Signs and Portents
|"Signs and Portents"|
|Babylon 5 episode|
Morden asks Londo a question
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Janet Greek|
|Written by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Original air date||18 May 1994|
"Signs and Portents" is an episode from the first season of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5. It is the first episode of the series to dramatically advance the series arc and set up the events which lead up to the Shadow War; it was also used as the title for the entire first season.
As raiders increase their activity near the station, a mysterious visitor arrives with an enigmatic question for some of the alien ambassadors. Mollari entertains some Centauri visitors, Lord Kiro and his aunt, Lady Ladira.
Mollari receives The Eye, a highly valuable Centauri artifact, from Mr. Reno and is determined to see it returned to the Centauri Emperor.
Babylon will fall. This place will be destroyed. On his first birthday, Lady Ladira had predicted Lord Kiro’s death "by shadows".
Mr. Morden talks to Delenn. He asks her “What do you want?” During the questioning a triangle appears on Delenn’s forehead and she sees Mr. Morden in shadow. She demands he leave instead of answering his question. The triangle disappears when Mr. Morden leaves and she states with trepidation: "They're here."
Mr. Morden meets Londo Mollari in the corridor and asks him what he wants. At first, Mollari casually tells Morden that he wants to be left alone. Morden persists, however, so Mollari says what he wants. .
Kosh encounters Morden in a corridor, and commands him to leave.
As Lord Kiro and his entourage return to their ship they are ambushed and Kiro is taken hostage. The attackers, with Kiro and The Eye, escape the station in Kiro's ship. To prevent them jumping into hyperspace, Sinclair has the jump gate re-programmed to reject the Centauri ship's ID code. Garibaldi and a squadron of Starfuries then move in to capture them.
Suddenly a jump point opens and a ship appears. The new ship is a fighter carrier and belongs to the Raiders; it can generate its own jump point, which enabled them to stage hit-and-run attacks without having to use jump gates. The carrier launches fighters to attack the station, forcing the Starfuries to break off and deal with them. This allows the Centauri ship to dock with the carrier, which then escapes into hyperspace.
On the carrier it emerges that the raiders were in league with Lord Kiro but they renege on their end of the deal. They plan to take The Eye to sell to the Centauri and ransom Lord Kiro. However, at that moment a strange ship, which will later be identified as a Shadow vessel, appears from nowhere and destroys the raider carrier, killing all aboard. Lady Ladira sees its destruction in a vision.
With the apparent loss of the Eye, Mollari believes his career to be finished. However, Mr. Morden shows up and delivers The Eye to him and then leaves. Garibaldi tells Sinclair he did some digging regarding Sinclair's appointment to B5. Apparently all the officers proposed by Earth for command of Babylon 5 were rejected by the Minbari government, which as a co-sponsor of B5 had a say in who ran it, until Sinclair was nominated.
Lady Ladira shows Sinclair her vision of Babylon 5 exploding. She admits that it is merely a vision of what might be, not what will be.
- This episode marks the first appearance of the enigmatic Mr. Morden, the human representative of the Shadows and a character who will later have a connection to future B5 commander John Sheridan.
- This episode also marks the first onscreen appearance by a Shadow vessel.
- Lady Ladira's prophecy about Babylon 5's destruction will be referenced repeatedly over the course of the series, particularly in "War Without End" and, ultimately, "Sleeping in Light".
- Every candidate for the position Commanding Officer of Babylon 5 was rejected by the Minbari Government except for Sinclair.
- "Signs and Portents" was originally titled "Raiding Party."
- "What do you want?" is based on the Synanon Game.
- Ivanova wakes up at 0430, on August 3, 2258. Her computer says it is a Wednesday, but in reality it will be a Tuesday assuming the current calendar progression holds.
- Babylon 5 Season 1 Disc 4 DVD voice over by JMS