Strange signals start coming from Epsilon 3, the planet below Babylon 5. A science ship is sent to investigate, but is fired upon by a defense system on the planet. Meanwhile Garibaldi worries about a lover he left back on Mars, when fighting breaks out there.
- Michael O'Hare as Commander Jeffrey Sinclair
- Claudia Christian as Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova
- Jerry Doyle as Security Chief Michael Garibaldi
- Mira Furlan as Delenn
- Richard Biggs as Dr. Stephen Franklin
- Andrea Thompson as Talia Winters
- Stephen Furst as Vir
- Bill Mumy as Lennier
- Caitlin Brown as Na'Toth
- Craig Barnett as Security Guard
- Langdon Bensing as Derek Mobotabwe
- Kelly Coyle as Earthforce Liaison
- Kathryn Cressida as Bartender
- Jim Ishida as Dr. Tasaki
- Lenore Kasdorf as ISN Reporter
- Marianne Robertson as Tech#1
- Patty Toy as Psi Corps Rep
- Jerry Weil as Technician
- Regular cast members appearing in this episode are Jeffrey Sinclair, Susan Ivanova, Michael Garibaldi, Delenn, Talia Winters, and Londo Mollari.
Meanwhile, in C'n'C, Commander Sinclair and Lt. Comm. Ivanova discuss an imminent shuttle launch. The station has been detecting some strange seismic readings from Epsilon III, so they are dispatching a geological team to investigate more closely. Sinclair tells Ivanova to keep him in the loop before heading out. He runs into Talia Winters, who is annoyed with Michael Garibaldi's ability to always be on the transport tube whenever she wants to get aboard. Sinclair dismisses it, but, sure enough, he is there as the door opens pleased with himself. They both take the stairs.
Dr. Tasaki leads the shuttle as it enters the atmosphere of Epsilon III. Suddenly, a strange energy discharge emits from the planet. It damages the ship, causing it to spin out of control.
The shuttle is fortunately able to stabilize its orbit, but requires assistance to return to the station. Ivanova orders a Starfury wing to recover the shuttle. The crew is eventually brought back, without any answers about what is happening on the planet. Ivanova is unnerved to think that the planet is neither safe nor stable nor uninhabited. Dr. Tasaki, on the other hand, is excited by the possibilities.
Sinclair, meanwhile, is in the midst of moderating some negotiations between Delenn and Ambassador Londo Mollari regarding some trade routes between their states. They calmly reach an agreement, and Londo reflects on how happy he is to be dealing with someone other than G'Kar. Delenn holds out hope that G'Kar and the Narn Regime will not always be as angry as they are now, but Londo is elaborately dismissive.
The planet is now emanating a steady stream of energy pulses which seem to be a beacon of some kind. Sinclair orders Ivanova to stay on top of it. She also asks him if he has heard anything at all about Mars, as there has been no word about the colony in the daily reports. Sinclair has not, but assumes it is nothing of consequence.
As she reaches her quarters, Delenn is greeted by Draal, who is one of her former teachers and a close friend. She invites him inside, overjoyed to see him.
Later that night, Sinclair is watching an ISN broadcast. A breaking story cuts in of massive rioting on Mars lead by terrorists who had seized some heavy weapons. As Sinclair watches, he suddenly sees the faint image of a strange alien beckoning him for help in his quarters.
The next day, Ivanova discusses the news about Mars with Sinclair over breakfast. She tells him that Michael Garibaldi, once a Mars resident, is taking the news pretty hard.
Delenn and Draal continue to catch up on old times. When Delenn presses Draal about why he has come, he tries to brush aside her questions. He eventually relents: he says that Minbar is changing into something he no longer recognizes, as their whole people seem to have become lost. He has decided to go "to the sea," a revelation that distresses Delenn. His mind is made up, however, and Delenn realizes that it means she will never see him again once he leaves.
Garibaldi tries hard to get a signal to Mars, but a communications blackout put in place by Earth Central prevents any signals from getting through. He tracks down Talia, apologizing for bothering her earlier and asking to talk to her, needing her help. He explains that prior to Babylon 5, he was working on Mars and while there he was dating a woman named Lise Hampton. They broke up when he took the assignment to Babylon 5. The break-up was ugly, and they have not spoken since, and now he is worried about her given the rioting on Mars. He explains that he is aware of a secret Psi Corps facility on Mars and asks if Talia can get a signal through for him by contacting the facility. Talia agrees to try.
Ivanova briefs Dr. Tasaki and his crew about their next mission over Epsilon III. She stresses that they are not to get too close to the planet and reminds them that the Starfuries she is sending as escort will not be able to help them if they enter too deep into the atmosphere. Once in orbit, however, Tasaki decides to disobey Ivanova's orders and drop down into the upper atmosphere. As soon as they do, a trio of missiles erupt from the planet's surface. One of the missiles damages the shuttle. As the crew attempts to stay in control, a second trio of missiles begins streaking towards them.
Monitoring the situation from C'n'C, Ivanova orders the Starfuries to fire on the missiles. The fighters are able to destroy or distract the missiles long enough for the shuttle to escape orbit and head back to the station. During his debriefing, Dr. Tasaki tells Sinclair and Ivanova that he has been able to pinpoint the origin of the missiles, theorizing that they are left over from an automated defense system. The origin is a canyon five miles deep. Given the seriousness of the threat and the potential for first contact, Sinclair decides he and Ivanova have to go down to the planet to investigate personally.
Londo Mollari notices a sad Garibaldi in the Zócalo. He decides to cheer him up by telling him a humorous story about how when he was a young man he went to a strip club and ended up marrying one of the dancers. The story does help cheer up Garibaldi (a little bit). Londo then leaves, heading back to his quarters. However, once entering a corridor, he sees the same image Sinclair had seen the night before: the faint, unclear figure of an alien beckoning for help.
Sinclair and Ivanova take a shuttle for the canyon detected earlier. They are able to evade the missiles and enter the ravine.
Inside the ravine, Sinclair and Ivanova decelerate and turn on the lights. Eventually, they find an artificial landing bay. They leave the shuttle and begin to explore. They need breather apparatus, and find no signs of current life.
Back on the station, Talia gets in contact with someone at the Psi Corps facility on Mars. The administrator refuses to give Garibaldi access, but does agree to try and find out if Lise Hampton is listed among the casualties.
Deep inside Epsilon III, Sinclair and Ivanova manage to get past some more automated defense systems, warned by the dead body of some alien who wasn't so lucky. They enter a vast chamber, filled with a massive machine, one with components miles long. The Machine is clearly still active and brilliant to watch.
Delenn takes Draal by to see Londo Mollari. He welcomes them cordially, and explains that he was just studying up on Earth cultures: he is very confused and upset about the song "The Hokey-Pokey", which he has been studying off and on for seven days.
Garibaldi awaits news from Sinclair and Ivanova in C'n'C when Talia finds him there. She tells him that the facility will not grant him access. Hampton's name is not listed among the survivors, though the facility was unable access the lists of dead or wounded. Garibaldi thanks Talia as he is called back into C'n'C. Sinclair is signaling the station, alerting them to what he has found. As he talks about it, the station detects an imminent seismic activity. An earthquake rocks the chamber Sinclair and Ivanova are in, forcing them to look for another route back to the shuttle. They both see the image of the alien Sinclair saw before. They follow it and discover the actual being, hooked up to the machine. He awakens and speaks to them, warning them that if they do not help him, they and all their people will die.
Sinclair and Ivanova approach and manage to disconnect the alien from the machine. They carry him back to the shuttle, where they are able to launch and head back for Babylon 5 with minimal trouble from the automated defenses. As Garibaldi watches from C'n'C, he is alerted to a large ship about to come through the jumpgate. He is shocked when the gate opens and he sees what it is.
"Here we are: victims of mathematics."
- – Londo Mollari
"I'd like you to take the time to learn the Babylon 5 mantra: 'Ivanova is always right. I will listen to Ivanova. I will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations. Ivanova is God. And if this ever happens again, Ivanova will personally rip your lungs out."
- – Susan Ivanova
- Free Mars is mentioned as the terrorist organization starting the rioting on Mars, facilitated by their acquisition of heavy weapons. Free Mars was previously mentioned as attempting to secure such weapons using alien contacts in ("Eyes").
- First mention of Lise Hampton and Rathenn, who will both become recurring characters.
- First appearance of Draal and the Great Machine.
|Babylon 5 Season 1 "Signs and Portents"|
|<<< "The Gathering" • "Midnight on the Firing Line" • "Soul Hunter" • "Born to the Purple" • "Infection" • "The Parliament of Dreams" • "Mind War" • "The War Prayer" • "And the Sky Full of Stars" • "Deathwalker" • "Believers" • "Survivors" • "By Any Means Necessary" • "Signs and Portents" • "TKO" • "Grail" • "Eyes" • "Legacies" • "A Voice in the Wilderness, Part I" • "A Voice in the Wilderness, Part II" • "Babylon Squared" • "The Quality of Mercy" • "Chrysalis" • Next Season >>>|
|Babylon 5 franchise|
|Babylon 5 & Crusade Episodes by Season|
|Signs and Portents • The Coming of Shadows • Point of No Return • No Surrender, No Retreat • Wheel of Fire • Crusade: Season 1 • Unfilmed Episodes|
|The Gathering • In the Beginning • Thirdspace • River of Souls • A Call to Arms • The Legend of the Rangers • Voices in the Dark|
|Novels • Comic Books • Short Stories • Reference books • Magazines|
|DVD Releases • VHS Home Video • The Official Guide to Babylon 5 • Babylon 5: Into the Fire|