Babylon 5–Babylon Squared (1994)   5 comments

Above:  Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova (Claudia Christian) is Not a Morning Person.


The great series Babylon 5 plays out over five years, with a distinct beginning, middle, and end.  The first season is the series’ introduction, establishing characters and the universe.  Many of these threads seem disconnected at first, but the connectivity of the show becomes apparent with time and patience.  Babylon Squared, the twentieth episode aired, is a case in point.  The importance of much of its contents remains unclear until half way through the third season.  Yet the payoff at that time is wonderful.

Babylon Squared begins with humor.  Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova, the Executive Officer, is having breakfast with Commander Jeffrey Sinclair and Security Chief Michael Garibaldi.  She is drowsy because the night shift at Command and Control woke her up an hour early.  They had detected odd tachyon emissions from Sector 14, three hours away, the location of space station Babylon 4 before it disappeared a few years ago.  Ivanova authorized a pilot to investigate.

Sinclair and Garibaldi play a practical joke of Ivanova, convincing her momentarily that she has slept through breakfast and is late for her shift.  As the Lt. Commander rushes off to Command and Control, Commander Sinclair tells his Security Chief, “I’ll notify your next of kin.”  Then Garibaldi counts down from five and, from a distance, Ivanova shouts, “Garibaldi, you’re a dead man!”

The pilot’s Starfury craft returns from Sector 14, on automatic pilot.  He died of old age, although he was only 30 years old.  Something is going wrong with time in Sector 14.  Even more confusing, Babylon 5 receives a distress signal from Babylon 4.

Below: Babylon 4

Meanwhile, Minbari Ambassador Delenn answers a summons to meet with her peers on the Grey Council, the ruling body of the Minbari Federation.  She receives and rejects an invitation to leave her post on Babylon 5 and to become the Minbari leader.  Delenn believes in prophecy, a major theme in the series, and concludes that her work on the space station is not done yet.  Her decision carries a stiff penalty:  the possibility of becoming an outcast among her own people.

Below:  The Grey Council Assembles

Commander Sinclair and Security Chief Garibaldi travel to Babylon 4, where they reveal when and where they are from the Major Krantz, the commanding officer of Babylon 4.  Krantz explains that mysterious circumstances have befallen his station.  B4 is unstuck in time, and Zathras, an alien of uncertain origin, has appeared out of thin air.  Krantz, Sinclair, and Garibaldi speak to Zathras, who speaks of “the One” who needs Babylon 4 as a base for a great galactic war against evil forces and who seems to know Sinclair, although the Commander has not met Zathras previously.  And someone in a space suit keeps appearing and disappearing.  Zathras calls this person “the One.”

Below:  Zathras

Babylon 4 is unstable and about to disappear into another year, so Sinclair and Garibaldi evacuate it in 2258, their year.  Left on board, trapped under a heavy object, is Zathras, who recognizes someone in a space suit.  He knows individual as “the One.”  “The One” is an older Sinclair, who speaks to a woman whose voice sounds like that of Ambassador Delenn.  “I tried.  I tried to warn them.  But it all happened…just the way I remember it,” future Sinclair says.  Future Delenn replies, “I know.  It’s time.  We have to go.  They’re waiting for us.”

Above:  Future Sinclair and Future Delenn

I was confused when I watched this episode on first run.  Perspective tells me, however, that the Delenn-Grey Council, prophecy, and Babylon 4 threads in this episode tie together neatly within the tapestry that is the Babylon 5 series.  The third season two-parter War Without End answers many of the questions this episode leaves open.



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

Posted June 30, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5 Season 1

5 responses to “Babylon 5–Babylon Squared (1994)

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  1. Pingback: Babylon 5–War Without End, Parts I and II (1996) « SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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

  3. Linking to this post in my review of the same episode, scheduled for July…


  4. Coming up this Monday…

  5. Pingback: Minbari Mondays, Babylon Squared, and Unstuck in Time | Critical thinking for Human Community

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