JMS on CompuServe (Feb 10, 1997) *POSSIBLE SPOILERS*

bbarrett at bbarrett at
Mon Feb 10 17:49:54 EST 1997

 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 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.
  Archives of this material may be found at:
                    - or -
  ######       Support Babylon 5!       ######                               
  ##      To get a fifth season of this ##       
   # ###    wonderful epic, we need to   # ###   
     . ## let local stations and Warner    . ##   
  ##   ##   Brothers know we want it!   ##   ##   
   #####  #####    

 [ Summary of subjects in this section: ]
    Sb: #646719-Babylon 5
    Sb: #646892-Writing
    Sb: #647011-Future Theo?
    Sb: #647007-<<The Long Night>>
    Sb: #646958-<Into the Fire>
    Sb: #646957-#>>Epiphanies<<
    Sb: #646975-ITF:Feeling
    Sb: #646977-<<ITF>>  Frying Pan...
    Sb: #647008-#<ITF: The Right Ending>

 #: 646719 S5/Babylon 5: General
    09-Feb-97  05:12:16
Sb: #646657-#Babylon 5

Oh I thought the script was origanally longer from what I gathered from TV ZONE
but could there be a novel based on you notes?


 #: 647053 S5/Babylon 5: General
    10-Feb-97  01:31:06
Sb: #646719-Babylon 5

"could there be a novel based on you notes?"



 #: 646892 S5/Babylon 5: General
    09-Feb-97  15:36:12
Sb: #Writing

Have you ever used a pen name?

 #: 647054 S5/Babylon 5: General
    10-Feb-97  01:31:09
Sb: #646892-Writing

      Nope.  Don't believe in it, at least for me.


 #: 647011 S5/Babylon 5: General
    09-Feb-97  20:11:13
Sb: #Future Theo?

Will you be including Brother Theo and the Boys in any future episodes?

I just realized that I would have loved to have seen a Theo-Lorien encounter,
had there been leisure enough to include it.


I can almost feel the rustling-in of some kind of enchantment already.

 #: 647055 S5/Babylon 5: General
    10-Feb-97  01:31:11
Sb: #647011-Future Theo?

      It's kinda hard to work them in...I'm trying....


 #: 647007 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    09-Feb-97  20:08:23
Sb: #644079-#<<The Long Night>>


Not only did the actor playing Ericsson give a great performance, but I've been
wanting to tell you this: No matter what you do, no matter how you do it, BRING
HIM BACK in another role!

This guy was >great<! You have consistently gotten stellar performances from
one-time characters, and this one is right up there with Wayne Alexander's
appearance as the Inquisitor.

Please, keep this guy in mind for Crusaders, if nothing else. I'm awestruck
even more when I realize he was playing his scenes to the camera--not to
another actor.


 #: 647056 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    10-Feb-97  01:31:13
Sb: #647007-<<The Long Night>>

      We're definitely keeping him in mind.


 [ Summary: Loved "Into the Fire," especially the scene between Lorien and
   Ivanova in which he says, "Only those whose lives are brief can imagine 
   that love is eternal." ]

 #: 647058 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    10-Feb-97  01:31:16
Sb: #646958-<Into the Fire>

      Thanks...I'm kinda proud of that line.


 #: 646957 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    09-Feb-97  17:56:59
Sb: #>>Epiphanies<<

Last week I told you that at first I felt the end of the Shadow War was a bit
anti-climactic, but that the trailer for this week gave me hope of more
adventure and intrigue to come.  Well, we just saw "Epiphanies" and I realized
that I still underestimate you!  I thought we'd get a little breather, but the
story keeps picking up momentum.  I knew it would address the "battle for
Earth"; I like how you showed us glimpses of other battles to come, as well.
Seeing the new Centauri Regent wake up with that "eye" on his neck was quite
chilling and unexpected - I had no idea they would arrive on Centauri Prime so
quickly.  Now I wonder where else they'll show up.

Walter Koenig once again gave a superb performance as Bester.  The guy will use
anyone and anything to get what he wants.  His response when Lyta slapped him
telepathically was priceless.  Speaking of Pat Tallman, she has gotten into
character completely now.  It always seems to take a few episodes for an actor
to fit into a role and she's there.  When she gave Bester that look on the
White Star, I commented to my husband, "Boy has she got that look down - it's
like 'mess with me and you'll pay the price big time'"; then we find out later
she triggered the blowup of Z'Ha'Dum!  I would have figured the timing was just
TV/drama "cooincidence,"  but Sheridan knew better.  Is he going to regret
having spoken to and threatened her the way he did?

What you have in store for Garibaldi I cannot fathom, but I think it's going to
be bad for "our guys," as well as Mr. G.  G'Kar's coming for a visit with him
as if nothing at all is wrong with him was very poignant.

Other things we loved:

The opening scenes of celebration and pan into the observation deck.

The Elvis impersonators - my husband laughed and said you have a great sense of

G'Kar's scenes with Franklin and Garibali - what a changed Narn he is!

I'm sure I've forgotten some things I wanted to say, but this message is
already to long - I guess you can tell we loved "Epiphanies" and can't wait
until next week.

BTW, my husband just got home from seeing Star Wars on the big screen.  I asked
if it was good.  His comment: "It was fun, but not as good as Babylon 5.  I'd
rather see a B5 rerun that Star Wars."  Wouldn't we all love it if a local
thearter decided to air two or three B5 episodes a week for a whole year!!!

Finally, another big THANKS for what you and your crew have created for us

Toni Muller

 #: 647059 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    10-Feb-97  01:31:19
Sb: #646957-#>>Epiphanies<<

      Thanks...yeah, the rest of the season will actually continue to increase
in intensity, not decrease.  "Epiphanies" for me is an episode where I can feel
the gears changing between war and post-war just a bit, but overall it's not
bad.  And there's some *mean* stuff coming up very soon.


 #: 646975 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    09-Feb-97  18:51:57
Sb: #ITF:Feeling


I have had a little time to think about this episode. I think that I knew what
was coming just not the details. Great!
I feeling both satisfaction and sadness. Satisfaction for the story and actors
portrals. The sadness is for the loss of wonder or "awe" [as you out it in one
of your messages long ago] at the passing of the First Ones.

I still look forward to the rest but I have always been a lover of speace opera
such as Campbell, Asimov or E.E. Smith. After 30 years of reading SF, you have
continued to bring that "awe",. It seems to have faded from the ST universe
frequently. I hope that you can keep it up.

Of course, if you ever want to write the "final" tale of what happens in you
"little universe" and if your races meet the First ones, I would buy!
Best of luck!
Dana Wright

 #: 647060 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    10-Feb-97  01:31:21
Sb: #646975-ITF:Feeling

      Thanks...the sense of wonder and awe is something that's missing from so
much contemporary SF, I'm glad we could restore a little of it.


 #: 646977 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    09-Feb-97  19:07:25
Sb: #<<ITF>>  Frying Pan...

I'll have to echo what so many have said before -- this did *not* feel like a
mere 40+ minutes of story.  There was simply too much in this episode to
appreciate it all, even after several viewings.

Random reactions:

Like many others, I loved the use of the Hubble shots.  But I especially
appreciated the use of those specific Hubble shots -- the star nurseries.  When
I first saw them published, I got the kick-in-the-gut sense of wonder that used
to accompany the first moon landing, and your using them as a backdrop kind of
underlined the whole "new worlds a-borning" momentum wonderfully.

I so loved the Lorien-Ivanova scenes.  What a delightful contrast between the
compassionate First One of all time and the most impertinent and impatient
member of an impertinent and impatient younger race.  I wonder how many others
heard the silent "I'll be in the car," when Ivanova retreated to the command
seat after Lorien's musing about Sheridan's understanding that he did
understand.  What I find so appealing about Lorien is his delight in such
obstreperous younglings -- I'll miss him.

The Vorlon-Shadow tribunal will undoubtedly be a topic of discussion for weeks
to come.  I found an intriguing reversal in how the First-One represenatives
were seen by Sheridan and Delenn.  Sheridan, who has had intimate associate
with Vorlons, both in their "angel" persona and in their incandescent rage, saw
something almost in exact opposition to his previous experience, something
frozen, faceless and untouchably remote -- no hint of an energy lash, nor even
the possibility of one escaping the crystalline cage. Delenn, OTOH, seems to be
thrown back itno her first emergence as the altered Delenn, where the visions
the Shadow rep throws up seem designed to shake her developed trust in the
"brave new world" in which her redesigned self found a home -- chaos in the
guise of the familiar, maybe the ultimate terror.

Londo -- how appropriate that his most uncontrolled expression of rage should
be about his being controlled.  How poignant that all of his well-meant actions
might have been futile, had not Sheridan provoked the highers-up.  How moving
was the farewell with Vir, when Londo accepts Vir as a treasured equal in the
embrace (but also echoes the parental thing of Lorien).

One final, small reaction -- the music at the very end, restating the B5 theme,
but in a mood of hushed expectancy, moving from minor to a final major chord
(but somehow unresolved) -- very nicely underlined the "magic yet to be
created" dialogue.


I can almost feel the rustling-in of some kind of enchantment already.

 #: 647061 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    10-Feb-97  01:31:24
Sb: #646977-<<ITF>>  Frying Pan...

      Thanks.  You pick up on a lot of good stuff.  I've suggested the use of a
minor chords version of the theme music to Chris on several occasions, where it
seemed right, here, Signs and Portents, and in others.  The change from minor
to major chords does signal an emotional transition, and it works well.

      The director initially didn't want to do the Londo rage scene in one
take; it was something I felt very strongly about, and I think it works well.

      BTW, there's another example of a long single take coming up soon, on
Epsilon 3, which is all I'll specify.  I kinda wanted the scene to play itself
out, without cutting, and to show just how amazingly capable some of our actors
can be.  We're talking here almost 4 minutes of footage, not one cut in the
whole thing, very fast dialogue, and not a single muffed line, with the
performances working wonderfully.  You'll know it when you see it.


 #: 647008 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    09-Feb-97  20:08:27
Sb: #<ITF: The Right Ending>


It's taken me some time to digest the end of the Shadow War. That's one of the
things I've discovered about B5: Like a great novel, sometimes you have to sit
and think about it, and sometimes you have to read a chapter again. On the
first viewing, like Marcus, I was thinking, "Was that it?" But then I watched
it again. Er, and again. Not three times in a row, but enough so that I could
take in the momentous events of the episode.

And now, yes, I think you >did< give us the right ending. Everything you've
shown us to date has been leading up to the conclusion that Sheridan
reached--time to tell our "parents" to leave us alone and let us forge our own
destiny. Ironic, when you consider that you've written the ultimate
dysfunctional family scenario.

That isn't meant to be a flippant remark. My parents split up over thirty years
ago, and the divorce was extremely acrimonious. I understand blindness and
anger very well. I've seen how the conflict becomes the be-all and end-all, and
I think you've captured it perfectly with the Vorlon/Shadow conflict. As
Sheridan discovered, they didn't even care about why they were fighting any
more--the only thing they understood was that you were either with them, or
against them.

So it made sense, the ending. Lorien was the crux. Sheridan was the nexus that
brought all the races together, but without Lorien's power, understanding, and
presence, Sheridan could not have achieved an ending. Lorien, through his own
actions and words, showed the Shadows and Vorlons that they must step aside--as
he told them, their time was done. And the Master still had time to teach one
last student--Sheridan--before surrendering his position and leaving his
"children" to stand on their own.

I know a lot of people were hoping for a spectactular battle, or wanted to see
the Vorlons and the Shadows go after each other. But how can they still ask for
that, when we discovered how all-powerful the desire to be proven right was for
each of the Old Ones? They were blinded to everything but their own
self-righteousness, and would achieve their ends no matter what the cost to the
younger races. That became patent in "The Summoning," when whole planets
started being destroyed in the battle.

Rage is a powerful emotion, blind rage even moreso. Even though the Old Ones
can't necessarily be judged on human terms, when the Vorlons told Sheridan,
"You will do as you are told," and when the Shadows told Delenn, "You >will<
fight for us," it was obvious that both races were completely unable to see
past their own anger at "disobedience."

It took me some time to think about the symbolism you used for each of the
races, too. But now it seems right. The Vorlon, frozen, veiled, distant,
unmoving, in a crystal of ice, with a gem around her neck that resembled the
light of the Vorlon's "eye" in their encounter suits. The Shadows, taking on
the forms of Delenn's friends, showing the dark side even of herself--images of
how the Shadows worked, using others to achieve their purpose. The symbolism
worked, and worked well.

The last scene, when the Shadow asked Lorien if he would come with them, and
when the Vorlon said, "Then we will not be alone?" did seem like a pair of
children asking their parents not to leave them. But it also spoke of common
sense: Perhaps the two races were afraid of being alone outside the Rim,
especially after millions of years of conflict. Our galaxy wasn't big enough to
keep them apart, and I suspect they did not relish spending eternity battling
with each other.

"My heart and I aren't on speaking terms." That line moved me deeply. I haven't
been on speaking terms with mine very much lately, either. Maybe Ivanova and I
can both start listening again.

Londo, once again, proving that above all else, it is Centauri Prime he works
for. When he told Vir to kill him in order to save his planet, it raised him up
very high--not nearly as high as G'Kar, but enough so that I feel quite sorry
for him, knowing what he will be enduring seventeen years in the future. You
have so many tragic figures in this story--Londo, G'Kar, Sheridan,
Garibaldi--leave us some room for joy before you wrap, will you?

I do hope that the series runs its full five years. I want to see our heroes
battle the greater danger, though I can't imagine what could be more dangerous
than two races beginning to destroy the galaxy planet by planet. But even so,
you're created a masterpiece here. Take another well-deserved bow, Joe.


 #: 647062 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    10-Feb-97  01:31:27
Sb: #647008-#<ITF: The Right Ending>

      Thanks.  You definitely hit a lot of the symbolism right on the head. One
could almost argue for the whole scene as a classic "intervention" out of
psychotherapy or group counseling.

      Very early on, John Copeland asked me, "Okay, bottom line it for me,
what's the war about?"  I said, "It's about killing your parents."  And his
eyes went wide, and I explained, "No, not literally...but at some point you
have to step outside the control of your parents and create your own life, your
own destiny.  That process is inevitable...and if there are indeed older races,
and they're interfering, that puts them smack in the middle of that same

      It's not about who has the biggest gun, because there's *always* somebody
else with a bigger's about *understanding* your way out of a problem.


-*** B5JMS SUBSCRIBERS: Replies to messages in this list go to the list
-*** maintainer, <b5jms-owner at>.  If you want to reply
-*** elsewhere, adjust the "To" field.  The best way to reach JMS is to post
-*** to rastb5m, which can be done by sending email to <rastb5 at>.

More information about the B5JMS mailing list