- Script 15 is entitled "Interludes and Examinations," and has a plot
turn I hadn't seen coming, but which fits perfectly into the arc; I
think you're going to be stunned. (I was.)
- Re: titles...yeah, you got to watch out with this show,
sometimes I put on deliberately dull titles when I want to sneak up
behind you quietly. The more innocuous sounding, the more you should
- The visual styles in transition between shots came from
the director, which he went over with me when we had our tone meeting.
- "Just wondering if we would see the First Ones from Sigma 957 this
season, since there are supposed to be some direct confrontations
between the Army of Light and the Shadows?"
No. It isn't their time yet.
- Let me answer this way...whenever I'm going to unveil something
on the show, I begin to point to it in upcoming episodes. I've begun
pointing to the question of what the shadows want, and why they're
doing it. So, logically, I'm now going to have to follow up on
- In general, you always know when I'm going to
start answering a question, because I begin to point at it in episodes;
I'm now beginning to point to the shadows and ask, "What do THEY want?"
The answer is coming.
- It wasn't my idea. It was Kosh's idea. It was his pulling me that way
that led to it. "Trust me," he said. I followed.
And yeah, it does hurt. Pat Tallman was devastated at the screening.
Even my own crew wouldn't talk to me for a day or so after the script
Which is when I knew it was the right thing to do.
- It's funny, out of all the awful terrible things I've done
to our characters over these 3 years, the one that honked off the whole
crew was the Kosh development. On one level, they loved it...loved how
it tightened the screws...but they still didn't want to know from me
for a day or two.
- Yeah, that's [Kosh's death]
the story turn that surprised even me. (And, of course,
I can't wait for the folks who'll say it was over a contract dispute
with the actor....)
- I'm just waiting for some nit to come out of the
woodwork and announce that the real reason for what happened to Kosh
was that Kosh had a contract dispute over money or walked off the
- The mentor always dies in heroic sagas.
I think Kosh sort of "hit the wall" when he saw that Sheridan wasn't
going to go away; I think finally he was ashamed, and recognized his
fear, and in a sense the air went out of him, and he reconciled himself
to what had to be.
You're right about the mentor; sooner or later, the mentor has to
step aside (or fall by the wayside) for the others to grow into the
hero's journey. Originally this was slated to happen a bit later...I
think, on some level, I was reluctant to do it, because to write this
kind of stuff you have to *feel* it yourself, and I think I was
avoiding that as much as Kosh was avoiding his fate. I didn't want
to go through writing that. So I kept putting it off. I knew it
*had* to be done...but not yet....
And that's when, for lack of a better explanation, Kosh stepped up
and began to pull me in that direction in the script. It was time.
His passing shouldn't be frittered away or minimized; it should
happen at the right moment, and this was that moment. It's almost
impossible to describe this to a non-writer, but the character, this
fictional construct, was simply determined to have his way, and that
was the end of it. I kept trying to dance away in the script, to go
back into safer waters...but each time was pulled back in this
direction, until finally I had to admit that yes, this was the right
time, and the right way, to do this.
And Kosh fell.
But what finally convinced me was the realization that this was not
only right for now, but right for *later*...though you won't know
what that means for a while yet.
- Mainly, I think I was just trying to avoid it...put it off as long as
possible...but the character knew, even more than I did, that
this was the right time to do this. It's a very hard thing to
do this to a character; the only way to get that kind of
emotion into a script is to feel it yourself as you're writing
it, and that's a painful thing to do. So I was avoiding it.
But he outfoxed me...as usual.
That's Vorlons for you.
- "So, to sum up, has it been hard making these changes
after you and all of the fans have gotten to know them? Or is it simply
a matter of: "Well...it's their time...?"
It's both, kinda. In the case of one character, who's been with us a
long time, and who...shall we say delicately, is en route to becoming
an ex-character by the end of this season...it was hard knowing the
actor, because the actor said, "Was there something I did wrong?" To
which you can only answer truthfully and say no, not at all, just the
opposite...you did a GREAT job, that's why we're offing you. If you'd
been just mediocre, nobody'd CARE."
In another case, also later this season, it was *very* difficult for
me personally to do it, very emotional...and I wouldn't probably have
done it at all if the character hadn't basically grabbed me by the
lapels and dragged me kicking and screaming to that point of the story
and said, "Look, this is right, you know it, I know it, now DO it."
So I did. (And the cast and crew were equally stunned. Of everything
that's been done on the show to date, THAT one thing got the biggest
reaction; nobody'd eat across from me for two days at lunch after
Bottom line...you've got to go where the story leads you. That *has*
to be your first and foremost obligation. If it's anything else --
catering to the audience's expectations, or your own preferences --
rather than doing what the cold logic of the story *demands* you to
- The Kosh stuff, his scene with Sheridan, and his
passing, is very moving. I showed it at Marcon this weekend in Ohio,
and many folks, including Patricia Talman -- who hadn't seen it yet --
were in tears at that. That, to me, is the moment when you know you've
done something, when you can make people *feel* something. Not just a
plot exercise, but you hit down deep where it hurts, or can make
someone laugh. It's all about touching emotion...or what's the point?
- Actually, there wasn't much about Kosh I disliked...except his
cryptic ways...they're all annoying that way.
- When they shot the scene itself...no, not a lot of emotion
in the Kosh sequence in his quarters, because it was all very
technical, bits and pieces. But in the hallway scene with Sheridan,
and the later scene with Delenn and the others...yes, very much so.
It was *extremely* difficult to write. As a writer, the only way
to evoke a feeling in your audience is to feel it yourself and
communicate that honestly in the text. It was just awful.
- "1. presumably Adira was actually poisoned by Mordens cronies,
since he was looking for a way to hurt Londo, and we saw him finding out
information about her?"
"2. In the final credits, a ranger is mentioned. I don't
remember seeing any rangers in this episode - where did he come in?"
His scene was snipped for time, it was a small one, didn't add much to
the story, but you have to keep those credits in under SAG rules.
"3. Will we ever find out why Kosh allowed himself to be "poisoned" in
the pilot episode now?"
You're assuming he allowed it.
"4. What was the flash of light running across B5 when Kosh died?"
A non-localized phenomenon.
"5. Early on, when Sheriden was talking to Delenn, he wants to know
"what the Shadows are really after". Delenn looks like she is
resolutely not saying anything and hoping that the conversation moves
on before Sheriden presses for an answer... which it does. Does Delenn
know what the shadows are after (considering the war from a 1000 years
ago, I would have thought that the star faring Minbari would have had
pretty good records)?"
They do, and she does, and she's making a few mistakes that may come
back to haunt her in the not too distant future.
"6. Will you tell us? (answer = cryptic "YES" no doubt!)"
In the fullness of time.
- The Delenn/Sheridan axis is proceeding, but I've been very
deliberately holding off the kiss, and what would follow that, so I
could do it in a very special way. You'll see soon enough....
- "JMS, why did you edit out the scene where the Ranger follows Morden and
ends up being killed by the Shadows? Don't you think fans of the show
would rather see that than the scene in the bar where Garibaldi asks for
info on Franklin's blood from the other doctor? When you edit the show
please keep in mind what the fans would what to see. Rangers and
Shadows fighting is much more exciting than a unimportant scene that
could have been left out easily."
Because it was important to set up what Garibaldi wanted, where it was,
and how he was going to gain access. It had to show his concern for
Franklin, the moral ambiguity in asking for this, the betrayal we see on
Franklin's face, the difficulty in Dr. Hobbs dealing with his request.
The ranger scene was a brief piece that was really unconnected to the
rest of the story, had no setup elsewhere or payoff, was only a brief
piece of action. I needed the time to establish the character and plot
information in the Garibaldi scene.
And when you cite what "the fans" want to see, bear in mind that there
ain't no such critter. There's what *you* like, but *you're* not the
entirety of the fans. Some fans thought "Avalon" was one of the best of
the series to date; others thought it was just a character piece and
wanted more action and arc and called it a "waste." Some people when
they read a novel read for the action, then when they come to a few
pages that establish the look of the forest, or some character
background, jump ahead a few pages to where the action starts up
again. Some do just the opposite.
My obligation, first and foremost, is to the story, and to tell that
story as best I can. If I start trying to second guess what *The Fans*
want, when there is no ready concensus, when there ain't no such
thing, when different fans want different things, it'll just get
watered down and wander around lost.
- The voice-over is something I mentioned here a few
months ago as a tool I was adding to my toolbox to use as counterpoint,
or segue, in ways I hadn't tried before. I use it again here and
there, though the key with any new tool is not to go nuts and use it
all over the place when a better one, maybe the one you already had, is
better suited to the task.
- Just a quickie aside...the background/depiction of Brakiri
space was taken right from a Hubble deep-space shot. We use them a lot,
as provided to us by the folks who keep track of it all and keep it
- One can certainly argue that Franklin's actions were hasty,
that he is basically running away from the *consequences* of the
problem he has, as much as from the problem itself. This will, of
course, have to be dealt with.
- Is Franklin still on the war council?
Franklin would be off the council for a while; he has to go and figure
his life out first.
- You'll see more of Franklin, as he tries to deal with his
problem. At first it's not too bad, but with time....
- Why is Londo still on the station? Why do they let him stay?
B5 is still a place of considerable commerce, access to lots and
lots of other races and diplomats...it serves Londo's purposes for now,
and there are probably lots of Centauri back home who would prefer he
stay here. As for the rest...better the devil you know than the devil
you don't. At least on B5 they can keep somewhat of an eye on him.
- Why didn't Londo mention Adira periodically?
Basically because it's hard in an episode to just bring up
something out of the blue unless you're going to use it. You're stuck
with, "Boy, I wish Adira were here...so what's for dinner?" Which will
mean nothing to the folks who didn't see the first season unless you
then talk more about her, show her...and then suddenly you REALLY have
to deal with it or it's intrusive.
- Will Londo discover Morden's role in Adira's death?
- One theme of the show is how we each deal with the
traumas that beset us, and the choices we make. The difference is in
how we handle them. In "Shadow" and "Interludes" both Londo and
Sheridan have to confront somewhat similar losses: the death of a loved
one. But Sheridan, at the last, was willing to suck in the pain and do
what was right, however much it grieved him, and forego
revenge...Londo, on the other hand, has embraced revenge.
- Why doesn't Londo just have Refa killed?
Refa is a powerful guy now, with powerful allies; he [Londo] needs
money, in large amounts, and more influence, so when and if Refa would
get it, there wouldn't be the kinds of repercussions that might
otherwise come, as with a mafia hit, for instance.
- Why don't they keep Morden off the station?
They would do so, but since the fall from Earth, as Susan
mentioned, they've had to hire guards who may not be above bribes, as
we saw in the teaser. And Morden is good at covering his footsteps.
- Did Morden eliminate Adira's killer to cover his
No, Adira's killer is still alive...can be useful, those folks.
- The "crystals" were diamonds, he was bribing various people to
let him in and otherwise do things for him. And yes, Delenn's holding
back some information still, and Kosh was outnumbered.
- Sheridan has doubtless noticed by now that Delenn is
holding stuff back from time to time...may even mention this in a few
- The shadows looked for Morden's opinion; he's an advisor,
in a sense, on lower-species politics.
- Have the Shadows been getting bigger?
No, they're about the same height consistently; it's probably an
artifact of the camera angles and lighting.
- How did the Shadows get aboard?
They physically come aboard. There's no beaming-in tech in the
- About Sheridan's confrontation with Kosh
I don't think Sinclair would've handled that
scene in the same way; it needed someone who'd go toe to toe with
something very old and dark and dangerous in his way. He had to get
under Kosh's "skin," as it were. Needle and outrage and upset him until
he got through...whatever the cost.
- There was a bit edited out of the Sheridan/Kosh
nothing of real importance. It was at the beginning, as he catches up
with Kosh, and discusses his meeting with the League worlds and how
important it would be for the Vorlons to get involved.
- Bruce did a great job in that scene; there's a touch of
madness in it, which is quite understandable. As for the Rangers, they
get a new, added role later this season.
- Bruce is doing a *great* job, and definitely growing into
- Bruce is a hell of a lot better than some folks were
willing to give him credit for in the beginning. I think that's coming
out now as his role becomes more deep and more serious.
- "The "arc" is fully alive for you now, I think. Without these
characters living and breathing inside your mind I don't see how one
man could write as much as you have over the past two seasons. What I
*have* noticed is that all the actors now seem to be responding to the
story you're telling."
Yeah, it's kind of a funny thing...the deeper we got into the season,
as the actors saw only one name on script after script, and they began
to understand what was coming, and it's all *very* consistent...the
sense of this being a novel really came through for everyone in a very
profound way. You could really feel a change in everyone's attitude,
though it'd be hard to put into words. A sense of, "This is it, this
is the story, we're moving now, we're doing something nobody's ever
done." They know how hard it is for anyone to write this many scripts,
which is why it's never been done before, and I think they not only
respected that, but felt they had to rise to the challenge and give
just as much at that end of it. Usually you tend to hit a slump
energy-wise in your third year; not here. Everyone's just hitting all
- Sheridan has almost certainly not learned all he needed to
- Why didn't Kosh leave?
Because I think, on some level, Kosh knew it was inevitable; a
price had to be paid. In a way, Lincoln had the same feelings...why
was he to live when so many had died? In a way, he knew he wouldn't
live much longer. Also, it would mean running...and the Vorlons don't
run. If he fled, another would pay the price...and that also wouldn't
- I think Kosh realized that some things have to be, and
that as we've said from the start, there is always a price to pay.
- He knew a price had to be paid, and if it wasn't him,
it'd be someone else. Because he knew there was no getting around it.
He's too prideful to run.
- Kosh fought and fought hard. And he did not go down easily...and one
might say that yes, he did not go down alone...but not entirely in the
way you're thinking.
- How could you kill Kosh before explaining Sheridan's
"All Alone in the Night?"
The problem is we're telling different stories. What makes
it interesting for me is that Sheridan *isn't* prepared, Kosh *didn't*
finish his training. It isn't nice and tidy. And to stop and explain
the dream in "Interludes" would've meant taking, oh, about 3-5 minutes
OUT of that episode, and it's very tight as it is. And it would've just
been a case of, "Here, here's this bit of exposition relating to
something you've seen before."
No, the dream *does* get explained...and it gets explained *this
season*, in the course of the final five. In detail. But at the right
time, and in the right place. To have explained it sooner wouldn't
work, it has to come at the right moment, with the last bits of
information our characters need to *use* that interpretation.
- Did Delenn's certainty that there wouldn't be a body
stem from her knowledge of the Vorlons, or of the Shadows?
More about the Vorlons than the shadows.
- Why doesn't Delenn tell Sheridan what she
Delenn's been holding back. More than she should. There will be a
- "Why didn't the Shadows get on the horn and start screaming
that they just made sushi out of Kosh. The alliance is new,
shaky, unsure of Sheridan. What a great time to screw over
everyone by announcing we killed Kosh."
Because for starters, it's bad form. If you kill somebody
else's ambassador, that's not the sort of thing you proclaim
proudly, it tends to bounce badly back onto you. Also, this
was primarily a personal situation. There's more, but it's a
bit further down the road story-wise that might help clarify
- Why wasn't a Soul Hunter present at Kosh's
Because it was very sudden, and they learned the hard way to leave
- Could the Soul Hunters sense Kosh's death?
It's not that easy a question, or that straightforward a
situation, as you'll see soon enough.
- Why didn't you show the fight between Kosh and the
I thought about that long and hard when writing the script, and
I finally came to the conclusion that there was literally *nothing* we
could show that wouldn't be disappointing...it's a conflict on another
whole plane, and should have an almost cosmic or ethereal feel to it.
If we showed Kosh shooting a defensive field, or a shadow opening his
suit with a can opener, or anything else obvious and physical, it
would've diminished the scene. The vorlons are mythic, indirect, you
see them out of the corner of your eye, so it fit that the proper
metaphor would be to handle the battle that way.
Even if we'd had ten million bucks to do that sequence...I
would've made the same choice.
- Did Sebastian know about Kosh's fate when he asked
Delenn about dying alone?
Actually, Sebastian said that bit about dying alone to both
Sheridan and Delenn. Who knows, he may have known something....
If Kosh had run, which wasn't in his character in the first
place, someone else would've paid that price.
Londo still has chances, if he doesn't blow them. You'll see a
bit more about this in the two-parter.
Yes, some Vorlons do appear to us as female versions.
- Did the Shadows only realize what Kosh was when they
Oh, no, the Shadows and the Vorlons know each other from way,
- Did one of the Shadows attacking Kosh have
No, none of the shadows there were winged.
- There is something thematically present about growing up,
and parents, and coming of age that threads through the story.
And yes, there's the deliberate irony...that just as we finally
start to really hear from Kosh...he's gone. Snatched away just as we
got close. Which would add to the feelings.
- Kosh also appeared as G'Kar's father
("Dust to Dust.")
That's what Kosh tends to play into, the whole
father aspect, though others might take the other approach in this.
- It's likely a matter of both, choosing an element which
is strongest in the other person, which for Sheridan and G'Kar would be
their respective fathers, who would also be authority figures to
them...so it's both manipulation and emotion.
- What happens to Lyta now?
She'll now have to work with the incoming replacement Vorlon,
who might be just a bit miffed....
- As for Kosh's ship...it headed for the nearest star, the
local one, and basically dived into it....
- Why was one of the Vorlon ships red?
Not special per se, just to establish that they have more than
- Lyta was off-station running an errand for Kosh.
- The red ship was simply another variation on the standard;
nothing too major about it...and yes, when Lyta returns from her
errand, she'll definitely get into this, and there will have to be some
explanations made, though not to her....
- The different color just goes to show some measure of
individuality in design, and there are some hierarchies implied here.
- Are there lots of Vorlons in the big mother
There's a bunch in the big ship.
- Why didn't the mother ship attack?
I think we just didn't see those shots; it was used in the
- Vorlon/Shadow tech is more or less at the same level; the
Vorlons had the benefit of surprise.
- Are the Shadow ships more sensitive to pain than the
I suppose you could say they are, yes....
- What were the ambassadors doing in the war
Usually you only get the main war council and the support staff who
monitor the progress of the war; the ambassadors were called in on
Sheridan's hunch that now the vorlons would get involved.
- About the flash of light on Morden's mask, as compared
to the end of "Divided Loyalties"
Certainly the flash of light was an echo of Lyta's mask.
As for Delenn, I think she was just stunned, just emotionallly worn out
- Delenn mentions in the tag that the Vorlons will
be sending someone to quietly replace Kosh. It's a bit darker
- Will we be able to tell the difference between Kosh and
You'll know the difference. Believe me.
- The two aliens in the start of the episode were a
Brakiri and a Gaim.
"Interludes" for me marks a slight transition in the story, from
one "shape" to the next up...the demarkation between the hero-cycle and
the myth-cycle in the arc.
- Answers to a few reader questions
1. Kosh died fighting, I guess, and I'm also guessing that he took
some Shadows with him. How was this fight different than the one we
didn't see in "Signs and Portents"? Were there more Shadows this time
or are they getting stronger?
They were not initially prepared to kill him. That was a territorial
or jurisdictional squabble. This was retribution.
2. If Kosh did take out some Shadows, will more be sent to Morden as
He didn't. Hurt 'em good, but didn't take them out.
3. Did Kosh project to Delenn, G'Kar, or anyone else besides Sheridan
during the fight?
4. Did Garibaldi ever get a chance to speak with Kosh about the
Talia/Abbut data crystal as hinted at in "Divided Loyalties"?
5. Besides being extremely old, was Kosh an average Vorlon or
particularly special in terms of strength, skill, or status? No other
ambassador on the station has demonstrated the clout back home to
sortie an entire fleet at a moments notice. Delenn and Londo have only
called on forces from a particular faction in their polities.
He was certainly well regarded...one of the older of the vorlons.
- I'll put it to you this way...Kosh was old enough to have
had a first hand familiarity with Valen. Vorlons live a REAL long time.
- Valen led the prior shadow war and formed the grey council
roughly 1000 years before B5's current time.
- Won't anyone notice Kosh's ship leaving?
For Kosh himself, yes, very few had direct contact with him; so
that's workable. As for the ship...this objection assumes omniscience
on the part of the outside characters.
Consider: the quarter million people aboard B5 get their information
about what happens outside second-hand, filtered through B5 itself. If
the staff manning C&C decide to not show that information, or give
access to it, it doesn't exist. As for the ships outside, they move to
and from the jump gate, and are only interested in what's happening in
this small area of space to avoid running into anything. They don't
generally keep track of where all the other traffic is going; that's
And it isn't as simple as looking out your window. The distance
from Epsilon 3 to its local star is more or less equal to the distance
from Earth to our sun. That's a LOT of space and a very small ship.
You are not going to be able to track it visually, and who'd want to
keep an eye on it all the way to the local star?
- About Kosh's ship
It was made for Kosh, as Delenn points out, was almost a part of
him; it wouldn't function as well, if at all, for anyone else. There
was nothing else to be done.
- A personal transport is assigned to one vorlon for life,
changing and evolving over time. Little fighters have a more primitive
system. It's not the same thing as a shadow-vessel merge. A big
Vorlon cruiser has a full crew.