"If you run into trouble..." "I'll walk out of it. More dignified that way."
REVIEW: The mid-season finale reveals why the Alliance worlds used to be a League of NON-Aligned worlds. Simply put, nobody in their right minds would ever want to align with any of these jerks! Here they are, at war with the Centauri, and they won't even combine forces, share proper information or work on common strategies. Only the Drazi and Narns manage some cooperation, but it's to go against the Alliance charter to bomb civilian centers on Centauri Prime. Looks like Sheridan made himself President of something like the United Nations, with little to no power over individual members. Meanwhile, the Centauri are running offensive and defensive teams because the former are really Shadow agents working from their own play book, lending credence to ministerial claims that Centauri is just defending itself from aggressor species. We know this to be true, of course, but it's kind of hard to believe the arrogant Defense Minister isn't an agent too. He's too blatant a villain.
With war raging once again in the Babylon 5 universe, we're getting a steady supply of eye candy like in the days of old. Lots of ships, explosions, etc., you know the drill. And that's maybe why it doesn't excite like it used to. We've had bigger, or at least, more personal and more open-ended stakes before. Still, nice of the show to give Lochley something to do after disappearing for a number of episodes. She just gets to stand in C&C and give orders to protect the station's jump gate, but she does it well and with the right urgency. Because this is a cliffhanger episode, they're also setting up other emergencies, like Delenn's ship getting badly damaged and Sheridan flying to Centauri Prime to try and stop rogue Alliance members to kill everyone there. Especially since the Regent has, under shadowy orders, sent the defense fleet away. Presumably, if the Drakh or whoever (we see the Gray-like guys too, checking on Londo's suitability, which makes me wonder if those jokey Gray aliens in Season 1 were Shadow agents) do away with "free" Centauri, they'll have full run of the Empire and its resources. I suppose we're meant to feel sympathy for the Regent, but to me, he's still that caricatured home decorator and I don't care at all. Knowing the Keeper will jump to Londo soon removes all the suspense the situation might otherwise have had.
Londo leaves his cell, but doesn't get assassinated or anything, and the Shadow agents do what they want with him even while he's in there, which means G'Kar doesn't even have to be there, sadly. I'd rather he wasn't, if JMS is going to spring further revelations about how stinky Narn farts are, or whatever that was about. (It's not even the only cringe-worthy moment in the episode. I also dislike the bit about the underthings Sheridan bought Delenn and that she won't wear. Icky.) The thread that best sustains our interest is Franklin and Lyta's mission to the Drazi homeworld on Vir's behest to find out why the Drazi haven't been returning the bodies of the fallen Centauri. Lyta unleashes some righteous fury on the Drazi, going so far as making one attacker commit suicide (and Franklin stays friends with her, well, I guess he'd have to). Jeepers! Just so happens she's the only person in the galaxy who could identify the gross pods found aboard Centauri ships, driving them in lieu of crews. To be continued in an episode with a title that leaves little to the imagination...
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: The scorched planet strategy would also be used by the Founders on Cardassia, which has a similar set-up to the agents of Shadow/Centauri Prime.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - For what's essentially Babylon 5's last big cliffhanger, it's really not that great. Some ill-judged comedy, some irritating characters, and too little suspense.