Episode Review of Babylon 5 Season 4: "Between the Darkness and the Light"

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Episode Information

Title: "Between the Darkness and the Light"
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Director: David Eagle
Rating (out of 4 stars): *** 1/2
Reviewed on: February 14, 2010

Synopsis from The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5


Sheridan is rescued, while Ivanova continues his campaign against Earth Force.

Sheridan's captors have progressed to more technological interrogation techniques, similar to those used on Sinclair in season one in "And the Sky Full of Stars". We see Sheridan apparently talking to Franklin, but Sheridan still knows something isn't quite right, and avoids answering Franklin's questions about the Mars resistance and denies Franklin's assertion that aliens steered Sheridan into fighting against Clark. We then seen what's really going on: Sheridan is being drugged and manipulated, so that he's hallucinating the scene. The interrogators are clearly frustrated that they haven't had any success yet at breaking Sheridan.

Garibaldi has been trying to contact Franklin in the Mars resistance, but the resistance isn't interested in talking to him, and they just capture him. Number One is all for executing him immediately, but Franklin wants to hear Garibaldi's side of the story. Garibaldi tells Franklin about Bester programming him, but the whole thing does sound pretty incredible, even with Franklin's knowledge of what the Psi Corps did with Talia (in season two's "Divided Loyalties"). Garibaldi notices Lyta and asks her to scan him and verify the story. Lyta warns him that such a deep scan could "damage" him, but Garibaldi makes the good point that it's better to be damaged than dead.

Lyta scans Garibaldi and confirms the story. The experience is clearly pretty overwhelming for her, and when Number One still scoffs that she can't believe it, Lyta projects the events int Number One's mind. Number One is flabbergasted, but accepts the truth, and Garibaldi is released.

Garibaldi knows where Sheridan is being held and is eager to lead a rescue mission before Sheridan is taken back to Earth. Number One can only spare one guide to lead them through the underground tunnels to the facility - after that, it's up to Garibaldi, Franklin, and Lyta to break Sheridan out. En route to the facility, they have to take out a few Earth Force guards, and Garibaldi is stabbed in the back. (A nice parallel of what he did to Sheridan!) Franklin hastily sutures the wound, and then they use the guards' uniforms for disguises.

When they get into the facility, Garibaldi uses his fame as the person who turned in Sheridan to get inside. Then they used a combination of Lyta's powers and old-fashioned punches to get into Sheridan's room. (I like that Lyta initially disabled her guard telepathically, then finished him off with a punch that it looked like she regretted.) Sheridan is still very out of it from the drugs; he recognizes Garibaldi and pronounces, "I was going to kick your but for.... something. But I don't remember." Probably a good thing, because it wasn't the time for explanations!

When they try to take Sheridan out of the facility, the guards protest, and then they notice Garibaldi's wound bleeding. They have to shoot the guards in order to get out, and Sheridan gets a gun and relishes shooting one of the guard about a half-dozen times. We don't see what happens next, but the resistance must help Sheridan get back to his fleet, as he appears there at the end of the episode.

Back on B5, the Advisory Council meets without a representative from Earth or Minbar, much to Lennier and Delenn's dismay when they find out. They arrive just in time to make a quorum for a vote, which succeeds. Londo is almost giddy with pride. He and G'Kar have convinced the other worlds to send ships to help rescue Sheridan. Londo's proposal is based on two reasons: first, Sheridan risked his life for all of them during the Shadow war. Second, as G'Kar says, Sheridan and the other humans are the glue that keeps together the League of Non-Aligned Worlds and the whole system of mutual cooperation between all of the worlds. Thus, it is in their best interests to help Sheridan win and keep Earth from becoming isolationist, as it would under President Clark. Delenn is stunned into silence, but gives them all one of her "proud parent" looks. She then leaves the station to join Sheridan's fleet (she doesn't yet know Sheridan has been rescued).

Ivanova has been leading the fleet in a number of successful fights. But in the first scenes with her, she seems almost empty, as if Sheridan's capture has taken something away from her. She is all business, despite Marcus mother-henning her.

An officer from one of the Earth Force ships they captured offers them information in exchange for leniency in whatever punishment he receives. He says that Clark knows the rendezvous location where the fleet is regrouping before heading to Mars. Clark is sending a special fleet of new destroyers with advanced technology from Shadow ships to ambush them; the crews are specially-trained and loyal to Clark exclusively. Ivanova decides to take the White Stars to the location first and spring the ambush, since the Earth Force destroyers they have allied with don't have the same level of technology to defend from new, more-advanced ships.

The White Stars jump into normal space at the rendezvous, and Clark's ships arrive right on cue: the ships look nightmarish, with curvy spines sticking out of them, like the Shadow ships had. The leader of Clark's ships demands that the White Stars surrender, and we see that Ivanova isn't empty of emotion after all, she's just bottled it all up. Her anger erupts in a completely over-the-top declaration of who she is and exactly what she's going to do to Clark's ships.

The battle begins, with no mercy on either side, since there's clearly no compromising between them. The White Star are overmatched, but Ivanova leads them into a very costly victory, eliminating all of the new destroyers. At the end of the fight, a large chunk of debris hits Ivanova's White Star, causing massive damage to the bridge and elsewhere. Marcus digs Ivanova's body out of the wreckage.

Later, Sheridan arrives on the Minbari war cruiser where Delenn is and where Ivanova has been taken. Sheridan and Delenn have a quiet reunion, but Sheridan has already been told about Ivanova's injury. We go with him to visit Ivanova. She looks horrible, and her head and neck are encased in a large brace. She has been drifting in and out of consciousness, with Marcus at her side.

Ivanova wakes up when Sheridan arrives, and she tells him about how they won the fight when the odds were against them. She asks him to tell her the truth about her prognosis, and Sheridan admits that she is not going to survive - she has a week at most. Ivanova warns him not to feel guilty about her, too, or she'll come back and kick his butt. Her last request is that Sheridan direct the final battle from the Agamemnon, which he agrees to do. This scene is absolutely heartbreaking.

At the end of the episode, Sheridan's fleet heads out for the final battle to re-take Earth, having been joined by the ships from the other worlds, as per Londo's proposal.

This episode does a lot on its own, but it also really ramps up the anticipation for the next episode.

Garibaldi's apparent redemption with his friends is a nice plink to Bester, who didn't think it was possible. I'm not sure it would have been without Lyta's help, but even so it's nice. However, I still Garibaldi's going to have some questions to answer, and he'll have his own feelings of guilt to deal with. I found it a little hard to believe that the rest of the Mars resistance fighters would just take Number One's word that Garibaldi was innocent, but if they gave him more of a hard time, it could have been off-screen.

We see again how powerful Lyta has become, as she whispered to Garibaldi that the blocks in his mind were only breakable by a Psi Cop (P12 or higher). Also, the ability to project her scan of Garibaldi to Number One's mind seemed to be exceptional. Everyone is really taking Lyta for granted... how long before she takes some initiative with her abilities?

Ivanova's story in this episode is clearly the most tragic, especially in regard to her relationship with Marcus. Marcus has been trying so hard to gain her trust and interest, and she just hasn't had the time or wanted to take the risk. But just in this episode she revealed that she figured out Marcus's Minbari compliment from last season's "Shadow Dancing", which implied she might be becoming more interested in him. Now it appears that she is going to die before they ever have a chance to start a relationship. After her injury, we see Marcus continually at her side.

On another topic, it's amazing that Earth Force managed to build any ships incorporating Shadow technology so fast - even Ivanova comments on it. If Clark has ships with Shadow technology, what kind of defenses does he have around Earth that use Shadow technology? Sheridan could be in for quite a fight.

It's about time that some of Sheridan's new Earth Force "allies" have turned out to be spies... it seemed like such an obvious thing for Clark to order. How many of Sheridan's allies will turn against him in the final fight? Does he have suspicious about any of them in particular?

It's interesting that Sheridan apparently accepts the ships from other worlds joining his fleet now, when up to this point he's been adamant about keeping them out of the fight. Perhaps he thinks he's made his point, and now it will be more significant for all of the Earth Force ships that have allied with him to be fighting alongside the alien ships.

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