The final confrontation.
The Vorlons keep asking one question over and over again: "Who are you?" And for you (the Shadows) it's "What do you want?" I have never heard either of you answer those questions yourselves. Who are
you? What do
As Ivanova and Lorien continue tracking down the First Ones, Sheridan leads the Army of Light into battle against the Shadows and Vorlons. The place is Coriana 6 where the Shadows have a base the Vorlons intend to destroy. Another planet killer is approaching Centauri Prime but Coriana is more populated so the Centauri will just have to fend for themselves.
Londo is in the process of taking care of that, despite the Minister’s protests that the planet is in mourning for Cartagia’s death. He orders the ministers he’ll need for a plan he’s preparing, and then to clear the palace of Cartagia’s personal staff.
Sheridan gets a message from Ivanova that she’s gathered the remaining First Ones, then gives her permission to join them due to the promise he made her.
Back on Centauri Prime, the minister of intelligence comes to speak to Londo. He had investigated the matter of Lord Refa’s death and discovered that he wasn’t the one who arranged the death of Adira Tiree; it was Morden. Londo dismissed the minister then collapses in tears before trashing his room.
Londo: He played me! He played me like a puppet!
At Coriana Sheridan looks out over the fleet which he realizes is not enough to go against either the Shadows or the Vorlons, let alone both of them. He just needs to live long enough to get the truth out.
Morden is roughly escorted into the throne room by the royal guards. Londo is waiting for him and demands that the Shadow ships be removed from the planet, but Morden refuses. Londo intends to make the offer once more, but first he wants a little privacy, and tells Morden not to move. The guards then spray the areas around him with PPG fire, killing his Shadow handler.
Londo repeats his demand but Morden still refuses and is not inclined to change his mind, since the Centauri navy can’t fight them off.
: Oh yes, your ships are very impressive in the air and in space, but right now they are on the ground. Morden
: Yes, they’re on the ground. But they can sense a ship coming miles away, so what are you going to do Mollari? Blow up the island? Londo
: Well…now that you mention it…(pulls out a remote detonator
Londo presses the trigger and the island is engulfed in nuclear fire. Morden is then dragged kicking and screaming from the throne room, promising that the Shadow’s allies will make sure the Centauri pay for what he’s done.
Londo: Done, Mr. Morden? I haven’t even started with you yet.
Ivanova arrives at Coriana, just moments before the Shadows and Vorlons do as well. They start headins toward each other, seeming not to notice the insignificant rabble between them…until Sheridan detonates a bunch of nukes right in their faces.
Londo comes to Vir and triumphantly announces he’s taken care of the last Shadow influence, and has a gift for Vir in the garden. As he arrives there he remembers telling Morden what he wants, to be able to look into Morden’s lifeless eyes and wave at him. Now with Morden’s head on a pike, Vir finally gets his wish.
The Army of Light’s is unable to prevent the planet killer from getting into position, and Sheridan’s calls to spare the planet go unheeded. Left with no other choice, he calls the First Ones in, who easily take care of the planet killer. Lennier picks up a signal from the Vorlons…a call for reinforcements.
On Centauri Prime, Londo finds Vir with news that he’s contacted the Vorlons and told them he’s gotten rid of the Shadow’s influence, but Vir realizes there’s still one thing left…Londo himself. As the planet killer eclipses the sun, Londo asks Vir to kill him, but the Vorlons suddenly move off, responded to the signal from Coriana.
Lorien arrives on Sheridan’s ship, as the Shadows and Vorlons decide it’s time to talk. They take Delenn and Sheridan respectively into their minds while Lorien projects what they are seeing to everyone else. Sheridan and Delenn each have the Shadows and Vorlons try to convince to join their side, but neither is having it, since they’ve realized the truth of the matter.
Sheridan: A Vorlon once said, “Understanding is a three-edged sword,” your side, my side, and the truth. Well the truth is we don’t need you anymore!
An asteroid suddenly hits the White Star, causing Lorien to stumble, forcing him to pull them both out. As they return to their senses, the Shadow planet killer surrounds the fleet. Sheridan wonders if they’re just going to kill them now, but Lorien points to projections of a Vorlon and Shadow who are giving them one more chance.
Rather than take it, Sheridan begins throwing their questions back at them, while Delenn points out that neither of them know the answers anymore, they’ve been fighting each other for too long. They declare that this war is over, not just for the next thousand years, but forever. The Shadows and Vorlons are not happy and attempt to shoot them down, but the other ships form a shield around them, intercepting the Shadow’s missiles. This indicates that the others have rejected them as well, and Sheridan tells both of them to “Get the hell out of our galaxy!”
Lorien then explains that the time has come for all of them to step aside and let the younger races rise up to fulfill their own destiny. The Shadows and Vorlons agree, and ask him to come with them and their fleets begin to pull out, followed by the other First Ones and finally Lorien himself.
Marcus: Did we just win?
Ivanova: Don’t jinx it.
On Centauri Prime, Londo isn’t sure what to think now that it’s over. He’s afraid of being too happy, since it often leads to something bad happening to him. Vir encourages him to just enjoy it.
The White Star returns to Babylon 5, and to a new world, one that’s theirs now, free of the interference and manipulation of the elder races.
Sheridan: Feels like the magic’s gone.
Delenn: No, not gone. Now we make our own magic. Now we create our own legends. Now we build the future. Now we stop…
Sheridan: …being afraid of Shadows.
This episode contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: The Shadows and Vorlons are metaphoricaly this to the younger races. The point of their ongoing war isn't to defeat each other, but to force the younger races to choose between them and validate their elders' views.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Sheridan turns the Vorlon and Shadow questions back on the two elder races. He throws into their face the fact that they can't actually answer their own questions anymore.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Sheridan and Delenn, to the Vorlons and Shadows.
- The Cavalry:
- When the Vorlons are about to destroy Coriana 6, Sheridan calls in the First Ones to destroy their Planet Killer.
- Soon after the Vorlons call in all their remaining forces, including the planet-killer above Centauri Prime.
- Continuity Nod: In an earlier episode, Londo visibly picks up on the sound the invisible Shadows make while talking to Morden. In this episode, he has evidently figured out what it signified.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Londo figured out that the Shadows could turn invisible, and that they were always around Morden. Get Morden into a room where there are only so many places a Shadow can stand... and spray those places with liberal amounts of firepower.
- Dawn of an Era: The Third Age of Mankind (and of all the other younger races). No longer subject to the control, manipulation or guidance of the elder races, they'll make their own decisions and find their own way, for better or worse.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: How they end the war, permanently.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: What Londo does to the Shadow presence on Centauri Prime. Special note goes to Londo's Red Shirts suddenly gunning down a Shadow lurking invisibly in the corner of the room.
- Double Meaning Title: Arguably. Besides the Title Drop at the beginning, "Into the Fire" might recall the Minbari rebirth ceremony, the words of which echo throughout the series. "Will you follow me into fire, into storm, into darkness, into death? ...Then do this in testimony to the one who will follow, the one who will bring death couched in the promise of new life and renewal disguised as defeat. From birth, through death and renewal, you must put aside old things, old fears, old lives. This is your death; the death of pain, the death of flesh, the death of yesterday. Taste of it and be not afraid, for I am with you until the end of time. Taste of it...and so it begins".
- End of an Age: For the First Ones.
- Heroic BSOD: Londo's reaction to finding out that it was Morden who arranged for Adira to be poisoned to manipulate him into turning back to the Shadows for support.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The island Mollari blew up was still inhabited by many of the population, who had agreed to stay behind to avoid giving the game away.
- Londo is immediately ready to sacrifice himself upon realizing the Vorlons are still going to destroy Centauri Prime just to kill him.
- The Magic Goes Away: Discussed by Sheridan and Delenn during the denoument. Delenn remarks that they must simply create their own magic now. Not literal magic, of course.
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: While Ivanova is out looking for First Ones with Lorien, she attempts to give an order to her Minbari crew, despite not being able to speak the language very well. In frustration, she says "Ah Hell," which in Minbari, apparently means "Continuous Fire..."
- No Kill Like Overkill: The Vorlons are willing to destroy an entire planet just for one man touched by the Shadows.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The Shadow Wars are done for good, the Vorlons, Shadows, and First Ones have all gone beyond the Rim, and the Younger Races are now ready to stand on their own and take on their responsibilities of caretakers for the galaxy.
- Nuclear Option: Sheridan uses this to get the attention of the Shadows and Vorlons.
- Londo does this to the Shadow ships on Centauri Prime.
- Oh Crap: Lyta's wide-eyed expression between Nuclear Option and Precision F-Strike.
- Morden's reaction, coupled with Big "NO!", when he realizes just how much Londo has outmaneuvered him.
- Precision F-Strike: Lyta immediately after: "Captain...they're pissed".
- Sadistic Choice: Planet Killers are approaching Coriana 6 and Centauri Prime. With only enough ships for a stand at one of them, they decide to save the 6 billion people of Coriana over 3 billion Centauri.
- Shout-Out: Londo's Heroic BSOD noted above is a full reference to the one in Citizen Kane.
- Sitting Duck: The Shadow vessels based on the island of Selini. Londo's lampshading of this trope provides the trope's page quote.
- Take a Third Option: The Shadows and Vorlons demand that the Younger Races choose between their two options: Order or Chaos. The Younger Races, rallied behind Sheridan, tell them where they can stick their "choice" and demand that they leave them alone.
- Taking the Bullet: The Vorlons and Shadows try to fire on the White Star that Sheridan and Delenn are on, but the other ships move into the path of the incoming missiles, proving that all the younger races have rejected the elder races' guidance, and have chosen to stand up for themselves.
- Tempting Fate: When the Shadows refuse to budge from Centauri Prime, this discussion ensues:
: What are you gonna do, Mollari? Blow up the island? Londo
: Actually... [takes a remote out of his pocket]
Now that you mention it.... Morden
: NO! [Londo presses the button on the remote; cue big explosion on the island where the Shadow ships are based]
- Title Drop: "Take us into the fire".
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sheridan delivers an epic one to both the Vorlons and the Shadows, concluding with the immortal line, "Now get the hell out of our galaxy!"
- Tranquil Fury: In contrast to his blind rage when in private earlier, Londo is the very picture of restrained calm when he calls for Morden to give him one last chance to withdraw the Shadow vessels from Centauri Prime. When Morden rebuffs him again, he wordlessly has one of Morden's invisible associates gunned down, then has the Shadow base destroyed with hidden nuclear weapons.
- Wham Episode
- You're Insane!: Morden (without a hint of irony) says this to Londo.