The Fall of Centauri Prime
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|"The Fall of Centauri Prime"|
|Babylon 5 episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Douglas E. Wise|
|Written by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Original air date||October 28, 1998|
"The Fall of Centauri Prime" is an episode from the fifth season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. This is a key episode in the series, as it marks the final downfall and story completion of Londo Mollari, one of the major characters on the series.
As the episode begins the combined Narn and Drazi fleets are bombarding Centauri Prime from space. In the Royal Palace, Prime Minister Londo manages to get G'Kar out of his prison cell, just before the ceiling collapses.
Londo meets the Regent to try to stop the bombing, but discovers that the latter has been under the secret control of an alien race called the Drakh, so-called "dark servants" of the Shadows, who settled on Centauri Prime after the Shadows' home world of Z'ha'dum was destroyed. They control the Regent's actions via a "keeper," a telepathic creature capable of invisibility, which is attached to him. They threaten to detonate nuclear bombs placed throughout Centauri Prime unless they are allowed to remain there, which Londo has no choice but to allow. The Regent's keeper detaches itself and the Regent dies, and Londo receives a keeper of his own when he is made Emperor.
President Sheridan arrives at Centauri Prime with a small fleet of White Stars and orders a ceasefire. The Narn and Drazi reluctantly agree, but ask Sheridan for aid when the Centauri fleet retaliates. Sheridan refuses, but knows he may eventually have to fight. Meanwhile, Sheridan's wife Delenn and her aide Lennier are trapped in hyperspace after a Centauri attack, their heavily damaged White Star drifting away from the main beacon.
Londo tells G'Kar that he is about to become the emperor and that G'Kar can no longer serve as his bodyguard, but does not tell him about the Drakh. Londo then orders the returning Centauri fleet to stand down. Sheridan meets with Londo, asking for help finding Delenn. Londo, knowing his Drakh handlers are watching, responds with hostility, saying that he will help only out of charity, not because of their friendship. Privately, he begs the Drakh leader to save Delenn.
Delenn, in desperation, fires her White Star's weapons to attract attention. A group of Centauri warships converge on their position. Lennier, believing that they are about to die, admits his love for Delenn. Instead, the Centauri vessels take their ship in tow. Delenn sympathetically pretends not to have heard Lennier.
In his inaugural speech as emperor, Londo withdraws the Centauri from the Interstellar Alliance, as the Drakh leader listens with satisfaction. Londo appoints Vir the new Centauri Ambassador to Babylon 5.
On Babylon 5, the command staff and leadership of the Interstellar Alliance examines a piece of Shadow technology, which was found to be controlling Centauri warships, and wonders what other technology the Shadows and Vorlons left behind. Garibaldi suggests recovering Vorlon technology, but Lyta Alexander tells the group that no-one will be allowed on the Vorlon home world for a million years.
In the Centauri Royal Palace, Londo sits alone and silent on his throne. Behind him the capital city continues to burn from the Narn–Drazi attack. Londo muses that he used to be free but powerless, and now has all the power but no freedom.
- Londo is now Emperor, as was prophesied by Lady Morella. Thus his story arc within the series comes to a conclusion. As stated by JMS, if the series were about a character, it would be Londo. As Londo states: "Five years ago I had no power but all the choices I could wish. Now I have all the power but no choice."
- G'Kar has forgiven Londo for his actions but his people haven't.
- Kosh's prophecy to Emperor Turhan from "The Coming of Shadows" is fulfilled: the situation between the Narn and the Centauri will end in fire.
- There has been speculation that this is the fulfillment of Lady Morella's final prophecy, which stated that Lando has to face his greatest fear, (giving up all control) knowing it will destroy him, in order to save his people. We know from other episodes that Londo will also "not kill the one who is already dead", as he saves Sheridan in the flash forward in War Without End. There has been some speculation, however, that the tasks were in chronological order, and that the 'greatest fear' was not this but rather allowing G'Kar to kill him, whereas his accepting the keeper was instead "saving the eye that does not see".
This episode aired after an extended break (June–October), which was not originally planned. TNT had begun replaying the entire series on a daily schedule at the same time that Season 5 had begun airing, and wanted anyone who had started watching the show then to be able to watch the conclusion live. Movements of Fire and Shadow thus became an impromptu cliffhanger as the network chose to leave off after it aired to give the reruns time to catch up. Ironically, although he did not consider Movements of Fire and Shadow to be a cliffhanger, JMS had already put a recap in the teaser of The Fall of Centauri Prime, coming as it did at the end of a five episode sequence.