Intro - "And so it begins." – Kosh, "There is a hole in your mind." – Minbari Assassin, "What do you want?" – Mr. Morden, "No one here is exactly what he appears." – G'Kar, "Nothing's the same anymore." – Jeffrey Sinclair, "Commander Sinclair is being reassigned." – William Hague, "Why don't you eliminate the entire Narn homeworld while you're at it?" – Londo Mollari, "I see a great hand reaching out of the stars." – Elric, "Who are you?" – Sebastian, "President Clark has signed a decree today declaring martial law." – ISN News Caster, "These orders have forced us to declare independence." – John Sheridan, "Weapon supplies." – Alfred Bester, "Unless your people get off their encounter-suited butts and do something." – John Sheridan, "You're the one who was." – Zathras, "If you go to Z'ha'dum you will die." – Kosh, "Why are you here?" – Lorien, "Do you have anything worth living for?" – Lorien, "I think of my beautiful city in flames." – Delenn, "Giants in the playground." – John Sheridan, "Now get the hell out of our galaxy!" – John Sheridan, "We are here to place President Clark under arrest." – John Sheridan
It is no secret, every Babylon 5 fan by now knows that the renewal for season 5 came at the 11th hour and from an unexpected network, TNT! JMS was finishing up season 4 with the thought Babylon 5 would not be renewed so season 4 is really jam packed, a rollercoaster ride from first to last episode. So when the show did get renewed, basically the story had been told somewhat at the end of the 4th season. Even the series finale was filmed at the end of the 4th season. I believe that episode 4x17 “The Face of the Enemy or 4x18 “Intersections in Real Time” would have been the season 4 finale had Babylon 5 been renewed earlier in the season. So the Earth storyline would have ended in season 5 and very likely smeared out over more episodes. That would have been ideal, however it went differently and although season 5 is not in the same league as the first 4 seasons, it still has enough for every B5 fan to keep rewatching this every few years. Especially the second part of season 5 regains some of what we were used to from the earlier seasons.
What for me was the big problem, the Telepath story obviously, this never really gelled for me from the first time I watched it. Main reason I believe was that I didn’t like how actor Robin Atkin Downes portrayed his character Byron, from the very first scene he annoyed me. And I was happy when the telepath storyline skipped an episode. We also get a new captain, Elizabeth Lochley, who, I think, did a good enough job, she never can replace Susan Ivanova but she made the character her own and the bickering between her and Garibaldi were quite interesting, she definitely holds her own. In the first episode she makes the right call in regard to the telepaths, she foresaw the problems that ultimately happened, Sheridan thought he might need them in the future and made the a political decision to let them stay on B5. Probably his first mistake as President. G’Kar is the author of the declaration of principles which he takes very seriously and requires more than one rewrite!
The Second episode “The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari” is one of the best episodes of the season and probably the best episode of the first 11 episodes. Londo gets a heart attack because of the stress and now he has to atone for what he did. He only has to say sorry but for Londo that is quite hard. Lennier, in love with Delenn, cannot live with the fact that she married Sheridan, goes away to become a ranger. Best of all, this episode was telepath free!
“Paragon of Animals” is not a great episode but it still has some good moments. Especially the humor between Sheridan, Delenn, Garibaldi, G’Kar and Londo. Sheridan has trouble with the League of Non Aligned Worlds because they don’t want to sign the Declaration of Principles. Lyta, who is in a mind of a dying ranger, helps out Sheridan with his problem. Garibaldi asks Byron for help, Byron does not give it, he embarrasses Garibaldi even but when the same request comes from Lyta, Byron agrees to help which saves lots of lives. “A View From A Gallery” also an okay episode, where the audience follows two maintenance men on their daily routine. Byron has one moment where I find him a bit more amicable when he gives maintenance Bo a moment he will never forget. Also an inside Joke about Susan Ivanova, why she left, a rumor, because she didn’t get enough money! I don’t know what actually happened so I cannot really tell if the joke is appropriate.
In the fifth episode, “Learning Curve” we follow two young rangers who come to Babylon 5 with their mentors to meet Delenn. One of the two gets into a fight, nearly gets killed and he has to face his attacker again to conquer his own fears. The other one has to look in himself because he didn’t help his mate because he felt the cause wasn’t just enough. Garibaldi wants to know on which side Lochley was during the Earth war. But has he even the right to ask her that while he was against Sheridan the whole 4th season. Okay it was done to him by Bester, but still, he also had done some ugly deeds. Sheridan asked Lochley to be the new commander, because he knew her, but this episode he tells Delenn they were married for a short period! We only see her (and his) reaction, but not the confession). And again, telepath free episode!
Bester is back in “Strange Relations”, he is there to retrieve the telepaths. When Garibaldi learns he’s on the station, he storms into Lochley’s office where she punches him and throws him into the brig. Sheridan doesn’t want Bester to take the telepaths, he even makes it an order. Garibaldi finds out why Lochley was picked by Sheridan. Londo needs protection, Delenn asks G’Kar to be his bodyguard. G’Kar find the notion at first preposterous but he accepts and sees the fun in it. Franklin gets a promotion. A heavy Byron episode, he is less annoying in this episode except for the singing in the end. What is starting to bug me more and more is Lyta, who acts like a lost puppy when she’s around Byron.
For me “Secrets of the Soul” is the weakest episode of the season. Franklin in his new function, is investigating a terrible secret from the Hyach’s distant past. In the end I personally think his judgement is rather hard towards the ones who weren’t even born yet, even though they tried to hide the truth out of shame. Byron’s group becomes bigger and bigger, lot of folks aren’t happy with that, some of the telepath answer their violence with violence against Byron’s will. Lyta tells Zach that she would follow Byron into hell, well that is what I meant with my remark from the previous episode. By being intimate with Lyta, Byron founds out that the Vorlons created Telepaths on all worlds to help fight the Shadows. He wants the Alliance to give them a home world of their own.
“The Day of the Dead” is also not a favorite episode of mine. It is not all bad mind you, some nice Lochley moments, Londo gets a good night. Lennier gets a visit from Mr. Morden telling him that he will betray the Anla'Shok.
The 9th episode “In The Kingdom of the Blind” is the best episode yet, not because of the Byron storyline but because of the Centauri storyline. Byron tricks Garibaldi into letting Byron speak for the council. There he threatens the Alliance members with the fact that they (telepaths) know all their secrets because they (Alliance members) have been followed for 2 days. Lyta is so clingy, why does 85% of these telepaths need to have this long baby shampooed hair? What is the deal with that? Two more Byron episodes to go… Londo is on Centauri, with G’Kar as his bodyguard, great scenes, these two characters together is gold! The Regent is acting strange and Londo’s friend Jano is death, it looks suicide, but it is murder. A murder attempt on Londo is thwarted by an alien who is controlling the Regent it later appears. When Londo finally gets to meet the Regent, he tells Londo to enjoy his freedom as long as he can. The Regent gets punished by these aliens because of what he said to Londo. Londo gets creeped-out on Centauri, it does not feel the same and wants back to B5 a.s.a.p., and Sheridan revokes his support for the telepaths after there has been killing by telepaths.
In “A Tragedy of Telepaths” the telepaths are bunkered in, haunting the workers who are trying to find a way in. Lochley feels she has no other choice than to contact Bester. Telepaths send a message to Lochley that they want to talk. Sheridan has trouble keeping the Alliance together, they are all attacking each other at their borders, Sheridan suspects an outside race. Na’Toth is still imprisoned on Centauri Prime. G’Kar and Londo free her from the prison.
“Phoenix Rising” closes the telepath storyline, took long enough if you ask me. Of course Lyta still mentions him during the rest of the season but that’s it. Byron’s group is split up, the violent group have taken hostages in Medlab, both Franklin and Garibaldi are among the hostages. Byron and Lyta escape brown sector to try and prevent more harm in Medlab. When Sheridan says he does not cooperate with terrorists, Garibaldi is about to get shot but Byron shoots the one with the gun. Bester is there too and is furious when he learns he cannot take Byron with him because the jurisdiction has changed because an Earth officer has been shot. Byron tries to solve the situation by giving up these men who were responsible for the killing but Bester ruins the plan and a shoot-out follows. Byron and his followers kill themselves in the end. Garibaldi thinks he can kill Bester but he took measures to prevent that, 3 rules of Asimov. Garibaldi cannot handle this and begins to drink again.
With the telepath story ended, Babylon 5 gets more interesting again, the episodes are building up towards an exciting end where Centauri Prime is at the heart of it. In “The Ragged Edge” the Alliance members have decided not to show themselves at the meeting as long as the attacks go on. Then there finally is a possibility of getting proof who is behind the attacks. Garibaldi goes to the Drazi Home world to meet up with a contact of his, who has more info. But he gets drunk again and his buddy is killed right outside his room. The witness is also killed, Michael comes back with nothing more than a button of sorts but when Londo comes in and recognizes it, coming from the Centauri, from within the palace, Sheridan and the team know Centauri is behind the attacks, but Londo is kept out of it, he doesn’t know. In his absence G’kar’s book has been printed 600.000 times, he has become a religious icon, which he does not want to be but T’Lon convinces him that he is the right man to teach the Narns a new lesson, not hate and not fight. Again some great scenes between G’Kar and Londo, I think this is my favorite bit of the 5th season, these scenes with these characters.
“The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father”, a bit of a filler episode if you ask me. Sure, it is always fun to see Bester, this character makes every episode interesting and although it has its moments, it is interesting to see the day to day Bester at HQ where he is well liked, respected and even popular but it never becomes a really great episode.
In “Meditation on the Abyss” the Drazi Ambassador asks Sheridan if they would keep their word if they would find out that a major power was behind these attacks. When Londo finds a Drazi bug in a bag Vir took with him, Vir smashes the place of the Drazi sales man. He goes berserk and Londo is proudly watching him. Londo decides to make Vir the new Ambassador when Londo becomes emperor. Delenn asks Lennier in secret for a mission on the border of Centauri space. She doesn’t want Sheridan to know. G’Kar gets a new eye, finally he has two red eyes again. Garibaldi is getting drunk again when his colleagues have a nice dinner.
“Darkness Ascending” is definitely one of the best episodes of the season where Lise comes to the station and very soon she sees Garibaldi is again having drinking problems. Lyta and G’Kar make a deal, she gets money for her telepath mission, G’Kar gets genetic material of Lyta and of every telepaths he wants. Lennier uncovers the much needed evidence that Centauri indeed is behind the attacks and Sheridan and Delenn blame each other for sending Lennier on such a dangerous mission. The Royal court contacts Londo, saying that the alliance is fabricated the evidence, which Londo does not believe. A meeting is planned but Londo hasn’t been invited.
“And all My Dreams, Torn Asunder” also one of the best of the season. Londo is not invited to the Alliance council meeting where proof is shown that the Centauri are behind the attacks. When Londo is given the proof, he is not worried, until Lennier comes in with the recording of an actual attack. Zach goes by Garibaldi and notices he is drunk again. He give Garibaldi a chance to come clean himself up. Garibaldi fucks it up again when he is supposed to warn Sheridan when he (Sheridan) is out in White Star 43 because Centauri do not acknowledge the sanctions. Garibaldi sleeps through it. Alliance members want blood and then Sheridan gets very angry, good scene, saying that they are out for war. Meanwhile Franklin needs to protect Vir when Londo has gone to home world, again with G’Kar as his bodyguard.
In “Movement of Fire and Shadow” the Centauri ships who attack their neighboring worlds, are unmanned, Shadow-tech is guiding these ships! Franklin and Lyta go to Drazi homeworld because Vir is concerned because they do not return the dead. Well that’s because the ships are unmanned but Vir did not know that at the time. The Drazi and the Narn do not listen to Sheridan and together they attack the Centauri home world. Is Sheridan on time to stop them? The Regent tells Londo that his time is almost up and that he is glad he’s almost done. His last act was to send the Centauri ships away from home world on a false emergency and take off planetary defense systems! This one also belongs to the best episodes of the season, same for next episode, if only this was from the start of the 5th season!
In the finale Centauri episode “The Fall of Centauri Prime”, the Drakh finally show themselves to Londo. It is his time and the Regent will soon die. He tells Londo it is okay to blame him for everything that has happened, he won’t mind. Londo says goodbye to G’Kar, who forgives him, not his people, for what they have done to the Narn people. A nice emotional moment between these two colorful characters. Centauri forces are returning but they stand down, Sheridan asks Londo to help find Delenn who has been lost which he does. Vir will become the new ambassador.
A tragic figure, the Regent, Londo was right to trust him in season 4 with appointing Minister Milo Virini as the Regent, he was a good man, not power hungry or something. His bad luck or irony that the allies of the Shadows came there because of Londo.
In the last few episodes “Objects in Motion”, “Objects at Rest”, “Wheel of Fire” Babylon 5 is winding down, these episodes close down threads, open new ones for the follow-up crew which we as viewers of course never get to see. Perhaps if Crusade did make it past 13 episodes we would have seen the new crew but we all know this didn’t happen. Some interesting things do happen, which we as a viewer would love to see a follow-up on, like the deal Garibaldi makes with Lyta where he has a shot at Bester. Or when Londo visits Sheridan and Delenn on Minbar with an ultimately creepy gift. Although these episodes aren’t as exciting and must see, they are still very watchable, even comforting in some ways!
One moment in “Objects in Motion” always cracks me up, when Sheridan is upset about all the strange things people are saying and doing, he says to Franklin: I tell you, the next person who acts irrationally, I swear I'm gonna shoot myself in the head. Delenn storms in , passes them, yells: BASTARDS! Dr. Stephen Franklin: [staring in disbelief] Did she just...? President John Sheridan: [astonished] She did...! Dr. Stephen Franklin: I'll get the gun. – As I said, it cracks me up!
“Sleeping in Light” – episode which was already filmed a year before for season 4 when JMS expected Babylon 5 to be cancelled. It is a very emotional episode, a real tear jerker. I did not watch it yet with this rewatch because I always watch it after “Crusade” and this time I also have to watch most of the movies like “Thirdspace”, “River of Souls”, “A Call to Arms” , “Legend of the Rangers” and “The Lost Tales”. Normally I watch “Thirdspace” and “River of Souls” during seasons 4 & 5 but haven’t done that this time, so I have something to look forward to.
I finally did it, wrote blogs for Baylon 5 which I started in 2017 with the first season. Then it took 5 years before I wrote blogs for seasons 2-5. Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are my all-time favorite TV shows, both approximately 30 years old but still untouchable, although I am very impressed with The Expanse and of course also Stargate Atlantis which I really love but none can come near to these two shows and I foresee that this won’t ever change! Hopefully JMS gets a chance to make another Babylon 5. I am really excited about a possibility for more Babylon 5 and am very curious if he can succeed a second time with one of my all-time favorite TV shows! #B5onCWin23
Screencaps: Google Search