If you’re new to the book club, links to the previous episodes can be found here.
This week, it’s Season 3, Episode 1: “Matters of Honor”
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.
Speaking of which, we never recapped the pilot, and the pilot is worthy of attention, now that we’ve had the Kosh Reveal. Anybody who wants to recap the pilot, feel free to volunteer in the comments.
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, search Add Ons for “Leet Key” and you’re good to go.
Everyone sitting comfortably? Then onward!
We open a week after the events of last episode, with Sheridan meeting up with Kosh (back in his environment suit) in the garden. Sheridan has been trying for a week to meet up with Kosh to offer him suitable thanks for saving him from becoming a splat on the hull, but Kosh has been recuperating in his ship incommunicado.
Kosh explains that being seen by so many different people at once was a strain. Interesting. Sheridan wants to know why Kosh risked blowing his carefully concealed secret, Kosh says it was necessary. Snark is traded. Kosh exhibits a sense of humor, a chink in the Vorlon Inscruability.
Over to a Drazi ship running a blockade, presumably Centauri. It’s piggybacking a smaller ship, which kicks off and bolts just as the blockade stations put the kaibosh on the Drazi ship. The smaller ship is piloted by what appears to be a human. British accent and scruff, some eye candy now that Keffer is kaput?
Cut to Intro!
First we had Sinclair doing the voiceover, then Sheridan, and now Ivanova. It’s much more action-packed than previous intros, with lots of scenes of stuff getting blown up and characters looking intense. It’s 2260, the year of the Shadow War. Get strapped in, folks, stuff is goin’ down!
Back from Intro and scruffy guy is 7 hours from B5 in hyperspace, juicing his ride for all the speed it can muster. Guess the clock’s ticking for somebody. Over to B5, Sheridan and Ivanova are kvetching about some VIP showing up unannounced. Or rather Sheridan is kvetching and Ivanova is giving him I’m Russian, This Is Nothing.
The VIP is David Endawi, EarthForce Special Intelligence. For Your Ears Only Stuff. Meeting with Delenn arranged.
Over to Garibaldi, dragging Scruffy Guy into medlab. Apparently he just made it to B5, but the juicing of the engines resulted in life support almost giving out. He wiped the logs, so nobody knows anything about him or where he came from or what he’s doing at B5. Garibaldi goes to do Garibaldi things, the doc finds a badge on Scruffy’s shirt and make a call detailing how passed out the patient is at the moment… and when he turns around, Scruffy has rabbitted.
Over to Londo drinking. Well, for all his changes he’s at least keeping up with the boozing. Mr. Morden arrives for a chat. Londo basically wants to break his relationship with the Shadows. Morden points out that the Centauri are still embroiled in some conflicts. Londo tells him that the Centauri are good, and it’s time for Morden to go away. Morden pauses, says, “Okay”… starts to walk away, but then pauses again and turns back to Londo, saying, “There is just one small detail, Ambassador, a little ‘bookkeeping’.” He has to meet with his associates, and suggests that he meet up with Londo a little bit later. Londo says, “And then you’ll go away?”, to which Morden replies, “For as long as you want.” So that’s why Londo’s in a cheery mood, he thinks he’s going to get out from underneath the Shadow Thumb.
Londo, I think that bookkeeping might be an account in arrears that you don’t want to bring current…
Back to the command crew, Delenn, Sheridan, and Ivanova are meeting with Endawi. He shows the tape of Keffer’s ship encountering the Shadows. Earth is nervous about the Shadow ship. Delenn says she’s never seen a ship like this before. Endawi wants to meet with the rest of the ambassadors to try and get any information about the ship. Sheridan says he’ll set up the meetings, Ivanova takes Endawi off to quarters. Sheridan asks Delenn if it is, in fact, a Shadow ship. She says it is, their best hope now is if the Shadows don’t know that everyone knows about them. She admits that she spoke only the literal truth, she knew it was a Shadow ship, but it’s true she’s never seen one before.
You think folks would be better at parsing Minbari talking by this point, especially Intelligence dudes.
Delenn talks Doom about how tough the Shadow ships are, Sheridan notes that every ship has a week point, she tells him experience might teach him otherwise. Hey, Foreseeing Moment! The guy who already has a rep for blowing up indestructible enemies with inferior technology using devious tactics? I’ll bet on that guy. Any takers?
Cut to commercial.
Back from commercial, Lennier bumps into Delenn and says someone is looking for her, and flashes Scruffy’s badge. Delenn goes off with him.
Cut to Londo and Endawi. Endawi shows the Shadow ship recording to Londo, and wants to know if he knows what it is. Londo says he saw them in an ominous dream, flying over where he’s standing (he thinks it was Centauri Prime). That’s all he knows. Foreseeing Moment numbah two? Endawi leaves to go ask other ambassadors.
Back to Delenn and Lennier, sneaking around. Delenn is hiding under a robe, but Lennier’s got his headgear pretty well displayed, sneaking fail, guys. They’re in a seedy bar. Scruffy arrives. His name is Marcus. He gets his badge back. There’s a tale of the badge, it’s a Ranger badge. They need to talk somewhere more private, and head out… followed by Two Obviously Bad Guys (anybody notice how the Obviously Bad Guys look like SF-dressed up extras from Miami Vice?)
In the corridor, they’re accosted by thugs and the two ambassadors plus Marcus basically wipe the floor with them. I like Marcus’s telescoping battle-staff. Generally, the fight scene is completely unnecessary to the plot, but hey, we’re Actioning It Up This Season! Ninja assassins next? Guys with laser samurai swords? Tune in to see!
Cut over to Marcus, Delenn, and Lennier meeting with Sheridan, Garibaldi, and Ivanova. Sheridan starts off by wanting to finally let Ivanova in on the Ranger-Earth-Minbar-anti-Shadow conspiracy team and Ivanova interrupts him and basically tells him everything that they’ve been doing, because she’s Ivanova and she knows everything. Garibaldi gives Amused. Marcus gives his report. He’s been on a training base in Drazi territory on Zagros 7. Many Rangers are trained on Minbar, but they’ve created camps here and there to decentralize things. The Centauri put up the blockade mines recently, and since there isn’t anything of value on the planet and it’s far away from the other Drazi planets the Centauri have recently cleared for settlement cleared to create a neutral zone, Marcus is pretty sure the Centauri did it because they found out about the Ranger training facility. He wants the blockade broken long enough for the Rangers on the planet to hightail it before the Centauri invade or something worse.
Garibaldi points out that you need a major warship to break that sort of blockade, and that’s not something they have hanging around in their back pocket. Marcus says “We have the means, if you have the will”, not sure what that actually means. Ivanova points out that the VIP is still on board, and if Sheridan leaves that’ll be hard to cover up. Sheridan says he’s not abandoning the Rangers, Garibaldi, you keep Endawi busy, and goddamn it we’ve been reacting for too long, it’s time to take some initiative (translation: I wanna go kick some ass.) Fire up me a shuttle, Ivanova! Off they go.
Cut to Morden and Londo. Morden draws a line about a third of the way across the Galaxy, says the Centauri can have the small bit and he and his associates are taking the big one, and hey, that works out okay for us, good for you? Londo agrees to that division. Oh, one more small thing, says Mordon. This world, on the border? We want that one. I asked Lord Refi to get it for me. Londo is confused, Refa? (Subtext: you don’t want in, I don’t need you as a player any more, Londo). Sure, says Morden, we get that planet, we go our separate ways.
Leave the mines in place, but get the rest of the ships away from Zagros 7. You wouldn’t want anybody to be around when we come to get it, says Morden. Off he goes.
Sheridan, Ivanova, and Marcus exit a jump gate and there is The White Star, a pretty badass looking ship with a paint job resembling the Vorlon ships. “She’s yours, Captain,” says Marcus. Hm. I get that Sheridan has a rep for having big War Chief Magic and all, but if you’ve got the ship already, what do you need him for, exactly?
Back on B5, Garibaldi is playing Stall The EarthForce Special Intelligence Guy, you can’t meet with Ivanova or Sheridan because they got called away on business.
“What kind of business?” asks Endawi
“I’m not authorized for that kind of information,” says Garibaldi.
“But… you’re the Head of Security?” asks Endawi.
One of my favorite Garibaldi speeches of the series:
“And what kind of Head of Security would I be if I let people like *me* know things that I’m not supposed to know? I mean, I know what I know, because I have to know it, and if I don’t have to know it, I don’t tell *me* and I don’t let anyone else tell me either.”
Garibaldi suggests Endawi talk to the Narn (on the QT, since Earth has agreed not to talk to the Narn without Centauri approval).
Back to The White Star, it’s a Minbari-Vorlon joint designed warship. Faster than most ships its size, and it can make its own jump point. Looks different enough from other Minbari ships that it won’t be recognized as one. It has artifical gravity, something Earthforce doesn’t have. They enter what looks like the bridge, the personnel are drawn from the Religious Caste, as there has been some “trouble” with the Warrior Caste. Not even everyone in the Grey Council knows about The White Star. Yes, I can imagine putting Sheridan in charge of a new super-dooper Minbari warship manned by the Warrior caste might be a a bit of an issue. I can now see why they wanted Sheridan’s Big War Chief Magic… going on a raid with nobody on board but a bunch of peaceniks isn’t the greatest plan.
Sheridan takes over, Lennier serves as translator, and off they go to Zagros 7.
Back on B5, Endawi is meeting with G’Kar. Of course G’Kar recognizes the ship. He shows Endawi his Book of G’Quan, with the drawing of the Shadow ship. They first came to Narn 1,000 years ago, before the Narn had spaceflight. They had a base on the planet, but didn’t interact with the Narn. G’Quan thought the Shadows were engaged in another war, somewhere (the previous Shadow War).
Back to The White Star. Ivanova tries to chat up Marcus. Character exposition . Exit from hyperspace, they blast their way through the blockade mines. No sign of Centauri warships. Why would they leave, there had to have been one watching the mines, wonders Sheridan. Ivanvoa picks up and incoming ship.
Everyone Looks Concerned.
They continue clearing the mines so that the Rangers can get out. The Shadow ship opens fire on The White Star, they take evasive action while still blasting the mines. The Shadow ship misses. They never miss, says Delenn. They don’t recognize us, guesses Sheridan, and they want to figure out who we are before they blow us to kingdom come. They’ve cleared enough mines for the Rangers to take off… Marcus calls the Rangers and they start to bug out. Sheridan orders The White Star to the jump gate, not wanting the Shadows to know that they can generate their own jump point. We can’t lose them in hyperspace, warns Delenn, they’ll follow us wherever we go!
“I’m counting on it,” says Sheridan. Oh yeah, homeslice is ready to muck up some Shadow equipment big time.
Through the gate, followed closely by the Shadows. Our cruisers can’t repel firepower of that magnitude, says Delenn… er, sorry, I was channelling something else there for a second. Dude, I got this, this is my bag, says Sheridan With Confidence.
The Shadow ship is closing. Ivanova wonders what he’s going to do. Hey, have you ever wondered what would happen if you opened a jump point while you were inside a jump gate, asks Sheridan. Ivanova gives brief plot exposition, that was a tactic that was tried during the Earth-Minbar war but it was suicide because it generated a huge ‘splosion but none of the EarthForce ships were fast enough to get away from the blast. Ah, but this isn’t an EarthForce ship, points out the Captain. What do you think, Lennier, can we get out of the gate before it goes kablooie? He doesn’t know. Whelp, that’s better than a “no”, so that’s the plan. They exit the jump gate and generate a jump point inside the gate, and kick the engines into Ridiculous Speed. The Shadow ship exits the gate just in time to get blown to smithereens, and The White Star outraces the explosion just like the Enterprise dodged the Genesis Effect in ST2:TWoK.
Go team! First blood drawn against the Shadows.
Back on B5, Sheridan and Delenn make up a total lie to cover their absence from Endawi. Endawi takes the story with a grain of, “Eh, they’re not going to tell me, whatevs.”
Back on Earth, Endawi delivers his report to Senator Unnamed. He pooh-poohs G’Kar’s version of events, apparently, in the report. Exit Endawi, enter Morden and… somebody in a PsiCorp uniform. Damn, I was totally expecting Bester. Morden seems to be convinced by Endawi’s report that none of the aliens on B5 know anything about the Shadows, which is good news to him (and, actually, that’s what Sheridan and Delenn want, so happy coincidence for the good guys?)
Morden thinks they can cover up the destruction of Keffer’s ship as an isolated incident, but the PsiCorp guy pipes up with the observation that this is an opportunity to sow some FUD and accelerate that part of “the program”. Interesting, muses Morden, what do you have in mind? Cut away before the Nefariousness is explained, but with xenophobia and the Night Watch both on the uptick, I can guess.
Back to B5. Sheridan is forming an official War Council. Delenn, Sheridan, Ivanova, Garibaldi, Franklin, and whichever Ranger is on station. Time to make sure everybody stays in the loop on everything. Franklin wants to know what the heck the Shadows are. Delenn starts bringing him up to speed… fade to credits.