Sunday, December 7, 2008

B5 S4 Ep13: Rumors, Bargains And Lies

The truth is back in business!

Sheridan sits in the cafeteria deep in thought amused with himself as he schemes. Marcus, Ivanova, Franklin and Zack arrive and Sheridan pays them no mind at all. Sheridan has a plan to bring the other races on board to the idea of White Star patrols. He dispatches Marcus and three White Stars. They’d like to know the plan, but Sheridan isn’t exactly sure himself. Franklin thinks he’s a bit loopy and losing it without the Lady of the Lake around. At this point, Delenn has been gone for three days contributing to Sheridan’s sense of withdrawal.

An outbreak of Civil War is in progress on Minbar as we enter Babylon 5, Season Four, Episode 13, Rumors, Bargains And Lies [formerly titled I Am Sheridan. Watch As I Make Mincemeat Of My Alien Allies And Their Low Intellect With My Sheer Dazzling Genius]. It is directed by the always impressive Michael Vejar. Delenn offers some historical perspective reflecting on the Grey Council that was. “They held our world together. They were the peace promised by Valen.” It provided, “1,000 years of peace among the three castes.”

Lennier makes a startling observation about the removal of Grey Council that speaks volumes about the suppression of a people however well intentioned. “It was inevitable. The council imposed balance between the castes by suppressing the old resentments, the fears, the imagined slights, but it could not erase them. Take that away and all the old problems come right back to the surface again.” [I fear for Iraq]. I guess I wasn't joking about the caste warfare way back when. It’s all coming to the fore on Minbar again. At this point, the fighting appears contained within the planet’s capital. It’s not out of control... yet. Neroon has been contacted to help ease the chaos. I love good ol' Neroon. Not really. He's a bit of a prick. I so want to call him Macaroon. I’m not a huge fan of Neroon in much the same way I’m not all that crazy about macaroons. I avoid macaroons.

Back on Babylon 5, Sheridan tells Londo [and G’Kar] to pretend they never spoke of the White Star plan. “Londo, trust me,” insists Sheridan. He needs their assist on this for his plan to work. The word trust is an interesting word choice and it must be very difficult for either G’Kar or Londo to fully invest in its true meaning. Granted I do think they appreciate Sheridan’s intentions.

On a Minbari warship, Neroon returns to the series, played devilishly and deliciously by guest John Vickery. They are to meet with the castes. Delenn meets with Neroon alone. In her absence Lennier is given the third degree by a dubious contingent of the religious caste. His religious brethren are disturbed at the presence of the warrior caste. Speaking of trust, there are a lot of trust issues between the two groups. I suspect the worker caste just keeps on doing the job while these two bonehead groups are always squabbling. The worker caste is like the middle class. They are the engine that makes this society work, but get none of the glory. Billy Mumy is great as Lennier and has one of those moments to shine. He plays cool and geek on a dime better than anyone I’ve seen. He's like all of the castes rolled up in one.

Delenn asks Neroon for his help. Their civilization needs the return of balance. Delenn sees Neroon’s actions as sincere and noble.

Delenn is certain it isn’t too late to stop the current chain of events. Neroon opines, “We are two against a world gone mad.” They both understand the risks but he agrees to help, “for now.”

On the station the Drazi ambassador reports to Sheridan that he has seen White Stars in Centauri border space. The poor Drazi, they’re always relegated to second-class station status. We hardly know anything about the Drazi or any names or anything significant at all but there they are to help further the story when needed. Poor fellows. Sheridan plays the whole exchange like a masterful politician. Loads of double-talk baffles the Drazi. It’s quite effective.

Marcus reports into Sheridan. Sheridan has Marcus destroy some asteroids as a kind of red herring. Destroy them and come home.

Marcus: “That’s it.”

Sheridan: “Yes.”

Marcus: “Shoot a bunch of rocks and then leave.”

Sheridan: “Correct.”

That was an amusing back and forth. Sheridan’s wheels are turning and as his ideas are coming together he’s not telling a soul [including Ivanova] to ensure nothing fails. Secrets are good just ask Delenn. Sheridan’s smile and general good cheer has Ivanova’s eyebrows raised. By the way, she does have nice, big, bushy eyebrows to go along with those big supple lips.

Later the Drazi ambassador attempts to pump Londo for information. He runs into the insulting Londo Mollari. This is pretty cute.

Franklin assists Sheridan’s plan by requesting blood donations from alien races, which in turn raises their alarm even further.

Back on the Minbari warship the religious caste questions Delenn’s motives. She was Dukhat’s chosen one. The fanatical group feels the Minbari ship musn’t reach home. Appropriately this religious cult makes plans for their demise. The plan is to poison the air and kill everyone aboard. Fanaticism comes in all shapes and sizes. Makes me want to change the name of my blog.

Prior to the voice of the resistance going live on the station Sheridan asks Ivanova to make a big deal out of nothing. “Nothing happened today in 83 by 9 by 12. Make a big deal out of it, as much as you can given nothing happened.” The aliens are disturbed by the report over a potential new and invisible enemy. They need protection and play right into Sheridan's hands. The plan that amused him earlier in the break room is coming together more than ever.

Meanwhile, the warrior caste is hatching its own plot to depose any opposition as a fellow Minbari strikes Neroon with a fighting pike. Meanwhile, the religious bozos learn that Delenn does not plan to surrender and now their plans to poison the station are looking a wee bit irrational. Fortunately our fearless hero Lennier overhears their dastardly plan and understands he must save the day. Elsewhere Delenn shares her inner most thoughts regarding Lennier with Neroon. This is a moving tribute followed by a terrific exchange between Neroon and Delenn.

The episodes of late have been a fascinating accompaniment and complement to the book recommended to me, To Dream In The City Of Sorrows. There is much here and in the book surrounding Dukhat and all things Minbari. Many of the episodes thus far in Season Four have been a nice counterpart to the book. The book is definitely sorting out Minbari details and fleshing out elements more suitable for coverage within that medium.

On Babylon 5, Sheridan meets with the non-aligned alien worlds that are essentially begging for protection at this point. Sheridan plays it cool tightening his grip on these bozos referring to the White Stars as pretty “busy.” Sheridan plays these geniuses like a fiddle. It’s amazing pure Darwinism hasn’t wiped out their races already. They’re like the league of non-aligned morons. Sheridan wanted cooperation to come easy and he’s making it happen.

Delenn visits a recovering Lennier who had a portion of his lung removed. Delenn asks what transpired. Lennier recalls the Minbari practice of “saving face” and essentially lies to cover up the stupidity of his religious caste brothers by telling Delenn a falsehood concerning the poison gas. It is for the good of his people. You’ll recall [I believe] Babylon 5, Season One, Episode 21, The Quality Of Mercy. It was here Lennier essentiallly backed Londo if memory serves correct as they sat before Sinclair to explain themseves. To further support this fact I give you this quote from To Dream In The City Of Sorrows written by Kathryn M. Drennan, "For a people who claimed they never lied, the Minbari were the masters of the art of concealed truth."

Delenn actually wonders if the whole thing wasn’t a result of sabotage and if the warrior caste was involved. Lennier’s reply, “No, I think we can be fairly certain the warrior caste was not involved.” The boneheads in the religious arm must be feeling like complete bantha poo-doo.

Lennier shares with his brothers the reason for his fabrication and his intentions are indeed noble.

That’s a pretty stellar piece of writing and how applicable is it to our own lives. So many of us build such false hopes or place individuals on pedestals for which they have no right to stand. So many are unworthy and undeserving of such position yet we place our greatest hopes upon them. We do like convinving ourselves of the ideals don’t we? Nicely done.

Lennier awakens and spots Neroon making a break for his personal ship. The Minbari vessel leaves with Neroon reporting back home all of the information he has attained concerning the religious caste’s plans. Neroon double-crosses Delenn. Delenn had hoped the two could work together, but instead his loyalties are to the warrior caste’s success. Vickery does a terrific job of playing the noble snake. He seems resolute in defeating the religious caste. He is very convincing.

Rumor, Bargains And Lies: B

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