The Ninjabot

Retro Review: Babylon 5, “Hunter, Prey”

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 10:00 am by Will Wells

Babylon 5

As “Hunter, Prey” opens, we find Sheridan taking a look at Kosh’s ship.  We haven’t talked about Kosh before, mostly because he hasn’t done anything in the episodes I’ve covered.  Kosh is the Vorlon ambassador.  The Vorlons are an enigma – they guard their space violently, wear “encounter suits” that prevent anyone from seeing what they look like, and have powerful technology far more advanced than any other known race.  Also, their language sounds like a fan blowing on wind chimes, and they use translator set to “mysterious wizard”.

Speaking of translations, one of the truly excellent things about Babylon 5 is the lack of a “universal translator” except in text.  All the aliens on Babylon 5 who speak English are actually speaking English.  They had to learn English to serve on Babylon 5.  Any translators are delayed devices like the Vorlons use (as do a couple of other races).  When aliens on Babylon 5 speak in their own language, they do so with subtitles.  It lends a wonderful senses of alien-ness to the aliens.

To each their own, but I still love the CG ships in B5.

Anyway, once Sheridan gets his fill of looking at CG spaceship, he is called up by Garibaldi who’s just gotten a fugitive alert.  The former President’s doctor, Doctor Jacobs, has been proclaimed a criminal and is on the run – and he’s just arrived on Babylon 5.

A few episodes ago, we learned that Sheridan is actually working for an Earth conspiracy trying to prove that the former President Santiago was assassinated by the current President Clark.  Not long after the security force looking for Jacobs arrive on Babylon 5, he is met by one of his fellow conspirators to let him know that Jacobs is on the run because he plans to give information to the anti-President Clark conspiracy.  So now Sheridan has to protect the Jacobs from his own security forces.

Sheridan knows how to delegate, so he passes the buck to Garibaldi and Doc Franklin.  Garibaldi dons a fedora and we see the beginnings of a buddy detective story as they search Downbelow.

Rock that hat, Garibaldi

Jacobs, meanwhile, is just about the worst fugitive in the galaxy.  He keeps offering to pay money to the thugs in Downbelow, which only gets him in trouble.  That’s boring, so let’s get back to Kosh.  Earlier, Sheridan bumped into Kosh (after ogling his ship) and Sheridan said he wanted to get to know Kosh better.  Now, Kosh has called him up.  Sheridan drops what he’s doing to find out why.

Sheridan arrives and Kosh stands around repeating Sheridan’s questions back to him.  At first Sheridan thinks that Kosh wants to exchange ideas, but eventually Kosh tells him that he’s “not ready” without elaborating about what.  Sheridan gets pissed and eventually demands of Kosh “what do you want?!”  Kosh reacts rather badly to Mr. Morden’s catch phrase, and Sheridan is pleased that he got a reaction.

Finally, Kosh agrees to teach Sheridan – not about Vorlons, but “how to fight legends.”  Sheridan doesn’t know what to make of that, but at least it’s progress of some sort.

In Downbelow, Garibaldi rescues Jacobs and holds our guest thug at gun point, making a point about his bad day by shooting at him repeatedly.  Gotta love Garibaldi.

You, Sir, fail at being a fugitive.

They beat the security scan by loading Jacobs onto Kosh’s ship (with Kosh’s permission, and Kosh piloting) which shield’s his signal from their scans.  Sheridan sends Earthforce security packing with almost gleeful abandon, claiming that their false information has caused him to turn the station upside down for no reason.  Sheridan enjoys his job on days like this.

Rating: B-

Breakdown: This is one of those situations where a boring A plot is saved by an interesting B plot.  The stuff with Kosh can’t quite make up for Jacob’s story or acting, but it helps a lot.  Also, “Hunter, Prey” is the first real Kosh episode so far this season.  He’s appeared a few other times, but for those who started with season 2, this is his first real introduction.  Kosh alone makes “Hunter, Prey” worth watching.

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