Babylon 5: Matters of Honor
September 8, 2018 5:11 AM - Season 3, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Welcome to 2260, the year where people keep playing with matches while standing in a puddle of kerosene, next to a house fire. A mysterious man named Marcus Cole arrives on B5... "Good! I hate being cheered up. It's… depressing." "So, in that case… We're all going to die horrible, painful, lingering deaths." "Thank you. I feel so much better now."

-The opening monologue this season is by our gal Ivanova.
The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace. It failed. But in the year of the Shadow War, it became something greater: our last, best hope… for victory. The year is 2260. The place, Babylon 5.
-Marcus escapes a blockaded Drazi colony in the cold open, and arrives at B5 wounded. He's brought to medlab by Garibaldi. Turns out he's a Ranger who was escaping a training camp. Lennier signals Delenn about the man's arrival by stealing his pin (forged in water, Human blood, and Minbari blood). They meet in a skeezy bar, a brawl breaks out, etc.
-Marcus is introduced to Ivanova (who already knows the broad strokes of what's happening because she is... very detail focused, shall we say). Marcus introduces the White Star, the ultra-fast, jump-point-creating, state-of-the-line Minbari-Vorlon ship that is going to be a weapon against the Shadows. It is staffed entirely by religious caste, and part of the Grey Council has no idea it exists. Can it cut down a Shadow ship? Probably not. Can it cut down any of the 'younger species'' ships? Yup indeedy.
-They take the White Star to free the Ranger camp on the Drazi planet from the blockade, with Sheridan leaving Garibaldi to keep the EarthForce rep busy. A Shadow ship emerges, and they can't damage it. Sheridan goes to a nearby jump gate (pointedly not creating a jump point, because that would be intel to the enemy). Since the Shadows are at home in hyperspace, this means the Shadow is on their ass. At the jump gate to the dead Markab system, he creates a jump point inside a jump gate, blowing everything to hell. The White Star barely escapes.
-Marcus became a Ranger because his brother warned him of the Shadows; he ignored his brother; his brother died but made Marcus promise to carry on the fight.
-EarthForce sends a dude to ask about Keffer's recording of the alien vessel. All the ambassadors, and Sheridan, claim to have no useful knowledge of the vessel: Londo says he's seen them in a dream (and remember, the Centauri psi-powers mainly show themselves as prophecy and prophetic dreams), over the sky of Centauri Prime; Delenn technically avoids lying when she says it's the "first time I've seen" a ship like that . G'Kar, who is no longer an ambassador and requires an 'unofficial' visit as EarthForce personnel are no longer allowed to have contact with Narns under the terms of the non-aggression pact, goes on a religious rant about G'Quan and the Shadows arriving on the southernmost Narn continent a millennium ago...
-He goes back to report, to a Senator, that no one really knows anything about the ship. He leaves, and Morden and a PsiCop walk in. They're thrilled; the Narn aren't a threat, no one else knows anything, and they can leverage the Shadow ship as a threat to achieve goals at home.
-Londo decides he's done with Morden. Morden relatively quickly agrees, and they return to Londo's quarters to divide up the galaxy. This chunk is Centauri, this chunk is Shadow, and there's an open chunk in the middle. When asked for assurance that the Shadows won't attack the Centauri, Morden replies there is none. But they have what they want.
-Kosh continues to be obtuse and unsatisfactory in his dealings with Sheridan.
posted by flibbertigibbet (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Like the season two premiere, this is a workmanlike episode that serves to reset expectations and set up the new season's changes. There's some nice banter (apologizing for saying "bonehead" in front of Minbari; Kosh being mysterious; etc.). Thassit.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 5:23 AM on September 8, 2018

The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace... It failed.

This is by far my favorite of the opening narrations. That little pause, then the fatalism.
posted by traveler_ at 2:26 PM on September 9, 2018 [8 favorites]

This is by far my favorite of the opening narrations. That little pause, then the fatalism.
Not to mention the visuals with it.

An Earth Force Starfury is being fired upon by something out of frame. When that something flies into the picture, it's another Earth Force Starfury. Major "Hwa?" on first watch.
posted by stevis23 at 9:17 PM on September 9, 2018

Kosh continues to be obtuse and unsatisfactory in his dealings with Sheridan.

"I really hate it when you do that."

Enigmatically sassy Kosh is best Kosh.
posted by cjelli at 11:31 AM on September 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

This is by far my favorite of the opening narrations. That little pause, then the fatalism.
Not to mention the visuals with it.

And the musical change; harsh, clanging music. This will be a season of conflict, of discord. And then, after that - " became something greater. Our last, best hope for victory." Which is an awesome way to ramp up from the fatalism and defeat inherent in the idea that B5 had failed. It tells us that the station is still critical, because if B5 has failed - why are we watching the show?

Also note that during the character intros some of them stare straight into the camera, and others turn to face it (Susan, Michael, Vir, Zack, G'Kar).
posted by nubs at 12:14 PM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm 75% through my first watch of s4, but if you asked me to sing the B5 theme song I'd still do the "dum dum BWAAAHHHH" of s3 from right after Ivanova says "It failed."

Here's a link to the intro.

For comparison:

Season 1 ("It was the dawn of the third age of mankind...")

Season 2 ("...the year the great war came upon us all...")
posted by flibbertigibbet at 3:31 PM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Anyways, the Rangers. They always felt a little weird to me - I mean, B5 always had a touch of fantasy elements running (prophecy/dreams, etc), but the Rangers pushed into that a little too much for me. Marcus feels a bit like a D&D character who got injected into a sci-fi show.
posted by nubs at 9:25 AM on September 11, 2018

My partner and I watched Babylon 5 for the first time several years ago. It did not take long for Marcus to get the nickname "Ren Faire".
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 7:08 PM on March 15

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