Babylon 5–The Exercise of Vital Powers (1997)   2 comments

William Edgars, CEO of Edgars Industries


Ancient Greek definition of happiness:  “The exercise of vital powers, along lines of excellence, in a life affording them scope.”–attributed to Aristotle

The countdown to the end of the fourth season continues with this well-acted, well-scripted episode.  Much of the credit for this goes to the screenwriter, series creator J. Michael Straczynski (JMS for short).  Good actors and a bad script = a wasted audio-visual experience.  Can anyone say Star Trek V:  The Final Frontier?  It is also true, however, that the combination of a good script and bad actors is unfortunate.  Fortunately, Efram Zimbalist, Jr., replete with gravitas, plays the chief antagonist very well in this episode and the next one.  So we have the wonderful combination of good actor and script.

Captain Sheridan’s Growing Fleet Heads Toward Earth, One Step at a Time

Captain Sheridan is making his way toward Earth, one step at a time.  Along the way, Earth Alliance ships defect to his side as he liberates Earth colonies.  And Sheridan keeps calling Dr. Stephen Franklin and asking him about the telepaths they rescued from the Shadows during the previous year (in Ship of Tears).  B5‘s resident telepath, Lyta Alexander, manages to connect with one telepath and to control him, which is more than anyone else has accomplished.

The unfortunate telepaths in question have Shadow implants nobody has been able to remove.  These telepaths were destined to become CPUs for Shadow vessels during the Shadow War.  The war is over and the Shadows have left the galaxy, but their legacy continues.  And Captain Sheridan has an idea–albeit one he finds morally questionable yet perhaps the only choice–about how to use some of these telepaths in the Earth Civil War.  The idea rattles Dr. Franklin, who admits reluctantly that there is no other choice.  He and Lyta prepare to travel to Mars, with Shadow technology-implanted telepaths as cargo.

Captain Sheridan is not the only one using telepaths.  William Edgars, head of Edgars Industries, the fourth-largest corporation in the Earth Alliance, has his own uses for telepaths–although his plans involve lesions.  Edgars is using telepaths as guinea pigs for a drug.  Edgars is about to order the euthanasia of this telepath.

Finally, Michael Garibaldi arrives on Mars and meets his new employer, William Edgars.  The industrialist admits casually that the megacorporations (such as his) are the real powers in the Earth Alliance.  They permitted President Clark to declare martial law, and now they fear the Psi Corps, which Clark might unleash if Captain Sheridan’s war continues.  The Psi Corps, Edgars says, is a threat to the freedom of non-telepaths.  Furthermore, according to Edgars, the megacorporations need to be free to deal with Clark and the Psi Corps the way they see fit–and Captain Sheridan is complicating their plans.  So someone–say Michael Garibaldi–needs to betray Sheridan to President Clark’s forces, so that Clark will have a false sense of security, and the megacorporations will be able to do what they think proper.

(All this sounds rather cynical to me.)

Garibaldi agrees, saying that the way to get to Captain Sheridan is through his father, who has been on the lam for a while.  David Sheridan takes a rare heart drug, so tracing that drug is a certain way to find the senior Sheridan.  And Garibaldi will betray Captain Sheridan personally.  Then Edgars will tell Garibaldi everything about the plans of Edgars Industries for the telepaths.

There is no other way, Michael Garibaldi tells himself.

William Edgars Reading the Bible

Babylon 5 portrays many sides of religion over its five seasons.  (I confine my remarks to treatment of Christianity in this paragraph.)  In the previous season we met Brother Theo and his fellow Roman Catholic monks, who engage in peaceful interfaith dialogue and calm the station population as much as possible during wartime.  Then, in And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place, we met the Reverend Will Dexter, an African-American Baptist minister who preached love, compassion, and understanding, especially of “the enemy.”  All these read their Bibles.

William Edgars reads his Bible, too.    Yet he does not take away from it the same lessons as do Brother Theo and the Reverend Will Dexter.  Where is the love?  Where are the Beatitudes?

Here ends the lesson.



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

Posted August 14, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5 Season 4

2 responses to “Babylon 5–The Exercise of Vital Powers (1997)

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pingback: Guide Post: Babylon 5 (2261) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  2. Pingback: B5 Rewatch: 4×16 "The Exercise of Vital Powers" - ***Dave Does the Blog | ***Dave Does the Blog

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: