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 S4, Episode 11:  Lines of Communication

I apologize for the lack of pictorial content; it has been quite a busy time at Chez vjs2259. This episode sets up the Minbari Civil War to come, gives Stephen a chance to mix business with pleasure, gives us a new villain of which there is more to come, and highlights two Awesome Ladies neither of which is named Ivanova! Also some nice Lennier moments, a bit of John/Delenn goodness, and some nice space battles.

Usually my main memory of this episode is the godawful representation of the Drakh, but there was So Much More!!


ISN reports that messages smuggled out from Babylon 5 indicate that humans continue to be subjected to cruel oppression. When will Earth intervene to help them? When??

Sheridan is pissed off; Susan thinks he’s winding himself up like a cheap watch. He says he’s gathering intelligence. It’s a propaganda war now.

A signal comes in from Franklin on Mars. ‘This is Lost Lamb to Big Bad Wolf.’ They are meeting with the Resistance.

Number One is watching Franklin. Carefully She is worried that her people are becoming desperate, more prone to violence. Marcus runs in to report a hotel bombing has taken out a Security Force. 10 civilians were killed. Earth blames Resistance terrorists.

Delenn is receiving a report from a Minbari named Forell, that small ships and worlds allied with the Minbari Federation are being attacked. The Grey Council is still disbanded and the three castes are protecting their own interests. The Warrior caste refuses to intervene since protection for the planets attacked was originally promised by the Religious caste. They are trying to find out who is behind the attacks and how serious they are. We see a clip of a very nice space battle with ships I don’t recognize but look vaguely Vorlon.

Sheridan is pushing buttons when Delenn comes into C&C. She tells him she is going to investigate, with a fleet of White Stars. He demurs. ‘Can’t you send Lennier?’ He whines a bit. She replies, with an almost grin which fades into her BadAss look:

“John. It pleases me that you care for what I have become. Never forget what I was, who I am, and what I can do.”


I love that scene.

We see the Earth destroyer Juno approaching Mars. Number One takes down Phillipe who arranged the bombing after checking with some Earther named Donovan. Takes him down hard.

“In 10 seconds I can crack your skull and scoop out your brains for cat food.”

I love this woman.

Phillipe attempts a rejoinder:

“Tell me, is this how you treat all your former lovers?”

“As a matter of fact, yes.”


Sheridan is watching late night trash news. Next up: a report on Minbari War Syndrome. John Sheridan, Alien Collaborator? (Is that what the kids are calling it in the 23rd century?)

‘Our job is to tell the facts, and let the truth attend to itself.’ So very, very, familiar….

Johnny has an idea, and heads to Susan’s quarters to share. She has nice jammies.

“You can’t kill the truth! Actually, you can kill the truth, but it always comes back to haunt you later.”

After a brief exchange that launched a few fics at least, John admits she looks nice but to hurry up and admire his idea. Susan changes, joins him in the war room, and doesn’t kill him.

And the Voice of the Resistance is born.

On board the White Star, Delenn hears some hard truths about the state of affairs on Minbar.

Franklin gives his speech to the Resistance leaders. Marcus supports. Sheridan is remembered, not fondly, for putting down the Food Riots on Mars after the Minbari War. Now hee wants their support and offers them independence in return. They are up against the wall; Number One thinks Earth will find them and kill them, and soon.

A jump point opens and the White Star appears. A distress signal is heard from a Pak’mar’a ship. Delenn goes into attack mode to assist. We see the same ships as before.

It is the Drakh. They know the Minbari language, but how? It is Forell! He has suckered Delenn into coming out to meet the Drakh. He has been in contact with them, is working with them. The White Star fleet follows the Drakh as Forell holds Delenn at gunpoint. Lennier looks as if he is chewing nails.

Number One reports to Stephen and Marcus that the Resistance leaders are checking with their groups but are inclined to follow Sheridan’s lead. She points out that Stephen lied to them, but she doesn’t mind. I think she likes it. I think she likes him….

Marcus thinks she likes Stephen too. He makes a bet…and…she comes back to invite Stephen to dinner, and assign Marcus to guard duty. Ahem. Marcus offers his advice:

“Touch passion when it comes your way. It’s rare enough as it is. Don’t walk away from it when it calls you by name.”

Forell pulls Delenn aside to meet with the Drakh. His friends, he says. Trust me, he says. But he’s a liar too.

The Drakh is hazy and ominous. I have heard that the costuming didn’t look good so they went for this kind of weird distortion effect…which doesn’t look good either unfortunately. I’d like to see a modern CGI Drakh, wouldn’t you?

Lennier keeps himself  beside and also just ahead of Delenn as the Drakh approaches. Such a good boy.

Forell tells a sad tale of the Warrior caste forming their own Council, of deciding to take over a city’s resources, of forcing his family and others out into the cold wastelands to walk to the nearest city. Minbari do not kill MInbari, but it death is the result of the elements, is it murder?

Yes. Yes it is.

He has enlisted the Drakh to help (okay-- why the heck not go to Delenn in the first place??) He continues his sad tale of misplaced hope. Lennier and Delenn keep exchanging glances as the story of the Drakh’s recent explulsion from their homeworld, due to a ‘natural disaster’, and their willingness to help out in exchange for some deserted worlds on the edge of Minbari space. Delenn prevaricates, saying she will consider their offer and come back in 7 days. Then Forell stupidly calls her by name, and the Drakh turns, repeats it with emphasis, and rapidly departs. She tells Lennier to order the ships to stand by, ready to fight or leave, and pounces on Forell, explaining who these Drakh are, and where they come from, and why it was not a good idea to let them know who she is.

There are not a lot of options. From a dead stop they can’t move fast enough to get away before they are destroyed. Lennier says their ship has drifted closer to the Drakh mother ship, so close that it’s in the line of fire. Delenn asks him if he has studied the Warrior caste technique called skin-dancing, and can he duplicate it. He says not without approximately five years of training. But he can program the parameters into the ships AI…then pray very fast.

(Really, why don’t they have all the Warrior stuff programmed into the White Stars already?)

In full Entil’zha, Severed Dream, BAMF mode, Delenn prepares to make a risky move. The White Stars maneuver over and around the mother ship, skating along its surface, building up speed, then break off to head for the jump points as they open them. Several ships are damaged and one destroyed, and Forell is wounded. He apologizes for not knowing who the Drakh were, and says he was just trying to help their people.

Delenn speaks to herself as much as him.

“It is I who am sorry. I have been away too long.”

Lennier starts to set course for Babylon Five, but oh no, buddy. Delenn is in full battle mode. Somebody is going to pay for her bad day, and the Drakh are number one on her hit parade.

So back they go, shooting as they exit the jump points. The Drakh mother ship tries to escape, pretty quickly.

“How fast?”


“Be faster!”

Lennier makes his move, turning the ship and backing up to the jump point, facing the big ship and cutting off its escape.

“End this,” commands Delenn. And he does.

In the aftermath Lennier points out to Delenn, “It would appear we have a problem at home.” Ain’t that the truth.

On her return to the station, Delenn enters the old war room, where Sheridan is perched on the stairs.

  “Curious thing about humans. Minbari cites remain unchanged and untouched for centuries. I leave for three days, and you re-decorate.”

Here follows a lovely exchange about duty and responsibility and how life-altering events change everything. And that nothing can ever go back to what it was. Delenn thinks John needs to be dangerous, and that it would be easier for him to do that without her around.

He asks if it would make a difference if he asked her to stay. She asks if he would want it to make a difference. He says no.

I really like this insight into their changing relationship, and I think I understand this conversation much more these days. I like a show that reveals more facets at differing stages of your life.

And for our finale:

We cut back to Marcus on guard duty, playing with his pike. Number One’s voice floats over…’Oh, Stephen…’

And with a disgusted look, it’s back to pike play for our virgin Ranger.


What is up with the Warrior caste? I mean, really, guys. Find another hobby.

I feel the two upcoming civil wars should have been longer, lasting perhaps a season, going back and forth between events on Minbar and events on the station, Mars, and Earth. With loads of angsty sad panda messages between John and Delenn. Oh wait. Did I say that out loud?

Lennier is such a devoted subordinate. I used to side-eye Delenn pretty hard for just accepting his devotion without really seeing him. Maybe she should have been the one to 'look up'. 

Do you agree that Susan oozes sincerity, and is the right person to be the Voice of the Resistance? What is it with Sheridan's WWII fetish? Also, could anyone NOT notice Susan's pj's??
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