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Recap / Babylon Five S 02 E 19 Divided Loyalties

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The return of Lyta Alexander.

Divided Loyalties

Sheridan: Why is it, every time you finally get things calmed down and everything is going great, life decides to .. kick you in the butt.
Delenn: But what?
Sheridan: What?
Delenn: You said that life decides to kick you, but?
Sheridan: No, no. It's a... it's a part of the body. It's a... oh, you have the damnest gaps in your vocabulary.


Sheridan and Delenn run into each other and take some time to discuss their different points of view, while on Mars a dying man gives something to a Ranger and asks him to get it to Babylon 5.

Sheridan and Garibaldi talk together as they use the bathroom, then secure the location and talk about involving Talia in their plans. She's loyal to the Psi Corps, but still knows what her home is, and they decide to bring her in.

Talia is currently with Ivanova enjoying some lunch which is interrupted by a call for Ivanova. She has to head off to C&C and Talia has to find a place to stay while her quarters are worked on. Ivanova offers her place for a while.

A damaged ship has come through the jumpgate and is now adrift outside. Ivanova orders it brought aboard. When the pilot is brought out, Garibaldi recognizes her.


Later he explains to Sheridan who she is, Lyta Alexander, the station's first commercial telepath, and the one who scanned Ambassador Kosh while trying to save his life. Garibaldi mentions that after that, she was never quite the same, and was soon transferred back to Earth.

Lyta, meanwhile, wakes up and demands to speak to Sheridan, but doesn't want to be alone with any of them. When she meets with the command staff she explains that there is a mole somewhere, an implanted personality, code-named Control, created by the Psi Corps to spy on them, and will take over the host's body when a telepathic password is given.

She wants to try and expose Control by sending the password but Sheridan is reluctant. He dismisses her and asks for opinions. Ivanova makes her feelings absolutely certain. "Does the phrase 'no way in hell' ring a bell?"


Later Sheridan is pacing in the rock garden when Delenn comes up to discuss food shipments. She asks if he's alright and if he wants to talk about it, but he can't. He does start talking about his situation in terms Delenn doesn't understand, and she asks for clarification, eventually cheering him up with her attempts to figure out his language. Then a call comes in for him.

He and Garibaldi meet and the chief tells him that Lyta's story checks out. Sheridan still doesn't want to believe her and decides to make a decision in the morning.

Ivanova is not in a good mood and taking her anger out on her kitchen. Talia comes in after using the shower. They talk a little about Lyta, Ivanova asking if she can be trusted, and Talia says she can.

Meanwhile, Garibaldi orders Zack to take Lyta to a more comfortable location, but along the way, they are attacked. Some of the guards are killed, but Lyta manages to escape.

In the morning, Sheridan is beginning to think there is truth to Lyta's allegations, since very few people knew she was even on the station. He decides to allow her to send the password. If they can find her.

Lyta makes contact with Delenn and asks for her help, while Ivanova goes back to her quarters where Talia says she's moving back to her own.

Delenn tracks Sheridan down and gives him a message from Lyta. She'll meet with them but only if the whole command staff is there. She doesn't want to be alone with any of them. Sheridan agrees.

When he gets to his quarters he finds Ivanova there. She needs to tell him something about why she can't let Lyta do it. It takes her a while but she eventually reveals that she's a latent telepath. Her mother did everything she could to keep Psi Corps from noticing her. And it's why she never lets a telepath into her mind. Sheridan tries to persuade her to go through with it, but she's still hesitant.

Delenn brings Lyta to Sheridan's office where he will allow here to send the password. She goes through Sheridan, Franklin and Garibaldi with no result, but they hold off on Ivanova and begin bringing in people from other areas. After hours seeing dozens of people, they still haven't found Control and patience is beginning to wear thin.

Lyta begins demanding to know what Ivanova is hiding and a shouting match ensues before Sheridan interjects, telling them this is what Psi Corps wants, them mistrustful of each other. Ivanova finally agrees to go through with it. Lyta sends the password and is surprised when Ivanova blocks her, but she eventually relents. No result.

Then Talia comes in and Lyta sends the password to her. The change is immediate and Talia tries to grab a gun and shoot Lyta as Garibaldi drags her away.

Later they discuss the ramifications. Talia knows a lot about what they've been up to, the Underground Railroad for one, but they also dodged a major bullet. If Lyta had come after they had brought Talia in on their plans...

Ivanova goes to Talia's quarters and confronts the woman there. She tries to appeal to any bit of Talia's personality left, but Control is all that remains. She mocks Ivanova and the relationship she had with Talia, claiming to have been the one telling her to accept Ivanova's advances. Tearfully Ivanova says that Talia is dead and leaves.

Her purpose accomplished, Lyta is leaving the station, but before she does, she goes to see Kosh. She tells him she didn't tell Psi Corps anything, even though they tried to make her, and she asks to see one more time. Kosh's encounter suit opens, and Lyta looks upon the Vorlon.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Almost Dead Guy: In the beginning who gives the data to the Ranger.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Accompanied by Excessive Steam Syndrome, the Martian sewer in the cold open was quite huge.
  • Almost Kiss: There is a persistent rumor that Talia & Ivanova kissed in the scene in the latter's quarters after Talia showered (but was edited out in fear of Censureship). The way the scene is cut seems to imply it, but JMS has repeatedly denied that it happened/had been edited out.
  • Call-Back:
  • The Bus Came Back: Lyta Alexander comes back to the show.
  • The Confidant: Ivanova reveals Sheridan that she's a latent telepath.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Averted with Ivanova, who almost revealed her telepathic talents to everyone by inadvertently blocking Lyta telepathically. A variation occurs with Talia, however...
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ivanova has a secret, and is afraid her friends will never be able to trust her after finding out she's been lying to them all this time. She confides this to Talia, while they are lounging about in Ivanova's quarters, making the whole thing come off as Ivanova being a closeted lesbian or bisexual. It turns out she's a telepath who has escaped the notice of the Psi-Corps. It is later clarified that she was also in love with Talia, but her bisexuality never comes up as something anyone seems concerned about.
  • Fake Defector: Garibaldi pretends to be one for a hot moment as a prank.
  • Foreshadowing: Note the fake reaction from Garibaldi when Lyta probes him. His reaction after being "released" by Bester in season four is quite similar.
    • Quite a bit of attention is drawn to how suspicious Ivanova is acting, lashing out at the idea of letting a telepath into her brain, leaving her quarters in the night to go for a walk, etc. She's not Control, but she is hiding that she's a telepath.
  • Friendship Moment: Sheridan and Delenn talking about the gaps in her vocabulary.
  • Holding Hands: Sheridan and Delenn.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Ivanova and Talia's parting words to each other is quite sad. Ivanova pretty much says that she believes the real Talia is somewhere in there, but the Manchurian Agent personality mocks her for this belief.
  • Kick the Dog: Control does its best to hurt Ivanova when she tries to appeal to her better side.
  • Love Epiphany: This is the episode where Sheridan and Delenn first realise that maybe they're feeling quite a bit more than friendship for each other.
  • Manchurian Agent: Talia Winters, who had been subjected to a "sleeper program"by the Psi Corps.
  • Our Showers Are Different: Well...the toilets. There's the ones designed for humans and then the ones used by the pak'ma'ra. Garibaldi & Sheridan use the restroom as an Overt Rendezvous.
  • Percussive Therapy: Ivanova appears to be rummaging through her cabinets...angrily, then kicks one. Talia jokes that Ivanova kicked it so hard it won't bother them anymore.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Andrea Thompson was reportedly a nightmare to work with, demanding more and more to be the center of attention of the whole show until she finally quit, not willing to wait for what JMS promised would be a quite meaty arc which, in a case Irony, instead went to Lyta.
    • The reality may be more prosaic. Andrea Thompson married and divorced Jerry Doyle between Seasons 1 and 2, and by all accounts she asked to leave because the working situation was uncomfortable for both of them - note that there are very few scenes where Talia and Garibaldi are both present in the second season. Given we now know that rumours regarding female actors being "difficult" during this time tend to be dubious in origin, along with the fact that Andrea Thompson seems to have a good rapport with the rest of the cast (including Doyle) when they appear on convention panels, this is arguably closer to the true story.
    • Though JMS himself notes on the commentary track that Thompson was wanting more character focus than the current arc of the show could provide (binge the first few seasons, and it's alarming how infrequently Talia even turns up in an episode, let alone plays a major role; just look how many episodes are between this and Lyta returning again to kick off that "meaty arc" JMS promised). It's conceivable that having her character more fully utilized could have enticed Thompson to stay, but the awkwardness of working with her ex meant she wasn't willing to wait for it. Making it a "little column A, little column B" situation.
  • Red Filter of Doom: When Lyta was attacked by an unknown assailant, the hallways lights were hacked and turn red just as the shooting starts.
  • Red Herring: Those who were in the know about Laurel Takashima's original planned storyline suspected Ivanova would be the mole in the senior crew. Her reluctance to be scanned was another false indication in that direction. Doctor Franklin similarly acts a bit cagey when they're discussing the situation, pacing in the background.
    • Shortly before Lyta is attacked in the hallway, Talia wakes to find Ivanova gone from bed. Talia's not wearing her gloves either, implying that Ivanova took them.
    • Similarly, the attack is only possible because Garibaldi ordered Zack to have Lyta moved to more comfortable quarters.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Sheridan and Delenn talking about butts.* Suspiciously Similar Substitute: This episode addresses that both Talia Winters and Doctor Franklin are examples, mentioning their predecessors, Lyta Alexander (who shows up in this episode) and Doctor Kyle, both who were reassigned due to coming in contact with Kosh without the protection of his encounter suit. As it happens, Garibaldi is the only member of the command staff who was present for the events of the pilot, with Commander Ivanova replacing Lt. Commander Takashima, and Captain Sheridan replacing Commander Sinclair a season later. As a result, Garibaldi is the one to fill everyone else in on the backstory.
  • Zeerust: The "futuristic" personalized edition of a newspaper acquires this quality in hindsight once the internet and smartphones became the norm.