"Where I come from, one man from three leaves two." "Where I come from is a far more interesting place."
REVIEW: After Confessions and Lamentations, I was open to B5's next "medical mystery", but the title "Exogensis" conjured up memories of Voyager's technobabble titles. The end product is neither. It isn't an important or particularly emotional episode like C&L, but it's isn't absurd pablum like a Voyager ep. And though it's a Doc Franklin story, it teams him up with Marcus to give the new character on the block his first meaty episode. Marcus almost had to team up with Franklin because everyone else gives him the cold shoulder. I suppose it's hard to trust when paranoia levels reach this kind of high. Garibaldi isn't particularly warm on the best day, but his rejection of Marcus' concerns seems a dangerous oversight. The Ranger is building a network of contacts, so their disappearances might be an attack on the conspiracy of light, no? Ivanova's cold shoulder can at least be attributed to her sensing (she did say she was mildly empathic) his attraction to her. Not sure how much Franklin really does know about her "type", but it might be a veiled allusion to her same-sex relationship with Talia. I suppose Marcus could by an irritant, a snob who quotes Shakespeare to people he knows don't get the reference, and an outsider to Earthforce who nevertheless won't shut up (which is a sign that he doesn't know he has to earn his place in a social group). He comes on too strong. If he worms his way into the hearts of the cast and the fans, it'll be because he's a super-competent badass. He gets some good moments, trampling over Franklin's directives and breaking out of the Vindrizi cell (really liked how the links work and don't work too, logical).
The Vindrizi plot is standard SF fare, which makes it disappointing, even if it doesn't take the most obvious route. Gross spine parasites taking people over is the cliché, but as it turns out, they're not necessarily bad guys. They're the living memory of the universe, surviving through the dregs of humanoid races, experiencing the whole of Creation so nothing will ever be truly lost. They even get their hosts' authorization, and heal their ailments. Obviously, Franklin decides to help them, he's that kind of guy, but not stupidly. His conditions make sense. But while this gives the story a definite twist, it's still disposable, marginal to the greater story.
If the conspirators had to accept Marcus on Delenn's word, they're a little more skittish about doing the same to Corwin, a long-standing member of the C&C crew. He looks like a good kid, and has just been promoted (which I guess comes with higher clearance or at least, responsibilities that might make him notice the command staff's strange behavior), but could he be trusted with the big secret? Ivanova is assigned to gauge his loyalty, which is an excuse for JMS to riff on his own "oh crap, s/he thinks it's a date" moment with Claudia Christian (often mentioned in these reviews' comments) for all the LOLs (I guess). So Corwin thinks it's a date and blows a week's pay on flowers, gets to drink half a cup of contraband coffee before getting thrown out, and is judged too loyal to Earthforce to be trusted. No belly laughs, but it's nice to see one of the "little people" featured a bit more heavily. Knowing he's a good-hearted antagonist will keep him on our radar, and that's a good thing.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: The Vindrizi are symbiotes, not parasites? And they use humanoid bodies to make themselves immortal? Is one of them called Dax?
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - It's not a bad one-off, but it IS a fairly traditional one-off.