It's an auspicious day for Babylon 5 as Penn & Teller have come for a visit! Or rather, Penn and Teller playing comedy team Rebo, a large loud man, and Zooty, a small guy who talks only through a little machine, have come. Sheridan, Garibaldi and Lochley follow the sounds of laughter to the customs area while the captain asks what the others know about Brakiri religious customs. The only thing Garibaldi knows is they hate comets, a symbol of death. Apparently they want her to sell them part of B5 for some kind of religious event. Just for tonight; they'll give it back in the morning.
Some of the celebrations already seem to be under way as one Brakiri tries to sell Londo some skull-shaped candy. He then recognizes Londo as the soon-to-be emperor and gives it to him for free. He asks who of those who have gone before would Londo like to meet. Londo thinks the first Centauri emperor, "I have several bones to pick with him!" As he goes into his quarters he asks what the skull candies are for and is told tonight is the Day of the Dead, when the dead walk again.
Delenn is in her quarters when Lennier comes to visit. He is between training cycles and wanted to come see her before he has to ship aout again. He also heard of the Day of the Dead and wanted to experience it himself. He somewhat awkwardly asks if her partner is well, and she replies her husband is quite well. In fact tonight they are playing host to Rebo and Zooty.
- Lennier: Rebo and Zooty are here? Zoot, zoot? This is truly a day of wonders.
At the reception to welcome them, Sheridan gives a brief introduction, then as they come out presents them with the Freedom of Babylon Five. Rebo then gives a short speech to Sheridan, his staff, the reporters, all aliens and Zooty's invisible friend. All the assembled enjoy the show, except Lochley, who doesn't seem to grasp the humor.
- Sheridan: Oh, this is a moment you can tell your children about, Captain.
Lochley: I'll get on to having some right away.
Lochely: I said I have an appointment with the Brakiri ambassador. I'm on my way.
G'Kar watches her go with a strange look on his face.
In her office, Brakiri Ambassador Kullenbrak presents her with one of the candy skulls and asks if everything is in order. She finds it one of the more unusual requests she's heard, usually they just rent on B5, but the ambassador insists they must buy it by sunset. If they rent it, it is not Brakiri. It doesn't really make sense to her but she seems open to it. She takes the opportunity to ask a little about it this holiday, why is it the day of the dead if it takes place at night? Simple enough answer, they're nocturnal. She seems about to sign off on everything when G'Kar barges in. He rushed in as soon as he realized what was going on. He advises her not to go through with it, calling it foolish and dangerous. Lochley feels this falls under respect for others' beliefs, as outlined in the Declaration of Principles.
- Lochley: You are familier with it, I trust?
G'Kar: I wrote it!
According to the Declaration, religious belief shall be sacrosanct. G'Kar protests again that she doesn't know what she is doing but Kullenbrak speaks up that she knows full well what she's doing, and offers his thanks on behalf of all Brakiri.
Later, he's explaining the timing of the Day of the Dead to an uninterested Garibaldi, that there is a single comet in the Brakiri solar system and its appearance marks the Day of the Dead. The line they've drawn through Babylon 5 marks the portion of the station they've secured for themselves. It will be considered to be part of Brakir until planetary sunrise. Unfortunately, Garibaldi's bed and shower are on Brakir and he just can't wait until morning. As he shuts himself in, Kullenbrak confers with another Brakiri and they begin a chant to begin the Day of the Dead.
Sheridan brings Rebo and Zooty to his quarters and introduces Delenn. Rebo introduces himself and Zooty, while Zooty says something in Minbari. Delenn pauses then starts laughing hysterically. Rebo explains that Minbari humor is based on a failure to attain emotional or spiritual enlightenment. Between laughs, Delenn elaborates that one word, Lecococ, means a small fish and the pleasure of meeting someone for the first time. Sheridan is surprised that they studies Minbari humor, and Rebo says yes, along with Narn humor and lots of others.
Before dinner gets started, Sheridan takes Rebo aside and asks if he could talk to Zooty without the machine. Rebo tells him Zooty never breaks character, not even when it's just them. Rebo himself has only over hear Zooty say one word on his own, "Why?" He's never been able to figure out what he meant.
Lochley gets to her quarters and tries to find something to watch while doing paperwork, but all that's on is Rebo & Zooty, Rebo & Zooty and more Rebo & Zooty. Eventually she just succumbs to the inevitable. Meanwhile, the sun sets and some strange field seems to go up around the part of the station that is now "Brakir". Lennier prepares himself for whatever enlightenment will be found this night, Londo pours himself a drink and G'Kar comes up to C&C to see if he can spend the night there.
In her quarters, Lochley's screen suddenly goes off, and she finds herself unable to contact anyone. Londo is talking to a portrait of the first emperor, thinking how it used to be a position of significance.
- Londo: Now...anyone can be emperor. I can be emperor. Vir can be emperor. If Vir can be emperor, a small Earth cat can be emperor.
The emperor has nothing to say to that, which doesn't surprise Londo in the slightest, dismissing this dead returning thing as nonsense. Then the strange power loss hits his quarters and he goes to see what's going on. While his back is turned someone pours a drink. Londo begins to get the sense there's someone in the room with him and turns around to see a Centauri woman.
- Adira: Hello Londo. I came back.
It's Adira Tyree, the dancer who stole Londo's heart years before and was killed by Morden to bring Londo back into the Shadows' embrace. Londo is initially skeptical but that lasts all of two seconds before it turns to delight. He begins telling her the things that have happened, how he killed the man who killed her, how he saved their people and is to become emperor. But he would give it all away just to have her back.
Garibaldi sleeps though the initial power out, but wakes up when someone starts using his shower. Grabbing a gun, he goes to see who's there. A woman's voice is heard inviting him to come and join her, then asks for a robe. It's Dodger. Surprised, Garibaldi grabs some clothes and hands them to her. She comes out complaining about how he got old, but he's still trying to work out how she's here, when she's supposed to be dead.
- Dodger: Ah, You know the reports of my death...they weren't even exaggerated a little bit. Yeah, I'm - I'm dead. But you know, I missed you, and how often do dead people get second chances?
Garibaldi's not having any of this and starts demanding to know what she really is, a clone, robot, one of Bester's tricks? Dodger tells him to calm down.
Garibaldi's not the only one getting agitated as Lochley is frantically trying to get a hold of anyone, when a young woman appears in her quarters, asking where they are. Lochley recognizes her as a friend from years ago, Zoe. Lochley tries to ask how she got there, but Zoe asks how long it's been. Twenty years; Lochley, or Lizzie, as went by back then, came home and found her body covered in cockroaches. She can't explain too much before she starts getting choked up. Zoe apologizes then asks what happened next. Lizzie called home and her mom sent her dad, along with a bunch of marines, to bring her back. Later she enlisted in Earthforce and now she's running a space station. Zoe is impressed. Lizzie has something else on her mind, something that's bothered her ever since that day: was it an accident, or did Zoe do it on purpose? Zoe says she doesn't remember.
Zoe asks if there's anything good around, but Lizzie quit after Zoe died. Zoe's surprised that she gave up partying and all that, trying to recall the fun they had.
- Lizzie: We were cold, sick, and we were hungry all the time. We did thing to survive I've done my best to forget. We lived in that burned-out hotel. I was scared all the time my father was going to find me. No, it was bad.
Zoe: Yeah, but...we still had fun.
- Zoe: It was bad Lizzie.
Sheridan is still at dinner when he gets a call from Corwin. It seems nearly a square mile of the station is missing, as in can't be contacted or reached in any way. And Lochley's inside that thing.
In his quarters on "Brakir" Garibaldi is talking about life after death, how he never really believed in one until now. Neither did Dodger, and still doesn't. And she doesn't want to think too much about things she doesn't understand, she's a Marine. She focuses on things she can shoot or...you know. And as for arcane knowledge from beyond?
- Dodger: Alright, capers. Those little things they put on pizzas-pickled nasturtium buds, and, um, any Emily Dickinson poem can be sung to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas".
Sheridan comes to the boundary line and sees the field that's come up. Finding a small fire extinguisher nearby, he hurls it into the field and nearly gets clobbered as it comes flying back at him. He backs away from it.
Lennier has been meditating seemingly this whole time when he hears someone. Whipping around, pike in hand, he finds Mr. Morden in his quarters.
- Lennier: Why did you come back here?
Morden: I'm dead. It's my job. Why did you come back here?
Lennier: I came for wisdom.
Morden: You don't come to the dead for wisdom, Lennier.
Morden describes how his head is rotting outside the Centauri palace, and Lennier wants wisdom? Well, since he asked, Morden tries to think of some: Delenn does not love Lennier the way he wants her to and never will. Lennier says he knows that, but Morden doesn't think he does, that he thinks he still might have a chance.
- Morden: No one should ever want to talk to the dead.
Lennier: Go away.
Morden: Sorry it doesn't work like that. You raised a ghost, and now you have to listen to what he tells you.
Lennier just walks out and tries to go through the barrier. Morden watches smugly as Lennier is thrown back.
Sheridan comes up to C&C, finding G'Kar curled up on the floor. Corwin explains he didn't want to sleep in the Brakiri territory tonight. Sheridan recalls Lochley talking about selling part of the station to them right before this started. He orders Corwin to check her log for the details of the deal, and contact the Brakiri homeworld to see if anyone can explain this.
Having just been tossed back Lennier lands on the floor and Morden chides him for trying to walk through 200 million light years (a slight exaggeration: Brakir is only 27 ly away). Morden begins looking around for some coffee. Lennier asks why he wound try to help considering who he was in life, but Morden tells him not to listen to everything Sheridan says. He then wonders why Sheridan is not there as well, considering he died at Z'Ha'Dum. Not finding any coffee, he asks if Lennier enjoys being a Ranger. What about if he knew that one day he would betray the Anla'Shok? Lennier thinks he's lying, he didn't even know Sheridan survived Z'Ha'Dum, how could he know the future? Morden just says his prophecy is genuine, even if he's not up to speed on current events. Lennier dismisses the notion, caliming he could never betray the Anla'Shok and returns to his meditation, resolving to ignore Morden for the rest of the night.
In her quarters, Lochley is trying to figure something out. Her link keeps saying anyone outside the field is out of range. Zoe tells her that this part of the station is part of the Brakiri homeworld, which is a long way from Babylon 5. That gets Lochley thinking. She calls up all emergency and backup systems active, then orders a number of them shut down and rerouted through the communications system of Epsilon Grid. Before proceeding, the computer requires password authorization.
- Lochley: Captain Elizabeth Lochley, passcode two words: Zoe's dead.
Zoe looks rather stricken at that.
Garibaldi and Dodger are talking about Lise when Lochley comes on the comm. She has an idea to trick the comms into thinking its broadcasting long-distance, which means Garibaldi will need hack a signal from Babcom to Stellarcom and back to Babcom. Garibaldi's annoyed but agrees to do it. In the meantime, Lochley's going to make a general announcement to reassure anyone who might be spooked by all this.
Londo and Adira are actually quite comfortable when the announcement comes on, making Londo wonder just what Lochley's going on about. For Adira, it's a sad reminder that her time is limited, and when dawn comes she will be gone again.
- Adira: And you will rule 40 billion Centauri, but not one of them will ever know you the way I know you.
Garibaldi's nearly done rigging the system to think it's originating on Minbar, through Proxima to B5. Dodger watches with mounting frustration, as he spends more time with the man toys than with her, eventually trying to pry his attention away. Her effort are for naught, but as Garibaldi finishes, he calls the captain to tell her he's done then joins Dodger on the bed.
- Dodger: It's a good thing I'm only here another hour or so cupcake. Two weeks of this, I'd kill you.
Delenn is still with Rebo and Zooty, who are expressing their admiration for how she and Sheridan are handling themselves during an emergency, Zooty saying they want to get out of showbiz. Rebo elaborates that they want to get into politics. Sheridan comes back, since everything's out of his hands for now. Delenn tells him what they just told her. Sheridan is surprised, telling them they have a gift and they were saying things during the Clark days that no one else had the guts to say. Rebo thinks no one takes comedians seriously. He says they say or do serious things in a funny way while in the senate people do one idiotic thing after another but everyone takes it seriously, and that ultimately comedians don't matter. Sheridan disagrees, feeling that one of the reasons politics exists is to ensure people have the right to laugh, and to love.
Corwin calls just then to inform Sheridan Lochley's calling...via Stellarcom. Sheridan takes the call, asking where she is. She's still on the station...and 27 light years away. For now, everyone seems to be alright, and the situation will apparently resolve itself in the morning. The signal starts to break up and Sheridan says they'll have to have a debriefing in the morning.
Dawn comes and Morden gets up, telling Lennier to just think of him as an anomaly that told him the truth for his own good, then vanishes.
Dodger and Garibaldi are singing Emily Dickinson when she realizes it's time to go. Garibaldi lets himself revert to his Catholic upbringing for a moment.
- Garibaldi: Maybe one day we'll meet up in Heaven.
Dodger: Parting is all we know of Heaven, and all we need of Hell.
She kisses his forehead then gets up. Garibaldi looks around, but she's gone.
Zoe is telling Lizzie a message she was given, then asks who that Sheridan guy is. The guy Lizzie married for a moment. Zoe is delighted to hear that, even if they didn't have kids. She'd wanted to have kids of her own, a lot of them. Before she goes, Zoe breaks down and admits that she does remember and she did do it on purpose. She couldn't go on any longer. She asks Lizzie not to hate her, and Lizzie says she could never do that. They share one more hand hold, then Lochley finds herself alone in her quarters.
As the Brakiri scrub the dividing line off the deck, Sheridan tries to find out what happened. Lochley says she had a visitor, but other than that it's too personal to talk about. Sheridan's been getting that from everyone who was in there. What about how it happened? How does selling a piece of the station get it transported to the Brakiri homeworld while filling it with the returned dead? Lochley can only say she thought it was a metaphor. And as for how it happened, there's thought-inducing tech, mind-altering drugs and gasses, telepathy, and the eggheads are churning out just about every other possible rational explanation...except for that message Zoe gave, from someone named Kosh.
Surprised, Sheridan asks what the message is. "When the long night comes, return to the end of the beginning." Yep, that's definately from Kosh. Sheridan thanks her and dismisses her.
G'Kar finds Lochley in the Zocalo, and she braces herself for the inevitable "I told you so". G'Kar is not inclined to do so, in fact, he now seems to regret not staying in his quarters. He's noted the reactions of those who were there, and that they seem to have had something that uplifted them, and now feels that he missed out on something remarkable. But, there's nothing to be done about it now, we just learn from our mistakes.
Just then, Londo appears with Rebo and Zooty in tow, laughing at the jokes they're telling him.
- G'Kar: Sometimes we learn.
Shortly after, he sees Zooty come up to Sheridan and cover his device with his hat. He whispers something in Sheridan's ear, pointing at his hat. Sheridan walks over to G'Kar, who asks what he said.
- Sheridan: Because it tells me to.
The two looks back at Zooty, who puts his hat back on and walks off.
This episode contains examples of:
- Adorkable: When we first see Corwin, he's trying to the hat trick.
- Affably Evil: Morden is quite polite and accommodating towards Lennier, and even tries to give helpful warnings and advice. However, Morden does this knowing full well Lennier is not in the right mind to accept such help, particularly from him.
- Almost Kiss: Dodger is about to land one on Garibaldi when Lochley appears on screen.Lochley: I hope I'm not interrupting anything, Mr. Garibaldi.
- Back from the Dead: Adira, Dodger, and Morden all make an appearance, along with a friend from Lochley's past, Zoe.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Lennier hoped to partake in the Day of the Dead in order to gain wisdom or insight. Instead he gets Morden.
- Brick Joke:
- The only word Zooty was ever known to speak was "Why?" to his partner. At the very end of the episode, Zooty whispers the answer to Sheridan.
- One of Dodger's nuggets of "arcane wisdom" is any Emily Dickinson poem can be sung to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas". Right before she leaves, she and Garibaldi are doing just that.
- Call-Forward: Zoe leaves a message behind for Sheridan. It's from Kosh, reminding Sheridan that his time is short.
- Cassandra Truth: Morden, as a ghost capable of perceiving past the veil and because Lennier answered his "What do you want" question, tells Lennier the truth: That Delenn does not love him the way he wants, and that he is fated to betray the Rangers. Lennier ignores him.
- Chekhov's Skill: Rebo & Zooty demonstrates that they study the humor of a number of races, including apparently Centauri as by the end they have even Londo, who previously complained that their routines didnt make sense to him, laughing and planning to have them perform at his coronation.
- Continuity Nod:
- Lochley mentions her marriage to Sheridan.
- What we learn about Minbari humor sheds some light on why Delenn had to order the White Star crew not to laugh at Ivanova's attempts to speak their language.
- Londo mentions a skull candy reminds him of his senior ex-wife.
- And he still has trouble understanding the appeal of Rebo & Zooty. Until the end, at least.
- Dark Is Not Evil: When a nocturnal race with a vaguely sinister appearance reveals that its main religion revolves around dead people who return mysteriously every 200 years, you'd probably think they're evil. The Brakiri, though, are perfectly friendly and their Day of the Dead, while a little disturbing, brings resolution and leaves the participants warily thankful for the experience. Well, mostly...
- Dead Person Conversation: Lochley with Zoe, Londo with Adira, Garibaldi with Dodger, and Lennier is stuck with Morden.
- Don't Ask: When Lochely explains that she's right next door and on another planet at the same time, she staves off the inevitable question with this.
- Driven to Suicide: Zoe eventually admits that she overdosed on purpose.
- Embarrassing Password: Tragic example "Zoe's dead", which Lochley has to speak to the computer in front of Zoe's ghost.
- Foreshadowing: Morden tells Lennier that he will betray the Rangers.
- Lochley is told by Zoe to pass a message from Kosh to Sheridan.
- Ignore The Fanservice: As Dodger is extending her legs out trying to distract Garibaldi from hotwiring the comm system, he just picks them up and moves them out of the way.
- Ignored Epiphany: Lennier makes the mistake of answering a question from Morden - the "What do you want?" question that the Shadows used to ensnare people - and when Morden answers back Lennier refuses to heed the warnings.
- Ironic Echo: Every character who meets with a ghost gets the visiting spirit they deserve:
- Garibaldi's visitor Dodger reminds him of his relationship to his ex-wife.
- Lochley's visitor Zoe reminds her of why she's willing to serve as commander on Babylon 5.
- Londo - who was hoping to speak to a past Emperor for wisdom or for confession - gets visitor Adira who reminds him both of what he's lost personally, but also provides one brief moment of happiness for him before his fate overtakes him.
- Lennier - who was hoping to speak to Marcus - instead gets Morden as a warning.
- Literal-Minded: Inverted; Lochley thought part of the station becoming part of Brakir was a figure of speech.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The mechanics of how an area of the station is affected by the Day of the Dead phenomenon are not explained. Several in-universe speculations are given, none of which fully explain everything that occurred.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Zoe's reaction to Lochley's password. She was probably expecting Lochley to be sad for a bit and then move on.
- Neil Gaiman: The writer. This is in fact the only episode after season 2 that JMS did not write.
- Never Got to Say Goodbye: Until this episode.
- Only Sane Man: G'Kar is the only main character who understands what the Day of the Dead really means, and avoids partaking of it (although he fails to adequately warn Sheridan or Lochley in the first place). Subverted by the end of the episode when G'Kar sees those who underwent the ordeal (mostly) came out in better spirits, and openly admits he may have missed his own epiphanies.
- Londo and Lennier also understand what the Day means... but both are blinded by their own follies to be rational about what they're doing.
- Pillow Pistol: Is it any surprise Garibaldi sleeps with a weapon?
- Raised Catholic: Literally in Garibaldi's case. He lets it slip back in for just a moment.
- The Runaway: Lochley and her friend Zoe were this. Lochley eventually came back after she found Zoe's corpse in their hideaway.
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Morden states that the Brakiri homeworld is "over 200 million light years away". Milky Way is about 100 000 light years in diameter, so no. Given that Lochley later states that Brakir is only 27 light years away, this is more likely exaggeration on Morden's part.
- Sexy Silhouette: Dodger emerges naked from the shower and all we see of her is a silhouette before Garibaldi hands her a shirt.
- Silent Whisper: Zooty always speaks through this little device and even his partner has only heard him actually speak once (he said, "Why?"). In the very last scene, Zooty comes up to Sheridan and whispers in his ear, pointing to the device that he's covered with his hat. Afterwards, G'Kar asks what he said. The answer: "Because it tells me to."
- Straight Man: As is tradition in comedy duos, Rebo would take this role, with Zooty, using his little machine, being the more wacky, zany one.
- The Voiceless: Zooty, who only speaks through his little machine, even when in private. He originally had lines, but this naturally had to be changed after Penn and Teller were cast because Teller never speaks when performing. He does whisper something to Sheridan in the end.