217: In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum
First broadcast week of
Sheridan is reviewing the records of his wife's doomed expedition aboard the Icarus when Garibaldi recognizes one of the faces from the ship's manifest - Morden. Sheridan has Morden captured before he can leave the station again, and begins questioning him intensely regarding the fate of the Icarus mission. Morden claims he has no memories of the mission or of Anna Sheridan, and is impatient to leave.
Sheridan is determined to extract an explanation out of him and keeps him detained. Garibaldi's protests that this is illegal, and threatens to resign. Vir relays a message from Londo urgently requesting that Morden be released. Talia Winters refuses to scan him, but Sheridan organizes a chance meeting between Talia and Morden - and what she sees gives her quite a shock.
Delenn and Kosh finally tell Sheridan about the Shadows - an ancient enemy defeated in a war a thousand years before but are once again renewing their forces from their homeworld, Z'ha'dum. The Icarus expedition awoke the Shadows and those who would not serve were killed. They cannot move against the Shadows too quickly for fear that they might strike before proper preparations can be made. Sheridan eventually lets Morden go and swears that one day he will go to Z'ha'dum - but Kosh advises against it.
Meanwhile, a representative of the newly-formed Ministry of Peace on Earth arrives to recruit personnel for the anti-sedition organization, Nightwatch. In order to keep up with the increasing number of wounded Narn coming through MedLab, Dr Franklin resorts to taking stimulants.
Notes: The Shadows and the Vorlons are ancient enemies, as they are two of the few remaining races of First Ones in the galaxy after the rest passed beyond the rim centuries before. The Minbari, led by Valen, assisted the Vorlons in the last Great War (see War Without End). The story of the Icarus mission is told in the novel The Shadow Within, and Anna Sheridan's involvement with it first mentioned in Revelations. The Shadows (first seen in Chrysalis) accompany Morden wherever he goes but remain invisible; they can be heard talking to Morden in his cell. The Shadows' reaction to Talia, and telepaths in general, is explored in Ship of Tears. Talia sees a shadow pass across Morden's face, as did Delenn in Signs and Portents. The Shadows' motives are explored in Z'ha'dum. Vir's wish for Morden's head to be cut off and stuck on a pike is recalled in Into the Fire.
In this episode we learn of the question Delenn asked Kosh in Chrysalis: "Have the Shadows returned to Z'ha'dum?", to which the answer was, of course, "Yes". Delenn tells Sheridan that Kosh's encounter suit stops him from being recognized - Sheridan: "By whom?", Kosh: "By everyone". This prefigures events in The Fall of Night.
Zack Allen joins up with Nightwatch (a fact which will become significant by Point of No Return). Franklin's use of stims (see also The Quality of Mercy and Hunter, Prey) is mentioned again in Confessions and Lamentations and A Day in the Strife, until he faces the consequences in Interludes and Examinations, Walkabout and Shadow Dancing.
This episode, produced after the following episode, Knives, was also supposed to be broadcast after it, however delays with CGI effects in that episode delayed its transmission. Sheridan's vision of the Icarus in that episode would have prefigured events in this one.