Babylon 5–Divided Loyalties (1995)   2 comments

Above:  Commander Susan Ivanova and Telepath Talia Winters, Friends At Last


In 1993 the Babylon 5 pilot movie, The Gathering, aired.  The plot was simple:  The space station Babylon 5 opens in early 2257.  The commanding officer is Commander Jeffrey Sinclair (played by Michael O’Hare), and his executive officer is Lt. Commander Laurel Takashima (played by Tamlyn Tomita).  The Centauri, Minbari, and Narn ambassadors have arrived, so the last major ambassador to arrive is Kosh, from the Vorlons.  A rogue Minbari uses technology to look like Commander Sinclair while attempting assassinate Kosh.  By the end of the movie Sinclair exposes the plot and clears his name.

Above:  Lyta Alexander in 2259

Telepath Lyta Alexander plays a crucial part in The Gathering, for she accuses Sinclair of trying to assassinate Kosh after scanning the Vorlon Ambassador.  Two years later, in 2259, she returns to Babylon 5 with ominous news:  Someone aboard the station is traitor.  This person is not aware that he or she is a traitor, for he or she is an unconscious pawn in a Psi Corps program.  The evil telepaths at the Psi Corps implant an individual with an artificial personality which serves their interests.  At some later point, when a telepath sends the password, the artificial personality destroys the natural one.  So, who can one trust if anyone might carry an Psi Corps-implanted personality?

Lyta, a dissident from Psi Corps, arrives on Babylon 5 to warn the command staff that someone among them carries one of these artificial personalities.  Who is the unconscious traitor?  She is:

Above:  Talia Winters Immediately After Lyta Alexander Exposes Her as the Traitor

Goodbye, sweet Talia, who just became a good friend of Susan Ivanova, who distrusts telepaths and hates the Psi Corps.  Farewell, nice Talia, who assisted in sheltering telepaths who do not want to join or remain in Psi Corps.  Evil Talia has taken her place.

Evil Talia knows many of the secrets of the command staff’s activities against the Clark Administration and the Psi Corps.  But it could have been worse, for Sheridan and Garibaldi were preparing to invite Talia to join their cell group.

Above:  Lt. Commander Laurel Takashima in 2257

Series creator J. Michael Straczynski (JMS) had a plan for Lt. Commander Laurel Takashima, from The Gathering.  In the pilot movie he laid the foundations for her character to carry the Psi Corps-implanted personality.  Indeed, certain scenes in The Gathering imply that Takashima was complicit (consciously or otherwise) in the plot to assassinate Kosh and frame Sinclair.  Yet actress Tamlyn Tomita chose not to return to the role when Babylon 5 became a series, so Claudia Christian’s Susan Ivanova became Executive Officer.  And JMS transferred the sleeper personality to Talia Winters.  The crucial plot points survived casting issues.

I watched Divided Loyalties again today.  The most chilling scene came at the end, when Commander Ivanova spoke with the new Talia Winters personality.  Ivanova had found and lost a friend–and she had few friends.  It was sad.

There is another important revelation in this episode.  Susan Ivanova is a latent telepath, albeit not a powerful one.  She knows that this is enough, however, to end her military career and force her into Psi Corps.  So that is her deepest, darkest secret.  In All Alone in the Night Captain Sheridan had a Vorlon-induced vision.  In it, Ivanova asked, “Do you know who I am?”  This new piece of information about Ivanova explains that part of the vision.

Just one more thing, as Lt. Colombo said often.  Lyta Alexander departs the station at the end of the episode and tries again to enter Vorlon space.  Look for her to return to Babylon 5 early in the third season and become a pivotal character in the series.



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

Posted July 13, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5 Season 2

2 responses to “Babylon 5–Divided Loyalties (1995)

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  1. Pingback: Guide Post: Babylon 5 (Through 2257) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  2. Pingback: Guide Post: Babylon 5 (2259) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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