War Without End (Babylon 5)

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"War Without End"
Babylon 5 episode
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 16 & 17
Directed byMike Vejar
Written byJ. Michael Straczynski
Production code316 & 317
Original air dateMay 13, 1996
May 20, 1996
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Interludes and Examinations"
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List of Babylon 5 episodes

"War Without End" is a two-part story consisting of the 16th and 17th episodes in the third season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. They were broadcast first on May 13 and May 20, 1996 on the PTEN network in America. It marks the return of Michael O'Hare, who by mutual agreement departed the show[1] as a regular after season one, reprising his role as Jeffrey Sinclair for the character's final appearance on the show. The story resolves many of the threads from "Babylon Squared", which detailed part of what happened to the Babylon 4 space station.


Part One[edit]

On Minbar, Ambassador Sinclair is given a box that, 900 years prior, was to be open today, and which contains an envelope directed to him. After reading the letter, Sinclair makes arrangements to travel to Babylon 5, telling his aide he will likely not be returning.

On Babylon 5, the command staff pick up a faint signal from Sector 14, the area of space where Babylon 4 had appeared and vanished two years prior. Ivanova's voice is clear in the message, though the rest is garbled. Garibaldi, having dealt with Sector 14 before, goes there in a Starfury to improve the reception. He finds the message is dated 8 days in the future, and shows a large Shadow fleet attacking and destroying Babylon 5. Meanwhile, Sinclair arrives on Babylon 5, and Delenn gathers him, Sheridan, Ivanonva, and Marcus to come with her on the White Star. En route, she explains that from Minbari recordings a thousand years prior, Babylon 4 had appeared and provided a necessary starbase for Minbar to fend off the Shadows then. She knows their mission is to use the time rift in Sector 14, being held open by Drall on Epsilon III, to travel six years in the past, just before Babylon 4 was commissioned, to send it back to the past. On hearing this, Sheridan informs Garibaldi he should return to base, keeping quiet about Sinclair's presence. Later, the White Star is intercepted by a ship from Epsilon III whose sole occupant is Zathras, the alien that Sinclair had previously seen on Babylon 4, and sent by Drall to give them the required equipment to send Babylon 4 back in time as well as personal time stabilizers to protect them when traveling in time.

They enter though the portal and find that a number of Shadow fighters are bringing a fusion bomb near Babylon 4. The White Star engages them, easily destroying the ships, but are forced to move in closer to destroy the fusion bomb. The shockwave of the explosion strikes the White Star and destroys Sheridan's time stabilizer causing him to disappear. Sinclair asserts that they need to continue to make sure they complete their mission and should use the opportunity while Babylon 4's sensors are down to board the station and plant the device.

Meanwhile, Garibaldi returns to Babylon 5 and learns from Zack that Sinclair had returned. He runs to his quarters to find that Sinclair left him a message explaining why he did not tell Garibaldi about his arrival and that he will not be returning from this mission.

Sheridan wakes up to find himself prisoner of an elderly Londo Mollari, now the Emperor of Centauri. Mollari blames Sheridan for taking no steps to clean up after his war with the Shadows, as the Shadows had numerous dark servants that continue to cause chaos around the galaxy after their defeat. His guards force him to look outside where the capital city of Centauri Prime is in ruins.

Part Two[edit]

In the future, Mollari has Sheridan returned to a cell and he plans to kill him the next time he sees him. There, guards also push an older Delenn into the cell. Delenn realizes Sheridan is from the past and gives him words of caution and begs him not to go to Z'ha'dum. She also informs him that they had a son. Mollari calls for them both but he is quite drunk. Mollari explains that he is controlled by some entity, and becoming drunk quells the entity for some time, giving him only a few minutes to speak candidly. He urges Sheridan and Delenn to flee Centauri and return with their forces to defeat the dark forces inhabiting it. After Sheridan and Delenn are taken away, G'Kar, with an eyepatch, emerges from the wings. Mollari knows that once the entity wakes up, it will have him killed, and requests G'Kar kill him first. The two strangle each other to death; Vir Cotto arrives to find the two bodies, and takes the Emperor's medallion from Mollari's body. Sheridan is pulled back in time as he escapes with Delenn.

Aboard Babylon 4, Sinclair and the others begin to execute their plan to send the station back in time. Zathras rigs a spacesuit that is able to help Sheridan return to the present, stabilizing him for some time. He and Sinclair set up the time control equipment on Babylon 4's fusion reactors; however, the equipment goes off earlier and Sheridan is thrown out of time again making the station travel forward four years to the point where Babylon 5 had previously first detected it. Sinclair works to fix the time stabilization device to prevent another incident, while Ivanova tricks the station systems to simulate a reactor failure thus forcing the station to call for help. Ships come from Babylon 5 arrive to help evacuate the station, while a younger Sinclair and Garibaldi work with the station's captain to figure out what happened.

Meanwhile, Delenn has a "time flash" of her own of some time in the future where she is living with Sheridan. As she examines the quarters, a figure arrives in the room, but she is then brought back to the present. She sees a space-suited figure appear and goes to help it. The station guards discover Zathras while he is trying to fix Sheridan's time stabilizer, and put him to questioning with younger Sinclair and Garibaldi. Suddenly there is a commotion outside, and the crew see a space-suited figure in the main hall. Sinclair tries to touch it but is thrown back. Zathras runs to the figure and gives it the repaired stabilizer. As the station seems near destruction the rest of the crew evacuates with Zathras stuck under a fallen column, but tells Sinclair and Garibaldi to leave him. Outside, the elder Sinclair sees the last shuttles leave and at the last moment tries to warn Garibaldi about watching his back, but the shuttle is too far out of range. Returning inside, he helps to free Zathras and rejoins with the others. They find that Sheridan has returned and has been given a new time stabilizer, with Delenn having given hers to him and taking the suit, thus being the one appearing to the guards previously.

Affirming that the station is ready to be sent back into the future, Sinclair, Sheridan, Delenn, and Zathras regroup while the rest prepare the White Star for departure. Sinclair explains that the time systems require that someone stays as it travels back to the past. He knows that he will be the one to do it due to the letter that he wrote to himself 900 years prior. Zahtras points out that Sinclair, Delenn, and Sheridan represent a triumvirate of "the one"--the one who was, the one who is, and the one who will be. Sheridan and Delenn say their goodbyes and return to the White Star eventually returning through the portal and to their own time. As they explain what Sinclair told them, Marcus recognizes that Sinclair in fact will become the great Minbari figure, Valen, a Minbar not born of Minbar. As Babylon 4 travels back in time, Sinclair uses the same device Delenn had used to become a Minbar himself so that he can present the station to the Minbari without question when the ship finally arrives.

Arc significance[edit]

  • The fate of Babylon 4 is finally revealed: Babylon 4 became the base of operations for the Minbari and the Vorlons a thousand years prior during the last war with the Shadows. As a result, the Shadows' defeat is more thorough and they are not able to destroy Babylon 5 as seen in the time-shifted distress call.
  • The ultimate fate of Ambassador Sinclair is revealed - Sinclair has become one of the holiest figures of Minbari history, Valen, who will lead them to victory during the first Shadow War, form the Grey Council, and found large parts of their societal structure. This also explains how Valen was able to prophesy the future, and why the triluminary glowed brightly when in his presence, as it had been programmed to respond to Sinclair's DNA.
  • The third prophecy made by Morella concerning Mollari is revealed, as is the prophecy that both Mollari and Vir would be Emperor.
  • Londo suggests that the Shadow War will be won by Sheridan and the Armies of Light, but that Centauri Prime will be attacked by minions of the Shadows thereafter.
  • The reason for the migration of Minbari souls has been explained, and Delenn's transformation was to partially right the balance.

Inconsistencies with "Babylon Squared"[edit]

  • In "Babylon Squared," Major Krantz says that Zathras suddenly appeared in the middle of a conference room after a time-flash. Here, Zathras is caught by security guards while rummaging through a box of equipment.
  • The "Babylon Squared" scene where Delenn puts her hand on Sinclair's shoulder and says that they have to go, shows her wearing a red robe. In this episode, she is wearing dark brown. Also, the "War Without End" version of this scene doesn't contain the computer voice intoning 'Present time atmosphere now breathable'.
  • When 'The One,' clearly wounded, appears at the end of "Babylon Squared," it is clear from the grunts of pain and Zathras's references that "the One" is male. In this episode, it is revealed that this is Delenn.
  • In "Babylon Squared," Zathras says that The One stopped Babylon 4 from travelling through time so that its crew could evacuate. In this episode, the station stops its time travel accidentally, when Major Krantz powers up the fusion reactor; also, the idea of faking a reactor accident to allow the crew to evacuate was Ivanova's, not The One's.
  • In "War Without End," it's established that Major Krantz knew of the Shadow fusion bomb and the presence of potentially hostile intruders aboard the station. He doesn't mention any of this to Sinclair or anyone else in "Babylon Squared."
  • When Delenn appears to Krantz, Sinclair and Garibaldi, Krantz and one of the other crewmembers speak and behave as though they have already seen the spectral apparition in the space suit before. Yet this previous encounter is never seen.
  • After hearing Ivanova's distress signal from the alternate future, Garibaldi says that while on board Babylon 4 he flashed forward to a firefight taking place on Babylon 5. In "Babylon Squared" it was Sinclair that experienced this time flash.

External links[edit]