Babylon 5: Acts of Sacrifice
June 23, 2018 5:25 AM - Season 2, Episode 12 - Subscribe

G'Kar tries desperately to find allies for the Narn. Ivanova tries to cement an alliance with a new alien species, and engages in chicanery to do so. Londo has some regrets about his new position. "There is nothing to mediate, Delenn. Unless others choose to become involved, we will destroy them, or they will destroy us. There is no in-between."

-Ivanova, still freshly promoted, tries to cement an alliance with a new alien race, the Lunati, as another step in "learning the fine art of diplomacy". They view most other races as inferior and will only deign to interact with those who are worthy; because of this, the ambassador communicates through an aide who can 'dirty' himself with the contact. They are strict 'survival of the fittest' types, insulting Franklin for doctoring, and only sign on to an alliance once they see Down Below--because 'tis a noble thing, to treat the worst members of your species so poorly. They attempt to cement the alliance with sex. Ivanova makes up a bogus sex-chant-dance to avoid having sex with the Lunati ambassador, resulting in the stinger: "Next time, my way."
-Delenn refuses to join the war, both for fear of a Narn campaign of destruction against the Centauri if the Minbari because of G'Kar's quest for vengeance, and because the Minbari do not want to go to war for an alien species, if at all: "I was there when our war against Earth began, when our ship encountered an Earth vessel for the first time. Afraid of us, of the unknown, they fired. I saw our leader dying. I heard the cries for revenge, for blood, for death. In return we nearly exterminated an entire species. My people are tired of war, G'Kar. You cannot ask them to go through that again." This moment will be revisited...
-Sinclair and Delenn agree to provide secret, unofficial, humanitarian aid to the Narn. Shipping food out to Narn, bringing refugees on the return trip.
-The episode opens with a Narn battlecruiser sacrificing itself--"the supreme act of sacrifice"--so that a civilian shape can escape the (illegal) Centauri razing campaign. The Narn are losing the war, thoroughly. Sheridan wants to intervene but EarthGov refuses.
-G'Kar has difficulty stopping Narn from fighting with Centauri on B5, which is jeopardizing alliances and also resulting in Narn and Centauri deaths and injuries. G'Kar points out that they won the last war through attrition; this is a total, open war and they are losing. There is dissent in the Narn ranks about "remaining calm", and some Narn believe G'Kar "talks like a human." G'Kar beats a Narn ringleader to a pulp in ritual combat to regain control of the situation. "If peace on this station is the only way to win the war at home, THEN PEACE WE SHALL GIVE THEM!" Also turns out Narn are marsupials, since they spend a stage as "pouchlings"?
-Londo is being offered bribes of illegal drugs ("j'quan'eth plants") to smooth people's shipping businesses. "Shall I log this in with the rest?" "Mhmm. Six months ago, they were hardly aware of me... and now, suddenly!, everyone is my friend. Everyone wants something. I wanted respect. Instead, I have turned into a wishing well."
-Londo hangs out with sour-faced Garibaldi, the only man he considers a real friend, but it goes poorly. Londo repays Garibaldi for years of bailing him out of debt at gaming tables; Garibaldi offers him a receipt; Londo just wants to spend time with someone. "I want you to stay! ...and have a little drink with me. I want you to be happy! I want me to be happy! I want you to be happy for me and me to be happy for you! Is that so much to ask around here? Why is everyone here walking around like they're afraid of me?" "'Cause maybe we are." [...] "I don't know you anymore, Londo. None of us do." Londo regrets his friendlessness, except for Garibaldi, "my good, close friend." Garibaldi relents and stops by for a drink after his rounds. "It is good to have friends, is it not, Mr. Garibaldi? Even if only for a little while?" "Even if only for a little while."
-Londo agrees to not push for a public trial of a Centauri attacked by Narn earlier in the episode. The Centauri in question is a family-less troublemaker, so Londo agrees to his deportation and auction of his belongings to help fund the Centauri War Fund.

The Narn stand alone in the war. G'Kar weeps.
posted by flibbertigibbet (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ivanova gets the best lines.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:30 PM on June 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ivanova's sex simulation was the best.

Aw, Londo.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:06 PM on June 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Here's the 'human-style' sex scene.

I've heard it said that the Lunati (or Lumati?) are a parody of the Federation -- we can't intervene with lesser races! Goodness, no, we can't help prevent the end of this species or heal this child.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 5:41 AM on June 24, 2018

Ah Delenn. Please remind me, is the "first contact with humans" episode still to be written? Been so long...
posted by Fukiyama at 2:12 PM on June 24, 2018

The event you're talking to has been mentioned a few times, but not with enough detail that people would 100% understand what you're talking about.

The episode you're talking about is, I'm pretty sure, a season 4 episode.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 5:33 PM on June 24, 2018

Babylon 5 related...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:54 PM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've heard it said that the Lunati (or Lumati?) are a parody of the Federation -- we can't intervene with lesser races! Goodness, no, we can't help prevent the end of this species or heal this child.

But we will absolutely shag an alien we just met.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:09 AM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

So they're both Picard and Kirk.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:40 AM on June 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

So I just got access to Babylon 5 on Amazon and was delighted to find there's been fanfare discussions of the show. This is the first one where I'm commenting, as I gradually catch up with the rest of you all. I should mention I haven't seen the show before—I have some very vague memories of season 1 stuff but no knowledge of any major arc stuff so I'm grateful for the non-spoiler threads and have completely avoided the spoilery ones.

So all that said, I absolutely cracked up at the thought of all the crew on set during Ivanova's "sex scene" trying to keep a straight face during all that.
posted by traveler_ at 2:36 PM on July 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

The acting by Londo and G’kar’s actors in this episode was incredible. “Of course I’m pleased!” Followed by the weeping and laughing outside. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but I got a very “Thank you for donating to Doctors Without Borders” vibe from the Delenn/Sheridan/G’kar scene. Like, thanks for mitigating the suffering, but it’s the political choices that cause it in the first place...
posted by corb at 7:37 AM on March 22, 2019

This was absolutely a bravura episode for Andreas Katsulas. Straczynski’s been writing for him for at least a year and a half at this point; he knows what the guy can do, and this episode demands his full range.

I don’t know if we’ve had this much of G’kar’s perspective before. It’s been Londo who I remember having the humanising character moments. But this episode on the heels of “The Coming of Shadows” shows us a web of pressure and tension with G’kar at the centre, and the fracture lines along which he breaks.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:07 PM on April 14, 2021

It’s a huge transition to suddenly ask the audience to accept G’kar as sympathetic. Sheridan and Delenn lampshade this well, while expressing their wishes that things were different. Londo has been such a good-time Charlie, a lovable scamp, but he’s made his decisions and it’s good to see him being so publicly shunned that he has to beg Mike to hang out.

JMS loves to write big awkward speeches, but he acquits himself well with this storyline. Up to now G’kar has seemed like a villain (even if sometimes he’s been a villain with a lot of good points), but he’s winning me over.
posted by rikschell at 11:03 AM on October 15

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