If you’re new to the book club, links to the previous episodes can be found here.
This week, it’s Season 2, Episode 22: “The Fall of Night”
It’s difficult to discuss this show without occasionally wanting to discuss the next one (or the one after that, or the one after that), or referring to the pilot.
If you want to discuss something with a major plot point: please rot13 it. That’s a simple encryption that will allow the folks who want to avoid spoilers to avoid them and allow the people who want to argue them to argue them. Hey, if you use Firefox, there’s a simple plug-in that makes this as easy as highlighting text.
Everyone sitting comfortably? Then onward!
We open with Keffer’s (hey, remember him?) squad being drilled by Sheridan on fighting Centauri ships. He counsels caution when dog-fighting against aliens before Ivanova summons him back.
Vir and Lennier take a break to tersely share their mutual concerns while Sheridan and Ivanova meet with the Drazi and the Pak’ma’ra ambassadors. They report that the Centauri have started invading their worlds.
After the credits, Sheridan takes the opportunity to tick-off Londo, but he is rebuffed. Sheridan talks to Garibaldi about it, and Garibaldi notes that Londo’s behaviour is driven by the fact he is afraid – ultimately he’s not in control of this situation either. The meeting ends when Sheridan is informed that a representative of the Ministry of Peace has arrived.
Down in the fighter bays Keffer talks to one of his people about all the drills. She mentions that some other pilots saw what could only have been a shadow vessel. Keffer has encountered the Shadows before and this piques his curiosity.
Sheridan and Ivanova meet the Minipax delegation, which includes the guy from Minpax (Minipax rep), and a representative from the Night Watch (Night Watch Guy or NWG for short) and they’re keen to get down to business.
Keffer talks to a pilot about the Shadow sighting. Keffer is determined to prove he saw what he saw.
Ivanova and Minipax rep talk chew the fat for a bit before heading off.
Back up at Ops, Sheridan is surprised by a Narn heavy cruiser popping up behind the planet, where no one but B5 itself could see it. They beg for sanctuary.
Ivanova is visited in her quarters by NWG who intimates the Night Watch would be good for her career. Ivanova is not impressed.
Sheridan and G’Kar are discussing the heavy cruiser. When G’Kar hears about Minipax being on board, he takes this as a good sign and leaves elated.
The Night Watch are having a meeting and NWG chides Zack for not filing more reports. He and NWG argue about what is worth reporting as being potentially disloyal. This creeps Zack way the hell out.
Keffer and his fellow Shadow-spotter discuss how to find a Shadow vessel. The other pilot offers some help, and washes his hands of the whole thing.
The Minipax rep comes out of a meeting only to be buttonholed by G’Kar, but G’Kar is denied. Things continue in this vein, when the rep tells Sheridan that he’s not here to indict the Centauri, but to sign a treaty with them. He is determined to have “peace in our time” (subtlety is not one of JMS’s strong suits). This should come as no surprise though – G’Kar was happy for a moment, and as we should all know by now whenever G’Kar feels joy, something awful happens to him.
NWG is approached by a Night Watch member. Ooh, what could it be?
Ivanova and Sheridan exchange feelings of disillusionment when Ivanova decides to lighten the mood by giving Sheridan a Christmanukah gift – a prices of the Black Star, the Minbari ship he destroyed during the war. The mood is then re-dampened when Londo interrupts – he’s been told about the Narn! Sheridan stalls and goes into crisis mode.
The Centauri arrive, demanding the Narn ship. Sheridan refuses and readies for battle. And then the Centauri fire. The Narn cruiser escapes but the Centauri ship is destroyed due to the damage it suffered.
The Minipax rep is not happy, but Sheridan’s actions were legal and the Centauri did fire first. The matter will be dropped but Sheridan is ordered to apologise. Sheridan is not pleased about this.
While Keffer’s squad escorts the Narn cruiser to safety, he picks up evidence of Shadow activity. He decides to investigate and finds the Shadow ship, recording it.
While Sheridan makes his way to the ceremony Ivanova notices G’Kar hiding in the bushes. He wants to help, but Ivanova doubts that would be useful right now.
The Shadow vessel spots Keffer, and destroys him, but not before he launches a capsule containing his recording of the ship.
Sheridan gets on a transport to go to Grovelfest ’59, but notices a needlessly-obvious bomb and jumps before he is killed. There’s no time for a rescue, so Kosh leaves his encounter suit. And now we know what Kosh meant when he would be recognised by everyone. Kosh appears to each spectator as an angelic figure from their own culture. He flies Sheridan to safety.
It would seem the Vorlons have “guided” other races into seeing them as divine figures. The Vorlons reach is much wider than we had been aware. As Sheridan and Delenn discuss this, they hear Keffer is missing.
Ivanova’s sombre monologue ends the episode, and the season. Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace – It failed. The Centauri continue to expand unchecked and Keffer’s recording is found. The Shadows are no longer hidden. The Great War is upon them.
And that’s us for Season 2. In Mindless Diversions tradition, I suggest we take a couple of weeks to give everyone time to acquire Season 3. Does that work for everyone?