Tuesday, December 18, 2012

B5 Rewatch: Acts of Sacrifice

Hello! Welcome to another installment of my Babylon 5 rewatch. Thank you so much for popping in! Today we'll be taking a (spoiler-full, as always) look at the twelfth episode of season two, "Acts of Sacrifice."

Hopefully we'll get to see some of the fallout from yesterday's episode. Let's go find out, shall we?

Let Me Sum Up

Things are escalating in the war between the Centauri and Narn. The Centauri, despite a promise not to do so, have begun striking at civilian targets. When G'Kar requests a meeting with the Babylon 5 command staff and Londo to air a grievance about the matter, Londo refuses to show up. He issues a statement that his people did not break their promise and that the Narn are deliberately surrounding their military targets with civilians to use a a shield. He also states that the most recent incident was an attack on a weapons transport, not a civilian transport. G'Kar vehemently denies this and Sheridan and the others believe him. They promise to talk to Earth about intervening, but Sheridan says he can't make any promises that Earth will actually act. G'Kar is satisfied that at least an attempt will be made for now.

Sheridan is notified about the arrival of an expected ship. It seems Earth has made contact with a new, advanced, race called the Lumati. They have agreed to come to the station to open negotiations to possibly join either the Council or the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. If Earth can bring them in, they would be a powerful ally down the road. Because he is busy enough juggling the Narn and Centauri, Sheridan delegates meeting with the Lumati to Ivanova.

On the station, tension between the Narn and Centauri residents begins to ramp up. Some of them get into a scuffle in a bar and Zack manages to break it up. Unfortunately, they later find each other in a corridor and go at it again. Zack and security try to intervene but this time, one of the Narn is killed. G'Kar is outraged but Sheridan tells him and Londo that they need to get their people under control. If they can't, they'll all be thrown off the station. It is neutral territory and he won't have brawling going on there.

Ivanova takes the Lumati and his companion, who speaks for him because speaking with an inferior race would cause him to lose face, on a tour of the station. It is clear that the Lumati looks down on the humans and every other race as inferior. In the MedLab, for instance, they don't understand why Franklin would bother trying to help other species instead of just letting evolution run its course. To do so, he explains, allows for weak blood to contaminate the gene pool and keeps the race from reaching a respectable level. Franklin is understandably put off buy such remarks and Ivanova hurriedly moves the tour along.

G'Kar pulls in the Narn residents of the station and tries to tell them to cool it. He explains that if they cannot control themselves, they will jeopardize their race's chance at getting help from the Earthers, Minbari, and others. The other Narn scoff that they have never needed such help and G'Kar says that it was different in the past, it wasn't a full-out war. His people retort that he has spent too much time with the humans. G'Kar says they are too young to understand and orders them to stand down. They say they have received his message. After he leaves though, they decide to send one of their own. They have taken one of the Centauri from the earlier conflict hostage and kill him, leaving his body where it can be easily found. It is revealed they mean to attack every Centauri on the station, to send a message of their own.

G'Kar's aide Na'Toth discovers the plot to attack the Centauri and alerts him about it. She thinks they should alert Sheridan but G'Kar says no. If they do and he tries to stop it, either more people will get hurt or the other Narn will just lay low and try again in a few days. He says they rejected his authority and he means to go reclaim it. He means to stop them himself. Na'Toth insists on accompanying him.

The Lumati decides that Ivanova is only showing him the best parts of the station in order to impress him. While he says he understands the impulse, he wants to see the bad as well. Ivanova tells him to pick any part of the station he wants and she will take him there. He picks Down Below. The Lumati is impressed by Down Below, calling it brilliant. He thinks that they did it on purpose to separate the inferior parts of their own species and allow them to die out and serve a purpose as a workforce until then. He thinks it is something his own people will instate on their planet as soon as they can report on it. In fact, this convinces the Lumati that the Earthers are actually worthy of an alliance. He speaks to Ivanova himself, telling her that they have many similarities to build upon. She is a bit befuddled by this (and I think a little disgusted), but she was ordered to get them to agree to an alliance, so she follows as he leaves to begin arrangements.

G'Kar interrupts the Narn as they are rallying before their attack. Their leader claims that G'Kar has no authority over them any longer and G'Kar denies the assertion. He says the only way the other Narn can take it is by force and the two duel for who has the final say in the matter. Some of the other Narn think to get involved and give their cohort a hand but Na'Toth keeps the fight fair. G'Kar prevails and tells the others that this ends here. If peace on the station is the only way to win the war at home then that is what they will have. The other Narn grudgingly disperse.

Sheridan hears back from Earth and they refuse to give any official help to the Narn. They are not ready to take sides yet. Sheridan is disappointed but does not give up. He goes to Franklin and they work out a scheme to use his contacts to smuggle medical supplies in to Narn territory and to try to get civilians out to safe zones. Sheridan goes to Delenn to tell her this plan and see if she wants in. She is surprised that he would go against his government's wishes and he hedges that as long as it's not "official" help, he doesn't see the problem.

G'Kar sends the leader of the rebellious Narn to Sheridan for killing the Centauri. Sheridan and Garibaldi know that Londo is going to flip when he finds out about what happened. They also fear that it is going to cause even more trouble on the station.

The Lumati meets with Ivanova to finalize the alliance between their peoples. He tells her that to finalize the deal they need to have sex. She freaks out and makes an excuse to leave quickly, then goes to Franklin to complain about the situation. Sheridan told her to do whatever it takes but he didn't know that meant sex. Something Franklin says gives Ivanova an idea of how to get around it though.

Delenn and Sheridan tell G'Kar of their proposal to help his people unofficially. Of course, he can't talk about it, or use it as leverage to get other races to help, because they can't let their governments find out. He is less than pleased with the arrangement but he graciously accepts their offer. He leaves before he can see the full extent of his despair, although they pick up on some of it anyway.

Ivanova calls the Lumati to her quarters and, suspecting he doesn't actually know how human sex works, tricks him into agreeing to doing it that way by implying that he couldn't handle it. He takes the bait and she proceeds to do a ridiculous dance and chant around him, both of them remaining fully clothed, and then lauds him for his prowess. He is more than a little surprised and makes a hasty and confused exit while Ivanova breathes a sigh of relief and laughs to herself.

Sheridan and Garibaldi meet with Londo to brief him about the Centauri that was killed. Sheridan winds up to try to convince Londo to delay the trial for as long a possible to prevent setting off widespread chaos on the station. Londo asks about the Centauri that was killed and says that he was always trouble, Londo expected he would come to a bad end. The man had no family back home to fight for him. With the Narn in custody, Londo says he will be satisfied with his permanent deportation from the station and into Centauri custody. All of his belongings will be sold and the proceeds donated to the Centauri war effort. That will be enough for him. Garibaldi and Sheridan are heavily relieved.

Sheridan congratulates Ivanova on a job well done with the Lumati. He tells her that they've already contacted Earth about formalizing their alliance. The head Lumati left a gift for Ivanova with a note that says "Next time, my way." She makes a face and Sheridan asks what he's missing.

Later Garibaldi goes to thank Londo and Londo says that the Narn will fall soon enough. That is enough for him. If not making a fuss happens to make Garibaldi's life a little easier, all the better. He says it is good to have friends, even if only for a little while, and he and Garibaldi share a toast.


Ooh, those look like Death Gliders! The Narn ship is so pretty! Oh, ouch, the Centauri are taking a toll, aren't they? They don't have any qualms about going after civilians, do they? Not cool, Centauri, not cool.

This has to be so darn hard on G'Kar. Especially since he knew the Emperor was going to be trying to make amends had he lived. Man, and you know Sheridan and the rest want to help. Talking Earth into doing so is going to be the tricky part. Especially with Clark's less than friendly agenda towards aliens.

Huh. That Lumati ship sure does look like a Shadow ship, doesn't it? Or is that just me? Does anyone else find it highly convenient that a new super-advanced species has popped up right when the galaxy is in all kinds of turmoil?

Seems G'Kar is going to all of the other ambassadors. Delenn is on the fence about convincing her people to help the Narn. Ooh, a twofer. We get a look at how the Narn have developed and also a look at the beginning of the Earth-Minbari war as well. It is interesting to see it from Delenn's perspective. Equally interesting that while the thought of more war seems to make her weary, it does not seem to affect the Earthers the same.

Oh dear. Loud mouthed Centauri bragging about their glory over the Narn, with two Narn drinking at the bar? This is going to get ugly. Thank goodness for Zack! But it is so not always going to be that way.

Oh, the Lumati are here. I am not even going to try to type that guy's name. Ivanova is going to love being talked down to during their visit. Trope alert! Advanced race that revels in the inferiority of others who just haven't caught up to them yet.

Ugh. Those Centauri and Narn from the bar found each other. Now one of them's dead and G'Kar is furious. Sheridan, meanwhile, is having none of this crap on his station. I don't blame him. Neutral. Territory. It is a privilege to be there.

Why...why do races that feel this way about "inferior" races even bother reaching out to other races? Seriously? If they are so superior, clearly they wouldn't need help from anyone else. Is it just so that they can feel smug about how awesome they are? What happens when they run into someone more evolved than themselves?

Londo does not appear to be reacting well to his new found prominence and power.

"Why is everyone here walking around like they are afraid of me?" (Londo)
"Because maybe we are." (Garibaldi)
"What are you talking about? I would never threaten you or the others." (Londo)
"Maybe. Maybe not. I don't know you anymore Londo. None of us do." (Garibaldi)

Garibaldi tells it like it is, man. He's got a pretty valid point though. Londo wants to share his good fortune. The problem is, his actual friends aren't too happy about how he came by that fortune.

G'Kar is trying to rein in his people. If they are all even half as stubborn as he is, he has his work cut out for him. Hmm. They say the message is heard and understdood. I am not so sure I believe them. Yup. Oh dear. Killing that Centauri will accomplish nothing good. Sigh. And they're going to attack all of the other Centauri on the station. Yikes.

Come on Garibaldi, you've been working with Sheridan for long enough to know that he needs time to out-think the other guys.

Aw, lonely Londo is sad.

Dude. Lumati just walks in and starts feeling up her nightgown. Did he take her robe? Um. Okay.

Na'Toth is creeping. Hopefully she'll tell G'Kar what their people are up to.

Ugh. Earth is sitting this one out. Is anyone surprised? Nope. Delenn, huh?

Good on you Na'Toth, don't let him go alone. Yikes. A lot of people withholding information in the hopes of saving lives. That is never a good sign.

Yeesh.  Personally, the Lumati's approval of the situation in Down Below would make me want to have nothing to do with his race at all. Especially after he said he wanted to implement it on his own world. Poor Ivanova. You know she just wants to carry out her orders, but she has got to be having some internal conflict over this one.

Okay. So, G'Kar's gonna duke it out with the upstart Narn to reassert his authority. Well. It does potentially minimize the carnage, I suppose. Assuming he wins, that means the others have to accept that he's in the right, yes? Heh. Na'Toth isn't having any cheating, boys. Damn G'Kar. Just take that poisoned blade like a badass.

Nice. Sheridan's going to use Franklin's contacts with the Telepath Underground to smuggle medical supplies in to the Narn and get civilians out. He also wants to see if Delenn wants in. I love that he believes he can appeal to her conscience in the matter as well. And that she agrees with him.

Ew. Ew. The Lumati wants to have sex with Ivanova to finalize the agreement. Ew. Yeah. Superior culture my ass. Run, Ivanova, run, and pawn the rest of that deal off on Sheridan.

Punch Franklin, Ivanova. Punch him. That's not a cool joke. Oh! Heh. I forgot about how she gets around this. Heh. Smart cookie Ivanova.

I wonder how Sheridan is going to get around the turmoil of a Centauri being murdered by a Narn?

Eep. G'Kar is not happy about the meager offerings that Delenn and Sheridan have for him. Still, that they are trying to do that much is a big thing. At least he recognizes it. But oh my goodness. He is just heartbroken by this. He had so hoped he could depend on the help of others. He knows what kind of toll this war is going to take on his people.

Wait...was Taq just gonna hang out while the Lumati had sex with Ivanova? Ew. Ew. Ew. I love that she plays on his superiority complex to get him to agree to have sex the "human" way though. That's awesome. Claudia Christian must have had so much fun filming this scene. For real. Also, I don't know that I've ever noticed some of the things she actually says in this scene before, but I am cracking up that they seem to be a quick blow-by-blow of how crappy relationships work. Awesome squared.

I think hanging out with Sheridan and his "outsmart the other guy whenever possible" tendencies have begun to rub off on her.

"What do I do now?" (The Lumati)
"Old style, you roll over and go to bed. New style, you go out for pizza and I never see you again." (Ivanova)

Hmm. Is Sheridan gonna try to outsmart Londo now? Or just beg to have the trial postponed as long as possible. Although it seems that Londo is in the mood to be charitable. Probably more that he is just tired of being the bad guy.

I think Ivanova left an impression on the Lumati. Heh. Here's hoping none of the other dealings require the same kind of sealing.

Well, at least Londo and Garibaldi are back on good terms. I'm actually glad of that. Londo needs a moral compass. He doesn't listen to Vir, I think just because he's a lackey. He's starting to realize just how corrupt his own people--himself included--really are. I think the satisfaction of seeing an old enemy destroyed is the only satisfaction he is getting out of his deal with Morden and the Shadows. And even that tastes sour these days.


That wraps up this week. Thank you so much for reading! Just a quick note, since the holidays are upon us, I'll be taking the next two weeks off from this for my own mental health. I am sorry to do another break right after taking all of November off, but it had to happen, I fear.

But please do come back Monday, January 7 when we'll be looking at episode thirteen, "Hunter, Prey."

Happy holidays to all of you! I'll see you in the new year!

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