The Gathering / In the Beginning / Thirdspace / River of Souls / A Call to Arms

Pilot: The Gathering

"I was there at the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind.

It began in the Earth year 2257 with the founding of the last of the Babylon stations, located deep in neutral space. It was a port of call for refugees, smugglers, businessmen, diplomats and travellers from a hundred worlds. Could be a dangerous place, but we accepted the risk because Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace. Under the leadership of its final commander, Babylon 5 was a dream given form; a dream of a galaxy without war, when species from different worlds could live side-by-side in mutual respect... a dream that was in danger as never before by the arrival of one man on a mission of destruction.

Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. This is its story..."

- Ambassador Londo Mollari
(Download the theme - Original and Special Edition)

Written by
J. Michael Straczynski

Directed by
Richard Compton

First broadcast week of
3 October 1994

Babylon 5 sits in orbit of Epsilon 3 in the Tigris sector.  As it begins service, diplomats begin to arrive from the major galactic civilizations: Ambassador Delenn for the Minbari; Ambassador Londo Mollari for the Centauri; and Ambassador G'Kar for the Narn.  Station commander Jeffrey Sinclair represents the Earth government, with First Officer Takashima and Security Chief Michael Garibaldi as his aides.

The Babylon 5 Council Chamber

The general feeling is that the Earth Alliance isn't entirely optimistic of Babylon 5's progress, as the first three Babylon stations were sabotaged and/or destroyed, and the fourth vanished without a trace after only 24 hours of becoming operational.  Even the delegates do not appear to be what they seem: Londo spends a great deal of time in the station casino; Delenn is secretive and speaks in riddles; G'Kar is ill-tempered and highly ambitious, not allowing anyone to stand in his way for improving the wellbeing of his people, who were once enslaved by the Centauri.

The eventual arrival of Ambassador Kosh Naranek marks the first official meeting with the Vorlons by any other species.  This proves to be a problem when Kosh, enclosed in a life-supporting encounter suit, is found unconscious moments after his ship docks at Babylon 5.

Dr Benjamin Kyle is forced to open the encounter suit against the Vorlon Government's wishes but swears himself to secrecy as to what he finds inside.  Station telepath Lyta Alexander also probes Kosh's mind for an identification of the attacker and uncovers a conspiracy to frame Commander Sinclair.

A Vorlon fleet arrives to demand Sinclair be handed over, but eventually the assassin is found: a Warrior Caste Minbari with a Changeling Net, protesting the growing power base of the humans.  Before he dies, he tells Sinclair "There is a hole in your mind" - which Sinclair assumes is a reference to a 24-hour period missing from his memory at the Battle of the Line, Earth's final stand against the Minbari in the war ten years previously, where the Minbari suddenly and inexplicably surrendered.  Discovering that he had been smuggled aboard the station by the Narn, Sinclair issues a warning to G'Kar.  Kosh recovers and the formalities proceed smoothly.

Notes: 20 minutes of footage was cut from this episode, including a scene where Kosh greets (the ersatz) Sinclair with the Minbari phrase "Entil'zha, Valen" (see War Without End, Part II) (this was restored for the Special Edition).  We discover the fate of Babylon 4 in Babylon Squared and War Without End.  G'Kar offers to mate with Lyta Alexander as there are no telepaths among the Narn (see Dust to Dust and Ship of Tears for an exploration of this theme; the conversation itself is recalled in Darkness Ascending).  Sinclair's whereabouts in the Battle of the Line are revealed in And the Sky Full of Stars and the Minbari surrender explained in Points of DepartureIn the Beginning tells the full story of the Earth-Minbari War.

The music for this episode was done by former Police drummer Stewart Copeland - the only soundtrack for the series not composed by Christopher Franke.  However, when the movie was re-edited for broadcast in 1998 (including cut scenes, re-edited scenes, and a reconstruction of the CG effects) the score was recomposed by Christopher Franke.  The Special Edition is available on DVD, the Region 1 (and Region 4, NTSC format) version coupled with In the Beginning.

The Region 2 DVD release contains the Special Edition (despite the crew listing on the cover), whereas the other region releases (coupled in a double-set with In the Beginning) do not.

Main Cast: Michael O'Hare (Commander Jeffrey Sinclair); Tamlyn Tomita (Lieutenant Commander Laurel Takashima); Jerry Doyle (Security Chief Michael Garibaldi); Mira Furlan (Ambassador Delenn); Peter Jurasik (Ambassador Londo Mollari); Andreas Katsulas (Ambassador G'Kar); Blaire Baron (Carolyn Sykes); Patricia Tallman (Lyta Alexander); Johnny Sekka (Dr Benjamin Kyle); Ardwight Chamberlain (Voice of Kosh).

John Fleck (Del Varner); Paul Hampton (Senator).

This is the only appearance of Dr Kyle (though he does get a namecheck in The War Prayer, Walkabout and The Ragged Edge), Laurel Takashima and Sinclair's girlfriend Carolyn Sykes.  Takashima was established here to be working covertly for outside parties (for example, the Minbari assassin uses her security codes to break into Del Varner's quarters)  - however with her departure this plot thread was abandoned (see Chrysalis).

Lyta Alexander does not return until Divided Loyalties, also appearing in Passing Through Gethsemane and Walkabout before fully returning as a regular as of Season Four.   Ed Wasser also makes an appearance in this episode as a minor character - he returns to the series later as the Shadow agent, Morden.

The Gathering / In the Beginning / Thirdspace / River of Souls / A Call to Arms