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Recap / Babylon Five S 01 E 03 Born To The Purple

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Always be careful around a Beautiful Slave Girl.
Season 1, Episode 3:

Born to the Purple

Londo: And what are you getting? A washed-up, old republican, dreaming of better days.
Adira: These are my better days, Londo, thanks to you.


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Londo sits in the Dark Star club watching a dance performance, when Commander Sinclair and G'Kar come up to him to discuss a treaty they will shortly begin talks on. Londo, who has better things to attend to at the moment, sets a meeting the next day. His attention, and G'Kar's, is then riveted to the stage as a lithe Centauri woman, Adira, begins performing. Londo watches in rapt attention, but G'Kar is distracted by the arrival of a Narn woman, Ko D'Ath, who introduces herself as his new attaché. That night Londo returns to his quarters to find Adira waiting for him. He chuckles and joins her in bed.

The next day, Sinclair waits for Londo in chambers, while being informed that there has been unauthorized activity on the official Gold Channel frequencies. He and G'Kar are both rapidly losing patience, the ambassador demanding Londo be censured when he arrives. Sinclair sends Mollari's attaché, Vir Cotto, off to try and get him again. Londo, for his part, is just waking up next to Adira, but their tender moment together is cut short when Vir calls, chivvying him into action on Sinclair's behalf.

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Garibaldi is trying to find the security leak in the Gold Channels, but Ivanova doesn't seem concerned, posing any number of minor problems that could be causing it, including gremlins. When he attempts to trace their source, he is thwarted by a counter-security program. He then tries using the equipment at Ivanova's console, much to her annoyance, but still does not get very far, though he does find that the other end is somewhere in the Russian Consortium, which is where Ivanova is from. A little suspicious, Garibaldi decides to continue investigating.

Adira enters her quarters to find a man named Trakis there. She, as it turns out, is his slave and he is using her to get to the Purple Files, a set of secret files that Londo's family has been keeping on all the other Centauri families for years. These files can bring down any family in the Centauri Republic, something Trakis hopes to use to make a fortune from the Narn. He orders her to get access to them using a mind probe.

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Londo takes Adira out on a date, gifting her with a set of glowing flowers called Star Laces and a family heirloom which was once worn by a powerful matriarch of his family, the latter of which (to Adira's credit) she accepts with some reluctance. After the date has retreated to Londo's quarters, Adira prepares a couple of drinks, putting a sedative in Londo's. After he drinks it, he falls unconscious. Adira uses the mind probe to get the password to the Purple Files, "Wine, women, and song", and downloads them onto a datacrystal. She then puts his heirloom on the table beside him and leaves with a whispered apology.

When Vir wakes Londo the next morning for the next round of meetings, Londo realizes something is wrong when he finds Adira gone and his heirloom on the table. He sends Vir to the negotiations in his stead so he can find Adira, warning Vir only not to "give away the homeworld." Adira is about to meet Trakis, but at the last minute contacts a friend instead and arranges a place to hide.

Londo arrives at Adira's quarters to find Trakis there. Trakis tells him that Adira has betrayed him, that she is actually a Narn agent who has stolen the Purple Files. When Londo asks what Trakis' stake is, he revelas that Adira is his slave. Londo hurries off, unaware that Trakis has planted a bug on his coat.

Vir enters the chambers and announces that he will be conducting the negotiations. This enrages G'Kar, who says he will not return until Londo does. He also deputizes his aide to represent the Narn, warning her likewise not to " give away the homeworld." He stalks out while Sinclair tries to find Londo.

Londo has just confirmed his files were downloaded when Sinclair corners him. Londo admits he's been a fool, but still asks for Sinclair's help, which he agrees to as long as Londo goes along with Sinclair's proposed compromise for the treaty. The pair of them head into the Dark Star, posing as customers looking to hire some dancers for a private show. Londo offers money for information on where Adira might be, and finds out she has a friend she might be staying with. Unfortunately, Trakis hears through the bug, and pays N'Grath to send men for her, and to keep Londo and Sinclair busy. A pair of thugs waylays them, but are called off once Trakis has Adira.

Garibaldi finally manages to trace the strange signal. On the other end is what appears to be some kind of nurse, but the original transmitter is Ivanova... who is having an emotional reconciliation with her dying father, and bids him goodbye as he passes away.

Sinclair determines that Adira has to still be aboard the station, but Londo does not want to do anything that would harm her. They decide to set a trap. Sinclair tells G'Kar that there is some "merchandise" that will give him a lot of leverage in the negotiations. He says that Earthgov wants a compromise and they know Narn gratitude is worth the price. He also offers to have Talia Winters sit in to verify his honesty. G'Kar, taking the bait, meets with Trakis to make the deal, but Trakis is surprised that there is a telepath present. She tells him not to think about anything she doesn't want him to know, such as where Adira is right now. In his surprise he does just that, allowing Talia to read his thoughts. Sinclair dispatches security to that location and Trakis tries to run. Londo, however, intercepts him and lays him out with one punch. He then thanks G'Kar for helping him save the honor of the Centauri Republic. G'Kar is not happy to hear this.

Garibaldi runs into Ivanova and tells her that he found the problem: a computer error which he fixed. "I don't think it'll happen again... will it?" Ivanova replies, "No, it won't."

Adira and Londo meet in the docking bay. Sinclair has "persuaded" Trakis to set her free. He gives her his family heirloom, telling her to, "wear it proudly, as a free woman." She apologizes for hurting him, but he simply asks her to come back someday. She says she will and they wave goodbye.

This episode contains examples of:

  • And This Is for...: "That is for Adira. And this is for me".
  • Background Music: For the first scene, with the rather meaningful lyrics: "Set me free".
  • Beautiful Slave Girl: Adira
  • Beneath the Mask: Discussed by Londo:
    We Centauri live our lives for appearances. But when I look beneath this mask I am forced to wear I see only emptiness. And then I think of you, and I say, "To hell with appearances."
  • Blackmail: The Purple Files are a compilation of all the dirt on competing families that house Mollari has collected over the years...or centuries.
  • Curse Cut Short: "Yes, and you can kiss my plump Centauri — ah! Gentlemen, this is what I've been waiting for!"
  • Deadly Decadent Court: The reason Londo needs the Purple Files in the first place.
  • Dirty Mind-Reading: Talia, after monitoring the thoughts of G'Kar and Londo during their negotiations later remarks that Londo's thoughts were very...erotic. Sinclair isn't surprised when he sees Londo and Adira getting romantic at dinner.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: When G'Kar and Sinclair first confront Londo in the Dark Star, G'Kar keeps looking over his shoulder at the girl onstage.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Londo experiences this after Adira drugs him.
    I feel like my brain has been sucked out through my ear.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: Averted; the one Trakis plants on Londo would be obvious, but it turns invisible.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: When Londo and Adira are shown in the morning after spending a night together.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Adira wears a number of form-fitting and/or revealing attire throughout.
  • Not So Different: Both Londo and G'Kar instruct their aides not to give away the homeworld, quite independently of each other. They also briefly drink together in the agreement that "of all the things in life, are females not the finest?"
  • Planet of Hats: Adira protests that not all Centauri wear the hat of political machinations, but Trakis mocks her for that attitude, saying the ones who don't end up like her, no family, no influence, and enslaved.
  • Red Herring: Ivanova's defensive obfuscation of the priority-channel misuses.
  • Revealing Hug: Londo and Adira embrace, and the camera lingers on Adira's face as the happy facade she's been putting on for Londo slips away.
  • Spit Take: G'Kar, on being unexpectedly hailed by his straight-laced assistant while he's relaxing in a seedy nightclub.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Adira puts a sedative in Londo's drink so she can use the mind probe on him.
  • Thought-Aversion Failure: Trakis is "warned" not to think about irrelevant facts such as Adira Tyree's current whereabouts while attending a telepath-monitored negotiation. Of course, that information then appears in Trakis' surface thoughts, where Talia can perceive it without deliberately probing (that being the limit of how far she was willing to bend PsiCorps rules).

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