Link to: Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5 | Crusade Season 1 | Official Guide to Babylon 5 CD | The Column

Shadow Dancing [Season 3]

Shadow Dancing kicks off with the usual arguments among the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. Predictably, they're all very apprehensive of sending off any ships at all for a co-ordinated attack on the Shadows, rather than having them at their homeworlds. Eventually, they agree to give them all the ships they can spare. The Drazi ambassador says 'I hope you are right, because it will cost us greatly if you are wrong.'

Think about it. Many people will notice if hundreds of ships suddenly disappear from their homeworlds at the time they're most needed, least of all the Shadows. So exactly why did the Shadows choose to go ahead with their original plan to destroying all the refugees? Why not go and destroy all the League of Non-Aligned Worlds in one crippling blow? Maybe the Shadows were overconfident; who could possibly try to attack a major Shadow fleet and expect to win.

Marcus and Ivanova are dispatched onto the White Star as a scout for the main attack fleet. Here, we get to see another Marcus-Ivanova conversation. Delenn talks to Sheridan about the Minbari tradition of the female watching the male sleep. 'What if she doesn't like what she sees?… If he insists she stay one more night, she can leave when he falls asleep, file a complaint with the elders, even cut off his - um - his access to her family.' It's always JMS' way to defuse a serious situation with some humour in B5, and most of the time, including here, it works.

Franklin, however, having tried to intervene in a fight in Down Below, is knifed and not in a good condition. He's finally finds himself and has a long conversation about how he always runs away, running away from med school, running away from his friends and finally running away from his work. He's not perfect, as you can find out. That's what makes Babylon 5 far more interesting. He gets up off the floor, climbs up a ladder and staggers to a lift to the Zocalo, not a mean feat when you've got a knife wound to the abdomen.

The White Star detects a Shadow scout ship, and after ramming it, manages to send a message to the main fleet just after the Shadow fleet arrives. Amazing CGI as usual, and serious amounts of Alliance ships pour out of hyperspace. Minbari cruisers are destroying Shadows left and right, but the Drazis are getting punished badly, as is the Minbari ship sent to help them. A few Shadow ships are able to rip apart an entire Minbari cruiser in seconds - it's strange why how didn't do any better. That UFO ship - wow, I didn't realise how powerful it was. No wonder Babylon 5 always has one hanging around the place. The Shadows quickly flee the battleground, but only after having destroyed two Alliance ships for every Shadow ship. So, Garibaldi asks, when will the Shadows come knocking on our door?

A small non-Shadow ship is sent off from a large Shadow vessel, and presumable docks with Babylon 5. Sheridan discusses his visions of Garibaldi saying 'The man in between is looking for you,' who is without doubt Morden. Franklin is recovering fairly well, and in a series of scenes, we see someone entering B5 and looking for Sheridan's quarters. It's Anna Sheridan, and Delenn drops the snowglobe (ah, so that's what War Without End was all about).

Arc: 7

Not a particularly meaningful episode, since Babylon 5 were going to have a battle against the Shadows sooner or later, Shadow Dancing is the culmination of a series of events. Then again, you can't exactly miss this episode, or else you won't know what's going on in Z'ha'dum.

Episode: 7.5

A great battle scene, some good CGI. As JMS has said, in Seasons 2 and 3, the idea was that big explosions equalled big audiences. The humorous scenes lift Shadow Dancing just above the average Babylon 5 episode.