Babylon 5

Season 1 Episode 1

The Gathering

Aired Monday 7:00 PM Feb 22, 1993 on
out of 10
User Rating
195 votes

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Episode Summary


The Vorlon ambassador is nearly killed by an assassin shortly after arriving at the station. Commander Sinclair is the prime suspect.

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  • I would have enjoyed this episode so much more if the links worked and I could actually watch it...

    I would have enjoyed this episode so much more if the links worked and I could actually watch it...

  • It begins...

    I decided to finally get hold of and watch this before the season finale.

    As pilots go, it's pretty good. It does a decent job of introducing B5 and its purpose, as well as some of the main characters, while revolving around Kosh as a way to introduce the alien element (Kosh is just kind of "there" in the series so it's nice to watch the pilot just to get this intro to him). It is nice to see this episode since it's referenced a few times in the main series, but so far I wouldn't consider it essential. There are things like what's going on with Jeff that are re-referenced early on in the series anyway.

    I'm fairly indifferent to the characters that ended up written out, though a little amused by how similar some of them are to their successors - such as this telepath compared to Ms Winters.

    Mira Furlan was... I'm sorry I can't find a nice way of putting it, she was pretty bad as Delenn here to be honest. I think there was some odd overacting going on, and her makeup here somehow made her look a bit evil too. I'm glad that she settled into her role far more smoothly when the full series was commissioned.

    The one I saw must be a remaster, as unlike the rest of season 1, the CGI isn't cringe-worthily terrible :P It's actually really good...

    Anyway what else is there to say, it was a decent enough start. We're open for business! Let's rock!moreless
  • A rough cinematic start, but a wonderful start to a great epic story.

    With The Gathering J. Michael Straczynski begins a five year epic journey to expand our minds on the positive and negative possibilities for our race (and others if and when we meet them). This episode lays the foundation for one of the few (if not the only) multi-year arc storyline. While many shows tell a story few (if none other than B5) have their start and end planned before the pilot. JMS gives us the seeds of the story in The Gathering and leaves us as uninformed, curious and yes even as frustrated as the characters in how the recent events will transform their lives.

    As I watch The Gathering again, I wonder, if B5 was real (not a story) and one could be there knowing the full story, how would I interact with the characters/people? But no matter how The Gathering makes you think, it is a great episode because makes you consider, wonder, imagine, explore, or even fantasize.

  • So! This is Babylon 5! How, uhm, nice...

    I just watched this pilot to the series Babylon 5.

    I have never seen any episode of this series, as it has never been broadcasted on TV in Belgium.

    As it seems, the series revolves around 5 major species. Forgive if my spelling isn't accurate, I'm not into this series yet as I probably will be later. The Norns, look kind of evil. The Centauri, who were a great race and put a lot of importance to appearances. The Minbari, who fought the Humans in a great war and surrendered when they were winning. The Volnor, a species that seems very secretive. And of course our beloved us, Humanity.

    Well, from the few episodes I've seen now, this series looks to me like a bad Star Trek immitation! No offense... Tough I have read in the forums that it gets a lot better in the next few seasons, so I will give it a shot anyways!

  • This show is about how Babylon 5 gets started. One of the alien ambassadors is attacked ad its up to Cdr. Sinclair to solve the case after he is accused of the attack.moreless

    Ambition is at the forefront of this show. Lots of very good eye candy with all the top-notch set designs, costumes and make-up. Even the special effects aren't bad considering a television budget and the advances of CGI technology since the show aired. The plot was sufficient to establish the series, but the writing itself sometimes seemed more in line with a bad B-Movie. The dialogue was hard to watch at times. The acting was even worse as the poorly written lines were delivered. Over the top intensity. I don't know if the writer, director or show's creator decided the show needed to be so serious, but where was the light-heartedness? It's sci-fi!!moreless
Tamlyn Tomita

Tamlyn Tomita

Laurel Takashima

Guest Star

Blaire Baron

Blaire Baron

Carolyn Sykes

Guest Star

John Fleck

John Fleck

Del Varner

Guest Star

Marianne Robertson

Marianne Robertson


Recurring Role

Patricia Tallman

Patricia Tallman


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Ambassador Kosh`s encounter suit has two parallel, protrusions sticking out from his chest area above his glowing translation devices. These sticks are gone in the TV series without explanation.

    • Plot Holes: Not exactly a goof, but ... what is the point of completely frictionless sheets? Either you get underneath them, in which case it doesn't make any difference if they're frictionless, or you get on top of them, and ... well, off you go.

    • Plot Hole: When Kosh is poisoned by the assassin, Babylon 5's alarm goes off. But, ... who or what set it off? The assassin would not do it, and Kosh has just arrived, and he would have no idea how to do so.

    • Plot Holes: Although the assassin has a gun, he doesn't use it. Instead, he just jumps on Sinclair.

    • Continuity: Although Dr. Kyle agrees to turn off all monitors in the medlab as he works on Kosh, several monitors are clearly on.

    • Continuity: It's stated here it takes Kosh's ship two hours to decelerate from the jumpgate and arrive at the station. This is dropped in later episodes, presumably because it would slow the dramatic flow of the stories. In "Walkabout" we see a Vorlon ship emerge from the jumpgate and arrive at the station in seconds.

    • Revealing Mistake: Kyle says the Vorlon atmosphere is composed of methane, sulphur, and carbon dioxide. Sulphur isn't a gas, it's a yellow powder. He presumably means sulphur dioxide.

    • Revealing Mistakes: A recurring error is the window in Command And Control (C&C). The stars maintain a fixed position and didn't rotate. However, the station is stated to rotate to produce gravity. If this were true, the stars should rotate. If the stars were stationary in C&C, gravity should be gone and characters should be weightless.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Garibaldi: (to G'Kar) Beep beep.
      Londo: "Beep beep"? It must be Earth humor. Who can figure a species like that? "Beep beep."
      G'Kar: (holding stomach) Ohhh...

    • Sinclair: It's a location transmitter, see? It should dissolve in about five years. But until then, Ambassador, my friends in my warrior caste have this frequency, and if anything should happen to Babylon 5, they have instructions to track down that transmitter and… well, why spoil the surprise?
      G'kar: This is an outrage!
      Sinclair: This is insurance.

    • Delenn: On the matter of Commander Sinclair, I am here strictly to observe.
      Caroline: Observe what?

    • Businessman: Someday I'm going to find the guy that thought of the idea of renting telepaths to businessmen, and I'm gonna kill him.
      Lyta: Funny, somehow, I knew you were going to say that.

    • Sinclair A poem, a story in meter or rhyme.
      Delenn: Ah, there once was a man from Nantucket.
      Sinclair: You've been talking to Garibaldi again, haven't you?
      Delenn: Why yes. How did you know?

    • (opening narration)
      Londo Mollari: I was there at the dawn of the third age of mankind. It began in the Earth year 2257, with the last of the Babylon stations, located deep in neutral space. It was a port of call for refugees, smugglers, businessmen, diplomats, and travelers from a hundred worlds. It could be a dangerous place, but we accepted the risk because Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace. Under the leadership of its final commander, Babylon 5 was a dream given form. A dream of a galaxy without war, where species could live side-by-side in mutual respect. A dream that was endangered as never before by one man on a mission of destruction. Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. This is its story.

    • (to Garibaldi)
      Londo: You're a security chief. Shouldn't you be out... securing something?

    • (looking at a Japanese stone garden)
      Delenn: On my world, there are books, thousands of pages, about the power of one mind to change the Universe. But none say it as clearly as this.

    • Londo: There was a time when this whole quadrant belonged to us! What are we now? Twelve worlds and a thousand monuments to past glories. Living off memories and stories, and selling trinkets. My god, man! We've become a tourist attraction. "See the great Centauri Republic - open 9 to 5 - Earth time."

    • Londo: I suppose there'll be a war now, hmm? All that running around and shooting at one another. You would have thought sooner or later it'd go out of fashion.

    • Delenn: I look forward to meeting a Vorlon. I've heard much about them that is strange.
      Sinclair: Such as?
      Delenn: Do you not have files on the Vorlons?
      Sinclair: Absolutely, very large files. There's nothing in them, of course.

    • G'Kar: (to Lyta) Would you prefer to be conscious or unconscious during the mating? I would prefer conscious, but I don't know what your... pleasure threshold is.

    • Lyta: One last thing, Commander. Why is it called Babylon 5?
      Sinclair: Babylons 1,2, and 3 were sabotaged and destroyed. Number 4 vanished without a trace 24 hours after becoming operational. To this day no one knows what happened to it.

    • Garibaldi: I wonder if they'll ever find that transmitter you slipped in G'kar's drink.
      Sinclair: No they won't. Because there is none. If I had put one in, sooner or later, they would have found it. This way, they'll keep looking.
      Garibaldi: Are you aware of the tests they'll perform and the things they'll do to him?
      Sinclair: Yes. Come on.
      Garibaldi: There are some days I love this job.

  • NOTES (8)

    • According to a Usenet post by Straczynski dated August 8, 1992, actor Sven Thorsen was supposed to have a part in, or maybe does have an uncredited costume part, in this pilot movie. "(For those who know of Captain Power, Sven Thorson, who played Tank in that show, came by the stage to say hello and inquire about where the babes were, and to ask where the hell his part is ... he'll play an alien, a fern, whatever ... as long as the part calls for a Danish accent.)" If Thorsen did appear in "The Gathering," it would be JMS's inside joke to how he slipped the name Babylon 5 into the Captain Power episode "Final Stand" back when B5 was gestating in Joe's mind for the first time.

    • Each season of Babylon 5 has its own title. The title for Season 1 is "Signs and Portents."

    • A number of television crew members who create B5 can be seen in the opening parts of the episode. Production Designer John Iacovelli, F/X supervisor John Stears, and Christy Marx (who later wrote "Grail") can be seen. One of the two homeless people in Brown Sector is Visual Effects Designer Ron Thomson.

    • "The Gathering" is one of three Babylon 5 productions without a production number. The other two are "Crusade" and "The Legend of the Rangers." This was not a rule for B5 movies. Four had production numbers "Babylon 5: In the Beginning" (TNT MoW2), "Thirdspace" (TNT MoW1), "The River of Souls" (TNT MoW3), and "A Call to Arms" (TNT MoW4). The "TNT" in the code stands for the Turner Network on which these telemovies initially aired.

    • Ed Wasser, the actor who plays Mr. Morden, is seen in Command And Control (CNC) as one of the command staff. He is credited as "Guerra."

    • On January 4, 1998, after "In The Beginning", TNT broadcast a special version of this movie. It had been reedited considerably, with new scenes added and a few of the existing scenes reordered. Some of the computer graphics were also retouched, and it had a new score by series composer Christopher Franke.

    • This episode won the 1993 Emmy for Special Visual Effects.

    • The feel of this movie is a bit different from the rest of the series, most notably the prosthetics, and the music (which was composed by Stewart Copeland). The prosthetics company also had a background in puppets and animatronics, which accounts for why the station is flooded by them.


    • Sinclair: That, as our poet Tennyson once said, is the goal, "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
      Sinclair is quoting from Tennyson's novel Ulysses.

    • Sinclair: Sooner or later, everyone comes to Babylon 5.
      This line is a deliberately homage by writer J. Michael Straczynski to the film Casablanca and the line in that movie, "Sooner or later, everyone comes to Rick's bar."