Tuesday, June 23, 2009

B5 S5 Ep10: A Tragedy Of Telepaths

Yes friends, they are still singing.

Captain Lochley recaps current events. In particular she covers the attacks in the shipping lanes and even more importantly the telepath problem holding up in Brown sector. We get a couple of sweet babe shots of actress Tracey Scoggins. I must admit Scoggins may look fit , but she's not the fittest or most exciting of narrators. Boring. She anticipates things will get messy as she pensively considers the current state of Babylon 5 affairs. Lochley places a call for help to the Telepathbusters [Psi Corps] in the form of Bester. That's priceless. The downbeat tone is set for Babylon 5, Season Five, Episode 10, A Tragedy Of Telepaths.

Darn! All those pretty hands and no fawning or preening of Byron. A teep is a terrible thing to waste!
It was interesting to note in the credits Julie Caitlin Brown would be returning as Na'Toth for the episode. Wow! It's been a long time since we've seen her in character as Na'Toth. I know she reappeared in a different role without make-up, but she was terrific initially as Na'Toth. I remember her absence was notable when she vanished from the show due to make-up issues I believe. Anyway, I never thought we'd see her again.

The telepaths are slowing down the progress of station workers who are attempting to burn through to their location. The teeps are walled up and making every effort with their psychic mind games to keep the station workers and security from reaching them.

Back on Centauri Londo is puzzled by the fact his people are channeling exorbitant expenditures into the now expectedly quiet war machine. G'Kar jests indicating they might be invading themselves for a change. G'Kar is eating fresh SPOO. Eww. Londo indicates it is an insult to eat fresh SPOO and that it needs to age like a fine wine apparently. G'Kar snagged some and Londo makes fun of the fact no Narn would eat fresh SPOO. Aged or fresh no SPOO for you! I would never eat anything called SPOO. It could be a bowl of ice cream, but if it's called SPOO, I'm sorry but I'd rather MOO. In lieu of the SPOO I would eat STEW. I would even share the STEW with YOU, maybe even TWO, but I rank SPOO with a frightening FEW and as something NEW, I would not eat it, not even with GLUE. I would not eat SPOO not even with YOU. There are images that come to mind with the word SPOO I simply cannot reconcile with a food-like substance. Anyway, this gives G'Kar pause and he wonders, "where is it going?" There is a grim feel to this sequence. Londo indicates there are underground cells and perhaps it is heading there. G'Kar urges Londo they must get to the bottom of its delivery point. There, they discover Na'Toth. Hmmm, that does seem a bit odd, but believable and I am glad to see her back.

Ever the haunting image and probably one of the most memorable throughout all of Babylon 5.

Na'Toth recalls the circumstances of those initial attacks on Narn and how she got where she is. The Centauri took her prisoner back in Season Two, Episode 20, The Long, Twilight Struggle I believe, though we never see it happen. It has been two years. The discovery brings back old hatreds and bad blood boils within G'Kar's forgiving heart. We haven't seen G'Kar this upset in some time.

That's a great little story that illustrates a sizable truth. Yes, pretty potent is G'Kar. It's been awhile since we've seen him this heated to be sure. Of course, Na'Toth was once a fiery spitfire of a Narn. She was a real fighter and a loyal assistant to G'Kar. Seeing her in this weakened state with much of her real personality nearly snuffed from existence would anger anyone.

Na'Toth: A shadow of her former self.
Lochley enters a crawlspace to make her way to the telepaths. Sheridan calls her crazy when Garibaldi calls her gutsy. I don't think of Lochley as all that crazy. She seems pretty NOT crazy actually. She's not afraid to get dirty and she is gutsy. Garibaldi and Sheridan discuss concerns about the telepaths who actually got out before the lockdown in Brown sector. There is a concern for sabotage and that is the most logical point of this whole conflict. Sheridan worries everything "is fraying at the edges." He is worried it's all crumbling around them and no doubt much of the work they have achieved.

Garibaldi: "Why is it that we always break up our history by the wars? Not the years of peace?" He adds, "Why the war, not the peace? Because it's exciting. And because on some level people like to see something big fall apart and explode from the inside out." It's a fair point. Like The Iliad or The Odyssey or Beowulf, it's always the epic conflicts that keep our interest. A book about peace and quiet would hardly capture our attention. Still marking periods as The Great Peace or The Fantastic Tranquility or The Bold Quietude or The Remarkable Global Friendship Period might be nice. Granted that last one is a bit naive.

Lochley makes it to Brown sector and she's fairly restrained with her greetings toward the teeps. I have to admit, Scoggins is not particularly good in the role upon further review. I do miss Susan Ivanova. Still, she is starting from ground zero in Season Five and is at a major disadvantage. Byron and his folk demand compensation from the normals now that the Shadow War has ended. Lochley gives the teeps a chance to leave but the cult of Byron stands pat. They will not be leaving.

Elsewhere, in Londo's quarters, Londo and G'Kar plan their attempt to rescue and escape with Na'Toth.

I'm not sure what it is about this season, but it's just not grabbing my attention in the way Seasons One through Four had done. Something feels missing. At the very least it is slower, more political, far less interesting or exciting and then there is the telepath thread which is excruciating.

At the league of aligned worlds meeting Sheridan points out someone or something is planting evidence to implicate alien races so the finger pointing toward one another will lead to war. Tensions are running very high and mounting.

On Centauri Prime Londo begins executing his plan to save Na'Toth. It is understandable to see Na'Toth so weakened. She is so very different from her fiery, spunky personality noted earlier in the series. I'm not sure Julie Caitlin Brown was needed to play Na'Toth. I am glad to see the original actress, but there just isn't much of a role here. So Londo escorts Na'Toth out of their quarters. She is dressed in a female Centauri's dress and her face masked by a veil. Londo feins drunk with the best of them and hopes being the center of attention will simply make his brethren feel as though it is business as usual for Londo.

On the station some of the free teeps are being obnoxious lil' pukes. They are spray painting graffiti signs that demand Byron be freed. Well, that's just plain ridiculous. What are you? Juvenile delinquents? Bester has arrived and the teeps are fearful. They are going to trade in their black spray paint cans for real weapons. Stupid. Well, Bester is in the house and aiding Lochley in getting to those rogue telepaths. The teeps force a security guard into the armory and for some reason the events just seem slightly laughable. I love when the teeps start shooting and they miss Lochley, Zack and Bester, but manage to hit the maintenance worker point blank. It just plain sucks being a B5 'red shirt' also known as a B5 maintenance worker as it turns out.

Sheridan and Delenn inform the alien races that any attacks shall be countered by an alliance strike via White Stars. In essence they threaten force to keep the peace.

G'Kar and Londo have freed Na'Toth and when it is all said and done I cannot for the life of me completely understand the point of having Julie Caitlin Brown guest on the show. It is nearly pointless. I definitely would have enjoyed a more fruitful part and a little more character work on this one. I point to her work early on where she really sank her teeth into the part. There isn't much in the script here for her. It's a job I suppose.

Bester and the telepaths prepare for battle against Byron and his forces. It's definitely not playing out like classic Greek tragedy, but if death is on the horizon for this storyline I welcome its arrival like Brutus and Cassius to Julius Caesar.

A Tragedy Of Telepaths: C [B for the G'Kar/ Londo material]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You've pretty much made it through the snooze fest that is the first part of Season 5. I think you will enjoy the remaining episodes much more.

It's a shame that Lochley didn't have long to expand on her character. I think if she were introduced during S3 or 4, she would have grown into a more likeable character. To me, I think Susan was somewhat of a wooden character during Season 1 as well.