Babylon 5 - Episodics (#523)
Written by J. Michael Straczynski, directed by Michael Straczynski
"Sleeping In Light"
Twenty years after the formation of the Interstellar Alliance, President Sheridan realizes that his life, once restored by Lorien, is reaching its end. Delenn agrees to send messages to their friends: Admiral Susan Ivanova, Emperor Vir Cotto, industrialist Michael Garibaldi and Earth Force chief of xenobiological research Steven Franklin. On Minbar, Franklin gives Sheridan a checkup, realizing there's still nothing he can do for his old friend. That evening, old friends get together for dinner, toasting their missing friends. Delenn offers Ivanova a new position as head of the rangers. The following morning, Sheridan decides to wake up early, before anyone is up, taking a final 'Sunday drive' into space. He and Delenn make their emotional farewells. Sheridan arrives for a last visit of the soon-to-be decommissioned Babylon 5, where he meets up with Zack, and then takes his Whitestar to the Coriana system, where they won the Shadow War. There, he's greeted by Lorien who invites him beyond the rim. A burst of light, and when the ship is later found, there's no trace of Sheridan. Delenn and the others gather on Babylon 5, their final visit to the station
before its destruction and the end of an era . . .
'Sleeping In Light,' the heart-tugging epilogue to Babylon 5, was actually shot at the end of the fourth season, when the show's renewal for a fifth season remained in doubt. After an 11th-hour pick-up from TNT, the episode was put on the shelf, not to air for another year. An unexpected bonus is the return of Susan Ivanova, played by Claudia Christian, who had shot 'Sleeping In Light' before leaving the series later that summer. For the first and only time in the show's five year history, series creator J. Michael Straczynski decided to take a turn behind the camera. The writer-turned-director also has a brief cameo as an engineer who turns off the station's lights for the final time. As a final tribute to Babylon 5's loyal crew, the final credit sequence features a photo montage of each department, which could be freeze-framed by fans of the series. On the final day of filming, the cast and crew were also asked to assemble in front of a blue screen, for a composite shot of Earth Alliance headquarters. At the time, no one, including Straczynski, knew they would be returning for a fifth and final season. . . Joe Nazzaro