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Old September 22 2013, 05:24 AM   #16
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

^ Security Guard #1 was the one played by the ever-awesome Vaughn Armstrong, wasn't he?

As for The Gathering, it seemed to also imply that:

.

The reason I suspect this was there was a scene where the guy with the changeling net uses this person's access code to break into someone's quarters (you can briefly see it on the screen). Or perhaps it was just a stolen code?
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Old September 22 2013, 09:35 AM   #17
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

There's a lot from the pilot and first season which was adapted later on, such as Lyta being worried about being thrown out of Psi-Corp when we all know later that never happens, or there only being two castes of Minbari, or Delenn being a dude, or...
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Old September 22 2013, 10:15 AM   #18
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
^ Security Guard #1 was the one played by the ever-awesome Vaughn Armstrong, wasn't he?

As for The Gathering, it seemed to also imply that:

.

The reason I suspect this was there was a scene where the guy with the changeling net uses this person's access code to break into someone's quarters (you can briefly see it on the screen). Or perhaps it was just a stolen code?
Pretty sure it's long since been confirmed that this was indeed the case. In fact IIRC the reason it actually ended up being Talia (and Garibaldi's second) was because in the year gap between 'The Gathering' & season 1 fans had worked out Laurel's complicity (or it leaked, I forget) so rather than do the obvious thing and transfer the plot to Ivanova, he shifted it elsewhere.
I think that's why Ivanova's backstory is what it is, so she could be an effective red herring when the identity of the mole would be revealed.

Again though, these are mere details. It didn't really matter who the mole was in the grand scheme of things.
Mr Light wrote: View Post
I always found it amazing how he had some things planned out so precisely, yet other things were clearly left to the last minute.

The example I always think of is "Security Guard #1" in Messages From Earth and Point of No Return.

He knew that there was going to be a revolt from Earthforce in the middle of Season Three. He knew that he was setting up the Zack character to have to choose between Garibaldi and Nightwatch.

But he didn't bother to introduce a Nightwatch character until the episode before it happened, and he didn't even bother to give the guy a name.

Yes, Talia was supposed to be this traitor character, but once she was gone in 2X20 it was time to introduce a replacement character.

3X2 Convictions was the perfect place to introduce this character. It had a major supporting role for a security guard we had never seen before.
I'd call that a minor oversight. That character's role was purely to put a face on the Clark loyalists in Garibaldi's staff and once Nightwatch are gone, so was he. Sure, it may have worked a little better had he been someone we'd seen once or twice before, but I don't think we really missed out on anything there.

Also, if the Drakh were going to be the major villains of Season Five and beyond... why were they only introduced AFTER the Shadow War ended? Why weren't they shown as foot soldiers in the actual war? Why weren't there Drakh security guards on Z'ha'dum? (in the Technomage novel the place was crawling with them)
Well for one thing open warfare was never the Drakh's role. They were agents of chaos, carrying out their masters' will from the sidelines, not foot soldiers of the apocalypse.

Plus of course we *did* see them in the form of the keeper on Londo. He even refers to them indirectly "they to not take betrayal lightly." I know that took place 18 years hence, but the episode falls right after the shadow war began. So JMS clearly had them well in mind.

As for Z'ha'dum, Anna specifically says they're in a part of the complex set aside for them. The Drakh were probably under strict orders not to be seen by Sheridan, at least until after they could slap a keeper on him. Being present and yet not being seen is after all what Drakh are good at.

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Old September 23 2013, 12:22 AM   #19
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Were there minor inconsistencies? Of course there were. That's no surprise, when creating a 110-episode, 5 season "Novel for Television" like B5. A prose novelist gets to go back and fix those kinds of "errors" before his novel ever sees print. Joe had no opportunity to go back and fiddle with stuff in Season 1 to better mesh with creative decisions made years (and dozens of episodes) later. Serialized episodic TV is like sending out the first draft of chapters to the eager viewers.

What's more amazing to me, given the nature of the medium, is that Straczynski found a way to make it all hang together as well as he did. And, for my money, it hangs together better than ANY similar attempt in the history of television. That's why, despite all the minor inconsistencies, it still feels like a unified whole. There's very little I'd change, if I were given the opportunity.

Except Byron. He just sucks.
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Old September 23 2013, 01:13 AM   #20
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Plus JMS wrote almost all of it. Especially impressive the quality in the writing being so high with him writing so much.
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Old September 23 2013, 09:29 AM   #21
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Gotham Central wrote: View Post
The biggest problem is the depiction of the Vorlons. The whole plot revolves around Kosh getting poisoned via a skin tab....except Kosh is NOT an organic being. He's made of energy. How can poison work on him? Hell, he does not even have skin.
As stated by others, Vorlons do have some physical presence, and are not just energy. This can be seen when Ulkesh actively hits things in "Falling Towards Apotheosis" in season 4.


Gotham Central wrote: View Post
Why exactly does a self contained encounter suit have exposed hands anyway?
It doesn't. The point is that Kosh voluntarily opened the suit in a way he ordinarily wouldn't. How can he open the suit safely if he requires all that wacky atmosphere in his quarters? Because the wacky atmosphere is a lie, a cover to make him seem more mysterious. We see later that he's perfectly capable of existing in standard atmosphere, and probably a vacuum too.


Reverend wrote: View Post
As for the Vorlon corporeal/energy being discussion, lets see what Joe has said:

Understand that their appearance as a being of light is only how they want to appear; they are life forms much the same as many others, and can be poisoned if one knows the right combination of substances.
And who would be most likely to know that combination of substances? The Shadows, of course. The Minbari assassin was one of the Wind Swords, the renegade Minbari who refused to stand down after the Battle of the Line, and instead went off on their own (to reappear in "Points of Departure"). They fell in with the Shadows, whether knowingly or not, and the Shadows used this one to try to kill Kosh. (These Minbari are also the same ones that had been harbouring Deathwalker ever since the Dilgar War.)


Gotham Central wrote: View Post
The Vorlon government's actions seem...odd to say the least. Even more so than the Minbari, they know how important Babylon 5 is and they know Sinclair's secret. Why would they threaten to destroy the station or even consider brining Sinclair back to their world for trial? For that matter why would the even mention bringing him back to their home world, since on the series they make it clear that NO ONE is allowed to go there.
Ah, but the Vorlons know that only the Shadows could possibly have a chance of poisoning them in this way. But they haven't been told about any changeling net. All they've been told is that Sinclair is responsible. That's why they want Sinclair handed over to them - to check him for Shadow influence. Easiest to do that on their home planet. Doesn't mean anyone else would ever be welcome there - they just have good reason to take Sinclair there.

I guess the more hardline Vorlons simply think that the possible future importance of Sinclair's role in things is less important than the possibility he might have already been compromised by Shadows. Remember, it's usually only Kosh who thinks the younger races have much of importance to contribute. The rest of them think of us as just cannon fodder in their ideological war.


Gotham Central wrote: View Post
Given everything we know about the technical capabilities o the Vorlons, it does seem odd that Kosh would fall for a changeling net.
Kosh fell for it because he's the more sentimental, friendly type of Vorlon. He knows Sinclair of old - they fought the first war together back when Sinclair was Valen. So he opened up his encounter suit to greet his old friend as himself. How did the Minbari assassin know he would do that, giving him the opportunity to poison him? Because the Minbari was working with the Shadows, who also knew who Sinclair was, and what Kosh would likely do. Kosh let his sentimentality almost get him killed - likely why he went so cold for a while afterwards.


Triple-F wrote: View Post
Here’s an extract from an early draft of the script for the pilot describing the appearance of Velena’s hand – Velena is Kosh’s ‘life mate’ who arrived on the station with him.

“Then Velana removes one of her gloves – and in a brief glimpse, we see something that is more claw than hand, more carapace than skin. She slips her hand under the translucent coverlets and touches where Kosh’s face must be.”
Not exactly the angelic projections seen at the end of season 2. : )
I'm pretty sure JMS has said that he never really intended that to be the nature of the Vorlons. He put that in there purely to sell the show to the suits at WB. He (probably not unreasonably) assumed that they wouldn't get his actual concept for the Vorlons - energy beings who are the basis for Angels and other religious figures in the mythology of countless worlds - and would have fought him if he tried to put that in there. So he pretended that it was a much simpler concept - scary monsters oooh! - just to get it past them and on the screen, after which he could do what he wanted. Also I think he said that they specifically asked him, "Ooh, what's in the encounter suit?" and he didn't want to let a pretty major spoiler out right off the bat, so he lied.

.
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Old September 23 2013, 12:25 PM   #22
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

lvsxy808 wrote: View Post
And who would be most likely to know that combination of substances? The Shadows, of course. The Minbari assassin was one of the Wind Swords, the renegade Minbari who refused to stand down after the Battle of the Line, and instead went off on their own (to reappear in "Points of Departure"). They fell in with the Shadows, whether knowingly or not, and the Shadows used this one to try to kill Kosh. (These Minbari are also the same ones that had been harbouring Deathwalker ever since the Dilgar War.)
I think you're getting thing a little confused. Yes, according to JMS that assassin was a member of the Wind Swords, but they were never went into exile, you're thinking of the warcruiser Trigati. The Wind Swords were the most militant of the warrior clans and they did harbour Deathwalker, but AFAIK there's no indication of them associating with the Shadows.

The knowledge of how to poison a Vorlon most likely came from the time of Valen when the Vorlons walked openly (as seen in 'In Valen's Name'.) It would have been a closely guarded secret --even for Minbari--but somehow the Wind Swords got a hold of it. Maybe at some point in the last 1000 years a Wind Sword served as Satai and quietly took the information back to his or her clan.
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Old September 23 2013, 12:43 PM   #23
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Ah, the Wind Swords. Another one of those S1 proto-ideas that fell by the wayside. They probably would have been much more important in the earlier version of the series where there was a Second Human-Minbari War.
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Old September 23 2013, 02:12 PM   #24
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Daddy Todd wrote: View Post

Except Byron. He just sucks.
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Old September 24 2013, 12:38 PM   #25
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Reverend wrote: View Post
I think you're getting thing a little confused. Yes, according to JMS that assassin was a member of the Wind Swords, but they were never went into exile, you're thinking of the warcruiser Trigati.
I always thought they were the same people. Although why an entire clan would all be on the same ship and no-one else is odd, so maybe you're right that they're not the same people.


The Wind Swords were the most militant of the warrior clans and they did harbour Deathwalker, but AFAIK there's no indication of them associating with the Shadows.
But I still reckon the assassin and whatever group he was part of had Shadow influence. The Shadows had their finger in every pie going - the Markab (test of the virus), the Drazi (purple v green), the Technomages (all Shadow tech), the Minbari (Wind Swords), the Humans (Psi Corps), the Narn (killed all the mind-walkers)... ad nauseam.

.
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Old September 24 2013, 02:37 PM   #26
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

^ I didn't know the Shadows had anything to do with the Drazi green/purple thing. Where did you learn that?
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Old September 24 2013, 03:00 PM   #27
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

lvsxy808 wrote: View Post
I always thought they were the same people. Although why an entire clan would all be on the same ship and no-one else is odd, so maybe you're right that they're not the same people.
They're not. Minbari clans are *huge*. You're not going to get a whole one onboard just one war cruiser. It's just not practical. Remember that clans are groupings of extended families. For example, Delenn's family name is Mir, which is but one family of the Tenth Fane of Elleya. Even if you had a clan small enough to all fit aboard a warcruiser, I can't see the Grey Council giving any one clan that much independent power. Moreover why would any clan be so stupid as to take their entire population (including children and elders) with them into battle? Not going to happen.

No, the Trigati was a ship who's captain committed suicide rather than accept the ceasefire order at the Battle of the Line. His first officer took command and he and the crew went into a self imposed exile. It had nothing directly to do with the Wind Swords, or any one warrior clan.

But I still reckon the assassin and whatever group he was part of had Shadow influence. The Shadows had their finger in every pie going - the Markab (test of the virus), the Drazi (purple v green), the Technomages (all Shadow tech), the Minbari (Wind Swords), the Humans (Psi Corps), the Narn (killed all the mind-walkers)... ad nauseam.
It's possible, but I don't know of any strong evidence even hinting at a Minbari/Shadow connection. Indeed, the fact that hight ranking Minbari have implants that detect shadow agents in close proximity would make it especially difficult for them to infiltrate.

I also don't accept that the Markab genocide was the work of the Shadows either. It certainly wasn't confirmed as such within the show and I have no idea what makes you think the Drazi green/purple thing had *anything* whatsoever to do with the Shadows. That's their system of government and they've been doing it on a regular basis for quite a while.
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Old September 24 2013, 03:20 PM   #28
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

I'll also dispute the PsiCorps. Telepaths were created by The Vorlons for their own use, The Shadows don't like Telepaths, because they are a Vorlon Weapon and they disrupt Shadow Tech/influence (Hence the annihilation of the Narn Telepaths). Yes, The Clark Government was in league with the Shadows/Morden, and obviously there was some PsiCorps complicity, but, the connection was through The Government itself, not PsiCorps specifically. Bester is pretty high up and didn't know exactly where the complicity within PsiCorps was centered
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Old September 24 2013, 03:24 PM   #29
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
^ I didn't know the Shadows had anything to do with the Drazi green/purple thing. Where did you learn that?
Reverend wrote: View Post
I also don't accept that the Markab genocide was the work of the Shadows either. It certainly wasn't confirmed as such within the show and I have no idea what makes you think the Drazi green/purple thing had *anything* whatsoever to do with the Shadows. That's their system of government and they've been doing it on a regular basis for quite a while.
I'm absolutely certain the Drazi thing is from the Technomage trilogy of books - Galen thinks about it at some point. He says that, unbeknownst to them, the origins of that governmental system go back to Shadow interference during the last war. It is, after all, just the Shadows' "conflict makes the victors grow stronger" philosophy writ small, with pointless conflict every now and then until somebody, it doesn't matter who, wins.

I can't seem to find any online corroboration of that right now, but I'm convinced I'm not making it up, that I did read it somewhere official.

For the Markab, I don't believe there is any official proof of that, no. But when A Call to Arms came out with its Drakh plague, I know there was speculation that it was related to the Markab plague, and that in fact the latter had been just a effectiveness test for the final larger version. So no proof, but it certainly makes sense to me and nothing specifically contradicts it to my knowledge.

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Old September 24 2013, 10:27 PM   #30
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

lvsxy808 wrote:
I'm absolutely certain the Drazi thing is from the Technomage trilogy of books - Galen thinks about it at some point. He says that, unbeknownst to them, the origins of that governmental system go back to Shadow interference during the last war. It is, after all, just the Shadows' "conflict makes the victors grow stronger" philosophy writ small, with pointless conflict every now and then until somebody, it doesn't matter who, wins.

I can't seem to find any online corroboration of that right now, but I'm convinced I'm not making it up, that I did read it somewhere official.
I'll do it for you then : -

'The Passing of the Techno-mages, Book II: Summoning Light' (p.115) wrote:
"The Drazi had arrived at the end of their five-year cycle, and as custom required, they had split themselves into two groups by drawing scarves of either purple or green from a great barrel. For the next year they would fight, and when the fighting ended, the winning side would take over for the next cycle. Their custom was mindless, pointless, the seeds planted long ago by the Shadows. In a small way, it reflected the very conflict that would soon envelop them all."
Still I wouldn't count that as direct intervention any more than say, the very existence of the grey council is a result of Shadow interference. Doubtless there are hundreds, if not thousands of worlds touched by the influence of both the Shadows and the Vorlons, probably often with neither side being aware nor caring of their impact.

For the Markab, I don't believe there is any official proof of that, no. But when A Call to Arms came out with its Drakh plague, I know there was speculation that it was related to the Markab plague, and that in fact the latter had been just a effectiveness test for the final larger version. So no proof, but it certainly makes sense to me and nothing specifically contradicts it to my knowledge.
Thing is, the Markab Draffa plague was an actual living pathogen, one that was already known to have existed in their homeworld's ecology in the past. The Drakh "plague" wasn't a plague at all. It was an intelligent nano-tech virus that could be specifically adapted to a target species. The whole five year thing was simply because the Drakh didn't have the time and/or expertise to set it properly, so if defaulted to an auto-adapt mode. That or they'd originally intended to use it on Minbar before the planet killer was destroyed. I forget exactly.

What clinches it for me though is that if Draffa was a Shadow attack, it totally undermines the point of the episode. The Markeb died because of hubris, self delusion and blind adherence to religious dogma tied to social stigma. They didn't die because the Shadows wanted them dead. If they wanted them dead, they were perfectly capable of wiping them out by other means. Plus it doesn't fit their MO, just offing them like that. It doesn't really serves their ideology, does it?

Sindatur wrote: View Post
I'll also dispute the PsiCorps. Telepaths were created by The Vorlons for their own use, The Shadows don't like Telepaths, because they are a Vorlon Weapon and they disrupt Shadow Tech/influence (Hence the annihilation of the Narn Telepaths). Yes, The Clark Government was in league with the Shadows/Morden, and obviously there was some PsiCorps complicity, but, the connection was through The Government itself, not PsiCorps specifically. Bester is pretty high up and didn't know exactly where the complicity within PsiCorps was centered
Actually, though few are aware of it, one of the main reasons the Corps is they way it is is indeed directly related to the Shadows. Specifically, Kevin Vacit, Psi Corps' first Director was host to a Vorlon mind fragment and came in contact with some Shadow tech IPX found at Syria Planum (over a century before they dug the ship out.) This gave him visions of what was coming and knowledge that his telepaths would be needed.

The aggressive breeding programs, strict internal controls, experimentation etc. all of it so that human telepaths would be as strong as they could be when the Shadows returned. Of course only he really knew this, so when he left, so did that knowledge and those that followed him continued what he'd set in motion for their own reasons.

The Shadows did however get some influence within the Corps by way of Morden, his (pre-Icarus) connection with Earthforce New Technologies (IPX's unofficial military arm...or visa-versa) with whom the new Director (a non-teep ex-EF stooge) was also closely linked.

It's one of the more obscure sub-plots in B5, though I get the impression Crusade would have gone into it more fully. Basically these are the same people that co-opted Psi Corps' black ops division, Department Sigma (which ran the Bureau 13 operation) and were in a secret power struggle with Bester's old guard faction. They were the ones behind the digs on Syria Planum and Ganemede, that planted Talia with Control, that conducted the experiments on Ironheart, that arranged for that shipment of telepaths and built those hybrid Shadow vessels.

So yeah, there was most assuredly *some* Shadow influence within the Corps, but it was far from what you'd call total control. I think Justin even says as much. Something along the lines of their "friends within the Corps."

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