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.