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Recap / Babylon Five S 04 E 01 The Hour Of The Wolf

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When you just stay up at night and worry.

You ever heard of the Hour of the Wolf? My father told me about it. It's the time between three and four in the morning, when you can't sleep and all you can see is the troubles and the problems and the ways that your life should have gone but didn't. All you can hear is the sound of your own heart. I've been living in the Hour of the Wolf for seven days.
Susan Ivanova

As the new year begins, G'Kar is writing of recent events.

G'Kar: It is now seven days since we lost Captain Sheridan and Mr. Garibaldi, and in a way I think we have also lost Ivanova. It is as though her heart has been pierced and her spirit has poured out through the wound. She blames herself. It is foolish, it is destructive, it is...human. Ambassador Mollari has returned to Centauri Prime to take up his role as Advisor on Planetary Security. I suppose he is quite happy with his new position, it's what he always wanted, power, title, responsibility. I think he is more alone than anyone else in the universe. Delenn has refused to eat for seven days, fasting, praying and waiting. Delenn believes, I think she is the only one who does. The Shadows have paused in their pursuit of war and everywhere there is a sense of imminent change. Whether it is a change for good or ill, no one can tell, because no one has yet answered two very important questions: where is Mr. Garibaldi? And what happened to Captain Sheridan at Z'ha'dum?

Ivanova is sitting in her room after a sleepless night when her computer activates its wake-up call. She drags herself off to a meeting with the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. She wants to press the advantage now with an attack on Z’Ha’Dum itself, but the League is being as stubborn as ever. They are convinced the war is over and with the rumors coming from Z’Ha’dum are convinced Sheridan has been killed. Ivanova, Delenn and G’Kar are not able to sway them and the ambassadors stalk off. Lennier comes up to Delenn and notes that he didn’t come. Delenn says she intends to find out why.

Minister Virini is escorting Londo to a meeting with Emperor Cartagia, something Londo is not all that enthused about. As they enter the throne room, they see the emperor admiring his crest, which is much shorter than would be expected for one of his station. Cartagia says that it allows him to go places that the emperor would normally never go. And he's seen things... After a few more minutes discussion about what the emperor does in his spare time, he tells Londo why he called him there. He needs someone with experience with the other races, who can see the big picture. He also orders Londo to handle some arrangements, but doesn’t say what they are. Cartagia also says that Londo was requested for this positon by someone.

Vir is in Sheridan’s office with news. He tells Ivanova that he's learned from Londo's sources what happened when Sheridan went to Z’ha’Dum; he was seen falling into a 2 mile chasm right before the White Star crashed into the planet carrying two 500 megaton explosives. The good news is that he’s thrown the Shadows into chaos, but that doesn’t make it any easier. And with any luck Morden won’t be around anymore.

True enough, Morden, his skin caked with burns, is on Centauri Prime. He surprises Londo in his quarters and says they have much to discuss. Londo tries to ask about Sheridan, but gets only cryptic responses, other than the fact that Morden is the one who requested Londo be assigned here. He informs Londo that the Shadows are going to move forces off of Z’Ha’Dum in case others try to take advantage of the situation. Cartagia has agreed to let them use a small island as a base.

Londo doesn’t like the idea, but those who opposed have vanished. Morden reminds Londo that Cartagia is his responsibility, but Londo says he won’t do it. Morden just tells him to be ready when they arrive.

Delenn waits in the Zen garden for Ulkesh. She pleads with the Vorlon to help her keep the League together, but her hopes are dashed as Ulkesh does not seem to care despite everything Sheridan did, but he does say something of interest

Ulkesh: He has opened an unexpected door. We do now what must be done now.

Delenn tries one more time to convince him, but Ulkesh leaves. Lyta offers her sympathies before following.

Zack is by Garibaldi’s quarters when he sees the door open. Going inside he finds G’Kar inside studying the room, his possessions and household god, Daffy Duck (the Egyptian god of frustration). G’kar finds that most appropriate. He intends to leave and look for Garibaldi.

Londo is looking for his coat when Virini comes to take him outside. Londo grabs his old purple one and follows, stopping in horror when he sees a fleet of Shadow vessels flying overhead. He runs off the see Cartagia, trying to talk him out of it, but Cartagia won’t hear of it. When Londo tries to forcefully demand it, one of the guards holds a knife to his throat. Cartagia seems to think the Shadows have the power to make him a god, something for which he is glad to sacrifice countless subjects. Londo retreats from the throne room.

As he leaves he expresses his misgivings to Virini, but the minister warns him to keep it to himself. Others who had them have disappeared.

Virini: They say there is a desk somewhere upon which he has all their heads arranged in a row. They say he speaks to them late at night.

He again advises Londo to keep quiet.

Ulkesh is drawing part of himself out of Lyta, something she doesn’t like as much as when she carried Kosh. She begins to think he’s up to something.

Londo calls Babylon 5 and talks to Vir, asking him to come to Centauri Prime ASAP. At the same time, Cartagia comes to speak to his "friends", a set of severed heads all arranged on a desk.

Lyta goes to Ivanova’s quarters to find her having another sleepless night, and downing a drink. She tells Lyta about the hour of the wolf, that time in the morning when everything that’s gone wrong comes back to haunt you. Lyta has come to offer a chance to find Sheridan. They need to go to Z’Ha’Dum, but Lyta thinks she can keep the Shadows from noticing and maybe even sense Sheridan. Ivanova agrees.

The White Star arrives at Z’ha’Dum and jumps into normal space. They begins scanning while Lyta falls into a near trance keeping the Shadows at bay. Ivanova sends a signal and Delenn tries to reach him through Lyta, but the only ones who hear them are the Shadows. Before they are overtaken, the White Star suddenly returns to hyperspace. Lennier explains that he programmed the ship to jump back if he were disabled.

Susan and Delenn talk a bit about what they heard. Delenn can only describe it as a voice of infinite sadness. They both heard the voices of their fathers, Ivanova shaken that she actually wanted to go down. Instead she orders the "Getting the Hell Out of Here Maneuver", which Lennier is only too happy to oblige. Delenn asks if he picked up anything at all, but there was no reply signal right up to the end. Crushed, they can only return home.

Back on Z’Ha’Dum, a figure moves through an underground tunnel, dropping a command bar.

Vir meets with Londo who, after scanning for listening devices, explains what his intention is. He tells Vir the emperor is insane, offering the Shadows a base in exchange for godhood. The others know, but no one is willing to do anything, except them. That is why he called Vir there, he needs someone he can count on, a friend and a patriot. Vir agrees to help. They must do what is necessary to preserve their world: kill Emperor Cartagia.

Ivanova is in her quarters again, and tearfully enters in her log the death of Captain Sheridan. Now they have to finish what he started. She has some ideas how to do that, but has to let him go.

On Z'Ha'Dum Sheridan is huddled in front of a small fire when a tall figure emerges from the shadows.

Sheridan: Who are you?
Alien: Who are you?
Sheridan: How did I get here?
Alien: You were born.
Sheridan: Why am I alive?
Alien: Well, that is the question, isn’t it?

The alien asks if he can share the fire and Sheridan lets him. The figure sits down, and the two exchange stares, each measuring the other up.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The entire episode is basically one.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Ulkesh shows his true colours here, treating Delenn and Lyta with utter contempt.
  • The Caligula: Emperor Cartagia makes his first appearance.
  • Call-Back:
    • Morden survived the "incident", though he's covered in severe burns.
    • Londo's dream finally comes to pass. By coincidencenote , he's even wearing the old purple jacket for the scene.
    • While Lyta is probing Z'Ha'Dum, they are confronted by the image of a Shadow in space, much like what Ivanova encountered while using the Great Machine.
    • Morden reminds Londo that if there's a monster on the throne, it's because he and Lord Refa put him there.
  • Captain Obvious: When Londo explains that anyone who opposes Cartagia would likely be killed, Vir admits that would be a drawback.
  • Continuity Nod: When Londo asks about Sheridan, Morden replies, "Which one?"
  • Crazy-Prepared: Lennier anticipated that he might become compromised at some point, so he programmed the White Star to jump back to hyperspace if he didn't regularly touch a certain control.
  • Darkest Hour: To Ivanova and Delenn, at least, and quite possibly the whole Babylon 5 Alliance.
  • Dead Man Switch: What saves the White Star's crew when they fall under the Shadows' control.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Flesh does what it's told, or they will become most annoyed.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Ivanova solves her problems — or, in this case, conspicuously fails to solve them — with vodka.
  • Establishing Character Moment: We first see Cartagia admiring himself in the mirror. He also has a much shorter crest than is fitting for one of his station so he can leave the palace without looking out of place.
  • Facial Dialogue: Minister Milo Virini rolls his eyes at Londo's Stealth Insult towards Cartagia.
  • Game Changer: Sheridan attacking has changed the nature of the game. The Vorlons are about to adjust their plans accordingly.

  • Gilligan Cut: At the end of the scene where Vir tells Ivanova that he figures that Morden is dead, in the opening shot of the next scene, guess who Londo encounters in his quarters...?
  • A God Am I: Cartagia first reveals his chilling wish to become a living god in this episode.
  • Heroic BSoD: The Army of Light is in one as the episode begins, especially Ivanova, who's lost her best friend, captain, and comrade-in-arms, and Delenn, who's lost the love of her life. Well, they think they've lost him, anyway....
  • It's All About Me: Cartagia is acting in the interest of the greater good: His.
  • It's All My Fault: G'Kar's opening monologue mentions that Ivanova blames herself for what happened, and his opinion that it is foolish, destructive...and human.
  • Lonely at the Top: Discussed.
    Londo: Vir, there is a terrible truth: As one accumulates power, one loses friends. One only has those who wish to use you, and those you wish to use. And yet, in all of this, you have somehow managed to walk through the corridors of power and not be touched. I can only assume you have not been paying attention.
  • Mysterious Stranger: Just who is this tall alien who finds Sheridan on the homeworld of the Shadows?
  • Villain Has a Point: When Londo expresses shock at Cartagia deciding to let the Shadows station ships on Centauri Prime, Morden silences him by reminding him of his part in Cartagia's rise.
    Morden: If there's a madman on the throne, it's because you and Reefa put him there. He's your responsibility and are mine.
  • Slumming It: Cartagia reveals he keeps a shorter crest so he can do this.
  • Stealth Insult: Londo describes the last few times he's seen Cartagia in less than flattering terms ("Twice when he was an infant, he drooled a lot—I wonder if he has continued the habit; and again when he was 15, trying to peek up the skirts of some young women"), and when he meets the Emperor in person he says, "I could swear you have not changed since the last few times I saw you."
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Despite their long animosity and being a key player in the downfall of his homeworld, G'Kar seems to genuinely pity Londo while describing him as the loneliest being in the universe.
  • Tempting Fate: Vir's is only partially right. Morden won't be on Babylon 5, because he's gone to Centauri Prime.
  • Time Zones Do Not Exist: Averted when Londo calls Vir from Centauri Prime, forgetting that back on the station it's the middle of the night for Vir.
  • Title Drop: When Ivanova tells Lyta about the Hour of the Wolf.
  • True Companions: Londo calls Vir to assist him for this reason.
  • Villain Has a Point: When Londo expresses shock at Cartagia deciding to let the Shadows station ships on Centauri Prime, Morden silences him by reminding him of his part in Cartagia's rise.
    Morden: If there's a madman on the throne, it's because you and Refa put him there. He's your responsibility and are mine.
  • Woken Up at an Ungodly Hour: Londo actually apologizes to Vir for video-calling him and waking him up out of a sound sleep. He forgot the time difference between Centauri Prime and Babylon 5.