Babylon 5 – tape 1811

First – Apologies that I didn’t press Schedule on this post, so it’s been waiting to go up for some time.

More from Season One of Babylon 5 on this tape, with some good ones.

First is Legacies. A great Minbari war chief has died, and his body is being displayed to all Minbari, so a warship arrives at the station.

A young telepath suffers from a mindburst as her latent telepathic powers manifest themselves. Ivanova doesn’t want her taken back to Earth and the Psi Corps. And the Narn are also interested to pay for her services, because they don’t have telepaths of their own.

The Minbari in charge of the body, Neroon, wants to ensure only Minbari security looks after the body, but he’s rather shocked when they open the casket and the body is gone.

Neroon

The telepath also talks to Delenn about how telepaths are treated on Minbar, and she scanned her mind. Delenn knew something about the body being stolen. She had the body taken away and cremated because something something religious caste something something. I think I might have zoned out a bit.

Not a classic episode. Very much one of the Season One fillers.

I feel I should mention Ron Thornton here. He was the visual effects designer for the first few series of Babylon 5 and therefore a pioneer in the use of entirely digital effects in TV SF. He died quite recently, so I think I should tip my hat to his great work.

Ron Thornton

Next on the tape is a bit of a temporal puzzle. I have the second part of the story A Voice in the Wilderness. Not that surprising, as I would sometimes record single episodes of a show on a different tape if I was taping lots of things while I’m out.

But what’s really odd is that, after this episode, recording switches, very briefly, to a few seconds of another B5 episode’s end credits – and that’s from ‘Legacies’ again (going by the cast). Then it switches again to the start of another B5 episode, and it’s A Voice in the Wilderness part 1. So I failed to record part 1, recorded part 2, then later recorded part 1 again.

My recollection of this is very hazy, but I think it’s just possible that the broadcast of part 1 originally was hit by a transmission problem, and C4 arranged a repeat showing later. But after part 2 aired. It’s all a but of a mystery.

Whatever the reason, at least I have both of the episodes here, so I’ll look at them in the right order, as they’re quite a lot of fun, if memory serves.

A shuttle surveying the planet around which B5 orbits, supposedly stable and devoid of life, is disrupted by an energy blast of some kind.

Zap

The blast appears to be a signal of some kind, so plans are made to try to land a survey team.

An old friend of Delenn’s arrives on the station, Draal.

Draal

There’s fighting going on on Mars, as the people there fight for independence from Earth. And while watching a report on this, Sinclair is visited by a vision of some kind, asking for help.

Help Me

Another survey flight almost ends in disaster as this time, missiles are fired at the survey ship. And Londo also sees the figure asking for help.

A third foray onto the surface, this time with Ivanova and Sinclair are on the ship, and they get past the missiles, landing on what looks like an actual landing pad.

After making their way through some booby-trapped corridors, they find a rather impressive installation. I’m not quite sure how this all went undiscovered on the initial survey of the planet when the station was being built.

Inside the Planet

Delenn and Draal visit Londo and find him rather stressed. He has spent the last seven days researching on old Earth traditional song/ It’s the Hokey Cokey. “It doesn’t mean anything. Nothing at all.”

On the planet, there’s some seismic activity, blocking their return to the surface,  but they find the alien who had been sending the messages to the station. He’s sick and they take him back to the station.

Alien on the planet

Then, the episode ends just as something very large emerges from the jumpgate.

The end credits are missing on this episode, and there’s just a glimpse of the ‘previously on’ for the next episode before that recording also changes. But before we get to that, back in time (on the tape) and let’s look at part 2 of this story.

The big ship is an Earth Alliance heavy cruiser, and Captain Ellis Pierce (Ron Canada) is assuming control of the situation. Sinclair is unhappy, and seeks to have them removed as soon as possibl;e, as he diesn’t like the idea of Earthforce claiming all the technology on the planet solely for Earth and the military.

Ron Canada

Delenn’s friend Drall is summoned by the dying alien. He tells them that if anyone tries to land the whole planet will explode. Then another ship turns up, the same race as the alien from the planet, and gives everybody 10 hours to give up the planet.

Another alien

But the alien tells Sinclair that these are outcasts, and the signal was not meant for them.

Londo and Draal have to take the alien, Varn, back to the planet, and one of them will not return. I wonder if you can guess which one of them it might be?

Meanwhile, there’s still fighting above the planet, until Draal takes his place in the great machine, then sends a message to everybody telling them to chill out, and leave the planet alone.

All this time, Garibaldi has been worrying about an old girlfriend on Mars, and he finally gets news of her, only to find she’s married. What’s really weird is that she appears to have exactly the same voice as Talia Winters.

The final episode here is Babylon Squared. Strange tachyon emissions are being detected in the exact position where Babylon 4 disappeared years ago. Then they get a distress message. From Babylon 4.

The B5 crew send a fleet of shuttles to help evacuate the B4 crew.

Meanwhile, Delenn makes a trip to meet with a big Minbari ship. Minbari ship controls look like leftovers from the Blake’s 7 set design school.

Minbari controls

She meets with the grey council. I really get bored with alien religions in TV shows. They’re even more boring than the religions on Earth.

She’s told that she has been chosen to lead the grey council, and will have to relinquish her position as ambassador to Babylon 5.

The rescue fleet arrive at the location of the distress call, and sure enough, there’s Babylon 4. When they get on the station, they get flashes of other times. Sinclair sees a huge attack on the station, with Garibaldi holding off the attack. I might be wrong, but I think this vision of the future is never paid off – possibly because of the change of lead actor after the first season.

Babylon 4

The B4 crew have captured a strange alien called Zathras. He looks quizzically at Sinclair before declaring he’s “not the one”.

Zathras

Zathras tells them that Babylon 4 is needed to help fight in a great war against the forces of darkness, saying the station will be pulled through time.

Then, they see a strange figure in a spacesuit. Zathras tells them “it is the one.”

The One

The spacesuit looks remarkably like the ones worn in 2001 A Space Odyssey. I’m sure this isn’t accidental. Sinclair goes to touch the figure’s hand and is thrown back by an energy burst. Zathras gives something to the figure, (“It’s fixed.”) and he disappears.

They manage to get all the crew off the station, but Zathras is trapped under a pillar, and he begs Sinclair to leave him there because he’s needed for the future.

And when “The One” finally takes off the helmet, it’s an old Commander Sinclair. We also see Delenn’s hand, and hear her voice. “I tried to warn them” says Sinclair. We (significantly) don’t see Delenn’s face. The reason for this isn’t paid off until a much later episode.

Older Sinclair

Delenn doesn’t accept the leadership of the grey council, and goes back to the station, and is given a ‘triluminary’, which, again, will be significant in a future episode.

This was a fun episode at the time it was broadcast, and when the full story of Babylon 4’s mission was revealed later, it made this episode even more fun. But that’s a story for another tape.

After this, recording continues with Mighty Mouse, in The Green Line.

Then, Channel 4 news, with the US invading Haiti, after the government backed down from a fight. The tape ends after about 20 minutes of news.

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