not by any means

By Any Means Necessary (Babylon 5)

"By Any Means Necessary" is an episode from the first season of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5.


An accident aboard the station precipitates an illegal labor strike. The accident resulted in the destruction of cargo that included a G'Quan Eth, a hard-to-obtain flower which G'Kar needs for a religious ritual in a few days. It turns out that Londo Mollari has one, but is refusing to sell it to G'Kar.

The negotiator sent by the Earth Senate to settle the strike offers nothing but empty promises and threats of retribution for the striking workers. The strike gives the Earth Senate the excuse that it was looking for to invoke the "Rush Act", a law that permits a commander to use any means necessary, including the use of force, to end a strike. The strikers end up rioting when Garibaldi goes to arrest them, however Sinclair manages to end the situation before anyone gets seriously injured. Instead of using the military to end the strike as the Senate intended, Commander Sinclair finds a loophole in the orders that allows him to divert funds from the military budget (which had received extra funding when the dock workers did not) to upgrade the docks, as well as grant amnesty to all strikers. When a stunned government labor negotiator protests that this move is not in the spirit of the Rush Act, Sinclair dismisses it by noting that the phrase "any means necessary" in the law clearly allows him to fully acquiesce to the strikers' demands to resolve the situation.

Mollari waits until after it is too late for G'Kar to perform the ritual to hand over the flower (it must be performed in the sunlight that has touched the G'Quan Mountain at a specific time of the year). Mollari gloats while G'Kar despairs, until Sinclair reminds him that the rules of the ritual predate Narns traveling between the stars so there is now a loophole. The light from the Narn sun that was used for the ritual a decade ago is now about to reach the station, so G'Kar can perform the ritual with the required rays of sunlight, just several hours later.

Arc significance

  • Sinclair's solution to the crisis would come back to haunt him in a future episode, as he predicted it would.
  • Both the main plot and subplot demonstrate Sinclair's ability and willingness to bend the rules in order to do the right thing.
  • The personal hatred between G'Kar and Mollari almost escalates into violence again.
  • The subplot demonstrates G'Kar's spirituality and strong religious ties. Being the senior member of the particular religion of the Narns, it falls to G'Kar to ensure their rituals are followed. This is similar to different "lay services" aboard military ships lacking a chaplain of a particular faith.
  • G'Quan is one of the greatest Narn spiritual leaders. His book is the Narn equvalent of the Bible and it is quoted numerous times throughout the series.

Production details

This episode was written by Kathryn M. Drennan, wife of Babylon 5 creator and executive producer J. Michael Straczynski. In order to avoid the appearance of favoritism, Straczynski had her submit (rather than be assigned) a premise, and required to be approved by others in the production crew other than him. Unlike most writers, for whom Straczynski revised scripts himself, revisions of Drennan's script went through story editor Larry DiTillio instead.

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