This episode introduces Alfred Bester, a recurring character throughout the series who is on a mission for the Psi Corps. This alone is already significant for the overall plot as he will have major parts to play in it. During the episode we learn that the Psi Corps seems to be increasing its influence over the government behind the scenes, which is obviously troubling. Especially combined with the fact that the experiments on Jason Ironheart have been with the goal of finding a way to create telekinetics, for the purpose of assassinations.
The experiment did turn out to be a success, but thankfully Psi Corps was not able to profit from this, as Jason managed to escape to Babylon 5 and at the end of the episode “transcended” into a non-corporeal form, not to be seen again in the series. He did leave Talia Winters a gift though, enhancing her telepathic shields and even giving her telekinetic abilities.
The episode also sets the tone of the general relationship between the Babylon 5 crew and Bester. They don’t trust each other, Bester sees them (as he does all “normal” humans) as lesser, as tools to be used for his purpose.
The other story-line in the episode served to give a brief teaser of the “First Ones” (while the ship seen may or may not have been one, the introduction of the concept of ancient races definitely goes into that direction) that would later play a role in the series. Catherine Sakai being warned and later (indirectly) rescued by G’kar served well to bring across G’kar’s point of “no one is exactly what he seems”, as up to shortly before Catherine “meets” the giant spaceship that causes her to be in need of rescue from burning up in the atmosphere of Sigma 957, the viewer is left with the impression that Narn spaceships could very well attack her during the survey mission. From this story-line we also learn that a specific material (Quantium-40) is required for the construction of jumpgates.
Up Next: 1×07 The War Prayer