Babylon 5–War Without End, Parts I and II (1996)   7 comments

Centauri Emperor Mollari II in the Earth Year 2278


The Earth Alliance Station Babylon 4 in 2254

Do you recall Babylon 4?  It was the immediate predecessor to Babylon 5Babylon 4 became operational in 2254, and disappeared 24 hours later.   The first season episode Babylon Squared tells the tale of B4‘s reappearance in 2258, when the crew of B5 rescued the crew and civilians trapped aboard B4 before it disappeared again.  Babylon 4 was destined to become a base of operations for the forces of light in a great war–but when?

War Without End, Parts I and II, answers that question–and a few more.  This is a pivotal two-parter within the series arc of Babylon 5.   So follow the proverbial bouncing ball with me.

Former Commander/Ambassador Jeffrey David Sinclair on Minbar

It is the Earth year 2260.  Jeffrey David Sinclair, commanding officer of Babylon 5 (2257-2259) and Earth Alliance Ambassador to the Minbari Federation (2259-2260), is on Minbar, where he is now full-time head of the Anla-shok, or the Rangers, who are dedicated to fighting the Shadows.  Sinclair receives a 1000-year-old letter addressed to himself.  The author of the letter is Valen, the now-revered Minbari war leader from the previous Shadow War.  Valen is so revered that many Minbari react to difficult situations by saying, “In Valen’s Name.”

Shortly thereafter Sinclair departs for Babylon 5, where Delenn has received a letter in the same handwriting.

Commander Ivanova from a Parallel Timeline

Meanwhile, the great machine on Epsilon 3 is expending great energy open a hole through time and space near where Babylon 4 used to be.  From this gateway comes a transmission from a parallel timeline:  Commander Ivanova is sending a distress signal from Babylon 5, which is under attack from the Shadows.  The time stamp indicates that the message is from the near future, too.  How weird is that?

Delenn’s Surprise History Lesson

Sinclair arrives on Babylon 5, but does not stay long.  He, Sheridan, Delenn, Ivanova, and Marcus Cole board the White Star and head back in time to 2254, thanks to the great machine at the heart of Epsilon 3.   En route, and still in 2260, Delenn reveals historical records she has received from Epsilon 3 recently.  Babylon 4 became the Minbari base of operations 1000 years ago, during the previous Shadow War.  Allies of the Shadows, recognizing B4 in 2254, tried to destroy it, but the White Star prevented them from doing so.  Now the intrepid crew of the White Star needs to do this, so that history will remain unchanged.  They succeed, of course.


On the way to accomplish this goal the White Star receives a new helper:  Zathras, from Epsilon 3.  Zathras brings time stabilizing devices, so that people will not become unstuck in time.  The best laid plans of mice and men….

The White Star arrives in 2254, saves Babylon 4 from the Shadows, and attaches itself to the hull of the space station.  Then the adventures aboard Babylon 4 begin, and we, the viewers, see the rest of the story Babylon Squared began.

You can find my entry for Babylon Squared here:

Jeffrey Sinclair, Aged Prematurely

Due to a technological difficulty, Sinclair’s time stabilizer malfunctions and he ages greatly when Babylon 4 shifts from 2254 to 2258.  This explains his appearance at the end of Babylon Squared, when his younger self returned to Babylon 5.

Below:  2260-Delenn and 2260-Sinclair aboard Babylon 4 in 2258

John Sheridan and Delenn on Centauri Prime in 2278

Captain Sheridan has adventures in time and space.  He jumps forward to 2278, on Centauri Prime, where Londo Mollari is the Emperor and the planet is in ruins.  Londo blames Sheridan and Delenn for the fate of his planet and promises to kill them shortly.  Then he sends them away to a cell.  Delenn, remembering that John had told her years ago of this time jump to 2278, encourages him not to go to Z’ha’dum.

Londo, drunk yet surprisingly lucid,  summons Sheridan and Delenn.  The Centauri Emperor has a Keeper attached to his body and plugged into his central nervous system:

Londo is not his own master most of the time.  The Keeper, which is under telepathic control by aliens and usually invisible (except when it is asleep), controls the emperor.  But the keeper falls asleep when Londo drinks, and then Londo can be free.  The emperor had put on a good show for the Keeper and his masters previously, but now that the Keeper is asleep, Londo frees Sheridan and Delenn.  He wants them to free the Centauri people from the alien oppression.

The Death of G’Kar and Londo Mollari

The Keeper will awaken soon, and when it does it will force Londo to betray Sheridan and Delenn.  So Londo summons his old friend G’Kar, who, at Londo’s request, strangles the emperor as the Keeper awakens.  The Keeper forces Londo to strangle G’Kar, too.  So the prophecy from the first episode of the first season is fulfilled, but does not mean what one might have expected.  G’Kar and Londo do not die as enemies; they die saving Centauri Prime.

Vir Cotto becomes the next emperor, and Sheridan’s forces liberate Centauri Prime.

And 2260-Sheridan jumps back in time to 2258, aboard Babylon 4.

The events of Babylon Squared unfold, and Sheridan, Delenn, Ivanova, and Marcus return to the White Star and travel back to 2260 and Babylon 5.  Sinclair and Zathras ride B4 back to 1260, when Minbari warriors board the station and find Zathras and Valen.

Below:  Valen

Back in 2258-2259 Delenn had used alien technology to transform herself into a Minbari-Human hybrid–to set right the balance of the transfer of Minbari souls into Human bodies.  For nearly a 1000 years Minbari souls had found new homes in Human bodies.  The event that started this transfer was Jeffrey Sinclair’s use of the same alien technology to make himself a Minbari.

Valen was the greatest of the Minbari–a Minbari not born of Minbari.  He came out of nowhere, defeated the Shadows, created the Anla-shok, and created the Grey Council.  For a thousand years Minbari quoted Valen’s prophecies, actually the memories of Jeffrey David Sinclair.

Thus the first commanding officer of Babylon 5 fulfilled his destiny–a millennium before he was born.

War Without End is staggering.  Watching it is the best way to enjoy and understand it.  So I encourage you to do exactly that.



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

Posted July 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5 Season 3

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