Babylon 5 Season 3, Episode 10. Written by J. Michael Straczynski, directed by David Eagle. Originally aired on April 1, 1996. Winner of the 1997 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

Primary Plot: Babylon 5 secedes from the Earth Alliance.

Secondary Plot: Delenn dissolves the Grey Council.

Tertiary Plot: ISN is shut down as they are about to release incriminating evidence against President Clark.

Commentary: Wow. One of the best, if not the best episode of the entire series (I still prefer The Coming of Shadows, but just barely). It changes the entire nature of the series, something rarely seen on a modern television show--where the name of the game is to give the illusion of change while having everything really remaining status quo. Take a look at any Star Trek: The Next Generation episode...everything is pretty much exactly the same at the end of the episode as it was at the beginning. Nothing changes. While characters may grow and flesh out somewhat, it's always the same old ship with the same old story. In a traditional TV show, if the characters were going to secede and be rebels, they'd have done so in the pilot episode and remained that way for the entire series. Here, JMS spends half the series just setting up the secession and the rest of the time dealing with the aftermath.

I really REALLY love the stuff with ISN, especially since it perfectly ties into the feeling of absolute chaos back home. ISN has been the device not only through which we (the audience) learn of things happening back home, but pretty much one of the characters' only lines of information as well. And so, when we see the troopers moving in and cutting off the feed, we can really feel the crew's sense of isolation.

And then we have Delenn, who finally comes out of her prissy little shell and kicks some major butt this episode. She travels to the ship where the Grey Council is meeting, strongarms her way into their chamber, dissolves the Council for the first time in a thousand years without blinking, takes control of some heavy Minbari warships, and hightails it back to Babylon 5 just in time to confront and intimidate an invading Earth Alliance fleet into leaving:

DELENN: This is Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari. Babylon 5 is under our protection. Withdraw! Or be destroyed.
CAPTAIN DRAKE: Negative. We have authority here. Do not force us to engage your ship.
DELENN: Why not? Only one human captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else!

Actor Jerry Doyle, who plays Michael Garibaldi, broke his arm during one of the boarding party scenes. He keeps that hand in his pocket for the rest of the episode, and in the following episode it appears in a cast. It worked out for the best, as the Garibaldi character was supposed to break a foot during the fighting anyway.

Fun Fact: A great blooper exists of Bruce McGill (who plays Major Ryan) improvising when Sheridan asks him what happened to General Hague:

SHERIDAN: Where's General Hague?
RYAN: General doing Deep Space Nine. It seems he was double-booked by his agent and there was nothing to be done. You'll have to do with me, sir.

Return to the Babylon 5 Episode Guide.

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