Friday, 17 November 2017

BABYLON 5 Rewatch: Season 3, Episodes 1-2

Season 3: Point of No Return

“The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace. It failed.
“But, in the year of the Shadow War, it became something greater: our last, best hope for victory.
“The year is 2260. The place: Babylon 5.”
       - Earthforce Commander Susan Ivanova

Regular Cast
Captain John Sheridan                                    Bruce Boxleitner
Commander Susan Ivanova                            Claudia Christian
Security Chief Michael Garibaldi                   Jerry Doyle
Ambassador Delenn                                        Mira Furlan
Dr. Stephen Franklin                                       Richard Biggs
Marcus Cole                                                    Jason Carter
Security Aide Zack Allan                               Jeff Conaway
Vir Cotto                                                         Stephen Furst
Lennier                                                            Bill Mumy
G’Kar                                                              Andreas Katsulas
Ambassador Londo Mollari                            Peter Jurasik

Creator                                                            J. Michael Straczynski
Producer                                                          John Copeland
Executive Producers                                       J. Michael Straczynski & Douglas Netter
Conceptual Consultant                                   Harlan Ellison
Production Designer                                       John Iacovelli
Costume Designer                                          Anne Bruice-Aling
Visual Effects Designer                                  Ron Thornton
Visual Effects Producers                                Foundation Imaging
Makeup Supervisor                                        John Vulich
Makeup Producers                                         Optic Nerve Studios
Music Composer                                            Christopher Franke
Music Performers                         Christopher Franke & the Berlin Symphonic Film Orchestra

Between-Season Changes

Unlike the previous year, the changes between Season 2 and Season 3 were relatively restrained. The biggest change was that J. Michael Straczynski decided during the planning of the season that he would write all 22 episodes himself. This was because the situation in the show fluctuated rapidly over the course of the season and there wasn’t enough time to fit in more than a couple of stand-alone episodes, so it was simply easier for JMS himself to write them all. This move saw the leave-taking of script editor Lawrence G. DiTillio from the show, since JMS notoriously refused to let anyone tamper with his scripts after he had finished them. Larry went on to write scripts for cult CGI series Transformers: Beast Wars and would later return to write an episode of Crusade.

Straczynski claimed that his decision to write all of Season 3 – and late Season 4 and most of Season 5 – set a record for the largest number of cumulative episodes written by a single writer. In total, Straczynski wrote 52 sequential episodes of Babylon 5, running from B17 through to E3. However, the subsequent episode E4 was still co-written by Straczynski (with Harlan Ellison). Including that episode, the correct cumulative tally is (running up to episode E7, as E8 was written by Neil Gaiman) 56 episodes and 41 hours, including the entirety of Seasons 3 and 4.

Although this is almost certainly an American record, it is not a world record: as noted by Andy Lane in his seminal Babylon File, British writer Ted Willis wrote nine complete seasons of British police drama Dixon of Dock Green – 201 episodes and 113.5 hours – between 1955 and 1963.

On the cast front the biggest move was the departure of Andrea Thompson as Talia Winters and the introduction of Jason Carter as Ranger Marcus Cole. Thompson actually left in episode B19 since she was disappointed at the amount of screen time she was getting in Season 2 (and, from the look of it, she would have had even less to do in Season 3). At the BabCom ’96 convention she revealed she would be willing to make one-off appearances to resolve her storyline, but Straczynski chose a clean break and only rarely referred to her character again. The character of Marcus came in as a “free-roaming” agent separate from the Earthforce personnel and able to do things those in the military couldn’t. He also provided Ivanova with a new sparring partner, resulting in some nice dialogue scenes between them.

Between seasons Stephen Furst was offered a regular role in a sitcom called Misery Loves Company. Furst preferred to remain on Babylon 5, as it was a serious and more dramatic role, but Misery was also more money and gave him many more episodes to appear in. He discussed the situation with Straczynski who noted that the shooting schedules for the two shows, both filmed in Los Angeles, also allowed the possibility of Furst doing both shows; as a result, Furst was allowed to depart the show in episode C3 and return in C12 when shooting was completed (he was also able to fit in a couple of other appearances inbetween). Misery was not picked up for a back season order, so Furst was able to return full-time.

Season 3 was originally going to be called I am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds, taken from a Hindu saying and quoted by Professor Oppenheimer upon the detonation of the first atom bomb in July 1945 at Los Alamos, New Mexico. JMS realised this was too apocalyptic (and was better suited to the following season, though he chose not to use it there either) and changed it. His next choice was War Without End, but thought this over-emphasised the Shadow War which didn’t start until the last third of the season. He eventually settled on Point of No Return.

The CGI effects were upgraded again between-seasons, this time resulting in a much more believable and impressive explosion effect and higher-resolution shots. The time needed to render scenes also dropped slightly, which was a good thing as several episodes pushed Foundation Imaging to the edge of their abilities in rendering space battles and composite shots. However, the relationship between Foundation Imaging and Babylon Productions began to strain somewhat this season, with several errors in episodes C8 and C10, the result of a higher workload for the effects team with no corresponding rise in pay (which forced Foundation Imaging to take on more work outside of Babylon 5). This relationship would break down altogether between Seasons 3 and 4, and we will cover that in the episode guide for next season.

The title sequence for this season was once again changed. A collection of scenes from previous seasons were used along with a new, slow fly-past of the station with the actors appearing out of jump points. The first pass of the title sequence had the White Star flying at the camera with weapons blazing, but J. Michael Straczynski didn’t like the shot and asked for it to be redone with the final shot of the ship spinning around. Preview tapes of the first two episodes went out with the original shot still included, however.

Christopher Franke provided a new title theme for this season, rather than simply creating a new version of the same tune as with the first two seasons. The new theme melds elements of “Requiem for the Line” from episode A8 and the music used for both the Shadow battle and the bombing of the Narn homeworld from episode B20. The original theme music was used for the end credits of episodes C1-C4 before being replaced from episode C5 onwards; the original UK broadcast, however, had the new theme music used throughout the season.


C1: Matters of Honour
Airdates: 6 November 1995 (US), 14 April 1996 (UK)
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Kevin G. Cremin
Cast: David Endawi (Tucker Smallwood), Morden (Ed Wasser), Senator (Kitty Swink), Psi Cop (Andrew Walker), Drosak (Jonathan Chapman), Man (Nils Allan Stewart)

Date: 4 January 2260 (at the earliest).

Plot:    A Drazi Sunhawk runs a blockade of mines surrounding the planet Zagros VII, but is crippled and destroyed. A smaller Drazi fighter bails out and its pilot, a human Ranger named Marcus Cole, sets course for Babylon 5. On B5 itself, still under repairs from its battle with the Centauri battlecruiser (B22), Sheridan thanks Kosh for saving his life, but Kosh tells him it was a great strain for him to be seen by so many at once.

Morden arrives on Babylon 5 to speak with Londo and is slightly surprised to discover that Londo is keen to dissolve their working relationship. According to Londo, with the defeat of the Narn the Centauri no longer need Morden’s help. Their on-going conflicts against several of the League worlds can be resolved without the need for further aid. Morden seems to ponder this but then agrees, suggesting they meet one last time to take care of some “book-keeping”.

David Endawi, an investigator from Earthdome, arrives on Babylon 5 to look into Lt. Keffer’s death and the strange images recovered from his fighter (B22). He goes to see the ambassadors and find out what they know about the ship in the recording. Delenn claims to have never seen one before...but doesn’t tell him that she does know what it is. She confirms to Sheridan that it is a Shadow warship.

G’Kar tells Endawi that The Book of G’Quan has pictures of these ships and confirms it by showing it to him. These aliens last appeared 1,000 years ago when they had a military base on Narn’s southern continent. G’Quan believed they were fighting a war elsewhere in the Galaxy.

Londo tells Endawi that he has seen these ships in a dream he has had before (B9), but doesn’t know what they represent. After Endawi departs, Londo asks Morden if he can see his associates’ ships one day, but Morden declines for now. Morden shows Londo a map of the Galaxy divided into territory between the Centauri and Morden’s allies. Londo agrees to this division of territory. Morden then recommends that Londo get any Centauri ships out of the Zagros system within the next few hours, Lord Refa having blockaded the planet beforehand. Londo is concerned that Morden is cultivating a separate relationship with Refa.

Marcus Cole reaches Babylon 5 and arranges a meeting with Delenn and Lennier in Downbelow. After proving his credentials, he meets with Sheridan and tells him that the Ranger training facility on Zagros VII, built with the cooperation of a faction of Drazi who support the Rangers, has been cut off by a Centauri minefield in orbit. He asks for help and Sheridan agrees to intervene, but doesn’t know how he can assist until Delenn offers him a weapon to do the job. Sheridan, Ivanova, Marcus, Delenn and Lennier take a shuttle into hyperspace and rendezvous with a new experimental warship, the White Star. The White Star is a blend of human, Minbari and Vorlon technology. Uniquely for a ship of its relatively small size, it can generate its own jump points. It is a prototype for use in battle against the Shadows. Now activated, the ship heads for Zagros VII. Once there the White Star begins destroying the minefield but a Shadow warship appears to intercept them. Realising the Shadows don’t know who they are and want to take them alive, Sheridan orders the crew to continue firing at the mines. The White Star knocks them out and the Ranger and Drazi colonists manage to escape to hyperspace. Sheridan decides to lure the Shadows into a false sense of security and leaps through the jump gate as well, making it appear that the White Star cannot generate its own jump points. He brings the ship out through the jump gate in the now-desolate Markab system and activates a jump point inside the still-active jump gate. The energy flux triggers a colossal fireball which destroys the Shadow ship. Sheridan decides to head for home.

A few days later, at Earthdome, Endawi makes his full report to a senator. After he leaves a Psi Cop and Morden enter. The Narn knowledge of the Shadows is irrelevant and no-one else knows enough to be a threat. They can move into the next phase with no problem and Psi Corps is even preparing to “accelerate” the next phase, using the images of the Shadow ship on ISN to increase paranoia and tighten planetary security.

Back on Babylon 5 Sheridan, Delenn, Lennier, Ivanova, Garibaldi and Franklin meet in private. Sheridan and Delenn fill in the others on the true extent of the Shadow threat and announce the founding of the War Council, which will comprise of themselves and whatever Rangers are around (usually Marcus, who now takes up permanent residence on the station).

Dating the Episode: It is at least ten days since the events of episode B22.

The Arc: Though the Rangers are only – at this point – comprised of humans and Minbari, they have support from elements within other governments, such as the Drazi. Episodes C10, C13, C15 and C21 demonstrate the support and divisions between the races.

Some more information is revealed about the Narns’ past relationship with the Shadows. The Shadows had a base on the Narn homeworld’s southern continent a thousand years ago, but G’Quan believed they were involved in a war far beyond their own world. This is elaborated upon in episode C14.

Morden notes that the Narn problem has been neutralised, suggesting that the Shadows may have chosen to help eliminate the Narns because they could have recognised them, as well as Londo’s superior answer to Morden’s question in episode A13.

The White Star is based upon Vorlon and Minbari technology. This is expanded upon in episodes C14, C18, C20 and C22.

The White Star is crewed by personnel from the religious caste, as Delenn believes they are not getting the support from the military caste they need (despite Neroon’s suggestion in episode B11). Episode C10 expands on this.

This episode gives the first major hints that Psi Corps and some elements in the Earth government have connections with Morden and the Shadows. This is expanded upon in episodes C5, C8, C14 and D7.

The relationship between Londo and Morden takes a downward turn in this episode. The relationship is revisited in episode C15. Londo also learns that Refa has developed an independent alliance with Morden, which informs his actions in episodes C11 and C20.

In a key but easy-to-miss-moment, Morden informs Londo that he has to go and meet with his associates, confirming to Londo that Morden’s associates are nearby. This informs Londo’s knowledge of the Shadows in episode D6.

The Minbari have records from the last Great War showing Shadow ships in detail. However, until this episode Delenn has never seen one in person. We actually see some of these records in episode C16. Londo recognises the Shadow ship as the same as in his dreams (B9).

The War Council founded in this episode slowly expands until by episode C18 it has effectively replaced the Babylon 5 Advisory Council (which, however, still officially exists, at least until episode D21).

Background: Zagros VII is a Drazi colony on the edge of their space. It is remote, poor and of limited strategic value.

The Earth Alliance, Narn Regime and several other races do not have artificial gravity, forcing them to rely on rotating sections or operate in zero-gravity. The Minbari and Centauri have artificial gravity based on the magnetic and gravimetric principles of their engine and power systems.

Minbari can sense the presence of alcohol by taste alone.

Kosh had to return to his ship to “rest” after the events of B22, indicating that the Vorlons may have a symbiotic relationship with their ships (or their ships are Vorlons, perhaps of a different sort).

Using jump gates as bombs was tested during the Earth-Minbari War and was known as the “Bonehead Manoeuvre”. The tactic was unviable because Earthforce ships were too slow to get out of the blast radius in time, but the White Star is fast enough to get clear.

Delenn lies to David Endawi, but justifies it as a way of saving Sheridan’s honour (similarly to how Lennier lied to save Londo’s honour in episode A21).

References: Zagros VII may be a nod to the Zagros Mountains, a substantial mountain range stretching south-eastern Turkey across the northern border of Iraq and down through western Iran all the way to the Straits of Hormuz.

Unanswered Questions: How was the destruction of the Markab jump gate explained?

How did Ivanova find out about the Shadows and the Rangers? The easy answer is that Garibaldi simply filled her in at some point: his grimace might be down to the danger of getting found out on this point by Sheridan more than surprise that Ivanova knows.

Why didn’t Garibaldi recognise Marcus’s Ranger pin? Did he just miss it?

Mistakes, Retcons and Lamentations: Delenn says she has never seen a Shadow ship before, not even a recording, and has only written descriptions to go on. However, episode C16 shows that the Minbari have video records from the last war clearly depicting Shadow ships in action.

Londo claims that he saw between one and two thousand Shadow ships in his dreams. When the dream comes true in a later episode, far fewer Shadow ships are actually present. Londo may have been mistaken or engaging in hyperbole.

This episode introduces one of the biggest retcons in the history of Babylon 5: the “Galactic Scaling Problem”. The entire series to date, from the pilot through to the end of Season 2, has been set on a very small scale: it’s only 75 light-years from Babylon 5 to Centauri Prime, a dozen light-years to Narn, fourteen to Earth etc. Even the most distant stars mentioned are a few hundred light-years away. These all indicated that “known space” in the B5 universe is maybe a thousand light-years or so across (about 1% the width of the Milky Way Galaxy), and that’s being generous. Season 2 seemed to challenge this with the introduction of Z’ha’dum on “the Rim”, but episode B4 suggested that this was the “Rim of Known Space” rather than the Galactic Rim.

However, Straczynski later confirmed that Z’ha’dum is indeed on the Galactic Rim. Assuming this is the rim of the galaxy closest to Earth, that’s still approximately 20,000 light-years away. This episode then shows a map of the entire galaxy, with the Shadows “giving” the Centauri roughly one-third of the territory and the Shadows two-thirds. Londo doesn’t seem phased by this, again suggesting a much larger scale for the story than anything hinted at in the first two seasons.

This episode also introduces probably the second-biggest continuity issue in the history of Babylon 5: the White Star scale issue. When the ship was first introduced, it was supposed to be fairly modest in size, larger than a shuttle but still somewhat smaller than a warship. Ron Thornton’s original thought was that the ship would be a bigger version of the Millennium Falcon and scaled it accordingly: this is clearly seen when the White Star is seen alongside the B5 shuttle and the Minbari flyer, which appear quite big next to it, too big to dock with the ship, in fact. However, the sets were not built in conjunction with this scale, with a very large central hallway, an expansive bridge and a very big engine room. Later episodes would increase this further with other rooms and a hanger deck big enough to hold several fighters and shuttles. As a result, the external visuals of the White Star in this episode are out of keeping with the later ones. The final canonical figure is that the White Star is 400 metres long, twice as long as the original starship Enterprise from Star Trek!

Behind the Scenes: According to J. Michael Straczynski, the White Star, or a ship like it, was in the plan for the series from that start, since at some point he knew the heroes would have to take the offensive and the Starfuries and shuttles wouldn’t cut it.

However, visual effects designer Ron Thornton claimed (in an interview with SFX Magazine during the latter part of the season) that the introduction of the White Star was a direct response to the introduction of the USS Defiant on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine the previous year. When asked if he was allowed to say that, he replied “I’ll say what I [expletive] want,” another indication of strained relations between the production team and the effects house this season.

The White Star set was not a standing set, despite how often it was used in the season, and had to be taken down whenever another set was needed. This meant that the set was never erected the same way twice, resulting in minor changes between each appearance. However, given that the ship’s crew are continuing to modify it as they learn more about its capabilities, this may not be out of keeping with the story. A permanent White Star set was finally erected for Season 4.

The production team built a new MedLab set for Season 3, feeling that the previous one was inadequate. They had also planned to refurbish the C&C set as well, but costs prevented this from taking place. After Season 3 it was decided not to refurbish that set, as very few scenes in Seasons 4 and 5 took place there. Instead, a new set, the War Room, was built, to be introduced later on in Season 3.

Jason Carter was taken aback by his first day on set because the cast and crew were all professional and welcoming. He had not previously worked in such a “nice” environment on an American set.

Mira Furlan was surprised by the fight scene in Downbelow, as it was the first time that Delenn was shown to be proficient in melee combat. The rationale seems to be that she had previous experience of using a Minbari fighting pike for personal exercise and old instincts kicked in. Furlan noted that she was not used to action scenes, but had more scenes in this vein in her recurring role as Danielle Rousseau on Lost (2004-10).

There were some improvements to Delenn’s make-up for this season to make the bone crest more of a piece with the head.

Familiar Faces: Tucker Smallwood (David Endawi) is a very familiar actor from American television. He served in the Airborne Infantry during the Vietnam War and was sometimes cast in military roles due to his background. He was wounded in action during the Vietnam War and took up acting in New York to help his recovery. After cultivating a Broadway career, he began acting in film, starting with The Cotton Club (1984). His other film roles include Contact (1997), Deep Impact (1998) and Traffic (2000). His TV roles include Friends, The X-Files, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, Star Trek: Voyager and Enterprise, Millennium and The Sarah Silverman Program. He also played a regular role on Space: Above and Beyond in the same year as his appearance on Babylon 5.

Jason Carter (Marcus Cole) is a British actor who relocated to the United States in the 1990s. His UK roles included Jackanory and his American credits include Viper, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Charmed and Angel. He had a recurring role on Beverly Hills 902010 before starring on Babylon 5.

Review: Season 3 opens with a strong declaration of intent. Our heroes are going to be on the offensive more, taking action rather than just reacting to what’s going on around them. This growing confidence makes for a more dynamic series and shakes things up just as the “constantly losing” vibe of Season 2 was starting to get a bit stale. Jason Carter makes for a likeable new character and the White Star is a cool new ship design. All of that said, some elements of the script are a bit contrived and the victory over the Shadow ship feels a bit unlikely. Still, a fun episode which also make a dramatic statement of intent. ***½

Londo: “We have danced our last little dance, Mr. Morden. Now it is time for you to go away.”

Delenn: “Take a good look, John, and remember it well. That is the face of the enemy.”

Endawi: “Why would they just disappear for a thousand years?”
G’Kar: “To all things there is a time, Mr. Endawi. Perhaps this is theirs.”

Endawi: “This is a very strange place you have here, Mr. Garibaldi.”
Garibaldi: “Thank you.”

C2: Convictions
Airdates: 13 November 1995 (US), 21 April 1996 (UK)
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Michael Laurence Vejar
Cast: Morishi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), Brother Theo (Louis Turenne), Robert Carlson (Patrick Kilpatrick), Obnoxious Man (John C. Flinn III), Lurker (Jason Larimore), MedTech (Gwen McGee), Drazi (Mike McKenzie), Security Guard #1 (Rick Johnson), Security Guard #2 (Tom Simmons)

Date: circa 25 January 2260.

Plot:    A series of bombs explode on Babylon 5, damaging the station, injuring Lennier (who is injured saving Londo) and trapping Londo and G’Kar together in a lift shaft. Sheridan and Garibaldi track down the bomber and discover he has planted a larger device in the station’s fusion reactor. The bomb is successfully located and removed, whilst Sheridan overpowers the bomber. Meanwhile, a group of monks arrives from Earth, led by Brother Theo. They establish a chapel on the station and tell Ivanova they are searching for all the different names and faces of God, and to this end are investigating the religious faith of other species.

Dating the Episode: The bomber started working for Station Engineering on 11 January 2260 and has been on board for approximately two weeks.

The Arc: Brother Theo and his monks reappear in episodes C4 and C20.

Background: Lennier lies to get to an obnoxious man in B5’s customs to leave him alone. He considers this a grave dishonour (in keeping with previous information about Minbari honour) and promises to do a penance later on.

Lennier says he has only seven days to live and is returning home, confirming that Minbar is less than seven days travel from Babylon 5.

Seven are killed and nineteen injured in the initial blast. Level Red 15 is severely damaged by a later explosion.

There are Earth Alliance bases within 30 light-years of Babylon 5.

The Babylon 5 “flying cameras” we’ve seen several times (most notably in episodes PM and B15) are actually what we’d call now drones, based on Straczynski's description.

References: The quest of Theo’s monks is a direct reference to Arthur C. Clarke’s short story “The Nine Billion Names of God”, where a sect is trying to list all the names of God. When they succeed in tracking down the last name it results in one of Clarke’s most famous lines: “Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.”

Theo is named for Vincent van Gogh’s brother, in whose arms he reportedly died after shooting himself. Theo was named for their mutual father, Theodorus van Gogh, a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church.

Lennier claims to be suffering from “Netter’s Syndrome”, a fatal illness, to escape the attention of an annoying man. This is a reference to the show’s executive producer, Douglas Netter.

The “mad bomber” plot was partially inspired by the Oklahoma City bombing and the Unabomber.

The song G’Kar sings in the elevator is a variation on the Gilbert and Sullivan-inspired song he sings whilst preparing his dinner in episode A5.

Unanswered Questions: How did one dude with anger issues manage to place bombs all over Babylon 5, including the docking bay and fusion reactor, completely undetected?

Mistakes, Retcons and Lamentations: It’s rather more blatantly obvious than normal when stuntmen step in for Sheridan and Carlsen during their fight scene. The room where they fight is small and the camera is close to the performers at all times, meaning it’s difficult to hide the differences (most notably, the nearly-bald Carlsen is replaced by a stuntman with a full head of hair).

Londo says that no-one has saved his life before. This appears to be inaccurate: Lord Kiro appeared to throw himself into danger to save Londo and Ladira in A13 (even if it was staged, Londo doesn’t know that); Lennier saved Londo from, at least, severe physical damage in episode A21; Franklin saved Londo from poisoning in B8 (with Timov’s help, but Londo doesn’t know that); Sheridan and Station Security stopped G’Kar from killing him in B9; and Urza Jaddo chose to give up his own life rather than kill Londo in an honour duel to the death in B16.

Behind the Scenes: The “Obnoxious Man” in customs is played by John C. Flinn III, Babylon 5’s resident director of photography and one of the show’s regular directors. Producer John Copeland apparently suggested using Flinn after seeing the character was called “Obnoxious Man”. Flinn, who had acted previously, was not immediately impressed by the idea but had fun with it, especially since he was riffing with Bill Mumy who was famously relaxed and into improvising on the set.

The explosions were handled by having relatively small blasts filmed in the background but long lenses used to make them appear much closer to the actors. The explosion which throws Londo into the transport tube was accomplished building a vertical miniature set resembling a B5 corridor, setting up a camera at the top pointing down and setting off a firebomb at the bottom, so it looks like the blast is shooting along the corridor. The whole thing was filmed outside for safety reasons (ironically making it only the second scene in the show’s history to be filmed outdoors, after Londo’s dream in B9, even though you can’t tell).

Bill Mumy’s father passed away just before the episode began shooting and he had to take a day off to attend the funeral. The effects department created a cast of Mumy’s head and this was used for the MedLab scenes where he doesn’t have to speak. Andreas Katsulas later congratulated Mumy for his performance, noting that “stillness” was incredibly hard to sell on film. Mumy didn’t tell him that it wasn’t him in the scene.

The joke about the Centauri changing lightbulbs was told to Straczynski by fan. He quoted it as a shout-out to the fan base.

Actor Patrick Kilpatrick was very intense in his performances as the bomber, to the delight of the director and producers. Bruce Boxleitner was less impressed, as Kilpatrick had a tendency to spit when yelling at him close up. Boxleitner later described him as “very excitable”.

Familiar Faces: Patrick Kilpatrick (Robert Carlson) is a very prolific American actor, appearing in over 117 films and TV shows.  His film roles include Under Siege 2, Free Willy 3 and Last Man Standing. His TV credits are too numerous to list, but include starring alongside Bill Mumy in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode The Siege of AR-558. He also had a recurring role on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Morishi) is a highly-regarded Japanese-American actor, martial artist and stuntman with roles in films such as Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Emperor, Licence to Kill, Kickboxer 2, Showdown in Little Tokyo, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Pearl Harbour, the Tim Burton Planet of the Apes, Elektra and 47 Ronin. His TV roles include Star Trek: The Next Generation (as Q’s bailiff in the very first episode), Alien Nation, Baywatch, Nash Bridges, Stargate SG-1, Heroes, The Librarians and Star Wars: Rebels. He is best-known currently for playing the regular character of Nobusuke Tagomi in Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle.

Louis Turenne (Theo) previously played Draal in episodes A18 and A19. He was supposed to reprise the role in episode B20 but suffered a stroke just before filming was due to start. He was replaced at short notice by John Schuck. Straczynski promised to write him another role (with less arduous use of prosthetics) when he was well again.

Review: There’s some good stuff in this episode, most notably the G’Kar/Londo material and the CSI-ish scenes of the station staff analysing the progression of the investigation. It’s also a shame we don’t see Morishi again, as he’s a very solid character with a laconic sense of humour. However, the ability of the bomber to put bombs all over the station undetected stretches credulity past the breaking point and the bomber himself is a very dull character. ***

Franklin: “How do you get on with your life not knowing when or where the next blast is coming from?” (UK viewers at the time could respond with, “Well…”)

Londo: “You’re insane!”

G’Kar: “And that is why we will win!”

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