This is another episode with some good moral arguments and Lockley/Franklin cameos, but still, why does everyone insist on keeping so many pointless secrets?
The premise of this episode is that the Excalibur runs a simple delivery mission. Of course things are never that simple so lets start with the strange. It probably isn’t Earthforce policy to allow their Captains to play cards while on active duty. Couldn’t he at least look over some reports or sign off a few duty rosters? The next thing that strikes me as strange is that the senator shows up in a top of the line dreadnought. If he already has one ship at his disposal then why does he need another to complete the delivery? I can only assume that someone noticed that the Excalibur went swanning off for a week-long trip through hyperspace just for a non-affiliated crew member and decided they had nothing better to do.
Either the Senator is just a strawman politician or he is yet another example of why all humans in this series are idiots. He has no reason to keep the mission secret from Gideon, especially since his “aide” has requested he be informed and Dr Chambers needs to be briefed. He is yet another example of someone keeping pointless secrets just because he can, and then we get him telling a pointless lie about supporting the ship program when it is obvious to find out that he didn’t. If the other 11 senators are as bad as this one then Earth is doomed even without the Drakh plague. Then again, considering that the first thing Gideon does when he sees Lockley is to blurt out the destination for this top secret mission perhaps the senator is right not to tell Gideon everything.
I have to wonder a little about how med-bay works. There are strange flasks containing with coloured liquids don’t seem to do anything until it is time to knock them over. There is a random console button failure so Chambers has to use the remote control. The iso-bay then the malfunctions (they really need to have a word with the tech staff) which actives a 3 minute wait until flash sterilisation occurs. If there is an air-borne infection and a breach in the isolation barriers then surely they need to do something about it in less than 3 minutes.
I like the extra detail they throw up about the plague, such that it is airborne, infects mammals and and is less than 50 microns in size. Considering the virus shield only covers everything bigger than 20 microns they might be pushing their lucky a little in that department. There is also lots of depressing talk about how bad everything might be with the possibility that there are actually multiple plagues or a hive-mind consciousness controlling the progress (and possibly countering methods to find a cure). They will also need to find a universal cure that works on everything otherwise a lot of dead mammals will completely destroy the economy.
Again, confirmation that this is the episode best order comes from Lockley acting like she hasn’t met Gideon. The original air order had this as the final episode. Ultimately it would have been a reasonable conclusion with themes of desperation but on-going hope and in finishing on B5 there would have been a strong closing image, although the are a lot of hooks for the remaining 4 and a half years of unmade arc.