Episode Review of Babylon 5 Season 5: "A View from the Gallery"

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Episode Information

Title: "A View from the Gallery"
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Director: Janet Greek
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: July 14, 2010

Synopsis from The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5


We experience an attack B5 through the eyes of maintenance workers in this episode. As Mack and Bo go about their business, we get vignettes of the main characters that Mack and Bo witness. Lochley is determined to prepare to defeat the attack, but also to protect Sheridan and Delenn - even if they don't want that protection. Such is her determination that she eventually wears Sheridan down into agreement about using a lifepod during the attack. Mack and Bo agree that Sheridan is a great leader, not afraid to get his hands dirty and fight.

When Bo goes to make repairs in MedLab, he witnesses Franklin getting ready to treat the wounded: both their own, and those of the attackers. When Bo asks why Franklin would help their enemy, Franklin tells him that an "enemy" doctor once saved his father's life. While Bo can understand the symmetry of that story, I think the morals of B5's crew are further underlined by the implied difference with that story: the doctor that saved Franklin's father was shot by his own men as a traitor, whereas certainly B5's soldiers would not do the same to Franklin.

Mack is on the bridge when the first enemy sortie comes through the jumpgate, and he's impressed by how Lochley handles it. Later he and Bo debate the rumors about Lochley: that she fought on President Clark's side during the fight with Sheridan and B5. When writing this scene, JMS surely was fanning the speculation on Lochley's loyalties.

Lochley and Garibaldi have another spectacular confrontation on the information, or lack thereof, that Garibaldi provided in his capacity as head of intelligence for the Alliance. Lochley has an excellent point, but she's also clearly letting off some nervous energy in berating Garibaldi. They certainly rub each other the wrong way.

Mack and Bo end up watching the first wave of the attack from the Sanctuary, where the attack looks almost like a beautiful ceremony. It's odd to watch them sit and do nothing while the fight is going on, but they are maintenance workers - what should they be doing? They certainly have a lot of respect for the soldiers who are fighting.

All personnel on the station are ordered to the combat shelters, since the station is in danger of being boarded. Mack and Bo's lift stops unexpectedly, and they are dumped into the midst of the fighting. While Zack and security provide cover, they scurry off and run into where Byron and his telepaths are hiding.

Byron invites Mack and Bo to stay with them until the fight is over, because they will be safe with the telepaths. An enemy soldier comes into the entryway, and the telepaths apparently use their abilities to convince him to leave. Bo voices his wish to be helping the fighter pilots, and so Byron telepathically puts him in a Starfury cockpit for a few seconds. Even though they would be safe with the telepaths, Mack and Bo are clearly uncomfortable with them, and so they leave.

They reach the combat shelters and witness Londo and G'Kar griping to each other. I appreciated Mack's comment on their grumbling (paraphrased here): "How long do you think they've been married?" Because of the damage to the station, Mack and Bo are called back to duty to make repairs.

On their way, Sheridan co-opts them to escort Delenn to the lifepod. Despite his agreement with Lochley, Sheridan himself has decided not to leave in the lifepod. Somewhat hypocritically, he insists that Delenn does leave, after a passionate kiss.

Once Sheridan leaves, Delenn quickly begins assessing how to take control of the situation. She implies that if she's forced to get into the lifepod, she would destroy the controls so that it would crash and she would die. Mack and Bo are frankly helpless to her logic and charms, so they let her leave.

Soon after, the White Stars arrive in B5's defense, returning from the defense of the Enphili ("The Paragon of Animals"). The enemy fleet is defeated, but the casualties on the station are significant. Mack makes a scene on the bridge by making his approval of Lochley known loudly. Later, Delenn greets Mack and Bo by name, giving them mile-wide smiles. Mack and Bo's opinions of the officers and main characters were also interesting, although they were perhaps too uniformly favorable. I have been trying to decide if Delenn's treatment of them (and their reaction to it) was too condescending, but from their point of view, Delenn and Sheridan would be larger-than-life, extremely important people, similar to how a typical citizen might view the President of the US. If the President remembered my name and used it in a passing contact, I think I'd be thrilled about it, too!

It's too bad that the enemy species in this episode was essentially a throw-away race. They were presented as begin pretty powerful and so could be a serious opponent (or ally), but apparently they are not very persistent, if they just give up on B5 after this. Clearly they were just a plot device for this episode.

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