"It was the year of fire... the year of destruction... the year we took back what was ours... It was the year of rebirth... the year of great sadness... the year of pain... and the year of joy. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed. The year is 2261. The place: Babylon 5."
– Lennier, Zack Allan, G'Kar, Lyta Alexander, Vir Cotto, Marcus Cole, Delenn, Londo Mollari, Stephen Franklin, Susan Ivanova, Michael Garibaldi, John Sheridan
With the season 3 blog I said the 3rd season is my all-time favorite B5 season, I believe it still is but it is a fact that season 4 is almost a perfect season, comes very close to season 3. Season 4 does not have a single mediocre episode if you ask me, okay the season finale “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars” is somewhat …mwah, but this was an episode that was created after the 11th hour save for a 5th season by TNT. For the rest I cannot find any mediocre episode, I even love “The Illusion of Truth, most B5 fans don’t like this one I believe.
It is becoming a habit but the first episode of the season, “The Hour of the Wolf” is fairly quiet, which by no means says it’s a mediocre episode. No it’s just something big had happened, Sheridan is presumed dead, Susan is in over her head, with running the station but also with the loss of her dear friend. Garibaldi has gone missing, Delenn is in mourning. Londo has returned home to Centauri to assume his new position, adviser to Emperor Cartagia, who appears to be a nut, a very dangerous nut I might add. Lyta, Delenn and Ivanova travel to what was Z’Ha’dum in the hopes of finding Sheridan, but Lyta does not sense him. G’Kar is going to try and find Mr. Garibaldi.
In “Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi” G’Kar is searching for him and gets help from Marcus who followed G’Kar. Marcus feels G’Kar has to have some back-up. Meanwhile Delenn is on a hunger strike because the presumed death of Sheridan. Sheridan is in sort of a dreamstate where he meets an alien, who tells him that Sheridan is quite dead. Sheridan doesn’t believe him and wants to escape. When G’Kar manages to send Marcus back home to Babylon 5, G’Kar is captured by Centauri soldiers and Cartagia presents him as a gift to Londo, to do with him as he pleases. G’Kar will help Londo remove Cartagia if Londo agrees to set Narn free again, which he agrees to. Lorien, the alien which accompanies Sheridan, is not one of the first ones, but thé first one!
In “The Summoning” Sheridan, together with Lorien goes to Babylon 5. Since Sheridan actually died on Z’Ha’dum, Lorien had to replenish his life. Zack has a lead on how to find Garibaldi, Susan and Marcos are going to look for more first ones to aid in their fight against the Shadows. Cartagia is punishing G’Kar by whipping him, he wants a scream from G’Kar but he refuses to give one. Londo begs him to give him one scream, otherwise G’Kar will die! In “Falling Toward Apotheosis” it is clear that the Vorlons aren’t who they say they are, Sheridan wants Kosh II gone. In that fight Sheridan again gets mortally wounded in the attempt to save Delenn from Kosh II. Kosh inside Sheridan comes out of him to fight Kosh II. Lorien again replenish the life of Sheridan, but no more than 20 years. Meanwhile Garibaldi is very suspicious of Lorien, he begins to question Sheridan also.
Sheridan is almost ready for his plan to end the Shadow war. Vorlons have openly targeting Shadow outposts and so the Shadows do the same to Vorlon outposts. Londo realizes that Centauri also is in danger because Cartagia agreed to have Shadow vessels on their world. He is planning against Cartagia. He tries to kill Cartagia but when that backfires, Vir finishes the job! Londo keeps his word and frees Narn.
The Shadow finale is “Into The Fire”, one might say anti-climactic because in the end the war is solved philosophical. But on the other hand, winning a war against these two great powers is just not in the cards. In the beginning we did see some impressive fighting scenes, ship crashing, heavy firefights but in the end Sheridan says: get the hell out of our galaxy, Lorien goes with them. Londo succeeds in removing all the Shadow vessels on Centauri, he has Mr. Morden killed, but he forgets he is still there. Vorlon ships comes over to finish the job but goes away without firing a shot.
“Epiphanies”, the first episode after the Shadow War has ended. Of course in contrast to the 6 episodes before, this is an almost “boring” episode but this is certainly not the case! Bester comes back for a visit, Garibaldi resigns his position. His distrust against Sheridan is growing. “The Illusion of Truth”, a follow-up episode, if you will from season 2 episode “And Now For A Word”, an ISN news crew comes on board B5, Sheridan does not want to participate but the reporter states that he has to come back with something, rather it be something close to the truth, than something completely fictional. Of course even though the command staff participates, it becomes something more like propaganda against B5.
“Atonement” is directly linked to the movie “In The Beginning”. Delenn is summoned back to Minbar where she must justify her actions, including her relationship with Sheridan, of the past few years by undergoing a ritual that draws out memories of her past. There we see her going back to the start of the Earth-Minbari war where their leader Dukhat (Reiner Schone) gets killed but he is trying to say something to Delenn before he dies. The outcome of this means that Delenn no longer has to fear not being able to go back to John Sheridan. Franklin and Marcus are sent to Mars to make contact with the resistance.
“Racing Mars” Franklin and Marcus meet their contact Captain Jack on route to Mars. Once on Mars, they are seen as spies. Turns out that Captain Jack switched their identicards. Jack was being controlled by an alien creature inside him. Eventually it is all worked out, although Jack kills himself unable to live with himself, he did give clues to what was happening to him. Was a good episode, Franklin and Marcus together works rather well I have to say, travelling as a gay couple! Nbr One fancies the doc! 😊 ISN broadcasts an interview of Garibaldi that angers Sheridan. The way he talks about him and the rest of the staff, troubles him deeply.
In “Lines of Communication” we meet the Drakh, they served the Shadows but of course this we learn only afterwards. Sheridan comes up with the voice of the resistance to counter Clarks propaganda machine. Franklin convinces the Mars resistance to work together. In “Conflicts of Interest” Garibaldi needs to get a package through customs, it turns out it’s Lise, his former girlfriend, now married to the wealthiest man on Mars, Edgars. Sheridan wants Zack to get Garibaldi’s weapon and security credentials back asap. Sheridan needs both Londo and G’Kar for a plan he is having that will only get the League on board if they are. Garibaldi goes to Mars, to meet Edgars.
Ps. Garibaldi’s behavior this season has really bothered me, it is the only thing I don’t like about the season. I know, in the end it all works out but I find it really uncomfortable watching him act like this. But of course that is probably exactly the reason why JMS made this a storyline.
In “Rumors, Bargains & Lies” Sheridan comes with a ruse, so convincing that the League of Non-Aligned Worlds all want in on the White Star protection. Some funny Sheridan moments when he is having chuckles just thinking about how his plan will unfold. His colleagues looking at him confused, asking if he is alright. Delenn contacts Neroon to see if he wants to help stop the Minbari civil war. Neroon comes, seems to be interested but it apparently all was a ruse, just to know what plans the religious caste had. Delenn’s followers thought they heard that Delenn was going to surrender and so they tried to poison everyone, including themselves but Lennier manages to stop them but inhales too much himself from the stuff. He must recuperate in the infirmary. He does tell the members of the religious caste he is disappointed with them and because Delenn would be devastated that her faith in them was misplaced, he chooses not to tell it to Delenn.
In “Moments of Transition” The Minbari war between the warrior and the religious castes comes to an end, leading to the formation of a new Grey Council. In the end Neroon does give his life for the greater good. Bester comes back to Babylon 5 and makes Lyta an offer which she first decisively turns down but after that, because she knows she hasn’t got much choice, she accepts his proposition. When Clark's forces attack a transport convoy carrying thousands of civilians, Sheridan has no other option than to act against Earth.
Next episode, “No Surrender, No Retreat” where all hell breaks loose! "From now on, Earth stands alone. We're taking back Proxima III, we're taking back Mars, and then we're going to take back our home, or die trying." What an episode! After Clark’s order caused the death of civilians, Sheridan thinks it’s time to attack Clark’s forces. He decides to free Proxima III. He also now collects with The League for the continued patrolling of the White Star fleet around their borders, which has seriously curtailed raids and border clashes. He asks that every member of The League to contribute a warship to Babylon 5 for its defense and also he asks to sever all ties with the Earth Alliance, except for humanitarian aid.
In “The Exercise of Vital Powers” Garibaldi arrives on Mars, he swore never to return but he still did so because of Sheridan. He believes Sheridan would have never gone up to his own people if hadn’t been to Z’Ha’dum. Edgars does not immediately trust him, Garibaldi has been blindfolded and also when I arrives at the compound of Edgars, he also has some loyalty test in store for him. Meanwhile Ivanova is once again the voice of the resistance and Lyta helps Franklin with the telepaths.
“The Face of the Enemy” While Sheridan’s forces approach Earth, the fighting gets harder. Clark’s forces cannot flee but they still won’t surrender. Garibaldi agrees to help capture Sheridan, Garibaldi knows how, by getting to his father. Sheridan cannot believe Garibaldi would betray him and decides to go to Mars, there he gets caught by Edgars men, Garibaldi did double-cross Sheridan. Dr. Franklin and Lyta arrive on Mars, with their disturbing cargo, the telepaths, who will going to be used in the war against Clark's forces.
The superb episode “Intersections in Real Time” is where Sheridan is hold prisoner. He gets interrogated all day, they try to turn him, by confusing him, by starving him. The interrogator tries to convince Sheridan that Sheridan himself is the one who is holding himself prisoner. It’s a fantastic episode, of course, it not an action episode, it’s mostly between two characters. Bester releases Garibaldi after he got what he wanted, the virus that would kill telepaths only. Apparently the interrogator (Bruce Gray) apparently was a last minute replacement for another actor who had to drop-out of this role. Well if true, he did it absolutely wonderful, with no time for rehearsing. If JMS knew that there would be a 4th season before this episode, this apparently would have been the season 4 finale!
In “Between the Darkness and the Light” Sheridan is still a prisoner, they try to converse him, Garibaldi is captured by the Mars resistance, they are prepared to kill him right there but luckily for Garibaldi Franklin and Lyta are also there, and Franklin askes nbr one to give him a chance to explain. Ivanova is forced to engage against Clark’s most powerful destroyers which are enhanced with Shadow technology. Lyta saves Garibaldi’s life by entering his mind and confirm what he has been saying. She also shows nbr One. Together they go and free Sheridan. When Sheridan first sees Garibaldi, his first thought it seems he wants to strangle him.
“Endgame” is the all-out war against Clark’s forces, it’s a fight among space ships, like any SCI-FI fan relishes, it simply is spectacular, not only the visually but also story wise very satisfying. Clark makes his last stand at Mars and Earth, but when he knows he has lost, he figures no one can have Earth. When Ivanova is critically injured, Marcus searches for ways to find some sort of a cure. He hacks into the system and finds out about the device used in “The Quality of Mercy” and in the beginning of season 4 to heal Garibaldi, “The Summoning”. He knows this is the only way to save her, even if it means sacrificing himself to do it.
“Rising Star” is where Sheridan surrenders himself. He and his command staff will not be charged on one condition, he has to resign from EarthForce. He agrees knowing that he has a shot at the presidency of the newly formed Inter Stellar Alliance, which Delenn, G’Kar, Londo have been busy with. They offer membership to president Luchenko of the Earth Alliance. At first she is sceptic but Earth does become a member. Garibaldi is searching for Lise, he finds her and they become a couple, together they will run Edgar Industries. Ivanova revives and has to deal with the fact that someone gave his life for her, Franklin tries to console her.
Last episode, “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars”! Episode was a last minute replacement for Sleeping in Light because of the 11th hour save for a 5th season at TNT.
It would have all been different had JMS known earlier that he would get a 5th season. The Earth war would be a big part of season 5, it would have happened more gradually. Now, because JMS wanted to finish the show in four years because he felt he could not risk cancellation when the story wasn’t yet finished. Now season 5 is ….mwah, sure there are good stories, but for me, the telepath storyline I really dislike, I really didn’t like how the actor Robin Atkin Downes portrayed Byron, so the first 10 episodes are mostly okay-ish, but not in the same league as seasons 2, 3 & 4. Season 1 is also superior to season 5. But more about season 5 on the season 5 blog, which will take a while because I just have started on the last season.
* Currently the screencaps are of very low quality. As soon as I am able to update this in to better quality I update it and let it know in the comments