Lord Refa (William Forward) has summoned Londo Mollari (Peter Jurasik) to Centauri Prime. Mollari is still smarting after the death of his old friend due to Refa’s machinations, but the latter dismisses the matter. Right now, the Centauri Republic is about to solve the Narn Problem and Mollari will be key. Delenn is meditating in her quarters when she senses the presence of an old friend. Commander Ivanova (Claudia Christian) is informed of energy surges coming from Epsilon III below. She tries to inform Captain Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner), but is interrupted by Draal’s image (John Shuck).
Sheridan knows that Draal is the Minbari who lives on the planet below and controls its power, so great that the planet is in under quarantine administered by Babylon Five. G’Kar (Andreas Katsulas) is informed by his uncle Warmaster G’Sten (William Morgan Sheppard) that the Narn race is losing the war with the Centauri. They plan a massive attack on the main Centauri depot at Gorash VII. If something goes wrong, however, the Narn home world will be largely undefended. Sheridan boards a shuttle for Epsilon III and discovers that Delenn (Mira Furlan) is coming with him.
Lord Refa tells Mollari that they have intercepted the Narn attack plan. They must hold off the Narn at Gorash so they can assault the Narn home world. Despite large Centauri losses, they can totally destroy the Narn. They will use mass-drivers for total destruction despite their interplanetary illegality—ink on paper. Mollari reluctantly agrees to help. Chief Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle) wonders if the message from Draal is real, since his defense grid is lethal, and the station was warned to leave him alone.
G’Kar comes to Medlab, which is full of wounded Narn, and Doctor Franklin (Richard Biggs) tells him the refugees are saying the Centauri have changed their tactics. They seem to be ignoring the next target in line in favor of going after the Narn home world. G’Kar tries to warn his uncle, but it is too late. Sheridan and Delenn arrive at the Great Machine in the depths of Epsilon III, and are greeted by Draal, looking much younger because of the machine. He has finally understood its power and offers Sheridan help in the struggle ahead. The Narn forces jump to Garash VII, but their way is blocked by giant black Shadow Battlecrabs.
The Shadows lay waste the Narn forces as G’Kar prays. The Narn cannot even retreat and are destroyed. Then the Shadow forces vanish into hyperspace again. Draal senses all this through the Great Machine. He tells Delenn and Sheridan to return to the station and tells Delenn to introduce Sheridan to the others. Then he calls out for his assistant Zathras. The station staff is busy trying to quell riots as the news of the Centauri attack on the Narn home world begins. The station is locked down. Mollari, on the cruiser Valerius, watches the annihilation of Narn, silent but almost weeping for what he has done.
Three days later, Babylon Five is still on lockdown. No-one is about except Security. ISN reports total catastrophe on the Narn home world, yet the Narn refuse to surrender. G’Kar is told to ask Sheridan for sanctuary. Mollari returns to Babylon Five and calls a meeting of the Advisory Council and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds to announce the final surrender of the Narn Regime. The ruling Narn Kha’Ri will surrender for trial, a provisional government will rule in its place, and every murder of a Centauri will be punished by the death of 500 Narn, including the entire family of the killer. The disgust of everyone in the League appears on their faces, including those of the carrion-eating Pak’Ma’ra. Sheridan requests that Earth send observers, but that is denied. G’Kar must surrender to Mollari, but Sheridan has already announced that G’Kar is under sanctuary, and Mollari has no power over him on Babylon Five. Sheridan is supported by Delenn. If Mollari persists, he risks making enemies of both Earth and the Minbari. But G’Kar can no longer be a member of the Advisory Council as he has no government to represent. He makes a gloriously impassioned speech and Mollari hangs on every word, his self-loathing visible on his face. Afterwards, Sheridan is summoned by Delenn to the Conference Room, where he finds her surrounded by Garibaldi, Kosh himself, and others. Garibaldi introduces the Rangers, who will battle the gathering darkness. Delenn is the leader and offers Sheridan joint leadership. He makes a great speech too.
Zathras, working for Draal on Epsilon III, is the wonderful alien from the Babylon Four reappearance episode. Louis Turenne was unable to reprise his role as Draal, so it is posited that the Machine made Draal thirty years younger so John Shuck could play him. G’Kar is leader of the Narn aboard Babylon Five and of the Narn government-in-exile. At the Council, there is an empty chair for the Markab race, annihilated by a plague in an earlier episode. Mass drivers already exist; the US Navy can accelerate a seven-pound projectile to seven times the speed of sound, but the ships actually appear to have railguns.
G’Kar’s monologue is largely considered the finest in the series, if not in all SF on TV. The episode is the most tragic and possibly the best in the series. The actors are properly Shakespearean, and the music is amazing. Director John C. Flinn III gets credit for much of this. The episode premiered at the Chicago Comicon in July 1995. It aired in the UK on the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima. Except for the Vorlons, all of the major governments are under stress as the Shadow War approaches: Earth is introspective and isolationist, Minbar is skeptical and divided, Centauri is overextended and rife with internecine conflict, and Narn is ruined and occupied. The Shadows have done quite well for themselves.