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:


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:


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

The Doctor Who episode that sent Chris into a fit of rage:

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:

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:

Looper timeline, diagramed with straws:


“Assignment Earth”

“Cause and Effect”

“Trials and Tribble-ations”

“Far Beyond the Stars”

“The Visitor”

Bill and Ted’s  Excellent Adventure Wyld Stallyns!!!

The Timeline of River Song:


“The 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??

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.

Fist of the North Star:

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.

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.

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 (, the writer of this episode and creator of Jem & the Holograms (the live-action film of Jem apparently came out in 2015,

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.





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


IMDb gives this episode a 5.6/10 rating. “Infection” got a 6.3. 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


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.”

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.


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

By Any Means Necessary

Synopsis: In which a fatal accident in the space-docks leads to a labor dispute on the station. Earthgov sends in their best negotiator, who is actually a really terrible negotiator. And Londo is an ass to G’Kar because, well, Londo.

First off folks, there’s a weird echo in our recording this episode, and we deeply apologize. One of the mission statements of The Name of the Pod is to have decent audio quality. Nothing turns us off a podcast quicker than bad audio. We didn’t notice it at the time of recording and we tried to remove it later on but no luck. It’s not up to our own personal standards, and we hope you will soldier through. It’s still a good discussion.

After watching this episode we had the feeling that this was not an accurate representation of a labor dispute, but our good friend Bill has been involved with unions and organized labor as part of his work for many years so we felt he could provide insights into the workings of protests/strikes/negotiations/whathaveyous. Because we at The Name of the Pod strive for verisimilitude* in all things.


*a word used only by people who have never put in an honest day’s work in their lives.

Bill raises a very good point that there’s no real institutional reaction to a fatal accident on the station. No NTSB, no OSHA.  Very strange on a government funded station that has had its four predecessors tragically lost.

Orin Zento, the EarthGov “negotiator,” was played by John Snyder, who also played “Soul Hunter #2.” That should have been our first warning.

The question of where the line between military and civilian power falls on the station is an excellent one. So far in season 1 it has been murky at best - Sinclair certainly seems to display the authority to arrest people and to do pretty much whatever he wants wherever he wants. Are there limitations to the military staff’s powers, and if so by whom are they set and enforced? Are Garibaldi’s security folks - the ones in the grey-brown uniforms instead of the blue - civilian police or military? We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on future episodes with regards to these questions to see if they’re ever really addressed.

Containers is a great podcast about global trade and transportation. Check it out.

Guild leader “Neeoma Connally” (totally a space-name) was played by Katy Boyer who I think did a fine job. She’s had a long career including being Tim Robbins and John Cusack’s grouchy flatmate in the fantastic movie Tapeheads.  There’s your IMDB corner, since we couldn’t squeeze one into the episode.

Providence, RI is just over 20 square miles. Babylon 5 is 5 miles long but certainly not 4 miles wide (or even 2 miles high by 2 wide if we want to get all fancy and third dimensional).  The station is probably closer in size to Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Which I’m sure will mean a lot to people who aren’t us.

I’m not even going to try to sort out the whole geometry of Narn light years vs Earth light years and the light getting to the station just now. It’s just not worth it.



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.


The racial issues underpinning Brexit are well documented.


They took our jobs!


Irish immigration to the United States in the 1840s-1850s, and the following anti-Irish sentiment. 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.


The constantly referenced Lurker’s Guide to Babylon 5:


A 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…)


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?


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!


The Parliament of Dreams

Episode 6 “The Parliament of Dreams” (Season 1, Episode 5)



Synopsis: In which the station hosts a religious trade show of sorts, an assassin stalks Ambassador G’Kar, the Commander’s old flame returns, and we at last meet Na’toth and Lenir.


Roman gods of the hearth: May all the Classics professors that Jon and Chris have had over the years forgive us for linking to wikipedia here.


The Centauri gods on Londo’s table are:Ben-Zan, the god of food; Li, the goddess of passion; and Mo-Goth, god of the underworld and protector of front doors (who looks more than a little like a garden gargoyle purchased at Home Goods). Clearly we have seen the importance of passion to Londo, and based on his dimensions one would assume food is also important (note to self - how many scenes with Londo involve him eating? My gut, pun quite intended, says there are a LOT of them, like Brad Pitt in Ocean’s 11 level. Something to watch for). The underworld is a surprising one. We know about the Centauri death visions but not about their afterlife. Londo is a shrewd political player, and I suppose hedging your bets by claiming the god of the afterlife as one of your household patrons is never a bad idea. Not sure where the front doors bit fits.

I’ve been trying to find a clip of G’Kar’s song to insert here, but without success. Just go back to your tapes, dvds, or files and watch the episode again. It’s a good one.


Wikipedia (again. I know, I know) tells us there are approximately 4,200 religions on Earth today.  That would be one heck of a lineup.



Episode 5 “Infection” (Season 1, episode 4)


Synopsis: In which an ethically challenged archaeologist accidentally unleashes a living weapon on the station, we get to know Dr Franklin, and a reporter hounds the reluctant Commander Sinclair for an interview.

A note on Richard Biggs: until researching for these show notes I hadn’t been aware that he was almost entirely deaf. We slag a bit on his tendency to over-act, but I now wonder how much of that may be overcompensation for the fact that he couldn’t really hear regular conversation. Worth keeping in mind.

The eternal David McCallum:

The lackey who becomes the monster in this episode is named “Drake Nelson.” Seriously? - Every character in science fiction who has to deal with megacorporations acts as if they’ve never seen or read anything about megacorporations in science fiction before. It’s maddening.

Jon Pertwee is the best Doctor Who. The matter is not open for discussion. Well, maybe William Hartnell. 

We’re not fancy scientists, but it seems ( that the core of a galaxy would be where you would find the densest population of stars/systems. So when you’re talking about planets “on the outer rim” you’d be talking about stuff out in the arms, like where Earth is. We’re the backwater here, not the core.

Dune Messiah is the best Dune novel. The matter is not open for discussion. This is solely here to see if Jon reads these notes before posting them to the site. [Dune Messiah is most certainly NOT the best Dune novel. -J]


Soul Hunter


Episode 3 “Soul Hunter” (Season 1, Episode 2)

Synopsis: In which a mysterious alien, a hunter of souls if you will, comes aboard the station. We are introduced to Doctor Stephen Franklin, gain some insights into Mimbari religious doctrine and learn that Ambassador Delenn may not be what she seems.

Lurker’s Guide page on the episode:

JMS on Delenn’s originally intended gender ambiguity:

“We'd originally planned to go for a more vague sexuality for Delenn; a male physically and primarily in the voice, on top of the natural female movements one gets from an actress. In post-production, however, we couldn't get the voice to sound as good and male as we'd wanted. In addition, a couple of convention showing of a rough cut saw people responding VERY strongly to her voice as it was, so we finally decided to let it stand and change the one reference to "he" to "she," and that was the end of it.”

Chris, discussing the theory of soul-vat recycling, referenced “Richard Bachman” but meant “Richard Bach.” Bachman is, of course, a pseudonym used by Stephen King to write such works as “Thinner” and “The Running Man.” It would have been much more interesting to see King’s take on the migration of souls, so perhaps this was just wishful thinking.

Claudia Christian and Walter Koenig were at GenCon in Milwaukee in 1999.  

The Shell Game scam:

The Babylon 5 station is listed as 5 miles long and 2.5 million tons. An Imperial Star Destroyer is approximately ⅛ the size.

Commander Sisko’s conversation with Quark:

Commander Benjamin Sisko: My officers, Bajoran engineers, all their families depend on the shops and services of this promenade. If people like you abandon it, this is going to become a ghost town. We need someone to step forward and say "I'm staying. I'm rebuilding". We need a community leader, and it's going to be - you, Quark!

Quark: [guffaws] Community leader!

William Morgan Sheppard:



The Gathering

Episode 1 - “The Gathering”

Synopsis: In which we meet the crew of the space station, for better or worse. Representatives from each of the alien powers gather, and someone tries to kill the enigmatic Vorlon ambassador. The plot thickens when the station commander, Jeffrey Sinclair, is the prime suspect!

Opening narration

Londo Mollari: I was there at the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind. It began in the Earth year 2257, with the founding of the last of the Babylon stations, located deep in neutral space. It was a port of call for refugees, smugglers, businessmen, diplomats and travelers from a hundred worlds. It could be a dangerous place, but we accepted the risk because Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace. Babylon 5 was a dream given form, a dream of a galaxy without war where species from different worlds could live side by side in mutual respect. Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. This is its story.

On the comparisons between Babylon 5 and Deep Space 9:

The changes made to the show between The Gathering and the start of season 1:

In the discussion of the Earth Alliance, we note that the Earth Alliance appears to be a”humans only club” and that the various other “miscellaneous” aliens we see around the station don’t seem to have representation among the command staff or in the tribunal. We will see in “Midnight on the Firing Line” that these other aliens are part of the “League of Non-Aligned Worlds” and not part of the Earth Alliance.

Opening sequence from the original version of The Gathering, as it aired in 1993, including the original theme music by Stewart Copeland:

In sharing this extraordinary music with this audience, we make no copyright claims to it and use it only to ensure that those many fans who have never encountered it might learn of it.

Tamlyn Tomita’s credits. And Jon calls himself a Glee fan...

The Instance, a World of Warcraft podcast so you don’t have to:

The indispensable Lurker’s Guide to Babylon 5, entry on The Gathering. See the “Analysis’ section for discussion of  Lt. Commander Takashima’s role in the conspiracy:

Michael Garibaldi’s second favorite thing in the universe: