Crusade: S01E13: Appearances and Other Deceits

Crusade started off on a more sarcastic mood this week.Crusade started off on a more sarcastic mood this week. Under orders from Earth Force, Gideon had to welcome aboard two visitors; a political officer, Welles, and his flamboyant infernal decorator Kevin Sprach. 

Gideon fears that he’ll have to kill the two of them before their stay ends, but only if Matheson doesn’t beat him to it. Welles explains that the people of Earth are watching their mission closely, and so the ship and its crew must have a certain image, hence the need for Kevin. Kevin decides to start changing the colors, layout and uniforms of the ship much to Gideon’s dismay.

This may seem like a subtle jab at those new “Queer eye for the…” shows but this is really a joke against TNT, who kept trying to interfere with JMS’s image of the show. Before Kevin can make any more of his inferior decorator suggestions, they encounter a huge abandoned ship. The ship sent out a distress beacon, and reads only one life sign, barely.   

Matheson takes his EVA team into the ship and find it in total disarray. The engines have exploded, depressurizing the entire vessel. He noticed that the aliens are grasping each other, some in a fight stance, and others in a daisy chain. Further more, all the aliens are naked. Yet another species without the modern technology of clothing. He follows one of the chains to a life support tube, which contains that last remaining alien.

The alien taken aboard for medical needs and later questioning. As soon as the alien is secure in med bay, it begins to enter cardiac arrest. Without enough time properly suit up, Janey a nurse, disobeys orders jumps into the surgery room, and administers treatment. The alien grabs her wrists and then promptly dies. However we noticed some weird passage between the alien and Janey before he kicks it.

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Dr. Chambers is angry, and orders Janey to undergo decontamination, including all cavities (eewwww) before she can leave. Meanwhile Eilerson is trying to decode the alien language. He’s running into trouble because its really two languages. one of those belongs to the naked aliens, the other is just written on the wall. Eilerson hasn’t figure it out yet though. While he’s working on that, Janey begins randomly touching other crew members, who then go off and touch other crew members. Every time they touch someone, we see that same strange display. A short time later, Matheson enters a transport tube and finds the same graffiti he found on the Alien ship. Damn teenagers.

Meanwhile the boogy touch is still going around, and it eventually reaches Welles, who takes on a leadership role amongst the touched crew. At the same time, Eilerson decrypts the alien language and proudly announces it to everyone in the galley. After reading his translations he learns what happened to the alien ship. The crew of the vessel were taken over by body snatchers. This revelation is short lived as the now body snatched crew begin to attack him. Eilerson runs for the transport tube and alerts Gideon to close off all the decks, to limit the body snatching.

The infected crew begin shooting at him, but Greenberg, a normal crewman jumps in the way too protect Eilerson. Greenberg is shot right in the back of the head, killing all brain functions. Soon afterwards, Eilerson briefs Gideon and the rest of the command crew of the situation. Using a remote flying recorder, they determine that they’ve limited the infected crew to three decks. They figure it’d be best to try to get them all in one very small enclosed area. To do so, they shut off the heat. It very quickly gets cold on those three decks, and the crew begin herding toward the warmer galley area.

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Welles, now in charge of the aliens, orders Gideon to surrender himself, or he’ll start executing infected members of the crew. And just like every other baddie, he starts by executing one poor sod. He orders one of the brainwashed crew to come over, touches him, takes back the essence, then has him shot off camera. Gideon agrees to surrender, but formulates a plan first. Gideon surrendered himself, but does so in an EVA suit armed with a PPG pistol. Since he is covered the aliens can’t take over his body.

Nor can they try to take off his suit because he’ll blow off the knee caps of anyone who gets near him. About 45 min later, Gideon’s plan is put into action. Matheson orders the galley decompressed. The air is sucked out of the room, and all the aliens start touching each other and transferring the alien essences, finishing with Welles. With all of the essences trapped in his body, he takes off toward one of the launch bays. He hopes to get to an EVA suit in time.

Gideon follows behind him slowly. In one of the bays Welles spots another crewman in a suit, picks up a wrench, then clocks him with it, he then removes the glove and transfers the collective essences to the crewman’s body.  Little do the aliens realize though, is that it’s the brain-dead Greenberg body they’ve snatched. They’re stuck in a body that can’t move! Gideon dumps the body in an airlock and shoots him outside. Excalibur targets the body and fires, Greenberg’s body explodes in a terrific explosion worthy of the Fourth of July. After everything has been cleaned up, Earth Force arrives to tow the alien ship away, It takes 3 destroyers to tow it!

That’s one big ship! After the ship leaves, Kevin and Welles tell Gideon of their recommended changes. The major change will be the uniforms. They now must wear the grey and red uniforms instead of the black jumpsuits. This is to make up for continuity. When the show first aired, the grey suit episodes were shot first. Then TNT gave Crusade a larger budget and order the uniforms be changed to black. Thus the rest of the episodes were to have the black uniforms. When TNT aired the episodes, the black one were aired first, followed by the grey. If there were a 14th episode, then there would have been an “accident” in ship housekeeping that forced them back to the black uniforms. 

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Meanwhile Eilerson is distraught over Greenberg’s sacrifice, and discusses it with Dr Chambers. The egotistical archeologist really does have a conscience afterall. No matter how hard he tires, he still feels guilty about what happened to the young crewman. Chamber’s tries to calm him and put his mind at ease, but only does so much, saying that he was doing his duty to protect him. He asks, who looks over the enlisted man and she replies that it’s Gideon who looks out for themr.

And with that, the scene is changed to Gideon taking on the difficult task of writing the families of the deceased. Such a somber ending, especially for what is effectively the end of Crusade. But who knows, maybe the story of the Excalibur will continue someday, whether it be in film or print.



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This Crusade review is © 2004-2019 Ryan Bechtel.
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.


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