Monday, 21 July 2014

EPis0dIC! - Babylon 5 - "Deathwalker" (S01E09) - 1994


Talia Winters is commissioned by Ambassador Kosh to sit in on a meeting he is having, Talia is initially wary as he refuses to reveal any details of the meeting but is compelled to accept his offer as he has already logged the relevant documentations and made a more than generous payment to her.
Meanwhile, Na'Toth waits at the docking bay for a Narn negotiator to arrive, however while she is waiting, she spots an alien woman disembarking from a Minbari ship. Na'Toth charges forward and delivers a vicious beating to the woman whilst screaming "Deathwalker!".


While Dr. Franklin cares for the female alien in medbay, Sinclair and Garibaldi discuss the patient, as Franklin has had difficulty identifying her species, but also her identification and clothing are of Minbari origin, when she is clearly not Minbari.
Na'Toth is under arrest for the unprovoked assault, and she explains that she attacked the woman, whom she identifies as the Dilgar war criminal Jha'Dur, AKA "Deathwalker", due to a family vendetta. She explains that 30 years ago, the Dilgar conquered a Narn colony world and Jha'Dur used the conquered population to perform medical experiments on. Most of the people that were on that planet were killed, however Na'Toths grandfather escaped, but not before he had had a device implanted in his brain which slowly killed him, thus, Na'Toths family swore vengeance against Deathwalker.
Na'Toth is released into G'Kars custody but under house arrest, where G'Kar admonishes her for her behaviour as their negotiator was supposed to be meeting with Jha'Dur to conduct a secret negotiation for something that she has.

Talia's meeting with Kosh goes ahead as planned, however she is somewhat disturbed when the man he is meeting turns out to be a human who behaves in a bizarre manner, and both he and Kosh communicate in a series of seemingly random and cryptic statements.

Using Earth Alliance records, Sinclair identifies the woman in medbay as being Jha'Dur, however both he and Dr. Franklin find it difficult to believe that it is her, as the Dilgar race died out some 30 years previously, and the woman they have before them is too young to be Jha'Dur, and too old to be her daughter. Garibaldi searches through the woman's possessions and finds a Dilgar military uniform, as well as an ampoule of some drug which neither he nor Franklin can identify.
The woman is brought round and proudly identifies herself as being Jha'Dur, last of the Dilgar, and much to all concerns surprise, she identifies the drug as being a serum which allows the user to live forever.
Sinclair is ordered to have Jha'Dur transported to Earth immediately, however word soon gets out that they have her in custody, and, as Jha'Dur is wanted for crimes against sentience by nearly all of the other worlds represented on B5, moving her proves difficult, especially when as they are escorting her to a ship bound for Earth, all of the representatives of the League of non-aligned worlds block their way, and state that they would rather be killed than let her escape. Sinclair orders Jha'Dur back to her cell, and convenes a meeting of the B5 council.

Talia attends the second meeting between Kosh and Abbot, and is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the proceedings, as she cannot read any thoughts in Abbots mind, nor can she understand the random gibberish both participants are spouting, she also starts experiencing strange and violent memories in her mind.However, she is unable to back out of the contract she has with Kosh, and Kosh isn't giving her any meaningful answers when she asks what is going on.

The B5 council convenes to discuss what should be done with Jha'Dur, with all the major powers attending except for Kosh, who tells Sinclair he doesn't want anything to do with the matter.. The League representative makes an impassioned speech outlining the crimes of the Dilgar during their invasion of their worlds, and calls for Jha'Dur to be put on trial as soon as possible for her crimes, with the trial to be held on Babylon 5 itself, as it is considered neutral ground.
Londo states the position of the Centauri Republic is one of disinterest as the Dilgar committed no crimes against them, and thus he votes "No"
G'Kar states that the Narn Reigme will vote "Yes", provided the trial take place on Narn, the League refuse for this to happen, so he quickly changes his vote to "No".
Sinclair states that the Vorlons abstain from the proceedings, but adds that on behalf of the Earth Alliance he votes "Yes".
Lennier, who is sitting in on the vote due to Delenns absence states that like the Centauri, the Minbari Federation has no conflict with the Dilgar or Jha'Dur, therefore their vote is "No".

Sinclair states that with 2 "yes" votes, 3 "no" votes and 1 abstention, the matter cannot clearly be agreed upon, so an alternative solution will have to be arranged. This causes an uproar amongst the League representatives, all of whom withdraw from the council in protest.
After everyone has left, Lennier admits that he would have voted yes, however he was ordered to vote no, being as the Minbari government are ashamed to admit in public that they sheltered Jha'Dur and their warrior caste used weapons during the Earth-Minbari war that had been provided to them by her.

Within minutes Babylon 5 is surrounded by warships from the various League worlds, all of whom demand the immediate surrender of Jha'Dur into their hands, however Ivanova manages to stall them by starting an argument over which race has the greater claim on her, with the right to open fire first going to the side that decides it has the best claim. Meanwhile, Sinclair reveals the existence of the immortality serum to the League representatives, and manages to come to a deal in which Jha'Dur will be transported to Earth where the serum will be researched and analysed by both human and League scientists, and once the research is complete, Jha'Dur will be handed over to the League to do with as they please. The League agrees to this and their warships depart.

Talia's final meeting between Kosh and Abbot takes place, once again they exchange nonsense conversation, before Kosh asks if Talia understands the meaning, at which point she it hit by a very sudden and clear memory of a man assaulting and attempting to murder her. Kosh states that their business is concluded, at which point Abbot removes his hat to reveal he has cybernetic devices grafted into his exposed brain matter. He removes a data crystal from his brain, hands it to Kosh and then leaves. Kosh once again offers no explanation as to what has occurred, except to say that the crystal contained "fear and terror", which he plans to save "for later". Talia is left feeling upset and somewhat distraught.

Sinclair and Garibaldi watch Jha'Dur change into her military uniform ready for her deportation. While she does so she states that although most species view the Dilgar as bloodthirsty and cruel, this will pale into insignificance once her immortality serum becomes available for widespread use, as its main active ingredient requires that a living being be killed in order for the recipient to become immortal, thus, in the quest for immortality, all other species will become as vile and evil as the Dilgar were, which is what she wanted all along, because as she says "the millions that live forever will be a testament to my work, whereas the millions who die will carry on my legacy".

The shuttle carrying Jha'Dur departs B5 while the assembled diplomats watch its departure on the stations monitors, but just as it is about to enter hyperspace, a Vorlon ship appears and destroys it. Kosh, who had arrived unnoticed is asked why this happened, to which he enigmatically replies "you are not ready for immortality", before leaving again.


Talia approaches Sinclair and states her concerns about Koshs behaviour towards her during his meetings with Abbot, and how during the meetings she experienced what appeared to be forced visions of memories she had scanned during her earlier employment as a psychic witness during a particularly brutal murder case some years earlier. Garibaldi recognises the name "Abbot" as belonging to a man he knows is a "Vicar", (a mispronunciation of the letters VCR) . Vicars are living recording devices, capable of recording sight, sound, smells and even brain activity via their cybernetic enhancements. It seems as though Kosh had set up the meetings simply to force Talia to relive horrible memories so Abbot could record them for him for some unspecified purpose. Talia isn't terribly pleased by this but there is nothing she can do now Kosh has what he wanted.

This episode consistently makes it into my Top 10 B5 episodes, simply because on the one hand it shows that the diplomatic mission of the Babylon stations works, but also shows that even though the great powers put on a facade of wanting to be just and righteous, they will quite happily ignore this when presented with some sort of massive gain.

This episode also marks the only canon appearance of a member of the Dilgar species, Jha'Dur, who is brilliantly played by Sarah Douglas. 
The Dilgar are mentioned again sporadically throughout the B5 series and throughout the expanded universe of the films, games and books, however this is the only time we actually get to see one, which is hardly surprising as this episode states that Jha'Dur is the last Dilgar in existence due to their race dying out.

The sub plot of Kosh using Talia in order to record her memories and emotions is also a nice touch, as it more firmly cements the Vorlons as being an enigmatic race of manipulators, however at this point in the B5 timeline it is not specified as to why they would do such things.

No comments:

Post a Comment