Babylon 5: S05E08: Day of the Dead
This show was both irritating and magnificent! Aside from the stoopid stand-up gags, this is actually legendary episode in B5 fandom – it’s an excellent concept and very memorable a long, long time after it was originally shown. It was written by science fiction and fantasy author Neil Gaiman (Sandman graphic novels and other stuff), and is the only episode after the second season not written by J. Michael Straczynski.
It opens with the arrival of Penn and Teller playing a pair of ‘miraculously’ famous comedians Rebo and Zooty to Customs (seriously, it’s a miracle – they’re rubbish!)
They make some silly pun about ‘nothing to declare except their genius’ (groan) and everyone laughs (groan). Sheridan, Garibaldi and Lockley are on their way to meet them and Lockley mentions that the Brakiri have asked to buy a part of Babylon 5 for one evening as part of a religious festival that happens only once every 200 years.
Londo is interrupted in his travels by a Brakiri peddler. He offers the ambassador a couple of gruesome looking religious trinkets. He gives them freely and tells Londo that tonight is ‘The Day of the Dead’. A bit of an oxymoron that don’t you think! Apparently the Brakiri are night dwellers. He adds, ‘Tonight the dead will return!’.
Delenn is in her quarters when her old friend Lennier arrives for a visit. She greets him warmly and asks why he is visiting Babylon 5. Lennier tells her that he is here for the Brakiri religious festival.
Sheridan meanwhile is hosting the funny twosome Rebo & Zooty. In an embarrassing scene, the comic duo attempt to humour us with some slapstick crap (groan) everyone thinks they are funny except Lockley who is not amused (thank goodness). Sheridan confers the freedom of on them of Babylon 5. Lockley quickly gets sick of the fun and visits the Brakiri Ambassador to arrange the sale of a part of Babylon 5 for the ‘Day of the Dead’ festival. G’Kar bursts in and advises against the transaction. Lockley points out that the station observes religious tolerance and signs on the dotted line. Part of Babylon 5 is now Brakiri – for one night at least.
Incidentally MOST of the main characters of the show have their quarters in that particular area of the station.
The un-funny Rebo and Zooty arrive in Sheridans quarters for a dinner engagement. They greet Delenn with a Minbari joke, which is lost (like the rest of their humour) on us poor fools. Lockley enters her quarters after a long day and turns on the TV to find Rebo and Zooty on all channels. Rebo uses a small communication device to talk. Zooty tells him that in all the time he has known Rebo the only word he has ever spoken is ‘Why’. Sheridan is intrigued, he was hoping to hear Rebo speak without his device (why?).
As night approaches, Garibaldi, Londo, Lockley and Lennier have retired to their quarters. G’Kar on the other hand enters the Command and Control Centre and asks Lt. Corwin if he can sleep there for he does not want to sleep in the Brakiri section tonight. Later, we see a mysterious force field materialise around the newly purchased Brakiri section of the ship and all communication and power is cut off within.
Londo is relaxing in his quarters; he is philosophising with the Brakiri trinket when his first wife Adira arrives. He is overjoyed to see her but all she replies is that she has come back. The bald but beautiful dead wife embraces him warmly.
Karen emailed me with an interesting point, ” Thought I would just ask how you arrived at the idea that Adira was
Londo’s first wife? I know his first wife (whom we have never seen) was a dancer but Adira would be way too young to have been his first wife. If you remember the episode with Londo’s other wives, several of them were older like him. Maybe he likes Adira so much because she reminds him of his first wife, but I doubt they are one and the same.”
Cookie emailed me with this also: “Adira is not Londo’s wife, she is just a dancer he met on Bab5 and fell in love with. She was a slave and he freed her, but she was not ready to make a full time comittment to Londo…she had to get out and about first. Then when she was coming back to him, Morden killed her. Londo had three wives, but we met all of them earlier in the series. “
ok, ok I stand corrected 🙂
Garibaldi is wakened from sleep by the sound of the shower. He picks up his PPG and asks the occupant of the shower cubicle to come out. We see the silhouette of a woman say, ‘It would be easier if you came in with me Michael’. Garibaldi throws her a towel (spoilsport) and Dodger steps out. (DODGER!!! wadda name). He insists that she is dead. She agrees, and with more comedy in her little finger that the losers Rebo and Zooty, explains that she is here for the night. She also accuses Garibaldi of getting old (she rather diplomatically ignored his baldness and hey, he’s a bit fat as well huh?).
Lockley is frantically trying to get through to C&C without success when she notices her old friend Zoe. Lockley is stunned and more than a little upset. It turns out that 20 years ago our Captain Lockley was a bit of a rum’un (a little wild). Zoe was her best friend and a bit of a smak-head. She was into drugs and fast living and it took its toll. Zoe died of a drug overdose amd Lockley had always wondered if she meant to or if the drug overdose was an accident.
Lt. Corwin calls Sheridan during his dinner with the ‘dynamic duo’ to tell him that the newly purchased Brakiri section is ‘lost’. They can’t communicate with it nor enter the section. Sheridan takes a look for himself and comes up against a force field. He throws an object at it and the object bounces back. He trundles off to see Lt. Corwin.
Lennier is meditating in his quarters when that ol’bastard, our friend Mr Morden enters. I sat up in my seat. It was GREAT to see this ruthless git again. In a voice that sounded like the honey lubricated voice of the devil, Morden greets Lennier, ‘Good evening, Ranger Lennier’. Lennier cannot place him immediately but eventually concludes, ‘I know you, you worked for the Shadows’. This was going to be good. THE most loyal Ranger in the same room with THE most loyal Shadow Thrall. Morden smiles and agrees with Lennier, ‘I did a lot of things, yes. Looking back on it though, I just tried to make people happy.’ (Ohhhh good answer), he smiles, ‘Anyway, it’s all just ancient history now and I paid for my crimes’.
Morden tells Lennier that he is here because it is his job (?) and asks Lennier why he came back. Lennier begrudgingly tells his old enemy that he seeks wisdom. ‘You don’t come to the dead for wisdom,’ Morden replies. ‘My head is still rotting on the end of a Centauri spike’. I can’t help feeling that Morden has a point!
‘Wisdom’, continues Morden, ‘Let’s see. Delenn does not love you the way you love her, and she never will.’ Lennier grimaces, ‘I already knew that.’
Morden contradicts, ‘No you don’t, not in your heart’. Lennier tells Morden to go away and Morden smiles back. Morden has a really great smile, pearly white teeth beam from his dark face. Morden tells Lennier, ‘It doesn’t work like that’. Now that Morden has been summoned, he must put up with him for the rest of the evening – Lennier must listen to what he has to say.
Lennier refuses and tries to escape by leaving the room. He runs straight into the Brakiri force field.He struggles to get through.
Sheridan enters C&C and spots G’Kar sleeping on the floor. He remembers Lockley talking about the Brakiri sale and commands Corwin contact the Brakiri for an explanation.
Morden pulls Lennier Back and tells him that the other side of the corridor is nearly 200 million light years away. He sits down to give Lennier the benefit of his wisdom, ‘ Do you like being a Ranger Lennier, would you like it any better if I were to tell you that you would betray them?’ The tow argue.
Lennier is unimpressed by Morden’s wisdom but concedes, ‘At least you have proved that there is truly life beyond death’. Morden replys with a typical serious smile, ‘Not necessarily, but you’ll find that out soon enough’.
Hmmmmm. Our Lenny looks like he’s going to betray the Rangers AND die doing so!!! Although I should point out that Morden did say that he was prophetic, not infallible (he should have added that he was pathetic). Instead of our Lenny giving him a smack across the chops he simply sits down in the lotus position and continues meditating.
Lockley is all of a dither trying to contact the rest of Babylon 5, her friend, the dead druggy Zoe hangs around while she attempts to route communications by hacking into Stellar Com (by ordering Garibaldi to do so) and make a call to Command &Control.
Londo is in bed with his dead ex-lover Adira. She is catching up on old times and by all accounts utilising all of poor ol’Londos appendages, – repeatedly. He is interrupted by Lockley broadcasting ‘normality will return soon’. Adira glumly reports that she is in a dream and that in the morning she will be gone. She tenderly snuggles her bald head under his chin and they cuddle.
The leggy Dodger is lying on the bed with Garibaldi. The two enter into a warm and intimate conversation. These two are about to get it together for old times sake. This Night of the dead should be called the Night of the Bonking!
Rebo and Zooty are impressed with Sheridans and Delenns political ability and that they plan to give up comedy and go into politics. Actually that’s not a bad idea, no one takes politicians seriously either. Delenn and Sheridan are not impressed and they manage to persuade them otherwise.
As dawn breaks, Morden tells Lennier that his time is up and that he should remember their encounter as a brief electromagnetic anomaly that told him some home truths for his own good. With that he disappears (sigh).
Garibaldi and Dodger are getting into some post coital banter when Dodger realises that she must go. She leaves with the words, ‘parting is all we hope from heaven and all we need of hell’. Very nicely put.
In Lockleys quarters Zoe says, ‘and that’s the message I was given, so who is this Sheridan guy?’ Then, in a tearful parting, Zoe tells Lockley that she did kill herself and that she didn’t want to her but that she couldn’t go on’. She asks if ‘Lizzy’ hates her. A weepy Lockley replies that she could never hate her. Then Zoe disappears and the lights come back on.
Later that morning, normality has returned. Sheridan tries to find out what happened from Lockley. She tells him that she doesn’t know but there was a message from Kosh (!!!) Stunned, Sheridan asks what the message was. ‘When the long night comes, return to the end of the beginning.’
What the hell is that supposed to mean? – Alas, we wouldn’t find out until the Sleeping in Light episode at the end of the season. A nice touch to the end of the episode.
The show ends with the grateful exit of Rebo and Zooty. Before Rebo boards the shuttle he gestures for Sheridan to join him. Sheridan does so and Rebo whispers in his ear the phrase ‘because it tells me to’. (?) I assume this is a reference to the ’why’ that was mentioned earlier in the episode. Good grief, who cares!
Is it me, or does our JMS fail miserably when he attempts to introduce stand up comedy into the show – I appreciate Neil Gaiman isn’t noted for his comedic writing but I wonder if JMS made it fail on purpose? Aside from that, the whole concept of the day of the dead is magnificent and we loved catching up with some of our old favourite long lost (but alas dead) characters of past shows.
Id rate this a dead good – 38,439 out of 10. What did you think?
This episode review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl
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