Monday, December 1, 2008

B5 S4 Ep12: Conflicts Of Interest

I love shots like this but you absolutely must pull a freeze frame to get something this fast. That's gotta hurt.

Finally, the return of Lise Hampton. The moment we've all been waiting for or not really.

Garibaldi continues his run as gun-for-hire reuniting a father with his missing daughter. He essentially wipes half the man's bill clean reducing the cost of his work. Straczynski continues to walk a fine line with Garibaldi playing him as the man we’ve always loved and known versus someone we hardly recognize at times. Jeffrey Doyle has to play complex pretty convincingly for it to work and the variation in his personality is subtle. The Earth Gov cronies are plotting to put Garibaldi’s loyalties, to their cause, to the test.

Babylon 5, Season Four is in full swing with Episode 12, Conflicts of Interest [formerly Lise Lise In A Corps Jam Surrounded By Brute Force]. Notable are some guest returns in the form of Tim Choate as Zathras and Denise Gentile as Lise Hamilton. More on their return in a moment.

Sheridan summons for Zack to confiscate Garibaldi’s link, identicard and weapon. Sheridan insists, “I don’t like the company he’s been keeping.” Nice to see he’s paying attention. Though, I suppose this plays into Garibaldi's fears that he's reacting like a dictator. I don't think so.

Franklin has returned to Babylon 5 with a new spring in his step. Of course that happens when you spend a few nights with good old Number One, the red, hot leader of the resistance. He did his part to break down any barriers in Season Four, Episode 11, Lines Of Communication. Of course, the irony is there really wasn't much resistance on her part while visiting the Mars colony. He discovers the War Room has been renovated and revitalized as a new communications center. The plan is to channel Epsilon 3’s immense power for broadcasting across the stars.

Under orders Zack approaches his old friend and mentor and asks for his station-assigned security equipment. Zack understandably exhibits his discomfort with the situation. Jeff Conaway, again, plays the part quite well. At first Garibaldi happily obliges, but then things go down hill. Zack asks for his gun and Garibaldi tells Zack he plans on keeping it. “I can’t allow that.” For cryin' out loud, it’s military issue and Garibaldi certainly isn’t respecting Zack’s awkward position. Good for Zack. He follows orders and sees to it he follows through with his sworn oath. As always, Garibaldi can switch from good guy to dick on a dime in about two seconds flat. He’s completely out of line with Zack.

'That Daffy Duck, what an actor!'
In his quarters Garibaldi is always a sucker for the comedic antics of Daffy Duck. At least some things never change. He finds it amusing and seems to know every episode of Daffy Duck by heart. You know what they say ‘simple things for simple minds.’ Head crony Wade comes to visit him. He has a job for him as a bodyguard and “expediter.” Wade’s Earth contact is coming. He needs Garibaldi to essentially assist him with a variety of security clearances by-passing Babylon 5 security. Garibaldi is the man for the mission.

Meanwhile, Ivanova heads to Epsilon 3 [originally Franklin’s idea]. Thankfully we never see that old fart Draal. We do reunite with our old friend Zathras or some family variation thereof. When we last saw Zathras he was with Jeffrey Sinclair as they stepped back in time in Season Three, Episode 17, War Without End Part Two. That would explain why the Zathras Tim Choate is playing here is actually not Zathras. It is indeed a brother of Zathras also named Zathras. In fact, if others came along, Zathras would have introduced them in this way, “this is my brother Zathras, and this is my other brother Zathras.” You’ll recall TV show Newhart [1982-1990] and “this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.” If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, and you probably don’t, trust me it was funny. It was a good show about an eccentric cast of characters at a Vermont Inn. I digress. Anyway, there are apparently ten different Zathras brothers. Okay mom, couldn't you have come up with another option other than Zathras? What about the following: Tathras, Mathras, Sathras, Bathras, Drathras, Lathras, Nathras, Yathras, Pathras and then maybe Zathras. “Zathras have no one to talk to…so Zathras talks to dirt, sometimes talks to walls, or talks to ceilings, but dirt is closer. Dirt is used to everyone walking on it, just like Zathras.” Man, this family of Zathras really has some self-esteem issues and needs to pull it together. Any lower on the esteem chart and they would be dirt. Come on boy, pick yourself up by the bootstraps and be somebody! You’re Zathras for cryin’ out loud! Well, one of them anyway. Zathras is funny but not that funny. The act is a little tired and old and getting older.

Back on Babylon 5 Garibaldi is with Wade. He gets them into access areas with his alternate ID card. Zack wasn’t aware he had an extra. Wade informs Garibaldi his contact is no longer coming. The contact’s wife will be coming in his place. As it turns out, in a stroke of wild coincidence, it is none other than old flame Lise Hamilton. He left her for Babylon 5. She remained on Mars. Garibaldi attempted to rekindle that relationship way back in Season One, Episode 21, The Quality Of Mercy, but we learned she was expecting and married to Franz [click on the episode title for that segment]. You’ll recall Garibaldi made fun of the name Franz back then. She’s even more beautiful than ever and fortunately the same actress has returned to reprise the role.

Back in Garibaldi’s quarters Lise explains to Garibaldi how she and Franz didn’t work out. She also lost custody of her baby girl. “Lise you were my life” he tells her. It turns out Lise is now married to William Edgars, a big shot on Mars. With some surprise Garibaldi responds, “Now this is the third time you’ve broken my heart and that’s one more time than you’re entitled to.” That’s about as tender as Garibaldi gets lately, “…end of conversation…as far as I’m concerned you’re just one more client.” Ouch! That had to hurt. Wade arrives to break up the lovefest.

We have our second Londo/G’Kar encounter by design within Sheridan’s office. Sheridan has summoned a meeting and clearly, this time, G’Kar was caught unawares. This time he hesitates clearly wishing to avoid interfacing with Londo.

Sheridan mentions the problems being encountered, again, in space on the travel lanes. He mentions the Drakh off the cuff and Londo is taken with the information.

Zack reports to his office to learn there has been unauthorized access via identicard. “Un-authorized entry recorded.” There is also an unknown 72nd passenger aboard Babylon 5. Garibaldi is the violator. Zack cancels all identicard clearance for Garibaldi. He should have done that anyway, but Zack is thinking of the old Garibaldi, not this one. Zack certainly was the gentleman to his friend. Despite the sign of respect out of friendship I still would have canceled all access to be on the safe side.

Garibaldi takes Lise and Wade to the Down Below. They meet an insider with access to molecular information. There is a concern by Lise’s husband that a genetic danger exists to telepaths. The gene that activates the latent telepath may be mutating into a virus. There is the belief some would like to see them all dead. I wonder what Edgars interest is in it?

Wade concocts what appears to be a phony brawl, in my opinion, and so commenceth the test. Garibaldi attempts to escape but his identicard is denied access. DENIED! His clearance revoked, they crawl into a ventilation shaft on the ceiling.

Garibaldi sits waiting for his target to peer into the shaft, but he cannot fire upon them. The thug refuses to fire upon him as well. It’s a weird moment but it’s clearly Garibaldi’s programming that will not allow him to take the shot. It definitely has something to do with Psi Corps. He cannot fire upon Psi Corps agents. This is indeed the test. Inside the airshaft firing begins upon the trio. Garibaldi plans on taking on the crumb bums himself. Zack intercepts. As they are apprehended they pop cyanide pills into their pieholes. “To the future,” they declare and drop to the ground and die. Garibaldi sees them lying on the floor dead.

Later, Sheridan questions Garibaldi slightly pissed off as usual with his old chum.

How far our friend has fallen.

Garibaldi returns to his quarters and finds a message waiting for him from Lise Hampton. He deletes her message. I don’t freakin’ think so! What is he thinking?! I don’t think he would normally do that, but then I don’t know what to expect from Garibaldi anymore. I’ll say one thing. That had to take will power. I couldn’t delete her message. She didn’t burn him enough for that to happen. We’ve all been burned and some would warrant a message deletion but I’m not sure I would do it to Lise. I’d want to see that message. Maybe it was a naked-o-gram.

Moments later, Garibaldi finds himself with a call from Mr. Edgars [Lise's new lover]. He has offered him a job on Mars. Elsewhere on the station, Ivanova goes live with the first broadcast message of the resistance. “You cannot kill the truth and the truth is back in business.” Perfect opening for the new face of the resistance.

Conflicts Of Interest: C+/ B-

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