Episode Review of Babylon 5 Season 3: "Walkabout"

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Episode Information

Title: "Walkabout"
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Director: Kevin Cremin
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: October 16, 2009

Synopsis from The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5


Franklin goes on a trip to find himself. Sheridan uses Lyta to test whether telepaths can counter the Shadows.

This episode has two plots, which are essentially unconnected, so I'll discuss them individually. The plot after which the episode was named deals with what Franklin has been up to since he resigned as chief of MedLab in "Interludes and Examinations". He hasn't been in his quarters in days, so Garibaldi tracks him down in Downbelow. Franklin explains his purpose: he's on a walkabout, a journey where he walks until he meets himself. When he does, he talks to himself and works out who he really is and what is important. Garibaldi laughs it off, but Franklin is deadly serious and tells Garibaldi to get lost.

Apparently trying to find yourself doesn't preclude you from having a bit of fun, since Franklin encounters a beautiful young woman singing in a bar in Downbelow. Her name is Cailyn, and shortly after her show he goes back to her quarters. After a night together, Cailyn swipes Franklin's identicard, leaves for awhile, and returns with a vial of medicine, only to collapse.

Franklin rushes her to MedLab, where he learns that she had been diagnosed with terminal neural paralysis before he arrived on the station. She only has months to live, but she has chosen to share her singing with the down-and-out people on the station rather than return to Earth. Franklin asks that the doctors do everything they can to make her more comfortable, and then continues on his walkabout.

It's nice to see what Franklin's been up to, but apparently it's not a whole lot. For someone addicted to a drug, he seems to be having very few problems. Psychologically, though, he's sensitive, as he immediately suspected Cailyn had an addiction when she asked for some medicine. So how long will Franklin wander before he finds himself?

The second plot in the episode involves Lyta and Sheridan's efforts to test out the effectiveness of telepaths against the Shadows. At the beginning of the episode, the new Vorlon ambassador arrives. Sheridan and Ivanova greet him, confirming that he's publicly being called "Kosh", but he refuses to reveal his true name (if in fact he has a different name). It's not completely clear to me how the new Vorlon is going to pretend to be Kosh, since his encounter suit is definitely different. I guess the everyday person on B5 just doesn't see Kosh enough to notice.

Lyta has returned to the station after completing a task for Kosh, and is devastated at Kosh's death. Unfortunately no one on the station really has any information about Kosh's death to share with her. She meets with the new Kosh, who squeezes her (literally) for information about Kosh's death and if any of Kosh is left. It's not clear whether Lyta is going to continue to be an aide to the new Kosh, but so far it seems that way.

Meanwhile, Sheridan has decided that it's time to find out just what telepaths can do to counteract the Shadows, as implied by the Book of G'Quan (as they discussed at the end of "Ship of Tears"). He asks Lyta to help him, and she agrees. So Sheridan plans to take the White Star and other volunteer ships of the Alliance of Light to a place where they are expecting a Shadow attack to see what they can do. Delenn volunteers a Minbari cruiser as backup, but no other worlds volunteer to help out.

Garibaldi is incensed, because the Narn war cruiser that B5 sheltered at the end of last season in "The Fall of Night" has returned, but its captain refused to go on the mission with Sheridan. Garibaldi argues with G'Kar, telling G'Kar that he's in charge of the Narns, so he has to order the ship to go.

On the mission, the Shadow ship shows up as expected. Lyta tries to interfere with it telepathically, but is overwhelmed initially. However, when Sheridan inadvertently touches her hand, she sees a bit of his dream interaction with Kosh the night Kosh was killed (in "Interludes and Examinations"). She's enraged at how the Shadows cut Kosh to pieces, and her anger gives her enough motivation to neutralize the Shadows now. She manages to incapacitate the Shadow ship for long enough for the White Star to destroy it.

But she didn't manage to keep it from sending a signal, and several more Shadow ships arrive shortly. The White Star's jump engines were taken offline in order to provide more power to the weapons, so they can't flee. The Minbari cruiser comes to their aid, but there are too many Shadow ships. Luckily, G'Kar had taken Garibaldi's arguments to heart and arrives just in time with not only the Narn ship but ships from all the other allies.

This part of the episode shows that Sheridan and his allies do in fact have a weapon to use against the Shadows: telepaths. But how easy will it be to use telepaths to fight the Shadows? First, can any telepath do it? It seemed very difficult for Lyta to neutralize just one ship, and she was so worn out that she couldn't do it for another one. How strong does a telepath have to be to be effective? Lyta is officially rated a P5, but we've had some hints that the Vorlons have enhanced her abilities. So where will Sheridan find enough telepaths that are strong enough and willing to fight the Shadows? I suppose it's a start, since a limited weapon is better than no weapon.

Will Lyta continue to help the new Kosh? She seems to think that Sheridan may have a piece of Kosh's consciousness in him. What will she do about that? Will that make her more amenable to Sheridan's requests?

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