Babylon Squared

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"Babylon Squared"
Babylon 5 episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 20
Directed byJim Johnston
Written byJ. Michael Straczynski
Production code118
Original air dateAugust 10, 1994
Guest appearance(s)

Kent Broadhurst (Major Krantz)
Tim Choate (Zathras)
Denise Gentile (Lise Hampton)

Episode chronology
← Previous
"A Voice in the Wilderness"
Next →
"The Quality of Mercy"
List of Babylon 5 episodes

"Babylon Squared" is an episode from the first season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.


A Starfury fighter is sent to Sector 14 to investigate unusual tachyon readings. The fighter returns on autopilot, its pilot having died seemingly from old age. The crew receives a distress signal from Babylon 4, which had disappeared from Sector 14 four years earlier; Major Krantz, the EarthForce commander of Babylon 4, requests assistance with evacuation. Sinclair and Garibaldi lead a convoy of transports to Sector 14 to help.

When they arrive, Krantz explains that the entire station has come unstuck in time, and that its crewmembers have been experiencing "flashes" that send them forward or backward in time for a short while. Krantz brings Sinclair and Garibaldi to a detained alien named Zathras, who appeared on Babylon 4 just as its problems began. Zathras initially recognizes Sinclair, but then realizes that he is "not the One." When pressed, Zathras says that his group intends to take Babylon 4 to help with a great war. A man in a blue space suit appears, clearly in pain. Zathras declares this to be the One, who he says is deliberately giving the crew a chance to evacuate. When Sinclair tries to take the One's hand, an unseen force hurls him away. Zathras hands what he later describes as a time stabilizer to the One, who promptly disappears.

Krantz vows to take Zathras off the station as evidence of what has happened. As they head to the docking area, a falling structure pins Zathras. Sinclair tries to free him, but Zathras tells him that he has a destiny and begs him to go. Garibaldi and Sinclair leave Babylon 4 just as it disappears. On the station, the One removes his helmet: it is Sinclair, but much older. He informs an unseen Delenn off camera that he tried to warn them, but it all happened just as he remembered.

As all this is happening, Delenn leaves Babylon 5 on her own and travels to a large Minbari ship containing the Grey Council. They inform her that she will be the next leader to replace Dukhat. She declines the offer, insisting that she must investigate a prophecy. They vote narrowly to let her remain on Babylon 5 and she receives a Triluminary from one of the council members.

Arc significance[edit]

Events in this episode are clarified in the third season episode "War Without End."

  • Introduces the character of Zathras.
  • Introduces the concept of "the One."
  • Introduces the Ranger concept of living and dying for the One.
  • Delenn receives a triluminary, which is used in the season finale episode "Chrysalis" to transform Delenn into a human-Minbari hybrid.
  • First appearance of the Grey Council (outside of flashbacks), with some of the council members' faces being shown.
  • There are several inconsistencies between this episode and "War Without End"; e.g., the method by which Zathras is captured was changed and that Sinclair was aboard the station when it was attacked was only a "potential" future.
  • Several past and future events are shown in the flashbacks, including Garibaldi's breakup with Lise and the Battle of Babylon 5 that would take place a few years later. This storytelling device is used again in "War Without End" to provide some necessary backstory and foreshadowing for future events.
  • At the end of the episode, Ivanova and Sinclair are discussing where in time B4 is going. Sinclair alludes to a possible reappearance in the future, and Ivanova tells Sinclair that "this time, I'm going and Garibaldi is staying here." In "War Without End", this is exactly what happens.

External links[edit]