The Centauri situation escalates. Lyta and Franklin visit the Drazi homeworld
on a mission of mercy at Vir's request.
Wayne Alexander as Drakh.
P5 Rating: 9.43
Production number: 518
Original air date: June 17, 1998
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by John Flinn III
- Sheridan has authorized the White Star fleet to engage
the Centauri if they're involved in hostilities with other Alliance
- The White Star fleet has been taking steady losses since
its construction: many ships were lost during the Shadow War, more
during the conflict with Earth, and now more in battle with the
- Sheridan has asked Delenn to relay a request to the Grey
Council: release the technologies needed to build White Star-class
ships to Earth, which will begin construction of White Star destroyers
and cruisers to supplement the existing White Star fleet.
- On their way to deliver the message, Delenn and Lennier
have been attacked by Centauri warships. Their White Star was left
crippled and drifting in hyperspace.
- Centauri ships have been destroying jumpgates.
- The Centauri ships carrying out the attacks on Alliance
ships have been piloted not by Centauri crews, but by Shadow-derived
autopilot organisms. As a result, no Centauri bodies have been
recovered from the wreckage of cruisers destroyed by Alliance forces.
- Not all the Alliance races are participating in the war.
The Vree, and possibly others, have declared their neutrality.
- Londo has been released from prison, though G'Kar is
- The Drazi and Narn have launched an offensive against the
Centauri homeworld, fully aware that they'll cause large civilian
casualties. Sheridan is trying intercept them with a large fleet
of White Stars in time to stop the attack; it's not clear if he has
- The Regent, acting under the control of the Shadows'
allies on Centauri Prime, has rendered the planet defenseless against
the attack by ordering the ships stationed in orbit to go elsewhere in
response to a fake emergency, and by deactivating the automated
- What was done to Londo? Was his experience with the
aliens real or a dream? Does he now have a Keeper
("War Without End?")
If his experience was real, what was done to G'Kar, if anything?
- Did Sheridan make it to Centauri Prime in time?
- What was G'Kar writing in his cell? More chapters of the
Book of G'Kar?
- What was the gift from Sheridan that Delenn refused to
- Why wasn't Delenn's ship accompanied by any escorts?
Granted, the specifics of her mission were supposed to be kept secret.
But the Minbari ambassador returning home to consult with her
government just after the start of a war would hardly appear
suspicious, and given Sheridan's obvious concern for her safety, an
escort could easily be justified even if she were simply returning
home to deliver a status report or receive new instructions.
- Delenn's White Star was badly damaged by a small group of
Centauri cruisers. Since they were built to fight Shadow ships with
immensely more powerful weaponry, its relatively easy near-destruction
might seem a bit inconsistent, but that's not necessarily true.
First, Delenn was caught by surprise here. Second, in previous
combat situations, White Stars have relied heavily on maneuverability
to avoid being hit by the same weapon in rapid succession, giving their
defenses time to adapt to particular weapons (as Lennier mentioned in
"War Without End part 1.")
In this case Delenn's ship took several direct hits in a row. Third,
it might not be a correct assumption that her ship was hit by ordinary
Centauri weapons; with the Alliance and its White Stars stepping into
the fray, the Drakh and their cohorts may well have applied some
leftover Shadow technology to the weapons systems of the cruisers.
- Garibaldi's drinking problem seems to have lessened in
severity a bit, perhaps as a result of Zack discovering it. It didn't
appear to interfere with his job duties as it has in the past.
- Lyta said the Vorlons gave her knowledge of Shadow
technology in case she encountered any of it while working for them.
What other knowledge did they give her, and how detailed is it?
- Lyta's enhanced powers were in evidence again; she forced
the Drazi assassin to shoot himself. In a similar situation, it took
several telepaths joining forces with Byron to force their will on
an enemy soldier
("A View from the Gallery,")
and they weren't trying to make the alien kill itself.
- Between her deals with Vir and G'Kar, Lyta is accumulating
a large sum of money for her cause. What exactly does she intend to
spend it on, given that G'Kar has already promised her ships? Maybe
she's saving it to fund construction once a suitable colony planet
has been located.
- Lyta told G'Kar that the deal between the two of them had
to be kept secret, but she told Vir what she wanted the money for
and didn't exact a similar promise from him. What part of her deal
with G'Kar was Lyta afraid would become public knowledge? The fact
that she was supplying human genes to the Narn?
- Lyta mentioned that she'd heard the Psi Corps had
acquired a couple of the Shadow control modules. What has the Corps
done with them? Is there any relation to the secret mothership the
Corps keeps in hyperspace
("The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father?")
- Why wasn't the fact that the Centauri ships are operating
without normal crews detected before? Obviously the fact that they
didn't leave behind any survivors would have made it difficult for
that information to find its way back to the Alliance even if it was
detected. And Lennier's one-man fighter might not have been equipped
to perform that kind of scan when he was attached to the cruiser
But the Centauri warships have been under observation by White Stars
for a little while
("And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder")
and it seems odd that one of Babylon 5's probes could sense that
there was no crew while a White Star couldn't.
- Sheridan claimed that nobody started a war "just to honk
off your neighbors." But that's exactly the goal of this war from
the Drakh point of view. Not coincidentally, it was also the strategy
of the Shadows: turn everyone else against one another.
- The Narn and Drazi disobeyed the orders of the President
of the Alliance on a military matter. What will the political
consequences be? Does the Alliance charter allow member races to
carry out their own attacks against an enemy of the Alliance, or
are they supposed to defer to the Alliance? They appear to be
allowed to determine their own defense policies and refuse Alliance
intervention, but that isn't necessarily the same as carrying out
an attack. And even if military coordination isn't required under
the terms of the Alliance, given that G'Kar wrote the Declaration
of Principles, attacks on civilians are almost certainly forbidden.
Will the Drazi and Narn be removed from the Alliance?
- The Centauri Minister of Defense may or may not be in
on the conspiracy. If he is, his refusal to consider Londo's proposal
was a foregone conclusion. But given that Londo discovered that
military production was being stepped up, and that that fact was
classified such that only the Regent was supposed to know about it
("In the Kingdom of the Blind")
it's entirely possible that the Minister, and his fleet commander,
truly believe that the attacks are being staged by the Narn or
someone else using surplus ship hulls.
- Londo's mad dash from the Regent when he was told the
planet was defenseless may be evidence that he doesn't yet have a
Keeper (though arguably a Keeper wouldn't bother stopping him
from doing what he did since there was no chance of undoing the
Regent's sabotage.) The Regent's comment that Londo should enjoy his
remaining "free" time further implies that Londo isn't under alien
But it's possible that a Keeper isn't implanted all at once. In
Captain Jack's Keeper grew back after most of it had been removed;
maybe a Keeper is implanted by placing a spore of some kind in the
victim and letting it grow. In that case, Londo may indeed have
been implanted and the Regent may have been referring to the amount
of time it takes a Keeper to become active.
- The alien's comment that Londo was "sufficient" implied
that he might not have been -- how was Londo being measured?
Given that he's in line to be the next Emperor, how much latitude do
the Shadow allies have in their selection of subjects?
- Once again, Londo has stood in the sand garden looking
skyward, just as in his dream
("The Coming of Shadows,")
its eventual fruition
("The Hour of the Wolf")
and his observation of the Centauri fleet
("And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder.")
- It's not clear
whether Sheridan arrived too late to stop the attack on Centauri Prime.
The sequence as shown was: the Narn/Drazi fleet jumped out of
hyperspace. Londo saw some jump points open in the sky. The Narn and
Drazi started firing. What's unanswered is, were the jump points
Londo saw the same ones the Narn and Drazi opened? If not, it's
possible Sheridan's fleet arrived just in time, and the Narn and
Drazi opened fire on the White Stars, not on Centauri Prime itself.
- If Sheridan didn't arrive in time, then it's
possible the attack caused some of the devastation of Centauri Prime
"War Without End."
- Two of the principles in the Declaration of Principles
are rules of engagement: no destruction of jumpgates, and the return
of enemy bodies.
- The alien surgeons, and their drill, previously
"Ship of Tears,"
"The Exercise of Vital Powers,"
in which telepaths recalled receiving Shadow cybernetic implants.
- Visual inconsistency: When Delenn and Sheridan kiss,
she embraces him and puts her hand on his shoulder. The point of
view shifts and they're still kissing, but her hand has jumped to
- Franklin's initial refusal to ask anyone for directions
to the hotel was a subtle counterpoint to his demand for directions
from the Drazi doctor later in the episode.
- The Minbari-human collaboration on new ships based on
White Star technology may eventually form the basis for the Excalibur,
the ship in the spinoff series
- How many other shoes have you got to drop on
A couple more shoes.
And a boot or two.
- "Actually, it's possible that this is all just a
coincidence of timing. After all, JMS didn't write these episodes
knowing when the breaks in the season would take place. On the other
hand, I hate coincidence and this is one hell of a big one..."
Funny thing about that. When I wrote this, this was the first
part of a very tight two parter (well, actually, it's part 4 of a five
parter; if you watch them straight through, one dovetails right smack
into the next, it's one really huge episode). Anyway, for the fifth
one, the next one to air, I decided to do a recap in the teaser, a
"Previously on Babylon 5..." compilation. Hadn't done it with the
others, but just decided to do it with this one, since it picks up
seconds after the other.
Later, after putting it together, in a phone call with TNT, they
told me about the decision to put in a break after this episode. "So
you may want to consider putting a recap into the teaser, since this is
a two-parter and it's been a long time and that's something you didnt'
"Well, actually...I already did that."
A long pause. "How did you know?"
Scared 'em real good with that one.
- "and i guess we now know why the attacking centauri
vessels wouldn't have noticed lennier exchanging a little
breathing--since they weren't really using it thmselves."
- If the Shadows have devices for piloting combat
ships, why did they need bodies for their own ships?
The control pods mainly work via remote control, their functionality
(as Lyta noted) is limited. For the shadow vessels, you need a fast
reaction, independent-thinking cpu of a higher order...also because a
shadow vessel is a hell of a lot more advanced and complex than a
- Is this attack what caused the damage in
"War Without End?"
Of course, everyone's assuming here that the awful state we find
Centauri Prime in, in WWE, is caused entirely by war....
- Why wasn't the beginning of the season more like
Well, it's kinda what I've been saying all along...the bigger
the planned wham, the longer the quiet ramp-up. And, again, the arc
was there when it didn't seem to be: this whole thing started when the
raids started to take place, which goes back quite a ways. And Lyta
would not be in this position, not this assertive with her abilities,
had she not gone through the fire (literally and figuratively) with
Byron, whose fate more or less kicked her out of her shell. The old
Lyta would never have just up and gone to the Drazi homeworld on her
own; but the money, needed to follow her and Byron's dream, propelled
It was ALL there, more or less in plain view.
And without it, without all that careful and deliberate setup,
this episode (and especially those that follow) would never have played
as well, if at all.
- "I agree the coldness was disturbing, but I feel this
reveals the deep emotion she feels at Byron's death and her consequent
ruthless determination to achieve his goals."
This was the point I was going for with people who were saying
that the Byron thing was totally extraneous. To get Lyta to this point
as a character -- remembering her "I'll sue" tirade as the last time
she even sorta kinda got mad -- she would *have* to go through the
fire, and lose something that meant enough to push her to this point.
So you had to let the relationship with Byron go full term, follow it
over time, and see what it meant to her to justify and motivate what
happens to and with her in the last part of the season.