ISN begins with a report on the aftermath of the Battle for Earth, confirming that Clark killed himself before he could be arrested, as a news feed shows the inside of his office, his draped body still in place with a sign hanging from it reading, "Traitor to Earth", as an investigator holds up the "SCORCHED EARTH" note. They continue on to Sheridan, who has surrendered himself to Earth Force. Public opinion is on his side, but he still has to answer to the legal side. At a press conference, Acting President Susanna Luchenko appeals to the public to remain calm and not give in to the desire for revenge, allowing the legal system to work, and sort out who were Clark's willing accomplices and who were coerced into working on his behalf.
Jane then expresses best wishes for Ivanova, who is back on Babylon 5, which Stephen is racing towards on a White Star at full throttle. Marcus, meanwhile, is still strapped into one end of the machine with Ivanova on the other, as a pair of Medlab staff come in and discover them like that.
Stephen finally arrives and rushes to Medlab to talk to Susan who is healthy, hale...and utterly inconsolable. She is sitting on the ground, rocking in sorrow, lashing out at anyone who gets close, though she does let him come and talk. She demands to know how he found out about the machine, and Stephen says all his files on it were heavily encrypted. Marcus would've had to hack his way into them, which Susan says was typical of him, always pulling stuff like that, and one of the reasons she found him so irritating. She breaks off and talks a little about her experience, how she felt herself slipping away and heard a voice say, "I love you", and thinking it was the voice of God. Then she was pulled back, and when she came to she saw him and the machine, but couldn't do anything about it. She talks about her past difficulties with relationships, to the point she'd nearly given up on them, enter Marcus. She knew he'd never hurt her, leave her and would do anything for her. And she only ever gave him grief. She admits that Marcus might just have been her perfect man, but she was too afraid to take the chance on him. But now he's gone and it's too late, and all she has left are regrets. "All love is unrequited", she laments, and Stephen just holds her.
Londo and G'Kar meet up with each other in the docking bay prior to travelling to Earth. Then Vir comes up with news for Londo. G'Kar goes on ahead while Vir tells Londo that the Centauri regent has become ill, and is not expected to last the year. The royal court has decided that Londo is to be the next emperor. Londo isn't that enthused about it.
Sheridan is in a room at Earthdome when Bester comes in for a little chat. Sheridan isn't happy to see him, especially after what happened with Garibaldi. Bester doesn't admit to anything, but does say that if Psi Corps were to hypothetically acquire a telepath-killing virus and it's cure, they'd take step to destroy the virus but keep the cure around, just in case. But he's not there to talk about Garibaldi; he knows what Sheridan did at Mars, and wants to know if Caroline was one of the telepaths used to disable the fleet, and promises Sheridan will not walk out of there alive if she was. Sheridan is not impressed, death threats don't seem to have much effect on someone who's died once already. Using those telepaths was the hardest choice he's ever made, and he made sure the ones that were sent were incurable, had no family waiting for them. Bester gets worried; Caroline was single, and had no family, and the only thing they both had was each other. Sheridan understands.
- Sheridan: I know what it's to lose someone only to find then lose her a second time. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, not even you, as much as I might want to.
They used thirty out of the one hundred telepaths in storage, but Caroline wasn't one of them, she's still on station. Bester sags into a chair in relief, and thanks Sheridan. Sheridan isn't so willing to accept it. He knows Bester's planning on telepaths taking over eventually, even with Clark gone. Bester dismisses the notion, but Sheridan says they'll wait a few years until everything settles down, and then they'll make their move. Assuming Garibaldi doesn't get to him first, just as soon as he finished up some personal business.
Garibaldi is getting information from some back-alley accountant on what happened to Lise. She apparently tried to get off Mars via the Mars Mafia, but he thinks they're holding her for ransom. The guy is reluctant, but Garibaldi can be very persuasive when he wants to be.
Londo and G'Kar meet with Delenn, who has a proposition she intends to put before the League. They look it over, G'Kar seeming surprised and Londo...Londo just starts laughing hysterically. He thinks she's crazy, but she intends to go through with it as the League ambassadors come in.
Sheridan is starting to go a little stir crazy when General Foote finally comes to tell him they've come to a decision and President Luchenko herself comes to lay it out for him. He's made quite the commotion among the ranks, seemingly splitting Earth Force down the middle. She admits that Clark was out of control. They were trying to move against him om their own way, but they could barely do anything without his people hearing about it. The only ones who actually could do anything were the crew of Babylon 5, since they'd broken away from Earth, which is why he was so obsessed with them. And yes, he saved many who would have been killed by Clark's forces, but that's beside the point. The issue here is that he took arms against his own government. And now they have to clean up the mess.
Sheridan asks what she wants of him. She's arranged for a press conference tomorrow morning. He will explain what he did and why he did it, but because of that, he can no longer remain in Earth Force and is resigning immediately. Luchenko will see that he retains all pensions and honors as well and granting amnesty to Ivanova and all others who followed him. If he refuses, he and everyone else will be dishonorably discharged, court-martialed and put on trial before a military tribunal full of hostile generals.
- Luchenko: Don't make the mistake of assuming that this is a conversation. It isn't. You have no other options.
She admits that he was probably right, but the way he did it was inconvenient, and now the piper wants his pay. She's not that happy about it either, but that the way it is. Sheridan agrees to her terms, provided the guarantee of amnesty is in writing.
In some dark warehouse, a group of thugs are trying to secure a ransom for Lise when they are interrupted by Porky Pig. Or rather, someone leaves a box with a Big Red Button on it, which one of the thugs (rather stupidly) pushes. Porky's famous "That's all folks!" is heard, then the box starts sparking an emitting smoke while Garibaldi and a group of Rangers storm the place. After a bit of searching, he finally finds Lise and gets her out of there.
Delenn's White Star jumps into Earth space, as Lennier comes to inform her. She says the League has agreed to it her proposal, something they will talk about for a hundred years. Lennier wishes Marcus could be there, saying he had become a part of them, but Delenn says he still is a part of them as long as they speak of him. She think saving Ivanova might have been how he found peace after failing so many others. Lennier than asks if she heard what Susan said, that all love in unrequited. Delenn heard, but says that she wrong about that. She leaves as Lennier sits looking pensive.
At the press conference, President Luchenko begins with a quick overview of the situation, to follow orders against the dictates of ones conscience or rise up in opposition. She describes both sides as essentially fighting the same battle for the same reasons. She then begins introducing Sheridan, speaking highly of his integrity and honor before allowing him to speak.
Sheridan gets up and begins addressing the crowd. He talks about how his desire was to serve something greater than himself. His motivation was love of Earth and duty, but what happens when those two go in opposite directions? He talks of choices and consequence and the choices he and his officers made and takes full responsibility for their actions. He then announces his intention to step down on the grounds that his presence in Earth Force would only serve as a source of contention, and because of that and the president's offer of amnesty he is resigning from Earth Force.
- Sheridan: I do this in the hope that those who fought on both sides will put aside their disagreements and come together in a new spirit of cooperation, for we are all children of Earth.
Luchenko then announces that the League of Non-Aligned Worlds has asked to address them. G'Kar speaks first, speaking of the relations they have had with Earth, and how they have learned from its people, building communities wherever they go. They have voted to dissolve the League in favor of a new alliance, based on cooperation and respect, the desire of a better future and recognition of a common authority. He then turns the podium over to Delenn, who begins explaining what the purpose of the alliance will be, to promote trade and improve relations and create peace, with the Rangers as one of the core elements. As she speaks, seemingly the entire White Star fleet flies overhead.
The Rangers will come only by invitation, will assist in defense against raiders and hostile races, and build stronger borders. They will also watch for belligerence among member worlds, and inform the Alliance and the target worlds, then provide intelligence and support if other Alliance worlds decide to lend aid. The Alliance will not interfere with internal politics, but will insist on certain standards while dealing with other governments. Each member race will be able to send volunteers to join the Rangers. Delenn then extends the invitation for Earth to join the new alliance.
Later, she, Londo, and G'Kar are in the president's office as Luchenko explains Earth's stance. It's tempting, but they need something a little more real than promises of peace. Delenn offers technological advancements, such as true artificial gravity instead of less efficient rotation based gravity. That seems to bring Luchenko around, but she wants to know who she would be negotiating with. Delenn explains that the Alliance also has an elected president, and Luchenko asks who that will be.
- Sheridan: Funny thing about retiring, you no sooner pick out the places you want to go on vacation then someone comes at you with another job offer.
Sheridan talks with General Foote about what they've been doing all this time, getting the former League worlds to rely on the Rangers and each other. As Foote heads off, Delenn finds him with a surprise. David Sheridan appears and gives his son a big hug. Apparently he started getting much nicer treatment after Sheridan got out. He thinks they realized they were on the wrong side. He then takes a moment to welcome Delenn to the family before Foote comes back to say Luchenko is waiting for him. The elder Sheridan is a but bemused at his being addressed as "Mr. President" but figures they have plenty of time for long stories later.
Jane begins the evening report with a story on the Interstellar Alliance, meetings that were had between EarthGov and Alliance representatives and that Earth has decided to join the Alliance. One condition is that the rights of colony worlds must be respected, and as such, Mars will be granted independence. After the senate ratifies it, of course. Micheal and Lise, lying in bed, turn the TV off and discuss what happens next. He hasn't decided if he'll go back to Babylon 5 or stay and help Lise run Edgars Industries. And he's in absolutely no hurry as Lise pulls the covers back over their heads for some more fun.
The ISN stories continue, reporting that Sheridan's last act as an Earth Force officer was to promote Ivanova to the rank of captain. Ivanova, heartbroken over Marcus, has decided to leave Babylon 5 and has asked for a transfer to a new ship for a year.
- Jane: In a statement issued only a few hours ago, Captain Ivanova said only, "I need to decide where my heart belongs before the rest of me can follow".
On a White Star headed for home, Londo and G'Kar watch the report on Sheridan and Delenn's rumored marriage. They will head the Alliance from Babylon 5 until permanent facilities are ready in the city of Tuzanor on Minbar.
- Londo: Off. So, how does it feel to make history?
G'Kar: You cannot make history, you can only hope to survive it.
Londo: G'Kar, you are a depressing person.
G'Kar: Thank you.
Londo then begins contemplating the eccentricities of humans again, this time their marriage customs, particularly why they would be throwing something called "rice" around. He then chuckles, thinking what it would be like to peek in and see how it's going...only to realize G'Kar's artificial eye is missing.
It's hidden in Sheridan and Delenn's room, pointed at their bed as they bask in the afterglow.
- Delenn: It was the end of the Earth year 2261, and it was the dawn of a new age for all of us. It was the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. The next twenty years would see great changes, great joy and great sorrow. The Telepath War and the Drakh War, the new alliance would waver and crack, but in the end it would hold. Because what it built endures and what is loved endures. And Babylon 5...Babylon 5 endures.
This episode contains examples of:
- All Love Is Unrequited: The Trope Namer episode, as Ivanova laments Marcus saving her life by sacrificing his. In contrast, Garibaldi is finally reunited with his Old Flame, Lise. And Delenn is quite Innocently Insensitive when she tells Lennier it's not true.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Luchenko forces Sheridan out of Earth Force by offering clemency for his command staff, but threatening to have them brought up on charges right along side him if he refuses.
- Answer Cut: Luchenko asks where she can find the Alliance's new president and we cut immediately General Foote saying "You!" to Sheridan.
- Bear Hug: Sheridan gives his dad one of the biggest you'll ever see.
- Big Red Button: The box Garibaldi leaves for the kidnappers has one that plays Porky Pig's line then starts blowing a lot of smoke.
- Book-Ends: The visual of the White Stars flying over Earth Dome is quite similar to that of the Shadow vessels flying over the Centauri Emperor's palace near the beginning of the season, although the context is entirely different.
- Continuity Nod:
- Garibaldi's love of old Warner Bros. cartoons.
- "What is built endures," is something Delenn said when she formed the worker-dominated Grey Council.
- An Explorer ship is seen in Earth orbit.
- Delenn remembers what Marcus told her about his life before the Rangers.
- They make sure to show Clark's "Scorched Earth" note.
- Control Freak: Not surprising for a ruthless despot, but Luchenko explains that the reason Clark was obsessed with Babylon 5 was because they were beyond his control.
- Covert Pervert: G'Kar uses his artificial eye to spy on Sheridan and Delenn's wedding night.
- Deadpan Snarker: Luchenko. The page quote is a shining example.
- Didn't See That Coming: EarthGov accepted Sheridan's terms to his resigning his commission in exchange for immunity for all those under his commands. They hoped he would retire out of sight of all cameras. They didn't expect that he would end up having a new job so soon and one that was even more political than his previous job.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Lennier is visibly shaken by Ivanova's declaration that All Love Is Unrequited. Delenn, being entirely unaware of Lennier's longstanding feelings for her, assures him that Ivanova is wrong.
- Humans Through Alien Eyes: G'Kar is munching on uncooked rice after Sheridan and Delenn's wedding. Londo points out that if it was any good, humans wouldn't throw it at each other.
- The same scene offers a more literal example, see Covert Pervert above.
- Gambit Roulette: A lampshaded one. Forming the Interstellar Alliance relied upon quite a few details. However, Sheridan had set things up so that he would have been fine no matter what. However, the way it ended? Best way possible.
- I Made Copies: Sheridan made sure that the reporters got plenty of copies of the amnesty agreement before making the announcement that he's the president of the new Interstellar Alliance.
- Inelegant Blubbering: Ivanova, the show's archetypal stoic, is reduced to laying in a heap in the corner, sobbing her heart out and screaming at anyone who tries to enter the room. There's even a guard posted at the door trying to keep anyone from winding her up further.
- Internal Reformist: Luchenko admits that Sheridan was probably right to do what he did, but she would have preferred internal reform to open rebellion, as the latter was "politically inconvenient".
- Iron Lady: Luchenko is a tough, no-nonsense politician.
- Kangaroo Court: Basically what Luchenko threatens Sheridan with if he doesn't resign; putting him in front of a military tribunal filled with generals from the "shoot him" category.
- Morton's Fork: President Luchenko tells Sheridan to either resign from Earthforce, and be granted amnesty, along with the officers who followed him, or he and they will be court-martialed and brought to trial (and it's stated that the odds would be stacked against them in that case). Sheridan chooses the former, asking only that the amnesty be in writing.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Luchenko, and apparently a lot of Earthforce brass, were of the "If wrong to be set right" frame of mind. However, they sought to take down Clark from within.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Everyone admits that they're much better off without a tyrannical despot terrorizing his own people, but that doesn't change the fact that in order to get rid of said despot Sheridan took up arms against this own government and now has to face the consequences.
- Not with Them for the Money: Michael and Lise. He's been in love with her for years. The fact that she now has her late husband's fortune is just a bonus.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Clark is dead and freedom is restored to the Earth Alliance, but if you're expecting Sheridan to be happily welcomed back into Earthforce like he just delivered a ship full of whales, you clearly haven't been watching the show!
- Not to mention the formal declaration of the new Interstellar Alliance between the former League worlds, the Minbari, and Earth with Sheridan as the newly elected President.
- Obi-Wan Moment: Ivanova admits to having one of these, just before she woke up to find herself and Marcus hooked up to the Healing Machine.
- Our Presidents Are Different: Susanna Luchenko seems to be the President Personable variety (though considering her immediate predecessor, that wouldn't take much) with hints of Scheming and Iron.
- Out-Gambitted: By forcing Sheridan to resign his commission in exchange for amnesty for his followers, President Luchenko and the Earthforce brass were hoping to put the most visible symbol of the rebellion out of sight and out of mind. However, Sheridan, as previously seen, is as much of a Guile Hero as an Action Hero. He makes sure to get the amnesties in writing, and promptly disseminates copies to the press so they can't go back on their word when his presidency of the Interstellar Alliance is announced on the heels of his resignation.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "That's all, folks!"
- Reasonable Authority Figure: President Luchenko, in a roundabout way. She agrees with Sheridan's aims, though disagrees with the way he did it, and wants to keep him from a Court Martial, but she's also trying to shore up the restoration of EarthGov to democratic rule (to say nothing of her own position as Clark's successor) and she doesn't want a visible symbol of the military overthrowing a (technically) democratically elected leader sticking around and potentially mucking things up.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Now that the civil war is over, Garibaldi is out to get everyone who screwed him over. First the Mars Mafia thugs who kidnapped Lise. Next on the list is Bester, as Sheridan warns him;Sheridan: I don't know exactly how he plans to settle the score, but I'm sure it'll be creative, colorful and extremely unpleasant.
- Silent Whisper: When Lise tells Michael the real reason they're together.
- Survivor's Guilt: Ivanova had accepted her impending death when Marcus instead sacrificed himself to save her with the "damned machine." She tried to disconnect it to stop Marcus's impending death, but she was still too weak.
- Sympathy for the Devil: Why Sheridan didn't use Bester's lover Caroline against the Earthforce fleet at Mars. He knows what it's like to lose your wife, then find her and lose her all over again, and wouldn't wish that on anyone else.
- That's an Order!: Luchenko gives Sheridan two options: One option is unpleasant, the other much much worse. She makes it clear which option she expects him to choose.Luchenko: Don't make the mistake of thinking this is a conversation.
- They Do: Sheridan and Delenn finally officially tie the knot.
- Turn in Your Badge: Luchenko is forced to ask for Sheridan's resignation, despite him doing the right thing. As she puts it, continuing to have such a divisive figure in EarthForce would spark too many problems. However, she does provide amnesty to the rest of his crew, in writing. (The alternative would have been a court-martial that would have ended very badly for Sheridan.)
- Villainous Breakdown: Bester has a quite subtle one when he asks Sheridan if his girlfriend Carolyn was one of the telepaths sacrificed in the Mars battle, and states simply as a fact that if she was, he won't leave the room alive. JMS calls this his most human moment in the entire series.
- Wartime Wedding: Well, not quite, but it took place immediately after the war ended.