Episode Review of Babylon 5 Season 2: "All Alone in the Night"

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Episode Information

Title: "All Alone in the Night"
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Director: Mario DiLeo
Rating (out of 4 stars): ** 1/2
Reviewed on: April 28, 2009

Synopsis from The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5


Sheridan is captured and studied by unfamiliar aliens.

At the beginning of the episode, Ivanova tells Sheridan about some mysterious sightings and ship disappearances in a nearby sector. Sheridan decides to take a fighter (with escort) to investigate. He reasons that he will be back in time for the arrival of General Hague, who is coming to the station for private business.

Sheridan and the other fighters investigate, but find nothing until an alien ship (with a very original design) pops out of hyperspace. It destroys or disables all the fighters; when Sheridan ejects, it pulls him onboard with a tractor beam. The pilot in one of the disabled fighters manages to get back to B5 sometime later, but dies from the radiation exposure from his damaged fighter.

By this time, General Hague has arrived on the station, apparently to see Sheridan. From the dead pilot's flight data, Ivanova and Hague learn that Sheridan has been abducted by an unknown alien ship. From the number of sightings of this ship, they deduces that others have been abducted as well. Ivanova begins coordinating information from the the other alien governments, while Hague calls in Sheridan's old ship, the Agamemnon, for a possible rescue.

On board the alien ship, Sheridan awakens strapped to a table. He is tortured by small probes and saws, but they are all automated or remotely operated, and he never sees his abductors. When the probes retract, he is released, only to be attacked immediately by a Drazi wearing some kind of electronic device on his head. Sheridan fights defensively, but ends up killing the Drazi.

The Drazi body disappears, and a Narn appears with a sword. Again, Sheridan fights defensively, trying to communicate with the Narn. The Narn begs Sheridan to kill him. Sheridan uses a couple quick moves to knock out the Narn instead. He removes and disables the Narn's electronic headpiece.

When the Narn awakens, he's in serious pain from injuries from his fight with Sheridan. He was also abducted, and believes that the aliens are studying them in order to learn about strengths and weaknesses for potential invasions. Sheridan seems to accept this hypothesis. Sheridan begins contemplating escape, but the Narn says there is no way to escape, which is why he had wanted to die.

Sheridan eventually drifts off to sleep, and has a very odd dream. He sees Ivanova, who has a raven on her shoulder and asks, "Do you know who I am?" In another direction, he sees himself in a Psi Cop uniform. Nearby is Garibaldi, with a dove on his shoulder, who says, "The man in between is searching for you." When Garibaldi turns back to Ivanova, she's wearing a black veil and says, "You are the hand." Another turn, and he sees Ambassador Kosh. When he asks why Kosh is there, Kosh replies that he's always been there, it's just that normally it's too "noisy" for Sheridan to hear him. Sheridan asks where he is, and Kosh says, "You have always been here."

Sheridan wakes up in his cell. He discovers that the door to the cell will lift up a bit, and begins using the Narn sword as a lever to move it farther.

This is where I think the episode has the biggest problems. Why do the aliens allow Sheridan and the Narn to stop fighting and become friends? Why do they allow Sheridan to disable the device that apparently controlled the Narn? Why is the door not securely latched? This is well before the fight between the alien ship and B5's fighters that is about to happen. After the aliens have gone to so much trouble and seem to have quite a bit of technique in their studies, they seem to make stupid mistakes.

Meanwhile, Delenn has provided information to Ivanova about the aliens, which are called the Streib. They do in fact travel around this region of the galaxy abducting aliens to study them. The last time they tried such a thing in Minbari space, they learned their mistake. Delenn gives Ivanova the location of the Streib homeworld, and she and Hague coordinate an assault with B5's fighters and the Agamemnon.

During the fight, Sheridan and the Narn are able to pry open their cell door and find an escape pod. This is lucky for them, because the Streib space their other captives when the fight turns bad for them. Ivanova picks up Sheridan's signal, and they are rescued. Back on the station, the Narn is nursed back to health in medlab and Sheridan is patched up.

General Hague finally gets to meet privately with Sheridan, turning on some kind of jamming device for privacy. We learn that while Sheridan may have been ordered to assume command of B5 by the President, Hague also ordered Sheridan to feel out the command staff's attitude concerning the President and the former President's assassination. Hague and Sheridan both feel that something rotten is developing in the upper echelons of Earth Force and Earthgov, and they are looking for ways to prove it and to save Earth from itself. Sheridan reports that the command staff is all loyal to Earth and he doesn't like being a spy. Hague suggests that Sheridan can help their cause by recruiting the command staff on B5 and performing some actions on his own, since Clark won't be closely scrutinizing his hand-picked commander.

At the end of the episode, Sheridan calls Ivanova, Garibaldi, and Franklin for an unofficial meeting and explains Hague's presence and his goals. For now, they are going to try to stop the corruption in Earthgov using means within regulations, but they are going to start taking action. Each of them volunteers to join his efforts.

During the episode, an additional plot was Delenn's recall to the Grey Council. She knows the recall bodes ill, but despite her warnings, Lennier insists on going with her. When she arrives on the Gray Council's ship, she is rather ignominiously told that she has been removed from the council. However, she may still petition the council to retain her position as ambassador on B5.

When she makes her petition to the entire Grey Council, we learn that her replacement on the council is Neroon, a member of the warrior caste whom we met last season in "Legacies". Since Delenn was of the religious caste, his taking her place upsets the balance between the castes on the council, and Delenn is very upset. She is no more upset than Neroon, however, who has just been told of the real reason why the warriors were ordered to surrender to Earth at the Battle of the Line - he hardly believes the soul-exchange program that the religious caste has declared is occurring. (Perhaps he should recall his conversations with Sinclair in "Legacies", when he commented that Sinclair spoke like a Minbari.) He spitefully tells her that because of her transformation, she's the perfect ambassador to B5, since she doesn't belong on Minbar or Earth.

No one else on the council bothers to speak, which makes me wonder whether they are too upset with Delenn to want to, or if Neroon's ferocity has them cowed. From what we have seen so far, Delenn is much more eloquent and charismatic than any of them. Delenn has what she wanted - she's still ambassador - but she is clearly shaken by the change in the council. She definitely realizes she doesn't have the clout that she used to, which may hamper her goals on B5.

This episode has a lot of interesting stuff in it, but it's mostly the secondary points in the episode. The main plot - Sheridan's abduction - seems pretty off-the wall and completely arbitrary in its timing. The Streib decide to abduct him on the same day Hague is supposed to arrive? This just seems contrived. And as I said above, the supervision of Sheridan and the Narn in the cell seems very poor and unbelievable - they really shouldn't have been able to get out of the cell so easily, before there had even been damage to the ship during the fighting.

But now to the interesting bits. Why did Sheridan have Kosh in his dream while he was abducted? We get the impression that Kosh's presences was actually there, and not that Sheridan just dreamed about him. The rest of Sheridan's dream seemed significant, too. We'll find out later what Ivanova's "do you know who I am" question referred to, as well as Garibaldi's comment about the man looking for Sheridan. Was the dream all caused by Kosh, or did Kosh just take advantage of Sheridan's dream state to pop in? From this, we have to assume that Kosh is telepathic, and he's got quite a range, since Sheridan was nowhere near B5 at this time. When Sheridan returns to the station, Kosh seems to confirm their mutual experience of the dream by repeating a line from it. I don't think Sheridan knows what to make of that part of his experience yet.

The big revelation in the episode is that Sheridan and General Hague apparently know each other at some level beyond simple commander-subordinate interactions. It seems that Hague ordered Sheridan to snoop on the B5 officers, although when Sheridan asks Hague how he (Hague) can trust him (Sheridan), it's a little odd. How did Hague and Sheridan discover their mutual suspicions and feelings regarding Earthgov and Earth Force? They won't be able to meet very often, even unofficially like in this episode, without raising suspicions. What plans does Hague have for setting things right? How much independence does Sheridan have to act? Does Hague know that Sheridan is in the perfect place to find sympathizers, since Garibaldi uncovered the alleged assassination plot on the station?

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