Mark Watches ‘Babylon 5’: S01E17 – Legacies

In the seventeenth episode of the first season of Babylon 5, Talia and Ivanova spar over a newly-revealed telepath; the crew deals with the disappearance of a very important body. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Babylon 5.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of consent

This was a LOT, wasn’t it? Both plots here deal with incredibly complicated and painful pasts, but I was happy that this episode ended on a more positive note, one that suggested that peace between the Minbari and Earth could remain possible. I’m also guessing that the reason this episode was also placed where it was because of that thing—whose name I cannot remember now—that Delenn got in “Babylon Squared” was what she used on those guards? I think? That triangle thingy? LOOK, I KNOW WORDS, I SWEAR. But it looked like the same object, and it wouldn’t have made sense for me to watch this before “Babylon Squared,” but… I don’t know. I could have misidentified it, and it wouldn’t be the first time. 

Regardless, it’s not that important, but I didn’t say anything on video and this is the first time in a while that I’ve watched something in an interesting “order.” This works super, super well coming off of “TKO” anyway, since that episode examined Ivanova’s relationship with her father, while this one talks about her mother. AND WOW, IT ALSO HURTS? Will this character continue to exist just to hurt me??? Probably! But in Alisa Beldon, Ivanova found an opportunity to give another telepath something she felt her mother did not get: options. On this, she clashes with Talia, and the story is about their conflict of intention. 

I say that because I don’t feel like Talia or Ivanova ever intended to be anything but supportive toward Alisa. But as the two of them try to convince Alisa what’s best for her, they slowly move away from that. This becomes less about Alisa’s future and a sort of small, ideological battle. Talia is convinced that the regimented, ordered life of the Psi Corps will help Alisa best. But Ivanova believes that the Psi Corps will ultimately ask for obedience and conformity, as they did in the past with Ivanova’s mother. 

But what does Alisa want? I found that to be the most rewarding aspect of this episode, and it’s why I appreciated Ivanova’s perspective on this. In the end, she didn’t make the decision for Alisa, even though I can’t deny that she DID push Alisa away from the Psi Corps. She just tried to find as many possible options for Alisa, even if they were with other species! Which is really sweet of her, and it helped give Alisa hope that her future wasn’t decided for her. In that sense, Alisa and Ivanova melded incredibly well, since they both are independent spirits who prefer to fight for their own destinies rather than let the world choose for them. 

And while this is all unfolding, there’s a NIGHTMARE occurring on the station in the form of Neroon, the body of Shai Alyt Bramner, and the warrior caste of the Minbari. The story alone is captivating and immensely interesting, but I am also so happy to get a HUGE chunk of worldbuilding for the Minbari. We now know that the mother’s preference for burial customs takes precedence over the father’s; we know how the warrior caste resents that they had to surrender, and that despite that, they still know that the Grey Council rules all. So there’s a ton of detailed nuance here that informs why Neroon behaves as he does and why Delenn’s behavior is what it is. 

Of course, the rift between the two castes is the major source of conflict over the body of Bremner, at least when it comes to Neroon and Delenn. But there’s also the viciously uncomfortable fact that Bremner led the attack on the Line, which means he captained the ship that Sinclair and his fellow fighters came upon just before the Minbari called a cease fire. And as diplomatic as Sinclair is as commander, this was a tough one. Here was the man responsible for ordering his soldiers to murder all of Sinclair’s people. Literally all of them! And now, his body is being paraded around Babylon 5 as part of a procession meant to honor him. That’s… that is a lot to ask of some of these humans, y’all. And while Sinclair gives it a good try, Neroon is THE FUCKING WORST. He is an asshole in every scene he is in. He goads the humans on; he insults them; he assumes the worst of them; he hides in Sinclair’s quarters after tearing it apart and then tries to beat him up??? Good god, what a fucking mess of a person, y’all.

So yeah, I was pretty pleased when Delenn put him in his place. But I was fascinated by the resolution to all of this because of what it revealed about Delenn. Here, she was willing to lie and manipulate others to get what she wanted. Granted, she felt a moral right to take Bremner’s body and give him the burial he actually wanted. Plus, there’s an element of protest to her actions. Bremner didn’t want to become an icon of war, and this was Delenn’s way of making a statement to Neroon and the warrior caste. But she does so through such cunning means, like threatening Neroon with the Grey Council, even though she’s not really part of the Council anymore, is she? She chose to stay onboard Babylon 5 for her research. (Does that have to do with the whole “chrysalis” thing??? Maybe???) But she’s ruthless towards the end of this episode, and it was a treat to watch. Y’all, I would never want to cross Delenn, and I assume this is only a tiny glimpse of what she’s capable of.


The video for “Legacies” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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