"Maybe this is as much about terror as it is about territory."
REVIEW: An episode about the weight of responsibility people take on, responsibility one cannot hide from (as the title reminds us), but nevertheless a burden that can be shared. As ever, Babylon 5 is about how we do come together to withstand and overcome what alone we could not. The two story threads, unconnected as they are, share this theme. In what is ostensibly the character-building subplot, Sheridan is trying to carry the load alone, and is remonstrated by one of three spiritual leaders on the station who have come together, despite philosophical differences, to lend a hand, running information between the station and Babylon 5. And maybe offering a non-denominational service that brings everyone together and highlights the themes. Sheridan's reflex is understandable. He doesn't want to burden anyone else with his problems, especially not Delenn, but the pastor is right, sharing hardship isn't an additive process, it's a subtractive one. Pairing up with Delenn, he gains a second set of eyes that help him see where the Shadows might strike next, someone who calls him on his bull so he doesn't burn out or lose perspective, and the comfort of a lover's embrace (they finally kiss in the proper timeline). That, and she reveals a fleet of White Stars. Sheridan is not alone, far from it, and here's a visual to bring it home.
Of course, the more engrossing story line is Londo's. He pretends to send G'Kar into a trap on Narn using Vir as a messenger, a messenger then intercepted by Lord Refa who uses a telepath to get the skinny on the plot so he can hijack it and reap its rewards. Except Londo hates Refa far more than he does G'Kar, and the trap is really meant for his slimy Centauri colleague. London hates him for killing his lady love and other friends besides, but it's more than that. Refa represents his own unbridled ambition and HIS part in the Narn genocide. It's the weight HE carries, and killing Refa... no, not just killing, but ruining his reputation with a frame-up, and in some small sense trying to undo some of his works by releasing thousands of Narns, all of that is atonement. G'Kar goes along with this because perhaps there's a greater villain than Londo, but he's really just a delivery device. This is Londo's show and he just stands and watches, taking no joy from it. When Refa is ripped apart by Narns, G'Kar doesn't join in. He just walks away. It's not in his blood anymore, and Ivanova is right to equate him to the holy men on the station. Though Londo may know some peace from this action - spiritually and physically - it might also herald some trouble with Vir, whose anger towards his mentor is born of the same sentiment, guilt by association.
Obviously, Refa was the kind of character you'd love to hate, so his death must be memorable. And it is. Refa deserves Londo's intricate and grandiose plot. He is the man who hasn't shouldered the burden of what he's done, but has sought to hide from it behind moral apathy. He can't and gets his just desserts at the hands of the people he harmed. When confronted, he runs, and that slow motion sequence is well done, intercut with irony (a frequent JMS trick, but a pleasant one) with the religious service and a hymn about not being able to hide from your sins. The song is cheery and enthusiastic, a counterpoint to Refa's Caesar-like assassination, contrasting the sense of community on the heroes' station with the selfish isolation of the predatory individual. The same game of contrasts is played with Sheridan, mind you, the build-up to his alleviated pressure counterpointed by the tense promise of doom inherent in the "Z minus x days" countdown. What a great way to place the last few episodes of the season in Z'ha'dum's shadow.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: Later in the year, Jake and Nog would work hard to cheer Sisko up, but seeing as Trek is more secular than B5, with a baseball card instead of a religious service.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Seems to meander in the Sheridan bits, but that's because it's a portrait more than a narrative. Londo's revenge on Refa was worth the wait, regardless.