322: Z'ha'dum

Directed by
Adam Nimoy

First UK broadast 8 September 1996

First US broadcast week of
28 October 1996

Sheridan is stunned by the arrival of his wife, Anna Sheridan, believed to have been killed on Z'ha'dum.  Franklin's tests confirm that she is indeed who she says she is - although a curious implant is later detected at the base of her skull.  Anna insists that Sheridan return with her to Z'ha'dum so the Shadows can tell their side of the story to him, to convince him that their actions are actually benign.  Sheridan is sceptical: Kosh had once warned him against it (and he even has a vision of Kosh warning him again), as did a future Delenn, but he decides that he could cause more harm by not going to Z'ha'dum.  He arranges for Garibaldi to transfer two nuclear warheads donated by G'Kar aboard the White Star, aboard which he and Anna travel.

An informant urges Londo to leave Babylon 5 at once, and he is instructed to return to Centauri Prime to act as an adviser to Emperor Cartagia.  Soon after, a fleet of Shadow ships surround the station but do not attack.

Sheridan on Z'ha'dumOn Z'ha'dum, Sheridan is met by Morden and another human called Justin.  Anna reveals that the Icarus mission to Z'ha'dum was no co-incidence: the dormant Shadow vessel excavated on Mars was Earth's first clue to the existence of an ancient race, and Interplanetary Expeditions tracked the ships back to their homeworld so they could mount their own exploration.

Justin attempts to convince Sheridan that the Shadows are serving for the good of all races by encouraging them to maintain conflict to force themselves to grow stronger - evolution through chaos.  The Vorlons' own policies of peaceful learning lead only to stagnation.  They wish to convince Sheridan of their "good intentions" instead of killing him to prevent him from becoming a martyr, leading the way for others to take his place and continue the fight.

Morden tells Sheridan of the Shadow ships around Babylon 5 - telling him to join with them or the station will be destroyed.  Sheridan refuses, fighting his way out to the edge of an abyss where he sends a signal to the White Star to arm the warheads and plunge onto the Shadow base.  He hears Kosh telling him to jump - which he does, as the White Star explodes.  Sensing the danger, the Shadow ships leave Babylon 5 but take with them a prize: a Starfury, containing one Michael Garibaldi...

Notes: The discovery of the Shadow ship on Mars was seen in Messages From Earth.  The story of the Icarus expedition to Z'ha'dum was told in the novel The Shadow Within and to some extent in In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum.  Kosh told Sheridan his fate on Z'ha'dum in In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum, and Delenn told him not to go in War Without End, Part II.  Sheridan's visions of Kosh are due to the fact a piece of Kosh remains inside him (Interludes and Examinations, Walkabout, Whatever Happened to Mr Garibaldi?, Falling Toward Apotheosis).

Justin explains that the Vorlons and the Shadows have been manipulating the younger races for centuries.  The Vorlons have been guiding and manipulating other races, generating telepaths to fight the Shadows, making themselves appear favourably to the other races (as we saw in The Fall of Night).  They rallied with the other races a thousand years earlier to drive back the Shadows.

The novel The Passing of the Techno-mages #3: Invoking Darkness is contemporaneous with events of this episode, and includes different perspectives of some events seen here.

The soundtrack of this episode is available on CD.

Guest Cast: Melissa Gilbert (Anna Sheridan).  The scene featuring Beth Toussaint in Revelations was re-recorded for a flashback in this episode.  Jeff Corey appears as Justin.


"It was the end of the Earth year 2260.  The War had come to a pause, suddenly and unexpectedly.  All around it was as if the Universe were holding its breath, waiting.  All of life can be broken down into moments of transition, and moments of revelation.  This had the feeling of both.

G'Quan wrote: 'There is a darkness greater than the one we fight.  It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way.  The War we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair.  Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams.  Against this peril we can never surrender.'

The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition to be born in moments of revelation.  No one knows the shape of that future, or where it will take us.  We know only that it is always born in pain..."