203: The Geometry of Shadows
First broadcast week of
A Centauri political plotter, Lord Refa, seeks Londo's help to organize a possible coup to claim power on Centauri Prime. As he leaves the station, Londo notices a group of Techno-mages coming aboard - powerful beings who use advanced sciences as a form of magic. He enlists Vir to contact their leader, Elric, believing that with their public blessing he can gain significant power and prestige among the Centauri.
Ivanova is promoted to Commander, her first assignment being to halt a violent rift between Drazi factions - every few years they randomly divide into "Purple" and "Green" groups, and then proceed to beat the crap out of each other. Garibaldi is unsure about retaking his position as Chief of Security because of his apparent failure, coupled with a mistrust of his new commanding officer, Sheridan.
In a meeting with Sheridan, Elric refuses Londo's advances, wishing only to be left in peace as he and his people flee the coming Apocalypse. However, he does provide Londo with one prediction before he leaves. Ivanova solves the Drazi dispute by means of threats, violence and lateral thinking, and also manages to persuade Garibaldi to stay on.
Notes: The Techno-mages have foreseen the Shadow War and are trying to get away from it - see the novel Casting Shadows for the backstory, and Summoning Light for a different perspective of Elric's visit to Babylon 5. The character Galen from the spin-off series Crusade is a Techno-mage, their first appearance since this episode; Elric is mentioned in Crusade: The Long Road as having raised Galen since he was a child. Elric tells Londo he can see a "great hand reaching out of the stars", something that will become a recurring image for Londo (The Coming of Shadows, Dust to Dust).
According to the novel Summoning Light, the Drazi conflict is also the product of Shadow influence.
Elric says "Do not try the patience of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger" - a quote from JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
The soundtrack of this episode is available on Babylon 5 Volume One.
Guest Cast: Michael Ansara (Elric) appeared as the Klingon warrior Kang in the Star Trek original series episode Day of the Dove, reprising the role for the Deep Space Nine episode Blood Oath. Turhan Bey auditioned for the role of Elric but was not accepted because he was "too nice" - he does eventually appear as the Centauri Emperor in The Coming of Shadows, and as Turval in Learning Curve. William Forward makes his first appearance as the devious Lord Refa.