It’s a day like any other on the space station: Garibaldi and Sinclair are eating breakfast in the mess hall. Ivanova - not a morning person - comes in very sleepy. The guys prank her:
Meanwhile, there’s a mysterious signal from Sector 14, so one of the Star furies (Piloted by “Alpha 7.”) is sent out to investigate. Something happens, but whatever it does to him is hidden by the opening credits. “His horse comes home without him,” by which I mean his fighter comes back on autopilot, carrying his dead body. It just parks off the side of the station, since apparently autopilot can’t do complicated stuff like that. After the autopsy, Garibaldi informs Sinclair and Ivonova that the pilot died of extreme old age, despite being only 30. His internal organs all were those of a VERY old man. (Why is Garibaldi delivering this information and not Dr. Franklin? Why isn’t Dr. Franklin in this episode at all?) Also, before dying, Alpha 7 scratched “B4” on a buckle. Ivonova and Sinclair pretty much immediately figure out it means Babylon 4.
For those new to the party, the Babylon Project was greenlit around 2247, with the construction of the Babylon station. This was sabotaged. So the build another one. That one was sabotaged. So the built a third. That one was sabotaged, burned down, fell over, and sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up! It was the only station to complete construction around 2254, then, 24 hours after going online, it disappeared, no explanation ever found. (This was mentioned in “The Gathering” and in “Grail”). Now, in 2258, the station has reappeared in Sector 14, and is sending out a distress call.
Sinclair answers, but doesn’t fully identify himself. He starts evacuation procedures, and briefs the fighter pilots, just in case there’s a-gonna’ be a scuffle (Though there’s no particular reason to assume there will be.) My sharp-eyed son Republiboy noticed something I’d never picked out in 20 years and countless viewings: While all the co-ed pilots are there standing somewhere between attention and parade rest, Sinclair mentions the death of Alpha 7, and one, and *ONLY* one of the female pilots bows her head, looking sad. Wow! Her and Alpha 7 were knocking boots all these years, and I only just now noticed it? I feel like an idiot! Sharp eyes on the boy, though. Wow.
So the evacuation starts, but there’s about 1600 people on B4, and B5 only has the capacity to move about 250 at a time, so they’ll have to work in relays, made worse by the fact that Sector 14 is about two hours away as the crow flies. This gives rise to the somewhat stagey, but genuinely funy “Fasten Zip” scene, in which a very bored Garibaldi checks the clock - two hours to go - and attempts to strike up a conversation with Sinclair while they’re en rout to B4, attempting to discuss how the commander gets dressed in the morning - do you fasten your pants first and zip ‘em, or zip first and then fasten ‘em? “I wonder about these things. This morning I was getting dressed and just for a second, I couldn’t remember which way I did it.” Sinclair goes along with it for a bit, but when Garibaldi gets around to saying “Can we talk socks?” Sinclair gets annoyed and says “I’m not having this conversation.” Garibaldi checks the clock again, and they’ve still got an hour and 57 minutes to go. He sighs.
When they get to B4, they pass through a very obvious “Time distortion field” and then go aboard with guns drawn. (Why?) A panicky idiot babbling about “monsters” starts shooting at them, but Garibaldi neutralizes the guy. Just then, Major Kranz, the guy in charge of the station, comes in, and Sinclair comes clean about the date. Kranz is surprisingly unsurprised by this, and says they’ve come unstuck in time. Just then Sinclair has a vision of himself in the future: He’s on B5, but there’s a total panicked stampede of civilians rushing past him, sirens blaring, something cutting through the walls, and Garibaldi in a flack vest with a BFG 9000, blasting hell out of something. He tells Sinclair that he’s rigged the reactors to explode, and that Sinclair should get out of there. Sinclair says he’s not leaving, and Garibaldi says “This isn’t a conversation. It’s ok, Jeff, this is what I was born for. I know that