Babylon 5: S05E01: No Compromise
This was a tense opening episode. It introduced new characters and situations.
A cool graphics sequence opens the 5th season of Babylon 5 as the new Commanding Officer of Babylon 5 Captain Lockley, arrives through the jumpgate. A rather nervous Lt. Corwin greets her.
The entrance of Captain Lockley was formal and a little intimidating not what I expected. As a replacement for Sheridan and the new chief cook and bottle washer she must, I suppose, have an air or authority and a certain power of a charismatic leader. The new boss showed nothing of this in the opening scene. Instead this ‘handsome’ woman rather patronised her way onto the station. I felt more than a little deflated. Captain Lockley would show resourcefulness, intelligence and a strong ability to command during this first episode, but I missed Ivanova almost immediately.
On Mars we then see a weird looking bloke on Mars toying with a music box. He is talking to a Ranger who is bound to a chair and looks like he’s been beaten up. He tells him that it is nothing personal, he just wants to send a message to Babylon 5. He then turns and shoots the Ranger. Wadda git!. He leaves the dead ranger with a sign on him saying ‘Special Delivery for Babylon 5’.
Meanwhile, Sheridan pours himself a glass of orange juice in his quarters. He was about to make breakfast for his new wife Delenn. They discuss the problem of living accommodation on Babylon 5 until their quarters are ready on Minbar. There is not enough room for them in either of their quarters on Babylon 5 it seems. After explaining the story why Sheridan washes his own sock (believe me, you don’t want to know), Delenn affectionately calls him a ‘sad man’ (hey, doesn’t she mean Sad Geezer?!). He receives the message that Ivanovas replacement, Captain Lockley, has arrived.
Sheridan welcomes Lockley aboard, the two meet in Sheridans (or should that be Lockleys office). It is a friendly yet slightly tense encounter. Sheridan confirms that as of today, Lockley has full control of Babylon 5. Lockley asks for a definition of control, she doesn’t want the new president of the alliance interfering in her activities as CO. My first reaction was cheeky cow! The only reason that there is a B5 station is cos of Sheridan, I can’t help feeling uneasy about the show so far, it’s not the B5 we all came to know and love. So far the show isn’t so much washing over us, more like sticking pins in.
As Lockley leaves to attend to a crisis she is watched by a peculiarly handsome bloke (must be a Brit). Garibaldi is making arrangements with Zack for Sheridan’s inauguration much to Zacks chagrin. Zack is now a pretty competent head of security on the station and doesn’t really need Garibaldi’s advice, he grudgingly accepts it probably because of their friendship.
Lockley is called to examine the body of the Ranger in Bay 3 and Sheridan receives a message on his personal comms system which reads “Dear Mr. President, as of this date, you are officially a dead man. Have a nice day.”
In the Zocolo, the weird looking handsome bloke approaches Lockley. He introduces himself as Byron and asks that she meet him in Brown 3 in two hours. Lockley asks why and suddenly she notices that while Byron was talking, she was unable to hear any other sound (except her own voice), she glances behind her, perplexed, but when she looks back, the mysterious Byron has gone.
Sheridan enters G’Kars quarters. He is writing a book and Sheridan complements G’Kar on his writing ability. He asks G’Kar if he would write the Declaration of Principals and the Oath. G’Kar is very flattered at being asked. Excitedly he rushes Sheridan out of the room so that he can make a start.
Lockley keeps her appointment in Brown 3. Byron and a few of his telepathic buddies greet her. Lockley, who is nobody’s fool, took the precaution of asking a few members of security to join her just in case of trouble. When she learns (or feels) that there is no danger, she asks the security guards to leave. Byron asks that he and his colleagues be allowed to stay on Babylon 5. He considers the station to be a sort of asylum where his people can be left without hassle because of their telepathic abilities and their own beliefs not to be used as tools for ‘normals’.
Byron introduces his colleagues to Lockley; one in particular is called Simon, a mute who has a friendly nature (he broadcasts a thought of flowers to Lockley who is flattered and certainly impressed). He looks a little timid, in fact I immediately though ’Simple Simon’. Lockley is asked to consider Byrons request.
Meanwhile, it becomes clear that the git who killed the Ranger at the start of the programme is on Babylon 5. We see him follow a Gaim (a masked masculine looking character with the projected voice of a woman ?).
Sheridan sees his message in his quarters and is upset, he also hears a voice message from the sender. He listens to the message of hate from a man who is angry at the change instigated by Sheridan in the Civil War on Earth. The assassin vows to kill Sheridan.
Simple Simon is travelling around in the air conditioning system. Apparently he was a ‘tunnel rat’ on Mars and suffered a terrible loss which resulted in his self-induced muteness. Simon stumbles across the git who has killed that Gaim Ambassador and notices that he is readying a disguise. Simon also picks up the thoughts of the assassin. He tries to make an escape but the git shoots at the air vent and hits the lad. Simple Simon manages to escape, but only just.
Lockley meanwhile has just agreed with Sheridan that the ceremony should go ahead (assassin or no assassin) much to the annoyance of Delenn and the others. She leaves and Garibaldi chases after her demanding an explanation. A great exchange then follows where both Lockley and Garibaldi make it very clear that they don’t appreciate each other. I couldn’t help but smile. Those two deserve each other. They will either become sworn enemies or end up getting married.
As the ceremony begins we see the assassin enter disguised as the Gaim ambassador. Then Simple Simon tries to enter, stumbling pathetically as he tries to escape the guards trying to restrain him. Since he can’t talk, Simon projects his thoughts to everyone assembled of the assassin shooting Sheridan. A short exchange of fire follows as the assembled realise what is happening and one security guard is killed. The assassin grabs a hostage and leaves. Simple Simon however, already severely malnourished, dies. Poor sod.
The git steals a fighter and leaves Babylon 5. Instead of escaping however, he heads straight for the window where the ceremony is taking place. Garibaldi follows and sneaks up behind in another fighter. He lets everyone else go. Just before the git fires, Garibaldi locks onto the ship and draws it away from the station. The git is shot to bits once clear and Sheridan and Delenn, alone in the ceremonial chamber, watch in silence. G’Kar then enters with the Declaration of Principals and the Oath. “Do you want to be President, put you hand on the book and say I do”, he says. “I do,” replies a surprised Sheridan. “Fine, lets eat,” concludes G’Kar.
Later, Sheridan meets with Byron. He expresses his gratitude for what Simon did and inquires if Byron knows of Lockleys decision. Byron reports that Lockley has said ‘No’. Sheridan explains that political decisions concerning Babylon 5 are his to make and informs Byron that he has decided to let them stay.
As if Garibaldi hadn’t had enough, he decides to pay a visit to Lockleys quarters. She is busily hanging paintings and unpacking books etc. Garibaldi walks up behind her and quietly mentions that the picture she is hanging is crooked. She turns round and says, rather irritated, ‘yes’. You just know that these two are going to have a few more digs at each other. Unlike last time though, Garibaldi I think, gets the upper hand. He explains to her that he is the new Head of Covert Intelligence is pleased to meet her. Garibaldi sets himself up for the punchline, nicely done this. “By the way, I noticed that you once served with our late lamented assassin?” Lockley is unruffled, “Yes a fine officer, but I guess time can change people“. Garibaldi looks on tongue in cheek, he starts to walk away then turns and asks, “By the way, ….. which side were you on during the big fight back home?“.
Oooooo, I was almost feeling sorry for the hard faced Captain at this point. She should have turned and said, “Sod off Baldi!”. But in the end she simply replied, “I was on the side of Earth Mr Garibaldi, weren’t we all?”. I suppose that was the better answer under the circumstance.
Soon after, this tense opening episode ended. It had me spinning, what do you think?
Discuss this episode in the Babylon 5 & Crusade Forum
The “Hunter Prey” episode review is © 1999 – 2001 T’Mar
and not for reproduction without the authors express permission
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.