- Bruce Boxleitner as Captain John Sheridan
- Claudia Christian as Lieutenant Commander Susan Ivanova
- Jerry Doyle as Security Chief Michael Garibaldi
- Mira Furlan as Ambassador Delenn
- Richard Biggs as Dr. Stephen Franklin
- Andrea Thompson as Talia Winters
- Stephen Furst as Vir Cotto
- Bill Mumy as Lennier
- Mary Kay Adams as Na'Toth
- Robert Rusler as Lieutenant Warren Keffer
- Andreas Katsulas as Ambassador G'Kar
- Peter Jurasik as Ambassador Londo Mollari
- Ed Wasser as Morden
- David L. Crowley as Lou Welch
- Gary McGurk as President Clark
- Mark Hendrickson as Narn Captain
- James Kiriyama-Lem as Med Tech
- Michael McKenzie as Narn Navigator
- Warren Tabata as Guard
- Regular cast members appearing in this episode are John Sheridan, Susan Ivanova, Michael Garibaldi, Delenn, Stephen Franklin, Talia Winters, Lennier, Na'Toth, G'Kar, and Londo Mollari.
Londo Mollari is frustrated during a session of the Babylon 5 Advisory Council: Ambassador Delenn remains in a cocoon, and Ambassador G'Kar is still missing. Their aides, Lennier and Na'Toth, are filling for them. Londo moves that the Council remand both missing ambassadors and that they should be replaced by their respective government. The motion does not carry, and Captain John Sheridan orders a recess until the following morning. Afterward, Londo asks Na'Toth if she has any idea where G'Kar is. Na'Toth only knows that G'Kar left to investigate the recent attack on Quadrant 37.
G'Kar is in fact piloting a Frazi class heavy fighter, part of a three fighter wing, over a planet near the Rim. They are being attacked by strange, alien fighters. The two other ships choose to remain, buying G'Kar time to escape through a local jump gate. He sets coordinates for Babylon 5.
After his shift, Sheridan is met at Earhart's by Dr. Stephen Franklin. Dr. Franklin explains that there has still been no change in Michael Garibaldi's condition (he remains in a coma). He suggests using the energy transfer device confiscated a few months earlier. Sheridan agrees to let Franklin try it, though he is concerned when Franklin says that he himself will be hooking himself up to the machine.
A short time later, Sheridan meets his sister, Elizabeth, in the customs area. Elizabeth has come for a visit and John is anxious to show her around the station.
Londo, meanwhile, meets with Mr. Morden in the Zen Garden. He is concerned that he might be somehow connected to the attack on the Narn base in Quadrant 37. Morden assures him that it cannot, and promises that the "demonstration" will lead to many opportunities to Londo. When Londo asks what will happen if he is asked for another demonstration, Morden replies that his associates will provide it ("Just pick a target"). When Londo jokingly suggests Morden eliminate the entire Narn Homeworld, Morden coolly replies, "One thing at a time." Before leaving, Morden asks Londo to keep him informed about any news or rumors he hears regarding activity along the Rim.
Sheridan treats his sister to dinner at Fresh Air. He is excited about his new assignment, but Elizabeth senses that he is covering for how he really feels. He admits that he is still upset over the loss of his wife, Anna, who passed away two years earlier. Elizabeth consoles him, but argues that he needs to sort out his grief instead of just burying it the way he has been. John does not want to discuss the matter, however, and gets her to agree to table it (temporarily).
Lennier tends to Delenn, and expects something will happen soon.
After dinner, Sheridan goes alone to Medlab. He finds Dr. Franklin hooking Garibaldi up to the alien healing machine and insists on helping out. Franklin agrees to let him help out.
Na'Toth goes to G'Kar's quarters and unexpectedly finds him there waiting for her.
G'Kar is visibly affected by his recent excursion. He explains that the only conclusion he could form about the attack on Quadrant 37 was that it was caused by either a new race, or an old race – a very old race. Citing the Book of G'Quan, G'Kar references an ancient war long ago against an enemy so terrible that it nearly overwhelmed the stars themselves. G'Quan mentioned that the ancient enemy lived on a planet at the Rim of known space. G'Kar searched many ancient, dead worlds along the Rim over the past couple of weeks. He detected evidence of "something stirring, gathering its forces quietly." He is convinced that after 1,000 years, "the darkness has come again" and tells Na'Toth they must warn the others.
In Medlab, Garibaldi awakens from his long coma. Franklin links Lt. Comm. Ivanova and has her collect Sheridan and come down to Medlab. The link is overheard by Jack who also comes down to Medlab. Ivanova and Franklin explain that President Santiago is dead and that Commander Sinclair has been reassigned. Captain Sheridan introduces himself to Garibaldi. Ivanova asks if Michael can remember who shot him, but he cannot recall clearly. Jack visibly relaxes when he hears this information.
Lennier goes to check on the chrysalis and finds that it has opened. Delenn is nearby, covered in a robe and apparently in pain. Lennier is shocked when he sees her face. He immediately links Dr. Franklin and asks him to come immediately. Franklin complies, arriving a few minutes later. Gasping, Delenn appeals to Franklin for his help. Her skin is covered by bluish, hard scales.
In his quarters, Sheridan has another conversation with his sister. She again presses him about his wife's death, and he admits that he blames himself for it. He explains that he was supposed to go on leave and join her for a vacation on their anniversary, but he canceled at the last minute, prompting her to take a job aboard a deep space exploration vessel as a science officer. The ship was lost on assignment. John misses her more than he can put into words.
Dr. Franklin continues to examine Delenn, who is still being caused pain by her change. The scales begin to crack, however, and break off. Neither she nor Lennier know what is supposed to happen.
During a meeting of the B5 Advisory Council, G'Kar explains about what he has found and announces his conclusion about the ancient enemy. Sheridan is skeptical and Londo is incredulous. Sheridan insists they need proof. G'Kar explains that despite the reservations of the Kha'Ri, he has convinced them to send a single ship to the heart of the enemy's ancient domain, a dead planet called Z'ha'dum. The ship is due to arrive in twelve hours: it will jump into local space, scan the planet, and withdraw quickly. G'Kar warns that if they confirm life on the planet, it could mean extinction for all of their races.
During the recess of the Council, Londo finds Morden and tells him about the Narn expedition. Morden is familiar with the planet and asks Londo for more details.
In Medlab, Garibaldi has Lou Welch bring him Talia Winters to scan him, hoping it will uncover some clues about who shot him. She agrees to help, warning anything she finds isn't admissible in court. During the scan, she is able to focus on the part of Garibaldi's memory when he is shot. For an instant, Jack's face is visible in a reflection. His memory jogged, Garibaldi can remember seeing it clearly. Lou Welch and some other security guards promptly arrest Jack for his attack. He is taken into custody and placed under maximum security.
Despite Dr. Franklin's judgment, Garibaldi insists on leaving Medlab and interrogating Jack personally. During the interrogation, Garibaldi angrily accosts his former second-in-command for what he did. He demands an explanation, but Jack is elusive. He only talks about a "new order" about to take charge on Earth and that he is going to be part of it. He dismisses Garibaldi's suggestion of Homeguard, confident in his allies. Garibaldi warns Jack that he is facing spacing for his actions and leaves, but not before Jack gives Garibaldi a strange salute and says, "Be seeing you."
President Clark contacts Sheridan about Jack's arrest. Wondering if Jack could possibly be involved in a conspiracy to murder Santiago, he insists that Jack be put on a shuttle and sent back to Earth immediately. Sheridan is reluctant to send him back, but follows the President's orders.
A G'Quan class heavy cruiser jumps into the local space at Z'ha'dum. As soon as it does, it is attacked by an alien ship and completely destroyed. Soon thereafter, Na'Toth delivers the news to G'Kar and the rest of the B5 Advisory Council. However, the report indicates that the ship was destroyed in an accident, as it apparently happened the moment it jumped out of hyperspace. G'Kar refuses to accept this explanation, saying the ship could have been attacked at that very moment it exited the gate. He realizes, however, that the only way for an attack like that to occur is if the enemy had prior warning. He looks at Londo, clearly suspecting him, but without proof is at a loss.
At that moment, Lennier enters the chamber and announces Delenn's return. The Minbari Ambassador enters and reveals her new form: her once-bare scalp now adorned with long brown hair. She explains that she has undergone this transformation to become a bridge between Earth and Minbar, just as Jeffrey Sinclair's reassignment to Minbar serves as a bridge between their races.
At the end of the day, John has another dinner with Elizabeth. After telling her about the day's events, Elizabeth hands him a data crystal that contained a message from Anna right before she left. In the message, Anna explains how John canceled on her but also expresses relief, as she was about to cancel on him, wanting to take the science job. After hearing this, John feels more at peace over her death.
Back in Medlab, Garibaldi thanks Talia for her help and asks her to excuse him while he talks to Ivanova and Franklin. He talks about the salute Jack gave him and recalls that it is similar to one Bester gave Sinclair last year. Garibaldi points out the scandal that had erupted the previous year when the Psi Corps endorsed then Vice President Clark. Garibaldi speculates the Corps might be involved – he also questions Clark's convenient departure off Earthforce One just before it exploded.
Sheridan sees his sister off at the customs area, thanking her for the help and promising to write.
G'Kar speaks to Na'Toth about the challenges ahead, quoting to her from an Earth poet, William Butler Yeats.
Ivanova calls Sheridan up to C&C. She explains that on a hunch, she just checked on the ship transporting Jack back to Earth. He was apparently transferred to another ship en route, one that had all the right codes but does not match any ship's known registry – in other words, Jack has mysteriously disappeared. Both officers are clearly unnerved by what this bodes for the future.
"The one deserts his post without any explanation, the other takes the most breathtakingly inconvenient moment possible to explore new career options--like becoming a butterfly!"
- – Londo Mollari
"Weep for the future, Na'Toth. Weep for us all."
- – G'Kar
"Why don't you eliminate the entire Narn homeworld why you're at it?"
"One thing at a time, Ambassador. One thing at a time."
- – Londo and Morden
- Delenn exits her chrysalis, revealing her new appearance as a Human-Minbari hybrid.
- First appearance of Z'ha'dum, and its connection to the Shadows is made.
- First appearance of the G'Quan class heavy cruiser.
- Garibaldi emerges from his coma and Jack is arrested.
- The salute and expression Jack gives Garibaldi is identical to what Bester gave Sinclair (in "Mind War").
- The scandal involving the Psi Corps endorsing Vice President Morgan Clark was previously seen as a newspaper headline (in "And the Sky Full of Stars").
- Garibaldi and Jack briefly mention Homeguard, which had previously caused problems (i.e. attacks on aliens in "The War Prayer" and an attempting bombing in "Survivors"). However, they are dismissed here as "a bunch of misfits." They would be mentioned again in ("All Alone in the Night") by General Hague as having a supporting role in Santiago's assassination.
- First appearance of Anna Sheridan (in a recording) and her death and the effects it has on her husband are first explored.
- In this recording, Anna is played by Beth Toussaint. Later when Toussaint was unable to reprise the role and Melissa Gilbert was cast in her place, the footage from this episode was re-shot with Gilbert and inserted into a flashback scene in ("Z'ha'dum"). In the DVD commentary for ("Z'ha'dum"), J. Michael Straczynski slyly refers to the scene as a piece of "Soviet Revisionism" and mentions the possibility of inserting the re-shot footage into "Revelations".
- The attack on the Narn outpost in Quadrant 37 (from "Chrysalis") is repeatedly referenced.
- Dr. Franklin heals Garibaldi by using the Energy Transfer Device he confiscated from Dr. Laura Rosen (in "The Quality of Mercy").
- Although Kosh appears in the Advisory Council during both scenes, he does not speak or show any interest despite his knowledge on the matter. It is his first appearance in season 2.
- The poem G'Kar quotes at the end of the episode is an excerpt from W. B. Yeats' "The Second Coming". G'Kar quotes the lines 3 - 6 and the last two: "[...]Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; [...] And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?" (Capitals mark the start of a new line). It has been suggested, that "The Second Coming" is an expression of some apocalyptic theories by Yeats which is a fitting theme for the return (or second coming) of the Shadows.
|Babylon 5 Season 2 "The Coming of Shadows"|
|<<< Previous Season • "Points of Departure" • "Revelations" • "The Geometry of Shadows" • "A Distant Star" • "The Long Dark" • "A Spider in the Web" • "Soul Mates" • "A Race Through Dark Places" • "The Coming of Shadows" • "GROPOS" • "All Alone in the Night" • "Acts of Sacrifice" • "Hunter, Prey" • "There All the Honor Lies" • "And Now For a Word" • "In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum" • "Knives" • "Confessions and Lamentations" • "Divided Loyalties" • "The Long, Twilight Struggle" • "Comes the Inquisitor" • "The Fall of Night" • 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|
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