"Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. There would never be another. It changed the future... and it changed us. It taught us that we have to create the future, or others would do it for us. It showed us that we have to care for one another, because if we don't, who will? And that true strength sometimes comes from the most... unlikely places. Mostly though, I think it gave us hope—that there can always be new beginnings... even for people like us."
REVIEW: Objects at Rest could afford to be anticlimactic, I suppose, because they always had this SERIES finale in their back pocket, and it's moving as all get-out. It's 20 years after the Earth Alliance has been founded, and so 20 years since Lorien told Sheridan he had 20 years to live. His reaction to all this is VERY Sheridan. The man who would not give a farewell speech when he left the station continues to avoid the tears by inviting all his old friends to dinner, having fun, then promptly leaving Minbar to die alone in space, calling it a "Sunday drive". Delenn, the consummate Minbari, engineers this for him, because she's forever in the service of others. But of course, both characters break down no matter how much strong a front they put up, and in a scene that visually might as well be the wedding we were denied - Sheridan in black, Delenn in white - tears are shed. Their love affair continues to be epic, symbolically linking each other to light, the image of a rising sun the last thing Sheridan thinks of, and Delenn's daily reminder of her husband. It's just beautiful. No matter how prepared she is for his departure, there is still deep grief there, as a simple shot of her in bed suddenly clutching at a pillow testifies to.
On his way to meet a destiny outlined long ago by Kosh, Sheridans stops by the station, on the eve of its decommission. Just empty sets now. And his last walk through its halls is quietly affecting. Zack is still there, just as he promised in Objects at Rest (a rare weak element of this finale though it's really the previous episode's error, him repeating the same words; it's all too on the nose). Sheridan won't see the station scuttled, but the rest of the cast will. After they've had the chance to get one last look around, JMS himself walks onto the set and shuts off the lights, an indulgence I will certainly accord him. And though it's technically anticlimactic to see the station destroyed just because it's outgrown its usefulness, when prophecies always led us to believe it would be the work of its enemies, it's definitely a great pay-off to the series, a huge, beautiful explosion with grand music, as every type of ship in the Alliance moves away. Gorgeous and moving.
Elsewhere, Sheridan has disappeared. He's been taken by the First Ones, on the Rim, and it's all very ambiguous, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Some things we're not meant to understand, and I'm glad to see a little of the mystery the Vorlons and Shadows usually brought with them back in the series. Sheridan's place as a mythical figure is thus assured - feels a lot like the end of the Lord of the Rings - and it mirrors Sinclair's own disappearance. I suppose in another reality, this is where Sinclair would have gone back to become Valen, I'm not sure. It's lovely how Ivanova gets the final speech, and it's a great summation, lovely to have her in the finale at all, thanks to really having been shot as part of Season 4. Between the opening scenes and the final montage, we get a sense of what's happened to these characters in the intervening years, and where they're going next. Ivanova has the success she always wanted and embarks on a new adventure as leader of the Rangers after becoming as pointless as her old station in Earthforce, and yet, she still has a thought for Marcus when absent friends are toasted. Vir has grown more hair and best of all, more grace, though Centauri decadence continues to impede his Empire's progress as evidenced by what can only be called sexual addiction. Maybe Zack can keep him in line (uhm, ok?). Garibaldi is, ironically, the best off, with a thriving business as a happy family. Franklin, his best friend after Sinclair was gone, is merely adjunct to this, but I'm not sure what else they could have done with the character. In these finale moments, where life continues, the episode shrugs off its funereal tone and allows itself a funky curtain call for the crew, and again, it's an indulgence we should permit. Babylon 5 isn't technically over (Crusade and some TV movies still to come), but its 5-year saga is, and it could hardly end on a more emotional and epic note.
REWATCHABILITY: High - Makes it all worth it. It's big, it's powerful, and it just hits all the right notes.