not a beautiful or unique snowflake (nothings) wrote,
not a beautiful or unique snowflake
nothings

Now I Watch All Babylon 5: "By Any Means Necessary"

Season 1, Episode 12: By Any Means Necessary

Plot: An accident in the docks, caused by a combination of inadequate equipment and overbooked shipping, kills a dockworker. The dockworkers, fed up with overtime and not having their previous year's negotiations met, refuse to sign their new contracts. Sinclair is sympathetic but his hands are tied by the Senate's budget for B5.

The Earth negotiator, Zento, threatens to invoke the Rush act, which allows the use of force to remove striking workers. After much back-and-forth, the workers strike, and Zento requests Rush act authorization from the Senate. Unexpectedly, Sinclair exploits a loophole in the Rush act to reallocate a bunch of money from the military to the dockworkers' equipment upgrades. The Senate lets this go, but Sinclair has made new enemies.

In the B-plot, the dock accident results in G'Kar losing a shipment of a priceless plant needed for a religious ceremony. Londo has the only other plant on the station, and refuses to sell it to G'Kar. Sinclair figures out a way to satisfy them both.

The Title Means: The title is the phrase in the Rush act authorization which lets Sinclair transfer the funds.

Weird Moment: At one point Sinclair turns his back on the Senator Hidoshi vidscreen while talking to him (presumably so in the shot he can emote in closeup while Hidoshi remains visible behind him), and between remarks, Hidoshi, out of focus, appears to crack up inappropriately. (As if Hidoshi was filmed first, and whoever was reading lines to him said something funny.)

Comment: This didn't really work for me. Zento is too eeeeevil in words and expressions. The budget cut discussion is too unnuanced. And most of all the striking dockworkers just felt cliche and not like real people with real grievances. Sinclair's letter-of-the-law solution seems politically implausible.

Eh. I don't really have much to say about it. I guess it's nice to see more of the "underside" of B5 (in some sense), but it doesn't really raise any interesting questions or do much with its story that's specific to Babylon 5.

The dockworker's representative is played by Katy Boyer, who has a long list of minor roles on IMDB, none of which I recognize her from. (Compare to last episode's Lianna Kemmer, whose actress had two other minor roles around the time of this guest spot, then disappeared.)

The B-plot is fun, just because it's nice to see Londo and G'Kar sparring. The arc of their relationship is one of the central joys of B5, and it doesn't hurt that the actors portraying them are probably the two best actors on the show. I guess the actor playing Londo sometimes hams it up a bit, but because Londo is an alien it's easy to just treat it as the reality of the character.
Tags: now i watch all babylon 5
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