"I have always said this about you: nothing so improves your company like the lack of it. Perhaps you can make some money from this: Ten credits for you not to be there for an hour, a hundred credits for you not to be there for the day. And for you not to be there for the rest of your life, well, they could never afford it."
REVIEW: They didn't wait long to show Garibaldi screwing up from drinking. A string of bad decisions makes him lose the one lead the Alliance had to the identity of the mystery raiders plaguing the shipping lanes (and at this point, the Alliance's political survival hinges on their proper defense). He doesn't bring best bud Franklin around for fear of his drinking habit being discovered (the sponsor is about to get sponsored). He sleeps while his old friend and contact is killed. And the witness he's trying to contact is killed before he talk. The universe throws Garibaldi a bone in the shape of a Centauri uniform button, ripped off a mystery cultist, which momentarily throws suspicion Londo's way, but G'Kar defends his friend and would rather keep him out of the loop lest the Centauri P.M. get assassinated for his outrage and prying. Sound choice. Or it may lead to tragedy, we'll see.
The Garibaldi sequence provides plenty of action, but also our first look at the Drazi homeworld, which is basically the universe's Maghreb, a Mediterranean feel and cramped streets. Not necessarily what I would have chosen for them, but there you go. The talk of traditions that aren't necessarily helpful today is embedded here - the thing about buttons being on different sides for men and women blew my mind, by the way - and takes on more meaning as we go. The palace button Garibaldi finds is part of this (that's some pretty bad covert work, right there), but the G'Kar subplot is too.
While he was away, Ta'Lon started distributing "the Book of G'Kar" and it's become an overnight sensation, to the point where G'Kar has become a religious icon. But are they enamored of the man, or the message? G'Kar refused the political leadership of his people, in part because they were talking revenge as soon as they were free from Centauri, but as a writer, he's had a more positive impact. Now thousands are flocking to his call for peace and tolerance. Ta'Lon has to convince him to heed the call. According to his own philosophy, he should be bringing HIS particular talent to the cause, and that's as a teacher, just as Ta'Lon's is to be a warrior. Despite Londo's claims that the best way to appreciate G'Kar is when he's not there, he soon gets a number of followers. But not everyone has the benefit of having been "touched" by a Vorlon, and we're quickly shown a follower with a literal understanding of the Book, whom G'Kar just as quickly puts in his place. To be successful, G'Kar will have to create a new tradition without it losing all its relevance, as so many do. I think I'm going to like this thread, especially if it's written with this much acerbic wit.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: Seeing cloaked cultists attack Garibaldi sent my mind right back to the pah-wraith monks on Deep Space 9. G'Kar as a religious figure recalls the Sisko, of course.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Well-written, with barbs pointed at politics and religion alike, while also doing a good job of making Garibaldi screw up.