Pilot (Director’s Cut) | Season 2

Signs and Portents

Disc 1

Midnight of the Firing Line

Synopsis: A Centauri agricultural colony is attacked by the Narns and taken over. The head researcher of the Centauri happens to be the nephew of Centauri embassador Londo Mollari and the Narn have no intention of giving the colony back. Meanwhile unarmed transports are raided by people who seem to know exactly when and where a transport will be.

My opinion: This episode is somewhat of a second pilot. While it doesn’t introduce the station or the characters it sets certain things in order and makes changes to the staff and the appearence of certain aliens (e.g. Delenn, the Minbari ambassador). It also introduces the concept of a primary and a secondary storline to this show, a concept that many of the following episodes will use, too.
It’s not that great an episode but it shows the mutual hatred between the Narn and their former oppressors, the Centauri. But I loved Lt. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova from the start and while Lt. Cmdr. Takashima (from the Pilot) was ok, Susan seems much more powerful from the beginning.

Soul Hunter

Synopsis: An alien unknown to mankind “stumbles” through the jump gate and lands himself in the infirmary. To other aliens his kind is known as Soul Hunters because they catch the soul of people the moment they’re dying. And this particular Soul Hunter has come for a certain ambassador.

My opinion: I liked this episode because it discussed the different belives of what happens to a soul when the body is dying. And everyone was certain that his/her concept alone was to be the correct one and than one should act accordingly.
I also liked the hints that Delenn is hiding something from Sinclair and the first mention of Dukhat, although the events leading to his demise are not revealed yet.

Born to Purple

Synopsis: Londo falls in love with a Centauri exotic dancer and doen’st care much about his duties as ambassador of the Centauri Republic. Meanwhile someone uses illegaly the high priority communication channels known as “Gold Channel” and security chief Michael Garibaldi is determined to find him or her.

My opinion: I really liked the insight of the Centauri society because it showed that the Republic is more like an aristocracy with houses and titles and slaves. I also liked. We also learn more about Ivanova and that she is russian. OK, since Star Trek’s Chekov this is no new concept but I was always a fan of the idea that not every human in space is of american origin.

Infection

Synopsis: Babylon 5 has its second birthday and Sinclair is trying to evade from a InterStellar Network (ISN) News reporter. But more danger to the station are some artefacts from a world long dead and the realization that not one person of a species is a pure being of that species.

My opinion: I love enemies who mus be defeated in the great Star Trek tradition of “talk them to death”. While ST often used it on computers and confused them with logic, it works with bio weapons, too. And we learn that there are deserted worlds and civilisations long gone and the earth company InterPlanetary eXpiditions (IPX) sponsors such expiditions.

Disc 2

Parliament of Dreams

Synopsis: With the arrival of the aides to the Minbari ambassador Delenn, Lennier and to the Narn ambassador G’Kar, Na’Toth the main cast for the first season and – by and large – the entire show is complete. The Earth administration has planned that each of the alien cultures and Earth show in a festival the ceremonies of their largest believe system. Meanwhile G’Kar gets a death threat against him from an enemy who has currently died.

My opinion: It’s an interesting fact to notice that alien cultures in TV shows – especially the alien of the week in most shows – seem to be somewhat uniform. Look at the Klingons or the Romulans of Star Trek for example. Except of course the story is about two rivaling parties on the same planet. But more than two? Seldom. But Earth is always depicted as a diversed culture. And coming back to my point, I simply adored the scene when Sinclair presented all these people with their different believe systems, it was a great ending of that show.

Mind War

Synopsis: For over a hundred years there have been telepaths (“teep”) among the human population. Every teep who whishes to use his/her abilities has to join the Psi Corps. And the Psi Corps has its own police: The Psi Cops. And two of them arrive at the station to look for a renegade and former lover of the stations teep Talia Winters. But that renegade has developed abilities even the Psi Corps couldn’t have imagined. Meanwhile, Sinclairs lover tries to examine a planet for its minerals and nearly gets killed.

My option: A Bester show is always a good one. Bester is a Psi Cop portrayed by Walter Koenig (ST: Chekov) and the mutual loathing between the stations personell and Bester is build up and continues throughout the show. We see for the first time that Psi Corps is experimenting on their own people to enhance them beyond their given abilities.
Spoiler (mark to read):
We’ve seen one of the First Ones and we don’t even know it yet! And Talia got a bit of a teek (telekineth) ability. Unfortunatly she left the show later on and her part was written onto Lyta.

Quote of the episode:
G’Kar: “Let me pass on to you the one thing I’ve learned about this place. No one here is exactly what he appears. Not Mollari. Not Delenn. Not Sinclair. And not me.”

War Prayer

Synopsis: Enmity and hatred is shown from humans to any form of alien. A good friend of Delenn’s is struck down and branded. There is an organisation that tries to bring Earth back to its “rightful place in the universe”. And meanwhile Londo has to deal with a young Centauri couple who fell in love but both are promised to other people.

My opinion: We see the first glimpse of hatred between humans and aliens based on simple racism and the fear of “alien influence”. It’s a sad episode because of that story but a good one.

And the Sky Full of Stars

Synopsis: Two men arrive at the station and capture Sinclair to find out what happend in the 24 hours he can’t remember when the war ended.

My opinion: They shed some light onto the events happened at the Battle of the Line. But when I say some I mean some. It’s more a form of grey than really white light. We don’t get all the facts at once and that’s what makes the show so interesting. From now on we can wonder what exactly Delenn had to do with the ending of the war.
Spoiler (mark to read):
From a knowing POV the end was not logical. Minbari do not kill Minbari, that’s why the war ended. So why should Delenn get the order to kill Sinclair if he finds anything out?

Disc 3

Deathwalker

Synopsis: Na’Toth attacks a women who just left a space ships and declares that she is Deathwalker, a Dilgar war criminal. But that is impossible, even if she is still alive she would be much older than that woman. Except of course she had found the fountain of youth.

My opinion: Great episode. Asks a lot of valid questions, e.g. how much are you willing to pay and what to sacrifice to become immortal.
Spoiler (mark to read):
The most interesting question is, whether Deathwalker invented the serum herself or did she had help. I would presume the latter and I would name the Shadows as a likely ally. After all to sacrifice half teh universe for the other seems right in their line of thinking.

Quote of the episode:
Kosh: “Thuth is a three-edged sword.”

Believers

Synopsis: Two aliens bring their sick child to the infirmary. But to heal their son Dr. Franklin has to resolve to surgery. But the parents believe system does not allow the opening of the body because the soul would leave the body.

My opinion: Great conflict between science and religion. Who is right and who is authorized to make such a decision?

Quote of the episode:
Kosh: “The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote.”

Survivors

Synopsis: Earth Alliance president Santiago plans a visit to Babylon 5. But the station is shaken by bomb explosions and a presidential team takes over the security department while Garibaldi is supected to be an assassin.

My opninion: We get a glimpse into Garibaldis history on Mars (Garibaldi, like Sinclair, was born on Mars) and his drinking problems back then. Good episode about revenge and paranoia.

By Any Means Necessary

Synopsis: Overworked and underpaid the dock workers of Babylon 5 go on strike after some of them have been killed and hurt because of errors due to the stress. But the Earth government threatens to break the strike with force, if necessary. Meanwhile G’kar is trying to get hold onto a G’Quan Eth flower for a religious ritual and the only one having one on B5 is – Londo Mollari.

My opninion: Good episode. Showed that in the B5 universe some things haven’t changed at all throughout the centuries. And personally I think episodes like this make the show much more realistic than the Happy World of Star Trek. I also loved the resolution of Sinclair for both problems (strike / G’Quan Eth).
Spoiler (mark to read):
Sheridan makes a similar move when it comes to his and Susan’s rent for the quarters.

Disc 4

Signs and Portents

Synopsis: A human man arrives on the station who was on the outer territories for the last couple of years. And in turn he sets up a meeting with every ambassador and asks one simple question “What do you want?”. When this man called Morden encounters Delenn and later Kosh it gets darker as if shadows were moving. Meanwhile Mollari aquired an ancient piece of jewlery that belonged to the very first emperor of the Centauri Republic and tries to bring it back to Centauri Prime.

My opinion: It’s the name-giving episode to the entire season and what an episode it is. Many important things are set in motion although one doesn’t really know it. I found it quite fascinating how the different people answered to a simple question like “What do you want?”. It’s one of the key episodes of the entire series.
Spoiler (mark to read):
And for the first time we see a shadow vessel!

TKO

Synopsis: A rabbi and a boxer arrive at the station. The rabbi sets out to seek Susan Ivanova and sit shiva (a jewish mourning ritual) for Susans father who died in “Born to Purple”. And the boxer tries to enter an alien martial arts kombat known as “Mutai” which is forbidden for humans.

My opinion: Even with the Mutai it’s a rather quit episode. It shows that not all aliens are pleased with the behaviour with the average human because they behave as they do on earth: mocking about the rituals and traditions of foreign cultures. But there is hope, they are able to learn.

The Grail

Synopsis: On the station arrives a human man who is treated with utmost reverence by the Minbari. This man searches for the Holy Grail. Sinclair can’t really take him seriously but for the Minbari it doesn’t matter if the object of the search really exist but only that one is a true seeker.On the station he meets Jinxo, the “curse of Babylon 5” who had helped building all five Babylon stations and every time he left, the station was destroyed or got lost. And so he never left Babylon 5.

My opinion: The search for the Holy Grail should have always been a spiritual journey and not one for riches and/or power. I was moved when Aldous (the seeker) died and Jinxo promised to continue the search.

Eyes

Synopsis: A colonel and a Psi Corps enter the station and start an investigation against Cmdr. Sinclair which soon turns to be a witch hunt. All command staff shall be questioned and scanned by the Psi Corps agent. But Ivanova won’t allow a scan by any teep.

My opinion: I felt reminded of the Star Trek TNG episode “The Drumhead” in which Cpt. Picard said the memorable quote “With the first link, a chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.” (Did I mention I love quotes?), which also turned out to be a witch hunt. I liked it because it showed the strong loyalty between the command staff.

Disc 5

Legacies

Synopsis: The body of a dead Minbari warrior is presented on Babylon 5 as a sign of respect towards the warrior. But the body is stolen and the Star Rider clan of his blames the humans for the loss. Meanwhile a young girl is found who has teep abilitiies. Whila Talia Winters wants her to enter the Psi Corps, Susan Ivanova tries anything to keep her away from that organisation.

My opinion: Funniest moment was when somone remined Garibaldi that the Pak’Ma’Ra are carrion eathers. Wink We also learn that the Narn are the only people that have no teeps. And we get another look into the Minbari culture and tradition. For the first time we see Delenn use her power as member of the Grey Council. And I liked the ending where Talia and Susan – who where opponents over the teep business – apologized to each other.
Spoiler (mark to read):
And again she’s building on the crysalis device!

Quote of the episode:
Neroon (to Sinclair): “You speak like a Minbari”

A Voice in the Wilderness (Part 1)

Synopsis: The planet Epsilon 3 around which Babylon 5 is orbiting devolps a series of quakes. A survey team which tries to land is being attacked when the planet is supposed to be uninhabited. Meanwhile riots have broken out on the Mars colonies and Garibaldi tries to communicate with a previous lover.

My opinion: At last we learn something about the planet below Babylon 5 except it being a nice wallpaper. We see that there’s a huge machinery down below the planet’s surface but like most two-parters the first one is only the prelude to the second part.

Quote of the episode:
Draal: “The third principle of sentient life is the capacity for self-sacrifice. The conscious ability to override evolution and self-preservation for a cause, a friend, a loved one.”

A Voice in the Wilderness (Part 2)

Synopsis: Earth heavy cruiser Hyperion arrives at Babylon 5 to protect anything of interest that may be found on Epsilon 3. But another ship arrives, too; claiming the planet belongs to them and that they will take it by force, if necessary. And the dying man from the Great Machine tells Draal and Delenn, that someone must take his place in order to prevent the planet’s destruction.

My opinion: Loved it. Sinclair is willing to risk everything to protect the station and the people living there. He is truly a man who understands the third principle of sentient life. And to see the sparkle of excitement in Londos eyes to really do something again – marvelous. It was also interesting to see that there are (and have always been?) tensions between the Earthers and the Marsians.
Spoiler (mark to read):
On could only imagine how history would have changed when indeed Londo had taken the place in the Great Machine.

Babylon Squared

Synopsis: Babylon 4 is back! After Bablon 1 to 3 were destroyed during constructions, Babylon 4 got lost 24 hours after going operational. Babylon 4 was trapped in a time distortion field and it seems to fall back into it. It’s decided to evactuate the station before it disappears again. Meanwhile Delenn is summoned back to the Grey Council to take back her place there which means she has to leave Babylon 5.

My opninion: I alsways like time travel episodes even though this time it wasn’t really a time travel. But I loved the hints about Sinclairs future. And I like the fact that Delenn left the Grey Counsil because of the calling of her heart and her expressed opinion about the humans (even if it came from a human script writer Wink)
Spoiler (mark to read):
I know where (or better when) B4 is going. Wink

Quote of the episode:
Zathras: “The One leads us. The One tells us to go. We go. We live for the One. We would die for the One.”

Disc 6

The Quality of Mercy

Synopsis: A convicted murderer is sentenced to a “wipe of personality” and afterwards serving to the community until his natural death. The death sentence whill only be applied in cases of high treason. Meanwhile a doctor heals persons in “Down Below” with an alien device.

My opinion: A quiet episode before the great season finale. But nonetheless an important one because it introduces the concept of “mind wipe” and the alien healing device. And we see Lennier fighting like we’ve never seen a Minbari fighting before (not even Neroon a few episodes earlier).

Chrysalis

Synopsis: The Babylon 5 crew discovers a plot to kill the Earth Alliance president Santiago but has no chance to prevent it. Meanwhile Narn and Centauri argue about the rulership of quadrant 37 and Mr. Morden offers his help to Londo.

My opinion: Great finale! First great battle of the show while it lastened not long. And Garibaldi should have listened to Walker Smith in “TKO” as he said “Watch your back!” And Delenn puts herself into a cocoon. While I don’t like the concept of cliffhangers – if I tune in again or not wouldn’t depend on one single episode – it’s a good one and it leaves many questions. Did someone recognize the similarity between the inauguration between Clark and US president Johnson in 1963?
Spoiler (mark to read):
This episode is the turning point for the character developement of G’Kar and Londo.
Season analysis: Great introduction to a great show. It hasn’t the quality of the following 3 seasons but it stands out in comparison to other first seasons, e.g. Star Trek TNG. I think Babylon 5 was one of the first shows using the concept of a continued storyline instead of seperate episodes with only a small background story. Nowadays we are used to it (Lost, Heroes, 24) and I personally require it from a TV show.

Babylon 5: Season 2