This is a tightly plotted ricochet episode that ping pongs back and forth between John and Delenn’s attempts to utilize/foist off rumours, make bargains, and deal with/utilize lies.
Sheridan is not eating his breakfast. Ivanova and Zack and Stephen and Marcus approach, with their trays, and greet him as they pass. They sit together at another table. Zack throws out a conversational gambit. But Sheridan ignores them. He is muttering to himself. Then he starts laughing.
The conversation about using White Stars to patrol and fight raiders continues. The League worlds are bucking against the idea, and probably won’t give in until something happens. Sheridan is obviously amusing himself, but waves them off when they question him. Finally he guffaws and slaps his knees. Everyone stares and Susan invites him to share with the class. He demurs and they continue. Then he slaps the table and announces ‘That’s it! I got it! Hah!’
He comes to their table and tells them the answer to the problem of getting the other races to accept the White Stars protection is to not get them to accept it. He tells Marcus to take three ships to Sector 83 and wait. ‘For what’, asks Marcus. ‘I don’t know yet’, says Sheridan with a goofy grin. ‘But this is going to be great!’ Exits Captain, amused.
Ivanova checks his discarded coffee mug for a reason for this jocularity and finds none. Stephen remarks if this is what he’s like after Delenn’s been gone for 3 days, he doesn’t want to know what he’ll be like after another week.
Cut to Delenn and Lennier in hyperspace. The primary beacon around Minbar is not functioning. Lennier has been able to tap into local broadcasts. Fighting has broken out in the capitol, and it is feared it may spread to the other cities. ‘Civil war,’ says Delenn. ‘Yes,’ says Lennier, ‘It has started.’
Delenn is in the viewing room, looking at pictures of Minbar. She reminisces to Lennier about her love for the city, and wonders if she is responsible for its current state. (She is, of course. But she had her reasons.) Lennier points out Valen also said the Grey Council would be broken in the next Shadow War. But as Delenn rejoins, now they know Valen was Sinclair, and all he knew was what had happened up till his journey to the past to become Valen. He saw no further.
Lennier seems more realistic and fatalistic about what has happened. It was a question of balance between the castes and while the Grey Council kept that balance, the underlying problems were not resolved, just repressed. Not it is gone, they are blazing forth. Delenn is planning to meet with Neroon, for what reason we do not know. But she is determined to stop the fighting before 1000 years of peace becomes 1000 years of war.
Meanwhile back on the station, Londo is confused. Sheridan wants to keep the White Star patrols in Centauri (and Narn) space, watching for raiders, but he wants Londo to not only keep them a secret, but deny they are there if anyone asks. And no, he won’t explain. ‘Trust me’ he says. And ‘Zooty, zoot zoot,’ which is equally unintelligible.
A Minbari warship approaches. Delenn strides down a corridor. A phalax of warrior caste Minbari stand in front of Neroon, and they are staring with mutual loathing at a line of religious caste Minbari. Delenn faces Neroon and greets him.
He is curious and wants to know what she wants. She says she needs to speak with him alone, stares down his entourage and approaching him. She then sweeps out, obviously expecting Neroon to follow. Which he does.
One of the religious caste challenges Lennier, telling him of rumours that they are to give in to the warriors, to follow their leadership. Lennier cuts him off, telling him Delenn will speak when she feels it is correct to speak. They don’t look satisfied with this.
Delenn and Neroon have a tete a tete. She wants his help. Neither side, warrior or religious, must win this war, and I must say, if I was a worker caste Minbari I would wonder if I was invisible since no one ever seems to mention me.
‘I have questioned your wisdom, your judgment, your temperament, but never your loyalty.’
‘Was that a compliment?’
‘After a fashion.’
‘Then you trust me.’
‘After a fashion.’
‘Well, it’s a beginning.’
Neroon and Delenn agree to support each other in an attempt to stop the war. Delenn has a plan to get everyone’s attention, and she needs Neroon’s help.
The beautiful city is on fire.
A Drazi asks about the rumour there are White Stars patrolling Centauri space. Sheridan will neither confirm or deny. This upsets the Drazi who thinks he’s not being told…something.
Marcus has reached Sector 83, and there’s nothing there but asteroids. Sheridan tells him to shoot up a bunch of the asteroids and return to the station. No, he won’t say why. This is becoming a habit.
Then he asks when the next broadcast of the Voice of the Resistance is, saying he might stop by. Now he’s off to MedLab. Such a busy bee!
The Drazi goes after Londo, who denies everything as per Sheridan’s request. There is a brief discussion about whether size is important. The rest of the League was waiting on this report. They know something’s up and it’s driving them crazy.
Dr. Franklin approaches them. He asks them for additional blood supplies for each of their races. In case of you know, a crisis, or an attack. The cat is among the pigeons now.
Delenn’s crew is not happy. They discuss assassination, but settle on suicide to stop Delenn’s believed decision to surrender to the warriors. They siphoned some kind of gas from the fuel system which they plan to use to kill everyone on board. The ship will then drift off into hyperspace, never to be found. They will disappear and no one will ever know what happened.
Hah! Lennier has overheard the plot!
Back on the station, Sheridan has dropped by the VOR studio to ask Susan to plant a story. She is aghast. Fake news is what they are fighting with this broadcast! It is not exactly fake…just that he wants her to say that nothing happened today in Sector 83 X 9 x 12. She protests that nothing DID happen in that sector today! ‘Exactly!’ says Sheridan So it’s just the truth. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Sheridan’s cunning plan has worked. The League ambassadors know of the blown-up asteroids in that Sector and decide they must be attacking an invisible enemy that only the White Stars, with their Vorlon technology, can see. They are being let down! Discriminated against! They deserve the protection they refused before! And they want it now!
On board the warship, Neroon is musing that they are about to reach home world, and wonders aloud whether Delenn’s plan will work. He asks a warrior to bring her to him as he has questions. Instead he gets a denn’bok upside the head.
Religious caste crew are running, running, running. An alarm is going off. They have set the gas cylinder to go off after the alarm, so it will all be over soon. Delenn approaches a bloody Neroon, while a warrior struggles in two other’s grasp. She sends Neroon to be treated and the warrior to the cells. Then she gives a heart-warming speech to the Minbari who plan to kill themselves and her about how important their loyalty is to her.
‘There are other better ways. The extremists among us never see that. They would rather be martyrs to misinformation and old ways.’
The plotters feel a bit foolish now. Their self-sacrifice was for a false idea.
Just to rub it in, she slags off the warrior caste as the only one that would turn on one of their own. They have always been erratic, but these, her people, her caste, are the steady rock beneath her feet. Aw, girl, don’t rub it in! They feel bad enough about dying for nothing.
She leaves and they wonder why they aren’t dead yet. Lennier is fixing it though. He turns off the cylinder and retrieves it. His gas mask is not totally effective.
Close your eyes if you haven’t watched further yet….
Guys, can you believe that until THIS viewing I never caught the eerie similarity between this moment of Lennier’s heroism and his later epic fail in Season 5? This show is full of this sort of lovely contrast, echoes of echoes.
Delenn is lighting candles in her quarters. Neroon enters. He has asked his personal physician to see to Lennier. He and the physician are in isolation to prevent contamination (this really makes no sense at all). Neither of them know how he was exposed to residue from the fuel system.
Delenn muses on how important Lennier is to her. How without him she would stumble and fall, and never get up. Is she getting a clue yet about how reciprocated this feeling is??
Neroon tells her he has changed his idea of her. He has to come to believe, slowly, reluctantly, that Dukhat chose her to lead them for a reason. That she is not driven by ego and self-interest as he once believed. That they are meant to be there, together, at this time.
‘Is that a compliment, Neroon?’
‘After a fashion.’
The League is in turmoil. Sheridan is late. They decide to ask for ships for protection, without revealing their fears of the invisible enemy. He tells them he can’t, because they will never agree to give the ships freedom to attack raiders in their territories. They say oh yes we will. He says what if he needs them for a larger mission? They say, oh that’s okay, we’ll send our ships with them. And so he gets them to beg for what they were absolutely refusing to do before.
'If you insist...'
Our Captain is becoming a diplomat!
Delenn visits Lennier in MedLab. He covers for the plotters, who look suitably chagrined. He lost part of a lung! He covers for the other homicidal suicidal Minbari.
'Why didn’t you tell her?' They ask breathlessly. 'We must know!'
‘Delenn does not walk in the same world you and I walk in. She does not see the same world that you and I see. In our world, we are better than we are. We care more than we care. We act towards each other with compassion. I much prefer her world to my own and I will not allow anything to threaten that.’
I both like and abhor this speech. He is right in a way but wrong in others. Delenn is no saint, and while she tries to see the best in everyone I think she plans for…well, less than the best. She would have been blind-sided here, but then, she had other things on her mind. Plus, Lennier, really. Hero-worship is not a good basis for a relationship.
VOR announces that an authorized patrol force has been approved by the League. Rumours have reached us of fighting in the capital city on Minbar. Sheridan is listening; he is concerned.
Lennier sees Neroon pass by and gets up to follow him. He is leaving the ship. Lennier wakes Delenn and tells her Neroon has left.
Neroon reports to Shai Alyt Shakiri that he has news of Delenn’s plans to thwart their fighting. That the Religious caste is divided, and their support is weak. They do not have the stomach for a prolonged conflict. Tell our ships to stand by. Victory will be ours within the week.
Treachery. Foul treachery. Say it isn't so, Neroon!