Sinclair's old flame, Catherine Sakai, arrives during a weeklong festival when humans and aliens demonstrate their religious beliefs. An old enemy sends an assassin to kill G'Kar.
- 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
- Joy Hardin as Narn #1
- Mark Hendrickson as Du'Rog
- Calvin Jung as Guard
- Randall Kirby as Businessman #1
- Michael McKenzie as Pilgrim
- Marianne Robertson as Dome Tech
- Glen Robinson as Head Waiter
- Erich Martin von Hicks as Businessman #2
- Unknown as Mr. Harris, an atheist
- Unknown as Father Cresanti, a Roman Catholic
- Unknown as Mr. Iakawa, a Zen Buddist
- Unknown as Mr. Rashid, a Muslim
- Unknown as Mr. Rosenthal, an Orthodox Jew
- Unknown as Running Elk, of the Oglala-Sioux faith
- Unknown as Father Mapapolis, a Greek Orthodox
- Unknown as Ojijiko, of the Igbo tribe
- Unknown as Chukiak, a Yup'ik Eskimo
- Unknown as Sawa, of the Jibaro tribe
- Unknown as Istapuma, a Bantu
- Unknown as Ms. Chang, a Taoist
- Unknown as Mr. Blacksmith, an aboriginee
- Unknown as Ms. Yamamoto, a Shinto
- Unknown as Ms. Nigel, a Māori
- Unknown as Mr. Cope, a Hindu
- Unknown as Ms. Napuma, (undeclared)
- The characters Lennier, Na'Toth and Catherine Sakai are introduced in this episode.
- Other regular cast members appearing in this episode are Jeffrey Sinclair, Susan Ivanova, Michael Garibaldi, Delenn, Vir Cotto, G'Kar, and Londo Mollari.
In customs, Michael Garibaldi explains to a Drazi pilgrim that he will not allow him to bring a ceremonial dagger aboard the station. The Drazi storms off insulted. Garibaldi then speaks to a fellow security officer, bemoaning Earth Central's idea to have Babylon 5 host a week-long series of festivities demonstrating the dominant religious beliefs of the various races aboard. He notices a woman walking through customs and makes a point for her not to see him, then takes off immediately.
In his quarters, G'Kar prepares dinner for himself, singing merrily as he prepares to eat. Just as he sits down, however, his door chimes and a Narn diplomatic courier named Tu'Pari enters with an important message. Dismissing the messenger, G'Kar is tempted to leave it be, but ultimately tables his meal in favour of playing the message. It is a personal recording from an old political rival, Du'Rog, who explains that by the time G'Kar receives the message he will already be dead – but then shortly thereafter, so too will G'Kar.
Du'Rog explains he has hired an assassin who will kill G'Kar within 48 hours of receiving the message, a long-awaited retribution exacted for G'Kar's political maneuverings against him in the Kha'Ri, and the dishonour heaped upon his family. The assassin is already close to G'Kar and will strike at the right moment. Just as the message ends, G'Kar's new aide, Na'Toth, arrives and reports for duty.
Garibaldi goes to Jeffrey Sinclair's quarters, where the commander has donned his dress uniform in preparation for the Centauri religious ceremony, a daylong feast. Garibaldi explains how he saw Catherine Sakai in customs. Sinclair unconvincingly feigns disinterest, but can't help but ask if she was with anyone, and seems relieved when learning she came to Babylon 5 alone.
Londo Mollari and Vir Cotto are the hosts for the Centauri feast, which includes much food and even more drink. The entire command crew is there, in addition to Ambassador Delenn. Vir explains that the feast dates back thousands of years, when the Centauri were engaged in a constant, planet wide struggle with another species, the Xon. The feast was designed as an annual celebration for the lucky survivors of that conflict, and has continued long after the Xon were eventually wiped out. Sinclair is noticeably distracted, thinking about Catherine. Ivanova asks Londo about the statues on the table. Thoroughly intoxicated, Londo jumps on the table and explains the statues are idols of their household gods. He then "becomes one with his inner self," as Vir says (i.e. he passes out).
Sinclair slips away to the customs area, where he finds Catherine. Though hesitant to see each other again, both eventually begin to chat. Catherine explains she did not know he was the commanding officer until she came aboard. Sinclair tries to play it cool, and they have an awkward moment of catching up. Jeff invites her to dinner to catch up, saying he'd like to show off his station a little. While commenting this is usually how things get started between them, Catherine agrees.
G'Kar is suspicious about Na'Toth, especially since his first aide, Ko'Dath, died in an accident involving one of the station's airlocks only a week before. He asks her if she knew Du'Rog, who sponsored her own patron, Li'Dak, but she says she never met him. He then explains how Du'Rog hired someone to kill him sometime suddenly in the next two days. Na'Toth speculates that maybe Du'Rog just wanted to frighten him. She points out that if he had been serious, he would have gone to the Assassin's Guild of the Thenta Makur, who leave a black flower near to one of their impending victims as a trademark, so they will know to get their affairs in order. G'Kar happily realizes he has received no such flower.
That night, G'Kar awakens from his sleep and screams when he sees a black flower in the bed next to him.
The next morning, G'Kar shows the flower to Na'Toth, his suspicions about his new aide only intensified. She shrugs it off and asks why he doesn't appeal to Sinclair for protection. Ever proud, G'Kar dismisses the idea, saying that it would require him to tell the whole story about his past with Du'Rog and rationalizing that such facts could undermine his position on Babylon 5, and with it, the Narn Regime's. Na'Toth asks why he is telling her all this if he still suspects her, and he responds that he is merely keeping his eye on her. He then charges her to track down the courier, and bring him back to him. Meanwhile, he leaves to arrange some protection.
In customs, Delenn greets her new aide, Lennier of the Third Fane of Chudomo. She instructs him that he does not have to keep his eyes downcast to her, as is custom. She also instructs him not to use her title Satai nor to mention the Grey Council, as no one on the station is aware of her true rank. Lennier is confused, but swears obedience. Delenn then asks Lennier to help her arrange for a Minbari religious ceremony.
In the Alien sector, G'Kar visits N'Grath. After mocking the "mighty Narn" for needing to come to him, N'Grath offers the services of a large Riar thug as a bodyguard, which G'Kar gleefully accepts. He asks N'Grath to send the bodyguard to the Minbari ceremony in a few hours.
Sinclair takes Catherine to dinner at Fresh Air in the Gardens. Rather than simply catching up, they comment about the cycle they seem locked in-- meeting up every few years, getting together and breaking up. They both admit to missing one another, but pledge not to keep falling into the same emotional traps... even as they begin to do so.
Later, Sinclair and the command staff attend the Minbari Rebirth Ceremony, along with Londo, G'Kar, Vir, and many other prominent persons. Part of the ceremony involves eating small pieces of fruit. Sinclair is one of the ones who eats the fruit. Delenn completes the ceremony by looking at Sinclair and remarking, "And so it begins."
G'Kar tears into his quarters after the ceremony, yelling at Na'Toth that the bodyguard never showed up. Na'Toth tells him to go into his bedroom. There, G'Kar finds the bodyguard-- murdered, with a black flower next to him.
Garibaldi and a security team enter G'Kar's quarters to investigate the death, but the Narn plays dumb, saying he does not know who the Riar was or why he was in his quarters. Garibaldi is skeptical, but concedes that G'Kar does have diplomatic immunity.
Na'Toth finds Tu'Pari in customs and orders him to return with her to G'Kar's quarters. G'Kar interrogates Tu'Pari privately, demanding to know who gave him the data crystal he delivered, since Du'Rog would have already been dead. Tu'Pari replies that it was Counselor Shu'Toth, Na'Toth's father, convincing G'Kar she really is the assassin lying in wait.
Catherine, in another business meeting, meets with two associates to discuss one of her recently completed planetary surveys. They happily inform her that the last planet she surveyed had large quantities of Quantium 40, entitling her to a very large commission. She is taken aback by the amount of money.
Sinclair rests in his quarters, listening Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Ulysses, when Catherine comes in with a basket of food and a bottle of wine. After teasing him about being stuck on the same poem for as long as she can remember, she admits she has never gotten over him. He admits the same and they embrace.
G'Kar makes a call to the Narn Homeworld, insisting that Na'Toth be recalled immediately. The woman on the other end confirms his request and apologies for the delay in dispatches. She explains that the official courier, Ru'Dak, met with an unfortunate accident the day he was supposed to leave for Babylon 5. Confused, G'Kar turns to Tu'Pari – who brandishes a weapon and fires on him.
Jeffrey and Catherine enjoy the night together, wondering if they are making the same old mistakes, hopeful about the future.
G'Kar awakens in a remote corner of the station with pain givers around his neck and wrists. Tu'Pari is nearby and explains his instructions: G'Kar is to "know pain, know fear, and then die at the appointed hour." He tortures G'Kar using the pain givers. G'Kar offers to pay him off, but Tu'Pari explains that it would violate the spirit of the Thenta Makur to betray his commission, and the guild would have to kill him for it. Despite the pain, G'Kar refuses to cry out.
Na'Toth, finding G'Kar's quarters empty and some signs of struggle, figures out Tu'Pari is the assassin. She manages to track down where he is keeping G'Kar. She tells him that she is really his backup, sent by the assassin's guild to finish the job should he fail. Criticizing his use of pain givers, she proceeds to kick and stomp G'Kar, violently knocking him around. Tu'Pari says he is not so foolish as to trust her. However, Na'Toth's beating of G'Kar was enough to disable the pain givers, giving him the opportunity to charge across the room and knock Tu'Pari unconscious.
Tu'Pari awakens to find himself in the customs area with G'Kar and Na'Toth, who tell him they gave him an injection that left him unconscious for 72 hours, well past his deadline. G'Kar then explains he decided to compensate Tu'Pari by transferring a substantial amount of money to his personal account. Tu'Pari realizes that to an outsider observer like the Thenta Makur, it will seem like he allowed G'Kar to buy him off, thus betraying his commission and invoking the retribution of the guild. G'Kar confirms that, happily, the commission was Tu'Pari's alone, so no one else will be coming to kill him – but the guild will not be so dismissive of Tu'Pari. They have arranged for him to leave the station, however, sarcastically wishing him luck.
Passing the Narns in the central corridor, Sinclair walks Catherine over to her ship. She promises she'll be back soon, as she intends to stay with him and work from the station from now on. Jeff tells her he does not know how he will show Earth's dominant belief system, thinking there is no way he can top the Minbari Rebirth Ceremony. Catherine mentions that the Rebirth Ceremony can double as a marriage ceremony, depending on the circumstances.
The command staff, the major ambassadors, and their aides are all assembled, awaiting Sinclair's demonstration of Earth's dominant belief system. He takes them to a corridor with a very long line of humans – each one representing a different Earth religion.
"Are you Ambassador G'Kar?"
"This is Ambassador G'Kar's quarters. This is Ambassador G'Kar's table. This is Ambassador G'Kar's dinner. Which part of this progression escapes you?"
- – Tu'Pari and G'Kar
"In a world where every day is a struggle for survival, you need all the gods you can get... gods by the bushel, gods by the pound! Gods for all occasions!"
- – Londo, to his guests at the Centauri religious ceremony
"And you have no idea how that got into my bed?"
"Ambassador, it is not my place to speculate on how anything gets into your bed. Your reputed fascination with Earth women, for instance."
- – G'Kar and Na'Toth.
"Earthers have a phrase: 'Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.' I believe they stole it from us."
- – G'Kar, to Na'Toth
"I don't mean to alarm you, but your pants are talking to you."
- – Catherine, to Sinclair
"I cannot have an aide who will not look up. You will be forever walking into things!"
- – Delenn, to Lennier, at their first meeting
"It was the only way to disable the pain givers. I had to hit them as hard as possible, as often as possible, and still make it appear as though I was beating you into another incarnation."
"And you didn't enjoy it in the least?"
"I didn't say that!"
- – G'Kar and Na'Toth, discussing her zeal in enabling his rescue
"That's your flight. I suggest you board quickly. With luck, they may never find you, but if they do, you will know pain..."
"And you will know fear..."
"And then you will die. Have a pleasant flight!"
- – G'Kar and Na'Toth, to Tu'Pari, on his departure
Behind the Scenes
- During production, 'The Parliament of Dreams' was originally titled 'Carnival!' and the initial draft differed significantly from the final shooting script.
- The scene between Garibaldi and the Drazi pilgrim may have been referenced in the video game Mass Effect 2 where a customs officer and a Turian are arguing over a "ceremonial item of his people" which turned out to be a 15 cm serrated blade.
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