"Well you could put a bag over his head and do it for Babylon 5!"
REVIEW: As the Centauri-Narn conflict heats up, tensions naturally rise on the station, and no matter who's on top at the moment (the Centauri), both G'Kar and Londo feel isolated. Katsulas plays wounded like nobody else, and the episode would be worth watching for his performance alone. He lived through the occupation and the horrors of war/rebellion, and has been passionate about obtaining reparations. He's incredibly patriotic and yes, selfless, a traits shared by at least some of his people, going by the initial "act of sacrifice" we witness. He screams at the injustice, and everyone sees that injustice. He just can't get other governments to officially lend aid to his people, no matter how hard he tries. His despair is palpable and moving. His own sacrifice is one of face, accepting the best deal he can get, and swallowing his pride when someone like Delenn points out the Narn are just as genocidal as the Centauri, no matter who fired the first shot in this particular conflict. He must get his people under control before the conflict destroys B5's neutrality and they all get evicted, and that comes at a price too. He's the old man the youngsters don't want to obey, at least until he responds to the implicit challenge with violence.
Now look at Londo and his selfishness. His troubles are comparatively silly. Everyone's trying to curry favor with him now that he's a big shot. Aww. Garibaldi shuns him and he can't get anyone to have a drink with him even if he's now paying. Sad. And yet, his isolation is no less real than G'Kar's. But it's a winner's loneliness, we're not as sympathetic to it. Though the murder of a Centauri aboard the station could have started a riot, Londo chooses to more or less let it go. The guy who died was a jerk (we saw evidence of this) and apparently held no political power whatsoever, so it doesn't take much largesse to simply require the killer's expulsion and a somewhat humiliating sale of his belongings profiting the Centauri cause. The favor does earn him a little peace and quiet, and a friend in Garibaldi again. Whatever Londo does, he does for Londo. Make no mistake.
Everyone's trying to get a coalition going in this episode. G'Kar gains the use of Franklin's underground railroad to get his civilians our of harm's way, but no political power to broker a peace with. Londo's coalition is of a personal nature; he's well set up with the Shadows and the Centauri government on the macro scale anyway. And then there's Sheridan, who gives Ivanova the task of bringing a new alien species on board with Earth - the Lumati. Why does she get all the comedy-diplomacy assignments? Taken at face value, it's a case of just who we're willing to get in bed with (that turn of phrase will become important in a moment), because they're holier-than-thou a-holes who are fiercely non-interventionist because evolution should dictate who wins and who loses. They have no empathy or compassion. In one of the show's most leftist commentaries yet, the Lumati douchebag Correlilmurzon thinks poverty (i.e. how the Lurkers live down below) is a wonderful innovation to filter one's gene pool of unwanted, weaker elements. And that creates the common ground he needs to see humans as equals worthy of his voice, presence and alliance. We're monsters. Now all that needs to be done to cement this deal is for Correlilmurzon and Ivanova to have sex. All of the LOLs, I guess. Strange bedfellows taken literally, the Lumati are a completely disreputable race, but Ivanova has a plan. She'll convince Correlilmurzon to have sex the human way, then invent a little dance accompanied by orgasmic sounds and tell him it's done. The dance in question is a parody of a bad relationship, and somewhat amusing, though it seems a little uncomfortable for Claudia Christian. It's trying too hard to get laughs, I think. What we're going to do with non-interventionist allies anyway, I don't know.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - You could jettison Ivanova's A-plot, but the G'Kar/Londo stuff is rather brilliant.