3 | Season
4 | Season
5 | Crusade
Guide to Babylon 5 CD
In the Kingdom of the Blind [Season 5]
At last, B5 viewers get an episode of some substance, like the days of Season 3. In the Kingdom of the Blind is, I dare say, a real Babylon 5 episode.
JMS once described Babylon 5 episodes as having clearly defined sections for each act (that's every break). Before the introduction, you have the problem set out. In Acts 2 and 3, the problem is developed, and the B and C plot are introduced and developed. Often the B plot is part of the season arc. In Act 4, you usually have some dramatic turning point occurring, and in the last Act, the main plot is wrapped up, or at least brought to some kind of conclusion. This may not be so for the B plot, but in most episodes, the viewer understands more about the arc.
Of course, all this sounds very obvious. However, it's a tried and tested formula, and the way it's different to Star Trek episodes or the like is primarily the arc plots. And so we come to In the Kingdom of the Blind, which adheres to this formula very well.
For the problem, we have some sort of mysterious raider out destroying trading vessels from all races, and equally for all races. This seems realistic enough - you wouldn't expect Garibaldi to work out that someone was behind all of it any sooner, since raiders appear to be pretty common in the Babylon 5 universe.
As you'd think, there's some consternation when Londo turns up with G'Kar. You would have thought someone might have noticed it was G'Kar earlier though, or at least recognised him as a member of the Kha'Ri. Not that I was noticing it at the time - the arrival of Londo and G'Kar was one of those typical B5 moments where G'Kar starts being funny. But you can't really blame the Centauris' attitude to Narns, since the Narns were seriously considering declaring war yet again.
Byron. We all hate him, that's true, but he makes a point when he says he wants a homeworld. However, I seriously doubt that he has enough telepaths to sustain a colony on a homeworld. Exactly what is the point of handing over a pristine world to, what, a few hundred telepaths? I agree that he'd probably get quite a few more telepaths over the years, but not much more than a few thousand. Has he considered the alternatives? Why doesn't he ask for equipment to set up a colony, or at least share a newly-colonised world? Byron's problem is that he is too caught up in his own hate of the 'mundanes.'
And Byron goes one step too far. Any right-thinking individual would think twice before threatening every single world in the Interstellar Alliance that they would reveal their secrets. Consider this: what is easier, killing all the telepaths (or imprisoning them) or giving them a homeworld? Could it be more obvious? Byron probably thought he'd scare the races into giving him a homeworld, but these ambassadors have nothing to lose, now they have lost their secrets. They would do anything to kill the telepaths. And how do they know that Byron won't just go and sell his secrets after he has his homeworld? Sure, Byron gives them his word. Wow, that'll go far when you've just, as the Drazi say, violated them. As far as I'm concerned, those Drazi should have give Byron a good kicking, not the others.
What's even more annoying than Byron (surely not) is the fact that no other race has used telepaths to eavesdrop on their enemies. As far as we know, most races have telepaths, and for all the vaunted claims of the Interstellar Alliances, no-one really trusts everyone else implicitly, and everyone hates the Drazi. Who knows.
Back on Centauri Prime, we see that a new super-enemy is on the block, no doubt an ally of the Shadows. This apparently telepathic and telekinetic enemy doesn't look like the Drakh, although I wouldn't put it past them to put on some weird encounter suit, and now wields the power of the Centauri Empire. Nasty stuff, and there's not much Londo can do about it either.
One of the well sequenced scenes in Season 5 is in this episode, when Londo is in bed musing what his ships are doing. The camera travels up, and in the darkness of space a Centauri ship blows a transport vessel apart. Then, quietly, the camera travels down into the bedroom of Byron. There's no doubt in the viewers mind that the Centauris' were the attackers, since they seen a ship of the same make flying around Centauri Prime a dozen times. I suppose when Londo gets back to B5, and hears about the raiders, he'll put two and two together and work out what's going on. It was a nice set-piece of good directing.
In the Kingdom of the Blind ends on a high point. We discover at last that Byron will either leave, or die, and it'll probably happen fairly soon at that, since 'A Tragedy of Telepaths' is next week. Maybe something good has come out of this episode.
The main plot of this episode has been resolved, as we know who the attackers are. The B plot, that is, the telepaths, has come to a conclusion when we see that they will probably get captured fairly soon. The dramatic turning point? The scene when the Centauri noble throws the knife at Londo, and it hangs in mid-air. Someone wants Londo alive.
The telepath arc is coming to a close, and new arc of the Centauri raiders has begun. One of the most arc-heavy episodes of this season.
Nasty new aliens with teep and teek abilities, telepaths dying and Centauri ships blowing things up? This is what Babylon 5 is made of. Not that I don't appreciate the more thoughtful moments, of course