This page covers tropes found in ''Series/BabylonFive''. Tropes beginning with letters A-H can be found at BabylonFive/TropesAToH and tropes beginning with letters I-P can be found at BabylonFive/TropesIToP. Subjective tropes go to the [[YMMV/BabylonFive YMMV page]].
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!!''Babylon 5'' provides examples of:

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[[folder:Q]]
* QuoteMine: ''The Illusion of Truth'' illustrates this trope in detail.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:R]]
* RageAgainstTheMentor: Sheridan against Kosh, in "Interludes and Examinations."
* RammingAlwaysWorks: Captain Hiroshi's last stand against the EAS ''Roanoke'' ("Severed Dreams").
** Attempted in "Endgame" by [[spoiler: Captain Sheridan]], but averted at the last moment by [[spoiler: [[GunshipRescue General Lefcourt aboard EAS ''Apollo'']]].]]
** Also attempted by Sinclair at the [[HoldTheLine Battle of the Line]], averted when [[spoiler: [[LateArrivalSpoiler the Minbari disabled his ship]] [[AlienAbduction and took him prisoner.]]]]
* ReadingsAreOffTheScale:
** The energy readings relating to the alien weapon in "Infection".
** The energy surge at the climax of "Mind War".
** The power surge at the beginning of "A Voice in the Wilderness".
* {{Realpolitik}}: Though expressing reservations toward his government in private, Londo zealously defends the actions of the Centauri Republic when they begin to aggressively raid neighboring worlds, claiming they require a "buffer zone".
** Even [[TokenGoodTeammate Vir]] will do this from time to time, as is part of his job, such as when he visited Sheridan to demand Morden's release in ''In The Shadow of Z'Ha'Dum'', despite the fact that he can barely tolerate Morden.
** In the series as a whole, one of the major conflicts is between "Realism," represented most strongly by the Centauri and to a slightly lesser degree by [[NotSoDifferent the Narns]], and "Idealism,"[[note]]Or, in the parlance of international relations, "liberalism" or "Wilsonianism", although these terms are a bit misleading[[/note]] represented by the Minbari and the Vorlons.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech:
** Stephen Franklin to himself as at the end of his walkabout.
** Sheridan to the Vorlons and Shadows at the end of the Shadow War.
** Delenn is always giving this to the Grey Council, it seems. It may not be coincidental that she has political troubles back home.
* RecycledInSpace: Think ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'' in space, combined with Lovecraft in space, combined with Creator/JRRTolkien in space.
** The Babylon 5 Advisory Council and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds was [[InvokedTrope purposely designed]] to be the UnitedNations IN SPACE!
* RedAlert: With flashing lights and alarm klaxons to warn the station's residents to seek shelter. That said, the flashing lighst and klaxons are ''not'' present in Command and Control. WordOfGod said that he realized such theatrics in the command center would be distracting and unnecessary, as they are the ones who ''sound'' those alarms to begin with.
* RedShirts: This role usually falls to the lurkers, though in classic sci-fi fashion, the Security guards tend to be fairly disposable unless named. That role shifts to the Starfury pilots for the space scenes, particularly for any pilot who is [[ImGoingForACloserLook Going In For A Closer Look]].
** In fact, Security Chief Garibaldi's name is a bit of a PunnyName based on this trope. He is named for Guisseppe Garibaldi, an Italian historical figure known for leading a band of soldiers known as... the Red Shirts.
** Lampshaded when the commander of a White Star (and by extension the entire ship's crew) gets this treatment:
-->'''Sheridan''' ''(about to order the ship into a suicide mission)'': "You aren't a married man, are you, Ericson?"
* RedemptionEqualsAffliction: Londo taking the Drakh Keeper toward the end. One interpretation of Morella's prophecies regarding Londo ("Point of No Return") would have this be the consequence of "killing the one who is already dead" (which could be read, after a fashion, as [[spoiler:Sheridan, Morden, or Refa--but Morden, or possibly rival-to-the-throne Refa,]] in this case)--although he has much else to redeem himself for--and the total loss of control represented by the Keeper could be read as the "greatest fear" which is then his final chance at redemption. At any rate, he bears the Keeper to avoid the Drakh detonating fusion bombs all over Centauri Prime, potentially killing millions. The Keeper is a living symbiote that can neurally exert control over his actions, as directed by a Drakh controller.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: While Neroon had long been the most sympathetic, honorable, and sane Warrior-Caste Minbari, he was only completely redeemed when he sacrificed himself to save Delenn (and end the Minbari Civil War). He does declare himself (in a somewhat {{Narm}}y scene) Religious Caste just as he dies; although he most likely truly means it (given Shakiri's disgrace), he's also preserving Delenn's victory.
* RedshirtArmy: General Franklin's marines (aka "ground-pounders") in "GROPOS".
* RefugeInAudacity: How they smuggle Na'Toth off the Centauri homeworld. No Centauri would admit seeing their own Prime Minister slobberingly drunk snuggling up to a veiled slave girl and staggering toward the spaceport.
* RelationshipReveal: Following a year or two of dropped hints and innuendo, "Divided Loyalties" reveals Talia sleeping in the same bed as Susan Ivanova.
* RelationshipUpgrade: Occurs for Sheridan and Delenn in [[spoiler:the back half of the third season, although there's no single defining upgrade moment -- he confesses that "[[LoveConfession I can no longer imagine my world without you in it]]" in "Ceremonies of Light and Dark", but they don't get their SealedWithAKiss until "And The Rock Cried Out 'No Hiding Place'" half a dozen episodes later]].
** Interestingly, while it was their first kiss [[spoiler:from Delenn's point of view, it wasn't from Sheridan's; he had kissed Future!Delenn in "War Without End, Part 2"]]
* TheReliableOne: Lennier, in spades.
** Vir, as well, although to Londo's consternation he can be a little ''too'' reliable.
* RenegadeSplinterFaction: Homeguard to the Earth Alliance.
* TheRemnant: The crew of the Minbari warship ''Trigati''.
* RescuedFromPurgatory
* ResignationsNotAccepted: The only way out of Psi Corps is "feet first", according to Sheridan.
* RestrainingBolt: Something that Mr. Bester installed in [[spoiler:Garibaldi's]] mind, to make sure his [[PuppeteerParasite puppet]] wouldn't attack him afterward. Bester calls it an "Asimov", a ShoutOut to Creator/IsaacAsimov and his ThreeLawsOfRobotics.
* RetroactivePrecognition: [[spoiler:All of Valen's prophecies.]]
* RevealingHug:
** In "Born to the Purple", Londo and Adira embrace, and the camera lingers on Adira's face as the happy facade she's been putting on for Londo slips away.
** Sheridan looks behind [[spoiler:his wife Anna's back]] as he hugs her, to see the screen of the report Franklin sent about [[spoiler: Anna's scars matching Shadow ships' "wetware" interface]].
* TheRightOfASuperiorSpecies:
** The Minbari tend to deal with people who mess with them with extreme prejudice. They'll exterminate humanity for what they saw as an unprovoked attack that murdered their favorite leader, and after the Streib captured and killed one of their ships, the Minbari drove them back to their homeworld and made them "understand the depth of their mistake". Plus, they'll take so much offense to anyone who claims they lied that it's implied they'd get to kill the claimant for the insult, even though throughout the series Minbari are seen lying a fair bit, and are disingenuous a lot too.
** The pak'ma'ra, being carrion eaters who eat the remains of other sentient beings or other decomposing remains, believe they are superior for this fact.
--->'''pak'ma'ra''': "pak'ma'ra are chosen of God. Very special, we can eat of all the creatures who walk and fly and crawl, but not of the fish in the sea."
* RoadTripEpisode: Due to a blockade, Marcus and Dr. Franklin leave Babylon 5 and embark on a Type 2 on board a slow freighter to Mars in order to meet with LaResistance.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge:
** An epic one in "The Coming of Shadows", when G'kar figures out that Londo Mollari -- to whom G'Kar finally extended his hand of friendship -- has declared war on the Narn colonies. It takes a whole security team ''and'' Sheridan to stop G'Kar from breaking into Londo's quarters to kill him, and for moment it looks like even ''that'' is not enough.
** Susan Ivanova turns the crusade to [[spoiler:liberate Earth]] into one of these when she finds out that [[spoiler:Sheridan has been captured and is currently undergoing torture]].
* {{Room 101}}: In "Intersections In Real Time" those who are tortured but prove to be unbreakable, unwilling to do as the Government says, are sent to Room 17. Unfortunately for those sent there, the interrogators are DangerouslyGenreSavvy. So what is behind that door is [[spoiler:a room with a chair for them to sit in. The same type of chair they sat in before. The stretcher they were brought in on becomes the table for a new interrogator to sit at and start the process all over again. What this room takes from you is not death, but hope of some form of escape from this place. It reveals there is no escape and no hope.]]
* RoomFullOfCrazy: In ''Thirdspace''.
* ARoundOfDrinksForTheHouse: In "Soul Mates", Londo is seen celebrating his impending divorces by getting smashed and buying drinks for everyone within range. "Barkeep! Another round for all my friends!"
* RousingSpeech:
** The Earth Alliance's President Elizabeth Levy during the prologue movie. "No greater sacrifice has ever been asked, but I ask you, now, to step forward. One last time. One last battle, to hold the line against the night."
*** Subverted in the novelization, where Sinclair laments that for the men and women fighting on The Line, all the speech did was firmly remind them that they were all about to die.
** Previously mocked in the episode "Points of Departure": Sheridan wants to give one to his crew upon his arrival, believing it to be a good luck charm, but one crisis after another delays it until finally he just ends up giving the speech to an otherwise empty room.
** TheReasonYouSuckSpeech that Franklin gave himself (in the form of a trauma-induced hallucination) managed to turn into one of these towards the end when Franklin finds the will to live on.
* RubberForeheadAliens: The most infamous is of course the Centauri who don't even rise to the "rubber forehead" level and are basically people with unlikely haircuts and sharp teeth. ([[BizarreAlienBiology And many other bits that aren't obvious on television.]])
** But while B5 does have its RubberForeheadAliens, it also has a far wider assortment of semihumanoid and completely nonhumanoid species than is usually seen in TV Sci-Fi: the giant mantis crime boss (n'grath) from the first season, the Shadows (the show's BigBad), the pak'ma'ra, the Nakaleen Feeder, and of course the Vorlons (an entire race that spent most of the series acting as TheWatcher), just to name a few. And it's indirectly implied that the RubberForeheadAliens are the result of genetic tampering by Vorlons, as the humanoid species are generally the ones with telepaths, and [[spoiler: the projected form of an unsuited Vorlon is a WingedHumanoid found in most races' major religions]], even though the Vorlons' true form is nothing like that.)
** Lampshaded in an amusing scene in "There All Honor Lies" which features a Drazi wearing a rubber ''human'' mask.
** Also played with and mocked in "Midnight on the Firing Line" in a conversation between Garibaldi and Londo, where Garibaldi says that the Centauri tried to claim humans were just a long-distant tribe of Centauri until Earth got a hold of Centauri DNA and found there was no tie between the two whatsoever except for outside appearance.
--> '''Londo''': I'm sorry. Here. Slit my wrists.\\
'''Garibaldi''': The Centauri don't have any major veins in their wrists.\\
'''Londo''': Of course not. What do you think I am, stupid?
* RuinsOfTheModernAge: The San Diego wastelands. The city was nuked by terrorists in 2150 AD.
* RulingCouple: Sheridan and Delenn.
* RunningGag: Every time Ivanova makes a joke about all Russians sharing a bleak and cynical outlook on life, take a shot.
** It's not cynical, it's ''[[InsistentTerminology realistic]]''.
*** ''glug''
** Every species has a food that is equivalent to Earth's Swedish meatballs.
** It only comes up on two occassions, but Garibaldi seems to have a habit of absent-mindedly abusing borrowed holy books.
** A minor one during the first season that one might miss the first time through: every time we see Talia get ''into'' a transport tube, Garibaldi is already inside. Eventually {{lampshade|Hanging}}d during "A Voice In the Wilderness".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:S]]
* SacredScripture: The President of the Alliance is sworn in on a sort of meta-holy book reated from the first page of every known holy book of all the sentient races.
** G'Kar is a follower of the Book of G'Quan. As it turns out, G'Quan knew what he was talking about, and much of the book is eventually proven to be a Narn ''history'' book, detailing the last time the Shadows operated a base on the Narn homeworld, long in the past. Garibaldi borrows the book from G'Kar to see what they can learn about the Shadows from it, later on tapping the book excitedly while declaring it has the information they need.
-->'''G'Kar:''' Do not ''thump'' the Book of G'Quan. It is disrespectful.
** Later on, many Narn begin following a new faith, based on the Book of [[spoiler: G'Kar. [[StopWorshippingMe Much to G'Kar's chagrin]] not least because the copies were made before he finished it.]] Every copy of it has a brown ring on it, a faithful recreation of a coffee stain that Garibaldi left in it while borrowing the first draft. One wonders why anyone trusts him with their books.
* SarcasticClapping:
** The assassin in "The Parliament of Dreams", in response to [[spoiler:Na'Toth's attempt to convince him she's his secret back-up]].
** Garibaldi expresses how moved he is (or not) by Bester's soliloquy about how he's just a [[NotEvilJustMisunderstood misunderstood family man]].
* SaveTheWorldClimax: Starts out with rather minor border skirmishes between the Centauri and Narn, some diplomatic tensions among other races, and an Earth Government moving slowly in a xenophobic direction. When [[BigBad the]] [[AbusivePrecursors Shadows]] reemerge into galactic affairs, they manipulate and cultivate these existing tensions into a galaxy-wide war among the younger races which escalates to an apocalyptic scale.
* SdrawkcabName: Londo's wife, Timov.
* SecondEpisodeIntroduction: Several of the cast regulars were not present in the PilotMovie; Dr Franklin didn't show up for the first proper episode either. (He ''was'' present for the first proper episode ''taped'', however.)
* SchmuckBait: Marcus escapes his jailer by pretending that his collapsible pike is some sort of medical scanner, and that you activate it by staring down the hole at the end. [[TapOnTheHead Pow]]. Marcus repeats this feat with another mook down the hall, this time using a tennis ball ("Exogenesis").
* SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale: Often averted. Space battles being so close is justified by beam weapon dispersal.
** On the other hand, often played painfully straight with casualty numbers. WordOfGod is that a planetary bombardment using {{Colony Drop}}s had casualties of only 3 million, while the casualties of the Earth-Minbari War were only a little more than those that have been suffered in the Iraq War so far.
**** JMS is of the opinion that the advanced civilizations would generally use more birth control and naturally have lower populations, too. It's his explanation for why Centauri Prime only has a few billion people living on it (though one episode put the total Centauri population at 48 billion), provides a decent explanation as to why we rarely see children on the show, and is evidenced by the families we do see or hear mentioned (many characters are only children who in turn have only one child [ie: Lise, despite three marriages, only gave birth to Garibaldi's child, Delenn and Sheridan only have one child, Londo had 3 wives and at least 2 lovers but never any children, and so on]). It seems like the Narns are the only major species with larger families since they seem to have litters (but even then the occupation seems to have left them with a relatively stunted population).
**** It is also possible that the casualties from the ColonyDrop attack were minimized by the use of underground shelters, as the planet in question is mentioned as having underground tunnel networks in a later episode.
**** Also that it was likely more a terror-tactic than anything else--mass drivers were banned as weapons of mass destruction. If you know your enemy has nukes, and you have no way to counter them, it's likely that you'd surrender pretty quickly, before most of your people were exterminated.
**** Considering that the Earth-Minbari war was largely fought in space, civilian causalities were probably low. That means that most of the 250,000 dead on the Human side were almost all soldiers. (Note that this is still tiny compared to the losses suffered by the major belligerents in, say, World War II, even if all civilian casualties are ignored.)
**** The low civilian casualties are made explicit in the TV movie "In The Beginning." It's mentioned that the Minbari swarmed through Earth Alliance territory hitting only military targets on their way to Earth, but were believed to be planning to obliterate the civilian colonies on their way back through after Earth was in ashes. It's apparently (at least as far as the Earth Alliance knew) standard Minbari battle tactics.
**** A few battles took place over extended distances, such as the one in ''The Long, Twilight Struggle'', where we never see the two sides' capital ships in the same shot until the entire battle is concluded. A few long panning shots followed weapons fire to show the distances involved. Indeed, the battle also featured quite a bit of {{Old School Dogfight}}ing, but the fighters were so small compared to the capital ships that you can only discern them as specks and flashes of light around the bigger ships.
* ScienceMarchesOn: In ''Believers'' Doctor Franklin wants to perform a surgery to remove a blockage in the lung of a sick alien boy. His parents object to cutting him open because it's against their religion. Nowadays, this surgery could be done without any cutting at all[[note]]beyond hacking up the blockage to facilitate removal, that is[[/note]], by use of an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endoscope endoscope]].
** RuleOfDrama: [[CriticalResearchFailure Endoscopic surgery was commonplace in the 1990's when the show first aired]]. If anything, Franklin should have even ''more'' advanced techniques to work with, but the episode simply would not work as written otherwise (and it sets up a major plot point for two later episodes--both involving this same species, [[SchizoTech which managed to develop interstellar travel but neglected medicine]]).
* TheScottishTrope: On one occasion, Marcus refers to "the Scottish Play." It is unclear if it's the character or the actor who averts referring to the play by its title.
** WordOfGod is that neither Marcus nor his actor had a problem with saying the name of the play, and JMS wrote it that way to avoid offending anyone else. See the entry below for why.
** During the filming of ''A Late Delivery From Avalon'', guest star Michael York took this ''very'' seriously. A member of the filming crew who slipped up and mentioned The Scottish Play by its given name around him was required to perform various rituals to prevent any mishaps from befalling the production of the episode.
* ScrewDestiny: [[spoiler:The main cast eventually decides this and enlists the aid of the First Ones to fight both the Shadows and the Vorlons, ending their constant struggle for dominance.]]
* ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules:
** Why Franklin turns Dr. Hendricks in at the end of the episode "Infection".
** When confronted with Londo's announcement that he plans to divorce two of his wives, Timov passes up ample opportunities to win his favor or (failing that) murder him. She instead saves her husband's life via a [[ABNegative blood transfusion]], on the condition that Franklin cannot reveal that she's the donor. In the end, Londo begrudgingly keeps Timov as his spouse, since she's [[HonestAdvisor the least dishonest]].
** Played for laughs during Garibaldi's war against the post office. ("A Late Delivery From Avalon")
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections: Mere hours after [[spoiler:Jack]] is arrested, President Clark calls Sheridan to demand his extradition to Earth. Shortly after leaving the station, the prisoner 'mysteriously' vanishes while en route.
* ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem: Typically invoked by the Psi Cops.
** And at least once by Sheridan, as the station commander.
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight: several times, sometimes quite extravegantly as when Delenn broke the Grey council and Sheridan seceded from Earth .
* ScriptReadingDoors: The automatic doors on the station are standard-issue space opera Script Reading Doors. There's a particularly striking moment near the end of "And the Sky Full of Stars" where a door opens the moment Sinclair decides to leave, before he's actually started moving toward it.
* SdrawkcabName: Londo's first wife Timov. It's indicative, too.
* SecretCircleOfSecrets: The Grey Council.
* SecretKeeper: Per Lumati custom, [[DirtyOldMan Correlimurzon]] tries to celebrate his species' alliance with Earth by getting into Ivanova's pants. She delays him for a couple hours before offering to go through with it "human style," which involves 10 seconds of dancing but little else. It's implied that his servant, Taq, saw through Ivanova's ploy but was nonetheless impressed by her cunning.
* SecretPolice: Nightwatch, in their snappy [[PuttingOnTheReich brown shirts]] and [[RedArmbandOfLeadership armbands]].
* SecretTestOfCharacter: G'Kar pulls this on Lyta in "Darkness Ascending." [[spoiler:She passes.]]
** From time to time, Garibaldi will pull this on other characters who he suspects of doing illegal things for noble reasons. As long as they tell him the truth, he will usually help them find a better way to accomplish it. Of course, he only does this for characters who he believes will tell him the truth, but he always leaves them a little room to disappoint him.
** Ivanova invites Corwin to her quarters to get to know him better. She asks him if he would follow orders, even if they went against the good of Earth. [[MyCountryRightOrWrong He says that he doesn't have the authority to make that kind of decision,]] and the heroes decide they can't bring him in on their conspiracy. [[spoiler: Later, when they are forced to break away from Earth, he decides to stay with them rather than return to Earth.]]
* SeekingSanctuary: Following the fall of their homeworld, the remnants of the Narn Regime order G'Kar to seek political asylum on Babylon 5. The decision is particularly hard on G'Kar, who is worried for his family back home.
* SerialKiller: Karl Mueller. Though convicted of killing three people on Babylon 5, his true body count is somewhere in the dozens, as shown when Talia peeks into his mind.
** Also Charles Dexter, the Black Rose Killer, AKA [[spoiler: Brother Edward.]]
* SeriousBusiness: Drazi politics. Every five years they divide the entire species into two halves based entirely on a random draw. The one who takes the leader cloth is the leader [[spoiler:even if said person is not a Drazi, as Ivanova found out]]. And to try and put a Green cloth on a Purple Drazi results in a very violent result from any surrounding Drazi.
-->''Green.''\\
'''''[[FelonyMisdemeanor Purple]].'''''
* ShamCeremony: [[spoiler:President Clark]]'s installation ceremony.
* ShameIfSomethingHappened: Refa to Londo, after the latter voices his disgust at the WitchHunt perpetrated on his friend Urza Jaddo.
** Also Londo to Lyta:
-->''I understand the Psi Corps is looking for you. I would hate it if they were to find you here.''
*** Lyta replies by relating a story about what a telepath is capable of doing to a person, ''very'' strongly implying that if Londo sold her out, that would happen to him.
* [[HeKnowsTooMuch She Knows Too Much]]: Despite intentionally leaving Talia alive as a witness, Abel Horn is later ordered to terminate her after she scans his mind.
* ShellGame: The literal shell game is seen in "Soul Hunter", where a hustler tries it on in Downbelow and gets knifed by a suspicious mark.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Sinclair and Garibaldi, though both have had time to deal with most of their problems. Both mention having nightmares about their experiences in the Earth Minbari War.
** From ''The Long Dark'', Amis is firmly in the full-blown crazy variety of this trope. Except it wasn't the war that messed him up, it was his entire squad (except for him) being wiped out by an invisible alien that could move through walls and killed its enemies by [[BodyHorror ripping their organs out through their mouths.]]
** Michael York's character from ''A Late Delivery From Avalon''. He's so full of guilt and remorse and becomes so divorced from reality for a time that he thinks he's KingArthur.
* ShipperOnDeck: Marcus, towards Dr. Franklin and [[NomDeGuerre Number One]].
* ShockCollar:
** In the first season episode "The Parliament of Dreams", G'Kar is forced to wear one as an act of revenge by one of his recently deceased political enemies.
** Delenn undergoes a torturous test of her allegiance by "the Inquisitor", who zaps her with electrified manacles every time she gives an unsatisfactory answer.
** Much later on, Sheridan finds himself trapped in one by an Earth Force torturer, not as the torture implement itself, but as a way [[RestrainingBolt to show that he can't attack him]] if unchained.
* ShootOutTheLock: Sheridan [[AvertedTrope advises against it]]: the door his opponents are trapped behind is made of an alloy immune to [=PPG=] blasts.
-->'''Sheridan:''' ''Ricochet's a killer.''
* ShoutOut: In one of President Clark's propaganda moves, he has ISN and a psychiatrist make up Mimbari War Syndrome, which is similar to [[Film/DieHard Helsinki Syndrome]].
** The PSI corps greeting [[ThePrisoner "Be seeing you"]], complete with the eye-in-the-forhead gesture.
** As Clark's regime turns more totalitarian, more than a few nods to ''NineteenEightyFour'' crop up.
** All the telepath motifs appear to be pulled from the novel ''TheDemolishedMan''. The author's name, Alfred Bester, also becomes used as the name of a high-level SmugSnake telepath.
** General Hague dies while on the [=EarthForce=] Destroyer Alexander. When a fan asked if that was meant as a ShoutOut to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Haig Alexander Haig]], JMS responded that it hadn't been intentional, and must have been a subconscious connection. Foxworth was written out of the script because of a scheduling clash; he was playing a role for ''StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' the same day and went there instead.
** At one point, the Babylon 5 computer systems annoying, self-pitying AI (voiced by Creator/HarlanEllison) is activated by mistake. [[Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy It immediately wants to send someone to level forty-two]].
** [[TheCaligula Emperor Cartagia]] remarks about one of the heads in his "shadow cabinet" that the beheading cured his coughing. In ''IClaudius'' Emperor Caligula (John Hurt) had one of his relatives beheaded for the same reason.
** In ''In The Beginning'', the head of the Rangers is named Lennon. When asked about this on Usenet, JMS joked that "all he (Lennon) was saying was give peace a chance"
** [[spoiler: President Clark's ultimate fate in Season 4 episode "Endgame" is almost identical to that of General Ripper in ''Film/DrStrangelove''. The method by which Earth's defense grid--which Clark had turned on Earth itself in a SaltTheEarth gambit--is deactivated in particular is ''exactly'' identical.]]
** Garibaldi spends the break between Seasons 1 and 2 in a coma as the result of his injuries in ''Chrysalis''. When he wakes up in ''Revelations'', his first words are "[[BugsBunny What's up, Doc?]]", similar to {{Creator/MelBlanc}}'s first words after being put in a coma after a car accident.
* ShowWithinAShow: The ISN Special Reports, which form the focus of the episodes "And Now For a Word" and "The Illusion of Truth." The fouth season finale "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" features more special reports, and other video records, being examined by a Ranger [[spoiler: one million years in the future]].
* SillyReasonForWar: The Drazi conflict in "The Geometry of Shadows", in which the Drazi split into two entirely arbitrary groups chosen by pulling scarves out of a barrel and then fight for the right to rule for the next five years.
* SignatureItemClue: In one episode, Garibaldi goes to find a witness to an attack but someone gets to him first and kills him. Garibaldi is left only with the body, and what appears to be a coat button [[spoiler: which is later identified as coming from the coat of a Centauri royal guard]].
* SingleTear: Lennier sheds one after Delenn enters her cocoon state.
* SinsOfTheFather: G'Kar has this mindset about Emperor Turhan of the Centauri Republic in "The Coming of Shadows." The Emperor's family, but not Emperor Turhan himself, was involved with mass slaughters of Narns during the Centauri occupation, stealing territories, and other atrocities. Emperor Turhan, however, has gone out of his way to appease the Narn by returning the territories and making what amends he can. Despite these actions, G'Kar cannot see the difference between the man and the family he came from [[spoiler:and fully intended to kill the Emperor when he came to the station]].
* SittingDuck:
** Londo invoked this trope [[spoiler: on the Shadow base on his homeworld]].
** Prior to his arriving on Babylon 5, Captain Sheridan's defeat of the Minbari warship ''[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Black Star]]'' came despite his ship ''[[InvertedTrope being]]'' a SittingDuck (having been crippled by the ''Black Star'' in a previous engagement), via some previously placed nuclear bombs in an AsteroidThicket.
** Captain Sheridan attempts to invoke this against a Shadow Battlecrab [[spoiler: buried on the Jovian moon of Ganymede]], but arrives just in time to see the ship launch and lay waste to the facilities there.
* SkewedPriorities: Lampshaded by Franklin when Marcus starts probing him for tips on dating Ivanova... while the two of them locked in a steel cage.
* SleeperStarship: Earth dispatched several before first contact with the Centauri, most were recalled. One that wasn't appears in one episode.
* SlidingScaleOfContinuity: Level 5 (Full Lockout) later on, though the first season or so was more level 4 (Arc-Based Episodic).
* SlippingAMickey: Happens to Londo in "Born to the Purple".
* SlobsVersusSnobs: The uncultured, obnoxious and brutal Narn versus the cultured, decadent and brutal Centauri. Choose which you dislike least.
** The Narn tend to garner more sympathy, if only because their dogs get kicked far more often (usually, but not exclusively, by the Centauri). That said, the Narn tend to be collectively sympathetic ''only'' when they are the underdogs. They are shown as aggressive instigators in the first season, and they go back to that role in the back half of the fifth season.
* SlowClap: Having survived the tumultuous events of "Severed Dreams", Sheridan and co. take a lift down to the Zocalo, where a large crowd applauds them for taking a stand against Clark.
* SlowDoors: Zack diving under a shutter door just as the docking bay is locked down, thereby springing the trap on Nightwatch.
* SlowMotionPassBy: Talia detects Morden's shadowy 'entourage' by simply passing him in a corridor.
* SmugSnake: Allison Higgins, ISN anchor and the face of Clark's propaganda machine. One wonders if perhaps she's also a StepfordSmiler.
* SnowyScreenOfDeath:
** From the episode "And Now For a Word", a firefight breaks out outside the station. A couple of cameras display this as they're hit by the crossfire.
** [[spoiler:Keffer]]'s final, fatal encounter with a Shadow vessel. The data from this video is later broadcast throughout the Earth Alliance, striking a small blow against the Shadows' conspiracy. [[spoiler:Delenn implies that this is ''not'' necessarily a good thing.]]
** At the outbreak of the Earth Alliance Civil War, a news anchor reports that ISN Headquarters in Geneva is under assault by the military. Cue static.
* SpaceColdWar: Earth and Minbar. Earth and Minbar are slowly mellowing their relation at this time. Vorlons and Shadows are a straighter example of this.
** The Narn and the Centauri. [[spoiler: [[ThisMeansWar Until partway into the second season]].]]
* SpaceClothes: The Minbari have the best. [[CantArgueWithElves Of course]].
* SpikesOfVillainy: The Shadows' spaceships. [[spoiler: Clark's [[ImportedAlienPhlebotinum Advanced Destroyers]] as well.]]
* SpitTake: G'Kar, on being unexpectedly hailed by his straight-laced assistant while he's relaxing in a seedy nightclub, in "Born to the Purple".
* TheSpymaster: Ivanova is occasionally implied to be one. None of the other good guys seem to be able to run any secret project of their own without her finding out about it, including Sheridan and Garibaldi working with the Rangers, who ''specialize'' in being as discreet as possible. They usually only find out she knows everything once they try to let her in on the secret. Ivanova remarks that when something's up on the station and she ''doesn't'' know about it, ''then'' they should worry. Late in the third season, Sheridan sarcastically appoints her as the station's Official Sneak In Residence.
** Late in the third season, Brother Theo is revealed to be one: He is coordinating efforts amongst religious leaders around the world to monitor communications and collect reports of things happening on Earth so that they can be smuggled out to LaResistance on B5.
** Londo has ''tons'' of spies. [[DeadlyDecadentCourt It's a Centauri thing]].
** Marcus Cole is always getting or seeking info from various contacts and other Rangers, but then of course, being a Ranger, that's pretty much his job.
** Sheridan has shades of this from time to time, especially in the second season, which introduced the [[LaResistance government counter-conspiracy]] against [[PresidentEvil President Clark.]]
*** Sheridan also remarked in one episode that he "collects secrets".
** Garibaldi, in addition to his participation in the Conspiracy of Light and in keeping with his role as security chief, has a network of [[TheInformant police informants]] throughout [=DownBelow=] and the rest of B5's criminal underworld.
** Honestly, the list of major characters who don't get hip deep in spycraft and espionage are pretty slim, due to B5's status as a CityOfSpies.
* SocietyMarchesOn: In a Fourth Season episode, a (fake) gay interracial marriage is treated as completely unremarkable. In another, it's revealed that the current Pope is a woman.
* SocietyOnEdgeEpisode: While much of ''Babylon 5'' involves political conflict and warfare, there's a particular segment of episodes in Season 3 [[spoiler: before and including the station's secession from Earth]] where it becomes inevitable that station interests and Earth Government policy will irreconcileably clash, with the station itself coming into direct danger. Probably the range of episodes from "Voices of Authority" through [[WhamEpisode "Severed Dreams"]] would fit the trope, although it could arguably start with Season 2's finale [[WhamEpisode "The Fall of Night"]].
** And again in Season 4 after the events of Season 3's finale [[WhamEpisode "Z'ha'dum"]], once we see the [[spoiler: Vorlons bring out their planet-killers, with the Shadows following suit, destroying many inhabited planets]] ("The Summoning"), ending with [[WhamEpisode "Into the Fire"]].
** And there's a third segment in Season 4, from "No Surrender, No Retreat" through [[WhamEpisode "Endgame"]], when Babylon 5 and allied forces finally confront [[spoiler: the Clark regime's forces and liberate Earth and her colonies]].
* SomethingThatBeginsWithBoring: Marcus and Franklin on the way to Mars in a cargo hold.
** Leading to this [[CrowningMomentOfFunny hilarious]] exchange, starting with "B" for "Boxes" and "M" for "More Boxes":
--> '''Marcus:''' I spy with my little eye, something that begins with "E."\\
'''Franklin:''' What? No...not...\\
'''Marcus and Franklin:''' Even more boxes. (forced laughter)\\
'''Franklin:''' And that's when I shot him, Your Honor.
* SoundtrackDissonance: Lord Refa is brutally (and deservedly) murdered to the sounds of a gospel chorus. Doubles as CrowningMusicOfAwesome.
** Oddly, it's both dissonance and fitting, as the subject of the song is how you can't escape from your choices, and you can't hide from the consequences. In addition, it's titled "No Hiding Place (down here)" which also fits given that Refa is, quite literally, underground and cannot hide from the Narn who are going to kill him.
* SpaceCadetAcademy: Earthforce Academy. It also included the "Air Dome", a premiere pilot training center and its Officer Training School.
* SpaceFighter:
** The Star Furies, a comparatively [[MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness hard]] example of the trope.
** And the Minbari's Nial fighters, being a much softer example, thanks to their advanced technology.
* SpaceIsAnOcean: Magnificiently averted. Sort of lampshaded/subverted with the Minbari Sharlin cruiser, which looks like a fish (However, one could argue that [[FromACertainpointOfView Hyperspace is an ocean]]). The Minbari also practice what they call "going to the sea", in which an elder spends their last days journeying into space, searching for a place where they can be of use.
* SpaceIsNoisy
* SpaceMines: In "Matters of Honor", we see a Centauri minefield deployed to interdict access to a planet.
* SpaceOpera
* SpaceStation: Kinda the whole point of the show.
* SpeechCentricWork: Two episodes, "Comes the Inquisitor" and "Intersections in Real Time" are based on interrogations and hence feature nothing but dialogue.
* SpoilerOpening:
** The episode in which Na'Toth first appears attempts to keep the audience wondering whether she's really an assassin sent to kill G'Kar. The fact that she's been listed in the opening credits as a regular character since the start of the season pretty much kills the suspense on that one.
** The second season opens with one of the regular characters in a coma, a second [[spoiler:in a ''cocoon'']], and a third mysteriously missing. This would be more worrying if they weren't all still in the opening credits. (Partly averted in the case of the second character; the opening credits in the first few episodes used a headshot from the previous season, thus at least concealing that on the character's return [[spoiler:she would be a HalfHumanHybrid with long flowing hair]]. Even then, some reruns and DVD releases don't even get this right, using the later opening with the spoilery headshot for the whole season.)
** That also happens in the beginning of Season 4, where [[spoiler:G'Kar's line gives away the fact that they retake Narn, and Sheridan being listed means that he somehow survived his self-nuking in Z'ha'dum]].
* SpringLoadedCorpse: A (supposedly) dead Markab discovered by Sheridan in Grey Sector ("Knives").
* StableTimeLoop: See YouAlreadyChangedThePast
* StandardSciFiFleet: Several of them, operating everything from fighters to kilometer-long battleships. Battlestars are quite popular.
** Interestingly enough, no two species use terminology consistent with each other for their fleets. The biggest ships in Earth's fleet are called Destroyers. The Narn, Centauri, and Minbari all use variations on "Cruiser"[[note]] Star Cruiser, Battle Cruiser, and War Cruiser, respectively[[/note]] for their heaviest hitters, in contrast to the Earth Alliance Heavy Cruiser, which is portrayed as a smaller support ship.
* StarCrossedLovers: Susan and Marcus: He spends years getting her to warm up to him and just when he seems to be succeeding, she is mortally wounded. Marcus then give his life energy to heal her (its complicated), leaving Susan with life-long regret that she never told him how she felt. Director's commentary reveals it took her two decades to say his name again.
* StarKilling: Implied to have been done to the Dilgar.
** And in the DistantFinale, according to WordOfGod, the same thing may have happened [[spoiler: to Earth.]]
* StarfishAliens: The Shadows and at least on other race are insectoid. The Vorlons are some sort of tentacular energy beings.
* StateSec:
** Psi-Corps.
** More blatantly, the Night Watch. They even have black armbands and posters proclaiming "TRAITORS CANNOT HIDE."
* StatingTheSimpleSolution:
** Boggs' flunky suggests just killing Sheridan. Boggs blows him off, unwilling to turn Sheridan into a "martyr".
** Sheridan asks [[spoiler: servants of Shadows on Z'Ha'Dum]] why can't they just kill him. They explain it does not work, since someone else will simply take his place as the nexus of events.
* StayOnThePath: Generally speaking, ships traveling through Hyperspace must take care not to drift too far from the signal transmitted by the Hyperspace Beacons (beams transmitted between Jumpgates), lest they become lost. Some ships have more advanced navigation systems, however.
** Also, it is generally accepted as fact that anybody who goes to Z'Ha'Dum never comes back. [[spoiler: It gradually becomes apparent that this isn't entirely true, though it is very likely that you will not come back ''unchanged''.]]
** When Ivanova is hooked into the Great Machine ("Voices of Authority"), she is advised by Draal to "stay on the path" when the Eye of Z'ha'dum somehow detects her probing and almost succeeds in [[MindRape mentally compelling her to go towards it]]. The "path" was a mental visualization given by the machine as a guide away from this Eye.
* StiffUpperLip: Lennier's dryness and calmness sometimes give the impression of this.
-->Initiating the "getting the hell out of here manuever".
* StealthHiBye: Mr Morden pulls one on Londo at the end of "Signs and Portents".
* StealthInSpace: The Minbari warships have some kind of electronic countermeasure that prevents Earther ships from being able to get a solid lock on them. Sheridan intentionally has the White Star fleet go without their stealth systems running during the [[spoiler: Earth Alliance Civil War]] in order to show his opponents that he isn't just trying to slaughter them.
** The Vorlons are able to ''fold Hyperspace in on itself'', creating pockets that are nigh-impossible for the younger races to locate.
* StealthInsult: Londo tells one of Emperor Cartagia's ministers that when he previously met the man, he was an infant, drooling on himself, and later a teenager trying to peek up girl's skirts...
-->'''Cartagia''': Ah, Mollari! It's wonderful to see you again!
-->'''Londo''': And you, Your Majesty, I could swear you have not changed since the last few times I saw you. *smirk*
-->''Cartagia's minister rolls his eyes''
* [[DrugsAreBad Stims Are Bad]]
* StreetUrchin: Alisa Beldon, when we first meet her.
* StockFootage: Most of the establishing shots at the returns from each ad break were CGI images of whatever planet the next scene was on, or the station from various angles (if the scene was set there). One in particular (a shot of the station being cast into shadow and lights coming on all over it as it moves behind the planet it floats above) is widely known as the "all alone in the night" scene, because it was used precisely when that line is said in the season two opening credits.
* StopHelpingMe: [[invoked]] When Vir becomes the Centauri Ambassador to Minbar, Londo keeps offering him advice on how to phrase his reports, much to Vir's chagrin.
--> '''Londo:''' Say instead "They are a decadent people, interested only in the pursuit of...of dubious pleasures." The "dubious" part is very important. It doesn't mean anything, but it scares them every time.
** When Vir finally presents his report, he learns that the Centaurum would have preferred the original, more straightforward report that Vir had put together originally. Thankfully, they also realized that Vir [[ExecutiveMeddling wasn't responsible for the final content of the report]].
* SubliminalSeduction: "THE PSI CORPS IS YOUR FRIEND. TRUST THE CORPS."
* SubspaceAnsible: Tachyon relays.
* SufficientlyAdvancedAlien: Lorien and the other First Ones. And Not Quite As SufficientlyAdvancedAliens, the Vorlons and the Shadows ([[spoiler:who happen to worship Lorien as something akin to a god]]). Also, WordOfGod says that Humans and Minbari will eventually [[GoalOrientedEvolution reach this state]]; in "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" we see it happen.
* SuicideByCop: Abel Horn (or what's left of him) provokes station security into shooting him. His body promptly [[WhyAmITicking self-destructs]], concealing any evidence of his cyborg implants.
* SummonBiggerFish: You think the Shadows can kick your ass? [[spoiler: Wait until the Vorlons decide that they're done tiptoeing around the younger races and bring out their ''Planet Killers!'']]. But wait! [[spoiler: Turns out the Shadows have ''a Planet Killer of their own''—they're ''just'' as big a fish as the Vorlons!]] So, with a galactic apocalypse coming down around their ears, what do the terrified and desperate younger races do? [[spoiler: they ''go and find ALL THE OTHER OLD ONES THEY CAN TO JOIN IN THE FIGHT!'']] Of course, by this stage they were so far beyond the GodzillaThreshold that Godzilla looked like a newborn puppy.
* SuperFunHappyThingOfDoom: Quite a few of these in Clark's regime, starting with the Ministry of Peace, or "'[[Literature/NineteenEightyFour Minipax]]' as we like to call it around the office".
* SuperRegistrationAct: The [=PsiCorps=].
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Elizabeth Lochley for Susan Ivanova, John Sheridan for Jeffrey Sinclair, Susan Ivanova for Laurel Takashima, Stephen Franklin for Benjamin Kyle, Talia Winters for Lyta Alexander, and later Lyta Alexander for Talia Winters.
** JMS even used this to his advantage in the case of Ivanova. He had let slip that if Takashima had stayed on the show, she would have turned out to be a traitor. So when Ivanova showed up, people in the know assumed that Ivanova would now be the traitor. He even put [[RedHerring subtle hints]] here and there that she might be a traitor to facilitate WildMassGuessing. When it turned out that [[spoiler: Garibaldi's second]] was in fact the traitor, fans were caught completely off-guard. And that wasn't even the last of it; the next season, it again looked like Ivanova might be a traitor ([[ManchurianAgent albeit unwittingly]]), so it was a surprise to the audience when it turned out to be [[spoiler:Talia Winters]] instead.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: Deliberately [[InvokedTrope invoked]] by Sheridan when he plants a news story that "Absolutely nothing happened today in Sector 85 by 9 by 12. Please remain calm." [[spoiler: He is telling ''almost'' the entire truth. Three White Stars, under his orders, ''did'' go to that sector and spend a little while shooting at nothing. Otherwise, absolutely nothing happened there.]]
* SwitchingPOV: The stories aren't always anywhere ''near'' the space station, and the narration switches accordingly.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:T]]
* TakeThat:
** In a single episode, swipes are taken at both ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' and merchandising generally.
** In the series finale, an inspirational message doubles as a dig at the show's doomsayers.
** Another, more political TakeThat was hidden in the first season episode ''By Any Means Necessary''. The Rush Act mentioned in it, giving [=EarthGov=] the power to break up labor strikes by any means necessary, was [[WordOfGod named after Rush Limbaugh]]. Amusingly, when asked by a viewer from the UK who Rush Limbaugh is, JMS answered [[UnusualEuphemism "Leading American proctologist. Trust me."]] Zing!
** At some point in the show's past, San Diego was nuked by terrorists (a CovertGroup has its base underneath the city's ruins). WordOfGod is JMS picked it because he was mugged and almost killed there one night.
** The episode ''The Deconstruction of Fallen Stars'' is a TakeThat against Cultural Studies and Deconstruction (the philosophical movement, not the [[{{Deconstruction}} Trope]]).
** A less-serious zinger appears in season five: an {{Expy}} of McDonalds called [=McBari's=] (complete with "golden headbones") that is generally held in low regard.
* TakeAThirdOption: Once Sheridan learns that Franklin is running the "underground railroad" funneling telepaths away from Psi Corps, he finds himself in an impossible situation: betray his oath, or turn Franklin in -- triggering a PR disaster, and giving Earthforce enough pretext to scrap the B5 project. Talia suggests an alternative: all the telepaths [[CombinedEnergyAttack merge their psychic abilities at once]], overpowering Bester and making him believe all of the rogue telepaths have been killed. His mission 'completed', Bester leaves the station, allowing the telepaths to migrate to safer quarters without interference.
** [[spoiler: How the shadow/vorlon war was resolved]]
** In the [[ExpandedUniverse ''Lost Tales'' direct-to-dvd series]] episode "Over There", [[spoiler: this is what Sheridan decides to do with Centauri Prince Vintari, who Galen reveals will be responsible for a massive destructive attack on Earth in the future unless something were to happen to him. He suggests to Sheridan that he sabotage a Starfury fighter and invite the prince--an avid fan of Earth military hardware--to fly it. Galen seems to imply that the only choice is to [[HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct either kill Vintari before he takes the throne,]] [[InvertedTrope or allow the attack to happen]]. At the last minute, Sheridan decides to instead take him into his household for a couple years where he can befriend his similarly-aged son David, with the experience hopefully opening his mind and preventing future hostility toward the Human race.]]
* TakeOffYourClothes: In one scene in "The Quality of Mercy", Ivanova walks into a slum clinic run by Dr. Franklin, and Franklin, without turning around, tells her to start by removing all her clothes. Ivanova replies by asking for flowers and a dinner first.
** The fifth season episode "A Tragedy of Telepaths" has Londo ordering a female Centauri servant to strip and give her clothes to him[[spoiler: so he can give them to Na'Toth, who he and Vir are smuggling out of a prison cell]]. The servant remarks that Cartagia 'used to play this game' with her, in a context that implies that [[CreepyCrossdresser Cartagia was a transvestite]] rather than simply taking advantage of the help.
* TheTalk: Once Vir realizes he's been shafted into an arranged marriage, he makes a beeline for Ivanova, asking her advice about courting women. Things get very awkward for both when Vir mentions just how Centauri have sex.
* TalkingTheMonsterToDeath: The resolution of "Infection", where Sinclair persuades the alien bioweapon to deactivate itself by bringing it up to speed on the history of the world it was built to protect (dead for centuries, because the population was wiped out by the weapons intended to protect them).
* TalkingYourWayOut: In "The Parliament of Dreams", G'Kar tries the "whatever you were paid, I'll double it" tactic on the assassin. It doesn't work because, the assassin explains, the assassin's guild has a reputation to uphold and comes down very hard on members who let themselves get bought off.
* TamperingWithFoodAndDrink: In the old days of the Centauri Republic, poison was a commonplace negotiating tool. After exchanging a toast with Refa, Londo announces that he poisoned his drink.
* TheTapeKnewYouWouldSayThat: When Londo's trap for Refa is sprung and Refa trapped [[spoiler:in a room with several angry Narns who Londo told that every war crime done to their people was by his order or had his influence]] Refa tried to say Londo was lying. The recording of Londo playing adds, "On the off chance [I'm not believed]" Londo prepared an offer those standing before Refa couldn't refuse.
* TastyGold: Somebody in a low dive in Downbelow tests a coin this way in "Survivors".
* TattooedCrook: The thug in "Survivors".
-->'''Garibaldi:''' All that tattooing seeping into your brain? You think I have nothing better to do than bust you every few days?
* TeamHandStack: In "TKO", Walker Smith, Garibaldi, and Caliban do one before Walker goes into the ring. (Caliban gives the other two a "what is this strange earthling custom?" look before he joins in.)
* TheTeaser: Used in most every episode.
* TechnologyMarchesOn: The thick digital tablets used by the station personnel might have looked futuristic in the mid 90's when the show was produced. Also, the [[SnowyScreenOfDeath snowy static]] shown on a screen whenever a camera is taken out is jarring if you are used to modern screens that simply switch to a blank black or blue screen when their signal is lost.
** Then there are the computer interfaces; the buttons look like colorful candy, and the interfaces look like a child's computer game...from the 80's.
** The operation that Franklin performs on the alien child in the first season can now be done non-invasively, requiring no cutting of the body. [[spoiler:This probably would have kept the kid's parents from helping him perform ritual suicide afterwards due to their belief that the soul leaves the body if it is cut open]].
* TechnoWizard: The Technomages.
* TheTeetotaler: The Centauri Regent. When Londo is informed that the Regent has been drinking himself into a stupor lately, Londo responds that the Regent had purposely cultivated sobriety as [[BlueAndOrangeMorality his one vice]].
** Subverted, in that the Regent [[spoiler: is under the influence of a Drakh Keeper. As the Keeper is incapacitated by alcohol, this is the only way the Regent can make any decisions in something resembling his right mind. Londo later learns this first hand when he becomes Emperor and is himself given a Keeper.]]
** Garibaldi plays this one straight, as he is a recovering alcoholic (he does fall off the wagon when he's under intense psychological pressure, and this plays a role in at least two episodes).
* TelepathicSpacemen: Due to being TouchedByVorlons, every race has some (except the Narns, due to Shadows killing all of them in the past, but the genes are still latent in them).
** Even races the Vorlon never visited have psychics.
* TheTell: Ivanova knows something is up when she sees Garibaldi "eating like a man starved", but she doesn't know him well enough to be sure there's a reason behind it. It turns out it is something Garibaldi does when faced with death (in this case, a ship full of colonists he came across who were killed by SpacePirates.)
** In the second season, Captain Sheridan, who does not know Garibaldi yet, is able to tell that he is [[spoiler: contemplating suicide]], based on the fact that Garibaldi is [[spoiler: sitting alone in his quarters idly loading and unloading his sidearm.]] Of course, given the recent events that had happened, Sheridan was right to be on the lookout for warning signs.
*** Which is intriguing because, the season before that, Garibaldi caught a tell on Sinclair contemplating suicide. He knew Sinclair was at the [[LastStand Battle of the Line]] and had seen from his experiences veterans trying to throw themselves into suicide missions in hopes of not coming back.
* TemporalParadox: The storyline involving [[spoiler:Sinclair going back in time to become Valen]] is rich with both the Object Loop ([[spoiler:the device that he and Delenn use to switch between being human and Minbari]]) and the Information Loop ([[spoiler:everything he teaches the Minbari as Valen, which he learned from the Minbari, who learned it from Valen]]).
* TemptingFate:
** At the beginning of "Mind War", Catherine Sakai makes the mistake of pointing out that everything's been quiet for a week, and asking "What could go wrong?"
*** ''Babylon 5'' loves this trope. Anytime someone comments that it's been quiet lately, or that they haven't heard from so-and-so in a while, the scene is pretty much guaranteed to immediately cut to something bad going down. Especially if said comment is made during the teaser.
** As part of a gambit to overstretch the Centauri forces, G'Kar's uncle orders the fleet to "temporarily" leave their homeworld unguarded.
** Sheridan on armed escorts: No thanks, "I can take care of myself." ''(cue [[ColdSniper sniper crosshairs]])''
** An especially painful example - Londo saying, "I feel happy" [[spoiler: before the only woman he ever loved is murdered]].
* TenThousandYears: When Delenn explains the Shadows and the First Ones to Sheridan, she tells him the last time they made open war with each other was 10,000 years ago. The last war against the Shadows, on the other hand, was a mere 1,000 years ago.
* TestosteronePoisoning: Lampshaded by Ivanova in "A Voice in the Wilderness".
* ThatsWhatIWouldDo: In one scene, Sheridan predicts a particular move by the Shadows because "that's just what I'd do." Delenn is horrified by the notion of Sheridan thinking like the enemy.
* ThatsNoMoon: Babylon 5 orbits a planet called Epsilon 3. Only it's not a planet -- it's a planet-sized machine.
* TheBigGuy: G'Kar.
* ThemeInitials: John Sheridan and Jeffrey Sinclair. [[AuthorAvatar Which surely has nothing to do with the show being created by Joe Straczynski]]. The ThemeInitials of the romantic leads matched those of JMS and his wife.
* ThereAreNoTherapists: The crew finds a man suffering severe delusions, thinking he's KingArthur. Seems there's no shrinks on B5 as Dr Franklin then decides to immediately break the man's delusion by reminding him who he is ([[spoiler:and the terrible guilt he carries for what he did]]). (That, or Franklin was simply [[InsufferableGenius driven to do this himself]].) Of course [[NiceJobBreakingItHero it goes poorly]], as the man has a breakdown and [[AngstComa goes catatonic]].
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: "Death Clouds". These weapons, developed by the Shadows, consists of a giant net of {{Nanomachines}} which enclose over a planet, before launching thousands of [[NukeEm multi-megaton thermonuclear missiles]] that penetrate the crust before detonating, thereby [[EarthShatteringKaboom tearing the planet apart from the inside]].
* TheyDo: John Sheridan and Delenn.
* TheyLookJustLikeEveryoneElse: The [[ColdBloodedTorture "interrogator"]] in "Intersections in Real Time." If you saw him walking down the street, you'd probably peg him as an accountant.
** Also Justin, the man Sheridan meets on Z'ha'dum. He's a willing servant of the Shadows, and tries to get Sheridan to switch sides. But in appearance and manner, he's like someone's kindly grandfather.
** To a lesser extent, Morden. He gives off a creepy vibe, especially once you know who he works for, but in his first appearance, he comes off as little more than a slightly weird handsome young man.
* TheyWouldCutYouUp: This is what Jason Ironheart is afraid of in "Mind War" (though to his credit it's not really his own fate that worries him so much as what They will do with what they learn from cutting him up).
* ThirdPersonFlashback:
** In the pilot show, this is notable averted when Kosh got poisoned and an telepath saw the events as seen from Kosh's eyes.
** Most mental flashbacks avert this and are viewed from the sight of the viewer.
** In "Revelations", when Garibaldi attempts to recall who attacked him, most of his flashback is just a rerun of the actual scene of him getting attacked, including several shots of Garibaldi in third person. The sequence does contain one new shot, representing Garibaldi noticing a detail that passed him by at the time, and this is in first person.
* ThirdPersonPerson: Zathras.
* ThirteenIsUnlucky: Ambassador Kosh's ship, which scared off the dock workers assigned there, is located in Bay 13.
* ThisIsThePartWhere: The assassin in "The Parliament of Dreams":
-->'''Assassin:''' ''([[SarcasticClapping claps sarcastically]])'' And this is the part where I'm supposed to decide I trust you, drop my guard, and let you shoot me in the back. Sorry.
* ThisMeansWar: "The Coming of Shadows" inaugurates an all-out war between the Centauri Republic and the Narn.
* ThisWasHisTrueForm: The end of "Infection" plays out like this for the guy taken over by TheCorruption [[spoiler:though it's quickly established that he's only unconscious, not dead]]. Notable because it's a supposedly sciencey weapon, and it took hours to transform him into the monstrous form, but once it leaves him he's back to normal in seconds, just like magic.
* ThrowItIn: Averted for the most part. [=JMS=] was very much against ad-libbed lines, since he was careful about how every line was written in order to avoid screwing up the MythArc. In the few cases where it did happen, he had very serious talks with the actor involved (such as when Billy Mumy/Lennier hummed a mantra that turned out to be the title of the album his band made). One notable case where an addition was allowed is in ''The Fall of Night'', the Season 2 finale. The Earth Ambassador tells Ivanova that his pen was a gift from his wife. After mentioning this, he kisses the pen. [=JMS=] states in that episode's commentary that when he asked the actor why he did that, the actor responded "Well, my wife isn't here, so I can't kiss her, so I kiss the pen instead." [=JMS=] then chuckles and says "Ah, actors. Someday they'll all be replaced with CG. I'm kidding. No I'm not. Yes I am."
** One very notable ad-lib that got kept: in the broken elevator scene of the episode "Convictions", G'kar was originally supposed to sound grim and unyielding. G'kar's actor, Andreas Katsulas, instead chose to speak the words almost maniacally. After the take, [=JMS=] realized that the acting resulted in a [[CrowningMomentOfFunny one of the funniest moments of the show]].
* ThrownOutTheAirlock:
** Dr. Franklin [[DudeNotFunny does not find 'spacing' jokes funny because of a friend's accident]]. Garibaldi advocates it regularly for particularly heinous crimes. And, most famously, Sheridan [[PlayedForLaughs spaced a teddy bear]].
** PlayedForLaughs when Ivanova threatens to do this to an ISN reporter on the station in "And Now For A Word", but is stopped by Sheridan:
-->'''Sheridan''': "I am shocked. Shocked and dismayed! I'd remind you that we are short on supplies here! We can't afford to take perfectly good clothing and throw it out into space. Always take the jacket off first, I've told you that before! (''to the reporter'') Sorry, she meant to say 'Stripped ''naked'' and thrown out an airlock.' I apologise for any confusion this may have caused."
** For the Earth Alliance, this is an execution method reserved for mutiny and treason.
** In "The Corps Is Mother, the Corps Is Father," Bester and another Psi Cop ''hyper''space a "mundane" who killed one of their colleagues.
* {{Tie In Novel}}s -- notable for having the tie-ins be {{Canon}}, with series creator Creator/JMichaelStraczynski reviewing them and/or providing outlines. Events described in the novels were more than once later referenced in the series.
** ''SOME'' are canon, others are disavowed. {{Word of God}} is that of the nine Dell books, # 7 is 90% canon and # 9 is 100% canon. The other seven books "[[CanonDiscontinuity strayed too far from canon]]".
* TimeAbyss: Lorien and all the other First Ones. The Vorlons who are the youngest of the First Ones have been a space-faring race for at least a million years.
* TimeTravel: "Babylon Squared" and the two-parter "War without End". Notable as the episodes (set two seasons apart) are both sides of the same time travel event.
* TitleDrop: It's the name of the station. also, each season has a title that it shares with one episode in that season. When you see a title card reading "Signs And Portents" or "The Coming Of Shadows," you know that something big is coming.
* ToBeLawfulOrGood: When Nightwatch first comes to B5, Zack ecstatically joins. Over the next year he is slowly horrified by Nightwatch's fascistic nature. After witnessing firsthand the arrest of a shopkeeper who [[DisproportionateRetribution dared to badmouth President Clark]], Zack (eventually) agrees to help remove Nightwatch from the station.
* TomeOfEldritchLore: Each civilization seems to have its own version of this. Delenn is well schooled in Minbari Eldritch lore. G'kar is obsessed with the Narn variation.
** When Aldous Gajic comes calling looking for leads on the Holy Grail, Vir cheerfully hands over a data crystal containing all possible references from the Centauri version. Londo, hoping to hustle Gajic for money in exchange for the information, is not at all pleased.
* TouchedByVorlons:
** The TropeNamer. Specifically Lyta Alexander and Sheridan. [[spoiler:To a lesser extent, telepaths (of all races) in general.]]
** An early episode features a character touched by the Psi Corps. Who then proceeds to [[spoiler:AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence and ''touch'' Talia Winters, but she [[AbsenteeActor left the series]] and was [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute substituted]] by Lyta before it got ''really'' spectacular]].
* TouchTelepathy: Telepaths wear gloves in public.
* TractorBeam: The Minbari have them.
* TrainingFromHell: Delenn has to face this from [[spoiler:''Jack the Ripper'']].
* TrapIsTheOnlyOption: In the season 3 finale, Sheridan is GenreSavvy to see [[spoiler:his wife Anna asking him to go to Z'ha'dum is likely a trap. But he wanted to go to try and avert a future and to make the Shadows pay for destroying the woman his wife was and leaving this flesh puppet behind]]. On the planet, when it is affirmed [[spoiler:his Anna is truly gone]], [[DoNotGoGentle Sheridan proves he is not one to be]] [[NukeEm underestimated or tricked with such a tactic
* TrappedByGamblingDebts: Happens to one of Garibaldi's men early in the series.
* TrashcanBonfire: "Chrysalis" has a scene with, in the background, a group of homeless people huddled around a futuristic equivalent, what looks like a large orange light bulb in a frame the shape and size of an oil drum.
* TriggerPhrase: Lyta's "password" for uncovering the Psi Corps agent among Sheridan's ranks.
* TruceZone: The Babylon stations were all built to be this. So much for that idea.
--> "The Babylon project was our last, best hope for peace. It failed. But in the year of the Shadow war, it became something greater - our last, best hope for victory".
* TrustPassword: In "A Late Delivery From Avalon", a deluded man claiming to be King Arthur gets into a scuffle with station guards. Marcus decides to put his accent to good use, bowing before "Arthur" and claiming that Galahad and Lancelot are onboard, as well. "Arthur's" face [[SubvertedTrope immediately darkens]]; Galahad and Lancelot died at the Battle of Camlann!
* TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty: Sheridan's famous victory against the Minbari flagship, ''Drala Fi'' ("Black Star" in English), by converting an AsteroidThicket into a makeshift minefield. The Minbari didn't appreciate this little improvisation, despite the unlikelihood of an Earthforce ship being able to take out a Minbari warcruiser in a ''fair'' fight. Instead, Sheridan was labeled "Starkiller" and smeared throughout Minbar as a [[TheButcher butcher]] and coward.
** The humans in turn point out that the only reason the ''Black Star'' got close enough for that to work was because they were homing in on the humans' distress signal so they could [[SinkTheLifeBoats destroy a helpless ship,]] which the humans ''knew'' that the Minbari would do.
* {{Tuckerization}}:
** Recurring character Alfred Bester, a psychic cop, is named in honor of the author of the classic SF novel ''Literature/TheDemolishedMan'', which is about a psychic cop.
** In the episode "Survivors" there is a high-ranking soldier named General Netter; Doug Netter was the series' executive producer.
* TurnInYourBadge: In "Survivors", Garibaldi is suspended from duty and made to turn in his security authorization, communication link and sidearm after being framed for the sabotage he was investigating. True to the trope, he insists on continuing to investigate on his own.
** Following an order by the Political office allowing Nightwatch to take over B5's security, Nightwatch begin consolidating its hold on the station by firing staff who won't cooperate and join ("Point of No Return"). Ironically reversed at episode's end, when Sheridan relieves them ''all'' of duty, replacing the disloyal guards with Narns.
** [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] in ''In The Shadow Of Z'Ha'Dum''. Garibaldi [[WhatTheHellHero resigns in protest]] when Sheridan refuses to release [[SmugSnake Mr. Morden]] when he can't charge him with a crime, but he ''knows'' he had to have something to do with the death of [[DeathByOriginStory Anna Sheridan]].
** And PlayedWith in ''Conflicts Of Interest'': Garibaldi resigned several episodes previously, but never got around to turning in his Identicard and his issued gear until Sheridan and Zack Allen pressed the issue. Zack even knew Garibaldi well enough to ask for his ''backup'' gun too. [[spoiler: He didn't realize that Garibaldi would have a spare ''Identicard'' too.]]
* TwistingTheWords: "The Illusion of Truth"
** "And Now For A Word" does this via SelectiveEditing.
* TwoLinesNoWaiting: Episodes typically feature two to three story lines: the 'A' plot, linked to the overall StoryArc; the 'B' plot, structured as a more conventional AdventureOfTheWeek; and often a 'C' plot, usually comedy relief.
* TwoOfYourEarthMinutes appears sporadically; averted just about as often.
** G'Kar and Na'Toth both speak of "Earth hours" in "The Parliament of Dreams". Oddly, they mostly do it when discussing a deadline G'Kar is facing -- which was set by a Narn, and which they discuss only with each other and with another Narn. So why don't they talk about it in terms of their own Narn hours?
*** Possibly because they're all on a space station run by humans, and any clocks they might encounter will be set according to human units?
** Neatly inverted in "By Any Means Necessary", with Sinclair pointing out to G'Kar that "The Narn homeworld is twelve light-years from Babylon 5. Ten of ''your'' light-years."
** "A Voice in the Wilderness" has "ten of your hours" and "500 of your years", from two different aliens.
* TwoferTokenMinority: Ivanova is a freaking Token Minority Value Pack. She's a female Russian Jewish bisexual [[spoiler: latent telepath]]
* TypesOfNavalShips: Interestingly, this is one of the few settings that will use the names of contemporary real-world naval ships for their starships (ie: Cruisers and Destroyers), and most of the races even seem to consistently apply these names (For the Narn, Centauri, and the Minbari, their heaviest warships are all some type of Cruiser), and yet the humans don't use the names in the standard way. For the Earth Alliance, a Heavy Cruiser is one of the smallest warships the humans field, with a Dreadnought being bigger and meaner, and their primary front line BattleStar equivalent is called a Destroyer, evidently a new larger warship type introduced after the [[CurbStompBattle beating]] they took in the Earth Minbari War, rather than the smaller warships used for screening and attacking in 20th century warfare. This is easily justified, as the names used for varying types of ships are always changing throughout history. During the 1950's, the biggest surface combat ships in the US Navy were Frigates. A decade later, the exact same ships were Cruisers.
** Starting with the spinoffs, we begin to see the Interstellar Alliance begin to use Destroyers as well, in this case referring to something with more firepower than a Minbari Warcruiser while being [[LightningBruiser much faster]].
* TyrantTakesTheHelm: Col. Ben Zayn's (short-lived) takeover as Commander of Babylon 5.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:U]]
* UnableToCry: Mariah Cirrus, upon finding out that her husband is dead. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] because the cryogenic hibernation process caused her tear ducts to dry up.
* UncomfortableElevatorMoment: Utilized frequently.
* UndercoverAsLovers: When they make contact with the Mars Resistance, Marcus and Franklin are both given their new stolen ID's: "Jim Fennerman and Daniel Lane, a young married couple on their way to Mars for their honeymoon." Although the idea of gay marriage is treated as completely regular, it is mostly used for comedy, and Marcus appears to be having a grand old time playing it up.
* UndergroundRailroad: Babylon 5 is host to part of the Telepath Underground Railroad, a network that helps Rogue Telepaths escape the Psi Corps. The stationmaster on B5 is revealed to be [[spoiler: Doctor Stephen Franklin.]]
** In the second and third seasons, multiple such railroads are set up by various characters to help [[spoiler: Narn civilians]] escape the brutal occupation of their homeworld after their war with the [[spoiler: Centauri Republic.]]
* UndyingLoyalty: Lennier and Vir. Ivaniva too, and Na'Toth. In fact pretty much every major character's second (except for [[spoiler: Garibaldi's, who in fact turns out to be TheMole and shoots him in the back]])
* [[{{UglyGuyHotWife}} Ugly Guy Hot Girlfriend]]: Londo may or may not be ugly by Centauri standards, but he's not terribly attractive by human standards, and so by ''Human'' standards, Adira is much better-looking than he is.
** One of Londo's wives is a ''very'' attractive woman who's also much younger than him. Possibly his other wives were like that when they were younger. However, as these were all {{Arranged Marriage}}s, the trope isn't playing completely straight.
* UndisclosedFunds: In "The Parliament of Dreams", Catherine Sakai receives an eye-widening amount of money as a bonus for a job she recently completed. She receives the notification of the amount in writing, and the audience is not told exactly how much it is.
* UnexplainedRecovery: [[spoiler: Sheridan after Z'ha'dum]].
* {{Unobtainium}}: Quantium-40, used in construction of hyperspace jump gates.
** The firing coil of a [=PPG=] is made out of an alloy called "morbidium", which (according to the 1st season episode "Chrysalis") is a metal that is harder than diamond.
* UnstuckInTime: [[spoiler:Sheridan]] gets ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. TropeCodifier.
* TheUnpronounceable: The Shadows' true name is said to have hundreds of syllables (it's ten thousand characters long!) and to be unpronounceable for the tongues of younger races.
* UnusualEuphemism:
** Characters are repeatedly being described as having "Gone beyond the Rim" when the actor playing them dies. This is most noticeable in [[spoiler:G'Kar]] who continued to be a prominent character even after the show ended until the actor playing him died of lung cancer.
** Many aliens seem to have a habit of saying "As the humans say" before using a well known Earth expression. Or occasionally massacring it, for [[RuleOfFunny the funny]].
--->Londo: "I feel like I'm...what are those Earth creatures? Webbed feet, goes 'quack'?
--->Vir: "Cats!"
--->Londo: "Yes. I feel like I'm being nibbled to death by cats!"
** Sheridan: "Well, as my great granddad used to say, cool"
** A more literal example, Vir's "Spoo-for-brains"
** In the first season, "stroke" is occasionally used basically as a substitute for "fuck" (with "stroke" presumably referring to masturbation). This doesn't really appear again afterwards, except in the episode "Gropos":
--->'''Sergeant-Major''': Where the strokin' H do you think you're going, private?
*** In many languages expletives use disease names, e.g. Dutch equivalent to 'fuck off' is 'cancer off'.
** In at least one instance, a character refers to himself as being "honked off."
** And there's Sheridan's exclamation of "Abso-fraggin-lutely!" Delenn repeats it in a later episode, in an inapppropriate but hilarious fashion.
** After [[spoiler: Marcus dies]], Ivanova regrets ignoring his obvious affection for her: "At least I should have boffed him just once."
-->'''Stephen Franklin''': [[LampshadeHanging "Boffed"?]]
** An example of one that is unusual for the characters but to us is utterly mundane has Sheridan quoting his great-grandfather: "Cool!"
* UrbanSegregation: The shiny areas seen for most of the series, vs. [[UsedFuture Down Below]]
* UsedFuture: see above.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:V]]
* ValuesDissonance: Actually discussed and dealt with quite often in-universe, as the station is a multicultural hub in which the various alien races are largely free to operate much as they would on their homeworlds so long as it doesn't harm ''other'' races.
* VestigialEmpire: The Centauri spend half their time invading the rest of the galaxy and the other half reminiscing about their glory days, back when -- one assumes -- they were even ''worse''. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] with Londo's LightbulbJoke.
* VichyEarth: What happens to the Narns after the Centauri get at it. After bombarding Narn from orbit, the Centauri dissolved the Kha'Ri and established an occupation government staffed with [[LesCollaborateurs collaborators]] (though generally not [[TheQuisling Quislings]]). They put a price on G'Kar's head and appoint a new ambassador to Babylon 5, with whom G'Kar has some serious disagreements.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: Hands up, everyone who knew Jason Ironheart's "You cannot harm one who has dreamed a dream like mine," was a Dakota prayer of protection and not a really weird line.
* AVillainNamedZrg: There's a humanoid predator species named Zarg.
* VillainousCrossdresser: We find out after the fact that Cartagia was one.
* VillainousLegacy: When The Shadows left the galaxy, they left behind some technology, and at least one planet-killer ship--and their old HenchmenRace race the Drakh, who searched for and obtained some of these items for use in their own designs for conquest.
* VisionQuest: Dr. Franklin goes on a Walkabout to deal with his [[spoiler:addiction to stims]]. It turns into a true vision quest when [[spoiler: he is badly injured and near death, and sees himself]].
** Londo during ''The Very Long Night of Londo Molari'', albeit an entirely involuntary one.
** G'Kar when he takes Dust (a drug that gives users temporary telepathic abilities) and proceeds to kidnap, beat up, and MindRape Londo.
** Several characters in the episode where the station is partially taken over by an alien Halowe'en. Many people were so changed by it that G'Kar (who arranged to sleep elsewhere out of fear of the event) notes it, and says he wishes he had stayed home and experienced it himself.
* VoiceOfTheResistance: TropeNamer.
* VolleyingInsults: In "Convictions", Londo and G'Kar are trapped in an elevator. They exchange a final volley of insults as a rescue crew approaches -- much to G'Kar's annoyance, as he'd seen the incident as a chance to watch Londo die without political reprisals.
-->'''Londo:''' There, you see? I am going to ''live''!\\
'''G'kar:''' So it would seem. Well, it ''is'' an imperfect universe.\\
'''Londo:''' Bastard.\\
'''G'kar:''' Monster.\\
'''Londo:''' Fanatic!\\
'''G'kar:''' ''Murderer.''\\
'''Londo:''' [[YoureInsane You are insane!]]\\
'''G'kar:''' And ''that'' is why we'll win.\\
'''Londo:''' "[[JoinTheArmyTheySaid Go be the ambassador to Babylon 5]]", they say. "It will be an easy assignment". Ugh, I ''hate'' my life.\\
'''G'kar:''' So do I.\\
'''Londo:''' ''Shut up!''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:W]]
* WalkAndTalk
* WarForFunAndProfit: The Shadows believe that evolution springs from conflict, and therefore provoke wars throughout the galaxy with the expectation that those who survive will end up stronger and better for it.
* TheWarHasJustBegun: Sheridan's speech at the conclusion of "Severed Dreams".
* WarIsGlorious: Seems to be the motto of the Minbari Warrior Caste.
* TheWarOfEarthlyAggression: On slow burn throughout most of the first four seasons, this becomes the main plot in mid-season 4 after [[spoiler:the First Ones leave the galaxy]].
* WarriorPoet: Of the main cast, G'Kar, Sinclair, and Marcus are the most stand-out examples. G'Kar is a former [[LaResistance resistance]] leader who unwittingly becomes a major religious figure. Sinclair considers himself a fighter pilot first and foremost, likes to read Tennyson, quotes Shakespeare, and spent a few years training to become as Jesuit[[note]]a Catholic Order who themselves were founded by {{Warrior Poet}}s)[[/note]] [[spoiler: who would go back in time and ''intentionally'' become a major religious figure.]] Marcus is a Ranger, also quotes Creator/{{Shakespeare}}, and is familiar with ArthurianLegend. [[spoiler: He becomes a very minor religious figure in the DistantFinale.]]
* WartsAndAll:
** Played in a heartwarming manner between Lennier and Delenn in ''Atonement'':
--->Delenn, I have pledged myself to your side... come fire or storm or darkness or death. Can understanding be a greater danger?
** Also from Vir to Londo although Londo's warts were more obvious.
* WeAreEverywhere: Played for laughs ([[NightmareFuel sort of]]) in a televised Psi Corps recruitment ad.
* WeHardlyKnewYe, Sinclair and to a lesser extent Talia. Also Lt. Warren Keffer, a more traditional [[TheHero action hero]] who was added by ExecutiveMeddling and later KilledOffForReal by Creator/JMichaelStraczynski [[WriterRevolt at the earliest point convenient for the plot]]. Plus Dr. Kyle and Takashima in the pilot.
* WeWillNotHavePocketsInTheFuture: Averted.
* WeWillNotUsePhotoshopInTheFuture: Vir creates a phony Centauri bureaucrat named [[SueDonym Abrahamo Lincolni]] to divert Narns away from concentration camps. Ivanova assists him by whipping up a photo ID for "Lincolni": A doctored picture of Sheridan, albeit with a Centauri hairdo and medals.
* WeWillSpendCreditsInTheFuture: It's not a universal currency though; only humans carry credits.
* WeirdTradeUnion: As part of a one-shot joke Cartagia complains that the Centauri torturers have insisted on being called "pain technicians" ever since they got organized.
* WeldTheLock: Garibaldi and the Mars Resistance blow the lock on an Earthforce outpost (depressurising it to immobilise those inside) then weld it shut again.
* WellDoneSonGuy: General Richard "[[InSeriesNickname Old Firestorm]]" Franklin.
* WhamEpisode: It's the TropeNamer, so there's obviously plenty.
* WhamLine:
--> [[spoiler:I'm Anna Sheridan. John's wife.]]
---> [[spoiler:Note- this is while Delenn is spending the (first) night with John.]]
** The last line of ''Comes The Inquisitor'':
-->'''Sebastian:''' Good luck to you in your holy cause, Captain Sheridan. May your choices have better results than mine. Remembered not as a messenger, remembered not as a reformer, not as a prophet, not as a hero, not even as Sebastian... Remembered only... [[spoiler: [[JackTheRipper as "Jack."]]]]
** From ''Atonement'', via FlashBack:
-->'''[[spoiler:Satai Delenn]]:''' Animals! Brutal! [[BerserkButton They deserve no mercy!]] Strike them down, follow them back to their base and [[DisproportionateRetribution kill all of them, all of them!]] ''[[DisproportionateRetribution No mercy!]]''
** "The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace. [[spoiler: It failed.]]"
* WhamShot: When asked why no Vorlon had been seen outside of their encounter suit, Kosh only cryptically answered that the Vorlons would be recognized by everyone. [[spoiler: When forced to reveal himself, this is proven shockingly accurate -- all onlookers see Kosh as a blessed figure from their homeworld's religions. Humans -- including [[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou the audience]] see him as an angel. This reveals how long and how thoroughly the Vorlons have been manipulating the younger races.]]
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: The role of Knight Two in "And the Sky Full of Stars" was originally offered to [[ThePrisoner Patrick McGoohan]] (who couldn't fit it into his filming schedule) and then WalterKoenig (who was too ill to take it). Koenig, of course, was [[HappyEnding later cast as Alfred Bester]].
* WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong: Nice one, Sheridan.
* WhatDidYouExpectWhenYouNamedIt: Even putting aside the [[FauxSymbolism unlucky connotations]] of "Babylon", Earthforce has already deployed ''four'' Babylon stations, each of which has either blown up or vanished. Did it not occur to them to maybe name it different next time?
** Why do people keep insisting on naming ships Icarus? It never freaking ends well.
** For that matter, why do people keep insisting on naming ships Marie Celeste?
* WhatTheHellHero: Garibaldi's reaction to Sheridan interrogating Morden in the second season episode "In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum".
** Also his reaction to Sheridan in general during the 4th Season.
* WhatMeasureIsANonCute: Spoo. The Interstellar Animals Rights Protection League's official policy on the treatment of spoo is "Kill 'em.".
* WhatYouAreInTheDark: Sebastian's inquisition is about establishing what Delenn [[spoiler: and Sheridan]] are in the dark, as the answer to this question is of vital importance to the Vorlons. When he's satisfied that they measures up he gives a rather epic speech on the topic.
--> How do you know the Chosen Ones? No greater love hath a man than he lay down his life for his brother. Not for millions. Not for glory, not for fame... For one person. In the dark. Where no one will ever know or see.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse:
** The character of Lennier abruptly departs from the show in the penultimate episode. He is the only major character whose fate at the end of the series remains unknown.
*** He is dead. In "Sleeping in Light" Sheridan offers a toast to absent friends, standard UnusualEuphemism for the dead. Mentioned are Londo, G'Kar, Marcus (known dead)... and Lennier. The plot outline for the Telepath War bluntly states that Lyta and Lennier die during it.
** Averted with the character of Na'Toth, however. Originally a recurring character of some importance in the first two seasons, she vanished in late Season 2 with no explanation. Much later we got an explanation that she'd returned to Narn and been killed in the Centauri bombardment. Eventually and unexpectedly, she returned in a single episode of Season 5 that satisfactorily resolved her fate.
** What happened to Captain Lochley? She's not at the party they have for Sheridan, she's not listed among the dead, and she's not on Babylon 5. And it's a little weird that Sheridan would invite everyone else and not his ex-wife.
*** "Sleeping in Light" was filmed at the end of season 4 in case the show got canceled. As a result, Lochley didn't appear since Ivanova's actor hadn't left yet, and thus Lochley's character hadn't been introduced.
** In the episode "Sic Transit Vir," Vir's fiance has captured a Narn, whom she offers for Vir to kill. After this scene, which ends before Vir takes any action, the Narn is never referred to again.
* WhenThingsSpinScienceHappens: Babylon 5 itself. Also seen on less-advanced Earthfroce warships, which rely on rotating sections to generate indoor gravity. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] because Earth technology to that point hadn't discovered the secret to ArtificialGravity. It is only later, once the Minbari and the Intersteller Alliance begin sharing their knowledge with Earth thay they begin catching up, beginning with the ''Warlock''-class.
* WhereDaWhiteWomenAt: Talia once shared a romance with her black instructor, Jason Ironheart, when they were both at Psi Corps Academy.
* WhoWantsToLiveForever:
** Lorien explains to Susan that he and his race were born naturally immortal.
-->'''Lorien:''' At first we were kept in balance by birth rate. Few of us were ever born, less than a handful each year. Then I think, the Universe decided that to appreciate life, for there to be change and growth, life had to be short. So, the generations that followed us grew old, infirm, and died. But those of us who were first, went on. We discovered the Vorlons and the Shadows when they were infant races and nourished them, helped them and all the other races you call the First Ones. In time, most of them died, or passed beyond the rim to whatever lies in the darkness between galaxies. We've lived too long, seen too much. To live on as we have is to leave behind joy and love and companionship, because we know it to be transitory, of the moment. We know it will turn to ash. Only those whose lives are brief can imagine that love is eternal. You should embrace that remarkable illusion, it may be the greatest gift your race has ever received.
** Subverted in "Deathwalker", when a war-criminal creates a serum for immortality. Every government wants it for themselves. The catch: for the serum to work for one individual, certain components which can't be produced artificially must be extracted from another member of the same race, a process which is fatal to the other person. She intends for the billions who will die for the immortality of others as revenge for the defeat and extermination of her people in a previous war. Even knowing this, Sinclair and the others can't stop her from walking away unharmed. [[spoiler:Then the Vorlons blow up her ship with her and her serum in it.]]
--->'''Kosh:''' You are not ready for immortality.
* WhoWatchesTheWatchmen: Actually, nobody monitors Psi-Corps.
** Only half-true: The Psi Cops monitor the Psi-Corps. Nobody monitors the Psi Cops, a fact which makes more than a few Corps members uneasy.
* WillNotTellALie: The Minbari like to think of themselves as this, but it's at best an InformedAttribute. Their definition of 'lie' is extremely flexible. Notably it doesn't include lying to save another person's honour (which forms the basis of the plot of the second season episode "There All The Honour Lies") or lying by omission. And some Minbari characters, including Delenn who is easily the most prominent one on the show, just plain ''ignore'' this supposedly deeply ingrained aspect of their culture; one fan quipped on Usenet that "the way to tell whether Delenn is lying is to check whether her mouth is moving", and no-one (including JMS, then a regular contributor to that newsgroup) disagreed.
** This is actually [[LampshadeHanging commented upon]] several times. Sheridan tells his old friend Captain Maynard that "The Minbari never tell you the ''whole'' truth." In season four, the Drazi Ambassador publicly states the same thing when speaking out against Delenn. [[RuleOfThree The sentiment is even expressed by Delenn herself, who states that the Grey Council "never tells the ''whole'' truth."]]. When Sheridan and Delenn meet in front of the "Universe Today" vending machine, she also states that she likes to read the "Eye on Minbar" section so she can learn things before the Grey Council tells her "What she needs to know and no more." The Minbari philosophy is stated on at least one occasion to be "Understanding is not required, only obedience" (no doubt they learnt this from the Vorlons). And of course, most importantly, the Grey Council never told the Warrior Caste why they ''surrendered at the Battle of the Line.'' It seems the Minbari do not think omissions are lies.
* WiperStart: Garibaldi attempts to use his computer skills to find updated information for Sheridan. [[RuleOfFunny Against all logic]], this causes the door to Sheridan's office to start opening and closing repeatedly.
* WithDueRespect
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity: Three quarters of human telekinetics are insane.
* TheWomanWearingTheQueenlyMask: Except for rank Delenn is very much this. She seems to be required both by Minbari honor code and by the necessities of her position as ambassador to maintain an outwardly regal appearance that belies her troubled and emotional nature inside.
** Skip the except. Any woman who can become Satai, can be offered a job as head and refuse, can disband and rebuild the Grey Council by fiat, and can stop a war by burning herself alive might as well be a queen.
* TheWorfEffect: The Narns often boast about being strong and effective ProudWarriorRaceGuy[=s=], but most fight scenes show them being mowed down by weapons fire in large numbers or beaten senseless in unarmed combat. Even their extremely elegant and impressive warships are often ripped apart in short order.
* TheWorldIsNotReady: Stock excuse for why advanced aliens won't entrust the Narn, Centuari, or human species with advanced technology. The Vorlons are this way towards all other races even after they depart for good. The stock response for trying to intrude their abandoned space: "Come back in a million years." [[spoiler:The Humans eventually ''do'' come back...in a million years...and ''this'' time they're ready.]]
* WorldOfSnark: ''[[UpToEleven So much.]]'' If you're a main or recurring character and you aren't a DeadpanSnarker when you first appear, you will be one before your final appearance.
* WordOfGay: JMS once asked actor Wortham Krimmer to tone down Emperor Cartagia's fey behavior, to which Krimmer responded, "Well, Joe, he's bisexual, don't you know." When JMS gave an "oh really" sort of reply, Krimmer said, "Absolutely. He's the emperor. He can f--- anyone he wants."
* WordOfGod: JMS remained active on USENET throughout the show's run, and would often answer questions about the B5 'verse posted to rec.arts.sci-fi.tv.babylon5.moderated.
* WorkingWithTheEx: Sheridan deliberately hires his ex-wife to command the station when he has to resign by reason of [[AwesomeMomentOfCrowning becoming a president]]; they didn't work out romantically, but he still trusts her.
* WorldOfCardboardSpeech: Ironheart gives one of these to Sinclair in ''Mind War''.
* WorthLivingFor: Stephen Franklin, after getting a lengthy TheReasonYouSuckSpeech from [[spoiler: a trauma-induced hallucination of himself]].
** For Sheridan, this would be [[spoiler: Delenn]], throughout the fourth season of the show.
** Delenn says that Sinclair is looking for something WorthLivingFor during the first season. Garibaldi implies the same, saying that Sinclair is constantly throwing himself into dangerous situations because it's easier to find something worth dying for than something worth living for.
* WorthyOpponent: [[spoiler:Delenn]] says this about humans while watching them die at Battle of the Line from the Grey Council's shipboard palace. Sinclair says this about Minbari in "Midnight on the Firing Line". As each of these are destined to [[spoiler:exchange species]] it is a kind of {{Foreshadowing}}.
** [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Neroon]], in his first appearance, decides that it is a great honor to his fallen mentor to be considered this by Sinclair, who had every reason hate the Minbari after his squadron was slaughtered at [[HoldTheLine The Line]]. He later comes to hold the same opinion of [[YouShallNotPass Marcus Cole]] and Delenn.
* WretchedHive: A seedy tavern in Downbelow where Marcus meets with his contacts.
* WriteBackToTheFuture: After [[spoiler: Sinclair travels to the past to become Valen he leaves behind notes for himself and Delenn to be deliver 1000 years later, with the information about how and why they need to steal Babylon 4.]]
* WrittenInInfirmity:
** In the second-season episode "The Geometry of Shadows", Ivanova breaks her leg in a brawl that broke out while she was trying to resolve an internal dispute between two Drazi factions; Claudia Christian had actually broken her leg in an accident and they needed an excuse for her leg being in a cast.
*** In fact, her leg was already broken in the scene where it happens in the show. One can assume that her cry of pain as she falls [[EnforcedMethodActing was not entirely faked]]. JMS referred to her as "a trooper" for doing this.
** For a while in Season 3, Garibaldi has his arm in a sling. This is because Jerry Doyle broke his arm during a fight scene in "Severed Dreams". If you look closely at the end of the fight scene, you can even see his arm bend in a way it ''really shouldn't''.
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[[folder:XYZ]]

* YouAlreadyChangedThePast: Babylon 4 reappears four years after it disappearance ("Babylon Squared"). In the two-parter "War Without End," it is revealed that Babylon 4 was snatched by the Minbari and taken to the year 1260 AD to help fight the Shadows. To prevent this from happening, the Shadows sent a bomb to Babylon 4 just as it was about to come on-line in 2254. However, the White Star also goes back in time, destroys the bomb, and (as it turns out) [[TimeyWimeyBall takes it back in time as well]]. However, this is not before the time travel device (sent by Draal and delivered by Zathras) malfunctions, dropping Babylon 4 back into present-day 2258, resulting in the events of "Babylon Squared." Sinclair then realizes that [[spoiler:he must take Babylon 4 back in time himself, and then uses the triluminary device to turn himself into a Minbari--specifically, Valen, who led them in the First Shadow War, organized their society, and effectively became the main prophet of their religion]].
* YouAreWhatYouHate:
** [[spoiler: Ivanova's]] aversion to Psi-Corps, or telepaths in general. As we later discover, [[spoiler:Ivanova]] does not hate telepaths as people, but reacts with hostility toward any threat of being scanned, which would lead to being 'outed' as a P1. OK, hands up, who [[Administrivia/SelfFulfillingSpoiler actually didn't see that coming?]]
*** In the episode where that particular reveal was made ("Divided Loyalties"), there was a plot that revealed one of the crew was a ManchurianAgent. It was already known among some of the fanbase that the "traitor" plotline existed, and was originally meant for [[spoiler:Laurel Takashima, the first officer in the pilot]]. Between the known "traitor" plotline and [[spoiler:Ivanova]]'s reluctance at being scanned, that person was ''obviously'' the traitor. Nope, the "obvious" conclusion was a RedHerring; the actual traitor was [[spoiler:Talia Winters]].
** The Vorlon Inquisitor is [[BerserkButton easily peeved]] by anybody presuming to be 'chosen', or part of a greater plan. As he later confides to Sheridan, the Inquisitor believed he was doing God's work when he [[spoiler:committed the Whitechapel murders]] centuries ago.
* YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm: Thanks to their relentless tampering with the development of younger races, Vorlons appear in the guise of [[spoiler:divine beings]], although their appearance can vary greatly depending on the species and individual's own history and mythology. This is accomplished by way of actively projecting a telepathic image which, when used on a large crowd of people, can be a great strain on the Vorlon.
** Finally averted in the season 4 episode "Falling Toward Apotheosis". Sheridan devises a plan to remove Vorlon Ambassador Ulkesh from the station ([[spoiler: At this point, Vorlons are starting to tear up Shadow-aligned worlds]]): hit him with everything they have. It made him angry: angry enough to burst from his encounter suit and lash back with no pretense at keeping up appearances. It [[spoiler: and the eventual reapparance of the last remaining bit of Kosh]] is the first and probably only time a Vorlon is seen ''au natural''.
* YouCantFightFate: See "Dreaming of Things To Come", above.
* YouDidntAsk: Sinclair's excuse for not sharing an important piece of information sooner in "A Voice in the Wilderness". (The real reason is that he just made it up on the spot.)
* YouDontWantToCatchThis:
** Lennier claiming to have Netter's Syndrome. (Also a ShoutOut to Doug Netter, the show's producer.)
* YouGotGuts: {{Implied}} in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op2jLtbzWJI a scene]] where Ivanova and Marcus recruit The Walkers of Sigma 957 as their first ally amongst the First Ones. At first the Walkers only speak in their own alien language while understanding English and balk [[TheRival when the Vorlons are mentioned]] and flatly refuse to help. In a desperate move, Ivanova [[DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu antagonizes the Walkers]] by saying the Vorlons are awesome and that the Walkers are cowards. Being such evolved beings, the Walkers see how desperate Ivanova truly is and pledge their full support.
* YouHaveToHaveJews: Susan Ivanova and Rabbi Koslov, although Susan was not a practicing Jew.
* YouHaveNoIdeaWhoYoureDealingWith: TheMole to Garibaldi, after the latter asks him who is behind the conspiracy that assassinated President Santiago.
* [[YouLookFamiliar You Sound Familiar]]: The Drazi Ambassador apparently likes to masquerade as a Narn from time to time.
* YouNoTakeCandle:
** Alien species that lack prior contact with humans tend to talk like this.
** The Drazi talk like this even though they've been around humans for a while.
*** [[AllThereInTheManual According to some]] possibly-non canon material, the Drazi language is very simple, and they find languages with complex grammar rules (like English) hard to learn. Apparently they're not incapable of learning, however. The Drazi ambassador's English is notably improved in the 5th Season.
* YoureInsane: Sinclair's reaction in "And the Sky Full of Stars" when the interrogator explains his theory about Sinclair being a Minbari sleeper agent.
** Morden calls Londo this in "Into The Fire" after Londo orders the Royal Guard to shoot dead Morden's two Shadow bodyguards. Londo doesn't deny Morden's claim, demonstrating TranquilFury at what he's about to unleash on him and the Shadows [[spoiler: for killing his love Adira and pinning the blame on Lord Refa]].
* YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame: In "Acts of Sacrifice," Ivanova attempts to secure an alliance with a race of {{Social Darwinist}}s who are about two steps removed from being [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Space Nazis]]. She is extremely uncomfortable with their effusive praise for Babylon 5's "down below" ghetto, which they assume was deliberately planned to separate the "genetically inferior" humans from their superiors.
* YourDoorWasOpen
* YourSoulIsMine: The Soul Hunters are ([[RenegadeSplinterFaction usually]]) a rather sympathetic example. Because they believe that there [[CessationOfExistance is no afterlife]] and the soul is lost with the death of the body, they attempt to locate great individuals, poets, leaders, thinkers, and preserve them when they die. Unfortunately, this puts them directly at odds with the Minbari, whose belief in {{Reincarnation}} is directly counter to the Soul Hunters'.
* YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters
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