Babylon 5: Severed Dreams
November 3, 2018 9:42 AM - Season 3, Episode 10 - Subscribe

President Clark attempts to seize B5. Many alien races begin declaring war on their neighbours, and Delenn goes to confront the Grey Council on their complacency. "That's what makes this war different from anything we have ever gone through before. This time, we know everyone we kill."

-Ryan (below) gives word that Earth Colonies are refusing martial law.
-Mars is bombed by Clark-loyal Earthforce ships, including civilian targets (habitat domes).
-Two Earth colonies, Orion VII and Proxima III, secede from the Earth Alliance.
-ISN headquarters are attacked by Clark forces, and ISN goes offline.

-The injured ranger (below) warns that members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds are, with Shadow support, declaring war on their neighbours. Having seen Centauri forces tear through Narn with Shadow support, they race to embrace the Shadows.

-The rebel-led Alexander (captained, last we knew, by the wanted rebel and Sheridan's handler General Hague) destroys the pro-Clark Clarkstown, and heads to B5 for repair. When Sheridan finds out she's on her way, he orders station comms killed so that no one onboard can send a message to Earth about the Alexander's location.
-Hague, it turns out, is dead. Ryan now commands the Alexander.
-Sheridan offers the C&C staff a chance to leave and remain loyal to Clark. None take him up on his offer; they are now all rebels. Sheridan gives a rousing speech about fighting for good.
-Meanwhile, Lennier leads Franklin to a wounded Ranger with an important message. G'Kar overhears the predicament, and ferries the Ranger to safety. He warns Delenn about the outbreak of wars throughout the universe.
-Delenn decides to confront the Grey Council about this news. She also thanks G'Kar for his help and notes, positively, how much he has changed.
-Hiroshi, a rebel commanding the Churchill, arrives with news: Clark is leading a massive counteroffensive against the colonies and B5. The two Clark-loyal ships en route to B5 are the Agrippa and the Roanoke. B5 was targeted before the arrival of the Alexander, in response to Sheridan's actions.
-Sheridan is worried about the quarter million civvies on B5, but a vote is held and B5 fights. He scrambles fighters and orders low-priority cases cleared from Medbay. He also orders Ivanova to get in contact with Draal, in preparation for Draal making an announcement on his behalf.
-Sheridan risks making one call to his pops, to get moral support. The first lesson his dad taught him: Never start a fight... but always finish it.

-If you remember Delenn of s2, she was filled with sorrow about being loved by, and belonging to, no one. She felt outcast.
-Well... That Delenn is gone.
-When blocked from the Grey Council chambers:
I served the Council for sixteen cycles. I was the chosen of Dukhat to replace him! I held him when he died! His blood is on my hands, his spirit in my eyes, his word on my lips! You will step aside in his name and mine, or -- in Valen's name -- I will tear this ship apart with my bare hands until I find them! Move aside!
-She breaks the Council, as was prophesied:
Three years. For three years, I warned you this day was coming. But you would not listen. "Pride," you said! "Presumption!" And now the Shadows are on the move. The Centauri and the younger worlds are at war, the Narns have fallen…even the humans are fighting one another. The pride was yours! The presumption was yours! For a thousand years, we have been awaiting the fulfillment of prophecy. And when it finally happens, you scorn it—you reject it—because you no longer believe it yourselves! "We stand between the candle and the star, between the darkness and the light." You say the words, but your hearts are empty—your ears closed to the truth! You stand for nothing but your own petty interests! "The problems of others are not our concern." I do not blame you for standing silent in your shame. You, who knew what was coming, but refused to take up the burden of this war! If the Warrior Caste will not fight, then the rest of us will! If the Council has lost its way, if it will not lead…if we have abandoned our covenant with Valen…! Then the Council should be broken [she breaks the leader's staff in two], as was prophesied! We must stand with the others -- now, before it's too late! Between the Religious Caste and the Worker Caste, we control two thirds of our forces! And to you I say, listen to the voice of your conscience! Break the Council, and come with me! Our time of isolation is over! We move now, together, or not at all!
-The Religious and Worker castes leave with her, leaving the Warriors alone.

ON BABYLON 5 (part 2)
-Clark-loyal forces (hereafter Loyalists) arrive at B5, order surrender; Sheridan rebuffs them and declares B5's secession.
-Sheridan tells his forces to only open fire after first being fired upon, and quotes his father (above), again.
-A breaching pod unloads Marines into a B5 bay. The Narn security forces charge forward (against Garibaldi's wishes), and get themselves killed... but many Marines die as well. They eventually triumph, capture the remaining Marines, and tend to the wounded (including Garibaldi).
-A fight breaks out. The badly wounded Churchill rams itself into the Roanoke, destroying both.
-Ivanova hits another fighter and ejects.
-The Agrippa refuses to surrender before being blown to bits.
-More Earth forces arrive... only for Delenn, commanding a group of Minbari ships and the White Star, appear from new jump points. She chases off the Earthforce ships:
Why not? Only one human captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else.
-Clark-loyalists, including many known Nightwatch members, leave the station.
-Cleanup and medcare has begun.
-Delenn and Sheridan shake hands, and then Sheridan kisses her hand.
-Shierdan has stopped wearing his uniform, as he can't morally do it as a rebel.
-Sheridan et al. get a standing ovation in the Zocalo.
-The Alexander leaves to find and aid other rebels.
-B5 takes on many of the starfuries and pilots orphaned by the destruction of the Churchill.
posted by flibbertigibbet (8 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Hugo Award 1997
posted by Freedomboy at 1:49 PM on November 3, 2018 [5 favorites]

After twenty years, I still remember the look on Sheridan's face after he sees that more Clarke ships are coming through the gate and more jump points are forming all around B5 (which we assume are a third wave of Clarke ships). He looks down and then closes his eyes as he asks "How many?". It was like a punch in the gut, just for a moment.
posted by Mogur at 2:24 PM on November 3, 2018 [5 favorites]

Here's the moment Mogur is discussing, as well as Delenn's "Be somewhere else" speech.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 2:35 PM on November 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks for that link! I forgot that he actually hears about the jump points, not sees them. Also, that pause between the announcement of the new jump points and the audience seeing that they are Minbari ships is some kind of master class in suspense. I don't think it could have been one second shorter or longer.
posted by Mogur at 5:08 AM on November 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

After being reminded of how great this was, I wondered, "Do I still have this on my harddrive?", and the answer is "Yes", BUT I decided to not watch this episode right away, but work into it with S03E09 Point of No Return...

Which begins with Vir/Londo greatness. So, if you're planning on -- as I did -- revisiting this episode, consider going a bit earlier into S03, just so that you can appreciate the tension building even better...
posted by mikelieman at 5:27 AM on November 4, 2018

Hugo Award 1997

Deservedly. This is a huge payoff episode, across multiple plots and several different personal character arcs. The complete inversion and up-ending of the show's framing, going all the way back to the pilot, brings all sorts of the undercurrents of tension to the surface: a fracturing of the Minbari, of Humanity, of the League, and of Babylon 5's place in this universe. And it only works because of how much work went into establishing all of those norms: not time, necessarily, but context and characters and continuity. ISN going off-air still gives me chills, and it's not even the biggest moment in the episode -- it's maybe towards the middle.

Just in the last episode, we were in the 'let's win through technicalities and loopholes and hope that things turn around.' Here, the show shreds all of those assumptions, and even the nominal premise of the show -- it's an amazing mid-season, mid-show pivot, and it flows absolutely naturally from everything that's come before.
posted by cjelli at 12:44 PM on November 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

This episode was amazing. I keep discovering nuances in it. Sheridan’s dad saying “I’ll see you when I see you” with the implication that it may be when one or both of them are dead. Delenn’s amazing war face. The Narns - and this choice had to be deliberate - giving essentially a Highland charge at the Clark forces assaulting the station. The moment on the female ISN newscasters’ face when she realizes that she’s been playing it safe and now it’s too late. Glorious all around.
posted by corb at 7:38 PM on March 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

The one-two-three punch of "Messages From Earth," "Point of No Return" and "Severed Dreams" is truly something.

"Severed Dreams" hits like a truck after the events of last month, AND you get three amazing Delenn moments at no additional charge. Four jump points forming...
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:11 PM on February 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

« Older Movie: Suspiria...   |  Book: The Monster Baru Cormora... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments