Babylon 5 – The Gathering (Pilot Movie)

I wasn’t a fan of Babylon 5, despite liking and giving a chance to all Scifi franchises, for a very long time until recently. It still hasn’t completely won me over as I just couldn’t stand to take the Centauri seriously with that ridiculous hair piece that looks like a turkey! I decided to give the series a chance based on the fact that a lot of scifi fans who liked the same stuff that I did liked B5 and I’m glad I did. I’m still just a grudging fan but the series is intriguing and it has a lot of material to watch and get to know their universe better.

Babylon 5 is set in the 23rd century, after a 3 year Earth-Minbari war which the much advanced Minbari were clearly winning. The war was actually a mistake due to a communication error in which an Earth vessel scouting a Minbari ship thought that a greeting gesture was a threatening one and destroyed the ship. Just before the Minbari were to deal a deadly blow to Earth forces, they suddenly & mysteriously withdrew and surrendered.

The Gathering is the pilot movie, set a year before the 5 season tv series. It is now 2257, 9 years after the war and Earth forces have created Babylon 5, with input from the Minbari, a large space station deep in neutral space, orbiting the uninhabited planet Epsilon III. It is the 5th of 5 such stations however 3 were destroyed by sabotage and the 4th disappeared soon after becoming operational. Babylon 5 was built as a neutral venue for discussing and resolving issues between the five major spacefaring races of the galaxy, the humans, Narn, Centauri, Minbari and Vorlons. It’s a place for debate, discussions, diplomacy & trade, an open port of call. The station is home to 250,000, including about 100,000 humans and 2,000 EarthForce personnel, and includes areas for business, accommodation and recreation.

Commander Jeffrey Sinclair is in overall charge of the station. First officer Laurel Takashima, Chief Of Security Michael Garibaldi & Chief Medical Officer Dr. Benjamin Kyle are all part of his officers team. Joining them on the station is Lyta Alexander, a human telepath sent by Psi Corps who joins the station crew. The station has just become operational & preparations are on to declare the station open for business. The other ambassadors G’Kar of the Narn, Delenn of the Minbari & Lando Molari of the Centauri await the representative of the 5th race, Ambassador Kosh Naranek from the mysterious & powerful Vorlon Empire.

No sooner does Kosh enter the station when he suddenly falls ill, apparently from poisoning. A mind scan by Lyta shows Commander Sinclair attacking the Vorlon on his arrival. While Dr. Kyle attempts to save Kosh’s life, it’s up to Chief Garibaldi & Sinclair to find out who framed the Commander before the Vorlons lose their patience and attack the station. Garibaldi tracks a human civilian Del Varner who had been smuggling illegal items between systems, and that he most recently had gone to the Antares sector to acquire a changeling net; a device that can make an individual appear to look like somebody else. The crew realizes that Kosh had not been poisoned by Sinclair when he arrived at the station, but rather that he had been poisoned by someone who was using the changeling net to imitate Sinclair.

Varner, or a changeling taking his shape, is tracked but not before he take the form of Lyta to attempt to kill Kosh in medlab and is thwarted by Dr. Kyle. The assassin turns out to be a member of the Minbari war cast, who did not agree with the surrender to the Earth forces 9 years ago and tried to sabotage the station. When Sinclair demands a reason for his actions, the Minbari replies, just before killing himself, that there is a hole in the mind of Sinclair – during the Earth-Minbari war Sinclair, who was on the frontline, blacked out for 24 hours and is unable to remember what happened during that time. Immediately after that, the Minbari surrendered. He speaks to Delenn about this but she dismisses the words of the assassin as nothing but an insult. The Vorlons are satisfied that the Commander was not responsible for the attack and Kosh recovers from his illness. Soon after that Takashima declares the station open for business.

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