"You should never hand someone a gun unless you're sure where they'll point it."
REVIEW: Guys, I'm liking Sinclair a lot more than I thought I would. He really thrives in more political episodes, which also happens to be the ones I like best. And though they kind of overdo it with his fatigue in this one - I find it doubtful he would conduct station business unshaven and his uniform undone no matter how tired he was - he still manages to friggin' loophole away problems not once, not twice, but three times. I know loophole isn't a verb, but it really should be. First he loopholes the illegal strike by turning "any means necessary" into a way to give his abused dock workers what they want instead of strong-arming them into going back to work. Brilliant. Then he loopholes G'Kar's holy plant out of Londo's hands invoking laws against controlled substances (and wouldn't you know it, the Centauri have been using to get high). And then, for his encore, he loopholes the light from the Narn sun to give G'Kar another shot at his precious ceremony! He should start every sentence with "Technically..." and all the universe's woes would be over. Big smiles right through the final act over here.
The episode captures the chaos that reigns in an enormous installation like Babylon 5, and deepens the world by showing us how the military is actually dependent on civilian contractors. This isn't some slick world where everyone's part of Earth Force, a well-oiled machine motivated by duty and self-improvement. Instead, Sinclair has to deal with union complaints and budget cuts. As it happens, making B5 work is a lot harder than keeping an eye on four ambassadors. He's been asked to do the impossible and keep this thing running with less than optimal support (i.e. funds) from Earth. Does his homeworld even believe in the project? Likely, Earth doesn't really understand Babylon 5's realities and there must be pressure from certain parts not to send the planet's resources off-world like that. The dock scenes are loud, noisy and full of extras, and you realize it's all a lot more complicated and hands-on that countless shows' "bridge-only" approaches would have us think. Ivanova is directing traffic up top, but real people are doing a heck of a lot of work down below to make it happen.
And remember in "The Parliament of Dreams" when the Narn religion wasn't showcased? Well, G'Kar finally gets his turn. From what we can glean here, the Narn worship their sun (which Londo describes as barbaric paganism, despite the fact he's from a polytheistic culture - it's all a matter of perspective), but can be "followers" of different prophets/wise men/heroes. With Na'Toth essentially describing herself as an atheist, this all brings the Narn closer to humanity. Mostly monotheistic, but with a variety akin to Earth's. Whether G'Kar really believes or is, as Londo cynically puts it, only trying to save face is besides the point. The tradition must be observed and he too feels he needs to use any means necessary (in his case, theft and extortion; though Sinclair doesn't all that to be the resolution) to get what he needs. Londo plays the cruel and callous former overseer in this story, but he's also motivated by revenge for the Ragesh III incident from Midnight on the Firing Lines. These characters have long memories, and slights are not easily forgiven.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Sinclair as clever political operator and cowboy diplomat will always be something I find watchable. It's closer to what the show should be doing instead of Trek stock plots.