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This episode and the next are a combined two-part episode and are among
the best of the year and finally address exactly what occurred to
Commander Sinclair, as he makes a guest appearance in these two
episodes. If you remember back in the first season, you learn that
Babylon 4 disappeared and reappeared and Sinclair mounted a rescue
effort to save the crew before the ship vanished for good. This episode
recounts the exact same story but from totally different points of
view. This time, instead of saving the crew, Sheridan, Sinclair and the
rest are actually the ones for making the station disappear in the
first place! It seems that the station was needed by Valen a thousand
years earlier and was instrumental in the defeat of the Shadows at that
While the plot is MEGA-strange and complex, I love how the series' main writer and executive producer, J. Michael Straczyinski already plotted out this season three episode all the way back in season one. The greatest aspect of BABYLON 5 is how all these plots and story threads all are eventually woven into one huge and amazing tapestry. If you look at the first episode about the disappearance of Babylon 4, you'll see that these two season three shows fit seamlessly. Exciting throughout and a must-see for all fans of the series.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If Babylon 5 is Lord of the Rings in Space - Then War Without End is
the central tenet of the story just as The Two Towers is the middle of
Lord of The Rings.
In Lord of The Rings, Gandalf dies and comes back much like The Sheridan will do later in the series. Much Like "The Sisko" in the Parallel Star Trek story "Deep Space Nine" which also mirrors Lord of The Rings.
JMS completed his Space Opera by putting this story right in the Middle. We had been hearing about "The Hole in Jeffery Sinclair's Mind" all the way back in "The Gathering". We had been hearing that the main Prophet of the Minbari Race, Valen by name, was a Minbari not born of Minbari. We had seen Zathras in S1E20 "Babylon Squared" look at Sinclair and blurt out "Not the one, no, not the one".
This story occurs concurrently with "Babylon Squared" and even some episodes which we would not hear about until seasons 4 and 5 rolled out. In fact, we can say that these two episodes planted in Season Three guaranteed that Babylon 5 would continue at least through 4 seasons.
In season 1 the character of Draal was introduced, into a Machine which sole purpose was to propel the story from 1,000 years in the past all the way to a possible future which had two endings, depending on whether The Sheridan would go to KhazaD-Dumb or not. In one, Babylon 5 is blown up by the Shadows, in the other, The Shadows are blown into little tiny black, shiny chunks.
So this story was a clever concoction of JMS, he brilliantly stitches together all of the little stories that built Babylon 5.
But even with Prophecies staring us in the face, the Universe has a way of adjusting itself to any little changes- And this happens at the end of the tale.
We are introduced to "The One" - The one who was, the one who is, the one to come. The Beginning of the story, the Middle and The End. I never knew it when I was watching this unfold on whatever nights I was lucky enough to catch Babylon 5 during it's Syndication, that I was watching a parallel to Lord of The Rings. But each time I watch these clever episodes, it becomes all the more apparent.
I am so glad I was able to watch this as it was broadcast the first time.
What was so great about Babylon 5 was that it was not just an "Alien-of- the-Week" or 'Space Crisis of the week" show - It had real depth, in the richness of it's characters and the cleverness of the story. The Producers had a choice: Either use Practical Effects like the Trek shows were using, and have the characterizations suffer because of it, or chip in and buy bunches of Personal Computer Workstations and do it all with Infant CGI applications. And each year, these got better and better. So that when this was broadcast, it was done as well as it could have been done for the money and for the tech of the time.
I never really liked the character of Sinclair in Season 1 - But when I saw this, I was able to go back and enjoy the first season, which has several markers which point to this pair of episodes. The Ultimate Fate of The Sinclair is revealed in this story and it is a butt-kicker, even with all of the clues pointing to it seeded in the first and second seasons.
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