Mark Watches ‘Babylon 5’: S04E19 – Between the Darkness and the Light

In the nineteenth episode of the fourth season of Babylon 5, the team attempts to rescue Sheridan; G’Kar and Londo make an important decision; Ivanova finishes what she started. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Babylon 5. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of torture, death, grief, consent.

This is both a lot AND STILL NOT THE END OF THIS SEASON. Holy shit, y’all, this show just wants to end me, doesn’t it? 

The Truth

So, I figured that somehow, Garibaldi would prove his innocence, but I did not expect this show to do so in a way that changed another character’s arc. As soon as Garibaldi started asking Lyta to help him, I knew what a big deal this was. Garibaldi hates telepaths, and the fact that he was willing to let Lyta do a deep scan on him??? I feel like that’s partially why Franklin was willing to listen to Garibaldi beyond their experience together. 

But I am getting a feeling that Lyta’s actions here are a sign that the whole telepath issue is probably going to be a focus in season five. Lyta, who is normally very much interested in following the rules, drops images into Number One’s mind without her consent. And it’s not the only thing she does in this episode to get what she wants! Look at how she attacks one of the guards with a telepathic burst of pain before she hits him. Lyta has a power she has only yielded at key moments, but she’s far more loose with it here. It means that she’s exonerated Garibaldi, which is a great thing! (And I hope someone told Sheridan; there was a moment there where I thought he was going to shoot him.) But what else is she willing to do? How far will she go to fight President Clark and his forces?

The Rescue

I admire that this show cares about the cost of being a good person. Repeatedly, actual physical harm comes to those who are trying to do right, and in this case, that’s in the form of Garibaldi getting stabbed in the back during a fight. (Again! He should really learn to watch his back.) But that also means that we get the very frustrating but understanding behavior of those in the Resistance contributing to Sheridan’s rescue in limited ways. I respect that, especially since this all suggests that Number One is thinking of the long run for the Resistance. I don’t see her reaction to Lyta, Garibaldi, or Sheridan’s rescue as being antagonistic but necessary; she has to think of the future! She can’t risk these newcomers undoing the work that she and the other folks have done for years. At the same time, I wish we know more about Number One and the work she’s done, you know?

Anyway, the rescue is so RAW, y’all, and there’s that chilling moment that puts it all into a horrible context. After the events of the last episode, we understand why Sheridan, upon being freed, fires upon a guard more times than necessary. The show doesn’t ignore that Sheridan has just been through a horrible trauma, either, and that’s shown to us in that scene and his reunion with Delenn. They are different sides of the same coin. What I’m most interested in seeing, though, is some sort of conversation between Garibaldi and the others. He’s had his moment with Dr. Franklin and Lyta, but what about with the man he turned in? How will Sheridan react? What about Ivanova? (DON’T TOUCH ME, DON’T LOOK AT ME, I’M NOT OKAY. )

Unity

There is victory and loss in this episode, so it’s bittersweet at time. But I felt such a pure burst of pride and happiness at that sequence in the League’s chambers. It is so incredible to me that these characters have accomplished something so significant, and they did so on their own. Sheridan wasn’t there to urge them to do the right thing; they left Delenn out of the vote so they could prove that she didn’t influence them. Y’all, G’Kar and Londo are working together, and they want to, and THIS IS SUCH A HUGE DEVELOPMENT AND I CAN’T DEAL WITH IT.

The Battle

I’m mad. I’m so mad and I’m distraught and I feel personally attacked by this. I don’t want it to be true, even though this is what Ivanova wanted. She always wanted to be on the front lines; she didn’t want to be given special treatment and protected from harm. She believes so wholly in this fight that she wanted to lead it when Sheridan was captured. She commits to finishing what was started, even when she faces one of the most horrifying adversaries yet.

Yeah, I was fucked up by those destroyers. So much of this season has now turned into an examination of the fallout of the Shadow War! Garibaldi was captured by the Shadows, but they never used him for their intended purposes, so he fell into the hands of the Psi Corps. We haven’t seen any of the Drakh stuff in a bit, but believe me, I haven’t forgotten about that nightmare. And now we’ve another twist I should have seen coming. This show LITERALLY TOLD ME that Clark’s forces had taken in a Shadow ship, and we were TOLD that they were developing technology. But once the Shadow War ended, I foolishly forgot about all of this. They’re so awful! Those ships are remnants of a nightmare that was supposed to be over! But of course Clark would think it appropriate to use that technology to further his own agenda.

So, the Thing. I don’t want it to happen, and like… this hurts. I said on video that it’s almost worse that it’s being drawn out. If Ivanova had just been killed, I could start the grieving process. Instead, she’s still alive, but they can’t save her. I am upset now and forever. Y’all, she’s my favorite character on this show, and I don’t know how I’m supposed to deal with Babylon 5 without her. I AM DISTRAUGHT. I mean, I guess I could hold out some hope that she’ll be okay because she’s still alive? Bah, I don’t know!!! This is too much. 

The video for “Between the Darkness and the Light” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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