The Narn/Centauri war, which started back in episode 9 of this season (“The Coming of Shadows”) ends tonight. We’re told it’s about six months later. G’kar mentioned in “Acts of Sacrifice” (Season 2, episode 12) that his people defeated the Centauri before with a century-long Vietnam style war, until finally they broke their oppressor’s will, and were set free (Presumably this was Emperor Turhan’s doing). Since that time, the Narn became like abused children who grow up to abuse everyone around them. In the 30 or 40 years since independence, they became wildly imperialistic, invading small, primitive and/or unaffiliated worlds, and building up one of the five great empires. They even regularly picked on the Centuari themselves, both politically and militarily (“Midnight on the Firing Line”, Season 1, Ep 1). Here they’re facing a fair fight for the first time in their lives, and if you’ve been watching the series, or reading my reviews, you’ll know that they just weren’t up to it.
The Narn were unquestionably the bad guys of the first season of the show, and if you’d told me in 1993/94 that I’d feel sorry these Klingon wannabees, I’d have said you were crazy. And yet I do. The Narn - mostly through G’kar - became far more than ciphers, and the more you learn of their story the more tragic they become.
Warleader G’sten - who happens to be G’kar’s uncle - brings news of the war. It’s bad. They have lost every major engagement, they’re falling back, they’ve lost three colonies in the last week, and they’ve lost communication with much of their empire. Their choices are simple: defend homeworld and lose, or make a final, desparate Rebels-against-Death Star II-styled attack. They’ve decided on the latter, though G’kar questions the logic of it. G’sten explains that the Gorash system (Incidentally, Londo’s BFF from “Knives” was said to be “The Hero of Gorash”) is the main Centauri supply base for the war, and if they take it out, it’ll throw the Centauri into confusion, and force them to pull back until they can re-establish their supply lines. They might even lose some of their resolve once they realize the Narn still have teeth. This will give the Narn time to rebuild their forces and consider a new strategy, and more importantly, it’ll give G’kar time to find a diplomatic solution. It’ll be a tough fight, they expect to lose a lot of ships and lives, but G’sten is sure they can win. Granted, to do it they’ll have to leave homeworld undefended for a bit, but “The window of vulnerability is very small.” He leaves.
Some time later, Franklin calls G’kar to medlab and tells him that one of the Narn refugees he’s been treating was interrogated about homeworld defenses, and points out that in the last days of the Earth/Minbari war, the Minbari simply ignored many of earth’s colonies so they could go after earth directly. G’kar attempts to warn G’sten of this, but G’sten blows it off and pushes the attack. They’re met by shadow, and wiped out to the last ship, to the last Narn. Back in his room, chanting and rocking back and forth in front of the book of G’quon, somehow G’kar feels this, and puts out a candle.
Simultaneously, the Centauri fleet starts bombing the Narn Homeworld from orbit using mass drivers. After a week of bombing, Narn surrenders. G’kar is instructed by his government to ask Sheridan for sanctuary, and to stay on the station. He reluctantly does so.
MEANWHILE, Londo is summoned by Lord Refa to Centauri Prime, where he’s instructed of the plans above. He’s asked to use his ‘associates,’ which Londo reluctantly agrees to do, but he objects on two points: (1) He’s starting to fear them and (2) If the Centauri are to reclaim their destiny, they must stand on their own two feet, not ride on the coat tails of others. They join the fleet, and Londo’s in orbit around Narn while the bombing goes on, watching it, aghast, but accepting, his soul sinking into darkness.
Back on B5 after the surrender, he’s in full-on Hitler mode, barking out orders and terms of the treaty
1) Narn is now a protectorate of the Centauri Republic.
2) Narns themselves are now subjects thereof
3) The Khari (Government) of Narn is dissolved, all members thereof will be tried for war crimes and executed. This includes G’kar, who’s the last member of the government at large.
4) The Centauri will set up a new government