Acts of Sacrifice
- Londo: I want you to stay! And have a little drink with me. I want you to be happy, I want me to be happy. I want you to be happy for me and me to be happy for you. Is that so much to ask around here? Why is everyone here walking around like they are afraid of me?Garibaldi: Maybe we are.
In orbit over a planet, a Narn heavy cruiser is fighting off several Centauri warships. They are about to leave when they receive a signal from a transport carrying women and children. They hold their jump point open long enough for the transport to get through, but the cruiser is destroyed before they can escape.
G'Kar ends the recording of the battle and turns to Sheridan and Ivanova. He explains that the Centauri attacked without warning, killing 500 Narn civilians despite promises not to attack civilian targets, though Londo had sent a statement alleging that the Narns were deliberately hiding military assents behind civilians. Sheridan promises to try to get Earth to intervene on the Narns' behalf. He then gets a message that a ship has arrived.
The new ship belongs to the Lumati, an apparently advanced race that Earth Central wants on their side in case the war spreads. Since he has his hands full with the Narn and Centauri situation, Sheridan tasks Ivanova with bringing them in, telling her to do whatever it takes.
G'Kar has gone to show the recording to Delenn in an attempt to get the Minbari's support. He notes that the Centauri are still committing their forces, some of them are still unsure about it, and if the Minbari, second in power only to the Vorlons, step in they would be sure to fall back. Delenn is unhappy with the attacks on civilians but also notes that G'Kar, and the Narns, have said and done things in the past that makes it difficult to support them now. She cannot promise military aid, but she does promise to look for other ways to help. G'Kar leaves in disappointment.
In a bar, a loud group of Centauri start antagonizing a group of Narns.
Ivanova meets the Lumati dignitary, Correlilmurzon, and his aide, Taq. Taq speaks first, but quickly explains that Correlilmurzon speaks through him until he can determine that humanity is not "inferior" and worthy of being spoken to. Slightly put off, Ivanova leads them off on a tour of the station.
Londo is also meeting with people, much to his annoyance. People who mere months ago ignored him at best are now hanging off his arms, looking for favors. "I've become a wishing well with legs." He laments. His new found respect is not what he thought it was.
In a corridor, officer Zack Allen breaks up a fight between a Narn and Centauri. He pushes the Centauri away and draws his gun on the Narn, who, egged on by the Centauri, charges. Zack shoots him at point-blank range, killing him. Later, in Sheridan's office, he and G'Kar are arguing about it. Sheridan wants to help, but incidents like this are making it difficult, and he warns that if they continue, he'll have all Narns thrown off the station.
Londo finds Garibaldi in the bar and tries to persuade him to have a drink with him. He wonders aloud why everyone seems to be afraid of him now. Garibaldi isn't sure he knows him anymore, but says he'll try to stop by later for a drink.
G'Kar meets with a group of Narns, telling them to stop the fights. They need allies and for that they need to keep the peace on the station. After he leaves the Narns bring out the Centauri who started the fight earlier and kill him. They intend to launch a major attack and kill every Centauri on the station.
After the body has been brought to Medlab, Franklin examines it, but can't find any direct proof that Narns were responsible. Sheridan wants to delay telling Londo about it until they have a better grasp of the situation. Londo, in the meantime, is still waiting in the bar for Garibaldi, who still hasn't shown up. He leaves as the bar closes for the night.
The next morning, the Lumati come to Ivanova's quarters. Correlilmurzon, has gotten the idea that she's only showing them the most appealing parts of the station in an effort to impress them. She suggests they choose any part of the station and she'll take them there.
Meanwhile Na'toth observes the Narns buying weapons for their attack.
Sheridan receives a message from Earth Central denying his request to intervene. He's not happy about it, but decides to try another route and calls Delenn.
G'Kar is in his quarters when Na'Toth bursts in with news that the Narns are going against his orders, and preparing for an attack. He decides he needs to handle this himself.
The place the Lumati chose is Downbelow. Ivanova is confused, but Correlilmurzon observes conditions here with interest. Since it seems humanity has separated superior from the inferior in their own race, they are worthy of his attention and he begins speaking to her himself.
The Narns are planning their attack when G'Kar arrives. He declares that his authority comes from the Narn government and can only be taken by force. He and the lead Narn start fighting, and while he is cut with a poisoned blade, eventually defeats the upstart. He then orders all of them back to their quarters.
Sheridan meets with Delenn to arrange some kind of unofficial aid to the Narns, mostly food and medical supplies, as well as taking whoever they can out of the combat zone. Delenn agrees and pledges whatever help she can.
In Sheridan's office, Ivanova is concluding the deal with Correlilmurzon. He wishes to end it in the traditional Lumati fashion, which she agrees to. He is delighted, and tells her it is having sex. Ivanova is stunned and fakes a call from C&C to make a (somewhat) graceful exit.
Na'Toth delivers the ringleader to Garibaldi, and has him admit to murdering the Centauri and plotting the attack. Garibaldi and Sheridan talk about what will happen when this goes to trial, things are going to get real ugly.
Ivanova walks with Franklin complaining about her current situation. He tries to think of solutions, and offers to fake sickness or something since it's doubtful Correlilmurzon knows much about human physiology. Ivanova suddenly gets an idea and runs off.
Na'Toth brings word that Sheridan wants to see G'Kar in his office, and G'Kar, certain they are about to get the aid they need, hurries off, when he gets there he is dismayed to learn that they will only be sending leftover supplies and smuggling a few out when they can. And if he talks about it, it will stop. He thanks them for their efforts, but soon after leaving Sheridan's office breaks down...not seeming to know whether to laugh or to cry.
Correlilmurzon comes to Ivanova's quarters. She says she's ready to do it Lumati style since she doesn't think he's ready to do it human style. Correlilmurzon, predictably, takes offence at that and declares that they will do it human style. As Taq watches in amusement, Ivanova dances around Correlilmurzon, singing a little song, then lets out an orgasmic scream. A bewildered Correlilmurzon asks, "What happens now?"
"Old way, you roll over and go to bed. New way, you go out for pizza and I never see you again." She explains.
He stares at her for a second, then gets up and leaves. Taq comes over, kisses her hand and then follows Correlilmurzon, chuckling under his breath.
Sheridan and Garibaldi inform Londo about the murder, and he asks to see a picture of the victim. When he does he dismisses it, saying he knew this one would meet a bad end. He only asks that the murderer's possessions be auctioned off and the proceeds donated to the Centauri war fund. Sheridan and Garibaldi are quick to agree.
Later Sheridan meets Ivanova and congratulates her on her handling of the negotiations. Correlilmurzon even sent her a gift. She opens a card which simply reads, "Next time, my way." Sheridan looks confused and asks, "Commander, is there something you want to tell me?"
Londo is in the bar again when Garibaldi shows up. He asks why Londo did what he did, and Londo explains that the Narns are falling, and they will soon have plenty of trouble. If he can spare Garibaldi some trouble, it's a nice coincidence.
"It is good to have friends, is it not, Mr. Garibaldi? Even if only for a little while?"
"Even if only for a little while." Garibaldi agrees.
This episode contains examples of:
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: The Lumati believe that it's not their place to help or hurt members of "inferior" species. When Dr. Franklin reacts to this callousness with disgust, the Ambassador acts like he's being childishly immature. Nobody ever quite figures out what they mean by "inferior"; on the face it sounds like a matter of technology level but it seems to be tied into their internal caste system as well.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: When the Narns disobey him, G'Kar has to reassert himself the hard way.
- Asshole Victim: The Centauri who is murdered spends most of his previous scenes casually making racist, genocidal comments and picking fights with Narns. Londo doesn't seem overly broken up over it. He didn't even have any family or friends to perpetuate a Cycle of Revenge over his death.
- Bi the Way: The Lumati apparently, given that Word of God confirms that the deal would have gone the same way had Sheridan not dumped it on Ivanova.
- Break the Haughty: G'Kar spent much of the first season bragging about the growing strength of the Narn military, and now he's reduced to begging for assistance from Earth and the Minbari.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Garibaldi does a passable Londo in one scene.
- Broken Tears: And at the end, when he only get a fraction of what he wants, he's reduced to tears... seemingly mixed with laughter.
- Call-Back: Delenn no longer has the resources she used to.
- Completely Unnecessary Translator: Correlimurzon has Taq speak for him until he can decide whether humans are worthy of his esteemed presence. Talking directly with a "lesser species" constitutes a loss of face in his culture. This was based on a news report JMS saw where a female reporter interviewed a Middle Eastern warlord. The man clearly spoke English as he didn't need her questions translated, but still insisted on speaking his own language to an English translator rather than talk directly to a woman.
- Continuity Nod:
- Cry Laughing: After G'Kar gets Sheridan and Delenn's offer.
- Cycle of Revenge: This is one of the reasons Delenn is hesitant to promise aid for G'Kar. To his credit, G'Kar acknowledges that many of the things he said about wanting revenge on the Centauri far earlier in the series has only hurt his case.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: The Lumati don't think of sex as anything more serious than a handshake.
- Elective Mute: The Lumati ambassador toward Ivanova (or any humans), until convinced the humans aren't an "inferior" species.
- Entitled to Have You: The way the Lumati ambassador wants to formalize the alliance with Earth. Ivanova's less than enthused.
- Face Death with Dignity: The Narn cruiser's crew stoically accepts their fate when they hear one civilian ship hadn't escaped yet.
- Foreshadowing: Earth Alliance seeking closer relations with the Lumati, a civilization that holds to Social Darwinism as a deliberate doctrine, much like the Shadows, who will later be revealed to have "friendly" relations with Earth Alliance. (The Lumati are passive in their doctrine however, believing in total noninterference as the best way to achieve it; whereas the Shadows aggressively aid the "stronger" (or most ambitious) races, putting their large "thumbs" on the scale so to speak.)
- G-Rated Sex: Invoked by Ivanova. She tricks the Lumati ambassador into having sex "human-style", which consists of her doing a little dance around him, then screaming like she's having a massive orgasm."God, you're good."
- Heroic Sacrifice: A Narn cruiser sacrifices itself to allow a civilian transport to escape a battle zone.
- The Immodest Orgasm: Ivanova fakes one at the end of "sex, human style."
- In the Back: After losing the fight, the ringleader tries one more attack when G'kar's back is turned. He nicks G'Kar but G'kar won't show he was badly hurt, despite the poison on the blade, because it could lose him the fear he just instilled in the others.
- Lie Back and Think of England: One of Fanklin's suggestions to Ivanova:"You could put a bag over his head and do it for Babylon 5."
- Lonely at the Top: Not quite there yet, but Londo is already starting to feel this. Before, the only true friend he had on Babylon 5 was Garibaldi. Now his "friends" are only friends for favors and Garibaldi feels that he doesn't even know him anymore.
- Meaningful Name: Taq, pronounced like "talk".
- Noodle Implements: The parting gift from the Lumati ambassador to Ivanova, that came with the note "next time, my way." It was a cone-shaped object with small lengths of chain attached to it.
- Pet the Dog: Londo forgoes what would be a long and messy trial for the Narn murderer in favor of having his possessions auctioned off and donated to the Centauri war fund.
- Poisoned Weapons: Drazi blades apparently come this way standard.
- Servile Snarker: Taq has the most evil chuckle when he realizes his superior has just been duped by Ivanova into having "sex".
- Shout-Out: To the infamous scene in When Harry Met Sally of all things..
- Spit Take: When Ivanova finds out what the Lumati traditional way of closing deals is.
- Take That!: Possibly to the Star Trek Prime Directive, with the Lumati proudly saying they wouldn't do anything to help a dying child of an "inferior race".
- The Social Darwinist: The Lumati are an entire race of this.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: The Lumati ambassador views the wretched inhabitants of Downbelow and concludes that humans segregate the "inferior" from the "superior". This convinces him that humanity is a worthy ally. Ivanova can hardly correct him, particularly seeing as he isn't 100% off the mark.