Babylon 5: S04E17: The Face of the Enemy

What a great episode – one of the best so far!

Sheridans advance towards Earth and his but-kicking of President Clark is going just fine, but the battles are becoming more and more vicious. Sheridan can’t understandSheridan - worried. why the Earth ships are fighting to the last man. It transpires that Clark has persuaded the Earth militia that once captured, the human crew is replaced by Minbari. Sheridan and another captain finally manage to persuade the remaining Earth Force captains that this is not the case and they eventually join Sheridans offencive. once the battle is over, Sheridan’s old ship, the Agamemnon, appears through a jump gate. It has arrived to join Sheridan, much to his relief.

On Mars, Franklin and Lyta arrive with the cargo of ‘damaged’ telepaths. Number one is annoyed that Franklin did not tell Number one that Lyta was a telepath (telepaths were used to ruthlessly route out the resistance). Who cares – Lyta and Number one in the same scene – I couldn’t stop drooling! Number one, as you might imagine, is also bloody miffed about the twenty odd telepaths that have just arrived.

Garibaldi talking to the bossThe git Garibaldi idly reports that John Sheridans father has been captured and Edgars happily promises Garibaldi the whole truth once the John Sheridan affair is over.

While aboard the Agamemnon for a hearty reunion with his old crew, Sheridan receives a message via Ivanova from Garibaldi. Garibaldi informs him that Clark has his father and that if he wants to get him back they have to move quickly. They arrange a meeting place and, against the advice of just about everyone, Sheridan agrees to meet Garibaldi on Mars.

While Sheridan is on Mars, Ivanova will lead the attack on Clark as Delenn is still not back from Minbar and it would look bad if Delen were to command a human army against humans.

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The GIT GaribaldiOn Mars, Sheridan and Garibaldi meet in a seedy bar. Garibaldi soon smacks a tranquilliser thingy on the back of Sheridans hand. Sheridan realises that it is a trap and as the drug starts to take effect, we’re subjected to the spectacle of Sheridan flailing around in a sort of surreal dance while his old buddy watches like Judas in the corner. This was just too much – at this point I nearly clobbered the telly.

ISN smugly report the capture of Sheridan as Ivanova and Marcus watch in stunned silence. Garibaldi, on the other hand, returns to his boss, Edgars for the latest instalment of the ‘whole truth’.

Edgars and the thug Wade then tell him how they have a genetically engineered virus that attacks only telepaths and that they intend to release it imminently. They hastily add that there is an antidote that must be administered every two weeks otherwise the telepath will die. once the telepaths are subdued, Clark will be vulnerable and will easily overrun. Sheridans little campaign is damaging to Edgar’s plans and with his capture, Edgars can now begin the process of releasing the virus. When Edgars and the thug Wade leave the room, Garibaldi casually takes out one of his teeth and breaks the top off to reveal a small transmitter.

Lise was listening to the conversation behind a pillar and catches up with Garibaldi as he enters the transport tube. She tells Garibaldi that she thinks her husband has basically gone loopy and that he should stop Edgars before he releases the virus. Garibaldi looks right through her as he tells her to go home (??!). Almost the very instant she leaves the transport pod, our old friend Alfred Bester appears. He doesn’t look as sad and dejected as he has of late and we gradually start to see him at his best. Bester is such a great baddie.

Immediately Bester delves into Garibaldis head and extracts the latest episode of his life story and especially the bit about Edgars plan. Bester is chuffed to bits with what he finds and when finished, he confidently muses what to do with Garibaldi. He tells Garibaldi that he can ‘feel the real Garibaldi beating at the inside of his skull, screaming to get out’. He asks a paralysed Garibaldi if he should ‘let him out’.

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Bester then dispassionately informs Garibaldi of exactly what happened after he was captured by the Shadows during the Shadow/Vorlon war. He explains that he managed to get control of Garibaldi during the Shadows attempts to adjust his mind and managed the whole process himself. Bester soon realised that he now had the power to get his enemies, the Shadows and those nasty officers of Babylon 5, in one foul swoop (you can almost see Bester rubbing his hands). He managed to use Garibaldi’s natural rebellious streak to hide the old personality under the new one. Bester explains to Garibaldi that if he were to release him, he would not be able to go home or see his friends and so he decided to release him. Bester slides away and the transport pod moves off. Garibaldi suddenly experiences a mind-blowing revelation and screams with anger and starts banging his head against the wall.

You might be forgiven for thinking that Garibaldi behaving like a git for the last few episodes was not his fault, but the fault of that bastard Bester. WELL YOU’D BE WRONG! It was Garibaldi’s fault for getting himself into the situation in the first place. I’ve not been calling Garibaldi a GIT for the past few episodes just to have him turn back into a nice guy, I may be a Sad Geezer but I’m not a idiot- RIGHT!

You tell'em Susan!Anyway, Marcus informs Ivanova that Garibaldi has been trying to contact them, but Ivanova quite rightly instructs everyone that if Garibaldi turns up on Babylon 5, he should be shot on sight. While still piqued, she vows to get Clark and finish the job that Sheridan started.

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Sheridan in a hotel - NOT!Meanwhile, back on Mars, Garibaldi searches vainly for the only friend he has left. Edgar’s apartment is a mess, Lise is nowhere to be seen, and he finds the bodies of the thug Wade and Edgars. Wade manages to tell him that Lise had run off before the Psi Cops had attacked. Then he pops his clogs and rushes to join Edgars in hell – good riddance.

ISN reports that Edgars has been assassinated by Mars terrorists and proudly congratulates Garibaldi for rescuing the Babylon 5 Captain, John Sheridan who apparently is being well looked after, unlike the captured Earth Force commanders. Now that Sheridan is free from alien influences she reports that he is beginning to express regret for his actions against his home world.

He isn’t by the way, we see Sheridan huddled in a dark cell looking as though he’s been beaten black and blue.

I’d rate this a huge (hug even) 31,459 out of 10.  What did you think?

“The Face of the Enemy” episode review is © 1999 – 2001 Tony Fawl
and not for reproduction without the authors express permission

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The BABYLON 5 names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of J. Michael Straczynski, TNT and Warner Brothers, a division of Time Warner Entertainment Company. All rights reserved.

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