- I'd rather not say anything at all about "Gethsemane," because a
large part of the plot turns on something you need to discover
mid-viewing, and anything I might say would only detract from it.
It's a lovely, sad, very moving story; it's kind of my Twilight Zone
story in the B5 universe, with some very strong emotional twists as
we go along. It's not the kind of story I get to do within the B5
structure very often, and I'm extremely pleased with this one (and
Adam Nimoy did a *bang-up* job directing it; he thinks it may be his
best work ever).
- Thanks. Adam did a great job interpreting the script on
that one, and it's definitely one of our most successful
episodes...though today I took a look at another, more
completed version of episode 8, "Messages," and *man* is this
amazing...just a knockout...trouble is we keep raising our own
bar and won't accept anything less...so the pressure becomes
quite astonishing after a while.
- Adam was great in that he's a *very* serious director
who sits down and really thinks through the subtext of the
episode, the thematic aspects, the underlying symbology, and
then sits with the actor and *really* works with them so that
they fully understand the nuances of the scene. A lot of TV
direction can be rushed...you're always under the gun...so
it's rare to find someone who really takes his time and
prepares the cast.
- "Gethsemane" isn't a horror-type story at all, though it does have a
very TZish [Twilight Zone] feeling, so it doesn't owe to any of
those. Best to just let you see it when it airs.
- Brad read the script, fell in love with the part, and dived for it.
- Two things on the upcoming episode ("Gethsemane")....
1) This is episode #5 in shooting order; I'd originally planned to end
the first batch of new episodes with #4, "Voices of Authority," which
is a major -- and I mean major -- wham episode. But the EFX
requirements were pretty hideous (though not as bad as "Messages"), so
I moved "Gethsemane" into that slot, which is a very strong episode,
though not an arc'er.
2) On the story question...yes, this was the story that someone else
(don't want to use names, no sense in blaming anyone) had accidentally
suggested while I was working on it early in season two. So I had to
scuttle the script for nearly a year. Finally, very chagrined over
what happened, the individual gave me a notarized form explaining the
situation. At that point, I was able to reactivate the story. So no,
it's not any kind of "it's okay to do this" notion about story ideas;
as it is, the story was tied up for about a year, and might never have
seen the light of day had not the other person made great efforts to
set the situation straight.
- On another service, someone without
considering what he was saying (not his fault, it just happened) said,
in essence, "What if somebody on B5 found out that he had been
mind-wiped, and used to be something awful previously?"
Well, I'd had "Passing Through Gethsemane" on the wire at that time, but
when I saw this, I had to scuttle the story. It lay there, untouched,
for over a year, until I could finally meet the fellow and get a signed
release indicating what'd happened. If that fan had not been fair and
reasonable, that episode -- which many consider one of our best --
would never have been made.
- Was there any nod to the person who suggested the idea, and what
was the story originally like?
No, no nod to the person who suggested it, since this isn't a
competition, and the suggestion cost me a year where I couldn't do the
story. (So I wasn't in the cutest frame of mind about this for a long
time, even though it wasn't really his fault.)
Basically, it would've been a one-shot, with two monks arriving to
scope out B5 for the arrival of the rest later on. (You'll notice
that none of the other monks get into the story here; that's a
hold-over from the original outline, which I saw no need to change at
this point.) So this would've been folded into an introduction to the
order as they come to check out B5's facilities.
- They would've gotten the info in a different way, without resorting to a
- Carol: *exactly* the right point. In his earlier talk about
Gethsemane, Edward mentioned that old JC had to go through all that to
atone for the sins of others; when he sees Theo later, through the
grate, he uses the same notion of atonement for the acts of another,
in this case, *his* other. The logical parallel parses pretty closely.
- Not sure he *wanted* to die, as much as he felt it was *necessary* in
order to atone for the sins of another...his own "other," in this case.
- Where was Malcolm's mind wiped?
We established in "The Quality of Mercy" that the equipment to handle
mindwipes is there on-station, locked away until mandated by a court. A
court assigned telepath is usually brought in to do a preliminary scan
before it happens and to verify the wipe immediately afterward. In that
same episode, Talia was used only because a court teep wasn't available.
- Yes, B5 has a court system, authorized by the Earth Alliance
Judicial System, to conduct trials of this sort (which we've seen
before). And in this case, again, there wasn't a trial per se as
Ivanova noted; he pleaded guilty from the start, quite proud of what
he'd done. So all that remained was the sentencing.
- I'd say there were extenuating circumstances here that made it more than
just a simple murder (and not all murders get wiped, esp. in cases like
second-degree or manslaughter). He'd stalked Edward for years; arranged
to break the mindwipe; and engaged in slow, deliberate, methodical
torture unto death. The degree of premeditation is staggering.
- No, the other brothers aren't mind-wiped.
You're mis-remembering "The Quality of Mercy." Telepaths do NOT
perform mindwipes. A court appointed teep makes a scan before and after
for purposes of comparison, but the wipe is done by a device held under
lock and key until ordered out by a court. The only reason Talia did it
in QoM was because they couldn't get a court teep there in the required
time (which was also stated in the episode). So here the court
appointed telepath would have come and gone by now.
- Mindwiping was presented too positively.
I'm not sure I presented it positively; I just presented it, didn't make
a moral judgement about it. Some of those in the show did, but then we
had Edward saying it *isn't* moral, that it's a monstrous thing to do.
Like any form of punishment it can seem fair to those not facing it.
- There are templates used, with some variations. In a government
monitored situation (which this wasn't, they thought he was dead),
mindwipes are kept in servile positions, not allowed to achieve, as that
would be a kind of reward. Those guys you see along the roadsides
picking up trash and putting them in bright orange bags? Mindwipes.
- Re: mindwipes no longer considered people...this really is not that
much different from prison inmates, who are given numbers, have no real
civil rights, and are treated like cattle. (And many of them deserve
it; a few deserve worse; a few deserve better.)
- About the moral ambiguity
Thanks. That's really the intent; to get people to talk about the
issues raised, and to examine the issues. We won't tell you what to
think about an issue, because I don't have an answer myself...but if it
made you stop and consider this stuff, and decide for yourself where
you fall in the discussion, then it's done its job.
- It's a hard thing to walk the line between not
being effective and being heavy-handed...I think it worked
quite well in that respect.
- The Centauri did not steal the bag; he had left long
before Edward lost it (we see him drop and leave it behind in the
hallway). As Garibaldi said, someone found it and tried to sell it.
- If the Centauri teep had had more time to react he probably would have
gone after Garibaldi...but Lyta came in too fast, and she took his
- Re: the Centauri...note that Edward wasn't killed where
they found him. He was taken and killed elsewhere, in a area
they'd more or less secured for that purpose. That was the
area he knew about.
- Re: the use of Lyta to extract the info...this is the main reason why
there's a Psi Corps, and there are exacting rules, otherwise it can
easily become deus ex machina. We won't ever do this sort of thing
trivially, and here it was definitely meant to be a little
disturbing...it was a sheer matter of life or death, the guy was a
creep, and somewhere Edward was bleeding to death. Even after so many
viewings, and even having written the thing, I find that one scene
It's the best of the first four, I think. But better is coming....
- The interrogation scene was disturbing.
Yes, that's definitely the sense I was going for. That scene frankly
unsettles and scares me a little, because it does show our characters
skirting the line...yes, it's absolutely necessary, every moment is
precious if they're going to try to save Edward's life...but it's still
a bit creepy.
- How Sheridan and Garibaldi got away with it?
"Telepath? What telepath? Never happened. Can you describe her? No?
I see. Well, I don't remember seeing anyone in there, Mr. Garibaldi, do
you? We'd check the logs to be absolutely sure, because we'd hate for
this sort of thing to happen, but we had a small glitch in the software,
and the recorders didn't work...still, we're working on it, and we hope
to have it taken care of in the next few months. Would you like some
more tea, Ambassador?"
- What Kosh was doing with Lyta (that
sounds vaguely suggestive) wasn't a one-time event. There was a
transference going on, and that aspect will be heard from again.
- Why did it take Lyta so long to get to the
Well, she didn't go directly into Vorlon space; she left, went
around a bit, had to find a pilot willing to take her...it was a time
- Contacting the Vorlon government isn't the hard part;
getting into and out of their space is what's hard. We showed in the
pilot that B5 and Earth were in *contact* with the Vorlons; Lyta was
trying to get inside their turf, and they aren't exactly neighborly in
- Why did it take so long for a med team to get to Edward?
They were in a pretty distant part of DownBelow, and in B5 you don't
have trains or cars; there's just the transport tubes, and the central
core shuttle. Even if they gave a damn about what happens to lurkers in
DownBelow (and they generally don't), it would still take at least 5-10
minutes to get a trauma team down there, and he was dead within about 3.
(I was once mugged half a mile from a police station and a mile from a
hospital; took 'em 30 minutes to get there.)
Sheridan and Theo didn't *discover* that Edward was using the
computer; Theo was concerned that he was looking into it in general.
And if they had blocked the computer in his quarters, he would have been
able to access one somewhere else. They didn't know he'd actually done
it until after the fact.
- The absolution scene, based on what used to be called the rites of
extreme unction, or last rights, is now called the "celebration" of
passing, and I went to the Catholic church's information office, and
got the actual text. I made a few adjustments here, condensing it a
bit (on the logic that Edward didn't have a lot of time), and
modifying a few small points here and there, on the second logical
point that in 250 years, such might have taken place (as the current
ritual has been adjusted a bit here and there over the years). So if
it felt right, it was.
- One caveat here overall...it's been complimented and commented upon
that I would expose a belief system in my show which I do not personally
agree with (presenting the face of religion even though I'm an atheist).
That I could be this tolerant is apparently praiseworthy.
I would just suggest that at some point, when and if I should offer
a point of view from another perspective, which one watching might not
personally agree with, the same tolerance is given, since the virtue of
tolerating divergent attitudes has been deemed praiseworthy...and is
something ever to strive for....
- Basically, Sheridan believes in a lot of things; he's
very eclectic in his views, can incorporate lots of different
perspectives, and has a respect for all views. In one of the early
season 3 eps, in fact, one character upbraids him for having "no
clearly defined pattern of faith," to which Sheridan replies, "I'm
- "The themes of faith and forgiveness were worthy of a theologian. Are
you sure there isn't something you'd like to tell us?"
Never shoot pool at a place called Pop's. Never eat food at a place
called Mom's. The difference between horses and humans is that
they're too smart to be on what *we'll* do.
And I have lost people. Too many people. Lost them to chance,
violence, brutality beyond belief; I've seen all the senseless,
ignoble acts of "god's noblest creature." And I am incapable of
forgiving. My feelings are with G'Kar, hand sliced open, saying of
the drops of blood flowing from that open wound, "How do you
apologize to them?" "I can't." "Then I cannot forgive."
As an atheist, I believe that all life is unspeakably precious,
because it's only here for a brief moment, a flare against the dark,
and then it's gone forever. No afterlives, no second chances, no
backsies. So there can be nothing crueler than the abuse,
destruction or wanton taking of a life. It is a crime no less than
burning the Mona Lisa, for there is always just one of each.
So I cannot forgive. Which makes the notion of writing a character
who CAN forgive momentarily attractive...because it allows me to
explore in great detail something of which I am utterly incapable.
I cannot fly, so I would write of birds and starships and kites; I
cannot play an instrument, so I would write of composers and
dancers; and I cannot forgive, so I would write of priests and monks
- In legal terms, in order to qualify for "a crime of
passion" there cannot be premeditation; it happens suddenly, in the heat
of the moment. By virtue of stalking Edward for nine years, the "crime
of passion" defense quickly goes by the boards.
- From what Ivanova tells Lyta, about two weeks have passed
since the apprehension of Edward's killer; and yes, with slight
modifications to prevent mindwipes from running into one another, they
usually use preset templates in creating a basic history for the person
to be wiped.
- Why did Ivanova tolerate Lyta?
Real simple. Lyta has proven that she was telling the proof about the
traitor; and she's on the run from the Psi Corps herself, putting her
and Ivanova on the same side; and she helped when she was asked to try
and find Edward.
- If there were just one pure and unchanged
universal soul running through everything, there wouldn't be any point
in breaking itself into pieces and investing itself in different
species/people...it would just keep running into identical versions
So the soul form in Minbari is different from the soul form in
humans; also, in their view, having been civilized longer than us,
their soul form is more elevated, more evolved...and thus the pieces
are more precious, to them, and to the Soul Hunters.
- No, there's really just the one Minbari religion, and the warrior
caste tends to follow it, but not lead it.