In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum

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"In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum"
Babylon 5 episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 16
Directed by David J. Eagle
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Production code 217
Original air date 10 May 1995
Guest appearance(s)

Jeff Conaway (Zack Allan)
Alex Hyde-White (Pierce Macabee)
Ed Wasser (Morden)

Episode chronology
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"And Now For a Word"
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List of Babylon 5 episodes

"In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum" is an episode from the second season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.


Babylon 5 is swamped with Narn and other war refugees passing through. By order of Captain Sheridan, any too sick or injured to travel are sent to medbay until they are well enough to travel.
Sheridan holds Morden in custody and learns some of what happened to the expedition on which his wife was lost. Kosh and Delenn explain to Sheridan about the Shadows. Kosh warns Sheridan "If you go to Za'Ha'Dum, you will die." The Night Watch is introduced as a vigilance Organization.

Arc significance[edit]

  • Vir reveals his desire to see Morden beheaded:
  • The history of the war between the Shadows and the other races, including the First Ones, is described for the first time.
  • This episode establishes Morden's relationship to Anna Sheridan.
  • This is the first episode where Franklin states he's taking stims, foreshadowing his future abuse.
  • Franklin reveals himself to be a Foundationist, a religion founded just after humans first went into space.
  • The first mention of the Nightwatch.
  • The Vorlons are revealed as being one of the First Ones.
  • Z'ha'dum is revealed to be the home of the Shadows.
  • This episode establishes Sheridan's relationship with Delenn.
  • The question that Delenn asked in Season 1 to which she was simply given the answer 'yes' was 'Have the Shadows returned to Z'ha'dum'?

Production details[edit]

  • This episode was originally intended to air after "Knives", rather than before, with Sheridan's hallucination of the Icarus in that episode serving as a reminder to the audience of his wife's fate before more details were revealed in this episode.[1]

Cultural references[edit]

  • Pierce Maccabee is the regional director of the Ministry of Peace, AKA "Minipax"—a reference to the organization of the same name and nickname—as in Orwell's 1984.
  • The name Z'ha'dum can be seen as a homage to Tolkien's Khazad-dûm (Moria) in Middle Earth. Just as Khazad-dûm has been abandoned for many years, and is now inhabited by an ancient evil, so too Z'ha'dum, once the home of a mighty civilization, is now the home of an ancient and deadly evil.


External links[edit]