Babylon 5–The Fall of Night (1995)   8 comments

Night Has Fallen.  Darkness Has Come. The Unfortunate Owner of This Shop Stated the Truth:  That President Clark Had His Predecessor, President Santiago, Assassinated.

(THIRTY-THIRD IN A SERIES OF BLOG POSTS)

World War II analogies abound in this, the second season finale, a devastating episode.  Captain Sheridan breaks with his government in the middle of the third season.  The Fall of Night explains many of the reasons he does so.

The episode begins during a time of Centauri territorial expansion via invasion of their neighbors.  This a crucial piece of information.

Mr. Lantz

It is the end of 2259.  Frederick Lantz, Director of the Ministry of Peace, arrives on Babylon 5.  Mr. Lantz is a deluded idealist.  A grandfather, he wants only to create a new, better, peaceful world for his grandchildren.  He even speaks of “peace in our time,” a quote from British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.  The price Lantz is willing to accept to accomplish the goal of peace is morally unacceptable.  He does not recognize this, however.  His organization, the Ministry of Peace, crushes dissent and criminalizes differences of opinion, and he has no qualms with any of this.  Mr. Lantz is, however, the perfect choice for a front man for such a nefarious organization as the Ministry of Peace.  If you were seeking someone to represent that group, would you not want Mr. Lantz for the job?

Mr. Welles

Accompanying Mr. Lantz is his Co-Director (and head of the Night Watch), Mr. Welles.  Welles is a manipulative S.O.B., to be blunt.  He encourages Commander Ivanova to betray her loyalties and work with the Night Watch, in exchange for which her military career will advance more rapidly.  Ivanova turns him down, of course.  And Welles pressures Babylon 5 members of the Night Watch to turn in anyone who voices “seditious” statements (often accurate ones), such as the truth that President Clark had his predecessor, President Santiago, assassinated.   Welles is a mean and smooth piece of work.

Night Watch, by the way, has characteristics of the SS and the Hitler Youth.

Meanwhile, a Narn heavy cruiser arrives at Babylon 5.  Captain Sheridan, operating within Earth Force regulations, grants the ship and its crew sanctuary and provides technical support (to repair the vessel).  Word of this reaches Mr. Lantz, who is incensed.  He announces that the Earth government is concluding a non-aggression pact with the Centauri Republic.  (Does this sound familiar?  Check the history books regarding Europe in August 1939.)

Shortly thereafter a Centauri warship arrives at Babylon 5.  Captain Sheridan deploys a squadron of Starfury fighters to surround the Narn vessel and escort it safely into hyperspace.  Sheridan warns the Centauri not to fire, or else he will use deadly force.  The Centauri captain fires on the station, the squadron, and the Narn vessel anyway.

The Centauri Vessel Damages Babylon 5.

Sheridan’s forces return fire while the squadron escorts the Narn ship to safety.  In hyperspace, Lt. Keffer, who saw a Shadow vessel in A Distant Star, sees another one.  He pursues it until it destroys his fighter, but not before Keffer ejects a buoy with footage of the Shadow vessel.

The Narn Ship is Safe Now.

But it is too late for the Centauri vessel.

The Centauri Warship Explodes.

The Centauri government is angry, of course.  The diplomatic way out of this delicate situation is for Captain Sheridan to apologize to the Centauri for his actions.  This is an order, not an option.

The undeserved apology is set to occur in the Babylon 5 garden, in the center of the rotating space station.  Sheridan, in full-dress uniform, is going to the garden via the elevated train at the the core of the station when he sees a bomb a Centauri left for him.  Sheridan orders the computer to open the doors, and he leaps from the train just in time.  The empty train explodes, but the captain is falling toward toward the “ground” at a deadly rate of speed.

Ambassador Kosh Saves Captain Sheridan’s Life

Kosh, the Vorlon Ambassador, leaves his encounter suit and saves Sheridan’s life.  The ambassador’s true appearance remains unclear even at this point, for everyone sees something different.  The Minbari see a Minbari god, the Drazi see a Drazi deity, et cetera.  Londo Mollari, the Centauri Ambassador, sees nothing.

What Sheridan Sees When He Looks at Kosh

Kosh places himself at great risk to save Sheridan.  The Vorlons keep themselves hidden away in encounter suits because nobody yet everybody would recognize them without these suits.  And the Shadows are watching.  They might take Kosh’s revelation of himself as a sign to go on the warpath more aggressively and more quickly.  Yet the risk is worthwhile, for Sheridan is that important.

The Fall of Night ends with Night Watch arresting a man who has spoken out against President Clark and closing his business.  (See the first image in this post.)  The Centauri Republic continues its wars of expansion–to create a “buffer zone,” they claim.  (Can you say breathing room?)  Captain Sheridan has come to look upon his Earth Force uniform with disgust.  Commander Ivanova lights her menorah.  And ISN television broadcasts Lt. Keffer’s footage of the Shadow vessel, claiming that nobody in the Earth government knows what the ship is.

Darkness has fallen.  Yet light shines in the darkness.  Sometimes, as Ivanova says at the conclusion of the episode, peace is just another word for surrender.  Babylon 5 was supposed to be the last, best chance for peace.  It failed.  Now it is the last, best chance for victory.

Commander Ivanova Lighting Her Menorah:  Light in the Darkness

Season Three is next.  Stay tuned and keep reading!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 14, 2010 COMMON ERA

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

Posted July 14, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5 Season 2

8 responses to “Babylon 5–The Fall of Night (1995)

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  1. Pingback: Guide Post: Babylon 5 (2259) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  2. Didn’t he even say, at some point “peace, in our time,” in ref. to the non-agression pact, during the episode?
    I’m citing this review in a couple of weeks, btw.

    Best,
    Shira

  3. Pingback: Minbari Mondays, The Fall of Night, and Risks | Inspiring Critical Thinking and Community via Books, Lessons, and Story

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