Babylon 5–The Quality of Mercy (1994)   1 comment

Above:  Dr. Stephen Franklin and Laura Rosen with the Alien Healing Device


Access to affordable health care remains a problem in the year 2258, at least in the Babylon 5 universe.  Among the inhabitants of the space station are civilians who came to Babylon 5 searching for opportunity, but who found themselves trapped without money to return home.  These are the Lurkers, and they live in Down Below, the slums in which criminals have great influence.

Dr. Stephen Franklin, the highest ranking medical officer on Babylon 5, runs a free clinic for the Lurkers.  This violation of rules is no secret, for even Executive Officer Susan Ivanova volunteers at the illegal clinic.  Recently, though, Dr. Franklin has noticed less business than usual.  He discovers that the cause for this is a rival clinic, run by one Laura Rosen (played by June Lockhart, late of Lost in Space), who has no medical license.  Yet her treatments work well.  She uses a device of alien origin.  This piece of technology transfers life energy from one person to another.  This fact explains the success of her treatments.

Such a device is dangerous, especially if one uses it unattended.  What if one loses consciousness while attached to it?  The technology was originally a means of execution, but it can heal, too.  The function depends on how one uses it.

But Laura Rosen will die in three years or less because she has Lake’s Syndrome, so she does not care if she transfers her life force to others.  She is also an idealist committed to helping others, not exploiting the alien technology to become wealthy.  Laura and her daughter, Janice, succeed in time in making Dr. Franklin an ally.

Meanwhile, in the judicial system, Karl Edward Mueller, who has killed at least three people on the station, faces his day in court.  Convicted of murder, his sentence is the death of personality.  The body will survive, but Karl Edward Mueller will cease to exist.  A telepath will supervise the process of cataloging the Mueller personality, wiping the mind, and reprogramming the offender to serve society.  Talia Winters, the station’s resident telepath, catches this difficult assignment.

Below:  Karl Edward Mueller Threatening Janice Rosen’s Life

Mueller never gets as far as the mind wipe phase, for he escapes to Down Below, where he finds Laura and Janice Rosen.  Under duress, Laura treats Mueller with the alien device before using it to kill Mueller by giving him Lake’s Syndrome.

The court declares that Laura Rosen committed no crime, but that she must turn the alien device over to Dr. Franklin.  (Foreshadowing:  Look for the alien device to reappear in future episodes.)  Laura, ridden with guilt for having taken a life.  It was necessary, she says, but not morally correct. (Aside:  The distinction between necessity and moral correctness runs through the series, also.)

Below:  Londo Mollari and Lennier Embarking on a Great Adventure

In the comic part of this episode Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari, a boisterous individual, introduces Lennier, the diplomatic aide to Minbari Ambassador Delenn, to the seedier side of Babylon 5.  Lennier is a quiet, well-behaved person, unaccustomed to bar fights and poker games.  But those are what he gets in the company of Londo.  At a poker game Londo lends Lennier a helping hand with a little-known (to non-Centauris) part of Centauri anatomy:  one of six torso tentacles.  See below:

FYI, torso tentacles are sexual organs.  (That is all I am saying.)

The portrayal of Londo Mollari as a comic character becomes less frequent after this episode.  The Quality of Mercy is the twenty-first episode aired.  In Chrysalis, the following episode and the season finale, he is a darker individual early on his path to destruction for himself and his civilization.  Yet neither villains or heroes are simple characters in Babylon 5.  At the end of the fifth season Londo is pathetic and Lennier is troubled.  People change.



All images are property of Warner Brothers, and I do not profit from said images.

Posted June 30, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5 Season 1

One response to “Babylon 5–The Quality of Mercy (1994)

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pingback: Guide Post: Babylon 5 (2258) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: