely spiffing name.)

Let Me Sum Up

Franklin is just about ready to declare Garibaldi once more fit for duty after being shot and his subsequent coma. Garibaldi is not so sure he's ready for the task mentally though. For one thing, he doesn't know Sheridan and is nervous about Sinclair's sudden dismissal. For another, he is doubting  his ability to actually do the job, given it was one of his own men who shot him.

Londo is starting to garner attention from his people for the destruction of the Narn outpost. He has a visitor, Refa, from the homeworld who seems very interested in the large fleet Londo must somehow have assembled without anyone's knowledge to have been able to pull off what he did. Refa makes Londo aware of a group who wants to take advantage of the Emperor's advanced age and lack of heir to handpick the man's successor. He asks if they can count on Londo's help when the time comes.

Ivanova makes Sheridan aware of a recent problem on the station with the Drazi residents. In their culture, every five years they divide up into two groups and those two groups fight each other for a set period of time. It isn't to the death--just until members of the opposing side are knocked out or give up. After the conflict time ends, the group with the most wins becomes the dominant group of the race for the next five years.

She would just leave them to it, but the fights are disruptive to the station and there is some concern about innocent bystanders being injured. Or Drazi going too far and seriously injuring each other. Sheridan thanks her for telling him about it and then says that he thinks he'll let her handle this one, as a lesson in diplomacy. He then tells her she's been promoted from Lieutenant Commander to Commander and so this is an excellent opportunity to test her new position. She tries to get the Drazi together to resolve their differences with talking, but it turns out the division is completely arbitrary and there are no differences to resolve. Then another fight breaks out and Ivanova's foot is is broken in the melee. She realizes she is going to need to think outside of the box to solve this.

Londo, meanwhile, is unsettled to notice three techno-mages (those who use science to give the appearance of magic) in the arrivals area. He tells Vir that to see one is a very rare thing indeed, and to see more than that is considered a bad omen. Later, after a few drinks and a little thought, he remembers that the very first Centauri emperor was consulted and given approval by three techno-mages. He thinks it might not be such a bad thing after all to meet with them and maybe let word get out. It could associate him with the first emperor in his people's eyes, and be beneficial to him with those trying to return to the old ways. He sends Vir to set up a meeting but the techno-mages are not even remotely interested.

Londo decides to try to get Sheridan to do his dirty work for him. He tells the Captain about the techno-mages' presence on the station and mentions that he and his people have extensive experience with them. Londo says that techno-mages can be very troublesome. He offers his services in helping Sheridan if any problems arise during their stay. Sheridan seems to realize that Londo is up to something, but he has learned that over a hundred techno-mages have gathered on the station and no one knows why. He does think this is cause for concern, so he agrees to set up a meeting with their leader and let Londo sit in.

The leader, Elric, meets with Sheridan and says that his people are allowed to gather without needing to report to anyone about what they are doing and where they might be going. His ire grows when Londo arrives and he tells Sheridan that Londo has tricked him. Elric destroys the recording device Londo was going to use to show his people he had a techno-mage's "endorsement" and then says he will need to be taught a lesson. Sheridan tells Londo to get out. After that, he and Elric seem to come to terms with each other. They walk through the station and Elric explains that there is a great darkness coming. He and his people are gathering to leave the known galaxy because they don't want their knowledge to be wiped out or used for nefarious purpose in the upcoming conflict. He does not know where they are going, only that they will leave from the station and, hopefully, not be seen by anyone on this side of the Rim again in Sheridan's lifetime.

Ivanova decides to call another meeting with the Drazi but before she can get there, she learns that the dispute has escalated on the Drazi homeworld. The Greens have now begun killing their Purple rivals. Ivanova races to the conference room only to find that every Purple who was in attendance has been slaughtered. She tries going to the Green to plea with them to stop this craziness. The Green leader offers a quick resolution to the conflict, asking Ivanova to gather all of the remaining Purple Drazi in one area under the illusion of peace talks. Once they are gathered, she can space them, and with no Purple left, the conflict will be over. Ivanova refuses, and the Green leader says that is too bad, considering he has already sent out the order using her name.

Ivanova tries to call in to Security and cancel it, but the Drazi stop her and hold her hostage while the Purples are gathered up. Garibaldi runs into one of his men though and learns of Ivanova's order. But he is suspicious at the fact that she sent it as a message rather than in person and goes to check on her last known location. He helps her get away from the Greens, but they still have the problem of stopping the mass murder of the Purples.

Londo, meanwhile, has been hit with a really nasty computer virus (that he calls a holo-demon). Knowing that Elric is behind it, Vir suggests that Londo apologize. Londo is loath to do so but eventually concedes. He goes to visit the techno-mages and make his apology. No one meets him in person, but they seem to accept it. Of course, Elric sends one last parting gift back to Londo's quarters with him, in the form of two bat-like creatures that destroy his quarters.

Ivanova and Garibaldi, realizing that the Drazi conflict should only last for about another week, decide to just hold all of the Purples safely segregated from the Greens. When they tell the Green leader about this, however, he laughs, saying they have miscalculated. A cycle in Drazi time is not a week like in Earther time, but a year--just over an Earth year, actually. They can't keep the Purple detained for that long. Frustrated, Ivanova grabs the Green leader's cloth off of his neck and is surprised when all of the Drazi immediately react. By taking the cloth, she has become the Green leader (the rules predate contact with other races and have yet to be updated to exclude them from the conflict). Realizing this, she orders all of the Green to come with her and decides just to dye all of their cloths purple, thus leaving only one group of Drazi on the station for the remainder of the cycle and ending the conflict for good.

Garibaldi is reassured by his catch that saved Ivanova from the Drazi and decides to take his old job back after all.

Londo goes to see the techno-mages off on their journey. Londo tries to make amends with Elric. Elric tells him that he is touched by darkness. His words leave Londo very unsettled.


Oh man, I bet Garibaldi has to make regular visits to the Medlab after his whole ordeal, huh? He's gotta love that.

He's not back to work yet? And he's worried about Sheridan. Though he and Sinclair were buds, so I guess that's understandable, especially with conspiracies afoot. Plus self-doubt about his ability to do his job. Angsty Garibaldi is angsty today.

Hopefully Ivanova's bromance with Sheridan will allay his fears a bit.

Hmm. Londo's playing it all cool about destroying the Narn base. So, this guy wants his help overthrowing the Emperor--or handpicking his successor at least.

Well these Drazi look like they're up to something, don't they? Hmm, green an purple scarves. They are all accessorized, I note.

Techno-mage, huh? I like how he's wearing an old school magician's cape.

Yay! Promotion for Ivanova!

Again with the hydroponic garden Sinclair?

So. Looks to be a whole gathering of techno-mages. Londo must be freaking out. Oh. No. He's thinking to use it to his advantage. Of course he is. I love Londo. He's such a personable sneak.

Vir, what?? Can you not hold your liquor hon? That was random and amusing.

Garibaldi's moping. With a gun. That's never a good thing.

"The universe doesn't give you any points for doing things that are easy." (Sheridan)

Straight shooter, that one. I like that he's trying to give Garibaldi time to make up his mind.

Ha, ha. Oh Ivanova. Green and Purple. It's that simple. She's so aghast at this. I like that they are so patiently trying to explain it to her and befuddled that she is confused.

...and fight!

Heh. Sheridan can say he is trying to let her learn diplomacy, but I think really he had a good idea of what she might be getting into and really didn't want to deal with it himself.

Oh, poor Vir. He's just gonna keep trying to get through, monster or no.

"You don't frighten easily." (Elric)
"I work for Ambassador Mollari. After a while, nothing bothers you." (Vir)

Vir's face when the guy says money is irrelevant. He's like, "does not compute." Aw, poor guy. Personal repercussions indeed.

Oh no, Ivanova's foot is broken! Of course she's trying to just take it in stride. I honestly do believe she's more annoyed by the inconvenience though.

"Don't you want to be there?" (Ivanova)
"I have absolute trust in your abilities, Commander." (Sheridan)
"Well, that's a hell of a thing to tell someone." (Ivanova)

I do find it really interesting that they're juxtaposing Garibaldi's lack of trust in himself with Sheridan's full trust in Ivanova to do something she's not sure she's capable of. I think it also maybe demonstrates that his stepping back and letting Garibaldi figure things out on his own is a sign of Sheridan's trust in Garibaldi as well. If that makes any sense.

"Don't come here again." Oh, okay, you have to go back. Sigh. Dude, Londo. Oh dear, what have you got up your sleeves? Who can't the techno-mages ignore, I wonder?

Aw, Garibaldi's men miss him.

Londo, Sheridan knows you're gaming him. Heh. He already was going to try talk with them. I think he wants to find out what Londo's up to.

Damn. The Drazi have upped the game to killing now. That's just not good.

Dude, Sheridan, what's with the shouty anger? They're not causing any trouble just by being on the station, are they? Here's Londo. Awesome. Ha. Elric totally has your number Londo. Now Sheridan's shouty at Londo. Who pissed in his cereal this morning?

Oh good, he's calmed down a bit. Talk it out, Sheridan, talk it out. Hmm. Discussions of magic v. technology and technology as magic. It's a very interesting line of thought, to be sure.

Hmm. The techno-mages are going into self-exile to avoid the Shadows, huh? Very interesting indeed. Not that Sheridan believes in the Shadows yet.

Poor Ivanova, her day just keeps getting worse, doesn't it? The green Drazi leader wants her to do his killing for him. Uh oh. They used her name, huh? Dude. You've just seriously pissed off Ivanova. That was a bad call.

Oh ho! Garibaldi's spidey-sense is tingling. Save the day Garibaldi! Restore your confidence in yourself!

A holo-demon? I guess that's a virus? Hehehe Narn opera.

"You could always...apologize." (Vir)
"Apologize?! Never!" (Londo)
"Congratulations. You are now the owner of five hundred thousand shares of Fireflies Incorporated." (Computer)
"On the other hand..." (Londo)

So, at the very least, hopefully Londo has learned not to annoy techno-mages.

Oh god, this lasts over a year? That's not cool. Oh, she's gonna put it on, isn't she? The rules change to exclude other races from participating is caught up in committee. Awesome. Red tape saves the day! She's just going to put them all in purple. I love her.

Londo's actually going to try apologizing? This should be amusing. Oh, what's that hanging on his back? That can't be good.

Yay! Garibaldi's back to duty!

Oh, those critters on Londo's back were a "gift" from Elric. Hmm. "Touched by darkness," eh? Well, the Shadows have staked a claim on him, that's for sure.

"I could warn you, of course, but you would not listen. I could kill you, but someone would take your place. So I do the only thing I can. I go." (Elric)

Dude. Elric. Way to give Londo a really creepy glimpse into the future. Not that he'll take it as the warning it actually is. Sigh.

Aw, Sheridan is a believer in magic. Or he wants to be. Good.


So, that's it for today. Please drop back in tomorrow morning for the next episode, "A Distant Star."

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