Babylon 5 Season 1, Episode 4. Written by J. Michael Straczynski, directed by Richard Compton. Originally aired on February 18, 1994.

Primary Plot: Dr. Vance Hendricks, and old professor of Dr. Franklin's, smuggles an ancient living weapon onto the station that puts everyone's safety in danger.

Secondary Plot: An InterStellar News (ISN) team arrives aboard station to chronicle the second anniversary of the station's creation.

Commentary: The primary plot is extraordinarily dumb, but the ISN sub-plot saves the episode from being totally silly. The down-the-middle reporting from the ISN team here is there to be a contrast to later episodes containing news reports on B5 (Season 2's And Now For A Word and Season 4's The Illusion of Truth) in which the ISN team heavily (and unfavorably) slants the article.

Return to the Babylon 5 Episode Guide.

"Infection" is the fourth episode of the first season of the television show Babylon 5. To explain the events of "Infection", a few comments on the history of science fiction in television must be made.

Before Babylon 5, there had been only one show that had succeeded widely in the science-fiction genre: Star Trek. Although Gene Roddenberry's original vision for Star Trek was in many ways conceptual, those who remember watching either The Original Series or (The Next Generation) probably remember the portion of each episode where Captain Kirk would either throw punches or seduce an alien woman. This makes JMS' attempts to market a show where people sit around a conference table and have involved diplomatic discussions even a harder sell. Which is why, in some of the earlier episodes of Babylon 5, the concept doesn't seem to gel totally.

And thus we get to the point of "Infection"-- it is in many ways a Star Trek episode in Babylon 5 colors. The plot revolves around a mysterious alien artifact, made of a combination of organic technology and unobtanium, which transforms a man into a shambling, murderous robot-looking-thing, whose special effects were probably pretty impressive in 1994, but look fairly dated now. When Jeffery Sinclair confronts the creature, he makes a speech reminiscent of Captain Kirk, even using William Shatner's cadences as he makes a high flown speech about humane behavior, in between trading punches. I was left underwhelmed.

If this episode has a saving grace, it is the conversation between security chief Garibaldi and Sinclair afterwards, where Garibaldi asks Sinclair why exactly he feels the need to play the hero, which somewhat deconstructs what would otherwise be a thin piece of alien-invasion space opera.

In*fec"tion (?), n. [Cf. F. infection, L. infectio a dyeing.]


The act or process of infecting.

There was a strict order against coming to those pits, and that was only to prevent infection. De Foe.


That which infects, or causes the communicated disease; any effluvium, miasm, or pestilential matter by which an infectious disease is caused.

And that which was still worse, they that did thus break out spread the infection further by their wandering about with the distemper upon them. De Foe.


The state of being infected; contamination by morbific particles; the result of infecting influence; a prevailing disease; epidemic.

The danger was really very great, the infection being so very violent in London. De Foe.


That which taints or corrupts morally; as, the infection of vicious principles.

It was her chance to light Amidst the gross infections of those times. Daniel.

5. Law

Contamination by illegality, as in cases of contraband goods; implication.


Sympathetic communication of like qualities or emotions; influence.

Through all her train the soft infection ran. Pope.

Mankind are gay or serious by infection. Rambler.

Syn. -- Infection, Contagion. -- Infection is often used in a definite and limited sense of the transmission of affections without direct contact of individuals or immediate application or introduction of the morbific agent, in contradistinction to contagion, which then implies transmission by direct contact. Quain. See Contagious.


© Webster 1913.

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