Reckoning. War. One of the most powerful episodes of Babylon 5 ever, during the underrated Season 5. So powerful, in fact, that our Control Group, one Steven Schapansky, demanded to be let on the podcast…
Things are ramping up: Lennier, the hero. Lyta, the opportunist. Garibaldi, the watched. Londo, the lonely. The threads are all coming together as we approach the end of Babylon 5….
Almost the full ensemble gets together for what might be the calm before the storm, with lots of character beats in an episode that–spoiler alert–we all pretty much believe is FABOO.
“I want to see the TV series set in the HR department at Psi Corps.” –James Thomson
The legendary Neil Gaiman made his American television debut writing the only episode of B5 not authored by Joe Straczynski since late Season 2. Was this mystical character piece too much of a departure from the “house style”? What the heck was Morden doing in Lennier’s quarters? We bring back the Space Mob’s biggest fan, first-time B5 watcher Steven Schapansky, for a fresh look at a story by a pre-American Gods and Coraline storyteller.
This episode has epic ’90s computer matte compositing of a balcony, set to a particularly stirring Christopher Franke score!
Oh, and Garibaldi does the secret agent thing, hamstrung by his return to the bottle; G’Kar becomes the Narn Pope; Franklin gets a job offer (name-checking a character not mentioned in 99 episodes), and Londo inadvertently fingers his own government. Just another ordinary day in the life of Babylon 5–in our 100th episode!
It’s the end of the Byron arc, in dramatically tragic fashion–which means it is of course time for our own harbinger of doom, Jason Snell, to return to delight in misfortune.
The two threads–the telepath colony crisis and the secret Centauri attacks on ISA ships–get pulled tighter together, with an unexpected rescue of Na’Toth (the real one!) and an entirely expected return of Bester. We’d call it the calm before the storm, but it’s not very calm….
No more pastels for the Regent, no.
Damian London portrays a very different Regent from the sweet old man we used to know as Londo begins to suspect very dark things are afoot in his supposedly liberated world. It’s an episode full of delightful double acts (Londo/G’Kar), palace intrigue, clumsy politics (hello, Byron) and dark omens. But is there a STORY here? And if not, is that all right?
As Steven discovers a long-buried secret about an Alliance race, Byron discovers an even more deeply buried secret about telepaths in EVERY race–just as life is getting even rougher for his followers in Down Below. How is the telepath story arc faring, now that we’re looking at it 20 years later? And what the heck IS a BCFMO, anyway?