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Season 1 - Signs and Portents
It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth/Minbari war. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent another war . . . It can be a dangerous place, but it is our last, best hope for peace.
The year: 2258. The place: Babylon 5
G'Kar

Garibaldi and Sheridan

Delenn



Londo Molari
The Gathering


Pilot

Originally aired February 22, 1993

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Richard Compton

Starring: Michael O'Hare as Jeffery Sinclair, Jerry Doyle as Michael Garibaldi, Mira Furlan as Delan, Peter Jurasik as Londo Molari, Andreas Katsulas as G'Kar, and Patricia Tallman as Lyta Alexander.

This was the first series I attempted to review, one episode at a time. That was six years ago. I am rewatching the series and editing my reviews. This series is unique in that it has a long and complex story arc, but most episodes are stand-alone stories. And almost every episode moves the plot further toward the eventual conclusion.

The Gathering introduces the main non-humans: Delenn, a Minbari; G'Kar, a Narn; Londo Molari, a Centauri; and Kosh, a Vorlon. It also introduces the three major human characters: station captain Jeffery Sinclair, station security chief Michael Garibaldi, and telepath Lyta Alexander. Although Lyta disappears and isn't heard from for a while, she does return to play a significant role in the series.

In the year 2258, ten years after the end of the Earth Minbari War, Babylon 5 serves as a neutral territory for resolving disputes and as a center of commerce.

The members of the Babylon 5 Council, Delenn, G'Kar, Londo, and Sinclair, wait for Kosh, the fifth council member, to arrive. Kosh is poisoned before he gets more than a few feet inside the station. If he dies, the Vorlon empire will destroy the station. Since Kosh lives inside an environmental suit, treating him or even diagnosing him is nearly impossible until Lyta uses her telepathic powers to find out how he was poisoned. However, that implicates Sinclair.

This is a bit of a who-done-it with evidence leading in the wrong direction and Vorlon ships charging weapons.

Although the acting is often a bit flat, the story is well-developed, and the pacing moves the plot along at a good clip. The early 1990s' special effects were not as cutting edge as now, but they still work fine especially the fighter ships.

Their thrusters actually fire in the correct direction when they turn, accelerate, or slow down. Although, flipping around like they do would take some getting used to. And without inertial dampeners of some kind, the pilots would get badly whipped around. They may be weightless, but the conservation of angular momentum still applies.

The makeup and costuming in the pilot are a bit rough. However, The Gathering sets up the major plot lines that run through the entire series. It is a must-see if you want to watch the series.

Reviewed by Roman Drew November 27, 2018

Revised January 6, 2024.















Londo and G'Kar

Ivonava and Talia

Delenn and Garibaldi

Midnight on the Firing Line


Season 1, Episode 1

Originally aired January 26, 1994

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Richard Compton

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian as Susan Ivanova, Stephen Furst as Vir Cotto, and Andrea Thompson as Talia Winters.

This episode introduces three more main characters: Lt. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, telepath Talia Winters, and Londo's assistant, Vir Cotto. And it introduces more major plot lines.

Narn warships attack the Centauri agricultural colony on Ragesh 3. The unprovoked attack sends Londo into a fit of rage because his nephew is stationed there. G'kar is equally outraged because the Centauri destroyed his world. He claims the attack was justified. Sinclair goes after the raiders.

This episode is full of emotional posturing and political maneuvering, but the pace never bogs down. It goes into greater detail about the Centauri/Narn conflict and the complex relationship between Londo and G'Kar.

Ivanova is not the easiest person to get to know, as Talia soon discovers. Their relationship will be long and complex.

In the background, and seemingly unimportant, is the election of President Santiago. This is another setup for future episodes.

There is also a great scene with Delenn and Garibaldi, and his second-most favorite thing in the world.

The makeup and costumes are an improvement over the pilot, and the characters are better developed. The introduction of Vir and Ivanova adds comic relief and emotional depth.

In this episode and the pilot, it is clear that J. Michael Straczynski had a long and well-developed storyline from the beginning. Except for soap operas, most TV series lack a cohesive long-term story.

Reviewed by Roman Drew November 29, 2018

Revised January 9, 2024.












The Soul Hunter

Making a Deal

Dr. Stephen Franklin
Soul Hunter


Season 1, Episode 2

Originally aired February 2, 1994

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Richard Compton

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, and Richard Biggs as Dr. Stephen Franklin.

This episode introduces another main character, Dr. Stephen Franklin. And Sinclair learns that Delenn is a member of the Gray Council, the ruling body of Mimbar.

The soul hunter, played by Willian Morgan Sheppard, nearly crashes into the station in his damaged spaceship. He is saved and set free to roam Babylon 5.

Soul hunters collect the souls of the dying and preserve them in glass spears. Having failed to collect the soul of the Minbari leader, Dukhat, during the Earth Minbari War, this soul hunter sets his sights on Delenn. Rather than wait for her to die, he plots to kill her and add her soul to his collection. Needless to say, that is against Soul Hunter's rules, and Sinclair is determined to stop him.

Delenn believes souls should be free to reincarnate into the next generation, which explores another aspect of the Minbari religion and sets up future storylines. The belief in a form of reincarnation will play a significant role in future episodes.

The plot works, but the acting falls a bit flat. Willian Morgan Sheppard's performance lacks the fascinating presence or evil power to make this a great episode. His mumbling and chanting is more irritating than threatening. So, this episode is a little slow and lackluster, but worth watching.

Reviewed by Romana Drew December 3, 2018

Revised January 12, 2024.

















Adira

Of all things in life, are females not the finest?

Londo and Vir
Born to the Purple


Season 1, Episode 3

Originally aired February 9, 1994

Written by Larry DiTillio. Directed by Bruce Seth Green

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs, Andrea Thompson, Stephen Furst, Andreas Katsulas, Peter Jurasik, Fabiana Udenio as Adira, Tyree Mary Woronov as Ko D'Ath, and Clive Revill asTrakis.

Londo has a girlfriend, an exotic dancer named Adira. He misses an important meeting to be with her, which upsets G'Kar and Sinclair. But Adira is a bit more than just a dancer. She is a slave and a spy. Once she gets the access code to Londo's Purple Files, her owner, Trakis, will have enough information to bring down the entire Centauri Republic.

This is a fun episode. Most of what happens revolves around the negotiation. But the negotiations themselves are just a McGuffin.

It isn't clear if Trakis intended to use the information in the purple files himself or sell it to G'Kar. But if the information got out, Londo would be in serious trouble.

This shows a different side to both Londo and G'Kar. Both were more concerned about the files and other things than the negotiations. They both sent their assistants to settle the deal.

Despite all Adira did, Londo still loves her. He frees her and asks her to stay.

I wonder how Centauri men manage to keep their hair standing on end and why the women have bald heads except for a ponytail.

This is the first episode not written by J. Michael Straczynski. There aren't many.

Although I remember watching this episode back in 2018, apparently, I never wrote a review.

Reviewed by Romana Drew January 15, 2023.













Dr. Vance Hendricks and Dr. Franklin

Nelson Drake With the Evil Atrfact

Nelson Drake as the Monster
Infection


Season 1, Episode 4

Originally aired February 2, 1994

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Richard Compton

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Julie Caitlin Brown, Richard Biggs, David McCallum, and Marshall R. Teague.

Dr. Stephen Franklin's old friend, archeologist Dr. Vance Hendricks, played by David McCallum, brings a box of artifacts from Ikarra VII to examine. Unbeknownst to Doctor Franklin, Hendrick's assistant, Nelson Drake, played by Marshall Teague, didn't send the artifacts through quarantine, and he killed a guard to get them on the station.

The artifacts are designed to convert people into unstoppable bioweapons, monsters with built-in guns programmed to destroy anyone who does not conform to the ideal version of an Ikarran. Nelson gets blasted by one of the artifacts and turns into a hunting, killing machine. He then goes around the station, randomly vaporizing people and melting holes through walls.

The plot is a bit predictable and straightforward. The Nelson/monster has to rest after every kill, returning more robust than before. How he gets all that power is never explained. Did he eat? Did he hook into the station's power grid? Oh well, Nelson/monster's costume and makeup are great.

This episode explores three somewhat common themes: the unstoppable weapon that kills its makers, the concept of genetic purity, and the 'talk it to death' solution.

I can see the wheel of discission spinning around in JMS's head - find the humanity in the creature or blast it to bits. Should he write for emotion or excitement? Either way, Sinclair risks his life to save the station.

David McCallum does a fine job as Dr. Franklin's good old friend, who isn't quite as honest or clueless as he first appears.

Reviewed by Romana Drew November 29, 2018

Revised January 20, 2024.












Londo Celebrating

G'Kar Terrified at the Sight of a Black Flower.

The Religions of Earth
The Parliament of Dreams


Season 1, Episode 5

Originally aired February 23, 1994

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Jim Johnston

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Richard Biggs, Bill Mumy, and Caitlin Brown.

This episode introduces Lennier, played by Bill Mumy, and Na'Toth, played by Caitlin Brown.

During a festival to celebrate different religious beliefs, G'Kar learns that someone is about to assassinate him. You will know pain. You will know fear. And then you will die. At first, he suspects his new attache, NaToth, but she isn't the assassin, so they join forces to find the real killer.

While the rest of the station celebrates different religions, Sinclair rekindles his romance with an old girlfriend, Catherine Sakai. The Centauri host a feast of gluttony and debauchery. The Minbari contemplate life, death, and rebirth. Sinclair introduces representatives from some of the many Earth religions.

The Centauri, Minbari, and Narn cultures are further developed. But, other than G'kar running around trying not to die, there isn't much plot to this episode. However, that isn't a problem. It has some great scenes. G'kar's fear and pain are palatable. Londo becomes one with himself after crawling on the table, kissing a statue's ass, and passing out drunk. Take a good look at the statue. It gets explained in a later episode.

The look at the different religions is interesting. The Minbari and the Centauri religions don't make much sense, but I don't think they were supposed to.

Apparently, the Narn version of an assassin's guild is unforgiving. So G'Kar and Na'Toth find a kind but ever-so-evil method of dealing with the fellow hired to kill G'Kar.

The ending is perfect, both quiet and respectful. Getting all those people to line up at the same time must have taken some doing. Since Sinclair couldn't have done it alone, he must have had help, which makes me wonder why the rest of the staff didn't know about it. And why weren't there a lot more people watching the ceremony?

And from the moment he walks into the show, Delenn's personal aid, Lennier, is the perfect complement to her character.

Reviewed by Romana Drew December 7, 2018

Revised January 23, 2024.












Bester and His Assistant

Jason

Sigma 957
Mind War


Season 1, Episode 6

Originally aired March 2, 1994

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Bruce Seth Green

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Richard Biggs, Julie Caitlin Brown, Bill Mumy, Walter Koenig, William Allen Young, and Julia Nickson.

This episode introduces Alfred Bester, Psi Cop extraordinaire, played by Walter Koenig.

Talia Winters' friend and mentor Jason Ironheart, played by William Allen Young, comes to Babylon 5 for one last goodbye and to evade capture by the Psi Cops. The victim of a Psi Corps experiment, he has developed advanced telepathic abilities. With little control of his abilities, Ironheart wreaks havoc on the station.

Bester either wants him or wants him dead.

In the meantime, Sinclair's friend, Catherine Sakai, heads off to Sigma 957 against G'Kar's warning. There, she encounters something mysterious and dangerous.

In the early episodes, G'Kar seems to be an angry troublemaker, but his character develops surprising depth as time passes. Some of that is seen here in his relationship with Sakai.

The events at Sigma 957 do more than explore the Catharine and G'Kar characters; they hint at what is coming. Most episodes take the series along a very long story arc. This is no exception. The evil creatures inhabiting space are introduced. And we learn more about Psi Corps and its hold on society.

Walter Koeing steals every scene he is in. There is always a tension surrounding Bester that never lets go. Although he sometimes seems to be a villain, and no one on the station likes him, he is committed to his job. He considers his actions to be honorable and necessary.

Jurassic Park came out in 1993, showcasing how effective CGI could be in creating believable creatures and special effects. This episode first aired in 1994. The special effects are not as good as modern CGI, especially in the stills, like the ones of Sigma 957. But when viewed at speed, they work well enough to keep the show enjoyable.

Reviewed by Romana Drew December 16, 2018

Revised January 25, 2024.












Malcolm and Ivanova

Kiron and Aria

Shaal Mayan
War Prayer

Season 1, Episode 7

Originally aired March 9, 1994

Written by D. C. Fontana. Directed by Richard Compton

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Richard Biggs, Julie Caitlin Brown, Bill Mumy.

With: Nancy Lee Grahan as Shaal Mayan, Tristan Rogers as Malcolm Biggs, Rodney Eastman as Kiron, and Danica McKellar Aria.

Malcolm Biggs, an old flame of Ivanova's, drops by to say hello and maybe pick up where they left off. In the rest of the station, a plague of attacks on non-humans sets everyone on edge. When Minbari poet Shaal Mayan is attacked and branded, Delenn demands Sinclair find the culprit. G'kar gets pissed and attempts to incite a riot.

In the meantime, Vir's cousin Kiron and his girlfriend Aria come to Babylon 5 to marry against their parents' wishes. Londo insists they go home and accept their arranged marriages. They refuse, and then they also become victims.

Londo demonstrates sensitivity and depth in this episode as he comes to terms with his feelings about his three arranged marriages and arranged marriages in general. And Ivanova learns that her old flame isn't quite the man she remembered.

Ivanova has a strong sense of right and wrong and isn't very tolerant or forgiving. When she learns why Malcom came to Babylon 5, you can feel her infatuation turn to disgust. Although she goes along with the deception to catch him, she isn't quite 'all in.' But there is no hesitation in Sinclair's commitment to the cause until the end.

What happened to the poor alien lady when the firefight broke out? She was right in the middle, on the floor, tied up and terrified. I would like to have seen someone go to her side. It would only take a few seconds of screen time to show that she was safe. However, she is in later scenes.

This is a good, solid episode. It's not a masterpiece, but it's well worth watching. It explores feelings and justifications for racial hatred and intolerance but tempers it with action, humor, and romance. It is also one of the few episodes not written by JMS. It was written D.C. Fontana, a well know science fiction author and writer of several Star Trek episodes.

Reviewed by Romana Drew December 18, 2018

Revised January, January 29, 2024.












Jha'Dur

Talia and Abbut

Addressing the Babylon 5 Council
Deathwalker


Season 1, Episode 9

Originally aired April 20, 1994

Written by Lawrence G. DiTillio. Directed by Bruce Seth Green

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Richard Biggs, Julie Caitlin Brown, Bill Mumy.

With: Katy Boyer as Neeoma Connally, John Snyder as Orin Zento, Aki Aleong as Senator Hidoshi, and Patricia Healy as Mary Ann Cramer.

Na'Toth nearly kills a woman dressed in Minbari clothing as she enters the station. She claims the woman is a Dilgar named Jha'dur, or Deathwalker, an infamous war criminal and assassin. Jha'dur should be long dead or at least quite elderly, but here she is in the prime of her life.

As Dr. Franklin treats her and saves her life, he discovers that she really is Jha'dur and that she has an anti-aging drug she intends to sell to Earth.

This leads to dissent on several levels. Some want her tried for war crimes, some want the drug, and Na'Toth has a personal vendetta to avenge. Sinclair finds a compromise that sends Jha'dur to Earth with the promise of retribution in the future.

At the same time, Kosh asks Talia to help with a negotiation. As in most things Vorlon, the negotiations don't make any sense, but they cause Talia to have disturbing visions.

This episode gives insight into the Dilgar war, the league of non-aligned worlds, and a faction of the Minbari warrior caste called Wind Swords.

Two things stand out. Sarah Douglas does a fantastic job as Jha'dur. Her evil is palatable. And Lennier is a quiet, unassuming character, but Bill Mummy steals every scene he is in.

Jha'dur is obviously an evil mass murderer who deserves the worst punishment conceivable but escapes retribution for political expediency.

Although I would rather not die, I don't understand the logic behind making everyone immortal. That only works if no one has babies. Otherwise, within a few generations there will be so many people that it will be impossible to feed and house everyone.

The episode also introduces the Minbari caste system.

This is an intense episode with little humor, but it moves along at a good pace and has a few unpredictable plot twists. And a rather abrupt and surprising ending.

Reviewed by Romana Drew December 22, 2018

Revised February 3, 2024.












Zento, Sinclair, & Neeoma

Londo and G'Kar

G'Quan Eth Ceremony
By Any Means Necessary


Season 1, Episode 12

Originally aired May 11, 1994

Written by Kathryn M. Drennan. Directed by Jim Johnson

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs, Andrea Thompson, Stephen Furst, Bill Mumy, Julie Caitlin Brown, Andreas Katsulas, and Peter Jurasik.

With: Katy Boyer as Neeoma Connally, John Snyder as Orin Zento, Aki Aleong as Senator Hidoshi, and Patricia Healy as Mary Ann Cramer.

Faulty equipment and fed-up dock workers lead to an illegal strike while Londo and G'Kar duke it out over a G'Quan Eth plant.

Miscommunications in the landing bay kills a dock worker and damages a Narn transport, destroying the G'Quan Eth plant that G'Kar needs for a religious ceremony. Never fear, Londo has the only one on the station, which he keeps just out of G'Kar's reach. In the meantime, spaceships stack up outside the station, and tempers flare. The Earth Senate Labor Committee gets involved, and a full-blown riot is in the making.

Although the strike is probably meant to be the main story, G'Kar and Londo steal the show. The Narn ritual must be held at a specific time, and time is running out. First, Londo agrees to sell the G'Quan Eth for an exorbitant price. But when G'kar gets the money, Londo changes his mind just to taunt G'Kar. It is delightful to watch the two actors play off each other.

The interactions between Orin Zento, the government representative sent to quell the rebellion, and both Neeoma Connally, the union representative, and Sinclair feel very real. Zento's pompous assumption that the dock workers can be whipped into shape without addressing their concerns happens all too often in real life. So does the Senate's refusal to allocate funds for political reasons.

In the end, Sinclair gets the better of both the Senate Labor Committee and Londo Mollari.

This is a fun and thought-provoking episode, well-written and well-acted. And it is not written by MJS. As the series progresses, MJS writes almost all the episodes.

Reviewed by Romana Drew December 26, 2018

Revised February 6, 2024.













Lord Kiro and Londo with the Eye

Mordon and Delenn

Shadow Ship
Signs and Portents


Season 1, Episode 13

Originally aired May 18, 1994

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Jaanet Greek

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs, Andrea Thompson, Stephen Furst, Bill Mumy, Julie Caitlin Brown, Andreas Katsulas, and Peter Jurasik.

With: Gerrit Graham as Lord Kiro, Fredi Olster as Lady Ladira, Ardwight Chamberlain as Kosh (voice), Robert Silver as Reno, and Ed Wasser as Morden.

Londo buys an ancient Centauri artifact called the Eye while Ivanova and Sinclair try to outwit the raiders. Centauri psychic Lady Ladira has a vision of destruction. Sinclair learns that the Minbari chose him to run Babylon 5, not the Earth government. And Morden goes around asking VIPs, "What do you want?"

A transport vessel reports a raider attack, so Sinclair sends a wing of fighters to help, leaving the station defenses vulnerable. Londo arranges for Lord Kiro to take the Eye back to Centauri Prime, but Kiro is kidnapped. Raiders attack the station, and in the confusion, Lord Kiro is spirited away -- almost.

Morden is quiet and polite and utterly evil. Both Londo and G'Kar, in their inimitable ways, initially treat him as a nuisance, but in the end, they tell him what they want. Delenn kicks him out and continues to arrange triangular-shaped objects in layers.

And a shadow vessel makes a brief but decisive appearance.

Mordon is such a slimy character that he is actually fun to watch. What would happen if I came up to someone and acted like Mordon? Would they eventually tell me their secret wishes or tell me to get lost?

This is a significant and important episode. It establishes several plot lines that carry through the entire series. G'kar and Londo will come to wish there had never been an episode 13.

Even though the thing Delenn is building will play a crucial role, at this point, it's simply there. It looks interesting but seems more like a sculpture or work of art.

Reviewed by Romana Drew December 28, 2018

Revised February 9, 2024.












Jinxo and Aldous Gajic

Na'ka'leen Feeder

Answering Questions at His Trial
Grail


Season 1, Episode 15

Originally aired July 6, 1994

Written by Christy Marx. Directed by Richard Compton.

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs, Andrea Thompson, Stephen Furst, Bill Mumy, Julie Caitlin Brown, Andreas Katsulas, and Peter Jurasik.

With: David Warner as Aldous Gajic, William Sanderson as Deuce, Tom Booker as Jinxo, Jim Norton as Ombuds Wellington, Linda Lodge as Mirriam Runningdear, Ardwight Chamberlain as Kosh (voice), and John C. Flinn III as Mr. Flinn .

Station worker and general loser, Jinxo, owes money to a general lowlife named Duce. When Jinxo can't pay Duce demonstrates what will happen if he doesn't get the money. Someone, or something in an encounter suit, which looks a lot like Kosh, extends an appendage and touches the head of a woman tied to a chair. The creature wipes her mind, leaving her alive but comatose. Jinxo takes the hint and works the Zocalo picking pockets. Garibaldi catches him stealing from Aldous Gajic, who has come to Babylon 5 to hunt for the holy grail. Aldous takes Jinxo under his wing and tries to rehabilitate him.

As it turns out, Jinxo, or Thomas Jordan, his real name, worked on all five Babylon stations. As soon as he left, the stations either blew up or disappeared. He refuses to leave Babylon 5 for fear it will also suffer the same fate.

When the bodies pile up, Dr. Franklin determines a Na'ka'leen Feeder is on the loose. Londo goes bonkers when he finds out and hides in his quarters.

Even though most of the people on the station dismiss Gajic, Delenn treats him as an honored guest.

David Warner portrays Gajic with warmth, kindness, and just enough skepticism. The character is believable and likable.

Tom Booker's Jinxo goes from Duce's timid pawn to Thomas, the next seeker of the grail. And, as for the Na'ka'leen Feeder, He isn't quite as scary outside of the encounter suit, but he isn't easy to kill either, making for exciting special effects.

Londo often comes off as self-centered, fun loving but not willing to make trouble. However, he is truly pissed about the creature and lays into several people at home for the lack of security letting it be transported off its world.

The Duce character makes sense as far as nasty villains go, but Jinxo doesn't quite ring true. If he had important jobs building the first four Babylon stations, so why was he dumb enough to get tangled up with Duce?

This is a fine episode. It doesn't further any long plot lines but does give insight into life on the station. It is also another episode not written by JMS.

Reviewed by Romana Drew January 2, 2019.

Revised February 7, 2024.












Colonel Ari Ben Zayn

Harriman Gray

Garibaldi, Lennier and the Motorcycle.
Eyes


Season 1, Episode 16

Originally aired July 13, 1994

Written by Lawrence G. DiTillio. Directed by Jim Johnson.

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs, Andrea Thompson, Stephen Furst, Bill Mumy, Julie Caitlin Brown, Andreas Katsulas, and Peter Jurasik.

With: Gregory Paul Martin as Colonel Ari Ben Zayn, Jeffrey Combs as Harriman Gray, and Marie Chambers as Sofie Ivanova.

Two men come to the station and question people about Sinclair. One is Colonel Ari Ben Zayn from Earth Force, and the other is Harriman Gray from Psi-Corps. They claim to be investigating Babylon 5's command staff to make sure everyone is loyal.

Ivanova refuses to be scanned. Sinclair gets pissed but feels compelled to comply with the investigation. Ben Zayn commandeers Garibaldi to assist him.

In the meantime, Lennier is fascinated with the 1992 motorcycle Garibaldi is assembling. Garibaldi claims the bike is in mint condition. He is building it from scratch from parts he scavenged from all over. One would expect Lennier to catch the contradictory statements, but he doesn't.

This episode focuses squarely on Zayn and his increasingly unreasonable and apparently illegal investigative techniques. Unlike Bester, Gray is just a hapless telepath assigned to do a job. He tries to be nice, but no one wants to be near him.

Zayn, played by Gregory Paul Martin, starts out oily and harsh, but by the end of the episode, hatred consumes him. Apparently, he is jealous because he didn't get Sinclair's job.

It is delightful to see Jeffery Combs in his human form as telepath Herriman Gray. Science fiction fans know him as the Andorian commander Sharn; a Ferengi named Brunt and another Ferengi named Kerm; the Vorta, Weyoun; Plenk, a humanoid from the Delta Quadrant; Tiron, a questionable associate of Quark's; and others I may not know of.

This also shows another side of Psi Corps. Herriman Gray never wanted to work for Psi Corps, but being a telepath, his choices were limited. This is a good comparison to Talia, who likes her job with Psi Corps, and the dream sequences about Ivanova's mother, who refused to join Psi Corps and took suppression drugs instead.

We also learn more about how the Minbari manipulated Earth Force to get the one person they wanted to command Babylon 5. Why they did that isn't explained.

Reviewed by Romana Drew January 3, 2019

Revised February 14, 2024.












Neroon and Delenn

Talking to Alisa Beldon

Respect Between Past Enemies
Legacies


Season 1, Episode 17

Originally aired July 10, 1994

Written by D. C. Fontana. Directed by Bruce Seth Green.

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs, Andrea Thompson, Stephen Furst, Bill Mumy, Julie Caitlin Brown, Andreas Katsulas, and Peter Jurasik.

With: John Vickery as Neroon and Grace Una as Alisa Beldon

Alyt Neroon, a bigwig in the Minbari warrior cast, brings the body of Shai Alyt Bramner, a hero of the Minbari Earth war, to Babylon 5 so the Minbari on the station can see it. The body disappears, and Neroon blames everyone except the true culprit. He all but threatens war if the body isn't returned, further showing the rift between the Minbari religious and warrior castes.

Both Talia and Ivanova find a young telepath, Alisa Beldon. Talia wants to take her to Psi Corps. The Narn offer her wealth in exchange for genetic material. Ivanova tells Alisa there are better options.

Delenn proves instrumental in finding solutions to both Alisa and the missing body. She also continues to stack colored triangles on the increasingly complex structure on a table in her quarters.

Grace Una's portrayal of Alisa is sensitive, natural, and believable. Like most of Babylon 5, the casting is perfect.

Until now, Delenn has had moments when she seemed powerful, but nothing like how she put Neroon in his place. There is also another mention of the Gray Council and Delenn's title, Seti.

We get a hint of the future when Alisa tells Sinclair that she saw the word chrysalis i+n Delenn's mind. And in the end Neroon tells Sinclair he talks like a Minbari - another sign of things to come.

This is another good, solid episode. It continues to develop the characters and further the overarching plot lines within a complete and self-contained story.

This episode was written by D. C. Fontana. Since so much of this episode is important to the long story arcs, I wonder if the writer credits are more for fleshing out a screenplay from a detailed outline than writing an episode from scratch. Although, it doesn't really matter. This is a good episode.

Reviewed by Romana Drew January 8, 2019

Revised February 18, 2024.












Sinclairs Vision

Epsilon III's Weapon

Draal, Delenn, and Londo

The Machine
A Voice in the Wilderness Part 1 and 2


Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Janet Greek.

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs, Andrea Thompson, Stephen Furst, Bill Mumy, Julie Caitlin Brown, Andreas Katsulas, and Peter Jurasik.

With Louis Turenne as Draal, Ron Canada as Captain Ellis Pierce, Curt Lowens as Varn, Denise Gentile as Lise Hampton, Aki Aleong as Senator Hidoshi, and Michelan Sisti as Takarn.

Epsilon III, the planet Babylon 5 orbits, starts to have earthquakes. Ivanova sends a geological team to investigate, but they almost get shot down by something deep in a planetary fissure. Both Sinclair and Londo have visions of an elderly man begging for help. Both disregard the visions. The Mars colony breaks out in war. Garibaldi worries about his ex-girlfriend, who lives on Mars. And Delenn's old friend Draal stops by for a final goodbye.

Sinclair and Ivanova manage to get inside the fissure and rescue the ancient alien controlling a gigantic machine, but he is dying of old age. Now that the controller is gone, the machine goes into self-destruct mode. Epsilon III will blow up within a few hours and take Babylon 5 with it.

An Earth heavy-cruiser comes through the gate uninvited, and the captain announces he has orders to take over the station and claim any technology on Epsilon III for Earth. He doesn't get far before the Takarn fleet arrives, claiming to be the rightful owners of the planet. And then they shoot at each other.

Often, two-part episodes have too much plot for a one-hour episode but not enough for two hours. That is not the case here. A strong, well-developed plot and compelling characters carry these two episodes and the next episode to an exciting and surprising conclusion.

There are some great scenes. When a survey team ignores Ivanova's orders, she opens the comm and gives them a piece of her mind. "Ivanova is always right. I will listen to Ivanova. I will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations. Ivanova is God. And if this ever happens again, Ivanova will personally rip your lungs out."

Delenn and Draal enlist Londo to pilot a shuttle to take the alien back to the machine. With a wide-eyed grin, Londo makes a suicidal run through the warring Tarkan and Earth ships to dive deep into the fissure with Garibaldi hot on his tail.

A Voice in the Wilderness is a great story. Everyone is still in their original roles. There are only two episodes left before things change. Even though A Voice in the Wilderness does come to a conclusion, the next episode finishes the story,

Reviewed by Romana Drew January 10, 2019

Revised February 20, 2024.












Babylon 4

Zathras

The One
Babylon Squared


Season 1, Episode 20

Originally aired August 10, 1994

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Jim Johnson

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs, Andrea Thompson, Stephen Furst, Bill Mumy, Julie Caitlin Brown, Andreas Katsulas, and Peter Jurasik.

With: Kent Broadhurst as Major Krantz, Tim Choate as Zathras, and Denise Gentile as Lise Hampton.

Babylon 4 suddenly appears in Sector 14, so Sinclair and Garibaldi investigate. The station is unstuck in time, going back and forth randomly. The crew is in a panic to get off. At the same time, Delenn is called to the Gray Council. She has been selected to replace Dukhat as the new leader of the Minbari.

Babylon 4 is a mess. As time ripples through the station, Sinclair and Garibaldi find themselves fighting in a battle. Then, he meets Lise Hampton, his ex-girlfriend, on Mars. Then it's back to the station as if nothing happened. In the middle of everything, a strange creature named Zathras says that Sinclair is not The One. Someone in a spacesuit partially materializes and floats around. Zathras insists he is The One, but he is unstuck in time.

Delenn must decide to accept the greatest honor her world can bestow or leave the Gray Council and return to Babylon 5. It's not a decision she makes lightly.

The Gray Council is a wondrously mysterious place. It looks too huge to be on a spaceship, but the special effects are excellent. There didn't seem to be any kind of audience to the council's deliberations, so the dramatic lighting is a bit excessive. However, it makes for a great scene.

Zathras steals every scene. The costume and makeup are perfect for his character. And the dialogue gives him one of the most unique personalities in the series.

Plot-wise, this is a big episode. It introduces Babylon 4, the Gray Council, time stabilizers, Zathras, a triluminary, and The One. And it is the first time we hear the name Valen.

Reviewed by Romana Drew January 17, 2019.

Revised February 25, 2024.













The Machine

Linnier and Londo

Karl Mueller
The Quality of Mercy


Season 1, Episode 21

Originally aired August 17, 1994

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Lorraine Senna Ferrara

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs, Andrea Thompson, Stephen Furst, Bill Mumy, Julie Caitlin Brown, Andreas Katsulas, and Peter Jurasik.

With: June Lockhart as Dr. Laura Rosen, Kate McNeil as Janice Rosen, Mark Rolston as Karl Mueller, Damian London as Centauri Senator, and Lynn Anderson as Rose.

While running a free clinic in Downbelow, Dr. Franklin discovers Laura Rosen treating patients with an alien machine. Karl Mueller is convicted of multiple murders and sentenced to a mind wipe, even though Garibaldi would rather space him. And Londo takes Lennier on a trip to the Darkstar strip bar/casino.

At first, Dr. Franklin thinks Laura Rosen is a quack. He learns that her machine transfers some of her life force to her patients, healing their injuries or curing their illnesses. Since she is suffering from an incurable disease, she chooses to spend what life she has left helping others. However, the machine does have a more sinister purpose. It was invented to drain the life force of criminals slated for execution.

Talia must scan Muller's mind to confirm that the mindwipe is successful. There, she learns of the dozens of murders he committed before getting caught, making him the perfect character to come to a bad end.

All the seriousness of the first two stories could drag this episode into a depressing melodrama. But Lennier and Londo come to the rescue. In a bar full of gorgeous showgirls, Lennier relates his life story. Londo is about to die of boredom until Lennier mentions he studied probability. So off to the poker table they go. Lennier rakes in a fortune. Londo, being considerably less successful, has a unique method of cheating that ends in a brawl. Mild-mannered Lennier is quite an expert in hand-to-hand combat.

When Lennier asks Londo how he nicked the cards from across the table, Londo grins and picks up a gold statue, explaining that the snake-like appendages are not decorations.

This episode gives us a closer look at Downbelow, where the less fortunate live. It kind of rounds out the social structure of Babylon 5. Rather than being a structured, organized society, it is a conglomerate of different kinds of people and different levels of success.

As always, Bill Mumy and Peter Jurasik play their characters perfectly, making otherwise silly scenes believable and wonderfully enjoyable. And Mark Rolston's performance as Karl Muller is impeccably evil. Oh, and June Lockhart steals every scene she is in.

Reviewed by Romana Drew January 21, 2019

Revised March 1, 2024.












Delenn

Earth Force One

Kosh
Chrysalis


Season 1, Episode 22

Originally aired October 26, 1994

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Janet Greek

Starring: Michael O'Hare, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs, Andrea Thompson, Stephen Furst, Bill Mumy, Julie Caitlin Brown, Andreas Katsulas, and Peter Jurasik.

With: Julia Nickson as Catherine Sakai, Edward Conery as Devereaux, Cheryl Francis Harrington as Senator, David Anthony Marshall as Stephen Petrov, Gary McGurk as Vice President Morgan Clark, and Ed Wasser as Morden.

Garibaldi discovers a plot to kill Earth Alliance President Santiago but is nearly killed before he can tell anyone. Morden gives Londo credit for removing the Narn problem in Quadrant 37. Delenn has a less than illuminating conversation with Kosh.

Throughout this season, J. Michael Straczynski consistently produced episodes that are self-contained but further several long and complex plot lines. As the season finale, this episode has a strong hook at the end to keep viewers wondering and waiting for the next season. But the rest of the season does not rely on cliffhanger endings. However, it does develop those plot lines consistently and memorably.

For the first time, we see shadow creatures. Londo learns the price of his association with Morden. G'Kar realizes there are things worse than Centauri. And Delenn uses a triluminary to encase herself in a cocoon, leaving Lennier to worry and Sinclair to wonder.

Sinclair proposes to Catherine, but we don't here the answer. This is never followed up. Next season Sinclair is the Earth ambassador to Minbar.

Londo meets Mordon in a hedge maze. Although it makes for a good scene, a hedge maze seems like a strange thing for the station to have. It would take a lot of space. I would expect lurkers to set up residence in its nooks and corners.

This is a must-see episode. Not only because it brings all the storylines into focus and sets up the field for next season but because it is just plain good.

Although Michael O'Hare is in a few later episodes, this is his last episode as a regular character on Babylon 5. He left because of health issues. It would be interesting to know what would have happened had he been able to continue.

Reviewed by Romana Drew January 22, 2019

Revised March 8, 2024.










Season 2 - The Coming of the Shadows
It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, the year the great war came upon us all. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations.
The year is 2259. The name of the place is Babylon 5


John Sheridan

Kalain

The Trigati's Fate
Points of Departure


Season 2, Episode 1

Originally aired November 2, 1994

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Janet Greek

Starring: Bruce Boxleitner as Captain John Sheridan, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Richard Biggs, Julie Caitlin Brown, and Bill Mumy.

With: Richard Grove as Kalain, Robin Sachs as Hedronn, Robert Foxworth as General William Hague, and Jennifer Anglin as Deeron.

Delenn is in a cocoon. Sinclair is on Minbar. John Sheridan is assigned to head up Babylon 5 against the wishes of the Minbari. They call Sheridan Starkiller. While captain of the Agamemnon, he destroyed the Minbari war cruiser, Black Star, the only human to ever commit such a dastardly deed.

Kalain, captain of the Minbari war cruiser Trigati, threatens to kill Lennier and Delenn but gives up way too easily when station guards confront him. The crew of the Trigati never accepted the Minbari defeat and have been in exile, waiting to start another confrontation. Kalain's presence on the station is a mystery and warning sign.

Lennier tells Sheridan and Ivanova why the Minbari surrendered to the Humans at the Battle of the Line. He barely finishes before the Trigati comes through the jump gate spoiling for a fight, demanding Kalain's release, and spewing out fighters. Then Kalain kills himself.

This is another must-see episode. It sets up Sheridan as the new commander and explains a lot about Earth/Minbari history. Although changing the main character can spell doom for a series, Bruce Boxleitner steps into the captain's shoes without a hitch. In the end, he shows both wisdom and restraint in dealing with the Trigati.

This episode delves a little deeper into the feelings some Minbari have about humans. Kalain is so distressed about the number of Minbari Sheridan killed but has no remorse or even recognition of the number of humans the Minbari killed.

This is a great beginning for the second season.

Reviewed by Romana Drew January 27, 2019

Revised March 16, 2024.












Delenn

G'Kar and Londo

Quadrant 37
Revelations


Season 2, Episode 2

Originally aired November 9, 1994

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Jim Johnson

Starring: Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Richard Biggs, Mary Kay Adams, Bill Mumy, and Ed Wasser.

With: Beverly Leech as Elizabeth Sheridan and Beth Toussaint as Anna Sheridan.

G'Kar is nearly killed investigating the destruction of the Narn base in Quadrant 37. Delen emerges from her cocoon. Londo meets with Morden. Sheridan spends time with his sister, Liz. And Garibaldi is still in a coma.

The book of G'Quan has pictures of the ships that attacked G'Kar in Quadrant 37. It warns that they are evil creatures from Z'ha'dum bent on taking over the galaxy. However, his warnings of impending doom are not taken seriously.

Londo meets with Morden and tells him about G'Kar's plan to send a ship to Z'ha'dum, which is something he will someday come to regret.

Garibaldi recovers, but his assailant escapes thanks to President Clark. Sheridan suspects Psi Corps is behind it all.

Sheridan sees a message his wife, Anna, sent to his sister, Liz, which helps him recover from the guilt he felt over her death.

With important events in the lives of five main characters, the episode doesn't dwell long on any one of the stories, but they are all necessary developments that further the tale of Babylon 5. This episode introduces John's deceased wife, Anna Sheridan, who will be seen again. It also fuels Sheridan's distrust of Earth Dome and President Clark.

Skipping this episode isn't recommended. Besides being entertaining, it fills in a lot of gaps and gets the station back into normal operations.

Reviewed by Romana Drew January 30, 2019

Revised March 18, 2024












Purple Green

Elric

Vir and the Monster
Geometry of Shadows


Season 2, Episode 3

Originally aired November 16, 1994

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Michael Vejar

Starring: Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Richard Biggs, Mary Kay Adams, Bill Mumy, and Ed Wasser.

With: Michael Ansara as Elric, William Forward as Lord Refa, Kim Strauss as Green Drazi, and Neil Bradley as Purple Drazi.

Londo discusses Centauri politics with Lord Refa. Ivanova sorts out the Drazi. A troupe of Technomages invades the station. And Garibaldi contemplates not returning to work.

To increase his standing in the Centauri government, Londo wants the endorsement of a Technomage. He sends Vir to make an appointment. Vir has a nice chat with a monster. So Londo tries subterfuge with even less success.

Techomages use science to simulate magic. They are just passing through and want to be left alone. Londo's persistence doesn't sit well, and the mages make him suffer.

Ivanova is promoted to Commander. Her first assignment is to stop the green and purple war. Bands of Drazi, some wearing green and some wearing purple, pick fights with each other. Somewhere on the station, there just has to be a vat of purple dye.

Garibaldi's insecurity about returning to work after his second-in-command shot him in the back adds depth and complexity to his character. It shows that underneath his commanding exterior, he is a bit insecure.

Michael Ansara gives a commanding performance as Elric the Techomage. He warns of impending doom. Although Londo looks worried, I doubt there will be much he can do to avoid his ultimate fate.

This episode introduces Lord Refa and gives information about the Centauri government. Both of which will be important in future episodes.

Even though Londo, Garibaldi, and the techomages are the bits that further the long story arcs, the Drazi are the most memorable part of this episode. Their way of choosing leaders is absurd but maybe just as successful as the Centauri version. And Ivanova's solution is both funny and excellent.

As soon as I saw the Drazi with green neckties, I couldn't wait to watch the rest of the episode.

Apparently, Claudia Christian actually broke her foot, so that was added to the script.

This is a good, fun, and very memorable episode.

Reviewed by Romana Drew February 5, 2019

Revised March 20, 2024.












The Cortez

Garibaldi Eating Bagna Cauda

Food Plans
Distant Star


Season 2, Episode 4

Originally aired November 23, 1994

Written by D. C. Fontana. Directed by Jim Johnson

Starring: Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Richard Biggs, Mary Kay Adams, Bill Mumy, and Ed Wasser.

With: Russ Tamblyn as Capt. Jack Maynard, Daniel Beer as Patrick, Art Kimbro as Ray Galus, Miguel A. Nez Jr. as Orwell, Patty Toy as Ogilvie, Kim Delgado as Comm Tech, and Sandey Grinn as Teronn.

When the EAS Cortez stops by Babylon 5 to resupply, Sheridan catches up with his old friend, Captain Jack Maynard. And Doctor Franklin puts everyone on a food plan, otherwise known as a diet.

After listening to Maynard's exploits, Sheridan regrets taking the Babylon 5 job. But, as soon as the Cortez leaves, it's lost in hyperspace with Sheridan to the rescue.

Sheridan's method of rescuing the Cortez highlights some of the problems of travel in hyperspace. Apparently, the ships must keep a lock on the jump gates, or they drift off course. That implies that the gates broadcast on a very narrow beam. Why not broadcast over a wider area? Sheridan's method of daisy chaining starfurys to reach out and find the Cortez works fine, except . . . why do the comm signals have such a limited range? The ISM feed makes it to Babylon 5, as do communications with people on Earth. There isn't even a time delay.

This isn't a bad episode, but it isn't a great one either. Russ Tamblyn's portrayal of Jack Maynard falls a bit flat, and the need to rescue the ship seems contrived. However, it does give a good picture of the shadow vessels in hyperspace and the threat they pose to ships.

In a second and somewhat more delightful storyline, Dr. Franklin decides Ivanova, Garibaldi, and Sheridan all need to change their eating habits, much to their dismay. Then he catches Garibaldi smuggling the ingredients for bagna cauda, and Italian dipping sauce. Since that is too good to pass up, Franklin insists he be invited to the feast.

There is a good scene where Garibaldi, Ivanova, and Sheridan are sitting at a table with their prescribed diets, eying each other dishes.

Reviewed by Romana Drew February 9, 2019

Revised March 22, 2024.












Amis

The Monster

Mariah and Dr. Franklin
The Long Dark


Season 2, Episode 5

Originally aired November 30, 1994

Written by Scott Frost. Directed by Mario DeLeo

Starring: Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Richard Biggs, Mary Kay Adams, Bill Mumy, and Ed Wasser.

With: Anne-Marie Johnson as Mariah Cirrus and Dwight Schultz as Amis.


An old ship, the Copernicus, drifts past B5. Sensing something alive, the crew pulls it into a landing bay and looks inside. They find two cryonic chambers, one with a living woman and one with a dead man. Down below, a lurker named Amis goes bonkers, wandering the station shouting about the hand of evil reaching out to kill everyone.

Dr. Franklin revives the woman, Mariah Cirrus, and learns that her ship has been in space for over one hundred years. The dead man was her husband. The dead man is a bit of a mystery because all his organs are missing, even though there is no evidence of an incision.

Amis continues to run around the station, shouting about impending doom. Garibaldi chalks it up to post-war trauma until people show up dead with all their organs missing.

Most Babylon 5 episodes have two or more stories that run simultaneously. Except for a minor romance between Franklin and Mariah, the entire episode focuses on the Amis and the creature killing people.

Dwight Schultz's performance is compelling. Underneath the freewheeling insanity, there is sensitivity and vulnerability. And he is correct about the impending doom. Dwight Schultz also played Lieutenant Reginald Barclay in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

This episode reinforces the threat from Z'ha'dum and the prophecies of G'Quan.

This is an excellent episode. I highly recommend watching it, if for no other reason than Dwight Shultz's delightful performance.

Reviewed by Romana Drew February 19, 2019

Revised March 24, 2024.












Able attacking Taro Isogi

Thirteen

Talia and Amada
Spider in the Web


Season 2, Episode 6

Originally aired December 7, 1994

Written by Kevin G DiTillio. Directed by Kevin G Cremin

Starring: Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Richard Biggs, Mary Kay Adams, Bill Mumy, and Ed Wasser.

With: Michael Beck as Abel Horn, Adrienne Barbeau as Amanda Carter, James Shigeta as Taro Isogi, Jeff Conaway as Zack Allan, and Annie Grindlay as Thirteen / Psi Cop.


Talia's old friend, Taro Isogi, comes for a visit. He wants to negotiate a peaceful solution to the situation on Mars. He meets with Mars government representative Amada Carter. All goes well until he is killed by Abel Horn. Talia sees enough of Abel's mind to determine that he is not in control of his actions.

Abel is supposed to be dead, which leads Sheridan to suspect that he might have been part of the Lazarus project. People who are killed are brought back to life, cybernetically enhanced, and programmed to relive their death a thousand times every day. Although it should drive Horn stark raving mad, he has also been programed to follow orders from Control.

This is the first time we meet Zack Allen, played by Jeff Conaway. He will become a regular as time passes.

There are a couple of Tuckerisms in this episode. Amada Carter mentions her great-grandfather, John Carter, who lived on Mars. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote a series of stories about John Carter of Mars. Control agents 86 and 99 worked diligently to thwart KAOS on Get Smart. And the Psi Cop even had a number.

A Tuckerism is when a name is used as an 'in joke.' Wilson Tucker was an excellent and prolific science fiction writer who named characters after his friends, and others.

Talia learns that her beloved Psi Corps has an evil streak.

This is a well-crafted story. Michael Beck gives an intense performance as the painfully disturbed and confused Abel Horn. And Adrienne Barbeau is always a joy to watch.

Reviewed by Romana Drew February 19, 2019

Revised on March 30, 2024.












Timov

Matthew Stoner

Delenn and Ivanova
Soul Mates


Season 2, Episode 7

Originally aired December 14, 1994

Written by Peter David. Directed by Mark C Flinn III

Starring: Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Richard Biggs, Mary Kay Adams, Bill Mumy, and Ed Wasser.

With: Lois Nettleton as Daggair, Blair Valk as Mariel, and Jane Carr as Timov


For the thirtieth anniversary of Londo's ascension, the Centauri emperor grants him one wish. Londo, in his great wisdom, wishes to divorce his three wives but decides to keep one just for appearances.

Matthew Stoner, ex Psi Corps telepath and Tallia's ex-husband, arrives at B5 claiming to have lost his telepathic abilities, but Garibaldi isn't so sure.

For Londo's wives, being divorced means losing access to Londo's bank account and prestige. Two wives, Daggair and Mariel, fawn over him wanting, to be the wife he keeps. And Mariel plots with G'Kar to kill him. His third wife, Timov (vomit spelled backward) doesn't even try to be nice.

Jane Carr's portrayal of Timov is spot on. She never gives Londo a moment's rest and has nothing positive to say about her co-wives. I think she could take on the shadows if she were so inclined.

Talia has no love for Stoner but agrees to travel with him, much to Garibaldi's surprise. As it turns out he isn't quite as free of telepathic abilities as he pretends. In fact, his telepathic abilities are powerful. There are several scenes reminiscent of Luke Skywalker using the force to influence others. Stoner's telepathic skills hint at some of the more complex kinds of telepathy, which are displayed in later episodes.

In a third, quite enjoyable, side story, Delenn asks Ivanova to help with her unruly hair and cramps, a hint that her human looks may be more than skin deep.

Reviewed by Romana Drew March 4, 2019

Revised March 31, 2024.












Bester

John and Delenn having dinner.

Rogue Telepaths
A Race Through Dark Places


Season 2, Episode 8

Originally aired January 25, 1995

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Jim Johnson

Starring: Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Richard Biggs, Mary Kay Adams, Bill Mumy, and Ed Wasser.

With: Apesanahkwat as Telepath, Brian Cousins as Rick, Gianin Loffler as Lurker, and Walter Koenig as Alfred Bester.

Bester discovers an underground railroad funneling unregistered telepaths away from Psi Corps and comes to B5 to shut it down. Sheridan and Garibaldi have no choice, they are obligated to help Bester round up the culprits. But they don't have to do a good job of it.

The telepaths tell their stories to Talia, shaking her faith in Psi Corps, and persuading her to help them outwit Bester.

Bester is bested by the unregistered, untrained telepaths he wants to capture and control. It is great to see him on the short end of the stick for once. And Talia may be more than just a P5.

Delenn asks Sheridan out to dinner and they talk for hours, setting up a long story arch about their relationship. Too often the fancy dress that is supposed to make a woman look enticing doesn't work. In Delenn's case, the dress worked just fine.

Talia and Ivanova also begin to develop a friendship.

Gianin Loffler gives an intense performance as an escaped telepath living in Downbelow. His unique appearance and voice add to the eerie, but powerful way he delivers his lines.

This is a good episode, a pleasure to watch. It gives further insight into Psi Corps.

Reviewed by Romana Drew March 6, 2019

Revised April 1, 2024.












Centauri Emperor

Laundo and G'Kar

Lord Refa and Londo
The Coming of Shadows


Season 2, Episode 9

Originally aired February 1, 1995

Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by Janet Greek

Starring: Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Stephen Furst, Andrea Thompson, Richard Biggs, Mary Kay Adams, Bill Mumy, and Ed Wasser.

With: Turhan Bey as the Centauri Emperor, William Forward as Lord Refa, Fredric Lehne as the Ranger, and Michael O'Hare as Jeffery Sinclair.


The Centauri emperor travels to Babylon 5 to apologize to G'Kar for past Centauri atrocities. But before he can say anything to anyone, he collapses, which denies G'Kar the chance to kill him. It isn't foul play. He is simply dying of old age. All the while, a strange man follows Garibaldi around the station.

G'Kar is humbled and amazed when Dr. Franklin tells him that the emperor came all the way to B5 just to apologize. He even believes that reconciliation may be possible. Unfortunately, Londo and Refa take advantage of the emperor's imminent demise and call on Mr. Morden. Now, the Narn and Centauri are at war again and G'Kar is crushed.

Garibaldi apprehends his shadow only to discover that he is a ranger sent by Sinclair. The first of many rangers to come through B5. It is good to see Michael O'Hare even if he is only a head on a screen. It reminds viewers that he is on Minbar and taking an active role in galactic events.

Londo and Refa's plans put Cartagia on the Centauri throne, perhaps not the best choice. We also see Londo's dream of his death.

Like most of the B5 episodes, this is a complete story, but it's main purpose is to push major plot lines forward.

Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas never fail to deliver outstanding performances. G'Kar goes from suicidal resolve to ecstatic happiness, to anger and despair. While Londo goes from worry about his future, to polite political maneuvering, to the internal pain that comes from knowing your success will end in tragedy.

This is a pivotal, must-see episode. In asking Morden for help, Londo not only seals his own fate but G'Kar's as well. There is no way for him, or his world, to escape the clutches of the shadows.

Reviewed by Romana Drew March 10, 2019

Revised April 3, 2024