A violent attack on a Minbari poet rocks B5 and leaves
Sinclair scrambling to flush out a vicious pro-Earth group. Two star-crossed
young Centauri lovers seek Londo's protection. Ivanova is shaken
when a man from her past arrives at the outpost.
Nancy Lee Grahn as Shaal Mayan.
Danica McKellar as Aria Tensus.
Rodney Eastman as Kiron Maray.
Tristan Rogers as Malcolm Biggs.
Michael Paul Chan as Roberts.
P5 Rating: 6.82
Production number: 107
Original air date: March 9, 1994
DVD release date: November 5, 2002
Written by D. C. Fontana
Directed by Richard Compton
- The Homeguard, a radical pro-Earth group, has
wide support among humans, and is growing in popularity back on
- Shaal Mayan is a renowned Minbari poet. "I
create and perform Tee'la," she says: "poem songs that attempt to
recall old memories and prompt new ideas."
- The only two human beings ever to have direct
contact with a Vorlon have since been transferred to Earth -
Dr. Kyle to work closely with the president
(cf "Infection"), and the telepath Lyta
Alexander just a week later. Neither of them shared their
experiences with anyone on the station. (cf "The
- Londo has three wives, all
of them arranged marriages, all of them "great sacrifices." "They
inspire me! Knowing that they are waiting at home for me is what
keeps me here, 75 light years away."
- Ivanova used to be involved with a fellow named
Malcolm Biggs, but left him when she enlisted
in Earth Force 8 years ago.
- More insight into Londo's personality and Minbari
Mayan: Ambassador, you should listen to the girl. We
Minbari consider love to be a most potent force for healing. She
cares deeply for him. Such feelings can turn the tide when all
Londo: Oh I see. And if he dies, despite this great power
Mayan: If he dies, she will suffer enormous grief,
but every moment together will make her grief a little less.
Londo: I would expect such logic from a poet. What can a
Minbari know about Centauri feeling?
Mayan: Ambassador, I have traveled far and seen much. And
what I have seen tells me that all sentient beings are defined by
their capacity and need for love.
Londo: And she will learn to live without it!
Mayan: As you did?
Vir: Kiron may die because our "glorious" tradition values
wealth and power over love.
Londo: My shoes are too tight.
Vir: Excuse me?
Londo: Something my father said. He was old, very old at
the time. I went into his room, and he was sitting alone in the
dark, crying. So I asked him what was wrong, and he said, "My
shoes are too tight, but it doesn't matter, because I have
forgotten how to dance." I never understood what that meant until
now. My shoes are too tight, and I have forgotten how to
- The black light camouflage suits worn by the
Homeguard henchmen were developed by Earth Force; friends of
Malcolm's procured some prototypes for them.
Is a faction of Earth Force actually backing the Homeguard for its
- Londo seems to have had a troubled childhood
(see Backplot). What happened that he's so
aggressive and melancholy? None of the other Centauri seem
- Why is Kosh studying human history, as
Sinclair's conversation with him appears to
reveal, especially when he says "We have no interest in the affairs
of others?" Perhaps for some reason Kosh does not consider humans
"others." Or perhaps by "affairs" he meant the passing events of
the day, as compared to the millennia of a civilization.
- The Homeguard sign branded onto Shaal Mayan's
forehead is a combination of male and female symbols from ancient
Greek mythos. Perhaps it's a contemporary symbol for humankind.
- Vir passed himself off as the Centauri
ambassador in letters to his cousins, and later
rebukes Londo to his face about his decision on
the matter. This is quite bold compared to the quavering fop he's
- Londo's nicknames for his wives are "Pestilence,
Famine, and Death" - three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse
from ancient Christian mythos. Who is the fourth horseman War?
Perhaps Londo himself.
- Talking to Kosh about the
attacks on non-humans, Sinclair breaks off right after asking him
to "lend a hand." Not long later Sinclair wonders aloud to Ivanova
how an assassin had managed to poison Kosh on the "hand,"
through his encounter suit. (cf "The
- Sinclair was brusque and callous to Delenn and
the Abbai agricultural representative at the diplomatic reception.
He also declared to the assembled Council that the hate-crime
investigation was closed, offering neither arrests nor evidence of
safety. This was part of his ruse to win the Homeguard's trust,
but he may still have injured his reputation with other races.
- The Homeguard plot on the station was,
according to its leader Malcolm Biggs, part of a much bigger plot
to kill prominent aliens all over the Earth Alliance.
- Black light camouflage is a similar technology
to the chameleon net the assassin used in "The
Gathering." However, it requires an entire body-suit and only
works while the user is motionless. No mention was made of what
was done with the four suits captured with the Homeguard henchmen -
Garibaldi may have stashed them away somewhere. And it's unlikely
that those were the only four suits in existence; perhaps the
technology will be seen again (cf.
- Mayan, a childhood friend of Delenn's, arrived
on the station on a tour of other worlds. Earth was to have been
her next stop.
- Mayan (of her attacker): "All I could see
was a shadow. It was a shadow, that is all I know."
(cf "Signs and Portents", perhaps?)
- Ivanova is illegally growing coffee in the
station hydroponics area.
- Kosh speaks.
Sinclair: Meanwhile it might be
helpful if you spoke with the other ambassadors.
Kosh: We take no interest in the affairs of others.
Sinclair: Well I hope you'll reconsider. If you could give
us a hand, we -
Sinclair: Nothing. We'll respect your wishes. [pause]
That's quite a viewer. I've never seen anything like it before.
What is it?
Sinclair: Those are images from my world. If I may ask, what
are you -
Kosh: I am studying.
Sinclair: Studying what?
Kosh: [shuts down]
- The images on Kosh's levitating viewer were
zoom-ins on pictorial records from Earth history throughout the
span of its civilization.
- Correct; the title of "The War Prayer" is a nod to
Twain's piece of
the same name,
which should be read by *everyone*. Given the growing
problems with illiteracy, I try to refer not to pop society so much, as
to literature...Tennyson, Twain, even writers whose last names don't
begin with T.
- Of course, you're assuming that a Centauri year is the same as our
year. The speed of light is constant...but defined by us by our own
12-month year. For instance, in one episode, we mention that B5 is 12
of our light years from the Narn homeworld, which is equal to about 10
of their years.
So without knowing the Centauri year, the figures are faulty.
- For those out there who still think the skin tab getting through Kosh's
encounter suit was an error...we're going to be dealing with that,
and some other interesting threads in [this] episode. Sinclair
comments on the whole question of how the poison ever got into
him...and notes how curious it is that, within weeks of that
incident, Dr. Kyle was transferred back to Earth to work directly
with the Earth Alliance President on matters of alien immigration,
and Lyta Alexander was similarly transferred a week or so after that.
The only two people to have personal knowledge of a Vorlon have been
shipped off and possibly locked up.
- By the way...on the Kosh poisoning thread, which was originally to
be discussed in "Parliament"...we ended up about 3 minutes long on
"Parliament," and three minutes short on D.C. Fontana's "War Prayer."
So we lifted that scene and inserted it into her episode, doing a
small bit of ADR to facilitate the move. It's now quite seamless.
- Why was Delenn unfamiliar with poetry in
For the Minbari, it's tee'la, which is a kind of poem-song, sort of.
Delenn was mainly just unfamiliar with the term.
- Y'know...it's a funny old world. And sometimes it just astonishes
About 2 months ago, one of our freelancers turned in a script that
has to do with a hate group, in the course of which a guest character
-- a Minbari -- is attacked and has her head branded with the symbol
of the group.
So you will doubtless understand my astonishment when I turned on
DS9 and saw the same thing happen.
Unfortunately, we've already shot that episode, it's in the can, so
ther nothing we can do about it now. Further -- and let me be
totally clear about this -- there's no way that DS9 could've borrowed
the idea from us, or in any way been influence by us, and no way we
could've been influenced by them. To get on the air now, they
would've had to shoot their episode some time before the writer
turned in that draft for our show. And none of us were in any way
aware of what was going on there until we saw it the night of the
broadcast...and came in the next day with looks of absolute shock.
These things do happen...and when you're dealing with similar general
areas -- humans vs. aliens, or one alien group vs. another alien
group -- then something like this becomes inevitable. And given the
foreheads on Ferengi, and the foreheads on Minbari, the obviousness
of that target becomes clear. Still, it's amazing when it happens.
And I guess I just wanted it to be clear when this thing airs that
the sequence in our show was in the can and done when the DS9 episode
- We're in discussions to see if there's any way we can cut this from
the show...the only problem is that the brand stays on throughout the
show. If it were just in one shot, we'd cut the shot and find some
other way around it. The only way we can lose it now would be if we
literally wiped off the brand by going into every frame in which it
appears and digitally removing it from the frame...which is a *real*
pain in the butt...but we are considering it.
- The points made above are essentially correct; the brand goes on in
the very top of the show, in the teaser, and stay on throughout the
episode...and part of the story is dealing with this, and what it
means. An offer is made to remove it, but the victim decides *not*
to have it removed, because there are lessons in these things...and
it becomes almost a badge of defiance.
In addition to the notes here, I've received a whole bunch of email
notes saying to leave it in, on the grounds that it *does* happen in
real life (or incidents close to it), and how we're handling it *is*
very different. (Some indicated that it can illustrate how the two
hows handle their themes in different ways.) So it's a tough call
...to change would also mean some re-shooting...but given the
responses here, I think it's okay to leave it in place.
File this one away the next time someone asks, "What sort of ways has
the BBS discussion actually affected Babylon 5?"
- There is some limited life within the garden...some birds (which you
can hear sometimes), and insects, and the like. (In one shot you
can see an insect fly off one of our actors. Yeah, sure, like we
planned that....) It's generally one season in the Garden, and
plants requiringvariation are raised in a separate hydroponics
area, such as the orchard (seen in "War Prayer").
- Lennier is not in the cargo area during the beating, nor is he in BG
during the negotiations. That's a Minbari of the worker class. (You
can generally tell from the orange-ish smock-thingie they wear.)
Originally compiled by Matthew Ryan firstname.lastname@example.org