A man has come to Babylon 5 claiming to be Arthur Pendragon, the legendary king of the Britons. Meanwhile, Garibaldi is having a dispute with the Post Office.
- Bruce Boxleitner as Captain John Sheridan
- Claudia Christian as Commander Susan Ivanova
- Jerry Doyle as Security Chief Michael Garibaldi
- Mira Furlan as Ambassador Delenn
- Richard Biggs as Dr. Stephen Franklin
- Bill Mumy as Lennier
- Jason Carter as Marcus Cole
- Stephen Furst as Vir Cotto
- Jeff Conaway as Zack Allan
- Andreas Katsulas as G'Kar
- Peter Jurasik as Ambassador Londo Mollari
- Roger Hampton as Merchant
- Dona Hardy as Old Woman
- Michael Francis Kelly as Security Guard #1
- James Kiriyama-Lem as Med Tech
- Robert Schuch as Lurker
- Jerry O'Donnell as Security Guard #2
- Regular characters appearing in this episode are John Sheridan, Susan Ivanova, Michael Garibaldi, Delenn, Stephen Franklin, Marcus Cole and G'Kar.
On Babylon 5, logistical effects of the station's break from the Earth Alliance is felt. As the Earth transport liner Asimov arrives through the B5 Jumpgate, Captain John Sheridan and Commander Susan Ivanova lament that it is the first one to come to the station in months. With all official ties from Earth severed, each ship (and its associated docking fees) is much welcomed. Also, even though the station is under Minbari protection, they both realize they need a broader base of support from the alien worlds.
Meanwhile, Chief Michael Garibaldi is mad. The Earthforce Postal Service is insisting on charging 100 credits for a package due him, triple the previous cost. The worker there explains that transportation costs have risen due to B5's independence, and they have to pass the costs along. The clerk won't release the package without payment, and Garibaldi, headstrong as ever, won't pay.
Aboard the liner, there is a man having a nightmare about doors in a corridor, explosions, and a sword.
Dr. Stephen Franklin is in Downbelow. Marcus Cole brought him down because of illness spreading among the Lurkers. Franklin confirms the problem as an outbreak of Banta Flu. He orders the level quarantined and the two most serious cases taken to the Isolab to keep them from spreading the flu until past the contagious stage. Franklin is surprised Marcus caught on to the flu so quickly, but Marcus knows it's normally the result of eating rotten human and alien food mixed together, and he had seen people eating such food waste before the outbreak. They start talking about the lurkers: about how some people feel they deserve what they get, but then Marcus notes that he prefers the chaotic nature of the universe to the thought that every bad thing inflicted upon you comes because you deserve it.
As the transport liner's shuttle docks at Babylon 5, Franklin checks on his patients in Medlab then comments on Marcus' Ranger pin. Marcus describes the different symbolisms: the Human figure on one side, the Minbari on the other, joining together in the center in the unity of fighting the common enemy. The stone in the center is called Isil'zha, which in Minbari means "the future". Continuing with the Minbari language, Marcus notes it took him a year to learn the fundamentals and that Minbari put an emphasis on language, believing war is as much about concept as it is about action. He also notes he was taught a lot about terror, but he refuses to go into specifics.
As passengers pass through customs, Security stops one man. He has a weapon, but he refuses to give it up. Instead, he draws it. Security draw their PPGs. The man seems very annoyed at how he's being addressed, thinking they have no respect before Arthur Pendragon, King of the Britons, and his sword, Excalibur.
Just then, Marcus and Franklin arrive and notice the commotion. Before things deteriorate further, Marcus (himself of British descent) offers to intercede. To everyone's astonishment, he kneels before the man and addresses him as if he was King Arthur. He eventually manages to convince the man to sheath his weapon for he is in friendly lands and to let Dr. Franklin look at him lest they get in trouble for disobeying orders.
Back in Medlab, Franklin and the doctors try to identify him. Unfortunately, he has no papers that would give clue to his real identity. Franklin then suggest a DNA and fingerprint scan in case he has records on file. Franklin tries to converse with the man, but all his memories place him in the middle of the Arthurian legends. He has no memories that would correspond to reality as Franklin knows it. He still believes he has returned from Avalon in a time of need.
Marcus tries to refresh the command staff on the Arthurian legends. Garibaldi is a skeptic as usual, but Franklin notes that history indicates at least some truth to the story. Still, the idea that he could be the real King Arthur is rather far-fetched, so Sheridan wants to concentrate on the matter of the other alien worlds. However, Marcus notes that the Vorlons could've taken him and suspended him (as they did with Mr. Sebastian, last year). So they keep arguing. Franklin notes that Arthur doesn't speak in Old English, so the likely possibility is self-delusion, so he has to ask, "What made him tip over?" There is nothing physically wrong with him, which points the finger at mental trauma. Then Franklin's link beeps. Arthur has escaped Medlab.
Downbelow, Arthur notes some of the Lurkers lying on the floor, living in destitution. He questions an old woman, who claims to have had something stolen from her: a photo of her late husband. He offers to help.
Not far away, G'Kar is completing a deal with a human smuggling messages to and from the Narn Homeworld. He offers him a data crystal and assurances that it is authentic. Just then, there is a commotion, and G'Kar goes to investigate. Several lurkers (apparently loan sharks) are beating up another for not paying up. Suddenly, there is the sound of a sword being drawn, and a defiant cry. It is Arthur, demanding the man be released. The Lurkers are puzzled to see a man holding a sword before them, but they stand ready to fight. Arthur will not back down, either, and they soon clash. Arthur proves a skilled fighter with his fists and his sword, and he beats down the four Lurkers. He demands the loan shark yield, but he refuses, noting his friends coming from around the corner – more Lurkers, ready to fight. Inspired, G'Kar jumps to Arthur's aid, declaring Arthur has friends as well.
Arthur and G'kar return to the old woman, who is asleep. Without disturbing her, he places the picture in her hand. G'Kar looks on with a smile.
Garibaldi orders a search for Arthur as he leaves to take care of another matter. His main concern is him leaving the station. Marcus notices Security in their search and leaves.
In a Downbelow bar, G'Kar talks fondly with Arthur, noting it's the first time he's had a good honest fight since he can remember. The simple reality of the situation, you vs. them, good vs. evil, had been most satisfying in contrast to the constant shades of grey he has to negotiate everyday. Arthur again talks about Arthurian legend: this time about the Round Table and the idea of a rule of law rather than of arms. This was why he fled Medlab: to continue his mission of justice. Surprisingly, he sees a lot about G'Kar: a fierce warrior but also one with sophistication. So he takes his sword and actually dubs him a knight of the New Round Table.
Garibaldi's other matter is the package still in the Post Office's possession. He and another guard are breaking in to retrieve it: over the strong objections of the subordinate, who Garibaldi notes fears the Post Office more than Earthforce. The guard's concerns are justified, however, when the Postmaster appears before them blocking their way; he had anticipated Garibaldi's actions.
Back in the bar, deeper in their cups, and G'Kar asks Arthur why he took the fight so personally. Arthur refers to Camlan field, seeing his knights slain on the field and watching looters rummage among them for their valuables. The loan sharks had struck a similar nerve in him. Just then, his nightmare flashes into his memory, and G'Kar tries to get his attention. He then tells the story of Camlan field, about the truce Arthur tried to strike with Mordred, but the truce was broken in a tragic accident when a knight attacked a snake that threatened him, and the result was the tragic battle. Just then, Marcus locates Arthur. He asks Arthur to return, noting again that trouble will arise if he doesn't. He eventually agrees, noting he is tired. G'Kar tries to leave too, but drunkenness overtakes him and he collapses. Arthur notes Sir Gawain had a similar problem with drink.
In the Council Chamber, Sheridan makes his case to the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. Despite the recent upheavals, Babylon 5 still stands as a hub of commerce and negotiation. Babylon 5 remains a valuable resource. But now, they need to show support for the station. Ivanova issues copies of a new Babylon Treaty, offering the station's services in exchange for a contribution of defense.
Marcus reports to Franklin in Medlab that he's located Arthur. He's also appeased Garibaldi by noting Arthur had not broken the law during his escape. But Franklin surprises Marcus when he reveals that he now has Arthur's real identity. He was an Earthforce soldier, and when Marcus reads the profile, he's adamant: Arthur cannot know the truth, as it was this that tipped him over. Franklin argues with Marcus that he needs to know the truth to break his delusions, but Marcus explains that the delusion is the only thing keeping him alive. However, Stephen is similarly adamant: he must reveal the truth or Arthur will never heal.
In a bed, Arthur continues to have the nightmares. This time, we see through the open door. There are images of Minbari ships.
Franklin talks with Arthur. He asks if Arthur recognizes the man on the screen. It is him. His real name is David McIntyre, age 52. He was a survivor of the Battle of the Line, but more importantly, he was a gunnery sergeant aboard the Earthforce destroyer EAS Prometheus exactly 15 years ago, the date of the tragic first contact with the Minbari: the Grey Council's ship, the Valen'Tha. The captain of the Prometheus was the one who had misinterpreted the open gun ports on the ship – a traditional Minbari sign of respect – as a sign of aggression, fearing they were about to fire. He ordered the Prometheus to fire first. McIntyre had been at his station when he fired his guns, essentially starting the Earth-Minbari War. McIntyre denies his involvement, but the reasons for his constant thoughts of Camlan field are clear: it was the same scenario, misunderstanding leading to tragic loss of life. Franklin continues; McIntyre had been cleared of wrongdoing since he was following orders and had no foreknowledge of the consequences. He had been battling depression but was continually deployed during the war due to a need for able bodies. He eventually volunteered for the Battle of the Line, probably hoping to die, but instead he was one of the few who survived.
And now McIntyre reveals his feelings. He believes the lives lost in the war are his responsibility, since he had fired the first shot. The memories of the encounter overwhelm him. Almost unable to stand in his grief, he takes up the sword he called Excalibur and said he must return the sword to the Lady of the Lake. He calls out his grief for misunderstanding, then draws the sword. In his mind, a knight stabs him from behind. He cries out in pain. And then, he just sits there. Franklin tries to talk to him, but he is completely unresponsive.
In C&C, Sheridan asks Ivanova how the session fared. Ivanova reports that many in the League agreed to the treaty: more than enough to ensure defensive support. But after this good news, Ivanova reports the bad news about David McIntyre.
Franklin doesn't give Marcus a chance to deliver any kind of "I told you so" when he arrives. Franklin realizes this had been exactly what Marcus feared would happen to McIntyre. The truth and the pain it carried was too much for his mind to take, so it's now sealed itself from the outside to prevent seeing the truth again. But Marcus now wonders why McIntyre came to Babylon 5. It has to do with the attack on the Valen'Tha.
They talk about Excalibur: particularly as it relates to the legend of Sir Bedivere and Camlan field (Franklin in this case being an analogue to Sir Bedivere). In this case, the sword was a burden, much like the pain in McIntyre's mind.. Arthur could not go to Avalon and heal until he returned Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake, bringing the legend of the sword full circle. Then they put it together. McIntyre is seeking the same release as King Arthur: to come full circle and find release from his pain. To do that, he must offer his pain to his "Lady of the Lake". The question is: who is the Lady? They figure out the answer together.
Later, Delenn enters to visit McIntyre, still lying comatose. Having learned of his story, she realizes what she needs to do. As she stands beside him, his mind shows him still in the corridor of his nightmare. But now, a hand reaches out. At long last, the Lady of the Lake has come. In Medlab, McIntyre raises the sword and offers it to Delenn. It is a symbolic gesture of apology. Delenn takes Excalibur, offering forgiveness for what had truly been a misunderstanding. McIntyre awakens and takes her hand, offering silent thanks.
The following day, at the Post Office, the clerk is much happier. Garibaldi is finally offering to pay the 100 credits for his package. The clerk presents a broken, mutilated package, to Garibaldi's annoyance. But the clerk reveals it was a joke and replaces it with the real, intact package. Just then, Garibaldi reveals a surprise. Since B5 has severed ties with Earth, who normally provides for the Post Office, the Post Office actually owes the station rent: a rent of 101 credits. Garibaldi is able to get the last laugh.
Franklin and G'Kar walk McIntyre to the docking bay. G'Kar has offered to take him to Narn space, where he will help with the Narn Resistance. The ideals of the Round Table would ring well with the Resistance, and it will help give McIntyre purpose in aiding the oppressed, which is why he agreed to it. Now that a Minbari has forgiven him, he feels ready to move on. As he leaves, Marcus joins Franklin, not being a man who likes goodbyes. Then they notice Kosh passing by, and Marcus wonders if Kosh represented Merlin in the legends. If one believed the legend that the wizard Merlin gained his knowledge because he aged in reverse, perhaps B5 was the inspiration for the Round Table. Franklin could represent Sir Percival, Marcus Sir Galahad, Sheridan King Arthur, and perhaps Ivanova Sir Gawain. But then he wonders who would represent Morgana le Faye...
"What are you so nervous about? We went up against the entire Earth Alliance and two Carrier Groups."
"Yeah but this is the Post Office. This could get us in real trouble."
- – Garibaldi and a fellow Guard
|Babylon 5 Season 3 "Point of No Return"|
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