Production 8
Direction 8
Characterisation 9
Storyline 9
Acting 10
Fun/Sexy/Cool 9

This was a cracker of an episode – The title says it all to be honest – definitely watch this though, it’s great!

Summary 8.8 awesome
Production 0
Direction 0
Characterisation 0
Storyline 0
Acting 0
Fun/Sexy/Cool 0
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Summary 0.0 terrible

Babylon 5: S05E18: The Fall of Centauri Prime

This was a cracker of an episode and yet it started rather modestly. I half expected to see the very reverend JMS standing atop a mountain dressed in a robe, halo shining brightly, beckoning to we, the multitudes of Babylon 5 unworthy. His arms open wide, he would utter such introduction as to make us quiver with anticipation, something that would raise our hearts, dispel our fears and leave us in no doubt that final episodes of the Babylon 5 saga would elevate us to a new spiritual level.  I sat there expectantly waiting patiently for those immortal words, “Aye up you lot! Cop this!”

Centauri Prime is bombedBut it never happened, instead we got a rather modest, apologetic recap of the preceding episodes where Delenn’s White Star was attacked, Lyta and Franklin told Sheridan about those black pod like things that look like the droppings of some giant elephant, and the Regent on Centauri Prime telling Londo that ‘They‘ made him betray his peopleNarn and Drazi ships fire lasers.

We see the Narn and Drazi battleships kicking the hell out of Centauri Prime. Being a big Centauri fan, tears welled up as I saw those those leather assed invaders fireing just about everything they had at the Centauri homeworld. Laser fire rained down in waves of destruction killing huge numbers of Centauri and laying waste to the planet.

G’Kar was still trapped in his cell and just as the walls start to collapse from the destruction of the capital, Londo rushes in to save his injured friend. He takes G’Kar to his room in the Palace and orders a subordinate to find a doctor.

Meanwhile Sheridan and a fleet of White Stars are en-rout to try to stop the Narn and Drazi attack. Garibaldi informs Sheridan of the situation via a coms link and he also informs him that Delenn’s White Star has been missing for 12 hours and that he suspects that her ship has been attacked by the Centauri. Sure enough, Delenn’s White Star is in tatters, it seems as though Lennier and Delenn are the only survivors of the attack and Lennier attempts to make repairs. "What do you mean THEY?"

On Centauri Prime, Londo learns the painful truth behind the attack and the role of his regent in the affair. He approaches the regent who tells him that “they” say the bombardment is moving away from the capital towa4rds the outer areas. Londo is very upset and uncharacteristically grabs hold of the Regent and demands to know who ‘They’ are.

The Regent calmly points to a figure standing behind a pillar – a Drakh (Drakh!   it sounds like some old tramp trying to clear his throat!)

Londo is taken aback! The mysterious (and bloody ugly) figure then tells Londo of how the Shadows left the Drakh race behind to fend for themselves and that they remembered the treachery of Londo in the last Shadow war. The Drakh goes on to explain that they are now looking for a home, a base from which to re-build. They need a planet that is vulnerable, a planet that The Drakh git!would be grateful for their help in re-building a culture on its knees. The dark figure explains how they engineered the current conflict so that the Centauri would be alienated by the alliance and alone in the Galaxy.

Londo protests. He does not want this to happen. The Regent tells Londo he will have to do as he is told just as he himself had to. Apparently, the Drakh learned quickly from the Shadows and from Londo. They planted fusion bombs all over the planet. If Londo doesn’t comply, the Drakh will detonate them, killing millions more people. The Alliance would be blamed, after all, who would notice a few more craters?

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The ugly Drakh geezer then pulls out a sort of remote detonation device and hold it out as if ready to press the trigger. Londo stops him and asks that eternal shadow question, “what do you want?” (That phrase always gives me the creeps!).

The Drakh git replies, “What we want from you is…. YOU!”

OH NO!!!  I think most of us have suspected that Londo would be made into a sort of puppet Regent, in past episodes we have glimpsed future episodes (erm.. I think…) and seen him in some dark room looking depressed and withdrawn as if being controlled against his will. Things are looking very black for Londo indeed!

At this point Sheridan arrives at Centauri Prime. He orders Na’Tok (the leader of the Narn force) to cease-fire. Na’Tok is a shrewd old bird and explains to Sheridan that soon the Centauri fleet will return. They will not be interested in listening to explanations of how and why; they will simply want revenge. Sheridan must either join the Narn and Drazi to win, or hold back and watch the destruction on an even greater scale. Sheridan realises that he’s in a tight spot!

Everyone’s in a tight spot, Delenn’s about to die in a crippled White Star with poor ol’Lennier who will probably have to watch her suffocate and wont get to give her a ‘snog’ for ol’times sake. Londo looks like he’s going to be fitted with a ‘keeper‘ and made into a Drakh slave, and Sheridan is about to become embroiled in the very war he is trying to stop! Whew!

In the Centauri Royal Palace the Regent, with a surprisingly eloquent statement, tells Londo that it is now his time to die. Londo will then be the new Regent. The Regents spidery keeper thingy detaches itself and scurries away and the regent quietly expires in Londos arms.

In space, Sheridan is waiting for the Centauri battleships to return. The Narn and Drazi have stopped their attack on Centauri Prime and they too await the final battle. Sheridan has just enough time to order a wider search for Delenn’s vessel. Delenn and Lennier meanwhile are running out of air and stabiliser fuel. If they don’t dies of suffocation soon, they will surely die when their ship plunges into the wall of the hyperspace corridor.

Back on Centauri Prime Londo, the new Regent (acting) tells his friend G’Kar that he must soon leave Centauri and that they may never meet again. This is a very well done but sad parting and one which I was warned about by my friend (and video buddy) Nancy. Londo told G’Kar that over the coming years, he would hear of many strange things happening on Centauri Prime and that he should remember their friendship.

As G’Kar prepares to leave, Londo poignantly tells G’Kar that when they first met he had no power and all the choices he could ever want. Now he has all the power he wants, but no choices at all. Before he goes, G’Kar tells him that while the Narns will never forgive the Centauri for what they did to his world, he forgives Londo. The two part company, silently and sadly.

The spidery 'keeper' climbs Londo's legLondo then returns to the Throne Room and learns what the Drakh meant when they said that they wanted ‘him.’ The ugly Drakh git reveals a stunningly grotesque spidery thing that is seemingly plucked from its chest! The ‘thing’ opens its legs and scurries over to where Londo is waiting. In an amazing feat of self-control (and especially his stomach), Londo lets the keeper crawl up his legs and onto his shoulder where it attaches itself to Londo’s nervous system. There is will reside for the rest of Londo’s life, controlling him and making sure that he attends to the wishes of his new masters, the Drakh.

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Out in space above Centauri Prime, Sheridan notices that the approaching Centauri ships have stopped and are holding position. He manages to contact Londo and persuades him that the attack was not the fault of the Alliance. Londo accepts Sheridan’s word and explains that the Centauri Regent went mad and caused the current conflict. He also informs Sheridan that the Regent is now dead and that he has taken his place.

Against the advice of Londo, Sheridan goes to the planet surface and asks for Londo’s help in finding Delenn’s ship. Londo goes off alone and confronts the Drakh to see if Delenn’s ship can be located and recovered.

Knowing that he CAN help, Londo then speaks to Sheridan and explains that he will help to get Delenn back. He explains that it will be difficult and that his ships can only be contacted at pre-arranged times. Sheridan understands this and accepts Londo’s help. It becomes very clear however that their relationship has changed.  The conversation becomes belligerent when Londo (in front of the assembled Centauri courtiers), accuses the Alliance of a savage attack on his homeworld. Sheridan tries to placate his friend, but soon gives up. He then reminds Londo that as the loosing party in this war, the Centauri must make reparations for the loss of the ships that were attacked.

Delenn’s White Star is found by the Centauri, but not before a rather embarrassing exchange between Lennier and Delenn. Things were looking pretty gloomy for them both as the Centauri battleships appeared. Delenn and Lennier chatThey believed that they were about to die and Lennier just couldn’t help tell Delenn that he loved her. “I know” she replied.

It’s fairly harmless stuff I think, but then it all gets a little silly when they both realise that the Centauri ships are not there to finish them off, but to save them….. Delenn, full of embarrassment says, “You said something a moment ago. I didn’t actually hear it. The power monitor you see….. it was making a great deal of noise.” {yeah right!}. Lennier then apologetically says, “Nothing. I said nothing.”

Delenn continues in a fit of stupidity, “Ah, well… At times of great stress, one can say things one did not intend to say, would never had said under other circumstances. I don’t think anyone should be held to that or asked to explain or… Well, that’s neither here nor there, as the humans say. Nothing happened, except that, for a moment, I found myself feeling extremely complimented and deeply honoured by your presence…and by your friendship.”

Good grief! You godda feel some sadness for Lennier. It must have taken a lot to tell Delenn that he loved her AGAIN. I mean, he wasn’t about to go all mushy and embarrass the hell out of her. He simply wanted to tell her honestly how he felt. Delenn on the other hand acted like a schoolgirl! Yer wasting yer time Lennier ol’chum! She isn’t worth it.

On Centauri Prime, Londo makes Vir the new Centauri Ambassador to Babylon 5. Later when Delenn arrives, she, G’Kar and Sheridan watch Londo’s inauguration. They weren’t quite prepared for what he was about to say!

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Londo addresses his subjectsUsing a really hoopy holographic projection, Londo was displayed for all to see as he addressed his subjects. The projection filled the horizon with his head and shoulders and they heard him say:

“We have come through the long night of fire, pain and death. We have been gravely wounded, but we remain Centauri. The Regent began the war with the Alliance, and that war is now over. The greater one, the war to rebuild our world and restore our place in the galaxy now begins. Sheridan and his Alliance have struck deeply at our people, exacting a terrible price in the lives of those who died during the night. Another great price must now be made in the form of reparations that will come close to ruining our economy. They wish to teach us a lesson, to break us so that we will never again be a problem. “

“This punishment is unfair, is a violation of our sovereign rights, but we will bear this burden as we have borne so many before. We are no longer part of the Alliance. We are alone. We fought alone, and we will rebuild alone. We will work even harder to show those who have come to humiliate us that we will not bow down.”

Londo walks alone to his innagurationLondo is actually addressing his subjects from an anteroom off the main Regents Chamber. The Drakh git is behind him and you get the impression that these are not Londo’s words but those of his captor. He continues:

“As a symbol of our new isolationism, I will walk alone to my inauguration. I will take on the burden of emperor in silence. The bells of our temples will sound all day and all night, once for each of our people killed in the bombings. We are alone, alone in the universe, but we are united in our pain. May the Great Maker be with you all.”

Sheridan, Delenn and G’Kar are more than a little put-out by Londo’s words. G’Kar points out that Londo probably has a good reason for saying these things and that they should trust his judgement. Londo is aloneThey watch as he walks alone to his inauguration. Later, as they say their goodbyes to Londo; Delenn thanks him for saving her,

Back on Babylon 5 Zack relay’s a message to Sheridan, Delenn, Garibaldi and Franklin. The message is from Captain Lockley to say that the fighting on the station has pretty much stopped. The Centauri surrender seemed to have settled things down. No one is particularly pleased, it’s like they are morning the death of a friend. Zack asks why everyone has a long face, everything is quiet, the attacks have stopped, and they won the Centauri War. Delenn replies pointedly, ” Yes, we won the war, but what did we lose?”

That episode was JUST GREAT!  A classic!.  But what of the Drakh,
have we heard the last of them?

I’d rate this a depressingly monstrous 39,391 out of 10.
What did you think?

Discuss this episode in the Babylon 5 & Crusade Forum

The “The Fall of Centauri Prime” episode review is © 1999 – 2019 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.

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