AB Review #116

Episode: 1/16 - Eyes
Production #: 122
Director: Jim Johnston
Writer: Larry DiTillio
Cast: Gregory Martin (Col. Ari Ben Zayn)
Jeffrey Combs (Harriman Gray)

Synopsis:
Commander Sinclair must answer to all his command decisions when Col. Ari Ben Zayn comes to the station. Harriman Gray, a telepath, also comes with him.

Review:
When the third sub-plot is better than the main plot itself you KNOW that something is bad. The Lennier\Motorbike bits are a joy to watch which isn't all that suprising as the character of Lennier is very under-developed and this episode begins to flesh him out.

We learn that he carries things through to the finish and we also learn that he enjoys searching for information. The scene at the end is highly enjoyable too!

One of the main facts to note is that most of the cast aren't even seen in this episode - I suppose that I am being spoilt by the lovely Koshisms and Londoisms (My shoes are too tight, etc...) but I think that they make it so much more mystical (Kosh) and fun (Londo) that without a speech from one of the two it is already going to be bland in my opinion. However to counter this they have one of the most talented sci-fi actors ever - Jeffrey Combs. Combs appears to be enjoying the experience although I think that his performances as Brunt and Weyoun in Star Trek are certainly a lot better, Combs appears to be trying hard to make his character work.

Gregory Martin, however doesn't put any feeling into the character for most of his performance and when he does he completely overacts. So, plot two, the Ivanova dream. This is initially well-thought out although the only thing it suceeds in doing is her conflict with the psi corps and how she's adjusting. Ignore this plot, it's not as well-thought-out as it should have been.

The main problem is that this episode was rushed and thus it feels like it. The cast appear just to be reading their lines, all except the actors behind Garibaldi, Lennier, and Gray.

Overall, if it didn't have a few things important to the arc it would be a missable affair.

Rating: 4/10 - Important to the arc, not really worth watching apart from that and the Lennier Storyline!

Cult TV'S Rating: * out of ***** The Babylon 5 command team is investigated by the Earthforce Bureau of International Affairs. Reportedly written at the last minute, but that's not even an excuse.

Andy's Star Trek comparison
The Drumhead (TNG) was found to have the same plot after this episode had been filmed - it was also a superior quality episode.
It also feels like The Drumhead (TNG).
Pretty much a dry and dark affair.
It's around as tense as The Drumhead (TNG)
I enjoyed this as much as Eye of the Beholder (TNG) which means not all that much.

Points for Discussion (no spoilers for future episodes):
1. What will happpen to Ari Ben Zayn when he gets back as he has failed his mission?
2. What will happen to Gray?
3. Was invasion of privacy the ONLY reason why Ivanova didn't want a scan?
4. What will happen on Mars Colony?
5. Will we ever see the bike again?
6. Is this the start of a new hobby for Lennier?

We Learn Here:
Gray was a level 10 telepath and didn't have to wear the regulation badge.
Bester was able to intervene in the investigation which suggests that he, and possibly Psi Cops in general, wield a lot of power in the Psi Corps. It is also conceivable that Bester and at least some of the factions in the Senate who backed the investigation are related.
Ivanova is starting to think of Winters in a less-adversial way.
How they gave Ivanova's mother the drugs.
There are terrorist activities on Mars colony!

Facts About The Show:
Lennier's chant, "Za ba ga bee," is the title of an album by Barnes and Barnes, of which Bill Mumy is a member. JMS didn't realise this at the time of filming.
Doyle is a motor-bike enthusiast!
Kawasaki did not pay the show to promote their bike, they were only loaned it for filming.
DiTillio never saw the Drumhead (TNG).

Andy's theories:
JMS said that he was going to do something with Jerusalem colony soon but at this moment in time it is not important. Perhaps the Mars Colony part is the most important point to examine. The terrorists are armed and deadly and on the colony it is more than likely to contain a few alien species. If the situation gets bad there it could break the League of Non-aligned Worlds up further and threaten its existance.
The mere fact that this investigation is going on suggests another thing, Bester wants to find out what Sinclair is doing as well as some other important people...

Character Ratings (out of *****):
Sinclair - **
Ivanova - * (for the 2 minutes she was on screen for)
Dr Franklin - Not featured
Garibaldi - ****
G'Kar - Not Featured
Londo - Not Featured
Delenn - Not Featured
Kosh - Not Featured
Vir - Not Featured
Lennier - *****


Andrew Brack 1998