The Fall of Night
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|"The Fall of Night"|
|Babylon 5 episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Janet Greek|
|Written by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Original air date||1 November 1995
15 August 1995 (UK)
The Centauri have been expanding their war of aggression; now they are launching attacks into Drazi and pak'ma'ra space. Sheridan confronts Ambassador Londo Mollari about the incursions, but to no avail.
The Earth Alliance sends two members of the Ministry of Peace to the station. One of them, Mr. Welles, a representative of Nightwatch, meets with Nightwatch members on the station, including security officer Zack Allan. Mr. Welles encourages the local members to be more vigilant in reporting suspicious or "disloyal" activity, including any talk by civilians critical of the President or of EarthGov policies. Welles also attempts to recruit Commander Ivanova as a Nightwatch informant, but she declines, on ethical grounds.
The other VIP, Frederick Lantz, is there ostensibly to investigate the Centauri situation, meeting with representatives from the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, though he refuses to meet with G'Kar. It is soon revealed that he has been sent to sign a non-aggression treaty with the Centauri.
Before this is revealed, however, a Narn warship arrives at the station, seeking sanctuary. Captain Sheridan grants their request, and supplies them with equipment, along with promises of protection while in Babylon 5 space. The presence of the Narn ship is kept secret, until a member of the command staff who is attached to Nightwatch informs Mr. Welles, and soon the Centauri know about the ship as well.
The Centauri dispatch a battlecruiser to Babylon 5, demanding custody of the Narn ship. Sheridan refuses, having given his word that the Narns would be granted sanctuary. Mr. Lantz objects, but Sheridan overrides him. Sheridan orders a squadron of Starfuries to escort the ship out of Babylon 5 space. But when they move toward the jump-gate, the Centauri vessel opens fire on the cruiser, on the Starfuries, and on Babylon 5 itself.
Babylon 5 returns fire and launches additional fighters forcing the Centauri to concentrate on the station, thus allowing the Narn ship to escape into hyperspace. Thanks to B5's new weapons systems and the fighters, the Centauri capital ship, the Primus, is completely blown to pieces and destroyed before anyone onboard can be saved. Babylon 5 itself sustains minimal damage with its defense grid blocking most of the incoming Centauri fire.
The Centauri are furious, and demand a public apology, which Sheridan's superiors order him to provide. While his actions in destroying the Centauri vessel were legally and ethically acceptable actions of self-defense, they violated the spirit of the soon-to-be-signed non-aggression pact between Earth and the Centauri.
Sheridan's public apology is to be given in the station's zen garden. While en route to the Zen garden via the station's central core shuttle, and drawn to distraction by his own inner conflicts regarding the public apology he has been ordered to give, Sheridan fails to notice two Centauri assassins posing as fellow passengers have planted a bomb on the shuttle. In a desperate act of self-preservation, Sheridan overrides the shuttle door safety protocols and jumps from the shuttle just before it explodes. Due to the physics of the space station, Sheridan is weightless, but the explosion has propelled him in a slow "descent" toward the station floor, which is spinning at 60 mph.
Ivanova calls for a rescue team, but they cannot reach him in time. With only moments left before Sheridan reaches the floor (and subsequently dashed by it), Delenn urges Kosh to do something. Kosh agrees, and leaves his encounter suit, revealing publicly for the first time what he is under his encounter suit: a winged, angelic being of light. Kosh rescues Sheridan, bringing him safely to the ground.
Kosh's public revelation of his true nature, however, is startling - for every race that sees him sees something different: one of their own divine beings, deities, gods, or in the case of humans, an angel. Apparently, the Vorlons have been manipulating the younger races over time, programming each race to see the Vorlons as they wished them to be seen. Only Londo Mollari, of the Centauri, claims to have seen nothing.
Meanwhile, Starfury pilot Warren Keffer continues his obsessive investigations into the Shadow vessels, determined to prove their existence. Having learned that they leave neutrino trails when passing through hyperspace, Keffer sets his Starfury instruments to scan for them automatically. While escorting the escaping Narn warship through hyperspace, Keffer detects a Shadow vessel, and breaks off to investigate. The Shadow ship destroys Keffer's Starfury, killing him, but not before he is able to launch a message buoy with recordings of the Shadow ship.
The episode ends with Ivanova reflecting upon recent events, noting that while Babylon 5's mission as "our last, best hope for peace" seems to have failed, it has instead become something greater: a hope for victory. The Nightwatch continues having dissident suspects arrested and charged with sedition, and the Centauri Empire expands their war effort to larger territory. And the ISN network, having discovered Keffer's message buoy, transmits the first public images of the terrifying Shadow vessel in hyperspace... an ominous warning of the disaster soon to come.
- This is the first - and only - direct ship vs ship battle between the Earth Alliance military and the Centauri.
- We see a Vorlon outside of its encounter suit for the first time (although this was later learned not to be their true appearance, which was not revealed until season 4).
- The Earth Alliance signs a non-aggression pact with the Centauri.
- The Centauri have begun conquering neighboring planets.
- Acting in accordance with Earth Force regulations (General Order #47), Sheridan offers sanctuary to a damaged Narn ship, leading to an armed confrontation with a Centauri battlecruiser.
- The Narn warship, the G'tok, commanded by Warleader Na'kal, will reappear in season 3 in "Walkabout" to assist Sheridan.
- In an outtake when the Drazi asks Londo what he saw, Peter Jurasik replied, "I thought I saw a puddy cat. I did, I did see a puddy cat." (See Tweety Bird)
- John Vickery also plays Neroon.
- The title of this episode is a the culmination of a series of motifs used to title key arc episodes in Season 2 illustrating the world getting dark - The Coming of Shadows darkened into The Long, Twilight Struggle before ending the season on The Fall of Night.
- The episode, in addition to using darkness to refer to the struggles of the characters and the advent of the great war, tacitly refers to the rise in power of the Night's Watch demonstrated in this episode.