Recap / Babylon Five S 01 E 20 Babylon Squared

The name of the place is Babylon 4.

Babylon Squared

Great War. Terrible War. There is much killings. Everyone fighting. A great darkness. It is the end of everything. Zathras warned but, oh no, no one listened to poor Zathras, no. Great War, but great hope of peace. Need place. Place to gather, to fight, to organize.

Ivanova joins Sinclair and Garibaldi for breakfast. She is not at her best as she is not a morning person, especially when C&C wakes her up early to inform her of some strange emissions from Sector 14. Sinclair on the other hand says he thinks it's the best part of the day, and recounts his time studying with Jesuits. Each day began at 5 in the morning for sunrise mass then an hour of meditation. His recollection puts the drowsy Ivanova to sleep, and he and Garibaldi clear their plates then wake her acting as though it's half an hour later, which would make her late. They chuckle and wait for her inevitable temper eruption.

Some time later, Ivanova is on the command deck receiving a transmission from the fighter she'd sent to investigate Sector 14. The pilot sees something that he can't believe, but before he can say what it is, he breaks off in a scream. Nothing is heard from him after that, but the homing beacon on his fighter is heading back. When it gets into range a scan shows negative on life signs. The pilot is dead. A medical exam finds a perplexing cause of death: old age. The man had just turned thirty. Sinclair orders traffic rerouted around Sector 14 and a thorough inspection of the fighter.

The search turns up a strange clue. Scratched into the harness buckle is "B4". Babylon 4 was Babylon 5's predecessor and vanished in that same sector. A call comes down from C&C saying they are receiving a distress call...from Babylon 4. They head up to C&C and Sinclair orders the transmission's ID code to be compared to Babylon 4's stored in the archive. It matches and the computer identifies it as genuine. Despite Garibaldi's skeptical reaction, Sinclair orders the transmission put on the screen.

An Earthforce officer, Major Krantz, appears and makes an urgent request for help. He has a crew of around 1300 to evacuate before whatever happened to them happens again. Sinclair responds and promises help, but the transmission ends when another disturbance occurs. Ivanova notices the time stamp is dated four years ago. Sinclair decides to lead an expedition to find the station and evacuate it if possible. He leaves Ivanova orders to notify Earth Central if they are not heard from in eight hours, and to send no further ships.

Throughout all this, Delenn has left the station in her private ship. She travels to a remote sector of space and there is met by a Minbari warcruiser. Onboard, she is dressed in a grey hooded cloak and enters the darkened chamber where she takes her place as one of the Grey Council. Her colleagues welcome her back, and tell her that the time has come to choose a new leader, and, after much deliberation, they have decided on her. She asks about the prophecy, but they try to placate her by telling her it will attend to itself.

Sinclair's flight arrives at Sector 14 and, sure enough, there is Babylon 4. He and Garibaldi fly the first shuttle in to investigate. In the docking bay, they are attacked by a deranged man in a worker's outfit. They hold him off until the officer from the transmission, Major Krantz arrives with B4 security, who cart the man off. Sinclair and Garibaldi introduce themselves and where they came from. Krantz looks surprised and asks what year it is, and when he is told it's 2258, he realizes what's happened and insists they get his crew off the station before something happens again, but as he is explaining there is a flash of light.

Sinclair suddenly finds himself on Babylon 5 in a major firefight. Some unknown enemy is attacking the station and cutting through the walls as people try to escape. Garibaldi tells him that he's rigged the fusion reactor and says he'll hold them off for as long as he can. He tells Sinclair to get going and begins firing relentlessly at the now open breach. With another flash of light Sinclair is back on Babylon 4. Krantz explains that these flashes happen every so often, sending people forward and back, and it's different for each one. The entire station has become unstuck in time.

On the Grey Council's ship, Delenn is expressing reservations about accepting the position. A part of her wants to, but her heart tells her to remain on Babylon 5. She wants to reconvene the council, which has never been done before. Before that, she is warned that there will be consequences, and she says she is prepared.

Major Krantz is explaining the events leading up to the disappearance, and introduces Sinclair and Garibaldi to a strange little alien named Zathras. Zathras at first reacts as though he recognizes Sinclair, but then says, "Not the One." This, and most of what he says, makes no sense to the officers. Zathras keeps talking about the One, who is apparently hurt. Garibaldi eventually threatens to break his neck if he doesn't give them some answers.

Zathras then describes a great and terrible war, and says they need the station as a base, and then tells them about the One.
The One leads us. The One tells us to go, we go. We live for the One. We would die for the One.

Someone calls for the major, saying, "It's back!" He, Sinclair and Garibaldi rush out to see a figure in a blue space suit fading in and out. Zathras follows and says, "It is the One!" The One seems to be in pain; Zathras says that he stopped the time shift to allow the station's crew to get off. Sinclair reaches out to the figure, but when they touch he is knocked back. Zathras then rushes over to the One, and gives him a device that he says he fixed. The One vanishes and Zathras tries to escape but is captured again. He warns them that they are finished and must leave or be trapped there forever.

Delenn is with the Grey Council again, to make her case. She recounts the end of the Earth-Minbari War and why they ordered the surrender. She was to study them, to determine if they are truly the ones the prophecies have spoken of, and she is certain they are. The others are doubtful, and list off humanity's shortcomings, but Delenn sees them as strengths. They do not give up or back down, and come back stronger. Despite her arguments, the council still does not see why it has to be her, and not another. She tells them it is the calling of her heart. Eventually the Council puts it to a vote on whether to support her. Four lights wink out, but the rest stand in her favor. They withdraw the offer; another will be chosen as their leader.

Garibaldi is overseeing a chaotic evacuation, letting people out in groups of five, while Sinclair and Krantz try to get answers out of Zathras. The alien explains that the device was a time stabilizer, which makes it possible to survive time jumps and that he would die without his. Sinclair realizes that that's what happened to the fighter they sent out. Another flash occurs and this time Garibaldi finds himself in his past facing his old girlfriend, Lise Hampton. She angrily tells him that she will not follow him to Babylon 5 and turns away. Garibaldi calls after her when another flash brings him back. He wants to leave the station as fast as possible, and he's not the only one. Krantz is now eager to leave as well, and he wants to take Zathras with him. As they make their way to the docking area, a support beam detaches and falls on Zathras. Krantz and his men run off, but Sinclair tries to pull Zathras out. Zathras eventually convinces him to go on, telling him, "You have a destiny."

After Sinclair leaves, Zathras looks up to see the One standing over him.

As the shuttles fly back to Babylon 5 the One looks out the window at them, then removes his helmet. An elderly Jeffrey Sinclair turns around and laments that everything happened just the way he remembered it. A woman, with Delenn's voice, talks to him and tells him the others are waiting. The elder Sinclair looks back out the window then walks off.

Delenn herself is still aboard the war cruiser when one of the other council members comes up to her. He tells her that if she is right, she will need something which he gives her. It is a triluminary, a small triangular object that they both hold in reverence. He tells her of great changes he senses and tells her that he will be there if she needs him. She thanks him and returns to her ship for the trip back.

On Babylon 5 Ivanova is expressing her frustration that she didn't get to go. Sinclair points out that they don't know where or when it was taken. It might just pop up again someday.

This episode contains example of:

  • Abandon Ship: Babylon 4 is drifting back and forth in time. When it appears in 2258, Babylon 5's crew begins evacuating B4's crew to safety. After a short discussion of the trope, Sinclair and Garibaldi escape on the last shuttle out.
  • Bad Future: Sinclair has a vision of one.
  • BFG: Garibaldi in the Bad Future is fighting off some unseen enemy, while firing a huge gun from the hip.
  • Call-Back: Garibaldi revisits his acrimonious breakup with Lise Hampton.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The triluminary.
  • Continuity Nod: Ivanova doesn't like mornings.
  • Filler: The conversation Sinclair and Garibaldi have in the shuttle.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water
  • Foreshadowing: Tons of it, from the revelation of Sinclair as the One, to Ivanova's throwaway line at the end.
    Ivanova: If [Babylon 4 does show up again] this time I'm going and Garibaldi's staying here.
    • When Sinclair is revealed as the One, we don't see the person he's talking to, despite the voice being easily recognizable as Delenn's. The fans immediately caught on that she would be somehow visibly different by the time we caught up to this side of the story.
  • Humans Are Special: Delenn's insistence that they are the key to ancient Minbari prophecies.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We don't actually get to see what the Security troops are fighting in the Bad Future, but it's clear they're losing.
  • Official Presidential Transport: We get our first look at the Valen'tha, the war cruiser that the Grey Council meets aboard. Delenn's comment suggests that if she were named their Chosen One she would never leave the ship at all.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: The tachyon and energy readings go off the scale just before Babylon 4 vanishes into the time rift.
  • The Reveal: When the One takes off his helmet.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: As a desperate attempt to fill out the script to episode length, JMS put in the scene of Sinclair and Garibaldi discussing how they put on their pants. He's been plagued with the same question at conventions ever since.
  • Stable Time Loop: Marks the start of one that won't be tied up until season 3.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Sinclair is NOT the One!
  • Unstuck in Time: Mentioned word by word.
  • With or Without You: Major Krantz tells Sinclair this, who has paused to help Zathras while the station is on the verge of vanishing again.