Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Babylon Five S 04 E 06 Into The Fire

Go To
The final confrontation.
The Vorlons keep asking one question over and over again: "Who are you?" And for you (the Shadows) it's "What do you want?" I have never heard either of you answer those questions yourselves. Who are you? What do you want?
Captain Sheridan

As Ivanova and Lorien continue tracking down the First Ones ("It's important to have them all"), Sheridan leads the Army of Light into battle against the Shadows and Vorlons. The White Star fleet destroys a Vorlon outpost, enabling the main fleet to pass by without being observed. The destination is Coriana 6 where the Shadows have a base the Vorlons intend to destroy. Another planet killer is approaching Centauri Prime but Coriana is more populated so the Centauri will just have to fend for themselves.

Londo is in the process of taking care of that, despite Minister Virini's protests that the planet is in mourning for Cartagia’s death. He orders the ministers he’ll need for a plan he’s preparing brought to him, and then to clear the palace of Cartagia’s personal staff.

Sheridan gets a message from Ivanova that she’s gathered the remaining First Ones, then gives her permission to join them due to the promise he made her.

On Babylon 5 Ivanova is getting ready to head out when Lorien comes to see her. They spend some time talking about his people, he explains that he's not truly immortal; his kind can die through illness or injury. Where are all the rest? They fell ill and died, were injured and died, or just left. Only Lorien himself is left. She's still a bit skeptical, particularly that he himself could have come through all the stages of civilization from fire and live long enough to develop immortality. Lorien says he didn't need to; he was born immortal. At first they could live forever, but he feels the Universe decided that those that came after would have limited lives so they could appreciate them more.

He talks about finding the Shadows, Vorlons and other First Ones when they were young, how his people guided and nourished them, but most of them have since died or left for the void between galaxies. Lorien speaks of what it's like to live for so long, that he has more or less outgrown such things as joy, love, companionship, things that he can no longer appreciate because they are transitory. Only those with brief lives can believe that such things can last forever.

Back on Centauri Prime, the minister of intelligence, Minister Durano, comes to speak to Londo. He had investigated the matter of Lord Refa’s death and discovered that he wasn’t the one who arranged the death of Adira Tiree; it was Morden. Londo dismisses Durano then collapses in tears before trashing his room.

Londo: He played me! He played me like a puppet!

At Coriana Sheridan looks out over the fleet which he realizes is not enough to go against either the Shadows or the Vorlons, let alone both of them. He just needs to live long enough to get the truth out.

Morden is roughly escorted into the throne room by the royal guards. Londo is waiting for him and demands that the Shadow ships be removed from the planet, but Morden refuses. Londo intends to make the offer once more, but first he wants a little privacy, and tells Morden not to move. The guards then spray the areas around him with PPG fire, killing his Shadow handler.

Londo repeats his demand but Morden still refuses and is not inclined to change his mind, since the Centauri navy can’t fight them off.

Londo: Oh yes, your ships are very impressive in the air or in space; but at this moment, they are on the ground.
Morden: That's right, they’re on the ground. But they can still detect another ship coming miles away; so what are you going to do, Mollari? Blow up the island?
Londo: Actually... now that you mention it... (pulls out a remote detonator)
Morden: NOOO!

Londo presses the trigger and the island is engulfed in nuclear fire. Morden is in shock as Londo mourns those who volunteered to stay behind to keep up appearances. Morden is then dragged kicking and screaming from the throne room, promising that the Shadow’s allies will make sure the Centauri pay for what he’s done.

Londo: Done, Mr. Morden? I haven’t even started with you yet.

Ivanova arrives at Coriana, just moments before the Shadows and Vorlons do as well. They start heading toward each other, seeming not to notice the insignificant rabble between them... until Sheridan detonates a bunch of nukes right in their faces.

Lyta: Captain? They're pissed.

Londo comes to Vir and triumphantly announces he’s taken care of the last Shadow influence, and has a gift for Vir in the garden. As he arrives there, he remembers when Morden asked him what he wanted:

Vir: I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike, as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price. I want to look up into your lifeless eyes and wave, like this. (waggles his fingers)

With a grin and a little wave to Morden's severed head, Vir finally gets his wish.

The Army of Light is unable to prevent the Vorlon planet killer from getting into position, and Sheridan’s calls to spare Coriana 6 go unheeded. Left with no other choice, he calls the rest of the First Ones in, who easily destroy the planet killer. Lennier picks up a signal from the Vorlons... a call for reinforcements.

On Centauri Prime, Londo finds Vir with news that he’s contacted the Vorlons and told them he’s gotten rid of the Shadow’s influence, but Vir realizes there’s still one thing left... Londo himself. As the planet killer eclipses the sun, Londo begs Vir to kill him, but the Vorlons suddenly move off, responding to the signal from Coriana.

Lorien arrives on Sheridan’s ship, as the Shadows and Vorlons decide it’s time to talk and take Delenn and Sheridan into their minds. Lorien was expecting this and projects what they are seeing to everyone else. Sheridan is speaking to the Vorlons, represented by a regal-looking woman encased in ice, while the Shadows confront Delenn using images of the people she knows. Each has the Shadows and Vorlons try to convince them to join their side, but neither is having it, since they’ve realized the truth of the matter, especially since the planet killers came out, meaning they've could have pretty much destroyed each other all along.

Sheridan: A Vorlon said, “Understanding is a three-edged sword,” your side, their side, and the truth. Well the truth is we don’t need you anymore!

This isn't about destroying each other, it's about forcing the younger races to pick one side or the other, and if they pick wrong, blow them up. They stayed behind to act as shepherds for the younger races, but eventually it became about which of them is right. They keep trying to manipulate the younger races into siding with one of them, but Sheridan and Delenn think it would be better to reject both ideas. Of course, the elder races don't take kindly to that, trying to hammer their respective philosophies in and becoming more insistent that the younger races conform.

Shadows: There is only chaos and evolution.
Vorlons: There is only order and obedience. You will do as you are told.
Shadows: You will fight because we tell you to fight.
Vorlons: You will die for us when we tell you to die for us, because the others know no other way.

An asteroid suddenly hits the White Star, causing Lorien to stumble. This alerts the Shadows and Vorlons that everyone has been watching and now knows the truth, forcing Lorien to pull Sheridan and Delenn back out. As they return to their senses, the Shadow planet killer surrounds the fleet. Sheridan wonders if they’re just going to kill them now, but Lorien points to projections of a Vorlon and Shadow who are giving them one more chance to obey.

Rather than take it, Sheridan begins throwing their own questions back at them, while Delenn points out that neither of them know the answers themselves anymore; they’ve been fighting each other for too long. They declare that this war is over, not just for the next thousand years, but forever. The Shadows and Vorlons are not happy and attempt to shoot them down, but the other ships form a shield around them, intercepting the Shadow’s missiles. This indicates that the others have rejected them as well, and Sheridan declares that it's over because the younger races have decided it is.

Sheridan: Now get the hell out of our galaxy! Both of you!

Lorien then explains that the time has come for all of them to step aside and let the younger races rise up to fulfill their own destiny. The Shadows and Vorlons agree and ask him to come with them, and their fleets begin to pull out, followed by the other First Ones and finally Lorien himself.

Marcus: Did we just win?
Ivanova: Don’t jinx it.

On Centauri Prime, Londo isn't sure what to think now that it’s over. He’s afraid of being too happy, since it often leads to something bad happening to him. Vir encourages him that what ever bad may happen tomorrow, for tonight he should just enjoy himself.

The White Star returns to Babylon 5, and to a new galaxy, one that’s theirs now, free of the interference and manipulation of the elder races.

Sheridan: Feels like the magic’s gone.
Delenn: No, not gone. Now we make our own magic. Now we create our own legends. Now we build the future. Now we stop...
Sheridan: ...being afraid of shadows.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: The Shadows and Vorlons are metaphorically this to the younger races. The point of their ongoing war isn't to defeat each other, but to force the younger races to choose between them and validate their elders' views.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Sheridan turns the Vorlon and Shadow questions back on the two elder races. He and Delenn throw into their face the fact that they can't actually answer their own questions anymore.
    Delenn: (after the Vorlon and Shadow fail to answer) don't know, do you? You've been fighting each other so long, you've forgotten. You've lost your way, so how can you guide us? How can we learn who we are and what we want if you don't even know it anymore?
  • Blunt "Yes": Londo's response to Morden's sarcastic invitation to blow up the island the Shadow ships were on.
  • Bond One-Liner: Londo has Morden's associates gunned down, then makes a comment about having the scorch marks painted over.
  • Break the Haughty: After Sheridan, Delenn and Lorien have shown the Shadows and Vorlons the depth of their failure the two mighty elder races are reduced to begging Lorien to come with them as they leave the galaxy, sounding like children afraid their parent's going to leave them alone.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Sheridan and Delenn representing the younger races to the Vorlons and Shadows.
  • The Cavalry:
    • When the Vorlons are about to destroy Coriana 6, Sheridan calls in the First Ones to destroy their Planet Killer.
    • Soon after the Vorlons call in all their remaining forces, including the planet-killer above Centauri Prime.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In an earlier episode, Londo visibly picks up on the sound the invisible Shadows make while talking to Morden. In this episode, he has evidently figured out what it signified.
    • Ivanova is still having trouble with the Minbari language.
    • Vir gets to do what he said he wanted to and wave at Morden's severed head.
  • Dawn of an Era: The Third Age of Mankind (and of all the other younger races). No longer subject to the control, manipulation or guidance of the elder races, they'll make their own decisions and find their own way, for better or worse.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Morden's final fate.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: How they end the war, permanently.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: What Londo does to the Shadow presence on Centauri Prime. Special note goes to Londo's Red Shirts suddenly gunning down a Shadow lurking invisibly in the corner of the room.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Arguably. Besides the Title Drop at the beginning, "Into the Fire" might recall the Minbari rebirth ceremony, the words of which echo throughout the series. "Will you follow me into fire, into storm, into darkness, into death? ...Then do this in testimony to the one who will follow, the one who will bring death couched in the promise of new life and renewal disguised as defeat. From birth, through death and renewal, you must put aside old things, old fears, old lives. This is your death; the death of pain, the death of flesh, the death of yesterday. Taste of it and be not afraid, for I am with you until the end of time. Taste of it...and so it begins".
  • End of an Age: For the First Ones.
  • Foreshadowing: As he's being dragged off, Morden warns Londo that even if the Shadows lose today, they have other allies who will ensure that Centauri Prime (and Londo) pay the price for this betrayal. What seems like defiant, desperate boasting here will ultimately turn out to be true come late Season Five.
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: Though he makes no claim of being good or virtuous, Lorien does care for the welfare of the younger races and realizes that the First Ones have become a hindrance to their development and so helps Sheridan round them up and send them from the galaxy.
  • Hero of Another Story: In his brief screen time, Centauri Minister of Intelligence Durano comes across as a Seen It All spymaster who investigated political murders and other intrigue, chafed at serving the mad Emperor Cartagia and is happy to break free of the restraints the man placed on him as soon as Cartigia is dead. The evidence he uncovered in one of his investigations leads to the downfall of Morden, The Heavy.
  • Heroic BSoD: Londo's reaction to finding out that it was Morden who arranged for Adira to be poisoned to manipulate him into turning back to the Shadows for support.
    Londo: He played me! He played me like a puppet!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The island Mollari blew up was still inhabited by many of the population, who had agreed to stay behind to avoid giving the game away.
    • Londo is immediately ready to sacrifice himself upon realizing the Vorlons are still going to destroy Centauri Prime just to kill him.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Played with when Lorien makes a cryptic comment, much to Ivanova's confusion:
    Lorien: Sheridan knows. What remains to be seen is whether he knows that he knows. (Cue puzzled look from Ivanova)
  • Internal Reveal: Londo finally learns what the audience has known since late Season Three: That it was Morden, not Refa, who orchestrated Adira's poisoning (to bring Londo back into the fold).
  • Locked Out of the Loop: This is the reason Londo was not previously informed of Durano's investigation into Adria's death. Durano was under direct orders from Cartagia to not inform Londo (likely to protect Morden from potential retribution given his position as the Shadows' liaison to the Centauri). With Cartagia dead, of course, Durano's no longer under any legal obligation to withhold his findings and briefs Londo at his earliest convenience.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Discussed by Sheridan and Delenn during the denouement. Delenn remarks that they must simply create their own magic now. Not literal magic, of course.
  • Motive Decay: The heroes defeat the Vorlons and the Shadows by forcing them to acknowledge their Motive Decay. The most damning thing that ultimately convinces them to leave the galaxy is that they don't have answers to their own Armor Piercing Questions anymore. The Vorlons no longer know who they are, and the Shadows don't know what they want.
  • Motive Misidentification: As with late Season Three, and as reaffirmed by his meeting with Durano, this is why Londo never considered the possibility that Refa had been set up for Adira's murder. Since Adira was poisoned, Londo incorrectly, if understandably, assumed it was Refa because of how he'd poisoned his rival earlier in that Season. This, again, was all intentional of Morden's Batman Gambit to push Londo back into the Shadow camp.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: While Ivanova is out looking for First Ones with Lorien, she attempts to give an order to her Minbari crew, despite not being able to speak the language very well. In frustration, she says "Ah Hell," which, in Minbari, apparently means "Continuous Fire..."
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The Shadow Wars are done for good, the Vorlons, Shadows, and First Ones have all gone beyond the Rim, and the Younger Races are now ready to stand on their own and take on their responsibilities of caretakers for the galaxy.
  • Nuclear Option: Sheridan uses this to get the attention of the Shadows and Vorlons.
    • Londo does this to the Shadow ships on Centauri Prime.
  • Oh, Crap!:
  • Precision F-Strike: Lyta immediately after: "Captain...they're pissed".
  • Prophecy Twist: Vir's mocking question back in Season Two — about whether one of Morden's associates could kill him and stick his head on a pike — finally comes true in a roundabout fashion. One of Morden's associates does arrange for his death and does mount his head on a pike. The twist, of course, is that it's actually Londo (one of the Shadow's most valuable associates) rather than the Shadows themselves. Likewise Vir wanting to live just lone enough to see this happen does come true...because the Vorlons are about to nuke Centauri Prime.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sheridan delivers an epic one to both the Vorlons and the Shadows, concluding with the immortal line, "Now get the hell out of our galaxy!"
  • Sadistic Choice: Planet Killers are approaching Coriana 6 and Centauri Prime. With only enough ships for a stand at one of them, they decide to save the 6 billion people of Coriana over 3 billion Centauri.
  • Scenery Porn: Ivanova waits to meet the last of the Old Ones against the backdrop of the "Pillars of Creation" in the Eagle Nebula. Also counts as a Genius Bonus.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Sheridan and Delenn do this to both elder races, calling them out for how unfit they are to call themselves more enlightened than the younger races, how petulant their war has become and how the younger races have reached the point where they can make their own calls and decisions. It convinces the Vorlons and Shadows to end their war and leave.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: By the end of the episode, it's apparent that the Centauri who sacrificed their lives so the Shadows could be destroyed (and the Shadows who died rather than leaving when asked to) died in vain; thanks to Sheridan's actions at Coriana 6, the Vorlons withdraw their planet killer before it can destroy Centauri Prime, and then both the Vorlons and Shadows peacefully depart the galaxy.
  • Shout-Out: Londo's Heroic BSoD noted above is a full reference to the one in Citizen Kane.
  • Sitting Duck: The Shadow vessels based on the island of Selini. Londo's lampshading of this trope provides the trope's page quote.
  • Take a Third Option: The Shadows and Vorlons demand that the Younger Races choose between their two options: Order or Chaos. The Younger Races, rallied behind Sheridan, tell them where they can stick their "choice" and demand that they leave them alone.
  • Taking the Bullet: The Vorlons and Shadows try to fire on the White Star that Sheridan and Delenn are on, but the other ships move into the path of the incoming missiles, proving that all the younger races have rejected the elder races' guidance, and have chosen to stand up for themselves.
  • Tempting Fate: When the Shadows refuse to budge from Centauri Prime, Morden sarcastically asks if Londo intends to blow up the island. Londo does just that.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Vorlons are willing to destroy an entire planet just for one man touched by the Shadows.
  • Title Drop: "Take us into the fire".
  • Tranquil Fury: In contrast to his blind rage when in private earlier, Londo is the very picture of restrained calm when he calls for Morden to give him one last chance to withdraw the Shadow vessels from Centauri Prime. When Morden rebuffs him again, he wordlessly has one of Morden's invisible associates gunned down, then has the Shadow base destroyed with hidden nuclear weapons.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The last we see of the ever calm and collected Mr. Morden (save for the back of his severed head later on) is him screaming and raging at Londo.
  • Wham Episode: The Shadow war comes to a close, the First Ones have left the galaxy and the younger races can forge their own destiny.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Lorien talks about this:
    Lorien: We have lived too long, seen too much. To live on as we have is to leave behind joy and love and companionship because we know it to be transitory, of the moment. We know it will turn to ash.
  • You're Insane!: Morden (without a hint of irony) says this to Londo. Londo doesn't exactly disagree:
    Londo: On any other day, Mr. Morden, you would be wrong. Today? Today is a very different day.
  • You Don't Want to Know: Minister Durano says this of the poison dealer that supplied Morden. In his line of work, you don't ask questions, therefore you don't receive information that may compromise you or your clients.