Monday, 11 December 2017

BABYLON 5 Rewatch: Season 3, Episodes 17-18

C17: War Without End, Part 2
Airdates: 20 May 1996 (US), 11 August 1996 (UK)
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Michael Laurence Vejar
Cast: Ambassador Jeffrey Sinclair (Michael O’Hare), Zathras (Tim Choate), Major Krantz (Kent Broadhurst), Babylon 4 Executive Officer (Bruce Morrow), Centauri Guard (Kevin Fry), B4 Tech (Eddie Mui), Voice (Melissa Gilbert – uncredited)

Date: Parts of this episode take place in 2254, late 2258 (coinciding with the time period of episode A20), January 2278 and approximately one thousand years in the past.

Plot:    On the Centauri Prime of the future a stunned Sheridan tries to find out what’s going on. Londo tells him that it is seventeen years since Sheridan started his great crusade against the Shadows and, although he defeated them, he failed to eliminate their allies, who have apparently devastated Centauri Prime in retribution for their defeat. Londo tells Sheridan he will be executed for his crimes and is returned to his cell. He is soon joined by an aged Delenn, who tell him that their son is safe and that she loves him. They are brought before Londo again, but Londo is now inebriated by drink. He tells them that drink is the only thing that can keep "it" asleep and shows them a strange parasitic alien creature attached to his shoulder, his "Keeper" as he calls it. He tells them he has arranged for them to escape on a Centauri shuttle, telling them that in return for sparing them he wants their forces to liberate Centauri Prime from its conquerors. They agree and depart. After they have gone G’Kar, missing an eye, enters and Londo tells him that if his Keeper awakens it will know what Londo has done and will stop Delenn and Sheridan from escaping. G’Kar agrees to put Londo out of his misery and starts strangling him, but the Keeper awakens and Londo tries to fight back. Later, Vir enters, finds the two corpses, and reaches for the Emperor’s circlet. Outside, Sheridan is pulled back to his own time and Delenn urges him not to go Z’ha’dum.

Meanwhile, back in 2254 Sinclair and the others board Babylon 4 and fake a hull breach in one section, arranging for the whole area to be sealed off. They begin preparing to send Babylon 4 through time and Sheridan reappears. Zathras has fixed his time stabiliser to some degree using extra power from a spacesuit’s battery, but it is still not fully functional. Sheridan and Sinclair enter Babylon 4’s fusion reactor and begin placing the equipment needed to begin the time jump, but a power spike causes the system to overload and move the station forwards in time. Zathras stops it, but the station has moved forwards in time by some four years, to 2258. Soon ships from Babylon 5 approach and events unfold as they did before (in episode A20). Sheridan vanishes again due to the time malfunction but reappears. During the confusion Delenn has a flash-forward similar to the one experienced by Sinclair and Garibaldi two years ago: she is in Sheridan’s quarters, watching him sleep. The door opens and a woman says, “Hello?”, shocking Delenn. She wakes up again, confused, on B4. Delenn swaps her time stabiliser for Sheridan’s and dons his spacesuit as well. Zathras is captured by B4 Security, meets with the past Garibaldi and Sinclair, and they see a spacesuited figure (Delenn) appear outside, who Zathras claims is "The One". Zathras gives Delenn the fixed time stabiliser to stop her leaping around in time and Zathras encourages the past crew to abandon ship as a new time jump begins. The B4 crew and their rescuers abandon the station and return to Babylon 5, just before Babylon 4 vanishes.

The crew reconvene in B4 C&C. Sinclair has aged some 20 years, apparently due to being exposed to the time field for a second time and not having a time stabiliser the first time he was exposed to it (in A20). He guesses that the closer he moves to his own time he will get older and older before dying, which is why he didn't want Garibaldi along on the trip. He volunteers to take Babylon 4 personally back in time to a thousand years in the past and Zathras agrees to go with him. Zathras tells Sinclair that the One is actually three people, the One who was, is and will be. He says that Sinclair is the One Who Was, Delenn is the One Who Is and that Sheridan is the One Who Will Be. The remainder of the crew abandon ship and return to the present.

The White Star reappears in 2260 and heads back to Babylon 5. Draal collapses and seals the time distortion in Sector 14 once and for all. Along the way Delenn explains some of what has transpired. She tells them that if B4 had appeared with a human on board, her people would never have accepted it. She also tells them that the triluminaries - the devices used by the Minbari Grey Council and by Delenn to perform her transformation - originated on Epsilon III. Marcus, shocked, recalls that the Minbari histories claim that Valen was a "Minbari not born of Minbari". Delenn tells Sheridan that her transformation was to close a door opened 1,000 years ago, the door that allowed Minbari souls to be born in human bodies...

1,000 years into the past, Babylon 4 appears. Several Minbari battleships detect its appearance and arrive to investigate, to find that two Vorlon transports are already on hand. On board they are greeted by a Minbari who says his name is Valen and grants them Babylon 4 as a place to be used against the Shadows, but there is much work to do...


Dating the Episode: From dialogue, previous episodes and NOV15.

The Arc: This episode pretty much firmly seals the door on the whole Sinclair and Minbari souls plots, although there is a follow-up of sorts to the consequences of this episode in D9. We learn that when Babylon 4 goes back in time Sinclair uses one of the three triluminaries to transform himself into a Minbari even as Delenn used one to become partly human. He takes the name Valen and leads the Minbari-Vorlon Alliance to victory against the Shadows, founding the Grey Council along the way. He himself leaves the note Sinclair found in episode C16, presumably explaining some of what has transpired. This is why Valen was able to foresee the future, because he had lived it. The triluminaries, we learn, were made on Epsilon III at some point during the 500-year-existence of the Great Machine, given to Sinclair or Zathras just before they came on board the White Star in C16, taken back in time to 1,000 years in the past and handed down through numerous generations of the Grey Council.

Delenn claims that her transformation in episodes A22-B2 had been to close the door opened by Sinclair/Valen a thousand years earlier, the door that allowed Minbari souls to be reborn in human bodies. This doesn’t make much sense but we do at least find out why Minbari and human souls are melding together.

By 2278 Delenn and Sheridan have a son, David, who was in some sort of trouble with the Centauri. According to Londo, the allies of the Shadows have devastated Centauri Prime in retribution for some event. Londo makes Sheridan promise to come back and free his world. We then see G’Kar and Londo kill each other, as Londo dreamed in episode B9, and see Vir take the throne of the Centauri Republic, as prophecised by Morella in C9. These events are fully clarified in NOV15.

Much of the flipside of A20 is revealed, how and why Zathras is captured and so forth. Most confusing is nature of ‘The One’. Sinclair is the One Who Was, obviously because he is Valen, a great hero of the past. Delenn is the One Who Is, which is confirmed in episode C19 (when she effectively replaces Sinclair’s role in the present). Sheridan is the One Who Will Be, presumably a foreshadowing of Sheridan’s new role adopted from episode D21 onwards. This still doesn’t explain where in time Sheridan disappears to during his second disappearance or the whole Delenn/Sheridan suit-swapping thing.

The future Londo and Delenn tell Sheridan that they will win the Shadow War, but not fully. Some of the Shadows’ allies will survive and cause trouble for almost another twenty years. Episodes C20-D7, D10-D11, E9-E10, E15-E18, E21, TVM4 and the books NOV13-NOV15 cover this in some detail.

This episode marks the first appearance (sort of) of the alien species known as the Drakh, although they are not named until episode D11.

Delenn tells Sheridan that they built “something that will last a thousand years”. We will find out what this is in episode D21.

The flash-forward experienced by Delenn is explained in episodes C21 and C22.

Sinclair tries to tell Garibaldi to watch his back, a warning to his impending shooting (as seen in episode A22). This was also to justify Sinclair saying that he had “tried to warn them” but failed in episode A20.

We learn the eventual fate of Babylon 4 (after going back in time) in comics DC12-14.

Background: When Babylon 4 reappeared in the past it remained unknown to the Minbari for several weeks (so Sinclair could complete his transformation into Valen). Only when he was ready did the Vorlons reveal its existence to the Minbari. To confirm the station’s importance to the war effort, two Vorlons revealed their true appearances to the boarding Minbari.

Zathras is 110 years old, meaning he was born circa 2150 (assuming he’s using human years).

According to Straczynski, the triluminaries and the chrysalis machine originated on Epsilon III. They were taken through time on Babylon 4 and held by the Grey Council for a thousand years, and then given to Delenn (who still has the machine and one of the triuluminaries).

Also, according to Straczynski (and backed up by the CG), Babylon 4 is significantly larger than B5 (a mile longer and much wider) and has engines capable of moving the station to other locations. It’s also much more heavily armed than Babylon 5.

Some sources suggest that the Vorlons were not involved in the war prior to B4’s arrival, but Straczynski has stated that the Vorlons and Minbari were already allied against the Shadows when the station arrived, and the Vorlons’ approval went a long way to convincing the Minbari into accepting the station.

Some materials suggest that the old Minbari warcruiser in use a thousand years ago is a Tinashi-class war frigate.

References: Sinclair/Valen being able to see the future because he had lived it is probably a nod to Merlin, who according to legend aged backwards and to whom the future was like the past. This was mentioned in episode C13.

“The One” also being “The Three” may be a nod to the idea of one-as-three in Christianity, the Holy Trinity.

Unanswered Questions: Where did Sheridan go in time when he vanished the second time?

Where did Delenn go in time after she swapped time stabilisers with Sheridan? She vanishes after that point and rematerializes on the B4 Central Corridor, twice.

If Sheridan could be anchored in time by just having his time stabiliser swapped, why didn’t Draal simply pack some spares for the trip?

Did Sinclair/Valen and Zathras arrange for the construction of the Great Machine on Epsilon III, four hundred years after Sinclair/Valen’s death?

Where does the name “Valen” come from?

Why did the chrysalis machine turn Sinclair into a full Minbari but Delenn only into a half-human?

It’s worth reiterating this one from A20: how did Earthforce explain over a thousand construction workers suddenly showing up four years after their families assumed they’d all be killed?

Mistakes, Retcons and Lamentations: Again, it feels a little unfair to criticise the episode too much given that many of the underlying assumptions Straczynski was working on when he wrote episode A20 were blown out of the water in the following two years. However, for the sake of completeness, we will persevere.

In episode A20, Major Krantz says that Zathras appeared in the middle of a conference room after a time flash. In this episode he is found in a store room. According to J. Michael Straczynski, they tried to set up Zathras’s appearance as previously described but couldn’t make it work.

In A20 there were 1,300 construction workers and crew on Babylon 4. In this episode this figure has inexplicably increased to “almost” 2,000.

Delenn is wearing different clothes in this episode to when she greeted Sinclair in A20. The computer voice saying that the atmosphere is now breathable has also disappeared.

When past Sinclair and present Delenn touch, there is an explosive discharge of energy that sends Sinclair hurtling through the air. Why? Past Sinclair, Krantz and the security guards all touch Zathras will no ill effect, so it’s not just the time displacement. Presumably it’s because Delenn is unstuck in time, but then Zathras touches her with no problem.

When “the One” appears at the end of A20, the figure is wounded and male (from the sound of his grunts and Zathras’s reaction), but in this episode, it turns out to have been Delenn.

In A20 Zathras says they deliberately stopped Babylon 4’s movement through time to allow the crew to disembark. In this episode, B4 abruptly halting in 2258 is an unintended accident. Zathras might have just lied to make their motives sound purer than was the case.

Krantz seems to know that the explosion and EMP was caused by a fusion bomb, but he doesn’t mention any of this to Sinclair in A20. There’s also the feeling that Zathras has been in custody for a while, but in this episode he was captured literally just a few minutes earlier.

If Sinclair is Valen and the Grey Council know or suspect this, or at least that Sinclair is deeply involved in Valen’s story, why did they order Delenn to kill Sinclair if he learned the truth in episode A8?

In a slight timeline error, Sinclair’s shuttle flotilla is shown leaving Babylon 4 before the past Sinclair and Garibaldi actually disembark the station.

According to this episode, the merging of human and Minbari souls began 1,000 years ago with Sinclair/Valen. However, according to episode B1 the merging began 2,000 years ago. The contemporaneous comic DC1 says 6,000 years, although Straczynski notes that this was an error. The “error”, of course, is that in the original story arc (the one Straczynski used to write the pilot and Season 1) Babylon 4 was taken twenty years into the future and the human/Minbari soul merging had a different cause (it is unclear if Straczynski had figured out that that was; it may have been down to the Vorlons).

The White Star looks significantly shorter than 400 metres in length when it’s attached to the hull of Babylon 4. Of course, this is less an error and more the intention of the writers and CG team in how big the ship was at this time. The decision that the White Star should be a lot bigger was not taken until Season 5 and the revelation that the ship had docking bays and several fighters on board.

In addition, that, Sinclair’s fighter and shuttle wing from B5 misses the White Star attached to B4’s hull. You’d assume they’d conduct some kind of sweep looking for damage.

The time distortion effect is not visible through Babylon 4’s C&C window.

When the airlock starts cycling, after Sinclair fails to warn Garibaldi, the CG positions Sinclair in such a way that he’d be crushed flat by the opening airlock door.

In the final shot of Babylon 4, as the Minbari cruisers approach, the station appears to be missing its lower two or three heat dissipating fins.

Behind the Scenes: This is only the second episode (of an eventual eight) of Babylon 5 in which Jerry Doyle does not appear in new footage as Michael Garibaldi. However, he still appears in archive footage from episode A20.

Mira Furlan had to specially record an even more truncated version of her exposition about the story from episode C16 for the “Previously, on Babylon 5” segment at the start of the episode.

The blue spacesuit used in episode A20 was a prop recycled from the Arthur C. Clarke movie 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984). It was unavailable for this episode, so two new spacesuits had to be built from scratch, increasing the expense of the episode.

Straczynski has been asked by fans about when Sheridan and Delenn would kiss and he noted that he wanted their first kiss to appear in an unexpected and surprising context. The result was this episode, where it might be Sheridan’s first experience of kissing Delenn but it’s not Delenn’s.

Many cast and crew – including director Mike Vejar and actor Andreas Katsulas – didn’t really understand what the hell was going on in the episode. According to Vejar, Straczynski’s producer’s cut also omitted some intermediary moments that would have better explained Sheridan’s disappearances and reappearances in time, but Straczynski had no choice as the episode was running long and he had to cut seven pages. Katsulas didn’t get what was going on in the scene where he kills Londo in the future at all, and expressed his unhappiness to Straczynski. He was happier to return to G’Kar’s present-day storyline in the following episode.

Familiar Faces: This makes the final appearance of Michael O’Hare as Jeffrey Sinclair, although he would appear in flashback footage in TVM1, In the Beginning. O’Hare sadly passed away in 2012, as noted previously.

Kent Broadhurst returns as Major Krantz from episode A20.

Bruce Morrow (Babylon 4’s executive officer) is a well-known American radio personality, often working under the nickname “Cousin Brucie”. He started his career at on ZBM-AM in Bermuda before moving to the New York station WINS in 1959. His major success came at WABC during the explosion of rock and roll and the British Invasion. In the 1970s he moved into the corporate ownership side of the business before returning to hosting shows in the New York area in the 1980s, along with a nationally-syndicated show (Crusin’ America). Now in his eighties, he continues to present multiple radio shows on Sirius XM. As the breakfast presenter on Atlantic 252 in 1992-96, he extolled his appreciation and enjoyment of Babylon 5, which J. Michael Straczynski heard about. He then offered Morrow a guest shot on the show.

Review: The second half of this two-parter shares many of the problems as the first, being confusing, self-contradictory and overburdened by tedious (and often nonsensical) exposition. However, there is some good dialogue and some fun moments, along with some impressive effects. The scenes set on Centauri Prime in the future are darker and far more interesting. Overall, better than the first half but this feels like a very awkwardly-written episode designed to resolve lingering plot points from Babylon Squared rather than doing anything really impressive itself. ***½

Future Delenn: “The war is never completely won. There are always new battles to be fought against the darkness. Only the names change.”

Future Delenn: “Take these words back with you to the past. Treasure the moments you have, savour them for as long as you can for they will never come again.”

Future Delenn: “Do not go Z’ha’dum. Do you understand? Do not go to Z’ha’dum!”

Ivanova: “Marcus, we’re stealing a station to fight in a war that was over a thousand years ago. We’re all mad.”

C18: Walkabout
Airdates: 30 September 1996 (US), 18 August 1996 (UK)
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Kevin G. Cremin
Cast: Dr. Lillian Hobbs (Jennifer Balgobin), Lyta Alexander (Patricia Tallman), Cailyn (Erica Gimpel), Na’Kal (Robin Sachs), Ambassador Ulkesh/Kosh (Ardwight Chamberlain), Minbari Captain (Michael McKenzie)

Date: August or September 2260.

Plot:    The new Vorlon Ambassador arrives on Babylon 5. He instructs all present to refer to him as Kosh to maintain the illusion that Kosh still lives. When Sheridan asks him what his real name is, the Vorlon replies “Kosh”. Lyta Alexander also arrives on the station, having heard of Kosh’s death. She tries to see Franklin but learns he is on leave. Dr. Hobbs tells her that no-one was present when Kosh died. The new Vorlon is unhappy that Lyta was not present when Kosh was killed, but Lyta was elsewhere and didn’t have a "piece of him" with her. The Vorlon decides to continue employing her as his aide and associate.

Dr. Franklin has gone "walkabout" in Downbelow. He is simply wandering around, sorting things out in his head until he can work out all his problems. He meets a singer, Cailyn, and they spend the night together, but Cailyn has an inoperable terminal neurological disorder and will be dead within six months. He helps her get medical care and then moves on.

The Narn heavy cruiser G’Dok returns to Babylon 5. Warleader Na’Kal has spent the many months since Sheridan gave sanctuary to their ship tracking down other Narn vessels that survived the war against the Centauri and has returned to give G’Kar his report. Only ten warships are salvageable and are now being made operational again. Na’Kal is eager to begin striking against the Centauri, but G’Kar tells him it is more important for now that they defend Babylon 5 and commit forces to the war against the Shadows.

Sheridan calls a meeting of the full War Council, including the newly-admitted League ambassadors. He tells them that they may have discovered a weakness in the Shadows, that they may be vulnerable to telepathic interference. However, the hypothesis isn’t good enough. They need to test it. Sheridan plans to take the White Star into hyperspace, wait for word of a Shadow attack, and then jump out. Lyta Alexander will accompany him. She will try to jam the Shadow ship’s systems and the White Star will attempt to destroy it. However, it is uncertain how much firepower is actually needed to destroy a Shadow vessel so Sheridan asks if any of the ambassadors will send a ship along to observe and if necessary to assist. G’Kar agrees to discuss the matter with Na’Kal whilst Delenn commits a Minbari warcruiser. None of the other governments are willing to risk their vessels, so the White Star and the Minbari cruiser depart. Na’Kal refuses to accept the mission, pointing out that the Shadows have so far had a turkey shoot against Narn vessels, but Garibaldi makes G’Kar realise that it isn’t Na’Kal’s decision to make because, as the highest-ranking free member of the Kha’Ri, G’Kar can order him to take the G’Dok out.

The White Star detects a Shadow attack on a Drazi outpost and jumps to normal space, though not before the Shadows have destroyed the base. The White Star chases the Shadow warship and Lyta tries to telepathically jam it, but its influence overwhelms her. When Sheridan tries to help her, she sees in his mind Kosh’s death. Enraged that it was the Shadows who murdered him, she gains the necessary emotional control to stop the Shadow ship in its tracks. The White Star opens fire with all weapons and, after a length barrage of sustained fire, manages to destroy the Shadow vessel. However, the energy has drained the ship’s power reserves and is unable to make jump for another twenty minutes. After half that time has passed another four Shadow vessels appear. With little option, Sheridan makes a run for it and the Minbari warcruiser arrives. The three Minbari telepaths on board jam three of the attacking ships, but the fourth continues on and Lyta isn’t strong enough to stop it. Another jump point opens and a fleet of League ships led by the G’Dok arrives and catches the Shadow ship in a crossfire with the White Star, destroying it. The three remaining Shadow ships flee rather than fight against the odds. Sheridan, flushed by victory, leads the fleet back to Babylon 5 in triumph, whilst Lyta hears a familiar voice saying, “And so it begins.” Back on B5 she tells the new Vorlon that she thinks part of Kosh may have survived after all, but she doesn’t know where it is.

Dating the Episode: It is a few days to a few weeks after Kosh’s death and then the events of C16-17. Delenn notes in C15 that Kosh going AWOL for “weeks at a time” was not unusual.

The Arc: The theory proposed in episode C14 that the Shadows may be vulnerable to telepathic attack is tested and confirmed, giving the allies a valuable new weapon against the Shadows. This weapon is employed again in episode C21.

This episode furthers the idea that the Vorlons have their own agenda and this may not entirely coincide with that of the younger races. Episodes D1 and especially D3-D6 expand on this notion.

Ulkesh sees an image burned into the wall of Kosh’s quarters. This shows several Shadows and a humanoid figure, presumably Morden, burned into the wall by the trauma of Kosh’s death in C15.

The battleship G’Dok and her captain, Na’Kal, both previously appeared in episode B22

This episode suggests that what we saw in episode C4 (between Kosh and Lyta) was Lyta carrying a ‘part’ of Kosh’s consciousness around inside herself and then giving that piece back to him. This is fully confirmed in episodes D1-D2 and D4.

Franklin’s adventures in Downbelow are resolved in episode C21. Although we don’t see her again, Cailyn is mentioned again in episode D20.

Background: The Vorlons don’t like change. Kosh’s death was the first time one of them had been killed in a long time. This confirms that during the Vorlon surprise attack against the Shadows in C15 no Vorlons were killed.

The new Vorlon is called “Ulkesh”, as confirmed by NOV9 (among others). This name is never uttered on screen but he is referred to as Ulkesh in supplementary material.

Only around ten Narn warships have escaped the devastation of the Narn homeworld and remain at large. Later episodes suggest that far more ships survived the war intact, but they were captured and impounded by the Centauri.

Sector 90 by 110 by 47 is in Drazi space.

Lennier’s scans suggest that the Shadows may, in defiance of the visuals, use traditional jump points but they have the ability to cloak them somehow.

A variant on Swedish meatballs can be found as a delicacy on most civilised planets, due to a weird cosmic coincidence. The Narn variant is called breen.

The Foundation is a new religion that borrows many elements from pre-existing Earth religions and adapts them to the knowledge that alien life exists. The “walkabout” element is taken from Aborigine culture but now has a new scope, since people can go walkabout to or on other planets.

According to Straczynski, Kosh was a diplomat who was a bit more empathetic with other races. Ulkesh is more of a soldier and martinet who is less interested in convincing people and more about ordering them to do things and punishing them if they fail to comply.

References: “Walkabout” is a rite of passage in indigenous male Australians would spend up to six months alone in the Outback, surviving on their wits, as a way of gaining a spiritual connection to the land and learning self-reliance. It’s a rite of passage into adulthood. The term is somewhat controversial, as some Australian media has historically presented it in a simplistic or derogatory way. The term also gave its name to an episode of Lost.

Unanswered Questions: Can a normal P5 telepath hold off a Shadow ship or was Lyta only capable of doing it because of her experiences with the Vorlons?

Why did Ulkesh’s ship pause to “check out” Sheridan. What did it try to say to him with the writing on its hull?

Mistakes, Retcons and Lamentations: If Ulkesh is supposed to take Kosh’s space and pretend to be him, why send an ambassador in a visibly different ship with a completely different encounter suit and then pretend its him?

Maybe not a mistake, but it’s sure an inconsistency: Na’Kal seems extremely unwilling to help Sheridan out bearing in mind that Sheridan protected him and his ship to the extent of blowing up a Centauri battlecruiser (in B22). Garibaldi also indicates that several Starfuries were lost in the engagement (including, slightly afterwards, Lt. Keffer) and, of course, that event led to Sheridan nearly being killed by Centauri assassins before Kosh saved him. To say that Na’Kal and his entire crew owe Sheridan one is a massive understatement, and their refusal to help him here constitutes a major “dick move”.

When he is taking his spacewalk, Sheridan’s spacesuit should balloon outwards due to air pressure. Instead, it is hanging off him.

C&C’s door starts opening before Garibaldi moves towards it in the tease.

The original UK transmission of the episode misspelled Patricia Tallman’s names in the credits as “Patrica Tallman”. This was fixed for the US transmission and subsequent releases.

Sheridan wants as many ships as possible along to help out but doesn’t want more telepaths to come along. This seems contradictory.

It’s unclear why the Minbari warcruiser does not fire on the Shadow warships. If a relatively primitive Narn cruiser can destroy a Shadow vessel (aided by the White Star), presumably a full-blown Sharlin-class warcruiser could take them down more quickly (this is also expanded on in episode C21).

Instead of waiting 20 minutes for the jump engines to recharge, why doesn’t Sheridan ask the Minbari ship to jump in and then open a jump point for the White Star to escape?

Why don’t the Shadows notice, engage and destroy the Minbari cruiser in hyperspace before jumping into the system?

Lyta tells Ulkesh that a piece of Kosh may exist somewhere else, but fails to deliver any more information about this. This seems weird, since this information is repeated in episode D4 and Ulkesh's response is very different.

Behind the Scenes: This episode was meant to run immediately after C15 in Straczynski’s outline for Season 3. However, he realised that this would result in the War Without End two-parter being split by a transmission break, so dropped the events of this episode back to C18 before he wrote the script. The episode was written in such a way that it could run in either slot (some fans place it before War Without End in rewatches). However, dialogue in C16 referencing the Vorlon intervention suggest that the two-parter takes place very quickly after C15 and thus confirms that this episode takes place later.

Straczynski wrote the two songs that Cailyn sang in this episode. He’d written songs before but not for a while, so decided to take a shot at them and drop them if turned out “crummy”. Composter Christopher Franke, who had some experience in this area as a member of Tangerine Dream, thought the lyrics were fine and came up with the music for them.

Often TV shows have songs sung by professional singers and this is dubbed over the actors. However, Erica Gimpel really could sing (as shown in her time on Fame) and sung the songs for this episode.

When the Vorlon ship floats in front of Sheridan, Sheridan says “Welcome to Babylon 5.” This was edited out of the episode for time.

The line “Burn, you bastard, burn!” was cut out of the episode in the original UK broadcast. Channel 4, controversially, aired Babylon 5’s first three seasons in the UK at 6pm in a timeslot aimed at teenagers, so occasional cuts for language and violence were required.

As with the end of Season 2, the final five episodes of Season 3 aired in the UK over a month before the USA. The decision was made in the US to hold back the final five to partner the opening of Season 4.

Familiar Faces: Erica Gimpel (Cailyn) is best-known for playing Coco in the TV series Fame. She also appeared in the North and South mini-series (and its sequel, North and South, Book II), Spenser for Hire and Law & Order. She was also a series regular or recurring character on Profiler, ER, Veronica Mars, Boston Legal and The Young and the Restless. Her most recent roles were on Shut Eye and 12 to Midnight.

Review: A strong episode with some great moments involving the new Vorlon ambassador (who, despite his protestations, is very much not Kosh). It’s also great to see Team Sheridan finally take on a Shadow ship in a fair fight and win, with some strong visual effects. Franklin’s story, about trying to find himself, is interesting but we could have probably done without the MOR soft-rock numbers. It would also have been interesting to have seen Cailyn again. Still, after the divergences of the overwrought two-parter it’s good to be back on track. ****

Ulkesh: “We are all Kosh.” (walks off, enigmatically)
Sheridan: “Well, he’s a Vorlon all right.”

Ivanova: “Yep.”

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