Season 1 Episode 14
Fight with courage and respect. The Mutai begins!
Two people arrive at the station, a rabbi and another man. Elsewhere, Garibaldi has broken up an illegal sale of medical supplies, which results in a scuffle. One of the miscreants pulls a knife and is abut to attack Garibaldi from behind, when he is knocked out by the newcomer, who says, "One of these days, Garibaldi, you're going to have to learn to watch your back." The man's name is Walker Smith, and he and Garibaldi knew each other years before. Walker had become a professional boxer, but was forced out after a scandal.The other arrival, Rabbi Koslov, has gone to see Ivanova. He is a friend of her family and has come to bring her father's legacy to her. He had intended to give it to her at her father's funeral, but she wasn't there. She tells him there was a crisis at the time and she couldn't get away. He understands, then asks if she has sat shiva for her father. She hasn't and doesn't see the point.Walker is telling Michael about his boxing career, which was cut short when evidence that he doped up was planted by parties who wanted him to throw a fight. The media firestorm was such that he couldn't enter any fights back on Earth, so he's come to Babylon 5 for an alternative, the Mutai. Garibaldi tries to talk him out of it, saying the Mutai is not like fights on Earth, there are no rules and only one official, the Muta-Do. There have been several deaths, and scores of major injuries, but Walker is determined.Rabbi Koslov goes to see Sinclair, telling him Ivanova recently lost her father, something she failed to mention, and has not had the opportunity to sit shiva. Sinclair agrees to give her as much time as she needs. Ivanova does not react well when Koslov tells her, accusing him of trying to control her life the way her father did.The next day, Walker and Michael go to find the Muta-Do. As they enter the practice facility and old-looking alien tells them to leave. Walker protests and for his trouble is knocked flat. The alien turned out to be the Muta-Do himself, and informs them that humans are not allowed to fight. Walker leaves, and Michael follows, telling him, "The Mutai means something to them, you're treating it like a tank fight." Turns out Garibaldi knew that the alien was the Muta-Do; fuming, Walker storms off. As he does so, he runs into another alien named Caliban, who says there is another way to get into the Mutai.Sinclair has called Ivanova into his office telling her she can have time off, but she refuses, saying her emotions are her own business. Sinclair leaves the offer open and warns her to make certain what she's feeling.Walker tells Garibaldi that he got some passes to see a Mutai fight, and invites him along. There, they see Gyor, the Sho-Rin (grand champion) of the Mutai make short work of a Drazi challenger. Afterward, the Muta-Do calls for anyone brave enough to challenge the Sho-Rin. Walker steps forward; after delivering his challenge, the Muta-Do deems it worthy, and Gyor accepts. Before they leave, however, another alien approaches them and warns Walker to stay out of their business.Rabbi Koslov comes to see Ivanova again, and she apologizes for her outburst. He presents her father's legacy, an antique samovar that has been in her family for generations. He asks her to sit shiva again, but she still refuses, saying her father was never there for her and she can never forgive him for that. Later, as the rabbi is about to leave, she remembers the last conversation she had with her father moments before his death, and changes her mind.As Walker trains for the fight, Michael asks Caliban if he has a chance. Caliban responds, "He will fight bravely." Later at dinner, Michael tells Walker there's still time to back out, but he refuses. Gyor's skill is no reason to back down.Ivanova asks to take the leave Sinclair offered, and he agrees, offering to sit with her as a friend. Later, a small group has gathered, and Rabbi Koslov begins speaking about Andrei Ivanov, and Ivanova recalls some experiences she had with him.The Mutai begins, and Gyor begins pummeling Walker. It seems as though the fight will end in quick defeat, but Walker suddenly begins fighting back much harder. When this happens, the alien who threatened them earlier panics when it looks like Walker might win and takes out a small blowgun. Caliban notices, and Michael quickly puts him down. Eventually, the fight reaches a standstill where both are so battered they can't even stand anymore. As the two fighters lie on their hands and knees, the Muta-Do gets up and declares the match a draw. As before, the crowd chants Gyor's name, but Gyor stops them, starting a new chant for Smith, which the crowd eventually takes up with enthusiasm.As the shiva ends, Ivanova thanks those gathered for coming, finally letting her tears come to the surface.The next day, Rabbi Koslov bids farewell to Ivanova and Sinclair, and Walker prepares to leave. They are surprised when Gyor and the Muta-Do approach them. The Muta-Do says that humans will be allowed to fight in the Mutai from now on and Gyor salutes Walker. Walker then leaves, with a final reminder to Michael to watch his back.
Tropes used in this episode include: