Babylon 5 - Episodics (#312)
"A Late Delivery From Avalon"

Written by J. Michael Straczynski, directed by Michael Vejar

A man claiming to be Arthur, King of the Britons, arrives on Babylon 5. Although Franklin worries about the man's mental health, 'Arthur' finds a sympathetic ear with Marcus. He's also befriended by G'Kar who joins the good fight Down Below and is knighted by Arthur. Meanwhile, Sheridan offers the members of the League of Non- Aligned Worlds a deal: they can continue trading on Babylon 5 if they agree to contribute to the station's defense. Franklin uses DNA testing to discover that Arthur is actually David MacIntyre, a former gunnery sergeant on board the Earth ship that fired on the Minbari, causing the Earth-Minbari War. That guilt has created a new personality, but when Franklin confronts him with the truth, Arthur/MacIntyre retreats into a catatonic state. Marcus and Franklin finally realize that MacIntyre has arrived on Babylon 5 on the fifteenth anniversary of the day he fired on the Minbari ship and now hopes to absolve himself of that guilt. Franklin uses Delenn to pose as the Lady of the Lake and accept from Arthur the sword Excalibur, the symbol of his guilt. Now at peace, he's sent to Narn where he will be revered as a wise man and help to organize the resistance.

One of the most important influences on Babylon 5 is the heroic epic; in this case, the Arthurian legend. In 'A Late Delivery From Avalon,' Writer J. Michael Straczynski even makes a few lighthearted comparisons between B5 and Camelot. Playing Arthur/David MacIntyre is British actor Michael York, whose numerous film roles include Cabaret, Logan's Run and The Island of Dr. Moreau. York had reportedly been a frontrunner for the role of Captain Sheridan which eventually went to Bruce Boxleitner. Straczynski decided to write 'A Late Delivery...' in a slightly different, 'more artsy' style. He also requested that the music have a Celtic influence with the use of more natural instruments. The episode provides even more of the back story for the Earth - Minbari War. MacIntyre was the gunnery sergeant on the Earth ship that started the first battle, and it's his deep-seated guilt that creates the Arthur persona; an apt commentary on veterans' post-traumatic stress syndrome. On a lighter note is Garibaldi's running battle with Babylon 5's Post Office to claim a package containing various Italian delicacies. Some things never change, even in the 23rd century. Marcus's 'Who is Morgana Le Fey?' turns out not to be a throwaway line after all, as we discover a few episodes later...

Joe Nazzaro

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