"Did you know this place was named after the god of war? Its rising foretold the death of kings, the collapse of empires. It was a very bad sign. Now there are 2 million people living here." "It's still a bad sign."
REVIEW: When Garibaldi and Wade talk about Mars - in conversation or voice-over - the script sparkles. This is a frontier town filled with malcontents, a hell from which Garibaldi only narrowly escaped, and where finally, he may have lost his soul. Otherwise... meh. I continue to be bored with the Garibaldi plot. There's really no point in asking him if he trusts telepaths during his loyalty test, because he doesn't trust anyone, not even himself. No new information there. And I guess that's as good a synopsis as any of why this episode does very little for me - very little new information. Garibaldi is unchanging. Lise is still a boring melodramatic soap queen. And the build-up to revealing the mysterious Mr. Edgars is patently ridiculous. Efrem Zimbalist Jr. may have been a big TV star in the 60s, but to the show's core demographic, I'm thinking he would have been best known as the voice of Alfred Pennyworth in the celebrated Batman Animated Series. His name has been in the credits, his voice has been heard since he introduced himself to Garibaldi, and there's no real gasp to finally seeing his face, so why hide him from us? Or even from Garibaldi? If you were going to reveal him to be, I don't know, a Centauri who adopted a human name and started buying up real estate, well okay, that's one thing. There's no surprise here, and great though his voice is, he gets too many scenes where he recaps things we already know about Clark and PsiCorps. Babylon 5 doesn't do clip shows, but these expository recap episodes before any big event are rather tedious when you're binge-watching the program.
More interesting is the notion that Sheridan is going about liberating Earth the wrong way. The real power isn't Clark's, but the PsiCorps', and the harder Sheridan pushes Clark, the more power the telepaths get. Edgars wants to attack PsiCorps and destroy the corrupt government from the inside, and like our heroes, his solutions are necessary evils. He does not relish inflicting pain - there's just no other way - and seems to feel deeply for the telepaths he's infected with his bio-engineered disease. And yet, there's also a ruthlessness there, as evidenced by the telepath shot to protect his secrets. Just how Sheridan's capture and show trial fits into this plan is left to a future episode, but it sets up Garibaldi's final betrayal, who will go after Sheridan's dad to lure the captain into a trap. I'm again left wondering what Garibaldi's programming is and how he can keep acting against PsiCorps if they were responsible, unless a trigger turns him at the worst possible moment. It just feels like this has been going on way too long without any kind of movement.
But who says Sheridan isn't figuring PsiCorps into his plans? The show has been very clear about how dangerous it is to cut yourself off from your friends, and though he's assembled a great alliance, keeping his plans to himself (no doubt as a reaction to the telepathic threat) is a kind of isolation that could also prove deadly. Is Edgars moving on Sheridan because he doesn't trust PsiCorps to be taken out by the White Star Fleet, when meanwhile, Sheridan has Doc Franklin working on a plan to counter the telepaths after all? We don't know, and we're not told even after Franklin is, though if he's questioning his orders (and perhaps jonesing for stims? I'm glad that's still in the performance), the plan must not be very ethical. This is the more engaging plot, but it doesn't yield a lot of answers either. Lyta helps Frankling find an answer to awakening (or perhaps we should say reactivating) the telepaths converted into Shadow pilots SOMEhow, and we're not told why Franklin must now go to Mars. It's all very hush-hush, and in an episode that already refuses to tell you what's going on, that's frustrating.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: I can't help it, those Shadow telepaths make me think of the Borg every time.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - I recognize its usefulness to set up things to come, but find the Garibaldi plot boring and padded with pointless exposition and melodramatic acting.