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[personal profile] nymeria_dw

This is one of the episodes I tend to skip when watching B5, since it's fairly low on my scale of preference.

Rewatching it now I think that its purpose would have been best served by using the Ivanova thread as the main story and leaving the fight-club-like story of the Mutai as a B-track, and not the other way around as it was filmed.  

My very personal opinion, of course.

Former boxing star Walker Smith, an old friend of Garibaldi, comes to the station to fight in the all-alien Mutai contest, a kickboxing-style form of contact sport. His goal is to regain the popularity he lost through bad – underserved – publicity.  After a few initial difficulties, he succeeds and goes back to Earth with a new lease on life.

The only point of interest in this story (IMHO) comes from the warning Smith gives to Garibaldi – twice: first when he comes aboard the station and second when he's ready to leave.  In both occasions he warns Michael to  watch his back.

My vow about spoilers prevents me from saying more, except that this is one of the best examples of JMS's absolute deviousness. Bless him and his twisted soul.

Meanwhile, Ivanova receives the visit of an old family friend, Rabbi Koslov. The man has come to help her properly mourn her father, only to slam against Susan's brick wall of denial.  In typical Ivanova fashion, the Lieutenant Commander hides her grief under the trappings of duty first, and then – when the Rabbi obtains Sinclair's backing – she refuses to admit any feelings of loss. With gentle patience, Koslov manages to erode Susan's defenses, allowing her to finally give in to her sorrow.

What's interesting here is the realization that now Susan Ivanova is totally alone in the world: her mother took her life out of depression when the psi-suppressant drugs tampered with her personality; her brother Ganya died in the Earth-Minbari war; her father's now dead, leaving a host of unresolved matters between them.

Where this will take her, only time will tell...

This is hardly a quote-worthy episode, but there is one that needs mentioning and shows how Ivanova... will always be Ivanova, grief and pain notwithstanding:

Ivanova: "I'm ready to go back to duty, SIr."
Sinclair: "Good, I've had my fill of double shifts!"
Ivanova: "Perhaps we'll remember that the next time Ms. Sakai visits the station..."

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