Shadow Dancing (Babylon 5)
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|Babylon 5 episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Kim Friedman|
|Written by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Original air date||21 October 1996
15 September 1996 (UK)
"Shadow Dancing" is an episode from the third season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.
Captain Sheridan stages a major battle against the forces of the Shadows.
After discerning the Shadows' plans to gather thousands of refugee ships into sector 83 in order to obliterate them all and thus demoralize their opponents, Sheridan and Delenn work to convince their allies to send as many ships as they can for a planned preemptive strike against the Shadows.
Dr. Franklin is still on "Walkabout" following his resignation from his medical duties after admitting to his addiction to stims.
Commander Ivanova is ordered by Sheridan to take the White Star and scout sector 83 before their primary armada arrives. Ivanova has trouble sleeping on the inclined Minbari beds and decides to rip the pillows off of all of them and create a makeshift bed on the floor. However, before she could gain some sleep, Marcus Cole detects the presence of a Shadow scout ship. The White Star is detected by the enemy ship and Ivanova is forced to pursue the ship and destroy it. The White Star incurs heavy damage, its engines disabled. As the automatic repair systems kick in, a massive Shadow armada emerges from hyperspace en route to the primary target. Risking detection from the enemy fleet, Marcus sends the signal to their own fleet to jump out of hyperspace.
On Babylon 5, Dr. Franklin notices two men beating up another man in downbelow and tries to stop them but ends up being stabbed. As he slowly bleeds to death, the shock and trauma causes him to hallucinate and see himself still clad in his Army of Light uniform and carries a conversation with himself at how he has always run from his problems (his father, his studies, and his work) and proceeds to insult his Walkabout, calling it another form of running away. Despite the tremendous blood loss, Franklin manages to muster enough strength to crawl out of downbelow and into the Zocalo where security officers take him to medlab.
A massive battle ensues between the Army of Light and the Shadows. Ivanova's White Star, with its engines repaired, joins the fray. In order to defeat the Shadow ships, the Army of Light utilizes telepaths to "stun" the Shadow vessels and then fire continuous beam weapons in order to punch through the Shadows' organic armor (as previously seen in "Long Twilight Struggle", "Interludes and Examinations", and "Walkabout". According to speculation, the Shadow ships' organic armor disperses the incoming energy and only a continuous burst of energy will overwhelm its dispersal capabilities and punch through). Sheridan and Delenn command the battle aboard a Minbari Sharlin Class Warcruiser.
After a fierce battle, the Shadows are forced into retreat. Back on Babylon 5, Franklin is rushed to surgery. Survivors on the side of Light are attended to on the station. Delenn tells Garibaldi that for every Shadow vessel they were able to destroy, two of theirs were lost.
Later in his office, Delenn, Sheridan, and Ivanova discuss the vision/dream that Sheridan had whilst held up aboard the Streib ship, in particular the comment of the Ivanova vision about Sheridan being "the Hand". They come to the conclusion that Sheridan has an "equal and opposite" on the Shadows' side, and that whoever he is, he is searching for Sheridan.
Later that night, as Sheridan sleeps, Delenn watches over him. Afterwards, her attention is diverted to a snow globe, which she picks up and plays with. Suddenly, the doors open and in comes Anna Sheridan, Sheridan's supposedly dead wife.
- The alliance has its first victory against the Shadows.
- Dr. Franklin is attacked and nearly dies, ending his "walkabout".
- Anna Sheridan returns from Z'ha'dum.
- The scene where Anna Sheridan enters Sheridan's quarters was foreseen by Delenn in "War Without End".
- The name of one of the Minbari cruisers, Enfili, is also the name of a race in the League of non-aligned worlds which is antagonized by Raiders during season 5 ("Paragon of Animals").
- The White Star collided with a Shadow scout ship and emerged damaged but intact. It is unknown if she was able to fire a quick burst before being rammed or the sheer force of the impact alone resulted in the Shadow ship's destruction. Either way, it shows that the White Star ships are very durable and can heal very quickly.
- According to the canonical Technomage trilogy books, the Technomage Alwyn participated in this battle by disguising his ship as a Narn Fighter. Also, Sheridan was able to discern the pattern of Shadow attacks because of the Technomage Galen.