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…

Babylon 5, the Dénouement

Babylon 5, the Dénouement

In the last season, Sheridan was believed to have perished at Z’Hadum, Garibaldi had disappeared as well, and the war has reached a state of intermission. A sad ending, and one which was sure to keep the audience in anticipation for the next season. And like season three, season four was chock full of revelations, action, and big climaxes! In a way, it was the natural topper to this series, to be followed by the relatively tame and epilogue-like season five.

Season Four:

The season opens with Ivanova once again in charge of operations around B5. This time, however, she is heart broken and distraught over the loss of Sheridan, as is Delenn. In time, they try to go to Z’Hadum to find him, but are forced to flee when the Shadows detect them and nearly take over their minds. In any case, they get no word from the surface and assume the worst. However, it appears that John is alive, and wandering aimlessly in a cave until he is found by an alien named Lorien. In time, Lorien reveals to him that he is indeed dead, that he is stuck in time because Lorien grabbed him shortly before he fell to his death. He says he can save John, but only if he finds something worth living for (as opposed to not dying). He finds it in Delenn.

In terms of the war, Sheridan’s kamiza routine with his White Star and the nukes has forced the Shadows to change strategies. Feeling vulnerable, they have decided to move much of their fleet away from Z’Hadum and place them amongst worlds that owe allegiance to them. The Alliance meanwhile is falling apart, member worlds choosing to pull their forces back to protect their own worlds and take advantage of the lull. Delenn insists that they must stay together, but they are unreceptive. She meanwhile confronts the new Vorlon ambassador and demands to know what they are prepared to do. Said ambassador, who is much darker and curt than Kosh, says they intend to do nothing and that their plans have changed.

Meanwhile, G’Kar begins searching for Garibaldi, a search which takes him far from B5 and exposes him to danger. The Centauri are searching for him, given the fact that he is the last remaining member of the Kah’Ri. He is eventually captured, and brought before the Emperor as a gift. This coincides with Londo’s return to Centauri Prime on the Emperor’s request. It seems the puppet Cartagia, now that Refa is dead, has made his own agreement with Morden and given the Shadows the island of Seleni to put their ships on.

Morden reveals himself, scarred from Sheridan’s attack but still alive, and tells him the Cartagia is killing off anyone who resists his will. Londo is fearful because having the Shadows on their planet might mean the Vorlons will attack them there, but Cartagia is unconcerned. He seems to think that the sacrifice of his world is a small price to pay for imminent godhood, which he believes the Shadows are able to confer on him. Londo quickly realizes that Cartagia is mad, and that he must do something to stop the destruction of his homeworld.

Delenn begins to organize an assault on Z’Hadum involving the Rangers and the White Star fleet, hoping it will rally the League and other member races. However, the League quickly move to denounce her and propose that they try to find an accommodation with the Shadows. They claim that there is no hope for victory anymore, that no one comes back from Z’Hadum alive. Just then, Sheridan walks in with Lorien at his side. They say they thought he was dead. He replies, “I was. I’m better now.” He demands that they stay together, that the Shadows can be beaten, and that he is proof. His words ignite the crowd and the alliance is reformed! Everyone appears elated, except for Lennier…

Sheridan then explains to them what the war is really all about. Lorien, who we learn is THE First One, the last surviving member of the first sentient race to ever live, who were naturally immortal, has filled him in on all the remaining details. It seems that the Shadows were right about one thing: at one time, the Vorlons and Shadows were both shepherds to the younger races. However, for millennia they have been struggling because they believe their way is the right way. And the reason the Vorlons no longer care about the alliance and were unconcerned with ascertaining Sheridan’s whereabouts is because they are now moving on every world where the Shadows have bases.

Garibaldi, who was also rescued shortly beforehand, is also concerned. He doesn’t trust Lorien, and seems very cynical and discontent about… everything. His second, Zack Allen, is also concerned, as it seems like Garibaldi’s rescue felt staged. However, all that takes a back seat to getting the war back on track. Now that the Vorlons are devestating any planet where the Shadows have influence, using massive Planet-Killer ships, the Shadows are doing the same in return, using a type of cloud-like device that sterilizes a planet’s surface. “Giants in a playground,” says Ivanova, describing their situation. While they battle it out, countless others are stepped in between.

But before the alliance can counter-attack, they must first remove the new Vorlon from B5. This takes the form of luring him into a trap. Lyta first reveals to him that a part of Kosh survived in Sheridan, when taking him to see him, they attack and destroy his encounter suit. However, no one is able to hurt the Vorlon himself (they are beings of pure energy). However, Kosh soon reveals himself and leaves Sheridan to fight, and the two are destroyed together. Sheridan is left virtually dead in the process, but Lorien touches him and is able to rekindle his life. Afterward, he explains to Delenn that he did not so much save Sheridan’s life as prolongue it. He has 20 years to live now, tops. Delenn is upset, but Sheridan tells her he will still have a good haul and asks her to marry him. She accepts!

At last, the allliance hatches their battle plan. While Ivanova is off recruiting as many First Ones as she can, Sheridan and the others learn that the Vorlons next targets are Coriana 6 and Centauri Prime. They have enough ships for one stand, so they choose Coriana since it has over 6 billion people living on it. They decide they will fight the Vorlons there, but that they will also lure the Shadows there by letting them know they are preparing an offensive from this system. With the two sides together, they will attack both and force a confrontation with the Alliance. Rather than planning on victory, Sheridan is hoping this confrontation will act as a crucible.

Londo is warned though, and begins conspiring with Vir to kill Cartagia. However, he cannot trust anyone else in the palace, and is forced to enlist the help of G’Kar. In exchange for his help killing Cartagia, he agrees to free Narn once and for all. On the Narn homeworld, during G’Kar’s show trial, he escapes and creates confusion while Vir and Londo kill Cartagia with a poison needle. Londo then returns to Centauri Prime, having been appointed the new Prime Minister, and begins removing all Shadow influence. He also learns from the head of security that Morden killed Lady Aadira, and that Cartagia asked that it be kept a secret. Londo is outraged, and it makes what he’s about to do easier.

He summons Morden before him, orders him to remove his ships, but Morden refuses. Londo is therefore forced to detonate several nukes on the island, taking out all the ships, and orders Morden taken away. Morden angrily proclaims that Londo and his people will pay! Ultimately, Morden is executed and his head is put on a pike. Knowing that Vir once jokingly said he like to see that happen, he shows it to Vir as a gift. Londo now believes they are safe since he’s rid their world of all Shadow influence, but Vir tells him there’s one that remains: Londo himself! This coincides with the appearance of a Vorlon planet-killer in orbit. Londo orders Vir to kill him post-haste to save their world, but strangely, the ships suddenly depart. It seems like they have been called in elsewhere, which brings me back to the alliance’s battle plan…

Back at Coriana 6, the Vorlons and Shadows arrive and begin fighting each other, both sides having brought their own planet-killer devices. Sheridan detonates several nukes to get their attention, and the alliance forces begin battling both of them. Things appear to be going smoothly, until the Vorlon planet-killer gets in range of the planet. They call in the First Ones, who then blow it up. Everything reaches a lull, during which time the Vorlons take over Sheridan and Delenn, so that they might have a private conversation. However, Lorien embraces both of them and lets everyone in the fleet listen in.

During his conversations with the Vorlons, Sheridan demands to know why they haven’t struck at the Shadows directly if they intend to “eliminate the darkness”. He tells them that he knows this is about influence, that its not for the benefit of the younger races at all, and that they are refusing to take sides anymore. Delenn’s conversation is similar, the Shadows try to appeal to her by saying her race will come out this conflict stronger, but Delenn refuses. She too says that they will reject both sides and not fight their wars anymore, but is told that they will fight and die for them because there is no other way.

The conversation ends when both Vorlons and Shadows realize that the rest of the fleet is listening in, that they know the truth. The Shadows pull their planet-killing shroud over the alliance fleet and threaten to kill Sheridan and Delenn. However, when they begin firing on them, other ships move in to protect them. It is thus clear that the Shadows and Vorlons have lost all influence, and Lorien tells them its time to let go. Like the other First Ones, they should leave the galaxy to the younger races, like his people did with the Vorlons and Shadows, and head out into the wider universe. They agree, happy that Lorien will be coming with them and they will not be alone.

The war is over! However, some accounts still need to be settled. Namely, Sheridan and his people still have Clark and his government to deal with. And now that he no longer has his Shadow friends to protect him, Clark is thinking the same thing. He sees B5 as a liability and begins running a propaganda campaign to make Sheridan appear like an alien collaborator who’s working against Earth. Sheridan responds by creating the “Voice of the Resistance”, using their wartime network to broadcast the truth about Clark’s regime and his activities.

Bester also returns, bearing information on Clark’s plans. In return, he asks that they go to Z’Hadum to see if they can find any leftover technology that might help them cure the telepaths they rescued. Mainly, he’s interested in helping the woman he loves, and in a private conversation with her body, he reveals that he has one final “ace up his sleeve” for Sheridan. When they arrive at Z’Hadum, they see a fleet of ships evacuating, and the planet blows up. Afterward, Sheridan confronts Lyta, since he suspects that it was her that sent the telepathic signal that detonated it. She tacitly admits to this, partly because she wanted to hurt Bester for all he’s done, and to make sure the Shadow technology never fell into anyone’s hands.

Around this time, Delenn is forced to return home. It seems that since she broke the Grey Council, unrest has been settling in between the religious and warrior castes, and even a civil war rappears to be looming. She learns of this when a new race, the Draak (who they learn were the Shadows allies) show up and try to take some worlds on the border of Mimbari space. After blowing their cover and defeating their attack force, Delenn realizes she must return home to take stock of the situation. As the one who broke the Grey Council, she feels responsible for the ensuing chaos.

To do this, she enlists the help of an unlikely ally: Neroon, the hard-core warrior who replaced her on the Council. He is initially reluctant, but in time she convinces him of her sincerity, and agrees to her plan. After war breaks out, Delenn announces that the religious caste will surrender and she will meet with the leader of the warriors – a man named Shakiri. They meet in the ancient temple that predated the Grey Council, where leadership were selected by “trial by fire”. This involved the leader of a respective caste entering the wheel of fire, where they would be consumed. Whoever was willing to die would have their caste become the new leaders. Since Shakirir has rejected the ways of Valen, they must embrace this tradition, or lose face…

Shakiri agrees, but is ultimately unwilling to die and flees the fire. He is therefore revealed to be unworthy, but contrary to what she and Neroon had originally planned, Delenn stays behind. He jumps in to save her, himself dying in the process, but not before he makes a heartfelt plea.  He claims that though he was born a warrior, the true calling of his heart is religious, and that their people listen to Delenn. She then goes about reforging the Grey Council, only this time, instead of their being three representatives from each caste, the bulk of representatives will be from the Worker caste. This way, the people will decide policy, not prophecies or ideologies.

After an atrocity where fleeing civilians are fired upon by Earth ships takes place, Sheridan decides its time for more direct action. Using the White Star fleet, B5 begins an offensive against the Earth Alliance, attacking Proxima, Mars, and then Earth. Meanwhile, Garibaldi, who resigned his post and became an independent investigator decides to turn on Sheridan. For some time, its been apparent that he’s changed since his capture and that something happened to him while he was away. In his new job, he enlists with William Edgars, a major industrialist who owns half of Mars and happens to be married to Garibaldi’s ex. When he returns to Mars, he learns Edgars and his people have their own plans for overthrowing Clark, but it goes farther than just removing the man.

Once Garibaldi earns Edgars’ trust, Edgars tells him that Clark’s real power comes from the Psi Corps, and that they are the power behind the throne. His industries have created a virus that kills telepaths, but also have created a cure. This way, they can control them and keep them from taking over. However, Sheridan’s offensive is an impediment to this plan, so Garibaldi is forced to betray him, luring him into a trap where Earth agents are able to grab him. Afterward, once Garibaldi knows everything, he meets up with Bester, who is apparently the one that’s been pulling his strings. While in a hypnotic state, he divulges everything about Edgar’s plans and Bester concludes that this is a remnant of the Shadow’s plan: that the virus is their technology, and that alongside supporting Clark’s bid for power, they put this plan into work – leaving his people either “controlled… or dead”.

Psi Cops show up immediately thereafter to kill Edgars, his people, and take the virus and the cure. Bester than frees Garibaldi of his grip, and Garibaldi is horrified to see what he’s done. He immediately seeks out the Mars resistance, finding Franklin, Lyta and Marcus there too since they’ve been laising with them. He tells them everything, Lyta probes him and sees he’s telling the truth, and they set out to rescue Sheridan. They find him drugged but alive inside a detainment center where he was being tortured and subjected to mind warfare.

At the same time, Delenn finds out that news of Sheridan’s capture brought the League worlds together, and that they have openly declared their support for Sheridan and his efforts. The wartime alliance is now a full-time thing, known as the Insterstellar Alliance. Ships from every member world are sent into the fray to offer support, but the front line fighting will be left to Sheridan and the Earth forces to ensure that everyone knows this is their effort, not outside interference.

And now that he is free, Sheridan returns and takes command of the fleet so they can mount their final assault. The Earth fleet is marshalling at Mars for a final fight, but rather than attack them directly, Sheridan’s forces and the Mars resistance manage to smuggle the altered telepaths (the ones they captured from the Shadows) aboard the Alliance ship’s where they began merging with the machinery. The ships are therefore disabled and the alliance fleet is able to surpass them and head for Earth.

Unfortunately, he gets back just in time to find Ivanova on her death bed. On their way to Mars, they came up against Clark’s best forces, a fleet of Earth Destroyers that had been merged with Shadow vessels. They won the battle, but in the process, Ivanova was critically injured and narrowly saved by Marcus. However, after being rushed back to B5 for treatment, Marcus finds out about an alien device Franklin inherited that can transfer life force. He gives his life to save hers, and tells her he loves her just before she comes out of her coma and he dies.

However, Clark has reprogrammed the defensive grid to enact “Scorched Earth” – aka. to level the planet’s surface. He’s gone mad it seems, and then takes his own life to avoid capture. However, his own people break into his office, tell Sheridan of the plan, and Sheridan’s forces manage to knock out the defense grid before it can fire. Sheridan then goes to Earth to offer himself up for judgment, and they decide to relieve him of his position as Captain, but thank him for saving them as well. Which is fine, since he’s got a new job – as first president of the new Interstellar Alliance! Earth is offered membership, but only if it allows its colonies independence.

In the season finale, Sheridan returns to B5 for his inauguration. However, we quickly see that the episode is a retrospective being told from one million years in the future. The main theme of the episode opens when Sheridan wonders aloud whether or not he and Delenn will be remembered, and he concludes “probably not.” Delenn tells him not to worry though, that they’ve created what they did because it was right and that history will tend to itself.

These words are therefore meant to be ironic since we can clearly see how their influence and their actions echoed throughout the ages, all the way to the distant future where humanity has evolved to the point of being like the Vorlons and are leaving the Solar System for the last time. The season then ends with the words: DEDICATED TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO PREDICTED THE BABYLON PROJECT WOULD FAIL IN ITS MISSION. FAITH MANAGES.

From what I understand, this episode was meant to be the series finale. One friend tells me this was because Straczynski had no intention of making a fifth season, but others tell me it was because the show was originally intended for five seasons but it was unclear whether or not the network would spring for a fifth. Either way, B5 would have one last season before wrapping up for all time. And as I said before, it was full of epilogues, some rather sad…

B5 Continued…

B5 Continued…

Picking up where I left off, Babylon 5, second season!  When season one ended, Sinclair and G’Kar had taken off, both to pursue their own agendas. Delenn was in a chrysalis (cocoon) and undergoing a transformation, and Londo was making deals with “shadowy” forces. Resuming…

Season Two:
Season Two opens with Babylon 5 getting a new commander (Captain John Sheridan, played by Bruce Boxleitner) since Sinclair has been reassigned, somewhat mysteriously, to the Mimbari homeworld. Much like Sinclair, he too has a history that involves the Earth-Mimbari war. Sheridan is a war hero, the only man who ever destroyed a Mimbari ship and lived to tell about it. After receiving his post at B5, his first task is to deal with a renegade Mimbari cruiser that is staffed by warriors who never accepted their surrender. In the course of things, Sheridan learns the truth about the war. Lennier, Delenn’s assistant (who has taken over now that she is in a cocoon!), explains…

At the Battle of the Line, the humans who were captured were examined using a holy relic that came to the Mimbari from their chief prophet (Valen) who came to them a thousand years ago. The relic glowed in his presence, and a few others. When Sinclair was exposed to it, it glowed intensely. They concluded that his “soul” was Mimbari, that it was as strong as Valen’s, and that other humans possess Mimbari souls. This is why they ended the war. Few understood this decision, but given its importance of the Mimbari, they accepted it. In the end, Sheridan is successful and the renegade Mimbari cruiser is destroyed. But he is also made aware of the fact that he’s not too popular with the Mimbari.

Meanwhile, Londo meets with Morden again. Having gotten over the severity of what Morden “associates” did to the Narn border colony, he asks Morden what would happen if he were to ask for another “demonstration” of their power. Morden says plainly that they will provide it, and Londo only need “pick a target”. In return, all he asks is that Londo turn over whatever information he comes across about stuff happening on the rim. Which shortly thereafter comes in handy…

G’Kar returns from his investigation into the attack on their border colony. Going on a tip from some old Narn texts, he began looking into certain worlds at the border of known space. On one such world, he found something and barely got out alive. After determining that the configuration of the ships that attacked him were virtually identical to the ones described in the texts, he concludes that this ancient race is returning and is responsible for the attack. The border world he found is apparently called Z’Hadum, and his world has sent a ship to investigate.

Naturally, Londo tells Morden and the ship is ambushed just as it jumps out of hyperspace. G’Kar’s investigation is halted, and his warnings end up ringing hollow. However, Delenn emerges from her cocoon and appears half-human now. No explanation is given beyond her saying that it was a gesture to bring their two species – humans and Mimbari – closer together. Sheridan is impressed, and we get a preview of the romantic relationship which is to follow.

In time, Londo gets a visitor, a man named Lord Refa, who has heard of what Londo has done and is impressed. He comes to Londo bearing an offer: he and friends back home want to overthrow the current Emperor, who they think of as weak and conciliatory to the Narns, and put their own person on the throne. They want a return to the good old days of power, like Londo, and are willing to do what it takes to make that happen. Londo is enthused and agrees, but gets a word of warning from a seer (a Technomage) shortly thereafter. He is told that he will become powerful, and be responsible for the lives of billions. He is naturally perturbed.

Other developments include Sheridan finding out that Ivanova is a latent telepath who’s mother committed suicide to escape the Corps, that Franklin is running an underground railroad for telepaths looking to do the same, and that the station’s resident telepath, Talia Winters (whom Garibaldi has a thing for) is a sleeper agent whom the Corps planted to keep an eye on them all. They also get a visitor in the form of Lyta Alexander, a telepath who was originally assigned to B5 but has since been working with the Vorlons, and has been changed by them… She has since turned against the Corps, and seems to know a thing or two about the Vorlons secrets.

And of course, the old conspiracy about the president begins to shape up. Garibadli recovers, his old security deputy is busted but disappears on his way back to Earth to stand trial. Before leaving, he also leaves Garibaldi with a cryptic warning, that this is “much bigger than he knows”. Sheridan also learns from his old friend, General Hague, that the destruction of Earth One was an inside job and that the VP was involved. He also tells Sheridan that he was appointed to B5 because the new President, Clark, thought he’d be loyal, being a career soldier. Sheridan and his senior officers decide to join Haig’s counter-conspiracy and begin helping them, which includes giving safe passage to the doctor who had proof that Clark’s cover story about an illness was false.

But by far the biggest part of season two is the “Great War” between the Narns and the Centauri. After the first time he called in a favor from Morden, his “associates” destroyed an entire colony of Narns on the border of disputed space. This incident gained Londo some serious popularity in certain circles back home, including Lord Refa. Things come together again when the Emperor himself decides to visit Babylon 5, apparently to issue an apology to the Narns for his family’s actions. G’Kar intends to assassinate him, but his efforts are cut short when Emperor suffers a near-fatal heart attack. When he learns of the Emperor’s true purpose, he reaches out to Londo for the first time.

However, Londo and Refa are already mobilizing. Refa’s people assassinate the Emperor’s Prime Minister back home, and he tells Londo they need an attention getter to set them ahead of the other potential successors. Londo remembers what Morden said about “picking a target” and chooses another military base that borders Centauri space. The dark, spidery ships attack, destroy everything, and Centauri forces move in afterwards. This time around, the Centauri ARE blamed, the Narns declare war, Londo is hailed as a hero by his people, and Lord Refa’s puppet Emperor (Cartagia) takes the throne. The Great War has begun!

And just before the Emperor dies, he is met by Kosh. He asks him how this will end, and Kosh tells him “in fire”. Londo and Refa also come before him to tell him the “good news” about the war. Rather than condone it, he pulls Londo close and tells him “you are both damned”. “Small price to pay for immortality” says Refa, but Londo appears shaken once again. In the ensuring weeks, Babylon 5 is thrust into the middle of the war, being asked to arbitrate and take in refugees from all the Narn colonies that begin to be overrun.

Meanwhile, John is made aware of what’s really going on. After learning the truth about the Earth-Mimbari War, he is told of another, more secretive war, one which has been a long time coming and is imminent. After learning that Morden is aboard the station, and realizing that he was on the same ship as Anna Sheridan (John’s wife) which was apparently destroyed, John orders Morden taken into custody and questioned. Apparently, the ship was lost during an expedition to the world now known as Z’Hadum, all hands thought to have perished. Since he’s not dead and wandering around freely, John wants answers!

His efforst are interrupted when Kosh and Delenn explain. Z’Hadum is the home of an ancient race known as the “Shadows”. They are one of the “First Ones”, a group of races billions of years old, the first to achieve sentience in the galaxy. The Shadows are the oldest, and they have been at war with the others for eons. In the last war, what few First Ones remained defeated them and drove them off, with the help of some younger races – including the Mimbari. Whereas all the others have now died or moved on, only the Vorlons remain. Now that the Shadows are returning, they must prepare! A new alliance must be struck, and both the Mimbari and the Vorlons understand that humanity and B5 are important to that effort, though they don’t fully know why.

According to Delenn, the Shadows are behind the Narn-Centauri war because they intend to weaken the younger races by making them fight each other before they invade. The only advantage they have right now is that Shadows do not know that the Mimbari and Vorlons already suspect what they are up to. He is also told that Sinclair is on Mimbar preparing a new force of fighters for when the time comes; they are known as the Rangers, and Garibaldi was made aware of them some time ago. Sheridan reluctantly agrees to join their alliance, and lets Morden go. In secret, they begin to plot and Kosh begins to teach Sheridan how to, as he says, “fight legends”. Sheridan also vows that one day, he will go to Z’Hadum to find out what happened to his wife, despite Kosh’s warning that if he does, he will die!

Season two ends with the end of the war. After months of fighting a losing war, the Narns prepare for one final assault to slow the Centauri down and prolongue the war. However, Refa’s people intercept their plans and make plans of their own. He asks Londo to arrange for his friends to destroy the Narn attack while they in turn attack the Narn homeworld, using mass-drivers. These are an outlawed weapon of mass destruction, and their use will level Narn’s surface. Londo is very reluctant, he doesn’t want the death toll, and he is growing suspicious of Morden and his “associates”. But, under pressure, he agrees, and everything happens without a hitch. The last Narn fleet is destroyed, he watches as  Narn is leveled and forced to surrender, and then dictates the punitive terms of peace at the B5 Council.

In order to avoid arrest and remain free, G’Kar is told by his people to request asylum. Sheridan agrees, but is powerless to stop the Centauri from imposing terrible terms of peace on the Narns. All he can do is promise G’Kar whatever help he can, and in a meeting later with Delenn, Kosh and the Rangers, he pledges that where they stand, they will draw a line against the coming darkness.

Almost immediately after the war ends with the Narns, the Centauri begin attacking the borders of several more worlds immediately thereafter. In response, a representative of the Earth Alliance came to the station for the purpose of “evaluating the Centauri”. Sheridan and G’Kar were hopeful that this meant Earth was preparing to take sides, but all were disappointed when it was revealed that Earth was signing a non-aggression pact with them, effectively turning their backs on the Centauri’s continued aggression.

However, these efforts are somewhat frustrated due to the appearance of a Narn cruiser which Sheridan offers aid to after it jumps in near the station. This leads to a confrontation with a Centauri cruiser, and Sheridan is forced to destroy it. In order to salvage the situation, Earth orders Sheridan to issue a formal apology. But on his way to deliver it, Sheridan is nearly killed by a bomb that was planted in his car. He jumps from the car and begins falling towards certain death. Miraculously, Kosh reveals himself and flies to his rescue.  When he leaves his encounter suit, everyone sees an angel, though in different guises, depending on their race. People feel the station is now blessed, a good omen in dark times…

At the same time, Zack Allen, one of the station’s pilots, dies pursuing a lead. Some time before, he saw a Shadow vessel in hyperspace, and became obsessed with it. While ferrying the Narn cruiser to safety, he breaks off when he detects a faint trace of neutrinos in hyperspace. He comes face to face with a Shadow vessel, and is then destroyed! However, his gun camera footage survived and was retrieved. Season two thus ends with the footage being aired on interstellar television!

Whoo, I get goose bumps just thinking about it! And I assume people can see by what I mean about the quality of the writing and the consistency of the plot. By this point in the show, things are really starting to come together. But of course, many threads still needed to be tied, and many mysteries still revealed.

Most of these come up in Season Three, coming up next!

Babylon 5!

Babylon 5!

I’m surprised it took me this long to do a review of this show. And who more fitting than me, its biggest fan! Okay, not really. In fact, when it comes to fandom, I’ve got nothing on some people out I’ve seen out there (you know who you are!) But let me assure you, I’m not without my credentials either. Over the years, I’ve managed to see every single episode of the series, sometimes two, or three times over. I’ve caught all the movies, specials, and even read some of the creators comics. In short, B5 is easily one of the best sci-fi series and franchises that I’ve ever seen and it remains one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to my writing.

Which is appropriate, because what made the show great for me was the writing. Memorable lines, interesting characters, a intricate plot loaded with intrigue and classic sci-fi elements, and above all, a sense of adventure and realism. In fact, one of the actors went on record, comparing the show to Star Trek. Unlike the latter, he said, the stories were not tidy, comfortable things that always ended happily. If anything, things always ended somewhat uncertainly, even where there were happy endings, there was always new things to worry about.

Or, as the character Susan Ivanova said “My father always said there are no happy endings, only new battles.” You could tell Straczynsky wrote the series with just that thought in mind. In fact, he wrote most of the episodes, which is another reason why the series was so tight and respectable. Compared to many other science fiction franchises, the story left very little in the way of loose threads and experienced very few internal contradictions. Naturally, only the most die-hard of fans would notice these things ;), but even if you were a casual viewer, you really got a feeling of consistency.

But I digress, some background…

Background:
The story revolves around a space station named Babylon 5, a neutral site which was built in space to act as a sort of diplomatic middle ground for all the races of the known universe to come together and work out their differences peacefully. It was created by humans, with the help of four other contributing races – the Mimbari, the Vorlons, the Centauri and the Narn. The station was first conceived by Earth gov because of the Earth-Mimbari war, which ended ten years prior to when the story is taking place. That war began because of a cultural misunderstanding, and nearly led to the extermination of humanity. And of course, many other races saw the potential, so they joined in.

Administratively, Babylon 5 was run by a human commander, but decisions affecting the overall mission of the station were directed by a Council made up of five members – the representatives of the Centauri, Narn, Mimbari and Vorlon homeworlds, and the human commander themselves. Outside of that, the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, a body made up of thirteen other member races, would also sit in and vote on items pertaining to their own interests as well. However, as the show quickly demonstrated, the station ended up having a purpose far greater than anyone could ever imagine.

Delenn is the Mimbari ambassador, a member of her races Religious caste, a career politician and diplomat, and a seeker of understanding. G’Kar is the Narn ambassador, a man who made his career fighting the Centauri and then serving as a member of the Kah’Ri (the Narn government). Londo is the Centauri representative, a member of a lower house that received the job because none of the more prestigious Imperial houses wanted it. And then, Kosh, the Vorlon ambassador, a race of which very little is know, except that they need to wear “encounter suits” to get around and their species old, power and mysterious. VERY old, powerful and mysterious.

Meanwhile, the station is run by four senior human personnel: Susan Ivanova, the station’s XO: a tough, sardonic Russian woman who joined the military after her brother died in the war. Michael Garibaldi, chief of security, a former Ground Pounder (regular infantry) with a checkered past involving alcoholism. And Doctor Stephen Franklin, the station’s chief physician who specializes in alien physiology and has a history of running from his problems. And finally, Commander Sinclair, the Earth-appointed governor of Babylon 5. After fighting in the Earth/Mimbari war as a regular pilot, he was an unlikely choice for governor. However, he received the position because the Mimbari were insistent that it be him. Many at Earth objected, because it was clear he had a secret that had to do with how the war ended. And the Mimbari, in keeping with their race’s mysterious quality, were told to watch him closely…

In short, the war itself began when the Earth ship that was sent to make contact misinterpreted the Mimbari’s intentions and opened fire on their capitol ship. In the course of the incident, the Mimbari leader Dukhat, a man who favored contact with the humans, was killed. The Mimbari were so outraged by this incident that they declared a holy war against Earth, and for two years they waged it relentlessly. After two years, the Mimbari were prepared to launch their final offensive against Earth. In response, Earth gov decided to evacuate the planet of as many people as possible, and organized a hasty defensive line to protect their evacuation for as long as possible.

The Battle of the Line, as it was called, was largely a disaster. The Mimbari fleet poured in, destroying roughly 90 percent of the defenders. However, in the process, the Grey Council (the Mimbari governing body) decided to capture and begin interrogating human pilots to learn what they could about Earth’s defenses. Sinclair was one such person. After examining him, the Grey Council ordered their ships to stand down and surrendered to Earth. No explanation was given, and all too happy to have come through the war in one piece, Earth accepted. Afterwards, it was revealed that the whole thing was due to a misunderstanding, and the Babylon project was declared.

Plot Synopsis:
Season One:
Season One opens with the usual diplomatic troubles aboard the station. At the center of it is the growing conflict between the Narns and the Centauri. They too have a past, the former having been a colony of the latter for almost fifty years, and having only liberated themselves through attrition and war. Now, the Narns are a major power, aggressively conquering new worlds, taking slaves, and pressing their borders against the Centauri themselves.

In the course of all this, Sinclair begins to uncover clues about what happened to him at the Line. He learns that Delenn is part of the Grey Council, that she was there when he was captured and was one of the people who ordered the Mimbari’s surrender. Little by little, he uncovers the truth, but not until the end of the season, and to keep the audience in suspense, we are left not knowing the full extent of it until later on!

In addition, a curious, dark stranger named Morden comes to the station amidst all the diplomatic chaos between the Narn and Centauri and begins asking all the member races the same question. “What do you want?” Strangely, Delenn becomes frightened by him when she suddenly becomes aware that Morden has dark forces around him, and tells him to leave. G’Kar tells him he wants revenge against the Centauri, and Londo tells him he wants his people to reclaim their former glory. Morden is curiously intrigued by Londo’s answer, but in one final meeting, Kosh tells Morden to leave, that “they are not for you”.

However, Morden quickly begins helping Londo, who in turn asks for a favor when his people are facing a border dispute with the Narns. Morden obliges, and the border colony is completely destroyed. Morden’s “associates” as he calls them, show up in the form of some dark, mysterious ships that look like airborne spiders. They come out of nowhere and blow the entire colony to pieces, and several ships and a station as well. Londo is shocked and a little frightened at the death toll, but Morden tells him not to worry. Londo is now something of a hero because of this deed, the Narns can’t trace it back to him, and the Narns are their sworn enemy. G’Kar is also frightened, mainly because he knows that neither the Centauri nor any of the other races aboard the station had the will or the power to do this. Which, as he says, means that “someone else is out there…”

They also learn that the planet beneath them, Omicron 7, is home to massive, underground alien facility. Contained within are machines as big as buildings, things thousands of years beyond human technology. But most importantly is the alien at the center of the machine. He is dying, and summons Londo, Delenn, and her friend Draal to the surface. The reason, it claims, is because these three “understand sacrifice” and will be called on to make it. However, things become complicated when an alien ship, apparently of the same race as the species powering the machine, jumps in and threatens to destroy the station.

The alien who powered the machine, now in B5’s med bay, tells them to stop these aliens, as they are part of a faction that his race cast out long ago. B5 and a Earth ship are on hand to fight it off, but they are quite evenly matched and the prospect of a firefight doesn’t seem ideal. However, Draal selflessly takes over as custodian of the machine, fulfilling his sacrifice, and destroys the attacking alien ship easily using Omicron 7’s impressive weapons. He then broadcasts to everyone that the planet’s secrets are its own, and he will defend them with all the powerful weaponry he has at his disposal!

Shortly thereafter, the station is alerted to a disturbance in a nearby sector, a disturbance of the temporal variety. Out of nowhere, a space station appears there, Babylon 4! You see, B5 was thusly named because it was the fifth incarnation of the project, the previous four having been failures due to sabotage and , in B4’s case, disappearance! Now, its back, and the station crew are sent to investigate. They find its crew aboard, disheveled and confused from the fact that they appeared to have been pulled through time. And once on board, Sinclair and Garibaldi begin experiencing time jumps, seeing things from the past and future.

Back at the station, Ivanova gets her own glimpse of the future, a transmission of her sending a distress signal just before the station explodes! Bad omens! Back at B4, Sinclair and the local personnel capture an alien who appears to be the one responsible for the tike jumps. His name is Zathros, and when he sees Sinclair, he becomes entranced. However, he quickly realizes that the Sinclair he sees is not “the one”. Curious, as are his explanations. He says the station is being pulled into another time, for the sake of war so that light may win over dark. They try to get more from him, but are forced to abandon the station before it jumps again, presumably for the last time.

Sinclair, Garibaldi, and the whole crew are forced to evacuate. Sinclair tries to bring Zathros with them, but Zathros insists that they leave him behind, and that Sinclair must go because he “has a destiny”. Shortly after they leave, the station disappears into space. Zathros wakes up inside and sees a person standing above him in a pressure suit. He says they are “the one”, but as it turns out, it’s Delenn, but clearly from the future!

Shortly thereafter, Sinclair, Garibaldi and Ivanova are made aware of a conspiracy to kill the President of Earth. On his way to Io as part of a pre-election tour, his ship, Earth One, blows up, apparently due to a malfunction. His VP, who left the tour early and was not on the ship (apparently due to an illness), survives and becomes the new president. In the course of investigating the conspiracy, Garibaldi is shot in the back by one of his own security guards. Clearly, the conspiracy is real, and its perpetrators are even working aboard the station.

Sinclair also learns, finally, why the Mimbari captured him at the Line, what they did to him, and why they surrendered. With this new knowledge on his plate, the president dead, the attack on the Narns, and evidence of a conspiracy all around them, he feels completely lost. He tells his fiancee “nothing’s the same anymore”, and leaves the station shortly thereafter. Delenn, in turn, has been given a message from Kosh. Apparently, its time for her to undergo some kind of transformation, and she enters into a cocoon.

Season one thus ends on New Years of 2258, leaving season two to start in the fictional new year. And as you could tell, it was full of intrigue, unanswered questions, set-ups and had a cliffhanger ending. Get used to it because this show as full of em!

Babylon 5, Best lines!

Babylon 5, Best lines!

One of the best science fiction shows of all time, in my humble estimation. And I know I’m not alone in this. I think I’ve watched the full series a couple of times over now. In fact, a few years back, some friends and I used to watch the reruns on DVD over a couple of cold Swan beers! Hi Aaron, hi Megan! And since I got my hands on all five seasons a few weeks ago, I’ve been replaying all the good moments.

I loved the action, the story, the writing, but one thing I especially liked was the dialogue. J. Michael Straczynski is definitely one of the best writers, but he also benefited from a kick-ass cast. I’m sure everyone had their favorites, and I can’t possibly do the whole series justice in one post. But here are some I managed to dig up. Enjoy!

Season 1:
G’Kar: The Earthers have a saying: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” I believe they stole it from us.

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.

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

Vir: But they love each other!
Londo: Love. Pah! Overrated. Here. Look. These are my three wives: Pestilence, Famine, and Death. Do you think I married them for their personalities? Their personalities could shatter entire planets! Arranged marriages, every one of them. But they worked out. They inspired me! Knowing that they were waiting for me is what keeps me here — 75 light-years away.

Franklin: Are you okay? Londo, do you know where you are?
Londo: (looks around, sees his wives) Either in Medlab, or in Hell. Either way, the decor needs work.
Daggair: Oh, Doctor Franklin! Thank you for saving our husband! You’ve done the Centauri a great service!
Mariel: I agree. It’s so good to see you with us again, Londo!
Londo: Well, that settles it, Doctor! I am in hell!

G’Kar: What do I want? The Centauri stripped my world, I want justice.
Morden: But what do you want?
G’Kar: To suck the marrow from their bones and grind their skulls into powder.
Morden: What do you want?
G’Kar: To tear down their cities, blacken their sky, sow their ground with salt… To completely and utterly erase them!
Morden: And then what?
G’Kar: I don’t know. As long as my homeworld safety is guaranteed, I don’t think it matters.
Morden: (looks disappointed) I see… Well, thank you very much for your time, Ambassador. Good day!
G’Kar: Nonsense!

Londo: 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 see the Centauri stretch forth their hand again, and command the stars. 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 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: (smiles darkly) Yes… yes it does.

Londo: (after receiving the Eye from Morden) How? (Notices Morden’s gone) Where did you go, eh? Let me buy you a drink! Let me buy you an entire FLEET of drinks! How can I ever find you to thank you?
Morden’s voice: We will find you, Ambassador. We will find you…

Ivanova: Worst case of testosterone poisoning I have ever seen.

Londo: But this…this, this, this is like… being nibbled to death by, uh…Pah! 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.

Season 2:
G’Kar: LONDO! (grabs him) I’m going to get you… a drink! …It’s not everyday I have a revelation, you know… I believed your people only capable of only murder and pain, but apparently there is still a spark of decency in your genetic code. It’s not much of a foundation, I’ll grant you that but… it’s a start!

Londo: But what happens if I ask for another of these… little demonstrations?
Morden: Then we’ll provide it. Simply choose your target, a colony, an outpost…
Londo: (laughs) Why don’t you eliminate the entire Narn homeworld while you’re at it?
Morden: (looks at him darkly) One thing at a time, Ambassador. One thing at a time.

G’Kar: Take my advice and go back to the time you came from. The future isn’t what it used to be.

G’Kar: Weep for the future, Na’Toth. Weep for us all.
N’Toth: Are you alright?
G’Kar: I have looked into the darkness, Na’Toth. You cannot do that and ever be quite the same again.

G’Kar: When you told me about the destruction of our base in quadrant thirty-seven, I knew that only a major power could attempt an assault of that magnitude, but none of the governments here could have done it, which left only one of two possibilities: A new race… or an old race… A VERY old race.

G’Kar: G’Quan spoke of a great war long ago against an enemy so terrible it nearly overwhelmed the stars themselves. G’Quan said that before that enemy was thrown down, it dwelled in a system at the edge of known space. I searched for days, going from one system to another. (Looks distant) Then, on dark, deserted worlds where there should be no life, where no living thing has walked in over a thousands years, something is moving, gathering its forces, quietly, quietly, hoping to go unnoticed. We must warn the others Na’Toth. After a thousand years the darkness has come again.

Marcus Cole: (noticing Ivanova’s not paying attention to his report) There’s always the threat of an attack by say, a giant space dragon. The kind that eats the sun once 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 (Ivanova glares at him) I’m sorry would you prefer ferrets?

Lennier: Sometimes I get so close and yet it feels like 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.

Season 3:
Sheridan: You know, I just had a thought. You’ve been back and forth to your world 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!

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.

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.

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 want to look up into your lifeless eyes and wave like this (does a little wave). Can you and your associates arrange that for me, Mr. Morden?

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… “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, breaks it) Then the Council should be broken! As was prophesied! We must stand with the others—now, before it’s too late!

Delenn: This is Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari. Babylon 5 is under our protection. Withdraw…or be destroyed!
Capt. 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 Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else.

Zathras: Zathras is used to being beast of burden to other people’s needs. Very sad life… probably have very sad death, but at least there is symmetry.

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: I like you! You’re trouble!

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 tell us they understand our language, they just aren’t willing to speak to us in it.
Marcus: Who knew they were French? (Ivanova glares at him) 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.

Refa: You walked away from the greatest power I have ever seen! And now you expect me to do the same? They are the key to my eventual rise to the throne! Why would I abandon them?
Londo: Because I have asked you. Because your loyalty to our people should be greater than your ambition. And because I have poisoned your drink. Yes… and it is very interesting poison. It comes in two parts. Both are harmless on their own. But when combined…quite lethal. The first settles into the bloodstream, and the intestinal walls. It stays there for years. Silent…dormant…waiting. When the other half of the poison enters your system the two meet, have a little party in your cardiovascular system…and suddenly, you are quite dead.
Refa: Why? Why did you do this?
Londo: To guarantee your cooperation! And because sooner or later, you would do it to me! As we are returning to the old ways, Refa, and poison was always the instrument of choice in the old Republic, being something of a sentimentalist, I got here first.

Season 4:
Marcus: At least a dozen ships have reported seeing something rather godlike in the area, and since neither you nor I were there, it must be one of the First Ones.
Ivanova: [smiling] You’re having delusions of grandeur again.
Marcus: Well, if you’re gonna have delusions, may as well go for the really satisfying ones.

Drazi: Captain…we’re sorry…We thought you were dead.
Sheridan: I was. I’m better now.

Morden: You’re insane.
Londo: On any other day, you’d be wrong. But today… today is a very special 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! Your ships are very impressive in the air, or in space, but at this moment, they are on the ground.
Morden: Right. They’re on the ground. But they can sense an approaching ship miles away. So what’re you gonna do, Mollari, huh? Blow up the island?
Londo: Actually…now that you mention it… (he produces a small remote detonator)
Moden: NO! (Londo blows up the island)

Lorien: We’ve lived too long, seen too much. To live on, as we have, is to leave behind joy, 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 believe that love, is eternal… You should embrace that remarkable illusion. It may be the greatest gift your race has ever received.

Sheridan: Commander! Did you threaten to grab this man by the collar and threaten to throw him out an airlock?
Susan Ivanova: Yes, I did.
Sheridan: I’m shocked! Shocked and dismayed. May I remind you that we are short on supplies here? We can’t afford to take perfectly good clothing and throw it out into space! Always take the jacket off first—I’ve told you that before! Sorry. She meant to say, “stripped naked and thrown out of an airlock”. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Franklin: Smells like the inside of a Martian pleasure dome on Sunday morning.
Marcus: Wouldn’t know about that.
Franklin: Don’t make me come over there and [flick] take that thing from you.
Marcus: Helps me relax.
Franklin: Marcus, this is the kind of conversation that can only end with a gunshot!
Marcus: Would you like me to sing instead?
Franklin: No.
Marcus: You haven’t heard me!

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

Marcus Cole: 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.

Now this is one of my favorites. It was taken from the season finale of season 4, when J Michael Straczynski was apparently planning on wrapping it up. It happens after we get a montage of scenes showing how Sheridan, Delenn and what they’ve done will be remembered a million years hence.

Sheridan: I was just thinking about it all, and what I said earlier. And I was just wondering, if they will they remember us in a hundred years or a thousand. And I figure, probably not.
Delenn: But it doesn’t matter. We did what we did because it was right, not to be remembered. History will tend to itself, it always does.
(End Credit) DEDICATED TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO PREDICTED THE BABYLON PROJECT WOULD FAIL IN ITS MISSION. FAITH MANAGES.

But alas, there was a final season. A friend told me that gwas convinced to make it for the sake of his fans, but I also heard he planned to do five all along and got the funding for it at the last minute. Either way, there were some more doozies! Here are a few…

Season 5:
G’Kar: Do you want to be President?
Sheridan: Yes.
G’Kar: Put your hand on the book and say “I do.”
Sheridan: I do.
G’Kar: Good. Done. Let’s eat.

Bester: Let me ask you something, Mr. Garibaldi. Purely philosophical question. On a scale of one to ten… how stupid do you think I am, anyway? Do you really think I’d let you run around, knowing what you know, and leave you free to kill me?
Garibaldi: What have you done to me?
Bester: I’ve hit you with an Asimov.

Sheridan: Delenn, I have been working up a good mad all day and I am NOT about to let you ruin it by agreeing with me!

G’Kar: Well, with everyone now on the same side, perhaps you’re planning to invade yourselves for a change. I find the idea curiously appealing. Once you’ve finished killing each other, we can plow under all the buildings and plant rows of flowers that spell out the words, “Too annoying to live” in letters big enough to be seen from space.

Londo: I have this feeling… Something is terribly wrong…
G’Kar: You’re at war with everyone in the known universe. Perhaps its that.

Alright, that’s all I got room for now. Holy hell, that was a good show! So many good episodes, so many good lines. I wish they’d get on the spin-offs already!