Babylon 5: S04E22: Deconstruction of Falling Stars
This episode was good but weird!
Sheridan and Delenn arrive back on Babylon 5 to find a big party still underway. Garibaldi had organised it with Franklin. Delenn and Sheridan are a little piqued. As they leave the party, Londo and G’Kar arrive (is there something going on between these two, they’re inseparable lately) Londo asks Garibaldi and Franklin “Who’s died?”
He explains that weddings are very solemn and sober affairs on Centauri and all this celebration is a bad sign for the future. Actually I can’t help but agree with him, why celebrate the start of something you will be trying to get out of for the rest of your life?
As Sheridan and Delenn walk down the corridor Sheridan indicates that maybe the partying on Babylon 5 is a result of the euphoria resulting from the death of Clark and the liberation of Mars and that they see them as being responsible for that. Delenn says that they should be applauding themselves and that there is something very immodest about all this. For goodness sake you two, get your heads out of your bum and lighten up.
The Babylon 5 keys cast members then assemble for some sort of honour guarded procession and the TV screen goes all wonky!
Good grief, Channel Four have blown it again….. Wait a minute, some sort of computer voice informs us that the computer needs to be reset and a display giving the selections 2262, 2362, 2762 and 3262 and Auto Play. The viewer (whoever that is) selects Auto Play and we see an ISN report on John Sheridan. It is quite a complementary report showing excerpts and pictures from his past. The commentator then asks a panel of experts, Elizabeth somebody a Senator and Henry Ellis a scriptwriter who used to work for President Clark (and frankly, should have been hung by the testicles). The commentator asks if Sheridan is qualified to be President of the Alliance. Ellis, the pratt, thinks not and launches into an attack on Sheridan. Lizzy thinks that Sheridan should be given a chance to prove himself and points out that this is an election year and Ellis is simply throwing mud on Sheridan since he is a threat to Ellises party election hopes.
The commentator then asks for the panel’s predictions for the alliance. Will Sheridan and Delenn make a difference? Lizzy thinks that the next year will make a big difference stating that many of the Alliance races are still fighting each other and that there are many other political problems. But she feels that Sheridan is up to the task.
Ellis believes that Sheridan and Delenn are power mad and unprepared. He thinks that Sheridan will control the Alliance with brute force.
The TV screen then jumps to the next little snippet which is set in the year 2362. Another programme introduces an educational history programme to students. There is a Historian called Dr James Latimer, a very attractive political scientist called Dr Barbar Tashaki, and a shrink called Dr William Exeter.
Latimer asks the question, “what role do you think the Babylon Station played in the hundred-year peace” (so, this indicates that there will be no more wars in series five)? The panellists are very negative about the role of Delenn and Sheridan. They both give a biased view about their individual efforts concentrating more on the fact that Babylon 5 was more of a focus. The record of Sheridan and Delenns accomplishments were overrated and just good public relations.
Then Latimer asks, “If your assumptions are correct, where did Sheridan and Delenn go wrong?”
The lovely but arrogant Tashaki reiterates her original point about the number of people who died in the first year of the alliance and Exeter agrees with Tashaki stating the cock-up that Sheridan made when he allowed telepaths onto Babylon 5. Apparently the telepaths turned on the people in authority on the Station and this sparked of the telepath war.
Latimer then plays an excerpt from a rather confusing scene where Garibaldi (looking battered and bruised) is in a wrecked room and trying (in vain it seems) to persuade a group of people to give themselves up. Sheridan then appears on the monitor and says that (after consulting Captain Lockley) the station will not bargain with terrorists for the lives of hostages. He then tells them that they have ten minutes before they remedy the situation with force. Then we see that a gun is pointed at Garibaldi and we hear it fire as the screen goes blank and we are returned to the anally-retentive panellists.
Hang on a minute, what’s going on, does Garibaldi get it? How can you have a war between telepaths and whoever during a hundred-year peace?
Exeter points out that the report proves that Sheridan is pathological and power hungry. Tashaki adds that the reason everyone thinks Sheridan was so good is because of his great PR campaign.
Latimer then asks about Delenn saying that it is believed that she is still alive (at the age of 140). The panellists basically conclude that this is rubbish and that this is another myth perpetuating the fiction of Sheridan and Delenn.
Finally Latimer asks the panellists if they think that the Alliance has been a force for good. Tashaki say that on the whole yes it has, but she also ads that Sheridan was a megalomaniac and that placing such a person so high in the history books is wrong. Then an alarm goes off and Latimer mentions that there has been a security breech in the building. A door opens and we see an ancient looking Delenn enter in white robes with two Minbari as escorts. She is leaning on a tall walking stick.
She looks them all straight in the eye and says that Sheridan was a kind and decent man. Then she turns as if to walk away (?!).
Latimer asks “Delenn, you came all this way just to say that?”
Delenn then says that they had come just as far to say less. Tashaki tells Delenn it is extraordinary that she should be there and that they have so many questions to ask her.
Delenn replies, “You do not wish to know anything. You wish only to speak. That which you know, you ignore because it is inconvenient (you tell ’em luv!). But non of that matters, except that he was a good man, a kind man, who cared about the world even when the world cared nothing for him.
Exeter then foolishly says, “Of course, we would expect you to say that…”
Wadda twit. Delenn just looks at him and eventually he turnes away. In fact she gave the evil eye to all of them and they all did the same. I know that look; it’s the sort of look your grandmother gives you when you’ve been a naughty boy/girl.
Delenn then left. I can’t help feeling that if that had been my Grandmother, the panellists would have received a whacking with a walking stick.
The computer then takes us 500 years into the future. The year is 2762.
We find a man called Daniel recreating the war room on Babylon 5 and initiating holoimages of Sheridan, Garibaldi, Franklin and Delenn. Apparently he is about to re-programme them so that they give a very different and very negative rendition of their personalities. It is Denials intention to film the ‘changed’ B5 command to show that they were really nasty people and that the Alliance was formed without the best interests of humans being considered. The Alliance is currently stifling humankind, according to Daniel, and current political thought indicates that many people on Earth want to split from the Alliance. Sheridan’s hologram says that he can sense that Earth is torn between allegiance to the Alliance and independence. Earth is on the brink of another Civil War.
As each of the holograms are re-programmed they take on a difference personality, one which shows the Alliance as oppressors. We see Sheridan about to issue the fire order to a firing squad who are about to kill desenters, Franklin is conducting experiments of children. But Garibaldi is left free for the moment.
Just before Garibaldi is re-programmed, he makes Daniel an offer. He says that he can offer Daniel some additional information, perhaps some tactical data, this would impress his superiors. Garibaldi tricks Daniel into giving him the plans for attack, targets and expected casualties. (50-60 million people). When Daniel asks Garibaldi for his tactical information he replies:
“I suggest that you put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.”
Garibaldi adds that, as a hologram he has access to the computer systems and has just relayed their conversation across the Alliance. He tells Daniel that now the enemy knows of his plans. Daniel immediately tries to end the simulation but the computer does not respond. We leave this era with the sound of bombs dropping. A war has just begun.
Way to go Garibaldi – Just start another war why don’t you!
Next we jump 1000 years into the future – 3262.
I didn’t like this bit at all. Earth was back in the dark ages. Two characters looking like monks were discussing religious books. one of them, Michael, is having a crisis of faith and Brother Alwin is assuring him that Gods plan is a mystery (sound familiar?). Michael expresses doubts about the teachings of the religious books like “The Blessed Sheridan”, “Ivanova the Strong” and “Delenn the Wise” (what about “Marcus the Wimp” or “Garibaldi the Git”, honestly, you just can’t trust history these days can you).
Michael desperately wants to see a Ranger (who is a sort of angelic figure to the monks). Alwin suggests that there may be Rangers among them and he again tries to assure Michael that he should have faith. Alwin rushes Michael out of his room and the walks over to the corner and finishes his report. He is, apparently, a Ranger. The Rangers, I think, are covertly and gradually helping bring Earth out of the Dark Ages.
Next we jump 1,000,000 years into the future to see a being (probably an advanced human) recording the final hours of Earth before the Sun goes Nova. The commentator says, “This is how the world ends. Swallowed in fire, but not in darkness. You will live on. The voice of all our ancestors, the voice of all our fathers and our mothers, to the last generation. We created the world we think you would have wished for us, and now we leave the cradle for the last time.”
The commentator then turns and exits in a ball of light into an advanced and, it has to be said, very sexy looking spaceship which looks faintly Vorlon and has a Ranger emblem on the side. The ship enters an old-fashioned jump gate – well you’d think jump gate technology would have advanced a bit after a million years – just as the sun explodes.
Finally we see Delenn in bed with Sheridan, no; they’re not doing anything rude. She touches his face and smiles.
Sheridan tells her that he was wondering if anyone would remember them a hundred years from now. He concludes that they will not. Delenn tells him that it doesn’t matter, they did what they did because it was right, not to be remembered. “History will attend to itself. It always does”.
Not if JMS gets there first!
A nice touch at the end was a caption that read:
DEDICATED TO ALL THE PEOPLE
WHO PREDICTED THAT
THE BABYLON PROJECT
WOULD FAIL IN ITS MISSION
You tell em JMS! Well done man!
Who the hell is this Faith person anyway. What has she got to do with anything? Is a reference to the phrase ‘Have Faith‘, and if so, why have Faith when you could have Patricia or Susan! I suppose all this will be answered in series five.
“The Deconstruction of Falling Stars” episode review is © 1999 – 2001 Tony Fawl and not for reproduction without the authors express permission
The BABYLON 5 names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of J. Michael Straczynski, TNT and Warner Brothers, a division of Time Warner Entertainment Company. All rights reserved.