Interludes and Examinations


Episode 61: Interludes and Examinations (Season 3, Episode 15)

Synopsis: In which Captain Sheridan convinces Kosh to take a more active role in the war, and Mr Morden returns.

“The Back Nine” is a golf reference. Somehow I (Chris) always thought it was referring to the last nine acres of farmland you had left to plow. See the things you learn listening to podcasts, kids?

The Gaim’s helmet resembles the helmet worn by Morpheus, Lord of Dreams in Neil Gaiman's Sandman

The Baader-Meinhof Group and Baader Meinhoff phenomenon (aka frequency illusion)

The Symbionese Liberation Army (“Symbionese” referring to symbiosis)

Canadian plan for preemptory US invasion in 1921

Homer Simpson’s spirit guide was a coyote voiced by Johnny Cash. But Chris was conflating that with Homer’s guardian angel, who appeared to him in a form of Colonel Klink.


Ship of Tears


Episode 60: Ship of Tears (Season 3, Episode 14)

Synopsis: In which Bester seeks Sheridan’s help in stopping the Shadows and G’Kar is brought into the conspiracy.

What We Left Behind - the Deep Space 9 retrospective documentary

"Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives” by Pat Harrigan

"Henry Gale" from Lost - his real name was Ben Linus (portrayed by Michael Emerson Good lord I hated him.

"Brain, brain, what is brain?" Jon dropped some Spock's Brain on us and I didn't catch it. Not sure who is the more shameful in this situation.

Screen Memories -

There are many different types of possible subspecies of Grey aliens

A Late Delivery From Avalon


Episode 58: A Late Delivery from Avalon (Season 3, Episode 13)

Synopsis: In which a man claiming to be Arthur, King of the Britons, arrives on Babylon 5

Note: This episode was intended to go after “Sic Transit Vir,” which we will examine next week.

There are a lot of Monty Python and the Holy Grail references here, I’m not going to link them all. Same for the references to Arthurian lore and historical study.

I will however strongly recommend the “Arthur Dies at the End” series of retellings of Mallory’s “Le Mort de Arthur” by my (Chris) friend Jeffrey Wikstrom. Very funny and irreverent.

Do not get Chris started on stirrups in the movie Gladiator.

The “Camelot 3000: comics series:

MASH’s finale, “Farewell, Amen and Amen”,_Farewell_and_Amen

Logan’s Run

The postal worker was portrayed by Michael Fagan. I was confused because he’s listed with a name in the credits, “Emmet Farquaha,” but I don’t think the name was ever spoken in the episode.

Attentive listeners may recall that the film Apollo 13 was beat out for a Hugo award in 1996 by the Babylon 5 season 2 episode “The Coming of Shadows.” JMS was certainly aware of the film.

The board game “This War of Mine” is a harrowing experience. Cannot recommend it enough.

Shoeless Joe:

Ceremonies of Light and Dark


Episode 57: Ceremonies of Light and Dark (Season 3, Episode 11)

Synopsis: In which the dust settles from the past few episodes and everyone gets spiffy new uniforms!

Domo Arigato

Halfway there:

Suebi and Etruscans and Greeks, oh my!

In Our Time - the best history/science/culture/everything podcast out there:

“People with terrible ideas often think they’re going to work.” -

The Dollop podcast

Don Stroud:

“Tomorrow is Yesterday” is the classic Star Trek episode where the computer keeps referring to Kirk as “dear.”

“Are we the baddies?”

Buck Rogers uniform:

An aside, but Gil Gerard (Buck) and Felix Silla (Twiki) are still friends and hang out. That feels nice.

And in conclusion YOGA PANTS ARE NOT PANTS. Come at me, haters!

Severed Dreams

Episode 56: Severed Dreams (Season 3, Episode 10)

Synopsis: In which everything hits the fan.

Other Hugo nominees in 1997 for “Best Dramatic Presentation” were Star Trek: First Contact, DS9 “Trials and Tribble-ations,” Mars Attacks and Independence Day.

Max was particularly vocal this episode. Enjoy his dulcet tones.

Robert Foxworth’s treason is discussed by JMS in length on the Lurker’s Guide page, linked above.

Point of No Return

Episode 55: Point of No Return (Season 3, Episode 9)

Synopsis: In which the crisis with the Nightwatch comes to a head and Londo and Vir learn their destinies.

The legendary Majel Barrett:

Before her death, Majel Barrett’s voice was recorded phonetically so it is still possible we may get her voice for our phones!

Star Trek Continues:

Emmanuel Goldstein and the Two Minutes of Hate:

Messages from Earth


Episode 54: Messages from Earth (Season 3, Episode 8)

Synopsis: In which Sheridan must take drastic action to keep President Clark from obtaining a shadow ship, and the Nightwatch steps up their operation on the station.

Stove Top? I’M STAYING!

The Ultra Menace Missile!

The Shobijin from Godzilla vs Mothra:

Night Boat! The Crime Solving boat!

The Reflex Gun! Another Star Blazers reference!

Lyanna Mormont, baddest badass in the Seven Kingdoms. It is known.


Episode 53: Exogenesis (Season 3, Episode 7)

Synopsis: In which a creepy bug/parasite thing appears to be possessing people and Ivanova tests Corwin’s loyalty.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was interrupted while writing Kulba Khan by “the stranger from Porlock”

Which led to Rush’s “Xanadu,” possibly my (Chris) favorite of their songs. If you’ve never heard it, can tolerate prog rock, and have eleven-odd minutes to spare check it out. I’ll be over here rocking out hard:

Aubrey Morris, this episode’s Duncan, appears as the Roman emperor in this episode of The Prisoner - “The Dance of the Dead.” Once you’ve watched that Rush video spend 40 minutes checking this out too.

Fantasy recasting of Marcus:

Chris - David Tennant:

Jon - Richie Campbell:

Here’s our first pass at the prestige 10 episode breakdown for season 2. Much of this didn’t survive contact with the discussion we have in this episode but it was a starting point.

Season 2.jpg

The zones of total exclusion thing came from the French Zone Rouge, an area of France entirely incapable of supporting life because of damage from World War 1. Details:

And of course there’s a TV Tropes page as well (because of course there is).

Dust to Dust

CDT B5 prestige 1.png

Jon’s outline for prestige season 1:


A   Narn-Centauri War (Midnight)

B   Ivanova's Family (Purple)


A   G'kar Black Rose / Londo assassin (Purple / Parliament)

B   Sinclair and Sakai (Parliament)


A   Religion Festival (Parliament)

B   Garibaldi and Mars (Lianna) (Survivors)


A   Deathwalker (Deathwalker)

B   Franklin and the Children of Time (Believers)


A   Sigma 957 (Parliament)

B   Talia and Kosh (Deathwalker)


A   Morden (Signs)

B   Sinclair kidnapped (Sky)


A   Babylon 4 (BB)

B   Ivanova and Koslov (TKO)


A   Epsilon 3 / Draal, pt. 1 (Voice1)

B   Garibaldi and Mars, election of Santiago (Voice1)


A   Epsilon 3 / Draal, pt. 2 (Voice2)

B   Sinclair and Earthforce (Voice2)

10 = Chrysalis, as filmed

Jason Morningstar - Fiasco is really a terrific game!

Jon & Tracy’s excellent podcast on gaming and education, Game Level Learn:

Voices of Authority

Episode 51: Voices of Authority (Season 3, Episode 5)

Synopsis: In which Marcus and Ivanova search for allies in the war against the Shadows, and the Clark administration attempts to tighten its grip on the station.


The Seraphs’ ship from the 1978 Battlestar Galactica:


Balok from Star Trek’s “The Corbormite Maneuver”



Marie Crane, the candidate who lost to incumbent Luis Santiago in the 2258 election:


Shari Shattuck:

.38 Special’s “Caught Up In You”

A Day In The Strife


Synopsis: In which G’Kar must make difficult decisions regarding the resistance on the homeworld and an alien probe makes a generous offer.


Vidkun Quisling, head of the Norwegian government during Nazi occupation


Cixin Liu’s “The Dark Forest”


And believe not or not, there’s a good explanation of the “chain of suspicion” to be found on Quora:


The Culture:


The possible dangers of the METI project:


Stephen Macht:


Episode 48: Convictions (Season 3, Episode 2)

Synopsis: In which a mad bomber terrorizes the station and a number of pilgrims begin to arrive.


Mode Training is a philosophical/quasi-religious doctrine from David Gerrold’s “War Against the Chtorr” series. It is intended to let individuals move beyond human psychologies. The founder of the movement writes under the pseudonym of “Solomon Short.” Make of that what you will.


Brother Theo’s monastery is New Melleray Abbey in Iowa. The monks there are Cistercians or Trappists, who make a darn fine jam.


Gene Roddenberry was indeed an ardent humanist and disdainful of religion.


Somehow we had a whole conversation about religion and spirituality in sci-fi without mentioning either incarnation of Battlestar Galactica. You should probably be listening to a better podcast.


In the 13th century Pope Innocent IV sent a letter to Guyuk, Khan of the Mongols, telling him that the Mongol forces should stop attacking Christendom and maybe even convert to Christianity.

Guyuk’s response to the Pope: "You must say with a sincere heart ‘We will be your subjects; we will give you our strength.’ You must in person come with your kings, all together, without exception, to render us service and pay us homage. Only then will we acknowledge your submission. And if you do not follow the order of God, and go against our orders, we will know you as our enemy."


Babylon 5 Season 3 intro:


Space: 1999 Season One theme. Mixing 2001’s orchestral epicness with funk electric guitar that for some reason actually works:

Season Two leans fully into the disco horns. Whether it “works” is best left as an exercise for the reader:


Matters of Honor


Episode 47: Matters of Honor (Season 3, Episode 1)

Synopsis: In which the army of light gains a new ally and a totally awesome new ship, and dark alliances are revealed.

“Welcome back, your dreams were ticket out” is from the theme song to the classic sitcom Welcome Back Kotter.

“And they told two friends. And so on, and so on, and so on…”

At less than a minute into season 3, Jon and Chris reveal they are old as DIRT.

Strider/Aragorn (John Hurt) meets the Hobbits at the Prancing Pony, from Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings:

Ambassador Fox (Gene Lyons) from “A Taste of Armageddon”:

Season 2 Wrap Up!


Episode 46: Season 2 Wrap-Up

This episode was recorded in the lobby of our hotel (because the godforsaken Hilton only saw fit to give me one chair in my room so we had to look elsewhere, and there was a 20,000 person game convention AND a Pride parade going on outside with about the same attendance, plus some kind of investment/retirement/MLM fleecing seminar in the hotel...some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!) so there’s some echo and noise from people walking by. I’ve done what I can with it but obviously it’s not as clean as a regular recording.



Jon’s top 5 episodes:

5) Acts of Sacrifice

4) And Now for a Word

3) In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum

2) The Long, Twilight Struggle

1) The Coming of Shadows


Chris’s top 5 episodes:

5) Knives

4) And Now for a Word

3) In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum

2) The Coming of Shadows

1) The Long, Twilight Struggle


Jon’s bottom 3 episodes:

3) Come the Inquisitor

2) The Long Dark



Chris’s bottom 3 episodes:

3) The Long Dark

2) Geometry of Shadows

1) Soul Mates


The discussion of the network forcing JMS to include a hotshot pilot (Warren Keffer) is apparently from the DVD commentary to “The Fall of Night.”


The Fall of Night


Episode 45: The Fall of Night (Season 2, Episode 22)

Synopsis: In which Earthdome takes sides in the Centauri/Narn conflict, Zack falls deeper into the Night Watch, and Kosh is revealed.


A very brief overview of the Sudentenland crisis and Chamberlain’s Appeasement policy. Again, entire careers could be spent on this one issue, but here’s a very high level thumbnail:


Charles Lindbergh’s America First Committee was ostensibly focused on keeping America out of the war, but Lindbergh himself and others were suspected of being Nazi sympathizers. Certainly his racial and anti-Semitic views were in line with a lot of what the Nazis were selling at the time.


Comes The Inquisitor


Episode 44: Comes the Inquisitor  (Season 2, Episode 21)

Synopsis: In which the Vorlons send a sadistic mass murderer to judge whether Delenn and Sheridan are worthy, and G’Kar attempts to secure some help for his people.


“From Hell” is an amazing comic series from Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell focusing on the Jack the Ripper murders and, Victorian society, and mystical geography of late 19th century London. Incredibly detailed, very challenging.


“Letters from Whitechapel” is a really great logic/deduction boardgame.


The Prisoner’s “Once Upon a Time” where Number 2 attempts to break Number 6 using “degree absolute”


Legion An amazing show with an almost breathtaking presentation of telepathy and identity.


David Lee Roth’s “California Girls” The first minute or so of the video, before the song actually begins, has that same fisheye lens closeup technique we see in this video. It’s very unsettling in both contexts.


DS9’s “Empok Nor,” directed by Mike Vejar

The Long, Twilight Struggle


Episode 43: The Long, Twilight Struggle (Season 2, Episode 20)

Synopsis: In which the Narn/Centauri war comes to a tragic close.


Battlestar Galactica’s “33”:


It it nearly impossible to find an article on whether the decision to use the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to bring a quicker end to World War II was the “right” decision without the article having a bias toward one answer or the other, or that doesn’t devolve into “you are all idiots!” So in the end you get a wikipedia page  One could easily spend a lifetime analyzing the rationale for that one decision.


The Andromeda Strain is a fantastic film that 47 years later remains chilling


Star Blazers !!!


John Schuck is a national treasure

Divided Loyalties


Episode 42: Divided Loyalties (Season 2, Episode 19)

Synopsis: In which Lyta Alexander returns to expose that someone on the station is not what he or she seems.

The Ultra-Humanite, the best mind-transferring ape villain ever, on the cover of one of my favorite comics issues ever.

The Traveller returns. Not what you’d call a good episode.

“Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!” When this is the vibe your evil character is giving off in their gloating, it’s time to go back for another draft.

To go along with our discussion on paper in Babylon 5, here’s how to make a papercraft Omega-class Destroyer:

(no, my googling didn’t give me anything useful about why paper is so persistent in the B5-universe)

Patricia Tallman in Army of Darkness