Signs and Portents

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"Signs and Portents"
Babylon 5 episode

Morden asks Londo a question
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 13
Directed by Janet Greek
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Production code 116
Original air date 18 May 1994
Guest appearance(s)

Gerrit Graham (Lord Kiro)
Fredi Olster (Lady Ladira)
Whip Hubley (Raider #1)

Episode chronology
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"By Any Means Necessary"
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List of Babylon 5 episodes

"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.


The episode starts on August 3, 2258.

As raiders increase their activity near the station, a mysterious visitor arrives with an enigmatic question for some of the alien ambassadors. As Mr. Morden asks "What do you want?" of three of the ambassadors, Mollari entertains some Centauri visitors, Lord Kiro and his aunt, Lady Ladira.

Sinclair admits to Garibaldi that he’s starting to remember what happened to him during the 24 hours of missing time during the end of the Earth-Minbari War. And asks for his help to discover more.

Mollari receives The Eye, a highly valuable Centauri artifact, from Mr. Reno and is determined to see it returned to the Centauri Emperor.

When Mr. Morden asks G'Kar “What do you want?” G’Kar answers “The Centauri stripped my world. I want Justice ... I want to suck the marrow from their bones and grind their skulls to powder ... to tear down their cities, blacken their sky, sow their ground with salt ... to completely utterly erase them.” Mr. Morden asks "And then what?" G'Kar replies “I don’t know. As long as my homeworld's safety is guaranteed, I don’t know that it matters.”

Lady Ladira, a Centauri prophetess, has a vision: “I see death... destruction... fire. Babylon will fall. This place will be destroyed. Fire... death... pain... fire... death... pain... No. No!” 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. “I want my people to reclaim their rightful place in the galaxy. I want to see the Centauri stretch forth their hand again and command the stars. I want a rebirth of glory, a renaissance of power. I want to stop running through my life like a man late for an appointment, afraid to look back or to look forward. I want us to be what we used to be. I want it all back the way that it was." Mollari walks away, but Morden is satisfied.

Kosh encounters Morden in a corridor, and commands him to leave, telling him that "they are not for you".

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. When Mollari asks how to find him to thank him, Morden responds, "we will find you".

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.

Arc significance[edit]

  • 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 of Commanding Officer of Babylon 5 was rejected by the Minbari Government except for Sinclair.

Production details[edit]

  • "Signs and Portents" was originally titled "Raiding Party."
  • "What do you want?" is based on the Synanon Game.[1]
  • 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.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Babylon 5 Season 1 Disc 4 DVD voice over by JMS