JMS on CompuServe (May 06, 1996) *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* 2/2

Brent Barrett bbarrett at
Mon May 6 17:52:38 EDT 1996

 [ Continued from previous section -- BB ]

 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WARNING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 The following posts may contain SPOILERS for
 upcoming Babylon 5 episodes.

 Continue at your own risk.





 Note that JMS has expressed his public permission 
 that all of his messages may be reproduced freely.

 I give permission for my summaries to be reposted in
 any form, however I reserve all rights to them and
 the right to revoke this permission at any time.

 [ Summary of subjects in this section: ]
    Sb: #500387-<Ship of Tears>
    Sb: #500429-#<Ship of Tears>
    Sb: #499262-#<Ship of Tears-Bester>
    Sb: #499584-ExcellenceInBroadcasting
    Sb: #499956-JMS: Quick Question
    Sb: #499991-<...Avalon> further
    Sb: #500148-<<Interludes...>>
    Sb: #500267-B5 Renewal
    Sb: #500389-#>>Interludes<<

 #: 500387 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    05-May-96  15:34:06
Sb: #498809-#<Ship of Tears>

Hi, Joe!

I want to add my congratulations for ANOTHER job well done! Ship of Tears is a
major story with at least 5 plot elements!

- Delenn-G'Kar confrontation
- Bester helping the cause?
- The War Room
- Humans (or telepaths) merging with the Shadows ships
- The telepaths-weapons against the Shadows?
- The Shadows attack openly for the first time

About that last point, can you tell me the name of the colony that is attacked
by the Shadows? Is it a human colony? If so, would not Pres. Clark be upset
with the Shadows? I thought the Shadows (via Morden) were working with the Psi
Corps and Earth Gov. If the Shadows had attacked Proxima (3?) or Orion (7?), I
would have understood, but now I am a little confused. Ah, well, we'll know
soon enough...


 #: 500598 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    05-May-96  22:02:05
Sb: #500387-<Ship of Tears>

      That's Brakiri space they attacked; more on that in the next episode.
(They're a League world.)


 #: 500429 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    05-May-96  17:39:04
Sb: #<Ship of Tears>

This was one bodaciously tightly-wound episode.

The teaser foretold it all.  The ISN disformation campaign foretold that the
whole episode was about information:  who had it; who used/misused it; and who
needed it.  The other element of the teaser I also found symbolic of the whole:
2-person Thunderbolts.  The driving scenes were 2-person Thunderbolts:
 Sheridan/Bester to Ivanova/G'Kar to Sheridan/Ivanova to Ivanova/Bester to
Sheridan/Delenn to Delenn/G'Kar (incredibly powerful scene).  There were other
2-person Thunderbolts of relationships not immediately expressed in dialogue,
but driving from previous episodes:  Ivanova/mother, G'Kar/Garibaldi,
Bester/Carolyn.  Then there were the grand 2-entity thunderbolts:  B5/Psi
Corps, Alliance/Shadows, Narn/Centauri, Centauri/Shadows...  The one other
striking 2-entity Thunderbolt was the implied comparison between the Draal
machine and the Shadowships:  the Draal-machine runs on the mortal "wetware"
willing accepting the machine, whereas the Shadowships....(you had to have
ratcheted up the shudder factor with the implied reference to current UFO/alien

Other assorted bits:

I loved Bester's reference to Poe.  It makes me think that Poe is included in
the Psi Corps library under "useful images relating to terror to control

I almost got the feeling that Delenn would find it more restful to face
Sebastian again than to face G'kar with the seeming Minbari betrayal of the

On board the White Star -- I could almost tangibly feel Bester's lust for that

When Sheridan and Bester were side by side on the White Star I found their
uniforms to be strikingly similar, which made me realize that Sheridan's
previous dream was again information (from Kosh) imperfectly interpreted due to
lack of all relevant data.  The Renegade B5 Uniforms were not yet known to
Sheridan, so his brain seized on the closest analogue from his contemporary
viewpoint (which then drove forum and Usenet members nuts pondering the
possible ramifications).

I have to tell you that I'm not deliberately analyzing while I'm watching.  My
suspension of disbelief has always been a most joyously appreciative companion.
But some of the things that I notice just sort of bloom in the mind as an
exciting addition to just following the plot and the character interaction.
It's an exercise whose feel I greatly appreciate and whose experience is
remarkably rare.  If you didn't put all that stuff in, I wouldn't have the fun
of finding it.  Thanks.

    - rje -

..but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.

 #: 500599 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    05-May-96  22:02:06
Sb: #500429-#<Ship of Tears>
Fm: J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI's a great episode.  And they get better.


 [ Summary: Asks why Bester left the station at the end of "Ship of Tears." ]

 #: 500600 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    05-May-96  22:02:09
Sb: #499262-#<Ship of Tears-Bester>

      Logically, he can't just go away indefinitely, and it's going to take a
long time before they can get Carolyn in shape.  A very long time.  If he
stays, he'd be noticed and hunted down by the Corps, which ends his usefulness.
His staying served no purpose.


 [ Summary: A new poster pipes in and thanks JMS for B5. ]

 #: 500601 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    05-May-96  22:02:10
Sb: #499584-ExcellenceInBroadcasting

      Thank you very much for those kind words; we work hard on the show, and
that sort of feedback is appreciated.


 #: 499956 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    04-May-96  19:47:00
Sb: #JMS: Quick Question

Just a quick question on something that occurred to me as I watched "Ship of
Tears" (which was FANTASTIC, by the way!! -- and can't wait until next week!)

When Sheridan and Ivanova are off galavanting about aboard the White Star,
who's minding the store on the station?  Does Garibaldi, as head of Security,
run things, or would it be Delenn as she's Sheridan's co-commander of the
Rangers in that quadrant?  Just what is the heirarchy of command on Babylon 5,
now that it is an independent state?



 #: 500602 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    05-May-96  22:02:14
Sb: #499956-JMS: Quick Question

      Yeah, generally it would fall to Garibaldi; it's no longer a rank thing
as much as a "who can we trust?" question.  And Delenn maintains control of the
Rangers in their absence.


 #: 499991 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    04-May-96  20:38:00
Sb: #<...Avalon> further

Having just rewatched "...Avalon," (which I think will be one of the ones I
rewatch more than others), one other thing occurred to me about David/Arthur's
transferring the Excalibur to Delenn/Lady.  Although Marcus and Franklin made a
good point about the sword's being the King's Burden and the King's Pain, what
was unexpresed, but made good sense, was that the sword was also the King's
Power.  Therefore, in the coming Great War, it is needful for the power held in
human hands to be transferred to a joint human/Minbari control (and by
extension, to other races).

So much has been made about various myth-legend influences on B5 that one
question kind of popped out for me.  Are there any myth-legend cycles that you
 are (or later became) acquainted with that you wished you had room for in B5,
but couldn't fit in, for one reason or another?

    - rje -

..but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.

 #: 500603 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    05-May-96  22:02:15
Sb: #499991-<...Avalon> further

      Dunno...I don't really make a list of what I'd like to do; it's all just
one big melting pot in the back of my head, and it all sifts together.


 #: 500148 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    05-May-96  07:30:04
Sb: #<<Interludes...>>

It has come to my attention that a few have missed my spoiler brackets on the
message header for my Sunday morning posts.  Consequently, they've learned
things about the upcoming episode they didn't want to know.  So, from now on
I'll be inserting a spoiler space.



I do not understand but I will<G>.  How you couldn't have planned Kosh's fate
in advance is beyond me.  You've stated that when you wrote this episode it
surprised you and your cast.  Well, I suspect it'll shock the hell out of the
fans. Definitely unhinted, unheralded and unexpected.  Were there any hints?  I
sure don't remember any.

What a very dark episode.  Even with the minor victory by the Vorlons, it
*feels* as if things aren't going well for the B5 crew.  They've lost Kosh, Dr.
Franklin is resigning and Londo appears to be falling again.  What we need is a

Richard Biggs' performance captured the stress and strain of ALL those fighting
the war against the Shadows.  Having an MD and being married to a practicing
MD, I know first-hand some of what he is going through.  Add a interstellar war
and it becomes almost unimaginable.  I was touched that Garibaldi tried to do
the right thing and wouldn't even when he knew that Franklin needed help.  It
showed the depth of their friendship effectively.

Nice to see Ed Wasser back as Morden.  His little Shadow friends are becoming
more creepy as time goes by.  The web of intrigue and deceit being spread by
Morden is almost fun to watch.

I found Sheridan's encounter with Kosh riveting, but the dream sequence at the
end was even better.  To hear Kosh speaking through Sheridan's dad was very
touching and ...intimate.  It was good to hear that Sheridan had done the
*right* thing in asking for the help.  The mantle has been handed over. Now
just what was that energy envelope that cascaded over B5 when longer
remained, hmmmm?<g>

Finally, I've been thinking, mostly about a comment you've made about the
changes that'll occur by season 3's end.  You've said that we're just a little
past half way and we, the viewers, think we know where everything is lined up
and how the dominoes will fall.  We're (apparently) wrong.

So you've forced me to think about plot and story construction and I've come to
these questions.  Why halfway through our story do the Shadows show their hand?
Sheridan even states in this ep that this can't be about territory. Clearly,
the Shadows have an agenda, one left over from a thousand years ago.  What is
that agenda?  Are the Shadows independent operators or do *they* answer to
somebody?  And, knowing now, after two plus years, your penchant for layers and
hiding things, the rest of this story *can't* just be about fighting the Shadow
war.  Nope.

My conclusion: as hard as it might be to believe, I suspect the rest has all
been prologue.  Exciting, thoughtful, intelligent, but still prologue.

Next week begins the two-parter.  Man, you've got some great shows for sweeps.

Oh, by the by.  Caught that funny little blurb in EW about Chris Carter,
creator of X-Files.  He says that only he knows where his show is going so they
can't fire him.  Thought it was funny, but it appears your approach of keeping
a story close to the chest is not an isolated one.  I, for one, like it.

Best, Dave

 #: 500604 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    05-May-96  22:02:17
Sb: #500148-<<Interludes...>>

      Good points.  In general, you always know when I'm going to start
answering a question, because I begin to point at it in episodes; I'm now
beginning to point to the shadows and ask, "What do THEY want?"

      The answer is coming.


 [ Summary: Asks about B5 renewal. ]

 #: 500605 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    05-May-96  22:02:19
Sb: #500267-B5 Renewal

      We'll know later this month.  No word yet either way.


 #: 500389 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    05-May-96  15:35:47
Sb: #>>Interludes<<

What an absolutely incredible episode.  I always worry I set my expectations to
high for each new show, but you and the cast and crew never fail to exceed my

There is so much to that could be said, but maybe I'll just tell you what I
liked about some particular characters:

Franklin - very well-written and acted.  I felt frustration and confusion at
his situation (how did it get this bad?  why didn't he get help sooner?  Why
would someone so brilliant be so stupid?), probably like a lot of folks in that
situation feel.  I just hope he stays around because I really like his
character and the attention/development he's gotten lately.  If he can work
through his problems, he'll be one big asset to Sheridan's team - has been
already, IMO, though the stim addiction would have eventually caused some sort
of accident/problem.

Adira - I cried when I saw the stretcher being wheeled out.  For her, but
mostly for Londo. The only brightness in his life - his one glimmer of hope -
extinguished.  What tragedy.  And I was angry.  Angry at the Shadows and a
little at Londo.

Londo - perhaps more tragic is how readily he believed Refa was responsible so
that now he has again allied himself with Mr. Morden, falling nicely into the
trap.  He has sunk to new depths of despair and desperation - and evil, I fear.
I think he needs to meditate on, "Fight them without becoming them."  Question:
Can Londo hear the Shadows now because he has turned toward the darkness, or
was he allowed to hear so he'd be intimidated?

Morden and the Shadows - Morden was much darker in this episode.  He is now a
far cry from that well-dressed, polite businessman everyone saw at first.  I
like how you had the Shadows materialize more in this episode; it added to the
sinister aura Morden projected.  When they came together after Kosh...I can see
why Kosh was afraid.

And what tacticians these Shadows are - on a personal as well as universal
level (a tribute to your planning/writing).  Makes me wonder just how long they
have been slinking around setting the stage for their "unveiling."  It seems
like just about everything is going their way.

Sheridan - way to go, Johnny.  He actually got Kosh to do what _he_ wanted, and
Kosh later admits it was the right thing to do.  But how painful to lose Kosh
just as there was hope of a greater understanding and partnership between them.

Kosh - I wept when he died.  Not just tears in my eyes, but out-loud weeping.
Our phone rang right after that scene, and I debated on whether or not to
answer it because I was afraid the person would ask me, "What's wrong?" and
that I would then break down crying, "Kosh is dead!"  Really masterful (and
heart-wrenching) how you alternated between Johnny's vision and the attack on
Kosh.  I never imagined I would be so sad even though I knew Kosh would die
because of spoilers.  It's amazing how much you did with his character in this
one brief episode.  He became, well, heroic, and more "reachable," even more
human because we got to see his fear and uncertainty.  Yet he still remained
very alien/ancient, obviously thinking/feeling/acting very differently from
Sheridan and the others in the army of light.  The last scene of his ship
flying off was beautiful.  More tears.

And one non-character comment:  totally awesome CGI.  That battle between the
Vorlons and the Shadows was a joy to watch (can battle be "a joy?" - oh, well).

Can't wait until next week!


P.S. - Hope you are getting a little rest now that things have wound down for
the season!

 #: 500606 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    05-May-96  22:02:23
Sb: #500389-#>>Interludes<<

      Thanks.  The Kosh stuff, his scene with Sheridan, and his passing, is
very moving.  I showed it at Marcon this weekend in Ohio, and many folks,
including Patricia Talman -- who hadn't seen it yet -- were in tears at that.
That, to me, is the moment when you know you've done something, when you can
make people *feel* something.  Not just a plot exercise, but you hit down deep
where it hurts, or can make someone laugh.  It's all about touching
emotion...or what's the point?


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