|Episode:||17|||||Writer:||D. C. Fontana|||||Air Date:||20-Jul-1994|
Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm recapping and reviewing episode 17 of Babylon 5's first season, Legacies! I should be up to episode 21, but I already watched that one a while back because the internet told me to. The Lurker's Guide Master List page to be specific.
So this is where I'm at:
20 - Babylon SquaredI'm telling you this because I'll likely be throwing out SPOILERS for the earlier episodes as well, and when you move an episode right to the end of a season, everything becomes an earlier episode. But I'll not spoil a thing about the season finale Chrysalis or anything that comes after it, no matter how much I want to.
21 - The Quality of Mercy
14 - TKO
17 - Legacies
22 - Chrysalis
Sinclair's trying keep a diplomatic state of mind, but his mood soon turns sour when he sees they've brought him over on a Minbari War Cruiser.
And the Sky Full of Stars, where he saw a fleet of the ships up close, tearing through all his friends on a mission to wipe out humanity. It's been over 10 years now, but it's clear that he's still kind of bothered by the whole thing.
"She's just taken a mind-burst," explains Talia. "She's a telepath."
I won't spoil anything, but this scene doesn't quite match up with what we learn later in the series, as there's no way Sinclair should've armed the defence grid here. It would've been drilled into every single Earth Alliance officer that if you see a Minbari ship flying at you with its gun ports hanging open you just let them carry on.
In fact we later learn that Earth Alliance tracking systems can't even lock onto a Minbari vessel unless they deactivate their stealth, so really they've made themselves more vulnerable by letting them see their guns like this.
By the way, this is another ep by legendary Star Trek writer D.C. Fontana. It's her second after The War Prayer, which to me wasn't all that great an story. Partly because it had Sinclair's issues with the Minbari right there to use and did nothing with them. Seems that Legacies may be making up for that.
Mind War, those are rubbish.
Turns out that some telepaths are born with the gift, while in others it's latent until triggered. The thief could suddenly mindhear the mindthoughts of everyone around her and the mindshock caused her mind to run and hide inside itself.
Talia tells them that she'll contact the Psi Corps and arrange for her to be sent to Earth for training, but Ivanova's not going to make it that easy for her. She was committing a theft, so she's under station jurisdiction for the time being.
Sinclair meets the Minbari captain Alyt Neroon face to face during the ceremony, and they exchange words of thanks that sound more like barely veiled 'fuck you's.
Neroon: "It is a worthy thing to honor the Shai Alyt, thank you."Delenn has been very respectful during all of this, but when Neroon has gone Sinclair asks her about Bramner and begins to realise she's not actually happy about this ceremony either. She has no interest in discussing her own opinions though and walks away.
Sinclair: "And worthy that you would honour the importance of this place with his presence."
She hasn't learned how to stop broadcasting her thoughts to other telepaths though, so now Talia knows her backstory. She's called Alisa Beldon, she came to the station with her father and was orphaned when he died last year in an accident. Wait, orphaned kids get left to fend for themselves in Downbelow? What the hell kind of city is Sinclair running here?
Talia still wants to get Alisa to the Psi Corps for training, Ivanova's still determined that won't happen. Franklin's a bit curious about this and asks if there's any particular reason why she's interested in this case. She pretty much says "Yes," and leaves.
Sinclair: "This is my station, I don't take orders here."Fortunately Delenn interrupts just before Sinclair can inflict a diplomatic incident on Neroon's face. It's funny how Neroon was so eager to piss the Commander off that he didn't even wait for an opening, he just brings the worst conflict of the Earth-Minbari War up out of nowhere. It was almost as bad as: 'Would you like some tea Neroon?' 'Did you offer people tea on the Line, Commander?'
Neroon: "Impetuous. Is this how you reacted on the Line, Commander?"
Sinclair: "This isn't the Line."
Neroon: "No, WE were in control there."
It's not a huge ceremony, with only Delenn, Sinclair, Garibaldi, Neroon, the guards and a band present. The guards remove the flag from the coffin and fold it the best they can (because apparently they've got American traditions now), then the casket is opened with a 'twang' from the soundtrack...
It's funny how the only times we really see Delenn get angry with Sinclair are in D.C. Fontana episodes. It wasn't even slightly his fault this time, as it was Neroon's men in charge of security! He wouldn't let them station any of Garibaldi's human guards.
Signs and Portents, though it looks less complete than it did back then. Maybe she made a mistake and started again (or Lennier accidentally knocked it over). Actually this was filmed immediately before Signs and Portents, so I suppose it's possible that it was once meant to air earlier too, but who knows? You could go nuts trying to rearrange season one into an order that makes total sense.
Delenn explains that a great general was the last thing Bramner wanted to be. He was originally a high priest of the religious caste. The holy war against Earth forced him to become a war leader, and he believed the cause was just.
Incidentally it was the religious caste that called for the Minbari surrender during the Battle of the Line (after secretly scanning Sinclair with a Triluminary and learning... something) and the warrior caste were never told why. Bramner went along with the decision but the warrior caste still aren't happy about it.
Na'Toth denies any interest in body snatching, but points out that there are carrion eaters living in the B5's alien sector. Garibaldi never even considered that the Pak'Ma'Ra may have eaten Bramner, but now he's going to have to. His day keeps getting better.
She says 'bon appétit' before walking off, which I thought was strange seeing as it's a French phrase and she's an alien who probably only learned one Earth language. But then I realised that I know what it means, because the English language decided to borrow it at some point, so of course she'd know it too! It's still a bit of a strange thing to say though, as it's not like Garibaldi's going to join the Pak'Ma'Ra for dinner. In fact I imagine he'll be skipping food for a while after his visit.
Trying to convince someone to not join a group with a horror story about what happens when you don't join up... that's an interesting strategy.
She assures Alisa that she's investigating other options, then asks for her link communicator back. Turns out Alisa swiped it right off her hand as they were talking. Little brat.
Despite Neroon and Garibaldi's best efforts their interrogation gives them nothing, so they have to progress to a deeper inquiry. The Pak'Ma'Ra are all going to have their stomachs pumped. By the way I'm sorry if you're eating during this. I'm sorry that I'm eating during this.
Franklin and Ivanova don't think it's a great idea, but Alisa decides to take a look at the Narn homeworld in Na'Toth's mind to see it for herself and it freaks her out to the point where she has to go lie down.
Na'Toth: "I hope that isn't a sign of some frailty in her."Poor Ivanova, she's used to getting the best lines in any scene, but Na'Toth has trained to hold her own against G'Kar and she's a worthy adversary.
Ivanova: "Why don't you check her teeth while you're at it!"
Na'Toth: "You think that's a good idea?"
Meanwhile Ivanova and Talia continue to argue over Alisa, getting increasingly personal about it until she snaps at them, accusing them of not caring what she wants. Ivanova says she does have one other option to consider, but she was saving it until last because of reasons of drama I guess.
Alisa can't help but scan Delenn's mind as well, because she has no respect for privacy (and she's entirely untrained to be fair), and inside she sees...
By the way, this is one of the reasons why Legacies should really come later in the season than it aired. In the original airing order these folks are using Delenn's Triluminary three episodes before she receives it Babylon Squared!
Meanwhile, Sinclair comes home to find his quarters have been ransacked... and the ransacker is attacking him!
This is pretty embarrassing for Minbari captain, considering that Minbari are much stronger than humans. It's even more embarrassing when Garibaldi strolls in and reveals that he actually did search Sinclair's room, with Delenn there observing, so destroying the place was entirely pointless. Neroon's not very good at detective work.
Once Neroon's gone, Garibaldi introduces Sinclair to Alisa, who doesn't seem to even notice that the room is a mess and he looks like he's gone a round with a Minbari.
She explains that she felt that she had an obligation to Bramner; he was a reluctant hero and only wanted a simple funeral. He didn't want to be a monument to war like this. This is why she's been in such a bad mood all episode.
We also learn that there's been a rift between the warrior caste and the religious caste since the end of the war and when Neroon finds out what Delenn has done it'll make the situation worse. Unless she tells him herself perhaps.
Then she moves onto phase two of her verbal assault, threatening to get the Grey Council to destroy and dishonour his entire clan over this. Unless he drops the issue and apologises to Sinclair in private.
Neroon seems genuinely touched by this and offers to shake his hand.
Neroon: "You talk like a Minbari, Commander. Perhaps there was some small wisdom in letting your species survive."
Sinclair: "We like to think so.
Anyway, Alisa's chosen to go with the Minbari instead of the Psi Corps, which Talia actually seems to be okay with, even if she doesn't agree with it. Better than taking Na'Toth's offer, as "There's no price high enough to compensate for being surrounded by Narns." Damn Talia, where did that come from?
Everyone gets hugs, Alisa leaves, and Talia buys Ivanova a drink.
"There was one other thing, a word: 'chrysalis'."Hey that's the title of the next episode! Or the fifth upcoming episode if you're watching in the aired order.
Legacies is a pretty watchable episode of Babylon 5 I reckon, definitely better than D.C. Fontana's previous story, The War Prayer. I imagine they would've had some completed episodes to show her this time around, so she could see how the actors performed their roles and get a feel for the tone of the series she was writing for. Always helps.
There's a theme running through both plots this episode, with Ivanova, Talia, and Neroon each getting taught a lesson by a thief about respecting other people's wishes. Plus both storylines are about characters dealing with the consequences left by someone's death (I guess that's why it's called Legacies), and both feature a short appearance by snarky Na'Toth, trying to steal every scene that she's in.
The telepath orphan plot is perhaps the most important storyline, as it means we get to check in on Ivanova and see if she still hates the Psi Corps. And she really really does. She despises that Psi Corps with a burning passion and would rather send a orphan child off to aliens as a test subject for their genetic experiments than let the Corps have her. But she's starting to come around on Talia after seeing how reasonable and compassionate she was all episode, even if they were on opposite sides. Talia on the other hand has seemingly been fascinated by Ivanova from day one, and none of this has put her off.
It's funny though how no one even considers how bad an idea it is to be in the same room as a high-level untrained teenage telepathic thief. The girl barely knows enough to block out casual thoughts and they all know she can't help peeping into brains and swiping shiny things, and yet she she's allowed to meet with Sinclair, Delenn, Garibaldi, Ivanova and Na'Toth! Delenn's lucky that Alisa didn't spill her other scheme to Sinclair, and he's lucky she didn't take all his passwords and sell them to the Centauri. I hope the Minbari are still generally selfless enough to look after her by the way, as Delenn's friend Drall didn't seem all that impressed by the direction his planet was going back in Voice in the Wilderness.
Speaking of the Minbari, their plot was the more interesting to me this episode, with solid acting from everyone involved (no teenagers on this side of the story) and a bit of resolution to Sinclair's issues with them. Plus we've mostly seen the sensitive reflective religious caste Minbari so far through Delenn and Lennier, but Alyt Neroon shows us another side to their culture (still no appearance by the worker caste yet though). Neroon's a step up from the typical villains this season, as he spends all episode provoking Sinclair, threatening his station and he even attacks him in his own quarters at one point, and yet he still doesn't come off seeming like a particularly bad person. He's just got issues with humans since the Earth-Minbari War and the humans can definitely relate to that. Neither he or Sinclair knows why Delenn and the religious caste ended the war and it's eating at them in different ways.
So there's a lot of interesting stuff going on here, even if this wasn't a highlight of the season for me.
Leave a comment if you feel like it!