Wednesday, October 10, 2012

B5 Rewatch: Chrysalis

Alrighty folks. Welcome to the first season finale installment of the Babylon 5 rewatch! Today we tackle the twenty-second episode of the season, "Chrysalis."


Spoilers spoilers spoilers.

Let Me Sum Up

December 30, 2258.

Londo and G'Kar are arguing because it seems that Centauri have been sending ships into Narn space. Londo protests that the space in question, Quadrant 37, is neutral territory. G'Kar announces that the Narn no longer uphold the agreement that declared that, seeing as how it was signed under duress. Sinclair asks why after five years of the Narn having a military base on the edge of this space there is suddenly an issue. G'Kar says increased patrols are necessary for security. Londo dismisses this claim and the session breaks up, with G'Kar stating he'll be glad to continue the discussion when Londo can do so in a civilized manner.

A wounded man staggers up to Garibaldi in the Zocalo. Garibaldi calls him Petrov and as Petrov dies he gives Garibaldi a cryptic warning. Petrov has been working for Garibaldi as an informant in Downbelow but they have been out of touch for weeks. Garibaldi swears to find out the meaning behind Petrov's warning.

Sinclair's girlfriend Catherine is visiting him again and they discuss their plans for New Year's Eve. Sinclair decides the moment is right and seizes the opportunity to propose to her. She says yes.

While Londo is griping to Vir about G'Kar and the fact that his government has decided to cede the disputed territory to the Narn, he receives a call. Vir tries to brush the caller off, but recognizing the voice, Londo takes it. The caller is Morden, who helped retrieve the Centauri artifact from the raiders a while back. Morden says he knows that Londo has a problem and that he and his people can help. He asks Londo to meet with him in an hour and Londo agrees.

At their meeting, Morden tells Londo that he is unappreciated and underused by his government. Londo scoffs that many people have told him this before but he has stopped listening. He has accepted that he will never be more than he is. Morden isn't so sure. He tells Londo that his people can take care of the Quadrant 37 issue for him. Londo is skeptical but Morden presses him to tell the Centauri government that Londo will take care of the matter. Londo asks the price for this help and Morden says nothing, only that if he makes good on his promises, someday his people will ask Londo for a favor.

Garibaldi visits Downbelow to try to find anyone who knew Petrov. Mostly people don't want to talk to him but eventually a friend of Petrov's speaks up. He tells Garibaldi that people who need non-legit jobs done often venture to Downbelow to hire workers, and the last such job Petrov took was helping a man named Devereaux  move cargo. Strangely, though, after the job was done, Petrov stayed on with the guy who hired them. His friend tells Garibaldi that the last he saw Petrov, Petrov was on his way to find Garibaldi. Whatever it was that he saw had scared him half to death, too. Garibaldi absorbs this information and sets out to find Devereaux.

Delenn sends Lennier to ask Ambassador Kosh a specifically worded question. When Lennier returns and tells Delenn that Kosh's answer was "yes," Delenn looks taken aback and goes to see Kosh herself. She asks the Vorlon if it is really true and says that she must see for herself. Kosh shows her something and she smiles and bids him farewell, saying she will keep the promise that she made.

December 31, 2258

Garibaldi tracks Devereaux down in a casino and asks him about hiring Petrov. Devereaux quips that he hires lots of people and Garibaldi asks him to come in to security to look at a picture. Devereaux tries to brush him off but Garibaldi insists. As he follows the security chief, he tells Garibaldi that he doesn't know what he's messing with.

Londo decides to take Morden's offer and orders Vir to relay to the Centauri Homeworld that he will personally handle the matter of Quadrant 37. Vir is more than a little worried that Londo has lost it, or is at least drunk, but Londo assures him that he knows what he is doing.

Sinclair and Catherine get together with Garibaldi and Ivanova for dinner. They tell their friends their happy news. As Garibaldi is congratulating them, he gets a call from security informing him that Devereaux has escaped from custody. Garibaldi tells Sinclair he has a bad feeling about Devereaux. When he was brought in he had an unnumbered gun on him. The guns are designed so that the numbers can't be removed, which means it never had one. Only special Earthforce agents are given such guns, and Devereaux was not named on the list of people with access to those guns.

In Quadrant 37, shadow ships (like those previously seen by Catherine and the one that attacked the raiders that stole the Centauri artifact) appear and attack the Narn military base.

Garibaldi heads down to investigate the cargo that Petrov helped move before he was killed. It was luckily stalled from departure due to engine trouble with the ship that was supposed to take it. He explains to the guard on duty that he thought if he could figure out what Devereaux was up to, maybe it would help him actually find Devereaux. The manifest lists the cargo as medical supplies but a closer inspection reveals it to be black-market jamming devices. Examination of the settings reveal that they have been programmed to jam the Earthforce One priority communications frequency near the location that the President is scheduled to give an upcoming speech about Alien Relations.

Realizing this can't mean anything good, Garibaldi contacts Sinclair and tells him they have a crisis on their hands, but refuses to divulge any further information over their links, just in case. He tells Sinclair to meet him in twenty minutes and then orders the guard to protect the evidence with his life. He heads out to meet Sinclair and runs into Devereaux and his goons. Garibaldi prepares to put up a fight but is shot from behind by the guard he just left, who is in league with Devereaux.

When Garibaldi fails to show up for the meeting he called, Sinclair gets worried. He doubles back to his quarters, just in case Garibaldi went there, and orders Ivanova to keep conducting a search out of Control. Sinclair's door chimes and he turns around, expecting that Garibaldi has finally shown up. Instead he finds Delenn. She holds up an triangular crystal and asks if he remembers it.

Sinclair says yes, remembering it from his interrogation aboard the Minbari cruiser. Delenn says that he remembers being captured and interrogated during the Battle of the Line. He says yes, but only bits and pieces. She nods, saying she has suspected for some time. She has much to tell him, she explains, and risks both their lives in doing so. He sighs in frustration and explains about the situation with Garibaldi. Delenn says she understands and tells him to come to her quarters when he is done, and she will tell him as much as she can. She urges him to hurry though, as events have been set into motion and she does not have much time.

Na'Toth informs G'Kar that the outpost in Quadrant 37 has been completely destroyed. No survivors, nothing left. Buildings, records, everything has been destroyed. G'Kar tries to process this information, wanting to understand who could have done this. None of the known races have the motivation, will, or capability. He realizes there must be someone else out there.

Garibaldi manages to crawl into a transport tube and activate it to send him to the Zocalo before passing out. He is found by revelers counting down to midnight and Sinclair rushes him to the Medlab. He wakes up long enough to tell Sinclair that Devereaux intends to kill the President and he needs to get a warning out. Sinclair rushes to Control to try to hail Earthforce One but unfortunately Devereaux's plan is already in action and all of the frequencies to the ship are being jammed. They pull up the news network to keep track of the President's progress and try to find a workaround but before they are able, the President's ship explodes live on air on the news network.

The events that have been set in motion by Delenn's question to Kosh seem to be starting. In her quarters Lennier watches as something happens to her offscreen.

G'Kar and Na'Toth express their condolences to Ivanova about the death of the President. They also ask after Garibaldi, who will have to undergo surgery after his injuries. They tell her about the attack on their base and she says she had just heard about it. G'Kar swears that they will find out who was responsible and take retribution.

Londo meets with Morden, appalled by what he has done. Morden is surprised that the death of any Narn (even the ten thousand that were killed in the attack) would upset Londo so. Londo feels that the action was unwarranted and is uneasy at so many having been killed in cold blood at his behest. It was, clearly, not the solution he was expecting. Morden tells him that the Centauri government doesn't know or care how Londo achieved the destruction of the base, but they are impressed. As far as they are concerned, he saved them from a very embarrassing situation. Morden promises Londo that this can only mean good things for his future and tells him to enjoy it.

The guard who shot Garibaldi manages to get himself put in charge of the search for Devereaux. He finds the man and kills him, then claims it was self-defense. He then goes to watch Garibaldi's surgery, presumably waiting to find out of the other man knows about his involvement in recent events.

Kosh finds Sinclair watching the Vice President being sworn in as President and reminds him that he has forgotten something. Sinclair starts, remembering he was to speak with Delenn, and he races to see her. He is too late, however, as when he arrives he finds her inside a cocoon, or chrysalis, of some sort. Lennier tells him that she is changing, though he does not know into what.

Morden meets with a pair of creatures who seem to be invisible and tells them that Londo is exactly what they need. The ambassador doesn't suspect a thing and when they are ready, he will do exactly what they need him to do.

G'Kar, having his suspicions about what happened in Quadrant 37, decides to leave the station to investigate.


Oh look, Londo and G'Kar are at it again. Who's surprised? Not I.

Petrov, could you be any more cryptic? Less pronouns, more names, man!

Oh look, Sinclair's girlfriend is back.

Hmm. Presidential term is five years? Interesting.

Oh, Catherine has a New Year's Eve surprise for Sinclair. Oh lord, he's gonna propose, isn't he?

You know, the pattern on the walls in his kitchen is alarmingly familiar to the carpet at the office I used to work in.

Oh, she said yes, yay! She's going to die before the episode is over, isn't she?

"Vir, how many gods are there in our pantheon? I've lost count since the last emperor was elevated to godhood." (Londo)
"Forty-eight, no no, forty-nine. Fifty if you count Zoog, but, you know, I never thought you should--" (Vir)
"Alright! Let's say fifty. Out of that fifty, how many gods do you think I must have offended to have ended up with G'Kar's teeth buried so deeply in my throat that I can barely breathe?" (Londo)
"All of them?" (Vir)

There is nothing about this conversation I don't like.

Oh, the Centauri are giving Quadrant 37 to the Narn? Hmm. Londo really does not like capitulating. Oh, and right on time, here comes this guy. Gah. Morden. Sigh. Don't do it Londo, it's not worth it. You really really have no idea.

Delenn, are you building some weird Minbari house of cards? It's pretty. Hmm. Delenn sent Lennier to ask Kosh a very specifically worded question and he replied yes. She doesn't seem too happy about that answer.

Wow. ACTING. All of the disenchanted people who live in Downbelow. It is sad, it really is. Sounds like Petrov found out something someone didn't want him to tell anyone else. Dude. Garibaldi. At least buy the guy a meal for helping you out, huh?

A park on a space station. That is so awesome.

No, Londo. Morden does not want credit. TAKE THAT FOR THE SIGN IT IS. Ah, the ambiguous, "someday you'll owe me a favor." That's the highest price to have to pay, I think.

Are Delenn and Kosh in cahoots?

Okay, she seems a little bit happier about his answer after he did his levitating head trick. I mean. That is a pretty neat trick.

"You will not see me again as I am now." (Delenn)


Well. Looks like someone is planning a rocking New Year's Eve for the station. Wow. Devereaux, dude, do you really think you can threaten the head of station security? Really? Yeesh.

Looks like Londo has decided to accept Morden's offer. Alternate universe. Heehee. I love Vir. He's a big ol' Centauri teddy bear.

Sinclair is making house calls to try to wrap up his work so he can celebrate. Oh lordy. G'Kar likes the human ladies doesn't he? Wow.

Hmm. So the Narn used to be agrarian and it was throwing off the Centauri regime that took them to a militaristic culture.

It is amazing to me how well Andreas Katsulas conveys the emotion and nuance of G'Kar's thoughts under all of that makeup and prosthetic work. Seriously. Dude can ACT. (Unlike what we saw with the lurkers in Downbelow.)

G'Kar clearly hears what Sinclair is telling him, but he just as clearly understands the reality of what his people have become and knows his first loyalty must be to securing their future, whatever that cost might be. This is one conversation that Sinclair will never be able to win with patience and logic, I fear.

Aw, asking Garibaldi and Ivanova to be in the wedding party. That's so sweet! ...and Garibaldi is making a speech. Wow. He is such a big softy!!

Uh oh, Devereaux escaped. Hmm. He had an unnumbered gun but apparently no legitimate access to one? That can't be good.

Oh dear. I fear Quadrant 37 is about to have a very unpleasant encounter.

You know, I have to admit, the effects on those shadow ships still hold up pretty dang well. Unless light is shining directly on them, they just blend right into space. The scenes of them in battle are pretty impressive.

Hmm. I suspect that little news blurb about the vice president being ill is something to keep in mind.

Ooh, smart thinking Garibaldi. Check out the cargo that Petrov helped move.

Definitely not medical supplies. Hmm. Jamming devices? Those can't ahve been intended for anything benevolent. Uh oh. Io? Isn't that where the President is supposed to be giving his Alien Relationship speech?  Not good. Not good. Oh, and of course the helpful security agent is a rat. Sigh.

Oh no, Garibaldi!! Not a good way to wrap up the year.

Nope Sinclair. Not Garibaldi. Hello Delenn, what's that device? Delenn, your timing, it is wanting. Well, at least she is being reasonable about it. Well, if Sinclair needed extra motivation to find Garibaldi (he didn't), he's got it now. He's been wanting answers about the Battle of the Line for a while now.

...and the outpost at Quadrant 37 is gone. Oh. They were studying the shadows, weren't they? Sorry. Getting ahead of myself. Maybe not. G'Kar knows what's up though.

Go Garibaldi, go, go!

Counting down to midnight. Why is that guy wearing an upside down flowerpot on his head?

Well, at least Garibaldi managed to make it to a populated area.

Still building a house of cards (crystals?) Delenn? Aw, Lennier is worried about her.

"Valen said this day would come. Who are we to stand in the way of prophecy?" (Delenn)
"But, what if you're wrong?" (Lennier)
"Then speak well of me when I'm gone." (Delenn)

You know, I have to say. I love the way that the show (not every character in it, but the show itself), really doesn't make light of the cultures that believe in the more mystic things, like the Minbari do. Their beliefs are treated very respectfully.

Ooh, shiny house of crystals is shiny. Not just for fun then, eh?

Oh good, Garibaldi woke up quickly enough to warn Sinclair about the threat against the President. Good. Of course, Devereaux and his lackeys have already managed to jam all of the frequencies. Oh damn. Bye bye President Santiago.

Damn, Garibaldi needs surgery. Oh crap, and the guy he puts in charge of finding Devereaux is the guard who shot Garibaldi. That is not good.

Uh oh, looks like Sinclair is too late to speak to Delenn.

G'Kar swears retribution on whoever attacked his people. Of course. Londo has regrets of course, after the fact. Still doesn't excuse him for playing Morden's game in the first place. Sigh.

Wow, Earth is really trying to pass that off as an accident? Would they really just ignore the possibility that this was an assassination? Damn. Looks like.

So. The shady guard killed Devereaux and his goons. Interesting. Also disturbing.

How very convenient for the Vice President that he got off the ship before it reached Io. Hmm. Ah. Yet another scene meant to invoke the LBJ swearing-in. Scifi loves to play on that iconic image, doesn't it?

Oh, hello Kosh. You shouldn't sneak up on people like that, and with the cryptic announcements and everything.

"And so it begins." (Kosh)

You have no idea, Sinclair. None at all.

Also, no answers for you. Delenn is a little busy being in a cocoon at the moment. Or chrysalis.

"She is changing." (Lennier)
"Into what?" (Sinclair)
"I don't know." (Lennier)

G'Kar, what are you up to? Ooh, you do have your suspicions though. And you know about the shadows.

Aw, Londo wants to wait to see how Garibaldi's surgery turns out. Bromance!

Ooh...shady security guy. I know you don't mean well at all.

Sigh. And Morden has "plans" for Londo. Are we surprised? Anyone? Anyone?

Oh, hey. Catherine. Congrats on surviving to the end of the episode. Very well done.


Wow. So. Crazy ride so far, huh? We've got four more seasons to go, though, so I hope you'll stick around! Join me next Monday, won't you, when we kick off season two with "Points of Departure."

In other B5 news, Ryan Britt over at wrote a really interesting article about the series and its role in developing what we think of as fandom today. It's a good read, I highly recommend it. You can find it here.

Also, want to make a scheduling note. Well, two actually. Starting next week, I'm going to be posting the rewatches on Monday and Tuesday instead of Monday and Wednesday. So, just something to look out for. In addition, as October gets into full swing, I am starting to get ready for National Novel Writing Month in November. To that end, I wanted to let you know now that the rewatch will go on hiatus during November. So we'll make it up to episode six on October 30 and then will pick back up with episode seven on December 3. Just wanted to give y'all a heads up about that.

Have a great week, guys!

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