When last we spoke of Babylon 5, I announced that I was on the fence as to whether I was going to continue these season-in-review posts. I was not enjoying writing them, and that, to me, sounds like a job. The hell with that.
For now, though, I've decided that I'll try to keep them going, perhaps in a somewhat less wordy format. Speaking of which, let's dive right in.
"The Hour of the Wolf"
(season 4, episode 1)
airdate: November 4, 1996
written by: J. Michael Straczynski
directed by: David J. Eagle
In the wake of Sheridan's one-man attack on Z'ha'dum, the rest of the Council of Light tries to figure out which way to move tactically. The League of Nonaligned Worlds dissolves itself, so things are off to a rough start post-Sheridan. Susan and Lyta take a White Star to Z'ha'dum in hopes of finding Sheridan, but have no luck. Little do they know, however, that he is seemingly still alive on Z'ha'dum, in a cave of some sort, deep underground, with an unusual alien around to look at him quizzically.
Meanwhile, Londo is "promoted" and recalled to Centauri Prime, where he becomes aware of just how insane Emperor Cartagia is.
This is a fairly good season opener. I like most of the stuff with Susan and Lyta, even though it ends up amounting to little. G'Kar's concern for the still-missing Garibaldi is well-played by Katsulas, and will have a substantial payoff next episode.
Really, though, this episode is all about what happens with Londo. We find out that Morden is still alive, albeit a little crisp, and that Cartagia has made a deal with the Shadows to allow them to keep a bunch of their vessels on an island on Centauri Prime. This partial annexation horrifies Londo to his very core, and leads to him catching up with one of the points in time he has occasionally had prophetic dreams about: the Shadow vessels flying by overhead in a clear blue sky.
He immediately ascertains the truth: that Cartagia is not merely insane, but dangerously insane, and apt to take the Centauri people down with him when he topples. He's allied himself with the Shadows because he believes they are going to make him a literal god. What can you do against that sort of monumental madness? If you're Londo Mollari, who has always been a true patriot, you begin plotting Cartagia's death. We'll see how that turns out in some later episode, one assumes.
As for the coda with Sheridan on Z'ha'dum, let's talk about that when we discuss the next episode.
Bryant's rating: *** 1/2 / *****