As the station defends itself against an alien attack, two ordinary crewmen,
Mack and Bo, try to carry on and keep the station running.
Robin Atkin Downes as
Lawrence LeJohn as Bo.
Raymond O'Connor as Mack.
P5 Rating: 7.87
Production number: 505
Original air date: February 11, 1998
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Story by J. Michael Straczynski & Harlan Ellison
Directed by Janet Greek
- An alien attack force of unknown origin is sweeping
through local space, probing for weak planets that
are ripe for invasion. The force has attacked the Gaim and Babylon
5 already, but seems to be no match for the White Star fleet.
- During the initial occupation of Narn, the Centauri tried
to demoralize the resistance movement by bombing the seven largest
cities on the planet.
- G'Kar spent much of his childhood in bomb shelters thanks
to the Centauri bombardment.
- Brown sector is considered an undesirable assignment by
the maintenance crew; it's generally staffed by new people.
- Before the Dilgar War, Franklin's father was captured by
one of the factions in a civil war after his ship crashed. Though
injured, he survived because a military doctor treated him despite the
protestations of the other members of the faction. When Franklin saw
his father alive and learned what had happened, he decided he wanted
to become a doctor and that he would always care for all the injured,
whether they were his own people or the enemy.
- Who were the aliens?
- What does the device Bo used on the floor do?
- Byron's telepathic reach is long; he was able to send his
senses out into the space around the station, find a single Starfury
pilot, and transmit the pilot's experiences into the mind of a
non-telepath. Assuming, of course, he wasn't inventing the scene
for Bo's benefit.
- Before he projected the Starfury experience into Bo's
mind, Byron asked Bo whether the plight of the pilots really mattered
to him. That's the same question Byron asked of Lyta before agreeing
to help Garibaldi. What significance does the question have to Byron?
- Telepaths seem to have a perspective on death that's quite
different from that of normals. Lyta's story about being inside the
mind of a dying person
("The Paragon of Animals")
is one difference. And now Byron has revealed that telepaths can read
telepathic imprints on inamimate objects someone has recently died near.
That ability was foreshadowed in
in which the new Kosh was able to view an afterimage of his
- The "crawlers" Mack found in the C&C console and
which were mentioned as being common in Brown Sector may be related
to the infestation in
"The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari,"
which prompted new import regulations on food.
- If Lochley was concerned enough about the safety of the
station to order Sheridan and Delenn to be ready to flee in lifepods,
why wasn't Draal's help enlisted in the station's defense? Does she
know about Draal's promise to put the Great Machine at Sheridan's
("The Long, Twilight Struggle?")
- The script for this episode was written in one day.
- The conversation between Mack and Bo about Ivanova's
departure was a reference to the controversy stirred up on the net
and elsewhere when
Claudia Christian's departure
from the show
- The price of spoo is highly volatile: near the beginning
of the episode, as Mack and Bo ate lunch, Mack claimed it cost 10
credits an ounce. At the end of the episode, he said it cost 15.
- The Narn day is 31 hours long.
- Sheridan referred to Delenn's promise to see him again
"in the place where no shadows fall." She spoke those words before
entering the Markab isolation area in
"Confessions and Lamentations."
- The incident recalled by Mack and Bo, in which Sheridan
chased down someone who injured Delenn, was in
"Ceremonies of Light and Dark."
- Byron seems to be a
fan; he quoted Hamlet's speech to Yorick's skull from
Act 5, Scene 1.
- Harlan is working on something now, and suggested
something that I then based an episode on, so we share story credit on
"A View from the Gallery."
- One of the things I always do is look for ways to turn the
series format on its head, and show us our characters from other
perspectives, since perspective is so much at the heart of the show.
Whether that's jumping forward in time, or an ISN documentary, or
seeing everything through the eyes of a third party (or two), it's
always a risk, because it's never what one expects to see, and a lot of
people like to see what they expect to see.
- Writing a script is invariably faster than fixing an
outside script. I can write a script from zero in an average of 5-7
days. On a few rare occasions it's gone longer, but when that happens,
I find I lose the white-heat of the story, and it wanders a bit. In a
few cases I've written a script in a day or two (A View from the
Gallery all came out of my keyboard in one day, between about 4 p.m.
and 3 a.m.)
- About the Ivanova-rumors scene
It was never meant as a shot at Claudia, but rather at the folks out
there whose only interest is in rumors, and starting trouble, and
- Did the actors who played Bo and Mack learn to mimic
you and Harlan Ellison?
No, they didn't. What they did do...they got along famously,
the two actors, and they spent their off-hours rehearsing the scenes,
over and over, until they got it down to a patter, very natural. They
loved the roles.
- While there was a little of Harlan in Mack, there wasn't
intentionally any jms in Bo.
- Lochley's hairstyle was really severe. Did she pull
it back in a hurry?
Scoggins did exactly what you suggest, Diane. She figured, "This isn't
about hair." She was awakened, and had to get to C&C fast, she ain't
gonna do her hair, just ponytail it back.
She didn't realize, in making that choice, that it would make her a)
look that severe in the uniform, since she was still getting used to it,
and b) give her the Ivanova "peanut-head" as she used to call it. She
later realized this was a bit of an error, and has never done it since.
- Why could Byron alone project to Bo's head, while
it took the whole group of telepaths to control the alien?
Because there's a substantial difference in will and intent in making a
person who's come to murder you turn around, and creating a momentary
illusion in someone's head. It's the degree of effort involved.
- Garibaldi's position is hardly covert if Lochley
chews him out in public.
No, there's nothing secret in Garibaldi being head of covert
intelligence, any more than it's secret who the head of the CIA is.
There was no reason she couldn't say that in front of them, or anyone
else; it's common knowledge.
- "Well, actually she still wouldn't discuss it in public."
These are two STATION PERSONNEL, who work for her, who are part
of the military command structure, who have the same loyalty oaths as
she has. They didn't have this conversation in the Zocalo, in front of
civilians, it was in a closed area with two other STATION PERSONNEL,
who are entrusted with a high enough security clearance that they can
work on C&C firing consoles during heavy action, in a situation where
every second counts in getting things ready for the next wing of an
This is a non-starter issue, frankly.
- Where are the portholes visible from outside the
Look carefully at the station. It is in segments; and at the outer wall
of each of those segments, as with the sanctuary, you can get an outer
view. You can see the lights from some of these areas that have
portholes in the station when it's dark.
- Why wasn't Draal called?
I don't think Draal wants to be bothered each and every time B5
is in a hassle. He specifically said he wanted to be left alone.
Otherwise you also get into a "god in the box" deus ex machina
situation where, "Oh, we're in trouble, quick, get Draal." Truth is,
if they called him every time they got in trouble, he'd never get ANY
Now, if B5 had failed in stopping this advance force, and the
main fleet came in, then yeah, they might very well call him. But this
was just an advance force, and she knew they could take it, and she was
right...so where's the need for Draal? He should be a last resort
- But wouldn't she want to minimize casualties?
True, but is it *her* resource to do with any time she wants?
It is a separate institution and operation, that has said, politely and
not terribly politely, that on balance it would prefer to be left
- "Hmmm, wouldn't Draal likely be aware of what was
happening so close anyway? And would it not be possible that he may also
be aware of how strong the force was, how soon the white stars would
arrive, etc, and thus know if he was needed as a last resort?"
You're not describing Draal, you're describing God, and he ain't
in this show. For one thing, we couldn't afford him....
- "The "let them attack someone else, just not us" was
actually a little startling to me. If they were going to blow these guys
up, I kinda wished they'd put a little more effort into it rather than
just foisting them off onto the next, perhaps less-fortunate people."
Given that this is a little-known, distant, entire *race* out
preying on weaker races, of which this was just an expeditionary force,
how (short of planetary genocide) would you have stopped them?
Moreover, is that really Lochley's (or B5's) mandate, to eliminate
every hostile race out there?