Point of No Return
Londo is driving Vir insane "correcting" his report on the Minbari, when he receives word that Lady Morella, the late emperor's third wife, will be arriving soon, but his good mood is cut short when he finds out that martial law has been declared.
Sheridan is getting an update from Earth, and it's not good. Not only has Clark declared martial law, he's disbanded the senate, with the senators on the run, arrested, or locking themselves in their offices...until the Elite Guard opens fire on the senate building. General Hague is also missing, but he left a message for Sheridan: "Everything's gone to hell, John. God help us all. You're on your own." With that the connection ends.
Sheridan informs the crew on C&C, urging them to remain calm and on duty. He also orders an elevated state of readiness in case any hostile forces try to take advantage of the situation.
- Corwin: Captain, how did this happen? What did we do wrong?
Sheridan: I don't know, Lieutenant. I don't know.
Garibaldi comes with more bad news. There is a nine-system alert for General Hague, who is reportedly trying to organize a counterstrike. If they get him, they get the B5 crew as well.
- Garibaldi: This is bad.
Sheridan: I've never seen it any worse.
Zack meets with the Nightwatch liaison who tells him about a must-attend meeting. G'Kar is singing in his cell when Garibaldi comes to let him out. G'Kar is surprised; his sentence isn't up yet, but Garibaldi is going to need his people and he doesn't think it matters anymore with everything else going on.
Londo is also lamenting the situation as Lady Morella is arriving. She is a prophetess, and he wants to know if what he sees is going to happen.
- Vir: So you want her to tell you it's all going to happen the way you see it?
Londo: No, I want her to tell me it won't.
Morella comes aboard and introduces herself, a little surprised that the Captain is not there also as befitting her station. Londo explains that Sheridan has a situation he is dealing with, and sees her to her quarters himself.
Sheridan is on the comm with General Smits at Earthdome, who reminds Sheridan that their duty is to respect the chain of command. He then informs Sheridan and Garibaldi that Nightwatch is to assume full authority over security matters. Those in security must either already be in Nightwatch, or join it. Sheridan is not happy, and Garibaldi is borderline furious.
G'Kar is surprised to find Ta'Lon guarding his quarters, taking the opportunity to repay his debt. G'Kar says he may need his help soon.
As security personnel come up and either join the 'Watch or resign, Morella prepares for her tour. She suspects Londo has ulterior motives, and he admits that he wants her to see for him.
- Londo: I believe that I have been touched, that I am meant for something greater, a greater darkness or a greater good I can no longer say.
She agrees to help him, and they head out.
Despite Zack's pleading, Garibaldi storms into the security station and delivers a blistering rebuke to his people, but none of them relent, and eventually he is escorted out. Zack watches him go sadly. G'Kar is in his quarters trying to explain to Ta'Lon what he's come to understand. Meanwhile Sheridan looks over the order to impose martial law. He'll make the announcement as soon as he can stomach it.
In the Zocalo, Londo and Vir are showing Morella around when a news report comes on that Earth Force ships have started shooting at each others. The main ship has been identified as the Alexander, which manages to disable her opponents and escape, prompting applause from the audience. Nightwatch shows up and tries to break up the crowd but a riot breaks out as Sheridan makes an announcement and reads the order implementing martial law.
In his office, Sheridan throws the order away, feeling like he needs a shower. They're penned in by Nightwatch, but when Franklin says they can't fight the chain of command, Sheridan realizes something. He replays the message from General Smits, specifically the part where the order giving Nightwatch authority came from the political office.
G'Kar comes to C&C with an idea. Shortly after, Zack is surprised to find Garibaldi, Ivanova and G'Kar waiting for him in his quarters, with Sheridan appearing behind him.
In Londo's quarters, Lady Morella is tending to Vir, who was hurt in the riot. As she has a chance contact with Londo, she sees Londo as an old man, an emperor.
Zack comes into the security office and tells them that Sheridan is planning to replace the Nightwatch personnel with Narns. The Nightwatch officer is eager to intercept them and arrest Sheridan and the others for sedition
G'Kar speaks to the local Narns and asks them for a favor.
Sheridan meets with the others while Nightwatch prepares to arrest them, but when they get there Zack runs out as the doors to the docking bay are sealed. He meets with Sheridan outside and tears off his armband.
- Zack: They're all yours, Captain.
Sheridan activates the PA, and explains that he's arresting them for mutiny for following an illegal order. The order originated in the Political Office, a civilian organization with no authority over the military. He explains that valid orders come from the president through the Joint Chiefs. He has sent for clarification, but due to communication troubles, that may take a while. If they want to leave, they will leave their link, identicard, and weapon and then be confined to quarters.
Ivanova points out that this is a temporary measure. Once Clark hears of it, he'll issue the order personally. Sheridan is hopeful they can resolve this before it gets to that point. And as for the sudden lack of security personnel, G'Kar shows up with a whole crew of Narns in tow.
- Franklin: Oh, boy, Londo is going to love this!
In Londo's quarters, Morella begins explaining what she sees to him, that he will have three chances to avoid the fire that awaits him.
- Morella: You must save the eye that cannot see, you must not kill the one who is already dead, and at the last, you must surrender yourself to you greatest fear, knowing it will destroy you.
Londo doesn't understand, but Morella just encourages him to watch for them. She concludes by telling him that he will be emperor, then turn to Vir and says he will also be emperor. Vir thinks she's joking, but she's quite serious, one of them will be emperor, after the other is dead.
As the Nightwatch file out of the docking bay, Sheridan expresses his appreciation to G'Kar, and tells him if there's anything he wants, and there is. G'Kar wants in. He's noticed the secret meetings and wants in on it. Sheridan explains he'll have to talk it over with the others, but agrees to bring it up.
Later, Ivanova finds him in his office with news that Delenn is back, and Gen. Hague is on the run.
- Sheridan: They'll be coming for us next, you know.
Ivanova: I know. Never though it would end like this.
Sheridan: Me either.
This episode contains examples of:
- Bait-and-Switch: At first it seems Zack's ratting out Sheridan, but the whole thing is an act to get Nightwatch someplace they can be contained.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: Lady Morella laments that Emperor Turhann was a pacifist who had made reparations to Narn. Instead, his death was used by the Centauri as a rallying cry for their imperialist agendas.
- Call-Back: Lady Morella is one of Emperor Turhan's wives.
- The Chosen One: Londo thinks he is one, but is no longer certain what he's been chosen for.
- Continuity Nod:
- G'Kar singing in his cell.
- The EAS Schwarzkopf, seen fighting the Alexander, was General Franklin's ship when he came to Babylon 5.
- Lady Morella is said to be returning from a visit to Ragesh 9 in the Ragesh system.
- Lady Morella is a prophetess, a seer of the future. Some Centauri have been depicted with the ability to see the future.
- Ta'Lon has remained on Babylon 5 since A Day in the Strife.
- The Coup: The crew are hoping General Hague can pull one off. It doesn't work, and soon he's on the run.
- Civil War: Shooting breaks out between Earth Alliance military forces.
- The Dog Bites Back: Vir snaps at Londo "correcting" his report on the Minbari.
- The Emperor: Part of Lady Morella's prophecy to Londo: "You will be Emperor, that part of your destiny cannot be avoided. (looking at Vir) You will also be Emperor."
- "Eureka!" Moment: When one of his officers mentions that one can't fight the chain of command, Sheridan realizes exactly what General Smits was trying to tell him earlier.
- Exact Words: General Smits tells Sheridan to "respect the chain of command" and that the order authorizing Nightwatch to take control of the station "comes from the Political Office." Sheridan eventually realizes that Smits is authorizing him to defy an illegal order, but can't say so overtly because the line is being monitored.
- Humans Are Special: G'Kar believes humans are "the key", one that must be turned to find salvation for all.
- It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Londo wants to hear that the great future he sees before him won't happen.
- Lured into a Trap: Sheridan does this to Nightwatch with Zack providing the bait.
- My God, You Are Serious!:
- When Lady Morella tells Vir he was also be Emperor, Vir starts laughing thinking that she's joking. She is not, which leaves Vir taken aback.
- A lighter example occurs when G'Kar shows up with the Narns to fill the gaps in Security, prompting Franklin to go, "You're kidding! You're not kidding!"
- Paper Destruction of Anger: As soon as Sheridan goes off the air after issuing the Martial Law order on the comms, he crumples the printed order and throws it angrily.
- Psychometry: Lady Morella gets an involuntary future vision of Londo on the Centauri Imperial throne when they accidentally touch hands when the latter was handing her a cloth.
- Rewind, Replay, Repeat: Variant. When Sheridan gets his "Eureka!" Moment, he goes back to the recording of his conversation with General Smits, and replays key phrases to confirm what he was saying.
- Riddle for the Ages: When Lady Morella gives Londo her prophecy, giving him three chances to avoid the terrible destiny before him, she also says that he has already wasted two others. The two "wasted" chances are never explicitly named, though his "picking a target" for the Shadows is highly likely to be one of them. There are several that could possibly fit:
- His ordering of the bombardment of a remote base, which unnecessarily prolonged the Earth/Minbari War;
- His answering of Morden's question;
- His acceptance of Morden's offer regarding Quadrant 37;
- His "picking a target" for the Shadows;
- His lying about the Emperor's last words to him to bless the war;
- His use of Morden's forces "one last time" to wipe out a Narn strike force, opening Narn to planetary bombardment.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Lady Morella not only gives Londo the prophecy he asked for, she also personally tends to Vir when he's hurt during a riot.
- Rules Lawyer: Sheridan pulls off one of these that would have made Jeffrey Sinclair very proud.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: One officer turns in his gun and link rather than put on the armband.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Zack lures most of the security personnel aligned with Nightwatch into a trap with the news that Sheridan was planning to replace them with Narns. Once the disloyal security officers are trapped in the docking bay, Sheridan does indeed cover the shortfall with Narns hired as security personnel.
- Ship Tease: "It's funny — I wish Delenn were here." No, Captain, that's not strange, considering you're in love with her.
- Shoot Out the Lock: Sheridan advises against it: The door his opponents are trapped behind is made of an alloy that resists PPG blasts and causes them to ricochet, likely killing the one who attempted to do this (or one of their colleagues).
- Shower of Angst: Invoked by Sheridan. After he issues the Martial Law order, he laments that he needs a shower because of how disgusted he is with what's happening. Franklin tries to comfort him by telling him it had to be done or else Sheridan will break the chain of command. This leads Sheridan to his "Eureka!" Moment described above.
- Smug Snake: The nightwatch guy played by Vaughn Armstrong.
- Spy Speak: The message Sheridan receives from General Smits is actually a reminder that Nightwatch is usurping the chain of command.
- Stock Episode Titles
- Take That!: Londo's line "Intelligence has nothing to do with politics."
- Taking the Bullet: Vir blocks a thrown bottle with his head from striking Lady Morella. While not fatal, it does leave his head with a bloody gash that needs tending to.
- Tantrum Throwing: Zach rips his Nightwatch armband and throws it on the ground, with conviction.
- As they're being escorted out of the locked bay, the Nightwatch members were angrily surrendering their guns and Links while glaring at Garibaldi's security team.
- Title Drop Chapter: "Point of No Return" is also the title of season 3. Going back to Earth is no longer an option, which also means when the Shadows finally make their move, Babylon 5 will have to face them alone.
- Tragic Villain: Zack's participation in Nightwatch comes close to this before his defection.
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Lady Morella and Ta'Lon share a brief moment.
- Londo and Vir share one in Londo's quarters after Morella left. Because of how ominous the prophecy was, they stay away from each other while trying to have an awkward conversation.
- Vagueness Is Coming: Lady Morella's three chances for Londo to escape his fate. Her answer to whether or not he becomes Emperor is a more straightforward "you will", whether he escapes his fate or not.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Garibaldi to the security force in general and Zack in particular as Nightwatch takes over. Sadly, this falls on deaf ears as they are so committed to "protecting Earth" they fail to see the evil they have become.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Londo tells Lady Morella to not shower Vir with sympathy because he shielded her from a bottle, claiming that Vir is abusing her kindness. Vir is not amused.
- You Did the Right Thing: Both the leader of Nightwatch and Sheridan tell Zack this. Zack doesn't find the words themselves very comforting, but he does feel better after stopping Nightwatch.