JMS on CompuServe (May 24, 1996) *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* 2/2

Brent Barrett bbarrett at
Fri May 24 12:25:30 EDT 1996

 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 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
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 the right to revoke this permission at any time.

 [ Summary of subjects in this section: ]
    Sb: #511204-#<WWE II>
    Sb: #511270-<WWE II>
    Sb: #511263-B5 renewed?
    Sb: #511121-Keffer and Corwin
    Sb: #511207-Sinclair's Scar & More
    Sb: #511252-WWE Part 2
    Sb: #511294-B5 Story Arc
    Sb: #511325-<WWE II>
    Sb: #511284-<<WWE II Spoiler / Quest

 #: 511204 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    23-May-96  20:19:06
Sb: #510078-#<WWE II>

     Hullo, Joe,

     Well, I was able to watch "War Without End Part Two" on Tuesday night
(early  Wednesday morning, depending on perspective), and I have to say that I
was blown away by the episode and how *everything* tied up so neatly into one
little package.  What really impressed me about the second part of the story
was how you managed to tie up all the loose ends from the first part of the
story, as well as adding the scenes from "Babylon Squared," and then threw in
the material from the first season that dealt with the Sinclair mystery and the
Minbari who knew about it.  Not to mention a soul hunter bit.   Absolutely

     What I think I liked best about the whole second part was the way in which
we learned some of the future of our cast.  Londo's vision does come true, but
it doesn't manifest itself in the manner we thought it would.  I kind of
thought there was something on Londo's shoulder in that whole sequence with him
and Sheridan at first, but couldn't be sure.  I saw in "WWE II" that I was
right, and assume that was the Keeper.  The scene with Delenn's vision of the
future, with her and Sheridan sharing a kiss in their bedroom, presumably on
the station, and the interruption of the woman at the door came as somewhat of
a surprise.  While I've seen posts about this being Melissa Gilbert (since
everyone says they recognized her voice), I'm still not sure that it was her.
The fact that the woman seemed to have a passkey to Sheridan's quarters makes
me wonder...and I would love to see the surprise on folks' faces if it turned
out to be Catherine Sakai...but that's not likely, is it?

     Sinclair's fate (or should that be destiny?) to become Valen was
interesting, not all that surprising given that we'd been virtually hit over
the head with this revelation for most of the story, I think, but there was an
inconsistency here that I don't quite understand.  Delenn says that they found
the crystalline machine some 1,000 years ago on the station (presumably Babylon
4).  She uses it in the present in 2258/9, and assumes partial human form
(which I think is actually true human form, but still retaining the Minbari
headbone (which didn't seem all that pronounced on her future self).  Delenn
gives the device to Sinclair during the early stages of "WWE" and he takes it
back in time 1,000 years with him and uses it to become Valen.  The Minbari
discover the device back then, and the cycle repeats itself...   While the
logic is nice and circular, ie., Delenn -> Sinclair -> Delenn, it doesn't
explain who created the device and where it came from in the first place!  Any
thoughts on this?

       I was rather pleased to see how Marcus reacted to Sinclair's decision to
go back to the past and become the leader of the Minbari, and I loved seeing
the actual scene with the Minbari "Valen" encounter the 1,000 years ago
Minbari, but couldn't help but notice that we didn't get to see Kosh...or
perhaps one of the Vorlons there was Kosh?  Zathras was wonderful to see again
in these two episodes, and I constantly love his dialogue.  You must have a
tremendous time writing the dialogue for this character, and I have often
wondered where you got the inspiration for the character.

     The only other comment that I have to make is about the glimpses of the
future that we see in the two-parter.  Other than the destruction of B5 by the
Shadows and the visions from Ladira that we saw in "Signs and Portents," how
many of these visions actually portrayed the future that we will actually see?
Were these actual future occurrences, or were they more "what might be"s (as
Ladira called them in "SaP")?  After all, I have to put *something* in the
timeline that I'm writing! <g>

     Thanks for a wonderful ride with this last batch of episodes, but notably
the last three or so.  I'm sad that we won't be seeing any more B5 for the next
five or so months, other than re-runs of the material we've seen, but I guess
such is life.  I'm looking forward to the return of the series when it's
renewed later this month. :)


 #: 511277 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    23-May-96  22:28:55
Sb: #511204-#<WWE II>

      Re: the Chrysalis came from Epsilon 3.  There was one shot
that should've been made more of, where we see a long box with a silver
triangle on one side being set up, and left.  Unfortunately, the shot didn't
make much of it (you can see Zathras putting it out there), and a later shot we
dropped showing it again because it wasn't properly featured and you couldn't
really tell what it was.  There was so much in this episode that had to be
pulled off, in a short amount of time, that sometimes things in the background
don't get framed as they might be.  But that's where it came from: from Epsilon
3 to Sinclair to Delenn, who still has it.


 #: 511270 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    23-May-96  22:05:53
Sb: #510944-#<WWE II>

<<Yes, the war was eventually won...but what *was* the price?>>

The cell scene with Sheridan and Delenn was so moving and emotional..I
was just struck by it.  Beautiful work by Bruce and Mira.  BUT did it
also creep me out!  Yaaaah!  After John told Delenn that he wasn't
supposed to be there, she told him that she could see the innocence in
his eyes...that yet to come was much pain and grief.  And a price to be
paid.  Right about then I got this very insecure feeling..just wanted to
curl up and hide under a blanket....

Thanks Joe, for bringing us this saga.

 #: 511278 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    23-May-96  22:28:56
Sb: #511270-<WWE II>

      Thanks, the pleasure is all mine.


 [ Summary: Asks if it's too late to write someone to support the show. ]

 #: 511279 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    23-May-96  22:28:58
Sb: #511263-B5 renewed?

      As of now, all that can be done has pretty much been done and it's all in
the hands of the stations and WB.


 [ Summary: Asks why JMS has Keffer and Corwin in the story when it's clear
   to the poster that they are "redshirts" (i.e. doomed to die). ]

 #: 511280 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    23-May-96  22:29:01
Sb: #511121-Keffer and Corwin

      Not at all.  Yes, a character dies...after a season of getting to know
him.  To say, "Well, you just put in a character to kill him," and citing red
shirts, is really...well, a red herring and a distortion.  A redshirt, by
definition, was usually a security guard who was introduced in the same episode
in which he was killed, we knew *nothing* about him, he had maybe 2 minutes of
screen time, maybe a word ("look out!", and then he was dead.

      By the definition you apply, anyone who dies in a novel is a redshirt,
since the author knew he was going to be killed off.  If you do a novel about
the Civil War, and Lincoln dies halfway through, is that a redshirt?  Many of
the characters in The Stand don't make it to the end...are they redshirts?

      I hate to break it to you, but *everybody* dies sooner or later.  For the
purposes of this show, some die on camera, some die off, some die during the
story, some die afterward.

      Nor was Keffer's character useless; through him, we got to see the
Starfury pilots and learn more about them, we got our first close look at the
shadows, we met the Gropos, and the primary incident that began to unravel the
whole thing -- Keffer's gun camera footage -- came about.

      And Corwin's character is still very much alive, and useful in the story,
so that kinda disqualifies *that*.


 [ Summary: Wonders how Sinclair got so "Zen" in only two years. ]

 #: 511281 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    23-May-96  22:29:04
Sb: #511207-Sinclair's Scar & More

      He was kinda Zen when he left, frankly...and two years living among
Minbari, learning their language, learning to think the way they do, learning
the whole history of the shadow war...that can have a pretty profound effect on
you.  It obviously wasn't all hanging around the Hyatt Minbar and watching
reruns of I Love Lennier for two years....


 [ Summary: The poster loved "War Without End" (Part 2) and comments that he
   found the little cosmetic differences between it an "Babylon Squared"
   refreshing.  To him, it meant that things were never exactly the same
   each time through and that raised the level of uncertainty and drama. ]

 #: 511282 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    23-May-96  22:29:07
Sb: #511252-WWE Part 2

      Thanks, and I like your explanation/rationale for the small differences.
Works for me.


 #: 511294 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    23-May-96  22:59:55
Sb: #B5 Story Arc

So, the second season of re-viewing is finished, and I have some more thoughts
to share.

The single show that struck the deepest chord was "Comes the Inquisitor". Which
is not to say that other shows didn't strike deeply, just that that one was a
powerful, powerful show the second time around.

And thinking on the reasons that it struck the deepest chord, I came upon the
reasons why fiction--good fiction--is so glorious. It's all about
decision-making. Choices. Chances.

In real life, most people do lead lives of quiet desperation, as Thoreau wrote.
In real life, the most difficult decisions we make are what house to buy in
which town in which neighborhood, or what car do we want to get, or should I
leave my current job and get another, maybe better one? Sometimes, we make
extremely crucial decisions--there's a war on--should I enlist? But most often,
we don't have the opportunity to look inside our souls and see if we are, as
Delenn wondered, worthy.

Which is not to say that we are worthless, or never make meaningful decisions.
We all do things in small ways that are just as important as saving the
universe. <G>

But fiction gives us the tools for the broadest strokes. Fiction, good fiction,
enables us to believe that we >are< better than we think; that we >can< make
sacrifices for the greater good. And in "Comes the Inquisitor," Joe, you hit
that nail right on the head, over and over again, throughout every scene with
Sebastian and Delenn.

And again, the overview that comes with watching an entire season in a few days
makes your story arc so apparent, so rich, so wonderful to watch unroll. The
relationship between Sheridan and Delenn began hesitantly, and as he said in
CoL&D, he doesn't know when it happened, but it did. We saw it begin with a
dinner date, then cement itself in "Confessions and Lamentations," when they
realized that they might lose each other. And, of course, we saw how Sheridan
reacted in CoL&D, although that was not just his anger at Delenn's kidnapping.
It was also his anger at Earth's betrayal, betrayal overall, and the violence
that has tried to swallow Sheridan and B5.

GROPOS was another episode that was profoundly moving. The final scenes, where
Garibaldi and Keffer read the list of dead and you cut to the scenes of our
GROPOS lying in their blood--powerful. Throat-catching. Laurence Ditillio wrote
that one, if I'm not mistaken. Bravo to him.

The slow revealing of the Shadows throughout the season brought me back to how
excited I was when you first let us see them. I remember rerunning the tape on
Morden's hallway scene a dozen times, to see what Talia saw. It makes me
wonder, though, that if Ivanova is a latent telepath, even only a P-1, would
she sense the Shadows near Morden?

One thing that I didn't think was cleared up on second viewing was Talia and
Ivanova's relationship. We went from unfriendliness on Ivanova's part to a
bottle of wine and some girl talk after Talia admitted that Susan was right
about Psicorp--to a relationship that still, to me, seems like it came out of
left field. Perhaps you had to cut some scenes out, but I still think it wasn't
really developed properly. Which is not to say it still wasn't haunting when we
found out that Talia had a submerged personality that loathed Susan.

Will you be bringing Talia back at some point in the future? That will be fun.

Again, Joe, my thanks. Every so often, I have a need to find something else to
lose myself in so that I can stay on a level keel. B5 has become my current
obsession. My viewing habits will eventually go back to normal levels, but in
the meantime, your show (believe it or not) is helping to keep me sane.

And hey, a person could have far worse obsession. I choose only the best: China
Beach, B5, T2, the writing of Harlan Ellison....


 #: 511335 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    24-May-96  00:15:22
Sb: #511294-B5 Story Arc

      Thanks; no plans for Talia for the time being.

      I agree with much of what you said.  The unexamined life is a real peril,
and literature at its best can help us to avoid that trap by asking
uncomfortable questions.

      I actually tend to think that the day-to-day questions can be more
central, more profound, than where to buy a house.  Do you tell your friend
that his/her spouse is having an affair?  Do you intervene when you see someone
on the street being mugged?  Do you have an abortion?  Do you sacrifice buying
the boat you always wanted so you can put your kid through college?

      At some point in our lives, we have to make a baseline decision about
whether our actions will be ethical, or convenient; do we do right, or do we do
wrong?  Some may seem like small or unimportant decisions, but each one made
for the wrong reasons makes it easier for the next bad decision to slip

      Politicians tell us that we can find lives in which courage and hard
decisions are not necessary.

      They are, of course, lying.


 [ Summary: Comments on how unexpected the context of the final moments
   between G'Kar and Londo were.  "Who would have thought that G'Kar was
   doing Londo a favor in that scene?  Not me." ]

 #: 511336 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    24-May-96  00:15:23
Sb: #511325-<WWE II>

      Thanks.  Actually, I seem to recall, after that Londo/G'Kar scene was
shown the last time, posting somewhere that folks now knew *what* has happened,
but they don't yet know the *context*.  Very few picked up on that and thought
to actually reverse what they *thought* they were seeing to what they *might*
be seeing.


 #: 511284 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    23-May-96  22:41:12
Sb: #<<WWE II Spoiler / Quest


Phenomenal... jaw dropping entire time... even the parts that many were
guessing at played out so beautifully... congratulations, its something
impressive, not often can anyone put a B2 2 plus years ahead of WWE2 and have
no seams show (except the nits others have mentioned)...

Still stunned, a few quick questions...

1) Coincidence that the son of Delenn and Sheridan is named David, Sinclair's
middle name?

2) Can we assume that, since Sheridan popped back out before Delenn & he made
it to the ship on Centauri Prime, that Sheridan (& therefore Delenn) doesn't
really know what was going to happen next (when, ostensibly, Vir became

3) You mentioned elsewhere that we might see Kosh in the past, but not exactly
as we might expect... do we know from the show so far what became of Valen
after the war and the forming of the Grey Council (i.e. some of our own
religious figures seem to vanish rather than die according to biblical
stories...)? I have to admit to being a late first-season convert, was not
paying close attention early on...

4) On a lighter note, what brought Cousin Brucie to the Show?  I kept trying to
remember why I knew who Bruce Morrow was, then I recognized his voice on
screen... that was a kick!

Again, thanks for some truly memorable story telling!  I, like everyone else
here, can't wait till the fall for the rest of this season to unfold ( by the
by, any plan in season 4 to move up the finale if they are going to keep doing
this to your schedule, and just move some of the story to season 5?)


 #: 511337 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    24-May-96  00:15:26
Sb: #511284-<<WWE II Spoiler / Quest

      Cousin Brucie was a fan of the show and wanted to do it.

      Correct, Sheridan wouldn't know anything of what happened after he
blipped out of that future situation.

      As for David, remember that Sheridan's father is also David.


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