"Maybe the universe blinked. Maybe God changed His mind. All I know is that we got a second chance!"
REVIEW: They've really got to stop starting episodes at customs... Ok, so this is the first Babylon 5 episode I have a vague memory of watching the first time around (which was still in later, daily repeats because no way did we have TNT when the show was originally broadcast). The episode's tropes would have seemed familiar enough - the main character trapped in a mindscape that looks just like a darkened and empty version of his ship/station? Yeah, been there, done that. With some hindsight, an episode where Sinclair is trapped in his own traumatized mind, suffers from PTSD, hallucinates and eventually goes on a rampage, all the while doing "crazy eyes" is at the very least painfully ironic and potentially, a harrowing experience for an actor who was sadly struggling with schizophrenia at the time. Harder to watch with this in mind than as originally presented.
Leaving all that behind the scenes, And the Sky Full of Stars excitingly brings back the 24-hour gap in Sinclair's memory, the "hole in his mind" that would explain why the Minbari surrendered 10 years ago. So it's frustrating that it doesn't explain a damn thing. We already knew Delenn was a member of the Grey Council and that she was no doubt on Babylon 5 to babysit Sinclair and their plans for him. We could already infer that gap had the Minbari behind it. What do we actually learn? Well, the circumstances of HOW he was nabbed by the Minbari, and his nightmares regarding the people he lost, that he was about to make a suicide run on the main Minbari ship, and in the epilogue, that the Minbari leadership would have to kill him if he ever were to remember. A mystery deepened, and Sinclair now aware that Delenn is involved, but it's nothing WE didn't know, so it leaves us hungry. Never mind the somewhat unresolved question of who the "Knights" were working for, and why the credits refer to them as "Knights". And then there's Knight Two's addled statement at the end that they are "still inside", which is pretty creepy and if you like, could mean the rest of the series takes place in Sinclair's mind (it doesn't, does it?). Or possibly that there's an echo of Sinclair's mind rattling around in Knight Two's head, an unusual and probably cruel punishment.
But see, this is an episode about teasing the audience. One scene that pops out at you, for example, is the one where Garibaldi is reading a newspaper, the camera lovingly panning across juicy, world-building headlines. The leader of the Home Guard captured on Earth. Psi Corps involved in an election scandal. The pros and cons of inter-species mating. Fun stuff. If you tease us, you should eventually let us get something out of it though. As is, the episode starts off slow, with too long a first act, then runs out of time before we can learn anything substantial. It doesn't even have time to resolve the Knight's reality-warping statement with a (perhaps clichéed, but always satisfying) game of "wake up but still in a dream" sequence.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: Deep Space Nine would eventually do a couple versions of this premise, in Distant Voices and Things Past.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Explores a worthy mystery, but doesn't advance the story enough for my tastes.