Babylon 5 - Episodics (#420)

Written by J. Michael Straczynski, directed by John Copeland

As Ivanova lies critically injured, Sheridan's forces prepare the final assault to free Mars and Earth. On Mars, Franklin supervises the transfer of cryonic units containing altered telepaths that will be smuggled onto Earth destroyers. From the bridge of the Agamemnon, Sheridan awaits his signal to attack while Earthforce's General Lefcourt gets ready to attack Sheridan's forces. Garibaldi captures an enemy base on Mars, and Lyta sends a signal that activates the sleeping telepaths, who in turn dis- able the destroyers. With the enemy forces now occupied, Sheridan's fleet attacks. Meanwhile, Marcus is looking for a way to save Ivanova, and finds Franklin's report of an alien healing machine once used to save Garibaldi. As the fleet attacks, Marcus takes his Whitestar back to the station. Sheridan's forces close in on Earth, and a defeated President Clark commits suicide after turning Earth's defense grid back at the planet. General Lefcourt's ship arrives in time to help Sheridan destroy the grid and save Earth, but back on B5, Marcus has hooked himself up to the alien healing device, draining his lifeforce into a dyingIvanova.

Babylon 5 producer John Copeland took his first turn in the director's chair for 'Endgame,' an action-packed episode that J. Michael Straczynski tailored for Copeland's strengths as 'Captain Action,' his nickname in the editing room. The producer-turned-director took the opportunity to pay homage to some of his favorite genres, notably the telepaths waking up in cryotubes, evoking scenes from classic Universal horror films, or shots of the Agamemnon bridge, reminiscent of The Hunt For Red October. The Mars sequences proved to be particularly difficult for the cast members, who were forced to don heavy costumes and equipment to simulate the harsh conditions of the Martian exteriors. In reality, the scenes were shot on a hot California sound stage, making for long, uncomfortable shooting days. While the episode featured some of the most exciting action sequences in Babylon 5 history, it's also memorable for its poignant closing sequence, in which Marcus transfers his own life-force to Ivanova. His last words, 'I love you,' will not soon be forgotten. The cast and crew often took great pleasure in looking at their watches, a good-natured form of revenge on Copeland the producer.

Joe Nazzaro

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