The Long Night (Babylon 5)

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"The Long Night"
Babylon 5 episode
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 5
Directed byJohn LaFia
Written byJ. Michael Straczynski
Production code405
Original air dateJanuary 27, 1997
Guest appearance(s)

Bryan Cranston (Ericsson)
Wortham Krimmer (Emperor Cartagia)
Ron Campbell (Drazi ambassador)

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Falling Toward Apotheosis"
Next →
"Into the Fire"
List of Babylon 5 episodes

"The Long Night" is an episode from the fourth season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.


Sheridan continues to amass the largest space fleet from Minbar and the other non-aligned worlds to take on the Vorlons and Shadows. Vorlons are continuing to use their giant planetkillers to destroy any world touched by Shadows, and in return the Shadows have attacked planets housing Vorlon bases, seemingly covering the planet in clouds that kill all on them. Neither the Vorlons nor Shadows seem to care for anyone getting in their way, requiring the other races to take action. Sheridan asks Ivanova to take Lorien and seek out any First Ones that they can; Sheridan assures Ivanova that she will be there for the final battle.

One of the White Stars that have been tracking the Shadows reports to Babylon 5 after witnessing the Shadows attack a planet. Probe footage shows that the Shadows use a "Death Cloud" that surrounds the planet and launches spikes that can drill miles into a planet before releasing a thermonuclear explosion, creating earthquakes and other disasters, leaving the planet barren, while the Death Cloud feeds on the geothermal energy released. They also learn that the Vorlons appear to be massing for an attack on Coriana, a planet populated by billions of sentient beings, within a few days. Sheridan comes to a plan of action to meet the Vorlons at Coriana, having a part of the fleet make rapid strikes at the Vorlon ships to give time for the rest of the fleet to assemble. However, Sheridan also plans to bring the Shadows there as well, believing that the Vorlons and Shadows would focus on each other and allow the fleet to attack in the aftermath. He instructs the White Star that was monitoring the Shadows to engage in a suicide mission by allowing the Shadows to attack it and letting them gain access to a computer file aboard about a fictitious Vorlon base on Coriana. Upon hearing that the White Star successfully lured the Shadows into an attack before its destruction, Sheridan and Delenn leave to join with the rest of the fleet as they set off for Coriana.

Meanwhile, Emperor Cartagia, Ambassador Mollari, and Vir have arrived on the Narn homeworld to hold a trial and execute G'Kar in front of the Narns. Privately, Mollari tells his Centauri allies that away from the homeworld, Cartagia will be less protected, allowing them the opportunity to kill him. Mollari visits G'Kar and is shocked to see that one of his eyes had been removed by Cartagia, and asserts to G'Kar that the chains he will be bound with have been purposely weakened to allow him to break free at the trial. Mollari has Vir collect a poisoned needle that will paralyze Cartagia before killing him and which masks its puncture wound which he plans to use during the distraction created by G'Kar.

At the trial, in front of several Narn, Cartagia tells Mollari that he had G'Kar's chains replaced with stronger ones, believing the earlier ones were too weak. As Cartagia begs G'Kar to plead guilty to his crimes, G'Kar manages to break the strengthened chains thus inciting a riot between the Narns and Centauri. Mollari suggests to Cartagia to step away, but in a back room Cartagia turns on Mollari thinking he was working against him. Vir soon arrives, finds the needle dropped by Mollari and proceeds to stab Cartagia, ultimately killing him. Cartagia is pronounced dead and while it will take time for Centauri to name a new Emperor, Mollari is named as Prime Minister to act until then. Mollari states that Centauri will leave Narn and then return home to remove the Shadow forces from the planet. Later, as the Centauri are about to leave, Mollari finds Vir alone, drunk, having great remorse about killing Cartagia. Mollari tries to assure Vir he did the right thing and that he still has much to live for in contrast to Mollari's own situation. Following their departure, the Narn start tearing down the Centauri facilities in celebration. G'Kar warns them the battle is still far from over. Some of the Narn want to make G'Kar the leader, but G'Kar refuses, as he did not want to take down one despot to put another in their place, and asserts that the Narn need to re-establish the ruling Ka'Rhi and properly rebuild Narn. The Narn refute this, challenging G'Kar as to how much suffering they had endured during the Centauri occupation. G'Kar is forced to turn his back on them.

Arc significance[edit]

  • Vir assassinates Cartagia.
  • Londo is installed as the new Prime Minister of the Centauri Republic.
  • Narn is liberated, due in no small part to the efforts of G'kar.
  • Sheridan is luring the Shadows and the Vorlons into a final confrontation.
  • The Shadows launch their own planet killer, the Death Cloud. Unlike the Vorlon planetkiller, though, which completely obliterates a planet, the Shadows' weapon is more conservative and slow, akin to their nature of spreading chaos. Whilst the Vorlon weapon is seen as a sign of "divine retribution" that is both "swift and complete", the Shadows' planet killer first envelops a planet, thus preventing escape, then begins bombarding it with missiles that burrow deep into the planet, right into the core, and detonate, causing massive earthquakes and destruction of the planet's structure without actually destroying the planet. The Cloud then proceeds to extract the geothermal energy from the planet's core. By the time the Cloud is finished, a cold and barren world incapable of supporting life is left behind.

Production details[edit]

  • The Death Cloud was the work of the creative mind of Harlan Ellison.
  • The parading of G'kar bound to a large (and extremely heavy) wooden plank, his stumbling down, and his conversation to his fellow Narns is a reference to the Way of the Cross, wherein Jesus Christ also endured the humiliation of being paraded across Jerusalem onto Golgotha.[original research?] G'kar here also acts as the "savior" of all Narn when his deal with Mollari ensured that his homeworld will finally be liberated once Emperor Cartagia is killed.
  • G'kar, who has been repeatedly beaten, starved, had his eye plucked out, and was forced to carry a heavy piece of wood (so heavy, in fact, that when it was hurled at a Centauri guard, the guard collapsed under its weight and was incapacitated) across the city of G'khamazad was still strong enough to break his chains (made of the supposedly unbreakable solid kirilium) and knock out his guards. This highlights G'kar's (and the Narns') strong and unbreakable will and desire to be free (both figuratively and literally).
  • The Imperial palace built on Narn is an almost exact replica of the actual palace on Centauri Prime—so exact that Londo's room there is exactly the same as his room back on his homeworld. This is first referenced in the episode "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place" by Lord Antono Refa. The only noticeable difference is the red tint of the lights outside the palace, due to Narn's Mars-like atmosphere.

External links[edit]