Babylon 5 Season 4 Premiere (Episode 1).

Primary Plot: The Alliance begins to fall apart due to Sheridan's disappearance.

Secondary Plot: Londo discovers that Emperor Cartagia has struck a deal with the Shadows.

Tertiary Plot: Ivanova, Delenn, and Lyta go to Z'ha'dum to search for Sheridan.

Return to the Babylon 5 Episode Guide.

The Hour of the Wolf is that time deep in the middle of the night when your fears and regrets and worries seize your mind so forcefully that you can't sleep.

It's the time when other people fade away to scant more than a faint hum.

It's the time when the distractions of your immediate concerns remove themselves and only your dreams and hopes remain.

It's the time when you lie awake at night, staring at the ceiling in your bedroom, and wonder just where you went wrong.

It's the time when you're too scared to even move, but you don't even know what you're scared of.

Sometimes it lasts for only an instant before you snap out of it. Sometimes it lasts for weeks.

The Hour of the Wolf is the time between night and dawn, from about 4 to 5 a.m.

It is the Hour when most people die, when sleep is untouchable, when nightmares are most palpable, when ghosts and demons hold sway.

The Hour of the Wolf is the time when heaven disappears and hell rules the chaos of the world. It is the Hour when the weak mind will lose itself deep in insanity and light of dawn is far away, a distant flicker that is in danger of being lost in the swirling winds of the mind.

The Hour of the Wolf is when lost lovers come back to be held in your arms one last time or to haunt you with what could have been. It's the Hour where life waits in a moment of transition between the darkness and the light, waiting in infinite patience for what is to come.

The Hour of the Wolf is the Hour when one must decide if they are forever stuck in a time that has passed and can't move on from that point.

It's the Hour where one must decide to embrace the coming dawn and welcome its warmth or stay with the Wolf in the darkness of that eternal night....


The more you do it, the better you like it.


-Susan Atkins


When I woke up, the TV was on. It was four a.m. The hour of the wolf. The hour, they say, when nightmares arrive. Across the screen, the words faded in: The Summer of Love, in bold black letters

The Summer of Love is two hours long. It was half over then. I’ve seen it before; I sat up in bed and watched it again. It’s about a man, a dark man, his life and his crimes. On the screen, young women giggled and fluttered. Barely women. He called them his girls. They were many, and loved him.

One girl stood closer and seemed clearly a favorite. Pretty, but there was a sadness about her. An emptiness in or behind her eyes. Something present, and yet still imprecise. There, and not there. Like the smell of burnt spice.

The girl, I imagined, had searched and found comfort, as some girls will, in liquor and promises, powder and pills. The emptiness grew the more it was filled. Then she met the dark man, who was emptier still.

He played a guitar, and sang like the angels. The dark man was small, but he walked and he talked big and tall as a redwood. He took her hand. They went to a bedroom. The dark man said to her, take off your clothes, and she did, I expect, as sad, empty girls do.

Look in the mirror, I’m certain he told her, and she looked at herself, bare as born; you’re perfect, he said. Just as you are. You always were. 

It’s a hustle, a grift, and with sad, empty girls it works like a trick; after that, I suspect, the dark man said something like this:

Your people—your mother and father, the teachers, the preachers, they told you, be good, sit up straight, be not foolish but wise, keep your foot on the path, the reward is a heaven that waits in the sky.

But don’t you see—I imagine he cried—they told you that story to keep you in line. They make up the rules and they keep the score. Heaven’s here, heaven’s now, I’m guessing he told her. No need to keep searching. Not anymore.

He smiled, I expect, at the sad, empty girl. And she smiled back at the dark, empty man, and they called it love, or some other word, but it took them both down as if it were quicksand.

The bold black letters faded out. It was late. Or early, I guess. The mind plays tricks that time of the morning. The hour of the wolf. When nightmares are present yet still imprecise.

She wasn’t the last and hardly the first; there were many who loved the dark empty man. Not so easy to choose, given the cast, but this sad, empty girl I think was the worst.

It bothers me, but I’ll squish the bug on my floor, if I must. When I watch “Old Yeller” I cry every time. I say that with pride. I shouldn’t though. That thing that makes tears; it’s there, or it’s not.

If you wet your knife with the blood of a soon-to-be mother, it isn’t.

If later you brag to your cellmate about it, it’s not.

It is or it isn’t; it’s not imprecise. Sadness and emptiness only get you so far. Neglect and abuse explain only so much. After that, it’s preferences. Tastes. What turns you on. What gets you high.

There are plenty of sad, empty girls in the world. Morally vacuous girls in it too. As I watched The Summer of Love that morning, I tried to put myself in her place. I’m proud of that. I shouldn’t be, though; that instinct is there, or it isn’t. I don’t know why. The moon and stars, perhaps, were aligned.

I tried but I couldn't put myself in her place. I’m proud of that, too. Never say never, I've heard some advise. Maybe so. Maybe that's wise. And maybe I’ll wed an emir in Dubai.

That thing that makes tears, it’s there or it’s not. I don’t know why. I know when I watch “Old Yeller”, I cry.

But when I wake up and it’s four a.m.—the hour, they say, when nightmares arrive—when the TV is off and the room is black as a starless sky—when I can’t find the door or the switch for the light

when nothing is there, and everything isn’t—

I wonder sometimes, if that’s what it’s like.



(for etouffee and lizardinlaw)

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