Episode Review of Babylon 5 Season 2: "Soul Mates"

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Episode Information

Title: "Soul Mates"
Writer: Peter David
Director: John C. Flinn, III
Rating (out of 4 stars): ** 1/2
Reviewed on: April 19, 2009

Synopsis from The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5


Londo's three wives and Talia's former husband visit the station.

Londo has ordered his three wives, Timov, Daggair, and Mariel, to visit him on the station. There is no love lost between Londo and any of his wives, but that have widely varying personalities. Timov is older and is rather prim in her dress, but she has an exceedingly sharp tongue. Daggair is also older, but dresses in a sexier manner and is very focused on court politics and social climbing. Mariel is younger and very pretty, but is more devious than she initially appears to be. (Is Mariel the dancer that Londo said he married in "A Voice in the Wilderness, Part 2"?)

What is the special occasion? It is the thirtieth anniversary of Londo's ascension day, and the Emperor has given him a wish as a gift. Londo's wish, as he gleefully relates, is to be divorced from all his wives. However, the Emperor said it would be better for appearances if Londo had at least one wife, so Londo agreed to choose one and divorce the other two. He has invited all of them to the station so that he can choose. All three wives are extremely dismayed at the prospect of losing the status and wealth to which they are accustomed. However, Daggair and Mariel immediately begin scheming against the others in how best to please Londo and become the chosen wife. Timov denounces Londo's behavior and refuses to try to win his favor.

Londo throws a huge party in honor of his ascension day, inviting nearly everyone on the station, it seems. (In a nice touch of continuity, Lennier gives him a deck of marked cards, a reference to their adventures in "The Quality of Mercy".) Londo opens a gift that Mariel announces is from her, only to discover that it is a Narn toy that was booby-trapped during the last war - and poison darts stab Londo.

Londo is rushed to medlab, but Franklin finally comes to the conclusion that the only thing that will save him is a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, medlab does not have enough Centauri blood of his type. After some consideration, Timov volunteers her matching blood, but only if Franklin agrees not to tell Londo she did. Londo makes a full recovery amid that fawning adoration of Mariel and Daggair.

In the end, Londo chooses Timov to remain his wife. His reasoning? At least with her, he always knows how he stands, because she is nothing if not brutally honest.

The other plot running throughout the episode involves the arrival of Talia's former husband, Matthew Stoner, on the station. Even before Garibaldi knows who Stoner is, he gets a bad vibe from him. When Garibaldi mentions him to Sheridan and Talia, the men discover that Stoner is Talia's former husband. She and Stoner had been friends in Psi Corps when they were deemed genetically suitable and were married, but then their relationship soured dramatically. Somehow Stoner had "connections" and left Psi Corps, at which time their marriage was annulled. Of course, since Stoner made Talia unhappy, Garibaldi instantly dislikes him.

Stoner happens to have been the source of the artifact that Mariel later buys as a gift. Garibaldi sees Stoner selling it, and uses his suspicion that it's stolen goods to take Stoner in for questioning. Stoner is incredibly slimy, arrogant, and sarcastic. Garibaldi hates him even more, and we can't help but dislike him, too. Garibaldi can't hold Stoner, but warns him to stay away from Talia.

Of course, Stoner doesn't do that. He corners Talia and tells her that he managed to leave Psi Corps because some experiments on him removed his telepathic abilities. He says that he can have the procedure done on Talia, too, and then she can do what he knows she's always wanted: leave Psi Corps. Talia doesn't want to cooperate with Stoner in any way, but seriously considers his offer. In fact, she snaps at Garibaldi for telling Stoner to leave her alone.

When Stoner's artifact ends up injuring Londo, Garibaldi throws Stoner in the brig. He and Sheridan question Stoner, but he's as arrogant and uncooperative as ever. Shortly when we learn that Stoner has some special abilities. He gets lunch even when the prisoners aren't supposed to be fed for hours, and one of Garibaldi's trusted men comments on how Stoner is so likable. There's got to be something wrong!

Garibaldi plays a hunch and asks Talia to visit Stoner and turn down his offer. She does so, saying she doesn't want to lose an ability so fundamental to her identity. Stoner just nods along, and when she's done, he tells her she's going with him - and she agrees. His guard agrees to have a ship standing by for him to leave the station. When they exit the brig, Garibaldi is waiting outside to knock out Stoner, which brings the others back to their senses.

Later, Sheridan tells Stoner that strangely enough, Psi Corps wants Stoner back, now that he's actually in trouble for something. Sheridan speculates that the experiments on Stoner didn't get rid of his telepathic abilities at all, but changed him into an empath: he can feel what others are feeling and make them feel what he wants them to feel. Stoner shrugs that off and claims that he really did just want Talia back, but Talia rejects him again.

This episode was pretty light and didn't have too many long-term implications. Londo's plot, in particular, was mostly fluff, but it was fun. The dialog between the wives, especially involving Timov, was exceedingly sharp. I think all Centauri must be trained to speak in incredibly convoluted and flowery sentences. It was pretty obvious that Timov, the sharp-tongued ugly duckling, was going to be Londo's "unexpected" choice.

This plot could have had a little more depth, as we got some indication that Mariel might be a Narn agent (or looking to become one), when she and G'Kar discussed Londo's accident with her gift. However, since Londo divorced her, she would no longer be useful as an agent for anyone. We also never found out if there was any connection or plan between Mariel and Stoner concerning that gift, or if it was fortuitous for Mariel that she recognized (and Londo didn't?) a booby-trapped Narn toy.

The plot involving Talia was more substantial, but still didn't amount to much. It's interesting to learn that despite Talia's professed loyalty to Psi Corps (such as in last season's "Legacies") she has wanted to leave it. Of course, we do know that she knows that Psi Corps is not completely benevolent, since they did experiment on her former lover, Jason Ironheart (as seen last season in "Mind War").

There is a very minor third plot in the episode, which deals with Ivanova helping Delenn with some of her new female human aspects. The idea of Delenn essentially exfoliating her hair in order to clean it did make me wince. The tag to the episode, Delenn having cramps, tells us that she could potentially become pregnant like a human female. I suppose that Delenn would not naturally know about some of these human features, but surely all of that information is available in computer libraries on B5. I would think she would at least look up the basic facts about her new body before trying to enlist Ivanova's help.

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