"The universe is run by the complex interweaving of three elements: energy, matter, and enlightened self-interest."
REVIEW: It's Garibaldi's turn to get a visit from the past, but I'm afraid Jerry Doyle doesn't have the same range other actors on the show do, and it makes the story come across as melodrama. It's certainly over-written, but whenever Doyle tries to emote, he fails at making those words sound any other way. On the plot level, we find out why he has such a bad reputation - he was blamed for the death of a fellow officer years ago and crawled into a bottle. Garibaldi is an alcoholic, and every time things have gotten rough, he's fallen off the wagon. And it happens again here, when he's framed by what turns out to be the Home Guard for sabotage and the attempted assassination of the pro-alien immigration President Santiago. One difference between Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5 I like is that there are a lot more drinking holes on the latter - the casino, and the dive bar Happy Daze, and that bar right there in the open promenade - which must be torture for Garibaldi on any given day. But even before he starts drinking again, Garibaldi is making bad decisions. Becoming a fugitive, borrowing money from the very person he's accused of colluding with (did... did Londo just "buy" him?), and cutting his friends off in his time of need. Not smart.
The head of presidential security, Lianna Kemmer, has reason to mistrust Garibaldi because of their shared past, and I do like that he can't bring himself to resent her for it. Like other female officers we've met, she presents as hard and cold, whereas male officers in B5 are always so much softer. This relates to some truth about women in a man's world, though it's more a reflection of today's world than what you'd expect from the 23th century (unless old biases die hard). While JMS didn't write this one personally, it has his fingerprints all over it, and his idea of what makes a "strong woman" prevails. It's getting a little redundant, frankly. Kemmer will eventually have to trust "Uncle Mike" and agree that her aide Cutter is the real villain (it IS pretty obvious, after all).
But while it's obvious from the first Garibaldi is being framed, and that Cutter is in on it, B5 is as usual, about more than the plot, predictable or not. It's about relationships on both the personal and interstellar scales. Garibaldi's problems make his only friends spring into action, using whatever means they have at their disposal to help him. Sinclair, ever the supportive friend, and Ivanova, perhaps enjoying sticking it to another authoritative woman a little too much. With Londo, it's hard to believe he's really helping Michael out of empathy, because he's the kind of guy who would collect favors, but his point about being odd man out is well made. G'Kar offers Garibaldi a nice little defection, and tries to appeal to his selfishness, which he believes is one of the ruling forces of the universe. We even see the N'Grath, whom I'm very fond of, one of the criminals Garibaldi has made an enemy of. At least the big mantis doesn't start beating on the disgraces security officer like SOME people (and I've said this before, but wow, B5 certainly has some brutal-looking fights). In effect, when something happens on the station, the show proposes we see what each of the characters thinks and would do when confronted with that event. Those that appear, of course. Where was Talia to scan Garibaldi and exonerate him in the first few minutes, huh?
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: On DS9, Starfleet also had problems with dissidents in sensitive positions (the Maquis).
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Some exciting action and politics, but Survivors reminds me of why Garibaldi has never been my favorite character.