Sheridan and Franklin are on Babylon 5 laughing over glasses of coffee...wait, what? Franklin asks how Sheridan escaped Clark's forces, so it looks like this will be a flashback story. Except, no, what's that interrogator doing here, and why does Sheridan suddenly look like hell?
Well, Sheridan is still in Earth's tender care. Right now they're trying to get information on the Resistance out of him, but they decide to go back to trying to convince him he's under alien influence, through a combination of VR and drugs.
Meanwhile, Garibaldi is trying to get in touch with the Resistance. His contact meets with him and says he told them everything that happened to Garibaldi and...they didn't believe it. Suddenly armed people swarm in, quickly overpowering Garibaldi and dragging him off.
They bring him before Number One, who is standing with Franklin and Lyta. She offers them the chance to pay him back personally, but Franklin wants to hear from Garibaldi first. Garibaldi pleads with them to believe him, saying he knows where Sheridan is being kept, but fool me once...
Eventually he asks Lyta to scan him to verify the truth. She's reluctant since it could be harmful, but he's wiling to risk it over a PPG bolt any day. Number One doesn't want to give him the chance, and Franklin and Lyta have to force her and her people back. This better be good, Michael.
Lyta comes over and begins to scan him, finding, to her surprise, P12 blocks in his mind. And behind them...she comes out of his mind telling everyone it's true, everything he's saying. Number One scoffs, asking how they're supposed to take his or Lyta's word for it. Lyta decides to show her personally, shutting her up. Number One orders Garibaldi released.
The Liberation Fleet continues advancing as Ivanova orders a pair of ships, the Damocles and Orion, to surrender. They open fire and the White Stars easily disable them. Ivanova orders the crew picked up and taken for trial. Marcus thinks this is just slowing them down, but Ivanova wants to get as many of Clark's people as they can before they go to ground. And they usually get a few defectors out of each engagement, which will be badly needed when they get to Earth. Ivanova asks if Delenn is coming, and Marcus says she will as soon as she can.
On Mars, Garibaldi is going over what he knows. He has a good idea where Sheridan is, but he doesn't have a way to get to him. Fortunately, the Resistance knows the area, and Number One thinks they can get inside. Unfortunately, she can't spare a team, so they're going in with the bare minimum. It'll have to do.
Delenn is about to depart Babylon 5 when Lennier catches her. Londo has called a meeting of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds...without informing her. He is currently making a speech about the intolerable situation, and calls for the League to take a vote. Delenn comes in, stating that they cannot vote without a representative from Earth or Minbar. Well, since she's there, Londo calls for a vote, which is unanimous. Great. What was the vote about?
It was about Earth. They know what's been happening, and feel an obligation to help Sheridan, since he repeatedly risked everything to help them. G'Kar explains that since the Shadow War, they have been working together like never before. Vir adds that if Clark wins, Earth will turn on itself, or against all of them.
- Londo: Politically it is very wise.
G'Kar: Morally it is even wiser.
Vir: Politics and morality on the same side? That doesn't happen every day, Delenn.
Delenn: If someone doesn't begin making sense here, I'm going to become most annoyed.
G'Kar explains that they have agreed to send ships to support the Liberation Fleet. So why keep them in the dark? So it wouldn't seem Delenn was trying to use this for personal reasons. G'Kar declares that they are doing this for the right reasons, not for a personal agenda. As the League stands, Delenn watches, overcome, as words fail her.
A Resistance member is leading Garibaldi, Franklin and Lyta through a series of underground tunnels under some of the most secure areas on Mars. Which means if they're caught, the guards will shoot first and ask questions later. Going is slow, and they're beginning to wonder if Sheridan can hold out long enough. But all they can do is press on...and argue over drinks of water. And who's the best liar. Lyta takes that kind of personally.
Eventually, they reach a grate that gives them access to the area they need, but their guide turns back there. Guess they'll have to do it on their own.
Back with the fleet, the Agamemnon sends one of the prisoners they picked up to talk to Ivanova. He was on the Damocles, and has some information on Clark's forces, specifically a new type of advanced destroyer waiting in ambush near where they're supposed to rendezvous with the rest of their fleet prior to heading for Mars. They're an elite force Clark's put together, crewed by loyalists who will fight to the end.
Ivanova takes Marcus out and they discuss options. They could try to avoid the area, but the rest of their ships would still get caught and they don't have enough time to call them off. Marcus thinks Clark will probably try to take out the rebel Earth Force ships to make it seem like it's an alien invasion fleet. Ivanova decides to take the White Star fleet to scout the area, determine the nature of the threat, and deal with it accordingly.
Garibaldi's team comes across a patrol and gets into a scuffle. They manage to take out the guards, but Garibaldi takes a knife to the back. They pause long enough for Franklin to stitch him up while Lyta hides the bodies, then change into Earth Force uniforms.
Ivanova calls Captain James on the Agamemnon to update him on the situation. He's not happy, but Sheridan left the White Stars under her command, so he can't really do anything about it. She tells him to be ready to clean up what's left and takes the White Stars into battle.
It'll be about five hours before they get there, and Marcus thinks she should get some rest. She's been up for nearly twenty hours. Ivanova is reluctant, but when faced with the choice of getting rest or listening to Marcus bother her about it (he's not bluffing), she agrees to two and a half hours if he does the same, and Marcus agrees. They shake on it and she goes to the crew quarters.
Decked out in their uniforms, Garibaldi and Franklin enter the detention facility. They manage to bluff their way past the front desk, but the cell guards aren't as easy, and they eventually have to resort to force to get them out of the way. Lyta gets the access codes from their thoughts and they get into the cell. Sheridan is barely coherent, not even remembering what he was angry with Garibaldi about. They start getting him out, but Garibaldi's stitches popped in the dust-up.
Ivanova is enjoying some delightful sleep when Marcus comes in to wake her from her four-hour nap. She's irritated that he let her sleep over, but he insists she needed it. And they're still forty-five minute away. Ivanova mutters that that's the last time she'll trust him for anything. She then reminds him about what he said to her in Minbari the last time they were there, "You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen". She says she's learned enough Minbari to know what it means and actually thanks him.
Garibaldi comes out saying they're taking Sheridan off to record a full confession, but the guards aren't about to just let him walk out of there, especially not after noticing the blood stain on Garibaldi's back. They quickly grab PPGs and blast the guards. Sheridan picks up a gun and unloads his last week's pent up emotions into one of the unfortunate saps, then they take off while alarms start going off.
At the rendezvous point, the White Stars are monitoring for signals, but not detecting anything, they jump to normal space. Shortly after another fleet jumps in...with some very unusual, and all too familiar, characteristics.
- Ivanova: Is that what I think it is?
Marcus: Confirmed, scanner indicate that the destroyers are using a semi-organic hull design.
Ivanova: Shadow technology.
She's astonished that Earth was able to adapt the tech so quickly, but doesn't have time to ruminate on it. The commander of the opposing fleet opens a line and demands their surrender. Ivanova responds and declares they will not stand down. The commander then demands to know's speaking.
With that, she opens fire. The White Stars get into formation, while the destroyers launch fighters. The battle is intense, the White Stars manage to destroy several destroyers, but several are lost to the enemy's new, more powerful weapons. Even the Starfurys are able to tear a few apart. Eventually, Ivanova's forces manage to destroy the last of the advanced destroyers, but her ship is struck by a rogue piece of debris.
Marcus pulls himself up and looks for Ivanova, who and nearly buried under debris. He manages to pull her out and carry her off the trashed bridge.
Sheridan is brought aboard a Minbari warcruiser, where he finds Delenn. They rush to each other and share a brief but passionate kiss. Delenn wants to have him looked at, but he wants to see Ivanova. Marcus is watching her sadly as she lies on a nice, flat bed. Marcus made sure of that. She regains consciousness and she and John talk a bit. She tells him they got the advanced ships, and the way is clear now. No more surprises. he and Delenn are about to leave, but Susan has something she wants to know...she's not going to make it, and John confirms it. Ivanova tells him not to carry any guilt for her. Delenn says they estimate about a week at most. Susan has one Last Request.
On the Agamemnon, Sheridan enters the bridge and makes an announcement.
- Sheridan: With the permission of Captain James, I am assuming command of the Agamemnon. A friend asked me to command the last battle from here.
He takes his seat and orders a course for Mars.
This episode contains examples of:
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: If Garibaldi had been of his own mind he'd probably be a bit more defiant. As it is, he spends most of the time when he;s first brought before the Resistance pleading with them for just one chance to prove Bester had messed with his mind making him do stuff like betraying Sheridan.
- The Alliance: Has gone from officially supporting Sheridan's faction to militarily supporting Sheridan's faction.
- Artistic License Gun Safety: A justified example, Lyta grabs a PPG rifle from one of the Resistance members...only for it to become quite apparent she has no idea how to use it properly. Which would make her even more dangerous.
- Badass Boast: When challenged by the Advanced Omega squadron, Ivanova issues an epic one, even claiming to be on a Mission from God to destroy her enemy.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Lyta.Lyta: What do you know about Hell? Hmm? Would you like me to show it to you? Mine and his?
- Black Eyes of Evil: When Lyta uses her powers to break the Psi Cop blocks, and when she projects the memories she retrieved into Number One's mind, she gets the same eyes she had when she was in contact with the Shadows.
- Blasphemous Boast: From Ivanova to the Advanced Omega squadron: "God sent me." This is the second of Ivanova's speeches during the series taking this form (the first being back in "A Voice in the Wilderness" when she chews out the shuttle crew), but played deadly serious this time (she doesn't apologize immediately after).
- Brainwash Residue: Lyta finds P12 blocks in Garibaldi's mind. Beyond them she finds all the memories of Bester's meddling.
- Bridal Carry: Marcus carrying Ivanova after she has been mortally wounded.
- Chekhov's Gun: Garibaldi gets stabbed in the back during a fight, and Franklin stitches him up. He can't guarantee that the sutures will hold if Garibaldi insists on moving around instead of staying put. True enough, the wound opens a few scenes later and the blood tips the guards off.
- Combat Medic: Doctor Franklin gets in several fights in this episode, including shooting one of the guards.
- Continuity Nod:
- Easily Forgiven: Played for Laughs: Sheridan is dimly aware that he wants to kick Garibaldi's butt for something, but he's too out of it to remember exactly what Garibaldi did, so they just move on with the problem at hand.
- Enlightened Self-Interest: Londo and G'Kar talk the League of Non-Aligned Worlds into joining Centauri and Narn in militarily backing Sheridan's invasion of the Earth Alliance to overthrow Clark. The moral argument is obvious but Londo notes there's a strong foreign policy justification, too: if Sheridan's rebels should lose, Clark's anti-alien regime means the alien governments lose the humans as trade partners and potentially even gain one of the region's major superpowers as an enemy.Vir: Politics and morality on the same side? That doesn't happen every day, Delenn.
- Et Tu, Brute?: The Resistance is ready to have Garibaldi summarily executed for betraying Sheridan, but Franklin wants to ask him why first, which gives Garibaldi just enough room to convince Lyta to scan him.
- Facial Dialogue: One of the guards at the door notices Garibaldi's stab wound bleeding through his uniform, and silently gestures at the guard behind the window to get his attention without tipping off the heroes.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Sure Garibaldi's the hero of the hour, but in what book would that give him the right to have access to a high-value prisoner, even if he did turn him in? The guards outside the actual cell are a little better, they won't be tricked so they have to be overpowered.
- The Gloves Come Off: Up until now, Sheridan's forces have been holding back to try and avoid killing opposing crews unnecessarily. Knowing that the Advanced Destroyers are crewed by staunch loyalists planning to kill all of the rebel Earther ships, Ivanova's forces don't hold back. The resulting battle is short and brutal, with neither side offering any mercy until it is all done.
- Godzilla Threshold: Lyta doesn't want to do a deep scan on Garibaldi to try and break through the P12 blocks because she could end up causing him permanent brain damage or kill him. Garibaldi points out that if she doesn't try the Resistance will kill him anyways.Garibaldi: A headache, I can live with. I don't think I'm going to get over being dead anytime soon.
- He's Back: The scene where Garibaldi starts quibbling over water, and saying Lyta's a better liar than Stephen. Oh, Mr. Garibaldi, how we've missed you. (Stephen did gulp, by the way)
- I Am X, Son of Y: While confronting the advanced destroyers, Ivanova introduces herself as the daughter of Andrei and Sofie Ivanov.
- I Like Those Odds: Ivanova reasons that the White Stars have the best chance against the advanced destroyers, and decides that's good enough for her.
- Last Request: Ivanova requests that Sheridan command the final battles from the Agamemnon as a favor to her.
- The Last Thing You Ever See: Ivanova says this to the leader of the advanced destroyers. And she's right.
- Large Ham: Ivanova's Badass Boast. JMS would later state that he wrote this speech for her as something that would put the opposing commander entirely off his game and give Ivanova the psychological advantage.
- Like Brother and Sister: This episode brings home more than any other just how much John Sheridan and Susan Ivanova love each other.
- Mind Rape:
- Sheridan's interrogators have resorted to drugs and virtual reality to try and get Sheridan to say he's been corrupted by aliens, but he's still resisting thanks to being Touched by Vorlons.
- Lyta also disables a guard by projecting pain into his mind.
- Mission from God: Ivanova claims she's been sent by God to kick Clark's loyalists' sorry asses all the way back to Earth. She's not kidding.
- Neutral No Longer: The different alien governments decide to stop simply providing official verbal support to Sheridan's rebellion, and to begin providing actual military support.
- Playing Both Sides: An officer aboard an Earth Force ship captured by Sheridan's forces warns Ivanova that some of the "defectors" joining Sheridan's fleet were doing this, if they weren't Fake Defectors to begin with.
- Reunion Kiss: Sheridan and Delenn, reunited for the first time since "Lines of Communication."
- Self-Deprecation: When Garibaldi tries to tell a guard how he was on the news, the guard has the most perfect description of television ever put on a TV show.Guard: I don't watch TV. It's a cultural wasteland full of inappropriate metaphors and an unrealistic portrayal of life, created by the liberal elite media.
Garibaldi:I couldn't agree more. Dr. Stephens?
- Sophisticated as Hell: Ivanova's Badass Boast includes the poetic "right hand of vengeance" followed by "kick your sorry ass".
- Slasher Smile: The grin seen on Interrogator!Franklin's face is quite unsettling.
- Still Wearing the Old Colors: Franklin and Garibaldi don the EarthForce uniforms they haven't worn for a year and a half, in order to infiltrate the facility where Sheridan is being held. Garibaldi probably stole his from one of the guards he took down, but Franklin most likely had to get his from the Resistance or brought it with him from B5.
- Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: The White star is badly damaged, but Ivanova's squadron is victorious in destroying the Advanced Omegas. As Marcus reads off the damage report, including the systems that allow the ship to maneuver, Susan looks up to see a large chunk of debris headed right towards them. All she can do is shield her face with her arm before the debris plows straight into her White Star. She survives, but is severely wounded and in a coma. Marcus carries her to an Escape Pod before the ship explodes.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: When a fight breaks about between Sheridan's rescuers and the guards, Sheridan shoots a guard who is aleady down - and quite possibly dead already - several times.
- Too Dumb to Fool: When Garibaldi, Lyta, and Franklin attempt to gain access to the cell where Sheridan is being held in order to rescue him, Garibaldi uses the fact that he was a recent hero to the Clark regime for turning Sheridan in in the first place, to gain the guards' trust. He asks them "Don't you watch TV?" (i.e. don't you recognize me), to which one of the guards responds in a sort of programmed, deadpan-rote fashion, as if merely reciting a line of propaganda that had been drilled into him rather than came to this on his own: "I don't watch TV. It's a cultural wasteland filled with inappropriate metaphors and an unrealistic portrayal of life created by the liberal media elite."
- Trap Is the Only Option: Ivanova learns of a planned ambush, and decides to take the White Stars and meet it head on ahead of the main force. Her primary goal is to destroy the Advanced Destroyers before they have a chance to attack the Earth Force ships in her fleet.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Sheridan is having trouble remembering things by now:Michael, I was going to kick your butt for something...but I can't remember what it was.
- Welcome Back, Traitor: Garibaldi tries to get in touch with the Mars resistance with predictable results, and he has to beg Lyta to scan him before they'll give him a chance.