Ceremonies of Light and Dark
In the aftermath of the separation from Earth, the command staff have a number of problems, first and foremost rooting out Night Watch. Their communications are also down to prevent Earth from trying to remotely take control of the station.
As Sheridan begins his rounds, a sniper gets him in his sights. Before he can take the shot, someone else stops him, reasoning that if Sheridan is killed he becomes a martyr, but promises to get their pound of flesh later.
Delenn thanks the Minbari commanders for their help, and decides that the time has come for a ceremony called the Nafak'cha, or rebirth ceremony. Marcus isn't sure anyone will want to come as they have things to do of their own, such as Sheridan overseeing the funerals of those who were killed defending the station. As Ivanova reads the names, the caskets float out of the docking bay toward the local star.
Londo and Refa meet up to discuss reports from the front lines.
- Londo: You will note the plural form, "lines". Is there anyone along our border with whom we are not currently at war?
Refa: We need room to expand.
Londo: Only an idiot fights a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts.
Londo wants them to pull back their forces and for Refa to cut his ties to Mr. Morden. Refa is unwilling, until Londo mentions he poisoned Refa's drink. The first part settles into he blood until he has an agent introduce the second part, at which point, Refa will be quite dead. Refa asks why and Londo tells him it's to guarantee Refa's cooperation...and because sooner or later Refa would do the same to Londo.
- Londo: As we are returning to the old ways, Refa, and poison was always the instrument of choice in the old republic; being something of a sentimentalist, I got here first.
Londo demands Refa encourage the emperor to call off the attacks on worthless worlds, and bolster the defenses of Centauri Prime, and have nothing more to do with Morden. He ends with a toast to Lord Refa's health.
Sheridan, Ivanova and Garibaldi are in the process of restarting the computer and replacing all the command codes, when Delenn comes in wanting to talk to Sheridan. She tells him of the ceremony, and that they all need to be "reborn" into their new lives, putting their old selves behind them.
The two from earlier, Boggs and Sniper, are meeting with the rest of the Night Watch. They've just gotten orders from home. Their priority is the Minbari. Driving them off will enable Earth forces to come in and retake the station. To do this, they're targeting Delenn.
Delenn finds Marcus in a shady den and tries to convince him to take part in the ceremony, but he's strangely reluctant.
Garibaldi restarts the computer, but when it comes back up it starts talking in a sarcastic, obnoxious tone. Garibaldi remembers that they once tried to install an artificial intelligence, but they shut it down right away. Now they seem to have reactivated it.
Delenn and Lennier meet with Londo and G'Kar to invite them to the rebirth ceremony, but neither are inclined to come. Londo is not interested in the aspects of the ceremony (telling someone a great secret and giving up something of great value), and G'Kar is too busy helping the Narns get adjusted to their new roles. Marcus thinks they should just give it up, but Delenn is determined. Lennier then reminds her that one of the captains is coming aboard and she asks Marcus to come with her to the docking bay.
As they wait Delenn talks to Marcus, and he admits that he can't give anything up because he doesn't have anything left. His brother had joined the Rangers and tried to warn him of the Shadows, but he wouldn't listen. When the shadows came he lost his entire life, then went off to find the Rangers and finish what his brother had started. Delenn tell him that his pain is what he must give up, the guilt at being alive.
As the ship docks, Marcus goes off to let Security know, and Delenn goes to meet the captain, Lennan. As she does, Night Watch ambushes them.
Garibaldi is listening to Sparky (the A.I.) complaining, when Ivanova calls with word of the kidnapping. Delenn and Lennan, along with one of his aides, are being held somewhere in an abandoned area as their captors make contact with Sheridan. They demand the Minbari ships leave within six hours or they'll kill the hostages. To prove their point they kill Lennan's aid. Marcus storms off.
Back in the Downbelow bar, Marcus approaches a group of lowlifes and deals himself into their game. He asks what they know but they aren't inclined to tell him anything, and ask why they should bother.
Delenn and Lennan talk in Minbari, but Sniper understands them and thwarts their attempts to get loose.
Back in the bar, Marcus finishes off the last of the patrons, a bit annoyed that now he has to wait for one to wake up again, when Lennier comes up behind him. He's come to see that the ceremony takes place, which boggles Marcus. Lennier tells him that yes, he does want to take the station apart looking for her and decides now's as good a time as any to tell his secret. "I love her." He explains that it is not a romantic love, but a pure, perfect love. He knows Delenn is intended for another and that he's accepted it.
Just then, one of the patrons begins to stir and Marcus is able to get some information.
In Sheridan's office, analysis of the video has come up with a sound that Garibaldi knows from Gray Sector. It;s a start but they need more specifics. Marcus comes in with what they need to determine where they are. With that Sheridan comes up with a plan. They're going to surrender.
As the deadline approaches, Boggs gets a signal from his mole that the Minbari have pulled out. Before they can celebrate the room rocks and alarms begin blaring. People begin running from a leak in the fusion reactor. Boggs decides to take the hostages and run. As they leave they are ambushed by security and a firefight breaks out. Boggs is killed but Sniper tries to throw a knife at Sheridan and Delenn runs in the way, taking the blade in her back. Enraged, Sheridan chases Sniper down and beats him to the ground.
They find that the knife missed anything vital and she should make a full recovery. Unfortunately, the time to complete the ceremony is almost up. Sheridan decides they will have the ceremony in Medlab with her. Sheridan comes in, gives up the uniform and all it represents, and tells her that she has come to mean more to him than almost anything and he can't imagine his life without her, thus finally openly acknowledging a love story that's been brewing for the last season and a half. One by one, the others come in, lay their uniforms down and tells their secrets.
- Garibaldi: No one knows, but I'm afraid all the time of what I might do if I ever let go.
Ivanova: I think I loved Talia.
Franklin: I think I have a problem.
As they leave, Lennier tells them Delenn had something made for them. A short time later, they walk into C&C wearing brand new uniforms.
- Sheridan: The crisis, for now, is over. Tell the ships we're open for business.
This episode contains examples of:
- Actor Allusion: This wasn't the first time Harlan Ellison voiced an AI which tormented the protagonists. Granted, while AM was blatantly malicious, Sparky is just obnoxious.
- Ax-Crazy: Sniper; just listen to his description of what he did to Minbari POWs, and he's looking forward to showing his buddies in person.
- Ambition Is Evil: Londo warns Refa that his loyalty to the Centauri should be greater than his ambition. In this case that ambition is causing dozens of wars of questionable military value.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Worried about Delenn, Lennier confesses to Marcus that he loves Delenn even though he knows she is fated for another.
- As the Good Book Says...: The Sniper sings—ominously—the song "Dem Bones".
- Backstory: Marcus gives some of his to Delenn. It's elaborated upon in the canon novel To Dream in the City of Sorrows.
- Badass Boast: Marcus casually states that if he doesn't get the answers he wants from the room full of thugs, he is going to be forced to beat all of them unconscious. The entire room then stands up in response. One discretionary scene cut later, we see Marcus finishing off the last two people in the room, cuing what may be the single funniest line in the entire show:Marcus: Bugger! Now I have to wait for somebody to wake up!!
- Berserk Button: Sheridan's is Delenn. He chases Sniper through the station, ending in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, after Sniper stabs her.
- Sniper himself earlier, while talking to Delenn about pity (see below).
- Bilingual Backfire: Held hostage, Delenn and Lenann quietly start assessing the situation and planning an escape strategy in Minbari, only for one of the captors to interrupt them. He doesn't actually say anything in Minbari, but he makes it clear that he understood exactly what was being said.
- Burial in Space: The station's fallen during the battle for the independence of B5 are set adrift through the main docking bay.
- Call-Back: The clip of dialogue played back by Londo is lifted from his last meeting with Morden.
- The clip shown by the corrupt security officer to Boggs of the Minbari supposedly pulling out of Babylon 5 is from Legacies.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Sniper describes taking seven days to kill a Minbari, by tying off and slicing off each limb one at a time.
- Continuity Nod:
- Sheridan continues to refuse to wear his Earthforce uniform.
- They are still shipping out members of the Nightwatch that had surrendered previously. In the opening of the previous episode, Garibaldi and Sheridan note that there are some members of the Nightwatch they haven't caught yet (since, as the Nightwatch Liaison mentioned to Zach, some didn't join them in their attempt to arrest B5 command staff.
- Garibaldi's spoken authorization code for certain high-level computer functions is "Peekaboo".
- Londo has gotten into the habit of recording important conversations.
- Delenn demonstrated part of the rebirth ceremony two years ago.
- Delenn tells Sniper she's faced far worse than him. She doesn't specify, but it's almost certain she's referring to Mr. Sebastian.
- Londo's poisoning of Refa's drink echoes Sinclair's (fake) slipping a transmitter into G'Kar's drink. This time, though, whether the act is real is left unsaid... but it's entirely possible for Londo to have done either.
- In seeing off their fallen comrades who helped the station fight for independence last episode, the ceremonial funeral from Season 1 makes another appearance. Even the eulogy recited by Sheridan is the same one spoken by Ivanova that time.
- When Delenn fractured the Grey Council, she mentions that the Religious and Worker castes combined control two-thirds of the Minbari fleet. The crew of the Minbari ships guarding Babylon 5 are shown all clad in Religious (white) and Worker (brown) attire (contrast with the Warrior caste black).
- Curbstomp Battle: Marcus vs. the bar patrons. "Bugger! Now I have to wait for somebody to wake up."
- They don't fight, but Lennier grabs Marcus's coat and tells him not to touch him again. Marcus promptly backs off.
- Also Sheridan vs. Sniper at the end.
- Dig Your Own Grave: Sniper apparently learned Minbari just so he could order POWs to do this.
- Don't Create a Martyr: Boggs warns Sniper against doing this.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Delenn telling Sniper she feels sorry for him because he is still trapped in the madness of the Earth-Minbari War sets him off, causing him to shoot Lenann and almost shoot Delenn, but Boggs stops him before he can.
- Embarrassing Password: Garibaldi uses the spoken security code "Peekaboo" for certain high-level computer functions. (By comparison, Sheridan and Ivanova use "Obsidian" and "Griffin", respectively.) His justification: "Hey, would you have guessed it?"
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Boggs has a highly visible facial scar, and is a bad guy. Interestingly, the actor actually got the scar protecting a woman from getting raped, so for the ACTOR it would be a subversion.
- Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: Delenn and Lennan discuss trying to untie themselves in Minbari, but Sniper learned it during the Earth-Minbari War and realizes what they're up to.
- Hostage Situation: The main plot.
- I Surrender, Suckers: Variant. Sheridan makes Night Watch think the Minbari have pulled out... then fakes a reactor leak to force them into the open.
- Inevitable Mutual Betrayal: Londo poisons Refa partially because eventually Refa would have done it.
- Love Confession: This is the episode where Sheridan comes clean with his feelings for Delenn.Sheridan: ...I can no longer imagine my world without you in it. I don't know when or how it happened, but I'm glad it did.
- Two others come out, though one is towards a deceased character (Ivanova confesses she thinks she loved Talia) and another not directly to the object of affection because it's not meant to be (Lennier confesses he loves Delenn as his "tell a secret" rebirth ritual to Marcus)
- Missing Man Formation: During the memorial service.
- The Mole: Boggs still has people in Security, but Marcus manages to find out the identity of one of them.
- Neck Lift: Lennier does this to Marcus—a guy who'd just taken down an entire bar full of thugs.
- Not Hyperbole: When Marcus says that in ten minutes, he'll be the last one in the room still standing, he means it. The thugs failed to realize this.
- Offing the Annoyance: Frustrated by the incessant yapping of Sparky the Computer, Garibaldi shoots the speakers in one of the Lifts.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Boggs keeps Sniper from indulging his darker nature, not because he doesn't agree with him, but they need Delenn and Lennan alive for now.
- Rage Breaking Point: Marcus mentions in passing that his instructors warned him that he was repressing a great deal of anger. After beating a large room full of thugs senseless, he doesn't feel repressed anymore.
- Alternately, his Ranger training...either way...
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Jerry Doyle's arm actually did get broken while filming the previous episode's fight scene. This happened after most of the dialogue in the script was finalized, and Sparky's "broken arm" line was in there before Doyle actually broke his arm.
- Straczyinski is no longer allowed to mention the body parts of crew members, after this and the Ivanova incident.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Boggs's scar got a lot of complaints for looking fake. JMS responded that it's the real thing, as the actor got it protecting a woman from being raped.
- The Remnant: The remaining Nightwatch members, led by Boggs.
- Shout-Out: Sheridan's line to Ivanova, "My hypocrisy only goes sofar," is a Mark Twain quote.
- Significant Wardrobe Shift: Sheridan and the command staff give up their Earthforce uniforms and receive new ones from Delenn as part of their rebirth.
- The station logo on the wall in C&C also got one. It used to be a stylized "5" with a pair of olive branches overlaid (signifying peace); now it's a "5" over a sword.
- Survivor's Guilt: Marcus still feels it from being the only survivor of the Shadow attack on his colony. Delenn urges him to lay it down.
- Taps: Heard during the memorial.
- Taking the Bullet: Delenn blocks a knife thrown by Sniper aimed at Sheridan. Sheridan is understably pissed.
- Underestimating Badassery: The guys in the bar didn't involve themselves in Marcus' business before, or they might have learned what being a Ranger entails.
- Villainous Rescue: Boggs keeps Sniper from shooting Delenn in a fit of rage, angrily telling him that they need Delenn alive.