Sleeping in Light
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|"Sleeping in Light"|
|Babylon 5 episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Written by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Original air date||25 November 1998|
Twenty years have passed since the end of the Shadow War and Sheridan's death (and resurrection) at Z'ha'dum. Aware that Lorien had stated he could only extend Sheridan's life by 20 years, he knows his time is short, and makes invitations to his old friends to meet him and his wife Delenn on Minbar, sent out by the Rangers. Though the invitation does not mention the reason, they all recognize that this day was soon to come and make the necessary arrangements.
Sheridan and Delenn have a dinner with their friends, Michael Garibaldi, now head of the Edgars-Garibaldi corporation, Dr. Stephen Franklin the head of xenobiological research on Earth, Ivanova, a general with EarthForce, and Vir Cotto, the Emperor of The Centauri Republic. They reminisce about their departed friends: G'Kar and Londo who killed themselves to free the Centauri; Lennier who disappeared after nearly killing Sheridan and is presumed dead; and Marcus, who sacrificed himself to save Ivanova. After the meal, as they gather in the garden, Ivanova finds herself unable to stay, and quietly departs. Delenn follows her and asks her to assume leadership of the Rangers after Sheridan's death. Ivanova considers the offer before leaving.
Sheridan and Delenn spend the night together. Sheridan wakes and realizes that he will die today, but does not feel he should do it on Minbar. He dresses in his Army of Light uniform and leaves before Delenn awakes, having a White Star prepared for him. Before he can leave, he finds Delenn, in her formal attire, there to meet him. She comments that today would be a Sunday on the Earth calendar, and believes it would be a good day to have a relaxing Sunday drive as Sheridan would say, and if he is going to leave, he must do so now. The two embrace one last time, and Sheridan departs Minbar.
Sheridan stops at Babylon 5. The current commander, William Nils, tells him that the station is being prepared to be scuttled as the shifting political landscape has now rendered the station mostly obsolete (and a hazard to navigation). Sheridan also meets Zack Allen, who apologizes for being unable to make the invitation as he was overseeing the decommissioning. Sheridan takes a final tour of the station, and says that he and the station are linked, both being shut down. Zack invites him to stay for the decommissioning ceremony but Sheridan instead says he will visit the Coriana system, thus fulfilling the request relayed to him from Vorlon Ambassador Kosh.
Sheridan takes the White Star to Coriana, and finds his body's life signs fading. He orders the computer system to shut down and waits for death. Shortly thereafter, Lorien appears in the ship, and tells him that he was not forgotten by the First Ones, and they are waiting for him beyond the galaxy. Sheridan asks he if can come back, but Lorien asserts this is a one-way trip and the start of a new adventure. A bright light fills the White Star. Some days later, the abandoned White Star is found with no signs of life aboard or no indication how Sheridan left it.
Ivanova, Garibaldi, Franklin, Delenn, Vir, and Zack attend the Babylon 5 decommissioning ceremony, taking one last look around the station before departing on the final shuttle against an honor guard of ships from member worlds of the Alliance. The station's fusion reactors are set to overload and Babylon 5 is engulfed in fire, as was prophesied.
In the conclusion, the others return to their duties; Ivanova accepts Delenn's offer and becomes head of the Rangers, with Zack becoming a Ranger working with Vir on Centauri Prime. The final narration, given by Ivanova, accounts how, despite being the last of the Babylon stations, Babylon 5 gave them hope for the future, and how Delenn, each morning, would wake before dawn to watch the sun rise.
This episode takes place in the year 2281, 19 years after the events depicted in the fifth season of the series. At the beginning of the fourth season, Sheridan was saved by Lorien when he went to Z'ha'dum. However, as a consequence, Sheridan would only have an additional twenty years left to live.
It appears that Centauri Prime has been liberated, and at least on speaking terms with the Interstellar Alliance. Londo and G'Kar presumably have died at each other's hands as foreseen in the earlier two-part episode "War Without End".
The Babylon 5 station ends "in fire" as has been predicted by visions several times in the series: decommissioned and destroyed by EarthForce as a hazard to navigation, but having succeeded in its mission.
- This episode was actually filmed at the end of the fourth season. Because of uncertainty whether or not there would be a fifth season, the story was written to play as either the fourth or fifth season finale. When it was confirmed that TNT had picked up the show for the fifth season, the first show for season five, "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars", was filmed and replaced "Sleeping in Light" as the fourth season finale. J. Michael Straczynski stated that the finished episode was never marked as complete and handed over to the studio for fear that it would leak at some point in the year before it would be shown.
- This episode is the only one of the series that was directed by Straczynski, the series' creator and showrunner. He also made a cameo appearance as the maintenance technician who shuts down the lights on the station.
- The title sequence for this episode appears at the very end, and shows the characters in their earliest and latest chronological appearances (excluding The Gathering, in which prosthetics and costumes were markedly different than they were in the series as well as TV-movies and flashbacks to the Earth-Minbari War). It also includes pictures of others not normally included, such as the crew and production staff (the end of the episode features a rapidly flashed montage of pictures of the staff). Because the episode was filmed at the end of season 4, the sequence reflects the season 4 cast; Marcus and Ivanova are both included while Lochley is missing.
- The 1996 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, won by "The Coming of Shadows", was used as a prop in Ivanova's office.
- Many of the cast and crew felt it was fitting that this episode should air the day before Thanksgiving, although this was not planned in any way.