War Zone

CrusadeIn the aftermath of the Drakh War, Earth Alliance ships pursue remnants of the Drakh fleet. The government has moved to Mars, and those trapped behind the Earth quarantine have already begun to surrender to despair. The EA assembles a team of scientists and soldiers to crew the Excalibur and search the galaxy for any clue that may lead to a cure before all life on Earth ends. Despite the government’s attempt to maintain control of this politically delciate mission, two participants in the War are determined to take their place in the effort. On its shakedown cruise, the Excalibur has its first opportunity for action: save a team of archaeologists from an advancing Drakh army, and salvage the Drakh’s fallen ship.

Season 1 Regular Cast: Gary Cole (Captain Matthew Gideon), Tracy Scoggins (Captain Elizabeth Lochley), Daniel Dae Kim (Lt. Matheson), Carrie Dobro (Dureena Nafeel), David Allen Brooks (Max Eilerson), Marjean Holden (Dr. Sarah Chambers), Peter Woodward (Galen)

Order the DVDswritten by J. Michael Straczynski
directed by Janet Greek
music by Evan H. Chen

Guest Cast: Alex Mendoza (Trace Miller), Tim Thomerson (Sentator McQuate), Chris Comes (Aide), Maggie Egan (ISN Anchor), Don Fischer (Captain Henson), Mark Hendrickson (Drakh Captain), Elijah Majar (Crew #1), Rebecca Markham (Sam), Brook Parker (Lieutenant Ross), John Sanderford (Mr. Ames), Will Schaub (Jenson), Otto Sturcke (Ensign)

Notes: The episode Racing The Night was originally intended to lead off the series, but TNT insisted that series creator J. Michael Straczynski turn in a script with more action and introductions to the characters (since production delays meant that Crusade didn’t premiere until half a year after the Babylon 5 movie A Call To Arms, which was meant to segue between the two series). As such, the inclusion of elements as the mutiny aboard Gideon’s ship and the obviously 20th century news footage were last-minute additions. Galen and Dureena were both introduced in A Call To Arms, as was the Excalibur herself; Marjean Holden also appeared in that movie, though not in her regular Crusade role of Dr. Sarah Chambers.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer with notes by Earl Green

The Long Road

CrusadeSome time ago, Earth colonists discovered a planet whose water supply contains an anti-viral agent. An EA destroyer sets up a mining operation near the planet’s major settlement, a group of humans who voluntarily live with 1800’s-era technology. The locals, however, are opposed, and somehow they are causing all sorts of mischief – including the appearance of a giant golden dragon – to impede the effort. The destroyer captain enlists Gideon’s aid, and Galen arranges for him to meet the locals’ protector, an exiled Technomage named Alwyn. Before they can reach some agreement, the locals take hostages, and the captain sends troops. With no one willing to compromise in the resulting standoff, Alwyn resolves to take matters into his own hands, and forces Gideon to decide whose lives are to be saved.

Order the DVDswritten by J. Michael Straczynski
directed by Mike Vejar
music by Evan H. Chen

Guest Cast: Edward Woodward (Alwyn), Alison Lohman (Claire), Scott Paetty (Lieutenant Meyers), Mik Scriba (Barkeep), Marshall Teague (Captain Daniels), Michael O’Connell (Worker #2), Sophia Santi (Worker #1), Rex Ryon (First man)

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

The Well of Forever

CrusadeAn investigator from the Department of Telepathic Integration arrives on the Excalibur to examine Matheson. This Mr. Jones is particularly eager to find a flaw in Matheson, whose part in this prestigious mission has made him something of a role model to telepaths. Galen asks Gideon to bring the ship deep into hyperspace in search of the Well of Forever, which Galen promises holds the answers to whatever questions the crew might hold in their hearts. Dureena suspects Galen’s motives, while Eilerson doesn’t care as long as something profitable may lie at the end of the journey. When the ship arrives at Galen’s coordinates and finds nothing there, Gideon resolves to turn back…prompting Galen to betray his trust, and possibly the ship’s safety, in order to fulfill a promise.

Order the DVDswritten by Fiona Avery
directed by Janet Greek
music by Evan H. Chen

Guest Cast: Michael Beck (Mr. Jones), David A. Saunders (Navigation), Joe Wandell (Communications officer)

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

The Path of Sorrows

CrusadeThe crew brings a seemingly-imprisoned alien aboard the Excalibur. Although it is completely cut off from physical contact with anyone, Gideon discovers that it is able to communicate. It forces him to relive first his abandonment by his ship as it unsuccessfully fled a Shadow vessel, and then his winning of a strange box in a poker game from a man who seemed happy to lose it. Expecting the creature to use this information against him, he is surprised when it instead offers forgiveness. Matheson also receives forgiveness for an episode from his past – his inadverdent role in the destruction of a Psi Corps base during the Telepath War. Galen, however, accuses the creature of feeding off the others’ pain and refuses to accept that it values forgiveness. Seeking to discover why, the creature and Galen relive the slow death of his lover, betrayed by other technomages and stranded without any of their technology and equipment. In his grief, Galen denies the possibility of any plan or order to the universe, unable to believe that any design would include her death, and Isabell promises to prove him wrong. After the creature is returned to its home, for other travlers to find, Matheson offers Galen a hint that the promise has ben fulfilled…if he can believe in the impossible.

Order the DVDswritten by J. Michael Straczynski
directed by Mike Vejar
music by Evan H. Chen

Guest Cast: Mark Blankfield (Jenson), Gary Graham (Bruder), Sophie Ward (Isabelle), Dawn Stern (Allison), Daniel Guzman (XO), Kevin Major Howard (Officer), Matt O’Toole (First man), Patrick St. Esprit (Captain Ross)

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Patterns of the Soul

CrusadeEarthforce diverts the Excalibur from its next investigation in order to test a group of refugees from the Drakh War for the plague. The orders do not sit well with Eilerson, who is under pressure from IPX to report something profitable. They are even less popular with the refugees, whose suspicions of Earthforce’s motives only grow when Chambers’ tests confirm they were infected – but probably after they left Earth. Dureena discovers that others escaped her world before the planet-killer destroyed them – but now the plague threatens to finish the job. A borrowed security code helps Gideon uncover the refugees’ past as military test subjects, but before he can offer any help, some of the refugees take Chambers hostage and demand to leave the planet…thus spreading the virus across the galaxy.

Order the DVDswritten by Fiona Avery
directed by Tony Dow
music by Evan H. Chen

Guest Cast: Peter Deanda (General Thompson), Sharrise Baker (IPX official), Brian Thompson (Robert Black), Eric Ware (Tim), Scott Carollo (Colonist), Nancy Linehan Charles (Villager), Curt Lowens (Old One)

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Ruling From The Tomb

CrusadeThe Earth Alliance convenes a conference on Mars to organize and focus the efforts to defeat the plague. When one of Trace’s former colleagues, a last-minute invitee to the conference, is murdered by a doomsday cult, it renews a crisis of faith for the pilot. Lochley and Gideon clash with each other and with local authorities over control of the investigation, and try to get to know each other better – despite their belief that each already knows the other far too well. Max attempts to escort Dureena through the streets of his hometown, but ends up needing protection himself. A subsequent murder and an attack on Trace set the stage for the cult’s final act – the destruction of Earth’s best minds, and with them, all hope for a cure.

Order the DVDswritten by Peter David
directed by John Copeland
music by Evan H. Chen

Guest Cast: Alex Mendoza (Trace Miller), Juanita Jennings (Lieutenant Carr), John Novak (Doctor Alain LeBeque), Fred Estrada (Cultist #1), Mario Roberts (Passerby), Jason Rodriguez (Rivera), Harley Zumbrum (Spuser)

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Rules Of The Game

CrusadeWhile visiting Babylon 5, Gideon tries to secure permission for the Excalibur to investigate a long-dead civilization from the Lorkans, the planet’s current inhabitants. He and Lochley share some quiet time alone – and the Drazi equivalent of a barbecued beef sandwich – on a tour of Down Below, where they become the targets of two Lorkans who wish to put a permanent end to Gideon’s inquiries. Max’s ex-wife asks for his help in settling a debt with a loan shark, but his stubbornness may only make things worse, not only for them, but for their cat.

Order the DVDswritten by J. Michael Straczynski
directed by Jesus Trevino
music by Evan H. Chen

Guest Cast: Tim Choate (Polix), Timothy Landfield (Lorkan #3), Sal Landi (Rolf Mueller), Jamie Rose (Cynthia Allen), Joel Swetow (Ris), Jonathan Chapman (Brakiri Ambassador), Carl Reggiardo (Drazi vendor), Kathe Weeks (Diane), and Mr. Kitty (himself)

Notes: This episode carries a dedication to Mr. Kitty, pictured in Eilerson’s photograph, who apparently died prior to the airing of the episode. Mr. Kitty was in real life J. Michael Straczynski’s cat. Guest star Tim Choate is better known to Babylon 5 fans as Zathras.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Appearances and Other Deceits

CrusadeThe investigation of a derelict ship brings a colony of mental parasites aboard the ship. Gideon manages to contain them before they take over the entire ship, but they are only willing to relinquish control of the possessed crewmen if the Excalibur lets them loose on an inhabited world. A security officer gives his life to save Max from the parasites, and Max wonders if the sacrifice was worth it. A designer and public relations consultant from Earth overhaul the “look” of the mission to help reassure the viewers at home of its eventual success.

Order the DVDswritten by J. Michael Straczynski
directed by Stephen Furst
music by Evan H. Chen

Guest Cast: Luanne Ponce (Janey), John Vickery (Mr. Welles), Wayne Anderson (Kevin Sprach), Christopher Michael (Earthforce Captain)

Notes: John Vickery appeared as Minbari warrior Neroon in Babylon 5, as well as the shifty Mr. Welles in the episode The Fall Of Night. This episode was written as a segue into the first produced episodes of the series, and some of its dialogue was a parody of the real-life problems between Crusade’s producers and TNT executives that eventually killed the series. The references to changes in the Excalibur’s decor and uniforms reflected TNT’s demands; in actuality, the costumes and sets seen in Racing The Night and later episodes were what Crusade was originally intended to look like.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Racing The Night

CrusadeGideon’s sources lead the Excalibur to a world that may have fallen victim to the plague centuries ago. After a crewman is murdered and vivisected despite the planet’s apparent lack of life forms, an investigation reveals a graveyard of alien ships – and attracts a well-armed defense force determined to prevent the Excalibur’s departure. Galen continues to refuse Dureena’s request to be trained as a technomage. Despite his mistrust, Gideon turns once more to his hidden source – the box he won years before.

Order the DVDswritten by J. Michael Straczynski
directed by Mike Vejar
music by Evan H. Chen

Guest Cast: Brenan Baird (Kulan), Madison Mason (General Miller), Neil Bradley (Drazi Ambassador), Roxanna Brusso (Crew member #1), Jonathan Chapman (Brakiri Ambassador), Adam Clark (Ranger)

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

The Needs of Earth

CrusadeA Ranger tips Gideon off on the whereabouts of an alien refugee named Natchok Var, who is on the run with a very important cargo – the sum total of all of his race’s knowledge. That data could include a lead on the cure to the Drakh plague – but to procure it, Gideon and his crew will have to break any number of local laws and assist a fugitive from justice. The captain and Dureena take great personal risks to rescue the man, but Dureena’s lifelong distaste for servitude causes her to set free a shipment of slaves, which alerts the authorities to the Excalibur’s presence. Gideon may have the precious information in his hands, but the price for his crew’s survival will be the life of the man they have just rescued.

Order the DVDswritten by J. Michael Straczynski
directed by Mike Vejar
music by Evan H. Chen

Guest Cast: Tony Amendola (Natchok Var), Bill Mondy (Nix), Mark Hendrickson (Patron), Peter Welkin (Trulann), Tom Wyner (Aprori Flentam)

Notes: This was the first episode produced.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

The Memory of War

CrusadeLegend speaks of a world long dead, its population destroyed by an undetectable, unstoppable killer, whose cities remain untouched. The Rangers find a world that may be the source of the legend, but when the Excalibur arrives to investigate, Galen warns them to turn back. This world has been off-limits even to technomages for over a hundred years. Gideon is determined to see what information this world may have, however. (And Eilerson is equally determined to see what technology may have survived.) Dureena finds a final mesage left by the planet’s inhabitants, but no one can determine what killed them, until members of the landing party start dying in violent fashion. Chambers’ autopsy uncovers the cause of death – and sends Galen deep underground to stop the madness of one of his own kind.

Order the DVDswritten by J. Michael Straczynski
directed by Mike Vejar
music by Evan H. Chen

Guest Cast: Susie Park (Sogayu), James Parks (Duncan), John St. Ryan (Technomage), Ron Campbell (Belan), Maggie Egan (ISN Reporter), Dustin MacDonald (Guard)

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Visitors From Down The Street

CrusadeTwo aliens are retrieved from a drifting life pod, but instead of showing gratitude when brought aboard the Excalibur, they take a hostage and accuse Gideon of imprisoning, torturing and murdering their race – but when Matheson checks with Earth, there is no record of any contact with this species. Gideon learns from the male alien, Durkani, that his race’s deep space probes have photographed Earth, and that some kind of spacecraft from Earth supposedly crash-landed on their world, causing a firestorm of speculation and paranoia. Durkani and his colleague, Lyssa, have spent years investigating the rumors, the leads, and the scant evidence, until finally the authorities closed in on them and forced them to flee. Durkani believes that he and Lyssa were getting too close to secrets being concealed by the government – secrets pointing to a long-range plan for a takeover by the human race. Of course, Gideon doesn’t believe a word of it…but when another member of the same species approaches in another ship, demanding that Durkani and Lyssa be handed over for summary execution, Gideon wonders if the two might not be on to something very real.

Order the DVDswritten by J. Michael Straczynski
directed by Jerry Apoian
music by Evan H. Chen

Guest Cast: Josh Clark (Kendarr), Francoise Robertson (Lyssa), Harry Van Gorkum (Durkani), Robert Caso (Maintenance Man), Sandra Gonzalez (Maintenance #2), Eric Whitmore (Security #1), Camila Griggs (Security #2)

Notes: British actor Harry Van Gorkum was one of the final contenders for the role of the Doctor in Fox’s 1996 TV movie revival of Doctor Who; he lost the role to Paul McGann.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer with notes by Earl Green

Each Night I Dream Of Home

CrusadeGideon is most annoyed when a member of the Earth Senate commandeers the Excalibur for a high-security mission (about which its crew is told nothing). He’s even more mystified when Senator Redway’s enigmatic mission takes the Excalibur back to Earth, and instead of an aide, the Senator has his plumber in tow. Stopping just long enough to rescue a heavily damaged Starfury piloted by Captain Lochley, Excalibur arrives safely at Earth, where a shuttle on autopilot is launched from the Earth, releases a sterile life pod, and is destroyed. The pod is opened under heavy quarantine, and its occupant is none other than Dr. Stephen Franklin, head of xenobiological research for the Earth Alliance, the lead researcher tackling the problem of the plague – and a carrier of the deadly virus. For Franklin to study the Drakh virus closely, he must take readings as it infects a new victim. Senator Redway’s plumber, whose fiancee is trapped on Earth, has volunteered to be infected so he may return home for his wedding. Eager to break the news to his intended, Mr. Williams breaks radio silence and contacts her on Earth…but when the Drakh intercept the transmission, they realize that it must be part of the search for a cure, and they set out to destroy the Excalibur once and for all.

Order the DVDswritten by J. Michael Straczynski
directed by Stephen Furst
music by Evan H. Chen

Guest Cast: Richard Biggs (Dr. Stephen Franklin), Lance Le Gault (Senator Redway), Timothy Williams (David Williams), Liz Lavoie (Carole Miles), Carl Reggiardo (Drakh)

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

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