I am very late to the Babylon 5 party. As it came out, I was a bit young for the show and the few times we tried to watch as a family, it was clear we had no idea what was going on. After several people bugged me, telling me it was the show I needed to watch, I grabbed the whole series around Christmas last year on a great sale. I’ve been watching it since, sneaking it in between the many things going on in my life. It quickly became apparent that I’d want to discuss the episodes with others, so I began this series of posts. Please don’t spoil anything from later seasons or episodes for me!
Season 3: Episodes 21-22
21: Shadow Dancing
In which we discover why Delenn dropped the snowglobe.
Alright, so Sheridan figured out that refugees are fleeing to a certain region of space and the Shadows haven’t attacked there. That was in the previous episode. Here, we see the plan to ambush the Shadows coming to fruition. The alliance that B5 people have been trying to create finally pays off as the allied worlds send their forces against the Shadows. They expressed unwillingness to do so because they didn’t know the plan. But they ultimately trust Sheridan and Delenn, which is its own win. Ivanova and Marcus get sent on a mission in which they’re told the chances of survival are 50/50 which made me really uncomfortable. But they both lived! 100/0! Marcus also tells Ivanova in Minbari that she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen, but when he translates it for her he makes it into a cryptic greeting. Signs of things to come?
A huge, epic space battle commences when the Shadows get ambushed and they manage to turn back the Shadow fleet, though at great cost. I gotta say that although the special effects don’t stand up super well, they still get the job done, and the battles in space are suitably awesome. I am impressed by what they did with what was probably a smaller budget than shows like Star Trek, which rarely shows anything happening in space battles due to the expense of it. Anyway, I enjoyed the eye feast in this episode.
Meanwhile, Girabaldi has a heartfelt moment wondering whether he did enough to help Dr. Franklin, who, it turns out, probably could use the help. We turn back to Dr. Franklin and see him intervene in a brawl and get stabbed. As he’s bleeding out, he hallucinates himself scolding himself about the decisions he’s made in life and decides he’s going to fight to change himself and the way he makes decisions. Franklin realizes that he was bemoaning what he couldn’t be or wouldn’t be and never took pride in who he was. Presumably, this is a massive change for his character going forward.
Oh, and Anna Sheridan shows up on station, walking in on Delenn observing some Minbari mating ritual of watching over Sheridan. Snow globe, shattered.
Wait, what? Anna Sheridan is alive? Yeah, that seems like good news, but I was immediately distrustful. Thankfully, John Sheridan is, too. But he’s also pissed at Delenn. Delenn tells him they truly believed that there were only two possibilities for anyone on Z’Ha’Dum (I hope I don’t have to type this place name very much going forward): killed by the Shadows, or enlisted by them. I understand Sheridan was being quite emotional–and for good reason–but it’s hard to watch the scene where he accuses Delenn of lying to him. Like–dude–really? And of course Delenn is only honest so she also reveals that she and Kosh intentionally kept from him the possibility of Anna being alive. And, if Sheridan would just think about it for a moment, he’d realize that the possibility of her being alive was left open, but that it would mean she’s in league with the Shadows.
And of course, that’s what I suspected from the beginning! Definitely didn’t even start to trust Anna, not that the show made too huge an effort to deceive viewers into thinking she’s trustworthy. Sheridan goes along with her trying to get him to Z’Ha’Dum, apparently thinking that he may be able to prevent the fall of Centauri–along with other awful things–if he does go. This, despite clear and repeated warnings that he will die. When he gets there–surprise!–Anna is in cahoots with the Shadows. She and this old dude who calls himself a middleman named Justin try to convince Sheridan that the Shadows are the good guys. A galaxy-wide conspiracy has been going on and he should join them! Sheridan rejects that like the boss that he is and instead programmed a ship to drop a couple super-nukes on ground zero of the Shadows’ re-awakening. Of course, there’s a side effect of literally everyone there dying, including Sheridan!?
And that’s basically how this season ends!? Are you kidding me, Babylon 5? (Grabs next season’s DVD box set.)
I want to reflect just a moment here. I don’t know what to think. I haven’t been 100% able to avoid all spoilers, and I have some thoughts. Like the fact that the box for season 4 has Sheridan on the cover, so presumably he’s still alive. So here’s what I’m thinking: I think Sheridan has a kind of death like Neroon did earlier this season–a death to an idea. Like maybe he doesn’t physically die, but he’ll rise from the ashes, having been saved by a Vorlon or something. I don’t know. He just can’t be dead, right? Or maybe there’s some weird time travel thing that will rescue him? I hadn’t thought of that before I sat here trying to figure out how to save him. Then there’s the question of whether the future can actually be changed. Maybe future Delenn wanted him not not go to Z’Ha’Dum because him doing just that is what got them into their predicament. I can’t imagine waiting like a year to get a new season of this to drop. [An insightful reader noted that it was only a week in the U.S. but much longer overseas.] It’s so good and such a cliffhanger. I can’t wait to dive into the next season!
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