Monday, October 15, 2012

B5 Rewatch: Points of Departure

Well, hello and welcome to the Babylon 5 rewatch! Oh my goodness, we've made it to season two! Happy dance!

Just a quick reminder, B5 posts will now go up on Mondays and Tuesdays instead of Mondays and Wednesdays.

Now, join me, won't you, for a spoilerific look at season two's first episode, "Points of Departure."

Let Me Sum Up

Following the death of President Santiago, Commander Sinclair was recalled to Earth immediately and with no explanation. After about a week of his absence, Garibaldi is still in Medlab and Ivanova is at the end of her rope trying to keep everything in order. Then she gets another blow in the form of the news that Sinclair will not be returning to Babylon 5. He has been permanently reassigned to be Earth's first Ambassador to the Minbari homeworld.

The new commander is Captain John Sheridan. The Minbari, as it turns out, are not overly satisfied about this appointment. Not only were they not consulted (as with Sinclair), but it also turns out that Sheridan played a large part in the Earth-Minbari war. He is responsible for the only real victory the humans had during the conflict--the destruction of the Minbary flagship, the Dark Star. The Minbari have even gone so far as to dub Sheridan StarKiller. 

Sheridan knows his appointment will cause controversy with the Minbari but though he seems willing to try to work peacefully with them, he refuses to apologize for his part in the war. He was doing what, at the time, he believed needed to be done. He knows full well how easily the Minbari could have destroyed the humans. 

In the midst of all of that turmoil, a member of the Grey Council, Hedronn, has learned that Delenn has undergone the chrysalis process and arrives at the station. He seems annoyed that she has pushed the hand of some prophecy. He also has learned that a legendary Minbari warship, the Trigati, has been sighted by the station. The commander of the ship, Kalain, leads a group of Minbari exiles who refused to accept the surrender that ended the war. Hedronn informs Lennier that if Kalain or the Trigati shows up, he must inform Sheridan of something important.

Kalain does indeed show up. Hedronn sees him and tries to talk him down but Kalain claims that the Minbari government has betrayed their people. He advises Hedronn to get off the station for his own safety. Hedronn tells Sheridan (grudgingly) that Kalain is aboard and warns him that this does not bode well. Indeed, Kalain goes to attack Delenn in her vulnerable state but is intercepted by Sheridan and a security crew. He is taken into custody but doesn't give up any information. Sheridan wonders aloud where his ship is if he is here on the station.

Lennier goes to Sheridan and Ivanova and tells them what Hedronn ordered him to. He explains the truth about why the Minbari surrendered, ending the war. As a culture they believe that when one of their people dies, the soul is reborn into the next generation of Minbari. If any of the souls are taken out of the equation, the whole group is lesser for it. For this reason there is a long standing law that Minbari do not harm other Minbari. To do so would be to harm their entire race. 

But over the last few thousand years, the Minbari have noticed fewer and fewer being born into each generation and have felt that as a whole they were diminished. It has been a long-standing mystery as to where their missing souls have been going. During the Battle of the Line, when Sinclair was questioned by the Grey Council, they realized that he had a Minbari soul. Their missing souls were being reborn into humans. That is why they called off the war. The Grey Council did not feel that the rest of their people were ready for such a truth yet, though, so they have kept the matter secret since then. Lennier entrusts this secret to Sheridan and Ivanova and asks them to help him keep it. He also says that changes are coming, and Sinclair's reassignment was only the first one.

Kalain's ship comes through the jump gate and demands the return of their captain. They claim that since no one has been killed or seriously harmed yet, there is no reason for them to attack. Give them Kalain and they will go. Of course, right around this time is when Kalain cracks open a false tooth filled with poison and commits suicide. Sheridan realizes pretty quickly that the whole thing was orchestrated as a way to make an attack from the renegade Minbari seem provoked. 

He realizes that they are on a kamikaze mission and want to be killed, going down as martyrs and making him and Earth look bad in the process. He outplays them by sending a message into hyperspace, anticipating that the Minbari had been on the lookout for the ship as well. A second Minbari ship arrives and orders the Trigati to stand down. It makes to leave but the new ship fires on it, disabling it. The Trigati's core goes critical and it explodes, its fighters moving in closely enough to be taken out by the blast as well. Sheridan thanks the captain of the second Minbari ship, but the captain is not happy to have helped. He says the crew of the Trigati will be mourned by many of his people. 

Sheridan later confides to Ivanova that he feels responsible for bringing the trouble with Kalain and the Trigati to the station. After Lennier's revelation, he realizes that the Minbari trusted Sinclair, but he knows they definitely do not trust him. He fears he will not be able to do the job he needs to do. Ivanova urges him not to take on extra guilt. She seems to think he will do a good job in charge of the station.

Lennier, relating the events to Delenn, regrets that he could not tell them the whole story. It seems there is a prophecy about the arrival of a new great enemy of the dark. Only the humans and Minbari working completely together will be able to stop this new enemy. 


Agamemnon. Yet another awesome name for a ship. I think they must have so much fun coming up with those. 

Ooh...a Minbari warship hanging out by Babylon 5? Oh no, a renegade! The Trigati? Is that a Minbari rebel group? 

Oh joy. Another anti-Minbari human war hero.

Oh, Sinclair's been called to Earth? Uh oh. Poor Ivanova. Um. Probably we shouldn't let her be in charge for any extended period of time. She doesn't deal well with people she finds frustrating. Which is, oh, everyone.

"I can only conclude that I'm paying off karma at a vastly accelerated rate." (Ivanova)

I like this journal-type voice-over from Ivanova to kick things off. It's a good way to catch us up on what has transpired on the station since last we saw it. 

So. Bye bye Sinclair. Seems Earth got tired of him putting his own agenda of tolerance and understanding ahead of their own goals. Maybe the next guy they get to do the job will be easier to control. *snort*

You know, these opening credits are kind of spoilery for stuff that has yet to happen in this episode. I am kind of surprised, with as much as this show was a pioneer for long-haul stories, that they would utilize credits like this. I do think I am firmly in the camp that goes for the minimized opening credits these days. I like when it's just the show's title and then the credits themselves play discreetly over the story as it begins to unfold. 


Oh, Ambassador to the Minbari homeworld? Interesting.

So. Sheridan's a controversial choice, eh?

Okay, the Trigati is a ship. 

Heh, the Grey Council isn't too happy about Delenn's chrysalis thing.

So, Ivanova knows Sheridan. She doesn't seem to have any problems with him. That's got to be a good sign, right?

"Interesting place you have here." (Sheridan)

Aw, I think they're friends. Yay! 

StarKiller. Dang. That's a nickname to have. So, on shaky ground with the Minbari, but otherwise pretty well qualified. Also, Santiago's first choice to replace Sinclair. It seems Santiago was pretty gung-ho about trying to get along with the other races in the galaxy. 

Aw, he has a good luck speech. That's cute.

Kalain? Who is this guy? Oh, someone who is not happy about Sheridan's appointment. Uh oh. I have the feeling this guy does not mean good things for the station. 

"Well then. I'll say a prayer for him tonight." (Ivanova)
"He's agnostic." (Franklin)
"Then I'll say a half a prayer." (Ivanova)

Oh! His speech! This is the one he never gets to finish. Awesome. I love silly little running jokes like that. 

Ooh, rice, carrots and green tea? That sounds so yummy. 

Interruption the first. Sheridan's first contact with the Minbari as commander of the station. 

Heh heh, buff suave guard is buff and suave. Also, unconscious. 

Ooh, more backstory on the Earth-Minbari war. So, Kalain is in charge of the Minbari who didn't want to surrender. 

Ah, now. Sheridan knows how to recognize Grey Council. Interesting. Sheridan took out the Minbari flagship, and now they are holding a GRUDGE.  

Yet still, his first concern is to save Delenn. Good good. 

Oh, don't you dare hurt my Lennier! Oh Lennier, I know you're brave, but don't be a martyr sweetie.

"If you are going to kill me, then do so. Otherwise I have considerable work to do." (Lennier)

Oh honey, you are a BAMF. Grateful to Sheridan but still not gonna let him just walk in. Nice. ...and then he stops by to apologize for being rude. Also, apparently with all of the answers to all of the pressing questions. Dude.

Oh. OH. It was Delenn's idea to bring a human on board, AND she chose Sinclair. Interesting.

Oh god, I LOVE the Minbari soul mythology. The whole concept is just absolutely fascinating. It takes reincarnation and karma an extra step further. 

...and here comes Kalain's ship I bet. 

Okay, who is this guy? Warren? He's in the opening credits but I don't remember him at all. *side-eyes*

Okay, Kalain just poisoned himself I think. False tooth trick.

Oh, of course, they're demanding the release of Kalain promising no harm if none is done to theirs--and he just killed himself. Sigh. Sheridan's putting the pieces together. 

Minbari ships have such an interesting design. They are pretty. 

Ooh, sending a secret message. Heh. Sheridan out-thinking the Minbari. I like that he still uses logic but it's a slightly different brand than Sinclair's. Oh, and of course the Minbari are snarky about it. No breaks for Sheridan.

Aw, don't go second-guessing yourself Sheridan. It will be okay. *pats*

Oh, there is more than what Lennier revealed. Prophecy! A new great enemy! Establishing the story arc!

Heh. Sheridan's gonna finish his good luck speech no matter what. Even if it's to an empty room. 


Thanks for dropping by! Please come back tomorrow for the next episode, "Revelations."

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