This is a great and pivotal episode. The launching pad of several AUs, well of mine at least. I even included a theme song for you. And now, on to the recap!
Susan asks Delenn for a favor, she wants to borrow a White Star. She is fishing for First Ones (again) to assist in their attack on Z’ha’dum. And Susan has learned Minbari! Really, really, well as a matter of fact. (Minbari can lie in order to save someone’s honor, you know.) Marcus point out how fast things can happen in battle. Boom. Crash. Burn. So Delenn volunteers Marcus who accedes enthusiastically.
“Tell the crew that anyone who laughs will answer to me, personally.”
Delenn is rocking the commander in chief thing.
Londo and Vir approach the Imperial throne room to the sounds of laughter. G’Kar, dressed as a jester, is being taunted and tortured by the court. His crown of thorns is appropriate. Vir is distressed, Londo is…well, Londo.
Delenn’s voiceover: “By the human calendar, it is January 17th, 2261. Everyone I hold dear is gone.”
I always screech to a stop here. I hope to hell she never said that out loud. Lennier, my poor lamb, sometimes I think she sees you as an extension of herself, rather than an individual.
Susan and Marcus can’t find First Ones. Susan is impatient, and a little depressed. Marcus presses to move on. There’s a sector where ships have reported something vaguely God-like and since neither one of them was there, well.
“If you’re going to have delusions, might as well go for the really satisfying ones.”
And they’re off.
Back to Delenn’s recap. Zack approaches. He wants to know what to do with some information G’Kar requested about the transport that found Garibaldi’s flyer. No one has heard from G’Kar. Should they chase down the lead, wait on G’Kar, what? They are both worried about G’Kar, and with good reason.
In the gardens on Centauri Prime, Vir confronts Londo on his apparent lack of emotion at what is happening to G’Kar. Londo says he only wishes he didn’t feel anything, it would be much easier. They discuss the conspiracy to liberate Centauri Prime from Cartagia and Narn from Centauri Prime. G’Kar has to hold out, but Vir is uncertain he can.
Cartagia approaches, upset at the lack of success getting G’Kar to break down. He talks, and gesticulates wildly, with his red, red hands. He paddles his hands in a bowl of water and continues his exposition as the guards remain impassive, Londo prevaricates and Vir looks sick. “Silence! Where is the joy in that?” He flings the towel and the attendant misses. Cartagia wants his scream or G’Kar will have to be killed. He pours the bloody water from the bowl onto a plant to help the flowers, handing the bowl to Vir. Vir now agrees with Londo—kill him.
Delenn is in charge and sends Zack off to hunt the wild Garibaldi.
Delenn goes to talk to Lyta. Her quarters are bare except for a mattress on the floor. Nu Kosh says all else was a distraction. I’m not sure Lyta isn’t regretting her Vorlon crush a little. Delenn wants to know if the Vorlons are on board with the attack on Z’ha’dum. Lyta thinks the Vorlons have plans of their own. Delenn begs her to ask the Vorlon what the @!%& is going on.
Zack is attacking the transport’s engines, but they jettison a life pod, and then the ship blows up. They weren’t hurt that badly! He tells them to pick up the life pod and head home. We see, inside the pod, Garibaldi in Saran wrap and bathed in pink light. A voice says ‘initiating program’ and his eyes open.
Now we’re running through MedLab as Garibaldi is brought in. Stephen thinks they were lucky to find him. Zack seems…uncertain. Garibaldi looks over at Zack, confused and unfocused. There is no sign of recognition.
Lyta is being sucked dry by the Vorlon. It looks painful as it snaps to a close. Her eyes are bruised. She asks a question but is dismissed. She demands respect, and answers. As she goes to leave, she attempts to prove him but he zaps her into the middle of next week. We close on a bright light and a scream.
And segue to Londo asking G’Kar for a little scream.
I have never understood this scene. I mean, I get that it would be against everything that makes G’Kar a Narn for him to ‘give in’ to a conqueror. But I find myself uncomfortably on Londo’s side here. There are bigger stakes, and as G’Kar himself said about his vision for Narn’s future, ‘some must be sacrificed.’ Why not his honor? G’Kar tells Londo he doesn’t understand. Londo says ‘yes I do.’
On board the White Star. Marcus probes Susan to see if he has a chance with her. Okay, makes light conversation in a bid to get to know her better. She responds and he confesses there is someone special but she doesn’t know it yet (uh oh). And we find out Marcus is a…inexperienced person. Susan is surprised.
They find a distortion field in hyperspace. They go take a look. And they find ships. A lot of ships. A bloody awful lot of ships. Vorlon ships. And the Vorlon mother ship. They are hiding, and waiting.
Garibaldi is dreaming of Shadows. And interrogations. He wakes and Zack is there. He says everything’s a blur but we see his flashbacks—a Shadow ship, his flyer inside, a colorless windowless room. Voices.
Zack tells him he’s been gone two weeks, and Captain Sheridan died at Z’ha’dum.
Latke the Brevari (I don’t know if it’s spelled that way but it amuses me to think so) is warning Delenn that not everyone likes her idea of taking the battle to the Shadow’s homeworld. There is dissension in the League.
“No one every believes they have nothing left to lose until they have lost it.”
Here Delenn acts like a real democrat. She won’t stop them. They must be free to speak their minds or we have nothing left worth fighting for. She’ll be there to speak her mind as well of course. On his way out Latke drops a foreshadowing bomb. One of their long range probes picked up an unfamiliar ship whose trajectory might bring them towards the station. Delenn knows nothing about this. And we see the unknown ship, a shark fin in hyperspace.
Londo and Vir have been brought a small secret room late at night. Cartagia is in his private place. G’Kar is chained to a pole. A guard wielding an electro-whip is to flog him until he screams. 40 strokes will kill even a Narn. Vir can’t watch and Londo even looks away, then begins to mouth the plea ‘Scream.’ At the 29th stroke G’Kar gives in and screams.
This is a terrible scene and cut well with all the vivid color centered on G’Kar. Vir and Londo are pale and washed out in blue light. Cartagia’s counts with no remorse and not much emotion. He is a sociopath. Londo’s silent words are louder than G’Kar’s screams in the end.
Ivanova and Marcus return to the station. Susan wants to see Lyta. And wants them to monitor the sector where they saw the Vorlon fleet.
There is whispering and movement in the Zocalo. Crystalline notes sound ominously over the beginnings of subtle drumbeat. Lennier puts down his tea and approaches a monitor. He tells Delenn that it is now. Susan strides into C&C, asking about the monitor. A ship comes in the jump gate. Signature and silhouette unknown. The ship uses the station’s own access codes to open a docking bay. Susan sends Security down there on red alert.
The drumbeat starts up again.
Garibaldi gets dressed to go confront the threat. Delenn enters the Zocalo and meets Lennier. A Drazi begins the harangue the crowd. Zack in riot gear heads to the docking bay; Garibaldi joins him. The Drazi continues his Neville Chamberlain imitation. Garibaldi and Zack watch as a transport cube opens and
“Well, I’ll be damned,” says Mr. Garibaldi.
Back to Neville. Four races now are on the catwalk, egging on the crowd. Delenn calls out, the Drazi demands she be silenced and Lennier gets in an open palm uppercut. Minbari close around her.
“You’re acting out of fear!”
“And you are acting out of grief, and loss! If Sheridan has died, then why not the rest of us?”
This is so illogical.
“Sheridan died attacking Z’ha’dum! No one who goes there comes back alive!”
Lennier’s face here is amazing. Absolutely torn in two directions and both showing in naked emotion.
The Drazi and the others are shocked speechless for a moment, and there is brief silence.
“Captain. We’re sorry. We thought you were dead.”
“I was. I’m better now.”
And he glances over at Lorien.
Delenn’s face is worth a million words.
As is Zack’s. And Garibaldi’s. The drumbeat starts up again as Delenn flies to the catwalk stairs. And Sheridan brings them all the way along, oh he does. His speech is short and full of the miracle of hope, the only bulwark against fear that exists.
He has them, and they are ready to go tear the Shadows apart. And Lennier, oh Lennier.
His admiration is curdled into envy for a moment as he is picked out by the spotlight on the crowd. Zack is enthused. Garibaldi is still shocked and just a little bit cynical.
It is a wonderful moment, full of payback and well-wrought emotion. Delenn approaches John hesitantly, one hand outstretched, unbelieving, her faith proven right, but only after she has forsaken it. He promises to never leave her again (liar) and they embrace. And OMG the very worst case of kissus interruptus in the series!
Lyta’s presence is requested in the Captain’s quarters but she is not feeling well. Susan enters and Lyta says, ‘You know, don’t you? It’s started.’ Susan looks on and nods slightly.
John explains it all to the small gathering in his office. Garibaldi is staring at Lorien.
He challenges John’s trust in the alien. Marcus, Susan, and Lyta enter.
There is a lovely reunion between John and Susan, and he thanks the three women for coming to Z’ha’dum after him. Susan has news.
She tells them that she and Marcus found a Vorlon fleet in hyperspace. And that they have been monitoring it since they got back. That it came out of hyperspace near a Shadow base on Arcata 7.
A remarkably bone-chilling exchange between Lyta and Lennier.
Stephen is aghast. There are…were…4 million people on Arcata 7. Lyta tells them the Vorlons have decided the Shadows, and everyone touched by them, have got to go. And that if they can’t stop them, they, and everyone in that section of space, will not survive.
So here we are. Ready to follow Zombie John Sheridan into battle! Can you stand together?
Here's my theme song for the episode: