Episode Review of Babylon 5 Season 3: "Convictions"

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Episode Information

Title: "Convictions"
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Director: Mike Vejar
Rating (out of 4 stars): ** 1/2
Reviewed on: July 13, 2009

Synopsis from The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5


A crazy bomber terrorizes the station.

As the episode opens, we see all kinds of religious beings arriving on the station, since it was "blessed" by Kosh's appearance last season in "The Fall of Night". A group of human monks arrives to take up permanent residence on the station, despite everything Ivanova can say to dissuade them.

Ivanova tells Garibaldi that they have been receiving anonymous messages from someone on the station warning that "chaos" is coming. An explosion occurs in downbelow, killing several people and injuring many others. Investigations by Garibaldi's men reveal the explosion was caused by a bomb, but as Garibaldi notes, there was nothing worth blowing up in that location.

Later, Lennier is waiting for Delenn's ship to arrive. As he greets her in the doorway, an explosion happens at the other end of the debarking corridor. Lennier pushes Delenn to safety, the grabs Londo (apparently arriving on the same ship) and also pushes him to safety. Lennier then seems to look back (possibly to see if more people need help), and by the time he tries to run for safety himself, the emergency doors have closed. The explosion slams him against the bulkhead, leaving him unconscious.

Obviously, Delenn is frantic to help Lennier, and follows Franklin as he takes Lennier to MedLab. Lennier is in a coma with serious fractures. Londo is amazed that Lennier saved his life, and begins a vigil over Lennier until Lennier awakes.

Sheridan and the command staff know that a second bombing is total bad news. From what Garibaldi and the others can deduce, the bomber seems to be intent on killing people and causing terror. Sheridan orders non-essential people to stay in their quarters and for large groups to be broken up, in order to decrease the number of targets. The command staff confer and figure that the bomber may be observing the results of each bombing, so if they compare video records of the aftermath, they might identify him. Garibaldi says the task will take forever, but Ivanova realizes it's a perfect job for the new monks on the station, who specialize in high-tech fields. We hear of a third bomb that was discovered just in time to prevent an explosion.

Londo takes a break from his vigil of Lennier to do some kind of errand. After his errand (presumably, since he's certainly nowhere near MedLab), he calls a lift, but the one that arrives is already carrying G'Kar. He is going to wait for another one, but a bomb explodes at the end of the corridor, so he dives into the lift. The explosion seriously damages the lift and knocks out Londo.

When Londo comes to, he can't get the lift to respond or the doors to open, and realizes he is trapped with G'Kar. G'Kar refuses to help Londo call for help or try to escape, laughing hysterically that he's like to live, but he'd "much rather see you die". He can't kill Londo personally because of the retaliatory murder of 500 Narn (as stated in the terms of the Narn surrender last season in "The Long, Twilight Struggle"), but he can refuse to help Londo. The door is hot, so they know a fire is raging outside the lift, and as Londo says, they will soon die from the smoke and heat.

The monks identify the bomber from the video footage, and the identity matches up with a man who just arrived from Proxima 3, from where the explosive material was stolen. Sheridan, Garibaldi, and a security team head toward the bomber's quarters. However, the corridor is booby-trapped, and they are held off. The bomber demands that Sheridan come into his quarters to negotiate, since he's got a huge bomb rigged that could blow up the entire station.

Sheridan complies, but not before slipping his link into his pants so that Garibaldi can listen. The bomber rants at Sheridan about how much his life sucks, but he's going to even things out by killing people. He wants a ship to get off the station, but Sheridan stalls him.

Some comments by the bomber clue Garibaldi in to the location of the big bomb: the station's fusion reactor. Garibaldi sends a team EVA to search, and sure enough, that's where it is. The team detaches the bomb and float it out of the vicinity of the station.

This is just in time, because Sheridan has inadvertently sat down and made his link beep. The bomber realizes he's been betrayed, and Sheridan jumps him in an attempt to wrest away the bomb trigger. Garibaldi and his security team storm the quarters. The bomber finally manages to trigger the bomb, but it's too late, as it's too far away to damage the station. The bomber is taken into custody.

Lennier awakens in sickbay under Franklin and Delenn's scrutiny. He laments that he saved Londo's life because all life is sacred, "but when the object of your actions does not share that belief... I fear that I have served the present by sacrificing the future." How eloquent. However, Lennier may have opened Londo's eyes to the idea that there is still good in the universe, and one person can act to do something good.

At the end of the episode, Londo and G'Kar are rescued from the lift, much to G'Kar's dismay.

This episode was a mixed bag. It is a let-down overall, because it just doesn't have the intensity and meaning that the prior episodes have had, but I suppose that can't be kept up continually.

The "mad bomber" plot just didn't work that well. The mystery and suspense of figuring out the bomber's purpose and whether there would be further explosions was reasonably well done. The bomber himself was very unimpressive. The actor seemed to be playing his best impression of John Malkovich, but the motivation behind the character was seriously lacking. First, he comments about an artist needing an audience, implying some kind of psychopathic motivation behind his acts. But then he just whines about losing his wife, his job, his house.... awwww. Sure, these aren't good things to happen to anyone, but most people who suffer these events don't go out and begin killing people. The bomber didn't seem to have any ultimate goal in mind... he'd set off some bombs on B5, and now that he was discovered he wanted to flee. To do what? Set off more bombs someplace else? Of course Sheridan wouldn't let that happen. The bomber just wasn't being rational. (Well, I suppose I should say "as rational as he should have been", given that he did engineer the successful explosion of three bombs.)

The whole time Sheridan was facing off against the bomber, I kept thinking that he (Sheridan) must be extremely aggravated to have to be dealing with such a situation. Sheridan has recently been contemplating the fate of the human race and other races in a galactic war against the Shadows, and here he is having to take down a small-time murderer. He's got better things to do! And then when the bomber slapped him around a bit, I was thinking that it must be additionally annoying to Sheridan after he let himself get beaten up for a much better reason last season in "Comes the Inquisitor".

The best aspects of this episodes were the interaction between some of the characters. First, trapping Londo and G'Kar in a lift together was an act of genius on the part of the writer. G'Kar's reaction - to watch Londo die - was just perfect, and he was happy to rub it in. Londo calling, "Can anyone hear me?" and G'Kar squeaking, "I hear you!" was hilarious. One might think that if they were trapped together for so long, they might come to some kind of understanding of each other, but certainly not in this case! Londo says, "I hate my life!" and G'Kar responds, "So do I!"

Londo's vigil over Lennier was an interesting side to Londo's character, showing how moved he was by Lennier's actions. I don't think he would have cared for Lennier's explanation of it - he would have done it for anyone - because he likes to assume stronger relationships with others than really exist. Londo has always had a quirky and prolific sense of humor, which surfaced again in his lightbulb joke. Londo and Lennier have always had a somewhat odd relationship, since way back in season 1's "The Quality of Mercy", especially given Londo's firm position amongst Shadow forces and Lennier's support of the forces of "good".

I found it a little odd that Delenn didn't watch over Lennier more in MedLab, but perhaps this was off-camera. I suppose she's a busy person.

Brother Theo and his troop of monks is an odd addition to the station. Their self-set task is to learn all of the names for God that the other races have, and they hope to do so through the visitors to B5. As Theo says, they believe that God is the god of all races, even extraterrestrial ones, he just would have appeared in different ways. Kosh's appearance in "The Fall of Night" illustrated this idea pretty literally, since he appeared as different holy figures to each race. This begs the question, have Theo and the others been "programmed" to believe this way by the Vorlons long ago? Or is it a natural growth of their inclusive attitude toward their religion?

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