Babylon 5 is described in the opening credits as the "last best hope for peace". There were 4 previous stations, the first three were destroyed by terrorists and the 4th disappeared. There are a quarter of a million humans and aliens on the station. The EarthForce personnel number about 2000. Here's Commander Sinclair's narration for the 1st season's titles.
It was the dawn of the third age of mankind – ten years after the Earth-Minbari War. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call – home away from home – for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal… all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last best hope for peace. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2258. The name of the place is Babylon 5.
Deathwalker April 20 1994
Written by Lawrence G Ditillio and directed by Bruce Seth Green
Na'Toth attacks a Dilgar woman who's just arriving on the station. She claims the now unconscious Dilgar is Deathwalker, the notorious Dilgar Warmaster and mass murder named Jha'dur. She is supposed to be dead. She'd been hiding amongst the Windswords and she'd developed weapons for the Minbari during the Minbari-Earth War. Delenn tells Sinclair that the Minbari government never knew until Jha'dur turned up at the station. All the races have their secrets in secrets and they hardly ever turn out well for anyone. Turns out Deathwalker has a universal anti-agathic drug that cures disease and retards the aging process in all humanoid life forms. That would be popular, huh.
Sinclair is told by Senator Hidoshi that he has to get Deathwalker to Earth right away. The League of Non-Aligned Worlds put a stop to that, they want to try Jha'dur for her war crimes. She killed whole populations during the war that happened 30 years ago. It was the first space war the Earth entered, helping the League against the Dilgar invasion. The Humans hadn't meet the Minbari yet. The League sends warships to B5 and it gets a bit hairy until Sinclair gets them to hold off. They can have her once she helps the Earth develop the drug. Turns out that drug requires one person or alien to die to keep another going. Ha, ha. Like that would stop people from using that. There'd be a rash of new crimes that would require the death penalty. It's doesn't matter much, the Vorlons blow up Deathwalker's ship as she gets to the jump gate. Kosh tells everyone they aren't ready for immortality. You can't really argue with that. Most humans and aliens don't seem ready for lunch.
The other story line in the episode concerns our mysterious Vorlon. He hires the stations telepath Talia Winters for some business. They meet with a guy named Abbut. That's him in the black hat and purple stripped coat. I've always liked the variety of costumes on Babylon 5 and that includes the colors. Visually, I find the show a treat. Kosh and Abbut exchange odd words and Talia stands there. She has some weird visions and it disturbs her. Nothing is ever explained. Just more Vorlon stuff. They are the most sercet of races. At least for now. It's an episode I liked quite a bit. It doesn't move the arc along much but it gives you some backstory and a bit of look at the Vorlons.
Believers April 27 1994
Written by David Gerrold and Richard Compton
I've always had a hard time watching this one. Dr Franklin has a little boy in his care. He wants to operate but the parents religion does not allow that. He goes ahead and operates and the parents have to kill their son because he's now being controlled by demons. Once the skin is broken the soul is destroyed and demons take over. It's a tough story and a good one. I just feel so sad for the family, either way, their kid is dead. I don't feel much sympathy for Dr Franklin, he did what he did for a good reason, but it was the wrong thing to do.
The drama is cut with some space action. Ivanova takes out a gang of Star Furys to help a stranded ship. There are a good number of raiders in the spaceways. Babylon 5 tries to keep them cleared out of their area. It's another episode that doesn't move the arc forward and like all the rest of the episodes on this disc it isn't written by JMS. Science Fiction readers might recognize David Gerrold's name from the novels and stories he wrote over the years. I read his 1972 short story collection With My Finger In My I when it came out. I also read the novel he wrote with Larry Niven, The Flying Sorcerers, but I don't remember reading anything else on his book list on the Wikipedia. He also wrote a good bit of TV including Star Trek's The Trouble With Tribbles. A much lighter toned story to be sure.
Survivors May 4 1994
Written by Marc Scott Zicree and directed by Jim Johnston
President Santiago is coming to the station and someone wants to kill him. That same group frames Mr Garibabldi and he has to go on the run from his own men. We learn that Mr G has had a checkered path and problems with alcohol. He falls off the wagon while he's on the run and gets caught. He manages to pull his feet out of the fire and figure out who is behind the frame. Garibaldi is one of my favorite characters in the series. He's got his issues but he's always ready to help a pal when they need a hand. He's a good man to have at your back. It's another one that I like a lot, even though it's a well used plot device. The characters are what make the series so wonderful and the actors do a great job bringing them to life. Lucky for them they have such good scripts.
By Any Means Necessary May 11 1994
Written by Kathryn M Drennan and Jim Johnston
The stations dock workers are overworked, they work too many shifts, people are getting hurt. The station says they have no more budget and they can't do anything. The workers start an illegal strike which puts Sinclair on the spot. Earth sends a strike breaker named Orin Zento but before he gets everyone arrested Sinclair saves the day. I think the story line makes the station more real. JMS has said he wanted it to be a lived in universe. It sure is. I like it.
In the other story thread a special plant G'Kar needs for a religious ceremony gets destroyed. It's a rare thing, if he ordered a new one, it wouldn't arrive before the ceremony's deadline passes. It turns out that Mollari has one of the plants, he was going to get high with it, but he won't give or sell it to G'Kar. Sinclair gets in there and gets the plant. The deadline has just past and Londo is happy. The ceremony has to be held when the light from Narn's sun falls on a certain spot on Narn. Sinclair reminds G'Kar that the light from the Narn sun would be getting to the station later in the day. G'Kar can hold the ceremony. Sinclair does a lot of good on the station and he'll have a big impact on the Minbari in the future.
Another good batch of stories and even though JMS didn't write them he does have a chance to rewrite and add stuff. He keeps the characters on track and adds a lot of interesting dialog and story idea. We don;t get as much advancement on the story arc in this batch of shows but that wheel turns soon enough.