In the nineteenth episode of the third season of Babylon 5, this… happened? It was a thing? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to watch Babylon 5.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of addiction.
So, let’s go from the pretty good to the… um. That thing.
Okay, so now I’ve got a sense that Dr. Franklin wasn’t supposed to find any closure in Cailyn, that she was just a stop along his journey. I still don’t necessarily like that story, but at least I wasn’t imagining this part of his story arc. That arc has a lot more power here, in part because Dr. Franklin’s struggle with his addiction is so much more visual than it was before. Withdrawal symptoms come much later with stim addiction, so while the previous episode was more of a spiritual reckoning for Dr. Franklin, this was visceral. But what sold me on the fact that he was ready to change his life was the ferocity at which he rejected Ivanova’s attempts to stick around. He made her promise that he’d give up information on the telepaths he had helped escaped the Psi Corps, but only if his friends left him alone until he felt he was safe.
I can say from experience: it’s hard to leave addiction behind until you really commit to the process. And that’s what Dr. Franklin is doing here.
I found this plot interesting inasmuch as it feels like the door on the Warrior caste and Neroon has finally closed. I could be wrong, and maybe Neroon is going to leave Babylon 5 with his tail between his legs until he conceives of some other power grab. The irony is that I feel like he’s spent most of his time on this show projecting on Delenn, imagining his own desire for power in her life. Here, he does even worse! He charges that Delenn is trying to attain military and religious power for her own gain rather than see her appointment to the role of Ranger One for what it is. It’s necessary after Sinclair’s departure, and it makes sense.
I dug the way that Lennier got Marcus involved, and from there, this episode also demonstrated just how serious the Rangers are in their dedication. Which is the point! That’s how Neroon comes to realize just how far he’s drifted from his own loyalties and beliefs as a Minbari. He was going to actually try to murder Delenn! It’s Marcus’s act of selfless and devotion that changes his mind. So, big character moment attached to a significant development when it comes to the Rangers.
The Cult of Grey 17
It’s just too bad all of this happens while the most unsatisfying story in the show so far unfolds at the same time. What the fuck, y’all? Straight-up: the Jeremiah/Grey 17 plot makes no sense at all. I just have so many unanswered questions! I get that in the rush to construct Babylon 5, a floor was miscounted. But that would mean in the numbering, the floors would end with 29. Did… no one really notice this? How were there no sensors installed on the actual floor 17? Even looking past this logistical stuff, there are a billion unanswered questions here. How did Jeremiah and these people get down there? Did they all come through the same way as the murdered maintenance worker? Once there, how did they eat? Get rid of their own waste without no one noticing? Am I just supposed to accept that line about the recycling system as the explanation for it all? Even if I do: WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS. A cult based on Minbari teachings, but ridiculously exaggerated so much that they believe that death by Zarg—a creature that weirdly looks like an alien version of Freddy Krueger—to be the holiest way to die?
Even if I bought all of this, I was done once Garibaldi “shot” it and then… magically escaped? How did he get out? Did he leave all those people behind? Arrest them for rigging a ventriloquist dummy with a sedative? Who voiced that thing? Why even set it up??? Who honestly goes down to Grey 17? NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE AT ALL.
This story was bad and should feel bad.
The video for “Grey 17 is Missing” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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