This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Babylon 5 episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4|
|Directed by||Jesus Trevino|
|Written by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Original air date||April 21, 1997|
"Racing Mars" is an episode from the fourth season of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5.
Franklin and Marcus are on their last leg of their travel to Mars to meet with the resistance there, however, they have yet to meet their contact. While hiding in the cargo hold of a ship, they meet a traveler, Captain Jack, who turns out to be the contact. He provides them with fake ID and helps to lead them to the tunnels under Mars where the resistances has been hiding. The three are caught by members of the resistance. Their "Number Two" demands to check the validity of their true ID and blood before they are allowed to meet "Number One", during which Franklin spends time talking with Jack. After a few hours, the members of the resistance holding them come back and accuse Franklin and Marcus of being fakes, and threatens to kill them before the resistance's leader, "Number One", steps in to check for herself. Jack suddenly tries to fire on Number One, but Franklin alerts her fast enough, and instead, Jack is shot in his shoulder. A strange creature falls off while Jack flees.
While Number One reaffirms that Franklin and Marcus are truly who they say they are, Franklin examines the creature, and determines it is an alien parasite that infests the host's nervous system to control them. Franklin suspected Jack was acting odd, trying to give him clues that something was wrong while they were talking. Number One eventually contacts Jack, who reveals that while they may have hurt part of the parasite, it is already growing back. To end his suffering, Jack blows himself up with a grenade, far away from the colony from hurting anyone else.
Meanwhile, on Babylon 5, Ivanova forces Sheridan to take the day off, while she tries to negotiate with black market dealers to help provide the station with needed goods. Sheridan reviews the ISN report on the station and is worried about what Garibaldi stated and goes off to try to make amends. He warns Garibaldi not to criticize his friends. Garibaldi encounters a group of human rebels who wish to help take out Sheridan fearing that he sees himself as god-like, but Garibaldi is not yet convinced. However, when Sheridan encounters Garibaldi again, an alien woman comes to Sheridan, treating him like a messiah and wanting his blessing. Sheridan tries to explain otherwise, but Garibaldi, furious to have been proven right, punches Sheridan. Garibaldi later meets with the rebels and agrees they need to do something about Sheridan. Meanwhile, Delenn convinces Sheridan to continue to follow various Minbari traditions in preparation for their wedding.
- We see signs of friction between Garibaldi and Sheridan.
- The creature that controlled Captain Jack will later be identified as the Drakh keeper, which made its first appearance (chronologically) in Epiphanies.
- The Identicards given to Marcus and Franklin are for Jim Fennerman and Daniel Lane, respectively. Their backstory is that they are a young married couple on holiday to Mars on their honeymoon. This is a rare look at human social issues in the Babylon 5 universe and insinuates that by the 23rd century, same-sex marriage is perfectly legal not only on Earth but throughout Earth-controlled space. Same-sex relationships and themes in television SF were not typical at this time. In a 2014 interview, show creator J. Michael Straczynski said that "We didn't make a big deal out of them being married. We played it exactly as if it was a male-female couple being married, or pretending to be married. I think it didn't have much of a fuss about it because it's science fiction; you're expected to be able to do those sorts of things more readily than you can in a mainstream show. But yeah, we were out there in the forefront of these things 20 years ago."
- Reiher, Andrea (January 31, 2014). "'Babylon 5' turns 20: Creator J. Michael Straczynski reflects on the show's legacy". Zap2it.com. Retrieved May 5, 2014.