Babylon 5

Season 1 Episode 5


Aired Monday 7:00 PM Feb 16, 1994 on
out of 10
User Rating
172 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Dr. Franklin gets a visit from old friend and mentor, xenoarcheologist Dr. Hendricks. He wants Franklin's help to analyze hi-tech organic artifacts he found on a dead world. But the artifacts seem to have a will of their own, and start to manipulate Hendricks' assistant.

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  • Exotic dancers and alien Nazis on Babylon 5: at least the worst of the series is over early.

    "Not working yet" is the kindest thing I can say about "Infection," a strong contender for the title of worst Babylon 5 episode ever, with even J. Michael Straczynski hopping on that bandwagon. This was the first episode filmed, and it shows. The acting, directing, editing, and writing are all quite awkward.

    The worst scene occurs early in the episode, as Dr. Franklin discusses long-term plans with a former teacher, Dr. Vance Hendricks. Hendricks has uncovered some "organic technology," which he notes is a high priority for research and economics on earth. Franklin is unhappy about Hendricks' methods, which doesn't make much sensethere's good archaeology that he's not doing, but bad corporate-funded archaeology is "grave Hendricks defends himself by adapting Rutger Hauer's speech from Blade Runner?

    I dunno, I think Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep was better, Stephen. But Blade Runner has that great speech. Here, let me try to remember it for you!

    And then the space Nazis show up. Well, they're not literal space Nazis. But when the characters start to discuss the fanatical alien race whose organic technology is rampaging across the station as using Nazi-esque ideology, you know that you're probably getting into ham-handed territory. "Infection" happily obliges on those terms, as Commander Sinclair goes to the violent Nazi organic tech, gets it mad, and then talks it into submission using rationality, science, logic, classical liberal ideas, science, rationality and evidence.

    Talking rampaging alien Nazis into exploding is a great way to demonstrate that your protagonist is a true hero in classic, American-television style, but there's no ambiguity here. And oh lord, some of the dialogue. Does the alien literally collapse to its knees, shouting "I-KARRR-AAA!" after discovering that its homeworld is dead? Yes, yes it does, and we're not better for having seen that.

    Gotta say, for a rubber alien Nazi suit, the makeup here is pretty excellent.

    Despite the poor main plot, "Infection" manages to salvage itself in three different ways by the end of the episode. It reminds me of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's "I Robot, You Jane" in a waya few character moments at the end of a monumentally weak episode mean that there's still something worth watching, even at the absolute nadir or the show. Chief among them: Garibaldi confronting Sinclair about his over-willingness to put his life on the line: "I think they're looking for something worth dying for because it's easier than finding something worth living It's not just an examination of the protagonist's motivations, it's also a reminder of just how bad The Battle Of The Line was, and how little we know about it.

    There's also a scene where Franklin and Ivanova worry about rising xenophobic sentiment on Earth, followed by apparent confirmation of their fears as EarthForce security confiscates the organic weaponry. Even though "Infection" is a Star Trek-like episode, with a patriarchal captain solving a violent situation through diplomacy and application of logic, there's still a moment where Babylon 5 builds its darker, more serialized universe a tiny bit.moreless
  • Steel has been assigned (don't know where Sapphire got to)

    A pleasant surprise to see David McCallum.

    Definitely a bit of a "monster of the week" vibe, but whilst others have rated this episode lower than the others I think as a newbie to the show I have to rate it higher personally. To a large extent because of the brilliant work by O'Hare here who I felt did a great job chewing the scenery in the final chase against the.. monster guy, and I just got a feeling of fleshing out his personality a bit - which has been needed. The comment from Garabaldi at the end about Sinclair's past and how the war has possibly made him actually _want_ to go out in a blaze of glory - and find something worth dying for instead of finding something worth living for - was fascinating, a fascination topped only by the fact that Sinclair didn't feel that he could disagree with this point.

    This episode also contains what I think will go down as one of my favourite quotes in the entire show if not in all of space sci-fi, an excellent point especially given the slow pace that I feel we have in the reality of space exploration:

    "Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe, and Lao-Tzu, and Einstein, and Morobuto, and Buddy Holly, and Aristophanes, and - all of this - all of this - was for nothing. Unless we go to the

  • Infection

    Infection was a great episode of Babylon 5. I enjoyed watching this episode because there was a lot of character development, action, and drama. I think this series was way ahead of its time. I really enjoyed watching this episode because of the characters, action, and story line. This episode gave viewers a deeper look into the main characters. I look forward to watching more Babylon 5 and seeing where this series is going. I think Babylon 5 may be one of the greatest syfy originals to ever be on television. I can't wait to watch the next episode of Babylon 5!!!!!!!moreless
  • It left me cold...

    There are very few episodes of Babylon 5 that I did not liked but this is one of them - it just did not get to me. I do not think Franklin is weak char. There is nothing like that in Babylon 5 but something on this episode just had no magic. The plot was maybe not the best, I am not sure. Anyway, if not think on the negative sides, this episode did have some great things - like the actions what lead to the final conversation between Sinclair and Garibaldi. That was a really great one - maybe the pearl of the episode and then Sinclair saying to the journalist why this place is worth it.

    It had great moments too, see...moreless
  • More character development for Sinclair and Franklin

    Babylon 5 series 1 continues with alternating between the G'Kar / Londo axis and the Sinclair / Delenn / Franklin stories, as we see more about the backstory of Commander Sinclair.

    A bounty hunter, Vance Hendricks, arrives at the station, and turns out to be an old tutor of Franklin. He's discovered some kind of organic technology on a dead planet. Hendricks has an assistant (Nelson) who gets a little too close to the tech and ends up being turned into a cyborg! Every time anyone tries to kill the hybrid, it simply absorbs the energy and get stronger! Sinclair and Garibaldi realise they'll need to take out the dude in short order or the whole of Babylon5 will blow...

    Sinclair goes all gung-ho and launches into the fray, eventually luring the by-now-totally-consumed Nelson into an air lock. At the same time, he figures out that the organic part of the cyborg has a name, a memory and a personality - and it turns out to be a space age version of a Nazi who wans to purify his home planet of all interbreeding. It's a pity that this theme isn't developed - in fact, I didn't even notice it first time through.

    This is an action-orientated episode, with a lot of shooting and running around - but there is a lot more going on beneath the surface that lays down markers for later. We learn that Franklin is deeply moralistic, that Garabaldi has a troubled past, and that Sinclair hasn't ever been the same since the Earth-Minbari war. We also learn that not everyone on Earth thinks the sun shines out of Babylon5 (there is a short sub-plot involving a visiting network TV reporter)

    Solid episode. Not the best in season 1, but a bit more involving than it seems at first look.moreless
David McCallum

David McCallum

Dr. Vance Hendricks

Guest Star

Patricia Healy

Patricia Healy

Mary Ann Cramer

Guest Star

Sav Farrow

Sav Farrow

Tech #1

Guest Star

Marianne Robertson

Marianne Robertson

Tech #3

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Plot Hole: When Drake is defeated, the controller is ripped from his chest, and the huge armor just ... disappears. If the controller is converted to energy or something similar, there should be a huge explosion, flash, boom, or another form of energy release.

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Ivanova: If you'll excuse me. If you need me, I'll be over there, getting drunk with the rest of the aliens.

    • Sinclair: You forgot the first rule of a fanatic. When you become obsessed with the enemy, you become the enemy.

    • Sinclair: (About the transformed scientist) I'm gonna try and make it mad.
      Garibaldi: Make it mad? Are you nuts? Commander!

    • Franklin: (To Sinclair) But people can be fooled. So to prevent them from being confused by any misleading instructions from the enemy, they hardwired the machine half of the weapons not to respond to anyone who wasn't pure Ikarran. There's one problem, Commander. How do you define a pure Ikarran, or a pure human? No one is pure. No one.

    • Dr. Hendricks: In the last five years, I've seen things off-world you can't even imagine. I've stood in the Abendi desert and watched all seven moons go into eclipse. I've walked in vaults that have been sealed longer than there's been a human race, breathing air that's five million years old. You call that a shortcut, if you will, but I've lived. By God, Stephen, I have lived.

    • Dr. Hendricks: This is a blueprint for living machines. The Vorlons have one. Some people even say the Minbari have them. We haven't seen enough of them up close to get any idea of how they work.

    • Mary Ann Cramer: You still haven't told me when the Commander is due back?
      Garibaldi: Soon.
      Mary Ann Cramer: How soon is soon?
      Garibaldi: Longer than little while, faster than later.

    • Ivanova: Don't. You're too young to experience that much pain.

    • Garibaldi: Win, lose, or draw; this thing's going to know it was in a fight.

    • Mary Ann Cramer: After all that you've just gone through, I have to ask you the same question a lot of people back home are asking about space these days. Is it worth it? Should we just pull back, forget the whole thing as a bad idea and take care of our own problems, at home?
      Sinclair: No. We have to stay here, and there's a simple reason why. Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics, and you'll get ten different answers. But there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on: whether it happens in a hundred years, or a thousand years, or a million years, eventually our sun will grow cold, and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us, it'll take Marilyn Monroe, and Lao-tsu, Einstein, Maruputo, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes, and all of this. All of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars.

    • Garibaldi: The commander's a hands-on kind of guy. He'll grab any chance he can get to take out a ship - he's like that.

    • Garibaldi: ...and after walking 50 miles, we finally made it out of the desert. Later when he was put in charge of Babylon 5, Commander Sinclair asked if I'd come work security. I said yes, it's been a great time...

    • Sinclair: The last time I gave an interview they told me just to relax and say what I really felt. Ten minutes after the broadcast I got transferred to an outpost so far off the star maps you couldn't find it with a hunting dog and a Ouiji board.
      Garibaldi: Don't sweat it. Just be that charming, effervescent commander we've all come to know and love. What's the worst that could happen? They fire you, ship you off to the Rim and I get promoted to Commander. I don't see a problem here.

    • Garibaldi: Jeff, you're my friend. You've been my friend a lot longer than my commanding officer so I think I'm entitled to say this. We were both in Earthforce during the war. I wasn't on the line but I did my share. I know a lot of guys who came out of the war changed. Some came out better some came out worse. A lot of them have this problem, the war gave them definition, direction, purpose without they don't know how to fit in any more. So they keep looking for ways to go out in a blaze of glory. Some people call that being a hero, maybe so, I don't know I've never been one. Me... I think they're looking for something worth dying for because it's easier than finding something worth living for.
      Sinclair (long pause): Finished?
      Garibaldi: Yeah I think that about covers it. (starts to leave)
      Sinclair: Michael... I don't have an answer for you. And... I think maybe I should.

    • Garabaldi: Have you ever tried one of these? (holds up a root-like organic substance)
      Miss Cramer: What is it?
      Garabaldi: I'm not sure. According to the translator, it's either an aphrodisiac or a floor wax. I can't decide if it's worth the risk or not.

    • Dr. Hendricks: Steven, there's a Martian war machine parked outside. They'd like a word with you about the common cold.
      Dr. Franklin: Tell them to make an appointment.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Although this was the fourth episode broadcast, it was the first written. Straczynski later admitted that he was not satisfied with the script, partially because of the difficulty of finding "the fingerprints" of the characters over a year after the pilot had been made.


    • Ivanova: Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. This alludes to George Santayana's statement in his book, The Life of Reason.

    • Sinclair: How sharper than a serpent's tooth.
      Sinclair quotes Shakespeare's King Lear.

    • Dr. Hendricks: There's a Martian war machine outside, and it wants to speak to you about the common cold.

      This is a reference to H.G. Wells' classic science fiction novel, The War of the Worlds. In that book and the several movie versions, Martians invade Earth but are eventually stopped by Earth-borne diseases.

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