Babylon 5–Meditations on the Abyss (1998)   1 comment

Lennier Visiting Babylon 5


The Babylon 5 series enters its final phase with this episode, number 14 of 22 within the fifth season.  It is time to wrap up some character arcs and pay off more foreshadowing.  Meditations on the Abyss begins Lennier’s final journey (one with a sad end), take us to Vir Cotto’s next steps (which end happily), show us G’Kar attempting to adjust to his new life as a reluctant religious leader, and continue Michael Garibaldi’s descent into alcoholism.

Perhaps the best way to approach this episode is to avoid a strictly chronological approach.


G’Kar, newly fitted with a proper Narn artificial eye, teaches a group of pilgirms, answering their questions.  He seems somewhat happy saying,

We can’t be free until we learn to laugh at ourselves.  Once you look in a mirror and see just how foolish we can be, laughter is inevitable.  And from laughter comes wisdom.

The Narn Ambassador, however, is at pains when he has to define truth as a river and God as the source of the river.  G’Kar never wanted all this attention, for he had intended to have his book published posthumously.  Yet the Narn Ambassador does his best to help those who have come to hear him.


Vir Cotto returns from a shopping trip.  Not all is well, however, for Londo detects a listening device attached to one of the bags.  A Drazi merchant had left the bug there.  The Londo speaks directly into the listening device:

LONDO:  I’m sorry, Vir.  I didn’t mean to sit on your supplies.  I didn’t even see them.  You should be more careful where you put things in the future.

VIR:  You’re right, Londo.  I was wrong.  It was a very silly mistake of me.

LONDO:  Now the thing you must remember about the Drazi is that they are a very insecure people, but they have so much to be insecure about.  Did you know that the female of the species will gladly mate with the males of any other species to avoid the males of their own kind?  Take the wife of the Drazi Ambassador, for example.  After spending an afternoon with her, the Gaim Ambassador told me the most amazing stories.  As you know, that one day she actually….

Then Londo destroys the listening device and says, “There, they will stew all day over that.”

Later, Londo confronts the Drazi Ambassador about the bug.

The Centauri Ambassador opens by saying, “So, Ambassador, how is the wife?  Not too tired, I hope.”  The Drazi Ambassador (pictured above) is not amused.  One may presume that he had heard Londo’s disparaging remarks via the listening device.

Shortly thereafter, Vir Cotto, whom Londo has designated as the next Centauri Ambassador, confronts the Drazi merchant who had planted the bug.  The merchant admits to the deed yet asks what Vir will do about it.  Vir, you see, has a reputation as a weak and ineffectual person, not a man to fear or respect.  Vir walks away, returns the Centauri Embassy on Babylon 5, and removes a sword from a wall.  Londo follows his aide, who confronts the Drazi merchant again:

Londo looks on, proudly:

Now Vir is ready to serve as the Ambassador.


Left to Right:  Lennier, Findell, and Captain Enrique Montoya

Delenn, a.k.a. Ranger One, summons Lennier, her former aide and now a Ranger trainee, to Babylon 5.  She does this very quietly, to keep the secret from her husband, President John Sheridan.  Delenn assigns Lennier to White Star 27, but tells only Lennier his actual mission, which is to seek evidence that the Centauri are involved in the recent attacks on unarmed shipping vessels.

Captain Enrique Montoya, a capable starship commander, has dubbed his vessel the Maria, after his late sister. Montya sends trainees Lennier and Findell on a scouting mission.  Immediately, Lennier and Fendell, each in a separate fighter craft, watch the Maria return to hyperspace.  The two trainees know that they have about an hour’s worth of air, as opposed to the nearly 7 hours’ worth of air.  Lennier knows how to adapt to the situation and offers to help Findell, who refuses assistance.

The Maria returns just in the nick of time.  Montoya tells the trainees that they might be left alone and vulnerable due to unexpected situations, and that they need to know how to survive.

Later, Montoya sends trainees Lennier and Findell on a training mission through an asterioid field. Montoya has placed 39 homing devices among the asteroids, and each Ranger needs to destroy at least ten of these.  Someome will fall short of this goal.  Findell had joined the Rangers because family members had died during the Shadow War. He had entered the order for the wrong reason.  Now, facing this challenge, he thinks he will fail.  Findell, unable to handle the shame of failure, sets a collision course, but Lennier rams Findell’s craft to avert the collision plan.

Back on the Maria, a furious Montoya confronts Lennier and Findell.  Lennier preserves Findell’s honor with a lie, and the captain reassigns Findell to the recruiting office on Minbar.  Findell’s new job will be to question recruits regarding their motivations, and to weed out those with the wrong reasons.  Findell, Montoya says, is well suited to that task.  Then the captain, who knows that Lennier was lying to shield Findell tells Lennier not to assume that another person cannot listen in on a private channel.


Over dinner, Sheridan, Delenn, Zack Allan, and Dr. Franklin laugh about Vir’s episode with the Drazi merchant.  Then they discuss a serious matter:  they have about a month to resolve the crisis regarding attacks on shipping before the Interstellar Alliance falls apart in the context of a war.  And they wonder where Michael Garibaldi is; he was supposed to be there.

Garibaldi is in his quarters, drunk, singing to himself, and ordering pizza.

The experience of watching these final episodes again, after a prolonged absence away from them, has been both rewarding and bittersweet.  They age well, but I want more of them.  Yet the knowledge that filmed Babylon 5 is over helps me savor what is available to me.

My plan for the remaining summaries and reviews follows:

Set in 2262

80.  Darkness Ascending (Season 5, Episode 15)

81.  And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder (Season 5, Episode 16)

82.  Movements of Fire and Shadow (Season 5, Episode 17)

83.  The Fall of Centauri Prime (Season 5, Episode 18)

84.  The Wheel of Fire (Season 5, Episode 19)

85.  Objects in Motion (Season 5, Episode 20)

86.  Objects at Rest (Season 5, Episode 21)

Set in 2263

87.  The River of Souls (TV Movie)

Set in 2266

88.  A Call to Arms (TV Movie)

Set in 2267

89.  Crusade (Series)

Set in 2271

90.  Voices in the Dark (Direct-to-DVD)

Present Day = 2278

91.  In the Beginning (TV Movie)

Set in 2281

92.  Sleeping in Light (Babylon 5 Series Finale)


I have chosen to avoid the Thirdspace and Legend of the Rangers TV movies, for I cannot say much kind about them, and I prefer to maintain a positive tone on this weblog.  On the other hand, think about all the positive statements I have made about the Babylon 5 saga.



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

Posted September 27, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5 Season 5

One response to “Babylon 5–Meditations on the Abyss (1998)

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  1. Pingback: Guide Post: Babylon 5 (2262) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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