Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle) explains to a Drazi Pilgrim that he can’t bring a ceremonial dagger aboard the Babylon Five station, and the Drazi storms off, insulted. Garibaldi complains to another officer about Earth Central’s brilliant idea to host a week-long religious festival at the station. He notices a woman approaching and beats a hasty retreat. In his quarters, Narn Ambassador G’Kar (Andreas Katsulas) prepares dinner, but a Narn courier Tu’Pari (Thomas Kopache) enters with an important message—a personal message from an old political rival saying that he is now dead and soon G’Kar will be too. G’Kar once ruined Du’Rog’s family and he hired an assassin to kill G’Kar. Just then, G’Kar’s new aide Na’Toth (Caitlin Brown) arrives.
Garibaldi goes to Commander Sinclair’s quarters while the Commander (Michael O’Hare) is preparing for the daylong Centauri religious ceremony. He tells Sinclair he has seen Catherine Sakai (Julia Nickson). Londo (Peter Jurasik) and his aide Vir (Stephen Furst) are the hosts for the Centauri feast and drinking fest. The station command crew are there, and Minbari Ambassador Delenn. Vir explains the ancient origin of the feast in the annihilation of their enemy, but Sinclair is distracted. After Londo passes out, Sinclair goes to the customs area, where he finds Catherine. He offers to show her around the station.
G’Kar is suspicious about Na’Toth, since his first aide died in an airlock incident a week before. Nevertheless, he explains that Du’Rog has ordered him killed. She doubts it because he would have used the Assassin’s Guild and they would have left a black flower to warn him to get his affairs in order. That night, G’Kar awakens to find a black flower beside him.
The next morning, he shows the flower to Na’Toth, who suggests asking the station master for more security. He is not anxious to go public with the matter, sends Na’Toth to track down the courier, and leaves to arrange extra protection on his own. In Customs, Delenn meets her new aide Lennier (Bill Mumy), whom she instructs not to call her by her real title or mention the Grey Council, as she is only supposed to be an ambassador. In the alien sector, G’Kar visits the insectoid criminal kingpin N’Grath, who mocks him for a bit, then offers a huge Riar bodyguard, which G’Kar accepts and asks him to show up at the Minbari ceremony in a few hours.
Sinclair takes Catherine to dinner at Fresh Air. They talk of the cycle they have fallen into--meeting up every few years, getting together, and breaking up again. Later, Sinclair and staff attend the Minbari Rebirth Ceremony, with the ambassadors. Some eat small pieces of fruit, including Sinclair, and Delenn says, “And so it begins.” G’Kar returns home angry that the bodyguard never showed up, and then finds him murdered beside a black flower.
Garibaldi and Security investigate, but G’Kar lies about it all. G’Kar interrogates the courier, who says the message was sent by Shu’Toth, Na’Toth’s father, convincing G’Kar that she is the assassin. Catherine meets with associates to discuss a survey. They inform her that the planet involved has large quantities of Quantium 40, and she gets a large commission. She shows up at Sinclair’s quarters with food and wine. They embrace. G’Kar calls the Narn homeworld to get Na’Toth recalled. The woman on the line apologizes because the courier met with an accident and never showed up. G’Kar turns and finds the fake courier Tu’Pari, who fires at him.
G’Kar awakes in a hidden place with pain-givers attached to his bound body. Tu’Pari explains G’Kar is to know pain, fear, and death, and he begins the torture. G’Kar refuses to cry out. Na’Toth finds G’Kar gone, figures out Tu’Pari is the assassin, tracks him down, and tells him she was sent by the Assassins’ Guild as backup. She proceeds to kick the crap out of G’Kar, disabling the pain givers. He charges into Tu’Pari and knocks him out. Tu-Pari wakes in the customs area. G’Kar and Na-Toth say they kept him unconscious for 72 hours, well past the assassination deadline. G’Kar says he transferred a large sum of money to his account as well. The Guild will assume he broke the contract for cash and will be coming after him. They say goodbye.
They pass Sinclair and Catherine in the corridor as Sinclair walks Catherine to her ship. She promises to come back and find work at the station. Everyone is assembled, waiting for Sinclair to demonstrate Earth’s dominant belief system. He shows them a long line of humans, each with a different religion.
To speed up filming, Peter Jurasik improvised many of his lines and action, like standing on the table. Mira Furlan was not told ahead of time and her bewildered reaction was perfect. In fact, the actors were never told in advance what was in store for their characters, so each script was a surprise. The set dressers and stagehands were only hired if they had previous experience in theater, where sets are constantly re-used. Julie Caitlin Brown did as much stunt work as she could. She kicked Andreas Katsulas so boisterously that she kicked a camera to death. Lennier is of the Third Fane of Chu-domo. He has risen quickly from Novitiate to serving a Grey Council member. Bill Mumy is wonderful, projecting a sense of perplexed innocence at all times. He kept the cast in stitches with his straight-faced ad-libs. When Delenn asked about home, he said things like Beatlemania is back, Mini malls are everywhere, and we just got Pizza Hut and cable.
We have now met the second-in-command of all the major ambassadors, each one a perfect foil for their superiors. Lennier and Na’Toth are totally opposite in style, but equally a hoot. When I saw this years ago, I was irritated by Vir, but now I think he’s hilarious. When Stephen Furst went to audition for the role, he discovered that everyone in the waiting room had done their hair up in a Centauri crest similar to that of Londo Mollari, who is supposed to look like Napoleon Bonaparte. In a panic, he went into the men’s room and tried to use soap to create one. When his name was called, he stumbled in with a disheveled, lopsided crest, eyes tearing from soap. He began to apologize profusely, stammering in run-on sentences. Straczynski and the producers looked at each other and said, “My God, it’s Vir,” and offered him the job on the spot.