Doctor Steven Franklin (Richard Biggs), the new Chief Medical Officer, arrives at Babylon Five aboard the Asimov. Commander Sinclair (Michael O’Hare) asks Lt. Commander Ivanova (Claudia Christian) to help him get settled. A small unknown ship tumbles out of hyperspace, heading for the station. Sinclair heads out in a Starfury, snags it and brings it in. The only occupant is taken to Medlab. On the way there, Sinclair runs into Minbari Ambassador Delenn (Mira Furlan), who asks to accompany him. She is shocked to see that the creature (veteran actor W. Morgan Shepperd) is a Soul Hunter. She loses it and tries to kill him, but Sinclair stops her. Later, she explains that the Minbari are taught as children to fear Soul Hunters. They are drawn to imminent death and they steal souls, and everyone on the station is in danger.
Rumor spreads. Many aliens hide in their quarters or leave the station. In Downbelow, where the underclass lives, a thief is attacked and dies. The Soul Hunter chants, tells Sinclair he is not a stealer of souls but a preserver of them. The Soul Hunters hate the Minbari for stopping them from taking the soul of Dukhat, their greatest leader, during the Earth/Minbari War. Sinclair tells him to leave the station as soon as he is healed, but he escapes and goes into hiding. The dead thief is placed in a coffin and shot into space. Delenn wants to enter the Soul Hunter’s ship to release the souls he is keeping there. The Soul Hunter dismisses her belief in rebirth, and he knows she is a Satai of the Grey Council on Minbar.
The Soul Hunter believes he is there for Delenn’s soul, precious because she is Satai. Garibaldi searches for the escapee in the Alien Sector. The Soul Hunter has obtained a Level 5 Security Pass and a station map. He recovers the souls from his ship. Another Soul Hunter (John Snyder) emerges from hyperspace to see Sinclair, and Garibaldi joins the conversation. The first Soul Hunter, they are told, is deeply disturbed, and will kill soon. Basically, he got tired of waiting for people to die. The first Soul Hunter kidnaps Delenn.
He will bleed her to death so as not to damage her soul. He glimpses her soul as she approaches death and is shocked at what he sees. This, of course, will not be revealed until a later episode. The second Soul Hunter tracks him down. Sinclair and Garibaldi find him. He is injured in a shootout. The souls rise up and attack him. Sinclair turns the machine on him and rips out his soul, killing him. Delenn is recovering at Medlab, amazing Doctor Franklin with her recuperative powers. She says to Sinclair, “We were right about you,” but there is no explanation of the remark just now. Sinclair looks up the word Satai and finds that Delenn is a planetary ruler, so why is she serving as ambassador? In her quarters, Delenn sets the lost souls free.
This was a pretty creepy story, mostly thanks to W. Morgan Shepperd, who has played a creepy guy in just about everything. The episode introduces Doctor Franklin, features Delenn and the Minbari, and touches on subjects most TV series don’t want to deal with. At the end, Doctor Franklin and Commander Sinclair are talking about the supernatural event they just witnessed. Franklin suggests not dwelling on it or one might be sent on a long vacation. Ironically, actor Michael O’Hare, at the end of the season, will go on a long vacation while he struggles with his schizophrenia. He will insist the series continue without him instead of waiting for his recovery, and the position of Station Commander will be filled by Bruce Boxleitner. Straczynski had a trapdoor storyline for each character in case the actor left.