Episode 39: Knives (Season 2, Episode 17*)

Synopsis: In which an old friend of Londo comes seeking a significant favor and once again strange things are afoot in Sector 14.

*The Lurker’s Guide notes that JMS says this episode should have come before “In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum” but was actually broadcast after it because it demanded so many special effects.

The Forms of Kanly have been obeyed!

Another great example of an honor-bound society with ritual combat: Wakanda. There’s a terrific dissertation in the treatment of ritual/honor in genre fiction and how it evolves over time to reflect the “current” world.

KJ Parker is a pseudonym for author Tom Holt. Jon and Chris cannot recommend Parker’s works enough.

Here’s a decent piece on Parker’s works for a new reader:

Devices and Desires, the first book of the Engineer Trilogy, was where we started. Pick it up and take a read and let us know what you think.

Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint Smaller “world,” more focused on a handful of characters.

Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series book 1.

Later books that spin out and explore more pieces of the world are fantastic as well. Another really terrific example of worldbuilding.

Carmen Argenziano. Where the heck have I seen this guy?

And Now For A Word


Episode 38: And Now for a Word (Season 2, Episode 15)

Synopsis: In which an ISN reporter comes to the station for a special feature on the Babylon project.

I went looking for Dateline clips from 1995 and came across this promo and wow, this is exactly the sort of thing that JMS is banging on about here, and frankly which hasn’t changed much in 20 years.

WCVB’s Chronicle  - your home for rustic New England nostalgia

Christian Science Monitor

Revisionist History’s episode on Churchill

Churchill and India:

Alec Baldwin’s Here’s the Thing with Kyle MacLachlan:

From the Psi Corps commercial. What the heck is with that lamp???

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There All The Honor Lies


Episode 37: There All the Honor Lies (Season 2, Episode 14)

Synopsis: In which Captain Sheridan is accused of murdering a Minbari civilian and a gift shop opens on the station.


Peter David tells the story of the bear in this episode and how it became a long running back and forth between him and JMS:


From that piece I learned that the gift shop story was supposed to end with a bit about a toy gun being mistaken for a real gun, so it was not wholesale inserted by JMS simply to space the bear.

Mea culpa.


Simeon Stylites -  You know, 37 years on the top of a pillar sounds pretty good some days. As long as it gets wifi and I can get Chinese food delivered..


Carlin Barton’s Roman Honor: The Fire in the Bones


The Art of Manliness podcast episode with Prof. Barton. Well worth a listen.


w/r/t/ Gary Indiana


The Expanse also seems to use Mandarin/banded collar shirts as a shorthand for “the future.”

And Garibaldi’s shirt definitely has the Mandarin collar.




Episode 36: Hunter, Prey (Season 2, Episode 13)

Synopsis: In which a doctor with important information about the death of President Santiago is hiding on the station, and Kosh begins to educate Captain Sheridan.


The Expanse novel series:


Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure remains one of the better time travel movies out there. Also, San Dimas football rules!


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Supreme #41 by Alan Moore and Joe Bennett

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The Noble Eightfold Path We’ll have to read some more about this and get a more solid footing before we dive any deeper into the Buddhist flavorings of the Vorlons and the side of Light.


The Return of Garibaldi’s Chess King Shirt!


Acts of Sacrifice


Episode 35: Acts of Sacrifice (Season 2, Episode 12)

Synopsis: In which the Narn/Centauri war spills over onto the station, and a strategically significant alien ambassador makes great demands of Commander Ivanova.


Paul Williams is basically the voice of our youth.


Ivanova’s dance:


Max the Wonder Cat shows up early this episode at 2:30.


Birds of Prey promo


Quark and Garak discuss root beer

All Alone In The Night


Episode 34: All Alone in the Night (Season 2, Episode 11)

Synopsis: In which Captain Sheridan gets old-school alien-abducted, and General Hague initiates a cabal against EarthGov and the PsiCorps.


Robert Foxworth ( also voiced Race Bannon in The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, which by itself would make him a top shelf actor in our book.


The Babylon 5 RPG from Mongoose Games is out of print but copies can be found if one looks hard enough. They produced an extensive line of sourcebooks (


Max the Wonder Cat sighting at 27:14!


Hondo Ohnaka, legendary pirate: God, we hate him.


Numenera RPG:


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Episode 33: GROPOS (Season 2, Episode 10)

Synopsis: In which an Earthforce infantry division under the command of Dr Franklin’s father is staged at Babylon 5 in preparation for a dangerous assault.


Paul Winfield was a force of nature


The Flash episode that infuriated Chris (and his wife Ali) beyond words:


Babylon 5 Wars boardgame:


Babylon 5: A Call to Arms miniatures space combat game


Babylon 5 Micro Machines. I believe I have the first 2 sets somewhere.

The Coming of Shadows


Episode 32: The Coming of Shadows (Season 2, Episode 9)

Synopsis: In which G’Kar and Londo both see great opportunity in the Centauri Emperor’s visit to the station and the last, best hope for peace is destroyed.

Not a lot of notes this week (the episode was edited during a blizzard in which Chris had no power/internet)but you can hear more of our dear friend and special guest Brian Ries on the Inside MTV’s Siesta Key podcast: Although as we note, the overlap of fans of B5 and that show is probably fairly slim.

A Race Through Dark Places


Episode 31: A Race Through Dark Places (Season 2, Episode 8)

Synopsis: In which Mr Bester returns to hunt down an “underground railroad” for rogue telepaths, forcing Talia to make some hard decisions. Meanwhile Sheridan also makes some hard decisions on where to sleep.


For those outside the U.S. (and probably some within), the Underground Railroad was a series of routes and safehouses for helping African-Americans escape from slavery in the pre-Civil War U.S. to freedom in free states and Canada.


Power Girl and the infamous “boob window”

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Soul Mates


Synopsis: In which Londo is visited by his three wives, and Talia is visited by yet another mysterious man from her past.


Peter David:  I’ve always felt like I should like his stuff but for whatever reason it never clicked for me.


The drawbacks of watching the episodes in broadcast order strike again. We comment about how abrupt Talia’s mistrust of the Psi Corps seems in this episode, but next week’s show, “A Race Through Dark Places”, was supposed to come before “Soul Mates,” and that one DEFINITELY sets up her issues with the Corps.


Max is a very lovey cat.




The Lion in Winter ( is our favorite Christmas movie. Take that, Die Hard!


Keith Szarbajka  Seriously folks, we’re not going to shut up about Profit or Space:Above and Beyond so if you’re with us for the long haul you may as well go watch those so you know what we’re talking about.


Carel Struycken

A Spider in the Web


Episode 29: A Spider in the Web (Season 2, Episode 6)

Synopsis: An assassination threatens to scuttle relations between Earth and Mars, and Sheridan begins to smell a rat in EarthGov and/or PsiCorps .



We mention two shows featuring Leonard Nimoy in this episode...COINCIDENCE???


The evil futurecorp from Space: Above and Beyond (and Millennium) was AeroTech




(Chris bought the full run of In Search Of on DVD just after recording this episode)


Richard Hoagland and the Moon Landings: Here’s some stuff on Hoagland’s lunar structures in general. I can’t find anything on his claim that the landings were faked but I definitely heard him say it on Art Bell’s short lived Midnight in the Desert show back in 2013.


The Disappearance of the Roanoke Colony:


The Titanic Insurance Scam:


Betty & Barney Hill’s alien abduction:


Velikovsky’s New Chronology:

The Phantom Time theory:





Here’s an overview of Andrew Basiago’s deal. But really, you should track down some of the old Coast to Coast AM episodes he was on or some of his other long-form speaking clips. He doesn’t have the kind of crazy undertones you’d expect from someone making these claims; he’s calm and collected and sounds perfectly rational. It makes it even weirder.


Shroud of Turin:

Kensington Runestone:

Vinland Map:

Voynich Manuscript:

Piri Reis Map:


Lexicon Games are a type of collaborative writing project and a ton of fun:  

The Long Dark


Episode 28: The Long Dark (Season 2, Episode 5)

Synopsis: A sleeper ship from a century ago arrives at the station with an uninvited guest, and a Lurker suffers from Lovecraftian PTSD.


Dwight Schultz:

Matt Frewer:


Jon’s recasting


Sheridan - Jeffrey Combs

Ivanova - Kristen Cloke

Garibaldi - Jared Abrahmson

Franklin - Keiynan Lonsdale -

Winters - Michelle Forbes

Londo - Peter Capaldi

Delenn - Tilda Swinton

G’Kar - John Noble

Vir -Haley Joel Osment

Lennir - Aaron Douglas

Na’toth - Maisie Williams

Kosh - Doug Jones


Chris’s recasting

Sinclair - James Morrison

Sheridan - Idris Elba

Ivanova - Gal Gadot (alternate Tessa Thompson

Garibaldi - Donal Logue

Franklin - Cas Anvar

Winters - Tuppence Middleton

Londo - Wentworth Miller

Delenn - Anna Torv

G’Kar - Clancy Brown

Vir - Nick Frost

Lennir - Jimmi Simpson

Na’toth - Jennifer Spence

Kosh - Doug Jones

A Distant Star


Episode 27: A Distant Star (Season 2, Episode 4)

Synopsis: In which Captain Sheridan questions his fitness for his new position, a daring rescue attempt is made, and Dr Franklin puts everyone on a diet.


The EAS Cortez alongside B5. An un-cited wikipedia note claims the Explorer class is 6km long, where the station is 8km long.

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Dropfleet Commander:

Sadly I (Chris) was not able to get the demo of the game I’d hoped for.


Full Thrust: A great little miniatures starship combat game from the 1990s.


Russ Tamblyn:


Jon’s Miscast

Sheridan - Matthew Broderick

Ivanova - Valerie Bertinelli

Garibaldi - John Travolta

Franklin - Arsenio Hall

Winters - Joan Collins

Molari - John Colicos

Delenn - Bea Arthur

G’Kar - William Windom

Vir - Burt Ward

Lennir - Parker Stevenson

Na’toth - Mindy Cohn

Kosh - V.I.N.C.E.N.T. from The Black Hole (character voiced by Roddy McDowall )


Chris’s Miscast

Sheridan - Tommy Wisseau or Tony Randall

Ivanova - Zooey Deschanel

Garibaldi - Charles Nelson Reilly

Franklin - Bill Cosby

Winters - Cameron Diaz

Molari - Danny DeVito

Delenn - Rhea Perlman

G’Kar - Arnold Schwarznegger

Vir - Carrot Top

Lennir - Peter Lorre

Na’toth - Tracy Scoggins

Kosh - The Unknown Comic


The Geometry of Shadows


Episode 26: The Geometry of Shadows (Season 2, Episode 3)

Synopsis: In which Londo plays stupid political games with a mysterious Technomage, and loses, while Commander Ivanova tries to sort out the even stupider political games of the Drazi


The big list of Roman Emperors for the first couple hundred years, referenced in the show.

Jon’s guess of Domitian is close to the mark, but Domitian’s father Vespasian was proclaimed Caesar in the dreaded Year of the Four Emperors (69 C.E) when Domitian was already 18 years old (and his older brother Titus, who preceded him, was 30).  

Antoninus Pius was not a child of Hadrian at all, but was adopted in his fifties.


There are very few films Chris hates as much as Gladiator. He nearly walked out of the theater in the first scene when the Romans had stirrups. Can you imagine what it must be like to live with someone like that?


The first listener to identify the “ROME ROME RUBBISH RUBBISH!” quote gets, well, a keen sense of satisfaction I suppose.



Episode 25: Revelations (Season 2, Episode 2)

Synopsis: In which we get the old band back together, we learn the tragic story of Captain Sheridan’s wife, and strange things are afoot out on the rim


The episode Chris was struggling to remember was of course Signs and Portents. #amateurhour


Netflix’s Travelers


Ancient Aliens: The Narn Version. Would that be hosted by a human, or maybe a Minbari? Did we each get another race’s Ancient Aliens show by mistake?



This episode was directed by Jim Johnston, who brought us season 1 favorites like Babylon Squared and Parliament of Dreams, as well as...less favorites like Soul Hunter, By Any Means Necessary and Survivors.

The more relaxed and deferential relationship between Franklin and Sheridan may be explained by their prior mission together documented in “In The Beginning.” Was JMS already thinking of this prior relationship while writing season 2? Or was that developed later to explain the closer bond between the two men?


HAIRWATCH: Level Theta



Level Delta



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**

Season 1 Wrap Up

Live and in person for the first time! Some minor microphone issues so we take turns being louder than the other but it isn’t terrible. Maybe by season 5 we’ll learn how to use the equipment.



The room in question. Definitely very Centauri.



“Good old rock. Nothing beats that!”


“Kickboxing, sport of the future.”


Jon’s bottom 3:

3) Soul Hunter

2) Infection

1) Eyes


Chris’s bottom 3:

3) Infection

2) T.K.O.

1) By Any Means Necessary


Jon’s top 3:

3) Chrysalis

2) A Voice in the Wilderness

1) Deathwalker


Chris’s top 3:

3) A Voice in the Wilderness

2) Parliament of Dreams

1) Signs and Portents


Colonel Ari Ben-Zayn was portrayed by Gregory Paul Martin.


The bit with Catherine surveying the unknown world and getting bailed out by G’Kar wasn’t actually in “Parliament of Dreams;” it was in “Mind War.” I (Chris)  still maintain Parliament’s position in my top 3 though. The assassination b-plot was just fine as well.


Caitlin Brown played Na’Toth for season 1 (and then again for a season 5 episode) but left due to issues with the makeup and prosthetics. Mary Kay Adams played her for Season 2.


The “master list” order of episodes from the Lurker’s guide:


Again I (Chris) have confused my B-plots. “Legacies” of course is the episode involving the funeral procession for the Minbari war hero, not the one where Delenn is offered a place on the Grey Council (“Babylon Squared”). I don’t actually get why that leads directly to “Chrysalis” or fits in better that late in the series.


TV Tropes “Out of Order”


Clerks: the Animated Series


Star Trek Continues  Definitely worth a look if you like the original series.



Synopsis: In which a lot of bad stuff happens. I mean a LOT.

8:29 - here’s where Jon says “Ed Morden,” for those of you keeping score at home.



The Great Season Finales discussion:

Star Trek: TNG - “Best of Both Worlds (part 1).” Clearly one of the best season finales out there. I (Chris) was never a fan of putting a main character in danger for a cliffhanger - you knew there was no way they were going to remove Patrick Stewart from the show - but Picard getting Borged had implications and thankfully the series dealt with them as it went along rather than the episode just being resolved merrily.


The “Mulder buried in the train car” episode of X-Files was the season 2 closer “Anasazi” which was actually the first of a 3 parter. That was a long summer, waiting for that show to come back, even though (see above) there was no way they were killing off Mulder. Unfortunately with the X-Files, the set-ups were almost always far better than the resolutions. Mulder’s escape through a tunnel or something was deeply unsatisfying.


Space: Above and Beyond we’ve talked about at length before. The season 1/series finale was harrowing.


The Expanse  is too recent a show for me to want to give spoilers for the end of season 1, but it definitely provided some answers to questions that had been out there for a long time while raising the stakes.


The 100 takes the “what you’ve known all along about this situation? Yeah, it’s really something else” approach to a season closer, which I always really liked (see Lost and The Good Place).


Cleverman ( )


Lost’s season 3 closer “Through the Looking Glass” was definitely something that turned the established narrative on its head.


Millennium’s season 2 ended with a “global pandemic” and the wife of the lead character, believing herself infected, walking off into the woods leaving her husband and daughter safely behind. Much like X-Files though (unsurprising since it is from the same lineage) the resolution was disappointing (the pandemic turned out to be very localized and not all that severe. feh).


The Quality of Mercy

Synopsis: In which we learn a great deal more about Earth’s criminal justice system, Dr Franklin confronts a woman who possesses a seemingly miraculous healing machine, and Lennier and Londo get up to some shenanigans.



The “Third Fane of Chudomo” is Lennier’s clan within the religious caste.


The 36th Chamber of Shaolin:


There was no Pope Callixtus VI. Callixtus III was as far as they went, and he was a Borgia and hardly counts. Callixtus II was the one who reached the Concordat of Worms with Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, bringing peace between the papacy and the Empire. Callixtus I was so unpopular that the first Anti-pope was raised up during his tenure. So all in all a mixed bag.


The lobotomy doesn’t date back to the 19th century but rather only to the mid -20th.  But 19th century mental health practices were not exactly a picnic. Although, at the time, the practitioners thought they were doing the right thing.


This episode of the podcast The Dollop on the history of the lobotomy is...very difficult to listen to:


And here’s the book Chris was reading that made him faint on an airplane:


June Lockhart, America’s sci-fi mom:


The mentioned scene of the space-hobos huddled around a burning barrel wasn’t actually in this episode. It’s in Chrysalis, next week. Oops. That’s what we get for watching/recording a bunch of episodes at the same time.


There were 5 documented Medlabs aboard Babylon 5. There was also a larger “infirmary” referenced, which may be the general services hospital.


Strange Luck aired 1995-1996. 17 episodes. I would stab someone for a copy of this show on DVD. It looks like many of them are on YouTube, but the quality is dodgy, at best.


Profit aired in April 1996, cancelled after only 5 episodes. Three more were made. It was gloriously deranged and complaints both from Bible Belt viewers and from business caused Fox to pull the plug and replace it with Kindred: The Embraced.


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.