There’s no relief in sight for the building tension in this fifth and final season. As we watch a number of storylines unfold, our attention is held by Zack’s growing jealousy and frustration with Lyta’s clear fondness, emerging loyalty, and maybe even love for Byron.
Lyta seems to be driven to the point of finding identity and comfort among this family of rogue telepaths: the Vorlons abused her, and her non-telepathic colleagues haven’t trusted her and even shun her. But in the best of circumstances, we still don’t really know what Byron and his followers are up to.
The tension is built primarily through the use of soft slurs on both sides, as we watch non-telepaths and telepaths alike refer to each other as “you people”, “those people” and other similar descriptors. Secrets emerge as we learn that Byron isn’t really in control of his followers when the convenience of peace disappears. He also learns some of the very dark secrets within Lyta that track back to her relationship with the Vorlons: secrets that impact all telepaths. In a parallel storyline, Dr. Franklin uncovers a very significant secret of the Hyach as they sheepishly try not to betray their dark past yet provide information Franklin requires in his new capacity working for the Alliance.
Have you been looking for some traditional boom? You’re certainly going to get some in this episode! An inbound vessel crashes into the docking bay when the captain disregards direction from C&C. Then, in an apparent assassination attempt, the ship intended to carry future Emperor Mollari back to Centauri Prime explodes as it starts its departure from B5. What a way to start an episode!
And we see several strange relationships play out as the episode unfolds. We find Lyta stealing from Dr. Franklin and Med Lab in an effort to provide supplies to Byron and his followers. This is particularly troubling when we know all she really needed to do is ask for the supplies. It seems Lyta’s relationship with Byron is growing stronger. Bester appears on the station with a squad of Bloodhounds and seems to have an oddly comfortable relationship with Captain Lockley. He’s there to arrest Byron and his followers, and we end up with the impression there’s some sort of past relationship between these two telepaths. Lyta confronts Bester and his goons directly and alone, and further strains the already awkward relationship when she appears to be able to contain them all without additional help. Then there’s the bad-turning-ugly relationship between Lochley and Garibaldi, the never-quite-worked-out relationship between Zack and Lyta, Delenn’s work to successfully bring Londo and G’Kar even closer by making him Londo’s personal body guard to serve with him inside the Royal Court on Centauri Prime…and the list can go on and on. You have to see it to really believe just how many strange (and strained) relations there can be in one episode!
Welcome to the episode that drew the most passion out of your hosts. This is a controversial episode in that it’s theme revolves around the Minbari’s traditional/historic doctrine of Mora’dum (or the application of terror) associated with the training of the Anla-shok. This is a two-edged sword of sorts. Something happens that causes terror in a Ranger; and the Ranger is then required to inflict terror in return to gain their confidence and strength back.
Two issues surface as the episode unfolds: what are the limits of the terror a Ranger is allowed to apply, and is this custom still a reasonable allowance under the new Alliance? We can have opinions about a custom like this when it’s completely internal to the Minbari, but the Rangers are now multi-species and are an arm of the multi-world Alliance (not just Minbar). Related, the matter that caused the invocation of Mora’dum was arguably a “local” matter on Babylon 5 that happened to involve a Ranger, and not an Alliance matter. But President Sheridan favors the Ranger’s authority over that of Captain Lochley. This caused the question to surface about the Alliance’s ability to respect its own rules when it finds itself in an inconvenient position. Is Minbar being favored over other members? We’d love to hear your thoughts as we watch a young Ranger student, a new captain on B5, and the leadership of the new Alliance worthing through a very steep learning curve.
We’ve spent four seasons watching galactic events unfold from the points of view of our heroes. In this interesting episode, we get to see a special view from the perspective of “every man”, or perhaps from a few fellows who sit in what’s often referred to as “the peanut gallery”. Meet Mack and Bo, two maintenance workers on Babylon 5 who have also been witnesses to the events we’ve seen. We get to enjoy their perspectives and thoughts as the station is attacked and they are witnesses to the actions, and even some discussions, of our leaders.
In the middle of what is a significant and deadly attack, there are some heavy moments, and some light ones. We learn a few important things about the strategic importance of Jumpgates, and little but important things like the differences between salami and spoo. The question of Captain Lochley’s loyalty during the war resurfaces again, but this time through the discussions of Mack and Bo, and their perspectives are definitely interesting. The attack on B5 is finally thwarted as we cheer the return of the White Star Fleet.
As things wrap up, our two new heroes meet Delenn, twice, and their exchanges are special, as are some of the insights into the burdens of leadership and command.
If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, you probably recognize the title of this episode from Hamlet, or perhaps as a reference to Psalm 8:5. The episode kicks off with us seeing the Council hasn’t changed much, debate is freely occurring, and we see some angry resistance from the Drazi as they refuse to sign the Alliance’s Declaration of Principles. Rather than signing as an affirmation of their support for the principles, they feign indignation saying that they don’t need to sign because it suggests their support to the Alliance is in question.
In another storyline, we watch a possible plan unfolding to use telepaths as spies…or perhaps just fact finders, as Michael and Byron clash over the ethics of it all. We also see that while Byron is clearly against Psi Corps’ control and oppression of telepaths, he actually appears to hold the same views they do with regards to non-telepathic beings, or “Mundanes”. Perhaps we still don’t really know what Byron and his followers are actually about. Throughout the episode we hear an increasing use of what is akin to racist language from telepaths and non-telepaths alike, suggesting there’s an emerging story here.
As things progress we learn of a race called the Enfili on the outskirts of Drazi space, and eventually the real reason why the Drazi were so resistant to signing the Declaration of Principles.
Join Raul, Jim and JP as we examine the ties to the earlier season, and watch as new storylines emerge.
We learn Londo is now on a deliberate path and timeline to become emperor, followed shortly by an apparent poisoning. We quickly learn that he’s in medical distress due to a heart attack – not poison – and his long night of self examination begins. With one of his two hearts damaged, and due to the associated difficulty to render medical aid, Londo finds himself cradled in the arms of death and wrestling with his past.
Meanwhile, Lennier’s unrequited love for Delenn comes to a head and he decides to join the Rangers. Is he following a path he’s supposed to be on, attempting to run from his love, or both? We’re left wondering about his motives and the health of his heart as well.
Londo’s painful adventure continues as his conscience manifests as several of his colleagues and we hear him regularly prompted to “turn around”. As time passes we learn that to live, only “one word is required.” If you’re new to the series, enjoy Jim, Raul and JP’s discussions as they work through this episode, learn what that “one word” is, and whether Londo lives or dies.
The fifth and final season begins with our introduction to Captain Elizabeth Lochley. In some ways she’s a lightning rod of a character with a strong personality, a strong military record, and a plan for fixing Babylon 5. Many view her at Ivanova’s replacement, but she’s really Sheridan’s as the new commander of B5, and her initial contact with some of the members of her command staff is—let’s say abrasive. Her initial contact with Garibaldi even more so.
Join Raul, Jim and JP as they discuss Mars, Minbar, a dead Ranger, a music box, and the initial reason we’re given for why Captain Lochley was chosen by President Sheridan to command B5. And we quite possibly end up with more questions than answers about that last item: or at least one significant question about Lochley’s loyalty during the war. We also discuss the future of B5 as an Alliance asset rather than an Earth Force station, which informs (and potentially muddies) the division of power between President Sheridan and Captain Lochley. By the end of the episode we have a little “boom.”
Join us for what Join us for what is perhaps the oddest episode of the entire series. In this set of vignettes, we’re prepared for Season 5 through several snapshots in time. Our journey begins with John and Delenn’s new marriage, then jumps ahead in time several times. As the episode unfolds, we move ahead from the key events we’ve just witnessed by a year, then 100 years, 500 years, 1000 years, and finally 1,000,000 years. It’s a wild ride that can surprise a new viewer with things that change, and probably even more-so by things that don’t. As odd as the episode is, it’s an important one to watch with us before we step into the fifth and final season of this amazing show.
After the intensity of the last episode, and the end of the war, we see things wrapping up. Marcus is dying and his final moments show some of Claudia Christian’s (Ivanova) best performances in the series. Sheridan is a full participant in what must come next for him, and showing us all the integrity we’ve grown fond of, ensures the right thing is done. What is left of the system is strained and bruised, and John holds himself accountable in addition to allowing the fragile and recovering system to deal with him. And in the mix of what feels like a long and heavy episode, we get a few light moments courtesy of Londo and G’Kar.
We hear little lessons in the differences between politics and action, and doing the right thing in the wrong way, and amidst all that, it becomes clear that there’s a greater plan at work for the Babylon 5 Resistance, with Delenn a significant planner and/or leader in the effort. We watch as the plan unfolds, knowing it must be significant when it includes things like a deliberate revelation to all of the existence of the Rangers.
As the episode (and arguably the season) draws to a close, we enjoy some warm moments with John, Delenn and John’s dad. We also enjoy the satisfaction of knowing the things we’ve watched for many seasons will end well, as new things begin: “The dawn of a new age for everyone!” But don’t relax too much: the door that opens in front of our heroes comes with it’s own new set of struggles, including the foreshadowing of a future telepath war and Drakh war. But Babylon 5 endures…
The season is coming to a head as things kick off with our heroes back on Babylon 5. In this heavily emotional episode, Susan appears to be mortally wounded, and Marcus is in worse shape than she is emotionally. Michael appears to be back—as his old self and back on the team in good standing—as things come to a head on Mars. Sheridan’s forces release their own secret weapon in the form of 30 very unique bombs, and it becomes clear the plan to win the war includes bypassing Mars and going straight to Earth.
Under Sheridan’s leadership the war appears to culminate in favor of the Resistance and a horrible back-up plan is revealed as Clark realizes he’s on the cusp of losing. He implements the plan and takes what is arguably the easy way out as more forces turn on him and move to place him under arrest. Then, it appears to be over and we’re comforted for a moment by the warm, familiar, and emotional voice of our trusted news anchor Jane. With and end to the war, the dust begins to settle and we realize the return to “normal”, or the new normal, will be complicated and take time. And for Sheridan, it will take a trial for his actions.