Earhart’s: “Conflicts of Interest” Spoiler Space

Think of the most awkward way ever to run into your ex again after a long while.

Garibaldi has you beat.

Think of the weirdest way you run into a look-alike of a long-lost friend and assume it’s him.

Ivanova has you beat.

Think of that time you thought for sure you could get two of your buds on board with a great idea, only for them both to shut you down.

Sheridan has you beat.

Talk about what happens next in all of these situations here.

15 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “Conflicts of Interest” Spoiler Space”

  1. This is a reply to David Gian-Cursio’s sound observations about Garibaldi being *completely ridiculous* in his behavior in the non-spoiler thread:

    One thing that I think is going on here is that I don’t know that JMS ever quite lets go of the original version of this story, in which Garibaldi’s relationship would have broken down with a longstanding close friend, Jeffrey Sinclair.

    The betrayal aspect was originally going to be attached to Takashima, of course, and while it would have worked quite differently, and happened much earlier, it is noteworthy that one of the main things that JMS did when adapting the show between The Gathering and S1 is transfer Takashima’s personal history with Sinclair to Garibaldi. This suggests that in S1 the plan was there that at some point Garibaldi was going to betray Sinclair much as he eventually does Sheridan.

    (Note also that although it’s a lot subtler, the plot turns on the device of telepathic mind control in a similar manner to the aspect of Takashima’s story that was transferred to Talia.)

    So if you rethink Garibaldi’s interactions with Sheridan with an element of deeply *personal* betrayal felt on both sides, then for Garibaldi to be unreasonable signals that he’s not really reacting to the request as such – that’s just serving as the thing which brings out all his resentments.

    (Also perhaps that he’s being affected by Psi Corps’ tampering with his mind – a side-effect of enhanced suspiciousness might well be a paranoia that leads one to be reluctant to give up the means to defend oneself.)

    This is another place where losing Sinclair as the central character (not O’Hare as the leading actor) harms the series. The Garibaldi-Sheridan relationship is never really more than professional, i.e., functional for the plot.

    Still, there’s good stuff here. This part of Garibaldi’ story is a really nice little piece of importation of hardboiled detective tropes into space opera. Which works chronologically, because of the significance of the pulps in the development of both.

    Note that in the kind of Chandleresque story that Garibaldi is inhabiting, the authorities really are often misguided and/or corrupt, and the hero would be a complete idiot to give up his gun. JMS has to shut it down and say “This is space opera after all, and a kind of space opera in which the goodies are goodies and the baddies are baddies.” But around the edges there’s a sort of “Philip Marlowe wanders into the Lensmen universe” vibe to the whole thing.

    1. Voord your breakdown just makes me even sadder that we did not get to keep the original Takeshima, Sakai, and Sinclair story arcs. In each case the original intentions would have been much more emotionally resonant because of the long standing relationships. Sakai especially as we as the audience would have grown to know her as well. Anna “works” because she is mentioned many times leading up to her re-appearance, but our lack of connection with the character hurts the short appearance.

      Likewise when Jack shoots Garibaldi in the back, and then is revealed almost immediatly after he wakes, lacks the same punch that the “snake-in-the-grass” story with Takashima having done it, conciously or otherwise.

      The way JMS had to slice and dice Takshima’s story among so many other characters works servicably in the end, but I think lacks the same impact overall.

      I do think though that Garibaldi and Sinclair were supposed to still have a long standing friendship, even if Takashima had stayed on board. There is specific mention in The Gathering that the Senator who Sinclair is in contact with was opposed to Garibaldi’s appointment, but Sinclair insisted. The details of why are never fleshed out until the series proper, but Sinclair had to have some reason to feel Graibaldi was up to the task prior to the story shift for S1.

      1. That’s a good point.

        Hmm. The show really wasn’t high on plausibility when it started out, was it?

        We have a commanding officer who wasn’t Earthforce’s choice for the job. Then that commanding officer is allowed to have a first officer with a tarnished record (if I recall Takeshima’s backstory correctly) but who is a personal friend *and* to insist on a security officer over that senator’s objections – indicating, as you say, that Sinclair has a personal history with Garibaldi.

  2. I don’t know about the implausability of it. I know it happens in both public and private sector workforces. Someone gets a job in a position of poewre and they bring thier friends laong fo rhte ride. I cannot, however, speak for Military, but I wouldn’t consider it to much of a stretch that a commanding officer would get to more or less pick thier command staff. Probably within some kind of reasonable limitations though.

    I don’t know if Takashima’s actual record was tarnished so much as she was blackballed with local command for not being onboard with the kickbacks and payoffs to get promoted that was taking place on Mars. Assuming those practices were ever revealed to Earth-Gov it might have actually spoken well on her record that she never participated.

    Though she does states that she began “breaking all the rules” as a result of being jaded with the situation until Sinlcair showed up. But wheather or not any of that appeared on her record is never discussed.

    Again, sad the character left. I mean I love Ivonova and all, but JMS has already made it clear (I think?) that Ivonova would have been around in essentially the Corwin position and then moved up when Takashima was revealed as a sleeper agent, so we still would have gotten her too.

    1. The other thing about Ivanova is that JMS did his best to make lemonade when introducing Sheridan by giving Ivanova a relationship with Sheridan that is not unlike the Sinclair-Takashima or Sinclair-Garibaldi relationships.

      And then we never really get the payoff, thanks to Claudia Christian’s departure. For all that the Byron arc is nobody’s favorite part of the show, putting Ivanova in a position where she’s torn between Byron and her loyalty to Sheridan could have been really interesting. I say this even though I will be saying nice things about Captain Lochley as a character and still nicer things about Tracy Scoggins’s performance when our hosts get that far.

      1. Yeah it’s a crap job having to come in on the final season of a show and try to make a character memorable. Especially when that character is replaing a fan favorite. I think Scoggins did as good a job as anyone could have.

  3. Lise Hampton-Edgars, on a technical note, isn’t a retcon. It’s three years of story for Lise, and we get character story. JMS could as easily have given her partnering to wealthiest industrialist Franz Hampton. Instead he’s gone with what feels like organic process.

    Totally agree with you on Sheridan’s thoughts. Out of the League of Non-Aligned B5 Worlds the ISA is born in this episode.

    Chip: I’d never thought about these telepaths being Bester’s men before: out of Corps dress, I’d taken them as angry informed teeps. That’s fine. The Bester hypothesis you propose passed me by, maybe because, well, isn’t Koenig so damn cool? I take your meaning though. He wouldn’t entrust this job to GARIBALDI alone. If he penetrated Edgars’ inner circle without challenge, suspicions would be raised. A little false flag wouldn’t have been out of character.

    Nor the interpretation that the sample handed over here is Bester’s end goal, that Garibaldi has failed Stage 1 of Bester’s plan, though that seems much less likely.

    “On this episode of Garibaldi, P.I., Michael does NOT don a Hawaiian shirt nor acquire a Ferrari. Instead he picks up a new job opportunity that takes him up against his former security forces.”

    I see I’m not the only one wanting commenters to come up with loglines for episodes of this.

    1. One small detail that got inverted in our hosts’ Spoiler Space commentary: the crystal cube WAS indeed the cure to the telepath disease. It just turned out that Edgars also made the disease itself.

      I’m convinced that the telepaths were working for Psi Corps, and almost certainly Bester. Given the state of affairs between B5 and EarthGov, it would be impossible for any uniformed or even badged-and-gloved telepaths to come on board the station without getting immediate official attention.

      I don’t think Bester was exactly trying to help Garibaldi get planted in Edgars’ circle here, but I’m sure he was happy with how it turned out. Most likely, these teeps were from a separate cell (so to speak), also working for Bester to investigate the conspiracy but unaware of Garibaldi’s part.

      It was never made clear, but I imagine that Garibaldi was only one of many assets who were “employed” by Bester to root out the conspiracy, it just so happened that Garibaldi was the one who got farthest into it. In other words, Garibaldi wasn’t Bester’s most important tool from the beginning, he just turned out that way.

      It also fits in that Bester would consider Garibaldi completely expendable. (Just like Edgars, in an appropriate parallel.) If the teeps had killed Garibaldi, I’m sure Bester wouldn’t have been too upset.

        1. I agree, Dan. It’s more sense tactically (in Bester’s character) to send multiple agents to do different aspects of the job.

          However, there’s plenty of avenues for assuming The Corps are not all-controlling. In how JMS has kept these teeps’ true allegiance undisclosed, it allows us to interpret it whatever way we want. We could because of the nature of teeps, imagine these assasins are Mars-born, or even Byron-faction teeps.

          According to Midwinter “the telepathic assassins’ closing phrase, (“the future”), bears some similarity to a description of another telepath: Talia Winters in” ARTDP.

  4. This week on GARIBALDI P.I.
    Barbers are shut down across the station, and Michael suspects Byron’s Hair Defense Front is behind the attacks. But is Garibaldi in more danger from the teeps, or the annoying quips of Marcus?

  5. “This week on GARIBALDI P.I.
    Michael’s clients are drying up, and as he investigates a new crime, he crosses paths with rival detective agency: Mollari and G’Kar. ”

    Something that bothers me is the concise way in which Londo and G’Kar patch up their differences, or more bluntly, lifetime of animosity wrapped in annihilation of the other. I think G’Kar particularly makes his peace much too easily, particularly in S5. Contrast it with realist politicians or military commanders in similar post-war agreements and it’s quite implausible in the amount of time that passes to see reconciliation, co-operation and friendship . “But aliens…” doesn’t cut the shark jump.

    Londo, I’m more given to passing, considering the burden of his guilt, the pro-active passivity with which he treats G’Kar in his desire to make amends. Risking G’Kar as his bodyguard has just Londo’s level of selfishness AND doing what he thinks is right.

    1. I think with G’Kar, it’s not “But aliens…,” it’s “But a saint…” It’s made clear that other Narns are *not* like this and could never do what G’Kar does – G’Kar is someone who has made exceptional moral progress, of a type that the vast majority of people will never be able to achieve.

      That being said, I don’t quite agree with our hosts that the development is not rushed. I think it is a little rushed, but JMS did the best that he could given the need to wrap things and establish the G’Kar-Londo friendship by the end of S4.

      I suspect that things got accelerated by about half a season or so. In particular, I think it’s very likely that The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari was originally supposed to precede the G’Kar-Londo reconciliation, and to provide G’Kar with a reason to change his view of Londo.

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