"Now we gave you a promise, and we are bound by that promise, and damn you for asking for it! And damn me for agreeing to it! And damn us all to hell, because that is exactly where we are going! We talked about peace. You didn't want peace! We talked about cooperation. You didn't want cooperation! You want war! Is that it? You want a war? Well, you've got a war!"
REVIEW: Some interesting direction makes the first act of the episode work quite well despite it being a recap of things we already know. Props to director Goran Gajic for intercutting the "courtroom drama" with Londo waiting for the inevitable then. Gajic also seems to have an interest is visual symbols, drawing attention to Sheridan's other shoe dropping - as the full force of what's about to happen hits him - and the candle snuffing itself out, only later revealed in text as the symbol of life in Minbari culture. I also like how drunken Garibaldi is often perceived through the distortion of his favorite glass. Gajic also gets some strong, emotional performances from his players - Delenn's tearful praying, Sheridan losing his cool when it becomes obvious his dream is not shared by the majority of Alliance members, and the sweet farewell between G'Kar and Delenn. Less successful, though in its way quite effective, is the arrogant Centauri Minister, smiling whenever he talks of war or blocks someone's access to others. Infuriating, which is the point, but perhaps a little one-dimensional.
With the forces controlling Centauri Prime pushing a war-like agenda, the situation quickly escalates from embargo to hostility to open war. It's uncertain if Sheridan's plan would have worked even if Garibaldi hadn't been sleeping at the switch - things seem a little too instantaneous for that and the firing starts long before reinforcements could ever have hoped to arrive - but when you have a single guy handling intelligence, and that guy has no staff, and that guy is going through a personal crisis, well. You'd think the Alliance would have more resources than the STATION has been shown to have (like it's own C&C, perhaps using the war room), but no, Garibaldi is listening to Ranger calls alone in his room, with no back-up. A contrivance to make his screw-up even more massive. Hopefully Zack WILL say something. The episode gives him one of his strongest scenes to date, refusing to take Garibaldi's crap and calling him on his alcoholism. So whatever Garibaldi says, at least this shows JMS knows what's what and doesn't believe his own character's bull.
In many ways, this is an episode about burning one's bridges. Londo is isolated from the Council, then the Alliance, then the station, and finally the Centauri court, sharing a cell with G'Kar over security matters. G'Kar is right to say Londo may be the only man who can stop this war, but that's exactly why enemy agents have to freeze him out. Garibaldi, through his actions and mistakes, is burning his own connection to Sheridan and the rest of Babylon 5. They just haven't dropped the torch on it yet. Or the candle.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Despite its contrivances, the episode features some strong acting moments. We're starting to feel the end here, or else characters leaving the station as they so often have before would not require such gravitas.