Babylon 5: The Summoning
March 2, 2019 11:19 AM - Season 4, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Ivanova seeks out more First Ones to act as allies for the war. Zach Allen takes action. Delenn is opposed by members of the League. "I was. I'm better now."

-Ivanova borrows the White Star to seek out First Ones. Delenn agrees, but notes that she needs Lennier and he cannot serve as her translator. Ivanova broadly says she's been learning some Minbari and promptly butchers it. Delenn pauses, and then recommends that she bring Marcus. Delenn also warns the Minbari crew not to laugh at Ivanova unless they want to deal with Delenn.
-Delenn realizes that there is no one left on the station who she cares about, now.
-Delenn asks Lyta why the Vorlons aren't giving them ships for the attack of Z'ha'dum; Lyta responds that they are planning something, secret and big. Delenn asks her to find out what.
-Kosh2 is withdrawing his essence too quickly, and too often, from Lyta, causing her pain. She asks for respect; he denigrates her; she leaves, but as she leaves tries to read his mind. Kosh2 throws her against a wall and decides that if she wants to see his thoughts, she'll see it all: he opens his mind to her. Lyta begins screaming.
-Meanwhile, Marcus and Ivanova detect an anomaly; hyperspace is 'folding over' itself. They investigate, thinking it will be a First One... Instead, it is a massive Vorlon fleet, hidden in hyperspace, including a massive Vorlon ship of a type they have never seen before.
-Zach Allen gets the info about Garibaldi that G'Kar requested, but can't reach G'Kar. He leads a convoy to find Garibaldi; they chase down a ship, which ejects Garibaldi's lifepod and then explodes. Zach recovers Garibaldi's lifepod, and the pod's onboard computer makes him wake up.
-Garibaldi is ushered to medlab. Allen worries that this was too easy... Garibaldi remembers nothing of his last two weeks.
-G'Kar is forced to dress as a jester and is humiliated for the amusement of Cartagia's court.
-Later, Cartagia emerges from a 'session' with G'Kar with blood on his hands and talks to Londo and Vir. G'Kar refuses to scream from pain in front of the Emperor, out of pride; the Emperor says that the torture is becoming less fun and that G'Kar will have to be killed if he doesn't start screaming. Vir is now onboard with killing the Emperor.
-Londo tries to convince G'Kar to scream; he refuses, saying that to do so is un-Narn. Londo asks him which is more important: his pride or the freedom of his people?
-Cartagia now tortures G'Kar in front of Londo and Vir, this time with an electro-whip. 40 lashes will kill him; G'Kar finally does what Londo wants and lets out at scream at lash 39. Cartagia is overjoyed.
-The League holds a rally to inform (read: warn) people of the upcoming attack of Z'ha'dum; Delenn is informed of the rally out of politeness by a League member. The League member also mentions an unknown ship, heading towards B5.
-Delenn attends the rally to speak her peace. The other League members are advocating for a peaceful solution to the Shadows.
-As this happens, Ivanova, in C&C, notices that the strange ship from two bullet points ago is using B5's docking codes to dock with B5. She issues a red alert and scrambles security (which includes Garibaldi) to the dock. Security is stunned by who walks off the ship...
-...Sheridan (and Lorien). He arrives at the Zocalo as the crowd, enraged, begins to threateningly surround Delenn. Sheridan's appearance stuns the crowd, and he gives a speech about how this time, they will end the war forever, not just for a thousand years.
-Lyta, in her quarters, is immobilized by her pain from her encounter with Kosh2. She is ignoring a message on her comms; Ivanova comes in to check on her and Lyta knows Ivanova found out what Lyta just found out about: the Vorlon fleet.
-Sheridan is expositing about the Shadows and Vorlons. Garibaldi is suspicious of Lorien and is interrupting. Lyta, Marcus and Ivanova arrive, to tell of the Vorlon fleet -- and how it has attacked, destroying not just a Shadow base, but the entire planet the base was on, and all 4 million people on it. The Vorlons seems to want to purge the universe of anything the Shadows have touched. This changes the war's calculus -- it's not about defeating the Shadows, it's about surviving both the Shadows and the Vorlon.
posted by flibbertigibbet (7 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Pullquote is Sheridan's response to "we thought you were dead!"
posted by flibbertigibbet at 11:24 AM on March 2, 2019

Still don't have my tapes handy to follow along right now, but this one was fun, and I still quote the following bits to this day:

"Zog? Whaddya mean, zog? Zog what? Zog yes? Zog no?"

"I'll put a bucket on my head and pretend to be the ancient Vorlon god Booji."

Also, this was one of many individual episodes that increased my respect for the show, (B5 is one of only a handful of properties I've ever counted myself a proper annoying fan of - despite all the Star Trek posts, Trek isn't actually one of them). I appreciated that races and characters that would've been depicted as unalloyed good in less sophisticated properties were given realistic and unpleasant motivations here: Minbari are basically elves, and they can be awful in practice, with a number of their virtuous claims either bullshit or sufficiently loopholed.

Vorlons literally present themselves as angels, but the truth is that the lesser races are still pawns to them. I dunno that I had the words for it then, but it's really a great take on how privilege can work: the Vorlons care, sort of, but only the First Ones are really people to them.


Good stuff. And gutsy stuff, especially then.
posted by mordax at 11:32 AM on March 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is actually not the first time Marcus and Ivanova have gone out seeking First Ones, and the Zog bit is from that other episode.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 12:21 PM on March 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Curses! My bad. (I am really under the weather this week.)

The whole 'Vorlons flip the table' thing was a major turning point for me though.
posted by mordax at 12:24 PM on March 2, 2019

This is actually not the first time Marcus and Ivanova have gone out seeking First Ones, and the Zog bit is from that other episode.

Also from that episode, Word of God is that the Firat One's actual response to Ivanova's "We dont need help" gambit was "If theyre desperate enough to try the reverse psychology tactic, we'd better help them."
posted by happyroach at 2:07 AM on March 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hi guys, I never got rolling on a watch BUT I guess Prime has added the show, maybe that prompted your watchthrough here, I dunno.

Since I found the Duffers' Guides I did for VOY and DS9 helpful, I thought you folks might be interested in this "Quick Hack Guide" (terrible name imho) from SyFyWire. I'll repeat this exact post in FanFare Talk.
posted by mwhybark at 7:26 AM on March 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

Vorlons literally present themselves as angels, but the truth is that the lesser races are still pawns to them. I dunno that I had the words for it then, but it's really a great take on how privilege can work

The treatment of Lyta in this episode really makes it clear that the Vorlons are full on baddies at this point; I find those scenes actually quite disturbing, as the invasion of Lyta's body and mind is a really significant violation. It helps to bring it home to the audience that yes, this is a threat on multiple fronts - not just in terms of the planet killer but also what the Vorlons do to people on a personal level.
posted by nubs at 7:46 AM on March 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

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