Jeffrey Sinclair returns with a mission vital to the survival of the station: traveling back in time to steal Babylon 4.
- Production Number: 317
- Originally Aired: May 20, 1996
- Written By: J. Michael Straczynski
- Directed By: Michael Vejar
- Executive Producers: Douglas Netter & J. Michael Straczynski
- Producer: John Copeland
- Director of Photography: John C. Flinn, III A.S.C.
- Production Designer: John Iacovelli
- Edited By: Skip Robinson
- Music By: Michael Vejar
- 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
Special Guest Starring
- This episode marks the final onscreen appearance of Jeffrey Sinclair, played by Michael O'Hare, as he becomes Valen in the past in Babylon 5 itself. However, he would later appear in the spin-off TV movie In the Beginning in archive footage taken from "And the Sky Full of Stars".
- Regular characters appearing in this episode are John Sheridan, Susan Ivanova, Michael Garibaldi, Delenn, Lennier, Marcus Cole, Vir Cotto, G'Kar and Londo Mollari.
- Garibaldi appears only through archival footage shot for "Babylon Squared".
Previously on Babylon 5: The events of "War Without End, Part I" are recapped.
On Centauri Prime in the future, John Sheridan is still trying to figure out what time he is in, and Emperor Londo Mollari finally tells him it is seventeen years since he began his war with the Shadows, revealing the year to be 2278. Clearly ailing, he orders Sheridan to be taken to a cell before his execution.
In 2254, Babylon 4 is trying to repair the damage from the electromagnetic pulse caused by the destruction of the Shadows' fusion bomb earlier. They are aware of the possibility of someone trying to sneak in while they're blind. Elsewhere, Susan Ivanova is explaining to Marcus Cole they need to locate an access panel. Since the station is just coming online, some of them should not be sealed yet. But just as she notices that she is alone, two members of B4 Security confront her.
Ivanova, in her Army of Light uniform, is not recognized. She hears the opening of Cole's Denn'bok and realizes he's waiting. She attacks and knocks out one of the guards, and Cole drops from the ceiling to subdue the other. Cole, not believing in luck, had worked on a hunch that it was the worst time to be discovered and thus hid out of prudence. Just then, his pike happens to hit the wall and knock open an unsealed access panel. Ivanova sets to work.
In 2278, Sheridan is in a cell when he is once again thrown through time. In 2254, Zathras notices Sheridan fade in and out. Elsewhere, Sinclair and Delenn find their progress blocked by the presence of engineers. But by this time, Ivanova is at the access panel and can create a diversion. Just as she begins, Delenn gets a strange sensation, "as if someone had just walked over my grave." In 2278 Sheridan reappears just as the cell doors open and someone is placed in the cell with him: the future Delenn. The two embrace and kiss fiercely, and he learns from her that they have a son.
In 2254, Ivanova makes the final connections and creates a fake hull breach alert on their level. She and Cole leave to rendezvous with Sinclair and Delenn while the engineers react to the alert and evacuate. Pressure doors soon drop, cutting off the level from the rest of the station and giving the B5 crew the privacy they need to proceed.
In 2278, Sheridan reveals that he is from the past. The future Delenn, cognizant of the events of 2260, makes the connection. She hints that Sheridan's future will be very troubled. They will forge something that will endure, but at great personal sacrifice. He asks if there is a way to prevent this, and she tells him not without paying the greater price of surrender to the Shadows. Then guards arrive to take them, they assume, to their deaths.
Instead of being taken to their execution, Sheridan and Delenn are brought back to the throne room where to their surprise they find Emperor Mollari very drunk. But then he reveals the shocking reason: fastened upon his neck is a tentacled one-eyed parasitic creature he calls a Keeper, which Mollari says is overseeing him for the Shadow servants. Normally it is invisible, but "it cannot hold its liquor"; Mollari's drinking has knocked it out (and revealed its presence) long enough for him to admit the truth to Sheridan and Delenn. He offers them an opportunity to escape by following one of his guards to where he has a getaway ship planted; in return he pleads that they and their allies will work to free his people. After they leave, an older G'Kar enters with a patch over one eye, as envisioned in Mollari's dreams. Addressing G'Kar as his "old friend," Mollari asks the Narn to finish him now before his Keeper can raise an alarm, bitterly quipping he is as tired of his life as G'Kar must be. Just as G'Kar proceeds to strangle Mollari, his Keeper awakens, forcing him to strangle G'Kar back. Meanwhile, as Sheridan and Delenn follow the guard down a corridor, Sheridan feels himself being drawn back in time. Before he disappears, Delenn gives him a warning: "Do not go to Z'ha'dum." Back in the throne room, a lone figure arrives to find Mollari and G'Kar lifeless upon the floor alongside the imperial medallion which has snapped off Mollari's neck. The figure, who turns out to be Vir Cotto, sadly picks up the medallion (and thus fulfilling Lady Morella's prophecy concerning him and Mollari).
In 2254, while Ivanova and Cole unload equipment, Zathras labors by a spacesuit. He reveals that he briefly saw Sheridan and is working on using the suit to temporarily stabilize him. After finishing, he joins Ivanova and Cole in unloading. As they continue unloading, the suit sparks with energy and begins to fill up. They soon notice and realize Zathras' jury-rig worked. They open the helmet and reveal Sheridan inside. Sinclair soon joins them, wearing an identical spacesuit. In the spacesuits, Sheridan and Sinclair take the last components of the time system to Babylon 4's central power core. Aboard the White Star, Zathras cautions that the equipment is very delicate. Ivanova reports that she will create a fake fusion overload that should trigger an evacuation of the station. On B4, however, the crew notices a drop in fusion power and decide to increase power to compensate. When they do so, the power surge flows into the attached time system, causing the station to be caught in a time rift.
Aboard the White Star, Zathras figures out what happened: the power surge caused the time system to trigger prematurely. He stabilizes it and they emerge back in normal space, but in the interim Sheridan disappears again. Zathras reports they jumped ahead four years, and Cole immediately makes the connection: it is 2258, the exact time the station appeared by Babylon 5. But now the time system is unstable and needs to be recalibrated. Ivanova tries to page Sheridan, but Sinclair reports he has disappeared again.
Meanwhile, Ivanova's fake fusion overload finally reaches B4 C&C, and they make plans to evacuate. Another tachyon burst envelops the station, and Delenn experiences a vision. She sees herself observing Sheridan asleep in bed on B5, when someone walks into the room, causing her to drop a snow globe. When she reappears on B4. Zathras explains that she experienced a "time flash": a glimpse in this case of her future caused by the unstable time system. Just then, Sinclair rejoins them, and everyone is shocked. He appears considerably older. Sinclair explains that this is why he did not want Michael Garibaldi with him. Since he had been through the unstable time field two years ago, without protection, re-exposure is now aging him. The same thing would've happened to Garibaldi. At this point, not even Zathras knows if Sinclair will keep aging. Sinclair insists they press on. Since Zathras is lacking equipment to fix Sheridan's time stabilizer, Ivanova decides to lead him to a work area where he can find the necessary equipment. Sinclair decides to return to the power core to retune the time system, and the others return to the White Star to help him with readings.
While Zathras rummages through the work room, Lennier reports of incoming ships. Sinclair immediately knows who they are: himself, Garibaldi, and the rest of the evacuation crew from B5 at the time. Meanwhile, Ivanova separated from Zathras briefly and, when he finally finds the right tool and sets to work on the stabilizer, B4 Security confronts him.
The Security officers take Zathras away, and Ivanova reports the fact. Cole relays that repairs to the time system will take another two hours, so Ivanova decides to speed things up by sneaking into C&C and adjusting the power grid there. She hides as Major Krantz and the past Sinclair and Garibaldi pass en route to Zathras' cell. Back at the breaching point, Delenn notices Sheridan's suit fade in again.
Zathras meets past Sinclair and remembers the warning from earlier, telling him he is, "not The One." Meanwhile, C&C is evacuated, and Ivanova slips into the recently abandoned observation dome soon after. She starts adjusting the power while Zathras tells about the mission to take B4 through time, just as Sinclair heard it two years ago. Just then, other B4 personnel see a spacesuit fade in and out, and word reaches Krantz and past Sinclair. Zathras follows with Security in pursuit. They come upon the fading suit. As before, past Sinclair tries to approach and is knocked back. Zathras then rushes to it with the repaired stabilizer, and the suit takes it and disappears again. Just then, Ivanova starts feeding power to the time system. Zathras senses the system is stabilizing and urges everyone else to leave. Back at the breach point, Cole is startled to discover Sheridan nearby, without his spacesuit. Then they notice that the stabilizer attached to him is intact, meaning someone swapped theirs for his broken one, leaving Cole to ask, "Then who's running around out there in a blue suit?"
Meanwhile, events transpire as before, with Zathras being pinned by falling debris and him urging Sinclair to go, explaining that he has a destiny. Meanwhile, outside, as the evacuation convoy leaves, present Sinclair tries to send a message to Garibaldi: "Watch your back." However, by now he's out of range. He proceeds through an airlock back into the station. Meanwhile, as before, the spacesuit returns to help Zathras, and he happily acknowledges the suit as "The One." Then the suit opens its helmet, revealing Delenn inside as Babylon 4 is drawn into the now-stable time rift. Later, Sinclair removes his helmet, despondent that he could not change the near future. Delenn tells him it is time and leads him to C&C.
Ivanova has finished rerouting the time system controls to C&C so the rest of the trip can be controlled from B4. Sinclair then orders everyone else to return to the White Star, saying he'll start the system up and rejoin them later. Cole then confronts him, revealing that he suspects something Sinclair isn't telling them. Someone has to steer B4 all the way to the past, and once there, there's no going back. Whoever this is will become trapped in the past. Pressed by Sheridan, Sinclair confirms Cole' assumption, and Cole volunteers to go, but then Sinclair explains that he has to do it; that he's done it already. He reveals what brought him here: the letter from the box sealed 900 years ago, addressed to him. It's in his handwriting. Delenn then tells them of her letter in the same handwriting. Ivanova protests, but Sinclair insists. He knows what he has to do. He then asks Cole and Ivanova to leave, leaving him, Delenn, Sheridan, and Zathras in the dome. He then asks Zathras about "The One" and why he referred to both him and Delenn by that title. Zathras explains in detail the Minbari belief in three: the three languages, the three castes, the Nine of the Grey Council (three times three). This belief in three extends to time as well: past, present, and future combining into a whole: "The One." He then describes how each of them fits: Sinclair is "The One who was," Delenn is "The One who is", and Sheridan is "The One who will be." Together, they form the beginning, middle, and end of a "great story" in history. Zathras urges Delenn and Sheridan to go and continue the story; his place will be with Sinclair to help begin the story. Sheridan and Delenn bid their silent farewells.
They reboard the White Star, and with a heavy heart, Sheridan orders the ship to detach from Babylon 4 and set course back to 2260.
The White Star emerges from the time rift back in 2260. As they exit, the time rift closes and all temporal distortions in Sector 14 cease: its role finished at last. Delenn reveals that this is not the only circle that is closing. She reminds him of the fact that Human and Minbari souls began crossing one thousand years ago. Her transformation into a part-human hybrid was part of an effort to correct this imbalance, but now she reveals an insight into what started it. The Triluminary that brought about her transformation also came from one thousand years ago. Someone had to present the station to the Minbari in the past, and they wouldn't have trusted a human. A stunned Cole realizes the implication: "a Minbari not born of Minbari."
Within Babylon 4 in 1260 Sinclair assembles the Chrysalis Device as he recalls the hints from the past: the Soul Hunter claiming he was being used, Delenn's hint that the Minbari were right about him, and Neroon noting he talked like a Minbari. He knows what lies before him because he has already done it. He is soon enveloped in the chrysalis. Later two Vorlon ships keep station as Minbari cruisers arrive. Two Minbari warriors board the station and are met by Zathras, who leads them to the central corridor. There, they discover two Vorlons outside their encounter suits ... and another Minbari.
"I welcome you and present this place to you as a gift," Sinclair tells them. "I am called Valen, and we have much work ahead of us."
"If my people had found Babylon 4 with a human aboard, they would never have accepted it."
"Dear God. A Minbari not born of Minbari..."
"I am as tired of my life as you are."
- – Londo Mollari to G'Kar
- The events of "Babylon Squared" are retold, this time from the perspective of the 2260 crew, closing the unsolved mysteries from season one.
- Many mysteries from 1,000 years ago are closed by the end of this episode.
- Jeffrey Sinclair used one of the three Triluminaries and Chrysalis device brought from Epsilon III by Zathras to transform himself into a Minbari hybrid in , thus becoming "a Minbari not born of Minbari."
- Sinclair became Valen, led the coalition to defeat the Shadows, and then reformed Minbari society.
- Sinclair, Delenn, and Sheridan are all revealed to be "The One," key figures in history. Sinclair's role as "The One who was" is revealed here, Sheridan's role in the future is hinted in Part I, and Delenn's growing influence will develop over the rest of the series.
- The "time flash" Delenn experiences is a glimpse of the near future. The actual event occurs in "Shadow Dancing".
- This episode marks the first appearance of a Drakh Keeper.
- Mollari tells Sinclair in "Midnight on the Firing Line" that he had dreamed of he and G'Kar strangling one another to death; this dream occurs once again in "The Coming of Shadows" (with G'Kar missing an eye). In this episode, their deaths come to pass.
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