"Worst case of testosterone poisoning I've ever seen."
REVIEW: An aging Minbari looking for a new life and obsessed with self-sacrifice? A dying alien at the center of an ancient planet? I could have told you well before Part 1 ended that Part 2 would end with Draal taking over for that alien. And yet, JMS keeps making the point over and over through the episode. It's a little like how he keeps forcing Ivanova to make comments about her Russianness. What is she, Pavel Chekov? But that's predictability I can stomach. I'm far less enamored of Ron Canada's Captain Pierce, yet another warmonger who won't listen to reason. Earth may be obsessed with getting new technologies - our planet has a severe inferiority complex - but defying presidential orders, squabbling about jurisdiction, putting the lives of a quarter million people at risk, and inviting war with "shows of force" at a diplomatic outpost? Man should be court-martialed. Having Sinclair engage in saber-rattling is all quite entertaining, but antagonists with a single thought in their heads are deeply irritating, especially on a show that prides itself on its cast's complexity.
Though the planet below (Epsilon III) has been explored, its mystery continues to fascinate. What does it have to offer the future when we're ready for it? Apparently, even the last of the inhabitants weren't worthy of it; they were exiled for centuries until the planet's recent upheaval allowed them to find it again. What power does it hold when those exiles have nearly indestructible ships already, and those ships simply evaporate when exposed to Epsilon III's defenses? (Which means Draal's first act as the heart of the Machine is genocide, eech!) That'll hopefully be revealed later, though I get the definite sense JMS is setting up a literal deus ex machina we can't complain about because it won't come out of nowhere. We'll see. For now, the plot allows for some outer space action, and for Londo to find his inner hero. Delenn now owes him a favor for bringing his mad piloting skills to her action, but in a way, she's already paid it in full by lighting a joyful spark in him.
As for the Mars revolt subplot, it gives us some angry and impulsive Garibaldi scenes, until Sinclair finally uses his contacts to help his friend connect with his old flame Lise Hampton. She's alive, but it's too late for him to open his heart to her. She married since he left and is pregnant. A blow given his reasoning for waiting so long (and for an emergency) to call her - and I completely appreciate the psychology behind it - but more than that, it coyly hides the fact Lise would return in several episodes. Her appearance is innocuous, the wrap-up of a subplot on a down note, but it's a fake-out. That much I know.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: Deep Space Nine is also sitting on top of an ancient looks-natural-but-is-artificial place that sometimes makes contact and considers him a chosen one.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Several good scenes and no doubt important to the overall arc, but Ron Canada is wasted in such an infuriating one-note part, and the ending was telegraphed more than an episode ago.