"The Minbari taught me: Claim victory in your heart and the universe will follow."
REVIEW: For all its impact on the greater arcs, Voices of Authority is a rather unconvincing piece of drama, especially in the way it presents its guest characters. Obviously, I haven't warmed to the gregarious portrayal of Draal, and as this is his last on-screen appearance, there's no real reason to. I just don't think a Minbari wise man at the center of a dehumanizing machine makes for a good comedy delivery engine. The army of light conspirators are thinking of contacting other breeds of First Ones and he chuckles at how dangerous that it, like some demented Santa Claus. No thanks. Plugging a human being into the Machine (Ivanova) to seek these First Ones out instead of just giving them coordinates makes for a fun light show, but again seems improbable. That Ivanova can navigate the Matrix and pull out a secret communiqué that proves Clark was complicit in Santiago's assassination (and is that Morden on the other end of the phone?) can be attributed to her latent mental powers, but is still quite a stretch. And then she's off trading dry wit with Marcus the Ranger aboard the White Star, and I have no idea why she's so cold towards him. The First Ones they find look cool - each of these ancient races might tap into a different mythology here on Earth and these guys are maybe Polynesian? - but Ivanova manipulates them much too easily. Are they bitchy teenagers or ancient powers we can never hope to understand? If they aren't called later, I'll be mighty cross too.
The reason Ivanova gets to do all the cool stuff is that Sheridan has been stuck with a political officer, which is something Babylon 5 should have had from day 1 if you ask me. I can understand the station being run by a military governor, but why would you entrust peace negotiations to the military, while every other species sent a civilian ambassador? Of course, this one isn't very good. Julie Musante is a Nightwatch propaganda artist more concerned with Sheridan's office not looking patriotic enough and rewriting the dictionary so that Earth's problems disappear from the public discourse (and yet ISN can run news items damaging to the president? I thought for sure the tape would never make it on the air). But I don't get this character. On the one hand, she seems to know full well 1984 is her playbook. On the other, she does dumb stuff like get naked for Sheridan to get him to comply. Who IS this person? To make matters worse, as soon as the president has a P.R. problem, she's off to help and the station returns to its status quo. I find none of this convincing.
So what DID I like? Well, Zack's story, for starters. His ill-fitting uniform is a nice touch, showing that he may not have what it takes to be a member of the Nightwatch. It makes him uncomfortable. And though he bristles when Garibaldi questions his loyalty, he doesn't sell out his chief when the time comes. There's hope. Or is it just that Julie was rude to him? It's not clear, and that's what I like about it. G'Kar has a small role in Voices of Authority, but a good one as well. Londo-like, he goes around trying to make friends, and would like to make himself useful to the army of light. They can't trust him yet, but he's arguably been on this crusade since the first season. Bringing the Book of G'Quan to Garibaldi is a fun moment and one that could get him in with the cool kids. I'd certainly welcome it.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: Sheridan is invited to "go where everyone has gone before". Ancient floating head aliens have been a part of Trek since those beings where young.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium, almost Medium-Low - Ironically, the best bits feature characters who DON'T have the "voice of authority". The rest certainly isn't JMS' strongest writing.