A compilation of notes made whilst watching each episode after I've already seen the whole Babylon 5 series - stuff that I didn't notice before, or that takes on a whole new meaning when you know the rest of the story. These are not reviews, and since any part of the series may be mentioned in a single episode's comments, reading of these by anybody who hasn't already seen the whole story is strongly contraindicated.
The first episode not counting The Gathering, and the first thing I'm struck by is just how much is rooted in even minor appearing incidents; things like Ivanova's commentary on the elections. "I do not like Santiago. I've always thought that a leader should have a strong chin. He has no chin. And his Vice President has several. This to me is not a good combination." Santiago wins... and much is set in train thereby.
And a not so minor incident - driven beyond endurance, Londo puts together an elaborately hidden set of components into an illegal-to-possess on station gun, and sets out to shoot G'Kar. Talia just happens to get off the elevator at the precise minute he approaches, and bumps into him, is flooded by his thoughts, and passes the word to Garibaldi, who stops him. The effect of this on most of the later arc is staggering to consider.
Lots of elements we'll see again in later episodes; Londo's recounting of his vision of his and G'Kar's death, the sad fate of Ivanova's mother, the Narns vs. the Centauri, the raiders, Sinclair's approach to politics (not that Sheridan is above similar behaviors later). Garibaldi's second favorite thing in the universe. Spoo!
And the other thing about watching this episode - it's a lovely reminder of just how *dense* these episodes are. So much is happening all the time, but laid out so neatly as to avoid confusion.
And the episode starts off with Jeff Sinclair going out to try and catch an approaching out of control spacecraft with a grapnel. No tractor beams in this universe (OK, we find out different later, but certainly he's not got one). Nor is this the only time in the episode we see Jeff charging headfirst into danger someone else could and probably should handle. Garibaldi comments on it in a humorous fashion when Jeff insists on meeting directly with the second Soul Hunter, but you can tell he's concerned.
We meet Dr. Franklin. We also find out about Delenn's high rank among the Minbari (and what Satai means), and see Sinclair start to wonder why she's here.
We meet N'Grath. Pity Joe didn't like the look; I found the big bug rather entertaining. But then I have hopes that someone will someday make a movie about Alan Dean Foster's thranx. Ok, so I like praying mantises. Back to Babylon 5...
First mention of Minbari ideas about Minbari souls, how they become part of the great pool of souls to be reborn, and how the removal of some from the mix diminishes the whole.
Eerie significance department... The Soul Hunter's comment to Delenn that she'll feel like she is falling "Don't worry, I'll be there to catch you."
Delenn releases the souls and we see that wispy blue energy floating away...
And here we have two early instances of a theme that we'll find throughout the entire series; love and the things that go wrong with it. Adira Tyree really does love Londo, and he her, yet this doesn't keep her from being used against him, and even when she takes a hand in it herself it's the actions of others that just barely avert disaster. By the end each knows the other is sincere, but still they must part. And having seen the rest of the story we know they'll never see each other again, that her attempt to return precipitates tragedy, and once again she is used against Londo, this time by Morden.
Then there's Susan Ivanova, who we already know lost her mother at an early age, and who must now say goodbye to her dying father who expresses his pride in her, but admits to never properly giving her love. The pattern for Ivanova's punctured lovelife set from the very beginning, long before the old lover who turns out to be a terrorist, the lover who dies in a particularly gruesome manner shortly after the relationship begins to take off, the would-be lover seeking something to die for...
An early look at Garibaldi's computer skills; something else we'll see more of. (And long after his death in one of my favorite scenes in The Deconstruction of Falling Stars. )
Londo's Purple access code: "Wine, Women, Song". Londo is far more innocent than he dreams at this stage. Certainly more than he will ever be again. Three episodes into the series, and already we have twice seen him in situations that could easily cost him his career. And Londo himself would agree later that he would have been better off if one of them had. I also find myself remembering Garibaldi's password much later "Peek-a-boo"?
OK, the episode generally considered the worst of the series... but in retrospect there's a lot more here than met the eye first time around. This is the episode that introduces organic technology in its nightmare aspect... which is generally what we see throughout the series, later in Crusade, and still later in the Technomage novels (with the notable exceptions of the Minbari ships, Kosh's ship, and the White Stars and one more, sort of, which we don't find out about until after the series.) Long before we know anything about the Shadows, Nelson prefigures the unfortunate man who blunders into the Shadow ship off Jupiter, and the shipload of telepaths rescued (if that's the word) from the Shadows much later.
And there goes Sinclair being suicidal again - nearly pulls it off this time, too. And there's Garibaldi calling him on it, directly this time. Survival guilt as a theme, something echoed later in Marcus. Right now mostly part of the run-up to And The Sky Full of Stars, four episodes later. Garibaldi's comment on heroes "I don't know, I've never been one," reminds me slightly of the much later alternate-world invasion of B5, and "This is the moment I was born for." Garibaldi's not completely immune to the idea of being a hero.
One of many invocations of Santayana.
And at the end, there's Sinclair's wonderful speech including "All of this is for nothing unless we go to the stars." The fourth episode of the series, and one of the most memorable scenes in it.
Na'Toth, Catherine Sakai, and Lennier arrive for the first time this episode. We're introduced to Jeff and Catherine's on-again off-again romance - there's hope for the moment but will this work out any better than it has before? Indeed, at the end of the first season they're planning to get married.. and then abruptly that's the last we see of her, and while we see Sinclair again, it's much later, alone and under drastically different circumstances. The novel To Dream in the City of Sorrows tells a bit more of the story, but whether it counts as the end is open to considerable speculation. Given what's happened to practically every other romance in the story.. who knows....
Londo Mollari: Party Animal - and what a party. The Centauri do it up big and noisy. "He has become one with his inner self!" All those Centauri gods, including the one representing passion who reflects something about Centauri anatomy we won't be formally introduced to until later.
The Minbari Ceremony, reflective, calm, everything the Centauri one isn't... and knowing what we do about Sinclair downright amusing.
Tennyson - another common reference.
The first time we see G'Kar tortured - and here he refused to cry out despite great pain. Impossible not to think of years later when Cartagia wanted a scream... The timely arrival of Na'Toth, she of the quick wit.
Earth's Dominant Belief System. Yet more evidence of Sinclair's diplomatic instincts, and general intelligence. And the closest thing to the right answer there is.
And we get a brief introduction to the Black Omega Squadron. VERY brief - a hint in the teaser of just how dangerous the inhabitant of that stolen transport can be.
And here comes Bester, tromping onto the station like he owns it and generally making a pain of himself. He is, however, arguably competent, and you can't fault his courage - Ironheart whiffs his partner, and he goes right ahead and fires on him, even though he had to realize this was probably NOT going to work. OK, his brains maybe.
Garibaldi and Talia in the elevator. Snicker...
G'Kar speaks that immortal line "No one here is exactly what he appears."
And we are introduced lefthandedly to the First Ones, though not under that name. Sigma 957 would appear to be the cosmic equivalent of a railroad track, and G'Kar's quick thinking is what saves Catherine's life. G'Kar up until now has seemed a self-centered and rather unpleasant chap; this shows another side of him. Of course, like most of the majors, he's in for a good deal of character development in the next five years.
The idea of a telepathic signal to trigger a preprogrammed response. Which in this case nearly triggers disaster instead... does in the case of Bester's partner Kelsey as Ironheart is forced to kill her to protect himself. And years later, Talia gets one of her own and look what THAT causes.
Our first look at the central shuttle system. Wish I could ride that thing.
The apotheosis of Jason Ironheart, and the expanding blast of light about the ship as he leaves it, and then departs (beyond the rim?). Memory of that expanding blast of light around Sheridan's ship at the end of the 20 years and of wondering - was that the energy that held him together dissipating, or has HE gone there too?
And the Home Guard makes its appearance directly... what a waste of a perfectly good name. And another episode in Susan Ivanova's punctured lovelife - former lover Malcom makes an appearance, appears to want to try again... and turns out to be a Home Guard terrorist. First mention by Londo of his wives - "Famine, Pestilence and Death", which as JMS has pointed out over the internet leaves the obvious title of "War" for Londo which is goodness knows deserved. "What does love have to do with marriage?" Well, often enough it's had nothing to do with it on Earth, too.
Aria and Kirin look at least to have their own romance work out. At least we never hear of them again that I can recall at the moment, so we can only hope.
Kosh puts in an appearance for the first time since The Gathering; he appears to be studying Earth, something that becomes more important as we learn more about Kosh's personality despite his enigmatic (to say the least) habits.
Invisible attackers emerge out of the shadows... As eventually will the Shadows themselves.
Certain traits appear to be ubiquitous amongst the sapient species; from G'Kar rabble rousing to the Drazi vigilantes, they act very much as humans do.
An indication of how good station surveillance is.. and isn't.
"My shoes are too tight and I have forgotten how to dance." Londo has no idea how much worse it's going to get.
"Everyone lies." Well, quite a few of 'em do, and frequently to themselves.
More background; Dr. Franklin's hitchhiking the galaxy. An innocent question to Delenn "What did you do in the war?" gracefully deflected, and given what we find out later about how it started, understandably so.
Quite a bit about Sinclair - first time these aired I'd watch each episode to see whose "turn in the barrel" it was this week; and this time it was definitely Sinclair's. We and HE learn a lot about the Battle of the Line... and he has an idea of how much more there may be to find out. His determination bears fruit as we know when we see the rest of this season.
Our first look at Universe Today... and thanks to the pause button we can even read the headlines: My comments in (parentheses).
HomeGuard Leader Convicted: Malcom Lester Found Guilty in Attack on Minbari (Some things even theoretical friends in high places can't cover up. Leastwise not yet.)
Psi-Corps in Election Tangle: Did Psi-Corps Violate its Charter by Endorsing Vice President? (Wait'll ya see what it does NEXT.)
Narns Settle Ragash III Controversy
San Diego Still Considered Too Radioactive For Occupancy
Pros and Cons of Interspecies Mating (Now THIS is going to take on significance in the future...)
Copyright Trial Continues in (illegible) Zap Flap
Ah yes, those interesting questions - "Who are you?" and "What do you want?".
We see that the Minbari DO have tractor beams. So it's now revealed they're not impossible in this universe, just Earth hasn't got them. Differences in tech level play their part on occasion.
Wheels within wheels...
Kosh introduces the phrase "The hour of scampering" which appears to be a Koshism - nobody else seems to use it. Kosh's researches about Talia, or maybe telepaths in general - given that we later find out the Vorlons are behind human telepathy in the first place this may have been mostly to see how it's working out rather than a perceived need for defense, which is what it looks like at the time.
Even Jha'dur's appearance is designed to look sinister; sorta werewolfy.
Ivanova keeping the would be attackers at bay by getting them to argue with each other as to who has precedence. One for imagination...
And then there's the rest of the station. Maybe the central theme of this whole episode is bickering! Everybody seems to be doing it.
The cyborg "Vikr". Introduction of the "Jovian Sun Spot" - we will actually see someone drink one a few episodes from now...
And our introduction to Vorlon ruthlessness. THIS we will also see more of, much later.
Franklin's turn in the barrel... and not much else to do with the rest of the series. Unfortunately a bit clumsy in presentation, and gave the general feeling of circumstances deliberately manipulated and existing factors ignored in order to present a tragedy without messy edges (Like, could the nanotech we already know they have have helped? Possibly not but it should have been mentioned.)
More on Sinclair, and the various diplomats on the station.
One of the more celebrated Koshisms "The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote."
Ivanova as fighter pilot pulls understandable but definite goof. "Good." "NOT good"...
Garibaldi dodges the rocks this episode. Big ones. And we learn more about his checkered background. The title of the episode fits Michael Garibaldi quite well neither hero nor antihero; he's human and getting by one day at a time, some days better than others.
The 3-D animated tabletop swordfight - the future of D&D, or something more like checkers? A nice touch in any case. (Even with the temptation to say "Let the Wookie win..." :))
Londo's "we're both the odd man out" speech. True enough, and both will make grievous mistakes.. but Londo's will catch up to him in far more deadly fashion.
G'kar's currently cynical philosophy. Right now he's Garibaldi's enemy as much as anything; compare this with what will happen a couple of years later when it is his search for Garibaldi when nobody else seems to care that lands him in horrors. And after that as well.
Garibaldi knows his way around the station, as well he should and as helpful as this will be through the years. Sinclair can help, but ultimately it's going to be up to him.
Earth Force 1 - some traditions survive from the old US into whatever evolved Earth Force, and we have here the equivalent of Air Force One and nicely done it is too. We will see this ship again under tragic circumstances. Interesting variation of terminology; instead of a "jump gate" it's a "vortex generator".
And assuming I heard the comment correctly, we've heard "blip" used for a fugitive. The Psi Corps meaning will be along later...
How many times have we seen the alcoholic in a crisis nobly turning down a drink in front of him to face the problem sober? Not this time.
But if Garibaldi falls back into the bottle again he also climbs back out with a bit of help. And he DOES solve the problem. No, this isn't the last time for both; he's in this struggle for life and he won't always win. But he doesn't always lose either. Like the title; he's a survivor.
And so's Lianna who's also been battered by events over the years, but at least now makes peace with her old friend. Wearing her hair down in the last scene is a nice touch significant of this.
And Garibaldi's last statement to Lianna about President Santiago is ironic in the extreme "Make sure nothing happens to him. We need all the friends we can get." And of course something does happen to him, and Lianna possibly dies in the explosion of Earth Force 1.
I loved this episode the first time it came out - went through the whole first part in dread of the outcome and then, with one neat switch, Sinclair makes the winning move. It'll cost him later, but all the same it is so elegant.
We get our first look at some of the guts of the station; the docks and the dockworkers. And someone makes a mistake and the pilot of the inbound ship makes another one, there's an awful wreck destroying the cargo of the latter and killing a dockworker. We meet the Dockworker's union and their able lead negotiator.
We see the Book of G'Quan for the first time, and learn something of the Followers of G'Quan. I think it's the only Narn religion we learn about, but there may well be others. We humans certainly have come up with a lot of them.
And thanks to the loss of that Narn ship's cargo, we get that unholy trio - G'kar, Londo and the G'Quaneth plant. Ranging from the hilarious to the maddening to both for everybody involved in general, to poor Jeff Sinclair who has to deal with it in particular.
And that reporter, just to add to Sinclair's woes. I love the scene where the lot turn up in the control room and Ivanova counts them off the bridge. Hell hath no fury like an irate second in command who has just been given the order she most wishes to receive... :)
The Rush Act. Hard to hear this title and not think of Rush Limbaugh, though I've insufficient familiarity with his outlook to know if this is intentional. A weapon to hang over negotiations...
And Oren Zembo, the slimiest labor negotiator on record.. an impressive acting job that - from expression alone he could almost be wearing a sign reading "Boo the Villain". You can tell Sinclair is having a long day as he gets downright whiskery in the evening.
A look at the B5 riot gear - presumably the jackets contain some sort of armor.
And Sinclair reveals that like many another weapon, the Rush Act can be used in either direction. Given authority to solve the strike "by any means necessary" he does - by revising the budget to pay for upgraded equipment and decent pay. It works.. and is probably one big reason Sinclair is pulled off the station at the end of the first year. Along with others, of course, but it certainly establishes the mood.
And to top it off, Sinclair solves the situation for G'Kar as well. Sinclair trained with Jesuits... it shows. :)
Ivanova is NOT a morning person. She has my sympathies.
And the arc revs into high gear for an episode... Enter Morden. The security guy checking inbound travellers inquires of him, casually "Find anything interesting?" He says he did. As we know that is a monumental understatement...
Sinclair adds Garibaldi to the job of tracking down whatever happened with him and the Minbari.
Introducing The Eye, ancient Centauri symbol. Londo, ecstatic, tells the seller he would love to know where he got it. He gets the reply "No you wouldn't!" Note Morden sitting in the background; one look at his expression gives us a pretty good idea of where it came from. The Shadows beginning to stir up trouble.
Enter Lord Kiro and Lady Ladira, the seeress. The latter sees the destruction of Babylon 5. The sounds in the background of her first vision suggest this could be the alternate world version where the station is invaded and destroyed by the Shadows. Ladira's dress is interesting, the flair of the back ruff reminiscent of the higher ranked male Centauri's hairstyles. Ladira is important.
"What do you want?" An innocent sounding question with a good deal of import. G'Kar's wishes are essentially limited (though genocide is one heck of a big limitation). Delenn has that symbol appear on her forehead (presumably involving the Grey Council) as Morden stands across the room in shadow. He leaves and Delenn says "They're here." She knows something (mind you we already knew that). Morden passes Kosh, once again in shadow. Londo actually asks Morden what he wants first, ironically enough. Londo's desires have more scope - he wants the Centauri Republic to be great again. Morden meets Kosh; Kosh's encounter suit is later reported damaged. All of which suggests strongly Morden has the companions he usually brings on board, something we'll be shown later.
Whilst leaving the station, the hijackers swipe the Eye and take Lord Kiro along, ostensibly as a hostage. Lady Ladira says "The Shadows are coming for him. The Shadows have come for us all!" The full meaning of this will not be known until next season...
Despite the best efforts of the station, the hijackers escape with the raiders. Lady Ladira has another vision, and we see into the vanished ship in the raider's homeship. Lord Kiro was behind the attack, but is betrayed by the raiders who want to sell the Eye back to the Centauri instead. Both are betrayed by the ones who presumably put the Eye in play, as the homeship is neatly sliced up the middle by... something...
Londo believes his career is over... until Morden returns the Eye as "A gift from friends you don't know you have." He is ecstatic - ironic to think that given comparison with what is to come, Londo might actually have been happier if it had stayed lost. But he wouldn't have known it.
More data - the Minbari wanted Sinclair as commander, and vetoed everybody else until his name came up.
One more vision, and Lady Ladira shows it to Sinclair. One last ship erupts from the station, and it explodes completely. As we'll find out at the end, this really is the future, but completely out of context. Joe showed us at least some of the end of the story here in the first season...
We meet Ivanova's uncle in a wonderful bit of casting. Something I didn't entirely notice first time around; he's wearing a modern 3-piece business suit, which of course is ancient compared to the style of the day. Conservative, then, but he's manifestly comfortable in it as well.
We learn more of Ivanova's background, and about her brother Ganya who was killed in the Minbari war, explaining one reason why her father was so against her joining Earth Force.
And it's an old friend of Garibaldi's, a pugilist by the name of Walker Smith. Two likeable individuals introduced in this episode, maybe to make up for introducing us to Morden last time.
Ivanova is spotted reading Harlan Ellison's Working Without a Net.
In the background we hear the call for "Earth Registered Liner 'Whitestar'"...
The Zima sign. (Is that stuff still around?)
We have an episode about persistence, courage and ultimate success - Ivanova's uncle gets her to sit shiva for her father, and she is finally able to mourn properly and heal. Walker Smith enters the Mu Tai and ties the champion, who declares him the winner. An upbeat ending all around.
And then at the end, exit Walker Smith with a cheerful "Watch your back," to Garibaldi. Come the end of this season he'll wish he had. :( Significant exit lines abound in this series.
Our first Arthurian reference. There will be more.
A delightful introduction to the B5 courthouse, as a human sues a "Grey" over the kidnapping of the human's ancestor. Note the Earth Alliance symbol on the judge's robes. Is the judicial system connected with the military, or is the symbol simply used for more than the military?
Delenn to Sinclair "Perhaps you do not know yourself as well as you think." Well, yeah...
Another continuing motif - mindwipe. This time by the Nakaleen feeder. A sinister CGI critter, looking sort of octopod, or like a brain with multiple tentacles instead of a spine.
Garibaldi "As much chance of that as of seeing a Vorlon do a strip tease." Evoking the point in the future when Kosh does come out of his encounter suit. Something of a fan dance that - even then we see something but not everything.. which comes later still.
Again with the background announcements "Transport Marie Celeste will be leaving in ten minutes."
The search for the Grail as important even if the object itself does not exist. This doesn't just apply to the Minbari. And in a way the searcher did find what he sought, a new hero to take up the cause. And Thomas "Jinxo" is heroic, even though his presence in the station didn't necessarily mean as much as he thought it did.
After all, Ivanova was right. "No boom today. Boom tomorrow..."
There's always a boom tomorrow.
Not much of this relates to future episodes, but it's all of interest in character development.
Another of Garibaldi's favorite things - the Kawasaki 2x11 1992 etc... motorcycle he's been collecting parts for for years. And which also interests Lennier, with his taste for history.
We learn things. A bit more about what's going on with Mars, that things are getting worse on Earth (and Sinclair is dealing with a new senator - did Hidoshi lose his job over recent events?). Garibaldi's password "Peek-a boo". "The Grins" turn up in Ivanova's nightmare.
Ivanova, stressed out takes it out in a sort of one-woman bar fight.
And here we go with Sinclair's past again, in Colonel ben Zayne who is spiritual kin to those who questioned him in "And The Sky Full of Stars". (Indeed he could well have been involved with them.) Fortunately, the Colonel's Psi Corps assistant is an honorable man and with Sinclair's help foils the plot. Exit villain, sneering.
And the ending... Lennier finishes the motorcycle, setting Garibaldi aback since his whole intent was to do it himself but, it's done and it works and... what the heck, the two of them are off for a spin around the station.
More about telepathy and telepaths. We meet Alisa who doen't even know she might be a telepath until it comes on all at once and knocks her flat. Talia helps her, then gets into a tug of war with Ivanova over her future. In the process we learn more about how telepathy is viewed by other species and the problems involved. We also see Talia and Ivanova actually apologize to each other and go out for a cup of coffee.
Enter Neroon. We'll be seeing him again.
And it would appear Minbari also have the flag-draped coffin tradition...
Delenn's reaction to the vanishment of Brenmer's body ... considering what we know about it by the end of the episode it's interesting how she never lies exactly... but sure doesn't give the whole truth either. One of many instances in which we note just how much of a diplomat she is, and also how strong willed. Not above pulling rank as a member of the Grey Council either, though her membership is not to be widely known,
"There's nothing more annoying than Garibaldi when he's right." Be it noted he is also a decent detective. Well, as head of Security you'd hope he'd be.
We see Delenn working on that crystalline construction in her quarters. Which of course when complete is the Chrysalis machine.
Some Minbari history and culture, why Branmer was warleader and how little he desired it. We are introduced to the Starrider clan. (Named sort of after the Surfrider foundation if I recall JMS' comments at the time correctly.)
A Narn referring to the "alien sector" as something other than where they live. Presumably, then, this is the part outside the diplomatic area (which we later learn is Green Sector). The pak'ma'ra eat carrion. The species everybody else makes fun of.
Narn hospitality, the state of the Narn homeworld, and the discovery that cross-species telepathy can be unpleasant, even with someone as decent as Na'Toth.
An index of all the places you can search on B5. There are a LOT of them (no surprise).
Indications that caste descends matrilineally among Minbari - sort of. Much later we find that people can choose which one they belong to as adults.
Delenn to Sinclair "You talk like a Minbari." Wait a few years and you'll see how accurate a statement that is.
Alisa goes to Minbar. "The future in exchange for the past." - Sinclair. See above.
The word: "Chrysalis".
Enter Draal. The Third Principle of Sentient Life: The capacity for self-sacrifice. A central theme for this and the next episode.
Talia keeps tripping over Garibaldi in the lift. "I think I'll take the stairs." A humorous indication of the coverage security gives the station.
And we have something apparently awakened on an apparently dead world. Not as bad as the other case we'll discover later, fortunately.
And more on the reciprocal hatred between Narns and Centauri. Which is going to doom both sides to horrors.
Exit Londo, and Sinclair comments "He never listens."
Delenn replies "He will, sooner or later."
Sinclair: "How can you be sure?"
Delenn: "Because the alternative is too terrible to consider. Without a hope that things will get better; that our inheritors will know a world that is fuller and richer than our own, life is pointless and evolution is vastly overrated."
Ironic - yes, Londo does eventually realize his error but under a terrible alternative - and consider the end of Delenn's statement and the Shadows' motives.
And horrors closer to home - the revolt on Mars. The helplessness at this distance of even finding out what's going on. Garibaldi used to live on Mars, and is now terribly worried about the woman he's been afraid to contact for years. Now he's desperate to reach her, and she's out of reach entirely.
Sinclair was born on Mars, but has no friends or relatives there now.
The Babylon 5 Mantra - Susan Ivanova at her best. (finishing up with that "sorry about that God bit.")
A bit of Londo's past - the dancer he married and "It can't be that bad." Neither is Londo, though that's not going to stop what he's going to trigger. He's already in the eye of the Shadows and his decisions are to be far more crucial than he has any idea.
The Epsilon 5 visual projection system. We'll see this in the future.
And a visual homage to Forbidden Planet! Introduction of the Great Machine. Which has a different effect on the future than what most of us were expecting.
Londo's quarters, decorated mostly in Early Brevari Bottle. Almost austere, compared to what they'll be like later.
Psi Corps is not all bad - several members sympathize with Garibaldi and do their best to find Lise for him.
The big unidentified ship that closes out the previous episode turns out to be One of Ours - specifically the Earth Alliance Heavy Cruiser Hyperion. Not that this is as helpful as it sounds given that Sinclair must now fend off military heavy handedness.
Garibaldi loses his cool in the bar (didn't we see Ivanova doing this recently?) and clobbers the ignorant idiot mouthing off about Mars.
Ivanova's explanation of the situation: "Boom. Boom boom, Boom boom boom... have a nice day."
Another ship which wants the Great Machine, more problems, and "Worst case of testosterone poisoning I ever saw."
Londo's maniac approach to piloting "If I were a landing thruster, which one of these levers would I be?" We see him thoroughly happy, something we'll see little of again.
An application of the Third Principle, a warning to stay off until the time is right. (Which is going to be sooner than we think.) Setup for a substantial part of the future, and so ends the episode.
Another part of the long term plot begun last episode, though the connections aren't visible yet.
Sinclair and Garibaldi play a practical joke on Ivanova at breakfast. Its not *always* serious around here. :)
The reappearance of Babylon 4, something we won't know all about for a couple of years yet. "Fasten/zip" - people do have the silliest conversations on occasion.
Delenn goes to visit the Grey Council ship. They try to boot her upstairs and she won't go. And of course later she boots THEM... :)
Sinclair's vision of the future wherein Babylon 5 is invaded by a force we don't see, and trying to evacuate as many as they can. Garibaldi gets to be a hero. We'll see more of this later too - mercifully it turns out to be the alternative not taken. But we won't know the details until War Without End late in the third season. Again, signs and portents.
Enter Zathras. Rarely has a situation been described so accurately and so misleadingly.
And back to Delenn and the Gray Council. Which subplot will prove to have far more to do with the Babylon 4 plot than now appears, especially the references to Valen. She receives the Triluminary. This will become significant almost immediately, though again full understanding will take awhile.
Sinclair "I tried to warn them, but it all happened the same as it did before." About what? Wait two episodes for Garibaldi's part of it, two seasons for the rest.
And Ivanova's prophetic words. "Next time I'm going and Garibaldi is staying here."
Centauri anatomy - "Touch this". To be explained by the end of the episode... :)
Dr. Franklin's clinic - not the last time we'll see him fudging the rules slightly for a greater goal. He's a true healer, witness also what happens when he finds out Laura Rosen's machine works.
The appalling Mr. Karl Edward Muller, mass murderer and thorough sicko. Something about the punishments of the day - the sentence is mindwipe. The mind is destroyed and reprogrammed. A death sentence, but not quite as nowadays.
Laura Rosen and the alien execution device, being used to heal, though at a cost to the user. This thingie will figure more than once in future episodes, starting a couple of eps into the next season. Laura's daughter explaining things to Dr. Franklin, and Laura's history regarding stims is downright spooky when you consider what Dr. Franklin will be going through later.
Londo gives Lennier the Grand Tour - partially with ulterior motives to be sure since look who winds up paying for it. Londo is paying for it with boredom until Lennier mentions his skills with probability. The card game. Londo using one of his, er, personal tentacles to cheat. Centauri aren't as humanoid as perhaps we thought; the males have six.
A telepath to read the mind of the criminal before mindwipe. Yuck... poor Talia. Her comment "Terrible things that live inside us." Given what's going to happen to her in the future this is all the more ironic.
The Minbari consider it an honor to help another save face. We'll see this again. (Mind you, Lennier's honor will prove considerably more flexible than he has any idea of yet.)
The device "could save a life when nothing else works..." Just wait. For Garibaldi, and much later for Ivanova...
A LOT happens in this one. There's the plot to kill Santiago during the five planet goodwill tour from first vague hint through Garibaldi's searching out of the plot to his finally uncovering of it, getting shot in the back by his own number 2, making it out to the main station and delivering the message by main force of will... all too late as Earth Force one blows up before everybody's eyes courtesy ISN. Without the VP, who just happened to exit with a "virus infection" at the last stop. Stonewalling back home when Sinclair tries to report it. Politics...
Side note - accomplishing things by sheer force of will is a theme that pops up many times in the series (witness for example the resolution of Franklin's walkabout much later.)
Sinclair proposes, Catherine accepts, the decision is announced to Garibaldi and Ivanova just before all Hell breaks loose.
50 Centauri gods - "Nibbled to death by... cats."
The return of Morden, who meets Londo in the all so appropriate hedge maze - a place you can get lost in easily, and never know who or what is right around the corner. Londo seen as having "great potential". For what not specified. Morden offers to have his associates "fix" Quadrant 37, price a vaguely referenced favor in the future. In one of the most significant acts in the series, Londo accepts the offer, or maybe does not reject it would be a better description. But later he tells the homeworld that he will "take care of" Quadrant 37. Acceptance.
Delenn asked Kosh something, what as yet unspecified. He said "Yes". She visits him. We see light reflected off her face, hear what sounds like a slow wing flap. She takes this as confirmation (presumably of the return of the Shadows and of the nature of the Vorlons).
Delenn goes to see Sinclair, shows him the triluminary which sparks memories, asks him to visit her in her quarters. But circumstances keep him away for too long. The Chrysalis machine is finished, the process started, Valen's prophecy underway. (And when we know Valen's identity, this becomes nicely ironic.)
G'kar and his kinky taste in ladyfriends. Sinclair's attempt to mediate between Narns and Centauri turned down He warns G'kar that they are standing at a crossroads and it is time to choose. But the wrong pathway is chosen, and though G'kar recognizes this by the end of the episode it is already too late to go back.
Similarly, Londo is appalled by what the Shadows have done to "take care" of the problem, namely destroying the station and killing the 10,000 Narns therein. But... maybe not appalled enough. Great plans, oh yes.
PPGs have internal indelible serial numbers. The one Garibaldi took from the suspect did not. Usually this sort of PPG is issued to government agents.
Garibaldi's number 2 disposes of the witnesses, with an implied cover of being pissed at them for shooting Garibaldi and covering that by saying they pulled a gun on him.
We see the Shadows vague presence for the first time, talking to Morden. The first time I saw that I couldn't quite make out what they looked like, just the impression something was there. This time, when I know what Shadows are supposed to look like, it was much clearer. Again, the theme of this episode: "Nothing's the same".
And we finish with the image of Lennier and the candle, half in shadow/half in light. In many ways a portent for the future.