Babylon 5: "The Quality of Mercy"

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Babylon 5: "The Quality of Mercy." Season 1, episode 21 (17 August 1994),[1] #117 in Cinefantastique numbering system, for episode 17.

Covered briefly in Frank Garcia's "Babylon 5 Episode Guide," Cinefantastique 31.12/Vol. 32 No. 1 (June 2000): 50. See Babylon 5 entry for link to locations on line where the relevant Cinefantastique issues are likely to be archived.

Garcia et al.'s sidebar summary begins, "Dr. Laura Rosen (June Lockhart) is healing people in Downbelow with a strange alien device that transfers lifeforce from one person to another [...]." An anonymous user review on IMDb as of 28 August 2022 notes that the secondary plot of the episode "involves the doctor finding out about a 'healer' (June Lockhart) in Down Below who seems to be using some sort of 'quack cure'. However, when he investigates, he is surprised to find that the alien device DOES work after all!"[2] Given that theories of the "life force" (élan vital) have long been unfashionable in respectable Terran science,[3] the suspicion of a quack cure and use of an alien device are significant in and for a narrative of science fiction, and of interest here for the use of a device to channel what many in the world of the plot, and in the audience, would see as phenomena at least bordering on the mystic.

For another use of "the alien machine," see also Babylon 5: "Revelations".

RDE, finishing, 28Aug22