Babylon 5: S05E17: Movements of Fire and Shadow
This episode opens with a great space battle between Centauri and Drazi battleships. The Drazi start by shooting torpedoes…. the Centauri close ranks and return fire…. they destroy ALL the torpedoes without any damage to their own ships! They make short work of the Drazi battleships and, it has to be said, they also looked pretty cool doing so.
In MedLab, Franklin is working hard to keep up in attending to casualties from the war but also the murders and injuries to Centauri on Babylon 5. Captain Lockley records her log while we watches an injured Centauri being wheeled in and around MedLab. She reports that the Centauri war continues to spiral out of control. Over a half dozen Centauri have been murdered in just the last three days and that she has doubled security on all levels.
As she finishes her report, mug of coffee in hand, her door chimes. Sheridan enters quietly. She greets him with a surprised ‘Mr President! It’s almost 2:00 in the morning!?’ This relationship between Sheridan and Lockley is a strange one. The two were once married for goodness sake! When you have carnal knowledge of someone (even many years ago) and washed their underwear and stuff, you surely don’t address them THAT formally, especially when they visit you at two o’clock in the morning!
Sheridan is tired and a little withdrawn. He has visited Captain Lockley to inform her of the current situation regarding the War. He tells her that the Centauri are targeting the Hyperspace Beacons. Lockley is more than a little surprised by this terrible development. It puts into jeopardy, the whole Hyperspace Beacon network! Sheridan adds that he has given the go-ahead for the White Stars to defend any Alliance ship engaged in battle with the Centauri. This means that Babylon 5 is no longer Neutral.
He leaves and goes to Delenns quarters. Delenn notices that he is concerned about something and asks ‘What is it?’. Sheridan says, “I need to ask you to do something and I don’t want to ask you.” Delenn looks a little worried, “Well, um… If it’s about my wearing those little…”. (Whoa!! Little what!? Would this be little items of underwear? ABOUT TIME, I was worried that these two had been married TOO long!)
This is Great! The mind boggles, did he make her a present of stockings and suspenders one wonders or possibly even a couple of accessories like thigh length boots or hell even a whip or chains or ….. erm….. Ok, I know some of you who have taken the Purity Test and scored as MABF’s will find this offensive, but to us Sad Geezers, this is important!
Sheridan replies “No, it doesn’t have anything to do with that, “(spoilsport!). He tells her that he’s been reviewing the files of Alliance resources and finds that they lost many White Stars during Shadow War and the battle for Earth. Now that they’re fighting the Centauri they will lose more. Sooner or later they’re going to run out. Delenn agrees. The problem is, they’ve been using the White Stars against everything – from medium-size cruisers to full sized destroyers. So far they’ve been able to hold their own against ships 5-6 times their size, but they can’t keep doing that.
Sheridan wants Delenn to ask the Grey Council if they will support an initiative (Earth/Minbari) to build destroyer class battleships. He wants her to go to Minbar and ask for this in person. The hyperspace routes between B5 and Minbar are hazardous and he is also worried for Delenns safety. Delenn agrees and they have a good snog (Sad Geezer kiss) before Delenn leaves.
Vir is pacing up and down in his quarters. He is concerned that with all the Centauri losses, non-of the bodies are being returned. He has asked that Lyta and Franklin agree to visit the Drazi homeworld and find out why! Lyta and Franklin agree. Lyta though insisted that she be paid 500,000 credits for her trouble. This is the new Lyta, a little (actually a LOT) more assertive.
Londo believes that he may do more good in prison than at Court. He believes that the Regent either ordered the war directly, or allowed others to act on his behalf. The only way to stop the Regent is to go up against him and he needs to elicit support. When the word gets out that the Prime Minister is being held without charge in a cell in the royal palace, the people would be outraged.
As G’Kar and Londo discuss this further, there is a flash of light in the cell and both are rendered unconscious! Three aliens (?), drag Londo out of the cell, they begin examining him in the next room. Then there is some intrusive surgery and when this is complete Londo is returned to his cell.
Londo wakes up from a nightmare. He’s filled with an urgent need to get out of the cell, but he can’t do so without losing face. G’Kar has an idea. He forces himself to throw up last night’s meal; the smell of Narn vomit is nauseous possibly even toxic it seems.
Sheridan and Lockley are in a meeting with Narn, Brakiri, and Drazi generals. Sheridan is annoyed about the fact that they are primarily engaged with defending their own borders. Though Sheridan is annoyed about this, he is more concerned with the identification of Centauri strategy. It seems that there is NO Centauri strategy.
Lockley is called away to deal with a Centauri ship headed for the jumpgate. It tries to self-distruct at the jump-point. Captain Lockley manages to destroy the Centauri Battlecruiser just before it succeeds. Meanwhile, the generals decide that the war will be over quicker if Centauri Prime is taken. Sheridan categorically refuses to support such an initiative because of the resultant loss of civilian life. The Drazi and Narns are not as concerned. They secretly agree a joint initiative to destroy Centauri Prime.
On Centauri Prime, Londo meets with members of the Ministry of Defence. He tries to persuade them that the Regent is off his rocker and that they should support a move to overthrow him. The Ministers disagree and leave without supporting Londo’s plan.
Back on Babylon 5 Sheridan learns from Garibaldi that 30% of the Narn and Drazi fleets have gone missing. He thinks they’re heading to Centauri Prime. Sheridan wants proof, but Garibaldi says there’s no time. If they don’t do something now, there’s going to be a quarter of a million dead Centauri, maybe more, and mostly civilians. He’s the only one who can stop the attack. Sheridan wants a White Star. He’s going to intercept them. Sheridan is an angry geezer, if the Narns and Drazi attack Centauri Prime he’s gonna ‘skin them alive’!
On the Drazi homeworld Franklin and Lyta contact a Drazi doctor called Varda. When Lyta shakes his hand in greeting she senses some hostility. Lyta mind scans Varda, senses that he’s lying and demands to know why. Then two Drazi assassins appear and a gun battle begins. Franklin kills one but Lyta controls the others mind and forces him raise his weapon to his head. The Drazi tries frantically to fight Lyta’s control but Lyta is too strong. The Drazi shoots himself. Franklin (and the rest of us) are shocked. Varda tries to run, but Franklin catches him and Lyta reads his mind, she finds out that the Drazi have been holding something back from the Alliance. There is a place where the bodies are kept and Lyta demands that Varda take them there.
Lyta is certainly a little more assertive than usual. In fact she is downright bloodthirsty. You have to consider that making the Drazi kill himself like that is an act of murder. He would probably have surrendered. Mind you, she looked absolutely gorgeous in that black leather waistcoat…. erm….
Sheridan is en-route to Centauri Prime as Garibaldi informs him that he hasn’t been able to get through to the Narns or the Drazi. Meanwhile, Delenns ship is attacked by four Centauri Warships. The White Star is severely damaged and tumbles through hyperspace.
On the Drazi homeworld Lyta is shown a place with rows of tables holding large black pod shaped thingy’s. Franklin asks where the bodies are and what the pod things are. He is confused as to why the Drazi were willing to kill to hide them. Lyta grabs one of the pods while Varda tells Franklin that there were no Centauri bodies on the destroyed Centauri Warships, just the pods. Lyta recognises the pods (?) and they are forced to make a hasty exit when someone (or something) fires a weapon from a dark corner – Varda is killed.
Wow, things are really hotting up! on Centauri Prime, Londo is finally able to meet with the regent. The wacky monarch tells Londo that it is his time. “Mine is almost over,” he says, “I have to say…I’ll be glad of it. I’m so tired of it all, Londo. I’m glad I won’t live to see what follows.”
Londo looks puzzled, “Why? What is going to follow?”
Sheridan is still en-rout to Centauri Prime when he receives a coded message from Lyta and Franklin. Lyta says that the pods are left over Shadow technology. The Vorlons gave her information about them in case she ever found one. It is an organic device used to control a ship from a long distance. Two or three of them can control a complete ship. In fact, the Centauri military (according to Londo and Vir) are too busy to know anything about the attacks since they are too busy defending Centauri space!
They know that the aliens that worked for the Shadows were able to use the Shadow leftover technology but they don’t know how much. Lyta suggests that an alien race could use these pods to set up the Centauri and turn everyone against them. Franklin agrees, adding that the Drazi could never tell the Alliance about the pods because they have always competed with the Centauri for trade. A Centauri war would be in the Drazi best interest. Because the pods are advanced technology, they’d have to turn over the devices to the Alliance for study.
Sheridan figures out what the strategy is to split the Alliance, alienating the Centauri, forcing the other races to attack Centauri Prime. He commands Franklin to contact Garibaldi and make sure he continues trying to get through the Drazi and Narn fleets.
Delenns White Star is a wreck. Lennier manages to find Delenn and wake her. He tells her that they have enough power to keep from moving too far off the beacon, but once they run out, they’ll start to drift. He’s activated the distress signal, but he can’t tell if it’s working or not.
As the Drazi and Narn fleets grow nearer to Centauri Prime, G’Kar is writing in his cell. In Londo’s quarters he and the Regent look out of the open window. The Regent reminding me of a hoopy sort of Roman Emperor Nero, comments on the pleasant evening sky, “It’s the last one I will ever see!” Londo respectfully tells him he still has many years ahead of him. That’s why it’s important that he recalls the ships, “We can still make peace.”
The Regent tells Londo that ‘they’ told him to send the battleships guarding Centauri Prime on some pointless errand and that he also turned off the planetary defences. “I think I’ll stay and watch from here. The sky should be lighting up anytime now. I imagine…it will be…quite beautiful.”
Londo runs from the nutty Regent in horror. He stands outside and looks up into the sky to see jump points opening above the planet. Thousands of Narn and Drazi warships move closer…… and then they begin firing!
And then the episode ends! Wadda Whopper!
The “Movements of Fire and Shadow” 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.