Welcome to another edition of the Babylon 5 Theater of Ethics. Let’s meet the cast!
The sick alien kid will be played by. . . a sick alien kid with a pitiful cough.
The religious parents will be played by M’ola and Tharg of the planet Thalatine.
The arrogant doctor who laughs in the face of religion will be played by Dr. Franklin.
So, this Shon kid needs an operation to save his life, but his parents have religious objections to operating on him – they believe the boy’s spirit will leave his body if he’s cut open, which to them, is worse than death. Dr. Franklin is a known atheist and doesn’t care about their religious beliefs. He’s going to operate on this kid.
M’ola and Tharg come from a tiny planet with no political power and no ambassador to Babylon 5, so they petition the other alien ambassadors to lobby on their behalf to stop the operation. As in “Deathwalker”, they all refuse to get involved, leaving the parents with no recourse.
The ambassadors’ reasons for non-involvement are varied and very telling about their species. G’Kar won’t help them because there is nothing in it for the Narn regime. Londo won’t help them because it would be too expensive for the Centauri to intervene. Delenn won’t help because it’s a matter of the soul. And all Kosh says to them is, “The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote”.
Sinclair is the only one who does the right thing and forbids Franklin to do the operation – an order the doctor ignores, which is very telling about him: he’s a dick. It’s annoying when believers try to force their beliefs of others, and it’s just as obnoxious when it goes the other way. Are the parents’ beliefs archaic? Yes. Is it Franklin’s duty to save the kid? Yeah. But, doesn’t he also have to respect the beliefs of alien species?
In the end, none of it mattered anyway. Believing the boy’s spirit to be gone and his body to be only a shell, they killed the shell.
It does beg the question: How do species like that find their way into space?
“We could not break our covenant any more than you could cease being the descendant of egg sucking mammeloids.”