Comedy Review #511

"Half de telepaths are holed up like cajan wolfs-"

"Don't you mean cagey?"

"You've got 30 telepaths caged up in there, 30 telepaths running around like escaped convicts, most of them are on hunger strike, and we've got 2 bodies in the boot. Take me to them."

"Group 2 - SCATTER!!" shouts one of Bester's PsiCop cronies, but of course we don't have a clue what *he's* on about. Bester continues his whining:

"They broke into the armoury. Stole some Walter PPG rifles - dammit - I *won't have James Bond wannabes running around this station."

Lockly is confused.
"Timothy Dalton? Douglas Adams lookalike? But he died over 300 years ago!!"

Bester grunts.

"I want this situation resolved by tomorrow morning. Or you're all fired."

Cheers go up from all the press-ganged Psi-Cops. Bester changes his threat.
"I want this resolved by tomorrow morning.Or else (a)You're all as good as Pondweed, or (b)It's the plantpots, all over again..."

With an evil glint in his eye, no-one is ready to disbelieve him. They all run away.

As for getting the situation cleaned up? I give 'em 6 months.

Choice quotes from Bester in this scene:

"Enjoy your job."

"We gotta control your TPs."

"We control the TP's, because it's better than the alternatives." - sounds like any form of self-perpetuating government to me.

"If we will, we'll run them down like mad dogs - they insist on being annoying - KILL THE OUTSIDEERS!!"

"We're on the same side - we want to help them understand that."

Only one problem with this logic - the telepaths are behind a wall. So they literally *aren't* on the same side as Bester.

Still, I suppose not even a wall can stop a telepath.

Yet again, the hilarious opening sequence cracks me up - but does he say 'if only people would get off their counter-sued butts and do something' or 'encounter-suited butter and do something' ? It's a conundrum wrapped inside a mystery.

The writing that says 'Created by Michael J Strazinski' looks like writing burned into the side of a military equipment crate. Perhaps it should say 'Crated by JMS'.

Sheridan switches on the TV. Byron is on channel 4.

"Dammit," shouts Sherry, "There's nothing good on this channel."

"Captain," says Biro, "You cannot change the channel so easily. The telepath problem will not go away."

"Where's the damn remote control?" shouts Sheridan. Bester pops out from under the glass coffee table.

"Right here, captain. Shall I turn off the TV? IE take 30 telepaths captive."

Sherry snarls and wags a finger. "That's not on my schedule, Bester, and you know it."

"You can't let killers escape by changing the channel, Sheridan."

Byron - "No, there are other ways... like subscribing to pay TV - and watching the spin-off series, Telly-Paths, which examines the link between the birth of telepathy and the birth of television. Not to mention hiking."

Sherry looks annoyed.
"Can you two guys just SHUT UP PLEASE!! Now..."

The TV with Byron on, blinks off.

"Damn!! Now he's gone."

Lockley approaches the TV.
"Do you want me to put another 10p in the Pay-TV slot, captain?"

Sherry shakes his head.
"No, that won't be necessary. Damn it, I should have known there was something wrong when that final notice of non-payment dropped through the door. Without Pay-TV, how will I even watch the Telepathic Chess Channel? Lockley, take over, I'm off to weep..."

He leaves the room.

Bester puts another 10p in the slot and Byron pops up on the screen.
"Byron," says Bester, "You didn't keep your promise..."

Byron snarls like a dog.
"I lost my credit card. And the pizza shop was shut."

"Oh," says Bester.

Sherry to Bester - thanks for the help. Bester-

"We believe in action. It'll be over by tomorrow evening..."

Sherry- "*Evening*? I thought you said 'tomorrow morning'."

Bester maintains a silence, whilst gnashing his fingernails.

Sheridan is making some coffee.
"Lockley... Have you seen Graybalding around here?"

"He was pretty silent last time I saw him."

Sheridan chuckles.
"Heh - When Garibaldi's silent, he's usually dangerous. Heh - good old Garibaldi, always got a surprise up his sleeve..."

Meanwhile, Bester goes to his apartment for some food. He hums a popular song as he spreads margarine on bread.

"Di--doo, da-do-di-da..."

But this time it's Garibaldi's turn to come out from behind the plantpots.

"Bester, I've had just about enough of you. Now, this Walter PPG is set to kill. And I'm going to shoot you, *after* you've confessed to hypnotising an audience of gullible public to appear on your TV show: 'The Magic World of Bester'. Okay?"

Bester couldn't care less. Or give a damn.
"Doo-di-da. Like some toast?"

Garibaldi waves the gun around frantically.
"Bester, I could squash you like a fly. Confess, dammit!"

Bester is smug and blase' as ever.

"Nah, can't be arsed mate. Now, my toast is going cold, so if you'll excuse me..."

Garibaldi - "Okay, I'll shoot you then..."

"How stupid do you think I am?"

Garibaldi frowns in concentration.
"Erm on a scale of 1 to 10?"

Bester frowns and smiles at the same time.
"Of course, Mr. Garibaldi."

Garibaldi grins.
"It's off the scale. How about a scale of 100,000 to infinity?"

Garibaldi pulls the trigger.
"Eat heat, fool."

Bester nods, smiles and grins as the gun emits a small flag with the word
'bang' written on the side."Uhh. what's this flag?"

Garibaldi is worried. Bester chuckles evilly.
"Ha ha -I programmed your brain so it interprets any attempt to kill me as a scene from your favourite Warner Bros cartoon. The gimmick in this case is that your brain sees your inability to fire the gun as a flag with the word 'bang' written on the side."

Garibaldi gets scared.
"What would happen if I pushed you off a tall balcony? How would my brain interpret that?"

Bester laughs, again evilly.
"Mr.Garibaldi, depending on your state of mind, you would of course either see me fall backwards for a manner of seconds, before hitting the ground with an omnious puff of dust, or alternatively, you would see me suspended in air above the ground, running on the spot, before gravity kicked in and I hit the ground. That's what you would see, whilst I would be happily dancing on your head."

Garibaldi stares at the ground.
"Damn. So I can't win? I can't kill you?"
Bester nods happily.
"Like Lassie, you cannot hinder, only help. And save young Billy from down the mine-shaft, where he fell and broke his leg. You could go and get help."

Garibaldi shrugs.
"So we're friends, then? I can't kill you, you can't do any more damage to me."

Bester laughs.
"Yup. I suppose you'll be off to the pub later?"

"6.00, later. I've got some serious drinking to catch up on."

Garibaldi turns to leave.
"Yeah, see you later."

Garibaldi's trip to the pub is interrupted when he goes to see the doctor to borrow 20 quid for some drinks, but ends up being taken hostage. It's enough to put a crimp on anyone's boozing session.

"2 hours." says one of the TP's to Garibaldi.

Gari whimpers."2 hours to closing time? But I told Bester I'd be there at 9!! That's why I borrowed this 20 from the Doctor here."

The TP snarls.
"2 hours until your death. Listen, Bester-cohort, we don't like your type around here. You cartoon-watching, alcy-swigging, hair-losing sonofabitch."

They throw Garibaldi into the corner of the room. Gari falls on an Amiga monitor - looks like it's the Amiga graveyard since they got PCs for Lightwave. RIP the Amiga - long live PowerUp Lightwave.

Excellent!! Totally brilliant!! What we thought would happen in the last ep of the last series like hasn't!! Gari didn't get shot kewl.

Something bizarre here - at first, Sheridan whines on about how Garibaldi is dead, moan whine. Then, when Byron comes on the monitor to say he's willing to make a deal, neither Sheridan nor Lockley asks *once*, whether Garibaldi/The other hostages are still alive. This is bloody shoddy. Sheridan & Lockley would not bargain with Byron when they thought the TP's had killed Garibaldi, who Sheridan has known for 5 years!! It's like their humanity has disappeared... Comedy Theory #5 - Everyone on B5 has a keeper, which is why they forget things, and fail to spot the bleedin' obvious.

Anyway, at the end, Bester gets a raw deal. TPs try to leave B5, but end up going the way of Sheridan's toastie toppers. That's it.

Good ep, can't wait for the sequel. 9/10.

Comments gratefully received. Was it funny? Did it move you in any way? Would you pay hard cash for the next Comedy Review?

1998 Jeremy Smith.