Monday, November 04, 1996

Season 4: No Surrender, No Retreat

It was the year of fire... the year of destruction... the year we took back what was ours. It was the year of rebirth... the year of great sadness... the year of pain... and the year of joy. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed. The year is 2261. The place: Babylon 5.
- Lennier, Zack, G'Kar, Lyta, Vir, Marcus, Delenn, Londo, Franklin, Ivanova, Garibaldi, Sheridan

Season 4, entitled "No Surrender, No Retreat," first aired on November 4, 1996 with the episode "The Hour of the Wolf." The characters continue, and the Shadow War is ended as the Vorlons and the Shadows leave the galaxy forever. Meanwhile, Babylon 5 becomes a main base during the bloody Earth Civil War, where Clark's government is overthrown, and Captain Sheridan steps down as Commander of B5 and becomes President of the new Interstellar Alliance.

Plotline: (many thanks to Wikipedia)

In 2261, the Vorlons join the Shadow War, but their tactics become a concern for the alliance when the Vorlons begin destroying entire planets which they deem to have been "influenced" by the Shadows. Disturbed by this turn of events, Babylon 5 recruits several other powerful and ancient races (the First Ones) to their cause, against both the Shadows and the Vorlons. Captain John Sheridan returns to the station after escaping the destruction of Z'ha'dum, but at a price: barring illness or injury, he has only 20 years left to live. He is accompanied by a mysterious alien named Lorien who claims to be the oldest sentient being in the galaxy.

After Sherdian's return, Garibaldi returns and starts acting more paranoid and suspicious of other alien races than normal. He leaves his post as security chief and works on his own as a "provider of information". Garibaldi was actually abducted by the Psi-Corps at the end of Season 3 and re-programmed by Bester to provide information to him at the right time.

Centauri Emperor Cartagia forges a relationship with the Shadows. Londo Mollari engineers the assassination of Cartagia and repudiates his agreement with the Shadows. He kills Mr. Morden and destroys the Shadow vessels based on the Centauri homeworld, thus saving his planet from destruction by the Vorlons. Aided by the other ancient races, and several younger ones, Sheridan lures both the Vorlons and the Shadows into an immense battle, during which the Vorlons and Shadows reveal that they have been left as guardians of the younger races, but due to philosophical differences, ended up using them as pawns in their endless wars throughout the ages. The younger races reject their continued interference, and the Vorlons and Shadows, along with the remaining First Ones, agree to depart the galaxy forever.

Minbar is gripped by a brief civil war. Garibaldi betrays Sheridan and arranges his capture. Garibaldi later reveals to Bester about a virus that is dangerous to only telepaths, which the Psi-Corps then destroys. Bester releases Garibaldi of his programming, and allows him to remember everything he has done since being kidnapped. Garibaldi helps to free Sheridan and return him to the campaign to free Earth. An alliance led by Babylon 5 frees Earth from totalitarian rule by President Clark in a short but bloody war. This culminates in Clark's suicide and the restoration of peaceful government. Mars is granted full independence, and Sheridan agrees to step down as commander of Babylon 5. The League of Non-Aligned Worlds is dissolved and reformed into the Interstellar Alliance, with Sheridan elected as its first President and continuing his command of the Rangers, who are to act as a galactic equivalent of United Nations peacekeepers.

In the season finale, the events of 100, 500, 1000, and one million years into the future are shown, depicting Babylon 5's lasting influence throughout history. Amongst the events shown are the political aftermath of the 2261 civil war, a subsequent nuclear war on Earth involving a new totalitarian government in the year AD 2762, the resulting fall of Earth into a pre-industrial society, the loss and restoration of humanity's knowledge of space travel, and the final evolution of mankind into energy beings similar to the Vorlons, after which Earth's sun goes nova.

(Many thanks to The Lurker's Guide)
Captain John Sheridan - Bruce Boxleitner
The commander of Babylon 5 and, with Delenn, leader of the Army of Light. Formerly an officer of the Earth Alliance military until Babylon 5's secession, Sheridan was a hero of the Earth-Minbari War. He now finds himself at the center of a storm that dwarfs anything in his experience. A visit to Z'ha'dum, the Shadow homeworld, resulted in his death, but he was revived by Lorien, one of the First Ones. His sacrifice resulted in the destruction of the Shadows' largest city and halted their advance. The experience lent him a heroic mystique in the eyes of many, a situation which doesn't entirely please him.

Commander Susan Ivanova - Claudia Christian
Second in command and in charge of the day-to-day operations of Babylon 5, Ivanova's responsibilities have only increased since the start of the Shadow War. A capable pilot and tactician, she can frequently be found in command of part of the White Star fleet. Ivanova's natural pessimism, bordering on fatalism, would be unbearable if not for her dry sense of humor. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and raised abroad on Earth, Ivanova is a latent telepath, "not even a P1," and spent her life hiding her talent from Psi Corps after their legally-mandated drug treatments drove her mother to suicide.
Delenn - Mira Furlan
Officially, Delenn is the Minbari Ambassador, a former member of Minbar's ruling body, the Grey Council. The Shadow War splintered the Council and her people; now she leads the Religious and Worker Castes as co-commander of the Army of Light. Delenn's strong sense of destiny, her conviction that her role in the war is a matter of fate, led her to undergo a physical transformation that gave her human characteristics. At first, this made her an outcast, but as the ancient prophecies started coming true, she found her people rallying around her. Delenn and Sheridan are in love, but their relationship is largely on hold thanks to the demands of the war.
Delenn's aide, recently out of a monastery on the Minbari homeworld. He reveres Delenn as an almost holy figure and accepts her transformation without question. He has pledged his life to her, in fact, and is perfectly willing to die by her side. Still something of an innocent thanks to his isolated upbringing, Lennier has learned some of the art of diplomacy during his tenure on Babylon 5.

Marcus Cole - Jason Carter
A Ranger permanently stationed on Babylon 5, Marcus is a brave, capable warrior whose sarcastic wit belies dogged determination and fierce loyalty. Marcus fights for the Army of Light because he has nothing else left; his last remaining family was killed in a Shadow attack. Marcus secretly yearns for the affection of Commander Ivanova, but so far she seems uninterested.

Security Chief Michael Garibaldi - Jerry Doyle

Formerly in charge of security on Babylon 5. Though he has a troubled past, bouncing from position to position and trying to overcome alcoholism, he seems to have found his home on Babylon 5. Garibaldi is something of a smart-aleck, always ready to crack a joke, but given to bouts of self-doubt and introspection when nobody's looking. While Sheridan was on Z'ha'dum, Garibaldi was abducted by the Shadows and brought to a Psi Corps facility; he has no idea what was done to him there, and only vaguely remembers the abduction itself. Since his return he has become short-tempered and skeptical of Sheridan and his other compatriots.

Zack Allen - Jeff Conaway
One of Garibaldi's lieutenants, Zack is earnest and trustworthy, if not necessarily the brightest person on the station. During Garibaldi's absence, the job of security chief fell to Zack; the authority seemed to give him self-confidence, making him more willing to speak his mind.

Dr. Stephen Franklin - Richard Biggs

Dedicated and assured, a specialist in xenobiology (alien biology), and in charge of Medlab on Babylon 5. His background is mainly in experimental medicine, so his bedside manner is occasionally not what it should be. His strong sense of personal morality is at times in conflict with his duties as the chief medical provider for aliens from hundreds of worlds and cultures, some of whom view his obligations rather differently. Dr. Franklin is known to operate outside the rules when he feels the issue is important. He runs a free clinic in the Downbelow section for those who cannot afford medical care; he also serves on an "underground railroad" for telepaths who do not want to be found by the Psi Corps. In his middle thirties now, he spent years hitchhiking through space, offering his medical services in exchange for the opportunity to examine new life forms.

Londo Mollari - Peter Jurasik

The former Centauri ambassador to Babylon 5, Londo was promoted to chief of planetary security and became a member of the Centauri Royal Court. Londo was once a minor figure, a decadent nobleman from an insignificant royal house. But his dealings with the Shadows, dealings whose price he didn't understand until too late, propelled him into the corridors of power and are likely to make him the next Emperor. World-weary and horrified by the events spinning out of control around him, Londo's sarcastic sense of humor has been all but smothered; he finds himself walking on eggshells, choosing his words carefully lest they cause even more damage.

Vir Cotto - Stephen Furst
Londo's aide. Vir feels strongly that the choices Londo has made over the past year and a half are taking the Centauri down a self-destructive and morally wrong path, and he's getting less and less shy about expressing that opinion to Londo. He feels somewhat powerless in his position, close to the major decisions but always on the sidelines.

G'Kar - Andreas Katsulas
The ambassador of the Narn Regime when there was a Narn Regime to represent, G'Kar is a fugitive, wanted by the Centauri Republic. Sheridan granted him asylum on Babylon 5, which G'Kar is using as a base of operations from which to organize a movement to retake his homeworld from the Centauri. Thanks to a Vorlon-induced revelation, G'Kar believes that his people must serve the role of sacrificial lambs, sacrificing themselves in the interest of the greater good. He is something of a spiritual leader among his people; his exile, now well over a year long, has given him a compelling serenity and sense of conviction.

Ambassador Kosh - animatronics (Jeffrey Willerth, Ardwright Chamberlain)
The station's second Vorlon Ambassador after the first was assassinated by the Shadows, Kosh is a reclusive, dark personality, who seems to hold the other beings on the station in low esteem, if not contempt. Like all Vorlons, in public he wears a bulky encounter suit to hide his true form. When he bothers to speak with others at all, he communicates through a complex sequence of musical tones, translated into English by a device on his encounter suit. The only person on the station who knows anything about Kosh is his aide Lyta Alexander, whose body he occasionally inhabits when he wants to travel incognito.

Lyta Alexander - Patricia Tallman
A former Psi Corps telepath -- the first one assigned to the station, in fact. Three years ago she scanned the Vorlon ambassador, an experience that left her forever altered, and eventually led to her role as Ambassador Kosh's aide. Since the death of the original ambassador, Lyta has been less than pleased with her job; his successor is clearly less concerned with her well-being. But she believes in the rightness of the Vorlon cause, so she continues to serve.

Morden - Ed Wasser
A member of the same expedition Sheridan's wife was on, Morden was captured by the Shadows and works for them. He is always accompanied by one or two of them, though they're invisible to most people. Never a major player, he is always ready to talk to Londo and pass messages to and from his "associates." Thanks to Sheridan's expedition to Z'ha'dum, Morden is now a hideous, scarred figure, who travels in the shadows and hides his face with a hood and cloak.

Lorien - Wayne Alexander
The oldest of the surviving First Ones, Lorien lived on Z'ha'dum until Sheridan's visit. Lorien is much more than he seems; he can visit one's dreams and transfer pieces of his vast lifeforce into others. Lorien is saddened by the conflict between the Shadows and Vorlons, and is helping Sheridan put an end to it. He has introduced a third question to the two asked by the Shadows and Vorlons: "Why are you here?" It may prove to be the question destined to be asked by humanity.

Bester - Walter Koenig
A Psi-Cop, one of an elite unit of the Psi Corps whose function is to track down rogue telepaths, among other things. Perhaps in part because of his P12 psi rating -- more than twice as high as Lyta's -- he seems to have risen to a position of some importance in the Corps. Bester opposes the Shadow influence on the Corps, and is working behind the scenes to help the Army of Light.

Emperor Cartagia - Wortham Krimmer

When installed as emperor in 2259 by a group of Centauri politicians led by Lord Refa and Londo Mollari, he acted as, essentially, a powerless figurehead; however, he gradually amassed near absolute power. The scale of his self-aggrandizement and madness were exposed in early 2261, near the end of the Shadow War, when he willingly brought Centauri Prime to the brink of annihilation by the Vorlons in an effort to secure his place among the gods. His character appears to have been influenced by the Roman emperors Caligula and Nero, with his name possibly being derived from the city of Carthage.

William Edgars - Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

The Mars mogul that Garibaldi began working for, who used his "pharmaceutical" company, Edgars Industries, to formulate a solution to kill telepaths with a biological weapon. Edgars is eventually killed, and Garibaldi marries his widow, his former girlfriend, Lise, and heads Edgars Industries, though taking it in a new turn.

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