Babylon 5: S05E22: Sleeping in Light
The opening scene is of Sheridan lying in bed next to Delenn. In the background, we here Garibaldi narrate an introduction, “The Interstellar Alliance, based on the home world of the Minbari Federation, was founded in the Earth year 2261, shortly after the end of the Shadow War 20 years ago, 20 years of history. Those of us who survived have seen it all. And those of us who understand have been waiting and dreading the arrival of this day.” It is now twenty years since Lorien saved Sheridan’s life – The time of Sheridan’s death approaches.
Sheridan dreams of his meeting with Lorien. He wakes suddenly and sits up slowly. Delenn awakes and he leaves the bedroom to stand on the balcony. Delenn joins him and they both stand to take in the magnificent view of the sunrise over Tuzanor. Sheridan comments on how he has never watched the sun rise. He wanted to know what it looked like when it came up so he could carry a picture of it in his head. Delenn becomes looks concerned. She guessed that he had dreamed of Lorien again. He tells Delenn that he is almost out of time (he can feel it in his bones) and Delenn asks if she should send the letters. Sheridan answers yes.
Whoa! The next scene we see a lovely looking older woman, a General, non other than General Susan Ivanova! Welcome back luv!
She is being briefed by a subordinate and you immediately get the impression that being a General is not all it’s cracked up to be. A ranger breaks the monotony by storming into the room to the obvious consternation of the guard outside. He hands Ivanova a message. “Whose it from,” she says. “I think you know.” Replies the Ranger. Ivanova thanks the Ranger and indicates that she will ‘be there’.
On Centauri Prime, Vir is enjoying the perks of being emperor, and he looks to be having a great time! The lucky geezer is in bed with two stunningly attractive bald women. He’s not doing anything rude of course, they were playing something like, ‘hide and seek’ or ‘find that carrot’ or something. They are interrupted when a Palace guard escorts a Ranger into the room. The Ranger hands Vir a message. He reads tit and his face goes glum, looking at the Ranger, he says, “I’m sorry” The Ranger bows and Leaves and Vir soberly orders that his appointments be cancelled for the next few days.
On Mars, a rather healthy looking older Garibaldi is smoking a cigar and reading a newspaper. Another older looking character, Franklin enters the room but he’s exhausted after playing with Garibaldi’s daughter, Mary. Erm… no not THAT sort of playing, for goodness sake – she’s only sixteen! They were playing tennis and Franklin was losing. The attractive and sprightly Mary enters the room fresh from her tennis game. She’s clearly not tired and though clearly on top throughout, she’s begging for more…. Erm tennis that is. Franklin is too tired, a fact noticed by Garibaldi who points out that he’s had too much clean living to know how to handle himself in tight situations. Garibaldi on the other hand will be out in a minute to show her how the game of Tennis is played!
Mary tells Garibaldi that he has a visitor and the Ranger walks in. He hands Garibaldi a message and Baldi’s face also goes grim (or at least grimmer). He sends Mary out of the room and Franklin enquires, “Is that what I think it is?”
When Dr. Stephen Franklin arrives on Minbar, he examines Sheridan. He concluded that Sheridan has perhaps four or five days left. Sheridan takes this quite well. I’m sure we have all wondered ourselves how Sheridan would meet his end, maybe we’ve all considered what we would do in such a situation. I’d like to think that I’d handle it as well as Sheridan, but I doubt it.
Sheridan goes to the party arm in arm with Delenn. He wants the party to be a happy affair, no sad faces and no glum words.
Sure enough, the party swings. All Sheridan’s friends with the obvious exception Londo, G’Kar, Lyta and Zack. Yes Lyta, I know Sheridan’s last words to her were ‘I’m gonna kill you’ but hell, they were still friends! Weren’t they?
Garibaldi, ever the life and soul, tells a funny story about a vomiting Pak’ma’ra and the assembled guests laugh. Vir tells another story of a Pak’ma’ra and Londo. Londo always thought the Pak’ma’ra were lazy, smelly and stubborn, but one day he passed one of their quarters and overheard one of them singing. He was surprised how lovely the voice was. Apparently Pak’ma’ra can only sing during certain times of the year. Londo was moved by the song and told Vir that, ‘there were 49 gods in their pantheon and he never believed in any of them. But, if only one of them existed, then it would sing with that voice.’
Vir’s face drops, after everything they had been through together and after all that Londo had done, he still missed him.
Sheridan breaks the silence. “To absent friends, in memory still bright.” he says. Garibaldi ads, “G’Kar!” and raises his glass, Vir raises his glass to “Londo”, Delenn, “Lennier”, Franklin begins, “Mar……” but it’s Ivanova who says his name, “Marcus”.
No one said Lyta, or Zack. Perhaps if Zack would have been there, he at least, would have raised a toast to “Lyta.” In the end it was left to a drunk SadGeezer in England who raised his beer can, (“Lisha” he said).
After dinner, the crowd is gathered in the living room. Vir is asleep in a chair and Garibaldi, Franklin and Sheridan talk quietly. Ivanova follows Delenn out of the room and asks her how she is handling the situation (Sheridan’s imminent death!).
Delenn discusses how she has had 20 years to prepare for his death but she’s going to miss him terribly. Ivanova tells Delenn that she too is going to miss Sheridan. She’s buried too many friends she resents it – there’s no joy anymore. Delenn tells Ivanova that David (their son) is not here because Sheridan would not want his son to leave Ranger Training (no special treatment).
Delenn changes the subject and talks about her election as the head of the Alliance. She didn’t want the job, but I suspect that Sheridan wanted her to take the job. Ivanova agrees, she believes that Delenn would be ideal for the job. Delenn mentions that she is currently head of the Rangers and that when and if she leaves, she would ant someone she trusts to head up the Rangers. She asks Ivanova to consider the job. Ivanova is surprised an when Sheridan appears later and also asks her, she replies that she will need some time to think about it.
Later, in Delenn and Sheridan’s bedroom
It’s later now and neither of them are asleep. Sheridan mentions some inane story about his dad taking the family for a drive each Sunday “Tomorrow is Sunday, Delenn. And I’m going out for a drive.”
As you can guess, Delenn is not too impressed with this anecdote and turns away tearfully. Then she asks, “What about the others?” Sheridan insists on leaving early the next day and sort of … fading away before anyone wakes up. “Tomorrow there will be no talk of this. I want it to be a good day, a happy day. I want that. I want it a great deal.” That’s an understatement!
The next scene is one of Sheridan leaving. I guess it was pretty tearful for all of us, me included. It was very corny and mushy but we didn’t seem to mind. The sun is beginning to rise on Minbar and as he leaves they hug warmly ( ….. and desperately….. and tearfully) and Sheridan says, “Goodnight my love, the brightest star in my sky”
“Good night.” Replies Delenn, “You…were my sky and my sun and my moon.” He brushes the side of her face delicately with his hand and, pausing very briefly, walks away into legend.
(sob, sob, sob)
Sheridan takes a Whitestar to Babylon 5. He arrives to the slight consternation of Commander Nils who apologises for not greeting him formally (they didn’t know he was arriving). Sheridan mentions that he was just passing through. The station is being de-commissioned and there is only a skeleton crew. Apparently, over the past few years since the station was given back to Earth Gov., much of the work done on Babylon 5 is now done by the Interstellar Alliance. It is now redundant and is being de-commissioned.
Later, he visits the Zoccolo, (GOD! This was a depressing scene!) He remembers some of his greatest moments there like the time he returned from the Dead (Z’ha’dum) when suddenly his old faithful compatriot Zack says, “So, you hear them to, huh?” (presumably meaning the voices of his past memories).
Zack became bored with his life on Earth and decided to return to Babylon 5 and assist with the de-commissioning. Sheridan mentions that this was probably the reason that the ‘letter came back’ (He was invited to Sheridan’s death day party after all). Zack eloquently reminisces the old days with Sheridan, “….every part of the station has somebody’s fingerprints on it. Layers and layers of people’s lives.”
Eventually, Zack walks him to the docking bay and asks where he’s headed. Sheridan is off to the Coriana system, where they won the Shadow War and where he last saw Lorien. Sheridan is fading fast as he reaches Coriana 6. Back on Minbar Delenn, presumably sensing the end, clutches Sheridan’s pillow tearfully.
As Sheridan begins to fade away, he sees a ball of light some distance in the front of his ship and hears the mystical voice of that weird geezer Lorien. “Who are you? What do you want? Why are you here? Where are you going? ” (some things never change. Mind you, the mixing of the key Vorlon and Shadow questions seems apt under the circumstances – But a simple ‘hello’ would have been nice). Lorien then appears behind Sheridan. “Did you think we had forgotten you? We have been waiting for you.” Sheridan sleepily tells Lorien that there is so much he doesn’t yet understand (I’m with you mate!) but all Lorien can reply is, “As it should be.”
Sheridan asks if he will ever be able to come back, but Lorien tells him that this journey is now over and that a new one awaits. “Time…to rest now.” He concludes.
Sheridan seems to accept this and looks out of the window. A bright white light fills the Whitestar and Sheridan’s last words are, “Well look at that, the sun’s coming up.”
(Sob, sob, sob)
The light moves outside the ship and then fades.
Later we are returned to Babylon 5 where Delenn, Garibaldi, Franklin, Zack and Vir are joined by Ivanova. She narrates the final scenes and mentions that Sheridan’s ship was found empty floating in space in the Coriana system- the airlocks were sealed, but there was no trace of the President inside (the stuff legends are made of).
The others take a last look at the Space Station before following Vir into a transport tube for the last time. Garibaldi, the last to enter before a workman (THE workman – the very reverend JMS himself – turns off the stations power). The lights go out as the shuttle leaves, passing through an honour guard of spaceships from other races.
Then, Babylon 5 blows up!
Ivanova continues her narration. We see pictures of Garibaldi on Mars looking proudly at his sleeping daughter with a 1st place tennis trophy on the table, Franklin continues his medical work on Earth (in this case with a Pak’ma’ra patient, Vir and Zack are on Centauri Prime (though I am not quite sure what Zack is doing there), and on Minbar, Delenn stands before a mirror glumly checking her uniform.
“Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. There would never be another. It changed the future, and it changed us. It taught us that we have to create the future…or others will do it for us. …… It showed us that we have to care for one another, because if we don’t…who will? And that true strength sometimes comes from the most unlikely places. Mostly though, I think it gave us hope that there can always be new beginnings……even for people like us. As for Delenn, every morning for as long as she lived, Delenn got up before dawn and watched the sun come up. “
(we see Delenn leave her room and go out onto the balcony. She sits on the bench, watching the sun rise. Then we see Sheridan sitting next to her – she turns to look at him, but he is gone, (sob, sob, sob) then she opens her arms longingly as she did in her last moments with Sheridan.)
(sob, sob, sob)
And there the episode, series and saga ended. I know it was only a TV show, and that it was all fictitious and just a ripping yarn and all, but it took me months to write this last episode review. This is the only episode I can’t re-watch. It was, after all, the end of an epic story that gripped from the very first episode. Watching ‘Sleeping in Light’ was, for most of us I think, like saying goodbye to people we had grown to like (and dislike) over the last 5 years.
…. far too sad for this SadGeezer
What did you think?
This episode review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl
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