Previously on Babylon 5: President Clark laid the Smack Down upon the reporters at ISN and Delenn laid The Smack Down upon Earth Force.
We open with the last of the Night Watch being shipped back to Earth (well, the docile Night Watchers, anyway) and, after Sheridan tells us that he really only feels like he can wear the uniform one last time, we hammer out that Sheridan still has the comms locked down because he doesn’t want the Earth forces to reboot the system and lock them out. (Oh, the 90’s.) They hammer out that they’re going to go in and reset all of the administrative passwords (presumably to the most secure 8-character password they can come up with). Sheridan says that he’s going to go out and about and be all visible and stuff so as to help defuse tension. (DUN DUN DUN)
Cut to Delenn. Delenn promises Lennan, an ally from the battle, that she, personally, will give a tour of the station before hammering out with Lennier that Delenn thinks that “Prophecy is a poor guide to the future” and she points out that she doesn’t know if they will survive the upcoming conflict. (DUN DUN DUN)
Cut to a guy who has Sheridan’s head in the crosshairs of the sight of a sniper rife. (DUN DUN DUN)
Come back to the guy with Sheridan in his sights and we see him stopped, just in time, by a rough looking guy who tells him to wait until they can kill Sheridan in such a way that won’t merely create a martyr. That was close!
Anyway, Marcus Cole (still dreamy) shows up and says that he’s glad that they’re no longer yoked to Earth (it was holding us back) but, more importantly, tells Delenn that he’s not sure that now’s the best time for The Rebirth Ceremony.
We cut to Sheridan in his dress uniform for the funeral for those who died in the battle. They commit the bodies of the soldiers to the deep and it’s a very well done scene. They even do the “missing man” with space ships and… wow. That was surprisingly good.
And we follow that up with YES! LONDO!!! Londo and Refa have a lovely little conversation where the following is hammered out: Londo has observed that Centauri has, like, a dozen front lines with the people with whom they share a border. Londo knows that this is crazy to the point where he knows that Refa has allied with the Shadow. Londo wants Refa to break off his alliance with the Shadow. Londo knows that Refa would be recalcitrant about breaking off the alliance with the Shadow. Londo has poisoned Refa with half of a two-part poison that can have the other half delivered at any time. Londo is a bit of a romantic.
Cut to the main officers resetting the passwords for the station and Garibaldi’s password, indeed, has 8 characters. He defends it by pointing out that it wasn’t guessable. Sigh.
Then we get back to the guys who did *NOT* shoot Sheridan earlier. They’re the Human Supremacist dregs left over from Night Watch. They explain that they have to kill Sheridan in such a way that it looks like he’s starting another Human/Minbari war. As it turns out, the group includes a guy who has some serious unresolved issues from the previous Human/Minbari war. “Yeah. Let’s restart the war that we almost lost and make more people like that guy over there. Hey, guy. Give us a speech about torturing Minbari!” He proceeds to do so.
After a commercial, we enjoy a lovely little cameo. They rebooted the system and that re-activated the ship’s AI. At first I thought it was a bit of a throwaway joke in the direction of Douglas Adams. Now I know that the voice actor was Harlan Ellison. So it was both things! Wanna know what Harlan Ellison sounds like? That’s him.
Now we see Delenn trying to get people to sign up for the Rebirth Ceremony and she’s not particularly successful. The ceremony involves giving something up, you see. Londo isn’t into sacrifice, G’Kar is too busy doing the security, and Marcus has nothing left that he could possibly give up and so Marcus goes off in a huff. Bummer. Anyway, Delenn is going to pick up Lennan for the tour and, of course, the Night Watch dregs choose *THAT* moment to kidnap them.
As Garibaldi is tinkering with Harlan Ellison, he gets the report from Ivanova about the kidnapping. He knows that this has the stink of Night Watch dregs all over it and, of course, the ransom phone call comes in at that moment. Garibaldi recognizes the guy immediately. “Boggs.” Boggs abandons the whole Sheridan martyr thing and instead wants the return of Babylon 5 to Earth Control or else he’ll kill the two hostages? And thus restart the same war that the Earth forces turned tail and ran away from last episode?
Try not to think about it, I guess.
Anyway, Boggs demonstrates that he’s serious by killing one of the extras. Cut to Marcus and see him pumping one of the dive bars for info and gives his version of the “we can do this the easy way or the hard way” speech and everybody in the bar says “let’s do it the hard way.”
Before we can see what this particular “hard way” entails, we get back to the hostages and the Minbari are mumbling to each other in their native tongue but, wouldn’t you know it, Nutty McNutterson from Crazytown also speaks Minbari and he starts getting all violent but Boggs reminds him that, no, we have to *WAIT* to kill them until after the deal? I guess? I suppose if they were good at long-term planning, they’d be good guys.
The “hard way” entails beating up everybody in the bar until they’re unconscious. Marcus finds that this makes it difficult to perform interrogations. Lennier shows up and, as I am learning he does, he gives us the best scene in the show. He’s bugging Marcus about the Ceremony and Marcus says something to the effect of “WHO IN THE HECK GIVES A DANG ABOUT THE CEREMONY AT A TIME LIKE THIS?” and Lennier points out that Delenn asked Lennier to run the Ceremony and, dang it, he’s going to. If Marcus isn’t going to show up, then this conversation is over and Lennier turns on his heel. Marcus grabs Lennier’s shoulder and we see yet another glimpse of “Lennier is the baddest Minbari on the station”. He gives a fairly decent little speech (Bill Mumy is underutilized. He’s really good at the serious and intense monologue moments after giving the meek and demure one) and it comes out that the Ceremony involves telling someone a secret and, like it or not, Marcus is hearing his: Lennier is in love with Delenn and he knows that his love will be forever unrequited. Bummer. This moment is interrupted by a guy waking up and so Marcus gets the needed info from him.
Garibaldi recognizes the background noise as being from Grey Sector from the conversation with Boggs and Marcus shows up to inform that the guy in the bar knew that some stuff was being shipped to level 14 and so put 1 and 1 together and we’re looking at Grey 14 and it turns out that one of the rooms was secured… BY GARIBALDI. (DUN DUN DUN.) So Mal looks at Wash and says that they’re going to pull a Crazy Ivan. Wait, wrong show. Garibaldi says that they’re going to go down there and pull a fake surrender.
The kidnappers get the message that the Minbari are leaving and they’re saying “It worked! Hurray!” rather than “IT’S A TRAP!” right before they get an alarm about leaking coolant and they say “We’ve got to get out of here!” rather than “IT’S A TRAP!” and so they get out into the hallway where half the Night Watch dregs get taken out and the Crazy Guy gets ready to kill Garibaldi with a thrown knife but Delenn jumps in the way and she takes the knife in the back. Sheridan proceeds to lose it in the “I’ll beat you up!” sense rather than the “I’LL KILL YOU!” sense and beats up the nutball.
As it turns out, the knife missed all of the vital organs but Delenn is stuck in the hospital so she won’t be able to do the Rebirth Ceremony after all. What the heck! What have we been doing for the last hour! Oh, as it turns out, if Delenn cannot go to the Ceremony, the Ceremony will come to Delenn. One by one, each comes in and gives her their old uniform and tells Delenn a secret. Sheridan tells her that he’s in love with her. Poor Lennier. Garibaldi tells her that he’s afraid of losing it. Ivanova confesses that she was in love with Talia. Poor Ivanova. Franklin tells her “I think I might have a problem” which, probably, refers to his addiction to stims but if Delenn didn’t know that particular Earth euphemism, she might be thinking “what the heck?”
Anyway, Lennier tells them all that they all knew that this was coming and they should go back to their rooms… where they find new and improved uniforms that say “Hey, still in authority.” Sheridan ties everything together by pointing out that everybody has been reborn (well, the four of them, anyway) and… we’re out.
All in all, a good episode if you can ignore that the bad guys are dumb. The big plot point takeaways, as far as I can tell, are that Lennier is a bad, bad Minbari, Sheridan is in love with Delenn, and Londo is really, really good at playing The Game. Minor plot points involve Garibaldi’s fear about his temper, Night Watch cleanup is pretty much over and done with, and Marcus has nothing left to lose.
All in all, a good show, if the bad guys are a little incoherent.
What did y’all think?