Attn: JMS -- Thanks and Thoughts (*SPOILERS* for S4 final 4)

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Thu Nov 20 06:22:06 EST 1997

From: Jennifer Tifft <jgtifft at>
Date: 18 Nov 1997 10:26:15 -0500
Lines: 206

This letter contains spoilers for Endgame, Rising Star and 
Deonstruction of Falling Stars. 















Dear JMS, Great Maker :-)

I hope this letter/post successfully traverses the ether
and arrives where it may be read. Pressing 'send' can 
sometimes be an act of faith :-). But, as you say, and
have demonstrated, faith does manage.

I want to thank you for that. I want to thank you and
everyone involved in Babylon 5 for the skill, effort
and commitment so clearly visible on screen & off.

I want to thank you for reminding me that inspiration
can be anywhere, and that it must be communicated - 
written down, painted, spoken, sewn, acted, whatever
and given to other people - in order to be fully realized.

All four of the season four final episodes moved me
strongly, made me think, and cry, and laugh, yell things
at the screen, and, well, I think you get the idea :-).

But what really wrung me out like a washcloth & hung me
up to dry was Marcus. I began this sonnet after watching
Endgame and finished it after Rising Star. 

Endgame Sacrifice			Jennifer Tifft

What price the dual-minded love, that weighs
hard chance against a harsher certainty,
And pain & promise driven straitly pays
the self in sacrifice, as lovers fee?
A gift of grief made precious beyond measure
a life to mourn, alive to reckon cost --
Each breath & beat a double-weighted treasure:
once for this light, and once for that here lost.
O fall now tears of blood & holy water
not three, nor nine, nor thousands will suffice
to fill the cup bequeathed to Wisdom's daughter,
or ease the heart-wound worked by living's price.
  No greater love, more terrible or fair --
  Waste not this gift, though hard indeed to bear.

But is Marcus in fact dead? We have no resolution on this,
no incontrovertable evidence, no closure. We saw a body
under a sheet, heard a medic say that he was completely
drained of life energy (in a very carefully ambiguous set
of phrases), but no one has yet said 'He's dead, John'. 
We haven't had a funeral or a memorial. Obviously he isn't
really alive either -- so, in limbo, lost, unfinished,
the chord hanging unresolved. We did not see the thrice-
mentioned legend of the weeping pin fulfilled.

Three possibilities present themselves: he is dead, he is
alive but not recoverable, he is alive and recoverable.

If he is dead, then that is one set of consequences and 
griefs, the chief of which I fear we will not get to work
through with, due to external-to-the-story events distressing
on their own. I trust you (jms) will, in this event, work us
through to some resolution, some place where we can grieve
Marcus, find value in his life & meaning in his sacrifice,
and come through to a letting go, within the context of the
story. I will be able to work through my own grief for the
character with/through the actions and reactions of the
other characters.

If he is alive but not recoverable, essentially everthing I
said above continues to hold true, but more drawn out --
Only one shoe has dropped. A state of limbo, yes, but more
a waiting for the end. A slow descent into the dark, a long
goodbye. We can get used to the idea of his not recovering,
faltering between sorrow in the face of the inevitable, and
occasional hope for a miracle, until, by degrees, 'going'
becomes 'gone' and we find we have, again, through the lives
of the other characters, already let him go.

If he is alive, and possibly recoverable, then the spirit bleeds
with hope and distress in equal measure, and I, for one, 
understand where Bester is at this moment all too well, for
that is where we are with Marcus, as he is with his Carolyn. 
And what would be the consequences & repercussions of his 

Do I want him to be alive? Yes, I do. Not simply because I
like Jason Carter's portrayal, or even because I like Marcus
as a character -- though I do very much enjoy both. I want
him to find things to live for, I want him to find out who
*he* is and what *he* wants, I want him to grow past external
obligation and expectation into internal understanding,
direction & delight. I want him to find compassion for *himself*
and not just for others.

Because, if he can, then I can too.

There are other considerations -- this seems a place where dying
is a easy way out - a simple exchange of his life for Ivanova's.
Letting the chains of pain & obligation drag him down into the
silent, easy dark. And what is she going to do with this gift
that she outright says she didn't want & wouldn't have asked for?
(Y'see, I'm having trouble feeling/believing/accepting that 
Ivanova was worth that sacrifice, even though I have no trouble
at all with the idea of Delenn being worth it, or of something
else possibly becoming worth it - I place a very high value on

I want him to die, if he has to die, in meaning & delight, not

I want to see him cope with the consequences of his actions, 
physically, spiritually, emotionally. And I want to see him
grow even a little into realizing (that is, bringing into reality) 
the potential for wonder & greatness & delight (not to mention
sheer hard work) I percieve in him, that shines out in unexpected
gleams. I'm selfish & I want to see him being & becoming the
person who, 1000 years later, iconifies what a Ranger is. (And,
if that wasn't meant to be Marcus in that illumination, I don't
think I want to know. :-))

I care about the characters in this story. I have let them into
my life & my heart & my spirit because they and their story speak
to me just as the Matter of Britain and the Lord of the Rings and
the Mabonogion and Aeschulus and every other story that speaks of
deeply real and mythic things, breathing achingly beautiful new
life into timeless ideas. These characters and their lives matter
to me, as does the skill & effort that has gone into the telling
(on *everyone's* part - your's, the cast, crew, etc.).

This is your story, and I have faith that you will tell it as it
needs & wants to be told. I really wouldn't want it any other way.
I have faith that you will continue to surprise & delight & 
wring my heart with terror, beauty and wonder. (If I didn't already
have cable, I'd sign up for 5th season alone :-)) And I find
myself unable to snuff out the hope that you will surprise me with
more of Marcus' part in that story. 

In closing, I include the poem I wrote after watching the 
Deconstruction of Falling Stars. Thank you for the inspiration,
the emotion & the sheer stubborn insistence on telling your 
story the way you want to tell it.

Jennifer Tifft

Deconstruction			Jennifer Tifft
A stern assemblage of knives:
  white and black
  thin, short, long, broad, supple & serrated
    gold and silver and steel
  And all so sharp --
Edges red with silence, shock, and pain
  tools to wield with skill
  work with will
Words are knives to flense and flay the soul,
  cut away the comfort of illusion,
  the comfort of defense
And leave the light,
  revealing and intense --
    that even one might look
      and see
      and Know

jgtifft at

From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 19 Nov 1997 14:56:00 -0500
Lines: 11

Thank you for the kind words, and the sonnet.  It was lovely.

As for Marcus...the characters will have more time to grieve down the road, and
 the repercussions of his life and death will be felt long after his passing,
 and echo through parts of the fifth season.

Thanks again.

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