The last episode was about a road, this is a street. It would appear that JMS is about as good as recycling episode titles as he is rehashing cliqued tropes.
If this was a Friends episode it would be called The one with a suited madmen in a messy office full of boxes, talk of trusting no one and the truth with his non-believing female red-haired partner even while the government conspiracy bad guy smokes a cigarette. To everyone else this is the X-Files
Today it is Gideon displaying the superpowers. This time he is able to detect a foul small while travelling in a sealed carriage that quickly zips through a small area with damaged piping. This is a smell that no one else can detect even when they are standing still in said zone, yet Gideon notices it even through the turbo-car spends less than a tenth of a second in the vicinity. It later turns out that the smell is only released when the cars rush past and shake things so somehow Gideon is smelling, through several solid barriers, a relatively faint smell that is only being released at the moment of passage. I think this is supposed to demonstrate his “quirky” leadership abilities (or maybe just to show the nonsense that Matheson has to put up with), but I prefer to think that it shows how, deep-down, Gideon is paranoid. In this case he just happens to be right. Smug git.
What general things do we learn from this episode? There is a little bit of nice info on the Psi-corp and what happened. I guess the new psi-police aren’t much more than just checking that other teeps obey the rules. It is always nice to hear references to other events that are not directly related to the show. It makes the whole B5 universe feel bigger and more alive. I miss not having read those books about the Telepath War. One day I’ll have to go hunting around the local libraries. We also learn, once again, that Earthforce is stupid. They might not be losing to a bunch of holographic imps (The Long Road) but they do yell before leaping out at the target, ruining all opportunity for catching them by surprise. Then they get sewage dumped all over them because Gideon decided to pause the whole operation for a moment while he investigates his phantom smell. Sometimes I think the show got cancelled because there is no way that this lot are competent enough to find a cure for Earth and the only realistic result would be ending the show on a massive downer.
Finally we end with Gideon massively exceeding his authority and dumping the Encyclopedia Galactica on a world that hasn’t yet made proper first contact with any other alien worlds.. He is suddenly giving a new race a huge bulk-load of knowledge. Maybe Earth does need to blow the conspiracy but it would of been much better to pass the information on to his command and let them deal with it in a professional and productive matter as opposed to his scatter-gun approach. He has effectively destroyed any knowledge based economy that world might have, as well as throwing the place into cultural turmoil. I hate to think about the results of all those first contacts he might of been involved with while flying an explorer class ship. Maybe he was deliberately sent to known empty space, which accounts for his lack of diplomatic skills.
I liked The X-Files. I watched the first couple of seasons avidly. My interest slowly fell away over time but I still manged to follow lots of the threads and things. I like all the little call-outs to the show (see Lurkers Guide picks out more than I spotted). I appreciated the way they swung typical conspiracy theories to give them a more “humans are the aliens” twist. Things seem a little cheesy at times but most things don’t feel too forced. The fact that the alien agent really likes to ham it up probably helps. He gives a high quality display of cartoon villainy. They aren’t taking it seriously so we should just relax and let them go for it. The net result is a bit of a strange episode. It is good, but I am not entirely sure how it fits into the overall arc. I think it falls into the category of a fun filler.
“The truth is …” “…out of fashion”