Voices of Authority
Garibaldi and Zack are walking together when Garibaldi is suddenly called with a Code 7-R, a meeting of the War Council, much to Zack's confusion. There Delenn explains that gaining the proper allies may make the difference in the coming war. With that in mind, she's enlisted Draal's help in locating the few remaining First Ones. Draal invites Sheridan down to the Great Machine later to conduct the search.
Meanwhile, a beautiful blonde, Julia Musante, arrives on station and goes to meet with the captain, while G'Kar finds Delenn and attempts to find out what she knows about rangers. Delenn quickly says she doesn't know anything, and G'Kar lets her go, promising to keep looking.
Sheridan arrives in his office to find Musante already there. She explains that she has been sent by the Ministry of Peace, Nightwatch, as his Political Officer. His recent decisions have caused some waves back home and she's there to make certain he doesn't do anything too inconvenient in the future. Sheridan is not happy and protests her presence but her orders come from further up. She suggests they have dinner that evening to get to know each other better. Sheridan tries to say he has plans, but can't say what they are without telling her about Draal, so he relents and agrees to dinner.
With the whole of the Earth bureaucracy now sitting on his shoulders, Sheridan can't make it to Epsilon III and sends Ivanova in his place. She'll work with Draal while he keeps Musante entertained/distracted. Ivanova asks if there's anything else.
- Sheridan: Glass of whiskey, a gun and two bullets.
Zack shows Musante to her quarters, asking how things went with the captain. She thinks he'll come around eventually, but wants Zack to fill her in on the things Sheridan doesn't tell her...just until he does, of course.
At dinner Sheridan expresses his concerns that the Centauri will continue moving into the League of Non-Aligned Worlds until someone stands up to them, but Musante dismisses them.
- Musante: Earth would never ally itself with a government that's bent on war.
Sheridan: Well, we have signed a treaty with the Centauri.
Musante: Exactly, which proves my point.
When she asks how things are on the station, Sheridan brings up some problems with the Lurkers, their version of the homeless. He tries to explain how they have many of the same problems that Earth does, but she says Earth doesn't have homeless...or poverty or crime or prejudice. According to her President Clark has all but solved the world's problems, which amounts to redefining them or pretending they don't exist. Sheridan finds this disturbing.
While Draal is initially irritated at Ivanova coming rather than Sheridan, she quickly endears herself to him, and he takes her to the heart of the Great Machine. He lets her use it in his place for a while to search for the First Ones. She finds evidence of them on Sigma-957, but she's not alone. The enemy is nearby as well, and nearly catches her. Then she sees something else: Earth Force One before it exploded, and then she sees Clark talking to someone (Morden) about how Earth Force One will never return from Io and how the power is now his. Ivanova collapses from the machine and asks Draal to get a recording of that. It's the proof they need.
Sheridan has brought Musante to his quarters, hers apparently accidentally, suspiciously, locked. As she makes herself comfortable, he pours some drinks, but when he turns around he finds that she seemed to think her dress was uncomfortable. Faced with a naked woman in his quarters, the only thing that could make it worse is someone barging in on them, so naturally that's when Ivanova decides to use Draal's hologram to try and talk to him. Sheridan grabs Musante and kisses her to keep her from noticing, then glares at Ivanova over her shoulder. After breaking the kiss, he goes to his room, and finds her there.
She tells him what she found, but Sheridan can't do anything right now, not with Musante keeping such a close watch on him. He orders her to go make contact. Her image vanishes moments before Musante comes looking for him. Glancing down at her, he notes it must be colder than he thought and goes to fix it, while she pouts in disappointment.
G'Kar is still hunting information, this time from Garibaldi, who won't say anything, much to the Narn's frustration. Garibaldi apologizes, but he just doesn't know anything that could help him. G'Kar suddenly suggests that there might be something he can do to help Garibaldi and rushes off.
Zack finds Musante in the morning, who tells him to come to a meeting of the Nightwatch later. There she makes several announcements about their new scope of authority, forbidding Earthforce personnel from criticizing the government, and investigating past associations. Zack seems uncomfortable with all this.
Ivanova, assisted by Marcus, takes the White Star to Sigma-957, where they encounter a large and strangely proportioned craft. A totem-like figure appears on their bridge and Ivanova explains their purpose, though they seem to get testy when the Vorlons are mentioned. The figure vanishes, but they don't leave, which Marcus take as them thinking it over.
Back on the station, Sheridan views the recording Ivanova got. They need to get it out, so he orders Garibaldi to get it to General Hague. He'll be able to release it without letting it be traced back to him.
Meanwhile the First Ones come to a decision: Zog.
- Ivanova: Zog what? Zog yes, zog no?
Marcus: They're leaving; I guess zog means no.
Ivanova: Like hell.
They quickly brainstorm ideas to make them stop, to which Marcus sarcastically suggests putting a bucket on his head and pretending to be the ancient Vorlon god Booji. Ivanova gets an idea and opens a channel to the First Ones, thanking them for their time and then saying they really didn't need them anyway. After all, they have the Vorlons already, and they're already pretty much perfect. She concludes by promising to come let them know when they can come out of hiding.
Finally the figure appears again.
- "When it is time, come to this place. Call our name. We will be here."
With that, the ship turns and vanishes.
Sometime later, the news of the transmission breaks and Musante is called back to Earth to help deal with the fallout. Before she goes, Zack asks her if she's heard of a Code 7-R. She hasn't; why did he ask? No reason, he replies, but now he's wondering what Garibaldi is hiding from him.
Garibaldi is asleep that night when G'Kar comes and delivers him the Book of G'Quan. He protests that he doesn't read Narn but G'Kar tells him to learn. Garibaldi just grumbles as he stumbles back to bed.
- Garibaldi: He hates me. They all hate me. That's why they do this; to drive me crazy!
This episode contains examples of:
- Air Fiction One: Earth Force One is seen again, and we finally get confirmation on who was responsible for its destruction.
- Agitated Item Stomping: When Zach approaches Musante after her "meeting" with Sheridan, she relays her frustration with Sheridan's refusal to her proposition by angrily stabbing a piece of fruit with her fork.
- Aliens Speaking English: Subverted when Ivanova is trying to ask the Walkers to join the fight against the shadows. At first they speak in an angry sounding alien language, and later their answer is "Zog" which presumably means "no." After a few more minutes of Ivanova saying they really didn't need them and that they can go hide until it's over, they come back and say, in English, "When it is time come to this place, call our name. We will be here."Ivanova: [after the First Ones' initial outburst] At least that tells us they understand our language, they're just not willing to speak to us in it.
Marcus: Who knew they were French?
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Julie Musante not only has Aryan looks but her meeting with the Nightwatch is pure fascist plotting.
- Begging the Question: Julie Musante's rhetoric tends to boil down to this. Earth would never sign a treaty with a government bent on war; since they signed one with the Centauri, the Centauri obviously aren't bent on war, ergo there was no problem with them signing a treaty. Earthgov has promised a job to anyone who wants one, therefore anyone who doesn't have one must not want one, so there's no problem with unemployment. There is no crime other than that committed by the mentally unstable; obviously they're mentally unstable, or they wouldn't be committing crimes, would they? Et cetera, et cetera.
- Berserk Button: The Walkers get pretty irate when the Vorlons are mentioned.
- Blatant Lies: When G'Kar asks Delenn what she knows about the Rangers she pauses, then turns and looks straight at him and says, "Nothing, why? Should I?"
- Musante (and the current Earthgov) are pretending that homelessness, poverty, prejudice, and crime are virtually non-existent on Earth. And that if they did, they're only caused by the mentally disturbed who just liked to cause trouble for no reason.
- Brick Joke: Zack's uniform not fitting. He starts the episode complaining about it, and later, when he tries to make a pass at Musante, she brushes him of by telling him his jacket doesn't fit and to have it looked at. Also a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, as Zack's complaints are taken directly from those of Jeff Conaway.
- The Brick would come back again a year later in Atonement, with Zack complaining about yet another poor-fitting uniform.
- And, finally paid off in the Season 5 finale. Zack's PROSTHETIC LEG doesn't even work right!
- Caught on Tape: Ivanova finds a communication between then Vice-President Clark and an unseen party (Morden) discussing the fact that Earth Force One will not return from Io and Clark is about to become President.
- Comically Missing the Point: Marcus thinking Ivanova was serious about him being "Booji".
- Continuity Nod:
- The Walkers' ship drains the White Star's power if it gets too close.
- When Ivanova picks up the communication between Clark and Morden, Draal is shocked because an ordinary mind shouldn't have been able to do something like that. As an astute viewer might recall from an earlier episode, Ivanova is a latent telepath.
- Sheridan mentions when Earth Force tried to get him to pay rent on his quarters last year.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Ivanova's creative way of getting the Walkers to side with them.
- Eureka Moment: Ivanova wants to convince the Walkers to join their side, but doesn't know how to. When Marcus sarcastically suggests putting a bucket on his head and pretending to be the ancient Vorlon god Booji, Ivanova has it: exploit the Walkers' obvious disdain for the Vorlons.Marcus: Fine, I'll get a bucket.
- Flying Face: The form with which the Walkers of Sigma 957 appear on the Whitestar is a tiki-like floating head with glowing eyes and mouth.
- Foreshadowing: The Walkers' reaction should make one a little wary of the Vorlons. We find out what they might have done to warrant such a reaction early next season.
- During Sheridan & Musante's initial meeting and they were butting heads, Musante notes that the current laws do not exclude a Political officer unless there's a coup she hasn't heard about. Future episodes do involve an attempted coup.
- French Jerk: After the Walkers' refusal to speak in anything but their own language, Marcus quips about them being French.
- How Is That Even Possible?: Draal is shocked that Ivanova was even able to do what Ivanova did and access that communiqué between Clark & Morden.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Sheridan makes the excuse of going to fix the temperature to get away from Musante.
- Ignore the Fanservice: Musante tries to seduce Sheridan. Sheridan's not having it; he's already in love with someone else, and Musante is someone he wants to avoid getting close with anyway.Musante: I've never known who a man who could find so many ways to say "no" to a simple proposition.
- Insane Troll Logic: This conversation between Musante & Sheridan as noted in the summary aboveMusante: Earth would never ally itself with a government that's bent on war.
Sheridan: Well, we have signed a treaty with the Centauri.
Musante: Exactly, which proves my point.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Julie Musante is trying to get Sheridan into bed, when Ivanova, using the Great Machine's holo projector, appears in the room right behind her. Sheridan is forced to use Kiss of Distraction to keep Musante from seeing her. In fact, this trope is inverted; Sheridan didn't want to sleep with her, but had to briefly get "intimate" in order to provide a distraction. Once Ivanova has left, he makes an excuse to leave.
- The Kingslayer: Clark is nailed as one when Ivanova finds the recording of him conspiring with Morden to arrange Earth Force One's destruction.
- Klingon Promotion: We see Clark discussing the arrangements of his with Morden.
- Little Black Dress: Musante wears one while having dinner with Sheridan, and gets rid of it at the first opportunity.
- Meaningful Name: The ship Musante rides back to Earth is named Loki, the Norse god of fire and mischief.
- Newspeak / Unusual Euphemism: Musante gives Sheridan a bucketful of it over dinner, proclaiming all the wonderful social progress the Clark regime is making back on Earth. She's fully aware it's all bullshit, too.
- Not What It Looks Like: Sheridan says this word for word regarding the above interruption.
- Oh, Crap!: Ivanova gets one when the Shadows almost catch her while using the Great Machine.
- Pet the Dog: When Ivanova sets foot on Epsilon 3, he is greeted by an angry Draal who was expecting Sheridan to come (and given Draal's arsenal, Ivanova was understandably wary of Draal). She makes a joke, which makes Draal laugh and he welcomes her.
- The Political Officer: Julie Musante.
- Shout-Out: To Star Trek. Complete with a Fascinating Eyebrow.
- Spy Speak: The message that a War Council meeting is on is Code 7-R. Zack doesn't recognize it, and he starts worrying that something's going on.
- Straw Conservative: Musante's views on issues like poverty make her sound like a political caricature of a Republican.
- Take That!: "Good luck Captain - it looks like you're about to go where everyone has gone before."
- Toplessness from the Back: When Sheridan finds Musante has slipped out of her dress.