Babylon 5

Season 1 Episode 11

Believers

2
Aired Monday 7:00 PM Apr 27, 1994 on
7.4
out of 10
User Rating
160 votes
10

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
An alien couple comes to Dr. Franklin with their fatally ill son. The child could be cured by a simple operation, but the parents' religion specifically forbids it. Meanwhile Ivanova escorts a damaged star liner through raider territory.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • It'll be a cold day in Hell

    9.5
    That I consider this a bad episode. Powerful and difficult stuff, right up there with the best of Star Trek.



    Not sure that I agree with the comments that it makes the religious people look crazy - as far as they were concerned the spirit was damaged, and who are we to know it wasn't? That's the point of it.



    I was against Franklin interfering (maybe it's after so much Trek and non-interference, or maybe I just think the non-interference thing was right) and felt that it simply proved that the only difference in the end was that he gave the kid false hope and caused distress to his parents. Even if he'd lived, what kind of life would he have led on the run from his own people?



    But then, well, he'd have had more of a chance than being dead.



    Who knows, it's not a black and white answer, it's extremely difficult. And that's what makes it brilliant.moreless
  • Typical heavy-handed treatment of religion.

    5.0
    Like Star Trek, they make religious people nuts, completely unsympathetic, and ironically make the tolerance of such obvious nuts crazy as well.



    The writers should have made the parents less fanatical and more likable. They can obviously write gray characters, as most of the ambassadors are, but the religious bias in this episode was overpowering. In an earlier episode, it was telling to see the first Earth "religion" that Sinclair introduced to the aliens as "atheist."



    I'd hoped B5 would be less lefty than Star Trek, and it is, but it still leans that way, and is getting just as preachy.moreless
  • For a series that is supposed to be about tolerance of other races and their beliefs, this episode spits in the face of everything the station is supposed to stand for.moreless

    6.0
    This episode seriously annoyed me. The whole point of Babylon 5 is to promote peace and understanding between races. While it is an Earth station, it is supposed to be neutral and respecting a race's culture and beliefs is the backbone of the diplomatic mission of the station.



    Firstly, Franklin has an enormous god complex. Where does he get off insisting that he's right and the beliefs of the parents – and more importantly: the patient himself! – don't matter?! If the family's beliefs are that strong – and given the end result, they obviously are – then even if the boy was healed, the family could still be destroyed by the violation of their profound beliefs. On top of that, imagine how the boy would be shunned or worse when he returned home – his own people would have considered him an abomination. As it turned out, the parents didn't even wait until they'd left the station to correct Franklin's error. The worse part is – Franklin is so busy feeling sorry for himself that I don't think he's going to learn anything from this. I can practically guarantee that the next time something like this happens, Franklin will do whatever he wants, regardless of the consequences. He'll just convince himself that he was right, he just went about it the wrong way.



    Sinclaire initially does the right thing – he not only obeys the mission statement of the station: namely tolerance and respect of other races – but he listens to the patient's wishes and acts on those wishes. I have never really liked Sinclaire but this decision impressed me. That didn't last long, however.



    Franklin jeopardized the station's mission, offended an entire race, proved that he will not respect a race's beliefs and culture and the cherry on top: disobeyed the station commander's direct order. Instead of removing Franklin from the station, disciplining him or even reporting him to the medical council, what does Sinclaire do? Absolutely nothing. He even sympathizes with 'poor' Franklin. Sinclaire is an utter disgrace as a station commander – if he can't do the job, get someone who can.



    This episode actually does what Earth is always being accused of - siding with Humans and ignoring the wishes of other races. Regardless of the fact the ambassadors wouldn't get involved, Sinclaire's lack of action sends a very dangerous message - unless you're Human, your beliefs don't matter. It's a political landmine.



    The writers ignore any realistic reaction to this incident which makes this episode a joke – Franklin's disregard of his superior officer, his criminal actions toward the child, Sinclaire's complete lack of disciplinary action and the most obvious: the massive political fallout of such a violation of a race's rights - but I can tell before even going onto the next episode that this event will never even be acknowledged again. This is one of those episodes where the writers are trying to show something but never intend it to be part of the series storyline and it just becomes this episode everyone avoids mentioning because it actually contradicts everything the series is supposed to be about.



    The worst part is that this episode could have worked - if Franklin had been held responsible for his actions then the episode would have been a morality tale and a humbling but educational experience for Franklin.



    I was starting to enjoy this series but this episode really disgusted me.moreless
  • Believers

    8.5
    Believers was a really great episode of Babylon 5. I really enjoyed watching this episode because there was a lot of spiritual questions as well as questions of the oath to save and protect life no matter what. This episode was awesome because it touched upon basic human emotions and made the circumstances universal. There was some action, intriuge, and action. I thought this was a very interesting episode exploring how different cultures relate to the same circumstances and how far they are willing to go in order to preserve their beliefs. I look forward to watching more of Babylon 5!!!!!!moreless
  • Episode written by "Trouble with Tribbles" author offers insight relevant to today in this very different science fiction universe.

    9.4
    "Believers" was one of a very few Star Trek-style "issue" episodes which dealt with currently relevant political issues, in this case the classic struggle between religion and science, and the right of parents to make decisions for their children.



    One obvious connection is with to the religious rejection of medicine often ascribed to the Jehovah's Witnesses. More controversially, and perhaps more interesting, is the connection between this episode and the Judaic practice of circumcision believed by some to go against medical ethics. The aliens in this story believe that life-saving surgery will destroy their son's covenant, a word often used by Jews in association with circumcision. Also, the last scene in the episode shows a family dressed in clothing characteristic of Israeli Jews.moreless
Andrea Thompson

Andrea Thompson

Talia Winters

Andreas Katsulas

Andreas Katsulas

G'Kar

Claudia Christian

Claudia Christian

Susan Ivanova

Jeffrey Willerth

Jeffrey Willerth

Vorlon Ambassador Kosh Naranek (1994-1996), Vorlon Ambassador Ulkesh Naranek (1996)

Jerry Doyle

Jerry Doyle

Michael Garibaldi

Michael O'Hare

Michael O'Hare

Jeffrey Sinclair

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Franklin: What if there is no God at all?
      Sinclair: Is that what you believe?
      Franklin: I believe in saving lives. Without life the question is meaningless.
      Sinclair: But life has to be more then a pulse beat. What we hold sacred gives our life meaning.

    • Garibaldi: What happened out there?
      Ivanova: Nothing.
      Garibaldi: Nothing? I just got back the repair-order on your fighter. It will be in the shop for a week, minimum. And on top of that, I hear you broke regs about leaving formation and engaging on combat without backup.
      Ivanova:It was an educated risk... sometimes it works out.
      Garibaldi: And sometimes it doesn't. It's a long story. Come on, I'll fill you in.

    • Sinclair: Sometimes doing the right thing doesn't change anything. It can drive you crazy.
      Franklin: It's all words. Just words.

    • M'ola: We are only trying to save our child.
      Delenn. That is also what doctor Franklin believes he's doing. Whose belief is correct? And how do we prove it?

    • Dr. Franklin: One way or another, I'm gonna save that boy's life. Whatever it costs.

    • M'ola: (About her son's surgery) You don't understand. Food animals are cut open. They don't have a soul, so it's all right. But Chosen of God may not be punctured.

    • Garibaldi: "Sure" is for people with nothing on the line. You and me, we just get on with it.

    • Sinclair: What makes a religion false? If any religion is right, then maybe they all have to be right. Maybe God doesn't care how you say your prayers, just as long as you say them.

    • Ivanova: (bored) I think I'll just walk to and fro for a while, maybe over to my console. After that, maybe I'll try pacing fro and to, you know, just for the kick of it.

    • Londo: How much justice can you afford?

    • Franklin: I'm waiting. For an apology.
      Sinclair: You better check the temperature in Hell first.

    • Sinclair: A Globitt-egg?
      Shon: Actually it's only a piece of... industrial goo. But please don't tell Dr. Franklin I said so. He still believes it's an egg.

    • Kosh: The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote.

    • Sinclair: Who asked you to play God?!
      Franklin: Every damn patient who comes through that door! That's who! People come to doctors because they want us to be gods! They want us to make it better or make it not so! They want to be healed, and they come to me when their prayers aren't enough! Well, if I have to take the responsibility, then I claim the authority too. I did good. And we both know it. And no-one is going to take that away.

  • NOTES (1)

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

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