Revisiting Babylon 5 – 1×04 Infection

Thoughts on the episode

Another rather character-centric episode, this time with Dr. Franklin being a focus, but also some more characterisation for Sinclair. There are a few details that are relevant for the overarching plot.

During the episode, an ISN reporter is on the station because of a scheduled interview with Commander Sinclair, which he is not enthusiastic about at all (bad experience with a past interview). Through dialogue with the reporter, we learn that Garibaldi was fired from 5 previous jobs, hinting at his problems that come into focus in future episodes. The reporter also mentions that people were very sceptical about Babylon 5 even surviving a year (500 to 1 odds against), heightening curiosity about what happened with the previous 4.

Franklin is shown to be very competent in the medical and xenobiological field and very eager to learn during the examination of the artefacts. We also see him as a moral person as he turns in his former teacher despite the promise of riches – though he seems to be visualising what he could accomplish with that money for just some moments.

During the confrontation with the assistant-turned-Ikarran-warrior, Sinclair is shown to be reckless, up to the point of being ready to sacrifice himself. This does not sit well with Garibaldi (as the two have been friends for some time), who confronts him about it, theorising that it is an “aftereffect” of being in the front lines of the Earth-Minbari war (learning what happened during the last big fight a few episodes later, this theory seems likely to be close to the truth).

We learn that the Vorlons possess organic technology and that it is very possible the Minbari do as well. Near the end of the episode, EarthForce confiscates the organic artefacts for “planetary security reasons”. In the conversation preceding this, we learn that “anti-alien” sentiments are on the rise on Earth – this will become much more relevant on the station in just a few episodes).

Up next: 1×05 – The Parliament of Dreams

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