The Smoking Gun: A Recording of Then-Vice President William Morgan Clark Plotting the Assassination of President Luis Santiago in 2258
(THIRTY-EIGHTH IN A SERIES OF BLOG POSTS)
Captain John Sheridan leads an armada to Earth late in 2261 (the fourth season of Babylon 5) to, among other things, restore constitutional rule, disband the Night Watch and the Ministry of Peace, and to place President Clark under arrest. This episode, from early in the third season, helps explain why such drastic measures prove necessary.
Julie Musante, the Political Officer for Babylon 5
J. Michael Straczynski (JMS), the creator of the series and author of all its third season episodes, distrusts both McCarthyism and Soviet-style totalitarianism. He makes no secret of these facts or of his intentions in drawing parallels from those -isms to the William Morgan Clark Administration (2259-2261) on Earth. In Voices of Authority Julie Musante, the newly-appointed Political Officer from the Ministry of Peace, arrives on Babylon 5. The Earth government has begun to label all dissent “treason,” and to move against “traitors.” Purges–yes, Musante uses that word–will occur during the next few months. And “loyal” elements of the government are allowed to use relaxed standards of evidence to investigate “treason” and to consider one’s past associations–no matter how far past they are.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Musante is not beyond attempting to use her feminine wiles to her advantage, for she attempts to seduce Captain Sheridan. She fails, a fact which testifies to Sheridan’s virtues.) This situation does, however, set up the situation for Commander Ivanova to make a Star Trek joke: Captain Sheridan is about to go where every man has gone before.
Straczynski borrows prolifically from George Orwell’s 1984 in reference to the Clark Administration. The Ministry of Peace, or Minipax for short, is such an homage. We viewers learn from this episode that the Clark Administration has redefined social problems away. Earthgov has promised anyone who wants one a job, so unemployment is no longer a problem; those without jobs must not want to work. Prejudice is gone, too, as is poverty. These problems continue to exist, of course, but unofficially. And Ms. Musante agrees with the Clark Administration’s policies.
Draal and Commander Ivanova Deep Inside Epsilon 3
Captain Sheridan cannot visit the great machine of Epsilon 3 because of Julie Musante’s presence, so he sends Commander Susan Ivanova in his stead. Draal, the Minbari guardian of the great machine at the heart of the planet beneath Babylon 5, has invited Sheridan to visit the planet for help in locating remaining First Ones to call upon for the upcoming war against the Shadows and their allies. Ivanova uses the great machine to find some leads. An added bonus is a recording of then-Vice President William Morgan Clark (in 2258) telling someone off camera about how much he wants President Luis Santiago dead. The voice of Mr. Morden, “associate” of the Shadows, tells Clark that Santiago will die soon.
Sheridan arranges for distribution of this recording by the end of the episode, and the ensuing uproar on Earth leads to Musante’s recall to the home planet–to help deal with the changed political situation there.
Meanwhile, G’Kar knows vaguely about the Conspiracy of Light against the Shadows, and wants in on it. Delenn is reluctant to admit the former Narn ambassador to the Conspiracy during this episode. She has her reasons. Stay tuned and keep reading.
The White Star and a Vessel from one of the First One Species
Commander Ivanova takes the White Star to Sigma 957, the world Catherine Sakai visited in the first season episode Mind War, in search of First Ones. Ivanova makes contact, coaxing them into cooperation by using their antipathy against the Vorlons. If it works, it works.
There is hope. But matters will deteriorate before they improve.
The series Babylon 5 is heating up, so to speak. I invite you, O reader, to hang on for the ride–and to watch the episodes, of course. They are available on discs and online.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JULY 24, 2010 COMMON ERA
All images are property of Warner Brothers, and I do not profit from said images.