Saturday, November 15, 2008

B5 S4 Ep10: Racing Mars

The resistance is blonde, beautiful and never looked this damn good.

The Earth embargo is beginning to have an impact and take its toll on our Babylon 5 compatriots. Reserves are beginning to deplete. Ivanova relieves Sheridan and insists he needs a rest from duty. Marcus and Franklin are on edge and on each other’s nerves after two weeks of traveling in close quarters together through deep space. Marcus finds himself a Brit sniffing around and thinks he may be a spy as we soar headlong into red planet territory via Babylon 5, Season Four, Episode 10, Racing Mars [formerly Martians To The Left Of Me, Martians To The Right, Here I Am Stuck In The Middle With You].

Aboard their transient vessel it turns out Marcus’ spy is an Englishman named Captain Jack. A humorous discussion ensues over meal bars versus pipin’ hot instant dinner meal bags [beef and potatoes].

On Babylon 5, ISN continues its ‘in the tank’ assault on Babylon 5 generating an irresponsible and inaccurate interpretation of the station’s mission. Sheridan, too, continues to get dragged through the mud. Director Jesus Trevino, one of my favorites throughout the series, returns. We haven’t seen his creative hand behind the camera in some time. This would be his only appearance in Season Four. This is the kind of sequence I enjoy. Trevino brings his steady hand into the pure emotion of character drama. Sheridan doesn’t have to say a word and with the camera on his face we are mesmerized.

Whew! Pure performance art. You’ll note the camera allude to a handful of cronies over Garibaldi’s shoulder at the end of the segment.

Sheridan confronts Garibaldi shortly thereafter and attempts to isolate what exactly is wrong with hsi old friend. He wants to know what the hell is going on and so do we? Garibaldi is getting insane in the membrane!

Mr. Pissed Off.

Mr. Equally Pissed Off.
Meanwhile, back on the vessel headed to Mars, Captain Jack turns out to be the contact Franklin and Marcus have been waiting to meet. He alerts them to his significance via a clever little poetic ditty he drummed up as code:

Lyta had a little Vorlon
Her skin was pale as snow
And everywhere that Lyta went
Her Vorlon was sure to go

Mr. Even More Pissed Off!
That’s rich. The Brit insists he didn’t want to give himself away right off. He needed to check out Marcus and Franklin first. The boys receive their aliases. Apparently, for their entry to Mars, Marcus and Franklin will be newlyweds. That's right. They will be a gay couple on holiday. Marcus hams it up as only Marcus can. “Well, shall we go darling?”

Four strangers on Babylon 5 confront Garibaldi. They press him to turn on Sheridan. Despite his dislike of Sheridan of late [and it is palpable] he will not hurt the man. Well that’s good. Garibaldi walks away but the men have planted their seeds of evil intent within him.

Marcus and Franklin are on some kind of monorail system and heading into Disney's space mountain. Actually they are uncertain of their destination, but they do discover the folks on Mars were so isolated they didn’t really understand the magnitude of the Shadows War. They normally only hear about the “real end of the world sort of stuff.” Yeah, that really didn’t qualify Jack. Here's an idea. Get your head out of your resistance-tight asses and wake-the-fuck-up! This merely confirmed what I had mentioned earlier on. I had suspected Babylon 5 was essentially working within a vacuum essentially the only human contingent engaged in the war and going it alone. The small, heroic band of fighters was all that stood between the end of the human race and freedom in fighting The Shadows and Vorlons. Clearly, no one else had a freaking clue [except for maybe Earth gov]. That sounds about right. I look at the people around me today and half of them don’t have a clue. They'd rather stick their head in the sand, watch American Idol and discard the details of world politics. I suppose they are happier for it.

On Babylon 5, Ivanova meets with goods and weapons runners as she attempts to establish delivery lines for goods and services outside of the Earth embargo via the black market. She is dealing with some fairly questionable clientele. Even these dirt bags are nervous they’ll be caught breaking the blockades and thrown in the brig by the long arm of the law that is Earth gov. Given the desperation of the situation, Ivanova does some significant strongarming to get the folks to comply with her needs.

Meanwhile, Captain Jack takes Marcus and Franklin into the mining tunnels to meet with members of the resistance.

Back on the station, Delenn and Sheridan have a heart to heart in the garden about Garibaldi. She also proposes another ritual. Sheridan delivers a classic line taking the words right out of my mouth, “Not another ritual-I’m just about ritual-ed out.” Bloody hell! That makes two of us John. She tells him there are like 50 rituals. Cripes. You've gotta be kidding. No joking! Move on brother. You need to find another lover. You need Delenn like you need a hole in the head. We’ve got a saying; “there are other fish in the sea.” I’m kidding, but man she has a lot of rituals to hem and haw over. I’m a fan of the porcelain throne ritual, but you just do your thing already and move on. I loved when Sheridan asked if anyone on her planet eloped. Apparently they do from time to time. I imagine they are from the worker castes. Delenn speaks of the Third Movement of Preparation and Mutual Understanding. It sounds like a cult group. This has something to do with discovering one another’s centers of pleasure intimately, without contact, but rather through prayer. Now that’s foreplay torture! On Earth that’s called blue balls. Sheridan is certainly intrigued, but it looks as though he’s thinking, ‘yes, prayer and respect are fine, but can I touch you and make that baby of ours?’

On Mars, Cpt. Jack shares a picture of his daughter with Franklin. The Mars resistance returns with Marcus and Franklin’s identicards indicating they didn’t match against their DNA. That's right and they aren't gay either. Things are coming together. Cpt. Jack is getting fidgety and a shootout ensues. Cpt. Jack is hit by laser fire and an odd, spidery-like creature quickly leaps from his neck and scurries away ducking behind some equipment. Finally things are heating up for me. Now, previous to the melee, Franklin looked to Marcus and says, “Marcus?” Marcus replies, “I see it” and somehow fires a shot hitting the lifeform and forcing it to jump from Jack’s shoulder. A keeper? I think so. Although, it wasn’t definitively indicated if it was the same thing we’ve seen on other shoulders. Nevertheless, I suspect so.

This reminded me of those slimy pods in Alien. Creepy.
Cut to Franklin who is analyzing the dead alien critter. It is indeed a symbiotic/ parasitic creature. Jack was certainly manipulated by it, just like the one that manipulated Londo in Season Three, Episode 17, War Without End Part Two. We also discover the creature’s control over its keepee is increased exponentially as it grows. The beautiful blonde bombshell, Number One, who leads the Mars resistance tries to contact Jack who is on the run and now aboard the Mars tunnel tram. He feeds more information to Franklin and company indicating the creature can be removed from the host, but never completely killed. It grows back. Yikes. It returns. It takes control again and before you can blink an eye we see the spider-like leg of the creature reach back over Jack’s shoulder. That is some crazy ass shit. Jack, holding a thermal grenade, ends it before he loses control of his free will to do the unthinkable act. There was some crazy talk out of Jack. “They knew who I was. They found me in the middle of the night and they put that thing on me- in me. I wanted to warn you but I couldn’t say anything. It wouldn’t let me.” Weird, spine-chilling stuff. So who are they? The creatures on the shoulders seem almost like living devices or entities for a more advanced group of aliens. I’m not sure, but hopefully there is more to come on this fascinating new thread. These things are definitely keepers. With the ability to regenerate these things are nasty little suckers. The entry was a bit of a yawn for me up until the end. Damn! It closed strong.

Back on Babylon 5, Sheridan attempts to reconcile with Garibaldi. The two come to blows [again!].

Garibaldi is just not right. He is royally screwed up. At first I thought he had a legitimate beef and he might have felt slighted by Sheridan upon his return especially since he risked everything putting his ass on the line to go out there and find him at the end of Season Three, Episode 22, Z'Ha'Dum. At this point I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t something more significant wrong with his wiring. What the hell is wrong with him? His temper and inflexibility seems off. It just doesn’t feel right and I’m assuming it has everything to do with Psi Corps. I mean, I know he's different based upon his period in detention, but what did they do to him? I'm anxious on this point.

Listen, the buck stops here. I'm putting my foot down. I vote no to your posse watching us.
Sheridan heads back to Delenn after taking a major left hook. Ouch! It looked like it hurt. The man needs some bloody TLC [tender, love and care] not a freakin’ ritual. Nevermind, Delenn’s ritual is right there waiting for him along with her Lennier-fronted posse of religious freaks. They are there to watch the ritual. WHOA! Is nothing sacred here? WTF? I would have to excuse myself or throw her horde of Minbari out on their bony asses. Praying and meditating is fine, but watching? Sorry, I think I've said 'ass' alot this entry. Please excuse my French. I'm not sure why the French get blamed when we swear, but they should get blamed for something.
'John, speaking of boners...'
Sheridan discovers exactly why he wasn’t too fond of the posse-caste viewing idea to begin with while sharing an elevator with Lennier. Uncomfortable, Lennier turns to Sheridan and looks at him commenting on the “woo hoo” he heard while in their private quarters. Sheridan looks back in violation. It’s pretty damn funny. Clearly nothing is private with this ritual-happy bunch.

The epilogue sees Garibaldi turn to the strangers. The men that propositioned him earlier look to Garibaldi for joining their cause. They are loyalists to Earth gov and Garibaldi agrees to work with them. He betrays the station. He betrays Sheridan. He betrays himself. This is NOT Garibaldi. Damn it! He would never do that without being held under some kind of influence. “Are you with us?” “I’m with you,” utters Garibaldi with reluctance. He may not want to hurt Sheridan, but he is hurting everything he stands for and against. This is simply not the same man, perhaps physically, but definitely not mentally. He's throwing it all away. Will there be any good will left?
Racing Mars: [C+/B] B-


Francine said...

Nice analysis. Love the blog so far!

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Awesome. Thanks Francine...I really appreciate it. I'll try not to let you down.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Minbari ritual was hysterical. Poor John. How much more intricate can building a relationship get?


The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

haha. Well said as always M! I mean that is HIGH MAINTENANCE! : )