Babylon 5–Knives (1995)   3 comments

Above:  Urza Jaddo


The character of Londo Mollari began as a buffoon and a representative of a decadent, declining power (the Centauri Republic) focused on its past glory days and nursing resentment over its current status as a second-rate nation.  With this episode the comic relief aspect of Londo’s character goes into retirement and the dark side takes over.

Londo receives a visitor, his longtime friend, Urza Jaddo.  Urza has come seeking help, for the Centauri government is about to declare him a traitor.  He is not actually a traitor, but he is a dissident.  Urza knows, for example, that the war against the Narn Regime is one of aggression, not defense, and he says so openly.  Urza seeks Londo’s assistance is halting this declaration of treason, which will lead to shame for his family in the honor-bound Centauri society.  Londo tries to help but is actually no help, for his ally, Lord Refa, is the mastermind behind the effort to declare Urza a traitor.

Urza, who knows that his fate is sealed, seeks to protect his family.  So he challenges Londo to a duel (with swords) to the death.  The victor in this contest must take the family members of the vanquished into his extended family.  So Urza, by dying at Londo’s hands, saves his family.

Below:  Urza Dying in Londo’s Arms

Babylon 5 is a series about choices and their consequences.  Londo Mollari always has choices, but rarely does he recognize this fact.  So, out of blindness, resentment, and patriotism, he makes terrible choices which ricochet on himself and the Centauri Republic.  At the end of Knives Londo believes that he has no choice but to follow the dark path to its end.  He does take that path to its end–and his.  But I get ahead of myself.

Above:  Captain Sheridan Finds a Dead Markab in Grey 10

The other story in Knives is that of Captain Sheridan and his bizarre visions.  Security Chief Michael Garibaldi tells Sheridan about reports of odd events in the section of the station called Grey 10.  People report seeing and hearing strange things and the scanners are seeming to malfunction.  So Sheridan investigates.  He finds a dead Markab who is actually host to an alien lifeform, which transfers to Sheridan.  Now the Captain sees and hears things nobody else does.  This continues until Sheridan understands that the alien is attempting to communicate with him.  The alien wants to go home.

So Sheridan flies a Starfury fighter craft to Sector 14, where the Babylon 4 space station disappeared a few years ago.  The alien leaves Captain Sheridan and goes home through this portal in time and space:

Babylon 4 and Sector 14 come back into the story thread in the next season.  So stay tuned and keep reading.

By far the more interesting story in Knives is that of Londo Mollari, who proves by his life that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  The tragedy of his character is that he has a conscience and tries to do the right thing by his nation, but that he gets almost every detail horribly wrong.  And there is hell to pay in this life.  None of this was predestined; Londo creates this reality with his choices.  It is too late to turn back by the time he realizes how wrong he has been.  Londo Mollari could have been a good man or even a great one, but he becomes an agent of destruction for himself and others.  And he does this while, in his words, seeking only to serve.



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

Posted July 13, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5 Season 2

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