Mark Watches ‘Babylon 5’: S05E06 – Strange Relations

In the sixth episode of the fifth season of Babylon 5, EVERYTHING IS AN UNCOMFORTABLE MESS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Babylon 5. 

Oh, I liked this episode and the messiness and the DRAMA and the developments that managed to make me feel both joy and terror. Things are falling into place, and I’M SCARED. 

Lochley

Well, I was close, but NOPE. Still wrong, y’all. And I do have to accept that I might be wrong about Lochley as a character anyway, but I feel like the events of “Strange Relations” helped solidify her character for me. Assuming there aren’t other secrets she’s hiding, I should note. (OH GOD, now I’m doubting myself again.) Here, she not only further clashes with Garibaldi, but we see how her political mind works; her morals are spelled out more clearly; and I think I can see a possible path to the future we saw in “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars.” Lochley’s struggle here is on multiple fronts, and the script deals with all of them without giving that sense of stories being spread too thin like I felt in the previous episode. 

And up first: the truth of her relationship with Sheridan. Oh my god, MARRIED??? For three months??? Look, I figured out the whole previous relationship thing, but this was a shocker… until I thought about it for like FIVE SECONDS. Oh, they absolutely act like a married couple at times, at least in the sense that they’re both headstrong and seem to fall into disagreement within minutes of being around one another. Now, it doesn’t feel like an antagonistic thing, and it sounds like it used to be much, much worse when they were together. But with that emotional anchor in their past, these characters are able to trust one another without all the other bullshit getting in the way. So yeah, this really was a logical and reasonable choice. Lochley gets to be a symbol, and she gets to work with someone she knows she can trust. 

That being said… OH LORD, DID I EVER DISAGREE WITH HER ON BESTER. I get that she is also struggling with the intersection of her military duty and her personal morality. On some level, she recognizes that what Bester is doing to the rogue telepaths is wrong. But what exists beyond that? She mentions to Lt. Corwin that she’s worried that Bester is right, that allying with the telepaths will backfire on them. That worries me! Part of it is because I’m not even sure how the show itself feels about the rogue telepaths. In one sense, I feel like we’re supposed to sympathize with them and want the best for them. But Byron as a character confuses me at times. Is he the charismatic martyr that we should be wary of? Should Lyta be wary of him, too? Or is he being positioned as a hero? I can’t tell!

There is one part here, though, that I wanted to call specific attention to. Garibaldi has an understandably intense reaction to Bester’s presence on the station, and Lochley has an utterly offensive reaction to that. She seems to treat Garibaldi as if he just merely dislikes Bester, as if he’s got beef with him that compels him to act out irrationally. Yet she also tells Sheridan that she knows what Bester was accused of doing to Garibaldi, and… lord, how the hell would you even be remotely okay being around that man if you knew what he did to someone else? Even worse, she deploys some truly damaging logic when talking of Bester: He didn’t do anything immoral or wrong to me, so I am obligated to help him. 

YEAH. NO. THAT’S TERRIBLE. She doesn’t even disagree with Sheridan when he describes the Psi Cops as “Fascists R Us.” So she knows what horrible things the Psi Corps and Bester have done, but just because he hasn’t done them to her personally, she still has to entertain politeness with him? NO. MAKE FASCISTS ENDLESSLY UNCOMFORTABLE FOREVER. Forever!!! This made me so angry, and thus, it paints her actions in a different light. Look, Garibaldi is an asshole a lot of the time, but he was justified in wanting to clobber Bester, and Lochley’s treatment of Bester is suspect at best.

Telepathy

Even though Lochley eventually comes up with a solution to Bester that delays any action for sixty days, I’m still worried about where this is heading. She’s so bound by duty that it’s hard to see the charity in her actions. She’s pragmatic, but does she care about the rogue telepaths at all? I don’t really get that feeling. And while that’s happening, there’s Lyta’s continued relationship with Byron, which shows us a character who does deeply care about these people. (Well, I’d argue that pretty much everyone else wants them to have safety and such, too. Dr. Franklin clearly wants to help them, and Sheridan is willing to go to bat for them, too.) Granted, there’s a romantic element here, too, and I don’t want to ignore it. Does that cloud Lyta’s judgment? Maybe, but part of Lyta’s arc over the course of this show has always involved her need for a space of her own. Here, with Byron’s people, she’s found a purpose. The idea of a telepath colony or world is immensely appealing to her! Well, so is Byron, too. These two have an energy and a chemistry that we didn’t see in Lyta and Zack. (I’m guessing my prediction is gonna be 100% wrong, then.) But where will this take them? Again, we know one piece of this puzzle, and it’s so UPSETTING. Is it Bester who pushes them to that point, or is it Sheridan, or will it be Lochley, or is it ALL OF THEM.

A New Role

And I’m in the same space when it comes to G’Kar and Londo. Oh, I’m just as amused as Delenn and G’Kar at the thought that G’Kar gets to be in the royal court on Centauri Prime. Y’all, it’s SO MUCH. This is a race of people seen as garbage and animalistic by the Centauri people, and now, one of them is instantly promoted to one of the more powerful positions in the whole government.

But I’m torn. The position is still one where G’Kar is protecting one of the main people who tormented his people. And I get that G’Kar is at a place where this doesn’t bother him anymore. Still, this also places him in exactly the place we saw him in during “War Without End.” So is the future unchangeable? Is that what’s about to happen? IT’S SO UPSETTING. Why is this show doing this to me???

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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