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. There are also a few things I had noticed before but feel like commenting on anyway. 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.
Which episode starts by showing the ongoing repairs of the arm of the zero-g dock we saw blown off at the end of last season. Lets hear it for a proper concern with continuity! Also it makes it clear some time has passed but not very much since last episode.
Of course the fact that Sheridan starts off by referring to last week when Kosh rescued him doesn't hurt either.
The White Star.. well, the first white star not that we know that yet. Vorlon style references and organic look, though perhaps the railings look a bit too much like something's innards... :)
So many of my favorites are in here - Brother Theo's arrival, Lennier and "Netter's Syndrome", "Poke the Plant", G'Kar and Londo in the elevator.
Lennier shoves Londo and Delenn to safety and gets caught behind the door in the blast. And I am reminded of what his reaction is years later when it's Sheridan behind the blast door. Split second decisions have far reaching consequences, and what you do is based on both of the questions "Who are you?" and "What do you want?"
I wonder what Londo would say if someone warned him the day would come when he'd be sorry he was rescued. So many other wretched things are due to happen to him, mostly due to his own decisions but most certainly not his desires.
Londo's highhanded way with the Narns, and the beginning of Vir's revolt though he himself may not be quite aware of it yet.
Yet right afterwards Londo sets things up to send Vir to Minbar to protect him. As usual, he's not all bad, hence his ultimate tragedy.G'Doc says of Sheridan; "Here is a man who will live to be 150." Well, not quite...
Garibaldi is concerned about G'Kar; here we find one of the roots of G'Kar's later concern about Garibaldi.
Brother Edward; another facet of the theme of Who are you? Reminiscent of what happened to Talia. The Minbari theory of the soul like the spot made by a light on the wall fits the episode given that what a spot looks like does rather depend on what the light has been projected on, yet it's the same light.
Mindwipe is not total it appears - memories remain if a telepath hunts for them. Like wiping the FAT, not erasing the disk.
What makes a bad man; what makes a good? How easy to ask; how difficult to answer.
Enter the political officer, typical of the stereotypical breed - i.e. obnoxious. I recall saying something like "first one over the side when the revolution comes," a sentiment with which I can still agree. Well, at least she got recalled to Earth and was thus out from underfoot when the revolution did come.
"I think you're about to go where everyone has gone before." Snerk...
Musante addresses the Nightwatch - all the same old lies. All too familiar - from the past, the present and so probably the future.
"Who knew they were French?"
Evoking jealousy - those "first ones" aren't quite as superior as they appear. Which also applies to the Vorlons, witness the downright childish behaviour we see from them later. At least Kosh appears to have been an adult - he did throw one epic tantrum later in the series, but he had rather more motive than met the eye at the time.
How slimy Bester can be, even when he's telling the truth. Well, some of it anyway since as usual he leaves the most important information out. You have to admit he does have considerable courage.
G'Kar embarks on a vision quest, like many a prophet before him, not that he has any idea that's what he's doing. As usual for such things, he does not return unchanged. A major step on the way to what he is becoming. With a little help from Kosh, to be sure. :) Now for the book of G'Kar.
Repartee between Garibaldi and Bester - the piñata image. One up for Bester and credit him with a quick wit. They DO make a pretty deadly team when forced to work together.
As usual, not everything is what it appears at first.
Marcus and Franklin make an interesting pair of detectives. The bit of repartee reminds me of the mission they go on together later. Though why one doesn't kill the other I may never know. :)
It would appear a certain amount of confusion between the sexes will always be with us. Corwin, Marcus, Ivanova...
The contrast between Marcus' urge for dramatic self-sacrifice and Duncan's quieter sacrifice that solves the situation is something that Marcus could learn from but doesn't, alas.
Mostly a self-contained episode, a break before what's going to happen next.
Marcus surprises Ivanova with bacon and eggs, a most imaginative gift.
Meanwhile, G'Kar is cheerfully meditating and writing in his cell. The beginning of the Book of G'Kar. Garibaldi asks to read what he's writing when it's done and G'Kar agrees. Not that either of 'em knows Garibaldi will also make an addition to the Book - a coffee stain that'll be copied down the ages with the rest of it.
Our heroes learn about Earth and the Shadows, Zak continues to learn about the Night Watch… Read your history books; the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Sheridan takes off his Earth Force badge and looks at it. Then leaves it, his uniform, etc. behind when going to deal with the Shadow ship. A strongly symbolic move (given that if there's enough left to identify a uniform, there's probably enough left to do DNA analysis), and a premonition of what the next two episodes will bring.
Sheridan in the command chair, asleep, with a five o'clock shadow. Not quite the clean cut Captain we usually see. Once again, emphasizing that things are not longer as usual.
For the first time, we get to see Minbari beds, which really aren't meant for humans to sleep on (I suspect they have a different vascular system than we do or they'd get swollen feet.)
Delenn offers to catch Sheridan if he falls… and metaphorically at least she will at the start of next season. A pleasanter reference then when the Soul Hunter offered to catch her. Ivanova's amusing experience with these things later also comes to mind. Personally I think I'd just go ahead and sleep on the floor.
Rain on the roof as a sleep aid. (I've actually used a recording of a thunderstorm that way.)
Ivanova in a rotten mood. Not entirely logical, but so very human.
Even a Shadow ship isn't up to dealing with the middle to lower atmosphere on a jovian...
...and here comes the Aggie... Timing is all. Delenn thought of it, but the escape is still rather Sheridan's slambang style. Lovely lines from Lennier.
One wonders if Sheridan realizes the ISN report would probably have been the same if the White Star hadn't shown up and if the Agamemnon could've dealt with the Shadow ship.
Looking around her quarters I notice Susan Ivanova is almost as overloaded with tschotsckies as I am.
Clark declares martial law. Hang onto your hats, folks, here we go into the rapids...
Londo "corrects" Vir's report. Another indication of the essential humanlikeness of the Centauri. Londo apparently is trying to protect Vir, when he cannot really protect himself. He is helping Vir, ironically enough, by frustrating him into a sense of his own self.
"Respect the chain of command." "I've told you where this comes from." What a lot of nuance can be put into a few words...
Everyone is true to character under stress - Garibaldi in particular. Delenn will be much more successful with something similar on a different group next episode.
Sheridan wishes Delenn were there - she will be next episode at the best possible moment.
Vir continues to develop a will of his own which certainly comes in handy later as he returns to Minbar. He learns here that he is also destined to be Emperor after Londo though he doesn't entirely believe it yet. He will learn.
Yeah, Zack did do the right thing, though not everybody who assures him of it will believe it by the end of the episode.
Nice, effective mousetrap. Like Any Means Necessary, the situation pulled inside out at the most effective moment.
Londo gets his prophecy, which does him about as much good as such things traditionally do. He may actually manage part of the first one, if the "eye" (I?) is G'Kar himself (could be his eye in which case he didn't) , he probably blows the second entirely assuming it refers to Morden, the third he manages, and thus does all that he can at the end to safeguard the Centauri which genuinely was his strongest desire.
"Save the eye that does not see.
Do not kill the man who is already dead.
Surrender yourself to your greatest fear, knowing it will destroy you."
Oh the things we see in elevators - Morella observes a cheerful looking G'Doc acting as security and rolls her eyes a bit.
Down the rapids we go, picking up speed...
...and right over the falls.
ISN reports the truth, and then goes dark. There will be an "ISN", but we won't see the real one again for a long time.
For the third time, Delenn goes to the Grey Council - this time to break it.
B5 secedes from the Earth Alliance as do several colonies. Much splitting up.
Umm… when the breeching pod attaches it's flush against the hull, which since the station is spun for gravity means it's UP for them, down for inside. But the invaders jump forward. Maybe they broke into a sealed compartment first, and what we see is their burning down the wall therefrom?* In any case, quite a scene!
Delenn to the rescue!!
Sheridan takes off his EA jacket for the duration. In the long run, I don't believe he ever puts it back on.
A very wild episode, but not much I'd not seen first time around. The biggest space battle we've seen yet.
* I watched JMS' commentary on the episode later, and he says that's exactly what happened; they came up through the floor on the other side of the wall from which they entered the corridor.
You could subtitle this episode "A Kind Word and a Two By Four."
There's Londo getting Refa's attention with part one of a binary poison, though we never do find out if he's telling the truth. This over Refa's alliance with Morden; how ironic it is that ultimately Londo will re-ally with Morden to kill Refa, over a lie. We also see Londo's habit of recording important meetings; I wonder if he got the idea from Elric's recording of him earlier?
Then there's Marcus' idea of how to question a roomful of potential witnesses/suspects. He did warn them. Sure enough, ten minutes later he is the only one still standing; only as he himself points out this means he has to wait for one of them to wake up.
Leaving out the kind word, when Delenn is hit by the thrown knife, Sheridan proceeds to chase down and clobber the attacker. We don't see it often, but there's a berserker element to John Sheridan. Related to his fondness for blowing things up?
We learn more about Marcus - he avoided the rebirth ceremony on Minbar, and dodges it now, too. The one thing he has to give up is the pain of loss and survivor guilt and he genuinely does not want to be healed from it. Delenn's kind word does not help; the rest of the episode serves as the two by four and that doesn't really help either.
It's a pity Londo doesn't get involved in the rebirth ceremony; if he'd been just a bit less desperate he might have seen through Morden's deceit later. One more wasted opportunity.
Lennier loves Delenn, and as we find out years later is no more immune to lying to himself than anybody else.
It's interesting to note the fixtures in the room where the Nightwatch terrorists confer which look so much like chess pawns. How appropriate.
Not much in the way of new observations, but I do find a number of my favorite items in here like Londo versus the bugs.
Or how Sheridan fixes flarn... and we see just how much of a diplomat Delenn really is.
"Something in the air..."
Poor Susan - she does get asked the embarrassing questions, doesn't she? Delenn's early adaptations, Vir's courtship puzzles.
Lyndisty, so innocently vicious. Rather like a young cat playing with a mouse and no idea that there could be anything wrong in what she is doing.
Poor Vir - what a horror. Ivanova's not the only one with romantic problems.
Londo always did have physical courage, witness his encounter with the Technomages; he's been steadily developing the moral variety which will stand him in good stead later.
Michael York finally makes it onto Babylon 5; interesting to consider what it would have been like if JMS had been able to cast him as the captain.
G'Kar relaxed, happy, blotto... For now, a moment of well earned peace.
Marcus thinks "Arthur" will be better off with illusion than the truth. Quite possibly because he fears that the alternative is pain like his own, but when you think about it he, his own survival guilt can be considered clinging to illusion. "Arthur" will be healed and go on beyond the pain; Marcus, alas, will not.
Delenn is so very appropriate as the Lady of the Lake, especially given what we will later learn of her part in the beginning of the Minbari war.
Garibaldi vs the Post Office. Rather reminiscent of Sheridan vs Earth Force about the rent, especially the solution… :)
Who is Morganna le Fay? Anna, perhaps? (Though I suppose you can credit Julie Musante for trying.)
ISN is back on the air - as a zombie. :( It's going to be quite awhile before we see the living version again.
One must give Bester credit for both courage and audacity on a lunatic scale. Yet another incident with vast implications not only for the rest of the episode, but much later, especially for Garibaldi.
"Weapons components" - not only a clue to the Shadow tech (and outlook), but ultimately to what some of the telepaths will wind up doing at the end of the Earth war. Carolyn survives that, but there's no indication in the entire series that anybody ever manages to cure her, or any of the others.
Bester, a most dubious and unexpected ally. Ivanova is right that he'll turn on them after it's all over, but even then it's not entirely his fault. A complex character, Mr. Bester.
"Do not thump the book of G'Quan. It is disrespectful." (OK, that's not new but I do love that line all the same.)
The Shadows begin open attacks. Hold onto your seats, it's going to be a wild ride!
As usual, an innocent sounding title could be subtitled "Batten down the hatches, here comes trouble!"
A lot of long time threads mature here in drastic fashion; Londo and Adira's love comes to a tragic end, and Londo is whipsawed by love and grief into a new alliance with Morden. A violent argument between Kosh and Sheridan convinces Kosh it's time for the Vorlons to get involved, knowing the decision will get him killed though Sheridan does not until it happens. Dr. Franklin finally acknowledges just how bad his problem with stims is and resigns.
Londo's alliance puts him back on track for the end that has been foreseen for him;right now he doesn't care, but he will. Kosh dies (well, mostly - Sheridan's inside-kick will not be notable until much later), and his replacement, Ulkesh, will be a much darker personality, and far less pleasant to have around (poor Lyta), ultimately leading to a truly spectacular battle in which we finally find out what Vorlons look like (when they're too busy to look otherwise anyway.) Franklin's journey both psychological and physical begins...
At last, the other side of the first season episode, "Babylon Squared".
Sinclair gets a letter from himself 900 years ago; the Vorlons know what's going on and of course after seeing the whole thing so do we. "He is the closed circle."
Sheridan's comments to Zathras remind me of Art Linkletter's old trick with his Kids Say the Darnest Things TV show - he'd ask the kids what their parents had said NOT to mention… and frequently he'd get it. Leastwise Zathras has some idea of when to shut up.
Delenn takes Sheridan's hand, Sinclair turns around and smiles. "The One".
Sheridan in the future getting beat up on Centauri Prime, in front of Emperor Mollari. Who is hamming it up for the Keeper, of course, not that anybody knows THAT yet. The information he brings back may actually help, though attempting to avert it is one reason he goes to Z'ha'dum.
As with most later arc episodes, there's nothing really notable that wasn't at the time, but there's a LOT of notable stuff all the same.
We find out about the Keeper, though perhaps not the entire story of how Londo got stuck with it. We also find out the context of his and G'Kar's ends. Apparently Vir manages to avoid getting stuck with one, though he does become Emperor. We don't see the details in the series, though some of it is referred to in some of the books.
Despite everything she said earlier, Delenn begs Sheridan not to go to Z'ha'dum. This spawned a deal of discussion at the time, especially given Kosh's warning that he will die there - is this the future when he did go, or when he didn't? By the end of the series we're pretty sure it's the former; Delenn's quite naturally concerned that now it looks like they're going to survive this mess she's still going to lose him in about three years. Speaking of which, Sheridan looks 17 years older - getting unstuck in time appears to be largely a mental thing. (Good for Sheridan, too, considering his injuries.)
Delenn's time flash of Anna's arrival, something else that stirred up a lot of conversation on the net the first time around, since we don't quite see who that is in the door.
Answers to many a question we asked after "Babylon Squared" in the first season… more than one person is in the blue spacesuit - first it's Sheridan (whom we'd not even met yet) who Zathras hands the stabilizer, then Delenn who comes for him. "The One" is the triad of Sinclair, Sheridan and Delenn. The warning was for Garibaldi to watch his back, and it doesn't get through. Which since they want to avoid paradox it really shouldn't, but you can understand why Sinclair tries.
For all the silly theories a number of us (myself included) came up with, the reason Sinclair comes to have the soul of Valen turns out to be the simplest of all - he happens to BE Valen, "Minbari not born of Minbar", arriving with Babylon 4 to save the day 1,000 years ago. Don't you just LOVE time travel?
Oh great... well, now that I suddenly find myself having to fight off the mental image of Franklin making that trip and introducing himself as The Doctor, you may as well too... :)
The Vorlon ship greets Sheridan on his walk outside - did we ever find out what that meant?
Enter "Kosh 2" whose real name, Ulkesh we don't find out until the books. His actions quickly enough earned him the nickname "Kosh Vader" on the net.
First G'Kar serves his guest Swedish meatballs, then Dr. Franklin and Garibaldi eat tangerines - identifiable food, something we don't usually see.
Our first hint that there IS still a bit of Kosh left as Sheridan asks Lyta if there is a problem and we hear Kosh's voice.
Lyta returns to find Kosh is dead. Franklyn meets Caitlyn, who is terminally ill. The usual theme of doomed romances, though the latter does turn out better than some; ultimately they do appear to get the remainder of her life together.
"And so it begins", again in Lyta's mind. One wonders, did the "Koshlet" deliberately avoid specifically contacting her to avoid letting Ulkesh know he was there? Though what he did do was enough to make her suspicious.
Instead of a com link (which would likely get in the way of what he's doing), the tech working in the floor is using a communicator that looks a lot like a pen. You half expect to hear him say "Open channel D". Though that wasn't THRUSH that pulled him through the floor.
So Garibaldi's grandmother was a cop.
Garibaldi is a good detective, but he WILL keep forgetting to bring backup. :( Too much of the noir-ish private eye about our Mr. Garibaldi and it'll cost him later.
Marcus' comment about Lennier's approach to ethics as a martial art. Not the last time Lennier will give Marcus information that gets the latter into serious danger; then again since Marcus is actively looking for a way to sacrifice himself, that he eventually finds one should be no big surprise. Not this time, though. The spiritual evolution of Neroon will also continue.
One scary episode all around.
Z minus 14 days. Turns out to mean what we thought it did, two episodes later.
Londo, surrounded by bright colors in food and décor. All contrasted with the inner darkness of his machinations in this episode.
The trap as described to Vir is interesting; Na'Toth really IS imprisoned, and it's Londo who will ultimately rescue her.
You can tell when Sheridan's feeling out of it - he doesn't shave...
Again, those words "you don't understand, but you will," as Londo blackmails Vir into acting against his principles, all to lure Refa into the trap. He's become quite ruthless.
We watch just how well G'Kar's and Garibaldi's friendship has matured. G'Kar comes to Garibaldi for a big favor and Garibaldi grants it, only expressing concern for G'Kar's safety.
All those hangings; given Centauri history, do they serve as a reminder that you never know who might be watching or listening? How ironic that they are meant to make the emperor feel at home.
We don't have to worry about Sheridan turning metaphorically dark on us; Delenn won't let him!
G'Kar has changed a lot; he may no longer feel he must personally be involved in the death but he's not lost his old ruthlessness either. Look, it's the Narn Bat Squad!
And with two episodes to go, we see the rest of the White Stars.
OK, that was the first time Delenn kissed Sheridan, and the second time Sheridan kissed Delenn. Good old time paradoxes. Oh, ok, awww…. :)
At the time this aired I was doing specialized taglines for the most recent episodes - this one inspired "We have come for the head of Lord Refa!" Extra spoo for whoever gets the reference.
Having finished disk 5 of the 6 disk season set, I go look at the Special Features link. This elicits a page with a picture of Morden with his usual unnerving expression, and the information that special features are on disks 1, 3, 4 and 6. OK, OK, never mind! I'm leaving!
Franklin meets himself; the League fleet as a whole engages the Shadows successfully. Tourists, Minbari beds. Minbari courtship. Not much of the sort of thing that only makes sense during the episode, but wow, do a lot of things happen.
Just noticed the top part of Franklin's uniform shoulder tabs resemble "book darts" in color and shape.
Translating the dream.
There's Franklin, right back into action from a wheelchair. He's found himself.
Another dream revealed; it's Anna who's standing in the door when Delenn drops the snowglobe.
So take a deep breath....
Symmetry: Londo waits to meet his love and she turns out to be dead. John believes his love is dead and he meets her. Though this isn't really Anna, other than physiologically. It's curious how the Shadows could pull such a cruel joke, and have no idea that this is what they're doing. John catches on almost at once, and knows what he's getting into. Anna, of course, is clueless; she's as innocent as Lyndisty, and at least as appalling in outlook.
"Who are you?" Justin, the Shadow minion doesn't like that question any more than they do.
Once again, John resolves things with nuclear explosions.
"The UNIVERSE pauses and holds its breath"? What about the REST of us until season 4 started?!
And so ends season 3. Watching it this way at fairly close intervals just serves as a reminder of just how good this show is.