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Headscratchers: Babylon 5
  • The other timeline. As said in the show, it is the future when the protagonists don't manage to take Babylon 4 back in time to help the Minbari and Vorlons win the last shadow war. They act as if the point the timelines branch of is the one when they do it. But wouldn't it actually be a thousand years before, when Babylon 4 and Valen appear or respectively don't appear? What we see about the other timeline is that Garibaldi and Sinclair are on B5 and Sinclair is a commander and later that Ivanova is a commander on this station, there is a captain and the shadows destroy B5. But... When there was no Valen in that timeline, Minbari culture should be vastly different. There would also be no Delenn, since she is a descendant of Valen. B5 was partially funded by the Minbari and built to prevent something like the Earth-Minbar-War. This war could have taken place, but without Delenn to start it and Sinclair recognizable as Valen to end it, it would have been very different. And of course, when Babylon 4 doesn't go back in time and the Shadows for that reason have no reason to destroy it, what happened to it? When the Minbari don't request Sinclair, why are he and Garibaldi there? The situation is not impossible, but it's a hell of a coincidence.
    • Without B4 completely disappearing the Earth Alliance would have had a much easier time building B5 and wouldn't need the minbari as much as they did in the normal timeline. The humans and minbari likely still would have come to some conflict as the Shadows were still returning and the minbari would still be investigating that when they ran into the Icarus. Without Delenn to freak out the problem was likely much small scale so relations between the races would be less strained. The change actually does happen a thousand years ago, the Shadow fleet is far more intact so they can attack with a much larger force. There are likely bigger changes but we don't get to see them.
  • Somewhere below it was mentioned that Garibaldi had a point about Sheridan's God Complex - but, from what I could tell, the presentation does not suggest in any way at all that he's right (rather the opposite). And this has happened at least one or two times before - where characters who criticized people like Sheridan and Delenn for being self-important, or superior, or obsessive about prophecy and their role it (etc. etc.) were usually presented as very wrong and awful (e.g. Jack's criticism of Delenn). I think to an extent, some of these criticisms were made-up about them, but sometimes it seemed partially true (while the show seemed as if it was saying these criticisms were utterly false and groundless).
    • Yeah, I've often felt the same way. I can see why Garibaldi might believe that Sheridan has developed a God complex. From his limited in-universe perspective, a lot of Sheridan's words and actions would seem to fit the mold of a Wannabe Messiah. And of course his mind has been clouded by PsiCorps brainwashing. But the audience can clearly see that Sheridan did not have and was not in any way developing a "God complex". Certainly there were people who saw him as a Messiah figure, but in order for Sheridan to have a God complex he would have to see himself that way, or deliberately perpetuate the myth that he was some kind of Messiah. But there's no real evidence of that. The worst you could say about him was that he didn't do enough to correct the people who had started to venerate him as some sort of living god. As far as I can tell this whole notion is based on an alleged quote from JMS that Garibaldi was "exactly right" about Sheridan. But I've only seen that quote once (and only here on TV Tropes) and I've never seen a source for it.
    • When Bester explains to Garibaldi just how the whole operation worked, he states that the reprogramming took advantage of personality traits that were already there. With Sheridan, Garibaldi (already a Properly Paranoid person to begin with) never felt the trust he did with Sinclair, and despite being chief of security Garibaldi was himself very much a rebel against authority. Of the four people Bester states would be able to most effectively betray Sheridan and the anti-Clark alliance (Delenn, Ivanova, Franklin, and Garibaldi) Garibaldi's the easiest to turn to a Manchurian Agent because of these tendencies.
  • Someone claimed the entire show was possibly the story being told from the winners - could someone prove this, show how this conclusion is possible? I can see it in a couple examples, but it's also possibly just the writers writing as they like or think.
  • Londo re-aligned himself with Morden and the Shadows to get revenge on Refa for his supposed murder of Adira. Yet, when Londo actually takes his revenge on Refa in "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place", Morden does not seem to assist in any way. Why would Londo not use him, when this is why he wanted Morden's help in the first place?
    • Been a while since I watched that episode, but maybe Morden and his Associates were the ones who provided the data-crystal containing evidence of Refa's crimes. Londo needed that evidence to disgrace Refa's house but couldn't get it himself so he got Morden to do it. The rest Londo wanted to do personally to satisfy his refined Centauri vengeance.
      • I always thought that the data implicating Refa was fake. There was no indication that Refa actually made any attempts to work with the Narn resistance in any capacity on the show, and he seems too arrogant to work with Narns in any capacity. It seemed like Londo made up the story of Refa working with the resistance to make himself look good once Refa was taken care of by G'Kar.
      • Not that part, I meant the stuff about his complicity in the death of Prime Minister Malachai and his various other schemes for power.
      • It doesn't really matter; Morden and his associates could have helped with either or both possibilities (ferreting out real crimes or cooking up fake evidence).
    • Perhaps Londo thought he's need the help, and then didn't. Or perhaps Morden helped him speak into the right ears and tip the right balances to set everything up.
      • Londo's already having second thoughts about Morden even this early. He probably wanted to pull off his revenge without Morden's help as much as possible (and, with Refa out of the way, Morden has one less ally at court).
  • In "Divided Loyalties", Lyta basically says that the only way to find out who has a subconscious evil personality is to murder the good personality. Sheridan quickly agrees to try it on everyone (Credit to him for volunteering as well) without feeling guilt for murder. I can see why he agreed but I'd have expected a bit more emotion behind the whole thing and at least trying to find a better solution.
    • 'Murder' is probably too strong a word. You're dealing with a spy (and possibly worse) in your midst knowing that the only sure way to unmask him or her will also trigger the self-destruct button implanted by his or her masters. What do you do? (Especially if, like Sheridan, you have both a military background and the responsibility for an entire space station the size of Babylon 5?)
      • If you're The Hero, you Take a Third Option as B5 so often did. Basically it was just a hastily-written way to eliminate a character whose actor wanted out.
      • If this option was so hastily written, what the heck was with "Reflection, surprise, terror: for the future" back in season one with Mr. Visibrain? Wasn't that put there precisely so they could reconstruct Talia later on? They just never got to the 'reconstruct' part since she left.
      • That was part of another hastily written retcon. When the Lyta actress left, they no longer had a teep on the station who was Touched by Vorlons, so they had Jason Ironheart give his "gift" to Talia as a way to put a super-powered teep in the main cast. Kosh knew Talia had been power-boosted, and was getting material with which to blackmail or control her in some fashion later on if she wouldn't play ball with the Vorlon schemes. Of course, the Talia actress left, the Lyta actress came back, and JMS could go back to pretty much what he intended from the start (albeit at the cost of making Talia The Mole instead of Ivanova...who was only The Mole because the Laurel Takashima actress left).
      • Ivanova was never going to be The Mole: after it was clear Takashima wasn't coming back, then, if they decided to pursue that storyline, The Mole was always going to be Talia (as set up by her line in her first episode: "I don't feel like a victim.") The "retcon" of what the data collected by the ViCaR was for was not "hastily rewritten": JMS had several ways that such plot points could be taken, as a way of planning against Real Life Writes the Plot complications. If Andrea Thompson had not wanted to leave, it's likely that the sleeper-personality story would simply have never been used (Garibaldi's aide having already been revealed as a mole in the first season finale).
      • This kind of thing should have been handled by a court or courtmartial. Not even The Hero should be able to grant himself sole power as judge, jury, and executioner.
      • And how would they be doing that? They had no way of knowing who the implanted personality was and the more people who knew the more danger they were all in. If they left it alone they'd have an unkown spy somewhere in the ranks collecting information and could turn on them without warning. They specifically said the personality couldn't be located simply by deep scans and even if they did find out who it was without killing the host they couldn't do anything about it. They had access to two telepaths at the time, Lyta and Talia, both of whom were registered as P5. While Talia got a power boost the command staff didn't know about it, it may not have been enough and she hadn't been trained for that kind of work anyway, none of which mattered because Talia was the one with the sleeper personality anyway so she still couldn't have helped. So it was keep scanning people until the sleeper was triggered or wait for the knife to get stuck in their back when they least expected it.
      • Considering the stakes their little conspiracy was playing for, taking a risk like this was necessary. In a troublesome the end justifies the means way, but according to their information it was the only way.
      • If "murder" was what was at stake when they caused the implanted personality to emerge, then the real murderers were the Psi Corps, who implanted the personality in the first place. Talia was already a dead woman walking.
      • While I agree that they had to do it, it just would have been more in character if they had, you know, mentioned the fact that the person would essentially die. It wouldn't have taken more than a couple of lines.
      • What bugs me most about this, other than Sheridan's willingness to go along with the "personality-murder" solution without even looking for another option (and without objection from his crew), is the fact that it's barely mentioned afterward. Even by Ivanova, who was in love with Talia. If I recall, she refers to her exactly once after she's gone, when she confesses to Delenn, and Talia is otherwise basically relegated to Forgotten Fallen Friend status.
      • Ivanova has lost so many people at this point that she has effectively steeled herself against future loss; I always figured that pushing Talia aside was the only way she could deal with it. It did always bug me, though, that Ivanova was totally okay with Lyta when she came back on Kosh's ship. Considering that the last time she saw Lyta, Lyta "killed" her friend/lover and performed a minor Mind Rape on her, I would think Lyta would be about as welcome as another outbreak of Drafa in Ivanova's book.
      • Wasn't the Sleeper personality the "real" Talia though? I thought she originally volunteered for the assignment, so keeping her as "their" Talia would be like brainwashing Hugh Laurie to really be House.
      • Explicitly stated in the episode - the person was taken and worked over where a new personality was created that remained in the subconscious, watching, listening, whispering. The real Talia was destroyed, the artificial version of her was all that remained. This is probably why she was dissected by the Corps (along with Ironheart's modifications) - the new personality wasn't a real person to Corps.
      • She almost certainly wasn't dissected, though. That was just Bester getting a rise out of them.

  • Now I know the real reason was the actor left the show, but how exactly did Talia's personality get killed by the spy personality at all? It was either there before Ironheart gave her the fancy new powers, and it seems odd that such a powerful being wouldn't be able to remove the spy or at least give Talia the ability to keep from being erased, or Psi Corps put in afterwards. It seems strange that they'd be able to do that to someone who is beyond a P12, though.
    • I suppose the question there is whether or not psychic power and strength of personality correlate.
    • When asked about Ironheart not removing the sleeper online, JMS said Ironheart wasn't in his best state of concentration at the time and didn't see it.
    • The PsiCorps knows such spy personalities would be at risk of exposure when telepaths read one another. They probably construct such alter-egos with the ability to "mask" themselves as some deep-seated anxiety or private neurosis, which most telepaths would shy away from probing too deeply for fear of traumatizing their subject's psyche or getting caught up in the subject's own emotions. Ironheart, if he noticed the masked alter-ego, probably left it alone because he didn't want to upset Talia more than his 'departure' already would, poking around in her insecurities.

  • Given that the Earth Alliance got the information on how to contact the Minbari from the Centauri, why weren't they informed about their custom of opening the gunport as a gesture of respect? Even more strange is the fact that when we see the incident in flashback, the Minbari leader, upon being informed that they have opened them, realises that the gesture is likely to be interpreted as hostile and orders them closed. Was he really the first Minbari to think that thought?
    • I can't say anything about the Centauri not mentioning it, but for the Minbari leader, he may very well have been the first to think about it in that situation. At the time, Minbari ships may have been owned by each of the three castes, but for practical purposes the Warrior Caste operated pretty much every capital ship in their military and government forces. Open gunports as a respectful sign are done without a thought, so it's one of those blind cultural missteps where one party does something that inadvertently offends or frightens the other because it's what they've always done. The leader was pretty much the first non-Warrior in the chain of command there to hear about it and realize it'd be a mistake.
      • I'm sorry but I can't agree with this. There's a universe of difference between a "cultural misstep" like eating with the left hand in an Islamic country and being a Goddamn idiot. Approaching another ship, a ship you have never seen before and has never seen you before, with your gunports open is brain-breakingly stupid. "Sign of respect" my ass. It makes no sense. Who could possibly think that was a good idea? It's like walking into a room and greeting another person you've never met by pointing a loaded gun at them. How are they supposed to know you left the safety on? All they see, all they need to know, is that you have a loaded gun pointed at them. Is it really so inconceivable that they might draw their own gun and shoot you in the face?
      • Maybe the Minbari concept of respect is intertwined with intimidation. Something along the lines of, "We could kill you if we want, but we're not going to because we think you're cool." (And considering how the Minbari find tons of excuses for violence, that's actually quite a compliment) Why this was never a problem before might just be that everyone else was too intimidated by the Minbari to shoot first or the ones that did are warmongering anyway.
      • It's also possible that most Minbari contact came at a time when their tech was more equal with the contactee and thus didn't accidentally blind their sensors. The Minbari were isolationist for a very long time prior to that incident. They never seem to have realized in this case they blinded their target, thus inadvertently changing the effect of their gesture.
      • Humans actually fire guns in salute. Be that as it may it is not implausible that an inexperienced subaltern would revert to Standard Operating Procedure in the absence of orders to the contrary. There were enough Real Life First Contact situations that really were botched to find this believable. Vasco de Gama sailed into the Grand Moguls empire with a gift of beads and such like-because all the cultures they had passed before had been low-tech ones for whom such things were satisfactory. How could he have done such a stupid thing? Well when one thinks about it, it wasn't all that hard. Neither was the First Contact incident with the Minbari.
      • Even if humans do fire guns in salute (I have never heard this before) I doubt any military on Earth fires guns at other people in salute. So, world of difference. Firing guns off into the distance, making it clear you are not aiming at the approaching ship, is a slightly reasonable form of greeting between navies. Approaching another ship with your guns aimed at them and assuming they have the ability to tell that your guns are powered down is completely stupid.
      • "Open gunports" and "guns aimed at them" is a world of difference. In fact, the only difference between the navy salute you describe and the thing the Minbari do - except for actually firing the cannons - is that it's a tad bit difficult to see where the guns / cannons are pointed at when you are in space with a few miles between you and the other ship. That's what the scan is for, not to see whether the weapons are powered up. Assuming that this ability - scanning whether the guns are actually pointed at you - exists is kinda reasonable considering it's the first thing the EA ships in In The Beginning were trying to do, unfortunately they were unwittingly being jammed by the Minbari's scanners.
      • as far as the minbari were concerned the humans could see the minbari's weapons and that they weren't aiming. so it's like putting your hidden gun out on the table, without bullets. you show that you aren't trying to hide anything.
      • Yes, thats what the Minbari saw it but the humans having no idea that the guns wherent locked on them and that they wherent armed to fire due to the Minbari also blocking their scans the scans. To the Humans it was more like showing you had a gun but never indicating the safety was on or even if you werent pointing your gun at them from under the table.
      • Minbari ships mount guns on the bow. They were pointing their ships directly at the human fleet. Ergo, their guns were aimed at the human fleet. This isn't difficult to understand.

        For that matter, the naval tradition you describe is itself a stupid and irresponsible tradition. It only makes sense among cultures who already know about this absurd practice. The only reason it never resulted in a tragic misunderstanding with an unfamiliar culture is pure blind luck. Bottom line: Greeting a completely unknown ship from a completely unknown civilization by POINTING GUNS AT THEM is a pants-on-head ridiculous idea. The fact that it resulted in a near-genocide is all the evidence necessary to prove that it's a stupid idea. Hell, Ducat even tried to order the gunports closed at the last minute because he knew that it was a stupid tradition that would lead to a misunderstanding.
    • Huh. You know, the Centauri are very found of plans. Maybe they were hoping this would happen, and not only did they not tell them about the gunports, but warned them that the Minbari were unpredictable and warlike. And recommended an especially trigger-happy captain for First Contact, etc. All part of a plan to get rid of a powerful leader and divert the Minbari's attention so they could empire-build.
    • The Commander of the Earthforce expedition panicked when he was told that the Minbari ship had its gunports open. There is also the likelyhood that no one mentioned it to him or he just didn't read whatever briefing they gave thouroughly enough.
      • It is even simpler than all this. The Centauri never thought that it would be a problem. Why? It was only a problem for the humans because of the interference the Minbari scanners caused with the human systems. It was sheer bad luck that anything came of it, we have no reason to assume that Centari vessels would not be able to detect the weapon status like the humans did.
      • Alternatively, the Centauri have had so little contact with the isolationist Minbari that this detail might have been forgotten.
      • Or perhaps the information was given in an informal setting and the Centauri in question didn't realise that it would be relevant (it is pretty much shown that the humans overreacted anyhow).
    • I can't remember details, but didn't they presumably have some ability to communicate? It seems like a gradual approach with gunports open would just prompt a "Your gunports are open; what is going on?", just like any other potentially threatening gesture would probably elicit. That said, people do make mistakes, even otherwise intelligent people in very high-risk situations. Reality is unrealistic.
      • They did. The captain was saying on an open comm that they mean no harm. This, not being in a setting with Universal Translators, came across as gibberish to the Minbari.
      • Which just raises the question of why they did not prepare for this by asking the Centauri for data on the Minbari language (even if their knowledge was limited, it should have been possible to prepare a basic message) or try transmitting a message in Centauri (the Minbari had been insular for a long time at that point, yet they had had some previous dealings with the Centauri and presumably had not wiped the Centauri language data from their computers).
      • The ships had explicit orders to avoid contact, the same Minbari scans that blocked their sensors kept them from going to hyperspace and withdrawing. It was this, combined with the open gun ports and useless scanners, then further combined with the lack of communication (the Minbari didn't respond at all, since they didn't understand a word of it) that led to the captain concluding it was an intentional attempt to disable his ship(s) and open fire.
      • And as to all the "why didn't the captain/crew know X about Minbari", you have to remember this WASN'T an official contact mission, the crew/captain weren't going out expecting to meet Minbari, they happened to accidentally run into them while on another mission, if this had been a deliberate attempt to contact, then yes they should have as much info as possible, but this was just a random ship, just happening to encounter a Minbari ship for the first time, and panicking when they didn't understand what was happening.
      • Not quite. It wasn't a random ship stumbling upon the Mibari by accident, it was a reconnaissance mission targeted at the Minbari and the Captain ignored orders to get more data on them. One should think EA command would supply him with all the data they have just in case. But In the Beginning made a point to show Earth being arrogant to the point of stupidity after curb-stomping the Dilgar and saving the League Worlds just shortly before encountering the Minbari.
      • In addition we are specifically told, by Sheridan no less, that the captain of that Earth vessel was known for being rash, aggressive, and terrible at first contact situations.
    • As I recall, Londo didn't give the Humans any information at all regarding the Minbari, as he thought it would be phenomenally stupid of them to approach the Minbari. His attitude was probably "If you're gonna do it, I want nothing to do with it. Be damned all of you."
      • I distinctly recall that the Centauri told EA (paraphrasing) "Here's where the Minbari are. Don't go there, really, just DON'T." And of course the EA promptly sent Jankowski there...
    • How did the Earth ships know the Minbari had gunports open if their sensors were jammed? In fact, how did they know the Minbari even have gunports if they've never seen the ships before? The typical Earthforce ship does not appear to have retractable weapons (only Babylon 5 does) and certainly us TV viewers wouldn't know the Minbari had them either, if they didn't tell us.
      • I would think an optical telescope would be virtually impossible to jam. Been a while since I saw In the Beginning, but wasn't the Prometheus trying to sneak up on the Minbari Cruiser but only had issues when the ship actively noticed them? By taking optical scans t Earthers would know if anything changed on the hull such as opening gun ports.
      • IIRC, the Minbari weren't jamming the sensors, Earth sensors had difficulty doing anything more than a superficial scan thanks to Minbari stealth technology. Presumably, the limits of the Earthforce sensors allowed them to do a deep enough scan to tell if the ships had gunports open, but not if those were charged.

  • One thing that keeps bugging me is why haven't Earth corporations just bought artificial gravity tech from someone? I mean, humans have bought all sorts of other techs from other races, so why would artificial gravity be any different? It took until the Intersteller Alliance gave it away before humans got their grubby hands on it.
    • It's likely they tried, but there's a world of difference between "buying the tech and having to figure out how it works" and "getting the tech AND a bunch of Minbari who are willing to tell you EXACTLY how it works and how to integrate it."
    • The Minbari aren't the only ones with arificial gravity. The Narns are perfectly willing to send people to demonstrate and troubleshoot their tech when they sell it to you. There are dozens of races who are shown to be perfectly willing to sell tech to anyone who will pay.
    • The Narn didn't have it.
      • If the Narn didn't have it, then how come their ships had no revolving portions? They clearly had gravity in them. It's a quite perplexing question, considering that during the war it would have given them the much-needed cash...
      • A crew onboard a spacecraft will experience gravity whenever the ship's engines are firing — the gravity just happens to be directed toward the back of the ship. (Incidentally, one episode showed two humans in a cargo hold of a spacecraft experiencing Zero Gee, while the engines were on. JMS got some flak for that from the fans.)
      • They made their ships to look more advanced then they were on purpose... but they're all shown strapped in during the show (just like the crews of the human ships that didn't have rotating parts).
      • Word of God is that the Narns did not have artificial gravity, which is why anyone you see in a Narn ship is strapped into their seat.
    • Battle of the LINE??? Earthforce deploys a line of warships to keep Minbari away from Earth. But Space is 3 dimensional.
      • But military metaphors lean toward the retro. Humans had ten thousand years or more experience fighting on Earth and only about two hundred years fighting in space.
    • So what of the Centauri, who DO have artificial gravity and are quite willing to sell tech to other races?
      • Maybe their asking price was just too high. Or, more likely, as the Centauri lost their edge, they saw that Earth was a rising power and therefore, a competitor, and refused to help them any further.
      • Seeing as it is indicated that Artificial Gravity is most useful in commercial transport the Centari (who are a fading military power with a good industrial base) might well wish not to give the humans (an emerging economic power) this edge.
      • It's also supposed to have use military wise. Not only does it allow you to keep your crews out in space longer, but almost all the major energy weapons of the younger races apparently require some knowledge of it in order to build it.
      • Anti-gravity technology and gravimetric drives are canonically gamebreaking technology. It is the dividing line between the advanced races and the less advanced races. Militarily a gravimetric drive equipped ship can alter its own inertia and runs rings around a ship without one. That's why Minbari fighters tore Earth Alliance ships apart so easily. And the biggest indication of the Minbari's technological superiority vs the younger races is the fact that they had gravimetric drives on all their ships - they've miniaturized the technology to the point where even their fighters have it. The Centauri only had anti-gravity capability on their capital ships (and on their older capital ships it was limited and unreliable). This is the one strategic technology that no one trades or sells. Earthforce was explicitly described as having tried frantically to get their hands on anti-gravity technology over the course of the entire timespan from the end of the Earth-Minbari War to the start of the series, and not succeeding.
      • Supplemental material around the time of the series' production said the Centauri concealed their artificial gravity technology at least up until the time of the series. In fact, as we saw when the White Star was introduced it wasn't even common knowledge that the Minbari had it.
    • Why doesn't the US just sell all sort of important military technology to China? 'Cause sometimes you want to keep the best stuff for yourself. Selling earth Jump Gates probably helped get the Centauri cheap earth made goods, but Centauri probably didn't care if the humans had to float around in their ships to get it do them.
      • Note that earth jump gates all have four spines, while Centauri and Minbari jump gates all had three spines. The jump-gate technology the Centauri sold to Earth was probably an outdated model, obsolete by their standards.
      • The Centauri didn't sell Earth jump gates. They rented out their jump gates to Earth, and the Humans eventually managed to reverse-engineer the technology.
      • A lot of US corporations have sold civilian technologies to China, though. The Earth products the Centauri prized were 'art and eccentricity', not conventional goods.
    • Maybe humans have simply gotten good at building structures with rotation-simulated gravity, and didn't think the artificial kind offered enough benefits to be worth retrofitting or replacing all of their current orbital colonies. As for Earth's megacorporations, they're more interested in the bottom line than in the comfort of their vessels' crews; for passenger transport, humans traveling between planets might simply like the novelty of zero-G more than other races do. We're the ones whose ancestors used to swing around in the treetops, after all.
      • There's also compatibility issues to deal with. Weapons could be more self-contained, "Shove power in here, point that end at your target and stay out of the way" while incorporating artificial gravity would be a lot harder. And beyond just using it, there are maintenance issues: if you're using something you don't know how to fix, you're at the mercy of those who do. So the military doesn't want the vulnerability, and the corporations don't want to pay the overcharged maintenance contracts.
      • Londo flat out states to the Earth Alliance government that the Centauri do not sell weapons to developing worlds, and notes that Earth is hardly in a position to be cutting deals anyway. Given that artificial gravity as stated above is a game breaker (permitting gravimetric drives, powering weapons systems, and making ships more maneuverable due to not having to counteract the gyroscope effect of a spinning section or transfer the momentum somewhere when you stop the spinning section) it very easily qualifies as a weapons system (in the same way that an advanced avionics system would qualify today). The Narn only do so for their own purposes, and at an inflated price...and it's hinted that the Narn themselves are attempting to reverse-engineer captured Centauri tech, but with limited success.

  • We have seen a few cases of G'kar lusting after - and apparently bedding - Centauri women. But this seems strange to me, since Centauri have a rather different sexual anatomy than the other humanoid races on the show...
    • There have been implications that the Narn might have a sexual anatomy related to that of humans, at least if the pilot is to be believed. That indicates that there is more than just one way of stimulating a Narn, other than the straightforward insertion technique. Of course all users of the internet knows that there is more to sex than insert member here.
    Na'Toth (to G'Kar upon finding an assassin's calling card in his bed): "It is not my place to speculate upon how anything gets into your bed. Your reputed fascination with Earth women, for example."

    • Maybe he used toys?
    • To quote Captain Gideon: "It's an amazing thing, technology."
    • Remember, it's stated in canon by Vir that Centauri can have sex with just one organ (their equivalent of "first base") so presumably, Centauri females can get some degree of pleasure that way or the practice would have died out.
    • And G'Kar may be better endowed than a human male, if Narns are marsupials. Remember he thought that Lyta might need to be unconscious if they had sex.
    • Given G'Kar's hatred for all things Centauri, his attraction to Centauri women is even odder.
      • The only signs G'Kar has any interest in Centauri women come when he joins Mollari in watching a Centaura dancing girl and when he later has an implied liaison with one of Mollari's wives.
      • G'Kar sleeping with Londo's wife could have just been G'Kar amusing himself with the idea of doing something that he knew would annoy Londo if he ever found out about it.
    • Actually, G'Kar's lusts seemed to be aimed more at human women. He had an obvious attraction to Lyta Alexander, once emerged from his bed chambers behind three human women in order to have a meeting with Sinclair and Na'Toth referred to his reported fondness for Earth women in her first appearance.
    • There's also the possibility that G'kar feels that it is a way of conquering the Centauri, following basically the same logic that rapists motivated by hatred of women use.
    • Hey, just look at Strom Thurmond. To quote David Cross, "pussy's pussy."
    • At least once several Centauri ladies are seen exiting his bedroom, clearly quite pleased, so it's clear that there can be mutual attraction between the species. This troper is inclined to think that it's a major case of the Forbidden Fruit, just as it was between different ethnicities back in the first half of the 20th century; it was widely considered morally rotten behaviour, but the taboo only led to widespread beliefs about the sexual attractiveness and prowess of the Other. The same deal here; consider G'kar like a black man from the 1950's with an interest towards white women.
    • Or maybe G'kar's hatred is actually for the Centauri Empire, or "the Centauri" collectively. Doesn't mean he can't feel otherwise about a Centauri.
      • He made that much clear in the last season, that while he could never forgive the Centauri as a people for what they had done, he could respect individual Centauri, and consider them friends, like Londo and Vir.

  • In the episode "A Spider in the Web", when Garibaldi is leading Miss Winter's escort. Why does he let her enter a room without even looking in there first? For a man portrayed as professionally paranoid, that is an unforgivable slip. He could have politely escorted her in, to get a quick look around, at least.

  • In the episode "Believers" why weren't the parents immediately arrested for murdering their child on Babylon 5? I could understand them waiting until they got home (or even onto the transport ship), but I would think that Commander Sinclair would have a dim view of people killing other people for religious views on his station. This is also after the episode has made a big deal about how it is required for Stephen to respect the wishes and religious views of the parents and not operate on their son. Are the parents exempt from respecting the rules and laws of Babylon 5?
    • Diplomacy. The Earth Alliance is not the United States—in fact, they're definitely in the lower half of the galactic pecking order, and recently came out of a war that would have led to their extinction had Sinclair not been the Messianic Archetype to the Minbari. They don't want to start a massive international incident.
      • They weren't even from a League world, half the episode was the parents trying to get someone to throw some diplomatic weight behind them.
    • Didn't you know? Religous freedom always trumps the law. Its tradition, after all, and that makes it ok!
      • Without actually knowing what the rules of the Babylon station say on the matter (and they never say clearly), anything we speculate here is just guesswork. The fact is, they were not arrested, and there must have been a reason for that, but since it was unstated, the viewers are limited to WMGing about it.
      • If I remember correctly, the Word of God was that each race follows their own laws in internal affairs, and in this particular case, the parents had the full right to do the deed under their own law. If they had killed a human child, for example, the station's justice system would have been less lenient.
      • Confirmed in the Lurker's Guide page for the episode.
      • That's the same reason why the Drazi weren't arrested for killing each other over the Green/Purple thing. Only those who committed a crime against Ivanova as part of their plot were arrested.
      • Plus, having any sort of investigation into that child's death would have lead to investigation into Stephen's less than perfectly justified operation on said child.

  • Why are the Centauri such consistently evil twats? Before the series, they invaded the Narn. Then they watched Earth get their ass kicked by the Minbari (while refusing to sell the Humans weapons and then "accidentally" killing the one Minbari who could stop the war). Then, Londo makes a deal with the Shadows and the whole universe is in trouble. What'shisname uses this to re-invade the Narns, then Cartagia plans to blow up the whole damn planet so he can get to be a God. Finally, Londo comes to his senses, everything is fine, then OOPS they go invade the universe again thanks to the Drakh. That fails (though the Drakh hang around to do their evil) and everything is fine again. Then (in Lost Tales) Sheridan meets a young man who is destined to grow up and invade Earth. Guess which race he is. Go on. Anyway, this is a race that's supposedly in decline, always reminiscing about the "good old days". For such a race they sure seem to still invade half the universe every other year! And no one seems to call them on this? The Narns hate them, but the rest of the universe seems perfectly fine with our tentacle-monster universe-conquering pseudoitalians with bad haircuts. Why!? (Couldn't JMS find another race to be plotting to take over the world, just this once? The Centauri have had their chance. Many of them, actually!)
    • Well, let's see, part of the problem is that we're looking a lot at the top, where the power hungry assholes are. Also, the old emperor tried to reconcile with the Narns but he had a heart attack. The Emperor that followed showed clear signs of insanity (and was a direct Caligula reference). The regent was a decent man up until the Drakh started mind controlling him. Absolutely no one (except the Narns) was willing to help the Earth Alliance despite the fact they saved the asses of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds from the Dilgar. The Narns were price gougers who were selling humans Centauri Tech in the hopes that if any of the tech was discovered by the Minbari, they'd direct their wrath at the Centauri (which was why they bombed the peace deal, because they thought this was an arms deal, and if the Narns did do this, they could very well have the Minbari crashing at their gates next). And the Centauri were used by the Drakh specifically as vengeance. And a lot of people are willing to allow the Centauri to do their stuff because they have overwhelming firepower. Also, during the Alliance-Centauri war, random Centauri were getting murdered in the halls, and the Drazi and the Narns took the first chance they had to flatten Centauri Prime. But yeah, the Centauri do get a bit overused.
    • To be fair, Earth itself certainly has no shortage of villainous conspiracies. And the Drazi don't get that great an edit either.
    • And the Vorlons are all too willing to kill people for slights, and commit genocide against innocent people for the reckless actions of a few idiots.
    • And the Minbari are all too willing to kill people for slights, and commit genocide against innocent people for the reckless actions of a few idiots.
    • And many Real Life humans are all too willing to kill people for slights, and commit genocide against innocent people for the reckless actions of a few idiots.
      • And many Real Life humans are all too willing to kill people for slights, and commit genocide against innocent people for the no reason at all.
    • Another big part of it is that Babylon 5's story, according to JMS, can be seen as "the battle for the soul of Londo Mollari".
    • A fading but still capable power with a ruling class used to entitlement with a collective ego the size of a solar system and embittered by their perceived falling standing in the universe? Nope, not a recipe for political brinksmanship. Not at all.
    • Note also that the Centauri are called out on it, but besides the Minbari (instinctively isolationist), the Vorlons (playing their own game), and Shadows (who wanted to manipulate from behind the scenes), no one was strong enough to actively do anything about it for most of the series. The Narn tried (look what happened to them), and Earth Alliance, being only slightly (if even that) more powerful and advanced than the Narn, would have been curbstomped if they had tried, notwithstanding Sheridan's and Sinclair's various bluffs. None of the League Worlds had the necessary resources or technological capability. And the moment the Narn and Drazi did get the capability to do something about it, they took the earliest and flimsiest excuse to bombard Centauri Prime from orbit.
    • Most of those actions were taken by a specific few Centauri (Londo, Refa and Cartagia) each of whom had the authority and rescources to lead their race down the path of corruption. Refa made a point of building up his political power and once Cartagia was emperor there's nothing anyone could do to defy him as disobeying or countermanding an order from the emperor is a death sentence. Once Refa and Cartagia were gone the Centauri were quite reasonable and benevolent until the Drahk started forcing Keepers on their leaders, which is hardly the Centauri's fault. Londo had completed a Heel-Face Turn and the Regent was a positively wonderful man from what we saw of him.

  • Okay... the triluminaries were supposed to be gifts to the Minbari people from Valen - with the underlying idea that he created them. But we know Sinclair brought a triluminary back with him, and used it to become Valen... So where the hell did the triluminaries really come from, or were we supposed to assume that they were just a piece of precursor-tech like the jump gates and their true origins are lost to time?
    • Isn't it obvious? The triluminaries were passed down to Sinclair from Valen. Sinclair then took them into the past and left them to be passed down to himself in the future so he could then take them back and... you get the idea .
      • There was a scene cut from 'War Without End' that showed Zathras loading a box that had an image of triluminary on it. In other words, the triluminaries were made on Epislon 3, given to Sinclair, who used them on the trip back in time, then passed to the Minbari.
      • Delenn explicitly states in Atonement that the triluminaries came from Epsilon 3.

  • I like many aspects of Babylon 5, but I found Sheridan and Delenn to be horribly obnoxious. If only the show were just about Londo. On a somewhat related point, the Author Tract was too much. It hovered around "annoying", drifted into "painful" a few times, and then went straight into the red with that season finale where you see how a million years later everyone praises how awesome the main characters were.
    • That season finale dropped strong hints that the entire episode, if not the entire series, was propaganda made by supporters of the main characters, deliberately intended to portray them favorably (history written by the winners). The viewer is left to interpret as he/she wishes.
    • Of course people were praising their awesomeness a million years into the future. They drove away the Shadows, Vorlons and all the First Ones forever! G'Quon drove the Shadows off Narn, temporarily, and became a majorly worshipped religion for it. G'Kar managed to outdo him in the span of five years and he was one of the lesser members of the War Council. Delenn turned down leadership of the Minbari, became the first, known to them, minbari/human hybrid, became leader of the Anla'Shok broke the Grey Counsil, defeated the Shadows forever, ended a civil war, became leader of her people by setting herself on fire and converting a rival caste leader (Neroon), reinstated the Grey Counsil giving the Worker Caste a dominant voice, created the Alliance, and became president of the Alliance, plsu who knows what else over the next several decades. Sheridan defeated the Shadows, broke away from Earth, united the Non-Aligned worlds for the first time ever, became the only person every race seemed to trust, died and came back, freed Earth from president Clark, forced the Alliance and became it's first predisent, a title he apparently held for over a decade, and disappeared into space. And Ivanova? Well, she's God, what do you expect? These weren't regular people who did minor things, they accomplished some serious stuff.
    • Their relationship got even more obnoxious as the series went on. They seemed to have something genuine up to mid season 4, but after that there are such lovely gems as her going off to face her clan in Atonement without telling Sheridan that she might not be back, Sheridan telling her in Lines of Communication that he'd rather she stayed on the station to keep him happy even though it would mean ignoring mass murders of her caste mates by the warriors— and Delenn not even putting him in his place for it, Delenn overtly flirting with Neroon a few episodes later, and then the whole S5 situation where she was very much interested in Lennier in ways that can't be considered entirely platonic. 'What The Frak?' How is any of this compatible with what both of them recognized when Sheridan was at ZHD: that they are both the other's reason for living? Dear JMS, write them as devoted soul mates or write them as conveniently together for political/religious/etc reasons but not both.
      • It's perfectly possible to be both soulmates and a Perfectly Arranged Marriage with Sheridan. Delenn never flirted with Neroon; they met, made a political conspiracy, and courteously called each other Worthy Opponent s . As for Lennier, I didn't get to season 5 but in season 1-4 she was perfectly proper with him. She was in an incredible bind; for she knew she owed him a lot but the one thing he wanted(without him admitting it) was the one thing she couldn't give. Perhaps she should have dismissed him but she couldn't bear to break his heart, and it would likely dishonor Lennier, certainly if the reason became known. The whole thing was was just a very sad tragedy.
      • Aren't you being just a wee bit hard on Sheridan? That was simply the way every lover that sees their beloved off to war is supposed to act in stories. It is a simple replay of the Loved I Not Honor More trope.
    • The most obnoxious thing about Delenn is that we're supposed to forgive her for her role in the E-M war despite never seeing any character work to justify that she's worthy of forgiveness—and, in fact, a lot of stuff (such as her handling of the Drakh first contact) which suggests she hasn't learned much from her mistake. If we're supposed to forgive her, then we should have seen some indication that she's troubled by what she did. Even one line to Lennier in Atonement — imagine i.e. "this is what I am remembering when I wake up at night screaming" — would have gone along way to show that she's actually repentant and therefore worthy of consideration for forgiveness.
      • She was a stateswoman and had to keep such feelings bottled up. On some occasions every decision a powerful figure makes will cause someone to die. If a decision turns out to be a mistake thats even worse. That doesn't mean she wasn't troubled-in fact she certainly did seem troubled to me, it meant she simply wasn't rendered incapable of functioning. As for "repenting" the only ones she could "repent" to are humans, whatever she considers her equivalent of God to be, and to herself. She can't apologize to humans without the orders of the Minbari government which certainly would never be given as she was a diplomat and not an ordinary person. And the other forms of repentance are private matters, especially to an honor culture like the Minbari. It would not have helped make everything all better if she had ruined herself with grief when people depended on her. I'm sure Winston Churchill didn't feel dandy about the bombing campaign after the war either but he kept that to himself.
      • Remember when Delenn cringed when the reporter was interviewing her. That makes it pretty obvious that she regretted it.
      • She didn't just cringe, she broke down into tears and begged them to stop the interview.
      • Why exactly is it her fault in the first place? She flipped out after her mentor and father-figure was murdered, and cast her vote in favor of going after the murderers, yet she wouldn't have accomplished anything but a tantrum if it weren't for the other council members, with less excuse, also voting for the war. Most of the blame should fall on the other council members who chose to accept her vote despite her obvious emotional turmoil. Besides, It's been over ten years, leaving Delenn quite enough time to handle any issues she has with it.
      • Well it was less her fault then others. She did deserve whatever angst she gave herself for it despite the fact that she was otherwise a very likable character. But she deserved blame less then the others. Some of her actions can be inferred as partly guilt. Sometimes she seems to have had recklessness that lends suspicion of a death wish. And her estrangement from the Grey Council could easily be interpreted as a grudge. I think she was deliberately manipulated to make an opportunistic war that would enhance the religious and warrior caste's prestige. They pressed her when she was most vulnerable and then never let her change her mind. Delenn of course knew that perfectly well later and I think she did hold it against them.
      • A-hem. She devoted her life to making amends between her people and the humans, to the extent of making herself partly human. You don't think that has something to do with her guilt for the war?
    • That in Thirdspace Sheridan flys through one of the most packed space battles in cinematic history with ships, munitions, lasers and debris all over to deliver a nuke. He goes all the way from B5 to the big bad enemy mothership THROUGH this battle in what, an Omega class destroyer, a Minbari cruiser, an Earthforce fighter. No IN A FRICKKING SPACESUIT. try skateboarding the whole length of the M1 or the I66 or any other major motor/high way against trafficflow with a nuke. and all this to punch out Cthulhu at the end
      • With all the warships shooting at each other and the jamming that must have been going on, Sheridan in his spacesuit with a piddling suitcase nuke must have been the least threatening energy signature around. That would have let him sneak around the artifact. He was going to splat ineffectually against the shields, so there was no need for the bad guys to waste time swatting him, and he was heading for the bad guys so no reason for the good guys to shoot him.
      • Is a more accurate comparison an ant on the highway?

    • S & D are very difficult characters to get a grasp on. You're certainly not alone in finding S & D to be extremely obnoxious. Much of the B5 fanbase adores them; even some people who find them obnoxious still adore them. Neither Sheridan or Delenn are particularly likable yet they—and especially Delenn—come off as extremely sympathetic characters. Delenn is a bitch who has risen to a level of power far above her capabilities, but it's very hard for anyone who has seen much of the character to turn against her, or realize that she's done enough despicable things to be considered an antagonist in most universes. Likewise, it's hard to hate Sheridan even though he's an arrogant idiot of dubious competence. Consider it a bad case of Informed Ability.
      • She helped formed an alliance of almost every known race including her own race's former enemy. I think Deleen gets a pass on diplomatic competence.
    • I think a big part of the magic that was B5 is that everything in the series meshes well enough that the viewer doesn't look at things hard enough to see the plot holes or realize that all of characters deserve to be fired out the nearest airlock post haste.
    • Building off the above thought regarding how most of the main characters deserve to be spaced...
      • Delenn is a textbook Love Freak - who bears a huge responsiblity for nearly wiping out another species (The Humans) purely out spite. She dragged her race into intergalactic war twice - once out of misguided rage following the death of her mentor and once again because of her Messiah complex, her belief in prophecy and her belief that anything she does to bring about the prophecy is justified... even if she has to become a Manipulative Bitch and use multiple plans in order to manipulate Jeffery Sinclair, John Sheridan and everyone in the Warrior and Religious caste of her own people into doing what she thinks is best.
      • What kind of person would you want to inspire an intersteller war against demonic monsters? What qualities would you expect her to have? Deleen was the perfect choice as a symbol and unfortunately she had the weaknesses that would be most likely to go with the strengths that gave people courage. Her faults proves that epic heroes and heroines are dangerous(not a bad lesson), but her virtues were just what was needed.
      • And be fair, Delenn gets called out on her dubious motives and actions. Several times, in fact, by several different characters.
      • G'Kar starts out as a Lawful Evil semi-Noble Bigot who considers any act that improves the position of the Narn regime to be justified because Humans Are the Real Monsters and Centauri Are Even More Monstrous. G'Kar himself is also a womanizer and a Magnificent Bastard, who earned his own lofty position through blackmail and character assassination. Though he becomes somewhat more sympathetic as early as the end of season 1, he neverthless only starts his Redemption Quest much later, after initiating a Mind Rape on his sworn enemy and being manipulated with a vision of his dead father.
      • Londo starts as a Chaotic Neutral hedonist who winds up making a Deal with the Devil in a bid for more money, power and respect. He does eventually realize the depth of his mistakes but is slow in acting to correct the consequences of those mistakesand it winds up taking him the better part of two seasons to start his own Redemption Quest - by assassinating his partner in crime and his emperor.
      • Anyone who thinks all B5's characters need spacing because they actually have *gasp* CHARACTER FLAWS, has been watching too much Star Trek. An awesome bunch of actors made them pretty much all likeable, warts and all.
      • Oh, I am with you, all the way. There's a reason I've always liked Babylon 5 better than Star Trek.
      • Agreed. To me, the best relationship in ANY show I've watched was the relationship between Londo and G'kar. Relationships don't have to be romantic to be great.


  • Distances in B5 never make any sense. One the one hand, you have the claim at one point (just as the Shadow/Vorlon conflict went to the planetkillers) that there will be no life for 70 lightyears when the Shadows and Vorlon are done. That's like saying England and Germany are going to go to war and all life in someone's backyard is going to be wiped out. Then the ultimate indignity: in the season 5 episode "Day of the Dead" you have one character say that they're 200 million lightyears away from B5, and then another that her comm-link is acting like B5 is a million lightyears away (the dead chick hanging out with her claims that the world they're supposed to be on must be very far away from B5, and not a few minutes later same "million lightyears away" chick says they're only 27 lightyears from B5...which would be right next door, galactically speaking. Her earlier comment about "a million lightyears" could be taken for hyperbole, but the other guy was pretty definite about the distance.
    • Well, that's what you get when Neil Gaiman writes an episode.
    • Part of this is the Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale trope. I've seen JMS try to Hand Wave this by stating that distances in hyperspace do not necessarily scale equally to distances in real space. Case in point: Babylon 5 is at Epsilon Eridani, which is about 11 light-years from Earth. Centauri Prime is mentioned as being 75 light years from B5. Earth to B5 is 3 days travel time, while B5 to Centauri Prime is only 4 days.
    • There are hyperspace currents and eddies, so maybe there are "trade winds" or something that make travel to certain places via hyperspace take longer or shorter than their realspace locations would suggest.

  • The biggest issue with the B5 arc is that there was no plot work establishing why the Shadows and Vorlons meekly packed their bags at Corianna 6. Over the course of minutes, the Shadows and Vorlons went from using planet killers to walking away peacefully despite having no established reason to stand down. There was no more of a reason for the belligerents to put aside their 10,000+ year feud because Sheridan asked them to grow up than there would have been a reason for the Americans and Soviets to end the cold war during the Cuban Missile Crisis if the Dominican Republic had asked the superpowers to please kindly not have a nuclear war on their doorstep. Sheridan had hardly any more tools to influence the Shadows and Vorlons than the Dominican Republic would have had to influence the USSR and USA. When Corianna 6 happened, the Shadows and Vorlons would have been as committed to the war as the USSR and USA were committed in 1962.
    • Both Shadows and Vorlons consider themselves guardians and teachers of the younger races. Sheridan argues that if they go on with their little war, they will eventually have no one left to guard and teach at the end. No matter who would have won their war, both would have failed their mission as guardians and teachers. I think it's a somewhat convincing argument.
  • There was no reason for the Shadows and Vorlons to stand down rather than pulverize—or even ignore—the combined fleet. It is absurd to think that the Shadows suddenly developed a conscience against killing the entire fleet after spending months decimating populated planets.
    • They didn't develop a conscience, this wasn't a real war to them. The Shadows were turning the other races against each other, driving them into conflict and upping the ante whenever things started to cool down, that was their goal to provide conflict and help the younger races grow from it. They brought out the planet killers because the Vorlons did and the Vorlons did it to wipe out their influence, not the Shadows themselves, to amke the Vorlon way of doing thinsg the dominant way. The war ended and they left because the younger races flat out refused to accept either of their methods or follow them anymore. The Shadows and Vorlons stayed behind with the younger races to guide and teach them so they'd grow into First ones themselves, if the younger races would not listen to them any longer there was no longer any point to the conflict or remaining there any longer, so they left. The war wasn't about territory or rescources or power, it was a debate between the two First Ones over who had the better method, and the debate was cancelled before conclusion because the audience got up and left.
  • JMS should have left some foreshadowing to suggest that the Shadows and Vorlons were open to a non-violent final settlement or reached far enough into the deus ex machina pit to make 'get the hell out of our galaxy' an order backed by credible force.
    • It was a matter of all the younger races saying "fuck you, we'd rather die than put up with your stupid bullshit anymore." The Shadows and the Vorlons were in a proxy war, and all the proxies flipped them the bird and left the playing field. If every nation on the planet outside the USSR and USA cut all ties with both nations and refused to play a part in the Cold War, what would have happened?
      • It wasn't a true proxy war. Each side took client states but the clients did not fight each other on behalf of their servants. The Vorlons used their clients as proxies but the Shadows fought the YR directly. A true proxy war would have involved fights between Vorlon and Shadow clients, e.g. open warfare between the Minbari (Vorlon servants) and Centauri (Shadow clients). Breaking up a proxy war is merely a matter of all proxies sitting on their hands and refusing to fight. By It F,however, the Shadows and Vorlons were actively destroying each others' client states. It was not a proxy war by any definition. The YR were only involved in the S-V war as targets. The YR sitting down and refusing to fight wouldn't make any difference because they weren't doing any of the damage. Saying "we'd rather die" wouldn't make any difference because the YR were all going to die as soon as either the Shadows or Vorlons got around to killing them.
      • If somebody is pointing a gun to your head, telling them to stop or you'll commit suicide isn't an effective tactic. The guy with the gun already wants you dead and doesn't need your permission to make it happen.
      • Actually, it is. Someone pointing a gun at your head isn't trying to kill you, or they'd just pull the trigger and be done with it. What they're trying to do is force you to do what they want by threatening to kill you. By threatening to kill yourself, you call their bluff - which yeah, sucks if they're not bluffing, but most of the time, they are.
      • Also, they had Lorien and the First Ones backing them up. That gave them massive credentials with the Vorlons and Shadows. If Lorien wasn't there to remind them of this, I'm guessing they'd have exterminated every one of them and moved on to the next batch of Younger Races.
      • If the Shadows respected Lorien's street cred (for lack of a better term), they would have been somewhat more reserved than to fire two very large nukes at White Star 2 even though Lorien was on board. That's hardly respectful even if Lorien is assumed to be immune to nuclear explosions. While it's possible that the First Ones could have taken a hard line with the Shadows and Vorlons, this certainly isn't part of the canon nor is it supported by the general passivity of First One forces during the battle. Moral support and a loaded revolver is worth six shots.
      • They fired the shots first, then found out he was there a bit later. They thought it was just Sheridan they were dealing with.
    • With all of the above said, however, the most logical explanation for why It F worked to drive out the Shadows were the four words 'you will be alone.' Before that comment, the Shadows remained belligerent. Immediately after that comment, the Shadows turned into whining kids who literally whimpered when they asked Lorien if he would go with them to the Rim. The realization that wiping out the YR would leave them with no more playthings seemed to scare the hell out of them to make them reconsider their entire strategy. However, even this explanation has problems.
    • It doesn't explain the Vorlon position nor does it pass the smell test given the Shadows' collective intelligence and the depth of their commitment to the war. A mature and committed (political) actor would not make a 180 degree about face within minutes of someone pointing out the obvious. They would have either realized the problem (mass genocide == nobody alive to mindfuck) in advance and backed away from going on a rampage or have been too committed (killing the Vorlons is more important than having anyone alive to mindfuck) to reverse course. Falling over that quickly would be a bit like the United States, circa 2002, deciding not to invade Iraq just because some child reminded Dick Cheney that wars kill people.
    • It's possible I'm holding JMS to too high a standard by using international relations concepts and basic game theory to take apart a script that was almost certainly written in a few days by someone who doesn't have a background in IR.... :-)
      • That is a severe case of Completely Missing the Point. Neither the Shadows nor the Vorlons are fighting for dominance, territory or because they like killing people. Sheridan actually says it the best: This whole conflict is like two parents fighting in front of their children, forcing them to decide who is right. The whole genocide thing was largly incidental: The whole premise of the Shadows' philosophy is "You can't make an omlett without breaking some eggs" but they are not Omnicidal Maniacs and the Vorlons joined in on the fun to erradicate the Shadows' influence on the YR, not the Shadows themselves ("You don't want to kill the messenger, you only want to kill the message. Make it harder for them to get to us.") They always avoided a straight on confrontation with each other, forcing the issue was the whole point of Sheridan's Gambit. Furthermore, they didn't relent because Sheridan pointed out the immorality of their actions. Lorien broadcated the We Can Rule Together speeches between Sheridan and the Vorlons / Delenn and the Shadows to every other ship in the fleet ("You let them see! You let them know!") so suddenly everyone knew what this conflict was all about. They figured Sheridan is the central nexus keeping the other races opposed to them but learned otherwise when they tried to kill him. Their "children" collectively had rebelled against them, rejected their ideals and refused to accept them. Even without the realization that what they did was wrong, their mission to sheppard the younger races had ultimately failed, unsalvageable. They had the choice to either continue the war until there was no one left - thus increasing the magnitude of their failure, stay in the galaxy isolated from the other races that rejected them and end up alone or rejoin their old buddies beyond the rim. Obviously, they picked the latter option.
    • Another major factor was that they got so wrapped up defending their philosophies that they actually forgot what they were. They had become caricatures of themselves even in their own eyes. When asked their own questions, "who are you?", "what do you want?", neither side had an answer. It's like if the child instead asked Cheney WHY the US should invade Iraq and he suddenly realized he had no idea.
    • I think that the point has been missed: neither the Shadows, nor the Vorlons were fighting for territory or dominance. They were fighting, in a very real sense for the younger races. If the younger races walked away from them, what's the point? There is no longer anyone to influence. The original purpose of the Shadows and Vorlons was to educate, and bring forth the younger races. Killing, or driving them away from your ideology counts as failure.
    • Eh... you guys are making the mistake of actually seeing it as a war like we have over here... a better analogy would be a debate that turned into a fist fight... it just so happened that the debate was between Cthulhu and Space Angels, so the collateral damage was rather apocalyptic. The First Ones and Lorien being there made them stop and listen... which can do wonders in situations like this. Or even parents always having fights over how to raise the kid until the kid and his lawyer serves them emancipation papers.
      • I love this explanation.
    • Exactly. The Vorlons and Shadows were never enemies, only rivals. What looked like apocalypse to the Younger Races was little more than a big chess game to them, at least until the pieces all stood up and yelled that, no, they'd rather jump off the board and end the match than keep getting taken, one by one, for the sake of the players' bragging rights.
    • It's spelled out quite clearly, by more than one character, that the Shadow War is a war of idealogy. This is why nothing seemed to work at first, why the Vorlons are always so cryptic and why the Shadows would rather operate through corrupted authority figures. Sheriden even says, in so many words, that he realized what was going on through nothing more than seeing their planet killers: they could've wiped out each others' home worlds from day one, and they didn't. Because it's not about how many they kill, it's about their ideologies: the Shadows and Vorlons promote growth through diametrically opposed methods, and the war happened because they lost sight of their jobs, of promoting growth in the younger races, and became more concerned with who's method was better. That's it. That's all. They just up and leave because if the younger races don't play along, if they refuse to provide proof that one methodology has turned out a superior species than the other, the argument is pointless. Even then, notice that when Sheriden says "Get the hell out of our galaxy," the Vorlons and Shadows are still silent for a moment? They were quite prepared to completely disregard everything Sheriden said and go right back to where they started, forcing the issue at gunpoint so they could prove who was right. It took Lorien giving them one last talking-to for them to actually decide that, yes, their behavior was absurd.
      • Remember that also the original goal for both races was the guide/uplift/raise younger races to the point where these younger races could stand with them as equals and peers (hence the concern about being alone). After that goal was complete they had always originally intended to leave the galaxy for the younger races to continue the cycle on their own, just as Lorien's people and the other First Ones had done before. Sheridan's final words "Get the hell out of our galaxy," was also a declaration on behalf of the all the younger races that they were in fact prepared to take possession of and assume responsibility for the galaxy, and reminded them of their original purpose. It also gave them a bit of a face-saving out, which Lorien reminded them of, in that, despite all their screw-ups, they had, despite themselves succeeded in their original mission. The younger races were ready to stand on their own. The Shadows and Vorlons were not needed anymore.
    • It is perhaps easiest to think of each race as a collective Knight Templar who had their error shoved into their face. Finally. Sometimes that works with Knights Templar, sometimes not. In this case it did.
    • I always saw it as that it was Lorien's presence that finally made them take notice. IIRC, both races practically worshipped him, and finding him supporting the younger races made them sit up and take the points seriously, as well as the almost childlike "Will you go with us?" line, when he says it's time for the First Ones to retire and leave the galaxy to the new races.

  • Why relocate the presidency of the Interstellar Alliance to Minbar as opposed to, for example, a new space station custom built for the job? From a defense standpoint, it would seem to be far easier to defend a space station, even an incredibly huge one, then it is to protect a planet simply based on the volume you'd have to monitor for incoming threats. From a security standpoint, a space station allows you to monitor everyone coming in or leaving by only having a limited amount of docking bays and access ports, compare to a planet where any unattended field could serve as a landing pad for a single nutjob with a suitcase nuke and an agenda. From a diplomatic standpoint, a space station can be considered neutral ground by all parties far easier then the backyard of one of the founding races. Ambassadors from non-earth standard environments could be catered to far easier in an artificial environment then they could on the surface of a planet, particularly if from low-gravity environments.
    • Minbar already had a lot of entrenched defenses in place, and a space station can still be blown up if you throw enough firepower at it. Hard to blow up a planet that way, at least now that the Vorlons and Shadows have left.
    • Minbar is already the best defended location in the B5 galaxy. If you build another immobile station, you'll need to build another massive fleet to protect ISA headquarters against the Drakh and everyone else who's always trying to blow things up just to prove how evil they are. It's much cheaper to relocate to a site that's already well protected.
    • The safest place for ISA headquarters would be on a mobile ship whose location is a very closely guarded secret. The Drakh can't attack what they can't find.
      • Any HQ worth setting up still needs a way to communicate with its subordinates, and do so quickly and effectively. Which in space, where communication necessarily means either some form of radio or couriers, means that you just can't keep its location secret all that well. (Besides, what kind of message would that send? "Okay, guys, we, the former gutsy heroes of the Shadow War, now feel the need to hide our new headquarters from everybody..."?)
      • Plus, the Minbari used to do just that (the capital starship), and then decided it had made them out of touch with their own society by isolating them. I doubt Delenn would be nuts about doing that again.
      • Because there was a lot of Human influence, including Deleen's husband and it was necessary to make a balance to save face. Also Minbar was more highly developed. Why did King James move to London?
    • Incidentally, the idea of Babylon 5 being a neutral place was always more of a politely ignored falsehood, given that Babylon 5 was built by the Earthers, operated by the Earthers, and was in fact a major Earth Force military base and de facto colony, conveniently located near all the other races' territories (and that's not fanwank or Word of God, that's stated as fact in dialogue). They all signed off on the idea because it was beneficial to them in some way or another to do so and have their representatives on the station. Once the Minbari agreed to it, everybody else probably did just to avoid looking bad. The Narn and Centauri likely signed on just to keep the other from looking more the peacemonger. And since Earth was at one point a client to both the Centauri (via first contact and the subsequent use of Centauri jumpgates) and the Narns (who sold Earth advanced weapons in the Earth-Minbari War) they both probably saw an opportunity to exert influence.

  • How did Babylon 5 get built? I don't know the exact currency conversion between B5 credits and 2009 dollars, but a space station that size has to cost a fuckton, never mind what it would cost to build and lose four of them. At some point they would have stopped throwing good money after exploded.
    • Given the Vorlons' knowledge of what's happened in the past (concerning Babylon 4), it seems likely that they would have encouraged Humanity to build the stations, possibly with the Minbari adding their support for the project as well. And when an enigmatic but vastly powerful race of Eldritch Horrors and the race of aliens who just kicked your species to the curb without any appearent effort invite you to get together and build a diplomatic tree house, it's hard to say no. WMG here: the Vorlons where also behind the destruction of Babylons one, two and three when they saw that they where not Babylon 4. The Vorlons knew that if one of the first three got fully operational, humanity wouldn't continue on to build the fourth that Vorlons needed to send back in time to win the previous Shadow War.
    • It was explicit that Babylons 1-3 were blown up by the Shadows. Sheridan and co.'s time-jacking of B4 prevented the same.
      • I thought the first three stations were destroyed by terrorist groups (not that they couldn't have been destroyed by Shadow Agents)
      • Where was it stated that 1-3 had been blown up by the Shadows? I know that 4 almost was, but with their time-travel shenanigans the B5 crew blew up the shadow drones and the bomb they where preparing to use against 4. But Delenn stated that the reason the Shadows had sent their ships to destroy B4 (and thus risked early exposure) was that they recognized it from the previous Shadow War as the turning point against them. However, the Shadows wouldn't have had a reason to take out 1,2 or 3 unless they looked exactly like B4, which seems unlikely given both the design differences between 4 and 5 and the level of completion shown on 1,2 and 3 when they had been destroyed (as told by Jinxo). It just seems odd that the Shadows would blow up the first three stations early in their construction, but wait until the one they know kicked their asses was completely built before moving against it.
    • I really don't think the setting is so meticulously detailed that you can make these estimations. Not in the parts I saw, anyway. And I think someone in "And the Sky Full of Stars" said aliens payed for Babylon 5, so I guess it was a joint project.
    • The series hardly ignores this, it's brought up many times that the Babylon Project is originally seen by many on Earth as Decadence Incarnate due to the cost and the repeated attempts despite the cost and failures. Babylon 5 was always, from the start, intended to be the last Babylon station no matter how it worked out specifically because of how much money had insofar gone into the project; as it was, it's smaller than Babylon 4 and Downbelow exists because there wasn't enough money to finish those sections. The only reason it was greenlighted after Babylon 4 vanished was because the Minbari and Centauri donated a lot of money to it, it's outright stated that their one condition for fronting much of the cash (I assume mostly the religious cast doing some politicking to get around what would doubtless be an objecting warrior caste) was having final say over the commanding officer; Garibaldi told Sinclair that his name was very far down the list and the only reason he got the posting was the Minbari kept saying "no" until his name came up. The Minbari were, because they weren't consulted and never would've approved it, absolutely livid when Sheriden the Starkiller replaced Sinclair, too.
      • Word of God stated that wreckage from the first three attempts was salvageable and used in the construction of B4. B4 up and vanished entirely which really put the screws on for B5, hence resorting to support from the Minbari and Centauri

  • Why is the first station that they build as part of the Babylon Project called Babylon 1? The idea is implicitly to invoke the ancient city of Babylon, so shouldn't the first station be called Babylon 2 Babylon Harder? The reason this bugs me is partly because, if they'd gone with that numbering, the existence of B5 wouldn't be so tenuous. Who ponies up the cash for a project this big after three attempts have blown up and one has disappeared without trace?
    • It wasn't called Babylon 1. Jinxo Thomas said in "Grail" that they didn't start numbering the stations at first.

  • In the season 1 episode "Deathwalker", the medical team fails to identify the species of an unconscious woman. Evidence is presented that she's Jha'Dur, the last Dilgar. After seeing the 30 year-old picture, Dr. Franklin says the woman is too young to be Jha'Dur and too old to be her daughter. If he couldn't even recognize a Dilgar, how would he know what they're supposed to look like at different ages, or at what ages they can reproduce? This might have been Lampshaded when Garibaldi threatened to lock up a Narn until her spots turned gray...
    • Perhaps some of the other races had dealings with the Dilgar in the past, and their records of contact with specific individuals of that species provided clues to the duration of a Dilgar's lifespan.
    • Perhaps until he knew she was a Dilgar he (and everyone else) assumed she was just another passing alien they hadn't heard of (Babylon 5 has a lot of them) that resembled a Dilgar. Because if you work off the premise that all Dilgar are long-dead, what else could she be?
    • Also, he said that after it was established that she was Dilgar. It's not implausible that he'd never encountered Dilgar physiology before personally and bio-information on an extinct species wouldn't be in the normal database, but he could do a search for more facts.

  • Sinclair, and later Sheridan, have three jobs to do: commanding officer of an Earth Alliance military base, administrator of a space port populated by a quarter of a million people, and interstellar diplomat. It's as if the mayor of New York was also the American ambassador to the UN and ran a US Navy shipyard on the side.
    • Well, technically it'd be more like if the President of the United States was also the mayor of Washington DC, but I see your point. One can only assume that Sinclair and Sheridan must have a truly epic number of unseen personal staff that they can delegate duties to.
    • Historically accurate: Empires with remote ports/military installations often had leaders with that level of responsibility in command. Example: the Governor-General of Fort William. The position later evolved into Viceroy of India.
      • Historically accurate but only relevant in an era without rapid communication.
      • How do we know that?
      • Rapid transit, not communication. The invention of the telegraph did not dissolve those offices.

  • What happened to the rings in Delenn's quarters from the Pilot Movie? Upwards of a dozen Chekhovs Guns, and nothing.
    • They were considered to be a stupid idea. Canon Discontinuity.
    • Their main purpose was to provide the chrysalis machine, which got retooled.

  • Do the Centauri have fangs, or does Peter Jurasik just have very sharp canines naturally? Many Centauri don't seem to have anything special about their teeth, but Londo's canines are very sharp and pronounced, and Vir seems to have something like that, as well, at least in some scenes.
    • Centauri are supposed to have sharper canines. The reason Vir only has them in some scenes is that they made him talk with a lisp.

  • How do jumpgates work? And I don't mean hyperspace, I mean the gates themselves. Are the four "arms" tethered together or are they free-floating? If they're not tethered, how do they stay together?
    • Forcefields. They not only hold the beams in place but also allow them to be moved apart.
      • Not forcefields. There are no forcefields in the regular B5 universe. Not even the Vorlons, Shadows, or Lorien have them. The only such shield seen is in Thirdspace, originating from a technology arising in an alternate dimension.
      • Maybe not large scale, but forcefield seems to be a good description of the barrier around Ulkesh's encounter suit when he was initially attacked.
    • In "Thirdspace", they clearly show that each of the four struts is equipped with thrusters, which, near the beginning of the movie, move the struts apart. The struts probably just float there normally - there are no significant forces that would move them. I suppose it would make sense that, periodically, these thrusters would realign the struts due to minor gravitational forces, minor errors during previous realignments, etc. that would make them move relative to each other over time. There are other elements in B5 that suggest that the writers use relatively realistic physics, so I think my explanation makes sense. For example, the Star Furies accelerate with a short burn and then slow down with a burn in the opposite direction when they near their destination (as opposed to killing the engines and waiting for the nonexistent friction to slow them down, as tends to happen often in sci-fi) and they make references about how ships need to align themselves with B5's rotation before docking. Also, (and it may just be that I've missed it) I don't think that forcefields exist in B5.
      • The production team did get help from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to make the ships' designs and movement realistic per current scientific theory.

  • I enjoyed much of the Episode of Rising Star, where the Interstellar Alliance is announced, but the White Star flyover bugged the hell out of me, for all the political fallout that should've happened. I mean Clark held power by manipulating fear of aliens, so what happens when he is removed? the representatives of the three other most powerful races announce the new alliance between them, and state Earth is free to join... Just after flying over Earth's capitol unannounced with the fleet of the most advanced ships left in the galaxy. Its easy to see the implied threat...
    • It was. Carrot and stick. Join us for the goodies, we have more than enough power to protect you, but you will be held responsible for your committments, and if you want instead to become the threat? Well, we have plenty of power to stomp you too.

  • What's the deal with those communicators? Wouldn't a simple wrist-strap or a Secret Service-style ear-piece work just as well?
    • The com links use DNA verification to at least some degree so direct skin contact is preferable. Oh and of course, because it looks science fictiony.

  • This isn't specifically about the show itself, but the sheer range in acting talent in this show bugs the hell out of me. On one hand, you have Londo and G'Kar who, especially when acting together, are amazing actors worthy of a big budget movie or something. Then after them you have most of the cast who are regular tv show actors. But then you have people like Garibaldi and Delenn, who really seem out of place in the show. They just can't act anywhere near as well as the others. Garibaldi is okay for the most part but his idea of "angry" or "frustrated" seems to be "I'm talking fast". Delenn's idea of "intense" or "serious" is just "I am whispering". It's fine for a few episodes but then it's like that's all they do, especially in the later episodes. Delenn especially becomes almost laughable. And then there are characters who show up for a relatively large part in one episode played by someone who really looks like they've done one or two school plays before being cast in the part (I'm looking at you, Jinxo). I realise this is a highly subjective IJB but it really has ruined the show for me in some ways.
    • Partly budget. Partly casting director issues. Partly bad direction. Partly bad writing. Jerry Doyle (Garibaldi) had no acting experience before he was cast, but JMS decided he was Garibaldi (i.e. the character of Garibaldi is just the actor Jerry Doyle being himself). Mira Furlan (Delenn) has won awards for her acting back in the former Yugoslavia (she's from Croatia). JMS has said that he regrets not giving her more chances to show her chops.
    • Delenn's problem is one of character, not acting. She's supposed to be very reserved except for the times when she cracks catastrophically. On the rare occasions when the character needs to show greater range, Furlan delivers to the point that it's painfully obvious she can wipe the floor with most of the rest of the actors. Watch how well she pulls off young Delenn in Atonement. That takes a lot of skill given that she's wearing full face makeup and playing a character a decade (or more) younger than herself. If you want to see Furlan pull off intense, watch her character's death scene in LOST.
      • The character did become laughable towards the end, but again, that's mostly a writing problem. As Furlan was reportedly less than happy with season 5's scripts, in my view it's quite possible she stopped putting her best work forward. There's only so much you can do when your character is transformed from an independent leader into subservient arm candy.
      • May be justified in universe - Minbari are not humans so they may display emotions differently.

  • How come Ulkesh is near impervious to weapon fire in his suit and utterly invincible in his true form, while Morden's Shadow bodyguards were easily dispathced by Centauri soldiers armed with handguns and apparently Sheridan killed another one with a fricking PPG? Aren't Shadows more advanced than Vorlons? Admittedly, centauri weapons are better than human ones but still, compared to Shadows, the fantails are as infant as humans are. It is even stranger seeing how those very two Shadows earlier wiped the floor of Kosh's appartement with its owner.
    • 1. The Shadow's are not more advanced then the Vorlons, both races are supposed to be about equal. 2. and this sheer WMG'ing, the Vorlons were essentially an ascended race, who shed there normal bodies and were now made or pure energy, which fit there loftier, more cerebral ideal, where as the Shadow's prefered to be down and dirty, in the action, and so maintained an actual physical form, and were therefor more vulnerable to primitive weapons then the Vorlon's were.
    • Kosh was also arguably resigned to his death at the hands of the Shadows, as a consequence of ordering the Vorlon fleet to directly engage them at Sheridan's request. In the Technomage Trilogy, which recaptures that scene from Kosh's perspective, he allows himself to die so that revenge won't be exacted on other Vorlons—he chose to take full and sole responsibility for his decision and take the consequences himself. So he didn't resist or fight back against the Shadow attackers. Had he done so it probably wouldn't have happened as easily or as quickly as it did, if at all.
    • Shadows are older than Vorlons, but that's not the same thing.
    • One possibility is that they were not killed, but simply fled the scene, either thinking that Londo had devised some means of killing them outright, or simply beeing more vunerable to standard weapon fire than the Vorlons. Shadow vessels, even the small scout vessels if I remember correctly, could "fade" in and out of hyperspace. If Shadows can survive for a time in hyperspace, and the Shadows can make devices that small, they might use it as an emergency escape.
      • Word of God says the Shadow was merely wounded and retreated to safety. So you're right.

      • It's implied that the Vorlons are fewer in number than the Shadows. They would presumably more greatly value individuals and devote more technology to personal defense. It is also possible that the Shadows have a caste system not unlike social insects, with the ones we see being among a numerous but expendable and therefore not that well defended group of soldiers/workers. In the case of Kosh, the Shadows came prepared for assassination, so presumably brought the necessary tools for the job.
      • The two races seem to take different approaches: the Vorlons relying more on raw power and the Shadows more on stealth. This would make the latter more vulnerable if an enemy can find them.
      • Also, the Shadows champion a philosophy of advancement through conflict, competition, and evolution. If they were to render themselves invulnerable to harm, so no amount of strife could inconvenience them, how could their own species continue to benefit from that philosophy? Evolution requires attrition, whether via natural or artificial selection.
      • Very simplistically put, it could probably be said that the Shadows are mainly about offense, and the Vorlons mainly about defense. The Vorlons' value of order, structure and discipline seem to fit a mainly defensive (fortified) posture, while the Shadows value of chaos and conflict (and encouraging things like 12-front wars in their clients) seem to fit a mainly offensive one. In the S5 episode "The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father", we see two telepaths "sparring", where one is maintaining a psi block while another is seeking to break through it—and the symbols they envision are very reminiscent of Vorlon/Shadow motif (block of ice versus attacking Shadow-like appendages), which seems to allude to this concept interestingly enough (as well as tying into the "ice block" symbolization of the Vorlon philosophy shown in "Into the Fire").

    • When Ulkesh emerged from his suit, why didn't look like an angel?
      • Because the angel image was just part of how the Vorlons had been manipulating the younger races into seeing them as god-like figures. Hence, in 'The Fall Of Night', Kosh emerges from his encounter suit and every race sees a different angelic being who is part of their own culture's religious tradition (and Londo sees nothing). The Vorlons actually look like we saw in 'Falling Toward Apotheosis', when Ulkesh emerges from his suit and Kosh emerges from Sheridan to do battle.
      • And Kosh had needed to rest after being seen by so many, implying that it was an illusion the Vorlons had to consciously maintain, probably through telepathy.

  • Even though he wasn't in his right mind for most of season four, Garibaldi raised a valid point about Sheridan getting too big for his britches after returning from Z'ha'dum. Why was he never called on it by anyone else, and/or why did he never have a moment when he realised he may have gone overboard at times? Are we supposed to believe he really is a demigod?
    • Most of the other heroes bought into Sheridan's demigod act, to varying degrees. Word of God says Garibaldi was absolutely right, but he was making enough of an ass of himself in other ways that no one listened to him. Cassandra Truth characters were a major theme in Babylon 5. (Think of G'Kar.)
    • Part of what Lorien taught Sheridan was to free himself from doubt and fear and simply BE, he was trying to hide it for a while until Delenn called him on it and stated he needed to finally just let himself BE and not worry about what the others might think. And Franklin does say that the old Sheridan never would have used the telepath's altered by the Shadows like the changed Sheridan did.

  • In 'Severed Dreams', when Delenn breaks the Grey Council, five of the nine members follow her out. That means she had convinced a majority. So why break the Council instead of winning a vote and thus compelling the warriors to go along with the decision?
    • Because (as discussed further up this very page), Delenn was so very fond of prophecy and making sure it was fulfilled ... and the prophecy said that the council would be broken. Given that the prophecy was made by Sinclair who went back in time and made it based on the events he had actually seen, it could probably be defined as a perfectly self-fulfilling one.
    • Because it was too late, she'd already broken the Council because they'd already voted and refused to do anything, she shamed them into action afterward. She walked in, told them off, broke their symbol of leadership and told whomever would listen to get off their asses and come with her to do something about the Shadows, she just happened to get lucky and have a majority of them go with her.
    • Five members agreed that it was time to leave after she'd called out the Council for its ineffectual B.S. That doesn't mean they'd have agreed on any the Council actually voted on; if she hadn't come in, those five might've taken different positions on how to counter the warriors' voting bloc, and accomplished nothing. Plus, if she hadn't busted up the Council, it would've only been a matter of time until the Warrior caste booted another Religious member out and replaced them with another Warrior, gaining a complete lock on what was fast becoming a rubber-stamp sham assembly.

  • What the hell are all these random races thinking when they threaten to blow up B5 for whatever reason? It's the equivalent of, say, Bangladesh or Ecuador threatening to blow up the UN HQ when it's in session. If you kill a dozen people from every 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rate power in the known universe, things will end badly for your nation.
    • JMS is very, very unclear on the concept that killing national dignitaries or raiding sovereign territory is an act of war. What the Minbari did (as in destroy the EA fleet, not going to the end goal of wiping out humanity) to EA in retaliation for EA killing Dukhat was treated as an aberration when it's actually a historically justified response. Any of the attempts various raiders made against B5 should have been met with an unholy beatdown by EA or the ISA.
    • As far as I remember, only three such occasions took place. Dudes who tried to claim Epsilon 3, the explosive probe that demanded answers to a lot of questions, and the fleet of Red Helmets (most likely nomads or pirates), all of them of completely unknown origins. Given how vast and obviously under-explored the galaxy is, it's not so surprising.
      • You forgot at least one, When the Centauri ship attacked them for sheltering the Narn cruiser. The Centauri were obviously more powerful than most attackers, but even they should of been concerned about retaliation from the Minbari and Vorlons.
    • Now that you mention it, why do Earth Force blow it up when they are done? The base had already been stripped, and the only reason given for them to destroy it is to stop it being "a danger to navigation" which is patently ridiculous, since navigation in Jump Space is completely unaffected by a space station in real space, and the station was intentionally built far away from any occupied planet to make it more easily defensible.
      • Maybe they looked in the history books at the old UK Seaforts left over from WW2 and decided they didn't need the potential hassle? I mean Babylon 5 already declared itself an independent power once, someone was bound to think the obvious if it was left in anyway inhabitable.
      • In fact, why doesn't Garibaldi buy it when it is due to be decommissioned?
    • Not enough money? He didn't care that much about the station?
    • On the Season 5 DVD JMS says in his commentary about "Sleeping in Light" that he wanted the station to go out with Sheridan. On the Lurker's Guide "Sleeping in Light" guide page, he's quoted as saying it's scuttled because there are weapons, etc. there that would be too much trouble to remove, to prevent looters from picking it apart and squatters from living there.
    • I would not be surprised if President Delenn leaned on EF to get rid of it for her own reasons. She would have motives to get rid of the station, both so it wouldn't serve to remind her of Sheridan and so it wouldn't serve as reminder to her of the hell she went through (tortured, held hostage, stabbed, nearly killed by Kosh, threatened with rape) when she lived there.
  • Why did JMS need to make bitchy little digs at Star Trek in interviews and even on the show? Didn't he think B5 could sell itself without trying to drum up some ridiculous feud? Thankfully, Trek's writers didn't take the bait.
    • It wasn't "bitchy" at all — it was good-natured. Babylon 5 and Star Trek even shared several writers (David Gerrold, DC Fontana, Peter David) and cast members (Walter Koenig [being the most obvious example). All Babylon 5 and Star Trek ever really had was a friendly rivalry. It was the Fan Dumb on both sides who wanted to push things into "feud" territory.
      • "This isn't some deep-space franchise, this station is about something!" Sounds catty to me. JMS also compiled a list of supposed similarities between the shows—he mentioned that both shows have commanding officers whose initials are "J.S." Deep Space Nine's captain was named Benjamin Sisko.
      • And even then, it's not like he wasn't entitled to a few "bitchy little digs" at Trek. JMS originally tried to sell Babylon 5 to Paramount as early as 1989 and they turned him down. Then lo and behold, just after Warner Bros. announced that they would be producing B5 instead, Paramount announced the development of a stunningly similar series known as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and that it would be airing mere weeks before the debut of Babylon 5. Even the most irrational man could be forgiven for thinking that Paramount had plagiarized JMS' original concept.
    • That line was actually written by Peter David, too. He didn't seriously think they'd use it.
      • It's not so much the bitchy little digs, it's the two-faced nature that bugs me. Read the Lurker's Guide comments he made, and you'll see him slam and criticize Star Trek and those involved when it serves him, but then offer up praise at other times, like when trying to attract viewers from Trek. He criticized Gene Roddenberry at one moment, then makes him out to be an under-appreciated genius at another (saying that Lady Morella's [who was played by Majel Barrett] comments about how Greatness is never appreciated in it's own time can apply to Roddenberry, after having spent previous years talking about what an asshole he was.) It gives the impression that JMS was saying whatever best benefited him at the moment,
      • From what I've seen JMS was getting annoyed at how people kept compairing B5 to Star Trek when they're nothing alike and critisising him for doing things differently. It seemed a sensitive area to him because 'you can't do things that way because Star Trek did them This way instead' really is a stupid argument to make and he'd get sick of it real fast.
      • What's "two-faced" about criticizing the parts that look like flaws and praising the parts that look like strengths?
  • The Minbari are complete hypocritical assholes, but this is rarely mentioned in the show. There are humans who hate the Minbari, but these people are usually portrayed as ignorant racists and crazy nationalists and so on. The Minbari declared war on an entire species and pushed them to the brink of extinction based on the deaths of a few Minbari (granted, one of them was like Jesus and Ghandi rolled into one) in a situation that was their fault in the first place, and yet anyone who automatically distrusts them or is otherwise resentful is seen as being a bigot. This is made *worse* by the Minbari attitude towards Sheridan "Starkiller". He took out *one Minbari ship* (which was basically one of the only Minbari ship that went down during the war) using a tactic that the Minbari themselves were openly using, and suddenly he's like some super dishonourable satan I'm fully aware that B5 isn't a show that likes to shove things in your face, that it lets us notice these things for ourselves rather than having characters repeatedly point it out, but damn. These ideas are barely touched upon, kinda like the idea posted above that Delenn does basically nothing to earn forgiveness for starting the war in the first place. It's like they're space elves and we're supposed to just assume that they're good now.
    • Saving the universe doesn't earn some forgiveness for a grief stricken girl being manipulated by others?
      • Forgiveness doesn't get earned anyway. If it is earned it is not forgiveness but simply reparation. I have done lots of things that did not "earn" forgiveness, and I don't even have the power or the strains of a space princess and if anyone else thinks they haven't also done lots of things that did not "earn" forgiveness that they have a remarkably over high opinion of themselves.
      • What in the world does a few Minbari mean? It is a common and rather barbaric meme that killing an equal number of random members of a rival tribe is somehow a more proportionate type of retribution. At best killing random people is a way of intimidating threats in which case it is not retribution but survival that is the point. If done simply out of anger it is always disproportionate and it is only retribution on the assumption that the guilty party cares.
    • I've always assumed that people don't call the Minbari out on their crap because they are aware the Minbari would be obligated to kill them. They already know Minbari are big on Disproportionate Retribution.
      • This would also explain their first contact protocols. No one ever told them that pointing guns at strangers was stupid because if they did, they would consider it an insult to their honor and they'd kill the person who dared try to teach them something.
      • Pointing guns at strangers is stupid, yes. But keep in mind that humanity has assembled a staggering amount of equally stupid military traditions along the way. Ships would fire their cannons into the sea, showing trust and a lack of hostile intent because it partially disarmed the ship. You can easily see how such a gesture could be misinterpreted by a nervous captain who shouldn't even be there and who was described in-universe as a "loose cannon." The strange thing though is how humans only a 2 decades later and employed on a military installation would've forgotten about the thing that nearly brought their race to extinction.
    • It wasn't "their fault in the first place", the whole point of the first contact incident is that it's a tragedy that spiraled out of control and that both sides played their parts to further that. You don't fire the first shot in an encounter when it's clear that it would definitely start an interstellar war, regardless of how hostile you perceive the other side. You don't approach an alien race with a military salute that can - like every salute - only correctly interpreted if you are aware of the historical meaning. You don't put someone with a murky service record - proven or otherwise - in charge of a possible first contact situation because you don't want to risk interstellar war with another species just to give someone the benefit of the doubt. You don't engage another fleet of a race you know virtually nothing about when you are on an important and secret mission, carrying your whole government and your sacred leader. You don't try to strongarm someone on the brink of a holy war to the bargaining table when you just got your ass handed by them. But yes, the petty grief about Sheridan's one success during the war comes completely out of left field. Except for Neroon, the whole warrior caste was pretty one-dimensional (that dimension being douchebag) in the show. Pity.
    • In a way, you could interpret it as an inherently pro-human message. Humans are constantly called on their xenophobic statements and beliefs because humans hold themselves to a higher moral standard. We expect ourselves to be better than that and we constantly strive to stamp bigotry and hatred out of our species. On the other hand, the Minbari (and the Narn, and the Centauri, and the Drazi, and every other damn species in the B5-verse) have completely given up trying to overcome their own bigotry and have even come to accept it and embrace it. Perhaps it's no coincidence that "Deconstruction of Falling Stars" showed only a human evolving into an energy-being.
      • Word of God suggests that at the time shown, humans were indeed the only younger race to have evolved to that level. The Minbari were said to make it "eventually", but this suggests they hadn't made it yet, and the other younger races explicitly don't make it.
      • Not really. Humans in general don't seem to behave all that well; they are bigoted and saddle themselves with a police state that cooperates with the shadows. They are not as bad as the Centauri for they do not go around conquering, nor as bad as the Narn for they are not continually obsessed with their hatreds. On the other hand they do seem to actually have exterminated the Dilgar, or at least their allies did. Humans are definitely flawed.
      • You're missing the point. Humans are flawed, yes, but at least they're trying to expunge their flaws. The other races aren't even trying to stamp out bigotry and hatred among their own species (though the Minbari do make a few token efforts). At the very least humans have the decency to feel ashamed of bigots and hatemongers within their own species. The other races can't even be bothered to care. As for the Dilgar, they weren't exterminated by anyone. They were pushed back to their homeworld by Earthforce and the armies of the Non-Aligned Worlds, and then their sun went supernova. Nobody perpetrated an intentional genocide against them.
      • Unless you count stranding them in a star system with an unstable star.
      • You're assuming they knew the sun was unstable beforehand. You're also assuming they prevented the Dilgar from evacuating their system and resettling in another once it became clear their sun was about to go nova. As far as I know there is no evidence the humans did anything to prevent the Dilgar from peacefully resettling their species in another unoccupied star system. (Admittedly the other races victimized by the Dilgar might have done this, but the point is the humans most likely did not.) Also, FWIW The Other Wiki has a blurb saying a civilian colony of Dilgars survived the cataclysm, though it is unsourced for the moment. And again, the point is that while humans do have their flaws, they are at least trying to correct them. Humanity does have its bigots, but those beliefs are not universal among humans (it may not even be the majority), and the non-bigotted humans have no problem loudly speaking out against them. Other races try to sweep their bigots under the rug (like the Minbari) or outright embrace their bigots (like the Centauri, the Narn, the Drazi, and pretty much all the other races). Humanity does have its struggles with corrupt and totalitarian government, but may I remind you that humanity was deeply divided about Clark's regime and they fought a very bloody civil war to overthrow him because they knew his regime was evil and wrong. Most of the other races don't even seem to care about corruption or totalitarianism in their species' government. Londo didn't decide to assassinate Cartagia because he thought Cartagia's regime was evil or he felt bad about persecuting the Narns. He did it because he was afraid Cartagia's insanity would cause the destruction of Centauri Prime. Delenn admittedly did try to fix the Minbari government when the warrior caste got out of control, but only because they posed a direct threat to her as a member of the religious caste. And even then, she still sat idly by for years as the tension built up between the castes. Ironically, it seems that of all the non-human races, the one that comes off looking the best are the Pak'ma'ra. You never hear about any Pak'ma'ra atrocities or corruption in the Pak'ma'ra government. You never hear of the Pak'ma'ra posing a threat to anyone or acting aggressively toward other species.
      • Interestingly Sheridan Starkiller would ordinarily be considered dishonorable by the human customs of war. The fact that the Minbari had superior technology is irrelevant; otherwise the underdog can do anything he wants simply because he is the underdog. However the better justification was what the Earthforce propagandist pointed out at the celebration honoring Sheridan; the Minbari could hardly expect to interpret it as a plea for mercy as no mercy was being given and in fact it was intended to be an "invitation" to shoot up live pods for the fun of it.
      • In many ways it is the Minbari that come off best. The fault of Disproportionate Retribution is one they share with the Narn and Centauri and humans, but at least the Minbari stopped themselves. Furthermore they were the main contributers to holding off the shadows which buys quite a bit back in the karma department.
      • The fact that they were willing to go so far at all puts them pretty far down the hole towards the Moral Event Horizon (not quite all the way, mind you, but pretty far). The other races may engage in Disproportionate Retribution from time to time, but few if any of them deliberately attempted to exterminate a sentient race. Saying they come off "best" because they stopped just short of wiping out an entire species after killing untold millions would be like calling Adolf Hitler "best" if he had changed his mind about wiping out the Jews after killing 90% of them.
      • All the wars in B5 tend to be wars of extermination. The other races do not just engage in Disproportionate Retribution from "time to time"; they did so regularly. The humans exterminated the Dilgar and the Narns and Centauri both made pretty obvious their desire to exterminate each other. There is no reason why failed extermination is more righteous then changing ones mind about doing so. In any case, the Minbari bypassed many of the human colonies and never destroyed Earth so 90% would be inaccurate whatever their intentions.
      • They didn't stop out for any moral reason though. Only because they captured Sinclair and found something odd about his soul.
      • What bugged me about the Minbari is why the Warrior caste seems to think so much of themselves? They stayed out of the whole shadow war. They are quite happy to bluster when it is just annoying but they won't come to bat when they are really needed.
      • Actually I suspecta lot of the problem people seem to have with the Minbari is that they are a subversion. We expect them to behave better because they are so cultured and aesthetically attractive. Neither of those things really make for virtue unless someone goes out of their way to encourage it. And thus some are disappointed even when that doesn't happen. The fact is that humans, minbari, centauri, and narn all have good qualities and bad and all have individuals with good qualities and bad. That is really kind of the point. We are shown flawed individuals, even flawed races that yet do noble deeds.
      • Well yeah, of course we expect them to behave better. Because they constantly portray themselves as better than everyone else. They consider themselves the most advanced and enlightened race outside of the Vorlons. If they're unwilling to live up to their own self-constructed reputation, then they need to drop the self-righteous attitude.
      • Be that as it may the Minbari are in fact given the most sympathy in-verse whatever ones actual judgement of them would be if they existed in Real Life. So saying they come off best is perfectly legitimate; in-verse they certainly do. Assuredly it is not a "pro-human" message as was claimed several entries earlier. Humans come off quite poorly by the show's implications.
    • The Minbari are hypicritical assholes, yes, they are. So are ALL of the other races. They just seem more because they get so much more screen time and don't live up to their own hype. Much fo what we are told about Minbari comes from Delenn, who Lennier admitts doesn't see the Minbari as they truely are but how they aspire to be, and are teaching passed down by Valen.
      • Of all the races, only the Centauri aren't hypocritical assholes. They're assholes, certainly, but they'll readily admit to it.
  • Speaking of humans, the ascended human is shown entering a Vorlon-like encounter suit. But if I'm not mistaken the sole reason Vorlons needed the suits in the first place was because they tinkered with minds of Young Races so that everybody would see their true form as angels. Are we to assume that nobody learned their lesson, and after their ascension humans became the same condescending, authoritarian and manipulative assholes the Vorlons were? If that's not the case what did he need the suit for if he was perfectly ably to walk/talk/operate computers without it? Was the human form a kind of astral projection?
    • Knowing humans, probably no one did learn their lesson, and implying this is not the worst theme for an epic. And humans have always been condescending and authoritarian assholes themselves. But there are more benign ways of helping Younger Races besides manipulating their minds and conceivably humans did that.
    • Kosh once said that the very act of being seen by other people was "draining" for him. That could be the reason.
    • There may be other uses/roles for the encounter suits. And maybe yes, the future humans do become like the Vorlons and repeat their mistakes. The viewer is left to speculate as he or she will.
    • Note how the human encounter suit has a distinctly human-shaped head, albeit with an enlarged cranium, and two eyes. One wonders how much of what Vorlons used to look like before they "ascended" is reflected in the design of the Vorlon encounter suit.
    • Also - they may be still needed to guide even-younger-races. It is not necessary that they will not leave the galaxy when they should.
      • Wasn't one of the reasons the Vorlons needed encounter suits was because they breathed a different atmosphere than the humans? A human couldn't get into Kosh's quarters on B5 without a gasmask. Weren't the ascended humans going to the Vorlon home world (unless I'm misremembering something)? Stands to reason that the humans would likewise need an encounter suit if they were going to be spending all their time in the Vorlon atmosphere (or simply in other alien atmosphere, if the humans have become guardians of the galaxy).
      • It was brought up in the show that the Vorlons likely didn't need the different atmosphere, in fact nobody even knew what it was, and just used it to keep other races away from them.
  • How could a First One - presumably one of the wisest beings in the universe - fall for the "reverse psychology" that Ivanova can only have lifted straight from one of Garibaldi's 1980s cartoon database?
    • Maybe her speech reminded them they have a score to settle with the Vorlons ("You wanted to shepherd the younger races, but now you need our help to deal with the Shadows? IN YOUR FACE VORLONS!").
    • It's also possible (work with me here, we're talking about unspeakably ancient aliens after all) that they were just amused or impressed enough by Ivanova's moxie to agree partly based simply on that, whether they saw right through her attempt or not.
    • Secret Test of Character I sense here. Any loser can go and ask for help. Do you have enough trust in your cause and enough guts to stand for it, not to mention enough wits to find the right lever quickly? Now, that's a real question. Remember, almost the exact same thing happend between Sheridan and Kosh. Surely, Kosh could've knocked Sheridan off without killing him and walk away, but he understood that Sheridan was "ready" and honored his request.
    • A race of ageless aliens would logically be capable of holding very large grudges for a very long time. It's easy (usually) for humans to eventually forgive each other for past sins, no matter how huge, because we only live so long. Eventually it gets to the point when we realize that we have better things to do with the short time we have left. Or the original reason for the grudge is forgotten over time and future generations decide to just let it drop. If humans were able to live forever, we wouldn't forgive nearly as much or as quickly.
    • Maybe they tried to get actual information out of a Vorlon back during the last war.
  • Can someone explain why Londo and Delenn have such pronounced accents when none of the other Centauri or Minbari do?
    • Word of God says that Londo and Delenn learned English at a later age than others, and Wild Mass Guessing on my part thinks that maybe they adopted the accent of whoever taught them English. For me, anecdotal evidence says this is Truth in Television, as I've met a fair number of Indians who speak English with a British accent, and a few Indonesians who speak it with a noticeable Australian accent; a former work colleague of mine from China said his English teacher was American, and he did in fact speak English with a Midwestern American accent. JMS has also said that a Translation Convention frequently applies, particularly when we see groups of Centauri or groups of Minbari talking amongst themselves, so the whole accent debate becomes somewhat moot in those cases.
    • Also, in Delenn's case, it's closer to Real Life Writes the Plot (sorta): English is Mira Furlan's second language, and she speaks with a Croatian accent. The production team could have made everyone playing a Minbari mimic her accent, but...naaah.
    • I don't think an entire race would have one unique accent, not only over a planet, but across multiple ones? It actually had depth to the story and the character, imo.
      • The accent was great. The writer wanted a charismatic space princess for whom men would die with a smile. Mira Furlan sounded like a princess, and acted like a princess and the accent meshed with that perfectly. If you met someone at random like Delenn you would not later be surprised to learn that she was a revered priestess; that she was a powerful political figure who could stop or start wars with a word; that she could make people be willing to forgive her and die for her even after she was partly responsible for their friends death; and that she was descended from her people's greatest hero. When she walks in the room you think,"Dude, that's some lady." By contrast, in Star Wars, when Leia walked in the room you think,"That's a sassy little girl."
  • Why don't PP Gs have trigger guards?
    • Military equipment supplied by the lowest bidder, who had shaved a couple of million credits off the bulk construction costs by doing without a little bit of plastic (remember those business stories about companies who save millions by putting one olive less in each jar), and approved by execs and comittees that will never actually handle one in their lives. Not like that ever happened in Real Life though...
    • Except this isn't like a contractor cutting corners here and there and hoping no one notices. A trigger guard is a major safety feature on a firearm. You simply DO NOT build a firearm without a trigger guard. Ever. It would be like building a car without headlights. Any real-life military that opened a case full of guns and found the company had forgotten to include trigger guards would have sent them back immediately for a full refund.
      • They might not need trigger guards. Modern weapon companies are trying to make guns that can only be fired by a certain person. Maybe PPGs can only be fired if held correctly too?
      • If I understand you right, I think you're talking about guns that can scan the fingerprints of the person holding it or something. While this is a neat idea in a technical sense, it doesn't jibe with scenes where characters use PPGs they just picked up off the ground. Like the episode where Sheridan is framed for murdering a Minbari warrior; he lost his PPG, then finds another one just lying around. (And it's a bad idea for a military organization because if you do lose your personal weapon you're completely screwed because no other weapon will work for you.) A weapon that can't be fired if it's not "held correctly" doesn't work either IMO. The reason trigger guards exist is so the trigger absolutely cannot be pulled by accident, such as by dropping the gun. While you could build a PPG that can't be fired unless you hold down a safety button or something, it's still not as safe as a trigger guard. The safety button could get stuck down for one. And if the safety button breaks the gun is rendered useless. Really a trigger guard is a better idea. It's safer, simpler, and less likely to fail.
      • If that's what trigger guards are for, they are horribly inadequate at the task. They are designed to make it less likely to accidentally pull the trigger. Witness the plain fact that it still happens all the time (known in the US military as "Negligent Discharge"). Interestingly, some weapons come with partially removable trigger guards, because the guards are not typically large enough to be used with cold weather gloves. So maybe the PPGs simply use some space-age handguard safety that helps prevent them from being fired without being gripped? They do seem to make that distinctive buzz-whine sound whenever they are picked up.
      • You clearly don't understand what a trigger guard does. No one said a gun with a trigger guard can't go off by accident, but a gun without a trigger guard would be ten times as accident-prone and would cause far more deaths. Just picking one up would be taking your life in your hands. Even putting the weapon in its holster could end up blowing your nuts off. (The removable trigger guards you describe are obviously intended for a very specific purpose and therefore are not relevant.) The "space-age" safety feature you mention would be pointless. Why invest money in such a complicated active system when the passive system of a trigger guard would work just as well? And it wouldn't be as failsafe as a trigger guard. If this magical handguard safety feature breaks, the gun is rendered useless. If it gets stuck, the gun can keep firing randomly whenever something even grazes the trigger.
      • The comment above the one you are replying to said just that: "The reason trigger guards exist is so the trigger absolutely cannot be pulled by accident, such as by dropping the gun." Also, it turns out that hand-grip safeties are not a new thing (The M1911 .45ACP handgun has such a device, called a "Backstrap Safety"), but they evidently fell out of style in favor of the thumb-switch safeties. But yeah, the most likely reason for the lack of a trigger guard is that it looks cooler that way, or just that the prop designers never gave any serious thought as to why trigger guards are nearly universal on firearms in Real Life.

  • Do the pak'ma'ra, the race that won't eat anything that hasn't been rotting for 5 days, really have a dish that's identical to Swedish meatballs/breen?
    • They told Dr. Franklin that they could only eat stuff mentioned on this list of 5,000 things, as shown by projectile-vomiting the medicine he gave one. Maybe their planet has some strange organism that decays into Swedish Meatballs?
    • Do pak'ma'ra even cook? Or would they prefer their Swedish meatballs raw as well as rancid?
      • My idea is that they prepare Swedish Meatballs, then leave them out in the open for a few days. So the recipe exists, they just don't eat it when other people would eat it.
      • Or maybe only races whose food could still be eaten by the people in question (I'm drawing a total blank now on who said it) were being counted. If you can't eat what pak'ma'ra eat, you can't really judge either way on Swedish meatballs.
    • The exact line G'kar said was "It's a strange thing, but every race seems to have its own version of these Swedish meatballs". So, it's possible whatever version of Swedish meatballs the pak'ma'ra have really is traditionally eaten after it's 5 days rotten.
    • The real question is, does the existence of this universal dish mean that there are no races in the B5 galaxy that are exclusively herbivorous/parasitic/filter-feeders?
      • To be fair, it was G'Kar that said that. He was probably generalizing. And "a version of" Swedish meatballs could be made from, say, algae or tofu. There are vegan meatballs- they just don't have meat.

  • Why in the world did the Minbari have to surrender? Most people when they decide not to destroy their enemy simply pull back and make peace. Bismark wanted Austria as a future ally but he didn't think that meant he had to surrender to it.
    • Because the Minbari didn't surrender for military reasons. They surrendered because they'd just discovered that humans had Minbari souls, and they were violating one of their highest tenets: "Minbari don't kill Minbari." This also caused them to realize that they'd been trying to exterminate an entire race in a fit of blood rage. It wasn't just surrender. It was penance.
  • Am I the only one who thinks the Rangers were overhyped? They were a nice touch but the writer could have been more economical about it. And rangers is just to obvious a Shout-Out; whereas their Minbari name would be cooler.
    • The Rangers only ever made up a small part of the forces used by the Army of Light, and in fact their failure to keep the peace in the fifth season was due in part to them not having the numbers or firepower to intervene in standoffs due to being too spread out trying to be the Space Police (and due to Garibaldi evidently not being a good delegator, making himself a single point-of-failure in Sheridan's whole plan to coordinate the Rangers' movements to allow them to keep the peace between the Centauri and everybody else.) That said, the name is common enough in English throughout Real Life history, many pre-dating Lord of the Rings (Both British and American forces had Rangers, sort of proto-Special Ops forces expereinced in wilderness warfare and marksmanship, and later on you had the Texas Rangers in the 19th century and the US Army Rangers in World War II.) Most likely it just became the human name because it was a good word to describe what they did.
  • Honestly I thought G'kar was a boor. He never dreamed of being sorry for the things his people had done or even thought that others might think of him the way he thought of the Centauri. He got better later, but still he was remarkably self-righteous. And the "cybernetic eye peeping tom incident" was a discordant note to the climax of a great romance besides being perverted and stupid. What if the House of Mir had found out? Does he really want to provoke a blood-feud with a race that has valets that can lift up great human warriors with one hand?
    • The cyber-peeping was intended purely as a joke. I agree that it was stupid and perverted and should never have happened, but we weren't supposed to take it seriously. As for G'kar never apologizing for his own people, well, even towards the end of the series his people didn't really have much to apologize for. Whatever bad things the Narn may have done in the past was far outweighed by the things the Centauri or even the Minbari had done. Given that, IMO it would be unreasonable to expect G'kar to apologize for his species first.
      • It would be unreasonable to expect him to apologize at all without his government's permission. He was after all a diplomat. But G'kar never even dreamed of feeling guilty which the others at least did, and the Narn explicitly did enough in the first season with quite a bit more strongly implied. The only reason they didn't do more was that they lost. As for the joke, placing such a joke right at that moment was bad writing. It was discordant, like honking a car horn in the middle of a classical orchestra.
    • I'd say, by the end, he did regret the things his people had done, having realised the self destructive path the Narns were on and how their actions had nearly destroyed them.
  • How did the Minbari assassin poison Kosh in The Gathering? Kosh is an Energy Being. He doesn't have a body to poison.
    • That doesn't mean he has no weaknesses. But it doesn't explain how a humanoid would have known.
    • Alternatively Kosh wasn't hurt at all and was merely testing Sinclair.
    • Word of God sez: "Remember, they do have a certain physicality about them, even in that form, and the nature of the poison was such that it would affect that kind of life form using a crystalline base (note in the pilot the screen reads analyzing crystalline structure, and you filter light or refract or distort it using a crystalline structure). "(ref)
  • Not necessarily a JBM: because I don't claim it to be bad writing, just not to my taste. Why couldn't the humans have been given a better showing in the Earth-Minbari war? It's rather embarrassing.
    • I think they needed it to be that way. It had to be clear that the Minbari could have mopped the floor with humanity and exterminated the entire species, but they pulled back and surrendered when they were right at the cusp of victory for (from the humans' perspective) no apparent reason. It creates an air of mystery. Why did the Minbari pull back when they could have wiped the humans out? And why did they unilaterally surrender rather than just stop fighting and go home? Considering how integral that answer was to the plots of later episodes, that's just the way it had to be.
    • The humans had to do so badly so that they could grow during the series. The Minbari needed to be so advanced so that they could actually fight the Shadows and have a chance at winning. It set up two plot points at the same time, in fact Earth getting so badly beaten sets up the Earth mindset for the entire series.
  • An odd little curiosity. In "A Voice In The Wilderness" Londo relates a story to Garibaldi about a dancing girl he wound up marrying (the one who told him "Whatever it is, it can't be that bad" and kissed him on the forehead). But later in the series we actually meet Londo's wives. My question is, which of them was the dancing girl?
    • None of them. In a later episode, he reveals that he divorced her after his family threatened to disown him.
  • Was G'kar laughing or crying at the end of Acts of Sacrifice?
    • Yes.
  • Why did that yuppie couple visit Babylon 5 during the episode Shadow Dancing? Wasn't travel between Earth and B5 restricted at that point? And even if they could travel there, why would they want to? It was clear the bought into all the anti-B5 propaganda from Clark's regime. If they thought Babylon 5 was a cesspool like Clark said, why would they go there?
    • Business?
    • Actually, the official travel ban and embargo wasn't enacted by the Earth government until after the Shadow War ended.
  • The whole structure of Season 4 bugs me. The whole show thus far had been hyping up the return of the Shadows as the central paradigm, gradually building towards that climactic confrontation. Then both the Shadows and the Vorlons are unceremoniously booted out of the show 6 episodes into Season 4, and the rest of the Season centers on Sheridan's war with Clark, an ill-defined antagonist who's had virtually no screen time and has never thus far been heralded as anything other than a sideshow to the Shadow conflict. Don't get me wrong, there's some great drama going on in the Clark arc, but it seems to me that JMS placed the emphasis on the wrong part of the story. After Sheridan and Delenn end an aeons-long cycle of conflict that encompasses dozens of civilizations throughout the galaxy, a single civilization's one brief civil war against a random mad dictator makes for a pretty underwhelming encore.
    • When they began filming season 4, it looked pretty clear to most of the cast and crew that they weren't going to get a season 5 (which JMS had wanted from the beginning). So instead they had to wrap up the Shadow War arc and move into the battle against Clark arc as quickly as possible in order to wrap everything up, which I think most agree they did a good job with despite the rush. The original plan for Season 4 was to have much more of the Shadow War, and then Seaon 5 would be Clark. This also explains the somewhat lackluster Season 5 that was actually got: while some of it was planned out, most of what JMS had intended to write for it, had already been wrapped up.
    • I understand that, but it's not quite what I meant. What bothers me is, why put the Clark arc after the Shadow War at all? It just seems to me like the wrong order to do things in. If Babylon 5's plot was created as a series long Myth Arc in the first place, why not put the conflict with the largest scope and furthest reaching ramifications last, as the climax? As it stands now, everything after the Shadow War feels like an extended epilogue.
    • Well there is something to be said for bucking the trend. Putting the Clark arc first and the Shadow War second is what any other series would have done. But more to the point, I think they may have written themselves into a corner. The build-up to the Shadow War was the main focus of the story at that point with Clark as a long-running b-plot. Derailing the a-plot in the middle to suddenly focus on the b-plot would have seemed weird IMO. So they were pretty much stuck with things the way they were.
    • Hey, it worked for Lord of the Rings. They had to deal with the main crisis of the series, and then it was time for the Scouring of the Earth Alliance. And the Centauri, when it turned out they had some more time to burn with the Post Script Season.
    • Also, consider the first outline for the series, back in the late 80's. In that story, Sinclair never got replaced by Sheridan (as B5's commander and as Delenn's love interest), while Sakai served as that story's Anna Sheridan. In the few final episodes, the Shadows attack B5, destroying it and killing Garibaldi; Sinclair and Delenn escape and eventually end the Shadow War. 20 years later, the surviving B5 crew then go back in time and steal B4; Sinclair goes back in time even further, a thousand years, become Valen and fight yet another Shadow War; also, the going back in time "saves" Sinclair from the effect of his death at Zha'Dum, giving him a second (or rather third) lease on life. So, in that outline, the whole show concluded on a Shadow-related note.
    • They needed to get rid of the Shadows first. Clark was aligned with them, if they chose him as the first target he'd have Shadow support and the Vorlons and Shadows would go right on destroying entire planets. If you recall the Vorlons were about to destroy Centauri Prime right as the final battle was taking place and only stopped because their ships were called to the battle as reinforcements. So if they'd gone after Clark first the Centauri homeworld would have been destroyed, and other major races likely would have followed. The Minbari were tachnically aligned with the Vorlons so Minbar might have been the Shadow's next target. So the Shadows and Vorlons were not only the most pressing threat but also a major support line for Clark, the story makes far more sense doing it the way they did.
    • Also remember that the resolution of "Into the Fire" was that we younger races now had to work things out for ourselves and "find our own way". The Earth Civil War (and for that matter, the Minbari Civil War) were the initial growing pains of being on our own. The Shadows may be gone, but our own "shadows" remained, so to speak, and we needed to deal with them just the same. And come Season 5 (which was not anticipated), there were still more struggles that we younger races, on our own, had to resolve—the telepath issues, the Drakh trying to continue the cause (or their interpretation thereof) of their departed gods, etc., where we were still dealing with the leftover baggage of the Vorlons and Shadows (and the figurative parts of them in ourselves) and "finding our way" through it. We were at last free from the First Ones, but freedom means new responsibility, struggle, and learning. The order in which the conflicts were presented and resolved makes perfect sense in that light, I think.
  • Why didn't we ever get to see a Minbari get drunk and fly into a homicidal rage?
    • You Bastard.
    • What would be the point? It would be violence for the sake of violence which is a waste of time, and time use is important on a show.
      • I dunno, I guess it just feels like a loose end to me. They introduce this aspect of Minbari physiology, and they bring it up several times, but then they never do anything with it.
    • Alcohol is poisonous to them...
  • I keep seeing on various TV Tropes pages about how Garibaldi had a point in season 4 about how Sheridan was getting out of control. Even an alleged quote from JMS saying Garibaldi was "exactly right" in what he said about Sheridan. My question though is...where the flying fuck is any of this coming from? Exactly what was Garibaldi "right" about? He was wrong about Sheridan having a god complex. At no point do we see Sheridan demanding tribute or worship or handing out blessings to a cult of followers. He was wrong about Sheridan building up a "cult of personality". None of the traditional signs of a cult of personality were present on Babylon 5 during any part of season 4. So I ask you: Where is there any evidence that Garibaldi's criticisms, however irrational, had even a shred of a kernel of an iota of truth to back them up?
    • He made many decisions without consulting anyone. He put plans into action that could easily backfire and go against the morals of his crew. His justification most of the way? Trust me. Sheridan may not have had the god complex or the cult of personality, but he was dangerously close. Maybe if we'd gotten more coverage on it, it would be more obvious.
      • Of course he did all those things. He's the commanding officer of B5. Making decisions independently even when they may backfire is the whole point of the job. And the whole point of being part of a crew is following the orders of the Captain, even when you disagree with those orders. I'm sorry but I'm still not seeing how Garibaldi was "exactly right" about anything.
    • After returning Sheridan changed how he interacted with people. He was less likely to compromise and simply powered through with whatever he believed, and the force of his personal charisma allowed him to go pretty far. As they said in series, he'd developped a cult of personality, they were so enamoured with the face Sheridan presented and thought he could do anything and there was nothing keeping him in check. Notice how he promised Mars freedom after the Earth civil war? He had no authority to do promise them that and only by luck did it turn out to be within his power in the end, but he wanted them and told them what they needed to hear.
  • The show makes a big deal of the fact that weapons aren't allowed on the station except for authorized personnel (station security, Psi-Cops, etc.). Apparently not even self-defense is enough for an exception, which is why Londo had to keep a hidden weapon disassembled in his quarters in "Midnight on the Firing Line". Garibaldi also has a scene in "The Parliament of Dreams" where he confiscates a knife from a Drazi missionary even though it was for a religious ceremony. So how is it that Ta'Lon can walk around in public with a three foot sword strapped to his back?
    • Uhm, the rule only applied to firearms?
    • Then why did Garibaldi confiscate a knife from a Drazi missionary?
      • In one of the Babylon Five RPGs (I know, probably not canon, but bear with me), you could have a firearm on board as long as you registered it (so if you tried to use it on someone, you could get tracked down). I'm guessing it's not that weapons are completely banned, but anyone with an unregistered weapon can get into a lot of trouble. It takes time to get through customs and will flat out be confiscated if they aren't declared ahead of time. Ta'lon I'm guessing got special dispensation from G'kar. Mollari's weapon was unregistered and could not be directly linked to him.
      • Okay, fair enough. But they could have made that a lot clearer in the show itself.
      • Ta'Lon first arrives on the station as a bodyguard for the new Narn Ambassador, so he presumably had permission as a diplomatic security official. Also, he's Fire-Forged Friends with the station's commander, if you'll recall his first appearance in the second season, so that probably helped him out when he turned up again later on.
      • So what about David Mckintyre, a/k/a 'King Arthur' in "A Late Delivery From Avalon"? A Drazi missionary, presumably as much in his right mind as Drazi ever are, is relieved of a ceremonial knife (not unlike what Sikhs in Real Life are obligated to carry; are Sikhs on the station similarly disarmed?) Yet a man obviously not in his right mind and deliberately concealing his identity is allowed a broadsword?
      • They tried to take "Excalibur" and he wouldn't let them. Eventually, iirc, Marcus took responsibility for him, on account of being British (or something), and the guards let David through on his word.
  • In Fall of Night, Babylon 5 gets into a battle with a Centauri battlecruiser. Once Sheridan commits to fighting for keeps, rather than just trying to defend the station from incoming fire, the fight is spectacularly brief thanks to Firestorm Franklin's Mid-Season Upgrade to the station's defenses. Here is the headscratcher: Why didn't the Centauri battlecruiser launch fighters? At least some of the damage appeared to be caused by strafing runs from Zeta Squadron's Starfuries, and it is at least in the realm of possibility that their own fighters might have changed the balance somewhat.
    • They were there to confiscate a Narn battlecruiser. Maybe they expected the humans to turn the Narn ship over to them without a fight, so they sent an under-armed ship. They just weren't counting on Sheridan being, y'know, not a backstabbing puss-bucket.
      • Makes sense. They might have even had fighters aboard, but due to their presumption that Sheridan would hand the cruiser over (what with the impending treaty between Earth and Centauri Prime), they didn't have them prepped for launch. The Centauri got caught flat-footed because they did not expect Sheridan to dig his heels in over the issue, and the fight was lost before they could launch any fighters.
  • We never, ever see the Brakiri ships doing anything except occasionally drawing fire. They have the big tan cruciform starships. What exactly do they bring to the fight? Do they simply fire weapons that are not in the visible spectrum of light? Do they specialize in electronic warfare? Is their entire contribution to the war effort to draw fire away from the more important ships?
    • The A Call To Arms movie does feature a brief shot of a Brakiri ship firing (it has reddish-orange beam weapons, for the record). Not that this explains why they're never seen doing anything in the original show, but they do have the ability.
    • Non-canon, but I recall the RPG materials suggesting Brakiri weapons tend to be based on manipulation of gravity, so perhaps the Brakiri cruisers were indeed firing, but there was simply no visible effect.
  • In the episode in which Marcus is first introduced, he mentions that during their creation, Ranger badges are dipped in Human blood, Minbari blood, and holy water (According to the books, the human blood part was added after Sinclair became Ranger One, before that they used a second bowl of holy water). He also mentions that there was a legend that when a Ranger died, the figures on the side of the badge would shed three tears, one of water and two of blood. Given that, why didn't they end the episode in which Marcus died with a close-up of his badge crying?
    • Because the legend isn't true. Badges can't cry, being non-porous and all...
  • Minbari civil War: they made a big deal that no Minbari has killed another for one thousand years. But when Delenn was elected Ranger One, the General challenged Marcus to Duel to the Death which both of them understood as part of standard Minbari culture.
    • Well they also claim not to lie, but we're shown how often they break that rule. I'd guess that they do kill each other as much as any other race but their propaganda silences any reports of murder and executes any whistleblowers on the charge of accusing the government of lying.
    • Well, Minbari never tell anyone the whole truth. Perhaps the rite of "Den-sha" was present but didn't count as killing another Minbari but merely performing a ritual of some sort - then it's the ritual that kills them. Neroon trying to kill Delenn would be an error because it wasn't part of a larger ritual, rather vengeance or personal ambitions. Minbari are very ritualistic, they live by their rituals, perhaps they die by their rituals as well. Another possibility is that the rite of Den-sha hasn't actually been used since the coming of Valen, which is when the whole "Minbari do not kill Minbari" ethic was stated to have arisen - "No Minbari has killed another in a thousand years."
    • I read once that Den'Sha is not murder, because both participants kind of agree to dying by formally antering in the duel: that is, it's considered by Minbari more like a suicide. A bit like real-life duels would nowadays be explained as "hunting accidents", to avoid any accusation of murder.
  • B5 was a purposely built station orbiting a neutral planet. The perfect location for a United Nations IN SPACE!. In season 5, the Interstellar Alliance HQ was on Minbar. The ISA became the Minbari Empire.
    • The UN is based in New York. Is the UN the USA? The Red Cross is in Geneva. Is it Switzerland?
      • The OP does have a bit of a point, though. The series strongly implies that the Minbari don't allow many foreigners to set foot on their planet, which would make it easy for an outsider to see the ISA as a puppet of the Minbari. Putting the ISA headquarters on B5 would've been better optics.
      • The Minbari didn't have many visitors from other worlds at the beginning of the series. By the time they are ISA headquarters, that has changed greatly.
      • Indeed, putting the headquarters there might've had the secondary advantage, aside from security, of helping open up Minbar to outsiders even further. The ISA doesn't want the Minbari to retreat back into isolationism in the wake of the Shadow War, and having them host the Alliance will help to keep them sociable.
    • Babylon Five is a space station, it's vulnerable to attack and would require a fleet to protect it long-term, especially once they knew they had powerful enemies out to get them like the Drahk. The Minbari are the most advanced race around now that the First Ones have all left, thus Minbar is the best defended planet and therefore the safest place for the headquarters for the Alliance. It's sheer practicality, it's well defended, it's where the Rangers are centered and where White Stars are built, and the Vice President is a hugely influencial figure to the Minbari people.
  • So when the brain dead reprogrammed murderer kills Talia's friend before her, "control" sends him to kill Talia upon seeing that Talia was a witness. Later we learn Control WAS Talia. So why put a hit on herself? Why not order the murderer to disappear and kill himself, before terminating herself, rather than risk Talia's "good" personality messing with his programming and compromising the whole program?
    • The hidden personality didn't have enough control over Talia to deal with her itself until it was activated, so was a riability so she had to be eliminated.
      • Control had enough control over Talia to use her to hack terminals to send orders. So what's keeping her from killing herself? Furthermore, we are told Control is programed for self-preservation (hence her trying to kill Lyta and trying to gun down everyone after she's discovered). So why would someone programmed for self-preservation put a hit on themselves?
      • Trying to kill yourself requires you to fight off all your survival instincts, instincts Control was programmed with as well. Tring to kill herself would have drawn too much attention, why would Talia commit suicide, especially when there was a perfectly good assassine right there to do the job. Plus, trying to kill herself may have caused a strong enough emotional responese to wake the real Talia up, preventing her from actually doing it so she simply places the hit on Talia and sits back and lets it happen. As for why she'd do it in the first place, yes, Control is programmed for self preservation but it is ultimately loyal to Psi Corps and the cyber-zombie assassine program seems to be higher up the secrecy chain than the hidden personallity spies so she's more expendable than him.
      • As JMS pointed out on JMS Speaks, Control didn't put out the hit. It stated that Talia could jeopardize the mission, and then Bureau 13 put out the hit. He also confirmed that the cyber-assassin was more valuable.
  • In one episode a Centauri telepath states that the human brain was full of back ups which could be triggered to reassert a killed off personality, as suffered by those sentenced to Death of Personality. This seems to suggest that there may have been a way of recovering the original Talia, even without the backup crystal Kosh made yet it's never even mentioned as a possibility.
    • That is if she survived her dissect... I mean debriefing, and even then, they have no idea where she could be.
    • All that telepath managed to do was stimulate Edward's memories, and only some of them. This would probably not help, especially as Control isn't lacking Talia's memories. Also, keep in mind that "reflection, surprise, terror" was all Kosh recorded, not a full working backup of Talia's personality. The purpose of that data crystal was to be used as insurance against Control, or against Talia herself if she threatened to use her enhanced powers in a way that conflicted with the Vorlon agenda.
  • Londo was able to convince Cartagia to go to the Narn homeworld because without Centauri Prime there would be no worshipers. What about the 45 billion other Centauri Adira mentioned?
    • If you're asking why that didn't occur to Cartagia, it's because the man's not all that bright. He probably wouldn't know how to put his own pants on in the morning without three servants to help him.
    • The point was that after Centauri prime burned there wouldn't have been anyone left who'd actually met Cartagia and understood his true glory, hence the trip to Narn , so there'd be some left who knew him personally.
  • Garibaldi had obtained an assembly manual for his motorcycle, but couldn't use it, because it was in Japaneese. Aren't there any translators in the future? Especially for a technical text? Hell, Garibaldi managed to find his way in a philosophical/religious treatise written by an alien.
    • I'd say there's a difference in motivation. Having an unreadable manual for the motorcycle was an inconvenience that affected a hobby. Translating the Book of G'Quan was far more important and getting a translator would be far easier as there were Narns on station and communicating with them was an important part of the station's job so somebody would have had an english to Narn dictionary.
    • It could also be that Japanese is a dead language by the time the show takes place, making translators hard to find.
  • Do they ever restore the telepaths they rescued from the Shadows, and Bester's lover in particular?
    • No. Carolyn at least (and probably more if not all of them) was killed in a bombing of a Psi Corps building by the Telepath Resistance, according to the canonical novel Final Reckoning - The Fate of Bester. (After the Civil War, the frozen telepaths were transferred to Psi Corps custody, as per "Rising Star")
  • In the Dilgar War the Dilgar kicked the collective asses of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds until Earth, at the time the new kids of the block and technologically much inferior than their already lower-tech status in the series (Word of God has that their weapons in the Earth-Minbari War were derived from captured Dilgar technology, and we have seen them buying Centauri weapons from the Narn to fight the Minbari and put a reverse-engineered version of those guns on the Omegas), destroyed the Dilgar military. How incompetent was the League's military?!
    • The League and the Dilgar aren't as advanced as the Centauri, or even the Narn. There's a reason they banded together to survive, and it's not like Earthforce was fighting against the Dilgar alone.
    • The universe isn't separated into the incompetent and the hyper-competent. The most likely reason the Dilgar were able to walk all over the League was because the League worlds were unwilling to truly unite against them, and none of the individual League militaries had the numbers to stand against them. The show has consistently portrayed the Lo NAW as a tenuous alliance at best. We saw how easy it was for the Shadows to exploit that. The Dilgar probably did the exact same thing. All the Earth Alliance did was give the League someone to rally behind, and that was what most likely turned the tide.
  • Babylon 4 was Valen's battlestation, built with Earth's technology just a little more refined than the ones employed in the Earth-Minbari War, including the Interceptors, those point defense guns so accurate that will shoot out of the sky energy pulses, missiles and any unstealthed fighter. How is that the Minbari failed to recognize that the Humans were using the most distintive technology of Valen's battlestation, and not just a copy?
    • The second Shadow War took place a thousand years after the first. That means no Minbari alive during the series actually saw Valen's battlestation. Combine that with the Minbari tendency to keep secrets from their own people ("we are told all we need to know and no more") and it's not that surprising that none of the Minbari in the 2200s spotted the similarities between Valen's battlestation and human technology.
    • In addition to the above, B4 didn't last long after the war and most of the Minbari records were destroyed during said war as they kept almost all of them in the same place which got destroyed. Those who did see the few remaining records, suhcv as Delenn, didn't have enough information to put the pieces together until Delenn came to B5, at which point she, and any others in the know, kept silent for fear of changing history.
    • It was also pretty explicitly stated that the footage of Babylon 4 was ultra top-secret, and only a handful of people had ever seen it in a thousand years.
  • When Doctor Franklin talked to Ivanova just after Marcus died he told her that he and Sheridan agreed that the alien healing device was too dangerous for anyone to find out about and that Marcus must have “hacked his way through half a dozen security overrides” to find out about it. Yet in the previous episode all we see Marcus do is walk into a room and tell the computer to search B5s medical records for key words, no hacking or password checks were seen at all. So was Franklin meant to have encrypted his files but didn't and just lied to avoid getting blamed for Marcus's death?
    • Presumably there was a lot of off-screen hacking when Marcus' keyword search turned up no results.
      • Alternatively, the search might have turned up pointers to a security-protected file, which Marcus then proceeded to crack.
  • The lurker whom Garibaldi talks to in trying to find out what Petrov failed to tell them (who "they" are trying to kill) in "Chrysalis", it turns out, was a leading telepath in the fugitive underground in "A Race Through Dark Places", and presumably a fairly strong telepath. He told Garibaldi that he'd seen Petrov just before he ran topside to try to warn command staff, and that whatever he knew scared the hell out of him. Now we know from various examples given in the show that telepaths, while they have a mental routine that blocks out all the thoughts of the people surrounding them (lest they become overwhelmed by the noise), they will accidentally overhear thoughts of particular urgency or intensity—and if Petrov had "they're going to actually kill the president!" going through his mind, I think that lurker would have heard it. Granted, the lurker wouldn't want his telepathic abilities to be known by anyone since he was hiding from Psi Corps, but all he'd have to do is tell Garibaldi that he actually said this to him. Plus, if Clark's political backing from Psi Corps (a brewing scandal we saw in one of the "Universe Today" headlines earlier) was fairly common knowledge, particularly among telepaths who oppose Psi Corps, this telepath would probably have a particular interest in helping thwart the assassination to keep Clark from gaining the Presidency. The only reason I can think he'd withhold the information, had he indeed "heard" it, would be to continue staying under the radar, rather than having Garibaldi take more than passing interest in him as one of his potential downbelow informants. So he gave him a nudge in the right direction (Devereaux) without seeming to know very much.
    • If the Lurker had told Garibaldi that Petrov said out loud "They're going to kill the President!" he would be considered a material witness. Garibaldi would have to take him down to the security office, and would have the authority to detain him if he refused, to make an official statement. And that's the LAST thing the Lurker would want. B5 security would have to verify his identity, including his real name, and file a report. As soon as that report made its way back to EarthDome the Psi Corps would send Bester or some other Psi Cop after him, and then the entire Underground Railroad is at risk. But, if the Lurker only said that Petrov looked scared the last time they saw each other, Garibaldi wouldn't bother to take him in because his testimony would be too vague to be of any official use.

  • Ivanova did not know that Centauri males had six tentacle penises (Vir told her all about it, and she was totally surprised at the information). Not that Ivanova would have an active interest in this herself—just that I think something like this would be a weird and titillating enough fact to Humans that it would have become fairly common or even "viral" knowledge as soon as the first Human got a peek, found some erotica, or even studied some equivalent of an encyclopedia from their homeworld. There would be all kinds of dirty jokes about it, certainly plenty of porn dealing with it, and while Ivanova might have no interest in that sort of thing (and I doubt she would), I think she'd be worldly enough to know this fact about them. It wasn't so surprising that Lennier didn't know this (both being a bit wet behind the ears and newly off the homeworld, and of a culture that wasn't as easily titillated, and probably more prudish about such things, than humans—and also of a "need to know" culture), but Ivanova? Just seemed a bit weird that this was treated like some big secret, even after 100 years of contact with that species.
    • It's not a big secret, it's just not something the Centauri talk about a lot. After all why should they? Their biology is perfectly normal to them. And no matter how many dirty jokes and innuendo are thrown around about the Centauri, people don't come out of the womb knowing about it. There's always a first moment for everybody. That just happened to be Ivanova's first moment.
      • I'll admit, I haven't seen the episode in a while, and assuming I'm thinking of the episode in question, but I think it's less Ivanova didn't know that Centauri didn't have 6 penises so much as she didn't realize not making the doll anatomically correct would be seen as offensive.
      • You're thinking of a different episode, when Earthdome decides to open a gift shop selling B5 knick-knacks, including a Londo doll, and he gets upset because it doesn't have the appropriate "attributes". The episode where Ivanova learns things she never wanted to know about the Centauri was "Sic Transit Vir".
  • Okay, help me out with this, but I could've sworn, watching this as a small child, that there was a moment in the series where Garibaldi had to chase down a blue Demonic Dummy that was haunting the bowels of the station, and could shoot poisonus darts from its fingers. Did this seriously happen at one point in the show? And if so, WTF was that about? Or was it actually just a regular human serial killer who dressed himself up as a freaky blue clown? Or am I just conjuring up a false memory? I swear, I remember something like that from the series. It freaked me the hell out when I saw that.
    • Grey 17 Is Missing. Terrible episode. Don't watch it.
    • Thanks, above Troper! So it was a cult Garibaldi discovered down in the abandoned level of the station, not a possessed clown. xD I don't know why I thought it was a possessed clown.
      • Funnily, JMS himself hates that episode (and doesn't remember writing it because he had a cold), but my mother and I like it.
      • People forget that there was another plot running in that episode, that was somewhat arc-significant: Neroon seeking to stop Delenn from becoming Entil'zha of the Rangers (and Marcus risking life and limb to stop him from possibly killing Delenn, leading to some character development in Neroon). If that episode were called "Denn-Shah" ("to the death", the Minbari term for the ritual duel Neroon and Marcus had) or something like that which reflected this plot (and thus made it considered the "A-plot" it should have been), I'd suspect it would be esteemed a lot more than it is (even as it was, without adding or subtracting from either plot). The "Grey 17" plot, I agree, was terrible and could have been done much better (and spookier)—had it been the official "B-plot" though it would have been largely forgotten rather than infamous as it is among the fandom.
      • The main takeaway from the episode is "Don't write when you're hopped up on meds."
      • The funny thing about this episode is that it was basically a Season One-style Monster of the Week episode with an arc-significant B-Plot. The show had moved on from that particular style of episodic storytelling, so Grey 17 Is Missing comes off as a Bizarro Episode.
  • Does anyone think JMS seems overly bitter towards his critics? I like B5 a lot, but it annoys me when artists seem compelled to repeatedly take shots at their critics.
    • ...Is there a particular example you're referring to?
    • For one, there was the message on the season 4 finale: "Dedicated to all the people who predicted that the Babylon Project would fail in its mission. Faith manages." To drive home the point further, on the internet he wrote that the dedication was partly: "...for the reviewers and the pundits and the critics and the net-stalkers who have done nothing but rag on this show for five years straight, it is also a giant middle finger composed of red neon fifty stories tall, that will burn forever in the night." He also name-dropped a few times in the series a critic named Jarvis who predicted the show wouldn't last like: "The Jarvis toilets are acting up again." He also included quotes from critics of the show on the back of the box set.
    • You need to understand; this wasn't just a case of critics being harsh to a show. This was a case of literally every studio exec, development specialist, etc. telling him that B5 was not worth pursuing, not because it was a horrible idea (which it wasn't, even if there were ways to handle it better), but because it was a space opera that wasn't Star Trek, if you can imagine such a horrible thing. It would be like Dick Wolf being told that he couldn't make a drama about police detectives and lawyers because only Stephen Bochco could make shows like that. Imagine if you were Wolf, being told "Law & Order is just Hill Street Blues crossed with L.A. Law!" when your show isn't anything like the other two, but contains similar elements. Critics weren't critical of the writing, the plotting, the acting or the characterization (although there are some valid complaints in all those regards) but simply wrote it off as a Star Trek clone that would die in the cradle. JMS was justifiably angry that he was written off by so many who judged it solely on its surface elements.
    • He was also repeatedly told that there was no way that American audiences would put with a five-year arc. JMS spent years trying to convince someone to put the show on the air. And even then, he still got people on every end saying "It'll never work, Viewers Are Goldfish." Personally, I can't say I blame JMS for giving his critics a raspberry at every opportunity.
    • Not to mention the suspicions that DS9 was, to some degree, copied from his original treatment of B5, his outrage at the Star Trek comparisons becomes even more evident.
  • Two things that have always confused me about the Energy Being-ness of Lorien and the Vorlons. First, it was said that Lorien was the first sentient being and was born naturally immortal. Now, for a long time, I just assumed that he was born of two less-than-sentient humanoid beings, but not only does that not make much sense to begin with, it also turns his ascended nature into a bad case of Hollywood Evolution, as he himself would have been actively evolving over those years, although I suppose that such a scenario is somewhat reasonable given the mass-ascension/"evolution" of the race from The River of Souls, but even that still seems off. Then it occurred to me that he could have simply come into existence as the energetic cloud of ascended tentacles that we see him as on occasion, who merely "shifts" into a humanoid form like the future human's "avatar" in the Season 4 finale. So which is the case; that he was born humanoid and underwent "personal evolution" or that he was always the glowing energy cloud? And as for my second headscratcher, could the Vorlons also shift between an "avatar form" and an energy form, and if so, do they simply stay in their energy forms out of preference (or arrogance)?
    • It's left intentionally mysterious in the show, but here's my WMG for what it's worth: Lorien's race likely started as energy beings, with Lorien being the first of his race to attain sentience. You know how Azathoth is sometimes referred to as a "monstrous nuclear chaos"? Lorien and his race are like that, only less malevolent. They adopt a physical form to communicate better with younger races. The Vorlons started as physical beings but later discovered how to ascend, with the help of earlier First Ones like Lorien. As for whether they can become physical, they must be able to do so otherwise Kosh couldn't have been poisoned in the pilot episode. Whether or not they stay in their energy forms constantly is impossible to say since they're almost never seen outside their encounter suits. Could be they jump back and forth depending on their mood that day.
  • In Midnight on the Firing Line, who did G'kar think he was kidding with that surprise reveal of the video of Londo's nephew? A) Anyone with two braincells to rub together could tell he was frightened and probably being forced to read that statement. And B) there was video evidence that the Narn attacked the colony, rather than being "invited". I know he was trying to use the video as a segway to bring up the fact that Londo was going against his own government's orders, but he could have brought that up without the video of Londo's nephew. I just don't see how the video helped G'kar's case in any way, and in my opinion it actually damaged it.
    • This was actually adressed by JMS, different races have different body language. Sure, it's obvious to us that Londo's nephew was a prisoner speaking at gunpoint but would the pakmara be able to tell? The others? Enough to swing a vote? Londo needs a majority vote to get the counsil to do anything, the Narn are the attacks, the Minbari don't interfere in matters of other races that don't affect them, and the Vorlon don't care. So that's pretty much an automatic two against, with the Vorlon abstaining, which leaves the humans and the League and he'd need both to win the vote. G'Kar's statement robbed Londo of credibility that he was objective which would have cost him most of the league worlds.
  • Wouldn't EarthGov have to ask Londo's permission before moichendizing his image with an action figure? Considering the fit he throws over being symbolically cast-...in a bad light, how did they ever get away with that in the first place?
    • As a "public figure", would his depiction be exempt from such laws, similar to how the First Amendment of the US Constitution has been used to defend actual false (or outrageous but nonfalsifiable—see The People Vs Larry Flynt and the real court case it's based on, Hustler Magazine Vs Jerry Falwell) statements about public figures that might be ruled libelous for a non-public figure, under the blanket of "free political expression"? The Earth Constitution and body of law (which at that time was the law on the station as well) may have similarly allowed for such—although protections for political speech against some (ahem) figures were starting to be disregarded at that time....
      • Question: does anyone know if action figures of public figures (such as Presidents or celebrities) can be legally made and sold without the depictee's permission now? Depictions of fictional characters would have to have the permission of their creator, but what about real people who are public officials or celebrities who can be legally parodied in other forms of media or art?
      • A cursory interweb search turned up this article on the rights of publicity and privacy. Under US law, the right of publicity prohibits commercial use of any real person's likeness (including politicians and other public figures) without their express permission. (Sometimes even parody is not a defense if the work is primarily a commercial venture, which the Londo doll was.) Assuming EarthGov has similar laws on the books, then they should have known better than to try and sell a Londo doll without Londo's permission. Though like copyrights and trademarks this is one of those things that you can get away with violating if the "original owner" doesn't care to contest it. For instance, most Obama-themed merchandise (including the infamous Obama action figure) was never authorized by President Obama and he could have taken the companies to court over it. But he chose not to for various reasons (mostly because the depictions were generally positive). It's possible EarthGov thought Londo wouldn't care enough to complain about the doll, or even feel flattered. They just didn't count on Centauri men taking their "attributes" so seriously.
      • Or maybe they knew Londo all too well, and figured they could get around it by offering him a cut of the take if he complained?
    • I had some other problems relating to that episode plot. For one, imagining the huge amounts of capital needed to budget the operations, maintenance, physical plant, etc. of the Babylon 5 station, it would seem trinkets sold in a gift shop would be but a raindrop in a lake—hardly critical to raising the needed revenue. Second, why wasn't there already such a giftshop, some private shop in the Zocalo, selling such trinkets as soon as Babylon 5 started to become a tourist destination or stopover? Seemed a little strange such didn't exist by that time, since you can find these in even the most obscure or nichey destinations that have even a little tourism (or in airports for that matter, which the station was kind of like in one sense). And third, the characters' outrage and bitching about the merchandizing seemed unlike them, and probably a little Author Tracty (JMS' opinions of such kitsch). Okay, it's kitsch, whatever. Such has been with us probably since the dawn of mass production, and I would think that, their aesthetic opinions aside, they would shrug it off and take it in stride—it is what it is, comes with the territory, yadda yadda. All in all, it seemed like one of the more contrived (or ironically, cheesy) little episode plots in an overall awesome series.
  • Why didn't the Clark regime interrogators bring in a telepath to scan Sheridan's mind? Yes, their main goal was to "convert" Sheridan and get him to make a sincere confession of guilt—but in one phase of his interrogation they were attempting to gain intelligence (when they used drugs to make him "see" one of them as Dr. Franklin, who asked some questions about the Mars Resistance). And it was established that they used telepaths in Nightwatch to scan people on the street for "seditious" thoughts—that indeed the Psi Corps was a huge base securing Clark's power. So why not bring a P-12 or two into the interrogation room to see what information they could get from the leader of all resistance himself? The only reasons I could think of was fear that too deep a scan could kill him (since they wanted him alive)—although my impression was that mundanes, since they can't block scans, wouldn't require as dangerous a scan to lift secrets. The other reason could be that doing such a scan might strengthen his resolve to resist or at least discourage the "conversion" they'd hoped for, as he'd be angered at being forced to put his comrades in danger (although holding his father might have had the same effect). Doing it while he was drugged up or unconscious might be a way around that though. Thoughts?
    • On further thought, they may have feared what a telepath—even a fiercely loyal one—might find out from Sheridan's thoughts. Although I suspect there were plenty of telepaths working for Clark who knew about how the Shadows were using some of their fellow telepaths—likely even having a hand in it as they were mostly "blips" anyway. Although Bester turned against Clark after he found out, but managed to hide that from the regime.
    • Mundanes can't "block" a telepath, per se, but they can put up a resistance. And pushing through that resistance can cause serious brain damage. Sheridan was showing an inhuman level of resistance. A strong telepath could still break into his mind but it would almost certainly kill him in the process. Better to slowly wear him down through torture, drugs, and mind games until he had no fight left in him. Then his mind would be an open book.
    • Don't forget, Sheridan has been Touched by Vorlons, proving capable of No Selling Lyta when she was mind controlling an entire room. If he's fighting back, he might very well have resistances beyond a standard mundane.
    • Could also be inter-office bickering. The guys in charge of Sheridan's interrogation might have refused to allow psychics anywhere near him, convinced that they could get the info themselves. Just because Clark's running a totalitarian regime, doesn't mean every department under him is working in perfect harmony.
      • They may also have known or suspected that Bester was working with Sheridan, and thus considered elements of Psi Corps unreliable by extension.
  • I still have no idea what Clark's deal was, as in why he was doing what he was doing. Maybe I missed something, so can someone explain what he was trying to achieve?
    • He was wanting more power for Clark. He was a petty, man who desired power and prestige and the Shadows manipulated the hell out of him even worse than Londo. Like all petty men who desire power he was also tremendously insecure about his own powerbase and tried to limit the amount of power and freedoms of those around him to render himself unassailable. Basically the guy was a special blend of crazy that mixed Nixon, Stalin, Enoch Powell, and the Godwinated One. That was Clark's deal.
    • "Ascension of an ordinary man".
  • Am I the only one who was disturbed by the implications that military officers who committed war crimes under Clarks reign were just... let back into service? Yeah, thats what happens in actual real life military, since you'd be hard pressed to find any goverment that actually wants to punish their own military, but in a show? Its like they only bothered to go after the ones that acted like supervillains, and wrote everyone else off under Just Following Orders. Actually, thats something I never liked about this show overall, the civilian responses to the atrocities theyre subjected to is REALLY underwhelming. Is everyone cool with pretending theyre best friends once a conflict is resolved?
    • That is kinda how it works in real life. Only the ones who went above and beyond in the childishly evil stakes are prosecuted, everyone else in the military gets the stinkeye but left to perform their duties under new management. Even against Germany and Japan in WW2 that is what happened. Its how you win the peace after the war. As a contrast, look at Iraq following the 2003 invasion where the old military was cleared out of its prior officer corp entirely. It turned into a hellish quagmire and left a lot of guys with military training, military contacts and no career prospects to go find something else to do, which led to those guys kinda doing the obvious mercenary thing. The peace following wars is the hardest part to win, because people that despise each other have to work together due to the alternative being so much worse.
  • After the Centauri/Shadows conquer the Narn colony, which leades to the Narn-Centauri war, Sheridan forces Londo to let the surviving Narns leave the colony by threatening to send observers there to interview the Narns on their conditions and on the circumstances of the colony's fall. The last part is, apparently, what works, since Londo doesn't want anybody to know about the Shadows' involvement, so he does have the Narns released. Wait, what exactly was supposed to prevented them from telling everything they knew after they were released? Ih fact, they would have even more opportunities!
    • I think it was more that the Centauri did not want observers in general because then it infringes on their authority to treat Narns as they wish and did want Narn slaves. Just the only way they can keep the observers out is to use Shadow ships and show that the Centauri aren't quite the heavyweight power they want to be seen as and are punching quite a bit over their weight. Any Narn who saw the Shadow ships in action died very quickly after seeing them, the survivors are the ones who were not involved in the fighting and would only know there had been a space battle of some kind but not the exact nature of the enemy combatants. Its a case of picking the lesser of two threats to the Centauri authority.
  • Why would the underground Shadow city have that huge skylight?
    • The Shadows take their Feng Shui seriously.
    • Attacks eon after eon made the surface uninhabitable, but that doesn't mean the Shadows didn't appreciate a little sunlight now and again, even if it was filtered through constant, violent dust storms. Or it could be the feng shui.
  • "It was the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind." That line from the 2nd season opening puzzles me. What does that mean? What were the First and Second Ages?
    • First Age of Mankind was 7 Billion BCE to 9000 BCE. During this time the First Ones appeared, the gateway to Thirdspace is opened, earlier First Ones leave the galaxy and the Vorlons and Shadows begin waging war on each other. 9000 BCE to early 2261 CE is the Second Age of Mankind. A lot happens in that time. To name a few things, the Vorlons and Shadows begin to shepard the younger races, the Book of G'Quan is written, the Taratimude get Techomage tech, the Shadow Wars begin, Valen shows up with Babylon 4, humans develop the technology to travel in space and colonize the moon and Mars, the Narn and Centauri have their conflicts, the Earth Minbari takes place, everything that happens in the series up until the Shadows and Vorlons leave the galaxy. With their leaving, it ushers in the Third Age of Mankind.
  • This is admittedly a very minor point but one that's been bugging me for a long time. Okay, so the Minbari warrior caste has this tradition (I consider it a stupid tradition but we've already had that debate further up the thread, and that's not what this question is about) of approaching other ships with their gunports open as a sign of respect. My question is...why would a space ship need "ports" for its guns that can be opened and closed? Why not just have the gun barrels constantly exposed? In the Age of Sail cannons were heavy and had to be placed low on the ship for stability, and if the ship leaned too far to the side it could take on water if the gunports weren't closed. But that obviously isn't an issue in space, so why do ships need them? It could just be a Minbari thing and all other races keep their guns out at all times, but if that's the case then why would open gunports on a Minbari ship spook the Earth patrol that accidentally killed Dukat? Visible guns would seem perfectly normal to them.
    • That's definitely not just the Minbari thing - the Babylon 5 itself keeps its guns safely tucked away when they don't need them, apparently others as well. The reasons for this may be both practical (it's easier to repair and maintain the guns this way) and symbolic. Closed ports are "green light", a sign of peaceful intentions; opened ports are "yellow light" - the ship is wary but not yet openly hostile; opened ports and powered up weapons is "red light" - ship is expecting a fight.
  • A minor one. In the season 5 episode, where the Brakiri summon the spirits of the dead on the station, G'Kar doesn't want to deal with it, so he... goes to sleep on the floor of the C&C. Uhm, couldn't he have just rented a quarter on the unaffected part of the station? Surely he can afford it, and it would be more comfortable then sleeping on the bare floor. Also, shouldn't it have been against the rules for a civilian to stay in C&C like this?
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