"When others do a foolish thing, you should tell them it is a foolish thing. They can still continue to do it, but at least the truth is where it needs to be."
REVIEW: The thing I appreciate most in JMS' writing is how he often gives the thematic key to an episode is an early, innocuous scene. In this case, the amusing (but I'm sure, useful) ability G'Kar is given with his removable, prosthetic eye of seeing himself with it. This then translates into Delenn having to look at herself in an old and a new way, through the process of the Dreaming. This is a telepathic vision shared with one or more guides (in this case, the ever-faithful Lennier) that should reveal something of great importance. Psychotherapy wrapped in ritual. Delenn is forced to go through this to find a justification for her relationship with Sheridan, or else her clan will forbid the union on the basis of racial impurity. We may not understand her bitterness and fierce resolve in The Illusion of Truth better - her badly chosen words weren't a threat to Earth, but to Minbar. Her own people would have wanted the relationship to end. What she gets is a trip down memory lane to her relationship with Dukhat, her master and former leader of the Grey Council. It's fun to see classic Delenn again, and Reiner Schone as Dukhat is such a tall man, she seems tiny, even childlike. The lessons highlight the man's wisdom, and when he tells her he cannot have an aide who doesn't look up, we're reminded of the first thing Delenn told Lennier. Nice.
As history unfolds, the question of what to do about humanity is brought up, with Acolyte Delenn timidly suggesting contact on the simple basis of curiosity. It's what charms Dukhat, who is of her opinion, and so Delenn eventually becomes a member of the Grey Council on his recommendation. But we're soon brought to that fateful moment when first contact was made with gunports open, and Dukhat's death in the first exchange of fire, and the big, dark reveal is that Delenn was the swing vote in whether or not to go to war with Earth and that, in her grief, she voted badly. She immediately regretted it, but it was too late, and has been carrying that guilt since then. But the idea that Delenn will use atonement as her justification for joining with a human is a red herring. Given time to reflect, she realizes a buried memory has come to the surface, and against the rules, she returns to the "whisper gallery" (great name) with Lennier and her clan leader to replay a certain moment. The real revelation is that Dukhat knew she was a child of Valen and so had a special destiny. It makes sense of his choice of her as aide and colleague, and of the triluminary glowing in her presence. Dukhat also knew (as we already did) that the founder of modern Minbari society was human before he was Minbari, and his human DNA is scattered across the Minbari race (the Oversoul is also connected to DNA, it seems). That the Minbari are in no way genetically pure to begin with is a revelation that would rock Minbari culture to its foundations (the same way the soul stuff hasn't been shared with the majority of the population), so they come up with an answer closer to the aforementioned red herring (marriage as compensation/treaty, like in the old days) and Delenn is on her way. The story gives us an answer (obvious), then another (actual) and another (official), which makes it far better than a simple flashback tale to fill in our knowledge of B5 history.
The focus on Delenn means we don't have very much time for subplots, but they do exist. Zack squirming as he is fitted with a Babylon 5 uniform recalls how he never got an Earthforce suit that fit either. The scene, and Ivanova coming back from a Drazi party add a little humor to the proceedings, but not a whole lot more. The set-up for the next episode, with Sheridan sending Doc Franklin and Marcus to Mars to establish an alternate pipeline to counter Earth's embargo turns to comedy as well, as the two men get a ride in a gravity-less ship and Marcus starts singing to Franklin's dismay. The full "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General" is on the end credits and ends with Franklin's scream and the director shouting "Cut!", which goes just a word too far, in my opinion. As is, it's a blooper and takes the viewer out of what is normally an immersive experience. But surely, a minor complaint.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: On Deep Space Nine, the Trill - whom resemble the Minbari - also covered up a truth that would shock their culture when Dax started having visions of a life she never knew (in their case, that a much higher percentage of people could be joined with a symbiont).
REWATCHABILITY: High - An origin story that does more than just tell a story from the past, but also changes how we view Delenn, her motivations, and her role in B5's great epic.