"I want to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price. I would look up into your lifeless eyes and wave like this. Can you and your associates arrange that for me, Mr. Morden?"
REVIEW: Morden's been operating on the station with impunity for a while now, so it's satisfying to see him get grabbed by security, even if it's on an unrelated matter. Well, it's all related. Sheridan is finally going through his dead wife's stuff, and Morden was aboard the Icarus when it apparently blew up. So what's going on? Morden won't say, the creepy mo-fo, despite Sheridan's best Jack Bauer interrogation techniques. I've rarely seen someone be so badass while failing. The silent treatment, just letting Morden keep talking and hang himself (he only does the former). How he manipulates Talia into touching Morden's mind after she expressed ethical objections and gets a great slap out of her. The irony is that because he'll never get anything out of Morden, Delenn and Kosh are forced to finally spill the beans about the secret history of the universe.
The episode answers questions, but asks new ones too, pushing us ahead. Thousands of years ago (a wink to how long Sheridan is ready to hold Morden), the First Ones, including the Vorlons, helped keep the ancient Shadows at bay. If Sheridan makes a move against them too soon, they'll attack before the forces of good are ready (and boy, we're pretty freaking far from ready by the looks of it). He HAS to release Morden. Perhaps he can be mollified by the information that the Icarus is what woke the Shadows up (and ooh, they don't have to look like literal shadows), and so might be alive as their slave. His promise to go one day to Z'ha'dum is a future Kosh seems to believe will be fatal. One of the freakier pieces of information is Kosh saying the encounter suit is so he and the Vorlons won't be recognized. "By who?" "Everyone." Brrr. What does THAT mean? Are we hard-wired to recognize shadows and angels for what they represent? Sheridan's anxiety does spike when he catches a glimpse of the Shadows who hang out with Morden in his cell, and that's what finally convinces him to let their agent go. Not the ethical appeals made by Garibaldi, Ivanova or Talia. Not Vir's legal wrangling (despite his complete hatred of Morden; his early speech makes me hope he'll be the instrument by which Morden gets his comeuppance). No, something more primal than that.
The ironies keep piling on. A small subplot features the Ministry of Peace (we're in Orwellian territory here) recruiting for its new Nightwatch program as fascism continues its rise in Earth politics. It all seems so innocuous, right? Just report on your neighbors who express dissent so we can get them help, the proper information, etc. Uh-huh. Security Zack joins up for the 50 creds a month to do nothing but wear an armband. Yeah, that'll end well. So why insert this thread in this episode? As ironic counterpoint. This is an episode where Sheridan goes too far and tramples on a man's rights, but he's working for an organization that, if not now, soon, would be quite comfortable with giving him the right to if he asked. Another small subplot of note is Doc Franklin's, pushing himself with "stims" to get through 36-hour shifts (that'll come back to bite him, I'm sure), but also discussing his faith which isn't, as previously thought, atheistic. The "Foundationalist" idea that religions are bogus, but that there's a greater unknowable Divinity beyond what we can understand and express is thematically linked to the revelation about the Vorlons, I think. JSM is peeling back the layers of the B5 universe and there are beings of greater scope behind what we see, and surely something greater beyond that, and so on.
REWATCHABILITY: High - Important revelations abound, but the shows does best when it explores the innate paradoxes and ironies of existence. That's where this episode lives.