Episode Review of Babylon 5 Season ???: ???

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Episode Information

Title: "Strange Relations"
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Director: John C. Flinn III
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: July 20, 2010

Synopsis from The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5


The Psi Cop Bester comes to the station to take the rogue telepaths into custody.

At the beginning of the episode, Londo is preparing to leave the station to return to Centauri Prime. The Regent is dying, so Londo must prepare to become Emperor. Surprisingly, Londo really isn't looking forward to that. His departure is delayed, however, when there is an accident in the docking bay.

Despite the accident, Bester and his team of telepaths are able to get onto the station. Byron and the rogue telepaths on the station sense Bester's arrival: he's brought Bloodhound units to search specifically for them. When Garibaldi finds out that Bester is on the station, he drops everything to find him.

Garibaldi finds Bester chatting happily with Lochley in her office - a jarring image after the way we're used to Sheridan treating Bester. And for good reason! Garibaldi attacks Bester and Lochley has Garibaldi thrown in the brig. I'll bet she's been looking for the opportunity to do that!

Sheridan is also not happy with Bester's presence, but he's a bit more moderate in his approach to Lochley about it. Lochley says that Bester's problems with Sheridan and Garibaldi weren't with her, and so she's got to treat Bester well until he gives her a reason not to trust him. That almost sounds reasonable, until you list all the things Bester's done or tried to done to the officers on B5. Then you have to wonder what she's thinking. After all, I don't need to find out for myself that bubonic plague is deadly - I'll take the word of someone who's experienced it.

At any rate, Lochley promises to keep a close eye on Bester. At the moment, Bester's request to take in Byron's telepaths is completely legal, so she has to comply. Sheridan tells her he won't let Byron's telepaths go, so she's got to find out a way to make that happen.

Tensions on the station rise when the Centauri ship that was to take Londo home explodes (before Londo got on board). Apparently the ship was sabotaged, in an attempt to assassinate Londo. This eventually leads Delenn to persuade G'Kar to be Londo's bodyguard when he does return to Centauri Prime. G'Kar agrees, if only to see how upset the other Centauri will be to have him at court.

Lochley discovers that Garibaldi broke into her file and storms into the brig to tear him a new one. She demands to know why he's having such a hard time accepting her, and runs fill tilt into Garibaldi's natural paranoia, trained to a fever pitch by Bester's past manipulation of his mind. (Ironic, since Lochley is playing so nice to Bester.) She does explain to him (and us) why she's so inclined to give Bester the benefit of the doubt: Bester once tracked down a rogue telepath that was killing people at one of her former posts.

She also finally confirms what we suspected from Delenn and Sheridan's interactions in the previous episode ("Learning Curve"): she and Sheridan were married long ago, when they were both very young. Both of them wanted to dominate the relationship, so it fell apart quickly, but they still instinctively trust each other. Garibaldi is flabbergasted, but amused. He's not so amused when Lochley says she's going to leave him in the brig until Bester leaves.

Meanwhile, Bester and his telepaths have been searching for Byron and his telepaths. In their initial confrontation, Lyta jams Bester's and the other's abilities and the rogue telepaths are safe, but everyone knows that Bester will return with too many reinforcements for Lyta to stop. Lyta advises Byron to have the rogue telepaths scatter throughout the station and hide, but that just leads to them being tracked down one by one. Byron eventually lets himself be caught, and Bester is beside himself with glee. Apparently he has a special hatred for Byron.

Lochley is running into a problem, since Bester will want to leave soon with the rogue telepaths, but Sheridan won't let the rogue telepaths leave. Franklin provides her with the excuse she needs when he mentions cross-species infections. She digs up a regulation about the telepaths needing to be in quarantine for 60 days before they can be taken to Earth. Bester is reluctant to leave, but seems to trust Lochley to keep the telepaths on the station (which she promises to do).

Lochley has only postponed the problem, but it's enough for the telepaths right now. At the end of the episode, Lyta removes her Psi Corps badge and joins the rogue telepaths in their singing.

This episode is uncomfortable in a number of ways. We see the rogue telepaths taken into custody roughly, sometimes getting beaten. We see Garibaldi get thrown in the brig even though we can understand his reactions perfectly well - and he still deserves to be thrown in the brig. We don't like to see Lochley hobnobbing with the likes of Bester. The episode title "Strange Relations" really covers all of this well - interactions we really don't like to see.

There was no way that the Psi Corps would ignore the rogue telepaths gathering on the station, so it was only a matter of time before a Psi Cop showed up to collect them. Given that, I wonder why Sheridan didn't have some kind of plan to circumvent the Psi Corps, rather than dumping the situation on Lochley. Has he just been too busy? Of course, he hasn't appeared to have paid any attention to the telepaths since allowing them to remain on the station, despite his stated intention to cultivate good will with them. Now he's really too late.

Lyta finally gets the chance to really help out her new telepath friends. It's not clear that she buys what Byron is selling, but she definitely wants to keep the rogues out of Bester's hands. It's interesting that she takes pretty open action against Bester (in front of other Psi Corps members) when she is nominally part of the Psi Corps, since her deal with Bester last season in "Moments of Transition". Bester's only interested in her body after she's dead, so he's not likely to report on her behavior, but what about the other Psi Corps members? Apparently she doesn't care.

At the end of the episode, Lyta seems to have committed herself completely to Byron's cause. What will she do now to keep Bester from returning in 60 days to retrieve the telepaths? We don't know all her abilities, but we know she can do a lot. However, Byron is committed to peace - what will he allow her to do? Will the two of them be able to stay together if she decides to use violence?

I hope that the issues between Garibaldi and Lochley are finally worked out now. While it's realistic and somewhat interesting to have main characters that don't get along, it's grating to watch after awhile. It seems like Garibaldi's finally figured out all of Lochley's secrets, so maybe he'll cut her some slack now.

The plot involving Londo was obviously set-up for events to happen when Londo does return to Centauri Prime. We know the Drakh are there waiting for him. Will G'Kar be enough protection?

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