Babylon 5 - Episodics (#406)
"Into The Fire"

Written by J. Michael Straczynski, directed by Kevin James Dobson

As Ivanova and Lorien track down the last of the First Ones, Sheridan leads an attack on a Vorlon observation post. In hyperspace, they rendezvous with the massive alien fleet. As they wait for the arrival of the Vorlon and Shadow fleets, Sheridan orders several nearby asteroids seeded with nukes.
On Centauri Prime, Londo has just 12 hours to remove all Shadow influence from his planet before the Vorlons arrive. He destroys their ships, and orders Morden, the Shadow's agent, executed.
With Vorlon and Shadow fleets heading for each other, Sheridan sets off the nukes to get their attention, and signals the mysterious First Ones to join the conflict. Back on Centauri Prime, Londo realizes one thing is still touched by the Shadows- himself. He orders Vir to kill him, but the Vorlons suddenly move off to join the battle.
On the White Star bridge, the Vorlons take control of Sheridan while the Shadows do the same with Delenn. Each group pleads their case, eventually appearing on the ship, but Sheridan tells them the younger races refuse to take sides. Finally, Shadows, Vorlons, First Ones and Lorien all depart beyond the Rim, leaving the younger races to begin the Third Age of Mankind...

The eagerly-awaited climax to the Vorlon-Shadow conflict finally reaches an end, not only with one of the biggest space battles in the show's history, but also a discussion of ideologies. Writer J. Michael Straczynski was anxious to show that a war can be settled by negotiation as well as bloodshed, hence the episode's somewhat subdued ending.
The title 'Into the Fire' could just as easily have applied to the team at Netter Digital, who started working on B5's computer-generated special FX at the beginning of season four. Netter's digital magicians were faced with the staggering task of creating literally hundreds of ships for the episode's space battle sequences.
Several scenes, including Sheridan's encounter with the Vorlon (seen as a woman frozen in a block of ice) and Delenn's exchange with the Shadows (represented by several of the show's regular characters were actually shot a few weeks after the episode wrapped, by producer John Copeland. Another scene, where Lorien explains his race's longevity to Ivanova, was shot for the previous episode, which eventually ran long.
'Into The Fire' marked the apparent end for Mr. Morden, played by Ed Wasser, and Lorien (Wayne Alexander). Surprisingly, both characters would eventually reappear, each under very different circumstances...

Joe Nazzaro

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