Tuesday, December 4, 2012

B5 Rewatch: A Race Through Dark Places

Hello, and welcome to another installment of my Babylon 5 rewatch! Today we'll be discussing the eighth episode of season two, "A Race Through Dark Places." Join me, won't you?

Spoilers abound!

Let Me Sum Up

Due to lost revenue on the station (from Earthforce tying up traffic so that commercial ventures can't get through and earn money for the station), Earth Central has decided that Sheridan and Ivanova need to either relocate to smaller quarters or start paying rent on their current quarters. Ivanova is annoyed but not too put out, but Sheridan flat out refuses and says they must show solidarity, urging Ivanova not to give in either.

Meanwhile, on Mars, we meet up with our old nemesis Bester the Psi Cop. He has captured a rogue telepath and is questioning him about an Underground Railroad the man has become involved in. Telepaths are being smuggled away from Earth to keep them away from the Psi Corps. The man doesn't tell Bester anything and tries to block out his scans, but Bester does some mental mojo to force the issue and, while it kills the man, his last thought does reveal that the Underground is based on Babylon 5.

Bester goes to the station to hunt down and put an end to the Underground. He asks Sheridan, Ivanova, and Garibaldi for their assistance in the matter, and they are legally bound to give it, although Ivanova and Garibaldi clearly have misgivings. Talia, as part of Psi Corps, is just expected to go along with Bester's assignment. She is clearly not too happy about him being there, but he says he wants to try to make amends for their past rivalries.

Delenn, wanting to learn more about humans now that she is partly human, asks Sheridan to dinner. They have a good time and learn their people have more in common than either previously thought. Afterwards, Sheridan returns to his quarters only to find that he has been locked out. Earthforce is cracking down on the demand to move or pay rent. Finding Ivanova in similar straights, he tells her they can crash in his office for the evening.

Bester and Talia have breakfast together and he tries to get on her good side. Then he not so subtly asks her if the command staff talk about the President's death. Talia says sometimes and wonders why he's interested, as she thought it was an accident. He assures her it was, but then asks Talia to keep an eye (and ear) open for any strange behavior on the part of Sheridan. Before Talia can process the request, the telepath Underground makes an attempt on Bester's life. They fail, but they do manage to capture Talia in the process.

Bester delays in telling Sheridan and Garibaldi that Talia is missing after the attack, but he responds to their anger by saying that should just motivate them to find these people more. It turns out to be unnecessary though as Franklin reports that the Underground has made contact and Talia is safe. Their leader wants to meet with Sheridan in private to discuss the situation. They have promised she will not be hurt, but they want to make their case.

Talia wakes up to find herself among the rest of the Underground. They say they do not want to hurt her but will if they have to. She asks what they want of her, and they take turns telling her about all of the horrible things Psi Corps has done to them and their loved ones. Their leader says he knows Talia is very close to wanting to be done with them. He also explains that he knew her friend Ironheart and was part of the same experiments. He knows that Bester killed Ironheart and also that Ironheart gave Talia some extra powers. They convince her to join their side.

Sheridan goes to meet with the Underground's leader and is surprised to find Franklin there. Franklin explains that he is the leader. The Underground started with doctors on Earth trying to keep telepaths out of the Psi Corps' grasp. They expanded to Babylon 5 as a way to get the people safely off Earth. Sheridan is livid with Franklin, in large part because while he doesn't disagree with what he's doing, it is still illegal which means he must report it or become an accomplice. Talia comes forward and suggests a third option.

Garibaldi, meanwhile, thinks he's found the Underground's hideout after investigating the attack on Bester. He tells Bester he's putting a Security team together to check it out and wants Bester to go with him. Bester does not wait for Garibaldi but goes down alone and is confronted by the lead telepath. Then the rest of them, and Talia, show up and demonstrate that working together they are strong enough to defeat him. They put a mental whammy on him that makes him think that he and Talia killed all of the rogue telepaths and that Talia is completely on his side.

Bester, thinking he just killed a bunch of people that the Psi Corps doesn't want to acknowledge actually existed, skedaddles, telling Talia to do the same. He says they'll deny all knowledge of the incident and is satisfied that the Underground has been destroyed. Sheridan comes out of hiding and Talia explains what they did and that it means Bester will be dropping his request for help investigating the underground. That means Sheridan isn't obligated to help him. Franklin also confirms that the station has gotten too unsafe to use for the Underground, so operations will move elsewhere, which means no more illegal activity. This satisfies Sheridan and he lets everyone go, provided they get the heck off his station.

The head telepath says that even with all of them together, that shouldn't have worked against Bester. Talia tipped the scales in their favor, and he thinks it has something to do with what Ironheart gave her. She thinks he might be right. He asks if Talia can keep Bester from getting in to her mind and she believes he can, since the whole time they were working together he never saw about her telekinesis. She knows she can't leave Psi Corps or they will hunt her down, but she is done with them all the same. She sees Bester off and agrees to his request to spy on Sheridan, having no intention of doing it but knowing Bester won't realize it. She seems to be fully on Franklin's side of things now.

Sheridan, tired of sleeping in his quarters and knowing Earth Central won't relent on the rent issue, comes up with a loophole. He reallocates the funds for his rent and Ivanova's from the budget for combat readiness, on the grounds that they aren't ready for combat without a decent night's sleep. Relieved, Ivanova goes back to her quarters, preparing to do just that, but is surprised when Talia stops by. She apologizes for their arguments and says she now knows that Ivanova was right about Psi Corps all along. She says she needs a friend, and believe it or not, Ivanova is the person she feels most comfortable talking about these things with. Ivanova says as long as she's willing to leave Psi Corps out of it, that's fine with her.


Interesting. Earthforce is causing the station to lose revenue by preventing them from taking on commercial traffic. Because they are low on revenue they want the officers to start paying rent or move so that their larger quarters can be rented to paying residents. While I recognize this is a prime example of bureaucracy at its finest, I really feel like that's not all there is to it. Given how Sinclair started and Sheridan is trying to continue to make the station a truly neutral party in galactic affairs, I can't help but think this might be a petty way for Earth Central to push back and for Earthforce to remind the station officers that they are still under its umbrella.

Oh goody. Bester's back. On Mars? That can't be good for anyone. Hmm. Rogue Corps member? Okay, historically speaking, the Underground Railroad was a good thing, right? So, if you're going to call your enemies' resistance the same thing, what does that say about which side of the fight you're on?

Is anyone actually surprised that the telepaths' Underground Railroad is located on Babylon 5?

I think it's interesting that Sheridan is joking about his command being taken from him. I know he is only half serious about Earth Central's motivations, but I'm pretty sure he's hitting much closer to home than he knows.

Yay, Delenn and Sheridan moment! Ooh, Delenn wants to find out more about her human side, and humans in general, since she's at least partly one. So she's asking Sheridan on a date. Awesome. I love these two. Aw, look at how starstruck he is by her.

I wonder if Bester finds the homicidal thoughts everyone has to be thinking about him distracting? Yeah yeah, close down the Underground Railroad, it's illegal, blah blah. Oh! Are Garibaldi and Ivanova going to tell Sheridan what's up with Psi Corps? Well, at least Ivanova's going to set him on the right path. Sigh. Cloak and dagger is all well and good but jeez, you guys need to read Sheridan in.

Well, killing Bester is one way to solve your problems. Temporarily, at least. You know Psi Corps will just send a replacement though, sigh.

Aw, Delenn is such a cutie.

Man, Ivanova was really excited about that free drink!

"Come on Ivanova, this is me." (Garibaldi)
"Yes, it is, and you're so cute when you're worried about investigating somebody close to you." (Ivanova)

For the record, I don't think Garibaldi's wrong about this. Although I will be amazed if Talia isn't involved as well--I honestly can't remember how this one shakes out entirely. Although, if Ivanova isn't involved, then maybe Talia is trying to keep her out of it because she is the obvious suspect? Though--is it Franklin? Dang, I wish I could remember!

Oh, and about your quarters Ivanova...yeah. Sheridan's refusal did not go over well, did it?

Cats versus gokks?

"I think such creatures are attempts of the universe to make sure that we never take ourselves too seriously." (Delenn)

I like that they are finding similarities between Earthers and Minbari. I think it makes Delenn feel better about the whole "shared souls" thing.

Ew, Bester, are you creeping on Talia? Seriously, you aren't fooling anyone. Also, let's bring up Ironheart to her? Yes, that's a brilliant idea. Unless Bester suspects her and is trying to get her to show her hand? Oh, I wonder how her telekinesis is progressing? Far enough, it would seem. Oh, and it's hidden from Bester? Super interesting.

No bed for you Sheridan!!!

Wow. That was a hell of a transition.

Armed and scared telepaths. No, this won't end badly at all.

I feel so sorry for Ivanova, getting roped into Sheridan's stubbornness, and stuck crashing in his office with him when he's all giddy from his not-date.

"Were you like this when you were married?" (Ivanova)
"Huh? Yeah." (Sheridan)
"The woman was a saint." (Ivanova)

Bester. For real. Are you seriously asking Talia to spy on the station officers for you to make sure they don't know about Santiago's assassination? Yeesh. Oh, and they got Talia, hmm.

Oh, Garibaldi needs to control his emotions. He always gets so freaking worked up about Talia. Which is kind of tragic, considering.

Hmm. So. Not Talia. And Franklin is the one bringing the news to Sheridan. Yup. It's Franklin behind it.

Well, even if these horror stories about Psi Corps don't turn Talia, they sure as hell make me not want anything to do with it.

"Maybe the Corps served a function a long time ago. It's something else now." (telepath)

Wow, that right there. That about sums up the point this series has been trying to get across about Psi Corps since it started.

So...is Garibaldi planning to raid Downbelow while Sheridan is meeting with Franklin and the telepaths? Or did he purposely give Bester a lead time?

Ah, Talia has switched sides officially now. Whoo!

Oh, Franklin's clinic was a front for the Underground? I forgot about that one.

Hmm. Bester's alone. Care Bear stare! Oh wait, seriously though. Telepaths can link their abilities? And Psi Corps really doesn't want them to. Oh damn, Talia. What have you done???? Wait--is this part of her plan with Sheridan? Oh lordy. Yeesh. Now she's in with Bester too. That was a very well played plan.

Sheridan is all about the plausible deniability today. He does like outsmarting people he's not fond of. Especially when he's been backed in between a rock and a hard place.

So Talia is super charged now. And on the underdogs' side as well.

Oh look, Sheridan managed to outsmart Earth Central as well. He's having a good day by his standards, isn't he?

Did Bester try to scan her and realize he couldn't? I so wish this would be the last time we see him. Sigh.

Oh. Oh. This is where the Talia/Ivanova thing starts up. Which means we won't have Talia around much longer. Oh no, that extreme closeup of the Psi Corps pin between them wasn't foreshadowing or anything. Not at all. Cinematography!!


Well, there we have it for this week! Thank you so much for visiting! I hope to see you back again on Monday when we'll be looking at the next episode, "The Coming of Shadows." It's the name of the season's story arc too, so you can expect there to be lots of important info in that one!

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