Anything to do with Minbari culture, history, architecture, and ritual is catnip to me. So I love this episode. Actually I hated this episode when I first saw it. I was rather indignant that Delenn would agree to give up John just cause a lot of uptight bigoted Minbari wanted her to. I wanted her to tell them to buzz right off. But I spent a lot of time thinking about how hard it was for her to buck all that tradition, and also to give up all that tradition. Traditions give you structure and membership in a group. And that goes double or triple for a hierarchial society with definitive class distinctions. Delenn's relationship with her own people remains fascinating, even as it evolves. And there is so much here that presages Lennier's eventual fate.
Plus this episode got my son to memorize the lyrics to the 'Major-General's Song' from Pirates.
A Minbari cruiser approaches the station. Lennier is watching Zack get measured for his new Army of Light uniform. Zack doesn’t like it; it is itchy, and it doesn’t fit right. Lennier thinks that it is not the uniform but the job that doesn’t sit right with him. Zack gets jabbed by a Minbari and Lennier is deadpan with his reprimand. Zack wants Garibaldi back as Chief.
The Minbari were amused.
A supercilious Minbari asks Delenn if she is ready to leave the station.
She begs for another day, and to tell John she is leaving, but not why. Calenn replies that she should tell John that if The Dreaming does not go well she will not be allowed to return.
Susan is wearing her green Drazi sash and is on her way to a Drazi religious festival. It is supposed to be quite a party.
Stephen is putting in G’Kar’s new eye. It is blue. And it works.
It has be taken out at night and re-charged. Stephen drops the news that G’Kar should turn it off because it’ll keep working even when it is out of the socket. (Hah! That will be useful!) G’Kar plays with his new toy, inventing the ultimate selfie.
Sheridan calls in and asks Stephen and Marcus to join him. On his way to a rendezvous with Delenn, he encounters Susan leaving an elevator, leaning on a cane and covered in glitter.
It’s a new look. Not as good as Delenn’s new look, however. John enters talking but is gobsmacked at the sight of her. Delenn is posing in a doorway in the ultimate little black dress. John's reaction is priceless.
“I try not to be judgmental about alien cultures….when they are dressed like that.”
She invites him to a dinner and a sleepover. Delenn is not subtle about her agenda, or her unease.
She tells him she is leaving, and may be gone for some time. It is important to her that they finish the sleep-watching ritual before she goes.
Back at the meeting with Stephen and Marcus, John is upset about Earth propaganda.
“The problem with the big lie is that if you repeat it long enough, people start to believe it.”
That is almost painfully true.
He wants Stephen and Marcus to go to Mars, and work on establishing alternate lines of transit and communication. Stephen is to represent the command staff and Marcus is going along as bodyguard. Stephen offers to ask some questions about John’s father’s whereabouts, but John says no. It’s too dangerous.
Delenn leaves John sleeping in her quarters. She walks away like she’s on her way to her own execution.
In the docking area she encounters Lennier, who is coming with her. His place is by her side. Always.
This episode is a pivotal one in the evolution of Delenn and Lennier’s relationship. She needs him, and there is nothing more seductive.
On Minbar we see a large group of people, who are Delenn’s clan.
Apparently they are…concerned at her choice of mate. Mating with other races has been forbidden since our people first made contact with them. Calenn lets drop that fact that he knows she is genetically compatible with humans now. But he is obviously pissed she didn’t ask permission. Minbari can be so prissy. He talks down to her, and the crowd is with him, as far as we can tell. The calling of her heart is not enough. Love is not enough. She agrees to abide by the decision of her clan but makes a little protest about pre-judgment and who writes the rules.
Don't you love the tubular bells??
She is to enter the Dreaming. Lennier will act as her second. They go to prepare the Whisper Gallery. It is all very mystical and ominous. The white robes don’t help; it feels like a sacrifice.
Delenn and Lennier take a jeweled silver cup from a niche in the wall, drink from opposite sides, and enter the chamber, which is full of mists. Delenn acted as protector and guide for Dukhat when she was there before. We fade to that past episode.
Dukhat mentions that Delenn has a proud heritage, prouder than she knows. He tells her there is nothing to fear in the Dreaming, that they only that which we bring with us. The Dreaming takes us forward and the Dreaming takes us back.
Delenn then relives the eath of Dukhat, and screams.
Lennier calls her name and tells her he will not leave her.
We are back in the past again. Dukhat calls Delenn into the chamber of the Grey Council.
He carries the staff of Valen. Dukhat explains that the Council has decreed that the Minbari make no contact with a new race they have heard of: the humans. They all have different reasons.
Dukhat puts Delenn in the spotlight and asks her opinion. She replies essentially that she wants to know. Dukhat puts it as the simplest of joys, that of the child and the closed box. She is curious. The councilors are dismissed and Dukhat leaves, telling Delenn to follow. A brief discussion ensues. Dukhat says they won’t contact the humans because he won’t go against the Council and they won’t change their minds-- but at least he’s made his point that they are wrong. He tells her his anger may have put her in an awkward position and for that he is sorry. Then he tells her to look up.
“I cannot have an aide who will not look up. You will forever be walking into things.”
This is, or course, exactly what Delenn said to Lennier back in Season One when he first showed up to be her aide on Babylon 5.
She is thrilled at the promotion.
After a brief interlude back in the Dreaming chamber, where Delenn is up and smiling at her memory of Dukhat, we return to her induction into the Grey Council.
She touches the triluminary and it flares brightly. Dukhat observes the surprise and shock on the other councillor’s faces, and the confusion on Delenn’s. He was expecting it.
Later he stops by her chambers and starts to congratulate her and also to explain some things.
The glow of the triluminary confirmed something for him. They came from Valen’s time, but there is a legend they also came from the future.
He says he chose her for a reason, and begins to say something about her heritage when an alarm sounds…
They leave to investigate. Delenn identifies the approaching ships as human; she has been checking out humans on the sly. The Minbari are approaching with gunports open, a sign of respect. Dukhat protests, but it is the Warrior caste custom, and you know how they are. The human ships are sending out messages but they don’t understand the language. Delenn sees approaching soul hunter ships, evidence of death to come. Dukhat shouts to close the ports now. The humans fire. Dukhat is injured. Delenn holds him as he dies and mutters something inaudible. One of the councilors approaches her and says they are divided on whether to follow the humans and attack. In a frenzy of grief and rage she declares ‘No mercy. Kill them all.’
Lennier has now learned her deep dark secret. He says it’s not her fault. It was a misunderstanding, that is all. Understandable.
She says it was her decision, and the war was her responsibility.
Back in the past, Delenn is reconsidering her call to war but the other councilor (Byron! Always a pleasure. Not.) says the world has gone mad and their rage can only be exhausted in blood.
Delenn made the same remarks back in Ceremonies of Light and Dark.
Lennier points out that her clan will decide she only desires to join with Sheridan to atone for her mistake all those years ago. He says he doesn’t believe that but I’m not sure I believe him. In fact, I think this plants the seed that will end in tragedy for Lennier.
The Dreaming ends, the chamber opens. They are sent to rest—in the morning Delenn and Lennier will tell what they say, and the clan will render its decision.
Delenn can’t sleep. She keeps remembering Dukhat’s words, replaying each incident she saw in the Dreaming. She can recall it all except for what he said while he was dying. She gets up, rushing by Lennier who is praying, and goes back to the chamber. Taking out the cup, she is accosted by Calenn who tells her she can’t go back in. Lennier of course just drinks when she offers, and she forces Calenn to drink too and come with her to see the truth.
They all three enter. She repeats Dukhat’s words to Calenn. ‘There is nothing to fear in the Dreaming.’ And ‘walk with me.’
She takes both their hands. They listen, hard, and finally hear what Dukhat was trying to say.
‘There was a purpose in my selection. Your heritage…..You are a child of Valen.’
Lennier comes back with a scroll. He tells Delenn he was able to get by Security in the Archives by explaining matters to them, and that they would recover, in time.
Delenn explains DNA and genetics to Calenn, who knew it all anyway.
Lennier is contemptuous of this revelation. Lennier does good contempt. Calenn wants to maintain the purity of their race by forbidding her joining with John. Or the illusion of purity at any rate. Weasel. Delenn is not impressed.
Calenn comes up with a cunning plan.
A tradition of giving a female, a symbol of life, to the side who had lost the most…he can sell this to the clan. He suggests it is a great sacrifice for her to make.
Now Delenn is contemptuous. They leave and return to the station.
John just happens to be hanging around the docking bay. Aww, so cute.
He just accepts that Delenn will never tell him what it was all about, and they walk off, discussing Stephen and Marcus’ mission. John thinks they may be making a vacation of it.
Cut to: Marcus playing with his pike. Which is just about as annoying as you imagine. It certainly annoys Stephen.
‘This is the kind of conversation that can only end with a gunshot.’
So Marcus offers instead to sing, and breaks into a little Gilbert and Sullivan. I LOVE THIS.