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The long journey of Michael Garibaldi

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  • The long journey of Michael Garibaldi

    Posted this over in another forum, got zero replies. Thought you guys here might have a few opinions, bit more interest?

    I know many people say (and I agree) that the story of Babylon 5 is,in many ways, the story of Londo Mollari, but I would like to put forward the theory that it is also the story of Michael Garibaldi.

    If you consider for a moment: Garibaldi was there from the start. He it wsa who first met Lyta Alexander, the first telepath assigned to B5. His great friend and mentor from the Mars riots, leaves the station when he himself is in a coma, having discovered the plot to assassinate President Santiago, but been unable to pass on that information, resulting in the successful carrying out of that plan, and the rise to power of Clark and the Psi Corps.

    He eventually awakes, to find he has a new CO and that the pres is dead. Later, he "misses out" on the trip to Babylon 4, and later still is duped and used by Bester to betray his friend and captain. He ends up, after all of this, reconnecting with his old lover and moving to Mars, and finally sees his friend die, as foretold by Lorien.

    You can really watch the story of Babylon 5 unfold through the eyes of Michael Garibaldi, and in many ways I think the story does not give him enough credit for the part he played in it.

    Agree/disagree?

    "And I see no bravery, no bravery in your eyes anymore, only sadness.
    And I see no bravery, no bravery in your eyes anymore." --- James Blunt, "No bravery" (Back to Bedlam)

  • #2
    I like Garibaldi as a character but don't think he was all that important. He failed (through no fault of his own) to stop the presidential assassination and failed again (due to his drinking) to stop a key encounter in the Centauri war for which he never paid a price.

    Some of the people on B5 were what Lorien called a 'nexus' but Garibaldi was just an everyday guy, imo.

    Jan
    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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    • #3
      Hmm. Interesting. You don't think he was that important?
      The man who betrayed Sheridan and delivered him into the hands of Psi Corps? The man who, by his own admission, changed G'Kar's belief that everyone was only in it for what they could get, when he went out on a limb to help the Narn?
      And really, to say he failed to prevent the assassination of Santiago is a bit unfair. It's not like he didn't discover the plot. He did, and was on his way to blow the whistle when he got shot in the back. That sort of thing can put a real crimp in your day!
      And even wounded, he dragged himself to where he could try to warn about the plot. The fact he lost consciousness before he could make himself clear only shows how human he was.
      An ordinary guy? I disagree.

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      • #4
        I have to agree with Trollheart. In fact, I think that might have been part of the thing JMS himself was trying to say in Deconstruction. In the far off future, with the personality matrixes... while everybody else is worried about theory and plotting, he was the one with the access and creativity to give that world's resistance a chance.

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        • #5
          Yeah, excellent point. In the end, it was Garibaldi who was, essentially, responsible for the "Great Burn", which, though it destroyed much of the Earth, served to pull Humanity from the self-destructive course it was heading blindly down, and afford them a second chance.

          Local boy makes good, eh?

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          • #6
            I have to humbly and respectfully disagree with Jan on Mr. Michael Garabaldi's importance. I can think of several characters, both main and supporting who I would rather be without, and few who I would miss more in the B5 saga.

            Perhaps the crux of the argument is that different people get different things out of B5. Some feel it centers around the big issues of order and chaos embodied in the Vorlons and Shadows. Others feel more tied to a character. Some feel it is the story of Sheridan, or G'Kar, or Londo, or Delenn, or even a certain ISN reporter. B5 is of course all of these, and one person's interpretations shouldn't negate another's opinion, well except for jms'

            Garabaldi was not the "one", not an exotic alien, not someone with a preordained destiny, or special powers, but one of us. Micheal Garabaldi is the touchstone for the average guy. He is a great example of humanity at its best and worst. He is portrayed more realistically than any other human in the B5 universe, we see his highs and lows, often of his own making.

            His character embodies the profound closing words of the series better than anyone else, "..there can always be second chances, even for people like us." I would feel a large void without the portrayal of his strong work ethic, his honesty, his keen insights, his humor, or his faults.

            As to Mr. Trollheart's argument, Garabaldi's constant presence in "the historical reinactment" makes him seem like an amalgamated character if you really want to jump into the story. He is sometime more observer than actor. His viewpoint is the viewpoint for the audience. Garabaldi is our eyes.
            What a wonderful world you live in. -
            Yeah, well, the rent is cheap, the pay is decent and I get to make my own hours.

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            • #7
              Wow Jan, that really surprised me to hear you say that about Garibaldi!

              But I too have to respectfully disagree. As Both Glindross and Trolheart have said, more than anyone else Garibaldi is the everyman character. The guy that is grumpy in the morning, has indigestion, buys shoes that pinch his feet, has the cynical intelligence to find unquestioning loyalty a bit suspect.

              Don't forget, he really is the human heart of the show in which one of his friends is the strongest telepath alive EVER, another three of his friends are part of a triumvirate that look after over 1000 years of history - one of whom has even travelled back in time to become a Minbari messiah figure - another of his friends had a change of mind so profound that he managed to save an entire species from extinction.

              And still he is capable of flashes of brilliance that are all his own. Even surrounded by all these extraordinary people, he too can also profoundly move and change history through persistance, natural and world-wise intelligence, stubborness and out-and-out sheer guts.

              You mentioned him failing to stop the plot to kill the President, though you concede that it was not his fault - he had been shot in the back after all! So...what? Now anyonelse who had had their flesh burned off down to the spine and had most of their internal organs cooked medium rare would have just keeled over and died.

              Not Garibaldi. With what so easily have turned out ot be his last breaths, he dragged himself to where he could be seen and to try to pass on the information.

              The Shadow War? He didn't really do much during this conflict, or did he? Hang on....whilst everything else was going "...to hell in a hand basket..." he not only taught himself to read an entirely alien (literally) language to such an extent that he comprehend the nuances within it (even if he still needed a translatioon every so often) with this newly aquired skill he uncovered a vital, VITAL, element that if fighting without it, the Forces Of Light would have been a cloud of hot gas and debris very quickly...but with this information, the importance of telepaths against the Shadows meant that the FOL fought the shadows to a standstill.

              Garibaldi did that. Just him. The tactical genius missed it, the hybrid religeous leader missed it, even though she'd had a huge clue dangled in front of her even the super telepath missed it. But not Garibaldi. Through his mind, his perception and his determination to just not quit.
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              • #8
                Gang, it's perfectly okay to disagree with me, I don't mind.

                Now the thing is, I never said Garibaldi wasn't important. Of course he was. But the question put before us was:

                ... but I would like to put forward the theory that it is also the story of Michael Garibaldi.
                ...and I've got to say that no, it wasn't. Just as it wasn't the story of Franklin or Lyta or Major Atumbe (well, one assumes, at least ). Important, yes, of course. Often with key parts to the story. But not nearly as central to the fate of the universe as John/Delenn or Londo/G'kar whose actions changed the face of the entire political landscape in the B5 universe.

                Now, once he took over Edgars Industries, Garibaldi may well have achieved that kind of influence. But we haven't seen that series yet.

                Jan
                "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well it's nice to see people in general here have a real appreciation for a "working-class hero", and I think it's tribute both to JMS's writing of the character, and of course to Jerry Doyle's portrayal of him that Garibaldi, a self-confessed "ordinary guy" could rise to such heights, have such an important part in the story of Babylon 5, and leave such an indelible impression in our minds and hearts. Can you think of an "ordinary" character in any other series who had this sort of effect, both on the storyline and the viewer?

                  Great point made by Lightstorm, which I had entirely forgotten. Garibaldi DID indeed, completely on his own initiative and without help from anyone (except G'Kar, of course, who lent him the Book of G'Quan) uncover the one weakness the Shadows had, and laid the foundation for the Alliance to at least have a chance against, as it turned out, both of the Elder Races.

                  Jan, you say it's no more the story of Garibaldi than it is the story of Franklin or Lyta, but consider this (and remembering you're entitled to your opinion; I'm not challenging that, just putting forward my points) --- how would the story of B5 have played out without Garibaldi?

                  As Homer Simpson once said: "Yeah! THINK about it!"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Trollheart View Post
                    Jan, you say it's no more the story of Garibaldi than it is the story of Franklin or Lyta, but consider this (and remembering you're entitled to your opinion; I'm not challenging that, just putting forward my points) --- how would the story of B5 have played out without Garibaldi?
                    Zack would get his room?

                    Keeping in mind that we avoid story ideas here on the offchance that JMS might come here to play someday...it would have played out differently. So what? It would have played out differently if Lyta hadn't accidentally learned how to control the former teepscicles so that they could be used against Clark's ships. It would have played out differently if Takashima hadn't been transfered and given her coffee plants to Ivanova (just think, a mellow, decaffienated Susan).

                    So instead, perhaps it should be thought as the story of everybody. After all, remember how we were shown how everyone had changed over the course of the 'documentary'. All were key yet none were key.

                    Jan
                    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wellll no, not really. I don't think you can take that tack, cos then you're into "what if Sheridan had not come back from Zha'dum?" or even "what if Sheridan had not become the commander of Babylon 5?" That's expanding it way too much.

                      I think the pivotal roles Garibaldi played were in the betrayal of Sheridan, and in the discovery of the use of telepaths against the Shadows. No-one else (G'Kar excepted, and he wasn't really looking for that information) read the Book of G'Quan, or saw it with the new eyes Michael did. In taking that step, thinking outside the box, as it were, he set the Alliance on its way to at least a hope of victory.

                      A lot of the rest is incidental. Of course you can say, what if Delenn hadn't changed, or what if she hadn't broken the Grey Council? Or even what if Franklin had died on his "walkabout"?

                      You can go on like that forever...

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                      • #12
                        Teepsicles. Heh.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          For what it's worth...
                          Garibaldi is US !!!

                          (I still think StarWars is R2D2's story
                          Abso-fragging-lutely-dammit.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by thegavel View Post
                            For what it's worth...
                            Garibaldi is US !!!

                            (I still think StarWars is R2D2's story
                            Another perspective is that the six parts of Star Wars is the rise, fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker, and R2-D2 and C-3PO are Anakin's Greek chorus.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jan View Post
                              I like Garibaldi as a character but don't think he was all that important. He failed (through no fault of his own) to stop the presidential assassination and failed again (due to his drinking) to stop a key encounter in the Centauri war for which he never paid a price.

                              Some of the people on B5 were what Lorien called a 'nexus' but Garibaldi was just an everyday guy, imo.

                              Jan

                              He was Judas! That's quite an important role! But to the OP - Judas definitely isn't the lead role that the story's "about". What makes B5 great though is that the characters are so rich, deep and have such detailed arcs of their own personally within the greater epic story that you really do connect to these characters better than any other show.
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