With Sinclair reassigned and Sheridan introduced, the story is allowed to truly move forward again with this episode, though the tension of the strong arc material is undercut a bit by the need for yet more forced exposition to establish the new captain's character.
G'Kar returns from the Rim having discovered the identity of the race that destroyed Outpost 37. It is not a new race, after all; it is, instead, a very old one. An implacable enemy described in G'Kar's Book of G'Quan matches in almost every detail the new enemy that is quietly building its forces on the Rim. Armed with this knowledge, G'Kar appeals to the council to prepare for this new enemy that threatens them all. But Delenn, who would know that G'Kar is telling the truth, is still encased in a cocoon; Londo is secretly in league with the enemy; Kosh does not deign to speak; and Sheridan, quite reasonably, wants proof before acting on G'Kar's suspicions. And with Londo still conspiring with Mr. Morden, G'Kar's proof will never have a chance to materialize.
The Narn are not the only ones involved in a struggle for survival. In Medlab, Garibaldi continues to show no progress. Out of desperation, Dr. Franklin uses the alien device he appropriated last year (The Quality of Mercy). The device works, and Garibaldi awakens... but with his shooter still at large on the station, the newly-revived security chief is far from safe.
Delenn has also awakened, emerging from her chrysalis in a startling new form. Meanwhile, Sheridan entertains a visitor to the station: his sister Elizabeth, who has come determined to make him confront his feelings about his wife Anna, who died in an accident on a survey to a dead world on the Rim two years previously.
As the plot description above tends to indicate, this is not an episode of which anyone could claim, "Nothing happened." Several plot threads move forward here, and they do so in highly significant ways. This is the episode that truly begins to deal with the fallout left in Chrysalis' wake.
G'Kar spent much of the first season scheming and manipulating every event he could in order to harm the Centauri. G'Kar at first appeared to be a very shallow and petty character, with the depth that existed behind the sneer showing itself only very gradually. Not until the end of Mind War did we even begin to glimpse the real G'Kar, a man who can stop to contemplate the existence of mysteries that fill him with equal parts dread and delight. Even then, it wasn't until Chrysalis that G'Kar was forced to confront those mysteries head-on.
Revelations continues G'Kar's character arc, a very natural progression from pettiness to greatness. This G'Kar remains angry at the Centauri, as he matter-of-factly informs Londo that "the differences between our races can only be solved with Centauri blood." But he has put aside that anger for the moment in the face of a greater threat. He has investigated, and directly fled from the Shadows. He has seen illustrations of the Shadows in the Book of G'Quan, the holy book in which he places his faith. He knows an ancient evil has returned, and desperately attempts to convince the other races.
But G'Kar remains a shrewd observer. He has returned to a council very different from the one he left. Delenn is unable to attend the council meetings in which G'Kar makes his appeal; Sinclair is gone, replaced by a stranger. Carried away by his own sense of urgency, G'Kar is overly trusting and indiscreet exactly once: when he informs the council of the ship he has dispatched to gain proof. When that ship is destroyed - the second "accidental explosion" in three episodes - he quickly realizes that there is only one possible explanation. Somebody on the council is aiding the Shadows. G'Kar's facial expressions here are very revealing. He glares first at his hated enemy, Londo Mollari; then he notes, apparently for the first time, that the humans are now represented by a man he does not know, a man he has no reason to trust.
G'Kar is not the only one to demonstrate mistrust of Captain Sheridan in this episode. Garibaldi awakens from his coma, and reacts with appropriate confusion as news of Sinclair's reassignment is broken to him. He still responds warmly to Ivanova and Franklin. When Sheridan steps forward to introduce himself, however, Garibaldi's features settle into a glare. He has only one sentence for his new C. O.: "I don't know you." Full credit to Jerry Doyle for the venomous bite he gives to those words. I only wish more had been done in subsequent episodes with the possibilities of Garibaldi's instinctive mistrust of Sheridan.
Sheridan also gets a shock in the course of the episode, as a bit of his innocence is chipped away. After Garibaldi's shooter is apprehended, Sheridan receives a call from President Clark. At first, Sheridan talks affably and with due deference to the President. Then the President delivers his orders, to transfer the shooter back to Earth along with all evidence connected to both the shooting and to the Presidential assassination. Boxleitner's expressive face is a major asset to this scene, as we see the uneasiness grow in his eyes. Sheridan actually turns his back to the President for a minute of this conversation as he absorbs these instructions, realizing that these instructions can only mean that Something Is Wrong. He then quickly composes himself into a neutral expression before turning back to accept the order. Though Sheridan continues to be the good soldier and follow orders, he has begun to realize that his superiors may not be quite as admirable as he has always believed.
The Sinclair/Sheridan changeover helped many plot threads in Seasons Two and Three. But it did not do so without a price. As with Points of Departure, there is much exposition in this episode, and a lot of it feels rather awkwardly dumped there.
The subplot involving Sheridan's sister and his guilt over his dead wife brings the episode to a grinding halt every time it appears. These scenes simply do not work dramatically. In the first place, any effectiveness this subplot might have is entirely dependent on the audience's connection with Sheridan. We simply aren't yet connected enough to this newcomer to care about his angst and guilt. For that reason alone, this material should have been held back for just a few more episodes.
Unfortunately, that's only the first problem with this subplot. As much as I enjoy praising JMS's character writing most of the time, I have to say that I consider the Sheridan/Elizabeth scenes here to be very poorly-written. Sheridan's angst is communicated to us via clichéd, soap-opera monologues. Boxleitner struggles gamely, but he just can't seem to get a firm grip on this material. In these scenes, Boxleitner's performance comes across as forced and flat - which is all the more striking when you take into account his scenes opposite Garibaldi, Ivanova, or Clark... all scenes in which Boxleitner delivers some truly strong acting.
Finally, this subplot simply overloads an episode that's already extremely busy. There are three different plot threads running as it is: G'Kar's return, Garibaldi's awakening, and Delenn's emergence. That's plenty of material for one 43-minute episode to hold. The addition of this fourth plotline interrupts the flow of the other plotlines, and leaves the episode feeling decidedly fractured. Again, this problem could have been solved by simply holding this subplot back for a less busy episode. Such relatively uneventful episodes as A Distant Star and The Long Night could have easily held these character scenes; the already-overloaded Revelations ends up staggering under the added weight).
Fortunately, if my memory holds true, the worst of the "speed-bumps" related the change of command are now behind us. The Anna backstory may have been dumped in clumsily, but at least it's there now. Sheridan's arc should proceed more smoothly from this point on.
This should have been at least an "8," probably a "9"... but that one subplot seriously damages it, taking away from the otherwise very strong whole.