Babylon 5: The Long Night
March 17, 2019 12:44 PM - Season 4, Episode 5 - Subscribe

The Shadows retaliate. Londo's plan reaches its conclusion. G'Kar breaks. "What have I endured?"

-The Shadows have begun taking out Vorlon 'infected' worlds with a weapon of their own. Later in the episode, the weapon (allegedly designed by Harlan Ellison, a frequent B5 collaborator) is revealed: a Death Cloud that surrounds the planet, bombards it with core-seeking missiles that cause massive earthquakes, and then sucks the planet's core dry of any energy. This is very different from the Vorlons' planet-killer, which is more "now you see it...".
-Sheridan asks Ivanova to seek out more First Ones -- this time with Lorien to ease her path. She agrees, but insists that she be recalled in time for the final battle. She was made to sit things out once before, because of her mother's suicide, and won't be sidelined again. Sheridan agrees, and honestly thanks her for her work. She is touched.
-Londo realizes that Cartagia must be assassinated soon, due to the Vorlon fleet bearing down towards Centauri Prime. His co-conspirators agree.
-Vir returns from a mission: with a silent poison that must be delivered just so, but if done correctly, will kill Cartagia with what looks like a double heart attack before he can call out for aid.
-A jester amuses Cartagia. Cartagia tells Londo he is to join Cartagia during his ascension--gods require company, after all. Londo leaves to see to some things, and hears the jester -- who had mocked Cartagia -- getting executed by gunshot.
-Londo goes to G'Kar, and is shocked by his missing eye. G'Kar redirects the conversation. Londo reveals his plan: G'Kar's bonds will be weakened; he is to break then and cause havok, so that Londo can spirit away Cartagia to a quiet place where he can be assassinated (Londo, after all, not trusting that the poison is as effective as claimed).
-G'Kar, done up in a jester's costume, is paraded around. Londo realizes that Cartagia had his bonds redone, but G'Kar -- despite being weakened by weeks of imprisonment and torture -- breaks through his bonds.
-Londo takes Cartagia 'to safety'. Cartagia is ranting and raving, and accidentally knocks the poison out of Londo's hands. He says Londo will burn with Centauri Prime, and turns -- just in time for Vir to stab Cartagia with the poison needle. Vir hides the needle, and Londo orders the arriving guards to find a doctor.
-Londo savvily argues that this is a bad omen: two Emperors have now died while meddling with Narn. Just leave Narn alone, and return to Centauri Prime. The other high-ranking members of government agree; after all, Narn no longer has any strategic value because of the mass accelerator bombardment has ruined it.
-In fact, everyone agrees that Londo is so good at things that he is now PM, at least until an Emperor can be chosen. He is now the most powerful Centauri.
-Vir gets absolutely wasted on booze. He's miserable -- he never asked to be important, he never wanted to be a murderer. He only ever wanted to do a good job. Londo tries to console him by saving he may have just saved the Centauri, and that Londo did not want Vir to be the one to strike the killing blow. As they leave, the sky lights up with fireworks as the Narn realize that the Centauri Occupation is over.
-Lennier and Sheridan figure out that the Vorlon will next strike Coriana VI, a planet of six million. Meanwhile, Ranger Ericsson is the one one who reports on the Death Cloud (see above). Sheridan asks Ericsson to hold on, as he is about to ask a lot of him.
-A plan is hatched:
-Distracting strikes on the Vorlon will be carried out to delay them.
-This will buy time for the fleet to get into position around Coriana VI, and for Ivanova to arrive with whatever First Ones she can find.
-Ericsson will sacrifice his ship with false intel that will draw the Shadows to Coriana VI, to force a direct Shadow-Vorlon confrontation -- something both the Shadows and the Vorlon have been avoiding.
-The Narn begin tearing down the replica Centauri palace in glee. G'Kar asks them to stop; they refuse.
"Why are you celebrating?"
"We drove them off! [...] Through strength!."
"Is that what you think? Try to understand: the strength that defeated the Centauri is not from weapons or arms!"
"G'Kar... you are tired. Hurt. You're not seeing this as we do."
"I see, G'Ron. I see better than you can imagine."
"When you've rested, we will thank you properly; as is your right. There will be celebrations in the street, G'Kar! Your name will be a blessing to any who speak it; and then, and then G'Kar, you will lead us against our oppressors! You will be the instrument of our vengeance! With you directing us, we will finally destroy the Centauri."
"You have just tossed someone OFF that throne. Would you put another in his place so quickly? The Kha'Ri spoke with many, equal voices; not the one voice of a single leader."
"We need strength to lead us; fire to forge us. We saw that in the Centauri; learned that from them."
"Then you have learned the wrong lessons. I will not take the throne; if the Kha'Ri is restored I will take my place among them but that's all. I DID NOT FIGHT TO REMOVE ONE DICTATOR JUST BE BECOME ANOTHER MYSELF."
"But the Centauri--"
"Are a LOST PEOPLE! They are to be pitied. They are already on a course for self-destruction. [voice breaking] They do not need help from us... We need to redress our wounds, help our people. Rebuild our cities."
"We must STRIKE BACK!"
[G'Kar winces] "...No..." [He turns and begins walking away]
"I never thought you a coward, G'Kar! We suffered and died during their occupation; where were you? What have you endured?"
[In a tense whisper] "What have I endured?" [G'Kar begins laughing hysterically, and walks away.]
posted by flibbertigibbet (3 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The "G'Kar breaks" lines refers to two things: his chains (literally and figuratively), and his patience in his final scene here.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 12:52 PM on March 17, 2019

I believe the role of Ericsson is played by a young-ish Bryan Cranston.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:19 AM on March 18, 2019

RIP Cartagia, the most fun I've seen any actor have onscreen in a long while. Quality, quality scenery-chewing by Wortham Krimmer.

We have now gone from Centauri Blackadder III to Centauri Yes, Prime Minister.

I loved Vir's post-murder drunk scene in which he reveals his horror at what he's become, and G'kar's final scene (the dialogue given above.) Fantastic acting by Furst, Katsulas and Jurasik-- in particular, the collegial relationships which now have the ease of years.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:42 PM on May 2, 2021

« Older Book: Want Not...   |  Movie: Sanju... Newer »

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