"The secret of our marriage's success is our lack of communication."
REVIEW: Of the three threads, the least interesting is the one the network chose to advertize. It concerns Talia's creepy ex-husband - I'm afraid that's the only note Keith Szarabajka ever hits as Matthew Stoner - coming to Babylon 5 to get back with her. Oh, and while he's there, putting a booby-trapped Centauri idol where a certain person can get it and try to kill Londo. Though Stoner is supposedly out of PsiCorps (what is it with Talia and her mentors, eh?) because he's lost his powers, he's actually their secret weapon and has the ability to manipulate minds (this is obvious from his first scene, not quite the reveal the show makes it out to be). Did PsiCorps or Bureau 13 sign off on Londo's attempted murder? Maybe. It's also possible Stoner does a lot of unscrupulous stuff on the side. Whatever. Though the plot nudges the Garibaldi/Talia friendship forward (his affection still seems unrequited) and showcases the man's intuitive qualities, there's not much more to it. If the acting had been stronger, it might have more resonance.
As so often happens, Londo steals the show. He's in very high spirits, even after his near-death experience, because his rise in Centauri politics has curried him favor from the Emperor, whose gift to Londo is a double-divorce from two of his wives. Hilarity ensues. Or at least, sharp wit. Londo clearly loves having the three of them compete for the single available spot. Who will he keep? Shrewish Timov? Hypocrite and social climber Daggair? Or sexy, treacherous gold digger Mariel? The resolution isn't surprising, but it is satisfying. He chooses Timov, not because she saved his life (I'm sure Doc Franklin respected her confidentiality), but because he can trust her. If she's unlikeable, it's because she's too honest. Her opposite number is Mariel who unbeknownst to Londo tried to kill him. It's suggested she's slept with G'Kar of all people, and several times too, though he wasn't her co-conspirator. All these scenes are cracking with witty dialogue, courtly insults flying. And check out that giant painting at Londo's Ascension party! I think it's of his ego.
Meanwhile, Ivanova, while relegated to a subplot, is settling into her new duties quite well. She's gone from officer-on-watch to diplomatic attachée, filling Sheridan in on various species' observances. Her big challenge in Soul Mates is helping Delenn with her new hair, as she discovers being human requires a rather different grooming regimen. Plenty of amusement there, and though we get some Minbari wisdom along the way (the thing about souls being reborn together seems like it'll be important later), it ends on a menstrual cycle joke. Joke? Or a sign that Delenn will one day have a child with a human? Sometimes, the humor on B5 chaffs against the serious tone, but with the fun of Londo's story taking up so much room, the subplot fits in fine.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: This episode was written by Peter David who, though he never scribed a Star Trek episode, wrote many Trek comics and novels, including the popular New Frontier series. And check out Mr. Homn (Carel Struycken) as an alien trader.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - The Londo and Delenn stories are fun, but the Talia/Garibaldi story is disappointingly obvious.