Ancient Aliens (Updated)

And I’m back with another conceptual post, hard at work exploring the ideas that run deep in the grand genre that is sci-fi. And this is one that I find particularly cool, mainly because it’s just so freaking existential! I mean what is there that can possibly throw a wrench into our collective anthropomorphism more than knowing that there is sentient life out there that significantly predates our own, especially if we were to find out that they had something to do with our own evolution…?

In some ways, this is a shout out to the “ancient astronauts” theory, which speculates that extra-terrestrials came to Earth long ago and left some evidence of their visit behind. This can be limited to something as basic as a structure or a relic, or can run as deep as having influenced human cultures, religions and technological development. Regardless of whether or not this theory is to be taken literally, it is well represented in the sci-fi community. Here are some examples that I have assembled:

2001: A Space Odyssey:
A classic example of an ancient species, ancient astronauts, and one of my personal favorites! Originally conceived in the form of a screenplay by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, the concept of the TMA-1 monolith aliens was a central plot element to one of the most groundbreaking science fiction movies of all time. However, owing to Kubrick’s esoteric style, not much was ever made clear about the species that built the monoliths. Luckily, Clarke went on to develop the idea at length in his novelization of the movie and its many sequels.

According to the novel, and ongoing interviews with Kudrick, the beings that built the monoliths were known as the Firstborn – an extremely ancient race that achieved sentience millions of years ago and were exploring the galaxy long before humanity even existed. The monoliths were their means of traveling from star to star, which they did in order to seek out life and help it along. In the course of their travels, they came upon Earth four million years ago and discovered Simians that were on the verge of starvation. By teaching them to expand their diet through hunting and some basic tricks to cultivate their manual dexterity, they ensured not only the survival of higher order primates, but the eventual emergence of humans as a species.

The story of 2001 thus takes place in the near-future (from when it was originally written) where humanity has developed into a star-faring race and colonized the Moon. Not far from this colony, a monolith is discovered buried under millions of years of moon dust. After examining it, to no avail, they discover that it has sent a signal out to Jupiter. The ship Discovery is then dispatched to investigate, where it finds an even larger monolith in orbit around Europa. The mission ends quite mysteriously as David Bowman, the last surviving member of the crew, flies closer to it in a small pod and disappears. Adding to the mystery were his last words: “My God, it’s full of stars!”

In subsequent books, the mystery of Bowman’s disappearance and the nature of the monoliths is made clear. Essentially, the monoliths are alien machines that contain their consciousness, and some are gateways which allow for FTL space travel. Bowman, when he came into contact with the one around Europa, was transformed or downloaded (depending on how you look at it) and became one with the monolith. The reason they are hanging out around Europa is because they are currently working to transform Jupiter into its own star so that life may blossom on Europa (which scientists speculate is already teaming with life underneath its icey shell).

Cool idea! But you see, there’s a snag… Apparently, the First Ones have also been known to weed wherever they’ve sown. What would happen if they came to the conclusion that humanity was too aggressive for its own good, the result of them teaching us how to harness an appetite for killing other animals and members of our own species? This is the premise that is explored in the finale 3001: Final Odyssey, and which was left on a cliffhanger note. Unfortunately, Clarke died in 2008, leaving fan fiction authors to speculate on how this would all play out…

Alien vs. Predator:
Note: this is not a reference to the terrible movie or its even more terrible sequel! No, in this case, I am referring to the wider franchise, as exemplified by its many video games, comics, novelizations, and even the independent (non-crossover) movies. In these cases, we get a glimpse of two races that predate humanity by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years. Their outward characteristics alone make them cool, and they are both pretty badass in their own special ways. But what is especially cool about them is the fact that very little known about them, other than the fact that they are very, very dangerous!

“I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality”. That is how the Alien, or Xenomorph in AVP terminology, was described in the very first movie. Their origin is unknown, as is the timeline of their existence and the circumstances of their evolution. However, one thing is clear: on this last note, it must have been something pretty harsh! I mean really, how difficult must life have been on their homeworld for something like the xenomorph to have emerged. They proliferate at an alarming rate, require living being to gestate, and are designed purely for the hunt!

Overall, their race is divided into two symbiotic and interrelated species. First, there are the “Facehuggers”, the spidery creatures that attach themselves to living creatures and implant them with embryos. This in turn gives rise to the “Chestbusters”, the warrior aliens that seek out, kill and capture creatures for the Facehuggers to use. At the top of the pyramid is the Queen, a Chestbuster who has evolved to become the egg-layer who gives birth to more Facehuggers. An interesting chicken and the egg type arrangement, and something which only adds to their mystery!

The Predators, on the other hand, are relatively straightforward. At their core of their society lies a warrior ethic, where each and every male member of their species is trained to be a hunter. In time, hunters accumulates honor and seniority within their culture by attaining as many kills and trophies (i.e. skulls) as possible, preferably from different species. In fact, it is rumored that a single scene from Predator 2, in which an Alien skull appeared in a hunter’s trophy case was the basis for the whole AVP crossover.

In addition, there are also some clear and apparent rules to the hunt. First, each hunter is drawn to arenas of conflict. In the first movie, one chooses a hunt in Central America where a guerrilla war is taking place. In the sequel, one travels to LA during the height of the drug wars. In both cases, the get a sense of their terrain, taking out the easy prey first, and gradually working their way up to the top carnivore. At first, they rely on their advanced weaponry and stealth. But when at last they face off with the strongest prey, they fight them in the open in hand to hand combat.

God knows how long they’ve been doing this. But given their obvious level of technology, its clear they are not exactly recent additions to space race!

The “Ancient Humanoids”:
Now this was one I didn’t much like, but it’s an example of the concept of ancient astronauts nonetheless. And it comes to us courtesy of Star Trek: TNG. from an episode named “The Chase” (episode 146). In it, Picard’s old friend and mentor turns up dead in the course of an expedition which he claims could be the most profound discovery of their time.

After retracing his footsteps, Picard and the Enterprise are joined by three other search parties – one Klingon, one Romulan and one Cardassian – in orbit around a dead planet. When they reach the surface, they find that all the clues lead to a recording left behind by an ancient species. In the recording, the humanoid alien tells them all that they are the progenitors of every sentient race in the quadrant, that their DNA was planted on countless worlds. This is apparently why so many species are humanoid, and means that humanity shares ancestry with all these would-be enemies.

Heartwarming, and kind of cool if it weren’t such a convenient explanation as to why all aliens in the Star Trek franchise are humanoid. This is something that’s always annoyed me about the franchise. It’s not enough that all the aliens speak English and look like people, minus the occasional molded plastic on their faces. But to make matters worse, they always got to make a point of drawing attention to their humanoid forms. So when it came right down to it, this episode felt more like a contrived explanation than a homage. Personally, I would have thought that limited budgets would be the reason, but what do I know? I’m no xenobiologist!

The First Ones:
Another favorite which comes to us courtesy of the Babylon 5 universe. According to the expanded storyline, the First Ones were the first beings to achieve sentience in the Milky Way Galaxy. By the time of the show, most of them had left our corner of the universe in order to explore other galaxies and what lies between them. Only two remains behind, ostensibly to act as shepherds to the younger races. They were known as the Vorlons and the Shadows. However, in time, the two races turned on each other because of their diametrically opposed ideologies.

The Vorlons believed that development and progress came from order. In the course of their long history, they travelled to many worlds inhabited by sentient races and began tampering with their evolution. In each case, they presented themselves as angels, thus ensuring that sentient beings would see them as creatures of light and truth. In addition, they fostered the development of telepaths for use in the coming wars against the Shadows, whom they knew to vulnerable to psionics.

To illustrate this, the Vorlons are often presented as being aloof and rather stodgy figures. In fact, Lyta Alexander, one of the show’s secondary characters, commented that despite their power, the Vorlons are a highly sensitive people who do not react well to change! In the course of the show, they were initially hesitant to commit their forces to fighting the Shadows, they were extremely irked when Kosh (their ambassador to B5) was killed, and when Sheridan went – and presumably died  – at Z’ha’dum, they began destroying entire worlds in the hopes of erasing every trace of the Shadow’s influence.

In addition, their esoteric, mysterious nature was summed up with one question that they would ask anyone who was privileged enough to speak to them: “Who are you?” If ever you found yourself being asked that, odds were you were meant for some higher purpose, one which the Vorlons had a hand in arranging!

The Shadows, by comparison, were much more enabling and  intriguing, even if they were a little… oh, I don’t know, shit-your-pants scary!  In the course of their history, they too traveled to many worlds as ambassadors, encouraging different people and races to embrace their ambitious, darker side and go to war with each other. Whereas the Vorlons asked “Who are you?”, the Shadows big question was “What do you want?” Again, if you found yourself being asked this question, it meant that you were on their radar and they had big plans for you. The proper response to this would be feelings of flattery followed by abject terror.

In any case, whereas the Vorlons believed in order and stability, the Shadows believed that evolution came only through conflict and disorder. This, they reasoned, is what lead to the development of stronger, more advanced races. As Morden, their own representative to B5 said, humanity would never have come so far so fast were they not constantly “at each others’ throats”. Sure, some races had to be sacrificed along the way to make this philosophy work, but that was all for the greater good. In the end, what came out of it was a series of species that were stronger and better than they were before.

This philosophy eventually led them into conflict with the Vorlons as well as several other First Ones. Many younger races found themselves taking sides as well or just getting caught in the middle. In fact, wars between the two sides became a recurring thing, happening every few thousand years. In the last, which took place 10,000 years before the main story, the Shadows were defeated by the last great alliance between the First Ones, most of whom then chose to leave the galaxy. Then, just 1000 years before the events in the show take place, the Shadows were once again defeated by the Vorlons and an alliance of younger races and forced out of the galaxy entirely. However, as the show opens, we quickly learn that the Shadows are once again returning to their old stomping grounds, and the first spot on the tour is a planet known as Z’ha’dum.

This world is doubly significant because it is this planet where another First One – THE first one in fact – is thought to reside. His name is Lorien, and he is the last of his kind and the sole First One outside of the Vorlons and Shadows that is left in galaxy. All of the others have long since abandoned it, leaving the Shadows and Vorlons to their war and all the other races that have chosen to enlist in it. In the end, however, Sheridan, Delenn and the younger races form their own alliance which they use to draw a line against both races. With the help of those First Ones that they are able to reach and enlist the help of, they are successful. After a brief but decisive fight, both races agree to leave the galaxy with Lorien, never to return. In the last episode, when Sheridan is on the verge of death , he is found by Lorien who takes him to the great beyond where the other First Ones now reside.

Like I said, its a personal favorite, mainly because I felt it was so richly detailed and in-depth.

The Forerunners:
Now here is an interesting take on the whole ancient astronauts concept. Whereas in most versions of this idea, aliens make contact with a younger race and influence them for their own purposes, in the Halo universe, things happen in a sort of reverse order. It is established as part of the game’s back story that eons after they died out, the Covenant races came upon the remains of an ancient race which are referred to as the Forerunners. After learning how to reverse-engineer their technology, the Covernant began to merge it with their own and was able to jump thousands of years ahead as a result.

At the same time, they began to develop a religion and even a theocracy based on the Forerunners and what they believed their most important relics to be. These would be the Halo devices, for which the game takes its name. Believing that the Halos were the gateway to the afterlife, or the source of deliverance, the Convenant became obsessed with finding a working Halo and activating it. All of their mythology for the past few thousands years was based on this, and they pursued it with absolute single-mindedness.

So in this way, the Forerunners had a profound impact on the development and beliefs of the Covenant, but not intentionally. Rather than coming to the Convenant while it was still in its infancy and manipulating them for their own purposes, the Covenant instead found them, but only after they were long dead. In addition, they were influenced by their own assumptions about the Forerunners, and not anything they chose to tell them. And in the end, this influence had a near disastrous effect, given that the Halo devices were weapons of mass-MASS destruction and not holy relics. By attempting to activate them, the Covenant very nearly brought about their own extinction, and that of every other sentient race in the quadrant. One would think there was a message in all this about the dangers of blind faith and the dangers of deification or something!

The Goa’uld:
Here is a perfect example of the ancient astronauts theory, so bang on that you’d think it was tailor made to fit the premise! In the Stargate universe, which has expanded considerably over the years, an advanced extra-terrestrial species known as the Goa’uld came to Earth during the neolithic period and had a vast influence on our history. In the original movie, this involved a single alien who took on human form and appointed himself God Emperor over his human subjects. This, in turn, gave rise to the Egyptian civilization, with the alien-god Ra at its apex.

In addition to creating ancient Egypt though, Ra was also revealed to have taken human beings through the Stargate, an means of near-instantaneous interstellar transportation, and established similar civilizations on distant planets. On each of these, the Egyptian motifs of pyramids and the cult of Ra persisted, in some cases for thousands of years. Meanwhile, back at Earth, a revolt unseated Ra and he fled into the cosmos, to be found thousands of years later when humans accessed the Star Gate on Earth.

In the expanded universe, we learn that the Goa’uld were merely one of many races that visited Earth and appeared as gods to humanity because of their advanced technology. But whereas most had benign intentions,  the Goa’uld were concerned solely with establishing slave colonies on many worlds throughout the universe. In addition, their interference extended to other less advanced races as well. As a result, humanity is now faced with the task of preparing to face this and other threats, all of which involve highly advanced races that have visited Earth at one time or another and could very well be hostile.

Although it was not too good a movie (in my opinion), the concept is still a very fertile one! It’s little wonder then why it was made into a series, one which has done quite well for itself. Aliens came before, they may come again… Can we stop them this time. Who knows? Spooky stuff!

The Orions:
In the video game series Master of Orion, there is yet another take on the concepts of ancients aliens. In this turn-based strategy game, players select from different alien races that inhabit the galaxy and begin the process of colonization and expansion. In time, the concept of the Orions comes up. It seems that each race, though they are different and possess varying special abilities, have their own legends about this particular race.

One of the aspects of the game is to find the Orions homeworld, a place full of secret and advanced technology, but which is defended by a powerful robotic starship known as the Guardian. Whoever is able to destroy this ship and land on the planet is the most likely to win the game. This is advisable, seeing as the how the purpose of the whole game is to become the undisputed master of the galaxy – the Master of Orion, as it were 😉

The Xel’naga:
Another example of this concept which comes to us from the gaming world. of which fans of Starcraft will no doubt be instantly familiar with! Translated literally as “Wanders from Afar”, the Xel’naga were apparently a race from a distant galaxy that was concerned with creating the perfect life form. In the course of their lifetime, they apparent “seeded and cultivated thousands of various species” (from the SC game handbook). This included the Protoss and Zerg, two of the major players in the game, and figures pretty prominently in the game’s backstory.

In the case of the Protoss, the Xel’naga thought that they had found beings that possessed “purity of form” and began manipulating them. However, when they revealed themselves to the Protoss, the latter turned on them and they fled. They discovered the Zerg shortly thereafter, a species which they believed possessed “purity of essence”. They began by enhancing them from the small, parasitic larvae that they were, but found that they were too primitive. They therefore developed the Overmind as well to give them purpose and direction, but this only made matters worse. In time, the Zerg found the Xel’naga, who had chosen to remain hidden this time, and consumed them.

In the course of the game, Xel’naga ruins make only one appearance, in the form of an ancient temple which possesses the ability to sterilize the planet of all other species. However, other ruins are apparently featured in one of the game’s novelizations. Otherwise their is no mention of them, their existence merely constituting part of the story’s deep background.

Final Thoughts:
After looking through these and other examples of ancient astronauts, a few things began to stand out. Like I said before, sooner or later aliens serve an anthropological purpose in science fiction. Or to put it another way, they will always play the role of mirror and meter stick. On the one hand, they are the means by which we project aspects of ourselves onto others so we can study them better. On the other, they are means by which we measure our own flaws and development.

But above all, aliens tend to fall into any one of four categories based on where they fit into the moral and technological spectrum. This spectrum, which I made up myself (!), breaks down as follows:

  1. Benevolent/Malevolent: How aliens behave in our favorite franchises and what purpose they serve often has much to do with their basic motivation. In short, are they kind of benevolent, enlightened overseers as envisioned by Arthur C. Clarke in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Childhood’s End, or are they hostile, conquering species as envisioned in War of the Worlds and Invasion of the Body Snatchers? In either case, the alien serve a basic purpose: as a commentary on humanity. Their murderous ways are our murderous ways, their benevolent, technical perfection what we aspire to be. As Nixon is said to have muttered to JFK’s painting: “Men look at you, they see what they want to be. Men look at me, they see what they are.”
  2. Advanced/Nascent: Another important aspect to the aliens in question is their level of technical development. And, interestingly enough, this can have much to do with their moral character. Oftentimes, the aliens in a franchise are both advanced and malevolent, blowing up the White House Independence Day-style or trying to make us one with the Borg! Other times, they are advanced and enlightened, technology and evolution having erased whatever primitive impulses they might have had, but which humanity still possesses. And in other cases still, their are aliens who are less advanced than humanity and are either ethically challenged because they are behind the times, or noble and “untainted” because they haven’t been perverted by civilization’s greed and avarice. It’s a toss up, really, where the benefits and downfalls of technological progress are seen as having an influence on moral and social development.

Again, these are all mere projections, designed to focus attention on moral and ethical dilemmas that arise out of our collective history. Still, it is fun to take these various examples from popular culture and see where they line up on the moral/technological graph. That way we can see where different franchise place their aliens in terms of the overall spectrum.  And like I said at the beginning, its a cool concept. I mean seriously, wouldn’t it be cool if it were actually true? No one can prove aliens didn’t visit Earth thousands or even millions of years ago and mess with our evolution, right? Yeah, it’s not exactly a sound basis for a scientific theory, but a very fertile source for science fiction!

Of Planetkillers!

What is it about doomsday devices that make them simultaneously scary and freakishly cool? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s the fact that they can turn an entire planet into glass, render it completely uninhabitable, or just plain blow it to smithereens? If none of these things do it for you, I suggest you stop reading now, this is what the whole post is about!

Where these ideas come from is a source of debate, but it goes without saying that apocalypticism is part of our collective unconscious. The very concept of the end of the world has worked its way into every world religion and is as intrinsic to our beliefs as creation. And I suppose that it goes without saying that since humanity began to develop weapons that could actually level entire cities, depopulate entire countrysides, or even raze whole continents, that this obsession with the end of days has expanded beyond the spiritual world and has become an everyday preoccupation.

So it’s little wonder then why science fiction writers have taken it upon themselves to come up with concepts of machines that can destroy and sterilize entire worlds. It just seems like the next logical step after anthrax and thermonuclear weapons doesn’t it? And in the course of this, some pretty cool concepts have been thought up. Here are some examples from various popular sci-fi franchises:

The Death Star:
Without a doubt, this planet killer is the best known in the business. Making its first appearance in A New Hope where it destroyed the planet Alderaan, the Death Star was a massive space station that was created to inspire fear and silence all dissent to the Emperor’s rule. At the center of this force of unrivaled terror was a massive, high-powered laser that resembled a huge eye or a massive crater on the station’s surface. A single beam from this weapon was capable of breaking planets apart and obliterating all life on the surface.

Granted, this same station was then destroyed by a ragtag group of Rebel pilots, guys in tiny fighters who knew about a tiny exhaust vent in the side. But its replacement was even more badass! The second Death Star, which appeared in Return of the Jedi boasted a laser that was capable of recharging more quickly between shots and was accurate enough to take out large vessels as well. Before being destroyed by the Rebels at the Battle of Endor, the new Death Star managed to destroy two Mon Calamari cruisers with ease.

But alas, this weapon’s fatal flaw lay in its design. Being so big, small craft were capable of penetrating its defenses and attacking its vulnerable points. In the case of the first incarnation, this involved firing torpedoes into an exhaust port which would then reach the main reactor. In the second version, there were to be no exhaust ports so the station would have no outward vulnerability. But as long as it was still under construction, the station was vulnerable and hence open to attack. And given it’s sheer size and the time it would take to complete just one, that’s a pretty big window! I guess it’s true what they say: the bigger they are…

The Vorlon/Shadow Planet Killers:
In the B5 universe, a few different types of planet killers existed, both of which were the property of the oldest races. Given the amount of energy that would be required to destroy an entire planet, it was reasoned that only ancient races like the Shadows and Vorlons would be capable of constructing such a thing. However, the younger races had their own means of leveling a planet, if not destroying it completely. This involved mass drivers, which the Centauri used in season two to hurl asteroids into the surface of the Narn homeworld, causing massive destruction and forcing the Narn to surrender. But that’s another matter. Here are what the proper examples of planet killers in the B5 universe looked like:

The Vorlon planetkiller was essentially just a massive gun that was built into a ship. The long, flattened spheroid with plenty of tentacle like things would be escorted through space, fly into position around the enemy planet, and then fire a massive energy discharge that would obliterate the entire thing. By comparison, the Shadow’s planetkiller was much more complex, not to mention insidious!

In what appeared to be a massive, black cloud, a Shadows Shroud held a massive buckminsterfullerene-like assembly that would move into position around a planet and then enclose itself around it. The assembly would then unleash a massive swarm of missiles which would bore into the surface and then detonate, releasing a massive thermonuclear payload near the core of the planet which would trigger tectonic activity that would rip the planet apart.

The former planet killer got its fair share of attention in the series proper, where the combined forces of Sheridan and Delenn’s alliance managed to destroy one only by calling in the help of the First Ones. Between all their races, only they possessed the kind of firepower that was needed in order to destroy a ship of that size. Some attention is also given to the Shadow’s Shrouds, but it wasn’t until the TV movie “A Call to Arms” came out that any in-depth explanations of how they worked or how they could be beat ever came up. In this movie, we see for the first time what the internal structure of the Shroud looks like and how the device could be defeated by attacking its nerve center. This alone would not destroy it, but would prematurely trigger it, causing it to unleash all its missiles, which would then impact and destroy the assembly itself.

The Behemoth:
This planet killer comes to us courtesy of the Wing Commander videogame and made its appearance in the third installment in the series. Much like the Vorlon planet killer, the Behemoth was essentially a big gun that was designed to blow up planets by firing a single, concentrated beam directly into its surface. Simple, and effective, were it not for the fact that the weapon suffered from some congenital defects, which included gaps in the shielding array and the fact that it had no defensive mounts anywhere along the hull.

However, given the fact that the Terran Confederation (the good guys in the story) were losing to the Kilrathi Empire (the bad guys), the weapon had to be pressed into service before it was complete. Its intended purpose was to destroy the Kilrathi homeworld, a move which they believed was the only way to win the war outright at that point. Naturally, the vessel was destroyed due to a combination of its weaknesses and high-level treason. However, the good guys still won in the end due to alternate plans and daring-do, so don’t fret!

Unicron:
The Transformers franchise was something I enjoyed for many years as a kid. And were it not for Michael Bay, I might have enjoyed it again as a result! But whatever… In the course of telling the story of machines that could transform to hide their true identities, one robot in particular truly stands out. Mainly because of his size! His name is Unicron, a massive machine that can transform from a robot to a planet-sized sphere, and which preys on smaller planets. A pretty cool concept, really, especially for a children’s cartoon! Unlike other planet killer devices though, Unicron was unique in that he was a sentient being, and not a simple machine that was under the control of others. His first and only appearance was in Transformers: The Movie, where he was also destroyed. He did not appear again in the course of the original series, but was mentioned several times, particularly in the CGI-animated spinoff, Beast Wars.

The Doomsday Machine:
Gene Roddenberry weighed in on the planet killer thing back in the late 60’s with his own version of a doomsday weapon. It was known simply as the Doomsday Machine, a massive, lamprey-like device that was capable of consuming entire planets into its massive maw. In the course of the episode where it makes its appearance (episode 35, of the same name), the crew of the Enterprise learns that the machine is drawn to populated worlds which it then destroys and converts into fuel so that it can keep going. The process is entirely automated, the ship itself having destroyed its masters and sterilized its own region of the universe a long time ago.

Airing in the late 60’s, the Doomsday Machine was clearly a commentary on the Cold War and the creation on doomsday weapons which were intended for use as a “deterrent”. In fact, at one point Captain Kirk theorizes that the machine was never intended for use, merely to serve as a instrument to inspire fear in an enemy. However, once it was activated, it ran amok and destroyed its enemies and those who created it. In the end, the crew manages to destroy it by (ironically) letting it ingest a ship which they rig to go thermonuclear once its inside.

Halo Array:
Gamers are no doubt familiar with this one! In the Halo universe, much of the focus is on alien artifacts which were built by a race known as the Forerunners. The Covenant, the alien antagonists in the game, believe them to be holy, particularly the Halo devices which are central to the plot. These devices, it turns out, are “weapons of last resort” which the Forerunners built to sterilize all worlds of sentient life that are within range. Their reason for this have to do with a hostile organism known as the Flood, a parasitic life form that infects sentient organisms and turns them into zombie-like creatures.

Unfortunately, the Forerunners died off shortly after concluding their war with the Flood, leaving the Halos and several other artifacts behind. In time, these were stumbled upon by the Covenant who began to reverse-engineer the devices and used them to advance significantly. In time, the Convenant came to believe that the artifacts had been left behind by a holy race and built a religion and even a theocracy around this belief.

The Halo is apparently the crowning piece of the Convent faith. They believe that activating them will lead them on the “Great Journey” (aka. entrance into the hereafter). However, the main characters in the story quickly learn that this would actually cause the destruction of Earth and every inhabited planet in the sector. Inspired by Larry Niven’s Ringworld series, the concept of the Halo devices and the thematic elements which drive the story (i.e. blind faith, theocracy, evolution and ancient alien artifacts) are all prime examples of classic science fiction. Nice to see that they make their way into the gaming world once in awhile!

The Necromongers:
The Chronicles of Riddick is yet another example of theocracy, apocalypticism, and doomsday devices. Within the context of the story, we have a faction of hostile force known as Necromongers, a faction of humanity that worships death and believes that better world (known as Underverse) lies at the edge of the known universe. Leading them is a man known as the High Marshall, a person who apparently traveled to Underverse and returned half-man, half… something else. No kidding, this is how he’s described in the movie, verbatim!

In any case, in their drive to reach the edge of the universe, the Necromongers conquer, pillage and convert every planet in their path. The final step in this process, before moving on, is the use of a planet-killing device of their own, one which leaves the planet itself intact, but destroys all remaining life on the surface. In short, after they replenish their ranks and bring in fresh converts from the conquered populace, they commit whats called the “Final Protocol” before dusting off. Basically, it involves a series of ships standing up on end and releasing payloads into the air which then explode, unleashing a massive shock wave that kills everything in its path. This process gives literal meaning to the words: “Convert, or fall forever!”

The Inhibitors:
As I final example, I have included one of my personal favorites: the hostile alien species known as the Inhibitors, which come to us from Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space universe. According to the first novel in the series, the Inhibitors are all that remains of several ancient alien races which went extinct long ago. These machines, which are semi-intelligent and automated, are programmed to seek out and destroy sentient life.

The reason for their existence apparently has to do with a series of terrible events that are collectively known as the Dawn War. This war was apparently fought by all the earliest sentient races in the Milky Way Galaxy which began shortly after they discovered each other, but which lasted for eons. Finally, what was left of the various races decided to merge their consciousness with a series of specialized machines which they then programmed to ensure that no such wars ever happened again. These machines take the form of tiny black boxes which are capable of multiplying, replicating and seem next to impossible to kill.

Ostensibly, these machines were designed to nip the development of sentient life in the bud by sterilizing any planet that supported a potentially star-faring race. In short, they were meant to inhibit the growth of sentient life, hence their name. However, in books II and III, their motivations are explained further. In addition to wanting to prevent another major war from taking place, the Inhibitors were also concerned about the eventual galactic collision which is scheduled to take place between the Andromeda and Milky Way Galaxies several million years from now. When that happens, our two galaxies will merge, but the consequences for any lifeforms living within either of them will be disastrous.

The only way to prevent this, it is said, is to either ensure the development of a single race that has the requisite technological development to resist the destruction brought on by the collision, or to inhibit the growth of any sentient species until after the collision takes place. Once the collision is complete and the galaxy returns to a state of gravitational equilibrium, life can resume, but not before. Sounds crass, but the way they see it, they are doing sentient beings a favor by making sure they don’t get off the ground, rather than letting them die by the billions when the stars all come crashing together!

In the end, these machines destroy planets through various means. In fact, much attention is given to how the Inhibitors employ a great deal of creativity in designing ways to sterilize worlds. Instead of just parking a giant gun in orbit around a planet or covering with a toxic blanket, they will use the system’s natural resources to construct tools and weapons which they will then use to take planet’s or suns apart, bit by bit. The process can take years, even centuries for them. But they plan ahead, and are very patient…

Ultimately, the Inhibitors are not defeated in the Revelation Space universe, but are beaten back, pushed to the fringes of known space where humanity fights an ongoing fight with them that lasts beyond the final novel in the series. They do this by incorporating technology from other extinct races as well as one’s that have developed extremely clever ways to survive. And like with everything else in Reynold’s universe, it all comes down to technology that is both plausible and fascinating to read about!

Well, that’s about all the planet killing I can stand for now. Sure, there are plenty more examples in the realm of sci-fi, but these are the ones that stand out for me. Plus, if I were to take the time to research and list them all, we’d both be stuck on this one post forever. Remember, it takes longer to write than it does to read! So in keeping with the theme of this post, let me leave you with some words of advice:

No matter what you’ve done, its not the end of the world. Unless it is, in which case, it probably didn’t matter anyway 😉

B5, Season 4 Best Episodes

1. The Hour of the Wolf:
A week has passed since Sheridan presumably died at Z’ha’dum. Ivanova is now in command of the station, and both her and Delenn are grieving. G’Kar meanwhile is focusing his inquiries on finding Garibaldi, who he feels has been forgotten in the midst of things. Holding the Alliance together is proving difficult, and Delenn receives no help from the new Vorlon ambassador. He simply tells her that their plans have changed, and that they will do nothing to hold the alliance together or investigate the death of Sheridan.

Delenn, Ivanova and Lyta take a White Star and fly to Z’ha’dum hoping to find some trace of Sheridan. However, they receive no signal from the surface and are forced to leave when the Shadows begin invading their minds. Meanwhile, Londo ventures to Centauri Prime and discovers that the new Emperor, Cartagia, is a madman and has made a deal with the Shadows. In exchange for an island to base their ships, he expects certain “favors”, namely that they will make him a god. In his mind, the destruction of his world seems a small price to pay. Londo is shocked and appalled, but is told to keep quiet, since anyone who speaks out against the new emperor has a way of disappearing…

Finally, we see Sheridan, who appears to have survived and is holed up in a cave somewhere on the planet. A strange alien named Lorien comes to him and asks to join him.

Significance:
Picking up where the season finale left off, we learn that Sheridan appears to have survived, in some form, on Z’ha’dum. We also learn that he is not alone. And with the damage caused to their homeworld by Sheridan, the Shadows have begun moving their fleet away from Z’ha’dum, using their allies’ worlds and colonies as bases for their ships. Ivanova, Delenn and Lyta try to determine if Sheridan is really dead. Ever since Sheridan’s demise at Z’ha’dum, it seems the alliance is determined to fall apart. The Vorlons no longer seem to care about him or what becomes of the alliance. Like the Shadows, their plans seem to have changed…

Londo returns home to Centauri Prime to take up his role as advisor to the royal court, and finds that the Shadows have struck a deal with the new Emperor. He is clearly insane since he believes the Shadows to be gods, and that they will confer godhood on him in exchange for his help. He also doesn’t seem to care that many of his people will die because of it and has anyone who speaks out against him killed. Londo begins to conspire with Vir to remove him.

Memorable Lines:
Morden:
Based on our warm relations of the past, my associates asked for you as our liaison to the royal court.
Londo:
I don’t care. I won’t do it!
Morden:
Of course you will, Mollari. Because you’re drawn to power. Because you’re my friend. Because you’re afraid of what someone else might do in your place.

Delenn: He’s bled for you, worked for you – for me, for everyone here. If you turn away from him now, if you abandon him to die on Z’ha’dum, I will have no more respect left for you. Do you understand?
Vorlon: Respect… is irrelevant.

G’Kar: (looking at a picture of Daffy Duck) I was studying this image. Is it one of his household gods?
Zack
: That’s Daf—Yeah, well, in a way I suppose it is. It’s sort of the Egyptian god of frustration.
G’Kar
: Most appropriate!

Ivanova: Have you ever heard of the hour of the wolf? My father told me about it. It’s the time between three and four in the morning. You can’t sleep, and all you can see is the troubles and the problems and the ways that your life should’ve gone but didn’t. All you can hear is the sound of your own heart. I’ve been living in the hour of the wolf for seven days, Lyta. Seven days. The wolf and I are now on a first-name basis.

Ivanova: Lennier, get us the hell out of here!
Lennier: Initiating “getting the hell out of here” maneuver.

Vir: Does anyone else know?
Londo: Vir… when you are mad you say these things the same way that you and I talk about the weather! Of course the others know, but they are afraid to move against him. Whoever does so will almost certainly be killed.
Vir: That would be a drawback.
Londo: These creatures must be driven away before it’s too late. We must stop Cartagia, no matter the cost.
Vir: “The cost?” That would be the dying thing, right?

2. Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi:
The alliance has broken apart as each member race has decided to return home and bolster their defenses. After seeing a recording of Sheridan talking about his love for her and the dark times they are facing, she is inspired. Calling on the Rangers, she decides that they will mount an attack on Z’ha’dum using the White Star fleet, a move which she hopes will rally the other races and get them back on an offensive footing.

G’Kar leaves B5 in order to pursue his search for Garibaldi. Marcus accompanies him, but the two are unable to prevent Centauri agents from closing in on them and taking G’Kar. He is brought to the Centauri royal court and presented to Londo as a gift. However, Londo decides to make a deal with G’Kar. In exchange for his help in bringing down Cartagia, he agrees to free Narn forever.

Sheridan continues to speak with Lorien, and learns that he is in fact dead and caught in time. Lorien appears to be a First One himself, and used his abilities to pull Sheridan out of time before the moment of his death. He will restore Sheridan’s life, but only if he can find something “worth living for”. Sheridan finds it in Delenn and is brought back to life.

Significance:
Sheridan learns that Lorien is “the” First One, an alien who has been alive for billions of years and knows all about the Shadows, the Vorlons and their ongoing war. Apparently, Z’ha’dum is significant to the Shadows because it has served as his home for eons, and Kosh knew he would be there, hence why he told Sheridan to jump. Apparenlty, Lorien is capable of restoring life, and will do so for Sheridan, but only if he can find something worth living for and not simply reasons not to die. The restoration of his life means Sheridan has a limited time to live, and his love for Delenn is what saves him. Both of these will prove very significant in the coming seasons and the series’ conclusion. He also learns for the first time that Kosh is inside him, hence why he has been hearing Kosh’s voice and experiencing visions of him since he died.

The alliance is beginning to fall apart as member races decide to pull their forces back and trust in the fiction that the Shadows can be appeased or avoided from here on out. Delenn plans to mount an attack on Z’ha’dum in order to rally them, a move which will be condemned by them later on. We also get our glimpse of Garibaldi since he disappeared, and its apparent that he is being held captive and psychologically tortured. G’Kar sets out to find him, is captured, and is thus in the perfect place to strike a deal with Mollari for the liberation of his home world. This is the second time the two have worked together for mutual gain, and it will go a long way towards establishing their relationship, which will in turn lead to the creation of the Interstellar Alliance and the liberation of Earth.

Memorable Lines:
Lorien: It’s easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have anything worth living for?

Lorien: Words have meaning. And Names have power. The universe began with a word, you know. But which came first? The word or the thought behind the word?

Cartagia: And you… have you anything to say?
G’Kar: Do you, by any chance, happen to know where Mr. Garibaldi might be?
Cartagia: …Who?

Voice: What happened after you left Babylon 5?
Garibaldi: I told you I don’t remember!
Voice: What happened after…
Michael Garibaldi: I said I don’t remember!
Voice: What happened?
Garibaldi: (rips up chair, starts smashing the lights) I don’t – remember – ANYTHING!

G’Kar: You didn’t ask the price for my cooperation.
Londo: You’re not exactly in a position to bargain, G’Kar.
G’Kar: Neither are you. You want my help for the sake of your people. I will give it, for the sake of my own. If I remove the monster from your throne, you will remove the monster from my world. Leave Narn… set my world free. Promise me this, and I will do as you ask.
Londo: You have my word.

Sheridan: There’s a war on out there! If we don’t do something, billions of poeple will die. Now DOn’t you care about that.
Lorien:
Yes, of course I care. It’s a terrible thing when your children fight. I warned the others but they did not listen. They never listen.
Sheridan:
You’re… children?
Lorien:
Metaphorically speaking. Those who came after me. Children, younger siblings.
Sheridan:
How… long have you been here?
Lorien: A long time… so long. I was old when the molecules of your world joined and called themselves land and sea and fish… and man.
Sheridan: You’re one of the First Ones.
Lorien: No, not one of the First Ones. I AM the First One.

Lorien: Did you know you have a Vorlon inside you? Part of one anyway.
Sheridan:
Kosh!
Lorien:
Is that it’s name? I think I met it, long ago… They can break off pieces of their consciousness and put it into other organisms. It allows them to travel hidden through the galaxy, using others as their eyes and ears. Kosh is in you…

Sheridan: What if I fall. How will I know if you’ll catch me?
Lorien: I caught you before.
Sheridan: What if I die?
Lorien: I cannot create life but I can breathe on the remaining embers. It may not work.
Sheridan: But I can hope.
Lorien: Hope is all we have.
Lorien: Do you have anything worth living for?
Delenn: Sleep now. I will watch and catch you if you should fall.
Sheridan: Delenn!

3. The Summoning:
Garibaldi suddenly and mysteriously appears aboard a smuggler’s ship not far from B5. After shooting the ship down, a squadron of Starfuries, led by Zack, retrieve his life pod and bring him back to the station. When he wakes up, he claims he remembers nothing, but flashes in his mind seem to indicate that he was being interrogated and tortured psychologically. The ease which he appeared leaves Zack wondering if something is amiss, but for all intents and purposes, Garibaldi appears to be okay.

Ivanova and Marcus take out a White Star to begin looking for First Ones again in the hopes of getting more support for their upcoming attack on Z’ha’dum. While on patrol, they discover a “pocket” of hyperspace where a massive Vorlon fleet is stationed and waiting to mount an attack. On Centauri Prime, Cartagia’s torture of G’Kar continues, and he is planning on killing him unless he gets what he wants (which is for G’Kar to scream in pain). Londo urges G’Kar to give him what he wants. Facing death during a rather brutal session of torture, G’Kar finally concedes and screams aloud.

Delenn is told that the League worlds are preparing to publicly oppose her decision to attack Z’ha’dum. She comes to the meeting and tries to argue reason, but is censored by the League members. They claim that Sheridan is dead, that no one survives Z’ha’dum, and are shocked to see Sheridan enter. He and Lorien arrived shortly before the meeting began, taking Lorien’s ship back from Z’ha’dum. Shocked and inspired by his sudden appearance, Sheridan is able to rouse the League members to recommit to their alliance.

Afterward, he convenes his senior officers and tells them what the Shadows and Lorien told him. In short, the Vorlons and the Shadows have been waging a limited war for millennia, competing to see who’s way is right. Ivanova and Marcus arrive shortly after to tell them of the fleet they sighting in hyperspace. Shortly after spotting it, the fleet destroyed an entire planet just to get one Shadow base. The war has now escalated, with both sides targeting any place the other has influence.

Significance:
Garibaldi returns to B5 and doesn’t remember his capture or his torture, though it becomes clear he’s changed somehow. Sheridan returns to Babylon 5 and convinces the alliance to hold together. In addiution, he tells them the truth about the war, how the Vorlons and Shadows have been fighting each other for influence for millenia and how he plans to end it. The Vorlons begin attacking entire worlds where the Shadows have influence, hoping to end their control over other races once and for all.

Memorable Lines:
Vir: Londo? Remember what I said before about “there must be another way”? I was wrong. Kill him!

Vorlon: (torturing Lyta) Would you know my thoughts… WOULD YOU?!

G’Kar: We do not oblige conquers. If I give him what he wants… if I beg for mercy, cry out, I would no longer be a Narn.
Londo: And if you’re dead, are you still a Narn then? No, you will food for Cartagia’s pets, and you’re people are still prisoners! They too are no longer Narns, only slaves. And then dead slaves! Is that what you want, G’Kar?

Marcus: I suppose so. Ah… I want this thing to go right. I want it to be special.
Ivanova: Oh. A romantic! I don’t think I’ve felt that way since the first time!
Marcus: That’s what I’m talking about.
Ivanova: You mean you don’t… you haven’t…?
Marcus: Yes.
Ivanova: You’re a…?
Marcus: Exactly.
Ivanova: With anyone?
Marcus: Never met the right person before.
Ivanova: Wow. I thought the First Ones were rare!

Delenn: You are acting out of fear!
Hayek Ambassador: And you’re acting out of grief and loss! If Sheridan has died then why not the rest of us? Sheridan died trying to attack Z’ha’dum. No one who goes there comes back alive!
(Sheridan walks in)
Drazi Ambassador: Captain! We’re sorry… we thought you were dead!
Sheridan: I was. I’m better now.

Sheridan: The ambassador is correct. I’ve went to Z’ha’dum.I’ve seen the face of the enemy. They’re not gods, and they’re not indestructible. I fought them and I’ve killed many of them! And I’ve survived… There is a way out of this, a way to stop this insanity once and for all. Delenn’s fleet is a start. Now we have to build on it. Together, we will form the largest fleet in history. Not just for a batlle, but to change the shape of the galaxy. Not just for ourselves, but for our children… and our children’s children. You tell you’re governments that the only man to survive Z’ha’dum sends this message: we can end this, not just for now, not just for the next thousands years, but forever! I stand before you as living proof that it can be done! We can fight and we can win, but only if we do it together! Can I count on you? Can I COUNT ON YOU? WILL YOU STAND TOGETHER?!

Delenn: I thought I’d never see you again.
Sheridan: I’ll never leave you, Delenn. Not if the whole universe stood between us.

4. Falling Towards Apotheosis:
Garibaldi begins to show signs of odd behavior, which includes paranoia and a general distrust of Sheridan and Lorien. Sheridan begins to put a plan in motion to mount an attack on both sides, but first, they need to remove the Vorlon ambassador. This involves Lyta telling him that a human is carrying Kosh, something she knows he will not tolerate. While following her, he is caught in a trap and his encounter suit is destroyed.

However, they are unable to stop the alien itself, which is a specter of pure energy, but Kosh soon emerges from Sheridan and the two Vorlons kill each other. Lorien restores Sheridan again, but tells Delenn shorlty thereafter that his ability to restore life is limited. Sheridan will die in twenty years. Delenn is understandably upset, but Sheridan assures her its enough time. He proposes in the hopes of making the most of the time they have left.

On Centauri Prime, Londo begins to put his own plan into motion. He proposes to Cartagia that they travel to Narn to publicly try and execute G’Kar, but his real purpose is to lure him away from the royal court where he will be vulnerable. Before they leave, Cartagia orders his guards to pluck out one G’Kars eyes to punish his defiance.

Significance:
The Shadows begin striking back at world’s where the Vorlons have influence, and both side’s planet killers are introduced. Both sides will be employing planet killers during the final battle of the war and this will intrinsic to how it unfolds.  The Vorlon on board the station is destroyed, thanks to Kosh who finally reveals himself. Sheridan once again restored by Lorien and tells Delenn that he only has twenty years to live and proposes to her.

Londo learns that Cartagia plans to let Centauri Prime be destroyed, as the price for his ascendancy to godhood. He also learns that a Vorlon fleet is heading for Centauri Prime, thus hastening his plans to kill him. He convinces Cartagia to travel to Narn to execute G’Kar there publicly, a move which will make him vulnerable and their plans to oust that much easier. G’Kar’s eyes is plucked out, fulfilling the vision Londo has of a one-eyed G’Kar killing him in the future.

Memorable Lines:
Lorien: You heard?
Sheridan: I heard.
Lorien: They need to believe.
Sheridan: Not in me.
Lorien: You can’t save them all.
Sheridan: I can try.
Lorien: You’ll fail.
Sheridan: We’ll see.

Cartagia: You and I, Mollari… we will turn Centauri Prime into an inauguration pyre to commemorate my ascension into godhood. The fire of our world will light my way… If I become a god, how will our world survive without me? I cannot just abandon it, that would be cruel, and anyone who followed me would obviously be inferior. Best to put them out of their misery. I will take it all with me in spirit. Don’t send the ships! Let it burn, Mollari… let it all end in fire!

Garibaldi: That is a hell of a lot of ships.
Ivanova: And more on the way. The captain wants the biggest fleet in history if we’re gonna end this war. The way things are shaping up out there it looks like he just might get it.
Garibaldi: And then what?
Ivanova: And then what what?
Garibaldi: Well if we lose, there is no “then what”, and if we win, what next? We’re still renegades. I don’t think there’s anybody left on this side of the galactic core we haven’t already honked off. We can’t go home. Sometimes I don’t know which scares me more, winning or losing.
Ivanova: God, I thought I was depressing.

Sheridan: It’s an Earth custom. See, you give someone you love an engagement ring as kind of down payment for another ring. The kind you exchange when you get married. I don’t know when we will be able to get around to that part of it. We may not survive the next two weeks, but I wanted you to have this and to know that whatever time I have left, I want to spend it with you.

Lorien: I cannot create life. Only the universe can do that. I can only extend, enhance. There is no magic, nothing spiritual about it. Only the application of energies, healing and rebuilding cells… I did the best I could. I gave him back a portion of his life but… only a portion.
Delenn: How long?
Lorien: In human terms, barring injury and illness, perhaps twenty years. But no more than that… And then, one day, he will simply… stop.

5. The Long Night:
The Shadows begin retaliating against the Vorlons, using their own planet-killers shrouds to destroy any planet where the Vorlons have influence. Sheridan and his staff pour over the two sides strategy and wonder why neither side is attacking the other’s home planet. Instead, they seem to focusing on attacking each others’ allies. They receive word where the next battle will take place, a planet named Coriana 6 with six billion inhabitants.

Sheridan arranges a plan with the alliance war council. They will mass their fleet at Coriana 6 to stop the Vorlon advance, and plans to arrange for the Shadows to be there as well. After dancing around each other since the war began, he hopes to force a confrontation that will force out the truth. He arranges for a copy of their plans to protect Coriana 6 to fall into Shadow hands, and asks Ivanova to resume looking for First Ones so they will have added support when the time comes.

Londo puts his conspiracy in motion. He arranges for G’Kar to break free of his bonds during his trial, and asks that he create a diversion long enough for Vir and Londo to kill him with a poison needle. Everything appears to be working, until Londo learns that Cartagia had G’Kar’s bonds replaced. G’Kar breaks them anyway and causes pandemonium, and in the confusion, Londo is set to kill him. However, Vir is forced to do it when Cartagia begins assaulting Londo.

Vir is traumatized by the act, but is soothed when Londo tells him he’s a good man who did what was needed. Londo fulfills his promise to G’Kar and convinces his people to leave the planet and never come back. The Narns begin to celebrate, and even ask G’Kar to become their new leader. He refuses, claiming he doesn’t want to be a dictator, and plans to return to B5.

Sheridan mobilizes the fleet and they make for Coriana 6.

Significance:
Sheridan and the alliance prepare for their counter-attack, which is to take place where the Vorlons will strike next – Coriana 6. He arranges for the Shadows to be there as well so that they can force a general engagement, a move which he hopes will expose the truth and convince both sides that their charade is over. On Narn, Cartagia is assassinated by Londo and Vir and the two hurry back to Centauri Prime to remove all traces of Shadow influence before the Vorlons can attack. Since G’Kar did his part, Londo delivers on his promise to liberate Narn. Londo and G’Kar’s role in saving their two planets will lead to both of them becoming heroes amongst their people. Londo will become Emperor (as he foresaw) and G’Kar will become a religious icon. Given the outcome of this, neither of them will be too happy about it!

Memorable Lines:
Londo: Great Maker! Your eye! Cartagia?
G’Kar: My eye offended him. Doesn’t matter. I can see things now that were invisible to me before. An empty eye sees through to an empty heart.

Ivanova: It’s like two giants fighting in a sandbox. They don’t even care who’s getting stepped on anymore.

Garibaldi: It’s all hit and run stuff. They come in with just firepower to protect their planet killers and then blow everything to hell and jump out again… Meanwhile, they’re using these attacks to keep the other side off balance, soften em up. What I don’t understand is, why don’t they just attack each others homeworld?

Garibaldi: (referring to a Shadow planet-killer) Anyone want to tell me how the hell we’re supposed to stop that?

Vir: Don’t you understand? I’ve never done anything like this before! I close my eyes and I always see his face! …Don’t you know that all I ever wanted was a good job. Small title, nothing fancy. A wife I could love… maybe even one that could love someone like me. I never wanted to be here! I never wanted to know the things that I know or to do… to do the things that I’ve done.

Londo: I remember when you first arrived on Babylon 5. You were so… full of life, innocent. I was not kind to you. I treated you poorly. I think that I did that because I was envious of you. Envious that you had come so far and were still… innocent, in your way… I cannot tell you that your pain will ever go away. I cannot tell you that you will ever forget his face. I can only tell you that it was necessary. You may have helped to save our people. You did a hard thing, but you still have your heart, and your heart is a good one… And for that, I find that I still envy you.

Sheridan: Now they’ve been dancing around each other ever since this turned into a shooting war. Taking out support systems, colonies, destroying supply lines… They’ve been avoiding direct confrontation and I think I know why.
Delenn: We are going to force the issue by making sure the Shadows are there when the Vorlons come out.
Sheridan: If they want Armageddon, then by God, let’s give it to them!

Sheridan: When I took command of Babylon 5 I found a note on my desk. Someone had left it there for me. It was a poem by Tennyson. I still remember the last part of it: “Though we are not now of that strength, Which in old days moved earth and heaven, That which we are, we are. One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, But strong in will, To strive, to seek, To find and not to yield.”

6. Into the Fire:
Ivanova succeeds in finding the last of the First Ones, and with Lorien’s help, convinces them to go to Coriana 6 to fight alongside them. Meanwhile, Sheridan and the fleet are mounting attacks on Vorlon facilities so they can slow their advance long enough to get their forces into position. Once they’ve destroyed a listening post, he joins up with the fleet and they proceed to the Coriana system. Once they are all in position, they set up their tactical nukes as mines, and wait…

Back on Centauri Prime, Londo is busy trying to remove all traces of Shadow influence. In the course of things, he is told by one of the Ministers that while investigating Adira’ death, he learned the truth about who killed her. In order to protect their alliance, Cartagia ordered the Minister to stay quiet about it. Now that Cartagia is dead, he tells him that Morden was responsible. Londo is outraged and meets with Morden shortly thereafter. He tells him to remove his ships. Morden refuses, forcing Londo to blow up the island. He then sentences Morden to die, but not before Morden warns him that even if the Shadows, they have allies who will punish him for what he’s done.

At Coriana, the Vorlon and Shadow fleets arrive simultaneously and begin attacking each other. Initially, they ignore Sheridan’s fleet, but that changes when Sheridan begins setting off the nukes. Ivanova shows up in time to join the fight, and all hell breaks loose as a three-way battle ensues! Sheridan issues several pleas to the Vorlons to leave the planet alone, but to no avail. The Vorlon planet killer gets in range, and Sheridan is forced to call in the First Ones. They arrive and destroy it, which prompts the Vorlons to call in all their reinforcements.

Londo tells Vir he has sent the Vorlons word that he’s removed all traces of Shadow influence and expects they will turn back. However, Vir tells him that he, one of the Shadow’s chief agents, is still there, just as the Vorlon fleet appears in orbit. Londo orders Vir to kill him, but he is saved when the Vorlon fleet gets the order to redeploy to Coriana 6. They are saved!

After they learn that the Vorlons are getting reinforcements, Lyta is taken over by the Vorlons and puts Sheridan into a psychic trance where he will be able to talk directly to them. She puts Delenn in a similar one with the Shadows, and both are forced to listen as they make their cases again. They are told that they must choose sides, but reply that they won’t be pawns in it anymore and have decided to make their own way. The Shadows and Vorlons both claim that they will continue to fight and die because there is no other way. They then realize that Lorien has been listening in on their conversation and has been letting the the rest of the fleet do the same.

Realizing that their agenda has been revealed, the Shadows pull their planet killing shroud over the fleet and threaten to destroy Delenn and Sheridan’s ship. However, other ships begin moving in and shielding it from incoming missiles. They tell them its over, and Lorien tells them its time to leave and let the younger races find their own way. He agrees to come with them though so they will not be alone. Both sides leave, as does Lorien, and the fleet returns to B5.

Delenn and Sheridan celebrate together and reflect on how the universe now feel different that the First Ones have gone forever. Sheridan says that it feels like some of the magic is gone, but Delenn replies that now they “make their own magic”.

Significance:
The battle at Coriana 6 is won, thanks to the alliance making a stand against both the Vorlons and the Shadows. Both decide to leave the galaxy, thus ending the time of the First Ones and beginning the Third Age, where the younger races will begin to forge their own destinies. This victory is the first step towards the creation of the Interstellar Alliance, something that Delenn told Sheridan (when he visited the future) would last a thousand years but come at a terrible price. Londo learns the truth about Adira’s death and executes Morden to save Centauri Prime. Like G’Kar, he returns to B5 to reprise his role as representative of his race.

Memorable Lines:
Lyta Alexander: I’ve heard that some of the Vorlons would be within striking distance of Centauri Prime about the same time we reach Coriana 6. So… why are we here instead of there?
Marcus Cole: 6 billion lives on Coriana. 3 billion lives on Centauri Prime. We have enough ships to make a stand at one of them, so which do you choose? It’s numbers – cold, unsympathetic numbers. Let’s just hope we pulled enough of the Vorlons away to give the Centauri a chance, or if they’ve gotten rid of any Shadow influences by now. Otherwise, I wouldn’t give you 2 cents for their chances.

Lorien: I am the last, and…I was the first.
Ivanova: I have to admit, I’m a little bit skeptical about that.
Lorien: Skepticism is the language of the mind. What does your heart tell you?
Ivanova: My heart and I don’t speak anymore.
Lorien: So I’ve noticed.

Lorien: We lived too long… seen too much. To live on as we have is to leave behind joy, and love, and companionship, because we know it to be transitory, of the moment. We know it will turn to ash. Only those whose lives are brief can imagine that love…is eternal. You should embrace that remarkable illusion. It may be the greatest gift your race has ever received.

Sheridan: Morning gentlemen, this is your wake up call.
Lyta: Captain?
Sheridan: Hmmm?
Lyta: They’re pissed.

Londo: I will have to have that painted over, I suppose.
Morden: You’re insane!
Londo: On any other day, Mr. Morden, you would be wrong. today? Today is a very different day! One last time, remove your ships!
Morden: No. You don’t frighten us Mollari. If you go up against our ships, you’ll lose!
Londo: Yes, you’re ships are very impressive in the air, or in space. But at this moment, they are on the ground.
Morden: Alright… they’re on the ground. But they can sense an approaching ship miles away. So what are you going to do, Mollari? Blow up the island?
Londo: Actually… now that you mention it (holds up a detonator)

Morden: You just made a mistake, Londo! Even if my associates lose this war, they have allies! They’ll make sure Centauri Prime pays the price for what you’ve done today!
Londo: What I have done? Oh, Mr. Morden… I haven’t even started with you yet!

Marcus: Did we just win?
Ivanova: Don’t jinx it.

Sheridan: It’s a new age, Delenn. A third age.
Delenn: Why third?
Sheridan: Well, we began in chaos, too primitive to make our own decisions. Then we were manipulated by forces from outside that thought they knew what was best for us. And now, – Now we’re finally standing on our own.

Delenn: Strange. The galaxy seems somehow smaller now that the First Ones are gone forever.
Sheridan: Feels like the magic’s gone.
Delenn: No. Not gone. Now we make our own magic. Now we create our own legends. Now we build the future. Now we stop…
Sheridan: Being afraid… of Shadows.

7. Epiphanies:
The war is over and all over B5, people are celebrating. However, back at Earth, Clark has decided to mount a new campaign against B5. Having lost his support with the Shadows, he’s now determined to bring Sheridan down in the hopes it will break the back of the resistance. Having been apprised of his plans, Bester travels to B5 to warn the captain. Phase one of the program involves propaganda, whereas phase two will involve a planned attack on a nearby station and making it look like B5 was responsible. In exchange, Bester wants to travel to Z’ha’dum to find something that will help them cure the telepaths the Shadows took from the Psi Corps, including the woman he loves.

Ivanova and a wing of B5’s Starfuries travel to the nearby station and take out the Psi Corps fighter wing that is attempting the attack. While in transit, Bester tells Lyta that he knows the Vorlons changed her and tries to convince her to come home. Sheridan and the others arrive at Z’ha’dum to see if being evacuated, and then watch it explode. Afterward, Sheridan confronts Lyta and tells her he knows she was responsible for setting off the destruction sequence, which she does not deny

Garibaldi resigns his commission and becomes a freelance investigator. G’Kar is examined by Franklin and offered a prosthetic eye.

Significance:
Garibaldi’s surprise retirement comes after he gets a strange transmission from an unknown source. This, plus the flashbacks he keeps having, is another indication that someone is pulling his strings. In time, his career as a freelancer and growing opposition to Sheridan and his policies will bring him into the service of Bill Edgars, an industrialist who has his own plans to bring Clark down and who wants to stop Sheridan from doing it his way.

Memorable Lines:
Sheridan:
Captain’s personal log: the Shadow War is over. We won. But I can’t stop thinking about what it cost us and how much work is still ahead of us. Then again, maybe the doc’s right. Embrace the moment. In the end, it’s all we have. Trouble will come, in it’s own time, it always does. But that’s tomorrow. Give me today and I will be happy.

G’Kar: I have seen what power does, and I have seen what power costs. The one is never equal to the other.

Londo: Tired? No, don’t be absurd. Why, the Emperor himself said I would only be allowed to leave over his dead body. I thought, “Well, how strange. Mr. Allan said I would only be allowed back onto Babylon 5 over his dead body.” With my busy schedule I’m afraid I can only accommodate so many requests. I’m sorry, Mr. Allan, but I’m afraid you’ll simply have to wait your turn!
Zack
: The only reason that guy is still alive is that half the time I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. The other half, I wish I didn’t.

Bester: Ms. Alexander has no business being here. She’s a blip! By all rights, I should arrest her and take her back with me.
Sheridan
: Oh, you could do that. And I could nail your head to the table, set fire to it, and feed your charred remains to the Pak’ma’ra. But…it’s an imperfect world, and we never get exactly what we want. So get used to it!

Bester: Whatever’s happened to you, you have a moral obligation to share it with the Corps, Lyta. The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father.
Lyta
: In that case, Mr. Bester…I’m an orphan.

Bester: (referring to Z’ha’dum) Is that it? It looks like hell
Sheridan: That’s about right.

Sheridan: I was just thinking about those ships we saw leaving Z’Ha’Dum. Delenn called them the allies of the Shadows, dark servants. We don’t know what they took when they left, where they’re going or what they plan to do… I just wish I knew where they were going.

8. Lines of Communication:
Clark’s campaign against B5 continues and Sheridan decides to counter by creating the “Voice of the Resistance”, a broadcast dedicated to bringing people the truth about Clark’s regime and the war against him. Sheridan sends Marcus and Franklin on to Mars to coordinate plans with the resistance there. They have learned that the Shadows are involved when they pull one of their monitoring devices off a member of the resistance.

Delenn goes off to investigate attacks on shipping lines and discovers that it is being perpetrated by the Drahk, one of the Shadows allies. One of her caste has tried to arrange an alliance with them due to growing tensions between the warrior and religious castes back at home. Delenn and her escort of White Stars engage the Drakh ships and destroy them, and she realizes she must return home to deal with the situation.

Significance:
The “Voice of the Resistance” is the first step towards the liberation of Earth for Sheridan and his alliance. As is the discovery of the Drakh, who’s attacks on shipping lines will force Sheridan to use the White Star fleet to patrol the other races borders. In exchange for this aid, Sheridan is able to gain their cooperation when the time comes to launch his campaign to overthrow Clark. The discovery of the Drakh is also the first time that the fabled “allies of the shadows” are seen since the destruction of Z’ha’dum. Now that they know who and where Delenn and the others are, they will surely be looking for a chance to strike back at them.

Memorable Lines:
Sheridan:
You have a face people trust.
Ivanova: I’d rather have a face people fear.
Sheridan: That too!

Sheridan: Why not come up with a way to turn the war room into- I don’t know, – The Voice of the Resistance! Susan, during World War II, the French Resistance used to go on the air for one hour a night, always from a different location, broadcasting the *real* news about the war. Providing intelligence for the resistance fighters, encouraging Germans to defect. Well, why can’t we do the same thing here?
Ivanova: Why do I get the ugly suspicion that you’re volunteering me for this job?
Sheridan: I accept your offer!

Marcus
: Touch passion when it comes your way, Stephen. It’s rare enough as it is. Don’t walk away when it calls you by name.

Franklin: Look, I was just helping her out of a difficult situation, that’s all…
Marcus Cole: Fifty credits says that’s not all she wants you to help her out of.

Delenn: Before the war, Dukhat wanted to know more about your people, so I began studying your history. I came to the conclusion that of all the races we had encountered, humans were the most dangerous. Because humans form communities. And from that diversity comes a strength that no single race can withstand. That is your strength. And it is that which makes you dangerous.

Sheridan: I’m tired, Delenn. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve been carrying this station on my back and crawling through broken glass for three years.

9. Rumours, Bargains and Lies:
Due to the increase in raids perpetrated by raiders and Drakh, Sheridan decides to use the White Star fleet to patrol League worlds. However, knowing it will be difficult to convince them to accept this, he decides to trick them into thinking there is an impending threat and that he’s withholding information from them. In the end, they demand that he put his ship’s in their borders, give him full authority to run them and will assist in larger operations with their own fleet.

Civil war breaks out on Mimbar. Delenn meets with Neroon to discuss an alliance so that they can end it before it destroys their society. He agrees, and an attempt to kill everyone on board their ship is narrowly averted by Lennier. Neroon leaves the ship and appears to be betraying them, reporting back to his leader that their plans for war should proceed and that religious caste will easily be beaten.

Significance:
Sheridan’s decision to use the White Star fleet to partol the borders of the League worlds will be of great importance in getting the League to sign on to his campaign to liberate Earth. It also provides a blueprint for the Alliance which will be formed shortly thereafter. The way he goes about tricking them into allowing this is also one of the funniest things in the show’s history! This episodes definitely has some of the best lines of the series, most of which belong to Londo.

Delenn’s decision to unite with Neroon to end the civil war on Mimbari will also have long-term consequences. Although it appears that he is betraying her, their overall plan is to trick the leader of the warrior caste in demonstrated he doesn’t have the integrity to lead their people. This allows Delenn to reform the Grey Council later on, but this time stack it with members of the Worker Caste so that religion and warrior codes won’t be determining policy anymore.

Memorable Lines:
Sheridan: I can’t confirm that.
Drazi Ambassador
: But you’re not denying it either.
Sheridan
: But not denying it doesn’t make it true any more than not confirming it makes it false. – Are you with me so far?
Drazi Ambassador
: I’m not sure.
Sheridan
: Ambassador, there are so many things in the universe that are and so many things that aren’t. If I were to take the time to deny all the things that aren’t, we’d be here for centuries, wouldn’t we?

Londo: Well, Captain, you will forgive me if I appear a bit slow. I have studied your race quite a bit and there are still several aspects of your psychology I don’t understand. A place called Winchester Mansion with stairs that don’t go anywhere… something called Country and Western… and the less said about the comedy team of Reebo and Zooty the better. However –
Sheridan: You don’t like Reebo and Zooty? They’re hysterical!
Londo: Are they? I’m sorry, I apparently mistook you for a human with some taste and sensibility. After that last broadcast, everywhere I went on the station, someone was going “Zooty? Zoot zoot!” at me!
Sheridan: That was a great routine!
Londo: I didn’t get it!
Sheridan: Not my problem!
Londo: My point, if you will allow me to make it, is that there is much about the human mind that I don’t understand. So perhaps you will explain to me how allowing your ships to patrol the border of Centauri space will inspire the rest of the League to do the same if I can’t even tell them that we are doing it!
Sheridan: Londo… trust me. (turns to leave) Zooty! Zoot zoot!

Londo: I told you, I have no idea what you are talking about!
Drazi: These White Star ships were seen on your borders, Ambassador! Our pilots –
Londo: You’re pilots – you’re pilots should have their eyes examined. I don’t know how they see out of them anyway. Tiny, beady, squinty little things aren’t they? …No the maker has not been kind to you. Must be terrible trying to fly at night without running into entire planets!
Drazi: Are you saying the Centauri do not know what ships are patrolling their borders?
Londo: Of course WE know! The Maker has given us great, big yes and great big scanners and great big… Well that is no concern of yours. Look, isn’t there someone else you can harass? My life is already so full of joy as it is!

Ivanova: First, one brief announcement. I just wanted to mention for those who have asked that… absolutely nothing whatsoever happened today in sector eighty-three by nine by twelve. I repeat, nothing happened… please remain calm.

10. No Surrender, No Retreat:
After a brutal attack on civilians, Sheridan decides to finally mount a military campaign to liberate Earth. Their first target is Proxima III, a border colony that has been resisting the institution of martial law for some time. After securing the cooperation of the League, Sheridan dispatches the White Star fleet to the planet and begins taking on the Earth Alliance destroyers stationed there. After a pitch battle, he is able to convince some of the Captains to join him in his campaign while placing the other’s under arrest.

Back on B5, Londo approaches G’Kar and suggests a joint declaration on behalf of their two worlds. Much like how they were the first to support Sheridan’s decision to use the White Star fleet to patrol their borders, Londo suggest that they declare their open support for Sheridan and his efforts in the hopes that the rest of the League will follow. G’Kar initially refuses, but decides to take Londo up on his offer.

Significance:
Sheridan’s campaign to liberate Earth begins and he immediately has defectors who choose to join him in bringing down Clark. In time, this will lead to Garibaldi’s betrayal of him, his realization of what Bester did to him, intervention by the League, and Sheridan’s ultimate rescue and successful liberation of Earth. In addition, this epsiode gets top marks for intensity and kick-ass action!

Memorable Lines:
Sheridan:
Captain’s personal log. Septeber 2, 2261. Enough is enough.

Vir: I don’t always like the way Londo does things, and…well, me and most civilized worlds, but…you know, sometimes he’s right. So I force myself to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Sheridan: Sorry to call you together at this early hour, but we don’t have a lot of time. – Commander.
Ivanova: For the last month or so ships from Babylon 5 have been patrolling the borders of your governments. Since we’ve been protecting you from Raiders and border skirmishes the number of incidences has decreased by 70 percent. May we assume that you are all happy with this arrangement?
Sheridan: Good, because now there’s a price tag…

G’Kar: During their war with the Minbari, I supervised arms sales to Earth. They promised to held us when we needed them. But where was Earth when our borders were being attacked? Where was Earth when the Shadows were rampaging across our territories? They did nothing! We owe them nothing in return.

Corwin: So from now on, I guess the operational phrase is “trust no one”.
Ivanova:
No. Trust Ivanova. Trust yourself. Anyone else? Shoot ’em.

Sheridan: The hostiles might be splitting up so they can be with both groups, to keep them in line.
Cole
: Unless they’re all hostile, and some are just more hostile than others.
Sheridan
: Thank you for the ray of sunshine, Marcus. Next time I feel the need to be depressed, I’ll remember to give you a call.

11. Face of the Enemy:
Sheridan’s campaign continues. The fighting is growing more desperate the closer they are getting to Earth. After a tense battle, he has a reunion with his old ship, the Agamemnon, who’s Captain and crew have decided to join them. On Mars, Lyta and Franklin meet with the resistance again and present them with some strange cargo: a shipment of Psi Corps telepaths that they took from the Shadows. They learn that the resistance is hostile to telepaths because Clark’s forces are using them to conduct interrogations.

Meanwhile, Garibaldi is told by Edgars that if he wants to know everything about his plans, he must turn Sheridan in. He contacts Sheridan and tells him they have his father and lures him into a trap. Tranquilizing him, he is taken by Earth agents into custody. Ivanova takes command of the fleet and decides to press on. Garibaldi returns to Edgar’s compound and learns the truth. Edgar’s has developed a plague that effects only telepaths, as well as the cure. The point of the disease is to control telepaths, which are the key to Clark’s power and the real threat.

Once he’s heard everything, Garibaldi sets off a trace device and meets with Bester. Clearly, he’s under telepathic control, and shares the details of Edgar’s plans. In exchange, Bester tells Garibaldi exactly what happened to him after the Shadows took him. Apparently, he was in the custody of the Psi Corps where they conditioned him to make him more paranoid so he would turn on Sheridan. As a bonus, he also enlisted with Edgars and uncovered another Shadow plot, aside from Clark’s bid for power, to keep human telepaths under control. He leaves Garibaldi alive who, now free of his influence, realizes what he has done.

Significance:
Sheridan is captured by officers loyal to Clark and Garibaldi learns the truth about his capture. Hints are also given as to what the Telepath War will be about, which takes place later in the franchise’s storyline. We also see just how deep the Shadows agenda went with Earth, how in addition to using Clark to sow the seeds of chaos, they were also hoping to neutralize the Psi Corps which they knew to be a threat to them.

Memorable Lines:
Ivanova:
Commander’s personal log. The war to liberate Earth and her colonies continues. We have more Earth ships on our side than ever before but the battles are becoming more desperate the closer we get to home.

Edgars: The truth will be revealed in a couple of days. How many people can say that?
Garibaldi
: I don’t know. But I think the last guy got thirty pieces of silver for the same job.

Edgars: If information is power, then telepaths are the greatest threat to freedom we’ve ever seen. We have to deal with that, or face the very real possibility of our own extinction… This vial does contain a cure Mr. Garibaldi. It took my people three years to develop it. Almost as long as it took us to develop the virus itself…

Wade: It’s the tyranny of evolution. Sooner or later, you have a species that will have a genetic or technological advantage and that species will always conquer a species without that advantage. Carthage, the triumph of the Homo sapiens over the Neanderthal showed us that. Now what do we have? We have Homo superior versus Homo sapiens. On a level playing field, Homo superior wins every time.
Garibaldi:
Unless we cheat.

Ivanova: What’s going on? You all look like a Pak’ma’ra just ate your cat.

Bester: I knew there were forced out there with plans for my telepaths but this… I had no idea. The sheer scope of it… This virus that kills only telepaths, I bet good money its Shadow technology. They probably got it to him through third parties, helped his people work out the details. We both know that telepaths were a threat to the Shadows, one they wouldn’t mind eliminating. It’s ingenious really… they played Clark’s bid for power on one side, and Edgar’s fear of telepaths on the other. Leaving us in the middle… controlled… or dead.

12. Between the Darkness and the Light:
Sheridan is still being tortured in an Earth facility. After setting out to find them, Garibaldi is captured by the Mars resistance. Thanks to Lyta’s telepathic abilities, he is able to convince them that Bester was using him. He, Lyta and Franklin then set off to rescue Sheridan. Given that ISN and Clark’s government are hailing him as a hero, Garibaldi is able to learn where Sheridan is being held and are able to pull him out of the prison facility. Shaken and weakened, he is nevertheless alive and able to resume command. At the same time, Delenn discovers that the League has come together to support Sheridan. Building on Londo and G’Kar’s declaration, they have decided to offer military aid to his fleet.

Ivanova presses on towards Earth at the head of the fleet. She learns from one of the defecting officers that an elite destroyer group is waiting for them just outside of Mars. Taking the White Star fleet ahead, they encounter a fleet of hybrid destroyers that have been merged with Shadow technology. After a difficult fight, they destroy the group, but Ivanova is severely injured after their ship collides with a piece of debris. Sheridan is brought back to the fleet just in time to see her before they send her back to B5 for emergency treatment. Sheridan takes command of the Agamemnon to lead the final push to Earth.

Significance:
The results of Earth Force’s own use of Shadow technology is finally revealed. The battle scene which takes place here is one of the coolest of the season, perhaps the show! Though she is victorious in breaking their counter-attack, Ivanova is seriously injured and is expected to die. And now that Sheridan has been rescued and is back in command of the fleet, it seems that nothing can stop them from liberating Earth.

Memorable Lines:
Lyta
: Michael, if I do a deep scan, it could damage you.
Garibaldi
: And if you don’t, they’re gonna kill me. Now, a headache I can get over. I’m not sure I’m gonna get over being dead anytime soon.

Franklin: Michael are you alright?
Garibaldi:
I just realized, I need a whole lot more fiber in my diet.

Garibaldi: (checking canteen) Okay, who gulped? Somebody gulped. We have got a long way to go. We’re supposed to sip, not gulp.
Franklin
: I didn’t gulp.
Lyta
: I sipped.
Garibaldi
: (to Lyta) You I believe.
Franklin
: What? Why do you believe her and not me?
Garibaldi
: Because when you lie, it’s all over your face. She’s a better liar than you are.
Lyta
: Thank you. Wait a minute! What do you mean I’m a good liar?

Ivanova: Who am I? I am Susan Ivanova, Commander. Daughter of Andre and Sophie Ivanov. I am the right hand of vengeance and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth, sweetheart! I am death incarnate, and the last living thing that you will ever see. God sent me.

13. Endgame:
Sheridan and the fleet head for Earth. In their way is the largest massing of Earth destroyers since the Battle of the Line, under the command of Sheridan’s old colleague, General Robert Lefcourt. In order to bypass them, Sheridan’s plan involving the telepaths is put underway. After taking over a series of bases on the surface, the altered telepaths are shipped to the destroyers. Once they awaken, they begin to merge with the destroyer’s machinery which disables most of them. The White Star fleet then jumps in to disable those ships that are still functional.

Sheridan and the fleet move on to Earth. After announcing their intent, Clark sets Earth’s defense satellites to obliterate the surface and commits suicide. Members of the Earth Senate take over his office and send word to Sheridan. His fleet begin taking down the satellites, but it looks like the Agamemnon will have to sacrifice itself to destroy the last of them. However, Lefcourt’s ship jumps in in time to destroy it and saves Sheridan’s life. With the war now over, Sheridan goes to Earth to await judgement for his actions.

Significance:
After much build-up, the telepaths that Sheridan and his people intercepted and have been studying are finally used to help end the civil war. Realizing he’s going to lose, Clark commits suicide and shows just how insane he is when he tries to initiate a “scorched earth” policy, using Earth’s own defensive satellites. Sheridan’s victory over Clark’s forces signals the end of the campaign to liberate Earth and the beginning of Earth’s entry into the Interstellar Alliance. Also, Marcus learns about the technology that can save Ivanova and sacrifices his own life to save her. This will in turn convince Ivanova to leave B5.

Memorable Lines:
Marcus:
She would want to be here for the battle, conscious or otherwise.
Delenn:
I know. But we must do what’s best for her.
Marcus:
She’s dying. What is there to do?
Delenn:
Make her comfortable in her last hours. We cannot do that here. On Babylon 5, they will see to all her needs – as long as she has them.

Marcus: Look, Sheridan practically came back from the dead! We’ve all been through six kinds of hell in the last few years. Don’t tell me there’s nothing we can do!

Lefcourt: Sheridan was one of my students back at the academy. I taught him everything he knows. I know how he thinks, I know how he fights, and to tell you the truth, I’ve always admired him. And now I’m going to have to kill him, and his ship, and everyone around him. It’s a terrible day, Charlie. I wish I’d never lived to see it.

Resistance member: You can’t form a jump point inside the atmosphere, not this close! They’ll plow right into the ground, they’ll tear this whole place apart!
Garibaldi: Well you can if you got location information accurate to a few feet. And I just made sure they got it.
Franklin:
Well, I assume that you wokred out that whole longitude, latitude thing. I – I know you get confused sometimes.
Garibaldi: You’re right – your right, I keep mixing them up. I got it right! Well… I think I got it right. Okay, which goes vertically, longitude or latitude? 

Lefcourt: Engineering. This is General Lefcourt. In case you hadn’t noticed, the enemy just pulled our shorts over our head and tied them in a knot. You will get this ship under control ASAP or I will come down there and skin the hide off every last one of you!

Sheridan: This is Captain John Sheridan. We are here on the authority of a multi-planetary force, that can no longer stand by and watch one of their greatest allies falling into darkness and despair. We are here on behalf of the thousands of civilians murdered under orders from the current administration, who have no one else to speak for them, and on behalf of the EarthForce units that have joined us to oppose the tyranny that has darkened Earth, ever since President Santiago was assassinated three years ago. We are here to place President Clark under arrest, to disband Nightwatch, and return our government to the hands of her people. We know that many in the government have wanted to act, but have been intimidated by threats of retaliation against your families, your friends. You are not alone anymore. We call upon you to rise up and do what’s right! We have drawn their forces away from Earth and disabled them. The time to act is now! This is not the voice of treason. These are your sons, your daughters, whose loyalties have never wavered, whose beliefs in this alliance has [sic] forced us to take extraordinary means! For justice, for peace, for the future…we have come home!

Lefcourt: Sorry for the delay, Captain. But we had some trouble on Mars. You might’ve heard something about it.
Sheridan:
Well, my apologies, General. We were only doing our jobs.
Lefcourt:
Though you’ll have to stand before a Board of Inquiry on this one Sheridan… still… Welcome home John… Welcome.

Marcus: (as he’s giving his life energy to Ivanova) I love you.

14. The Deconstruction of Falling Stars:
Sheridan and Delenn return to B5 to get married and begin working on the Interstellar Alliance. After the ceremonies take place, Sheridan wonders aloud if they will be remembered for what they’ve started. The episode then jumps ahead to show historical records of how he, Delenn and the ISA are remembered, 100 years, 500 years, 1000 years, and 1 million years into the future. Through this, we are given glimpses of events that are still to come, such as the Telepath War, the Second Earth Alliance Civil War, the Great Burn, the rebuilding that takes place under the watchful eye of the Rangers, and when humanity leaves Earth to settle in another corner of the Galaxy.

Ultimately, the recordings are part of a grand archive humanity is creating to honor Sheridan, Delenn, and the people who made B5’s mission a reality. The being responsible for compiling them turns out to be a human who is very much like a Vorlon now, a being of energy who lives inside an encounter suit, who then leaves Earth in a Ranger ship shortly before the Sun goes supernova. We then Shierdan and Delenn lying in bed, Sheridan saying that future generations probably won’t remember them, but Delenn assuring him that they did what they did because it was right and that history will take care of it itself.

The season ends with the words: DEDICATED TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO PREDICTED THAT THE BABYLON PROJECT WOULD FAIL IN ITS MISSION. FAITH MANAGES.

Significance:
This show was apparently intended as a potential series ender, should season five never make it to production. By giving us glimpses of the future, it established some key elements in the deep storyline and wrapped up everything from the previous seasons. Delenn and Sheridan get married, some more wars transpire, the Alliance endures until another civil war devastates Earth, humanity rebuilds and eventually visits the Vorlon homeworld (as Lyta told them they would), and in one way or another, it is all because of B5, Delenn, Sheridan, and all the others who played a role in wining the Shadow War and creating the ISA. I can honestly say the episode was one of the more sentimental of the series, and in many ways was a better ending than the actual final episode, though I’m glad they did get to make the final season!

Memorable Lines:
Londo
: So Doctor…who died?
Franklin
: What are you talking about?
Londo
: Among my people this is how we celebrate state funerals. Our marriage ceremonies are solemn, sober. Moments of reflection…also regret, disagreement, argument and mutual recrimination. Once you know it can’t get any worse you can sit back and enjoy the marriage. But to start with something like this? No, it is a very bad sign for the future.
Londo
: Perhaps it is something I said?
G’Kar
: Perhaps it is everything you say.

Garibaldi: The funny thing about being a holographic record is is that you don’t really exist except in patterns of light, shadow, information. And I happen to have a knack for breaking system codes. So while you were downloading the new world order into me, I was watching the system work. I know where it comes in, and I know where it comes out. And I just sent out our entire conversation. Broadcast the whole damn thing. So… as of right now, the enemy knows what you have in mind, Danny. Now from your recrods they’re actually a lot more humanitarian than you are so they’ll probably just target your military bases and research facilities. Hell, their missiles are probably halfway here by now.
Daniel:
You’re lying!
Garibaldi: 
(alarm goes off) Holograms don’t lie, Danny boy.
Daniel: Computer, end simulation… END SIMULATION!
Garibaldi: Whoops, guess the system is busy!  This little lab of yours, this isn’t by any chance located on a military base is it?
Daniel:
NO! (runs out)
Garibaldi:
(looks at the others) Rest easy, friends. Rest easy.

Brother Alwyn: We will rebuild the Earth, though it take us another two thousand years. But this time, we will build it better… Alwyn, Anla-shok, Earth Sector, end report. We live for the one, we die for the one.

Exeter: This is how the world ends, swallowed in fire, but not in darkness. You will live on. The voice of all our ancestors, the voice of our fathers and our mothers to the last generation. We created the world we think you would’ve wished for us. And now we leave the cradle for the last time.

Sheridan: …and I was wondering if they will remember us in hundred years from now or a thousand. And I figure probably not.
Delenn
: But it does not matter. We did what we did because it was right and not to be remembered. And history will attend to itself. It always does.

B5, Season 3 Best Episodes

Season Three was named “Point of No Return” for good reason. It was the season where everything hit the fan and there was no going back.  The Shadow War began, B5 broke away from the Earth Alliance, the temporal plot and purpose of the Great Machine was fulfilled, and Sheridan finally went to Z’ha’dum. So of course, there were plenty of big, great and significant episodes. Here are the one’s I liked best and why.

1. Matter of Honor:
A representative from Earth Force Special Intelligence (David Endawi) comes to B5 to investigate the matter of the Shadow vessel. After talking with all the ambassadors, he learns a few disturbing facts. G’Kar relates what he has learned from the book of G’Quan and his own investigations out on the rim. Londo relates a nightmare he has where he can see countless Shadow vessels passing overhead while he is standing on Centauri Prime. And Delenn claims she knows nothing about it. Naturally, she is lying…

Londo meets with Morden and tells him he wants to end their relationship. Morden reluctantly agrees, but first, they must divvy up the assets. He agrees to let the Centauri hold a quarter of the Galaxy, in return, they will get the rest and the two sides will go their separate ways. As an addendum, he asks that Londo let them take one world in between, a world which he has already asked Lord Refa to blockade for them. Londo is startled to know that Morden is in contact with someone else in the royal court.

At about the same time, another visitor comes to B5, a Ranger named Marcus Cole. After escaping from a world on the border of Centauri space, he comes to B5 to ask for their help in liberating the colony. For years, the Rangers have been using it as a training base and now it seems that the Centauri are moving in and blockading it. Sheridan is shown the White Star, a prototype Mimbari-Vorlon creation that will be the mainstay of the alliance in the coming war. They fly to the planet, just as a Shadow vessel appears and engages them. They narrowly defeat it by luring it into a jump gate and opening a seperate jump point inside it, which creates a massive explosion that kills the pursuing ship.

Endawi returns home and tells Earth Force Intelligence that he was unable to learn anything of value. We then see the head of Intelligence meeting with Morden and a representative of the Psi Corps. Morden is pleased that nothing was turned up, but is told by the Psi Corps representative that fears of nebulous alien threat that this sighting has caused could prove useful to their agenda…

Significance:
This episode introduces Marcus Cole and the Rangers, who’s existence has been mentioned before but will now be of extreme importance. Started by Sinclair on Mimbar and made up of largely human volunteers, these are to be the foot soldiers in the coming Shadow War. The White Star, which is also introduced in this episode, is to be the mainstay of their fleet.

After growing uneasy about his alliance with Morden and his “associates”, Londo has finally broken it off, only to learn that Lord Refa is attempting to forge one of his own. In time, this will pit Londo and Refa against each other, and give Londo a chance to redeem his mistakes. Finally, we learn that Morden and the Shadows have made friends back at Earth, and may have had a hand in assassinating Santiago and installing Clark. Already we have learned that the point of their alliances is to sow chaos and discord before they attack. Clearly, backing Clark’s conspiracy is part of that plan.

Memorable Lines:
Sheridan: You’ve been back and forth to your homeworld so many times since you got here, how do I know you’re the same Vorlon? Inside that Encounter Suit you could be anyone.
Kosh: I have always been here.
Sheridan: Oh yeah? You said that about me too.
Kosh: Yes.
Sheridan: I really hate it when you do that.
Kosh: Good.

Londo: My people have a manifest destiny. They can achieve it just as well without the help of your associates, perhaps better.
Morden: So we’re no longer necessary?
Londo: That’s right.
Morden: And now that we’ve done everything you’ve asked, you’d like us to just.. disappear.
Londo: I do believe you have got it surrounded, Mr. Morden!
Morden: Aren’t you being premature? After all, you’re people are moving on several other worlds. You might still need us.
Londo: No, I don’t think so. We have danced our last little dance Mr. Morden. Now it is time for you… to go away.

Sheridan: (looking at the footage of a Shadow vessel) A few months ago, you told me about an ancient race, the Shadows. This is one of theirs, isn’t it?
Delenn: These ships, once they target you they never stop, never slow down, never give up until they’ve destroyed you… and nearly invincible.
Sheridan: I don’t believe that. Every ship has a weakness.
Delenn: Believe what you will, til experience changes your mind. Take a good look, John, and remember it well. That is the face of our enemy.

Garibaldi: I’m not authorized for that kind of information.
Endawi: But… you’re the head of Security.
Garibaldi: And what kind of head of Security would I be if I let people like me know things that I’m not supposed to know? I mean, I know what I know because I have to know it, and if I don’t have to know it, I don’t tell me, and I don’t let anyone else tell me, either. Now look, we’ve tried most of the other ambassadors. Why don’t you speak to G’Kar? Maybe he knows something about this ship.
Endawi: Under the terms of our recent treaty, I am not authorized to have any official conversation with the Narn without Centauri approval.
Garibaldi: So you’ll ask unofficially. And I can give you reasonable assurances that the head of Security will not report you for doing so.
Endawi: Because you won’t tell yourself about it.
Garibaldi: I try never to get involved in my own life. Too much trouble.

Delenn: We must find help. We cannot hope to destroy a ship like that alone.
Sheridan: With all due respect, Ambassador, I’ve heard that before.

Ivanova: Captain, the day something happens around here and I don’t know about it, worry
Sheridan: Tell me, Commander…have you ever wondered what would happen if you opened a jump point while inside a jump gate?
Ivanova: No! And neither should you! EarthForce experimented with the idea during the Minbari War. They called it the Bonehead Maneuver. (to Lennier) No offense.
Lennier: None taken.

Morden: Your government can dismiss this as an isolated incident.
Psi Cop: I don’t know. There’s something about this idea of a threat to planetary security I find very appealing. As long as we keep the real truth to ourselves, there’s no reason we can’t use this situation to speed up the program here at home.

2. Voices of Authority:
B5 is assigned a political officer from the Ministry of Peace, a woman named Musante who’s purpose is to expand the power of the Nightwatch. In addition to following Sheridan around (and trying to seduce him), she openly tells Zack and the other members of Nightwatch that their mandate has expanded to stamp out all indications of treason and ideological impurity. Sheridan has to stay on his toes in order to keep the “conspiracy of light” a secret in her presence.

Otherwise occupied with her, he sends Ivanova to meet with Draal on Epsilon 3 so they can begin using the Great Machine to locate the First Ones. She finds the home of The Walkers, the ancient race that’s been spotted around Sigma 957, but also alerts the Shadows to her presence. She narrowly escapes before they are able to take her over. Then, she is given a vision of Earth Force One as it exploded, and sees a private communique between Morden and Clark where they discuss Santiago’s assassination. After months of quietly waiting, they have the proof they need to expose him!

Ivanova and Marcus travel to Sigma 957 and meet with a Walker ship. After some deliberation, Ivanova is able to get them to agree to join their war effort against the Shadows. When they return, the information she uncovered with Draal’s help has been released, Mustante is recalled to Earth so that MiniPax can investigate the allegations and “punish” whoever’s responsible.

Significance:
This episode picks up where season two left off where Draal tells Sheridan that he wants to join their alliance and will place the Great Machine at their disposal. In using it, Ivanova is able to find one of the elusive First Ones, first shown in season one, and uncover evidence of the conspiracy back home. In so doing, she also demonstrated that she has latent telepathic abilities, for as Draal says, no ordinary human could do what she did. Marcus and Ivanova also secure the cooperation of The Walkers, and learn that they are not on good terms with the Vorlons.

This episode also establishes that the Ministry of Peace, after slowly expanding its mandate on B5, is now mounting an all out offensive against dissenters and those who oppose Clark’s government. Now that evidence has been released that implicates them in Santiago’s death, things are likely to escalate.

Memorable Lines:
Draal: Good afternoon, everyone! Captain, Delenn tells me that you’re going to try contacting the First Ones. It is a magnificent idea—a daring and splendid idea! In doing so, you will see things no human has ever seen before! It will be…fun! Assuming you’re not vaporized, dissected, or otherwise killed in an assortment of supremely horrible and painful ways! Exciting, isn’t it?

Draal: I asked for Captain Sheridan!
Ivanova: Um… He’s busy.
Draal: I don’t like surprises!
Ivanova: Really? Love ’em, myself. To me, everything’s a surprise! You’re a surprise. This place is a surprise. You see this? [She holds up a finger.] Paper cut. Hurts like hell! Anybody else would be upset, but to me, it’s just one more wonderful surprise! I mean, I even surprise myself sometimes! So I guess there’s nothing wrong with me surprising you. Right?
Draal: (laughs) I like you! You’re trouble!
Ivanova: Well, thank you! That’s the nicest thing anybody’s said about me in days!

Sheridan: And, uh when exactly did all this happen?
Musante: When we rewrote the dictionary.

Ivanova: Good luck, Captain. I think you’re about to go where…everyone has gone before

Marcus: I think you just hit a nerve. The Vorlons must owe them money or something.
Ivanova: At least it tells us that they understand our language. They’re just not willing to speakto us in it.
Marcus: Who knew they were French? Sorry.

Walkers: ZOG!
Ivanova: “Zog”? What do you mean, zog? Zog what? Zog yes, zog no?
Marcus: It’s leaving. My guess is “zog” means “no”.
Ivanova: Like hell. I am not letting them leave here without saying yes.
Marcus: Really? And how do you propose stopping them? Perhaps a big red and white sign with the word “stop” on it? I’ll put a bucket on my head and pretend to be the ancient Vorlon god Boogee.
Ivanova: That’s it!
Marcus: Fine. I’ll get a bucket.

3. Messages from Earth:
Marcus escorts a former member of IPX, a woman named Dr. Mary Kirkish, to meet with the command staff of B5. She has some terrible news for them: it seems that Earth has known about the Shadows for quite some time, and has even been experimenting on their ships. The last time was on Mars after they uncovered one that was buried there, which  witnessed personally. Now they are planning on doing it again, this time on Ganymede with another buried ship. This time, they plan to merge a human pilot with it and control it. Garibaldi claims he surveyed the site years back and found a Psi Corps badge that was left there. Sheridan agrees to take the White Star and head to Ganymede to destroy it.

In his absence, the Nightwatch grows wary of his whereabouts. They have been ordered by their new head to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.Meanwhile, Garibaldi visits G’Kar in his cell, where he’s serving his sentence for assaulting Londo, and finds he’s writing a book about his experiences. On their way to Earth, Delenn and Sheridan spend an evening together and share precious memories. When they arrive at Earth, they find that the Shadow vessel has already been activated and begins destroying the facility.

Unable to match the vessels firepower, they manage to destroy it by luring it into Jupiter’s atmosphere then pulling a hasty escape maneuver. The Shadow vessel is unable to follow them out and is crushed by Jupiter’s intense gravity well. However, before they can exit the atmosphere, Sheridan’s old ship, the Agamemnon, shows up and attempts to board them. Sheridan and crew manage to narrowly escape by opening a jump point in the upper atmosphere, which ignites the hydrogen and covers their escape. Back at home, ISN says that Earth gov claims the facility was attacked by an unknown ship and uses this as a pretext to declare martial law.

Significance:
The link between the Psi Corps and the Shadows is revealed, as are Earth’s experiments with Shadow technology. The Nightwatch, having grown suspicious of Sheridan’s activities, are now planning to move on him. G’Kar’s book, which he has begun writing in this episode, will prove of great significance in later episodes. Clark’s government, which has been planning on using the “alien threat” to justify its repression, has decided to use Sheridan’s intervention as a pretext to declare martial law. Delenn and Sheridan’s relationship is also developing and becoming romantic.

Memorable Lines:
Garibaldi: But where in my contract does it say that I have to eat the same food for breakfast every day for three years?
Sheridan: Paragraph 47, Subsection 19, Clause 9A. You can find it in the index under S.U.A.E.I.
Garibaldi: S.U.A.E.I.?
Sheridan/Ivanova: Shut Up And Eat It.

Marcus Cole: And they have much to be concerned about. There’s always the threat of an attack by, say, a giant space dragon – the kind that eats the sun every 30 days? It’s a nuisance, but what can you expect from reptiles? Did I mention that my nose is on fire, and that I have 15 wild badgers living in my trousers?… I’m sorry. Would you prefer ferrets?

Sheridan: Full power! Give me everything you’ve got!
Lennier: If I were holding anything back, I would tell you.

4. Point of No Return:
The declaration of martial law has caused a great stir aboard B5. At home, Clark has apparently dissolved the Senate and ordered that all commanders who do not comply with the order are to be arrested. Sheridan contacts General Hague, but is told by one of his officers that he has gone to ground and that the Army is attacking the Senate building. Londo recieves a guest aboard the station, lady Lady Morella, a psychic who was also the wife of the late Emperor Turhan. He has asked her to visit so that she might give him a vision, in the hopes that he can avert the future he has foreseen for himself. Naturally, the declaration of martial law is a major inconvenience!

Shortly thereafter, Hague’s ship gets into a firefight with ships loyal to Clark and narrowly escapes. Sheridan is forced to issue the declaration of martial law and a riot ensues. He is told by Franklin to hang on, that things will get better, but Clark’s loyalists begin bombing Mars and Proxima shortly thereafter. G’Kar is released from prison early due to a shortage of staff, and he tells Garibaldi he might be in a position to help him and the command staff. Nightwatch is ordered to take over security and Garibaldi openly declares his resistance to it. Sheridan contacts General Smits to get advice on how to deal with the situation, and Smits tells him in a covert and roundabout way how to beat it.

Shortly thereafter, Zacks helps them by telling the Nightwatch that Sheridan is conspiring against them and lures them into an airlock where they are sealed in. Sheridan tells them their orders are not legal and places them under arrest. They are shipped out shortly thereafter and replaced by Narns loyal to G’Kar. They have managed to avert this crisis and buy some time, but also know that very soon, Clark’s forces will be coming for them.

Significance:
Sheridan and his staff have taken a stand against Clark and the Nightwatch, which at this point puts them directly in the path of fire. They know now that they might openly rebel if their “conspiracy of light” against the Shadows is to survive. Londo is told definitively that he will be Emperor someday, which he fears because he’s foreseen how it will lead to his death.  He is also told that he has one final chance to break from the path that he is on, and gives several clues as to what will be coming in later episodes. “The eye that does not see” is G’Kar, who he is told he must not kill. “The one that is already dead” is Sheridan, whom he must save along with Delen. And how he must “surrender to (his) greatest fear” alludes to letting G’Kar kill him, as he has foreseen numerous times and allow Vir to take his place.

Memorable Lines:
Vir: I thought the purpose of filing these reports was to provide accurate intelligence!
Londo: Vir, intelligence has nothing to do with politics!

General Smits: Captain. I’m sure you’ve been following the news.
Sheridan: Yes, sir. If I may ask, what’s your opinion?
General Smits: My opinion has nothing to do with this, Captain, and neither does yours! Our job is to follow orders from the Commander in Chief and respect the chain of command! If you have different opinions, I suggest you file them in a deep dark place where nobody’ll ever find them! Am I clear?

G’Kar: You must understand, Ta’Lon. I have had a revelation!
Ta’Lon: What kind of revelation?
G’Kar: A most profound and substantial one, Ta’Lon. The kind of revelation that transforms your mind, your soul, your heart—even your flesh—so that you are a new creature, reborn in the instant of understanding
Ta’Lon: That was a stirring reply, Citizen G’Kar. Unfortunately, while all answers are replies, not all replies are answers. You did not answer the question that I asked. What do you understand now that you did not understand before?

Sheridan:If I were you, I wouldn’t use my weapons on the airlocks. They’re a solid beryllium alloy. The ricochet is a killer.

Morella: You have a chance few others will ever have, Mollari. You still have three opportunities to avoid the fire that waits for you at the end of your journey. You have already wasted two others. You must save the eye that does not see. You must not kill the one who is already dead. And at the last, you must surrender yourself to your greatest fear, knowing that it will destroy you. Now if you have failed all the others, that is your final chance for redemption.
Londo: I…don’t understand!
Morella: The future reveals itself only reluctantly, Ambassador. Take the sign for what it is. Look for it when it appears!
Londo: I will. Thank you!
Morella: One more thing. You will be Emperor. That part of your destiny cannot be avoided.
Londo: I see.
Morella: (to Vir) You will also be Emperor.
(Vir laughs)
Morella: Why are you laughing?
Vir: I… I thought you were joking!
Morella: We do not joke in the face of prophecy, Vir.
Londo: Lady Morella, please! We cannot both be Emperor!
Morella: Correct. One of you will become Emperor after the other is dead. That is all we see and all we wish to see.

5. Severed Dreams:
Hague’s ship, the Alexander, makes to B5 after escaping from Earth and fighting against many of its own fleet. Major Ryan is in charge ever since Hague died in their last firefight. Sheridan orders that communications be cut off so no one will learn that they are harboring rebels, and Ryan tells Sheridan that Clark has begun bombing Mars after it declared its opposition to martial law. Another ship arrives soon after, the Churchill under Captain Hiroshi, that is also on the run. Together, they decide to make a stand against Clark and his forces once they arrive. Sheridan declares to the station that B5 is breaking away from the Earth Alliance and will not submit to President Clark’s forces.

A Ranger comes to the station to see Delenn. After being wounded, he is recovering in medbay and tells her that many other League worlds have begun fighting amongst themselves at the behest of the Shadows, and that the Grey Council intends to do nothing about it. Incensed, Delenn travels to Mimbar to confront the Council, and despite their attempts to block her, is able to come before them. She breaks the Council, as was foretold by one of Valen’s prophecies, and ask the Religious and Worker Castes to join her. They agree and mobilize to follow her.

Back at the station, Clark’s forces arrive and demand Sheridan’s surrender. He refuses, and the firefight begins. B5 and the Alexander are damaged, Hiroshi scuttles her own ship and rams one of the enemy’s Destroyers, and raiding party is beaten by Garibaldi’s security forces and G’Kars Narns. They believe they’ve won by a razor’s edge, only to be confronted by another force of Earth ships. All seems lost, but Delenn and several Mimbari warships jump in and she tells the Earth ships to back off. They do, and Sheridan and his staff are hailed by the station’s people as heroes. The episode ends with a close-up of a Nightwatch wall poster that has been ripped in half.

Significance:
In addition to containing one of the best battle scenes of the series, this episode was pivotal in terms of the overall plot. Sheridan and B5 have officially broken away from Earth and now are free to pursue their war against the Shadows freely. Their conspiracy of light has finally come full circle and become a full-fledged war effort. Delenn has broken the Grey Council in order to mobilize what Mimbari she can to join the war effort and cut out the obstructive Warrior Caste who never believed in the prophecy of the coming Shadows. This is beneficial in the short run, but will have consequences down the road.

Memorable Lines:
Acolyte: I told you, Delenn, they will not speak to you.
Delenn: Then they will listen to me! I served the Council for sixteen cycles. I was the chosen of Dukhat to replace him! I held him when he died! His blood is on my hands, his spirit in my eyes, his word on my lips! You will step aside in his name and mine, or–in Valen’s name—I will tear this ship apart with my bare hands until I find them! Move aside!

Delenn: Three years. For three years, I warned you this day was coming. But you would not listen. “Pride,” you said! “Presumption!” And now the Shadows are on the move. The Centauri and the younger worlds are at war, the Narns have fallen… even the humans are fighting one another. The pride was yours! The presumption was yours! For a thousand years, we have been awaiting the fulfillment of prophecy. And when it finally happens, you scorn it – you reject it – because you no longer believe it yourselves!… “The problems of others are not our concern.” I do not blame you for standing silent in your shame. You, who knew what was coming, but refused to take up the burden of this war! If the Warrior Caste will not fight, then the rest of us will! If the Council has lost its way, if it will not lead… if we have abandoned our covenant with Valen… (Grabs the leader’s staff and breaks it) Then the Council should be broken… as was prophesied! We must stand with the others – now, before it’s too late!

David Sheridan: Son… I follow the news. Well, I did until ISN went black! I see what’s going on. Your mother doesn’t like to think about it. You know how she is. John, I can’t imagine the kind of decisions that are going through your mind right now. I’m sure they’re not easy. The important ones never are. But when push comes to shove, you’ve always done the right thing. What was the first lesson I ever taught you?
John Sheridan: Never start a fight, but always finish it.

Sheridan: May I have your attention, please? In the last few hours, we have learned that warships are coming this way from Earth, their orders are to seize command of Babylon 5 by force. As commanding officer and military governor of Babylon 5, I cannot allow this to happen. President Clark has violated the Earth Alliance Constitution by dissolving the Senate, declaring martial law, and personally ordering the bombing of civilian targets on the Mars colony. He is personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people. Following these attacks Orion 7 and Proxima 3 have broken away from the Earth Alliance, and declared independence. Babylon 5 now joins with them. As of this moment, Babylon 5 is seceding from the Earth Alliance. We will remain an independent state until President Clark is removed from office. At the end of this current crisis, anyone who wishes to leave for Earth is free to do so. Meanwhile, for your own safety, I urge everyone to stay in their quarters until this is over. That is all.

Delenn: This is Ambassador Delenn of the Mimbari. Babylon 5 is under our protection. Withdraw… or be destroyed!
Captain Drake: Negative. We have authority here. Do not force us to engage your ship.
Delenn: Why not? Only one human captain has ever survived battle with a Mimbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, BE SOMEWHERE ELSE!

6. Interludes and Examinations:
The Shadows have begun openly attacking known space, beginning with the Brakiri. Sheridan tries to mobilize help, but find no other races are willing to get involved. He is told that if he can demonstrate that he has equal power, they will consider joining, otherwise they will keep their heads down and hope the Shadows will pass them over. He meets with Delenn to share his misgivings, and says that if he could give the other races a victory, they might join. She tells him that is what he will need to do, and he will find a way. He reflects that she is beginning to sound like Kosh, and that’s when it hits him!

Londo is expecting Lady Adira, the woman he loves to arrive on the station soon. However, Morden shows up beforehand and confronts him about his intervention in his relationship with Lord Refa. He tells Londo that his race must continue making war on its neighbors. He accuses Morden’s associates of using his people as a distraction so they might carry out their own agenda unnoticed. Morden threatens him, but Londo refuses to back down, telling him there’s nothing he can do to him “that hasn’t already been done.” Rather than kill him, Morden poisons Adira, knowing that Londo will think Refa was responsible. Intent on revenge, he decides to work with Morden again in exchange for his help.

Meanwhile, Franklin’s problems with stims are reaching a tipping point and beginning to effect his work. Garibaldi confronts him about it but is told to mind his own business. He then goes around him to his second and asks for access to Franklin’s medical records to prove he’s addicted. He is about to access the records but then stops, and sees Franklin watching him. He is asked why he didn’t go through with it, and tells Franklin that it doesn’t seem worth it if he can’t convince him as a friend. Franklin tells him he already checked, and that his tests prove he’s addicted. He resigns his post immediately and begins going on walkabout to deal with his issues.

Meanwhile, Sheridan asks Kosh for help but is rebuffed. Kosh tells him its not time for his people to get involved. Desperate and out of patience, Sheridan berates him for the way his race has been on the sidelines and how he’s been manipulating them. Kosh becomes angry and attacks Sheridan using a strange energy wave, but Sheridan refuses to back off. He says he will comply, but that he will not be there when Sheridan goes to Z’ha’dum. Vorlon ships attack and destroy the Shadows, a move which rallies the younger races, but Morden and some of his “associates” come to Kosh’s quarters and kill him. Too late, Sheridan understands what Kosh meant. His ship, with his remains, flies into the sun to die.

Significance:
In this episode, the Shadow war finally begins. After having insurmountable difficulties getting the other races to work together, Sheridan is able to establish a fragile alliance by getting the Vorlons to intervene. Kosh is killed in retaliation, but before he dies, he reaches out to Sheridan in a dream again and tells him he’s sorry he waited so long to get involved. A part of his consciousness breaks off and attaches itself to Sheridan, which will prove significant in later episodes. After waiting for years to see her again, Londo loses Adira and turns to Morden for help. His revenge will lead him into cooperation with G’Kar, who will in turn assist him in saving his world from the Shadows.

Memorable Lines:
Sheridan: Will you (get involved)?
Gaim Ambassador: No… We are not attacked yet… may not be attacked. If we join Brakiri, we are noticed. We invite attack.
Sheridan: They are going to come for you, sooner or later.
Ambassador: You do not know that. What do they do not see, they may not attack. The enemy is powerful. Show us you have equal power, and we will consider. If not, then we will stay quiet. Do you have equal power?

Morden: I thought we had a deal… we carved up the galaxy you and I.
Londo: Yes, we did. And what you do in your half is your business. And what I do in mine is mine.
Morden: We need your government to continue its campaign.
Londo: Yes? And why is that, hmm? I don’t think you have any interest in restoring the glory of the Centauri Republic. No, I think you are using us as… shall we say, agents as chaos? Convenient distraction, making it easier for your associates to do whatever they wish to do, yes?
Morden: My associates need a voice and an ear in the Centauri royal court. If you violate the terms of our agreement, my associates may turn their eye towards your homeworld.
Londo: Then we will pluck it out.
Morden: If you put yourself between us and our objectives, you may come to regret it.
Londo: There is nothing you can do to me, Mr. Morden, that hasn’t already been done… Good day.
Morden: (to Shadow) No… we need him alive for now. There are other ways.

Sheridan: The only way we’re going to survive this war is to organize the League, the Narns and as many other races as possible into a cohesive, offensive force… It’s never been done before, and I can see why. I mean, it’s like stacking marbles in a corner. They are hip deep in their own agendas and their own rivalries. I mean, half of them won’t even talk to the other half! But what’s worse…
Delenn: What?
I feel like I’m lying to them. You’ve seen the reports from the front lines. Yes, I have ideas, some possibilities. But at this moment, the stone cold fact is that none of us can stand up to those ships! If we could just score one victory against the Shadows, it’d be enough to make some of the others come around.
Delenn: Then perhaps we should give them a victory.
Sheridan: Oh, just like that?
Delenn: Just like that.
Sheridan: And how do you suggest we do that?
Delenn: I’m sure you’ll think of something.
Sheridan: Everyday, people around here start talking more and more like Kosh…

Morden: Anything I can do to help?
Vir: Um… Short of dying? No, can’t think of a thing.

Sheridan: For three years now you’ve been pulling everyone’s strings, getting us to do all the work, and you haven’t done a damn thing but stand there and look cryptic! Well, it’s about time you start pulling your own weight around here. […] I hear you’ve got a saying: “Understanding is a three-edged sword”? Well, we’ve got a saying, too: “Put your money where your mouth is”!
Kosh: Impudent.
Sheridan: Yeah? Well, maybe that’s the only way to get through to you. You said you wanted to teach me to fight legends. Well, you’re a legend too, and I am not going away until you agree!
Kosh: Incorrect. Leave. Now.
Sheridan: No.
Kosh: Disobedient!
Sheridan: Up yours! (Kosh hits him with some kind of energy) So, the real Kosh shows his colors at last, huh? You angry now? Angry enough to kill me? Because that’s the only way I’m leaving. Unless your people get off their encounter-suited butts and do something, I’ve got nothing to lose! God, my own government wants to kill me, and if we lose this war, I’m just as dead! Our only chance is to get the other races on board for this fight and right now you’re the key to doing that.
Kosh: It is not yet time.
Sheridan: And who decides that time? You? You put me in this position. You asked me to fight this damn war! Well, it’s about time you let me fight it my way! How many people have already died fighting this war of yours, huh? How many more will die before you come down off that mountain and get involved? Ships, colonies, whole worlds are being destroyed out there, and you do nothing! How many more? How many more, Kosh? How many more dead before you’re satisfied? Huh?
Kosh: I will do as you ask. But there is a price to pay. I will not be there to help you when you go to Z’ha’dum.
Sheridan: All right. If that’s the trade-off. If you want to withhold your help when the time comes, that’s fine. I’ll go it alone.
Kosh: You do not understand. But you will.

Babylon 5, Best Episodes Season Two (cont’d)

Back to B5 season two! Arguably the best season of the show, and for obvious reasons. The action was pretty damn awesome, in part because the CGI had improved noticeably since the first season. In addition, the storyline was intense and layered, with the many plot threads that they had taken their time to set up in season one now coming together and unfolding rather nicely!

And of course, there were numerous plot threads to get into! There was the conspiracy taking place back at Earth, Delenn’s controversial transformation and its role in an ancient prophecy, the Shadows being on the move, the ongoing feud between the Narns and Centauri, the Psi Corps and its dark agenda, and the strange and sudden disappearance of Sinclair. And there was a bunch of other stuff that happened too; some of it funny, some of it interesting, but just about all of it entertaining…

7. Hunter, Prey:
The episode opens with a Sheridan and Ivanova checking out Kosh’s ship in Bay 13. Even after years of contact, they still know virtually nothing about of the Vorlons. Sheridan resolves to learn more and confronts him concerning the dream he had aboard the Streib vessel. Kosh says that he touched Sheridan’s mind because “he sought understanding” and Sheridan’s thoughts were like “a song”. Only once before has he experienced this, though he does not say with whom…

Around the same time, the station is put on Ultraviolet alert by orders of Earth Force Intelligence because a fugitive is believed to be aboard the station. The fugitive in question is former president’s Santiago’s doctor, a man named Everett Jacobs, and an old friend of Franklins. They are told that Jacobs is in possession of stolen information, but Sheridan soon hears from one of Hague’s people. She tells him that Jacobs has proof that Clark’s story about his illness is a lie, proof that would go a long way to proving that Clark had a hand in his assassination. Sheridan vows to find Jacobs and get the information to her so she can get it back home.

In the course of the investigation, Sheridan is summoned by Kosh and jumps at the chance to meet with him. Sheridan asks Kosh why he will not reveal himself, to which Kosh replies that people are not ready to see him. When Kosh tells him he wants to learn about Sheridan, he mistakes this for an exchange of information, and Kosh tells him to leave. Frustrated, Sheridan asks Kosh what we wants, which earns him a sharp reaction. Finally, Kosh tells him that when Sheridan is ready, he will teach him “to fight legends”.

Meanwhile, Garibaldi and Franklin begin secretly looking for Jacobs while regular security are commandeered to assist the Earth Force Intelligence operatives who are there to coordinate the search. After saving him from some thugs who are trying to ransom him, they stow him away on Kosh’s ship to conceal him. They are able to do this, they learn, because Kosh’s ship is itself a life form. Ergo, the vessel is able trick all scanners into detecting only one life force – the ship itself – regardless of who is aboard.

Significance:
In the course of this episode, we learn more about conspiracy back at Earth and see Sheridan and his people take their first steps in helping to expose and unseat the perpetrators. We also get to learn a bit about the Vorlons, like how their ships are based on organic technology. The mystery surrounding his encounter suit and why he can’t reveal himself also deepens… And finally, Kosh begins the long process of mentoring Sheridan to fight the Shadows.

Memorable Lines:
Franklin: I think we lost interest in the future when all the things we were told were coming finally got here… wasn’t what we thought it was going to be. It’s like when you keep bugging your folks for that one special toy for Christmas and when you finally get it, its just not as great as the vids made it look. Just doesn’t run right. You’re so disappointed, you shove it in the closet, you never take it out again.
Garibaldi: Maybe somebody should’ve labelled the future “some assembly required”.

Sheridan: Are we just toys to you? Huh? What do you want?
Kosh: Never ask that question!
Sheridan: At least I got a response out of you. So what’ll it be, Ambassador?
Kosh: I will teach you.
Sheridan: About yourself?
Kosh: About you. Until you are ready.
Sheridan: For what?
Kosh: To fight legends.

8. In the Shadow of Z’Hadum:
This is perhaps my favorite episode of season two. It begins with a conversation between Morden and Vir, who is forced to stand in since Londo is away. After some unpleasantries, Vir lets Morden know exactly what he thinks of him and the “favors” he and his associates are providing to the Republic. Meanwhile, the war continues to flood the station with refugees and Franklin and his staff are struggling to keep up. However, Franklin is determined to ensure that he is on hand to make sure everyone gets the care they need and dies with dignity under his watch.

But things really come together when Sheridan is looking through some old records about his wife’s last mission. Apparently, she was on a survey mission with IPX, on a ship called the Icarus that was heading to some world on the border of known space to look into the ruins of a lost civilization. When Garibaldi sees Morden’s picture amongst the crew manifest, he tells Sheridan that he knows the man’s face and that he is on the station. Sheridan immediately has Morden brought in for questioning. Morden insists that he doesn’t remember anything about what happened, but Sheridan in unconvinced. He decides to hold Morden illegally, a move which prompts Garibaldi to resign in protest.

Finally, Delenn and Kosh confront Sheridan and tell him Morden must go. It is here that they explain to him about the Shadows, the First Ones, and the coming war for the first time. Kosh also gives him some images from the Icarus mission to Z’ha’dum, showing him how their landing on the planet awoke the Shadows prematurely. John eventually decides to let Morden go, but tells Kosh that in exchange, he’s to teach him how to fight them since he plans to go there one day. Kosh tells him that if he goes to Z’ha’dum, he will die, but Sheridan is determined to go down fighting.

Significance:
This episode is of huge significance to B5’s plot development. After a season and half of building up and hinting at various things: like who and what the Shadows are, the First Ones, what Morden is about, and what happened to Sheridan’s wife, we finally get to see how all these things are interconnected and intrinsic to the ongoing plot. It also becomes clear that B5, originally intended as a neutral site, will be a staging ground in the coming war.

Sheridan’s decision to keep their secret and let Morden go also makes him a co-conspirator, which makes two plots he’s now involved in! Also, Franklin’s workaholic tendencies are previewed for the first time. In time, his overburdening work schedule will cause him to turn to stims, which will lead to more problems and his decision to quit and go on walkabout.

Memorable Quotes:
Morden: What do you want?
Vir: I’d like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price. I would look up at your lifeless eyes and wave like this (waves). Can you and your associates arrange this for me, Mr. Morden?

Franklin: And then, just at the last, it’s as if they look past you at something else, and the look on their face, it’s like nothing you can describe. And then, just as they look past you—the moment that they look past you—you can’t help but meet their gaze and just for an instant, you see God reflected in their eyes. [pauses] I’ve seen a lot of reflected gods today, Susan. And I’m wondering how we can keep believing in them, when they’ve stopped believing in us.

Delenn: Once you know his secret, once you know what we have known for the last three years, you will never sleep well again. Come Captain… the greatest nightmare of our time is waiting for you.

Delenn: There are being in the universe billions of years older than either of our races. Once, long ago, they walked amongst the stars like giants. Vast and timeless. They taught the younger races, explored beyond the rim, created great empires. But to all things, there is an end. Slowly, over a million years, the First Ones went away. Some passed beyond the stars, never to return. Some simply disappeared.

Delenn: Not all of the First Ones have gone away. A few stayed behind, hidden or asleep, waiting for the day when they may be needed… when the Shadows come again.
Sheridan: Shadows?
Delenn: We have no other name for them. The Shadows were old when even the ancients were young.

Delenn: That is why Kosh cannot leave his encounter suit. He would be recognized.
Sheridan: Recognized? By whom?
Kosh: Everyone.

Sheridan: You ever studied ancient history? 20th century, World War II?… The Germans had a secret code they used for all their important messages. It was called “Enigma”. What they didn’t know was that the British had cracked the code. One day, Churchill’s people intercepted a message authorizing the bombing of a city named Coventry. Now, if they evacuated Coventry, the Germans would know their code had been broken, and switch to another system. If that happened, it could cost the Allies the entire war. If they didn’t evacuate the city, hundreds of innocent men, women, and children would die.
Zack: So, what happened?
Sheridan: They kept the secret. There was no evacuation. And on November 14, 1940, Coventry was destroyed. The dead were… piled up like cordwood. I’ve seen newsreels of Churchill visiting the ruins a few days later. And you can just see it in his eyes, the knowledge of what he’d done. Dark, haunted. All these years I’ve never been able to get that image out of my head.
Zack: Well, I’m glad it’s a decision I don’t have to make. I don’t think I could live with myself. How many lives is a secret worth?

Sheridan: You’ve been trying to help me so we can understand each other. That’s not what I want anymore. I want you to teach me how to fight them, how to beat them. Because sooner or later, I’m going to Z’ha’dum. I’m going to stop them.
Kosh: If you go to Z’ha’dum, you will die.
Sheridan: Then I die. But I will not go down easily, and I will not go down alone. You will teach me?
Kosh: Yes…

9. The Long Twilight Struggle:
After many months of fighting, the Great War appears to be coming to a close. G’Kar is met by his uncle, a senior commander in the Narn fleet, who tells him that they must attempt one last, desperate gamble to prolong the war. Meanwhile, Londo is visited by Refa, who tells him that they intercepted a communication that divulges the Narn’s latest war plan. Apparently, they are going to attempt an assault on the Centauri’s supply base at Gorash 7, which if successful, will stall the Centauri advance.

Rather than defend it, Refa has another plan: he asks Londo to arrange for his “associates” to defend it, while the bulk of their fleet attacks the Narn homeworld with Mass Drivers, an illegal weapon that will level the surface. Londo is frightened and reluctant. He no longer trusts Morden’s “associates” given their obvious power, and is morally opposed to such a brutal attack. However, Refa insists that this will save Centauri lives, shave months off the war, and that there is no time to debate. Londo concedes.

G’Kar is meanwhile warned about the possibility of an attack from Franklin who received some interesting news from the latest batch of Narn refugees. During the Earth-Mimbari War, the Mimbari surpassed Mars in order to assault Earth, and now he suspects the Centauri of the same. However, G’Kar’s uncle is unreceptive and presses forward with his plan. He and the remainder of the Narn fleet arrive at Gorash 7 and are intercepted by the Shadows. The Narn fleet is destroyed, and the Centauri simultaneously attack the Narn homeworld and devestate it.

Faced with annihilation, the Narn government surrenders and tells G’Kar to ask for asylum. Londo issues the Centauri’s punitive peace terms which include mass executions, the destruction of the Kha-Ri, and the creation of a puppet Narn government. Sheridan and the Council are powerless to do anything about it, but grant G’Kar asylum, which ensures he will remain alive and free. G’Kar issues a heartfelt declaration that the Centauri will fail, for there is no greater power than “the need for freedom.”

In the midst of all this, Draal invites Sheridan and Delenn to the surface and tells them that the Great Machine is now at their disposal for the upcoming Shadow War. Admist everything else, this is the first bit of good news Sheridan has received in awhile and he’s happy to get it! After retiring to his quarters, a forlorn Londo is disturbed to hear that his people are now moving on several other worlds adjacent to Narn territory, something he was hoping would not happen.

Significance:
A number of important things happen in this episode, which wrap up some earlier plot threads and establish some new ones. The war between the Narn and the Centauri ends, which Londo is happy for, but is disturbed to find out that it has spurned them on to even greater ambitions of conquest. G’Kar is now a refugee on board the station, and his status as the last free member of the Kha-Ri will prove very important in the episodes and seasons to come. The end of the Narn-Centauri war is also a great victory for the Shadows since it means that they have successfully created a chaotic situation which will help disguise their advance.

Draal’s decision to come out of isolation and join in Sheridan and Delenn’s alliance is also of great importance. As season three approaches, the Great Machine will play a crucial role in helping them to locate the First Ones, uncover evidence that helps prove Clark’s guilt in assassinating President Santiago, and fulfilling an ancient prophecy…

Memorable Quotes:
Londo: Refa, any force attempting to invade Narn will up to its neck in blood! It’s own!
Lord Refa: We have no intention of invading Narn. Flattening it, yes, but invading it? We will be using mass drivers. By the time we are done, their cities will be in ruins, we can move in at our leisure.
Londo: Mass drivers? They have been outlawed by every civilized planet!
Refa: These are uncivilized times.
Londo: We have treaties!
Refa: Ink on a page!

Londo: Listen to me, Refa. My allies have begun to worry me. Report I have recieved… their sheer strength!

Draal: Since taking up residence in the heart of this machine, I have explored its secrets, learned, and discovered that I can look into distant worlds, see and hear things you cannot begin to imagine! Along the way, I’ve learned some things about you, Captain! The loss of your wife—I know Delenn has told you about the coming darkness. And lately I’ve learned about your role in, shall we say, a “conspiracy of light” aimed at your own government?
Sheridan: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Draal: Yes, you do! Please, Captain, don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me. They would have to dig down three miles into the surface of this planet to learn what I know, and no one who tried would survive the attempt! And now I have seen enough! I said a year ago that this place was to be left alone until the time was right. That time has arrived. Now that I know the full capabilities of this place, I am prepared to place them at your disposal!
Sheridan: Are you proposing an alliance?
Draal: One of the first! There will be more to come. This has been a hard and trying year for you, Captain Sheridan. It might be helpful for you to know that you are not alone, and that in the long, twilight struggle which lies ahead of us, there is the possibility of hope.

G’Kar: No dictator, no invader can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power, governments and tyrants and armies cannot stand. The Centauri learned this lesson once. We will teach it to them again. Though it take a thousand years, we will be free.

10. The Fall of Night:
The episode opens with Sheridan running B5’s fighter squadron through drills designed to familiarize them with fighting Centauri ships. Afterward, he receives word from the Drazi and pak’ma’ra ambassadors who tell him the Centauri have expanded their war by attacking their territories. Sheridan confronts Londo, but is told in rather threatening terms to mind his own business. At the same time, a Narn cruiser that survived the war shows up at the station and asks for sanctuary while they make repairs. Since B5 is neutral territory, Sheridan agrees to give them protection until they can get up and running again.

G’Kar is pleased to hear of this, and even more pleased to learn that a representative from The Ministry of Peace named Frederick Lantz has come to the station to evaluate the Centauri. It seems that Earth is finally prepared to take sides in the conflict. He is accompanied by Mr. Welles, another MiniPax representative, who is there to coordinate the Night Watch. Having joined them, Zack sits in on the meeting and begin to see that their true purpose is to detect disloyalty. Welles similarly meets with Ivanova and offers her the chance to inform on her fellow officers, which she roundly refuses.

In the meantime, Lt. Keffer, a pilot from Zeta squad, confronts a pilot from another squadron about something he saw in hyperspace. Apparently, the man claimed to see something that looked like a “cross between a spider and your worst nightmare”. Interestingly enough, Keffer knows exactly what he’s talking about. Months back, he saw something similar and has become obsessed with finding it since it killed one of his squadmates. After convincing the other pilot that he saw it too, he is given all the sensor data he will need to track it.

In time, Lantz reveals that his true purpose is to sign a non-aggression pact with the Centauri. In short, Earth is turning its back on their ongoing aggression. When one of the Night Watch tells them that Sheridan is harboring a Narn cruiser, Lantz is incensed and informs Londo. A Centauri warship arrives shortly thereafter and demands Sheridan turn the ship and crew over. Sheridan refuses and orders Zeta squadron to escort the ship to the jump point. The Centauri ships opens fire and a firefight ensues. B5 takes some damage, but manages to destroy the Centauri vessel.

While escorting the Narn cruiser through hyperspace, Keffer detects the signature the other pilot told him to look for. He breaks off to investigate, comes face to face with a Shadow vessel, and is killed. But before it could shoot him down, he manages to make a recording of it and ejects the data into a beacon pod. Back at the station, Sheridan is ordered to issue an apology for the incident with the Centauri vessel. Hoping to salvage the peace treaty, and given the fact that it was their ship that fired first, the Centauri accept.

However, on his way to the gardens to deliver it, a Centauri agent places a bomb inside the transport car and Sheridan is forced to jump out. Delenn and B5’s entire diplomatic corps see him falling from below, and Delenn asks Kosh to help. For the first time since his arrival, Kosh leaves his encounter suit and reveals himself so that he may fly to Sheridan’s rescue. Everyone sees him as an angel, one particular to their species’ culture – except Londo who says he saw nothing.

The episode ends with Ivanova narrating. With the peace treaty signed, the Centauri predictably expand their war to include several more members of the League. The footage from Keffer’s gun camera is picked up and begins to cause a stir back at Earth.

Significance:
Season Two ends with a number of threads being wrapped up and some important questions being answered. For starters, it is clear that Londo suspects that Morden and his “associates” cannot be trusted and things are spiraling out of control. However, he seems powerless to do anything about it since Refa and his allies back home are intent on continued expansion. This plays to the Shadows agenda quite well, since chaos amidst the younger races will serve as a welcome distraction from their activities.

Also, what Delenn meant when she said Kosh “would be recognized if he left his suit” is also made clear. Apparently, the Vorlons have traveled to many worlds in their time to tutor the younger races. Wherever they went, they took on the guise of angels in order to be received with open arms.

Finally, for the first time since their arrival, the universe is made aware of the existence of the Shadows. This will be of great significance in season three, when the Shadows finally attack. It is also clear at this point that Earth is degenerating into a dictatorship thanks to Clark, the Ministry of Peace and the Nightwatch. From here on in, people like Zack will have to decide which side they’re on.

However, season Two’s biggest significance though is the fact that B5’s mission, which was one of peace, has now failed. However, in the coming war, it will prove to be of far greater importance – as the rallying point for all the younger races to come together and form an alliance against the Shadows.

Memorable Quotes:
Lennier: Sometimes I get so close, and yet it seems I’m shut out of the important things.
Vir: It’s a useless feeling! The ambassador is definitely going through some changes. He even looks different!
Lennier: Indeed! And now with the military starting to stampede over everyone and everything…
Vir: People coming and going and secret meetings!
Lennier: You never know what it’s all about. Until later, when it’s too late.
Vir: And they never listen to us.
Vir/Lennier: Makes me nervous!
Vir: Same time tomorrow?
Lennier: Sure.

Lt. Keffer: It was jet black. A shade of black so deep your eye just kinda slides off it. And it shimmered when you looked at it. A spider big as death and twice as ugly. And when it flies past, it’s like you hear a scream in your mind.

Frederick Lantze: I’m here to sign a non-aggression treaty with the Centauri. Before I leave here, there will be an Earth-Centauri alliance that will guarantee peace for Earth. We will, at last, know peace in our time.

John Sheridan: I suppose this… apology is already written?
Mr. Welles: No need. You can phrase the apology any way you see fit. As with everything else, it’s the thought that counts.

Sheridan: I apologize. I’m… sorry. I’m sorry we had to defend ourselves against an unwarranted attack. I’m sorry that your crew was stupid enough to fire on a station filled with a quarter million civilians, including your own people. And I’m sorry I waited as long as I did before I blew them all straight to hell! As with everything else, it’s the thought that counts.

Ivanova: It was the end of the Earth year 2259, and the war was upon us. As anticipated, a few days after the Earth-Centauri treaty was announced, the Centauri widened their war to include many of the Non-Aligned Worlds. And there was another war brewing closer to home. A personal one whose cost would be higher than any of us could imagine. We came to this place because Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace. By the end of 2259, we knew that it had failed. But in so doing, it became something greater. As the war expanded, it became our last, best hope for victory. Because sometimes peace is another word for surrender…and because secrets have a way of getting out.

B5 Best Episodes

B5 Best Episodes

After going over B5’s five seasons, the best lines from the series, and just about everything in between, I found myself thinking about what the best episodes in the series were. To be fair, there were quite a few, and I couldn’t possibly fit them all into a single posting. So I figure I’ll list my favorite episodes season for season, over the next few days, breaking of course to respect the holidays! No work on Christmas!

So enjoy the following personal selections of the best episodes of B5, at least the ones I thought were the best. And Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to all! Enjoy the time off, see the family, get some good swag! And if there’s time, try to get out and enjoy the weather! It doesn’t snow much here, but I plan to get to some slopes soon and take in as much as I can.

And so it begins… Here are the best episodes, at least in my humble opinion, from the first season of Babylon 5:

Soul Hunter:
A mysterious alien craft drifts to B5, its lone crewman brought to medbay. When Delenn sees him, she panics and tries to kill him. Apparently, the alien is a Soul Hunter, a race of people who believe the soul dies with the body. They are thusly dedicated to preserving the soul of the individual by artificial means. In the course of the episode, it is revealed that this particular hunter was there when Dukhat died, and missed his opportunity to harvest his soul. Now he is driven, to the point of killing people, so that he won’t miss another. The Soul Hunter tries to kill Delenn and capture her soul, and Sinclair risks his life to save hers. Another Soul Hunter comes to the station to claim the first hunters soul, and reflects with Sinclair on how it is their lot to be feared.

Significance:

In the course of harvesting Delenn’s soul, the Soul Hunter sees into her mind and learns what she and the Grey Council intend for Sinclair. When he and Sinclair get into a fight, he reveals it to him by saying: “She is Satai! They are using you! They’re USING YOU!” Sinclair learns that Satai refers to a member of the Grey Council, that Delenn is one such person. He is further intrigued when a semi-conscious Delenn looks up at him and says “I knew you would come. We were right about you…”

Memorable Quotes:
Franklin: It’s all so brief, isn’t it? Typical human lifespan is almost a hundred years, but it’s barely a second compared to what’s out there. It wouldn’t be so bad if life didn’t take so long to figure out. Seems you just start to get it right and then…it’s over.
Ivanova: Doesn’t matter. If we lived 200 years we’d still be human, we’d still make the same mistakes.
Franklin: You’re a pessimist.
Ivanova: I’m Russian, doctor. We understand these things.

The Parliament of Dreams:
It is a week of religious and cultural festivals on the station, each member race holding a ceremony that celebrates the dominant faith on their world. For the Centauri, this involves a lavish ceremony that commemorates the war between the Centauri and the Xon, two sentient races that once inhabited their homeworld. For the Centauri, it involves prayers and a rebirth ceremony. G’Kar’s own involvement is tempered however by news from home from an old rival that he is dying, and that he has paid an assassin to kill G’Kar as well. Meanwhile, Sinclair meets his old girlfriend, Catherine, and they rekindle their old romance.

Significance:
This episode introduces a number of important characters and plot elements that will come up again later. For one, the Mimbari rebirth ceremony will figure prominently in season three when B5 breaks away from Earth. Lennier and Na’Toth, the aides to Delenn and G’Kar, are also introduced for the first time.

Memorable Quotes:
Without a doubt, Londo stole the show this time around. The best lines are almost totally his. However, G’Kar got some good ones in as well.

Narn Courier: Are you Ambassador G’Kar?
G’Kar: This is Ambassador G’Kar’s quarters. This is Ambassador G’Kar’s table! This is Ambassador G’Kar’s dinner! Which part of this progression escapes you?!

Londo: Do you know what the last Xon said just before he died? [clutches chest] AAAAGGGHHHH!

G’Kar: The Earthers have a phrase: Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. I believe they stole it from us.

Londo: (to Delenn) Have I ever told you that you are very cute for a Minbari? (to Garibaldi) Oh! And you are cute, too, in an annoying sort of way. Everybody’s cute. Everybody’s cute! Even me. But in purple, I’m stunning! (Passes out.)
Vir Cotto: Ah! He has become one with his inner self!
Garibaldi: He’s passed out.
Vir: That too.

Mind War
An old flame of Talia Winters, Jason Ironheart, arrives on the station. It seems that after some rather interesting experiments, he has changed drastically, his psionic powers having been greatly enhanced. The Psi Corps are naturally after him, and a confrontation ensues on the station during which time Ironheart undergoes a transformation and becomes a being of pure energy. At the same time, Sinclair’s girlfried Sakai undertakes a mission to Sigma 957 for Interplanetary Expeditions to investigate mysterious sightings. After ignoring G’Kars warnings that the planet is not safe, she has a near-brush with death when a massive First Ones ship appears. She is narrowly rescued by forces dispatched by G’Kar, and is given some cryptic words by him as to what she encountered upon her return.

Significance:
This episode introduces a good deal about the Psi Corps and its hidden agenda. We also learn for the first time that there are beings in the B5 universe that are billions of years old and are still out there. The First Ones play a major role in later episodes when the Shadow War begins, particularly the ones from Sigma 957.

Memorable Quotes:
G’Kar: Let me pass on to you the one thing I’ve learned about this place. No one here is exactly what he appears.

Talia: Do you know what it’s like when telepaths make love, Commander? You drop every defense, and it’s all mirrors: reflecting each other’s feelings deeper and deeper… until, somewhere along the line, your souls mix. And it’s a feeling so profound it makes you hurt. It’s the only moment in a telepath’s life when you no longer hear the voices.

G’Kar: (referring to an ant on a flower) I have just picked it up on the tip of my glove. If I put it down again and it asks another ant, “What was that?” …how would it explain? There are things in the universe billions of years older than either of our races. They are vast, timeless. And if they are aware of us at all, it is as little more than ants…and we have as much chance of communicating with them as an ant has with us. We know. We’ve tried. And we’ve learned we can either stay out from underfoot, or be stepped on.

And the Sky Full of Stars:
Two mysterious agents come to Babylon 5, named only “Knight One” and “Knight Two”, who are seeking Jeffrey Sinclair. After capturing him, they place him into a state of deep hypnosis and begin questioning him about the Battle of the Line and the missing 24 hours in his head. The battle is described as a massacre, how the entire force defending Earth was being decimated, but how in the midst of it all, the Mimbari surrendered for reasons unknown. The “Knights” suspect that it had something to do with Sinclair and how he was brought aboard a Mimbari cruiser since it coincided with the Mimbari’s declaration of surrender.

After being heavily dosed with drugs and asked what happened, Sinclair begins to remember what happened. He recalls how he was brought aboard the Mimbari Cruiser after being shot down, how they examined him with a mysterious device that glowed in his presence, and that he saw Delenn there. Garibaldi attempts a rescue, but Sinclair manages to escape on his own and wanders the station in a semi-conscious state. After nearly killing several personnel, who he sees as Mimbari, Delenn confronts him and convinces him to put his gun down. Sinclair wakes up in medlab sometime later, healthy and restored, and tells Delenn he remembers nothing (which is a lie). He decides to redouble his efforts to find out what really happened when he was aboard the Mimbari cruiser, and Delenn is given orders to kill him if he does remember something.

Significance:
This episode is the first time that Sinclair begins to truly realize what happened to him at the Line. It is clear that from this point onward, Sinclair will risk everything to discover the truth, and that Delenn will be forced to either kill him or reveal everything. It is also shown that there is a secret conspiracy on Earth to eliminate all alien influence that goes beyond the Home Guard, who were revealed in a previous episode.

Memorable Quotes:
Sinclair: Everyone lies, Michael. The innocent lie because they don’t want to be blamed for something they didn’t do, and the guilty lie because they don’t have any other choice.

Signs and Portents
Raider activity is increasing in the sector, and Sinclair and his forces are on the watchout for their ringleader. Meanwhile, some new visitors come to Babylon 5. The first is a Centauri Lord named Kiro and his mother – Lady Ladira, a Centauri prophetess – who sees the station’s destruction in a vision. His is apparently on B5 to delivering The Eye, a royal Centauri artifact, to Londo, who is then to return it to the royal court on Centauri Prime. In the midst of this, he admits to Londo that he longs for the old days when their people were still the dominant power in the region. Londo shares the same feelings, but feels helpless to do anything about it.

At the same time, a stranger named Mr. Morden comes to the station and is meeting with every ambassador and asking them one simple question “What do you want?” Delenn dismisses him without explanation after seeing a dark shadow cast over him, G’Kar tells him he wants revenge on the Centauri, and Londo says he wants a return to the old days when his people controlled the stars. Only Londo’s answer appears to satisfy him and he prepares to leave, but not before a Raider party mounts an attack on the station. Kiro is kidnapped, the Raiders are dispatched, and Morden is confronted by Kosh and told to leave. Aboard the Raider ship, it is revealed that Kiro hired the Raiders to steal the Eye and stage his kidnapping so he would have the Eye for himself. They are about to betray him when a Shadow vessel appears and blows the ship up.

Back at the station, the Eye is returned to Londo and his reputation saved. He is overjoyed and told by Morden they will come to find him again soon. Meanwhile, Ladira, who predicted her son would be killed by “shadows” shows Sinclair her vision of the station’s destruction. She leaves, and things carry on.

Significance:

This episode introduces Morden and gives viewers their girst glimpse of the Shadows. We also get the first hints that the Shadows will be helping Londo and his feeding his ambitions for power. In exchange for what, we don’t know, but it seems clear that the Shadows intentions are not benign.

Memorable Quotes:
Lord Kiro: She’s been wrong before. On my first birthday, she said that someday I would be killed by… shadows.

Morden: What do you want?
Londo: To be left alone!
Morden: Is that it? Is that really all, Ambassador?
Londo: All right. Fine! You really want to know what I want? You really want to know the truth? I want my people to reclaim their rightful place in the galaxy. I want to see the Centauri stretch forth their hand again, and command the stars! I-I want a rebirth of glory, a renaissance of power. I want to stop running through my life like a man late for an appointment, afraid to– to look back, or to look forward. I want us to be what we used to BE! I want… I want it all back, the way that it was! Does that answer your question?
Morden: Yes. Yes, it does.

A Voice in the Wilderness (Parts I and II)

Draal, an old mentor of Delenn’s, arrives on the station to see her. Her confides in her that the Grey Council is not what it used to be, and that the Council seems uninterested in the suffering or concerns of others. Meanwhile, a riot on Mars puts everyone on the station on high alert, especially Sinclair and Garibaldi who have strong ties there. Garibaldi enlists the help of Talia Winters in order to get a signal to Mars so he can speak to his ex-wife who was wounded in the riots. She is remarried, and Garibaldi is heart-broken to learn this.

But the big news comes from the planet them, Epsilon III. Draal, Londo, Delenn, and Sinclair are all contacted by a vision of a strange alien who appears before them and warns them of impending destruction. After a few attempts to land on the planet, Sinclair, Londo, Draal and Delenn find that only they are able to approach the planet safely. When they arrive, they find a subterranean facility filled with super-advanced machinery. At the core of it is the alien they saw in their visions, and he appears to be dying. After bringing him back to medlab, he further warns them of their destruction.

At the same time, an Earth Alliance Cruiser shows up with orders to assume control of the surface. Sinclair refuses to give it, and says that control over the sector belongs to B5’s commander (aka. him!). Another ship arrives shortly thereafter, one that appears to be run by members of the same species as the alien that was running the great machine. He tells Sinclair that these people are a faction that split from their world a long time ago and are very dangerous. B5 and a Earth Force Cruiser are told to stand aside by the hostile aliens so that they may land and assume control over the planet, but Sinclair and the ship’s Captain decide to fight it out.

Ultimately, Draal decides to merge with the machine and destroys the alien vessel. He then warns all parties aboard the station that the great machine will remain a secret until the time is right, and no one will be allowed access.

Significance:
This episode introduces the great machine on Omicron 7 and previews the important role it will play in the coming seasons. We also get to see Lise Hampton, Garibaldi’s ex-wife, who will play a significant role in later episodes. The Mars revolution is also shown to be well underway, which will figure prominently when Clark takes control of Earth and Sheridan and his forces fight to overthrow him. Finally, we are told that Londo, Draal, Delenn and Sinclair all share a common characteristic: the capacity for self-sacrifice, thus previewing what will come of them as the show goes on.

Memorable Quotes:
Londo: The next day, I woke up, I saw her in the light of day, sleeping against my arm, and I decided I would rather chew off my arm than wake her up.
Garibaldi: Aw, that’s sweet.
Londo: No, no! She had a voice that could curdle fresh milk.

Ivanova: Worst case of testosterone poisoning I’ve ever seen!

Londo: Here, 6000 years of recorded history, a history that includes remarkable composers, astonishing symphonies, but what is the one song that half of them sing to their children generation after generation? (Sings the hokey-pokey) It doesn’t mean anything. I have been studying it for seven days, I had the computer analyse it. I swear to you it does not mean a thing!

Draal: I am sending this message to all free parties involved in the struggle for control of this planet. It belongs to none of you. It belongs only to itself and to the future… If enlightened self-interest should prove insufficient for the cause, understand this! The defensive systems on this world are now fully operational. Do not attempt to come here again. Any approach will be met with resistance, any ship attempting to land will be destroyed. When the time is right we will be here, waiting for you, but not until then. Goodbye…

Babylon Squared:
The episode opens with Sinclair ordering their Starfury squadrons to investigate a neighboring sector after they detect some unusual tachyon readings coming from the area. Further investigation reveals that a station has appeared in the area, the elusive Babylon 4 which disappeared years ago without a trace! Sinclair and Garibaldi mount a rescue mission to evacuate all the personnel.

Meanwhile, Delenn returns to Mimbar to speak to the Grey Council. Apparently, she has been selected to be the next leader after Dukhat, but indicates that she cannot take up the role because her mission to B5 takes precedence, mainly because of the prophecy that involves her and the station. By the end, she is given the Council’s leave to return to B5 and resume her mission, and also is entrusted with a device known as a “Triluminary”.

After landing on the station, Garibaldi and Sinclair meet the commander who tells them that the station is “unstuck in time”. One minute, it was about to go online in the past, the next, it found itself several years in the future. While on board, Sinclair begins having visions, apparently from the future when B5 is attacked and destroyed. They also find a strange alien on board named Zathras who explains to them that the station is needed for a war in another time. He also reacts strangely when he sees Sinclair, who he temporarily mistakes for “The One”.

Eventually, the station becomes unstuck again and everyone is forced to evacuate. Zathras asks to be left behind because he belongs there, and tells Sinclair he must go because he “has a destiny”. Zathras awakens in some distant time and sees “The One” standing above him, but when they remove their helmet, it is revealed to be Sinclair, but much older.

Significance:
This episode explains the mystery of Babylon 4 for the first time, how it disappeared without a trace just after completion, and how a war in some other time was involved. Sinclair’s involvement is also established, as it is an older version of himself that is “The One”. On top of that, we are given some subtle hints that B5 will be attacked in the not-too-distant future, adding to Lady Ladira said about B5’s destruction. The Triluminary, which will make an appearance in the final episode of the season, is also shown. Finally, Zathras is introduced, as is the temporal plot that involves him and will be completed in season three.

Memorable Quotes:
Zathras: Zathras not of this time. You take, Zathras die. You leave, Zathras die. Either way, it is bad for Zathras.

Zathras: Great war. Terrible war. Much killings. Everyone fighting. A great darkness. It is the end of everything. Zathras warn, but no, no one listen to poor Zathras, no. Great war. But, great hope of peace. Need place. Place to gather, to fight to organise…to help save galaxy on the side of light. So they tell me. Must have. Or it is the end of all. The One leads us. The One tells us to go, we go. We live for The One. We would die for The One. We pull this place through time to save us all.

Sinclair: Fasten, then zip. You?
Garibaldi: Fasten zip. (Sinclair chuckles.)
Sinclair: How much longer?
Garibaldi: One hour, fifty seven minutes. (pause) Want to talk socks?

Chrysalis:
A border dispute between the Narn and Centauri over quadrant 37 and Sinclair and the station are brought in to mediate. Morden, the mysterious character from “Signs and Portents” returns and offers Londo his help. Shortly thereafter, Shadow vessels appear in Quadrant 37 and completely destroy the Narn forces, station and colony. When G’Kar learns of the attack, he becomes afraid, as he knows that none of the known races could have done it, which can only mean someone else is out there… Londo is also afraid given the sheer destruction that this little “favor” resulted in, but Morden tells him not to worry. The Narns are his enemy, and his “associates” stand with him.

Sinclair proposes marriage to Sakai, she says yes, and Garibaldi is asked to be best man. Meanwhile, an investigation into the death of a lurker reveals that there is a conspiracy aboard B5. When he investigates further, Garibaldi discovers that there is a plot to assassinate the president, and some of its agents are on board the station. When he finds the culprits, his second shoots him in the back. While in medlab, he warns Sinclair that the president is about to die. Sure enough, he’s right! At the transfer point on Io, the president’s ship, Earth Force One, blows up, apparently due to a reactor malfunction. Strangely, the VP was not on board at the time, apparently due to an illness, and takes the office of president.

Finally, Delenn begins to undergo a transformation using the Triluminary. Before she does, she meets with Kosh. He reveals himself to her, after which, she is sure of what she must do. She learns shortly before this that Sinclair has learned about what happened to him at the Line and agrees to tell him the truth. However, with everything else that is going on, he is unable to make their meeting and arrives to find her in a cocoon in her quarters. He laments all the changes and upheavals to Sakai, saying “Nothing’s the same anymore.” The season ends on this uncertain note…

Significance:
Delenn’s Chrysalis, which is apparently part of a larger prophecy begins here. The Shadows are also revealed again, and their attack on the Narns makes G’Kar highly suspicious. He becomes aware of the fact that there is a dark and powerful force out there somewhere. The president is assassinated and the conspiracy back at Earth is revealed to be larger and more powerful than anyone suspected. Clark assumes the presidency, and will later be revealed to be behind the conspiracy that is taking over Earth.

Memorable Quotes:
Londo: But this — this, this, this is like being nibbled to death by… what are those Earth creatures called? Feathers, long bill, webbed feet… go ‘quack’…
Vir: Cats.
Londo: Cats. I’m being nibbled to death by cats.

G’Kar: It wasn’t the Humans. The Centauri don’t have the will. The Vorlons don’t care. The Minbari wouldn’t do it. The other races aren’t powerful enough for a strike like this… There’s someone else out there Na’Toth.

Morden: (talking to two Shadows) Yes. I think he’s ready… Perfect for our needs… No. No. He suspects nothing. When the time is right, Ambassador Mollari will do exactly as we wish. Destiny is on our side.

Kosh: And so it begins.

Sinclair: Nothing’s the same anymore.

And so ends season one! Everything that is of significance in the series has been established, previewed, or hinted at. All that remains now if for all these developments to be taken up a notch before they get fulfilled or explained in seasons three and four. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays folks, see you after the break!

Babylon 5, Farewell…

Babylon 5, Farewell…

We come at last to the final season, the fifth and final year in Babylon 5’s planned lifespan. According to legend, Straczynski had been told repeatedly that he was crazy to think that he could ever pre-plan a series like this, that actors quit, budgets got slashed, and time slots got changed around. And that certainly happened in the course of the show, a couple of times. However, somehow he made it work, though apparently he had to take on a huge burden as a result.

And even after making a season four finale, season five eventually got the go ahead and was made in full. It was a season of epilogues, goodbyes and even a few more threads, previewing events which were portended to take place later in the show’s projected plot. Even with its tight five season storyline, there were still a lot of things that had been previewed for the future, and some explanations needed to be made.

Babylon 5 Season Five:

The last season ended with Earth being liberated, Sheridan being elevated to the status of President of the new Interstellar Alliance, Sheridan and Delenn being married, and Ivanova being saved by Marcus. As the new season opens, Sheridan assumes his presidency, Ivanova leaves the station, and a new captain assumes the role as commander of B5. In an interesting twist, it turns out to be Sheridan’s ex.

Another early development is the establishment of a colony of telepaths aboard the station. There presence becomes an immediate source of trouble, as the psi cops want to bring them in, and Lyta becomes very drawn to them and their leader. Essentially, they are looking to establish a colony for free telepaths, but in time, they learn the truth of their existence from Lyta. In the course of having sex, Lyta’s mind opens and the leader of the telepaths, Byron, comes to learn that the Vorlons were responsible for creating the majority of known telepaths.

When he learns this, he and the others are incensed. All their lives, they’ve operated under the assumption that their gifts were a matter of personal responsibility. Now they see that they were made, and hence were never given a choice as to what they are. They then demand that Sheridan and the Alliance provide them with a home, or else they will begin revealing every member races secrets, which they gathered from having followed the diplomats around for days.

Soon, everything hits the fan, the psi cops and Bester come for them, and Byron sacrifices himself to end the conflict. The telepaths are taken away, but Lyta vows that she will protect them and make sure that Byron is avenged. She begins running stockpiling weapons in preparation for an eventual war with the telepaths, and is soon arrested for her trouble. A showdown with her takes place on the Zocallo, which would have been messy had Sheridan not been there. As the only other person who’s been touched by the Vorlons, he alone is able to withstand her psychic influence.

At the same time, Garibaldi confronts Bester. Once aboard the station, he corners him in his quarters and demands that he confess everything he did to Garibaldi at gunpoint. However, Bester refuses, and when Garibaldi tries to make good on his threat, he can’t pull the trigger. Seems Bester had placed an “Azimov” in his head, preventing Garibaldi from harming him or allowing harm to come to him. Feeling completely helpless, Garibaldi begins drinking again. It’s not long before it interferes with his job, and his wife, Lyse, shows up just in time to ask him to come back to Mars with him.

However, Garibaldi comes up with another plan. He meets Lyta and asks for her help. She agrees, but tells him that in exchange for his help running money and guns to her planned resistance, she will remove the block and let him get even. He agrees, and returns with Lyse to Mars to run Edgar industries (which she inherited since Edgar’s murder), promising to see Lyta again in two years, at which time, everything will be set. The “telepath war” which was hinted at in season four, is thus on its way…

Meanwhile, something is rotten on Centauri Prime. After an assassination attempt on Londo, G’Kar agrees to become his body guard and travels to Centauri Prime. The regent is apparently under the influence of something dark, and preparations are being made for war. Londo narrowly escapes a second attempt, and it seems that whoever is controlling the regent was responsible, and hopes to work with him soon… he returns to B5 with a very bad feeling. And we are made aware that Centauri ships are being used to prey on shipping…

The attacks intensify, and member worlds of the Alliance begin to accuse each other. However, an investigation reveals that Centauri agents are involved, and soon Lennier, now a member of the Rangers, witnesses an attack take place. Centauri Prime is kicked out of the Alliance and put under embargo, a full-scale firefight erupts when they challenge the blockage, and war is declared! Londo returns home, again with G’Kar, to see what is going on. After several weeks of fighting, some frightening facts become clear.

For starters, the Centauri ships that are performing the attacks are using Shadow technology to control them. This is a clear indication that the Drakh, one of the Shadows old friends have infiltrated Centauri Prime, as Morden threatened, and are using the regent to create chaos. This becomes clear to Londo as Alliance forces arrange for an unsanctioned assault on Centauri Prime, and the regent himself performs one last duty… shutting down the planet’s defensive grid. The assault begins, with a combined Narn-Drazi force devestating the Centauri capitol.

The regent and his Drakh masters reveal themselves, and tell Londo that it is his turn to wear the Shadow device that control a person’s actions, otherwise they will blow up the planet. Londo agrees, the regent dies, he assumes the role of emperor (which was also foretold and which he feared for some time), and Centauri Prime surrenders. Now that he’s their unwilling servant, he lies to Sheridan and tells him the Shadow technology was bought on the black market, not acquired from the Drakh. He also declares that Centauri Prime will be an isolationist power and have nothing more to do with the Alliance.

From all this, we are given a detailed preview of what was hinted at in earlier seasons. For one, we now see how Londo became Emperor, how this would lead to his death at the hands of G’Kar years later, how his world would be devastated, and how he would capture Delenn and Sheridan – ostensibly so he could punish them for happened to his world, but would then release them. And as hinted at, we also see how it would be the Drakh who were responsible for Centauri Prime’s devastation, a final legacy of the Shadow War.

Oh, and a couple other side stories take place in the midst of all this. One involves Lennier, who was told by a vision he had of Morden that he would commit an act of betrayal. And he does! During an accident in which Sheridan is sealed in a room with a poisonous gas leak, Lennier is about to help him, but then chooses to leave him there instead. He has second thoughts and returns, only to find that Sheridan freed himself. Shamed by his betrayal, he flees, leaving Delenn only with a message saying how sorry he is.

The other side story involves G’Kar. For some time, he has been garnering popularity among his people since he was the leader of the resistance and the one who liberated their world. Upon returning to B5 from Centauri Prime, he finds that the book he’s been writing since his revelation has been making the rounds. In fact, its even been published and has outsold the book of G’Quon (which is like outselling the Bible!) Despite his resistance, the problem only gets worse, and when a spurned acolyte tries to kill him, he decides its time to leave. Having learned much from his years on the station among other races, he decides he will set out to explore the known universe. He also decides to take Lyta with him, hoping he can help her overcome her pain and hatred as he did his.

Sheridan also discovers that Delenn is pregnant after she collapses and is examined by Franklin. This too matches up with what Sheridan foresaw in the future, that they would have a boy named David. Delenn’s pregnancy begins to take a toll on her health, since her physiology is part-human, part-Mimbari. However, she and Sheridan are committed to making sure she and the baby survive. They also announce that they will be moving the HQ of the Alliance to Mimbar for the next few years, hence they too are leaving B5. A big send-off is held, and Zack Allen remarks how its sad to see everyone go, but that he’ll probably still be there until they “shut the lights off”.

They are met on Mimbar by Londo, who professes his friendship, despite the circumstances of their last meeting. However, it quickly become clear he’s on an errand from the Drakh, delivering a similar device to the one that is controlling him that is meant for their son when he comes of age. After making the delivery, Londo asks them “what now”, to which they reply “now we await the passage of years… we are very patient.” The last hint of whats to come is given!

The final episode takes place roughly twenty years later when Sheridan is about to die. In keeping with Lorien’s prediction that he could only prolong his life by twenty years, Sheridan’s health begins to fail and they arrange a farewell party for him. He says goodbye to Vir, Ivanova, Garibaldi, Franklin and Delenn, and they toast those who couldn’t be amongst them – Londo, G’Kar, Lennier and Marcus. After all this, he has a tearful goodbye with Delenn and flies off to say goodbye to B5. He sees Zack there, who tells him the station is about to be decommissioned. Sheridan then flies off to Coriana 6, the site of their major battle with the Shadows, where he encounters Lorien.

Lorien tells him that he’s not so much dying as taking the next step, that he and the others have not forgot about him and are taking him beyond the rim to where they are now living. Sheridan laments that he can’t ever come back, but is ready. He dies in a blinding flash of light, remarking “the sun’s coming up”. Ivanova then gives the final narration, saying how the Babylon project taught them all how to stand together and look out for each other, calling to mind what was said in the season four finale. The station is then given a big send off and demolished, and the show ends with it being said that Delenn spent every morning thenceforth watching the sun rise and remembering Sheridan.

A poignant and fitting ending! In many ways, season five was an epilogue season, not as exciting or consequential as the previous four. However, I was glad they made it in the end. One finale episode was just not enough of a send-off for this show. What’s more, there were still a lot of plot elements and threads that needed to be expanded on.

Conclusion:

In the spirit of epilogues, let me say some final words about Babylon 5 and what made it such a good show and franchise. Well, to break it down, there was its epic feel, its solid writing, its great and memorable characters, and its tight narrative feel. Unlike many other franchises that start with a sort of open, shoestring plot, B5 was plotted out well in advance, everything that happened in it was part of a single, unfolding story. That meant it didn’t have any of the usual contrivances, plot holes, or third act revelations that other shows are famous for (Star Trek is a perfect example!)

What’s more, the episodes didn’t end with everything going back to a state of balance, with everyone happy. If anything, they ended with a sense of “what’s next?” In every episode they were either in the midst of a conflict or worrying about the next one. That’s where the realism was truly felt. Even in season five, when all things are wrapping up, there was a strong sense of the problems that were to come. Though we got a preview of how things ended happily for the most part, we knew that there would be plenty of speed bumps along the way.

These two elements, a tight plot and realistic tone, are two lessons that have remained with me years later. Whenever I write, I find myself trying to follow Straczynski’s example, both in terms of how he constructing a storyline as well as the tone he struck. In short, when I’m working on a story, I try to write out the plot well in advance so that there’s plenty of hints of what’s to come and as few inconsistencies and plot holes later on. But whereas I am an acolyte, Straczynski was the man who really wrote the book on this for sci-fi serials. I know nothing comparable to his work except for maybe the re-envisioning of Battlestar Galactica… something for another review!

The same is true when it comes to characters, those that are best are the ones who are flawed and complex, ones that have backgrounds and back stories rather than being one-dimensional in nature. And the acting, for the most part, was classical… Shakespearean even. My favorite characters have to be G’Kar and Londo, played by Andreas Katsulas (RIP) and Peter Jurasik. Not only are they great actors, they had some of the best lines between them, especially when paired together in a scene. Jerry Doyle was also great as Michael Garibaldi; in addition to some great lines, he was probably the most realistic character, combining a workaholic’s personality with genuine vulnerability, all the while punctuated by a very irreverent sense of humor!

That, and the fact that the show was really fun to watch! Even now, years later, the CGI and sets are still impressive, which is surprising considering its limited budget. Given all that, its really too bad that the franchise didn’t pan out in terms of spin offs. Crusade and the tv movie Legends of the Rangers were both commercial flops, and weren’t too well received critically either. But that tends to happen with cult hits, they don’t have the deep pockets and mass market appeal of major franchises. On the other hand, the other B5 movies (River of Souls, A Call to Arms, Thirdspace) were well-received, for the most part anyway. I strongly recommend that fans and prospective fans check them out, in addition the full five seasons!

So long B5, you will be remembered…