Babylon 5: Knives
August 4, 2018 8:27 AM - Season 2, Episode 17 - Subscribe

Londo meets with an old friend, who has danger on his heels... Sheridan goes to the heretofore unmentioned Spooky Sector (Grey Sector) and begins hallucinating... Or does he? "Insanity is part of the times. You must learn to embrace the madness. Let it fire you."

-Londo's old dueling club friend, Urza, comes to B5... but it turns out he's on the wrong side of Lord Refa, Londo's ally, and is about to be declared an enemy of the Republic. He begs for Londo's help, but Londo is in bed with Refa, and this leads to a rift between Urza and Londo, and Urza challenges Londo to a duel.
-Urza and Londo duel to the death, and Londo prevails. Except... Urza was always the better dueler. He threw the match to trigger a rarely-used provision in Centauri society: the family of a man killed in a duel is absorbed into the family of the victor. This prevents the edict against Urza from dooming his family.
-Meanwhile, Sheridan goes to Spooky Town and gets infected by an alien who gives him semi-prophetic hallucinations: of a dead Markab attacking him ("I know a Markab doctor", says Franklin), of a predator known as a grylor, of the Icarus (Anna Sheridan's poorly-named ship) exploding, of Babylon 4 and his parents...
-Finally, Sheridan figures it out. There's an energy-based lifeform who had infected the Markab, who then infected Sheridan. The lifeform showed those images to Sheridan to try to get him to help it get home. Sheridan commandeers a Starfury and goes to a location signaled by the hallucinations, and the being is released. Garibaldi, who followed Sheridan, shrugs and tows him home.
posted by flibbertigibbet (4 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is a bad episode made worse by airing out-of-order, so a lot of the setup for other episodes is squandered.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 4:36 PM on August 4, 2018

“I want to sleep. If I can.”

I think this episode is mostly weird for mashing together a good episode (Londo facing the consequences of his political choices) with the weird alien plot with Sheridan better suited to Star Trek: TNG.
posted by corb at 9:57 PM on March 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Okay but Londo and Vir singing Centauri opera to each other will never not be awesome.

After G'Kar's recent bravura turns, it's Londo's episode to shine. I thought Carmen Argenziano was brilliant casting as Urza/Scaltura; the Centauri culture's worldbuilding is so Italianate that it's good to have an actual Italian in a role that gives us another aspect of that culture, and of Londo's own history.

(G'Kar's recent character-exposing episodes were better written. But the Narn culture doesn't get nearly the same level of worldbuilding as the Centauri culture.)

This episode sees the first hint of a rift between Londo and Refa, and a foreshadowed warning to Londo: the people for whom you do favours will not necessarily reciprocate when you're the one who needs a favour.

Meanwhile, Urza, like Emperor Turhan in Coming of Shadows, is wise enough to make the genuinely honourable choice and "win by losing". And like his Emperor and his Prime Minister, he ends up dead. It seems to be honour versus power in the battle for the soul of Centauri Prime (and for Londo's soul, such as it is).
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:00 PM on April 15, 2021

I do like that Sheridan got his Babylon 5 baseball cap from the store a couple episodes ago
posted by JDHarper at 1:46 PM on October 10, 2021

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