The crew discovers a planet that was devastated by a plague similar to the
one threatening Earth.
Production number: 103
Original air date: August 4, 1999
DVD release date: December 7, 2004
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Mike Vejar
- The Shadows used the plague in the last Shadow War, a
thousand years ago. They infected a planet, not yet technologically
advanced enough for starflight, that refused to allow
them to set up a base. After three years of struggling to find a
cure, the inhabitants of that planet froze themselves. Every two
years, when the five-year clock expires, another individual is
awakened to guard over the planet. Anyone who stumbles onto
the planet is abducted and dissected in the hopes that they'll
prove immune to the plague and thus show the way to a cure.
- Gideon consults the apocalypse box
("The Path of Sorrows")
to find out about new planets to explore. It knows about worlds the
Rangers haven't discovered yet.
- How did the apocalypse box know about the planet?
Did it know what was really going on there?
"A Call to Arms,"
Sheridan said that the reason the plague will take five years to kill
everyone on Earth is that the Drakh didn't have time to adjust it for
Earth biology before releasing it. If that's true, why didn't the
plague act more quickly on the aliens, given that it was the Shadows
themselves who released it? Maybe they released it at the very end
of the last Shadow War and, like the Drakh, didn't have time to
adjust it beforehand, but it's also possible that the analysis Sheridan
was quoting was flawed. If so, the five-year figure might be incorrect
- This episode was originally slated to air first, until
TNT decided that it preferred to have some introductory episodes
to ease viewers into the series' premise.
- Galen's closing line, "Expect me when you see me," is
a quote from "The Lord of the Rings," spoken by Gandalf. The quote
was also used by G'Kar in
- Racing was finished last December.
- What does the box say to Gideon?
"Things change...long time gone."
And in later instances when the box talks, it's Gideon's/Gary's
voice. You may take that as foreshadowing if you wish.
- Also, no one else on the crew knows about the box. Well,
officially. One other person knows about it, but he's not supposed to
know. And Galen suspects something amiss from his passing comment at
the end of the ep.
- "Do we find out who this is in the remaining four
(*sniff*) episodes? And if not, can you give us a little hint?"
- Gideon can take the moral high ground now. But how
long will he keep being polite when there are billions of lives at
As Eilerson said, "Wouldn't you sacrifice a hundred Narns to
save Earth?" It was a question Gideon didn't answer.
- "JMS has hinted elsewhere that the cure might be found
before the end of the series. He's also said the show we think we're
watching will turn out not to be the show we're actually watching. Put
these two together, and I wonder greatly if, had the next few years
played out, he might have gradually uncovered some other, greater theme
or conflict that would overshadow the plague, and take over the plot
for the last year or so."
If not sooner....