Points of Departure (Babylon 5)
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|"Points of Departure"|
|Babylon 5 episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Janet Greek|
|Written by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Original air date||2 November 1994|
"Points of Departure" is the first episode of the second season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.
Earth Alliance Destroyer EAS Agamemnon is seen orbiting an unspecified planet. Captain John Sheridan is heard informing an unspecified party that if they have any further trouble with hijackers to contact him and he will handle the situation. Sheridan then receives an incoming message from General William Hague, the Chairman of the EarthForce Joint Chiefs of Staff informing him of sightings of a renegade Minbari warcruiser, the Trigati, and orders for "one other mission."
In a voice-over we learn that Lieutenant Commander Ivanova is temporarily in command of Babylon 5 and that Jeffrey Sinclair, the Commander of Babylon 5, has been reassigned to Minbar, the Minbari homeworld. The events from the last episode of season one are recounted.
Ivanova then receives a message from Hague; he informs her that Sinclair is being reassigned permanently. Sheridan has been appointed as the new commanding officer of Babylon 5, Sinclair is the new Earth Ambassador to the Minbari homeworld.
After his arrival, Ivanova gives Sheridan a tour of the station; he appears excited about his new command.
Sheridan soon learns that the Trigati has been sighted in hyperspace near the station. The Trigati had participated in the historic Battle of the Line, the final battle of the Earth-Minbari War ten years earlier. When the Grey Council suddenly gave the order to surrender when the Minbari were on the verge of total victory, the Trigati had refused to surrender. Instead, the warship had gone into exile and had spent the years since the war roaming the galaxy. Sheridan believes that the re-appearance of the Trigati is a bad sign, especially since the Minbari still resent him as the "Starkiller", the human who destroyed their flagship, the Black Star, during the war. Sheridan believes that the Trigati may attack the Babylon 5 station in revenge for him being named the new commander.
The Trigati commander Kalain is arrested while apparently trying to kill Delenn. The Trigati soon exits hyperspace, approaches Babylon 5, and launches fighters. Babylon 5 activates defenses and launches fighters, but Sheridan has doubts as to whether the Trigati really intends to attack. He is suspicious because during the Earth-Minbari War the Minbari ships used stealth technology which made their ships impossible to detect on targeting sensors, yet the Babylon 5 sensors can target both the Trigati and her fighters. Kalain commits suicide in his jail cell. Sheridan realizes that the Minbari ship is trying to make it look as if the humans provoked an attack, so they can start the Earth-Minbari War again and die with honor. Sheridan tells Ivanova to send a signal via laser beam into hyperspace; the signal alerts another Minbari warcruiser, which exits hyperspace and orders the Trigati to surrender. The second Minbari cruiser fires a beam which destroys the Trigati's engines. Unable to escape, the Trigati destroys itself rather than surrender. Sheridan thanks the commander of the second Minbari cruiser for their help, but the Minbari commander tells him that the Trigati's destruction is a "dark day."
As the episode ends, Sheridan finally gets to give his standard welcoming speech after assuming a new command. However, since the dome is on standby, no one is present in Command and Control (C&C) to hear it.
- Sinclair, the commander of Babylon 5 during the series first season, is transferred to Minbar as the Earth Ambassador. His story is continued in a series of comics and the novel Babylon 5: To Dream in the City of Sorrows. He is also seen again in the second and third seasons.
- Captain John Sheridan assumes command of Babylon 5; we learn that the Minbari still resent him because of his victory over them in the Earth-Minbari War and protested his command assignment to the station they helped fund.
- The Minbari Grey Council chose to surrender at the Battle of the Line because, after capturing Sinclair during the battle and examining him, they learned that he was carrying a Minbari soul. The Grey Council then learned that Minbari souls were being reborn into human bodies. Since Minbari do not kill one another, they chose to surrender rather than continue to kill their own souls. However, believing that neither the warrior caste nor humans would accept the truth, they have chosen to keep this fact from both groups.
- Sheridan was President Santiago's second choice to command Babylon 5 after Sinclair; the new President, Morgan Clark, likes him because he believes he will be tougher in dealing with alien races on the station than Sinclair was.
- The Grey Council's order to surrender at the Battle of the Line was bitterly opposed by much of the warrior caste; this has led to a growing rift between the religious and warrior castes in Minbari society. The rift will eventually lead to a civil war on Minbar in the series' fourth season.
- Delenn didn't consult with the Grey Council about her transformation and they do not approve of her decision.