The Nightwatch orders its members on Babylon 5 to target Delenn in an
attempt to undermine Minbari actions during the recent crisis. Londo
presents Refa with an ultimatum.
William Forward as Refa.
Paul Perri as The Sniper.
Don Stroud as Boggs.
Kim Strauss as Lenann.
P5 Rating: 8.30
Production number: 311
Original air week: April 8, 1996
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by John Flinn III
- In the old days of the Centauri Republic, poison was a common political
- Some humans learned the Minbari language from POWs during the war.
- The rebirth ceremony in
"The Parliament of Dreams"
was just a small part of a much larger renewal ceremony, traditionally
performed in response to, or in anticipation of, a great change.
Lennier believes B5's inhabitants are currently between two such
- The Minbari prophecy foretells fire and darkness after the two halves
of the Minbari soul unite to combat the ancient enemy.
- How many more Nightwatch members are still on the station?
- Did Garibaldi's people get rid of the artificial intelligence?
- What else is buried in B5's computer system? (At least one unfriendly
thing, as shown in
"A Spider In the Web.")
- Who does Lennier believe Delenn is fated for? Sheridan? If so, is
that due to his observation of the growing relationship between
Delenn and Sheridan, or due to something in the prophecy?
- What was Delenn planning to give up and to tell someone at the ceremony?
- Londo is playing a dangerous game with Refa; Refa will no doubt not
take kindly to having his life threatened, and may retaliate against
Londo either overtly or behind the scenes. Refa seems to have
much of the royal court in his pocket while Londo's influence has
waned since he broke off his association with Morden. Londo may find
that he's bitten off more than he can chew.
- However, the extent of the risk he's taking is a good indication that
his realization of the dark nature of his former pact with Morden is
complete; after this it will be very hard to turn back. It's
interesting to note, though, that his basic goal hasn't changed,
only his methods; note that he tries to dissuade Refa by talking
about how dangerous the current Centauri policies are to their people.
Londo is still first and foremost a patriot, not unlike G'Kar (at
least until Kosh's revelation in
"Dust to Dust.")
- Londo and Sinclair have something in common; Londo's poisoning of
Refa bears a passing resemblance to Sinclair planting a transmitter
in G'Kar's intestinal tract. Or rather, claiming to -- which raises
the question, did Londo really poison Refa, or just say so?
Like Sinclair, Londo might figure that the poison that doesn't exist
can't be flushed out by doctors.
- How did the Nightwatch get so much information about the Minbari,
especially the details of Delenn's means of getting the war cruisers
to Babylon 5? It may be as simple as Earth's normal intelligence
channels, which, under Clark, presumably make at least some of their
findings available to the Nightwatch.
- Boggs' claim that the Minbari "think [Delenn]'s the second coming!"
indicates that many among the Minbari agree with Delenn's assessment
of herself as the chosen one, the vehicle of prophecy (see also
"Comes the Inquisitor.") Marcus also hints
at this when he tells Delenn that his brother believed in the Rangers
and in her; apparently her involvement with them is richer in
symbolism than has previously been hinted at. How, and whether, that
relates to the nature of Sinclair's involvement remains to be seen.
- This isn't the first time Delenn has been referred to as "the second
coming," at least indirectly. G'Kar quoted a passage from the Yeats
poem of the same name in
a passage visually accompanied by Delenn's first look at her new
appearance. Ominously, that Second Coming refers to the
- The Army of Light is now dressed in black uniforms. Whether that's
an intentional contrast on Delenn's part, or simply her fashion sense,
only time will tell.
- The voice of Sparky the Computer, the artificial intelligence,
is Harlan Ellison. Sparky's name is visible both in the ending
credits and, very briefly, as the last line item in the computer's
status messages when it reboots.
- The recording Londo shows Refa is slightly wrong; Morden was sitting
when he mentioned Refa's name
("Matters of Honor.")
- The station logo on the wall in C&C has changed. It used to be
a 5 with a pair of olive branches overlaid, presumably signifying
peace; now it's a 5 over a sword. The new logo can also be seen on
the top of the conference room table in the scene with Delenn and
the officers from the Minbari ships.
- There's a minor continuity glitch involving the new
logo. When the command staff walks into C&C in the final scene,
the camera pans across the side of C&C to show the startled
techs. The new logo is visible on the wall between two computer
displays. But in the next shot of the same wall, there's no logo
- "Dem Bones" was also sung in the final episode of "The Prisoner."
- The formation in which one of the Starfuries peels away
as the squadron performs a fly-by of the caskets is called
the Missing Man formation. It is used today whenever a flyby
is part of military honors at a funeral.
- As Delenn and Marcus wait for Lenann,
a "Wet Floor" sign can be seen in a corridor in the background.
- Sheridan's closing line, "Babylon 5 is open for business," echoes
Laurel Takashima's in
In both cases it marked a new beginning for the station.
- Sheridan's line to Ivanova, "My hypocrisy only goes so
far," is a Mark Twain quote.
- Don Stroud got his scar by jumping into a crowd of men
with knives to stop a woman from being raped, according to former
story editor Larry DiTillio.
- The eulogy recited by Sheridan is the same one spoken
by Ivanova in
- As it happens, episodes 8, 9 and 10 ("Messages," "Point of No Return,"
and "Severed Dreams") are kind of a triptych, linked at the hip and
designed to pull together/blow out several major hanging plot threads
once and for all, and send the show spinning off in an entirely
different direction. The hardest one to write was 10, because it's a
very emotional episode for the characters, and for me.
And next is #11, which I begin to write this weekend...and #11, year
three, is the *exact* midpoint of the 5 year story. This is the hump,
the dead center of the journey. It took so long to get here, and
suddenly we're halfway finished.
- The episode is in the halfway mark, and that IS its significance,
because it signals a major change.
When we were midway through that episode, the halfway mark of the whole
series, John, Doug and I were given these spiffy leather script books
with silver inlaid initials by the crew, to commemmorate the event. It
was really nifty.
- About Delenn and Lennier
As for Lennier...it's an unusual relationship, which you'll learn a
LOT more about in "Ceremonies of Light and
Dark." Which is all I can say for now.
- I was kind of afraid that after the big Stuff Blowing
Up Episode, anything afterward would be a let down because it couldn't
have the same level of huge action (without killing everyone making the
show). So the way to deal with that is to go in an entirely different
direction; I was hoping that'd work, and glad that so far it has.
- Earthgov sees B5 in much the way China now sees Taiwan. (Though on
reflection that may not be the best metaphor....)
- You only send an ambassador if you recognize something as legitimate,
and EA will never recognize an independent B5.
- Why didn't G'Kar join in the ceremony?
Because he saw the actual co-running of security, and their
duties, more important...that is physical, and concrete, and he feels
is his surest way to win a seat in the new council. Actions, not
ceremonies. He's very direct that way. (Which is pretty much what he
said at the time.)
- Was this the same ceremony as in
"The Parliament of Dreams?"
Yes, it's the same ceremony; Delenn states as much in the
- Was this one of Londo's chances for redemption?
No, this wasn't an opportunity for redemption. It would be
flagged as much more important than this.
- I don't think Londo feels he needs to be redeemed; his reasons
as stated were quite sincere.
- Is Delenn being "destined for another" part of the prophecy?
It is now.
- Certainly various sorts of love was at the core of the episode,
and what we do for one another.
But no, not all relationships have to end badly (despite my own
general history in that regard).
- Is Lennier really satisfied with Delenn's destiny lying
Well, there was certainly that little catch in his voice, that
hesitation, before he added "...in my heart."
- "...note on Lennier: "a pure, higher love"? Pshaw, I've heard that
before and seen the results in my own life. Are Minbari so different?"
One would certainly hope so.
And there are such different kinds of feelings even among
humans; yes, you're right, often it doesn't work out that way...and
sometimes it does.
- I didn't see or intend any element of Lennier being racist;
but there are definitely differences in culture and physiology between
Minbari and humans. Minbari are very careful about personal space, and
they don't like to be talked to a certain way. Marcus momentarily
forgot himself, and acted inappropriately. Lennier corrected him.
- Delenn, Lenann, Lennier. What does "len" mean?
Basically, I went through and came up with common suffixes and prefixes
for Minbari names, the way Russian names have combinations of certain
letters (-ovna, -ova, -vich), and associated various backgrounds and
castes and houses (fanes) to them. So you have Delenn, Rathenn, and
others of similar name.
- About the slow buildup of the Delenn/Sheridan relationship
What you say about relationships is quite true. The
slow process of getting to know somebody, the courtship, the parries
and feints and false starts are 85% of the fun. It's the process of
getting into somebody's mind, discovering who they are. And that's
what these two are doing. It's an awful lot of fun.
- The "romance angles" aren't "late additions," but you don't
just leap into a romance right off. You couldn't have had the
Delenn/Sheridan thing right in the beginning of year two, it had to be
built, and grow gradually. Things are introduced as it is time for
them to be introduced. The shadows weren't even named until season two,
and didn't make their first appearance until late in season one. Is
that a late addition?
- I'm doing a lot to deepen up Marcus and Lennier, to let
people see parts of them we might not have seen before. Everyone grows
on the show; even at this point, compare Lennier to the wide-eyed
innocent who first arrived at the station and couldn't even bring
himself to look Delenn in the eyes.
The computer voice, Sparky, wasn't really a nod of
any kind to Hitchhiker's. (And 2001's HAL beat them to the punch a
long time before that in any event.) No, I just figured, if the
computer system had a glitch, what would it sound like?
- Actually, we had 3 more quickie scenes with the computer voice,
but the ep ran long over time, and we were locked into some
walk-and-talks where we couldn't make other trims.
- Is the name Sparky a reference to anything?
No, just figured it'd be a great name.
- I also like the look between Marcus and Delenn as they stand in
the customs area...he looks like he desperately wants to say more, and
she like she desperately wants to hear it...but he turns and walks
away, the moment lost.
- About female fans' reaction to Marcus
It's okay...so are most of the women who work in the editing
bays at B5. The first few days of this season, as his stuff started
coming in, one of them pulled me aside, and with hand firmly on my arm,
to let me know she meant business, said, "Listen very carefully: I want
to see a LOT more of Marcus."
- Was Marcus' beard different before?
Your memory is correct. Just before he did the first episode,
he had to shave his full beard for some commercial audition. It hadn't
grown all the way back, and we had to darken it down a bit to make it
work. It's all back now.
- The Nightwatch members looked a lot more sinister than in the past.
I went just a little here for a kind of metaphorical
approach; prior to this, Nightwatch folks have always been presented as
starched, scrubbed, visually appealing...the face they wanted others to
see. Now we see their true face, the scarred, dark, empty eyes, no
longer pretending to hide. So we kinda cast in that direction.
- Boggs' scar wouldn't have moved like it did.
The physical dynamics of the scar *would* have worked as seen,
actually, mainly because that wasn't a piece of makeup, that's a real
scar, and it does work that way.
- The scar is real. He had some rough times a few years
ago. (Actually, he also appeared with the scar as it's seen here in
"TKO," as Garibaldi's corner man, though there it was hidden a bit.)
He's still doing a lot of work though.
(The funny thing was seeing the occasional comment on the nets
saying how fake they thought the makeup looked, and why couldn't we
manage to do something a bit more realistic looking?)
- Actually, no, the song in "Ceremonies" was not intended as a
Prisoner riff or homage of any kind. If the song originated with The
Prisoner, that'd be one thing, but the song goes back a long, LONG ways
before The Prisoner was even thought of.
What happened, actually, was this...I'm a big fan of the Red
Clay Ramblers, a terrific group that does sort of bluegrass but very
offbeat. I was writing that episode, and I was playing with the
torture aspect, and had one of their albums on. At just the moment I
got to that scene, up came their rendition of "Ezekiel in the Valley of
the Dry Bones." The notion was perfect, so I went back to the original
version of the song, which is public domain (rather than their
variation on it), and used it. Synchronicity.
- About the uniforms
I wanted it to have a crossed look, certain
Minbari elements and textures, lines that are reminiscent of the
Rangers, but also of Earthforce. Hence, the result.
- There's a certain perverseness in making those on the side of
light wear black uniforms. It reverses our expectations.
- In general, it's my understanding that the cast really like the new
uniforms. They're lighter, easier to move around in, cooler under the
lights, and they like the styling, the rogue element to it, and the
- Couldn't Refa just have all his food and drink tested?
Of course the flip side of this is that you'd have to check
every single thing you ate or drank every day, every week, for the rest
of your natural life. Not the kind of life *I'd* like to live.