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Recap / Babylon Five S 03 E 19 Grey Seventeen Is Missing

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How do you lose an entire station level?
Delenn: We knew the Warrior caste was unhappy with our activities.
Lennier: Unhappy? Delenn, he's planning to kill you.
Delenn: That is...one interpretation.
Lennier: He said he would use any and all means necessary. I respectfully suggest that he intends to go far beyond harsh language.
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With confirmation that the Shadows are vulnerable to telepaths, the Army of Light is now openly recruiting. Meanwhile, a maintenance worker is trying to fix a bug somewhere in Grey Sector when something unseen pulls him down the hole he’s working in.

On Minbar, Delenn is presented with the things Sinclair left behind. The Rangers are in mourning, and need a new leader. Rathenn feels it should be Delenn.

Zack finds Garibaldi in his office playing with an old gun. He tells the chief about maintenance worker, and Garibaldi decides to look into it himself since he loves mysteries. He hates Grey Sector, though.

In a dark corner of the station, Ivanova finds Stephen, who’s curled up enduring withdrawal. She gets him to give her his files on the underground railroad, on condition that she not send anyone else after him. He needs to work this out alone.

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Garibaldi is going over the area of the disappearance with the maintenance supervisor, but she claims there’s no trace after looking through all twenty-nine levels. Wait, twenty-nine? Garibaldi says there’s thirty, but she dismisses it as a discrepancy in the plans, a level not built in the rush to build the station.

Delenn has decided to hold the initiation ceremony on Babylon 5, and Sheridan is happy to accommodate it. He gets a call from Ivanova about the telepath info, and he goes off to talk to her. After he leaves Neroon appears and confronts Delenn. He thinks Delenn is doing some sort of power play, and feels the Rangers would be better served with one of the Warrior Caste in charge, most likely him. He gives her one chance to step aside or he has sworn to use any and all means to stop her. As Lennier comes up, she turns for a second, and Neroon vanishes.

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Since Garibaldi can never let these things go, he gets in a tube and begins going down to each level, counting how long it takes to transition between each one, 3 seconds each.

Delenn and Lennier are “discussing” the situation of Neroon. Lennier thinks that Neroon intends to kill her, but she does not think he would go that far. Furthermore, she will not tell the captain, believing it to be an internal affair, and makes him give his word not to tell them.

Garibaldi has gone through sixteen levels, boring himself stiff in the process, when the transit from 16 to 17 suddenly takes six seconds, twice as long as normal. He goes back up, halts the tube after three seconds then overrides the doors, which open onto a trashed hall. As he steps in the tube doors close, effectively trapping him. He's about to call for help when he hears something and begins looking around until he finds a ventriloquist’s dummy, which shoots him with a tranq dart.

Lennier goes to Marcus for help, since this way he can break his promise without breaking his promise. He tells the ranger what he thinks Neroon is up to, and the possible repercussions. If a Minbari of one caste kills another, even attempts to, it could lead to civil war. As such he cannot go after Neroon himself and so he comes to someone who is not Minbari. Marcus only delay Neroon until the ceremony is complete. Marcus asks when and where.

Garibaldi, missing his link, comes to surrounded by a group of strange people. Their leader, Jeremiah, begins rambling on about the nature of the universe.

Sheridan is with Delenn as they await more of those who will be attending the ceremony. They begin talking and Sheridan takes the opportunity to ask about her family, and she reminisces a bit about her father and mother.

Garibaldi is listening, barely keeping from rolling his eyes, to Jeremiah go on about how the universe is sentient and broke itself into tiny pieces to examine its existence. Garibaldi is more concerned with getting out, but all the exits have been sealed or disabled.

As preparations continue for the ceremony, Neroon makes his move only to find Marcus waiting for him. Marcus declares that the only way to Delenn is through him and invokes Denn’sha, a Minbari duel to the Death, which Neroon is compelled by honor to accept. As they duel, the ceremony begins.

Garibaldi is trying to find a way out, while Jeremiah follows him around, still going on about the universe until Garibaldi has had enough. He fakes side effects from the tranq then overpowers Jeremiah's followers. He then forces the strange man to tell him the way out.

The ceremony continues, but Lennier is clearly becoming worried about Marcus, who is currently getting pummeled by Neroon. As he gets a decisive advantage over the ranger, Neroon demands to know why.

Marcus: For her. We live for the One, we die for the One. Isil’zha zendi. In Valen’s name!

Garibaldi stumbles onto the missing worker’s tool belt, but there’s on sign of him. He demands to know if Jeremiah’s people did this, but he protests that they don’t believe in violence. Jeremiah then begins rambling again, about how it must be time for him. He explains that the best way to leave this life is through of the universe’s purest forms, in this case a Zarg, one of the most dangerous predators in this sector. Garibaldi thinks they’re nuts and as they hear the Zarg’s screams, drags Jeremiah away.

The ceremony is just finishing up when Neroon comes in and throws his staff, red with blood, down at Delenn’s feet.

Neroon: There is now blood between us, and blood between the Warrior Caste and the humans. I do not think they would die for me, but they would die for you, Entil’zha!

He then turns and stalks out. Shortly after Lennier finds Marcus lying on the ground, battered, but still alive.

Garibaldi is having a tough time as the Zarg finds them. He manages to drive it off with a loose steam pipe, but needs something better before it comes back. He still has the bullets from the gun, and manages to rig the pipe to shoot them at the thing, killing it. After making sure it’s dead, he drags Jeremiah off to find a way out, muttering, "I hate Grey Sector!"

As Marcus lies in Medlab, Delenn and Lennier are talking when Neroon shows up. He assures them he has no intention of killing Marcus and wants a word with him, alone. As he looks at the unconscious human, he muses how their duel did end in death, the death of his resolve in seeing Marcus act more like a Minbari than himself. Perhaps Delenn was right all along. As he turns to leave, he hears a voice.

Marcus: Next time you want a revelation, could you possibly find a way that isn’t quite so uncomfortable?

Delenn and Lennier are suddenly startled to hear Neroon laughing.

Garibaldi, who managed somehow to find a way out, shows up in Sheridan’s office. The captain demands to know where he’s been especially since someone turned out to have been trying to kill Delenn. Garibaldi sits down and tries to explain just what he’d gone through about the missing worker, the sealed off level, the cult, the zarg, and the purity of the universe as Sheridan sits there with a bewildered look on his face.

Garibaldi: Am I going too fast for you?

This episode contains examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Amidst Garibaldi's wandering through Grey Sector and Marcus and Neroon's fight, there's a scene of Delenn telling Sheridan about her parents, ending with her leaning on his shoulder.
  • Chekhov's Gun: not Garibaldi's Smith & Wesson, but rather, its bullets.
    • JMS regrets how obvious the setup is, with Garibaldi showing off the gun and saying he's not really sure why he got it out. ("The reason you got it out is because the writer needed it to be established for act four.")
  • Church Militant: Neroon basically accuses Delenn of being one.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Creepy Doll: The ventriloquist's dummy that suddenly starts talking!
  • Dirty Coward: After coming face to face with the Zarg, Jeremiah decides he's not "pure enough" to "move on" (re: letting the Zarg devour him)
  • Duel to the Death: The Minbari Den'Sha, though its very existence poses some problems.
    • The tie-in novels and background materials suggest that willingly entering the Den'sha is legally considered to place responsibility for death on the person themselves. So it's "suicide by Minbari Warrior" for the loser and the victor hasn't "actually" killed in any legal or religious sense. The degree to which this satisfies the viewer is no doubt up to them.
  • Exact Words: Lennier promises not to tell anyone in the chain of command. Marcus is conveniently outside of it.
  • Excessive Steam Syndrome: Why does Babylon 5 need so many stream pipes?
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At the end of the episode, Marcus asks Neroon to find a less uncomfortable method for any future revelations he has. Later, we see, rather spectacularly, whether Neroon was able to do this.
    • Neroon mentions the Religious Caste building their own warships. Plural.
  • Heel Realization: A minor but significant case; Neroon comes to understand that Delenn was right about humans and Minbari being more alike than different, and that she is the worthier leader because of the loyalty she earns from her subordinates. He says that Marcus, in what might have been his last moments, was "more Minbari than I".
  • Insane Troll Logic: Discussed by Lennier and Marcus after Lennier explains how breaking his promise not to tell anyone in the chain of command about Neroon by telling Marcus is not really breaking his promise.
    Marcus: I'm in awe, Lennier. The way can you take a straight-forward, logical proposition and turn it inside out so that in the end it says...what you want it to say instead of what it actually means. Did this come naturally or did you attend some martial arts class for the philosophically inclined?
  • Loophole Abuse: Neroon justifies not killing Marcus (despite the latter declaring den'sha, "to the death") by claiming a different kind of death—the death of his own previous convictions.
  • MacGyvering: Garibaldi used a broken steam pipe to build an improvised gun.
  • Missing Floor: Turns out there's an extra level between Grey 16 and Grey 17. Garibaldi's clued in by a discrepancy between the station plans and the number of numbered levels, and finds it by counting the time it takes to go from one level to the next—usually it takes three seconds, but between those two floors it takes twice as long.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Apparently Babylon 5 was built in such a way that if the lifts are down or inoperable for any reason, there is no other way to from one floor to another. Everyone is trapped where they are until someone can make the lifts work again. A five mile long space station, without a staircase in sight.
  • People in Rubber Suits: The Zarg.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Neroon does this to Delenn after he first appears.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: This is what the Zarg is supposed to be, but...
  • Wham Line: A minor case. Neroon has come to the ceremony just before Delenn is to be declared Entil'zha (Ranger One). It looks like he's about to challenge her, but...
    I do not think they would die for me. But they would die for you. [beat] Entil'zha.
  • You Are in Command Now: After Sinclair's...departure, Delenn is asked to take up leadership of the Rangers. This doesn't sit well with Neroon, who intends to challenge her.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Marcus invokes den'sha against Neroon, intending to delay him from crashing the ceremony until it is too late. Neroon still makes it just before Delenn is declared Entil'zha, but by that point had undergone a Heel Realization—and in fact is the first one there to call Delenn Entil'zha.
    • Also part of the Rangers' Badass Creed, which Marcus quotes (the first line in singular form) during the duel:
      I am a Ranger! We walk in the dark places that no one may enter. We stand on the bridge, and no one may pass. We live for the One; we die for the One!
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