Mark Watches ‘Babylon 5’: S03E17 – War Without End, Part Two

In the seventeenth episode of the third season of Babylon 5, there are not enough WHAT THE FUCKS for this episode. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Babylon 5. 

Where do I even start? It’s all a circle!!! THIS SHOW HAS BEEN TELLING ME THE TRUTH FOR YEARS. Despite suspecting some of this, this episode was still a trip to experience. Look, if we’d just been given some answers about the past, this would have been mind-blowing. But the show commits to the notion of becoming unstuck in time and gives us glimpses of the future, and MY MIND CANNOT HANDLE THIS.

Actually, let’s work in reverse. I HAVE THOUGHTS.

The Future

I just… what the fuck is about to happen? There is so much information given to us in a relatively short amount of time, and I’m blown away by how this doesn’t undercut the show, but somehow make it more exciting. Who knew that giving us the resolution to the Shadow War would actually make me feel MORE dread? Because now I know it will take seventeen years for the war to be finished. They’ll have to pay an immense cost in order to win, but no matter how horrible that cost is, it’s better than surrendering to the Shadows. DELENN AND SHERIDAN HAVE A SON NAMED DAVID. !!!!!!! WHAT DO I EVEN SAY TO THAT. !!!!!!!! Oh my god, Londo is Emperor, but he has a parasitic entity attached to him that controls him? Y’all, I imagine Babylon 5 benefits greatly from re-watches, but that one twist alone made me want to rewatch the previous episode. Could you see it in “Part One”? Did I just not notice it??? HELP ME. 

So, when does that thing show up in the timeline? How long is Londo controlled by it? Is it from the Shadows? How do events transpire to reach that point??? Oh my god, WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO G’KAR’S EYE? Is that meant as a reference to Lady Morella’s prophecy??? Y’ALL, THEY KILL EACH OTHER JUST AS WAS FORETOLD. And Vir becomes Emperor because Londo was killed. What the fuck is this show??


The Present

I admit that a lot of the scenes in the “present” time (which is actually two years in the past?) felt mostly like getting all the chess pieces in the right places. It’s admirable that the show truly attempted and succeeded in closing so many threads left unraveled from both “Babylon Squared” and from Sinclair’s time on the show. But because there are so many pieces here, there’s a frantic energy that doesn’t allow for a whole lot of introspection. Which I get! This is just one reveal after another. At times, though, it felt as if there was a lot of explaining, a lot of winks and nods to the audience so to speak. For example: Delenn’s moment at the end of the episode, where she explains the purpose of her transformation at the end of season one, felt rushed. It’s like the show just had to get this part out in less than sixty seconds because the rest of the script was so jam-packed. 

For what it’s worth, there are some nice moments in terms of emotional resonance when the entire team is together. (Though Dr. Franklin is suspiciously absent during all this. Granted, he’s off dealing with his addiction, but we haven’t even been told where he went. Is he even on the station at all when this is all happening?) Their refusal to let Sinclair stay behind after they just got him back was touching. And EVERY SINGLE SCENE with Delenn and Sheridan is DRIPPING with drama and emotion. Y’all, they both went through a lot in this episode. Both of them were dealt some heavy revelations that’ll shape their characterization to come. How is Sheridan going to lead the war against the Shadows knowing the outcome? Is he going to try to re-route things so that this huge “cost” is not paid? What about Z’ha’dum? What’s there??? Will he listen to Delenn’s warning? 

The Past

Holy shit. Again: re-watching all this has to be ridiculous because Sinclair being Valen has probably been foreshadowed in ways this episode didn’t even address. And while I was kinda close to the truth in my last review, this episode brings Sinclair full circle, explaining his destiny and giving us the context to understand his departure. He had to leave humans and live among the Minbari so he could become a Minbari. Not just any Minbari, but Valen: the Minbari not born of the Minbari. Y’all, this is A LOT TO HANDLE. And it’s done so well as a way to wrap up Sinclair’s story. I honestly doubt we’ll see him again on the show, and I say that because this came off as so complete. Sinclair was part of an epic story, and his appearance in this two-parter was moving him to the final chapter. And that meant acceptance. Sinclair long ago had to accept that his path was strange, but even then, it was just an idea. Yet over the years, through training and learning and changing, he came to appreciate his role in the universe. What we see here is a man certain of what he will become. There’s no real sadness in him as he watches his friends leave him. As he said in the previous episode: He’s certain this is the right decision. 

I’m still in shock, y’all. HE’S VALEN. Valen!!! Along with Delenn and Sheridan, he is The One. I’m still not sure where Sheridan’s path leads him, but I feel like this is why Delenn’s transformation was as important as it is. Sinclair was the reason Minbari souls started being born in human bodies; Delenn transformed to shift the balance.

So what is Sheridan going to do?

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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