As the Army of Light prepares to strike, Londo and Vir
continue to plot Cartagia's downfall. Ivanova and Lorien look for more
First Ones. The Shadows unleash a terrible new weapon.
Wortham Krimmer as Emperor Cartagia.
P5 Rating: 8.82
Production number: 405
Original air week: January 27, 1997
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by John LaFia
episodic soundtrack is available.
- The Shadows have deployed a planet-killer of their own,
striking against Vorlon-aligned worlds much as the Vorlons are
decimating worlds touched by the Shadows.
- After the success of his assassination plot, Londo has
taken Cartagia's place as head of the Centauri, though for the moment
only as prime minister, not as emperor.
- Making good on his promise to G'Kar in
"Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?"
Londo has ordered the withdrawal of Centauri forces from Narn.
- Who were the Centuari nobles in the secret meeting with
Londo and Vir?
- Now that Narn is free, will G'Kar retain his stature? Or
will most of his countrymen come to feel the way the Narn in the
palace did, that G'Kar's sacrifice wasn't significant and doesn't
give him any special moral authority?
It's unlikely the Narn could
mount any meaningful offensive against the Centauri regardless of
their antagonism, given the near-total destruction of their fleet and
the razing of their planet. But G'Kar's warnings have a habit of
being ignored until it's too late
"The Long, Twilight Struggle,"
to name two instances) and given the justifiable rage many Narn no
doubt feel, they may well ignore him again.
- The Narn clearly don't know why the Centauri really left
their world. How will they react if and when they learn that it was
a bargain on G'Kar's part, not the stubborn resistance of the Narn
people as a whole, that caused their invaders to leave?
"Falling Toward Apotheosis,"
Garibaldi speculated that in a week's time, the crush of incoming
refugees would overwhelm Babylon 5's resources. That doesn't seem to
have happened. Has the diversion of people to the surface of Epsilon
3 gone smoothly enough to take the load off the station?
- This episode marks the first time Sheridan has been shown
ordering someone to certain death, though perhaps it's
something he had to do during the Earth-Minbari War as well. His
death and rebirth on Z'ha'dum likely makes such orders more credible:
he was willing to die for the cause, so he's clearly not sending
others into the fire just to save his own skin. Delenn, on the other
hand, might not be ready for that aspect of command; as Lennier
pointed out in
"Grey 17 Is Missing,"
she holds individual lives in high esteem and is reluctant to risk them
even for a greater good.
- What did Londo mean when he told the other Centauri that
when he died, there would be a reckoning? He could have been
referring to his own alleged complicity in the death of Prime Minister
or to a reckoning for Refa's actions. If the former, he was probably
thinking in particular of his rather ignoble death, strangulation at
the hands of G'Kar as foreseen in his dream
("The Coming of Shadows,"
"War Without End, Part Two.")
- Although it was clearly unintentional (see
one of Vir's earliest appearances has what could be considered
foreshadowing of his killing of Cartagia. In
"Born to the Purple,"
Londo asks Vir, "What do you want, you moon-faced assassin of joy?"
Vir has turned out to be an assassin, and by killing
Cartagia, Vir has undone some of the damage that began when Londo first
answered Morden's question, "What do you want?" in
"Signs and Portents."
- Another possible unintentional foreshadowing of Vir's
actions was the Minbari rebirth ceremony in
"The Parliament of Dreams."
During the ceremony, Delenn handed out fruits while she recited a
Minbari holy text. As she gave Londo his fruit, she spoke of birth;
Vir's, death and renewal. Obviously it wasn't JMS's intent at the
time, but Londo can be seen as bringing on the birth of the newly
ascendant Centauri Republic by helping Refa bring Cartagia to power.
Vir brings its death in the form of the assassination, and its
rebirth in the resulting shift in power.
- The poem recited by Sheridan at the end of the episode was
probably left by Sinclair, who quoted it to Delenn as far back as
It is Tennyson's
- When Londo first saw G'Kar, G'Kar commented that his eye
offended Cartagia. That's no doubt a Biblical reference, to
- G'Kar's newfound vision bears some resemblance to Norse
mythology, in which the god Odin sacrificed one of his eyes in
exchange for the ability to perceive things beyond the normal senses.
- In the initial US broadcast, the third-season theme was
played over the closing credits.
- The Shadow weapon was devised by Harlan Ellison.
- Effects glitch: About a half-second before the executive
producer credit, as the fleet is leaving Babylon 5, some Starfuries
enter the picture on the right side. As they appear, they flicker
out of existence for a frame or two. The effect is visible (barely)
at normal speed, more obvious in slow motion.
- Was the use of the third season end theme
It was an error...but as with many errors on the show, it
worked to our benefit. It's the ABA principle....Art By Accident.
- I'm quite happy with this episode. It's fun.
- I'm writing 405, "The
Long Night," and there's something that one character was supposed to
do in the script, that had been the plan all along, that was my intent
even as near as 1 page from where it was going to happen...then just as
I got to that scene, another character stepped up and said, "no, let me
do it." I was kinda flummoxed. "You?! You're the LAST person anyone
would think to do this." The character nodded. "Exactly." And the
symmetry was perfect, the impact would be greater...so that's who did
On one level, it's always wonderful when this happens; on
another, it scares the hell out of me....
It's at the bottom of act two, you'll figure it out when you get
- Which character has surprised you the most?
Probably Vir. He's surprised me on many levels. Suffice to say that in
the first 6 somewhere next season, there's something I'd slotted for
another character to do. I'd intended for that character to do it right
up.... until the page before that other character was going to do it,
when Vir stepped up in my brain and said, "No, *I* should do this." And
as soon as he said it, I knew it was right. You'll see.
- It was gonna be Londo right up until 2 pages before the
scene...then Vir said, "Nope."
- Nothing about it was at all accidental...he had to go
pick it up, turn, move to Cartagia, stick it in, and then pull the
trigger. Nothing accidental about it. But if we'd shown him doing all
the prep, the shock wouldn't have been as substantial.
- "Has a character (not actor) ever suggested a direction
to you that you didn't take, but later on seemed like the direction you
should have taken? I would think they would all be fighting for
screen-time, or is that just some actors?"
Not really, mainly because if my subconscious mind is sufficiently up in
arms about something as to throw a fictional character at me and yell at
me, it's usually a sign that I should Shut The Hell Up And Do As I'm
Told. So when it happens, I *very* rarely ignore it.
- What did Londo mean when he said there'd be a
Well, the reckoning in the next life for his actions in this
one, would be the best way of putting it. That's what he expects.
- Was G'Kar's stock a visual reference to Jesus on
I think one can make the argument there is some symbolism in
there from christian literature, but that kind of scene takes place in
other belief systems as well, and historically that sort of torture was
used in many places, including the Roman empire in general.
- Did Londo's men weaken the chains after all, or was
G'Kar just really determined?
That was one determined Narn.
- The White Star mission in that ep has definite roots;
during WW2 to convince the Germans we weren't going to land at
Normandy, our own agents were fed incorrect information, set
loose...and then info was leaked to the Germans allowing them to pick
up the agents and torture the information out of them. This wasn't
quite as bad as that, the crew at least knew what they were getting
into...but there are often no good choices in war.
- The Ericsson scene was moving.
Thanks...I think a lot of it there has to do also with the
performance of the actor playing Ericsson. He brought a real sense of
presence to the job.
- He asked if Ericsson was married because, if he was,
that was a call that Sheridan would have to make, over Stellarcom or in
person, to notify her that her husband was dead. And, for Sheridan, I
suppose there was a tinge of relief, knowing that at least he wouldn't
be creating a widow as well as ordering Ericsson to do what was
- What was the meaning of the phrase Ericsson used when
he signed off?
The Minbari phrase was the standard way for Rangers to end a
conversation, with a salute to the Entil-zha, the head of the Rangers,
which is Delenn in this case.
- Why did the promo feature Ericsson when his was a
pretty minor part?
Certainly I would never have made a big deal about the Ericsson
thing, because then it *does* set up certain expectations. I didn't
hear about the promo until you did.
There actually *was* a Lorien scene in that episode, but it got
slid a bit when we ran out of time in that ep.
- Sheridan should have known Ericsson wasn't
First, the Rangers situation is not a typical military situation. They
are primarily from Minbar, both in terms of actual Minbari and humans
trained there. They are specifically under Delenn's charge, with
Sheridan *sharing* that authority. He did not know Ericsson because
they're a large bunch to whom he has not been introduced, and likely
they don't have very large records on them. This is a *de facto* army,
not a *de jure* (I hope I spelled that right) army...there ain't a lot
of paperwork on the Rangers.
Second, it was Delenn who sent for this particular White Star, more for
its strategic location...which Sheridan used because it was closest to
the goal. Your observation is like saying that General Patton should
know *instantly* about every soldier on the line in battle, however
distant he is. Which is simply absurd. Watch some old WW2 footage
someday...there's General MacArthur walking among some troops..."What's
your name, son? Where are you from?" By your lights, he should have
Third, re: the encryption notice...of *course* they're all
encrypted...what Sheridan said was "we're RE-encrypting this message
EVERY THREE SECONDS, so be sure to have your system keep up." That's an
escalation in layers of encryption so elaborate and involved that it
makes the system actually slow down.
- More on Sheridan's sacrifice of the ship
I think it also showed the League that he was willing to
sacrifice his own people, that he *means business*...and is prepared to
go all the way for this, and they'd damned well better be as well.