At a meeting of the War Council, Delenn (Mira Furlan) mentions the First Ones. Ivanova (Claudia Christian) asks why they are not around, since their enemies the Shadows have returned. Delenn says they went off and left the younger races in the care of the Vorlons. Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) wants to contact them. Marcus Cole (Jason Carter) counsels caution as they are old and powerful and don’t like to be bothered. Draal (John Schuck) appears and approves of contacting them; it should be fun if they aren’t all killed.
Zack (Jeff Conaway) is appointed to the new political officer from the Ministry of Peace, Julie Musante (Shari Shattuck). G’Kar asks Delenn about the meeting, but she evades the question. Then he asks about the Rangers. Musante meets Sheridan. She is there to help him do things the way Earth wants them done. They argue over whether the military or civilian government is in charge of Babylon Five.
Since Musante is keeping Sheridan busy, Ivanova has to meet on the planet below with Draal. He finds her charming. Sheridan tells Musante he is worried about the Centauri’s warmongering. She gives him her philosophy, which is your basic fascist crap. Draal lets Ivanova plug into the Great Machine. She sees Sigma 957 and the First Ones. But Dark Forces pull her away. She sees evidence that President Clarke killed President Santiago with Morden’s involvement. She asks Draal to record it.
Musante is locked out of her quarters and tries to seduce Sheridan in his. He is appalled, but Ivanova winks into view and Sheridan kisses Musante so she won’t see Ivanova. When Ivanova disappears again, he throws Musante out. Later, Sheridan tells Ivanova she has to go to Sigma 957 to see the First Ones in his place. G’Kar asks Garibaldi where Ivanova is. Next day, Zack asks Musante how she got along with Sheridan. She orders him to come to a Nightwatch meeting. Ivanova and Marcus board the White Star and head for Sigma 957.
At the Nightwatch meeting, Musante announces more powers for Nightwatch, purges, more flexible rules of evidence, free speech and assembly temporarily abridged. On the White Star, Ivanova and Marcus see a huge black ship ringed in blue light. A mask with blazing eyes appears. Ivanova asks for help. Garibaldi shows Sheridan recordings of Morden and President Clarke, which Sheridan decides to send to General Hague. The First Ones refuse to help against the Shadows. Ivanova says the Vorlons told her the First Ones would be useless, since they were useless in the last war. They change their minds.
News reports reveal that President Clark is implicated in President Santiago’s assassination. Musante is called back to Earth. Zack and Garibaldi argue about Nightwatch. Ivanova tells Sheridan the First Ones will be there when needed. G’Kar gives Garibaldi the Book of G’Quan to study.
The Ministry of Peace, of course, is from George Orwell’s 1984. What Ivanova says about Musante in Sheridan’s bedroom—He is about to go where everyone has gone before—is of course a poke at Captain Kirk. Generally, for a story that actually pushes the plot forward, the episode is wonderfully funny.