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Old September 21 2013, 01:23 PM   #1
Gotham Central
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Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

I love Babylon 5, but after recently rewatching The Gathering, there area number of things about the plot that do not make sense.

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. Why exactly does a self contained encounter suit have exposed hands anyway?

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. One also wonders how/why G'kar was able to contact the Vorlons. Its not like they make contact easy.

Given everything we know about the technical capabilities o the Vorlons, it does seem odd that Kosh would fall for a changeling net.
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Old September 21 2013, 01:53 PM   #2
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

A vorlon would answer this with something like "Yes."
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Old September 21 2013, 02:00 PM   #3
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Good.
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Old September 21 2013, 02:39 PM   #4
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

The Skin Tab isn't so bad, it's feasible Kosh would expose himself to The En'til'zah out of respect, and the Skin tab itself, could be Shadow Tech designed to work on Vorlon energy, and could've been filtered to the Windswords or the Assassin in particular, through Morden or another Shadow Agent.

Taking Sinclair to The Vorlon Homeworld isn't out of the question, they may have wanted to monkey with his mind and program him (Maybe even restore the hole in his mind and reason with him). Just because they claimed they wanted to try him for attempted murder, doesn't mean they really intended to execute him, that was just their excuse.

This is, of course, all "Fanwank Justifications".

But, yea, it's just your normal retooling after the Pilot that happens in a great many shows. Delenn and G'Kar especially changed makeup after the Pilot, and Londo, they were messing around with his hair constantly for about the whole first season, I think, and G'Kar's makeup, I think took them a couple episodes to gt down.
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Old September 21 2013, 02:44 PM   #5
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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. Why exactly does a self contained encounter suit have exposed hands anyway?
I've never understood why this is an issue at all. We know that they can have corporeal bodies when they want...remember how Kosh brought Sheridan down safely after the core shuttle exploded? Why would beings of pure energy need a ship, for that matter? I think they can have whatever form suits them (or the plot) at the time.

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Old September 21 2013, 03:08 PM   #6
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Jan wrote: View Post
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. Why exactly does a self contained encounter suit have exposed hands anyway?
I've never understood why this is an issue at all. We know that they can have corporeal bodies when they want...remember how Kosh brought Sheridan down safely after the core shuttle exploded? Why would beings of pure energy need a ship, for that matter? I think they can have whatever form suits them (or the plot) at the time.

Jan
No Vorlons are always energy, they just psychically make people believe that they look like corporeal humanoid beings.

One also wonders how Dr. Kyle was even able to work on Kosh since its a foregone conclusion that he does not have ordinary biology.
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Old September 21 2013, 03:31 PM   #7
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

[QUOTE=Gotham Central;8674087]
No Vorlons are always energy, they just psychically make people believe that they look like corporeal humanoid beings.[quote]

I don't think that's anything that's ever been established by JMS or on the show. As energy beings, Kosh and Kosh Vader both left *through* the station. Yet as his 'angelic' form, he caught Sheridan and lowered him safely to the ground. So obviously they're able to have physical form.

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Old September 21 2013, 04:41 PM   #8
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Well, we know the Vorlons are ***holes, so them threatening to blow up the station if Kosh dies isn't terribly out of character, they did end up trying to kill everyone at the end of the Shadow War after all...

Didn't JMS say somewhere that Vorlons have a crystal lattice like structure, ie a physical form albeit one that can shift and leak through things? So it's this crystal structure that formed the "hands" used to grab Sheridan from his fall and shake Sinclair's hand.

As for why Kosh would whip it out like that, he was introducing himself to the future Entil'z'ha Valen, the person who changed his mind about the younger races 1,000 years ago and who he had a great deal of respect for.

Another story I would have loved to have seen/read... the Valen and Kosh story.
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Old September 21 2013, 07:39 PM   #9
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

The often repeated assertion that the story of B5 (as we know it) was sketched out in it’s entirety before filming began is, well, wrong. Not even close, it developed quite a bit as the series moved on for a fair few reasons.

Originally the Vorlons weren’t creatures of energy and the idea of Sinclair becoming Valen hadn’t been written down until just before season two. During season one Babylon 4 was still meant to go forward in time to help with Sinclair, Delenn and their kid defeat the Shadows (who had all but wiped out the Vorlons), and the Minbari warrior cast who had destroyed Babylon 5 at the end of the original 5 year story (B4 would play a big part in the second 5 year story)

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. : )
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Old September 21 2013, 08:15 PM   #10
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

I never heard about Kosh having a wife before!!!
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Old September 21 2013, 08:33 PM   #11
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

There are also those "rings of power" that Delenn uses on G'Kar. We never saw those again.
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Old September 21 2013, 08:58 PM   #12
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Pleanty of changes. Likely for the better
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Old September 21 2013, 11:06 PM   #13
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Triple-F wrote: View Post
The often repeated assertion that the story of B5 (as we know it) was sketched out in it’s entirety before filming began is, well, wrong. Not even close, it developed quite a bit as the series moved on for a fair few reasons.

Originally the Vorlons weren’t creatures of energy and the idea of Sinclair becoming Valen hadn’t been written down until just before season two. During season one Babylon 4 was still meant to go forward in time to help with Sinclair, Delenn and their kid defeat the Shadows (who had all but wiped out the Vorlons), and the Minbari warrior cast who had destroyed Babylon 5 at the end of the original 5 year story (B4 would play a big part in the second 5 year story)

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. : )
This isn't necessarily directed solely at you, but I just want to say that I take issue when people throw around words like "original" in regards to a bunch of ideas that JMS had kicking around in his head and on paper for *years* prior to the show even being greenlit. It gives the impression that was at some point a "pure" vision that has been incrementally chipped away at over time. That's simply not how most creative concepts are developed.

A good comparison is the Star Wars franchise. There's something like half a dozen versions of the draft script, some of them are essentially totally different movies. That is to say the names, places, history and other minutia are different, but the essential themes and idea are the same. Thoughts and ideas rarely spring from the mind fully formed. It takes time and thought to develop them from a germane notion to a fully realised creation.

So to my mind, the "original" Babylon 5 is the one we saw. Any prior material (including all the things that were changed along the way) are just thoughts that didn't fully form. Like that sentence I just typed out, deleted and re-phrased because I didn't like how I worded it.

I do agree though, a lot of fans labour under the misconception that B5 was planned out in full well in advance. It's just that as far as I can tell, JMS was totally open about how fluid a lot of the details have been, especially in the early stages. This is how we know about things like Kosh's life-mate. A concept JMS played with but dropped because it made Vorlons a little too relatable and then told people he dropped it and why.
So from where I sit, it's not JMS's fault that over the years fans have repeated incorrect assumptions among themselves and ignored the source.

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.
Remember that we only ever see a Vorlon's true form *once* and it very clearly had a form, where a "pure energy" being could not. Clearly they're such powerful telepaths and telekinetics that they've become something between the physical and non-physical, but they haven't totally left corporeality behind.

This is just my personal theory, but I like to think that they're naturally bio-luminescent and evolved from deep sea creatures. Indeed, if you look hard at their design, they're radially symmetrical, have numerous tentacles, a cranium of sorts and fan-like wings....so yeah, I think they're basically Elder Things with a bit of NTI thrown in.

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Old September 21 2013, 11:19 PM   #14
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Triple-F wrote: View Post
The often repeated assertion that the story of B5 (as we know it) was sketched out in it’s entirety before filming began is, well, wrong. Not even close, it developed quite a bit as the series moved on for a fair few reasons.
'Sketched' is *exactly the right word to use. Sketches are often preliminary, fleshing ideas out in advance the finished project. Why would anybody cast something in stone before the show was even sold? Answer: They wouldn't, not if they were smart. There would be far too many variables...and maybe something even cooler could be done. But that doesn't mean that the plan wasn't made at all.

Were the high points sketched out? Yep. Those notes have been published. Did the final product resemble it exactly? Not by a long shot. But most of the high points *were* hit and it was details that changed, sometimes a little bit rough but mostly pretty seamlessly.

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Old September 22 2013, 04:21 AM   #15
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Re: Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

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.

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)
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