In the Shadow of Z'Ha'Dum
There are beings in the universe billions of years older than either of our races. Once, long ago, they walked among the stars like giants, vast, timeless. Taught the younger races, explored beyond the rim, created great empires, but to all things, there is an end. Slowly, over a million years, the First Ones went away. Some passed beyond the stars never to return. Some simply disappeared.
As the war drags on, more and more Narn refugees are arriving on the station, so many that they are beginning to tax their resources, and Garibaldi goes to ask Sheridan what to do about them. While the Centauri are having better luck, one in particular is not in good spirits as he goes to meet with his least favorite person. Vir finds Mr. Morden who, noting that Vir doesn't seem to like him that much, asks the Centauri what he wants.
- Vir: I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price. I want to look up into your lifeless eyes and wave, like this. (gives Morden a little wave with his fingers) Can you and your associates arrange this for me, Mr. Morden?
- Delenn: Come, Captain, the greatest nightmare of our time is waiting for you.
- Delenn: That is why Kosh cannot leave his encounter suit. He would be recognized.Sheridan: Recognized? By who?Kosh: Everyone.
- Delenn: Must be released!
- Sheridan: Nothing... Shadows.
- Kosh: If you go to Z'Ha'Dum you will die.Sheridan: Then I die. But I will not go down easily and I will not go down alone. Will you teach me?Kosh: Yes.
This episode contains examples of:
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Talia delivers one to Sheridan right after he arranges for her to pass Morden in the corridor. He admits he deserved it.
- Back from the Dead: Morden supposedly died on the same ship as Sheridan's wife, and Sheridan wants to know what happened.
- The Icarus has been mentioned before.
- In Morden's first appearance, he stated that he'd found interesting things out on the Rim.
- Talia sees a shadow darken Morden's face as she passes him.
- "You told G'Kar he had to choose between revenge and the good of his own people. Now you must make the same decision, Captain."
- Sheridan changes the nature of Kosh's lessons.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Vir verbally flips off Mr. Morden, emissary of the Shadows. Beware the Nice Ones, indeed.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: From this episode on, Delenn sports the hairdo she uses for the rest of the series, abandoning the Early Installment Weirdness hairdo she used from her "humanoid reveal" in episode two.
- Talia's reaction to Morden's presence hints at the Shadows' weakness to telepaths.
- "If you go to Z'Ha'Dum, you will die."
- What Vir wants.
- The speaker for Nightwatch puts considerable emphasis on the dangers of people "spreading lies".
- Hollywood History: Word of God is that Sheridan's version of the Coventry bombing was intentionally "enhanced" to improve the story, albeit with a common legend surrounding said bombing.
- Fridge Brilliance: Sheridan DOES collect conspiracy theories, remember?
- Icarus Allusion: The fact that the ship is named the Icarus makes it blatant. They went to far and got burned.
- Kubrick Stare: Morden flashes one of these into the security camera, after Sheridan spots the Shadows that accompany him when adjusting the camera to different wavelengths.
- Loophole Abuse: Sheridan uses a lot of these to justify holding Morden. Talia and Garibaldi both call him on it.
- Moment of Weakness: Sheridan, normally The Hero, holds Morden without cause and gives him the third degree, in order to find out what happened to the Icarus and his wife. It takes an intervention by Delenn and Kosh for Sheridan to let Morden go.
- Obviously Evil: JMS actually worried that the Nightwatch armbands were too obvious a Nazi reference (and certainly make it a bit odd that the characters don't seem more uneasy about them). Ultimately he bowed to the necessity of needing something that could easily be put on and taken off onscreen.
- Overworked Sleep: Ivanova finds Franklin asleep in Medlab since he's been treating patients virtually nonstop.
- Realpolitik: Vir, despite his obvious dislike of Mr. Morden, is forced by duty to ask for his release.
- Sadistic Choice: Sheridan is forced to either abandon his pursuit of the truth about the Icarus and let Morden go (preserving the Shadows' secret), or get the truth out of Morden and bring the Shadows out into the open before the younger races can counter them. He discusses this sort of thing with Zack, using a popular story about the Coventry bombingnote as a comparison.Zack: I'm glad I don't have to make that kind of decision. I mean, how many lives is a secret worth?
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Garibaldi refuses to have a part in holding Morden without any proof of him having done anything wrong, and threatens to resign as Chief of Security if Sheridan won't see reason.
- Shout-Out: The Nightwatch is a branch of the newly created "Ministry of Peace", or Minipax, as they prefer to call it...
- Staging an Intervention: This is basically what Kosh and Delenn do when they agree bring Sheridan into the loop.
- State Sec: The Nightwatch makes their first appearance. Zack joins, as he figures that he's getting 50 extra credits per week for the work he's already doing—not realizing what he's getting into.
- Teach Me How To Fight: Sheridan asks Kosh to teach him how to fight "those things" (the Shadows).
- 10,000 Years: The last time the First Ones fought the Shadows directly.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Sheridan get these from just about everyone for holding Morden without cause. When even Kosh intervenes, it raises his eyebrows.