Babylon 5 - Episodics (#316)
"War Without End, Part 1"

Written by J. Michael Straczynski, directed by Mike Vejar

On Minbari, ambassador Sinclair is handed a 900-year-old box containing a letter which prompts him to leave for Babylon 5. Meanwhile, B5 receives a distress call which appears to be from Ivanova just before the station is destroyed. The signal appears to emanate from the area where Babylon 4 had disappeared six years earlier. When Sinclair arrives, Delenn asks him, Sheridan, Marcus, Lennier and Ivanova to accompany her on the Whitestar. She shows them records from the last war against the Shadows, when Babylon 4 suddenly appeared, providing a base for the allies. Delenn explains that their task, with the help of Zathras, is to help move B4 1000 years back in time to aid in the last war. The Whitestar travels back six years to destroy a bomb being carried to B4 by Shadow allies, but the explosion damages Sheridan's time stabilizer, and he becomes unstuck in time. While the others prepare to move the station back in time, Sheridan finds himself in the future, where an aging Emperor Londo Mollari shows him a devastated Centauri Prime.

Babylon 5 fans had long been waiting for the return of Jeffrey Sinclair, and they weren't disappointed by 'War Without End,' a massively complex two- parter, which saw B5's two commanding officers teaming up for the first time. Both Michael O'Hare and Bruce Boxleitner admitted a certain degree of nervousness about working together, but their fears proved groundless. Although most B5 episodes are generally tied together by a certain amount of continuity, 'War Without End' was a continuity nightmare. In particular, it tied in heavily with the first season episode 'Babylon Squared,' which introduced the Babylon 4 station and the eccentric alien Zathras (played by Tim Choate). The episode also flashes forward in time to the older Londo, now emperor of the Centauri Empire, a future glimpsed in previous episodes. Some of the Londo scenes originally meant for part two were moved up, becoming a climactic moment in episode one.The notion of a character (in this case, Captain Sheridan) becoming unstuck in time has been used before, notably in Kurt Vonnegut's 1969 novel, Slaughterhouse Five. As viewers would discover, the storyline of 'War Without End' would eventually span over 1,000 years.

Joe Nazzaro

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