Babylon 5–The Wheel of Fire (1998)   1 comment

Michael Garibaldi Looks at an Idol of G’Kar

(EIGHTY-FOURTH IN A SERIES OF BLOG POSTS)

All good things things must come to an end, and the Babylon 5 series is no exception.  Wheel of Fire begins the short countdown to the exit of many familiar characters from the space station.  Perhaps the mass exodus at the end is contrived, but, given the end of the series, it is part of the process of tying up loose ends.

G’Kar returns to Babylon 5 from Centauri Prime with his popularity greater than before.  Narn pilgrims, many of them wielding three-dimensional images of G’Kar, travel to the space station and make life difficult for the Narn Ambassador.  Other Narns want G’Kar to return home and either take over or grant his imprimatur for their rule.  G’Kar just wants to get out of Dodge.

Michael Garibaldi’s drinking catches up with him when he shows up drunk and late to a meeting.  President Sheridan is initially angry, but Delenn talks him down.

Sheridan suspends Garibaldi, saying that his old friend is welcome back in the spy chief job after sobering up.  The President admits that he had suspected that Garibaldi was drinking again, but had hoped he was wrong.  This calls into question Sheridan’s judgment, especially given the recent events with the Centauri.  We viewers are supposed to sympathize with John Sheridan, the valiant hero who defeated the Shadows then Earth Alliance President William Morgan Clark.  But Sheridan is just as human and flawed as the rest of us, and he chose not to look closely on what the knew was true.

Garibaldi is feeling sorry for himself in his quarters when Captain Lochley visits.  She asks if she can help in any way.  The angry and sarcastic Garibaldi rebuffs her overtures of kindness, even storming out of his quarters.  But Lochley follows him.  She does know what he is experiencing, for she is both an alcoholic and a child of an alcoholic.  After this, Garibaldi and Lochley, who had locked horns from the beginning of the year, become friendly toward each other.

The Earth Government orders Lochley to arrest Lyta Alexander and question her.  Earth Security has been investigating terrorist attacks on the Psi Corps, and has traced the money trail back to Lyta.  Lochley and Security Chief Zack Allan take a security force to the public marketplace on Babylon 5, where Lyta is negotiating on behalf of rogue telepaths.  She is angry about the fact that others have pushed her around and used her, and refuses to go with the security forces.   Lyta uses her telepathic powers to control others around her, including Zack.  To borrow a line from Network (1976) she is mad as hell and she won’t take it anymore.

Lyta thinks she is invincible, given the contact she has had with the Vorlons.  But she does count the fact that President Sheridan, who has also had much contact with the Vorlons, has a gun.  He places a gun to Lyta’s head and orders her to release the others telepathically.  She relents, and guards take her away to the brig.

Later, Delenn storms in Sheridan’s office, shouting, “the bastards!”  (Some curse words sound cute with a Croatian accent, for actress Mira Furlan is from that nation-state.)  Delenn is upset because the Narn Government has announced that it will boycott all shipments to and from Babylon 5 until G’Kar returns home.  Then she faints.  It does not take long for Dr. Franklin to declare that Delenn is pregnant.  He was not sure that was possible until this time.  The pregnancy will be risky for Delenn, given her Minbari-Human hybrid biology, but Sheridan says that he wants both his wife and child alive, if possible.  But if he can have only one, he chooses Delenn.  (He gets both, by the way.)

Lise arrives on Babylon 5, in response to Garibaldi’s message, “I need you.”

Finally, Garibaldi decides to settle down with Lise.  He accepts her offer to return with her to Mars and help her run Edgars Industries.  First, however, she will help him sober up.

Garibaldi visits Lyta in her cell.  She is in physical restraints.  This makes no sense to me, given the fact that she destroys a security camera with her telepathic powers.  So what good are restraints?  Anyhow, they negotiate a deal, only part of which Garibaldi reveals to Captain Lochley.  Earth will drop all charges against Lyta; a Senator who receives a generous campaign donation each year from Edgars Industries will arrange for this.  Lyta will transfer all funds she has received from the Narn government into an account used for helping telepaths, and the books will be open for inspection by anyone at any time.  That is the public part of the bargain.

Yet Lochley wants more.  Lyta must leave Babylon 5.  G’Kar, who has wandered by the Captain’s office at that time, has his own proposal.  He must leave the station, too.  He plans to travel the galaxy, and would like to do so with Lyta, if she agrees.   Lochley consents to handling these matters in these ways.

But what did Garibaldi keep from Lochley?  The public bank account is just show; Garibaldi will set up the real account, which will fund terrorist activity against the Psi Corps.  Edgars Industries moves large amounts of money around often; who will notice some more money?  And if, after two years, Garibaldi has built a force Lyta can use against the Psi Corps, she will remove the telepathic block against harming Bester.  There is no risk that Garibaldi will take the money and run, for Lyta is a very powerful telepath.  The Vorlons have transformed her into the telepathic equivalent of a doomsday weapon.  So she can destroy Garibaldi if he cheats her.

That night, Delenn and Sheridan speculate that Londo is celebrating his coronation.  In reality, he is sitting alone and quietly in the darkened throne room.

This episode sets the stage for the Telepath War, which we never see on screen.  This conflict, in which Lyta is involved, ends by 2267 (five years after this episode) and results in the dissolution of the Psi Corps.  We know that Lyta dies during this conflict, and that Garibaldi does pursue Bester. Some novels, the A Call to Arms movie, and a Crusade episode tell us all this.

More developments await in Objects in Motion, the next episode, and Objects at Rest, the last episode of Babylon 5 filmed but not the last episode aired.  Stay tuned and keep reading!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 7, 2010 COMMON ERA

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

Posted October 7, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5 Season 5

One response to “Babylon 5–The Wheel of Fire (1998)

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

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