Soul Hunter (Babylon 5)
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|Babylon 5 episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Jim Johnston|
|Written by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Original air date||February 2, 1994|
"Soul Hunter" is an episode from the first season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.
Commander Sinclair and Lt. Commander Ivanova greet the station's new medical chief Dr. Stephen Franklin. Just then, they are alerted to a damaged ship, having just left the jump gate, heading on direct course to collide with Babylon 5. Sinclair takes a fighter and secures the ship before it hit. They find one humanoid being inside, unconscious, and Dr. Franklin begins examining it within the medical bay's iso-lab. Sinclair and Minbari ambassador Delenn come to see what the being is. On sight, Delenn attempts to shoot the being, but Sinclair stops her: Delenn warns him that the being is a member of the order of Soul Hunters, who steal the souls of those that have died on the pretense of preserving the soul. The Minbari have different beliefs about their fate on death, and have prevented the Soul Hunters from taking Minbari souls in the past. As Sinclair works to resolve the situation, he notices that many of the aliens on the station have quickly left.
Below decks, a human con-man scams another human, and the con-man is killed after a brief chase. The Soul Hunter wakes up at the same time, sensing that death. Dr. Franklin contacts Sinclair, who comes to speak to the Soul Hunter. The Soul Hunter explains he has come only because he senses the death of a distinguished individual. He goes on to explain that the Minbari had prevented him from preserving the soul of Dukhat, one of Minbari's leaders whose death precipitated the Earth-Minbari war; if he had been able to preserve Dukhat's soul, the war may have been avoided. Delenn later sees the Soul Hunter on his own, promising to find the souls that he has preserved and released them. He challengers her asking why a member of Minbari's leadership, the Grey Council, has taken on the lowly role of an ambassador. After she leaves, the Soul Hunter fakes an injury to escape iso-lab, and then pays for information for how to move through Babylon 5 undetected.
Sinclair and Ivanova see another Soul Hunter ship arrive by jump gate, and its pilot tells Sinclair he wishes to speak to him. The second Hunter explains the first one is not representative of their order: because of his failed attempts to save souls from Minbari, he has become more proactive and actually kills the Minbari himself to take their souls. Fearing Delenn in danger, Sinclair finds she is not in her quarters or found by station sensors. The second Soul Hunter is able to sense a pending death and directs Sinclair and his men there. Sinclair arrives just as the Soul Hunter had drained a significant quantity of Delenn's blood to near-death levels, and is starting to take her life with a large device, calling her "Satai" in the process. The souls that the Soul Hunter had taken before distract the Soul Hunter long enough for Sinclair to turn the device on the Hunter, who is killed in the process. Delenn recovers to full health, while privately, Sinclair learns that Satai is a member of the Grey Council. Later, Sinclair thanks the remaining Soul Hunter for his help but warns them to not come to Babylon 5 again. The Soul Hunter agrees, but is curious to the fate of the souls that his former associate had taken. In her quarters, Delenn releases the preserved souls with much feeling.
- The Soul Hunter alludes to the death of Dukhat, a Minbari leader who later is revealed to play a significant role in events leading up to the Earth-Minbari War.
- Sinclair discovers that Delenn is not simply an ambassador, but is "Satai", a member of the Grey Council.
- When Sinclair rescues Delenn, she is heard saying "We chose well", referring to the Minbari government's key role in the selection of Sinclair as station commander.
- The episode introduces reincarnation as an important concept of the Minbari religion. The true importance of this concept will be revealed later in the first episode of the second season, "Points of Departure".
- While extracting Delenn's soul, the Soul Hunter briefly sees into her mind, seeing the plans that the Grey Council has for Sinclair. The Soul Hunter tells Sinclair that he's being used by the Minbari, a scene which is later reprised and explained in "War Without End", a two-part episode in late Season 3.
The starliner Asimov is mentioned in passing; the name is a reference to science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov. In the original episode script, the ship had a different name; however, Straczynski renamed the ship following Asimov's death in 1992.