not a beautiful or unique snowflake (nothings) wrote,
not a beautiful or unique snowflake
nothings

Now I Watch All Babylon 5: "Signs and Portents"

Season 1, Episode 13: Signs and Portents

Plot: Raiders blow up a (not-B5-based) Starfury. Later they attack a distant ship, and B5 sends out Starfuries to defend, but Sinclair realizes it's a trick and recalls the Starfuries, because... well.

In the B plot, a mysterious human Morden shows up and asks each of the ambassadors "What do you want?" G'Kar wants the Centauri crushed; Delenn has a strange reaction and orders him out; Londo wants the Centauri restored to their prior glory, an answer that pleases Morden. Morden doesn't ask Kosh; rather, Kosh orders Morden off the station. They fight(?) offscreen and Kosh's encounter suit is damaged. Morden doesn't exactly leave, though, because... well.

In the C plot, Londo retrieves an important Centauri treasure, the Eye, from a finder. Lord Kiro, there to return it to Centauri, wants to reclaim it for his family and to use it to become emperor, but Londo talks him out of it.

The A, B, and C plots converge: Raiders on the station steal the Eye, taking Kiro hostage, but not really since he's working with them with an eye towards the emperordom. They escape, and the B5 Starfuries return. A raider command-and-control vessel appears, and Kiro's shuttle makes it there with the Eye and they jump out, although all the Raider fighters are destroyed. But then a creepy nearly-all-black giant spaceship of unfamiliar type uncloaks and destroys the raider c-and-c, killing Kiro. Afterwards, Morden comes to Londo and gives him the Eye.

In the D plot, which is a fakeout of being part of one of the other plots, Kiro's aunt is a seer and has a vision that B5 will be destroyed. Kiro doesn't take it seriously since she'd once said he'd be killed by shadows. At the end, Kiro's aunt shares her vision with Sinclair, but says it's only a possible future.

In the E plot, Sinclair asks Garibaldi to investigate the events of his lost time on the line (when he was brought onto the Minbari ship and met Delenn). Garibaldi learns that Sinclair only got the job as head of B5 because the Minbari refused all other alternatives.

The Title Means: Pretty much everything that happens is a portent.

Ominous-music-means-it's-foreshadowing Quote: "I want my people to reclaim their rightful place in the galaxy. I want to see the Centauri stretch forth their hand again and command the stars. I want a rebirth of glory, a renaissance of power. I want us to be what we used to be! I want it all back the way that it was. Does that answer your question?" -- Londo

Weird Moment: When he sets up the E plot, in a single shot Sinclair circles slowly around a room for thirty seconds while walking up to Garibaldi. The tight framing and long lens makes it unclear just how far he walked. Probably he just walked slowly halfway around the room and nothing weird happened per se, but it looks weird.

Comments: Sorry about the excessive plot description, but a lot happens, and it's not possible to unwind it into separate linear plots very well.

Also, in case it's not clear, I'm going to spoil future developments here.

So, this is perhaps the biggest arc episode, in the sense that it's really what sets everything in motion. Londo's want sets the whole thing in motion. Here, we only get a taste, as Morden merely does him the favor of regaining the Eye. But the favors will get bigger, and then the consequences multiply. But even with just the taste on that front, "what do you want" itself is pivotal.

In this episode, nobody sees the sinister shadowy vessel except the audience. I'm don't remember if one will be seen again before the season finale (nor if anyone will live to tell of that one either)--I suspect not.

But forget audience-superior: how much of this episode gives us mysterious stuff that makes sense later?

  • Why does Morden want to know what the ambassadors want? Morden's associates are going to exploit this because, uh, I forget what their gameplan is... to sow chaos?

  • Why did the hallway behind Morden go dark immediately before the Kosh fight? Morden is accompanied by invisible aliens. They probably did it.

  • Why did Delenn react so? Why did Morden get dark? What did Delenn mean by 'they're here'? Her thing was probably reacting to the invisible aliens (I forget if this is explained in more detail). The Minbari fought them long ago, and she knows they've returned. She may even realize they're physically present.

  • So was Kiro killed by Shadows? Yeah, that's what they're called. Hence all the darkness around Morden.

  • Who did Kosh mean wasn't for Morden? According to JMS, this referred to the humans specifically, and maybe wasn't supposed to be a mystery.

  • Why does Kosh warn Morden off? The Shadows and Vorlons are old enemies, and this is the spine around which the entire story is built.



The episode also is strengthened by the way the non-arc elements of the plot build on previous episodes. This isn't the first raider command-and-control vessel we've seen, and now the previous barely-there Ivanova Starfury escort mission I complained about feels more like it was an appropriate setup so that her mission here would feel natural.

Plus there's a long "funny" exchange between G'Kar and Londo waiting for an elevator (it's good even though the "humor" is lame).

And they squeezed all that drama and portent in despite having less time for drama given the more-extensive-than-usual Starfury fighting. This really puts to shame those last few episodes, which dragged out not-very-interesting A-plots for most of their length.
Tags: now i watch all babylon 5
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