Sheridan and Ivanova try to deal with an association of cargo pilots. An
alien probe makes first contact with the station. G'Kar's position among the
Narn is threatened by the arrival of a Centauri-appointed liaison.
Stephen Macht as Na'Far.
Marshall Teague as Ta'Lon.
Anne Betancourt as Dr. Gonzalez.
P5 Rating: 7.85
Production number: 303
Original air week: November 20, 1995
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by David Eagle
- The Centauri diplomatic mission on Minbar has been closed for
- Who sent the probe?
- Will Franklin's continuing use of stims have greater repercussions,
especially now that he's willing to lie about it?
- What will become of Na'Far? And of Ta'Lon, for that matter -- will
he remain on the station, and will he look after Sheridan?
- Vir is leaving Londo just when Londo seems to need him most; Londo
is becoming darker and darker, as his conversation with Na'Far
demonstrates. Now he'll have nobody to slow his descent (though
it's not clear how much he listened to Vir in the first place.)
- The favor Delenn owed Londo was most likely the one he earned by
transporting her and Draal to Epsilon 3 in
"A Voice in the Wilderness, part 2."
- Franklin's stim use is nothing new; it was touched on as recently as
"Confessions and Lamentations."
He may feel he has no choice and no problem, but he seems to be
ignoring the example of Dr. Rosen in
"The Quality of Mercy,"
who lost her medical license over her stim use.
- A picture of the probe is
- Vir's departure has, in part, a real-world cause: actor Stephen Furst
is starring in a sitcom on the Fox network. He will still appear on
Babylon 5 from time to time.
- Sheridan's reference to the probe as a "berserker" is probably a
nod to Fred Saberhagen's "Berserker" novels, which feature huge
automated war machines that seek out and destroy sentients.
- A small gaffe: At the end of the episode, when the probe is headed away
from the station, Sheridan asks the tech if there are any security bots
in the area. The tech replies that there is just one, at 5000km.
The next shot is of the bot in question, except that there are clearly
2 bots in the shot, and they look identical.
- A related goof: Sheridan orders a securebot sent to look at the probe,
but the display on the screen reads "Maintbot 12."
- "A Day in the Strife," a fair number of threads, a day in the
life episode with everything that can go wrong going wrong, some
elements of humor but mainly a straight-ahead kind of episode...
- Is Marshall Teague playing the same character he did in
"All Alone in the Night?"
Yes, it's the same character, and his name is Ta'Lon.
- "A narn resistance is going to be pretty hard to organize."
*Exactly* the issue we'll explore in "A Day in the Strife." (Well,
one of many issues.)
- How many Narn dead are there?
Actually, yes, there are millions of dead; I think that either Vir
or Na'Far gets it right in "Strife," and the other misstates the figure
in the same episode.
- Just went back and checked the script; Ta'Lon refers to millions in
his meeting with Sheridan. (Knew I wasn't nuts....)
- Londo's comment, "It's nothing personal, Vir," was the same one
the bomber echoed in "Convictions."
Yeah, "it's nothing personal" does echo the other theme; those
who inflict great harm tend to shrug it off that way.
- You will see Vir many times again in the course of the third season.
- Why didn't they ask Delenn or Kosh for help with the
Because Delenn doesn't know that information offhand, any more than you
or I would have casual access to detailed scientific information from
our own world just off the top of our heads; she'd still have to go to
her own homeworld for the info, as our characters did. And it's not
that we didn't have it, it was just collating it all. And given how
Kosh answers questions, would you really want to use his responses in
- My sense is that Delenn is not a godlike font of information; I don't
think anyone, alien or human, at the station would just happen to know
all the information required. How much would Delenn know about
molecular biology, for instance? (And if you asked Kosh a question
about the subject, he'd probably come back with "The heart does not
sing with its parts." Not exactly useful.)
Anyone there would have to go back to their own world for experts in
the various fields...so you're back where you started. Earth *has*
the info, it's just getting it, and getting it fast. If you add the
overlay of going through another government, you're going to run out
of time that much faster.
Logically, a probe like this would be sent off looking for information
on the very cusp of technology that could pose a threat. That's why
it *didn't* go off when the probe presumed them to be a less developed
civilization; it was looking for civilizations that *are* sufficiently
advanced to pose a possible threat; Sheridan says exactly that as he
walks across C&C.
Interesting aside on this, btw, in the "where do you get your ideas?"
department. The US House Science Sub-Committee held a series of
hearings into the question of extraterrestrial contact during the
1970s, to determine what we should do in the event of contact. The
most likely scenario, the scientists agreed, was a probe coming into
our solar system. So what do we do in response to a message asking if
Believe it or not, it was the consensus of the Subcommittee that we
should not respond...in case it was a berserker, just as shown in the
episode. That is our government's official policy on the subject.
- I just went through my stuff trying to find it...there was a formal
report published by the Government Printing Agency in around 1978 or
so. I think it was entitled something like "Prospects for Contact by
Extra- Terrestrial Intelligence," and went into the whole CETI issue
at great length. (Back then, it was CETI, for Contact With
Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, changed shortly after the House
hearing on the subject to SETI, Search For Extra-Terrestrial
Intelligence.) Any GPA office should have the report on file.
- Would the explosion have taken out a planet?
No, it probably couldn't take out a planet, though it'd sure disrupt all
communications in and out for a long time, maybe throw up a dust
curtain to bring down the temperature quite a bit. Certainly it'd
debilitate the planet long enough for additional probes to be sent in.
If one can do the job, one does the job; if more are required, more
- What kind of alien was sick in medlab?
I'll have to go back and check, but from memory I'm pretty sure he's a
- What happened to Na'Fon?
When he failed to convince the other Narns to accept him as
their new leader -- which was the whole point to his being sent to B5
in the first place -- he had no choice but to go home.
- Why don't we ever see worker-caste Minbari?
Worker caste tend to fade into the background; we've seen them here and
there; pilots and traders (visible in "Strife") are worker caste, and
others. They don't have as much a stylized manner of bone-carving as
the other castes.