406: Into the Fire
First broadcast week of
Lorien is insistent that he and Ivanova contact the last of the remaining First Ones for the final confrontation between the Shadows and the Vorlons at Coriana VI. Sheridan places his fleet in between the two sides, calling in the other First Ones to help keep them at bay. On Centauri Prime, Londo has Morden killed and completely destroys the island of Selene where the Shadows are congregating - with all Shadow influences gone, he considers that the Vorlons will no longer attack. However, Vir points out that he has been touched by Shadows, and that is enough for the Vorlons; Londo is prepared to sacrifice his life when a Vorlon ship passes overhead. However, it moves away, called to support the battle at Coriana VI.
The Vorlons contact Sheridan, and the Shadows talk to Delenn (while Lorien telepathically relays their conversations to the others in the fleet) for a final negotiation. The two of them are offered the chance to choose between the Vorlons - representing order and obedience - or the Shadows - representing chaos and destruction - as a means of ensuring their own survival. But Sheridan and Delenn decide that they will not ally themselves with anyone, instead choosing to join their own path without the influence of the First Ones.
When they are released, a Vorlon and Shadow representative materialize aboard the White Star where Lorien tells Sheridan that now he is on his own: he has the power to end this. Sheridan turns their questions against them: Who are you? What do you want? Not even they can answer this question any more after centuries of fighting. Sheridan urges them to leave, and Lorien agrees: just as he taught the First Ones and stepped aside, it is now their turn to do the same. They will not be alone, the other First Ones who left years before are already beyond the rim waiting for them. They leave, and Lorien goes with them.
The war is over, heralding the Third Age of Mankind: where the lesser races are now given an opportunity to flourish on their own.
Notes: Londo has Morden killed - his head cut off and stuck on a pike - as per Vir's wishes from In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum. Morden's last warning to Londo is that the Centauri will pay for their actions (which appears to be true according to War Without End, Part II; see also The Fall of Centauri Prime). Morden comes back for the Day of the Dead, and Lorien also makes a return appearance in Sleeping in Light (where Sheridan also returns to Coriana VI). One of Lady Morella's predictions for Londo (Point of No Return) is "you must surrender yourself to your greatest fear, knowing that it will kill you"; Londo's asking Vir to kill him to save Centauri Prime from the Vorlons may be this incident. Londo's love of Adira Tyree and her subsequent poisoning is recalled in this episode (Born to the Purple, Interludes and Examinations), and Londo learns that it was not Lord Refa's doing as he suspected. The question "Who are you?" is one posed by the Vorlons (Comes the Inquisitor), and "What do you want?" is one posed by the Shadows (Signs and Portents) to encourage growth and enlightenment among other races.
Sheridan defines the Third Age of Mankind, mentioned in the monologue at the beginning of the pilot and seasons one and two: the First Age is a time when the galaxy was primitive; the Second Age is when the First Ones took control and manipulated the affairs of the younger races from outside; and now, the Third Age, is when the younger races take control of their own situation and their own destiny.
The soundtrack of this episode is available on CD.
Guest Cast: Ed Wasser (Morden / Voice of the Shadows); Wayne Alexander (Lorien); Damian London (Minister).