Babylon 5–Soul Hunter (1994)   2 comments

Above:  A Damaged Soul Hunter Vessel Emerges from the Babylon 5 Jump Gate

(SECOND IN A SERIES OF BLOG POSTS)

The pilot movie (The Gathering) and the first episode (Midnight on the Firing Line) establish part of Commander Jeffrey Sinclair’s backstory.  On the eve of Minbari victory in the Earth-Minbari War, in 2248, they had surrendered.  It was the Battle of the Line, and the Minbari fleet was at Earth.  Humans made one last, desperate, hopeless defense.  Among these defenders was Jeffrey Sinclair, whom the Minbari captured.  Twenty-four hours later, the Minbari surrendered, Earth was spared, and the Human race survived.  Sinclair had no memory of what transpired during those twenty-four hours.  As a would-be assassin of Kosh, the Vorlon Ambassador to Babylon 5, said to Sinclair in the pilot movie, “There is a hole in your mind.”

It is now 2258, and Sinclair is the commander of the Babylon 5 space station.  He is well aware of the gap in his memory.  By the end of the episode he will have more clues to pursue in solving this mystery.

Soul Hunter is the second aired episode of Babylon 5.  It begins with Dr. Stephen Franklin (played by Richard Biggs) arriving on the station to assume his duties as medical officer.  His first patient arrives immediately.  The jump gate at Babylon 5 opens and from it emerges a damaged vessel.  (Explanatory Note:  In the Babylon 5 universe most space-faring species travel vast distances of outer space via jump gates, which are artificially created portals into hyper space.  After dropping into hyperspace they travel to the jump gate which takes them to where they want to go, much like taking an exit on the Interstate Highway System.  This makes otherwise long journeys short.  The great warships and more advance species do not need jump gates, for they can punch holes in and out of hyperspace with their superior technology.)

Above:  Minbari Ambassador Delenn (Mira Furlan) Pleading with Commander Sinclair to Kill the Soul Hunter

When Delenn, the Minbari Ambassador, sees the injured alien in the medical bay she recognizes it as a Soul Hunter, and tries to attack it.  The Soul Hunters are an ancient order whose members do not believe in an afterlife.  Thus they try to collect the souls of prominent individuals for the purpose of preserving what would be lost otherwise.  Not surprisingly, many species fear the Soul Hunters, considering them a race of thieves.

The Soul Hunter from the damaged vessel is a rogue.  Soul Hunter order ethics require one to wait until the individual whose soul one hopes to preserve is near death.  But the rogue Soul Hunter is on the run from his brothers because he likes to expedite matters by causing death.  And Delenn becomes his target on Babylon 5 after he escapes from the medical bay.

Below:  The Rogue Soul Hunter and One of the Souls He Has Collected and Placed into a Small Sphere

During the course of the episode a second Soul Hunter arrives to inform Commander Sinclair of the rogue aboard the station and Sinclair rescues Delenn from the rogue.  Before the Soul Hunter dies, however, he tells Sinclair, “They’re using you!”  “They” are the Minbari.  And Sinclair discovers that Delenn is not merely an ambassador.  No, she is a member of the Grey Council, the Minbari ruling body.  Why would the a member of the Grey Council serve as an ambassador?

The first four seasons ran in syndication from 1994 to 1997.  At the last minute Turner Network Television (TNT) rescued the series from cancellation, giving the green light to the fifth and final season and making a series of television movies.  Among these was In the Beginning, which told the backstory prior to The Gathering.  Observant viewers of the first four seasons discovered sprinkled elements of that backstory revealed at crucial moments, but In the Beginning put them all together in one production.  Anyone who recalls this movie well knows why Delenn is the Ambassador to Babylon 5, but I choose not reveal that answer here.  Some answers are most enjoyable when one waits for them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 22, 2010 COMMON ERA

All images are property of Warner Brothers, and I do not profit from said images.

Posted June 22, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5 Season 1

2 responses to “Babylon 5–Soul Hunter (1994)

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  1. Pingback: Guide Post: Babylon 5 (2258) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  2. Pingback: Babylon 5–The River of Souls (1998) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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