Babylon 5: War Without End (Part 1)
December 16, 2018 6:38 AM - Season 3, Episode 16 - Subscribe

We return to Babylon 4, in the past... because they have received a message from the future: Babylon 5 will be destroyed by a Shadow fleet in 8 days. "He is the closed circle. He is returning to the beginning." and "Zathras understand. ... ... No. Zathras not understand. But Zathras do! Zathras good at doings, not understandings." and "Welcome back from the abyss. Your timing, as always, is quite exceptional. Just in time to die."

-Sinclair, now the Human ambassador to Minbar, receives a 900-year-old box on Minbar with instructions to open it today, and addressed to him specifically. He heads to B5 and tells his aide he will likely not return. Sheridan is addressed as "Entil'zha." His aide meets a Vorlon on Minbar, who gives the non-Zathras pullquote above, talking about Sheridan.
-When Sheridan arrives at B5, Zach Allen, surprised, asks if he'll be staying long. His response: "That is a much more interesting question than you might think."
-Soon, Delenn is opening an envelope, written in the same handwriting as Sinclair's...
-Ivanova receives a distress call from herself, but she never made it. They figure out two things: one, there's a time rift in Sector 14, twice as big as when Babylon 4 was popping in and out the first time. Secondly, the time rift is being expanded by Draal on Epsilon III. Two members of Zathras' species are on Epsilon III, discussing how they can't interrupt Draal right now...
-Delenn says they must go to sector 14, and phrases it rather prophetically.
-All of the major players board the White Star. No one knows how Delenn knew Sinclair was aboard; Marcus notes that Sinclair has become rather difficult to understand since he took control of the Rangers, always speaking obliquely.
-Since Garibaldi knows Sector 14, he goes out on a Starfury to scout as the other players rendezvous with the White Star. He gets a clear signal of Ivanova's distress call, from 8 days in the future: she's injured, in a wrecked C&C, and hundreds of Shadow ships jump in to B5 space at the end of the call. This implies that B5 will be blown up in 8 days.
-Delenn shows video from the Shadow war of a millennium ago, contained in her letter. The Shadows has destroyed the base of the allies, leaving them vulnerable to loss... until Babylon 4 pops into exitence to use as a base. She then shows a second video: B4 was attacked by Shadow ships before coming online... and the Shadow ships were fended off by the White Star. The meaning is clear: they need to go back in time and steal B4 for the first Minbari-Shadow war to use as a base of operations.
-How will this prevent the future of Ivanova's distress message? Without B4 in the past, the Minbari-Vorlon-Shadow war of the past goes poorly. The Shadows will be three times as strong when they meet Londo in this new timeline as they were when they met Londo in s1. This will be Extremely Bad for the universe.
-Garibaldi is sent back to B5 with orders to Shut The Fuck Up about everything. Sinclair wants to talk to Garibaldi, but is afraid of somehow triggering his vision of Garibaldi dying for him. So Garibaldi has no idea Sinclair is there. He learns Sinclair was on B5 from Zach Allen upon his return, and is worried.
-Garibaldi has a password-protected message from Sinclair. The password is Sinclair's greeting: "Hello, old friend." He explains that he wanted to contact Garibaldi, but doing so would cost Garibaldi everything. Sinclair is not coming back...
-Draal has sent his Zathras to the White Star, which Delenn expects. Sinclair is surprised to meet Zathras, but figures it out: Zathras' future is Sinclair's past. Zathras is honored to meet Sinclair, who tells him to not tell otherSinclair anything from the future. He is confused. Zathras is also honored to meet Sheridan, but for a "different reason." He refuses to clarify anything.
-They enter the time rift (Sheridan and Delenn hold hands; Sinclair approves). Zathras gives everyone time stabilizers, to keep them anchored in the time stream.
-Shadow ships with a B4-destroying fusion bomb are bearing down on B4. The White Star fights them off, but Sheridan's time stabilizer is damaged. He hops in time to a decrepit Londo Mollari as Emperor on Centauri Prime, who says "Welcome back from the abyss. Your timing, as always, is quite exceptional. Just in time to die." Londo blames Sheridan for the destruction of Centauri prime; former allies of the Shadows attacked it, and Sheridan did nothing.
-Sinclaior says they can't try to save Sheridan right now, because they need to focus on using the fusion bomb's blast, which temporarily blinded B4, to get onto B4. They do... Marcus and Ivanova go to find something that will let them get into place without being seen. Zathras is carrying equipment. Delenn and Sinclair rush off together...
posted by flibbertigibbet (5 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Normally I try to do two-parters the same day, but I am tired and this is very difficult to recap because of all of the timey-wimey stuff. Part 2, and the all-spoiler post, will drop next week.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 7:09 AM on December 16, 2018

I remember watching this when it first came out, and noticing that something was very, very off about Michael O'Hare's performance, and realizing we weren't getting the full story about his departure from the show.

In retrospect, it's pretty obvious he was very heavily medicated here, and it was very brave and amazing for him to come back given his circumstances, and to enable JMS to tell the story he wanted.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:37 AM on December 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


"Zathras is used to being beast of burden to other people's needs. Very sad life! Probably have very sad death, but at least there is symmetry!"

I was very happy to see Michael O'Hare return, particularly in light of what we later learned about his struggles at this point in his life.

Lots of things going on here - we get to learn not only the history of B4, but we get a glimpse of the future - of the Londo we've seen before, in his own visions.
posted by nubs at 11:11 AM on December 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

Sheridan is addressed as "Entil'zha."

Worth noting, that this is not the first time he has been addressed this way, but the first time it happened was right at the beginning of the series, and easy to miss.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:28 PM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Although, after a bit more research, it seems that bit of dialog was added in the 1998 Special Edition of the pilot movie "The Gathering" and wasn't in the original 1993 airing.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:32 PM on December 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

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