Babylon 5–Learning Curve (1998)   1 comment

President Sheridan Realizes That Delenn Has Stumbled Onto a Secret of His


The fifth season of Babylon 5, unlike the fourth season, had room for some episodes which did more than feed the story arc.  Learning Curve is among these.  It deepens our understanding of the Rangers while furthering story arcs.  This is an episode worth watching many times.

I begin at the end.

Delenn has spoken with Captain Lochley about official business.  During that conversation Lochley made an offhand comment which indicated that she had known Sheridan for years.  The final scene of the episode shows Delenn digesting the revelation, which we viewers learn in the next episode.  Secrets have a way of getting out, do they not?

Speaking of Captain Lochley….

Michael Garibaldi confronts her.  He suspects that she was not on his side of the recent Earth Civil War.  She confirms this, stating that the role of the military is not to confront the government.

And Mr. Garibaldi, as head of Interstellar Alliance covert intelligence, briefs two rogue telepaths who have joined his team.  They listen politely yet say nothing, even when he asks if they have any questions.  They seem unenthusiastic.  Telepath-“mundane” relations have a long way to go.

Now for the main story of the episode….

Delenn is Ranger One, leader of the Rangers.  The main Ranger training facility is on Minbar, but she is on Babylon 5.  Two Ranger elders, Turval and Durhan, and two Ranger trainees, Tannier and Rathenn, travel to the space station.  There Delenn advises the elders on how to incorporate members of new species into the Rangers effectively.  Most importantly, though, the trainees receive an education in confronting their own fears.

Tannier and Rathenn

Down Below is the part of Babylon 5 where people with nowhere else to go live.  They came to the station seeking opportunity and did not find it.  And this is the area where thugs have carved out small kingdoms for themselves.  One of these thugs is Trace, whose men are attacking a woman when Tannier rushes in to save her.  The trainee succeeds, but Trace’s men beat him severely.  Rathenn, meanwhile, has fled.

Trainee Rathenn with Master Turval

It is time for a lesson in confronting fear.  Master Turval speaks to Rathenn as Tannier receives medical treatment.  As soon as he is able, Tannier will confront Trace, and station security forces will not interfere with the Rangers in this matter.  Trace has power because other people grant it to him.  What will happen when someone confronts him?


It will not go well for Trace.  The other Rangers stand around and watch while Tannier confronts Trace, who is unprepared for a challenge.  He is used to giving orders, which other people carry out.  He cannot stand on his own.

Tannier faces his fear and vanquishes Trace while the elder Rangers comment about how Trace is a bully unskilled in using a fighting staff.  The victorious Tannier does not gloat.  Rather, he pities Trace, who will never be more than what he is and whose name history will swallow up.  Trace does not even own his own name.  Yet Tannier owns his own name.

Then station security, which has been standing by, arrests Trace, with the permission of the Rangers.

What matters most is intangible.  We can lose physical objects to fires, accidents, thieves, or decay.  Honor is a social construct, so we have it or lack it according to the consensus of others.  So, if we lose honor, we have lost nothing intrinsic, only extrinsic.  What matters most is intrinsic, and nobody can take that away from us or grant it to us.  This is one of the messages which runs through the Babylon 5 series, and it is a great truth.



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

Posted September 10, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5 Season 5

One response to “Babylon 5–Learning Curve (1998)

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pingback: Guide Post: Babylon 5 (2262) | 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: