War Without End (Babylon 5)

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"War Without End"
Babylon 5 episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 16 & 17
Directed by Mike Vejar
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Production code 316 & 317
Original air date 13 May 1996
20 May 1996
Guest actors

Tim Choate (Zathras)
Time Winters (Rathenn)
Michael O'Hare (Amb. Jeffrey Sinclair)
Kent Broadhurst (Major Krantz)
Bruce Morrow (B4 First Officer)

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Interludes and Examinations"
Next →
"Walkabout"
List of Babylon 5 episodes

"War Without End" is a two-part story consisting of the 16th and 17th episodes in the third season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. They were broadcast first on May 13 and May 20, 1996 on the PTEN network in America. It marks the return of Michael O'Hare, who by mutual agreement departed the show[1] as a regular after season one, reprising his role as Jeffrey Sinclair for the character's final appearance on the show. The story resolves many of the threads from "Babylon Squared", which detailed part of what happened to the Babylon 4 space station.

Synopsis[edit]

Part One[edit]

On Minbar, Ranger One is interrupted by an aide who presents him with an envelope which has been sealed in the Ranger archives for over 900 years. Ranger One pulls back his hood, revealing Jeffrey Sinclair. Sinclair travels to Babylon 5 and meets with Delenn, Marcus, Ivanova, Lennier, and Captain Sheridan and escorts them to the White Star, where they set off for a temporal rift in Sector 14. Meanwhile, Garibaldi investigates a distress signal coming from the temporal rift. The signal is from Ivanova aboard Babylon 5 which is under attack by the Shadows. The message is time-stamped from eight days in the future.

En route to Sector 14, Delenn explains that during the last Shadow War, the Minbari were on the verge of defeat when Babylon 4 appeared. The station provided them with a base of operations and allowed them to win the war. She also shows footage from just before Babylon 4 vanished that shows the White Star saving the station from an attack by Shadow forces. Zathras arrives from Epsilon 3 and prepares the White Star and her crew for time travel with time stabilizers that will keep them from becoming "unstuck in time." Before reaching the rift, Sinclair has Sheridan contact Garibaldi, and send him back to Babylon 5 without revealing his presence.

The White Star journeys six years into the past and destroys the attacking Shadow forces but Sheridan's time stabilizer becomes damaged. As the White Star docks with Babylon 4 to prepare it to be transported through time, Sheridan phases out of reality and finds himself seventeen years in the future as a prisoner of an aged Londo Mollari, emperor of a ravaged Centauri Prime. Londo reveals that although Sheridan won the war, the victory was incomplete and the dark servants of the Shadows have come to Centauri Prime.

Part Two[edit]

On the future Centauri Prime, Sheridan meets Delenn who tells him that their son David is safe and that she loves him. Sheridan reveals to her that he is actually from the past; she remembers him having told her about this encounter before. They are again brought before Mollari, who is quite drunk. He reveals that he is under the control of a Keeper which is asleep due to the alcohol. In exchange for their lives, they pledge to free Centauri Prime. As they flee, G'Kar enters. Londo tells him that when his Keeper awakes, it will force him to kill Delenn and Sheridan. G'Kar begins to strangle Londo, but the Keeper awakens and the two end up killing each other. Vir enters, discovers the bodies, and claims the imperial seal. Before Sheridan is pulled back in time, Delenn pleads with him not to go to Z'ha'dum.

Sheridan rematerializes inside a space suit back on Babylon 4 that Zathras has jury-rigged to help stabilize him in time. Sheridan and Sinclair attach equipment to the power core necessary to control the time shift. As they power up the equipment, a power surge causes Sheridan to become unstuck in time again and sends Babylon 4 four years into the relative future, to the time where it appeared in "Babylon Squared." Delenn experiences a brief future "time flash" of a woman in a doorway greeting her. Sinclair returns from the power core appearing greatly aged. His previous unprotected exposure to the time field in "Babylon Squared" is causing him to age rapidly as he approaches his native time.

While Ivanova sneaks into Babylon 4's empty C&C and adjusts the power levels to prevent any further power surges, Babylon 4 guards capture Zathras as he attempts to fix Sheridan's time stabilizer. He encounters the Garibaldi and Sinclair from the time of "Babylon Squared" and events from that episode are repeated: the three of them see a blue-suited figure appear in the central corridor. Zathras identifies this figure as "the One." Sinclair is thrown back when he touches the figure's hand. Zathras gives a time stabilizer to the figure, who promptly vanishes. A falling beam traps Zathras, who tells Sinclair that he has a destiny and must leave. While Sinclair and Garibaldi flee the station, the present-day Sinclair tries to send a message to Garibaldi to watch his back but he fails. The blue-suited figure rematerializes and removes their helmet, revealing it to be Delenn who had switched time stabilizers with Sheridan.

As the crew prepares to depart, Marcus reveals that Babylon 4 can't be fully automated and that someone must travel to the past. Marcus volunteers, but Sinclair insists that he must be the one to stay, because he has always taken the station back. He reveals that the letter he received was from himself. Before they depart, Sinclair questions Zathras about why he identified Delenn as "the One." Zathras explains that Sinclair, Delenn, and Sheridan are all "the One" because they are part of a trinity: the One who was (Sinclair), the One who is (Delenn), and the One who will be (Sheridan). The White Star disembarks from Babylon 4 and returns to its own time, having averted the destruction of Babylon 5 as seen in the future distress call. Delenn reveals that something happened one thousand years ago to cause Minbari souls to be born in human bodies and that her people would not have accepted the station if a human had been aboard. Marcus, realizing the implication, exclaims "My God! A Minbari not born of Minbari..."

One thousand years in the past, Zathras welcomes two Minbari to the station where they discover Sinclair transformed into a Minbari flanked by two Vorlons outside of their encounter suits hovering over him in their angelic forms. He introduces himself as Valen and announces "We have much work ahead of us."

Arc significance[edit]

  • The fate of Babylon 4 is finally revealed: Babylon 4 became the base of operations for the Minbari and the Vorlons a thousand years prior during the last war with the Shadows. As a result, the Shadows' defeat is more thorough and they are not able to destroy Babylon 5 as seen in the time-shifted distress call.
  • The ultimate fate of Ambassador Sinclair is revealed - Sinclair has become one of the holiest figures of Minbari history, Valen, who will lead them to victory during the first Shadow War, form the Grey Council, and found large parts of their societal structure. This also explains how Valen was able to prophesy the future, and why the Triluminary glowed brightly when in his presence, as it had been programmed to respond to Sinclair's DNA.
  • The third prophecy made by Morella concerning Mollari is revealed, as is the prophecy that both Mollari and Vir would be Emperor.
  • Londo suggests that the Shadow War will be won by Sheridan and the Armies of Light, but that Centauri Prime will be attacked by minions of the Shadows thereafter.
  • The reason for the migration of Minbari souls has been explained, and Delenn's transformation was to partially right the balance.

Inconsistencies with "Babylon Squared"[edit]

  • In "Babylon Squared," Major Krantz says that Zathras suddenly appeared in the middle of a conference room after a time-flash. Here, Zathras is caught by security guards while rummaging through a box of equipment. An attempt was made to film the scene as described, however by agreement of the Director and Straczynski, the scene was dropped and redone, due to being too long and requiring an awkward and unnatural setup.
  • The "Babylon Squared" scene where Delenn puts her hand on Sinclair's shoulder and says that they have to go, shows her wearing a red robe. In this episode, she is wearing dark brown. Also, the "War Without End" version of this scene doesn't contain the computer voice intoning 'Present time atmosphere now breathable'.
  • When 'The One,' clearly wounded, appears at the end of "Babylon Squared," it is clear from the grunts of pain and Zathras's references that "the One" is male. In this episode, it is revealed that this is Delenn.
  • In "Babylon Squared," Zathras says that The One stopped Babylon 4 from travelling through time so that its crew could evacuate. In this episode, the station stops its time travel accidentally, when Major Krantz powers up the fusion reactor; also, the idea of faking a reactor accident to allow the crew to evacuate was Ivanova's, not The One's.
  • In "War Without End," it's established that Major Krantz knew of the Shadow fusion bomb and the presence of potentially hostile intruders aboard the station. He doesn't mention any of this to Sinclair or anyone else in "Babylon Squared."

External links[edit]

References[edit]