Wednesday, January 21, 1998

Season 5: The Wheel of Fire





"And so it begins....There is a hole in your mind...What do you want?...No one here is exactly what he appears...Nothing is the same anymore...Commander Sinclair is being reassigned...Why don't you destroy the entire Narn homeworld while you're at it?...There is a great hand reaching out of the stars...Who are you?...President Clark has signed a decree today declaring martial law....These orders have forced us to declare independence...Weapons supplies...Unless your people get off their encounter-suited butts and do something...You're the one who was...If you go to Z'ha'dum you will die...Why are you here?...Do you have anything worth living for?...I think of my beautiful city in flames...Giants in the playground...Now get the hell out of our galaxy!...We are here to place President Clark under arrest..."

Kosh/ Minbari Assassin/ Sinclair/ G'Kar/ Sinclair/ Gen. Hague/ Londo/ Elric/ Sebastian/ ISN Reporter/ Sheridan/ Bester/ Sheridan/ Zathras/ Kosh/ Lorien/ Lorien/ Delenn/ Sheridan/ Sheridan/ Sheridan


Season 5, entitled "The Wheel of Fire," first aired on January 21, 1998 with the episode "No Compromises." In this season we see the departure of some beloved characters, such as Ivanova and Marcus, but some new ones come into play, including the prominent appearance of telepath Byron and the elevation of the Drakh race after the departure of the Shadows. The season ends with the Babylon 5 universe 20 years in the future, as well as the destruction of the station.

Plotline:
(many thanks to Wikipedia)

In 2262, Earthforce Captain Elizabeth Lochley is appointed to command Babylon 5. The station grows in its role as a sanctuary for rogue telepaths running from the Psi Corps, resulting in a violent conflict. G'Kar, former Narn ambassador to Babylon 5, becomes a spiritual leader after a book was published that he wrote while incarcerated during the Narn-Centauri War. The Drakh, former allies of the Shadows who remained in the galaxy, take control of Regent Virini on Centauri Prime through a parasitic creature called a Keeper, then incite a war between the Centauri and the Interstellar Alliance, in order to isolate the Centauri from the Alliance, and gain a malleable homeworld for themselves.

Centauri Prime is consequently decimated by Narn and Drazi warships, and Londo Mollari becomes emperor, accepting a Drakh Keeper under threat of the complete nuclear destruction of the planet. Portions of the end of his reign are seen in various time-travel sequences throughout the series; one such sequence shows Mollari and former nemesis (and later friend) G'Kar dying at each other's throats in an act of mutual suicide. Vir Cotto, Mollari's loyal and more moral aide, succeeds him as emperor, free of Drakh influence. Sheridan and Delenn marry and move to Minbar, along with the headquarters of the Interstellar Alliance.

Twenty years later, on the verge of death, Sheridan takes one final trip to the now-obsolete Babylon 5 station before its decommissioning. Sheridan apparently dies, but is claimed by the First Ones, who invite him to join them on a journey beyond the rim of the galaxy. The Babylon 5 station is completely destroyed in a planned demolition shortly after Sheridan's departure, its existence no longer necessary as the Alliance has taken over its diplomatic purposes.

Characters:
(Many thanks to Wikipedia and The Worlds of JMS)

President John Sheridan - Bruce Boxleitner

After returning to Babylon 5, President Sheridan began the process of leading the new Interstellar Alliance. The first years of the Alliance would bring about numerous problems that would shake the Alliance to its core. Sheridan had to work to keep the Alliance together, despite forces that were working to tear it apart. President Sheridan brought Captain Elizabeth Lochley to the station to take command. Even though Sheridan described her as Ivanova's replacement, she was really a replacement for the both of them. Lt. Corwin took over some of Ivanova's other duties. Sheridan gave her a free hand to run the station's affairs, reserving only the political course of the Alliance to himself.

Captain Elizabeth Lochley - Tracy Scoggins
Elizabeth Lochley is a forceful, no-nonsense military leader. She carries herself with a military bearing and in public appears to be the very model of a competent, decisive, and professional EarthForce officer. Although she is an extremely attractive woman, she only shows the more feminine side of her personality in private, during her off-duty hours. Much of her personal drive and ambition comes from her troubled youth and young adulthood (see below), and in private she is always willing to lend a helping hand or offer advice to those who are experiencing personal difficulties and problems. In terms of love and romance she is far luckier and more active than her predecessor, Commander Susan Ivanova. In addition to being married to Interstellar Alliance President John Sheridan for a brief period early in their military careers, she also has a passionate and sexually-charged love affair with fellow EarthForce Captain Matthew Gideon, the commander of the Victory-Class starship Excalibur. Despite her hard-earned personal and professional success, however, she is occasionally still haunted by memories of her troubled early years.

Dr. Stephen Franklin - Richard Biggs
In 2262, during the series fifth and final season, Franklin resigned from his post at Babylon 5 to accept the position of Head of Xenobiological Research on Earth upon the retirement of Dr. Benjamin Kyle. At the beginning of 2263, he selected Dr. Lillian Hobbes as his replacement on Babylon 5. Franklin later conducted research in the attempt to fight the plague the Drakh inflicted on Earth. He is seen in the Crusade episode "Each Night I Dream of Home".

Michael Garibaldi - Jerry Doyle
In 2262 Michael Garibaldi returned to Babylon 5 to oversee the inauguration of John Sheridan as President of the Interstellar Alliance. This gave him the opportunity to foil yet another assassination attempt against a president. Sheridan appointed Garibaldi as the head of the Covert Intelligence Division of the Interstellar Alliance. When Bester comes to Babylon 5 to resolve the standoff with Byron's telepaths, Garibaldi confronted him and demanded a recorded confession. Bester declined and invited Garibaldi to shoot him. Garibaldi could not. Bester informed Garibaldi that he had planted an Asimov block in his mind. Garibaldi could not harm Bester or through inaction allow Bester to come to harm. Confronted with the inability to exact revenge, Garibaldi escaped with alcohol. Garibaldi's alcoholism began to affect his work. During this time, Zack, Lochley, and Lise all tried to help Garibaldi with his problem. When Sheridan learned of Garibaldi's drinking problem, he suspended him. Garibaldi met with Lyta Alexander who was in custody and made a deal with her. He would launder money and build a force for her to use against Psi Corps. If he held up his end of the bargain for two years, she would remove the Asimov block from his mind. Later, Garibaldi learned of a plot to assassinate him and Lise, and he later discovered that the assassin was hired by the board of Edgars Industries. He fired them and made arrangements to have them hunted down if he or Lise were ever killed. Garibaldi replaced the board with employees with reputations for being troublemakers. Garibaldi and Lise returned to Mars to run Edgars Industries. They had a daughter.

Zack Allan - Jeff Conaway

Allan was the second aide to B5 Chief of Security Michael Garibaldi from 2259-2261. Following Garibaldi's resignation as chief of security in season 4, Allan was appointed Chief of Security. He held the position for many years; except for a brief stint back on Earth, he remained there until the station was decommissioned in 2281. Because of this, he was the only one not to receive his invitation to Sheridan's farewell party in Sleeping in Light, though Allan would still meet Sheridan one more time as Sheridan took one last walk through the station. In Sleeping in Light, he walked with a noticeable limp, which has never been explained on screen. In the voiceover commentary of the episode, series creator J. Michael Straczynski explained that Zack was involved in heroic activity and lost his leg. Later in the episode, after the aged and abandoned Babylon 5 was destroyed and the Drakh influence on Centauri Prime was exposed and eliminated, Zack joined the Rangers and became Centauri Emperor Vir Cotto's assistant and (presumably) a direct liaison between the Emperor and the Interstellar Alliance.

Delenn - Mira Furlan

During their return trip to Babylon 5 over the turn of the year to 2262, Delenn married John Sheridan in a private ceremony.Although Delenn was still Anla'shok Na of the Rangers, she deferred most of the day-to-day operations to others. However, she still had input. After returning to Babylon 5, Delenn discovered that she was pregnant. The only people more surprised than her were John Sheridan and Dr. Franklin. Delenn traveled to Minbar to oversee the final preparations of the new Interstellar Alliance headquarters at Tuzanor, the traditional home of the Rangers. She returned to Babylon 5 to collect her husband and belongings when the work was complete. When Delenn and Sheridan arrived on Minbar, Emperor Londo Mollari was waiting for them. He gave them a Centauri urn as a gift for their unborn child, instructing them to give it to him on his sixteenth birthday. During his visit, Delenn barely caught a brief glimpse of his keeper, but she didn't understand its significance. In December 2262, Delenn gave birth to a son named David.

Lennier - Bill Mumy
In the episode "Day of the Dead", Lennier is confronted by the ghost of Morden, the human who worked with the Shadows. Lennier, who had returned from training hoping to speak to a spirit as part of an alien religious observance, makes the mistake of asking Morden for wisdom. Morden predicts that Lennier will one day betray the Rangers. This encounter presages several later events in the series. Eventually it was revealed that Lennier was secretly in love with Delenn. However he explained to Marcus Cole that it was "not romantic love as you would understand it, something nobler," indicating perhaps some sort of platonic love.

Lennier did not act on his feelings due to her involvement with John Sheridan. Lennier did confess his feelings to her when he and Delenn were both trapped in hyperspace facing death, but Delenn, who had long known of his feelings for her, feigned that she hadn't heard his confession in order to spare him embarrassment.

Lennier's feelings later caused his downfall. When Sheridan suffered an accident aboard a White Star ("Objects at Rest"), Lennier, seeing for a moment the opportunity to remove his 'competition', refused to help him and fled, leaving him for dead. He did come back however but by then Sheridan had managed to rescue himself. Lennier ran away, deeply ashamed of what he had done, and was never heard from again, except for a final, untraceable call to Delenn in which he asked her and Sheridan for forgiveness. The series left Lennier's final fate unknown, although most of Morden's prophecies came true and there are hints in the series finale "Sleeping in Light" (during a sequence when the guests were remembering their fallen friends), that Lennier was killed in the Telepath War. In his commentary on the episode, J. Michael Straczynski simply says, "That's a very sad story, and maybe I'll tell it some day."
G'Kar - Andreas Katsulas
Upon his return to Babylon 5, he resumed his role as Narn Ambassador, and was instrumental in the founding of the Interstellar Alliance. G'Kar was a member of that organization's advisory council, and wrote the Declaration of Principles. Later, when Mollari returned to Centauri Prime to investigate potential corruption in the Centauri Court, Minbari Ambassador Delenn requested that G'Kar return with Mollari as his bodyguard. G'Kar accepted, if only to see the looks on the faces of the Centauri court. Upon his return to Babylon 5, he discovered that the book of religious observations he had been writing had been "liberated" by a friend who believed him dead, and published as "The Book of G'Kar." It was received well, and its popularity was approaching that of the Book of G'Quan. G'Kar had, quite unwittingly, become a holy figure. G'Kar found his new holy status very frustrating; While many Narn were coming to him for guidance, they were more interested in applying their own interpretation of his words, or focusing on some things he had said while ignoring others — even when he himself was insisting otherwise. His sermons, however, were often quite inspired.

His popularity was creating political pressure on the restored Kha'Ri as well, who finally insisted that he either come home to rule or publicly give them his blessing. The last straw was when he was forced to bluntly rebuke a particularly obnoxious would-be worshipper and that offended admirer attempted to assassinate him in retaliation, but ended up severely wounding Garibaldi's fiancée instead. G'Kar decided to leave Babylon 5 and explore the galaxy, knowing that he could do no more for his people there and that to stay would only cause more unrest. He appointed Ta'Lon as his successor. G'Kar would later return to Babylon 5 at least once more for a diplomatic conference.

Na'Toth - Julie Caitlin Brown

Na'Toth went home to Narn at some point during the second season. She was on Narn when the Centauri used mass drivers to pluck asteroids out of orbit and bomb the Narn homeworld. Na'Toth was missing and presumed dead. In the fifth season, Na'Toth was found to be alive and imprisoned in the Centauri Royal Palace ("A Tragedy of Telepaths"). Londo Mollari and G'Kar smuggled her from the palace, and arranged for her to be sent back home to receive treatment for her injuries.


Londo Mollari - Peter Jurasik

Following the galactic war with the Shadows, Mollari eventually rises to Emperor of the Centauri Republic, taking the title Emperor Mollari II as another member of his family had been Emperor in the past. One of his first acts as the new Emperor was to name Vir Cotto as his replacement on Babylon 5, a job not highly prized because of the earlier Centauri conquest of Narn, though Londo knew that Vir would fulfill the job dutifully, even if some of the other ambassadors distrusted him. At the end of the fifth season, it was revealed that the Drakh had manipulated the Interstellar Alliance into attacking the Centauri Homeworld. The Drakh decided they needed Londo to be Emperor. The Regent, Virini, died when his keeper was removed, and another keeper was attached to Londo. For the next 15 years, Londo reigned as Emperor. Londo soon learned that alcohol would put the Keeper to sleep, and would allow him a few minutes of freedom.

When the Drakh kidnapped David Sheridan - the son of John and Delenn - the couple came to Centauri Prime to free their son. Both Sheridan and Delenn were captured by the Centauri. Mollari tried to force the Drakh to leave, who responded by exploding fusion bombs they had planted on the surface of the planet. Mollari was told to execute Sheridan, and he was able to convince his Keeper that he was soon going to kill both Sheridan and Delenn. Mollari then ingested enough alcohol to put the Keeper to sleep and freed Sheridan, Delenn, and their son in exchange for their help in freeing the Centauri from the Drakh. Mollari knew that his Keeper would soon wake up, and alert the other Drakh that he had set his friends free. He knew the Drakh would kill them, and would then kill him for his betrayal. G'Kar entered the throne room, and Mollari explained the situation. He begged G'Kar to kill him before the Keeper woke up; his famous final words were, "Come, G'Kar. I am as tired of my life as you are.". G'Kar began to crush Mollari's throat, but did not finish before the Keeper awoke. The Keeper then seized control of Mollari and retaliated. Mollari and G'Kar finally died at each other's hands, just as Londo had predicted for many years.

Vir Cotto - Stephen Furst

Following the Shadow War, Vir returned to Babylon 5. For the next two years he continued to act as Mollari's assistant, and as a representative of the Centauri to Babylon 5 when Mollari was back on Centauri Prime. When Mollari ascended to the throne as Emperor, he named Vir as the Ambassador to Babylon 5 (now an important position). With the death of Emperor Mollari at the hands of G'Kar 15 years later, Vir killed Mollari's Keeper. After being approached by several Drakhs, he managed to escape from the throne room by jumping out the throne room window on to a waiting shuttle. From there Vir went to the Minbari homeworld. The remaining heads of the Centauri houses met him there. He was able to persuade the nobles into recognizing his claim as Emperor.

Lyta Alexander - Patricia Tallman

In early 2262, Alexander became romantically involved with Byron, the leader of a colony of rogue telepaths offered sanctuary aboard Babylon 5. Her contact, and sexual relationship, with Byron revealed to the telepaths that they had been created by the Vorlons as weapons for their war with the Shadows. This revelation directly lead to Byron's disastrous confrontation with the Interstellar Alliance. Although Byron eventually committed suicide rather than be captured by the Psi Corps, Alexander was inspired by his cause to create a homeworld for telepaths, and became the leader of a movement sponsoring violent resistance against the Corps.

Lyta also began to more thoroughly explore the abilities the Vorlons had given her. Over the second half of Season 5, she was able to forcibly extract information from non-telepathic minds, control masses of individuals, destroy security cameras and force individuals to commit suicide. She also retained information implanted by the Vorlons regarding menaces such as the jumpgate into Thirdspace. She once described herself as the telepathic equivalent of a doomsday weapon, hinting at even greater capabilities.

She was eventually arrested aboard Babylon 5 for supporting terrorism by John Sheridan (whose contact with Vorlons gave him immunity to her Vorlon-enhanced telepathic abilities) in late 2262. Alexander then struck a deal with Michael Garibaldi: He would use his contacts, gained both when he was the Head of Covert Intelligence for the Interstellar Alliance, and those from his current position as the head of Edgars Industries, to help her avoid prosecution, as well as provide funding for her cause. In return, Lyta would remove a telepathic block placed in his mind by Alfred Bester. Former Narn Ambassador G'Kar was leaving Babylon 5 at the same time, and took her with him on a mission of exploration.

Byron - Robin Atkin Downes

Byron Gordon is introduced to Babylon 5 in the season 5 episode No Compromises as a strong telepath (P12 rating). Byron is shown arriving on the Babylon 5 station with a large contingent of rogue telepaths early in the year 2261. At this stage Byron is portrayed as a Gandhi-like figure; a leader of telepaths who seeks freedom from the Psi Corps and from mundanes, but that will only do so through non-violent means. In The Paragon of Animals, Byron helps the new Interstellar Alliance by revealing treachery by the Drazi against the Enphili. John Sheridan offers Byron and his telepaths political asylum at Babylon 5. They are allowed to establish a small colony in Brown 3.

Lorien - Wayne Alexander

Lorien reappears a last time, in 2281, when Sheridan returns to Coriana 6 during the last hours of his life, as he was enjoined by Kosh to do. When he returns, he initiates contact with Sheridan asking four key questions:



Who are you? (The Vorlon Question)
What do you want? (The Shadow Question)
Why are you here? (Lorien's Question)
Where are you going? (The Final Question)

Lorien's questions are the questions mankind and the younger races are to introduce to break the stalemate between the Vorlons and the Shadows. Though Lorien does not need these to be answered, he asks them nonetheless, likely as a welcome to Sheridan. As Lorien enters the ship, he explains to Sheridan that they had not forgotten him. Lorien remains with Sheridan as he dies, and it is believed that he took Sheridan back with him beyond the Rim, joining the many First Ones there, though whether Sheridan does so corporeally or as an energy being like Lorien is an open question.

Regent Virini - Damian London

After the assassination of Cartagia in The Long Night, Prime Minister Mollari informs him that he has been appointed Regent to the throne until the Centaurum clearly determine how to fill the vacuum of power in Epiphanies. However, by the end of Epiphanies Virini came under the control of the Drakh, whos sought revenge upon the Centauri Republic for their part in the Shadow War and plotted the destruction of Centauri Prime.

By In the Kingdom of the Blind, Virini has become very reclusive, allowing only his personal physician and a few trusted aides access. He had been found wandering the palace at night talking furtively to himself, took to heavy drinking, and once ordered a guard to kill him, claiming that he was not himself. Routine documents such as status reports on the fleet and other reports were all reclassified 'Top Secret' for the Regent's eyes only, contrary to standard protocols.
The Drakh controlled Virini with a keeper, a parasitic life form that bonded to his shoulder and bent him to the will of the Drakh. Virini ordered the Centauri fleet to launch covert raids upon the shipping lines of members of the Interstellar Alliance to create unrest and distrust within the union. Ultimately this led to the Centauri war at the end of the fifth season, where the Narn and the Drazi devastated Centauri Prime.

In the episode, The Fall of Centauri Prime, the Regent introduces Mollari to a Drakh. The Drakh explains that they were servants of the Shadows and they want revenge by isolating the Centauri. If Londo will not agree to serve them, the Drakh threatens to detonate fusion bombs all over the planet killing millions. Londo agrees, and the keeper leaves the Regent who then dies in Londo's arms.

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