9 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “In the Kingdom of the Blind” Spoiler Space”

  1. Our hosts refer to the events of this episode as “a string of poor decisions.” I think this is one of the primary reasons why Season 5 is generally considered to be “bad.” Who likes seeing their heroes make mistakes? Sheridan’s gut reaction in this episode is just the most obvious example. Londo (and G’Kar) completely failing to follow up on his misgivings in future episodes, nor telling any of his allies on B5, is another.

    In some ways, it’s almost a subgenre shift in how B5 is treating its heroes, compared to previous seasons.

    1. I think there’s something else as well.

      OK, so if someone has been paying attention to my views for some bizarre reason, it should be no surprise that I think that, if this is really the worst decision that Sheridan is ever going to make in his entire career as President, then overall the story is presenting him as likely to be a Great President (which is what Sleeping in Light, The Deconstruction of Falling Stars, and to a certain extent In the Beginning all imply.)

      Because JMS gives him a lot of excuses for his intemperate response to Byron, who really is out of line. And overall, it’s Byron’s decisions that drive this plot, and it’s Byron whom the story assigns the overwhelming share of the blame.


      By that same token, Sheridan is deprived of agency. He’s a secondary character in Byron’s story. I doubt that if you showed someone this episode who had seen nothing else of Babylon 5, they would realize that Sheridan was meant to be the central character of the whole story. I think that JMS does this to protect Sheridan, but arguably this damages him all the more.

      Obviously, there are episodes before this that focus on other characters. But I don’t think that there is any episode that specifically subordinates Sheridan to a plot about another character in this way (as distinct from him just not being in the story very much).

      I suspect that is part of the negative reaction: a sense that the Byron arc somehow breaks the implicit contract with the viewer that Sheridan, the Heroic Space Captain, is the protagonist of this story. Both in the sense that it’s jarring, that this isn’t quite Babylon 5, but also in that people *liked* watching a show in which Sheridan was the protagonist.

  2. We know that Byron was Bester’s protege. I would not be surprised that Bester and the Corp are already stealing peoples secrets “for the future”. Byron doesn’t have Bester’s nuance in how to use this information.

  3. At least the teeps mentioned the existence of non-human telepaths in this episode.

    However, I do wonder why (at least prior to this) they haven’t tried to emigrate to somewhere in Minbari or Centauri space. Both seem to treat telepaths well, and in at least the latter they would be amongst people and a culture that seems at least human-like.

    Did the episode on the underground railroad ever mention where the teeps were going? I always got the impression that they were staying in human space.

    How big a deal is asking for a planet? I don’t think we’ve seen how common habitable world’s are, or how heavily populated they are. From a few glimpses we’ve seen (Enphili?) there seem to be some worlds which are barely inhabited, so plenty of space for setting up another colony.

    1. In light of the way Earth telepaths have been treated by Earth normals, and ample anecdotal evidence that Minbari and Centauri aren’t always inclusive and kind in dealing with off-workers, I imagine Byron’s telepaths didn’t have great expectations that those worlds’ generosity toward their own telepaths would extend to humans.

      1. I’d feel odder about the absence of this even being discussed if Claudia Christian hadn’t left since Ivanova was instrumental in sending a human telepath to Minbar in the first season. A rare example where her departure helps continuity rather than harming it. I suppose Delenn could have mentioned the possibility at some point, but, there is probably a significant difference in arranging asylum for a single individual and a mass migration of refugees.

        I do think we have some uninhabited colonies after the Shadow War, Marcus’ homeworld comes to mind, but I don’t know if those worlds were rendered uninhabitable.

  4. Haven’t been able to download the podcast yet so apologies if already discussed…

    J. Gregory Keyes, who wrote the excellent Psi Corp trilogy of novels, also wrote a short story “The Nautilus Coil” which was published in the Babylon 5 magazine Sep 2000 issue. There is a planet of telepaths out there. And they, or at least the person in charge, have A Plan.

    I think it’s worth reading, if you can find a copy.

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