Mark Watches ‘Babylon 5’: S03E01 – Matters of Honor

In the first episode of the third season of Babylon 5, the crew finally gets to go on the offensive. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Babylon 5.

Oh, this is such a good opener, y’all. It’s creepy at times, and it really sets the tone for the war with the Shadows. It’s here, y’all. It’s here because EarthForce knows of it; because the Shadows are becoming more bold in their attacks; because of the insidious, awful ways in which they have infiltrated various governments. THIS IS GONNA BE DARK AS HELL, ISN’T IT.


We’ve seen moments of reluctance or uncertainty in Londo Mollari before. I’ve been hesitant to give much credit to Londo beyond the obvious because, in the end, he still wanted to benefit from what the Shadows provided him. He kept himself ignorant for a while; he avoided difficult questions or, when he asked them, he never followed up. It was convenient for him to do so. And when he ordered the absolute destruction of thousands of lives, he barely flinched.

So his rejection of Morden in the season three opener is pragmatic at best. At worst, it is a cowardly attempt to save face, to seem like he’s doing something moral and just when he is just scratching the surface of being a good person. I don’t think he’s attempting the second thing, for the record. There is an element of pride here; I do think he wants the Centauri to find their “destiny” alone, and thus, he really doesn’t have a need for Morden and his associates But there’s an awareness here. After Mr. Endawi questions him about the mysterious ship that Keffer recorded in hyperspace, he recalls the dread and terror the image of those ships gave him in his dream. He knows they are bad, and he also suspects that Morden’s “associates” use the same ones. But note that when Londo divvies up the galaxy with Morden, he doesn’t express any worry about another group colonizing the other half of the galaxy. I think his worry is always going to be centered on Centauri first. 

And y’all, I really don’t doubt that the image from the dream is prophetic as hell. The Shadows are absolutely going to turn on everyone in an attempt to conquer the whole galaxy. What’s Londo going to do then?

The Rangers

It was so damn exciting to see—well, as Sheridan put it—the team going on the offensive. I know the show has made a fine case for why they’ve all been reluctant to be as bold as they are in this episode. I don’t disagree with Delenn’s decision prior to this. They had to make sure the Shadows did not know of their suspicion so that they could strengthen their forces. But how long could that last? When would the moment come when the secret was no longer needed?

I think I’ll look back on “Matters of Honor” as the first major moment in which this war moved out of the shadows. (SORRY, I HAD TO.) The fact that the Centauri were going after a Ranger training post made me deeply suspicious. How did they know? I believe that damning scene back on Earth is the confirmation that I need to state that the Shadows already know about the Rangers. They must have directed the Centauri to place those mines there so that they could come and finish the Rangers off. It’s fucked up, but it makes sense. So, at this point, both sides know more about the other than the other was aware of. Thus, I agree with Sheridan’s decision to pilot the White Star (HI HELLO THAT SHIP IS AMAZING) to rescue the Rangers. Was it risky as hell and a little foolish? YES, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. But how could they let the Shadows and the Centauri score a victory that would harm the Rangers badly? 

The whole “jump point” loop bit was incredible to watch, but I think it meant more than just being a neat bit of sci-fi action. It’s hope. It’s the first time we’ve ever seen a ship belonging to the Shadows get destroyed. And that means that it’s possible to fight the Shadows. Gods, that’s SO important! Granted, this doesn’t negate all the rest of the dread that this episode gave me. CHRIST, THE PSI-CORPS AND THE EARTH GOVERNMENT ARE WORKING WITH THE SHADOWS. In this case, I’m guessing they’re trying to protect themselves??? They have to know how dangerous the Shadows are, right? Oh god, what if they don’t? What if they have no idea who they’ve allied with? UGH, I’M SO ANGRY WITH THIS TURN OF EVENTS, Y’ALL. I know it makes me as angry as it does because I know it’s so goddamn realistic. Humans would ABSOLUTELY sell out other races to protect themselves. We do that to ourselves in 2018, so… way to go, JMS, for writing a show that is unfortunately still spot-on? I guess??? HELP.

The video for “Matters of Honor” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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