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Point of No Return

The momentum keeps building, threatening to run right over the characters in the process.


Finding his administration under threat from the Senate investigations into former President Santiago's death, President Clark has instituted martial law and dissolved the Senate. General Hague manages to get a message to Sheridan through an intermediary. The message is not encouraging. "It's all gone to hell, John... You're on your own."

As Hague attempts to rally his supporters in a coup against President Clark, Sheridan finds himself caught in the position of having to buy time while maintaining his cover. His newest orders make that harder to do than ever. Clark's Political Office has sent an order turning station security over to the Night Watch. Any member of security who is not a member of Night Watch and who refuses to join is effectively fired - and that includes Garibaldi.

Meanwhile, Londo receives a visit from Lady Morella (Majel Barret), the late Emperor Turhan's third wife. Ostensibly, Londo wishes to give her a tour of the station. In reality, he wants a favor. Morella has the gift of prophecy, and Londo wishes to know if there is any way for him to escape the destiny he has glimpsed in his nightmares. Morella's answer will be disquieting - not only for Londo, but for Vir as well...


The momentum built up by Messages from Earth continues here, in the episode that lends the season its title: The Point of No Return.

It is a point of no return for several characters, as they are brought face-to-face with the need to make choices. As Lady Morella tells Londo, there are always choices. But with choices come consequences. In this episode, the characters are brought to the edge of the precipice of some Really Big Choices. The time for delay is over; now is the time to act.

Sheridan is still, just barely and by the skin of his teeth, able to avoid taking an irrevocable step in this episode. For one last time, he is able to play the part of the dutiful Earthforce captain while rebelling against his orders. His solution to the Night Watch dilemma recalls Sinclair's greatest strength, as he finds a way to ultimately reject the order while staying within the rules (he does need broader hints from a third party than Sinclair probably would have needed, and even then he almost doesn't get it... but then, Sheridan is a very different character with very different strengths). This time, however, "fighting back within the rules" isn't going to be enough. As Susan points out at the episode's end, Sheridan's ploy here is just another delaying action; within a few days, the loophole Sheridan wiggles through in this episode will be closed, leaving him with the same order and no legal way to reject it. Though he wins temporarily, the feeling he is left with is one of defeat.

At least Sheridan manages to delay his final decision for one more episode. Zack Allen doesn't even get that much of a reprieve. For half a season now, Zack has found himself torn between his personal loyalty to Chief Garibaldi and his membership in Night Watch. We have seen, through Zack's reactions to events in episodes like The Fall of Night and Messages from Earth, that he is aware that Night Watch's tactics are not entirely justified. He has been growing more and more uncomfortable. He might well have broken from the group by now, but Garibaldi has been pushing him away at the very same time, at the moment when he probably needed Garibaldi's friendship the most.

For several episodes now, since Voices of Authority at the very least, Zack has been straddling the line with increasing difficulty. Once again in this episode, we see Zack trying to avoid taking sides, urging Garibaldi to put on the Night Watch armband and "play along." Garibaldi rejects his pleas, forcing Zack to make his choice. He can make the safe choice - Night Watch, officially endorsed by the President, certain to be given full and official power shortly (even if Sheridan thwarts them for now) - or the right choice. Either decision will carry severe consequences, either personal or professional. Jeff Conaway does a good job here (as in earlier episodes) of portraying Zack's confusion and slow-awakening restlessness.

G'Kar, released from his cell in this episode, also makes a choice, and calls upon the station's Narn to support him in this. The decision will change the status of the Narn on the station. Since the fall of the Narn Homeworld, they have been refugees, living on the station largely through Sheridan's sufferance. Now they are taking partial ownership of their refuge, and aiding Sheridan in the bargain. But, as G'Kar tells Sheridan, there is a price. "I want in," he says. Sheridan puts him off for now - once again making Sheridan the only major character in the episode to avoid taking an irrevocable step. But G'Kar gets the last word. "I have all the time in the world," he boasts, shrewdly adding: "Do you?"

Though Londo doesn't make any great momentous decision regarding his destiny in this episode, he is confronted with the decisions he will have to make if he is to redeem himself. "You must save the eye that does not see," Lady Morella tells him, "You must not kill the one who is already dead. And at the last, you must surrender yourself to your greatest fear, knowing that it will destroy you." Londo can make no sense of her words now, though two of her statements will doubtless come back to haunt him later.


I can't say I care much for the character of the Night Watch guard who bullied Zack both last episode and this one. I don't just mean that the character is unlikable, which is obviously intentional. I genuinely don't think the character works. He's too obviously bad. I think it's more the actor's choices than the writing, however. I could see the same part, with the same dialogue, being much more effective if only the actor were to play a little bit against the more heavy-handed elements. Perhaps he could try to be ingratiating, or perhaps he might have given a sense of a small, pathetic man enjoying his measure of power a little too much when it comes. Unfortunately, the actor only seems to hit one note, over and over again: "arch." A quibble, I know, but he annoyed me in Messages from Earth, and he annoys me here.

Other than that, this is another excellent episode. It took an effort of will for me to go on-line and write this review; almost everything in me wanted desperately to just start playing the next episode.

My Final Rating: 9/10.

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