Babylon 5

Season 1 Episode 2

Midnight on the Firing Line

Aired Monday 7:00 PM Jan 26, 1994 on
out of 10
User Rating
195 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When the Narn attack a Centauri colony, Londo and G'Kar nearly come to blows. Meanwhile, raiders are attacking transport ships near the station.

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  • Started here

    Since my DVDs started here.

    I was a bit lost and tend to wonder if the pilot should've been included on the DVD. But others have said it's a bit like a restart, and bearing in mind the original Star Trek pilot (with Captain Pike) wasn't too important I figured the same scenario here.

    Although in some ways it felt a bit like jumping in the deep end, the episode did a great job of introducing the characters in a way that they were immediately memorable, which is an impressive feat - it took most of season 1 for me to remember who was who in Star Trek Enterprise, for example. Yet here, straight away it sunk in about Londo and G'Kar at each others throats, Sinclair was immediately a clear presence as the station commander, Garabaldi as the security guy, the slightly snarky and abrasive Ivanova as the - I guess "operations officer" and her distaste for telepaths, and resident telepath Winters. I still have trouble remembering all the names a few episodes in, but had Sinclair Garabaldi and Londo right off the bat.

    I have definitely seen worse introductions to a TV series. Decent job.moreless
  • Midnight on the Firing Line

    Midnight on the Firing Line was a perfect start to Babylon 5. I really enjoyed watching this episode because it was full of interesting characters who are easy to connect with. This episode shows just how deep this series intends to get. The characters in this series are interesting and relatable. The story lines in this episode were intriguing and I look forward to watching more. I like the scene where Sinclair was talking with the Vorlon Ambassador, who is very mysterious. The Vorlon appeared to be a bright light or being of energy outside of its suit, which it quickly entered when Sinclair wasn't looking. I think this episode definitely catches viewers attention. I certainly look forward to watching more!!!!!!!moreless
  • And so it begins...

    I just cannot imagine the serie to start any other way. I have seen the whole serie for many many times trough the year, rewatching it almost every spring is like a tradition and now I am finally giving my time to write the reviews and I just do not know what to say - it is the best serie I have seen and this is the beginning of it - so a very special episode.

    I think it is not the same experience to watch it first time and then now, when I know all what is going to happen. Everything makes much more sense - those little allusions, those little ideas they have poped in and what will make such a great importance in the later.

    So, mainly this episode was to settle in, to show us the universe, introduce the chars and the world this takes place. And I love it. From the first moments. Londo and G'Kar - blood for blood.. always on each other thoughts.. Great episode.moreless
  • I recently saw the pilot and then started watching the series in order. Great series, but from the pilot to the series minor changes in come of the characters appearance.

    This series was very good and was for the most part quite entertaining, there was a busy space intersection where on any given day anything could happen and often did. The characters here in the first episode seem a little stiff, too much in character to show their real personality, but it worked. I loved Londo, he was and is my favorite alien character in this series, and second to Seven of Nine for all time, Odo finishes a close third.

    The interactions are good, and the story like the people grows from week to week. There was not enough backstory, but then there was only one hour per episode.moreless
  • The five year story of Babylon 5 picks up where the Pilot left off...

    I recently decided to re-watch the entire five series of the wonderful Babylon5, and plan add reviews of the whole 110 episodes here on this site.

    Since the pilot 'In the Beginning' had been shown some time previously, there was a need to re-introduce the main characters and premise of Babylon5 and I think that 'Midnight on the firing line' achieves that objective admirably.

    We are introduced to the complex relationship between G'Kar and Londo that will come to play a major role in the series and - amazingly - hear the prophecy that the two of them will die at each others hands twenty years later. That's what makes this show so amazing - the way that little pieces of seemingly trivial information are picked up several series later, or develop into a major plot development. I expect to see many of these as I re-watch the series :)

    In and amongst the Londo / G'Kar main plot line we are skillfully introduced to some of the other main characters who we will come to know in much more depth later. There's the stoic and serious Commander Sinclair, ice-cool Russian beauty Susan Ivanova - and the telepath Talia Winters who fails in her attempts to thaw her.

    It's amazing just how many plot lines get started here that will play out over the years - telepath paranoia, Ivanova's family woes, the Londo / Vir relationship, Garibaldi's attention to detail - its all here...

    Excellent start to an incredible series.moreless
Paul Hampton (I)

Paul Hampton (I)

The Senator

Guest Star

Peter Trencher

Peter Trencher

Carn Mollari

Guest Star

Jeff Austin

Jeff Austin

Centauri #1

Guest Star

Maggie Egan

Maggie Egan

ISN Reporter

Recurring Role

Mark Hendrickson

Mark Hendrickson

Narn Captain

Recurring Role

Marianne Robertson

Marianne Robertson

Tech #1

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Audio/Visual Mismatch: When Londo views the recorded attack on Ragesh 3, he instructs the computer to isolate and expand a Narn heavy cruiser. However, the rectangular highlight box appears around the Narn ship before Londo says anything.

    • Trivia: Some facts about the Centauri: They were the first alien race encountered by the human race. They were once the dominant alien race in the galaxy. They tried to convince humanity that humans were an offshoot of the Centauri race. Genetic tests proved this to be false. Finally, some Centauri can have fairly accurate premonitions of their own deaths in their dreams.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Sinclair: 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.

    • Vir: Londo, Londo, why are you doing this?
      Londo: Because, we are a race of lunatics and cowards.

    • Londo: Mr. Garibaldi, just now, would you really have killed me?
      Garibaldi: Yes. Yes. I would've, but I'm just as glad I didn't have to. The paperwork's a pain in the butt.

    • G'Kar: I confess that I look forward to the day when we have cleansed the universe of the Centauri and carved their bones into little flutes for Narn children.

    • Londo: We should have wiped out your kind when we had the chance.
      G'Kar: What happened ... run out of small children to butcher?

    • Ivanova: Mr. Garibaldi, you're sitting at my station, using my equipment. Is there a reason for this or should I just go ahead and snap your hands off at the wrist?

    • Londo: (to Vir) The Council, the Council can go to hell. And the emergency session can go to hell. And you, you can go to hell too. I wouldn't want you to feel left out!

    • Sinclair: So, who are you voting for?
      Ivanova: I think I'll vote for Marie Crane ... I do not like Santiago. I always thought that a leader should have a strong chin. He has no chin and his vice-president has several. This, to me, is not a good combination.

    • Ivanova: Then, if you'll excuse me, but I'm in the middle of fifteen things, all of them annoying. Thank you for coming by.

    • Londo: Okay, we made a mistake. I'm sorry. Here, open my wrist.
      Garibaldi: Centauri don't have major arteries in their wrist.
      Londo: Of course we don't. What do you think, I'm stupid?

    • Londo: All I'm asking is that you trust me.
      Garibaldi: Trust you? Londo, my brain will be five days dead before I ever trust a Centauri. The first time we met you people, the first time we met any other civilization, you told us you practically ran the entire galaxy.

    • Kosh: They are alone. They are a dying people. We should let them pass.
      Sinclair: Who, the Narn or the Centauri?
      Kosh: Yes.

    • Sinclair: Ignore the propaganda. Focus on what you see.

    • Sinclair: The best way to understand someone is to fight him, make him angry. That's when you see the real person.

    • Londo: My people, ... we have a way, you see. We know how, and sometimes even when, we are going to die. Comes in a dream. In my dream, I am an old man, it's twenty years from now, and I am dying. My hands wrapped around someone's throat, and his around mine. We have squeezed the life out of each other. The first time I saw G'Kar. I recognized him as the one from the dream. It will happen. Twenty years from now, we'll die with hands around each other's throats.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Executive producer Douglas Netter and costume designer Ann Bruce make cameo appearances in this episode as President Louis Santiago and Presidential candidate Marie Crane respectively.

    • In the Season One DVD box set, although this episode has its correct name in the episode list, on the DVD box itself, this episode is listed as "Saber Rattling."

    • This episode was the highest rated episode of any episode throughout all five years of the Babylon 5 series, with a 7.2 household rating. Episode ratings dropped after that point and never rose higher than a 4.1 of "Into the Fire."

    • This episode's working title was "Blood and Thunder."

    • Straczynski was often asked by the cast how the series would end. JMS would just point out an encrypted file on his computer, which contained the whole story. He never told them about the box on his desk, where he placed all the whole Babylon 5 story handwritten on some papers. The cast could have just walked in and taken a look at it, but they kept on trying to decode the file on the computer.