This is one of the most interesting episodes in the season, and perhaps the entire series. We get a chance to look in on what Bester’s life as a Psi Cop is like, as two interns are assigned to him as he works an unusual case: it seems a Psi Corps student has gone mad, has killed someone, and is now on the run. He’s no ordinary student and we watch Bester have to manage his interns while he pursues a truly dangerous individual. This may be the only episode where we see Bester show genuine concern and unease about something.
We watch one of Bester’s students lose his life and the other develop a crush on Mr. Bester as they work together. In the end the case is cracked and “justice” is served…justice in a way that may parallel the storyline about the Ranger cadet in Learning Curve.
The end of the episode is uncomfortably dark, and it ends the significant storyline of the telepaths that has run through all five seasons.
We join Sheridan as he’s lamenting over the bureaucratic side of life as the President of the Alliance, and with the Council in turmoil over the ongoing attacks, pressure mounts for the Alliance to do something. Seems the way the original charter was drafted, no one has authority outside their own sovereign space to take military action, and the Alliance is stretched thin. The show opens with some boom and we watch three key points unfold along the ragged edge: the new problem of how to get (or allow) member races to contribute to the common defense; we see Londo happy to be back on B5 after the uncomfortable events he experienced on Centauri Prime; and our friend Michael Garibaldi is hung over and in a sad place once again.
Weaving several of these together, it seems there was a survivor during the most recent attack on transports and the race begins to get hold of him and learn what he knows. Obviously this would help Sheridan’s team to learn who may be behind the attacks. On the other hand, perhaps those responsible for the attacks might want the survivor silenced. In a solo mission, Michael is detailed to use his contacts on the Drazi home world to bring the rescued pilot in, and in the process continues to fall deeper into his renewed addiction. He also seems to be everyone’s favorite punching bag. He ends up coming home empty-handed except for a button. A button that might be a very real piece of evidence into who’s responsible for the attacks on the shipping lanes.
In another storyline Ta’lon makes an appearance and while G’Kar is happy on some level, he’s also suspicious. It turns out Ta’lon and others have “liberated” the incomplete Book of G’Kar and published it. The result: G’Kar has become a religious figure with a significant following and now much deal with how people are interpreting his words.
The episode wraps up as we essentially have confirmation that the attacks on the shipping lanes are in fact Centauri. G’Kar is aware and the decision is made that Londo should be kept in the dark about this. For now.
Lots of things unfold and many separate threads of the story intertwine. Byron’s rebels are armed, Psi Corps arrives and Bester briefs his troops. While this is happening, Byron wants to talk to Sheridan. Michael is looking to find a way to get at Bester—old wounds aren’t healed and Michael wants to get even. Byron’s armed separatists take hostages in Med Lab
Byron makes his way to Med Lab undetected, then in a surprise turn of events, shoots one of his own to take control of the situation. He then negotiates for the violent teeps to surrender and those who are innocent of committing any crimes to be freed. Byron and Bester exchange words and leave us pondering “why can’t it be any other way than the Corps?”
As the episode ends we witness a toxic spill and some boom.
Byron’s story continues as a group of his followers wall themselves into a section of the station, with intent to take actions to secure their future. No more pacifism for this group as they see Byron’s plan failing. Meanwhile, he continues down the path of martyrdom. By the episode’s end, Bloodhound Units are arriving on the station to round up Byron’s followers.
On Centauri Prime, Londo and G’Kar are surprised when they discover Na’Toth being held prisoner by the Regent for at least the past two years. She was essentially forgotten and both G’Kar and Londo are understandably angry. After some thought, they come up with a plan to break her out by hiding in plain sight. After all, “the court is trained not to see improper things.” Londo makes a scene and folks simply look away.
Once again Londo also hears about a war materials increase, suggesting that he’s one step closer to discovering what the Centauri fleet is up to.
Starting with this episode, we see three consecutive episodes about telepaths, then have a break from the telepath storyline, followed by a fourth episode that essentially culminates the main storyline of the human teeps. In this episode, we watch Byron and his crew make a final attempt to gain a homeworld of their own. It’s done badly as we learn he significantly lacks the ability of diplomatic or strategic thinking. He also loses control of some of his people, which results in violence for a second time. Desperate and out of options, Bryon’s followers secretly scan many of the Alliance leaders, threatening to divulge their secrets. The stage is set as Byron appears to be preparing himself to become a martyr.
Meanwhile Londo Mollari, visiting Centauri Prime, questions the suspicious activities of the Centauri fleet and is almost killed by an assassin. He’s separated from his body guard (G’Kar) but is saved by an unknown (or unrecognized) entity. In what is perhaps one of the most heartbreaking moments in the entire series, Londo has a brief and tragic conversation with the Regent who explains a few things to him. As this happens, we realize who interfered with the assassin and we get a foreshadowing of what Londo’s future will hold. As the episode ends, Londo tells G’Kar he’s returning to B5 because his home world “frightens him.”
An interesting and very strange episode. After some discussion and some hesitation, the decision is made to honor a request by the Brakiri to celebrate a very special and rare religious custom on B5. The ceremony requires them to conduct the ceremony on Brakiri soil and as a result they actually purchase (not rent) a significant segment of the station, to be returned after the ceremony is complete. The custom: The Day of the Dead. It’s not quite what you think it might be, and it ends up not quite being what the non-Brakiri on the station expected, except for perhaps G’Kar. As the ceremony occurs, the portion of the station the Brakiri own literally disappears. Those caught up in the missing segment of the Station have a personal experience related to the Day of the Dead as each meets a significant (and dead) person during the absence—friends, enemies, lovers. We follow Mike, Lockley, Lennier, and G’Kar through the experience.
In addition to that oddity, the famous (or perhaps infamous from Lockley’s perspective) Rebo and Zooty are onboard and while taking to Sheridan, they express an interest (desire?) to quit their comedy act and go into politics.
As the ceremony and the episode conclude, the missing part of the station returns, and Lockley has a particularly interesting message from Kosh for Sheridan—a message that seems to tie back to “The Long Night of Londo Mollari” as well as perhaps being instructional as the story moves forward.
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.