On Spreading The Gospel of Babylon 5
I watched Babylon 5 during its original run in the 1990s. A few of my High School friends and I watched it obsessively, digging into its mysteries, taking guesses as to how things would play out and laughing at how our hopes and expectations were both made and confounded. It was the first time I’d been that obsessed with a TV series since I was a little kid. I’d look forward to every episode with breathless anticipation and, even when the last season dragged on, I still hung around for the last episodes and watched the last few mediocre TV movies. I cried at the finale. I couldn’t believe that it was over and that it had ended without gimmicks, without jokes and without meaningful loose ends. The show was a five-year long novel for television and it succeeded in most of its ambitions.
I thought it was the most brilliant television show possible and that anyone who enjoyed Science Fiction would think the show was the best thing that happened to the medium since the original Star Trek. Well, I still think the show is amazing and a totally worthwhile time investment, but convincing people who didn’t watch the show when it first aired to give it a shot proved more challenging than I ever thought possible and, as time goes on, I suspect it will only get harder. There are a few key barriers to entry for the series, some of which are due to the series’s own faults, some due to the nature of the show’s fanbase and some due to the nature of science fiction fandom in general.
The Show’s Flaws
1. Season 1
In college my friend Thomas brought his well-worn VHS tapes of every episode and we rewatched it along with my two roommates, both serious sci-fi geeks who were going to be watching it for the first time. I was sure they would love the show, too. They ultimately did, but not until after they got bored and disinterested several times during the first season and only kept watching because we promised them that things would become awesome once Sheridan showed up in season 2. Ultimately they got into it and became fans, but it took a lot of persistent pressure in the early going and it doesn’t take a lot of retrospect to figure out why. Season 1 is just not that good. Even worse, the first half of season 1 is the weakest part of the series with the possible exception of season 5’s Byron arc. The show’s absolute nadir, “Infection” is the fourth episode of the show and its second worst episode, “Grail” can’t even by saved by David Warner hamming his glorious ham-heart out.
That’s not to say season 1 is irredeemable. It ends on a string of pretty solid episodes and some early ones like “Parliament of Dreams” and “Believers” do a great job of delineating why this show is going to be different from Star Trek. But on the whole, season 1 is a challenging slog. When you take into account, say the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, which borrowed heavily from Babylon 5’s formula while hitting the ground running with an absolutely phenomenal first season, it’s asking a lot for viewers to stick through 22 hours of mediocre sci-fi WITH POTENTIAL to get to the vastly superior second season.
2. It Looks and Sounds Cheap and Dated
The show had nowhere near the budget of its contemporary rival Star Trek: Deep Space 9. It had cheaper looking sets, it used unimpressive CGI graphics for its special effects and its musical score was laden with synth instead of being fully orchestrated, even if Christopher Franke’s music ended up being quite exceptional in the long run.
3. It Is Hammy and Speechy
Even by the standards of television science fiction, actors were prone to grandstanding in the most over the top manner, chewing scenery like it was an-all you can eat buffet of food that will never fill anyone or make them gain weight, and frequently making PROFOUND THEMATIC SPEECHES that make some of what Shatner said in the original Star Trek seem like subtle mumbling. Some of the speeches end up quite good, especially once the main plot gets rolling. As the show proceeds, the characters get better established and you understand that, as diplomats, many of these characters are on the station precisely because of their ability to bloviate.
The Show’s Fans
We gush like you wouldn’t believe and we get snippy when people dare criticize the show. If you just started watching it from the beginning you’ll wonder if its fans are in an insane cult, and you might just be right. If someone tells me that they’re a B5 fan that gives me a feeling akin to meeting someone who is from the same town as I am. It’s like discovering a lost friend. While Babylon 5 is one of the first shows to develop an online fandom, online fandoms were such a small thing at the time that most fans didn’t even think to look online to find friends to link up with. The show didn’t sell a lot of visible paraphernalia, it didn’t have any phrases in pop culture like “he’s dead Jim,” it wasn’t covered in most mainstream entertainment magazines or entertainment news programs. It felt like an underground, invisible thing to be a part of. It made fans feel like part of a secret society. Hell, the biggest B5 site was called “The Lurker’s Guide,” lurkers referring to the people who lived in the poorest sections of Babylon 5 and were rarely seen or heard from. We were small in number, but we were powerful enough to keep the show from getting cancelled. I think the fact that the show MADE it five years and doesn’t have the tragic “too good to last” label on it hurts its legacy in some ways when compared to other series like Firefly and Farscape which required fans to organize to get more show. Despite some fears that season 4 would be the end, we got our promised five year arc, and if the pacing was disrupted due to production issues, we never had to band together to bring our show back. We managed to keep it afloat. That leads to a lot of fan pride, but not a lot of headlines or fan movements. We got most of what we wanted just for being loyal viewers. As series creator J. Michael Straczynski said, “Faith Manages.”
To other B5 fans, we speak the same language. To non-fans we look like a cultish bunch of ornery, hyperbolic nutcases. The more time passes by and the more shows we get like BSG that hit the ground running, the less time and willpower non-fans have to devote to the series. “Stick with it?” They’d say, “this show isn’t very good and I don’t know why you people are hyping it so much.” But we’ll keep hyping it up and annoying people who gave the show a fair chance. Let’s be honest, there are a lot of other shows people could watch that are good from the get go, even if they never reach B5’s highs. We oversell the show when we should undersell it. We should also come up with a definitive guide to how to watch as little of season 1 as possible.
Science Fiction Fandom In General
To say that there is animosity between the B5 fanbase and the Star Trek fanbase, especially the DS9 fanbase, would be a gross understatement. Any time a major sci-fi site posts about Babylon 5 it is instantly swarmed by Trekkies shouting “DS9 was better!” kicking off the oldest and most worn out fandom debate since the dawn of the internet. Since both shows were in syndication and aired on different dates and times depending on region, many fans of both series had to choose to watch one or the other. Some people were able to tape one and watch the other, but in an era before OnDemand, tying up two tvs in a household to tape one show and watch another might seem a bridge too far. So while in the modern era it would be easy to watch and follow both shows, back in the 1990s many people picked one show or the other, with DS9, having the viewership advantage of the five year period when both shows were originally airing. This led to camps forming backing one series or the other as superior in order to justify their selection. DS9 fans would often mock B5 for its cheaper look and its inferior pedigree, B5 fans would knock DS9 for ripping B5 off and attack its fans for being closed-minded Trekkie sheep. As one of the few people I know who has seen every episode of both series, the lines of attack are both wrong-headed and unfair. As if to settle the fan war, Majel Barret actually did a guest appearance on Babylon 5 to show that the official Trek people had no animosity toward the competing show. But it settled nothing and the fan wars spring up anew every time the topic of B5 shows up.
2. Non-Franchise Aversion Bias
When you think about the biggest televised science fiction hits of the last thirty years one trend becomes readily apparent: established franchises sell. Original science fiction programming has a hard time reaching the air without an established fanbase already lined up ready to get on board. Networks assume, with some justification, that a sci-fi show won’t sell without some kind of pre-sold elements.
So, consider the following success stories…
- Star Trek had three spin off series after having proven itself in cinemas and with successful merchandising for years. This despite the fact that the fanbase didn’t even really LIKE Voyager and Enterprise all that much.
- Stargate started with a hit movie and spun-off several multi-season series
- Battlestar Galactica was based on a cult-classic TV series and had a Trek luminary at the helm, it ran four years and had a failed, highly experimental spin-off as well as a large number of webisodes
- Doctor Who was a revival of a beloved British classic long-running series and has proven to be a big international hit
Now consider these lower-rated counter-examples:
- Babylon 5 somehow made it to air with no pre-sale, but managed to skate by for five seasons somehow, but TNT’s only reason for picking up B5’s fifth season was to draw B5’s fanbase to other shows on the network and they WEREN’T GOING. The cross-over failure doomed Crusade before a single episode aired.
- Firefly was killed by the network without even airing all of its 13 produced episodes. Eventually a movie was made that didn’t do enough business to revive the series on film or on television.
- FarScape made it four seasons after repeated cancellation threats and only had a cheap finale movie made after massive fan protests
- Space Above and Beyond died early despite phenomenal reviews
The pre-sale is king now. This is undeniable. No network, big or small, wants to risk money on an unproven property because fans won’t flock to an unproven property in sufficient numbers to make an instant hit. Want to know why Joss Whedon is making an Agents of Shield instead of Dollhouse season 5? It’s because SHIELD is pre-sold due to the success of Marvel’s movies. If the series doesn’t have a pre-sale, the fans won’t show. Not even Joss Whedon has been able to avert that fate and his fans are as loud and loyal as they come. Potential fans to new franchises are risk averse.
B5 has no presale other than itself and its fans. There’s no easy gateway. There’s no upcoming reboot. There’s no big budget movie with updated special effects. There’s just the show, with its lousy first-season, dated production values and hammy acting. It takes a leap of faith to give it a whirl that many potential fans, already absorbed in other fandoms, don’t have an inclination to try and, with no upcoming releases in the series on the horizon, there is nothing compelling anyone to watch it other than extant fans who can be culty, obnoxious, and easily slighted if you mention how original and dark you thought Star Trek DS9 was.
Watch the show! It’s great!
But here are a few ideas about how to go about doing it if you don’t fall instantly in love and all those annoying fans like me pressured you into watching a show that isn’t even that damn good in its first season.
1. Maybe try watching B5 at the beginning of Season 2 and if you’re confused about something, read the wikipedia summaries for earlier episodes. Sheridan taking over Babylon 5 serves as a good entry-point to the series as everything’s more or less as new to him as it is to you. Yes, there will be references to earlier episodes here and there, but nothing you couldn’t do without. Probably. If anyone’s watched the series this way I’d love to hear their opinion.
2. Otherwise consider watching only a few episodes of season 1. My recommendations would be:
1.1 - Midnight on the Firing Line - Not a great episode, but it’s the first episode and therefore necessary.
1.5 - Parliament of Dreams - The easiest and fastest way to learn about the various alien cultures as well as the series’s particular take on religion
1.6 - Mind War - Introduces Bester and the Psi-Corp. Not a great episode on the whole, but Bester becomes one of the show’s better villains and evil Walter Koenig is a treat for Trek fans.
1.9 - Deathwalker - Optional, but a good early example of the show’s darker (for its time) themes as well as some fun with the Vorlons
1.10 - Believers - Optional, but it’s another good example of how the show follows through on its nastier moral dilemmas
1.12 - By Any Means Necessary - Optional, watch only if you REALLY like Sinclair and want to see his finest hour in season 1.
1.13 - Signs and Portents - Introduces Mr. Morden, one of the most important characters in the series as well as his benefactors.
1.18-1.22 - Watch all these episodes. Each will end up plot important in the long run and include most of the best episodes of season 1.
3. Watch all of season 1 and tell yourself that it gets better. Because really, it does.
Babylon 5 (1993–1998), created by J. Michael Straczynski, is a science fiction television epic about Babylon 5, an Earth-governed space station built to promote harmony between interstellar civilizations. It is unusual in its focus on a story arc which dominates the events through its five-year run.
Season 1: Signs and Portents
- [Opening credits voiceover.]
- Jeffrey Sinclair: It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth/Minbari war. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call, home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last best hope for peace. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2258. The name of the place is Babylon 5.
Midnight on the Firing Line
- Londo Mollari: [arguing with Garibaldi] We made a mistake, I'm sorry. Here, open my wrists. [offers Garibaldi his wrists]
- Michael Garibaldi: Centauri don't have major arteries in their wrists.
- Londo: Of course not! What, do you think I am stupid?
- Jeffrey Sinclair: The best way to understand someone is to fight him, make him angry. That's when you see the real person.
- Ivanova: I do not like Santiago. I've always thought that a leader should have a strong chin. He has no chin, and his vice president has several. This to me is not a good combination.
- Londo: My people…we have a way, you see. We know how, and sometimes even when, we are going to die. Comes in a dream. In my dream, I am an old man, it's twenty years from now, and I am dying. My hands wrapped around someone's throat, and his around mine. We have squeezed the life out of each other. The first time I saw G'Kar, I recognized him as the one from the dream. It will happen. Twenty years from now, we'll die with our hands around each other's throats.289
- Londo: What reasonable explanation is there for the slaughter of unarmed civilians?
- G'Kar: Curious. We wondered the same thing when you invaded our world. The wheel turns, does it not, Ambassador?
- Londo: We should have wiped out your kind when we had the chance.
- G'Kar: What happened? Run out of small children to butcher?
- Kosh: They are alone. They are a dying people. We should let them pass.
- Sinclair: The Narn or the Centauri?
- Kosh: Yes.
- Ivanova: Mr. Garibaldi, you're sitting at my station, using my equipment. Is there a reason for this, or to save time should I just snap your hand off at the wrist?
- Londo: The Council can go to hell! And the emergency session can go to hell! And you, Vir, you can go to hell too—I would not want you to feel left out.
- Londo: Blood calls out for blood.
- Londo: Just now, would you really have killed me?
- Garibaldi: Yes. Yes, I would have. But I'm just as glad I didn't have to. The paperwork's a pain in the butt.
- [An unknown ship on collision course with the station.]
- Susan Ivanova: This is not a clear and present danger? I must read the rule book again.
- Stephen Franklin: It's all so brief, isn't it? Typical human lifespan is almost a hundred years, but it's barely a second compared to what's out there. It wouldn't be so bad if life didn't take so long to figure out. Seems you just start to get it right and then…it's over.
- Ivanova: Doesn't matter. If we lived 200 years we'd still be human, we'd still make the same mistakes.
- Franklin: You're a pessimist.
- Ivanova: I'm Russian, doctor. We understand these things.
- Delenn: They will join with the souls of all our people. Melt one into another until they are born into the next generation of Minbari. Remove those souls and the whole suffers. We are diminished, each generation becomes less than the one before.
- Soul Hunter: A quaint lie, pretty fantasy. The soul ends with death, unless we act to preserve it.
- Michael Garibaldi: I really hate it when you get heroic. Cuts into my business. A man's got to earn a living, you know.
- Soul Hunter #2: If I may ask, what happened to my brother's collection?
- Sinclair: [with a sly smile] Life's full of mysteries. Consider this one of them.
Born to the Purple
- Londo: What do you want, you moon-faced assassin of joy?
- [Ivanova talks to her father for the last time]
- Andrei Ivanov: Is that you, Susan?
- Susan Ivanova: Yes.
- Andrei Ivanov: Oh dear God! I never thought I'd see your face again. It makes this easier. Susan, I know I haven't been the best of fathers to you. But when your mother passed on and your brother was killed in the war I was too wrapped up in my own grief to pay attention to your needs. And when you joined EarthForce against my wishes…
- Ivanova: You don't have to say this, Father.
- Andrei Ivanov: Yes, Yes I must. There's no more time. I want you to know how proud I am of you, Susan. I always have been. But a father should give his daughter love as well as respect, and in that I failed you. I'm sorry, I'm ashamed. Forgive me.
- [she nods her head, and Andrei smiles]
- Andrei Ivanov: Thank you, dushenka moya.
- Ivanova: "Little soul." You haven't called me that for...
- [her father closes his eyes and stops breathing]
- Ivanova: Papa!
- Jeffrey Sinclair: The last time I gave an interview, they told me to just relax and say what I really felt. Ten minutes after the broadcast I got transferred to an outpost so far off the star maps you couldn't find it with a hunting dog and a Ouija board.
- Michael Garibaldi: [smiling] Don't sweat it. Just be that charming, effervescent Commander we've all come to know and love. What's the worst that could happen? They fire you, ship you off to the Rim, and I get promoted to Commander. I don't see a problem here.
- Sinclair: How sharper than a serpent's tooth.
- [visiting Babylon 5, Vance Hendricks tries to get the attention of his former protege]
- Dr. Vance Hendricks: Stephen, there's a Martian war machine parked outside. They'd like a word about the common cold.
- Dr. Stephen Franklin: Tell them to make an appointment.
- Sinclair: You forgot the first rule of the fanatic: when you become obsessed with the enemy, you become the enemy!
- Mary Ann Cramer: I have to ask you the same question people back home are asking about space these days. Is it worth it? Should we just pull back? Forget the whole thing as a bad idea, and take care of our own problems at home?
- Sinclair: No. We have to stay here. And there's a simple reason why. Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics, and you'll get ten different answers. But there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe, and Lao-Tzu, and Einstein, and Morobuto, and Buddy Holly, and Aristophanes, and all of this…all of this…was for nothing. Unless we go to the stars.
The Parliament of Dreams
- Narn Courier: Are you Ambassador G'Kar?
- G'Kar: This is Ambassador G'Kar's quarters. This is Ambassador G'Kar's table! This is Ambassador G'Kar's dinner! Which part of this progression escapes you?!
- Londo Mollari: Do you know what the last Xon said just before he died? [clutches chest] AAAAGGGHHHH!
- . . .
- [A drunken Londo climbs across a dinner table as he describes a collection of Centauri statues.]
- Londo: This is Ben-Zed, god of food! And…Li, goddess of passion! And Mo-goth, god of the underworld, and protector of front doors. Gods by the bushel! Gods by the pound! Gods for all occasions!!
- [He leans toward a discomfited Delenn.]
- Londo: Have I ever told you that you are very cute for a Minbari?
- [He crawls over to Garibaldi.]
- Londo: Oh! And you are cute, too, in an annoying sort of way. Everybody's cute. Everybody's cute! Even me. But in purple, I'm stunning!
- [He passes out on the table.]
- Vir Cotto: Ah! He has become one with his inner self!
- Michael Garibaldi: He's passed out.
- Vir: That too.
- G'Kar: And you have no idea how that [a black flower sent to G'Kar as a sign that he is about to be assassinated] got into my bed?
- Na'Toth: Ambassador, it is not my place to speculate on how anything gets into your bed. Your reputed fascination with Earth women, for instance.
- . . .
- G'Kar: The Earthers have a phrase: Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. I believe they stole it from us.
- [Delenn meets her new aide at customs]
- Delenn: You can look up, Lennier of the Third Fane of Chu'Domo.
- Lennier: It is forbidden.
- Delenn: I cannot have an aide who will not look up. You will be forever walking into things.289
- [Sinclair is listening to an audio recording of Tennyson's Ulysses in his quarters]
- Catherine: Tennyson? Jeff, you've been caught on that one since the Academy! What's it take to drag you into the 23rd century?
- Sinclair: We find meaning where we can.
- Catherine: Ah, and which are you? "An idle king…doling unequal laws unto a savage race that hoard and sleep and feed and know not you"? Or, "this gray spirit, yearning in desire to follow knowledge like a sinking star"?
- Sinclair: I didn't know you'd memorized it!
- Catherine: I lived with you for a year. I didn't have much choice.
- [Sinclair grabs Catherine's wrist as she moves to leave his quarters.]
- Catherine: Don't touch me unless you mean it.
- G'Kar: That hurt.
- Na'Toth: Ambassador, it was the only way to disable the paingivers. I had to hit them as hard as possible, as often as possible, and still make it appear as though I were beating you into another incarnation.
- G'Kar: And you didn't enjoy it in the least?
- Na'Toth: I didn't say that.
- G'kar: [To Tu'Pari] That's your flight. I suggest you board quickly. With luck, they may never find you, but if they do, you will know pain…
- Na'toth: …and you will know fear…
- G'Kar: …and then you will die. Have a pleasant flight.
- Jeffrey Sinclair: No, now's a fine time…
- [he looks up and spots the two Psi Cops, Bester and Kelsey–instantly realizing that they've been communicating telepathically with him]
- Sinclair: Get out of my head! You want to talk to me, talk to me!
- Alfred Bester: Apologies, Commander. It saves considerable time.
- [G'Kar tries to dissuade a skeptical Catherine from her flight to Sigma 957.]
- G'Kar: Let me pass on to you the one thing I've learned about this place. No one here is exactly what he appears. Not Mollari, not Delenn, not Sinclair…and not me.
- [Garibaldi harbors a very rude thought towards Bester]
- Bester: Anatomically impossible, Mr. Garibaldi. But you're welcome to try.
- Talia: Do you know what it's like when telepaths make love, Commander? You drop every defense, and it's all mirrors: reflecting each other's feelings deeper and deeper…until, somewhere along the line, your souls mix. And it's a feeling so profound it makes you hurt. It's the only moment in a telepath's life when you no longer hear the voices.
- Catherine Sakai: While I was out there, I saw something. What was it?
- G'Kar: [pointing to a nearby flower] What is this? [upon closer inspection, an insect is visible]
- Catherine: An ant.
- G'Kar: "Ant"!
- Catherine: So much gets shipped up from Earth on commercial transports, it's hard to keep them out.
- [As Catherine is talking, G'Kar carefully picks up the ant.]
- G'Kar: I have just picked it up on the tip of my glove. If I put it down again [replacing the ant on the flower] and it asks another ant, "What was that?" …how would it explain? There are things in the universe billions of years older than either of our races. They are vast, timeless. And if they are aware of us at all, it is as little more than ants…and we have as much chance of communicating with them as an ant has with us. We know. We've tried. And we've learned we can either stay out from underfoot, or be stepped on.
- Catherine: That's it? That's all you know?
- G'Kar: Yes. They are a mystery. And I am both terrified and reassured to know that there are still wonders in the universe…that we have not yet explained everything. Whatever they are, Ms. Sakai, they walk near Sigma 957. They must walk there alone.
The War Prayer
- Susan Ivanova: You're a vicious man.
- Michael Garibaldi: I'm Head of Security. It's in the job description.
- [Vir pleads with Londo for a young star-crossed Centauri couple.]
- Vir Cotto: But they love each other!
- Londo Mollari: Love. Pah! Overrated.
- [Londo fetches a set of three pictures of Centauri women.]
- Londo: Here. Look. These are my three wives: Pestilence, Famine, and Death. Do you think I married them for their personalities? Their personalities could shatter entire planets!289
- Londo: Arranged marriages. Every one. But they worked out, they inspired me! Knowing that they were waiting at home for me is what keeps me here — 75 light-years away!
And the Sky Full of Stars
- Jeffrey Sinclair: Everyone lies, Michael. The innocent lie because they don't want to be blamed for something they didn't do, and the guilty lie because they don't have any other choice.
- [A mysterious man accuses Sinclair of selling out to the Minbari at the Battle of the Line.]
- Sinclair: We never had a chance. You say we could have won, but you weren't there, you didn't see them! When I looked at those ships, I…I didn't just see my death — I saw the death of the whole damn human race!
- Knight Two: Then why did they surrender?!
- Sinclair: I don't know! Maybe the universe blinked. Maybe God changed His mind. All I know is that we got a second chance!
- [Ambassador Kosh hires commercial telepath Talia for an mysterious job.]
- Kosh: We will meet in Red 3 at the hour of scampering.
- [Later, after the first meeting]
- Kosh: We shall commence again tomorrow at the hour of longing.
- Kosh: Ahh. You seek meaning.
- Talia: Yes.
- Kosh: Then listen to the music, not the song.
- Ivanova: [to a Drazi ship threatening to fire on the station] Vakar Ashok, our gun arrays are now fixed on your ship. They will fire the instant you come into range. You will find their power most impressive…for a few seconds.
- [A distressed Talia presses Kosh for the meaning of his "business deal" with Abbut.]
- Talia: What is he? And what was on that data crystal he gave you?
- Kosh: Reflection. Surprise. Terror. For the future.
- [A gloating "Deathwalker" Jha'dur reveals the secret of her immortality drug.]
- Jha'dur: You and the rest of your kind take blind comfort in the belief that we are monsters, that you could never do what we did. The key ingredient in the anti-agathic cannot be synthesized. It must be taken from living beings. For one to live forever, another one must die. You will fall upon one another like wolves. It will make what we did pale by comparison. The billions who live forever will be a testimony to my work. And the billions who are murdered to buy that immortality will be the continuance of my work. Not like us? You will become us. That is my monument, Commander.
- Michael Garibaldi: Ambassador Kosh has been a busy boy today.
- Sinclair: They say God works in mysterious ways.
- Garibaldi: Maybe so. But He's a con man compared to the Vorlon.
- M'Ola: No one knows what is written in the stream [of Time] until the waters surround him.
- Susan Ivanova: After that [pacing to and fro], maybe I'll try pacing fro and to, just for the kick of it.
- Stephen Franklin: May God save us from false religion.
- Jeffrey Sinclair: Who asked you to play God?
- Franklin: Every damn patient who comes through that door, that's who. People come to doctors because they want us to be gods. They want us to make it better…or make it not so. They want to be healed and they come to me when their prayers aren't enough. Well, if I have to take the responsibility, then I claim the authority too. I did good. And we both know it. And no one is going to take that away.
- Franklin: I'm waiting. For an apology.
- Sinclair: You'd better check the temperature in Hell first.
- Jeffrey Sinclair: Lieutenant Commander Ivanova, escort Major Kemmer off the Observation Dome.
- Susan Ivanova: With pleasure. [to Kemmer] You are going to resist, I hope.
- Major Lianna Kemmer: I demand you open a channel to Earth at once!
- Ivanova: I am a Lieutenant Commander in Earthforce, Major. I do not take demands. If you have a request, I'll consider it.
- Maj. Kemmer: Very well, then. I request that you open a channel to Earthdome!
- Ivanova: Request denied. Have a nice day.
- G'Kar: The Universe is run by the complex interweaving of three elements: energy, matter, and enlightened self-interest.
By Any Means Necessary
- [upon being told that Londo is the only one on the station who can provide him with a flower he needs for a religious ceremony]
- G'Kar: Oh, why does the universe hate me so?
- [Sinclair uses his power to end a dockworkers' strike "by any means necessary"…by giving the strikers what they want]
- Orin Zento: You can't do that!
- Jeffrey Sinclair: Correction: I couldn't. Until you invoked the Rush Act. You should never hand someone a gun unless you're sure where they'll point it.
- [after Sinclair resolves the dockworkers' strike]
- Senator Hidoshi: If I were you, commander, I would watch things very carefully. You are not the most popular person in government circles right now. [ends their video call]
- Sinclair: So what else is new?
Signs and Portents
- Susan Ivanova: I've always had a hard time getting up when it's dark outside.
- Jeffrey Sinclair: But in space, it's always dark.
- Ivanova: [morosely] I know. I know.
- [Lord Kiro dismisses his aunt's vision of Babylon 5's destruction.]
- Lord Kiro: She's been wrong before. On my first birthday, she said that someday I would be killed by…shadows. 289
- Londo Mollari: Shadows?
- Lord Kiro: Doesn't exactly make sense, does it?
- [Boxer Walker Smith decks a man trying to knife a distracted Garibaldi from behind.]
- Walker Smith: One of these days, Garibaldi…you're gonna learn to watch your back. 289
- Rabbi Yossel Koslov: Without forgiveness, you cannot mourn. And without mourning, you can never let go of the pain.
- Walker Smith: Any ideas on how I should fight this guy?
- Michael Garibaldi: From inside a Main Battle Tank would be nice.
- [during the memorial service for Ivanova's father]
- Susan Ivanova: When I was thirteen, I developed a passion for Kasharev, one of the radical neocommunist authors.
- Rabbi Koslov: Oy! Your father felt that Kasharev would be personally responsible for the destruction of Russian culture!
- Ivanova: Exactly! But he was invited to a reading by Kasharev, and I begged him to take me. Of course, he had no intention of going, but I whined and pouted as only a thirteen-year-old can, and eventually, he was forced to surrender. So, after the reading there was a question and answer session, and for days I had been formulating the perfect question with which to impress my idol. So the time comes, and I stand up, I'm trembling, and I ask my question.
- Rabbi Koslov: And?
- Ivanova: He promptly said that it was the most foolish thing that he had ever heard, and that he had no intention of bandying words with a bourgeois little twit who was barely out of diapers. [Laughs] I was crushed. But then Papa stood up. And he said that his daughter was neither bourgeois, nor a little twit, and had been out of diapers for many, many years, while Kasharev's writings had yet to rise above the contents of those garments!
- Rabbi Koslov: That sounds exactly like Andrei!
- Ivanova: He then added that were he not a man of peace, he would have horsewhipped Kasharev through the streets of St. Petersburg, as his own father should have done many years ago!
- Rabbi Koslov: Bravo, bravo!
- Ivanova: Well, of course I was mortified. But then Papa took my hand and he turned, and as we walked out, he said to me: "It was a good question, dushenka."
- [Sinclair watches Garibaldi wolf down his food.]
- Jeffrey Sinclair: They say food tastes better if you chew it first.
- Michael Garibaldi: Don't talk, I've seen you eat. Does the term "Doppler effect" ring a bell?
- [A silver-suited grey alien stands before a Babylon 5 ombudsman, who listens to a plaintiff.]
- Plaintiff Flinn: We went through their archives, and we found proof…that his great-grandfather abducted my great-grandfather, and just took him away in a spaceship! Frankly, Your Honor, we want damages!
- Ombuds Wellington: [to alien] How do you plead?
- [The alien holds up a card with curious image on it.]
- Ombuds Wellington: Could I please have a translation team in here?! [to himself] Why is it Ombuds Zimmermann never gets these cases? Only me?
- [Thomas "Jinxo" Jordan tells his story, and the story of the "Babylon Curse," to Aldous Gajic.]
- Jinxo: I was too young to fight in the Minbari War, so when I got the chance to work space construction, I jumped for it. The day I went to work on the Babylon Station–we didn't number them at first, you know–I thought that was the best day of my life! I worked a few months, had some leave, so I took it. And the station's infrastructure collapsed. Sabotaged. They never found out who.
- Aldous Gajic: I remember.
- Jinxo: So I went to work on the second one. The firm still owned my contract until the station was finished. I took leave a second time, and that station was sabotaged. And then when B3 blew up, well, that's when I got the name Jinxo. When I went to work on B4, I didn't take any leave! I was there every minute until we finished it. I thought the Curse was gone. But as I was leaving on the shuttle, I looked back…and the station just sort of…wrinkled, twisted like putty, and then just disappeared. The minute I left. So then when they decided to build B5, I had to work on it. And I have to stay. I have to!
- Aldous: I'd say that you have the wrong nickname. They should have called you Lucky!
- Jinxo: How do you figure?
- Aldous: To have escaped the worst each time, that's a blessing. You're a very lucky man. Perhaps each time, you were exactly where you were meant to be.
- Jinxo: [slowly smiling] I never thought of it like that.
- Aldous: We never do.
- [As Londo tries to present a facade of effort, Vir suddenly presents Aldous Gajic with the information he requested]
- Londo: Vir, what are you doing?
- Vir: Ah. Being efficient, sir.
- Londo: A few more like you, Vir, and the entire Centauri Republic will efficient itself to extinction!
- [Delenn has offered to help Aldous in his search for the Holy Grail]
- Jinxo: That's really nice! I mean, with the war and all, I figured you folks would…well, you know.
- Lennier: There are two castes of Minbari, the warrior caste and the religious caste. The warrior caste would not understand. It is not their way.
- Delenn: [slyly] So we will not tell them, and spare them the confusion.
- Aldous: These two sides of your culture, do they ever agree on anything?
- Delenn: [soberly] Yes. And when they do, it is a terrible thing. A terrible power, as recent events have shown us. Let us hope it never again happens in our lifetime.
- Sinclair: We've confiscated the fake encounter suit. It's a pretty close match to your own, at least from the outside.
- Kosh: Why?
- Sinclair: Deuce wanted to make people think he had the Vorlons working for him. He figured it would add to his image and intimidate people.
- Kosh: Why?
- Sinclair: Well, after all, no one knows exactly what you look like. That makes some people a little nervous.
- Kosh: Good.
- Garibaldi: There he goes–Jinx-…Thomas.
- Sinclair: Mm-hmm.
- Susan Ivanova: You never did tell me what you think about that curse.
- Sinclair: What curse?
- Garibaldi: You know. That bit about if he leaves Babylon 5, the same thing that happened to Babylons 1, 2, 3 and 4 would happen to us.
- Sinclair: Oh, that curse. You're not taking it seriously, are you?
- Garibaldi: Me? No, of course not. You?
- Sinclair: No.
- Garibaldi: So, how long until he hits jump?
- Ivanova: [working her console] Oh, right about…now!
- [the ship goes through the jump gate without incident]
- Garibaldi: No boom?
- Sinclair: [slightly disappointed] No boom.
- Ivanova: No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.
- [Sinclair and Garibaldi exchange an exasperated look and wander off.]
- Ivanova: What?! Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here. Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! 289
- Michael Garibaldi: Protests are as much use with the Vorlons as fairy wings on a cement truck.
- [Ivanova confronts Psi Corps specialist Harriman Gray.]
- Susan Ivanova: Mr. Gray. I'm grateful the Psi Corps has given you a purpose in life. [She looks him directly in the eye] But when that purpose includes scanning my mind to prove my loyalty, it's not only an invasion of my privacy, but my honor! As for fear, if you enter my mind for any reason, I will twist your head off and use it for a chamberpot!
- [Garibaldi enters the casino to find an angry, inebriated Ivanova mopping the floor with the patrons.]
- Ivanova: Are you gonna arrest me, Garibaldi?
- Garibaldi: No way! I wanna live to see the future.
- Jeffrey Sinclair: We've fought long enough. Maybe it's time we started talking to one another. Branmer's life was more significant than his battles. Let the warrior caste praise his courage in war, and let the rest praise him for what he truly was—a man of peace.
- Neroon: You talk like a Minbari, Commander! Perhaps there was some small wisdom in letting your species survive.
- Sinclair: We like to think so.
- Susan Ivanova: There's nothing more annoying than Mr. Garibaldi when he's right.
A Voice in the Wilderness, Part 1
- [Sinclair comes upon Talia waiting for a tube car.]
- Jeffrey Sinclair: Problem with the transport tube?
- Talia Winters: No, not really. It seems like every time I get into the tube, Mr. Garibaldi's there! It's like he knows!
- Sinclair: Talia, Mr. Garibaldi is many things, but he's not omniscient.
- [The tube opens, revealing a grinning Garibaldi, then closes again.]
- Talia: I think I'll take the stairs.
- Sinclair: I think I'll join you.289
- Draal: Quickly, what is the third principle of sentient life?
- [Delenn turns around and sees Draal.]
- Delenn: Draal!
- Draal: Incorrect answer! The third principle of sentient life is the capacity for self-sacrifice: the conscious ability to override evolution and self-preservation for a cause, a friend, a loved one. It has been too long, Delenn. You have forgotten your training. Soon you will have forgotten all about your old friend Draal.
- Delenn: Not if I live to be a thousand and one.
- [A survey shuttle limps back to Babylon 5 after its second, near-fatal disaster.]
- Dr. Tasaki: Survey 1 to Babylon Control, we're clear. Returning to base.
- Susan Ivanova: Confirmed, Survey 1. Upon arrival, you will report for debriefing. [pauses] And just one more thing. On your trip back, I'd like you to take the time to learn the Babylon 5 mantra: "Ivanova…is always right. I will listen to Ivanova. I will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations. Ivanova…is God. And, if this ever happens again, Ivanova will personally rip your lungs out!" Babylon Control out. [sighs to herself] Civilians. [looks up] Just kidding about that God part. No offense.
- [Londo is cheering up Garibaldi with a tale.]
- Londo Mollari: The next day, I woke up, I saw her in the light of day, sleeping against my arm, and I decided I would rather chew off my arm than wake her up.
- Michael Garibaldi: Aw, that's sweet.
- Londo: No, no! She had a voice that could curdle fresh milk. "Londo!" "Yes, dear?" "Londo!" "Coming, my darling!"
- [Londo to Garibaldi.]
- Londo: Now, I go to spread happiness to the rest of the station. It is a terrible responsibility but I have learned to live with it.
- [upon seeing the Great Machine on Epsilon 3 for the first time]
- Ivanova: Commander?
- Sinclair: Yeah?
- Ivanova: I think I've got to go to the bathroom.
- Sinclair: Tell me about it!
- [Londo vents his frustrations over trying to understand humans to Delenn and Draal.]
- Londo: These Earthers! I try to find out as much as I can about them to try to make some sense of them, but it never seems to come together.
- Delenn: They do seem to be a mass of contradictions.
- Londo: Exactly my point! Here–six thousand years of recorded history, a history that includes remarkable composers, astonishing symphonies! But what is the one song that half of them sing to their children generation after generation?
- You put your right hand in,
- You put your right hand out.
- You put your whole self in,
- And you turn yourself about.
- You do the hokey-pokey,
- You give a little shout.
- That's what it's all about!
- It doesn't mean anything! I have been studying it for seven days! I had the computer analyze it! I swear to you, it does not mean a thing!
- Delenn: We've come at a bad time, haven't we?
- [Sinclair and Ivanova try to retrieve the machine-ensconced alien while the planet quakes around them.]
- Ivanova: Commander, we don't have a lot of time. We're cut off from the way we came in, we don't know if we can find another way back to the ship before we run out of air…
- Sinclair: We can't leave him like this!
- Ivanova: I know, I know. It's a Russian thing. When we're about to do something stupid, we like to catalog the full extent of our stupidity for future reference.
A Voice in the Wilderness, Part 2
- Delenn: The third principle of sentient life is its capacity for self-sacrifice, for a cause…a loved one…for a friend.
- [A conflict between Earth and Mars has Garibaldi, who grew up on Mars, at odds with an Earther barfly.]
- Barfly: Like my granddad used to say: "Nuke 'em till they glow, and shoot 'em in the dark!" That'll take care of them. Just like magic.
- Michael Garibaldi: Magic? Want to see magic? I got a little magic trick for ya. I got a little magic that'll make you pass through the top of the bar! [grabs the barfly]
- Barfly: Hey! Leggo!
- Garibaldi: I'll need complete silence or I'll have to ask for another volunteer from the audience. Let's see, what was that magic word again? Shazam? [slams the barfly into the bar] No, that's not it. I'll tell you what, I'll go home and look at my books, then I'll come back. If you're still talking trash about killing Marsies, we'll try it again and again [slams him again] until we get it right, huh?
- Susan Ivanova: Ambassador, do you really want to know what's going on down there right now?
- Londo Mollari: Yes, absolutely.
- Ivanova: Boom. Boom, boom, boom. Boom, boom. BOOM! Have a nice day.
- [She walks away with a smile, leaving Londo to stew.]
- Londo: Faugh! You can never get a straight answer from anyone around here!
- [after Captain Pierce of the EAS Hyperion and an alien ship trade ultimatums]
- Ivanova: Worst case of testosterone poisoning I've ever seen.
- Susan Ivanova: God, I hate mornings.
- Jeffrey Sinclair: We noticed. Personally, I find it the best part of the day.
- Michael Garibaldi: Ah, me too.
- Ivanova: [sighs] We all have our cross to bear.
- Sinclair: The time I really learned to appreciate mornings was during the three years I spent being taught by Jesuits. [His voice drops to a near-whisper, and Ivanova starts to nod off.] We used to get up at five o'clock every morning for sunrise mass. Then an hour of meditation before class. We would sit, quiet, at peace. [Her eyelids are getting heavier.] Breathing in, breathing out. Breathing in, breathing out. [She's out cold.] Breathing in, breathing out. [Sinclair winks at Garibaldi, and the chief swaps their just-started breakfasts with dirty, empty dishes, but leaves Ivanova's untouched.]
- Garibaldi: Well!
- Ivanova: [snapping awake] What?
- Garibaldi: Oh, that was great! Boy, just hit the spot! [to Sinclair] I see you cleaned your plate too! Guess I'd better get going.
- Sinclair: Me too, it's nearly seven-thirty.
- Ivanova: Sev—seven-thirty? I…I didn't even…I slept through breakfast? This isn't fair! It's n…
- Sinclair: Something, Lieutenant Commander?
- Ivanova: No! Nothing, I'm fine! I'm fine, you'll have to excuse me. [into her link] C&C, this is Ivanova! I realize I'm late, but I'm on my way! [She runs out, and Garibaldi swaps the dishes back.]
- Sinclair: I'll notify your next of kin. [picks up his tray and leaves]
- Garibaldi: Four…three…two…one…
- Ivanova: [out in the corridor, shouting] Ugh, GARIBALDI! YOU'RE A DEAD MAN!
- Delenn: Summoned, I come. In Valen's name, I take the place that has been prepared for me. I am Grey. I stand between the candle and the star. We are Grey. We stand between the darkness and the light.
- Major Krantz: What if we take you with us? Put you on trial?
- Zathras: Zathras not of this time. You take, Zathras die. You leave, Zathras die. Either way, it is bad for Zathras.
- Garibaldi: This is the part I hate most. The waiting.
- Sinclair: Hmm. [There's a moment of silence.]
- Garibaldi: Mind if I ask you a question?
- Sinclair: Sure.
- Garibaldi: Okay, it's morning, you're getting ready for work, you pull on your pants—do you fasten and zip, or zip and then fasten?
- Sinclair: What kind of question is that?
- Garibaldi: Well, look, we've got two hours to kill—
- Sinclair: Forget it.
- Garibaldi: Just a question.
- Sinclair: Why do you want to know?
- Garibaldi: Why do I want to know? Because I think about these things sometimes. I was getting dressed this morning, I couldn't remember how I did it, and I started thinking about it. Does everyone do it the same way? Is it a left-handed/right-handed thing—?
- Sinclair: [incredulous] You think about this stuff a lot?
- Garibaldi: Yeah. Look, okay, I'm sorry I asked. You're always so serious all the time. Not every conversation has to be the end of the world as we know it.
- Sinclair: I didn't mean to—
- Garibaldi: Never mind. It's okay. I'll just…watch my console. Don't worry about it. (After a long pause, Sinclair sighs.)
- Sinclair: Fasten, then zip. You?
- Garibaldi: Fasten zip. [Sinclair chuckles.]
- Sinclair: How much longer?
- Garibaldi: One hour, fifty seven minutes. [pause] Want to talk socks?
- Sinclair: No.
- Garibaldi: Just a question.
- Sinclair: I'm not having this conversation.
The Quality of Mercy
- [Ivanova barges into Dr. Franklin's illicit free clinic. He is bent over a notepad, distracted.]
- Stephen Franklin: [not paying attention] You can start by removing your clothes.
- Susan Ivanova: Not without dinner and flowers.
- Jeffrey Sinclair: I'm still waiting for an explanation, gentlemen.
- Londo Mollari: Yes. And I'm prepared to give you one, Commander, as soon as the room stops spinning.
- Sinclair: This station creates gravity by rotation. It never stops spinning.
- Londo: Well, you begin to see my problem.
- [Talia has been recruited to scan a convicted murderer before he undergoes his sentence of death of personality]
- Talia Winters: I don't want to do this again. I was inside a killer's mind before, on the Mars Colony. There's got to be another way.
- . . .
- Karl Edward Mueller: So you're going to walk around in my head, eh? I'd think twice if I were you. Something might just jump out of the shadows and bite you.
- . . .
- [during the scan, Talia is horrified by Mueller's memories of his victims]
- Talia: How many? …How many?
- Mueller: How many worlds are there? How many banquets? How many flowers waiting to be harvested? How many new voices, waiting to be recruited into my choir? […] The overture is just beginning…
- [Talia tells Garibaldi what she saw in Mueller's mind]
- Talia: You once said you'd bet good money he'd killed before? You would not have lost.
- Londo Mollari: But this…this, this, this is like… being nibbled to death by, uh…Pah! What are those Earth creatures called? Feathers, long bill, webbed feet…go "quack".
- Vir Cotto: Cats.
- Londo: Cats! I'm being nibbled to death by cats.
- [Londo chats with Morden in the garden.]
- Londo: There comes a time when you look into the mirror, and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. Then you accept it, or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking into mirrors.
- [in a bar on the Zocalo, after EarthForce 1's destruction]
- Kosh: And so it begins.
- [speaking to his "associates"]
- Morden: Yes. I think he's ready.…Perfect for our needs.…No.…No. He suspects nothing.…When the time is right, Ambassador Mollari will do exactly as we wish.…Destiny is on our side.
- [last lines of the season]
- Sinclair: Nothing's the same anymore.
Season 2: The Coming of Shadows
- [Opening credits voiceover.]
- John Sheridan: The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace. A self-contained world five miles long, located in neutral territory. A place of commerce and diplomacy for a quarter of a million humans and aliens. A shining beacon in space, all alone in the night. It was the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind… the year the Great War came upon us all. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2259. The name of the place is Babylon 5.
Points of Departure
- Susan Ivanova: [voiceover] Status report, Lieutenant Commander Susan Ivanova recording. It is now eight days since the death of Earth Alliance President Luis Santiago, and five days since Commander Sinclair was recalled to Earth without explanation. And the whole place has gone straight to hell.
- [A transport tube opens to reveal Ivanova addressing a quartet of cowering humans and aliens.]
- Ivanova: And as far as I'm concerned, the transports can wait until the SUN EXPLODES! And if you're not happy with the seating arrangements, I will personally order your seats to be moved outside, down the hall, across the station, and into the fusion reactor! Am I absolutely, perfectly clear on this?
- [As she leaves them to their bickering, she continues her narration about the chaos on the station after Sinclair's abrupt recall.]
- Ivanova: [voiceover] I can only conclude that I'm paying off karma at a vastly accelerated rate.
- [Dr. Franklin tells Ivanova about Garibaldi's coma.]
- Ivanova: Well then, I'll say a prayer for him tonight.
- Stephen Franklin: He's agnostic.
- Ivanova: Then I'll say half a prayer.
- Sheridan: What's our status?
- Ivanova: The Chief of Security is in critical condition in MedLab. He thinks there's a conspiracy concerning the President's death. Ambassador G'Kar has mysteriously vanished, after two years we still don't know what Ambassador Kosh looks like inside his encounter suit, and Ambassador Delenn is in a cocoon.
- Sheridan: A cocoon? As in, a moth or a butterfly.
- Ivanova: Yes sir. [Holds one hand at chin height] 'Bout yea high.
- Sheridan: Interesting place you have here.
- [Sheridan's "good luck speech" upon taking command of Babylon 5]
- John Sheridan: When I was 21, I visited Tibet. I went to see the new Dalai Lama. Uh, you do that sort of thing when you're 21 and the son of a diplomatic envoy. We had a simple dinner. Rice, raisins, carrots—steamed, not boiled—and green tea. When it was over, he looked at me and said, "Do you understand?" I said no, I didn't. "Good beginning," he said. "You'll be even better when you begin to understand what you do not understand." After reading some of your reports, I begin to understand what I don't understand about Babylon 5. But I couldn't wish for a more capable and skilled group of people to learn from. It was an early Earth President, Abraham Lincoln, who best described our current situation. He said…
- [he gets interrupted by a security alarm]
- . . .
- Sheridan: [delivering the rest of his speech to an empty C&C] It was an early Earth president, Abraham Lincoln, who best described our situation. "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise to the occasion. We cannot escape history. We will be remembered in spite of ourselves. The fiery trial though which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the last generation. We shall nobly save or meanly lose our last, best hope of Earth." [He looks around with a satisfied smile.] Five minutes to spare.
- [Londo rants before the Babylon 5 Advisory Council about the missing G'Kar and Delenn.]
- Londo Mollari: There, you see! One deserts his post without any explanation, the other one picks the most breathtakingly inconvenient moment possible to explore new career options, like becoming a butterfly!
- [Londo finds Morden's suggestions of future attacks against the Narn entertaining.]
- Londo: Why don't you eliminate the entire Narn homeworld while you're at it? [chuckles]
- Morden: One thing at a time, Ambassador. One thing at a time.
- Michael Garibaldi: [waking up from his coma] Oh, God. I'm out of it for a few days, the whole place goes to hell!
- John Sheridan: Well, I hope I can prove otherwise. Captain John Sheridan, your new CO.
- Garibaldi: I don't know you.
- Sheridan: No, but I think we'll get along just fine.
- G'Kar: [quoting Yeats' "Second Coming"]
- Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
- Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
- The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
- The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
- And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
- Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
The Geometry of Shadows
- [A Technomage uses an illusion of a massive robotic creature to scare Vir away.]
- Vir Cotto: [to the illusion] My name is Vir Cotto, diplomatic attache to ambassador Londo Mollari of the Centauri Republic! My name is Vir Cotto, diplomatic attache to ambassador Londo Mollari of the Centauri Republic! My name is…
- Elric: Stop program. [the illusion pauses, then vanishes] You don't frighten easily.
- Vir: I work for Ambassador Mollari. After a while, nothing bothers you.
- Elric: There is an old saying: "Do not try the patience of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger."
- [Dr. Franklin is treating Ivanova's broken foot.]
- Stephen Franklin: I can give you something for the pain…
- Susan Ivanova: Oh, great. Now you can give me something for the pain.
- Franklin: What?
- Ivanova: Where were you when I was going through puberty?
- [He chuckles.]
- Ivanova: No, it's okay; I'll get used to it. If it gets too bad, I'll just…gnaw it off at the ankle.
- Elric: We are dreamers, shapers, singers, and makers. We study the mysteries of laser and circuit, crystal and scanner, holographic demons and invocation of equations. These are the tools we employ, and we know many things.
- John Sheridan: Such as?
- Elric: The true secrets, the important things. Fourteen words to make someone fall in love with you forever. Seven words to make them go without pain. How to say good-bye to a friend who is dying. How to be poor. How to be rich. How to rediscover dreams when the world has stolen them. That is why we are going away—to preserve that knowledge.
- Sheridan: From what?
- Elric: There is a storm coming, a black and terrible storm. We would not have our knowledge lost or used to ill purpose. From this place we will launch ourselves into the stars. With luck, you will never see our kind again in your lifetime. I know you have your orders, Captain. Detain us if you wish. But I cannot tell you where we are going. I can only ask you to trust us.
- [Ivanova has been kidnapped by the Green Drazi.]
- Ivanova: What does it take to get through to you? You're making a mistake of galactic proportions! Assaulting an Earth Alliance officer, attempting mass murder…!
- Green Drazi: Green must fight Purple. Purple must fight Green. Is no other way!
- Ivanova: Just my luck. I get stuck with a race that speaks only in macros.
- [Ivanova accidentally becomes the Green Drazi leader by grabbing the former leader's sash.]
- Ivanova: You're saying just because I'm holding this right now, I'm Green leader? But I'm human!
- Former Drazi Leader: Rules of combat older than contact with other races. Did not mention aliens. Rules change…caught up in committee. Not come through yet.
- Ivanova: Bureaucracy. Ya gotta love it.
- Elric: Oh, I'm afraid you have to spend the rest of your life paying for your mistakes. Not this one of course, it's trivial, I have withdrawn the spell, but there will be others.
- Londo Mollari: What are you talking about?
- Elric: You are touched by darkness, Ambassador. I see it as a blemish that will grow with time. I could warn you of course, but you would not listen. I could kill you, but someone would take your place. So I do the only thing I can–I go. [starts to turn away, then turns back to Londo] Oh, I believe it was an endorsement you wanted. A word or two, a picture, to send to the folks back home, confirming that you have a destiny before you.
- Londo: Yes, it was just a thought, nothing more.
- Elric: Well, take this for what little it will profit you. As I look at you, Ambassador Mollari, I see a great hand reaching out of the stars. The hand is your hand. And I hear sounds–the sounds of billions of people calling your name.
- Londo: My followers?
- Elric: Your victims.
A Distant Star
- [Captain Jack Maynard of the Cortez has just met Delenn]
- Capt. Maynard: John! She's…Minbari?
- Sheridan: Mm-hmm.
- Capt. Maynard: Uh…but she doesn't look like one! I mean, she does, but…but she doesn't! I mean, what's the deal?
- Sheridan: We're still trying to figure that out. There's the story she told us, but then, the Minbari never tell you the whole truth.
- [Dr. Franklin watches Ivanova as she storms off with his recovery-enhancing "food plan".]
- Susan Ivanova: Figures. All my life, I've fought against imperialism. Now, suddenly, I am the expanding Russian frontier.
- Stephen Franklin: But with very nice borders.
- John Sheridan: I'll tell you one thing. If the primates that we came from had known that someday politicians would come out of the gene pool, they'd have stayed up in the trees and written evolution off as a bad idea! Hell, I always thought the opposable thumb was overrated!
- Sheridan: An old friend of mine once quoted me a [sic]…ancient Egyptian blessing: God be between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk.
- Sheridan: I wish I had your…faith in the universe. I just don't see it sometimes.
- Delenn: Then I will tell you a great secret, Captain. Perhaps the greatest of all time. The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station, and the nebula outside, that burn inside the stars themselves. We are starstuff. We are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out. And as we have both learned, sometimes the universe requires a change of perspective.
- [Garibaldi is cooking bagna cauda for himself and Dr. Franklin.]
- Michael Garibaldi: Trust me, Doc, you are gonna love this!
- Franklin: I can feel my arteries hardening just being in the same room with it!
The Long Dark
- [A wild, unkempt Lurker assails G'Kar with a confused sermon.]
- Amis: I have walked in the valley of th—
- G'Kar: Good! Keep on walking.
- [in the brig, Amis has a nightmare]
- Amis: Incoming! Incoming! Incoming! INCOMING!
- Michael Garibaldi: How long has he been like that?
- Guard: Couple hours now.
- Amis: To the walls. Get to the walls!
- Guard: Damn Lurkers. We oughta space all of them.
- Garibaldi: Hanson?
- Amis: Oh God. Stop them. Incoming.
- Garibaldi: Were you in the war?
- Guard: No, I missed it.
- Garibaldi: He didn't.
- Guard: How do you know?
- Garibaldi: [in a sad, manner-of-fact tone] I've had that same dream.
- Amis: [after waking up in the brig] Oh, God. What did I do this time?
- Garibaldi: You don't remember?
- Amis: Well, I've found that life is, in general, much easier if I forget most of the things that happen to me.
- Garibaldi: You were about to accuse the Centauri ambassador of being in league with the devil…which may not be far from the truth.
- [Garibaldi and Sheridan consider the dessicated body from a failed cryogenic tube.]
- Garibaldi: Lousy way to die, huh?
- John Sheridan: Hmm. Last time I checked, there weren't too many good ways.
- [Newly unfrozen traveller Mariah Cirrus meets G'Kar.]
- G'Kar: Take my advice and go back to the time you came from. The future isn't what it used to be.
- Alien Council member: Evil sometimes wears a pleasant face.
- [Sheridan and Ivanova close in on an invisible, ravenous alien.]
- Susan Ivanova: You got a plan?
- Sheridan: Let's try not to get killed.
- Ivanova: Brilliant.
A Spider in the Web
- [Sheridan sends Ivanova to resolve a problem, then sighs to himself.]
- John Sheridan: Ah, it's good to be the captain.
- Michael Garibaldi: Well, my pop always said that laughter was better than pills for what ails you.
- Susan Ivanova: You know how I feel about telepaths.
- Sheridan: Do I ever. You threw one out a third-story window on Io.
- Ivanova: There was an ample pool below the window!
- Sheridan: I'll assume you knew that.
- Sheridan: Telepaths are gifted and cursed in ways I can never hope to understand.
- Sheridan: There is a spider in the web, Mr. Garibaldi. And I intend to find it and kill it.
- Vir Cotto: [Practicing his greetings to Londo's wives] It is a pleasure to meet you. It is a pleasure to meet you! It is a pleasure to meet you.
- Michael Garibaldi: [Notices Vir talking to himself and approaches] Gonna introduce me, Vir?
- Vir: You must think I look odd right now... [an alien passes by with Garibaldi staring].
- Garibaldi: Well, I guess it's a little relative... [referring to the alien's strange appearance]
- Vir: Actually, it's relatives. I'm here to pick up some women.
- Garibaldi: You'll have more luck at bars.
- Vir: No, I…
- Garibaldi: Just kidding.
- [Vir laughs]
- Garibaldi: So, who are these women? Diplomats?
- Vir: Oh, Ambassador Mollari's three wives.
- Garibaldi: Whoa! A harem! The lucky dog. [a Centauri woman walks in]
- Timov: Are you Vir?!
- Vir: Yes!
- Timov: I am Timov, daughter of Alguhl. You will take me to my husband.
- Vir: I was told there'd be three of you…
- Timov: [Looks at Garibaldi] Who is this?
- Vir: Uhh…
- Timov: No never mind. I said you'd take me. Is your hearing deficient?
- Vir: No, but I do have a…
- Timov: Then let's be off! [Walks away]
- Vir: It is a pleasure to meet you!
- [Talia gets wind of a new arrival on the station.]
- Talia Winters: Stoner? Matt Stoner?
- Garibaldi: Yeah, yeah, that was his name. Matthew.
- Talia: He's not here on Babylon 5?
- John Sheridan: Is that a problem?
- [Talia sighs and nods her head "yes."]
- Garibaldi: You know him?
- Talia: Only in the most unpleasant sense. I was married to him.
- Timov: He drags me out here, gives me no reason why he wants to see me! What's he hiding, Vir? Tell me! I won't bite, Vir.
- Vir Cotto: With all due respect, madam, that's not what I heard.
- Timov: All right, that one time.
- Vir: It was twice.
- Timov: Daggair! My, what a surprise!
- Daggair: A pleasant one?
- Timov: I wouldn't go that far.
- Vir: Madame Daggair, my pardons! This is unconscionable! I was at customs. I don't know how I could have missed you!
- Timov: Believe me Vir, if you knew her as well as I do, you wouldn't miss her a bit.
- Daggair: Oh, Timov, Timov, why do you always try to draw me into your little verbal fencing matches?
- Timov: Because I don't have a real sword handy.
- Vir: Can I get you anything?
- Timov: Yes!! You can get me out of here! Who does Londo think he is, keeping us sitting about?
- Daggair: He probably thinks he's our husband. And we, as dutiful wives, must await his return. Is that not right, Vir?
- Vir: Well, actually—
- Timov: You are joking, Daggair!
- Daggair: Your problem, Timov, is that you've never known your place.
- Timov: My place?! You once threatened to break a vase over his head!
- Daggair: Well, haha, that was the impetuousness of youth.
- Timov: That was last month! Daggair, what are you playing at?
- Londo Mollari: [enters room] Well, well, here you are!
- Timov: And here you are finally, where have you been?!!
- Londo: Affairs of state my dear.
- Timov: State of inebriation, I wager.
- [Delenn struggles with her new hair.]