Recap: Babylon Five S 01 E 00 The Gathering

Season 1, Pilot:

The Gathering

I was there at the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind. It began in the Earth year 2257, with the founding of the last of the Babylon stations, located deep in neutral space. It was a port of call for refugees, smugglers, businessmen, diplomats and travelers from a hundred worlds. It could be a dangerous place, but we accepted the risk because Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace. Babylon 5 was a dream given form, a dream of a galaxy without war where species from different worlds could live side by side in mutual respect. Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. This is its story.
Londo Mollari

Babylon 5 is online and ambassadors are arriving from all the major races: the Minbari, the Narn, the Centauri and even the reclusive Vorlons. However, the Vorlon ambassador Kosh is attacked on arrival, and when the station's commercial telepath, Lyta Alexander, reads Kosh's mind to learn who attacked him, she identifies the assassin as Jeffrey Sinclair, the EarthForce Commander in charge of B5. As Sinclair navigates the political minefield of the station, all the while protesting his innocence, it's up to Security Chief Michael Garibaldi to find the real culprit before Babylon 5's mission is scuppered before it even begins.

Some small edits and revisions were made for the pilot's DVD release.

Tropes featured in The Gathering include:

  • Artificial Gravity: Delenn owns a set of rings which project and control artificial gravity fields. They don't appear in the series proper, but serve here to demonstrate that Minbari technology is more advanced than the average.
  • As You Know: It's hard to justify Lyta Alexander not knowing the history of the Babylon Project, and needing to ask Sinclair why the station is Babylon Five. We just have to brush it off as clumsy exposition.
  • Attack On One Is An Attack On All: While Kosh is being treated, the Vorlon empire sends a fleet of ships which are prepared to destroy the entire station and start a war if the accused commander Sinclair isn't handed over to them.
  • Clear My Name: Commander Sinclair.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Most famously, Delenn's gravity rings, but many various changes to costuming and makeup (most prominently that of Delenn and G'Kar, as well as that of the Minbari Assassin, whose crest is shaped in the manner of how female Minbari will be depicted in future episodes), and other minor elements, plus no less than three major supporting characters who were replaced with Suspiciously Similar Substitutes in the regular series.
    • Delenn was originally intended to be a male character portrayed by a female actor, to make them more alien. This was dropped when they couldn't get the voice modulation to sound good, plus Mira Furlan was understandably uncomfortable with playing a role where her face was covered up and her voice was altered, not knowing of certain future developments.
    • Lyta Alexander protests that scanning Kosh without permission could get her "thrown out of the Psi Corps," as though it were a simple guild or trade association. Once the Psi Corps start showing up in the series proper, it becomes clear that membership is mandatory and for life, and while they certainly have punishments for abuse of their talents, simple expulsion isn't one of them.
  • Foreshadowing: "There is a hole in your mind."
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you look carefully when the assassin bypasses an identicard slot to access a set of quarters, you can briefly see the words LAUREL TAKASHIMA CLEARED in a small display window.
  • You Look Familiar: Via Retroactive Recognition: One of the Bridge Bunnies is played by Ed Wasser, who would later gain fame amongst the fandom for playing Smug Snake Mr. Morden, one of the show's recurring villains. This led to a theory that he actually was Morden undercover, due to the show's tight continuity, but Word of God says no.