Mark Watches ‘Babylon 5’: S03E16 – War Without End, Part One

In the sixteenth episode of the third season of Babylon 5, THIS IS TOO MUCH. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Babylon 5.

I just??? Need this show to stop??? Help???

Babylon Squared

Now, my memory of the events of that episode are decent—I remembered Zathras and “The One” and the older version of Sinclair in the blue suit—so I’d like to say that thus far, this episode appears to address most of the threads left unresolved. Obviously, there’s other stuff going on here with Sinclair, with images of the future (!!!!!!), with Delenn’s knowledge of everything, with those damn letters, but STILL. Y’all, Babylon 4 was stolen to fight against the Shadows A THOUSAND YEARS AGO, and it was SHERIDAN’S TEAM who orchestrated that theft. Which I feel like more or less confirms what Sinclair’s role is throughout this??? I think? 

Hold on, I’ll get there. I just need to state that I can’t believe this show set up this plot line over two years prior, and is just now resolving it. And it comes at such an opportune time, too. It doesn’t feel random. Instead, in the midst of the growing war with the Shadows, these characters have a chance to deliver a definitive blow against the enemy. Granted, it’s a thousand years in the past, but it’s still meaningful, and I appreciate the thematic appropriateness of where this episode is placed. 


I think the best way for me to talk about this labyrinthine plot is instead to focus on the characters, especially since I still have at least another part to go that’ll answer many of my questions. (At least I hope so, that is.) I’m fascinated by Sheridan’s role in this because out of all the characters here, he’s the most ignorant. And Delenn knows this! That’s why she asks him to merely trust her; this journey is going to be RIDICULOUS, and she knows that, at least initially, he’s going to have to operate on faith. It ends up being a lot of fun that Sheridan is thrown into this with so little to go on. Well, I think Ivanova is in the same boat in a lot of ways. Y’all, that recording of her is chilling. 

Add on to that the “answer” to the mystery of Babylon 4: these people are the ones who have to steal it. But given what we saw in “Babylon Squared,” the price is so stark. They know that they’re going to pull all these people away from their families, and they know that the crew members of Babylon 4 are going to have a FUCKED UP experience. However, that’s pretty in-line with the nature of this show, which levies huge costs on these characters within the larger narrative. How willing are these people to do things like this if it means victory over the greatest evil? What makes it worth it? When does duty override comfort? It doesn’t take Sheridan very long to sign on to this absurd plan, even if he doesn’t understand it all. He trusts Delenn (with his life!!!), and he is certainly the kind of leader willing to go with the flow. 

AND THEN THE FLOW TAKES HIM TO A VERY DARK PLACE. Now, I’m accepting that everything we see here—including the recording that Garibaldi got—is a possible timeline. I say that because it appears that Sinclair deliberately thwarted a possible timeline by preventing Garibaldi from being on the destroyed Babylon 5. (Which I still don’t understand. Where is that station anywhere in this future?) Even if that’s the case, what a BOLD storytelling move, y’all. Because this episode tells us that our heroes win against the Shadows years and years into the future, but that all is not well in the universe because of it. They’ve been “pushed back,” which… doesn’t mean destroyed? So they’re still around? Maybe??? Even so, Sheridan, unstuck from time, lands in a future where Londo is emperor of Centauri—as prophesied!!!—and he’s ready to execute Sheridan for not cleaning up the Shadows. Which is a real interesting reaction. Isn’t Londo partially responsible for bringing the Shadows back to power??? And now, he cares about the destruction they’ve wrought? It’s such a deeply, deeply Londo-esque moment, isn’t it? Londo has the ultimate power in Centauri now, but this is what he’s using it for? Spite???



Oh, it was so nice to see Sinclair back again, and it’s astounding to me how much his character has changed over these three season, especially since much of it has happened off-screen. He’s now utterly believable as the coy and revered Ranger One, and his work is still spread about the show. Would the Rangers be as strong as they are without him? But for a long time now, it’s been openly hinted at that Sinclair was destined for something greater. When Sinclair reappears here, you can tell that he’s not lying when he tells Delenn that his life has purpose now, that his path is clear and certain. What that path is seems rather fucked up. Is he doomed to forever provided the closure to this time loop? We already know from the end of “Babylon Squared” that Sinclair is the man in the blue suit. So there’s something tragic about the notion that this is what he’s destined to do. I could also be wrong about this, but I feel like that’s where this is heading. 

Well, that’s still a vague theory. There’s something huge I’m missing, I know it, and I imagine this next part is going to provide those missing pieces. Exactly how did Zathras get involved with this, and why did the Babylon 4 crew believe that Zathras caused this? (I suspect it was just coincidence.) How will Sinclair go back to the beginning? I assume the Babylon 5 team will succeed, but why is there an alternate future where Ivanova is on the station while it’s attacked by the Shadows? (Actually, I suspect this answer was already given to us: because that would be the Shadows’s first attack after Babylon 4 was destroyed.) WHY IS THIS SHOW LIKE THIS.

The video for “War Without End, Part One” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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