Babylon 5: Reconciling "The Gathering" with the series

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Gotham Central, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  2. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    A vorlon would answer this with something like "Yes."
     
  3. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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  4. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    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.
     
  5. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    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
     
  6. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  7. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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  8. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  9. Triple-F

    Triple-F Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    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.

    Not exactly the angelic projections seen at the end of season 2. : )
     
  10. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    I never heard about Kosh having a wife before!!! :eek:
     
  11. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There are also those "rings of power" that Delenn uses on G'Kar. We never saw those again.
     
  12. SiddFinch1

    SiddFinch1 Captain Captain

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    Pleanty of changes. Likely for the better
     
  13. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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: ;)

    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. :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  14. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    '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.

    Jan
     
  15. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    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)
     
  16. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ 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:

    Laurel Takashima, the original XO, was a traitor, or perhaps even THE traitor
    .

    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? :confused:
     
  17. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    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...
     
  18. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
    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.

    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. ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  19. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Captain Premium Member

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    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. :guffaw:
     
  20. Tom Hendricks

    Tom Hendricks I like the Beats and the Shouting Premium Member

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    Plus JMS wrote almost all of it. Especially impressive the quality in the writing being so high with him writing so much.