- "CtI is the only episode in the last four that we know nothing about."
And if I figure out how I happened to achieve that (short of just
keeping my big yap shut), I'll do it some more. There should be some
And it's an arc story, yes, but in a very odd way.
- (Referring to Delenn's actions in
"Confessions and Lamentations")
Re: why Delenn would do such a thing . . . hold out for "Comes
the Inquisitor" . . . it gets into her rationales on such things.
- "I can't wait to see how you torture us next week!"
Funny line, that, which you'll understand in a few days.
- The Inquisitor was a great episode to write, and Wayne did a killer
job with it (so to speak). That one episode has received more mail than
most others, particularly from those in the religious community, as well
as at universities, crisis centers, you name it. Something there seemed
to strike a chord.
It's easy in an SF show to cut to the EFX and let it rock; to me, the
challenge is what's shown in those scenes: two people, locked in a room,
no (or few) EFX, no car chases, not even much of a set...with explosions
of dialogue and character. Ah loves it.
- Emmy nominations
John Flinn got a nomination for cinematograhy for "Inquisitor."
Last year we sent videotapes of our up-for-nomination episodes, and got
three nominations for it. But WB got upset by this -- they don't do
this for their other shows, we did it on our own -- and ordered us not
to do it again. The other shows don't need it because they're network
shows and get good exposure; most syndicated shows (non-Trek) tend not
to be Emmy aspirees, so it's not a problem there. We're in between,
and we were, in effect, producing videotapes, and they didn't want
that. So we had to sit on our hands and not do what we knew would
result in getting more noms. It's very frustrating.
- "With Comes The Inquisitor...how obvious was it to you that
going to be the counterpoint to Delenn and Sebastian. was it an
immediate connection, or did you have to sit and look, and then
think "Ah...that's the one?"
That one was a pretty easy one.
- As for locale, it was similar to, but not exactly the same as the one
in which the Marcabs died [in "Confessions and Lamentations"], though
I did want to somewhat evoke the memory of that when I indicated the
set I had in mind.
- Sebastian was played by Wayne Alexander, a British actor of great
skill who hasn't been seen much on TV before this, but should now,
with this performance as a calling card. It was a stunning
- I don't think Wayne has done that much TV work before, he's primarily
a stage actor, but in any event, he's certainly brilliant as Sebastian.
- Why bring up Sebastian's past? Because it's integral to who he is
now, and what he's doing, and why he's doing it. Also, there's
something very important here about greying up the Vorlons a little;
of all the people they could've chosen for this job, why THIS kind
of person? It makes them a trifle more morally ambiguous, which is
- "It doesn't fit in with the way the Vorlons have been portrayed. It
Good. That was the intended result.
Part of the reason for the story was to grey up the Vorlons a little;
one shouldn't fall too easily for what other people *say* they are.
(One might also say much the same of the old testament god who would
have Job so severely tested, btw.)
One should always be cautious of taking *anyone* at face value on B5.
"...you could consider them a force for good."
Ah, but what *is* good? And whose *version* of good are we
- I'd say there's a very good chance that the Vorlons have more than
- Was Sebastian based on Star Trek's "Q"?
No, had nothing to do with Q, it's deciding what kind of person our
Mr. Sebastian might've been, and working from there. When you have
a character with as vivid and powerful as his, you don't need
to look to ST for any ideas on character.
And unlike Q, Sebastian has no powers of his own, just the force of his
- What was the last word in Sebastian's "What about" litany?
Actually, the last one, since it was going to be drowned out, was an
- "What about eternity?" It was an adlib from the actor
just to cover the moment when Delenn rises, knowing it would likely
never get heard over the rest of it.
- Also, check Sebastian's reaction when he asks Delenn what if she's
wrong, "have you ever considered that? HAVE YOU?"
She responds, softly, "....yes."
Look at his face when she says this. It rattles him. It's not the
answer he expected, but more important, it's not the answer he wanted,
needed to hear.
He needed to hear her say that she had never had the slightest
*scintilla* of doubt, that as he had been, she was a True Believer, a
fanatic, incapable of doubt of mistake...and thus doomed to failure.
He can't even meet her gaze; he turns, looks away, and suggests an
"intermission" that is more for his benefit than hers.
There's an awful lot going on in this show, a great deal of it sub
rosa, under the surface, implied in gestures or hesitations or looks,
some implied, some stated outright. He *hates* the memory of Jack;
it's not his name, the one thing that is his...remember, he is caught
up with "who ARE you?" and his answer to that is lost in the persona
created by history...his true name, is what's totally forgotten to
- Sebastian learns quite a bit in the
course of that encounter about himself...especially when she rubs it
in his face as she does.
- Of course, bear in mind that there *is* no correct answer to
Sebastian's question...because no matter what answer you give, the
question will be repeated. It's a process, not a goal, designed to
tear down the artifices we construct around ourselves until we're left
facing ourselves, not our roles. At some point the "answer," such as it
is, must transcend language.
Since the episode aired, I've received many notes from philosophy
teachers and religious instructors and those who ran the Synanon game
noting that they've used that technique as well, or intend to do so from
- The episode underlines that there are two fundamental questions in
B5: who are you, and what do you want?
The order in which you answer those two questions can either make you
great...or destroy you.
- About "Who are you?"
Yeah, that's one of the primal questions, isn't it? And
one that we are too often distracted from considering.
- The key to the questions is that you generally have to
first be able to answer "who are you?" before you can intelligently
determine "what do you want?" To deal right with "what do you want"
before you know who you are is destructive in almost any situation.
- I think that, in the long run, the vorlons and the shadows will answer
the questions Who are you and What do you want...in that that's kind of
what they *are*, if that makes any sense.
Well, it will. Eventually.
- It's not that there's a *correct* answer, but that there's an
*informed* answer. If you decide what you want, before you know
who you are, you're likely to get something that will destroy you;
if you know who you are, you can then ask for something that will be
of greater use to you.
- The pain is necessary because it's easy to consider laying down one's
life intellectually; when the pain and the
agony bring it home, it's no longer as easy.
And there *is* no correct answer to "Who are you?" The only real
answer is no answer, because as soon as you apply someone's term for it,
you have limited yourself, defined yourself in someone else's terms.
Doing things in a refined, gentle, intellectual manner is the sort of
thing Delenn's used to, she can handle that easily...the goal of
Sebastian was to try and *break* her.
That's not intended to be done gently. You don't break someone over a
cup of tea discussing philosophical concepts and the nature of personal
It's also not terribly dramatic to watch.
Because of her position, rank and authority, she expected to be
treated a certain way...which was why it was important to treat her just
It's easy to put oneself into a grand prophecy, to assume one has a
destiny...to pay the price for that is something else again.
Anyone can do the former; very few can ever do the latter.
- Sacrificing oneself happens frequently...but for just one other
person, AND in a situation where no one else would ever know about it.
Bear in mind that he wasn't testing people randomly; only those who felt
that they were chosen of god, fulfillers of prophecy...people who
assumed that they were part of some grand scheme, and thus to whom an
anonymous death is an intolerable thought.
Also, most probably never *got* that far, unable to stand the real
pain of being placed in this position. Everybody can talk the talk;
very few can walk the walk. Most probably just yanked off the bracelets
and split, on the theory that they weren't being sufficiently coddled or
glorified...or because being a potential prophet isn't as much fun as
- There have been a great number of films and TV programs with one sort
of interrogation scene or other; I'd commend "Closetland" for something
else on this order.
- Mentioning just the first name may not have been necessary for
UK viewers, but it was necessary for the rest of the planet.
- Of course, his real name was never Jack Sebastian; "Jack" is his
working name, Sebastian could be a first or last name.
- I tied him [Sebastian] to a specific person because
in writing, you *always* try to go for specifics, because generalities
don't really work. It's the difference, in prose, between, "The room
smelled good," and "The room smelled of cinnamon and fresh coffee."
Also, the specific connotations to who and what Jack was were essential
and integral to the storyline.
- "Jack" was the media appellation; whether Sebastian is a first or
last name is left open.
I looked at who this historical figure could be, but no one else fit
into the area I wanted. It was a decision born of necessity, not
whim. I needed someone far enough removed not to have any current
victims' families still alive; someone known to a worldwide population
(anonymous wouldn't have worked because why would Sheridan have known
about him, why should we care, why should it resonate, and we'd spend
time explaining what he did that would have meant cutting out other
material in the episode); the other serial killers tend to have clear
fates, whereas Jack vanished and is thus "available" to us; visually
that period makes for a striking contrast to 2259.
And, again, you have to look at who he *was*...a fanatic, trying to
clean up Spittlefields (good cause) by hatred (wrong reason) and
murder (wrong means), the EXACT thing Delenn warns against at the
very start of the show. (Did you know there's a letter in the London
Times for that period that tries to explain the Ripper's motives as a
cry ofr (for) understanding about conditions in that part of London?)
He felt he was a divine messenger, learned he was not, and in
bitterness has become the single best inquisitor you could've had in
Every single thing about Jack made him *perfect* for that role, as
mirror, menace and warning sign. So I used him. And I'd do it again.
You have to find what works best for the story, and do it.
- I used Jack because he was perfect for that particular job,
which was what the Vorlons had decided as well. Simple as that.
- Jack the Ripper has been used too much in SF.
So, in other words, if a historical, real character has been used in
some other venue, if the use of that same character in another,
wholly different world/series/show/universe is absolutely, totally and
completely the right thing for that story,
one should instead do what's *wrong* for the story and leave it out?
Sorry. Don't buy it.
- You can't exclude or include anything in your story
just because a character or concept has been used by others. If we
were to do that, then we might as well never make the show, because
others have shown starships and hyperspace and aliens. Okay, yes,
others have used Jack. But not in the same way. It was *right* for
this show...should it not be used because oths have also used this
character? I think that the moment you begin constantly
course-correcting your show in reaction to other shows, you're dead in
the water. You have to do what's right for *this* story, in *this*
episode. And I think we showed a very different aspect of the
character and the situation than has been shown before. If we just
did the same old gag -- Jack comes to B5 and begin murdring people
again -- then I'd agree. But we didn't. I think you have to judge a
show by what's IN the show, and how well it's done, not against what
has been done in other places.
Otherwise we might as well throw out starships and beam weapons and
aliens and all the rest, since those have ALL been done a lot more
- The original Star Trek episode "Wolf in the Fold"
also centered around Jack the Ripper.
In the TOS show, that revelation was the whole *point* of the episode,
where here it's a filligree, dropped in at the last. It also *has* to
be that character, as the flip side of the story, to contrast with
Sheridan's "holy cause" as warning, and because of his own reflection
of what Delenn might have been if she went the wrong way for the right
- On the "Jack sucks" threads, phrased various ways...doesn't really
bother me. I knew going in that some folks would react well to that, and
some wouldn't, for an assortment of reasons, some valid, some less so.
- I guess also that the key to avoid something becoming cliche is to
turn it on its head. Which was the case with Sebastian. One thing
I neglected to mention was the need to have an absolute
mirror-counterpoint to Morden. Here you've got the smiling,
pleasant, utterly charming and good looking fellow who is our
"mirror" if you will in which we see the Shadows reflected. So now
you need something dark and ominous and terrible as the mirror
through which we briefly glimpse the Vorlons, which has to be done
all in one episode, you can't develop it gradually as with Morden.
So everything about Sebastian was the opposite of Morden...and each
is the opposite of what they represent. As it appears to us now,
- "it just didn't pay off in the long run." For you. For others it
did. Let's not start getting grandiose. You feel this way, that's fine,
but it's not the ultimate truth. Otherwise you're totally dismissing
the opinions of others who liked it a lot.
"Jack...has become a real cliche." So because others have used that
figure in their work, well or poorly, no one should ever use this
historical figure ever again in the next thousand years of human
history. One should not do what one thinks is right for a story because
of what someone else did in a different story.
Sorry. I don't work that way. By your logic, I should not be using
starships or hyperspace or aliens, either, because they've been used a
LOT more than Jack.
- Actually, I think I saw more *annoyance* at Jack being used from the
UK folks than the US folks, that's the main difference, I think.
Probably because it's a peaceful, wonderful country which is *still*
paying off, in the public eye, one particularly nasty creature in their
recent history. They're probably tired of hearing about him, and to
some extent, correctly so.
- Will: thanks, and you're quite right; it does say something about the
Vorlons that they'd use Jack for this purpose. Now we just have to
further define what that is.
BTW, just to append it here, not strictly appropos of your message...
I've noted a number of people say, in essence, "Boy, was I disappointed
that he said Jack at the end, what does he think we are, morons?" And
I've seen plenty of comments from people who didn't know it was Jack
until that very last moment, for whom it was a revelation.
It's pretty clear, to lots of folks, that the test was in some ways
(most, actually) more for Delenn's benefit than Kosh's...lots of folks
got this...and then others have said, "Well, if that's what he meant,
why didn't he just have one of them come out and SAY this, say what
was learned or that this was for THEIR benefit?"
So frankly, whether one comes out and says something, or does not come
out and say something, someone on one side or the other is going to give
you a hard time about it.
- Jack's murders took place in the East End of London, not the
What happened is...basically...Joe is a moron.
I did my research. I called up the info on the encyclopedia, got
all the dates right, and my eyes saw East End and for whatever
stupid, idiotic reason, my fingers typed West instead of East, and
nobody, NObody, caught it until now. I'd loop it, but alas the line
is on his face, and it'd look real stupid, and the delivery is *so*
perfect as it is; if we looped it, we'd destroy it.
So I content myself with the notion that it's west...of B5.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go shoot myself.
- Maybe the West End fell into the ocean and the East End is now
No, no, it's hopeless...I'll have to turn in my writer's card.
- Unfortunately (yes, we discussed this), he says the line *on camera*,
and the shape of the mouth for West is very different than for East;
also the performance wouldn't be nearly as good. So there it is....
- Thanks. Though I knew about the gaff a LONG time before it was to
air here in the US, I let the east/west thing go through as shot for
the very first broadcast because I was afraid that the loop might
hurt the scene, and it was *so* perfectly done. That over, I decided
it was worth taking a shot at it. If your friend didn't notice, then
we did it right. So now those who taped the first broadcast have
something that'll never be seen again (if I have anything to say
- Yes, I *know* it's the East End not the West End; I
looked right at my notes when I was writing the script, and they said
East and I typed West and nobody noticed it until it went out. I
could've replaced it with a looped line prior to first airing here, as
this was found during the UK airings, but looping never improves only
diminishes the performance, and he's on-camera and the words wouldn't
match his mouth. So I decided to let it go out this way once for
performance, and we'll correct this aspect with a loop in later
airings, even though that will somewhat lessen the performance aspect.
- What I'd said, and maybe I wasn't sufficiently clear, but
my sense was that I wasn't going to change it *prior to the first US
airing.* I found out about the mistake -- it was a typo, I knew the
difference, I just became momentarily stupid and wrote west when I meant
to type east -- after the show aired in the UK, and had a couple of
months in which I could've chosen to make the change. But I was
concerned that the dub wouldn't have the same power as the original
performance, so I was willing to let it go until after it aired, so
it would've had that impact, then make the change later. Happily, the
loop came out *very* well, so it worked out.
- Even in the fixed version, the closed captions still
Y'know, I'd totally forgotten about the captions.
- Yeah, it's always the dopey, small stuff that slips past, and nobody
notices until it jumps out at you when it's too late.
- Sebastian's final words were part of the same sentence he began
while speaking directly to Sheridan's face...insofar as I have ever
considered the scene, he IS talking to Sheridan.
- Actually, yes, I do have a pet theory about who the Ripper was, but
I'm so embarrassed over the west end/east end typo in one of our
episodes that I don't know if I'll ever have enough courage to broach it
- Okay, here's one clue for any would-be Ripperologists out there.
In all the long story of Jack, when he was out doing his nightly work,
only one person, a woman, wrote an actual letter, published in the
London Times, offering an *explanation* for the Ripper's work,
arguing that he was trying to send a message, that maybe people should
listen to that message. It was as close as anyone's ever come to an
actual *defense* of what he was doing.
Note the woman's name, and who her husband was...a man who was twice
interviewed by Scotland Yard, and interviewed by many Church officials,
the transcripts of which have been *sealed* by the Church ever since,
at the request of the family...a person who was the last man to see at
least one of the victims alive...and who was a direct blood relative of
the man who was living with the final victim (who was killed indoors,
leading to the speculation that she knew her assailant)...who suffered a
breakdown just before the murders began, was obsessed with cleaning up
the Whitechapel area, and after whose sudden, hasty transfer, the
murders stopped...and whose profession is tied *directly* to the only
thing the Ripper was overheard to say to one of his victims.
- The mistake everyone makes is in going for somebody
famous, a celebrity. I've done a lot of looking into this, and have
spoken with a number of other Ripperologists, and the single most likely
person is one who's name you've never heard mentioned as a suspect, but
if you read the record, his name keeps coming up again and again and
- Nope, Sebastian wasn't the name of the one I'm thinking of.
And from what I've read, a lot of folks *did* need to hear the name to
- How did Lennier know where Delenn was?
Well, given Delenn's position, I think she'd have let Lennier know
where she was, or that he'd heard Sheridan tell Delenn in the scene we
played the voice-over.
- Actually, there *was* a scene where Lennier, concerned, tracks down Kosh
to inquire after Delenn's situation, which report alarms him and sends
him after Sheridan. It was filmed...but cut for time.
- Censorship by C4 in Great Britain
They SNIPPED the shot of G'Kar slicing his hand? You're kidding! I
find that quite astonishing; it was done discreetly. I'm dumbfounded.
No wonder there was confusion about that scene.
- You're right, btw; I was informed in another message here that they
did snip that piece of G'Kar's action. Suffice to say I had *no*
idea, and now that I *do* have an idea...I'm simply wog-boggled.
- Can G'Kar grow to forgive? I don't think so...and yet in a way he must
come to something more than rage, and other than forgiveness. There is
an important step in his development yet to come. And he will have to
go there by a very hard road.
Originally compiled by Jason Snell.