Babylon 5

Season 1 Episode 11

Believers

2
Aired Monday 7:00 PM Apr 27, 1994 on
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

7.4
out of 10
Average
160 votes
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.

  • 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!!!!!!
  • 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.
  • A deep and moving story...

    9.0
    There are some episodes what just make you cry and this one - the complex of the story, the hard choices and the topic of believes. Everyone thought they were right, everyone decided to follow their believes and how it worked out - ok for some, not too well for others. The irony, the dillema.. it just makes the episode perfect. This has always been a one of my favorites "not so important" episodes. It has no major story development, but it opens Franklin for us, shows what he is out to do and what will he do to save lives - the cost does not matter for him. A very thought provoking episode.
  • Science and religion - the moral dilemma

    8.3
    This one explores the dilemma that occurs when science comes into conflict with religion. A sick by of an unknown alien race is in Med Lab with a fatal breathing problem that Franklin could cure with a simple operation. The parents won't allow the operation since they believe that any form of surgery will allow the 'spirit' to escape and go against their religious faith.

    That's the basic premise here, and we see Franklin gradually move from stalling the parents, through to pleading, then petitioning Sinclair to overrule. Eventually, when all else fails he goes with his beliefs and does the operation anyway. But it all ends in tears when the parents kill the child anyway, arguing that it is merely a shell of their son

    Powerful performance from Richard Biggs as Franklin, especially as he clashes with Sinclair.

    Another good ethical issue episode showing once again that Babylon 5 will tackle social and moral issues.
  • steve tries to save a child by going against there parents beliefs.

    9.3
    in this episode a child is bought in who is very sick and the alien parents forbid him to cut open the boy because of there culture forbids surgery of any kind. so when doctor steven franklin ignores the parnents wishes and operates anyway there is tragedy ensues. so dr franklin deciceds to play god and operate on the little boy. when the parents come the next day they see that there child has had the operation. after taking the boy away the parents must hold a special cermony which means that they must kill there son. franklin is forever haunted by the outcome of his actions.
  • This is the epitome of Science Fiction on television ... an character study on belief and reality.

    10
    Science fiction works best when it is an analysis of the human condition through the filter of setting. Dr. Franklin's God Complex exists exactly for the reason he claims. This is watered down compared to Alec Baldwin's speech about being God, but from the same vein.

    When we don't have the courage to question our belief systems, we will fall into the same pattern that the alien family in this episode did. Luckily, someone had the audacity to take the issues of religion vs. practicality and put them on display for us. This is one of my favorite B5 episodes. It breaks my heart that people always drool over the shadow war and the special effects aspects of this show, when this episode proves that it can present a candid assessment of humanity in a sci-fi setting. Shame on you, Fan Boys.
  • Not really a fan of this one

    6.0
    Dr. Franklin is put in a difficult position when an alien couple come to him with their sick child, however when he tells them about the operation he can perform they reveal that this is against their beliefs. Franklin tries to persuade Sinclair to let him perform the operation while they family try to convince each of the ambassadors to take their side in the argument.

    I’m not really a big fan of this episode, there’s nothing really wrong with it as a whole but I don’t really like the kind of episode where one person thinks that his or her belief is better than everybody else’s. Dr. Franklin is the main focus of this episode and it shows him as arrogant and unwilling to back out of a situation he does not really understand, which possibly shows him as more realistic than some of the other characters.
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