Monday, October 1, 2012

B5 Rewatch: A Voice In the Wilderness (Part II)

Hello! Welcome back to the Babylon 5 rewatch! Today we'll be picking up right where we left off last week with the nineteenth episode of the season, "A Voice In the Wilderness (Part II)."

Spoilers ahead, yo!

Let Me Sum Up

When last we left them, Sinclair and Ivanova were en route back to the station after finding someone plugged in to the mess of technology on the planet below. At his plea for help, they unhooked him and took him with them. The planet itself is still undergoing some serious seismic activity. Meanwhile, Garibaldi's looking after Control and has just been notified of a very large unscheduled ship coming through the jump gate.

The ship turns out to be an Earth Alliance Heavy Cruiser. The commander identifies himself as Captain Ellis Pierce, and the ship as the Hyperion. He tells Garibaldi that he has been sent to take over the situation. Sinclair returns to the station and gets his visitor settled then goes to meet Captain Pierce.

Pierce tells Sinclair he was ordered to the station to assume control upon Earth's learning of what Babylon 5 had found on the planet below. Because the station (and planet) are located in neutral territory, Earth is worried that all of the other races will want a piece of the discovery. They sent Pierce as a show of force, to prevent anyone else from thinking about trying to take what is "theirs." Sinclair, very displeased, pulls rank and tells Captain Pierce to stand down, claiming he is only gonna make the situation harder to deal with.

Because he was assured by President Santiago of jurisdiction over the station, Sinclair is able to stall turning over command to Pierce until he receives word directly from the President to step down. Luckily for him, Santiago is rather busy with the rebellion on Mars at the moment. Pierce is not satisfied to just twiddle his thumbs while he waits, however. He decides to send a squadron down to the planet and conduct his own investigation. As soon as he does, though, his ships come under attack from the planet's defenses.

They pull back and Sinclair fudges the truth, telling Pierce that they need a jamming signal to get down there safely, but that the one they used before is currently damaged and being repaired. Pierce agrees to wait to try to go down again until it is fixed. Unfortunately, his little foray seems to have set off a reaction of some sort within the planet. Ivanova reports to Sinclair and Garibaldi that the station's readings show that the planet is beginning to break up from within.

It does not seem to be a natural phenomenon, but rather a manufactured self-destruct. The planet's core holds quite a few very powerful reactors of some kind. They suspect that it was the presence of the alien they removed that was keeping the planet from going into self-destruct mode and hope that he will wake soon so they can ask him what the heck is going on. They also begin to make plans for evacuation if it becomes necessary.

The caretaker, still in Medlab, continues trying to reach out with his mind. He contacts Delenn's friend Draal, asking for help. Draal feels a pull and goes to investigate this strange voice he hears, Delenn in tow. He finds the caretaker and before Franklin can shoo him out the patient speaks up, asking Draal to help. He says that no one can approach or land on the planet. If they do, then without the heart, the planet will destroy them all.

Pierce doesn't believe the caretaker's warning, however. Realizing that there is no jamming device he decides to send another squadron down to the planet's surface. Sinclair tries to talk him out of it but he will not be swayed. Sinclair then orders Ivanova to call up a squad of fighters to create a blockade around the planet to keep Pierce's people out. Pierce thinks he's bluffing and won't really order his people to fire on Pierce's ships. Sinclair's squadron stands by to launch and gives Pierce one more chance, Pierce reluctantly cancels his own launch. Sinclair does the same but orders to have them kept at the ready, just in case.

Of course right at that moment a new ship comes through the jumpgate. It scans both the station and the Hyperion, then opens a channel to both. An alien of the same race as the caretaker identifies himself as Takarn and says that he and his people have been searching for this world for five hundred years. They are the last of their kind, and the planet is theirs. They mean to take it. They give everyone ten hours to clear out or they will attack. Pierce fires back that the planet falls under Earth jurisdiction and that Takarn has nine hours to leave or he will attack.

Sinclair goes to the caretaker, Varn, to ask him about Takarn. The caretaker says that Takarn and his people are violent outcasts of their culture. The "machine" was hidden on the world specifically to keep it from them. He lives in the machine, at the heart of it, one with it. Without his connection to it, the machine (and planet) will die. Unfortunately, Varn himself is dying. Franklin believes that is what started the seismic disturbances on the planet.

Sinclair asks Draal what he and Delenn were doing in Medlab when Varn woke up. Draal explains that Varn appeared to him and realizes that Sinclair saw him too. Sinclair leaves, saying he hopes that Varn wakes up soon, time is running short before all hell breaks loose. Delenn looks at Draal sadly and says that Draal does know what kind of help Varn was asking for. Draal says yes, he does. Londo comes in and confronts them for holding out on him. The three go to speak in private and Londo and Draal discuss that Varn needs one of them to take his place in the planet. Both seem willing to do so, so they decide to go to the planet.

Pierce manages to convince Sinclair, as unhappy about it as he is, that they can't stand aside and let Takarn take the planet. He agrees to coordinate a preemptive attack with Pierce's forces.

The Medlab calls Control to tell them that somebody just nabbed Varn. Sinclair tells Ivanova to halt all outgoing traffic but she says it is too late. She just approved a ship to go and it should be getting to the gate shortly. But when she checks it is not on her sensors. Takarn hails them and accuses them of ignoring his warnings, sending a ship to the planet. Ivanova realizes that the shuttle she just cleared is indeed heading for the planet. Takarn says he is done playing nice and prepares to attack.

The station and Hyperion coordinate a defense to hold off Takarn's forces. Meanwhile, Garibaldi decides to go after the shuttle, following it down to the planet. Inside he finds Delenn, Londo, and Draal with Varn. He is surprised to say the least, but Delenn explains to him that the machine that controls the planet needs a mind to run it. Giving it one will prevent the destruction of the planet and station. Garibaldi thinks Varn is going back in but Draal steps up and says no, he will take Varn's place. Garibaldi balks, saying he can't allow that, but Draal makes an impassioned argument for doing so.

Just as things look dire for Babylon 5, a wave of energy emanates from the planet, knocking out power to the ships and station and stopping the battle. In Control, an image of Draal appears. He addresses all three parties and says that no one gets the planet, it is free-agent. The secrets contained within must be kept secret, else they would give any race that found them unfair advantage over all others. To keep the planet safe, he entrusts its safekeeping to the Babylon 5 Advisory Council, rather than any individual race. He adds a final caveat that the defensive operations on the planet are now fully operational. No further intrusion onto the planet will be suffered. The enemy ship decides to ignore Draal's message and heads for the planet. It is destroyed.

Delenn is hesitant to leave Draal, but Varn convinces her that the machine is a wonder. It will give him whole new worlds of knowledge to explore and extend his life so that he may have the chance to learn it all. She makes a sad farewell and Garibaldi and Londo accompany her off the planet.

Pierce takes his ship and heads back to Earth. He and Sinclair part more or less on good terms. Ivanova tells Sinclair she was able to get a signal to the Mars colony, but there is something he needs to know before he tells Garibaldi. He tells Garibaldi that she was wounded but is fine and assures Garibaldi that if he needs anyone to talk to later, he's there. He puts Garibaldi through to his friend. Garibaldi pours his heart out to her, saying he wants to try to work things out. He has some leave coming up and was thinking about taking it on Mars. She stops him and says she can't. She's married, and pregnant to boot. Garibaldi wishes her well.

Delenn finds him on the observation deck later and they discuss the events of the past few days. He asks her why she didn't come to them when they realized someone needed to replace Varn. She admits if she had, she knows that Sinclair would have been the one to do it. He is looking for a purpose, she says, but his destiny lies elsewhere. Garibaldi then asks how Londo got roped into it. She admits that she now owes him a great favor, but she thinks he enjoyed it nonetheless.


Well. Hello Captain Pierce. Look, not that it's not nice to see Earth Alliance and all, but, what the heck? Something smells rotten here.

Sinclair is in no mood for the usual fun and games.

Um, Pierce, I don't think you understand what "neutral" ground means.

Also, wow, that was a really quick turnaround between what they found and Earth getting a cruiser there.

Oh wow, random guy in the bar, please stop. Garibaldi is having none of your crap today, I promise you. Oh Garibaldi, remember you are in uniform, you are a representative of this station--oh, sigh.

Huh. Earth is obsessed with finding new technology ever since the war with the Minbari. They could work with other races to develop it on their own, but that would be too easy, I suppose. Sigh.

Jamming device? Ooh, Sinclair, you are being tricksy.

Uh oh, planet's gonna explode. That's not good news for anyone.

So...the planet was designed to blow up? Or I guess more likely it was meant to be an energy source and now that its controller is gone...

"So. If we go down there it blows. If we don't it blows anyway, just a little bit later. It's a good thing I'm Russian. We're used to hopeless situations." (Ivanova)

Oh, and here comes Londo, wanting to know what's up. Okay, well, Earth isn't completely paranoid about the other races wanting a piece of the pie. Still. Londo's not wrong about the other races being entitled to a share.

Oh, the caretaker is calling to Draal. He can still do the projection thing away from the planet, huh?

It's nice that Sinclair can take time out of his busy schedule to check on Garibaldi. GoodGuy!Sinclair for the win! Poor Garibaldi, it really is piling on him right now, isn't it. He's got to be so frustrated.


"The planet we're parked next to is about to go up like a Roman candle. What am I supposed to do, huh? Arrest it?" (Garibaldi)

Seriously, can we just take a minute to talk about how completely awesome Sinclair is? With everything that is going on, he still makes the time to make sure that his friends are okay and to make plans to keep them safe in the event of the worst case scenario.

Right. If any ships land on the planet, it blows up. That...that's one hell of a defense mode.

Oh good lord Pierce. Really? Yeah, I don't believe the guy, Imma just go down there, even though last time it really did start shooting as soon as I got close and the planet itself got all grumbly. Just...what? How can he even think this is a good idea? New tech isn't worth anything to you or anyone else if a) you die trying to get it while ALSO b) causing it to self-destruct itself. Sigh.

You know, I think I feel most sorry for all of the fighter pilots. They can't be feeling good about possibly having to go up against their own people just because a bunch of bureaucrats don't understand the concept of sharing (or of caution, for that matter).

Oh, what's this new ship doing? Scanning them? Takarn, huh? He looks like the guy in the Medlab. Searching for this place? For five hundred years? Sounds like a prior claim to me. Oh dear. Oh, and here comes Pierce. He just had to get the last word in, didn't he?

 "Worst case of testosterone poisoning I've ever seen." (Ivanova)

Under Earth jurisdiction? Didn't we already establish that the planet was in neutral territory?

So...this guy's just been, what, watching the people on the station like a television show? That's creepy.

Londo, why are you creeping around? You do realize this is why no one wants to tell you anything, don't you? Huh. I completely forgot that Londo saw Varn too. Hmm. Is Londo really considering taking Varn's place? Dude.

Heh heh, mad man pilot. It's Londo. He's having a blast. Awesome-sauce.

Sigh. Oh Garibaldi. I know you're tired of being unable to help, but this might be a bit excessive.

"If I were a landing thruster, which one of these would I be?" (Londo)

Oh goodness, their HUD graphics. That is just...let's say quaint. Gah. Computer interfaces definitely did not develop as expected, did they?

Right, so, they've decided on Draal. Which only makes sense, really. He was already on his way out "to sea." I'm still just confused about Londo being there, honestly.

Heh. I like that Draal directs his address to the three parties struggling for control. He's a few steps ahead of everyone else in recognizing that Babylon 5 really is its own separate entity. Sinclair gets it though. You can tell he approves.

Oh of course. With the matter finally resolved, Santiago gets on the horn to say, yes, of course Sinclair has jurisdiction. *eyeroll*

Oh, poor Garibaldi. After all that, she's married. With a kid on the way. Gonna take him a while to get over this one. He opened up a lot of himself by admitting how much he cared for her and all he went through to make sure she was okay.

Ooh, Delenn's comment about Sinclair's destiny. We shall be finding out very very soon, now, won't we?


And there we have it for today. Only three episodes left for this season, wow! Join me again on Wednesday, won't you, when we look at the next episode, "Babylon Squared."

Also, on a sadder note, rest in peace to Michael O'Hare, the actor who portrayed Commander Sinclair. He passed away on Friday.

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