The fleet moves forward while Marcus keeps vigil beside Ivanova's bed. Eventually Delenn comes to say the transport has come to take her back to Babylon 5. Marcus protests, but Delenn says all they can to now is make her comfortable until the end. Marcus gives her hand a squeeze, then leaves.
Franklin and the Resistance are preparing for battle, meeting with a contact to get the cryo-tubes on board the orbiting Earth fleet. Meanwhile Garibaldi scouts out a secondary target, an Earth Force supply depot. He makes a call that they'll need about two hours to get into position, as a shuttle takes off and meets with the orbiting warships.
Back on the planet, Garibaldi's team takes one of the perimeter bunkers, Ground Station Alpha. Assuming everything else went as planned, they now have the base sealed off. The last of the shuttles depart and Franklin and Lyta prepare for their part.
On the Agamemnon, Sheridan announces that they've arrived at the final staging area. He expresses the hope that nothing like this will ever happen again, then begins issuing orders. Before they can move on Earth, they have to neutralize Mars or risk exposing their flank. The White Stars and Earth Force ships will take point. The League ships will hold back as support. Sheridan contacts Marcus, who is standing by ready for when Garibaldi sends his signal.
On the destroyer Apollo, her CO, Captain Mitchell, reports to General Lefcourt, who is in command of the operation. They've got something in hyperspace, but aren't sure what, and Lefcourt isn't willing to risk a fight there since they tend to turn out badly for both sides. He figures Sheridan has to come out sooner or later.
Mitchell acknowledges the order, then asks why he was bumped out of command for this op. Lefcourt assures him he's done nothing wrong. The general is there because he believes that the military is not to take up arms against the government under any circumstances. Also, he was Sheridan's mentor, and taught him everything he knows. He takes a moment to lament that it's come to this. He then orders his fleet into position, authorizing them to fire on any EarthForce ship known to have sided with Sheridan.
- Lefcourt: You are to forget that these people were once friends, associates and fellow officers. They are targets to be destroyed, nothing more, nothing less. We are here to do a job, let's do it. And God help all of us.
Back on Mars, Franklin is finishing up with a device on Lyta's head. She's ready, but she needs to be outside. Garibaldi lets her go, then sends the coordinates of the "Wicked Queen's Castle" to "Snow White".
Snow White is daydreaming about Prince Charming, or rather Marcus is thinking about Ivanova again. He thinks there must be something, some method, some device that can do something. He says he put a call in to Dr. Hobbs to see if there is anything. Lennier just give him a flat "no". Marcus begins to get a little irritated, but Lennier keeps trying to tell him there's nothing usable on Babylon 5. Wait, define "Usable".
Before they can get into that, Grumpy's signal comes in. Marcus orders Lennier to relay the data to Sheridan and orders them into action. The plan is...crazy, jumping out of hyperspace inside an atmosphere right on top of the deck. They just need super-accurate coordinates, which Garibaldi provided, assuming he didn't get longitude and latitude mixed up.
The White Star jumps in and begins strafing the airfield. Lefcourt's fleet receives word and begins to turn back. Lefcourt orders them back into formation, since Sheridan wants them close to the planet where they'll be at a disadvantage. He then begins musing on what Sheridan's up to, thinking he wouldn't go on the offensive unless he had an ace up his sleeve.
Lyta picks herself up and gets word from Sheridan. She gazes skyward, reaching toward the frozen telepaths with her mind. As Franklin explains what the plan is, they begin to awaken, start wandering around until they come across some kind of interface and begin to merge with it. This will disable the ships they're on, taking them out of the fight without risking thousands of lives on both sides in the process.
Sheridan gets word that the cargo has been delivered and orders them to jump. Lefcourt sees them right where he was expecting them to be, but finds himself unable to do anything about it as the Apollo suddenly begins experiencing odd power failures. Most of the other ships are shutting down as well. That leaves a few operational, and Lefcourt orders them to engage. Soon after they lose all communications and Lefcourt orders security to find out just what the hell they sneaked onto his ship.
Delenn monitors the situation, reporting that all but ten enemy ships have been disabled or are losing power. Sheridan orders the White Stars to engage the remaining ships, targeting weapons and engines only. They move in and quickly neutralize the operational ships. On the Apollo, a team of marines searches the cargo hold and finds the telepath wrapped in computer wire. They unleash a barrage of PPG fire.
Sheridan orders some of the league ships to stay and watch the disabled ships and lend assistance if they get into trouble. He orders Marcus back and they prepare to move on.
While in transit, Marcus goes to check on something. He begins a search of B5's records for extreme measures taken for critical cases, and as Sheridan orders the fleet to the next objective, Marcus begins searching records for anything that might help Ivanova. Before long, he finds Franklin's record on how he and Sheridan were able to revive Garibaldi after being shot in the back nearly two years ago. Marcus begins a more thorough investigation.
The Apollo is slowly beginning to come back online, but they still have no comms so they can't tell anyone else what they've found.
Lennier arrives on Delenn's ship, but she never sent for him. Lennier immediately realizes what happened as Marcus' White Star suddenly turns around and leaves.
Delenn calls Sheridan with the news. She gets him on a private link to tell him her suspicions, but it's too late to do anything. They're too far in. He orders them to jump into Earth space.
As they emerge from hyperspace Sheridan announces his presence and intentions to the world. To arrest President Clark, disband Nightwatch and all other such organizations and restore the government to the people.
In orbit, the defense satellites begin coming online and taking aim at the fleet.
Sheridan calls those in the government who have wanted to act but feared to to take action now. One of them, Senator Crosby, gathers an armed group and begins moving toward Clark's office.
- Sheridan: This is not the voice of treason. These are your sons, your daughters, whose loyalties have never wavered, whose belief in this alliance has forced us to take extraordinary means. For justice, for peace, for the future, we have come home!
As Clark sits in his office, he punches a command into a control panel, and the planetary defense grid opens fire, unleashing a storm of missiles. Sheridan orders a screening action to intercept the missiles, keeping a line open for any response.
As his office door is about to be breached, Clark takes a PPG and shoots himself in the head. Crosby's group comes in to find his body. Then the senator finds something on the president's desk and asks to speak to Sheridan. She tells him Clark left a message, "SCORCHED EARTH". Before he died, he programmed the defense grid to fire on Earth and they can't be over-ridden. Sheridan orders all ships into action. Objective: take out the satellites before they burn the planet. Every ship and fighter in the fleet opens fire, eliminating most of the defense platforms, but the Agamemnon takes a missile right through the forward batteries just as one of them prepares to fire on the Eastern Seaboard. With no forward weapons, and no one else close enough to help, Sheridan orders a ramming attack. The Agamemnon begins moving toward it, building momentum, racing it to destruction. Seconds before impact, the Apollo jumps in and unloads on the rogue satellite, which explodes right before the Agamemnon hits. With the last one destroyed, and Clark gone, the battle is over.
- Lefcourt: Sorry for the delay, Captain, but we had some trouble at Mars. You might have heard something about it.
Sheridan: My apologies, General. We're only doing our jobs.
Lefcourt: You know you'll have to stand before a Board of Inquiry on this one, Sheridan. Still, welcome home, John. Welcome home.
Some time later, Captain James informs Sheridan that they want him down at Earthdome. Should be interesting. Delenn, meanwhile, has some matters to attend to, and Franklin is racing to get beyond the jammers, since they haven't been able to shut those down yet.
ISN comes on the air, and Jane, the old anchor from before the coup, comes on and gives a very emotiobenal report of the events of the last twenty-fours hours.
- Jane: We are all equally sons and daughters of Earth, and in the coming months we must continue to remember that if we are to heal and move on.
On a White Star at full burn, Franklin is desperately trying to get through to Babylon 5, watching the record of the healing device. On Babylon 5, Marcus, who has strapped himself into the machine and Ivanova into the other side, is nearly comatose, but briefly open his eyes and looks at her.
- Marcus: I love you.
This episode contains examples of:
- Airstrike Impossible: Marcus takes a White Star and opens a jump point a few hundred feet above the surface of Mars (at great risk of a Telefrag, or else crashing into the ground), strafing the airfield and causing attention-getting havok in order to draw General Robert Lefcourt's forces closer to Mars. Doing so requires Garibaldi sending Marcus very detailed navigational information, so naturally he jokes about getting latitude and longitude mixed up.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Garibaldi pulls this on Ground Station Alpha on Mars, with the aid of a mole. Ground Station Bravo is also taken over by the resistance
- Anti-Air: A beam turret charges up to take a shot at Marcus's White Star, but the other defensive turrets are hijacked and used to take it out before it can fire.
- Anti-Villain: General Lefcourt is not a fascist or a speciesist like previous Clark loyalists, but believes that the military should not rise against the government, no matter how justified they feel to do it.
- Big Damn Heroes: General Lefcourt and the Apollo shows up at Earth just in time to destroy the rogue satellite before it can fire, and before the Agamemnon rams it.
- The Bus Came Back: At the end of the episode, Jane, the ISN reporter, is revealed to be alive and back at her job.
- Capital Offensive: The battle finally comes to Earth itself, with Clark nearly glassing the planet rather than give it up.
- The Cavalry: The non-human ships, drawn from every other governent associated with Babylon Five, are to hold back and provide support for the humans, so as to emphasise that this is liberation by Earth's own sons and daughters, not conquest. But when Clark turns the planetary defense satellites against the planet, Sheridan calls for Delenn and the other allied ships. Delenn responds simply, "We are there."
- Chekhov's Gunman:
- General Robert Lefcourt is given an introductory scene that establishes him as a man of honor who realizes he is working for a monster but is unwilling to turn on Earth for it. Shortly after, his ship is disabled intact. Naturally, he turns up at the episode's climax to save the day once President Clark is dead.
- Also, the Shadow-modified telepaths. They will never know it, but they helped to save thousands of lives.
- Chess Motifs: The episode title, "Endgame", comes from the term for the final phase in a game of chess where there are very few pieces left on the board to play. At this point, the only pieces left to play for are Mars and Earth.
- Continuity Nod:
- Jane, the ISN reporter, who goes on the air after Earth is liberated is the same one who was last seen when the station was attacked just before Babylon 5 seceded from the Earth Alliance.
- Cailyn died some time between now and when we saw her last.
- Crazy Enough to Work: Jump out of hyperspace just a few hundred meters above a planet's surface? They'll never see it coming.
- Damage Control: Not seen, but General Lefcourt is shown ordering the ship's engineers to find the source of the sabotage and get them back into the fight after Sheridan manages to disable most of his fleet with the Shadow-modified Telepaths.
- Didn't See That Coming: Lefcourt realizes Sheridan's attack on the planet means he has an ace up his sleeve, but for all his savviness it's highly doubtful that telepaths enhanced with Shadow cybernetics even occurred to him.Lefcourt: (after the Apollo is disabled) I knew he had something up his sleeve, I knew it!
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Clark-loyalist EarthForce member in charge of Ground Station Alpha is a white, blond, blue-eyed man, whereas the mole for the Earth Alliance Resistance is a black woman
- "Agamemnon" leads an assault at a nigh impregnable fortress with the help of "Apollo" and also a sort of Trojan horse in the form of the Shadow-modified Telepaths.
- Driven to Suicide: Clark knows the jig is up when Sheridan's fleet outflanks the last remaining Loyalist fleet and arrives in orbit over Earth, so he puts a gun to his head rather than be taken alive.
- Dying Declaration of Love: Marcus to Ivanova, as he uses the alien healing device to transfer his life energy to heal her.
- Equivalent Exchange: The alien healing device makes another appearance. Marcus uses it to save Ivanova's life at the cost of his own.
- Fake Shemp: Gary McGurk unfortunately wasn't available, so Clark's downfall comes with just a few shots of another bald actor seen from behind and never speaking.
- Foil: General Lefcourt serves as one to Sheridan here, being the commander of the Earth-loyal fleet, a patriot in his own right, which leads him to a different action than Sheridan, and the one who taught Sheridan tactics and strategy.
- Friendship Moment: Sheridan wins the war from the bridge of the Agamemnon, just as he'd promised Ivanova.
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The problems of hyperspace are such that a large-scale battle in hyperspace will end in disaster for both sides, and thus, neither Sheridan nor Lefcourt are willing to risk it.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Sheridan and Franklin use 30 of the Shadow-modified telepaths to sabotage Lefcourt's ships, knowing those telepaths will certainly be killed in the process. Disabling those ships instead of having to destroy them in battle will save thousands more lives, but nobody is happy about it.
- Kill Sat: The Global Orbital Defense satellites have powerful beam cannons backed up with batteries of missiles. They are supposed to shoot at attacking ships, but are also capable of being turned on the planet's surface.
- La Résistance: The Mars Resistance, now working in coordination with Sheridan's faction to neutralize the Earth Force fleet at Mars before Sheridan moves on Earth.
- Senator Crosby also gathers a small force to place Clark under arrest after Sheridan and the fleet arrive on earth.
- Macross Missile Massacre: The Earth defense satellites seem to consist of a main beam weapon and LOTS and LOTS of missiles.
- Madness Mantra: Clark sits at his desk, writing a simple phrase over and over: "The Ascension of the Ordinary Man".
- My Country, Right or Wrong: General Lefcourt does not agree with Clark's actions or policies, but he also feels that the military should never rise against the government, as that would destroy any legitimacy the armed forces could hope to have. Once Clark is dead, Lefcourt quickly moves to help Sheridan destroy the last of the Global Orbital Defense satellites.
- No Longer with Us: Delenn calls Sheridan and reports that Marcus Cole is gone. Sheridan initially reacts with confusion, because Marcus's ship hadn't been hit at all in the previous battle. Delenn clarifies that she meant he has taken his ship and booked it for Babylon 5.
- Number Two/Demoted to Dragon: Captain Charles Mitchell, commanding officer of the Apollo, is placed under the command of General Lefcourt
- Our Presidents Are Different: Clark is President Evil for the last time, killing himself before he can be arrested after Sheridan's fleet arrives over Earth but not before turning orbital defenses against Earth.
- Outside-Context Problem: Why did General Lefcourt not anticipate Shadow-modified telepaths as a possible threat? Because in all likelihood he never even knew the Shadows existed, let alone of their "weapons components".
- Ramming Always Works: Averted. Sheridan orders the Agamemnon to ram the weapons sat after their main weapons are shot out, but the Apollo deals with it before they reach it.
- Reverse Mole: Kelley, an EarthForce ensign who helps the Mars Resistance get the Shadow-modified telepaths onto Lefcourt's ships. Another EarthForce NCO helps Garibaldi's team take control of the Ground Station Alpha.
- Shout-Out: Garibaldi's code names are some of the seven dwarfs, Snow White and the wicked queen. No doubt he picked them himself.
- Salt the Earth: Clark's final act is to order the defense satellites to fire on Earth itself.
- Sitting Duck: Marcus opens a jump point right on top of a major EarthForce military base, and the first thing he does is lay waste to a line of shuttles parked on the apron.
- Spy Speak: Garibaldi's code names take cues from classic Disney. Somewhat surprising given he's shown to be a Looney Tunes fan.
- The Starscream: A heroic example in Senator Crosby, who gathers a group of Gropos to arrest President Clark after Sheridan arrives in Earth orbit.
- Surpassed the Teacher: Lefcourt taught Sheridan everything he knows. Sheridan neutralizes the majority of Lefcourt's fleet without firing a shot.
- Taking You with Me: Clark programs the planetary defense grid to fire on Earth itself, then shoots himself in the head.
- Tears of Joy: Jane, the ISN anchor, the real one, has to take a few moments to compose herself on camera.
- What the Hell, Hero?: The Mole in Ground Station Alpha gives one to Stephen for employing the Shadow-modified telepaths as weapons.
- Zombie Gait: The Shadow-modified telepaths. Justified because they are disoriented and were being kept cryogenically frozen.