- The resolution of the battle between Sheridan and Clark's
forces points out what may be Sheridan's most potent weapon against
Clark: not White Stars or superior strategy, but the presence of
previously loyal human commanders who lend credibility to the rebel
- The White Stars appear to have adapted to Earth's weapons;
a hit from an Earth heavy cruiser only disables a White Star until
the auto-repair systems come online. Even without the defection
of so many Earth ships, Ivanova is in command of an unstoppable
- Sheridan told the Agamemnon's captain that the rebel
forces had lost some battles, but had kept the news to themselves.
("We've lost a few. We just made damned sure nobody heard about it.")
How is that possible? Wouldn't Clark jump at the chance to spread
news of victory over Sheridan's forces? And for that matter, would
Ivanova participate in covering up any losses, given her insistence
on telling the truth in her Voice of the Resistance broadcasts?
("Rumors, Bargains and Lies")
Perhaps Sheridan simply has a more specific definition of "victory"
than most other people. He didn't seem to consider the outcome of
the Proxima 3 battle a victory
("No Surrender, No Retreat")
so perhaps he'd consider it a loss if he wound up having to fight
Clark's forces to the death.
Or maybe Sheridan wasn't referring to his current campaign, but was
speaking in general of his military career.
- Sheridan demonstrated a lack of caution in this episode,
first going over to the Agamemnon on a moment's notice (it could
easily have been sent by Clark as a trap) then agreeing to go to
Mars by himself. He even walked straight into a public place without
attempting to obscure his face, which has no doubt been featured daily
on ISN. That can be seen as evidence of what Garibaldi
referred to as a "God complex" -- Sheridan appears to have disregarded
his own fallibility.
It's possible that this stems in part from the glimpse of his own
"War Without End, Part Two,"
which might lead Sheridan to believe that no matter what he does now,
he'll be alive and free in 17 years.
- Sheridan's capture was similar to G'Kar's in
"Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?"
Both of them left a place of relative safety to try to rescue someone
they cared about, and both were captured by a regime that was
oppressing their people. Both were tortured after capture.
- The Agamemnon, according to its captain, had been
modified to track Sheridan's forces down. What, specifically, were
the modifications? And more importantly, how likely is it that Clark
would equip a ship specifically to seek Sheridan out without being
very sure of its loyalty?
The Agamemnon would make a perfect plant. Clark's people might have
figured that Sheridan's emotional attachment to it would likely prompt
him to put it in a position of trust, all the better to sabotage
Sheridan's efforts at a critical juncture. Of course, Ivanova isn't
biased toward trusting the Agamemnon, but at the time the Agamemnon
was sent out to find the rebel fleet, Clark had no idea Sheridan's
capture was imminent.
Its arrival just after the battle was also very convenient; its
captain could claim to be joining up with the rebels without actually
having to fire on Clark's forces. If it had indeed been chasing
after Sheridan for weeks, emerging from hyperspace at just that
moment was quite a coincidence.
- Was the Agamemnon's captain the one in command when it
fired on the White Star?
("Messages From Earth")
- The Agamemnon has been involved in skirmishes with
raiders near Io. Who are the raiders? Are the Drakh
("Lines of Communication")
encroaching on Earth's territory? Or are the raiders simply
opportunists out to take advantage of Sheridan's campaign and its
likely effect of drawing Earth forces away from their home system?
- The Shadows were apparently right about Ivanova; she is
indeed taking Sheridan's place, just as Bester says they feared.
- Bester's manipulation of Garibaldi was foreshadowed in
"Dust to Dust."
Bester told Garibaldi, "I enjoyed working with you. We made a good
team. Perhaps we'll do it again sometime."
It was also foreshadowed, if obliquely, in
in which Garibaldi pretended to have a personality implant,
if only as a joke.
And before then, ironically, in
"The Quality of Mercy,"
Talia and Garibaldi shared a moment of mutual foreshadowing when she
said to him, "Things that live inside us, Mr. Garibaldi. Terrible
- Bester referred to the Corps as "my telepaths." This
echoes his comment to Ivanova in
"Ship of Tears"
that he had plans for Earth's telepaths and didn't want the Shadows
interfering. Apparently he considers himself responsible for Earth's
telepaths, even if he's not officially in charge of the Corps.
- Did Bester's people get the virus? It's possible Lise took
it when she fled Edgars' compound. She wanted Garibaldi to help her
stop him, and taking the virus would be a big step in that direction.
Of course, that's assuming she could get to it; the Psi Cops could
presumably take control of Edgars and force him to use the handprint
reader, but Lise would have had a harder time getting to the vials.
Garibaldi did see blast marks around the secret compartment, though,
suggesting that it was opened by force.
- The ISN broadcast showed investigators picking up a
necklace from the floor of Edgars' residence. That necklace, or one
like it, was being worn by Lise when she listened in on Edgars'
conversation with Garibaldi, suggesting she was in the room after
Edgars and Garibaldi left.
- Bester's supposition that the virus was developed with
the help of Shadow technology is consistent with the courier's claim in
"Conflicts of Interest"
that coming up with the cure was a job beyond the capabilities of
Earth's biologists, and that alien help had been enlisted.
- If Bester is right about the Shadows helping create the
virus, it means Edgars was in contact with the Shadows, even if
indirectly. And indeed, Edgars and Wade seemed to espouse something
like the Shadow philosophy: the enslavement of normals by telepaths or
vice versa was a natural consequence of evolution.
- References to the Nazis abound: Edgars described his
plan as a solution to "the telepath problem," an echo of Hitler's
"Jewish problem." Bester told Garibaldi that he had just prevented
a Holocaust. Edgars even referred to the Nazis directly, though he
misspoke a date; he claimed they came to power in 1939, but in fact
Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933.
- Garibaldi's line about the last person with his job being
paid 30 pieces of silver is a
Judas was paid
30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus to the Romans. Even under the
influence of his altered personality, Garibaldi apparently has moral
qualms about betraying Sheridan.
- After Edgars told Garibaldi the full extent of his plans,
Wade told Garibaldi he wouldn't be allowed to leave Edgars' compound.
The implication was that any passing telepath (e.g. one of the
"bloodhound units") would be able to scan Garibaldi and learn about
Why, then, was Wade allowed to travel to Babylon 5, and stay there to
recruit Garibaldi? Was Wade unaware of the big picture until his return
to Mars? The laboratory scene near the end of
"The Exercise of Vital Powers"
doesn't give the impression that Wade just found out what Edgars was
up to; he seemed to have witnessed similar experiments in the past.
Perhaps Wade was drugged or brainwashed in some way that made him
more difficult to scan or that caused him to believe the story he
told Garibaldi in
"Conflicts of Interest."
- Bester's release of Garibaldi was, in some ways, an act
of arrogance; in essence, Bester was saying that he didn't consider
Garibaldi a threat. Given Garibaldi's determination in the past, he'll
likely seek revenge or justice, and he won't rest until he has it.
- Despite Bester's apparently accurate warning that
Garibaldi's old comrades wouldn't want to have anything to do with him
any more, Garibaldi did try to get in touch with Babylon 5. How will
he be able to prove his story to them, and prove that he's no longer
under Bester's influence? One obvious answer is to submit to a scan
by Lyta, whose Vorlon-enhanced powers appear to far exceed Bester's.
She would easily be able to verify Garibaldi's story, and her word
might be enough to convince the others.
Edgars' order to Garibaldi to fire Lyta
("Moments of Transition")
may, ironically, have been his downfall. If Edgars hadn't forced
Garibaldi to get rid of her, she might have eventually detected
Bester's handiwork and removed it, and Edgars would still be alive.
- Why didn't Edgars release the virus? What was he waiting
"The Exercise of Vital Powers,"
he seemed satisfied that the virus worked, and even asked that a
test of its effectiveness be terminated.
Since his aim was to control the telepaths, not simply wipe them out,
perhaps he needed to wait until he had enough of the cure manufactured
to supply to millions of victims.
Edgars said he was waiting for Clark to drop his guard, but it's
not clear what difference that would have made; Clark's level of
paranoia would presumably have little effect on the spread of the
virus and the demise of the telepaths.
- Edgars' plans didn't amount to anything in the end. He was
the only known credible threat to the Psi Corps. Now that he's dead
and the Corps has control of his weapon against them, and Ivanova is
continuing the rebel advance even in the face of Sheridan's capture,
Edgars' fear of Clark panicking and giving increasing amounts of
control to the Psi Corps may well become a reality.
Of course, Sheridan may have anticipated that problem, and
the frozen telepaths may be his answer.
"The Exercise of Vital Powers,"
Edgars implied that there were other powerful megacorps dissatisfied
with Clark, and that his company was one of several planning to move
against the government. Will any of the others act now that Edgars
is out of the picture?
- The problem may have gotten even worse thanks to Edgars:
if the Corps has the virus, they'll presumably spend a good
deal of effort studying it. The virus selects its victims via the
presence of the telepathy genes. Developing that selectivity from
scratch may have required the aid of the Shadows, but it might not
be beyond Earth's biotechnology to use it as a blueprint and produce
a modified version that selects for the lack of the
telepathy gene -- thus giving the Corps the same power over normals
that Edgars wanted to gain over telepaths.
Or the Corps could use the virus to cement its own control over all
human telepaths. By releasing the virus and only giving the cure to
members of the Corps, they'd eliminate the problem of rogue telepaths
overnight. Latent telepaths like Ivanova would no longer be able to
hide themselves from the Corps.
- Bester could possibly also use the virus on Lyta; death
by the virus might be considered natural causes under the terms of her
("Moments of Transition.")
Of course, such an operation would be very risky, since Lyta would
- Assuming Edgars kept detailed personnel records, the
police will most likely look to Garibaldi as a prime suspect in the
murders. Lise might also be a suspect. Both of them disappeared
suddenly at the time of the murder, and given their past history,
the police might conclude that Edgars' murder was a crime of passion
committed by two old lovers who wanted to be together again.
- The bloodhound units may have been in evidence before
this episode. In
"Conflicts of Interest,"
the two telepaths chasing Garibaldi, Wade and Lise seemed to fit the
description pretty well. And, more speculatively, they could have
been the ones to plant the Keeper on Captain Jack in
since they presumably would have had little trouble learning of his
personal association with Number One.
- Lyta's description of the Corps' treatment of the murderer
is strikingly similar to her threat to Londo in
"Passing Through Gethsemane."
Perhaps she was present when the murderer was implanted and knows
firsthand how to do such things. Maybe she was even involved in
the process; that could be the secret about her Bester threatened
to reveal in
- Number One said that when Lyta passed through Mars a
year and a half earlier
she made no mention of being a telepath on the run from the Corps.
That's inconsistent with Lyta's story in that episode. She told
Sheridan and the others at that time that she'd been helping out
the resistance, and implied that they'd hired her for her telepathic
- Number One apparently really does treat all
her former lovers like she treated Phillipe
("Lines of Communication.")
- I agree that it's probably one of the best we've done.
I've now watched it at least a dozen times in finished form, and it
still works for me.
- One thing I've been doing with the latter part of
season 4 is to experiment a little more, try different things. I feel
that we need to push visually to try new things, the sort of visual
techniques you don't see much in SF-TV, which for the most part is
fairly prosaic as these things go. And to push the writing, to try some
things that may succeed, or may fail, but you learn something either
way. In its way, next week's ep is just as experimental, but in a very
Mike Vejar definitely did a great job with this episode.
- Zimbalist did a great job for us...he took huge gobs of
exposition and not only delivered them, he made them interesting.
- Was he a fan of the show?
Nope, just figured he'd be great for the job, and cast him
without audition. He didn't know anything about the show before that.
- What was the shimmering wall Sheridan stood near on
the White Star bridge?
Those were the autorepair systems at work.
- ""The Face of the Enemy" might represent the flipside of
young Delenn's claim in "Atonement" that the most dangerous enemy is the
one you know nothing about. Now the face of the enemy is the one you
know all too well, one which you take for granted until it's revealed
that the face is actually a mask."
Yep. It's one thing facing implacable, vast enemies...it's
quite another when you friend betrays you. That's personal.
- There isn't that much direct,
personal violence in the show. My feeling is that if you do that a
lot, it loses any potential for impact. You only pull out that card
when you really need it, to best effect...don't waste it. It's like
harsh language, after you've heard someone going on using all the more
remarkable Anglo-Saxon words for a while, it loses all impact.
- "I thought the fight was a bit too long for much the
same reason as you. All I can suggest is that John's metabolism isn't
"normal" any more, and perhaps this had an effect. (And maybe the
bullyboys were doing less damage than we think, simply to prolong
1) It was for dramatic/stylistic effect. Not everything done
with some style has to have a scientific explanation.
2) Having been mugged myself, time expands and slows down.
3) It's the TV cliche that fights are over in a second. Ask
anyone who's ever been in a real knock-down fight. It goes on a heck
of a lot longer than we showed here. When I got mugged it went on for
One of the ironies in other messages on this (not this one here
specifically) is that some have noted the fast-paced editing, which is
supposedly associated with music video/short attention span
material...and then turn around and say it wasn't over fast enough.
- Was Lyta's story the secret from her past alluded
to by Bester in
No, Franklin's comment to Lyta didn't involve her past, though
we will find out more about that in a bit.
- Was Bester's salute a "Prisoner" reference?
Nope, not a Prisoner homage at all, in any way.
- Why mess Edgars' place up so thoroughly?
They wanted it to look like it was done by the Resistance;
too much "attention" to his death would've drawn attention to the
- Wade specificially says Lise wasn't there when they got
back, so that eliminates her from the scenario.
- Why haven't the other races had conflict between
their telepaths and their normals?
Obviously some, like the Minbari, dealt with it more easily than
others; and in some places it came through Vorlon interference, while
in others it came about naturally.
- "Wade had a great line about the clash of homo sapiens
and Neanderthals in Carthage. Was this line inspired by some of the
recent Neanderthal finds? Or was this part of your orignial
conception for the story?"
Not recent stuff, just a general knowledge of this area.
"Did Edgars really believe the Earthgov propaganda that Sheridan was
operating under the malignant influence of aliens?
"Is Bester really done with Garibaldi?"
For the moment.
"One of the captains of the Earth vessels is named Leo Frank. Was
this a deliberate historical reference?"
"Franklin and Number One seem to have cooled their relationship.
Any further developments in the works here?"
Any more personal stuff got set aside when Franklin showed up
a) with another female, and b) she was a teep. When #1 calms
down, they might take another shot at it.
"Lastly, there is a bit of irony in the fact that the stage for
Sheridan's capture is set when he steps aboard his old ship, the
Agamemnon. Agamemnon was the supreme commander of the Greek forces
at Troy, who survived that long war, but who was betrayed and
murdered by his wife when he returned home. He blindly and arrogantly
stepped into a trap, as Sheridan also seemed to do."
Yeah...that's one of many reasons why I picked that
image/reference. It plays on a LOT of levels in the story.
- Wasn't Edgars' complex guarded to keep people from
leaving without permission?
If anybody could slip away, Garibaldi could.
- Ivanova quoted Sheridan as saying, "The person is
expendable. The job is not." But in fact, it was Sinclair who
said that, in
"War Without End."
But then, if I did everything perfectly, wouldn't it be boring?