Babylon 5: The Quality of Mercy – SF Debris

A serial killer, an alien device which gives life, and a night on the town with Londo and Lennier is just another day at the office on Babylon 5.

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  1. The simple fact that they got Londo whipping out one of his penises on camera past the censors is so worth the episode. 🙂

  2. Having come the the show in Season 2, I find this episode an essential world building episode. It presents a lot of what would later become important without feeling that way. One thing Star Trek rarely ever did was present the limitations involved with living in space. How would you deal with violent criminals somewhere where space and resources are limited and transportation is expensive? On a planet, exile might still be an option, but not so much on a ship or station. Add in the existence of telepaths and you have a whole new way of dealing with it without killing the person who’d just be a drain on a system where food and water are limited. I liked how “Passing Through Gethsamane” showed us this concept from the other side.

    The machine not only came into play, but so did the concept of transferring life energy independent of it. Also the clinic shows Franklin’s “over dedication” to his job will lead to his own stim use once he has a war to deal with.

    The episode isn’t NECESSARY for any of those later stories, nor are they specifically necessary to this. Really only how Franklin got the machine is relevant, but the in episode explanations on its later use were sufficient. It does help, however, as a way of building the story.

    Babylon 5 almost HAS to be watched differently. It’s a novel for television with a beginning, middle, end, and epilogue. Season 1’s weaknesses are a combination of typical season 1 weaknesses of many shows, the need for world building, and its role as the first few chapters of a book. Most shows have in season arcs and sub-arcs that are their own thing as well as contributing to the show as a whole.
    B5 is different. Game of Thrones is a show where a complete novel more or less represents a season of the show. B5 is a SINGLE book spread out over 5 seasons. Not a lot is SUPPOSED to happen in season 1.

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