Babylon 5: Rumors, Bargains and Lies
June 29, 2019 7:47 AM - Season 4, Episode 13 - Subscribe

Neroon and Delenn meet to try to end the civil war breaking out on Minbar, at great cost to Lennier... Sheridan, with Londo and G'kar's support, tries to get the League of Non-Aligned Worlds to accept a White Star patrol. "Ambassador, there are so many things in the universe that are and so many things that aren't. If I were to take the time to deny all the things that aren't, we'd be here for centuries, wouldn't we?"

-The title uses the American spelling of 'rumor' and doesn't have an Oxford comma. A moment of silence for the amount of retyping I've had to do when drafting this.
-In the cold open, Franklin, Allen, and Ivanova exposit about the White Star patrols while Sheridan silently acts completely checked out. How can they convince the League that they have no ulterior motives and that the Raiders and Drakh are threats? Suddenly Sheridan chuckles and declares he has the solution: convince them by not convincing them! He refuses to elaborate and Ivanova and Franklin joke that maybe his coffee was spiked, or that three days away from Delenn has already made him this weird, what will another week do...
-Sheridan dispatches White Stars to sector 87, which is empty and boring.
-Sheridan goes to a confused and suspicious Londo and asks him to deny that there is a defensive pact between them; he has asked the same of G'kar. Sheridan asks Londo to just "trust me."
-The Drazi ambassador confronts Sheridan about White Stars seen in Centauri space; Sheridan refuses to confirm or deny.
-Sheridan orders Marcus Cole to destroy asteroids in Sector 87 and return to base.
-The Drazi ambassador then asks Londo, who also denies a pact; he goes to other League members, hugely suspicious. Franklin then comes in asking for additional blood, y'know, just in case there';s an incident. Or an attack. The word 'attack' makes them even more suspicious.
-Ivanova, as Voice of the Resistance, says "First, one brief announcement. I just wanted to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing whatsoever happened today in sector 83-by-9-by-12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm."
-Now the League ambassadors are panicking -- Sheridan is hiding some enemy, some invisible enemy, that could put all under threat right now! After a preliminary strategy meeting about how to go about this, they meet with Sheridan. They demand White Star patrols. Now! Sheridan demurs, saying the White Star fleet is busy. Doing, uh, nothing. The League counters that they are standing united on this and pledge a mutual defense pact: if something grave happens, the League will lend their forces to the battle. Well, Sheridan's hands are tired! Sheridan, humbled, says he'll prepare the paperwork...
-...and once he's alone, Sheridan whoops with joy.
-Ivanova broadcasts again, noting the new pact with the League and that they are requesting information on the Minbari civil war.
-Lennier briefs Delenn as they approach Minbar: actual Minbari-on-Minbari violence has broken out in the capital city; the civil war has begun in earnest. Delenn is returning to try to end the violence.
-Delenn is filled with regret: was breaking the Grey Council the right thing to do? In her childhood, the cities were gorgeous and eternal and the Council was revered; now it is broken and the cities are being destroyed by violence. Lennier cites Valen, but they both now know that Valen is Sinclair and Sinclair left last year; everything now happened is beyond his ability to 'prophecize'. Delenn fears she had misjudged Minbar's ability to progress without the Grey Council; Lennier says the real value of the Grey Council was removing societal friction that might lead to conflict.
-Lennier reveals that the Takari, holding members of the Warrior Caste (including Neroon), has received their signal and will be arriving soon. He also separately contacted Neroon.
-When the Takari meets the White Star fleet, there is thick tension between the Warrior and Religious castes. Neroon admits he was tempted to ignore Delenn's message, but asks why she plans to trust a Warrior; she deflects, saying they will discuss more in private. The Warrior Caste members briefly refuse to step aside to allow her to pass as they move to a private room to speak, and after they leave, rumours spiral among members of the two castes...
-Delenn lays it out: they need to work together to end the civil war and she believes he wants justice, not power. Neroon notes that their relationship has been... strained since he was elected to the Grey Council to replace her, which unbalanced it. She doesn't blame him for that; he does note that her breaking the Council was the final straw that allowed the war to break out. Millennia of intercaste anger is fueling the war... Delenn has approached Neroon as she would rather deal with an honest enemy than a yes-man allied to her. They need to end the war before it permanently and irreparably breaks Minbar. Neroon says this is risky, as everyone else is war-mad and it's only the two of them, but promises to listen.
-Meanwhile, members of the Religious caste decide that they think Delenn is going to surrender on behalf of the Religious caste. They cannot allow this to happen, so plan to sacrifice themselves by gassing the entire ship with a toxic gas. Anything more direct would be subverting Delenn's promise, which they can't have. This way the Takari will never reach Minbar. They set up the gas with a timer.
-Meanwhile, the Warrior caste has the same suspicions about Neroon, and one member attacks Neroon. Neroon survives and is found with his attacker; Delenn has Neroon sent to the sick bay and the Warrior sent to the jail, with religious texts to contemplate.
-The Religious Caste poisoners wonder why the Warrior caste turned on Neroon; Delenn says this was a risk they both took on, that it would seem like they were surrendering. Rather, they intend to forge a new Minbari with the two greater castes as equals. The poisoners realize that They Done Did Fuck Up, but the timer has already gone off by now; they will soon die...
-...except not, because Lennier, previously established as the most capable person in the universe, discovered the plan and disabled the gas bomb. He was a little too late, however, and inhaled some of the gas; he loses a lung. Before fainting, he asks the rhetorical question: "Have we fallen so far that we cannot even trust ourselves?"
-Neroon and Delenn talk -- it seems like Lennier accidentally inhaled some gas from the fuel system. Whoopsie! Delenn admits she is trying to train Lennier as Dukhat had trained her, and he had been perfectly loyal -- a guide, and a protector, all in return for the privilege of journeying with her. (Lennier still loves her, poor bastard.) Neroon grudgingly admits that he does not working with a member of the Religious Caste, but that there is a reason Dukhat chose her and he should respect that.
-Delenn asks Lennier what happened and asks him to stop his bad habit of almost dying. He claims merely that he noticed a fuel leak in a maintenance shaft that required immediate attention, and that, very pointedly, the Warrior Caste was not involved. The poisoners realize he is lying for them; after Delenn leaves, he clarifies that he is lying to protect her idealism, her ability to believe in a Minbar without betrayal or war.
-Lennier, recovering from getting most of a lung removed, notices Neroon slip off-ship and warns Delenn. Neroon tells another Warrior ship that he has received word of Religious caste plans for a counterattack; with this, the Warrior Caste will be triumphant.
posted by flibbertigibbet (1 comment total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Virtuoso episode for Jon Vickery as Neroon! In particular, his voice work here is excellent. He and Furlan have a lovely tension/chemistry in their scenes. (Londo and Timov come to mind: "With you, I will always know where I stand.")

And it's good to have some more Minbari worldbuilding as we head full tilt into the civil war; never forgetting that Mira Furlan was shooting this while her home country was being torn to pieces. "I think of my beautiful city in flames... and I cry, Lennier. I cry."
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:29 PM on May 14, 2021

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