The Babylon Diaries: Season 2 [retro feature]

B5S2Bab5The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace. A self contained world, five miles long, located in neutral territory. A place of commerce and diplomacy for a quarter of a million humans and aliens. A shining beacon in space, all alone in the night. It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, the year the Great War came upon us all.


This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2259. The name of the place is Babylon 5.

The Babylon Diaries: Season 2 – Introduction

Yes, that’s right, it’s January 31, 2009, and I’m back for round two of The Babylon Diaries. It’s been sixteen months since I’ve seen a new episode of Babylon 5, and I think that the time is right to dive back into the series that so totally blew me away last year.

True to my word, I have not yet seen any other episode beyond those I wrote about in my Season One diary. I do unfortunately know a bit more than I’d like about what the future holds for the last of the Babylon stations, but I suppose that’s what I get for waiting a year and a half in between seasons. With luck, though, it’s nothing that will mess with my experiment too badly.

I also want to thank everyone who contacted me in response to the first Diaries. I make no apology for some of the errors I made in the article, I simply called it like I saw it, but receiving feedback on something that was so long in development hell was very much appreciated.

So, the president is dead, the Narn are pissed, the conspiracies are conspiring, and the freaky shadow people have arrived! Onward to Season 2: The Coming of Shadows! Ooh, I’m tingling with excitement!

The Babylon Diaries: Season 2 – Dramatis Personae

Familiar Faces

Commander Jeffery Sinclair (Michael O'Hare)
Commander Jeffery Sinclair (Michael O'Hare)

Sinclair is the commander of Babylon 5, an Earth-Minbari war hero, and a leader called “The One” from sometime in the distant (or maybe not so distant) future. When last we saw him, Sinclair had just proposed to his girlfriend, Catherine Sakai, and failed to stop the assassination of President Luis Santiago. The season ends on his line, “Nothing is the same anymore.”

Security Chief Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle)
Security Chief Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle)

Garibaldi is an old friend of Sinclair’s and is the head of B5 security. He is a recovering alcoholic, but doesn’t usually let those impulses get the better of him. Usually. Last season, Garibaldi uncovered a plot to assassinate the president and was shot in the back by his second-in-command. Currently, he is comatose in sickbay; his chances of survival hover at 50/50.

Lieutenant Commander Susan Ivanova (Claudia Christian)
Lieutenant Commander Susan Ivanova (Claudia Christian)

Ivanova is the XO of Babylon 5, and good at her job. She is fiercely proud of her Russian heritage and was raised Jewish, although she is quiet about it. Her mother was a telepath who commited suicide rather than join Earth Alliance’s psychic division, the PsiCorp. When last we left her, Ivanova was standing guard over Garabaldi in sickbay in case someone comes to finish the job.

Dr. Stephen Franklin (Richard Biggs)
Dr. Stephen Franklin (Richard Biggs)

Dr. Franklin is Babylon 5’s chief of medicine. He is fiercely devoted to his practice and tends to obsess over tough patients, often working long hours at the expense of sleep and his own well-being. At the end of Season 1, he was operating to save Garabaldi’s life.

Talia Winters (Andrea Thompson)
Talia Winters (Andrea Thompson)

Talia is Babylon 5’s government-assigned psychic. She earns a living mediating business deals and acting as a liaison between B5 and the Psi Corp. Last we saw her, she was fighting over the fate of newly-discovered psychic, Alisa Belden.

Delenn (Mira Furlan)
Ambassador Delenn (Mira Furlan)

Delenn and her assistant Lennier (Bill Mumy) represent the Minbari government aboard B5. They are reserved and softspoken, but possess dangerous calculating minds. Delenn was once a member of the Minbari circle of leadership, the shadowy Grey Council. Last time we saw her, Delenn was cocooned against a wall after making a secret deal with the Vorlons. Lennier watches over her, explaining cryptically that she is “changing.”

B5S2Londo
Ambassador Londo Mollari (Peter Jurasik)

Along with his reluctant attaché, Vir Cotto (Stephen Furst), Londo is the station’s Centauri ambassador. He longs to see his people reclaim their status as the galaxy’s most powerful civilization, but finds he is repeatedly forced to comprise his goals for the sake of the others. Londo loves wine, women, gambling, and, above all, himself. Last season, he and his people were at the throats of their sworn enemy, the Narns, over a territory dispute. This problem is solved, however, when Londo struck a deal with the mysterious Morden, who wiped out all 10,000 Narns in the territory.

Ambassador G'Kar (Andreas Katsulas)
Ambassador G'Kar (Andreas Katsulas)

G’Kar represents the Narn people on Babylon 5. He is fiercely proud of his race, who were enslaved by the Centauri until fifty years ago, when they rose up in revolt and declared their independence. Once peaceful farmers, the Narn now strive to establish themselves as a legitimate power in the galaxy. Last time we saw him was in a recorded message to his assistant, Na’toth (Caitlin Brown), where he states he is returning to homeworld to investigate the devastating attack on Quadrant 37.

Ambassador Kosh
Ambassador Kosh

We really don’t know much about Kosh or his mysterious race, The Vorlon. We know that they are very old, very advanced, and very protective of anyone venturing into their territory for any reason. Kosh is completely enclosed in an “encounter suit” when dealing with everyone on Babylon 5. He speaks in riddles and acts only when he must. Last year, Kosh allows Delenn a look inside his suit before her cocooning. He also meets Sinclair, remarking cryptically, “And so it begins.”

Morden (Ed Wasser)
Morden (Ed Wasser)

No one really knows who Morden is, but it’s clear he has some powerful friends. Recently, Morden established a partnership with Londo Mollari, and reports Londo’s wishes to his “associates.” Last season, he helped Londo eliminate the Narn outpost in Sector 37 and we last saw him talking to his creepy invisible masters in his quarters.

New Blood

Captain John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner)
Captain John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner)

Sheridan is the new sheriff in town on B5. He is also a war hero, responsible for the only decisive human victory in the entire Earth-Minbari war. His wife was killed in a deep-space explosion two years ago, and he has thrown himself relentlessly into his work ever since.

Lieutenant Warren Keffer (Robert Rusler)
Lieutenant Warren Keffer (Robert Rusler)

Babylon 5’s hotshot pilot and new commander of Zeta Squadron. A pretty normal guy until he sees something in hyperspace. It’s big and black and he can’t seem to get it out of his head. If only he could find it again…

s2babtitle

201Episode 201: Points of Departure
Grade: B+

Hmm. Well, I guess it’s good to see that they’re not afraid of juggling the status quo here. It’s been eight days since the assassination at the end of Season One and a lot of the fallout from Chrysalis is still being dealt with: Garibaldi is still comatose, Delenn is still cocooned, and G’Kar is still missing. Despite all of this, the show is clearly not letting that stop it from barreling forward with the plot and introducing B5’s brand new commanding officer, John Sheridan. It seems Commander Sinclair has been reassigned to the Minbari homeworld and is to become its first human ambassador.

The new commander is unfortunately one of those surprises that was already spoiled for me, so his arrival on the show wasn’t a shock. I was surprised, however, to see Sinclair so unceremoniously disposed of. I don’t know if it was a behind the scenes difficulty or what, but I would at least like to have seen him get a goodbye. I’m sure his story isn’t over, given everything they’ve built up around him, but it was still unexpected to not see him at all.

The plot of the episode didn’t thrill me, but certainly was a serviceable intro for our new captain. I like the idea of the rogue warship (and seeing a Minbari who looks like he could handle himself in a bar fight) but the situation felt a little too forced and was too easily resolved for my tastes. Neither was I particularly interested in Lennier’s revelation about the end of the war and how Minbari souls are inhabiting human bodies. His later mumblings about “joining together to fight a new enemy” helped it make a little more sense, but the whole thing was just a little too New Agey for me to take seriously. That said, I do like the more hostile dynamic between Sheridan and the Minbari and there were some excellent acting moments,
particularly by Claudia Christian. Ooh, and we get new opening credits! Shiny! Except… who the heck is Warren Keffer?

Best Line
Ivanova: I’ll say a prayer for him tonight.
Dr. Franklin: He’s agnostic.
Ivanova: Then I’ll say half a prayer.

202Episode 202: Revelations
Grade: B

A solid “building” episode that sort of caps off the arc from last season and starts to establish the crew’s new dynamic. G’Kar returns with bad news about evil spaceships, Garibaldi wakes up, his attacker escapes, and Delenn emerges from her cocoon to discover she needs to start buying shampoo. Meanwhile, Sheridan’s sister visits the station and plays therapist for our captain, who is feeling guilty over the death of his wife two years ago.

I enjoyed this one, mostly. Admittedly, the ‘dead wife’ stuff didn’t do much for me and I’m not really onboard with Sheridan as our leading man, but I’m sure I will get used to him. Everything else in the episode was a lot of fun, though. The idea of the PsiCorp/Government conspiracy looks tantalizing and seeing that Londo is willing to play ball with Morden and his creepy invisible people is definitely unsettling.

Best Line
There, you see? One deserts his post without any explanation! The other one picks the most breathtakingly inconvenient moment possible to explore new career options-like becoming a butterfly! – Londo Mollari, about his fellow ambassadors

203Episode 203: The Geometry of Shadows
Grade: A

Revolution is in the air as Londo begins to scheme with some disgruntled diplomats about a regime change on Centauri Prime. In hopes of further increasing his standing, he seeks out an odd caste of scientist/magicians known as Technomages for an endorsement. Meanwhile, Garibaldi is back on his feet, but his aide’s betrayal in Chrysalis is making him question his worth as head of security, and Ivanova tries to deal with the warring Drazi, whose violent rituals are making the station a difficult place to live.

Overall, I’d call this a B+ episode that I’m bumping to an A for its last few scenes. The Technomages are a cool idea that I hope to see more of in the future, and I’m glad to see another episode where Claudia Christian is front and center. Have I mentioned yet how nice it is to see a sci-fi show where the characters wear normal clothes when they’re off duty? I mean, when was the last time Beverly Crusher wore an honest-to-God dress?

Best Line
Technomage: Take this for what little it will profit you. As I look at your, Ambassador Mollari, I see a great hand reaching out of the stars. The hand is your hand. And I hear sounds. The sounds of billions of people calling your name.
Londo Mollari: My followers?
Technomage: Your victims.

204Episode 204: A Distant Star
Grade: B-

This episode felt really unfocused to me. Sheridan meets an old space-hopping buddy, Captain Maynard, who gets him chafing under the bureaucracy of the space station. After he leaves B5, Maynard gets lost in hyperspace and Sheridan sends out fighters on a rescue op. Meanwhile, Delenn is dealing with Minbari resentment over her transformation and Dr. Franklin puts Sheridan, Ivanova, and Garibaldi on diets. Hilarity ensues.

Nothing I mentioned is handled particularly badly here; I just feel like they were intent on cramming so much in that none of it (except the diet subplot) seems to have a payoff. I like the idea that Sheridan isn’t totally comfortable with his job and doesn’t have the great rapport with everyone that Sinclair did, but, again, I wish it went somewhere beyond a dopey feel-good speech during the last few minutes. They also take the time to give Warren Keffer a purpose, establishing him as the new commander of Zeta Squadron and all around go-to guy for piloting Starfuries. He’s been shoehorned into conversations for the past three episodes as if he’s always been around and we just haven’t noticed, which bugs me. Hopefully, now that I know who he’s supposed to be, I can find a reason for him to interest me.

Best Line
Ivanova: Figures. All my life, I’ve fought against imperialism. Now, suddenly, I am the expanding Russian frontier.
Dr Franklin: But with very nice borders.

205Episode 205: The Long Dark
Grade: A

Ooh, I liked this one; it reminded me of The Neutral Zone from the first season of Star Trek: TNG (one of my favorite early TNG episodes). B5 comes into contact with a drifting spaceship, The Copernicus, and an Earth woman, Mariah, who has been in cryostasis for over a century. However, a more ethereal stowaway is woken up, too, sending an unbalanced veteran living in B5’s Downbelow over the edge.

Although the monster and its destruction were more than a little cheesy, nearly everything else in the episode clicked and I am happy to forgive them for not having the SFX technology to do this justice. I enjoy a good fish-out-of-water story, so watching Mariah try to come to terms with her new surroundings was fun for me. It was also nice to see Dr. Franklin get some depth and engage in actual human emotion, even if the ‘romance’ was a little forced. Dwight Schultz was great as Amis, the unstable war vet-he was like a much creepier version of H. M. Murdock. Watching him bond with Garibaldi provided several nice moments for both characters, and it was nice to finally learn a bit of future history about Earth and jump gate technology. And to top it off, I loved the button on the end about the Copernicus’s destination.

Best Line
Garibaldi: You were standing in the middle of the plaza screaming that the Day of Judgment was coming.
Amis: Did it?
Garibaldi: Not that I know, but I may have missed a staff meeting.

206Episode 206: A Spider in the Web
Grade: B

Another round of PsiCorp shenanigans, this time involving a ‘cyberzombie’ sent to destroy Mars-Earth negotiations and eliminate Talia Winters. Adrienne Barbeau is a welcome guest star and I rather liked the cameo from Jessica Walter. Talia, though, is the only cast member left over from last season that has yet to make any kind of impression on me. There were some interesting moments she was involved in, like watching how psychic-assisted deals are handled, but overall I’m still waiting to care.

Best Line
There is a spider in the web, Mr. Garibaldi. And I’m going to find it. – John Sheridan

207Episode 207: Soul Mates
Grade: A

Speak of the telepathic devil! I’m happy to say I finally give a fig about Talia after meeting her creepy ex-husband. It was nice to learn a little bit about her past and hear her admit that the PsiCorp scares the hell out of her. I also liked Garibaldi rushing to her aide, even though I really don’t feel like the two have much chemistry together.

It was nice to see some less serious subplots again, too. No shadow ships or freaky conspiracies, just Ivanova and Delenn bonding over haircare and Londo grousing over his bickering wives. Such a self-contained episode doesn’t seem very typical for this show, but I had a good time with it.

Best Line
This is the ambassador’s upcoming itinerary. I’ve marked those events which you might wish to attend and those where he will actually be accompanying you. – Vir Cotto

208Episode 208: A Race Through Dark Places
Grade: A-

When it rains, it pours, huh? Another Talia episode! This time, Bester is back and on the trail of an ‘underground railroad’ for unregistered psychics. Walter Koenig is fun to watch, as always, and I liked watching Talia wrestling to reconcile her feelings about PsiCorp with the new, more unsettling information that gets thrown her way. It was also nice to see another dimension to Dr. Franklin’s character. While Sheridan doesn’t have a lot to do with the real plot of the episode, I did enjoy his dinner with Delenn and his subplot about being charged rent by Earth Alliance.

Best Line
Delenn: We do not have cats on Minbar. We have gokks.
Sheridan: Gokks?
Delenn: Gokks. I think such creatures are an attempt by the universe to make sure that we never take ourselves too seriously.

209Episode 209: The Coming of Shadows
Grade: A+

SINCLAIR! I missed you! Granted, he was only a head on a TV screen, but it really made my night to see him again. This whole episode was pretty stellar, actually. The ailing Centauri emperor makes a visit to Babylon 5, which puts G’Kar in a bloodthirsty mood, while Garibaldi corners a mysterious visitor who has come with a message.

One of the things I’ve really come to enjoy on this show is when they introduce a character who completely plays against type. They did it excellently with Harriman Gray in Eyes last season (who I didn’t mention in my diary for the episode but should have), and they do another great job of it here with the emperor and his pleas for forgiveness. It’s wonderfully played, and makes Londo that much harder to watch as he incites a brand new war with his Shadow forces. Andreas Katsulas is, in a word, awesome to watch in this episode. G’Kar gets put through the emotional wringer, from sick hatred to hopeful optimism to blind, murderous rage. Get this man a little gold statue, and get it to him now.

Best Line
MOLLARRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII! – G’Kar

210Episode 210: GROPOS
Grade: B

The GROPOS are coming! The GROPOS are coming! I think this might be my new favorite word. GROPOS. GROPOS. GROPOS. Okay, I’m over it. Anyway, the GROPOS, or ground-pounders, are kind of like the marines of 2259, and 25,000 of them have unexpectedly shown up on Babylon 5 with orders to rack there for a few days before shipping out. They are loud, crude, and led by none other than Gen. Richard Franklin, father of B5’s chief medical officer.

Plotwise, this is nothing special. The writers did a great job, however, integrating a very self-contained episode into this season’s story arc. We get a peek at Earth’s reaction to the Narn-Centauri war. We also see the arming of Babylon 5, which isn’t given an overt amount of attention but made the hair on my arms prickle nonetheless. Stephen and General Franklin got to play a lot of little moments that sold me on the idea that they were father and son (‘But I like orange juice!’). Also, I loved the lady who played Dodger and thought she and Garibaldi had great chemistry. It was painful to watch him screw it up.

Best Line
Nice butt. – Dodger

211Episode 211: All Alone in the Night
Grade: D+

Snore. Captain Sheridan gets captured by a ship of aliens who ‘collect’ other specimens. They put him through some indistinct method of torture and make him fight a mind-controlled Narn to gather data on humans. It’s pretty stupid. Back on B5, Delenn is summoned to the Grey Council and discovers the balance of power has shifted toward the aggressive Warrior Caste and that she has become roundly despised by the other Minbari in the wake of her transformation.

This was easily my least favorite episode so far, which is a shame because I liked some of the ground it covered. It was nice to get real feedback about how everyone on Minbar feels about Delenn becoming half human, but the dialogue in the council scene was too hackneyed to take seriously. Sheridan’s “action” scenes were eye-rollingly bad, and the little bit we see of the new aliens makes them look like they belong in a Roger Corman movie. With that said, though, the episode earns it’s “+” because of some really touching moments between Delenn and Lennier and the fact that our heroes have decided to take a stand against a government conspiracy that’s become too obvious to ignore.

Best Line
Very soon now, I will be going into darkness and fire. I do not know if I am fated to walk out again. If it is your choice to come with me, then I could not wish for a better or braver companion. – Delenn, to Lennier

212Episode 212: Acts of Sacrifice
Grade: A

I loved this episode. Tensions are flaring between the Narns and Centauri on Babylon 5 and the violence is escalating at an alarming rate. G’Kar tries to keep his species under control while he solicits support from the humans and from the Minbari. On the other side of the coin, Londo has never been more popular with his government yet feels completely isolated from everyone around him. During it all, Ivanova gets more ‘diplomacy training’ and must try and woo a race of genetic snobs called the Lumati.

The plots are firing on all cylinders here, creating the perfect blend of humor, danger, and pathos. Watching Londo try and stay afloat when he is so clearly over his head was surprisingly affecting, and, as usual, watching G’Kar do anything was a pleasure. His breakdown at the end of the episode was a spectacular bit of acting.

Best Line
[after “sex”]
Lumati Ambassador: What do I do now?
Ivanova: Old style? You roll over and go to bed. New style? We go out for pizza and I never see you again.

213Episode 213: Hunter, Prey
Grade: B-

A pretty forgettable story revolving around the President Clark’s doctor, Everett Jacobs. It seems that Jacobs has evidence that the “illness” that kept Clark off of President Santiago’s doomed ship was a sham and now he is running for his life from federal agents. Meanwhile, Sheridan has been obsessing over Ambassador Kosh ever since he showed up in his dreams (during All Alone in the Night) and decides to try and learn more about him.

There is some good stuff here, particularly between Garibaldi and Dr. Franklin. Watching Richard Moll chew scenery is entertaining too, even though they gave him some atrocious hair. I enjoyed the mystery of Kosh and his living ship, but I think this is one instance where the show’s dated special effects really, really hurt the episode. The climax and the CGI must have been pretty outstanding for a TV show in 1995, but today it just falls flat.

Best Line
Maybe somebody should’ve labeled the future “some assembly required.” – Michael Garibaldi

214Episode 214: There All The Honor Lies
Grade: A

I really enjoyed this episode. The plot itself, involving Sheridan potentially losing his command after killing a Minbari, didn’t ever really jump out at me as particularly riveting, but so many details were done right that this easily ranks as one of my favorites so far.

I liked the acknowledgement that the humans and Minbari aren’t necessarily buddies now that the war is over, and I loved watching Stephen Furst actually do some dramatic acting as Vir contemplates his removal from Londo’s service. As always, Ambassador Kosh is fun to watch, and the Babylon 5 Gift Shop cracked me up. I totally want a Londo action figure. I even think Sheridan is finally growing on me. I can’t say I’m completely in his corner yet, but this was a big step in the right direction.

Best Line
Vir, stay. If you go, as a matter of honor, I will have to go with you. And if I am forced to leave this place, and all its marvelous opportunities, I will have to kill you. What are friends for? – Londo Mollari

215Episode 215: And Now For A Word
Grade: B+

A lot of shows do a “documentary” episode where the crew does candid interviews and we get an outsider perspective of events we’ve seen firsthand. Most of them do it wrong. And Now For A Word really impressed me in that it really seemed to get the point of the embedded reporter shtick. It’s not just a gimmick; it’s the ability reveal things about our characters we’ve never known and directly ask some of the questions the audience might ask. It even goes one step further by advancing the larger story with an outstanding Narn/Centauri space battle.

I love the interview with G’Kar that allows us a glimpse into his revolutionary beginnings, but I thought Delenn’s interview was even better. The reporter really corners her about her transformation and lets us see more of the latent human/Minbari hostility along with Delenn’s own doubts and insecurities about what she is doing. And the PsiCorp commercial? Ha!

Best Line
We’re everywhere. For your convenience. – PsiCop

216Episode 216: In the Shadow of Za’ha’dum
Grade: A+

Oh, snap! Morden was on the Icarus! Yes, our plotlines collide as B5 finally takes note of Londo’s sleazy buddy and Sheridan becomes obsessed with finding out how a man on his wife’s doomed ship came to be alive and well and on his space station. We also see the totally 1984-ish inception of Earth Alliance’s Ministry of Peace. I love the subtlety of what they do, just offering a little extra pay for wearing an armband, oh, and if you see anybody with a dissenting opinion, just send their name our way. This is gonna turn into something big.

The other thing that this episode did for me was it really allowed me to finally wrap my head around John Sheridan. I still won’t say I’m totally sold on him but at least I finally get him. His obsession is understandable and totally justified, and I love that he knows how badly this has put him at odds with the rest of the command crew yet he insists on pursuing it anyway. Plus, we finally get some answers about The Shadows, The Vorlon, Delenn… heck, we even get some context for where the show is headed! I could only be happier if they’d let me peek in Kosh’s encounter suit!

Best Line
Morden: What do you want?
Vir Cotto: I’d like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price.

217Episode 217: Knives
Grade: B

Meh. Meh, I say. Meh! Londo meets an old friend aboard Babylon 5, only to discover they are now on opposite sides of the new ruling body emerging on Centauri Prime. On the cheesier side of things, Sheridan has an encounter with a dying alien and absorbs a flashy special effect that gives him visions of the past.

As glad as I was to see the reference to the mysterious Babylon 4, Sheridan’s whole subplot was a pretty poor one. Will it be back later and impress the pants off of me? Probably. But for right now, no thanks. Centauri politics, on the other hand, are always interesting and saved this episode from slipping into the C’s. I liked learning about the divisions forming on Centauri Prime and hearing Londo voice his misgivings about the road he has chosen. I don’t think I’ve mentioned his new look this season, but he’s always in black now, which is more than a little disconcerting.

Best Line
I prefer to be only slightly insane. – John Sheridan

218Episode 218: Confessions and Lamentations
Grade: A

Wow, someone on staff is a Sheridan/Delenn shipper. I mean, I thought there were inklings of a romance during their dinner in A Race Through Dark Places, but they are pushing it with both hands here. Not that I disagree, mind you, they have good chemistry together. I’m just surprised.

Anyway, Confessions and Lamentations is an excellent medical mystery about a plague that is sweeping through Babylon 5’s population of Markab. It really gave us a chance to see Dr. Franklin in the spotlight again but avoided the sugar-coated ending that most TV shows would have gone for. I like how they really highlight his obsessive nature, even spin it in a positive light. And, hey, Warren Keffer shows up! Presumably this is just to remind you that he exists, as he has absolutely no bearing on the episode whatsoever, but I guess learning about his private hyperspace trips is kind of interesting. I guess.

Best Line
Everything to you is a problem to be solved, a test to be passed. But you know, Stephen, sometimes the test is not to find the answer, it’s to see how you react when you realize there is no answer. – Markab Doctor

219Episode 219: Divided Loyalties
Grade: A+

Big changes on Babylon 5! The crew meets Lita Alexander, a telepath on the run and the original PsiCorp liaison assigned to Babylon 5 two years ago. Lita tells them that one of their number is, in fact, a sleeper agent for the Corp and she knows the trigger word that will show them who it is. Sort of a Manchurian Candidate thing.

Ivanova’s latent telepathy didn’t seem like quite the big reveal that it was built up to be, but the story about her childhood certainly justifies her fear of mind probes. Talia’s transformation and defection have left me a little torn. On one hand, her new personality is way more interesting than her old one, but, on the other hand, I finally liked her! Dang. At least this will put the brakes on the relationship with Garibaldi they kept trying to push last year.

Best Line
The Corp is Mother! – Talia Winters

220Episode 220: The Long Twilight Struggle
Grade: A+

Londo Mollari is one of the most intriguing characters I’ve ever watched. He obviously knows the difference between right and wrong and he is very conscious of the fact that he is allowing atrocities to be committed over and over, and yet he makes no move to change his course. Is his desire for Centauri greatness that overpowering? Or is his newfound political importance just too alluring to give up? Does he fear that he has come too far to ever come back? I don’t know. He’s so sad to watch, clearly hating what has happened and knowing he’s a part of something truly heinous, but still striding into the council chambers and spitting so much conceit and venom that you instantly despise him.

Anyway, it’s on like Donkey Kong in this episode. The Narn and Centauri war comes to an end with complete and utter surrender by G’Kar’s government. Londo removes G’Kar from his Ambassadorial post and battle lines are drawn between the Centauri and pretty much everybody else in the galaxy. Delenn’s old teacher Draal, who we saw take stewardship of a planet in last season’s two-parter, reappears and offers his allegiance to Babylon 5 in the days ahead, and Sheridan meets the Rangers (from The Coming of Shadows) and assumes command of them, forming “an army of light.” We’ve turned a corner, folks, and nothing is
ever going be the same. Fantastic.

Best Line
No dictator, no invader can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power tyrants and dictators cannot stand. The Centauri learned that lesson once. We will teach it to them again. Though it take a thousand years, we will be free. – Citizen G’Kar

221Episode 221: Comes the Inquisitor
Grade: B-

Again, I find myself wholly underwhelmed with one episode to go in the season. At the behest of Ambassador Kosh, Delenn is ‘tested’ by an Inquisitor named Sebastian, who looks and talks like he stepped out of Oliver Twist. Citizen G’Kar, meanwhile, organizes an underground Narn resistance but struggles to maintain his leadership amidst growing doubts by his brethren.

This wasn’t a terrible show by any means, I rather enjoyed the G’Kar stuff, but it really just felt unnecessary. We already sorta knew that Delenn and Sheridan were ‘chosen.’ I guess it’s sort of interesting that they know it now, too, but it doesn’t really justify the rest of the episode to me. And the Jack the Ripper thing? Called it, like, immediately.

Best Line
Good luck to you in your holy cause, Captain Sheridan. May your choices have better results than mine – remembered not as a messenger. Remembered not as a reformer, not as a prophet, not as a hero, not even as Sebastian. Remembered only… as Jack. – Sebastian

222Episode 222: The Fall of Night
Grade: A+

This show certainly has a way with endings, doesn’t it? The Centauri war expands to other races while Earth Alliance signs a nonaggression pact. The Bab 5 weapon systems get a workout protecting a Narn warship. The Ministry of Peace reappears to remind everyone we’ve always been at war with Eastasia. Warren Keffer shows up just long enough to screw over everyone and then die. And-OMG!-Kosh comes out of his encounter suit!

The Fall of Night is everything a season finale ought to want to be. Long running plots are advanced, hanging threads are sewn up, a few surprises get thrown in the mix, and a whole new paradigm is established for the coming season. It operates on a simply enormous scale and yet also remembers to include little touches that really send it into the stratosphere. Comedy beats like Lennier and Vir’s barstool friendship are given the necessary breathing room that makes the situation feel unprompted and a natural extension of their characters. Minor characters like Garibaldi’s second in command, Zack, are expanded and given a real personality that helps make Babylon 5 feel like a real world made up of real individuals, not just
walking wallpaper to paste up behind our main characters. There isn’t a single moment of this episode that hasn’t left me truly, truly impressed. Bravo.

Best Line
We came to this place because Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace. By the end of 2259, we knew that it had failed. But in so doing, it became something greater. As the war expanded, it became our last, best hope for victory. Because sometimes peace is another word for surrender, and because secrets have a way of getting out. – Susan Ivanova

B5S2Council

Final Thoughts on Babylon 5: Season 2

For a period during my misguided youth, I dabbled in role playing games. Not Final Fantasy-type console gaming, but honest to goodness, pen and paper RPGs: Dungeons and Dragons, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, West End’s Star Wars. I loved them all, and, to this day, I enjoy reading rulebooks and adventure modules when I can get my hands on them. I was never a very good Dungeon Master, though. The concept of creating epic story arcs and psychologically and emotionally complex characters always appealed to me, but my campaigns always fell apart within hours. My grand ideas would become muddled grinds without a satisfying resolution or meaningful interaction. I would get impatient as the PCs sifted through piddling tasks, so I would start laying down nonnegotiable quests that were too tough or too simple just to move things along and tell the story I wanted to tell.

The reason I bring this up is that I want J Michael Straczynski to be my DM. I stand now at the end of Babylon 5’s second season, completely in awe of its incredible finale. So much has been revealed and yet so much remains unsaid. After 44 episodes, we have met a dozen main characters (and at least a dozen other important ones), encountered threats and conspiracies from within and without, and learned of prophecies and mythologies from all corners of the galaxy, yet the Shadows-our Enemy with a capital E-have barely made an appearance. We’re seeing more of them, yes, but not much more. Blurry shapes here, blink-and-they’re-gone starships there. We, the audience, certainly have a better view of it all than our characters do, but not by much. It’s an interesting feeling to be able to see where things are going and yet have no idea
where you’re headed.

Due to some real life obligations, I don’t expect I’ll be able to jump into Season 3 for at least another couple of weeks. It’s going to take a lot of willpower, though. This show has gotten its hooks in me, deep and I can tell it isn’t going to let go anytime soon. This is everything television should be.

– 2/13/2009

s2keffer2

12 comments

  1. Oh, also I found your comment on the lack of chemistry between Garibaldi and Talia funny as the two actors got married at some point.

  2. I rarely leave a response, but i did some
    searching and wound up here The Babylon Diaries: Season 2 [retro feature] | Mutant Reviewers
    From Hell. And I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright. Is it only me or does it appear like a few of the comments appear as if they are left by brain dead individuals? 😛 And, if you are writing on other social sites, I would like to follow everything new you have to post. Would you make a list of every one of all your public sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  3. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting
    videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

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