Points of Departure


Episode 24: Points of Departure (Season 2, Episode 1)

Synopsis: In which Babylon 5 welcomes a new commanding officer and a gaggle of renegade Minbari seek to stir up trouble.





Ivanova Hairwatch!!!


Level Omega. Warning: if you are facing Omega Level Hair, you done messed up, son! Do not expose small children or pregnant women to Level Omega Hair.




Level Alpha. The kindest, gentlest Ivanova. She will (probably) not kill you. Not today.

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**Sheridan evaluation as co questions on fb group**

Babylon Squared

Synopsis: In which the lost Babylon 4 station reappears as mysteriously as it vanished, we get a glimpse of the future, and Delenn gets an exciting new job offer.



One of many lists of “essential” X-Files episodes: http://www.everythingisscary.com/screen/essential-x-files


The commentary from JMS that Babylon 4 was built using scraps leftover from the first 3 stations is at the always excellent Lurker’s Guide: http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/countries/us/guide/020.html


The Enterprise-C. Still the best in the line.

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Babylon 4. I definitely like the look of this one better than 5, sad to say.


The Philadelphia Experiment/Al Bielek/Montauk. Beware: Rabbit Hole Ahead http://www.bielek.com/ab_albielek.htm

The Doctor Who episode that sent Chris into a fit of rage: http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/The_Wedding_of_River_Song_(TV_story)

Barry Allen (CW TV series version) is very likely the stupidest person who has ever travelled through time in any form of media.


“Time and Punishment” from The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror V: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43Lk_qxUxVw

John Wesley Shipp - best. Flash. Ever.


Also, Shipp was born in Norfolk, VA. Where did the USS Eldridge allegedly reappear during the Philadelphia Experiment? NORFOLK, VA! And his last name is SHIPP!! Coincidence?? Or should I not be drinking while writing show notes???

“Yesterday’s Enterprise” timeline: http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Yesterday%27s_Enterprise_timeline

Looper timeline, diagramed with straws: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2012/11/05/looper_explained_in_a_diagram_with_straws.html

Primer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primer_(film)

“Assignment Earth” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assignment:_Earth

“Cause and Effect” http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Cause_and_Effect_(episode)

“Trials and Tribble-ations” http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Trials_and_Tribble-ations_(episode)

“Far Beyond the Stars” http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Far_Beyond_the_Stars_(episode)

“The Visitor” http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_Visitor_(episode)

Bill and Ted’s  Excellent Adventure  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_%26_Ted%27s_Excellent_Adventure Wyld Stallyns!!!

The Timeline of River Song:


“The Year of Hell” http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Year_of_Hell_(episode), http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Year_of_Hell,_Part_II_(episode)



At the time of this recording I had not yet seen the film Predestination (based on a Robert Heinlein story “All You Zombies”). It may be the most messed up time travel movie ever.


Synopsis: In which the funeral tour for a Minbari war hero arrives at the station, re-opening old wounds, and a “young” telepath explores options for her future


D.C. Fontana has been writing tv since Moses was in short pants. She pitched the idea for this episode, which was the only one of the season that came from an outside source rather than JMS.

The Babylon 5 wikia informs us that there are 3 Minbari castes: Warrior, Religious and Worker. Which I guess makes sense, because someone has to do the actual day to day stuff.

Grace Una’s IMDb page doesn’t list her date of birth (and there’s not a lot of other hits about her online) but there’s no WAY she’s even remotely 14. What was Mary Jo Slater thinking?? http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0880923/?ref_=nv_sr_1

The Narn (Narns? I see the plural both ways. I prefer “Narn” though) are not reptilian in nature, based on a few minutes of internet digging. So I’ll go with the “the Narn brains are structured in such a way that they have no natural telepaths and thus are hostile environments to other telepaths.”

The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Night Terrors” (Season 4, episode 14) is, according to the website TechRepublic, behind only “Shades of Grey” (the Ur-clip episode) and “Sub-Rosa” (something about a ghost possessing Dr Crusher) as the worst. TNG. episode. ever.  http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/geekend/the-five-worst-star-trek-the-next-generation-episodes-ever/

Fist of the North Star: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0142371/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_47

Neal Robinson is not listening.



Episode 16: Grail (Season 1, Episode 15)

Synopsis: In which a seeker comes to the station on a legendary quest and ends up inspiring others to great deeds. And at the end of the day there is a lack of boom.

David Warner is a goddamn legend. There’s no other way to say it. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001831/?ref_=tt_cl_t12

6:55 - that’s Chris’s cat Max yelling in the background. He does that now and then for absolutely no good reason. The timing was just too perfect to the conversation to edit it out.

The proper pronunciation is “Rahj-al-gool” not “Rayj-al-gool.” I will brook no dissent in this matter, regardless of how wonderful your abs might be, Mr. Amell.


David Icke is a proponent of a theory that an alien race of shape-shifting reptoids (who may or may not be from the center of the earth, I may be conflating my crackpots there) has infiltrated the highest levels of human society, perhaps most notably the British monarchy. I believe the technical term for him is “nutter.”

But this, and the alien abduction court case in the episode, allows me to include this picture of my favorite Centauri:

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Jerry Doyle hosted The Jerry Doyle Show on the Talk Radio Network  from 2012 until his death in 2016.

Navratan Korma is a delicious northern Indian curry made with various vegetables, fruits and nuts in a golden sauce, and not an alien species that sucks away life force. Probably.

Third Stage Guild Navigator:

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Tor Johnson was one of the stars of Ed Wood’s gloriously terrible Plan 9 from Outer Space.


Much like the Loch Ness Monster and various Bigfoot encounters, the story of the Marie Celeste occupied a huge chunk of my mental real-estate in the 1970s, thanks to too many hours of watching In Search Of. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Celeste

William Sanderson is nearly peak-level character actor. He pops up everywhere, and places that he doesn’t you *think* he’s there. Chris swears he was in Westworld but apparently not. Conflating with Deadwood perhaps?


Christy Marx (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christy_Marx), the writer of this episode and creator of Jem & the Holograms (the live-action film of Jem apparently came out in 2015,  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3614530/?ref_=nv_sr_1)

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends ran from 1981 to 1983 and inexplicably teamed the wall-crawler with former X-Man Iceman and newly created character Firestar. June Foray was the voice of Aunt May, but despite this the show was somehow really, really terrible.

We had a fairly long discussion about the 2001 Josie and the Pussycats film which had to be cut because of problems with Chris’s mic, but do check it out. Solid fun and an AMAZING soundtrack, with Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo doing the vocals for the Josie songs, and it should definitely NEVER be confused with Spice World. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0236348/?ref_=nv_sr_1





Synopsis: In which one of Garibaldi’s old friends visits the station and fights for the dignity of humanity or something. And Ivanova has to come to terms with the death of her father.



“Walker Smith” was the birth-name of famous boxer Sugar Ray Robinson https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_Ray_Robinson


IMDb gives this episode a 5.6/10 rating. “Infection” got a 6.3. TV.com gives “TKO” a more generous 6.7, but it’s still the lowest rated episode there. It’s all up from here folks!


Rabbi Koslov was portrayed by Theodore Bikel, who had a long career of great performances. We’ll see him again in  Babylon 5: In the Beginning in a different role http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000942/?ref_=tt_cl_t15


Bikel was the voice of Aragorn in the Rankin and Bass animated film Return of the King. Here is the grimly funky “Where There’s A Whip There’s A Way.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdXQJS3Yv0Y

And here’s Bikel as Aragorn in the scene where he faces down the Mouth of Sauron. This is what we had to work with in the 70s/80s kids. And don’t even get me started on Casey kasem as Merry.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3-3hOMsgwI


We talked about One World Government and how we didn’t foresee Americans giving up their sovereignty back in Episode 11: Believers.

The War Prayer

Episode 8 “The War Prayer” (Season 1, Episode 7)


Synopsis: In which an “Earth First” terrorist movement spills over to the station, tensions rise between humans and aliens, and we learn that Ivanova has terrible taste in men.




Stormfront was founded in 1995, after season 1 of B5, but organized “us first, screw you people who are different” groups are as old as humanity itself, sadly. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/stormfront


The racial issues underpinning Brexit are well documented. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/29/frenzy-hatred-brexit-racism-abuse-referendum-celebratory-lasting-damage


They took our jobs! http://southpark.cc.com/clips/104259/they-took-our-jobs


Irish immigration to the United States in the 1840s-1850s, and the following anti-Irish sentiment. http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/famine/america.htm Can you imagine the kinds of invectives directed at various immigrant and refugee groups being aimed at the Irish today? It seems absurd. How will history judge us 150 years down the road?


The rise of the Know-Nothing party has definite echoes in our current political climate. This passage from Abraham Lincoln is interesting:


“Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid,” Lincoln continued. (I have retained his spelling and capitalization.) “As a nation, we begin by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”



The dinner scene from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The dialogue is quite forced to generate the conflict, but note that it is Walter Koenig’s Chekov who really puts his foot in it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2TDf9XU09k


The constantly referenced Lurker’s Guide to Babylon 5: http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/countries/us/guide/007.html


A Journey to Babel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_to_Babel  For a B5 podcast, we sure do talk a lot about Star Trek...

Removal of the prohibition against main characters being in conflict with one another in Star Trek: Discovery (there we go again…) http://ew.com/tv/2017/06/23/star-trek-discovery-rules/


The Ruby Ridge standoff was in August 1992.

The World Trade Center bombing happened on February 26, 1993.

The siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco happened in February-April 1993.

The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was on April 19, 1995.


“The War Prayer” first aired on March 9, 1994, so definitely all of these events except the Murrah Building bombing were in the zeitgeist at the time of its writing and production. (Chris mistakenly said the Ruby Ridge standoff contributed to the Branch Davidian situation - he meant that it was a motivating factor behind the Oklahoma City bombing. The perils of googling while podcasting, one’s tongue is often faster than one’s brain).


Tristan Rogers, who plays the unfortunately named “Malcolm Biggs,” veteran of a thousand soap operas, also played a character named “Manly Biggs” on an early 1990s show called “Super Force.” It ran for 48 episodes. Maybe that’s where Jon knows him from? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098917/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_29


When Jon mentions an actor who has shown up in The Dark Knight, Gotham, Arrow, and Supergirl he may be referring to David Dastmalchian, who was not in Gotham or Arrow but was on The Flash (who can keep track these days?) and was also in Ant-Man and Twin Peaks: The Return. A modern genre film/tv “That Guy” for sure! http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2810287/?ref_=ttfc_fc_cl_t47


Midnight on the Firing Line

Episode 2 “Midnight on the Firing Line” (Season 1, Episode 1) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0517669/?ref_=tt_ep_pr

Synopsis: In which a Narn sneak-attack on a Centauri outpost bring the powers to the brink of war. Earth elects a new President!  Also we meet the new station telepath Talia Winters, the new first officer Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova, let us never speak of Laurel Takashima again, and there’s some nonsense about space pirates.

Season 1 Opening Narration:

Jeffrey Sinclair: It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth/Minbari war. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call, home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last best hope for peace. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2258. The name of the place is Babylon 5.

Lurker’s Guide page on the episode: http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/countries/us/guide/001.html

Claudia Christian: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0160004/?ref_=nv_sr_6