Mark Watches ‘Babylon 5’: S01E22 – Chrysalis

in the twenty-second and final episode of the first season of Babylon 5, I have no one to blame this on, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Babylon 5.

I imagine my thoughts on this will change as I get deeper into the show, mostly since I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON. But I’ve gotten a sense for season one as an introduction, as a way for this show to slowly seed this massive change in the narrative. So it’s fitting that this is called “Chrysalis” because season one was the precursor to that transformation. And here we are, at the end of a chapter, and I WAS NOT READY FOR THIS.


So… did I just miss the fact that Delenn was building that thing for the entire first season? I just made the assumption that those bright plastic pieces were part of some sort of Minbari meditation ritual. Or maybe a game? But if that triangle thing (I’M SORRY, I CAN’T REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS CALLED) was meant to be part of the prophecy, then surely that structure was important, right? Either way, even if that’s not the case, the story is bizarre and strong enough without that piece. Delenn’s stake in all of this was way more personal than I thought, and I say that fully aware of how ignorant I am of what’s about to happen. But it had to be important, or else why would she risk telling Sinclair everything about the secret surrounding the Battle of the Line? Y’all, she was ready to spill the truth, and if it weren’t for all the other HORRIBLE things that happened here, I bet Sinclair would have found out what the Minbari wanted with him. 

As it stands, I’m left in the dark. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a different form of the Minbari onscreen, and I’m guessing that whatever Delenn is changing into is both radical and extremely rare. Lennier was crying??? THAT SEEMS LIKE A BIG DEAL!!! And why was Ambassador Kosh so vital to this transformation? She didn’t begin it until Kosh said, “Yes.” But what was the question? And that’s all I can glean from this: It’s part of a greater story, but how it fits in with the other two major plots is a mystery to me. But it’s a thread in a larger tapestry, isn’t it? I’M NOT READY. 

Watch Your Back

WALKER SMITH WARNED HIM??? I don’t think Smith actually had any real knowledge of what was about to happen to Garibaldi, so I’m interpreting his warning as the show giving us foreshadowing rather than the character. But even thinking about that… the warning came in an episode with a human trying their hardest to take part in an alien custom, to break down that specific barrier. And from what I can tell of what little information I’ve gotten from “Chrysalis,” humans who want to keep that barrier were instrumental in killing President Santiago. This has to be a coup, doesn’t it? Garibaldi didn’t just discover an assassination attempt; this is connected to all the Home Guard plots we’ve seen throughout this season. It’s the ultimate act: to take out the President who keeps trying to seek progressive means of diplomacy and cultural exchange. I say that because of the men Garibaldi meets here, and because of Vice President Morgan Clark’s coded words. Upon being sworn in, what does he say?

That he’s going to take care of Earth first.

It worries me, y’all. How will this change the political situation on Babylon 5? What if they have a President who doesn’t see the station as a place of diplomacy, but one of defense? And I haven’t even gotten to the other big thing which CERTAINLY NEEDS DIPLOMACY, NOT WAR MONGERING. Will the Home Guard feel emboldened now that they’ve succeeded? Oh gods, WHAT IF WASN’T THE HOME GUARD? What if it was someone else??? Okay, no, that can’t happen twice in the same finale, but??? Who knows with this show???

The Temptation of Mollari

So, I actually got something right! CAN I IMMEDIATELY TAKE IT BACK AND BE WRONG??? Because while I suspected that Morden was a representative of the shadows, and while I suspected that Morden was testing out who could be most easily manipulated, I didn’t expect an action this horrible, this violent, this completely fucking unbelievable. But he we are: Mollari was offered a chance to have his problem fixed. Quadrant 37 annoyed him; it represented a further loss for the Centauri Empire, and it made him feel useless. It was clearer than ever that Mollari was almost perfectly suited for manipulation. In that exact moment, he was emotionally exhausted by how little power he had, at how many meetings he had to sit through, and how frequently his life was just petty arguments and stilted negotiations, and at the end of the day, this grand “empire” of his is no longer grand or an empire. Season one has shown us just how worn down he’s become, and thus, I don’t question that he took this offer. I also get why he was surprised by the result! I don’t think he ever truly thought that anything would come from what Morden said. Does that exonerate him? No. Ignorance is not an excuse. 

But look, even I did not think Morden and the Shadows (THAT’S WHAT THOSE WEIRD CREATURES ARE, RIGHT???) would just straight-up obliterate all the Narn in Quadrant 37. Ten thousand people are killed in a matter of minutes, and it’s nothing to Morden. But WHY? Why do this? Why make this sort of overture? Allyship, sure, but for what? The power that the Shadows demonstrate here makes it seem like they could destroy most of the Alliance in like… a few days. Tops. So what’s the purpose of all of this? They need an ally for something, or they would not have reached out to the Centauri through Mollari. 

It’s gonna be dark as hell, I’m guessing. The tone of season one changes so rapidly in this episode, and I AM SCARED. Something dark and frightening and all-encompassing is on the horizon, and IT IS COMING FOR ME, ISN’T IT.

Of course it is.

The video for “Chrysalis” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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