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If you go to Z'ha'dum, you will die.

You will.  There is no getting around it.  It must happen.  It's a frickin' fixed point in time, and there's no changing it.  So, do what the Doctor does and just don't go!  Sadly, it doesn't work like that in this show, but hey.  As usual, all comments taken from The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5.  Sound bytes are from the Down Below Sound Archive.


"As for GROPOS, that one episode was so far over budget that I had to write 2 smaller ones to make up for it, and the many people you saw were really just one small group that took forever to digitally composite into looking like a much bigger group."

It was a very good episode to spend it all on. 

He doesn't say much about this episode, sadly.  It's definitely one of my favorites though.  It's a very rare portrait of what it's like to grow up in a military family, plus it doesn't do the happy Star Trek sort of ending that most scif shows would do.  Plus, Dodger.  Who doesn't love Dodger?  And just for kicks, I love this clip too.

All Alone in the Night:

I'd like to start off saying there's a great analysis of Sheridan's dream on that page. Very much worth reading, if you're curious about this scene.

"One episode will look very much unconnected to the arc until the last five minutes, at which point there's a revelation that will likely astonish some and confirm suspcions for some other viewers."

And so begins the conspiracies of the Light and Dark.  XD  Here is where it starts to get interesting, all right.  <3

"And of course there's the story of the man who dreamed he was a butterfly, and when he awoke, wondered if he was actually a human who dreamed he had been a butterfly, or a butterfly who was dreaming he was a human...."

Nooooooooooooooooooooo, xxxHolic flashbacks.  Except, this was before xxxHolic, but still.  >.>

"In a way, there are several Sheridans in that dream, signifying changes currently in the works, changes yet to come, messages forthcoming or unrecognized. It's a very reflective dream, which will grow clearer the deeper one gets into the show."

He does look very good in a psicop outfit, I'll admit that.  XD

"Certainly there are some archetypes that always creep into a work of this sort; for all we all not Jung at heart...?"

No, we're not.  You're just a psychologist.  But we love you anyway.

"Remember, Kosh was the one who sent those images into Sheridan's brain, not anybody else; he was communicating useful information that may come up down the road, but in rather symbological form."

This is why you never let a Vorlon into your head.  Your dreams become symbols.  God, that would be annoying.

"Yes, Sheridan was speaking in the Drazi's native language, trying (without success) to get through; they're a cranky species to start with, and this didn't help."

*snickers* Are you saying the Drazi are French?  XD

"Wasn't attacking the Streibs an act of war?
The Streib saw an alliance between Earth and Minbar at that moment, which is the LAST thing they wanted to go up against. Also, you don't go to war at the drop of a hat just because somebody sinks or shoots down one of your ships. This is one of the cliches in storytelling. And what the Streibs were doing was totally unjustifiable in any event. Do you gear up for the massive hassle of total war -- supply lines, fleets, all the rest -- because of this incident? Remember, the purpose of the ship was to find races weak enough for them to attack with impunity; they don't want to go up against a force that can strike back."

Sometimes the questions he gets asked are just really stupid.  I mean, that was a plot point, that they were searching for easy kills rather than a war against someone who could kick their ass.  But hey.  I suppose some people don't always figure that sort of thing out, even when it's spelled out for them in the episode.

"I doubt we'll be seeing these guys again for a long time, if ever. So I don't consider them on the level of certain shadows or stuff. They came, they grabbed, we whomped."

It amuses me immensely the way he put that last part.  I don't know why. It just does.

"One of the themes in this show is how you face life...and how you face death. Ramirez faced his honorably. In the end, honor and dignity are all we have left."

This might be slightly relevant to ongoing projects.  Maybe.  *whistles innocently*

Good episode over all.  Not a favorite, but good.  And fairly important too, especially those last five minutes.  <3  Once again, check out the dream analysis and the discussion on ravens and doves. 

Acts of Sacrifice:

"On an unrelated note...just finished another script tonight, "Acts of Sacrifice," which despite its rather ominous title is more a slice of life episode...and contains probably the funkiest, weirdest sequence that I have ever written. Full tilt whacko."

And we love you very dearly for it. The crack is awesome.

"[Londo is] a fascinating character to explore, and the most careful balancing act of the bunch; part of the character's appeal is that on a very fundamental level, you *like* him, and you don't want to see him on this terrible slide downward. So every so often, you have to pull him back, go in a different direction, remind us of his basic humanity and potential for heroism. He is, really, any of us caught in a web of events spinning more and more out of control every day."

A balancing act that you did very well.  I love Londo.  It's impossible not to love Londo.  Just like it's equally impossible to hate G'kar.  You must love them both!  You must, I say!

"At the start of year one, Claudia came to me and said she'd love to do more funny stuff in her role; don't change anything in the story, just let her have some fun here and there before All Hell Breaks Loose in year three. I let her have that."

I really don't think she expected this.  This in it's awesome glory.  Crack to the max.  And we loved it.  We really, really did.

"As it happens, I made it a point to be on-set the day we shot what we ended up calling "the Ivanova dance." Wanted to make sure it was done correctly. We only had to shoot it about three times, only in the master, no coverage. The crew was absolutely breathless after the first take, from keeping from laughing. It was very funny."

I'm quite sure they were.  It's still one of the best parts ever. 

"To the question raised: yes, if Sheridan had shown the Lumati around, the request would have been made to him, as it was to Ivanova."

...  I really kind of want an AU of that.  Just because.  I want to see Sheridan's solution to this problem, and if it would have been the same as Ivanova's.  I don't really think he could top her performance though. 

"Claudia loved the scene when I first described it to her, prior to finishing the script. She was dying to do it, and kept sort of "doing" it around people for some time prior to filming."

*snickers*  I can so see her doing this.  That's rather awesome.  XD

Very fun episode.  Very, very fun.  And I love the bit about Garibaldi and Londo's relationship.  I always liked their friendship, and Londo trying to cling to it pathetically makes you just want to snuggle him. 

Hunter, Prey:

Um.... He actually doesn't say anything interesting about this episode?  There's another great analysis on the page though, this time of Kosh's conversation with Sheridan.  So go check it out.  It's a fun episode, since we get to see Garibaldi's 'disguise.'  It's a very awesome disguise.  Plus, Garibaldi gets cranky, which is always good for BAMF moments. 

There All Honor Lies:

"So after I'd read Peter's script, and decided to go with it, he asked about Ivanova's line, "This isn't some kind of Deep Space franchise, this place is ABOUT something."

"Are you really going to use that?" he asked.

"Absolutely," I said. "It's fall-down funny."

Long pause. "You people really ARE dangerous over there, aren't you?""

*snickers*  *snickers some more*  *snickers lots*  Okay, okay.  I might be able to respond now.  Maybe.  *continues to snicker*  Yes, yes, they were that dangerous.  And that's why we loved them.  XD  I love how Peter David even had to ask. 

"Everything featured in the Babylon Emporium was just made up by us. Insofar as I know, none of it is real merchandise. (Everyone, including the crew, are so starved for B5 stuff that when we finished filming the ep, we sold off the stuff, at cost, to those in the crew who wanted them. Two guesses who wound up with the Londo and G'Kar dolls....)"

Ahhahaha.  I cannot fault them, because I would want them too.  <3

"The B5 model in the gift shop in "Honor" is now in Sheridan's office, bronzed, as is his right as captain.

Once the show is finally off the air, be assured that the model will end up in THIS captain's office."

I think I want an office just to have one.  It makes me cry that I can't have a model on my teacher's desk.  It really does break my heart.

"Here's the story of the bear.

I hate cute. Everybody knows me, knows that. So after buying Peter David's script #2, Peter sends me a gift. A bear. A teddy bear. With my initials JS in front, and Bear-ba-lon 5 in the back. I call Peter back. I say that I must now get him for this. He asks what I had in mind. I said wait and see.

So I wrote the entire bear thing at the end of the show, and inserted it into his script.

Never send me something cute.

Best part was during filming, we shot the bear against blue-screen to be composited into the CGI. And there's our EFX supervisor, standing there on film, against blue-screen, with this long rod up the teddy bear's ass, spinning it round and round and round....

Whilst doing that, I also wrote and inserted the Kosh/Perfect Beauty scenes, since I was already in it at that point anyway, and I figured it'd be cool.

It also keeps the Sheridan Learning Stuff thread going, and works in a nice balance to the rest of the episode. Here he's going nuts, being harrassed, and his command is on the line...so he has to learn to bend his knee, accept silence, give up his command symbolically by giving up the stat bar, and finding one perfect moment of peace."

And JMS gets his revenge.  I should like to mention that my mother also has a Bear-ba-lon 5 bear from the same store that made this one.  Sadly, it's not quite the same, since they don't make that bear anymore, but we made due. 

My love for this episode knows no bounds.  I think I've actually watched this episode more than any other, just for the subplot.  Because the subplot really is that amusing. 

And Now For a Word:

"There's a thing you do in theater training where you're told to talk about a subject, never use the word "I" ...but in the end wind up telling us more about *you* than the subject you're speaking about. So I began to wonder if I could apply this exercise, in a limited way, to an episode of the show. I can't say more than that without spoiling things, but suffice to say you learn a lot about all kinds of people, and the way you learn it says a lot about those involved. It's a *very* subversive and tricky episode, and I *very* much suggest taping it, so you can go back and check something out later. You'll know what. If you don't, you'll kick yourself later."

Yes, you tricky person you.  We know how much you like subversive episodes.  You are, as stated several times before, a bloody psychology major.  Also, this is one of the few episodes that you actually want commercials in.  Which feels like it should be blasphemy to say, but it's true. 

"The device of using a reporter's appearance to go to another POV is not new to either B5 or MASH (though B5 is first to use it in SF). Where I would draw the distinction is in the sense that "Word" is actually very subtly subervsive. It's ostensibly about B5 (the broadcast itself) but you learn a LOT about Earth in the process...how the government wants the Mars situation interpreted ("an Earth-loyal population held hostage by a violent minority"), the government changing back home (suddenly we have an Office of Public Information and a Ministry for Public Morale), how they see the end of the Minbari war, and so on. It's designed to show more than just who's being interviewed; you reflect home as well."

And this tells us that we really don't trust the government back home.  Or the Psi Corps.  Actually, we do trust the Psi Corps.  We just them a lot.  The Corps is mother.  The Corps is father. 

"It's also worth noting that this was likely Delenn's first real encounter with Earth media/reporters on this level. She's never been put into such a situation before, being challenged on-screen, which would be the height of disrespect back home. (We refer to her desire, after this, to learn more about the press in a later episode this season.)"

I do feel pretty bad for Delenn in this episode.  She really had no idea what she was about to go through.  Londo and G'kar are obviously old pros at this, but with the Earth-Minbari war, the press probably doesn't conduct many interviews with the Minbari.

"Interplanetary Expeditions was the bogus company from "Infection." Is it more than just a throwaway here?
Yeah, I'd say it's fair to say that you haven't heard the last of Interplanetary Expeditions. Remember the rule: before you use the gun, you show it on the mantle. You play fair. And create the context in which the payoff later works."

Oh, IPX.  Max is forever employed by you with his selfish, money grabbing ways.  I wish we could have seen more of you in Crusade.  I do miss you.

It's an interesting episode, over all.  Especially considering that this is only B5 in the Media Part One.  Actually, I'd be quite interested in JMS making such an episode with the current level of technology and all the social media.  He would probably have a field day with that.

In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum:

So there is once again a spoiler message on this episode.  It's a big one.  Just be warned.

This is from the notes, not JMS says section:

"The name "Ministry of Peace" and its abbreviation Minipax are from George Orwell's "1984.""

Again, strike one for the "Why the fuck didn't Memory notice?" category.  Then again, my memory of 1984 is pretty vague, so I suppose I can be forgiven.  At the same time, you know EA is going to shit when JMS is making that sort of reference.

""In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum" is an episode that is as emotionally raw as "Chrysalis" with some major revelations that force Sheridan to make the most important decision of his life."

And you want to alternatively snuggle and shake Sheridan for it.  Poor guy. 

"The rim, and the "veil" beyond which the bulk of the First Ones passed, is the Galactic rim. As for why the shadows are doing what they're doing...that's kind of the key to the whole thing, which we haven't turned yet."

WHAT DO YOU WANT?  Oh, so you'll ask the question but you won't dish out, huh?  XD

"Thanks. I like Vir a lot. Many folks were willing to write him off in the beginning, not understanding that there was more beneath the surface (a problem Vir has also had in his "life"). But you gotta be careful; characters have a way of surprising you. And I like that, and intended that, Vir be the first one to stand up to Morden."

Wait, people hate Vir?  How the heck can you hate Vir?  Vir is awesome.  You should totally never write characters off, especially not when JMS is writing the show. 

"And, as you note, one of things that I like to play with is the layering of ambiguity. Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that we set up two sides: Shadowmen vs. Vorlons, which looks like evil vs. good. Fundamentally, I would find that boring. What you would then have to do is get into WHY they're doing what they do, and HOW they're doing what they do.

There is, for instance, the "good" that says, "We know what's best for you, we'll protect you, nurture you, but you'll do it our way, and we'll keep you away from ideas and beliefs you shouldn't be exposed to." Okay, maybe that fits one definition of good...but is it?

On the flip side, for instance, there's the "bad" that says "There must be conflict and death, because it's only through conflict and death that we grow stronger, that we can eventually create an ordered universe. The gene pool must be kept strong. To do that, there must be war and strife and death." Okay, maybe that fits the definition of evil, but is it?

The key, again and always, is that nothing is what it seems on Babylon 5. And even if it looks like it IS what it is, you have to look at WHY it is what it is...and maybe at that point it isn't.

One of the things about this show is that you see as much as you're willing to see. You can gloss over it, say, "Okay, these are the good guys, these are the bad guys." But the closer you look, the more you see the shades. I imagine when the Shadowmen are more fully revealed, some folks'll think we're going for a basic good/evil conflict...but believe me, there's a hell of a lot more involved in it than that."

Hm... Layers.  I really can't say too much more about this statement, other than JMS really is a sneaky bastard, with spoiling more things, but hey.  Layers.  And shades of grey that are bad Twilight fanfics.  These are the good kinds. 

"(From a 1993 GEnie message -- presumably we can replace "Sinclair" with "Sheridan" now.)

I've just sat here for five minutes trying to decide how to phrase this and not give something vital away...and it's damn near impossible.

(another five minutes passes)

Okay, look...do this. Get a piece of paper. Write down the following: "Sinclair sees the hand, but Sinclair does not see the hand. And five other people standing in the room would not see the hand that Sinclair sees, or see the hand that they see."

I know it looks like gibberish. But trust me on this. Put the piece of paper in your wallet (next to the condom) and hold onto it for about two years. Assuming we're still around that long, at some point that message will make absolute and perfect sense.

ROFL.  These people really need to get a life if they're still harping on that.  They are obviously unwilling to see that not every tv show is written by hacks that are just trying to make a quick buck.  Storylines.  It's a concept.  Don't forget that. 

"Kosh is always and forever *exactly* what he appears to be, no less and no more. At the same time, Kosh is absolutely *nothing* like what he appears to be.

These are not contradictory statements.

And this is about the straightest answer I've given yet on the subject, believe it or not."

And the Vorlon trolling strikes again.

"Was Kosh's line about Sheridan going to Z'ha'dum a warning or a threat?

See above statement. 

"How do you get a shot of Morden's head on a pike past the censors?


You frame the shot so the head is draped...in shadows.

If I were to be planning such a thing, of course...."

Or you just tell them that the series' most inoffensive character wants to wave at the head.  See jl mood for more info.  Because hell, if I were a censor, that would totally sway me.  Then again, maybe that's why I'd make a crappy censor.  I love how he already has a plan for this. 

"How many times did you shoot the scene with Talia slapping Sheridan?
Only twice. Mainly 'cause she tended to whack him real hard. [...] The take you see is the first one printed."

Aw.  Sheridan may have deserved it, but the actor did not.  XD

Whoa.  This episode.  It's like, so, so much.  There's a lot to it.  Plus, it's the first time we hear the statement "If you go to Z'ha'dum, you will die."  And, well, that does come back to haunt us in several forms later.  XD 


"Actually, the chronological order was *supposed* to be "Knives," THEN "Z'ha'dum." In "Knives" you get the reminder about Anna, then in "Z'ha'dum" you get the payoff. That was originally how they were intended to be aired, but there was *so much* CGI work and rotoscope work and creature animation involved in "Knives" that it got flopped to second in that order. So while it works *best* the way it was intended, it still works okay in this order."

Interesting.  Sometimes the order just has to be reversed, I guess.

He apparently didn't have much to say on this episode...  But it's awesome.  I mean, Londo fencing.  You can't go wrong with that, really.  Also, Sheridan really does get all the good acid trips.  XD  Have a soundbite of Londo and Vir singing Centauri opera to make up for the shortness of the commentary.

Confessions and Lamentations:

This small bit is again from the notes section, not the JMS says.

"This episode features a previously unseen alien (or at least, a humanoid who's presumably alien) wearing a suit with an elaborate helmet. The helmet bears a striking resemblance to the mask of Morpheus, the King of Dreams, from Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" comic book. As "Sandman" is one of JMS's favorite comics, this may be an intentional homage."

<3  Oh, the Gaim. 

""Confessions" isn't per se a wham episode, for instance, but it does have some very sharp turns, and it's an extremely intense episode on a par with "Believers." It makes no compromises and takes no prisoners, and I imagine it'll stir up about as much debate as did "Believers," if not more. When we did playback after doing the audio mix a few days ago, there wasn't a dry eye in the house."

But I like this episode a lot better than Believers, so there is that.  Course, with my apparent issues with Believers, it's hard for me to like anything less.  Well.  Not exactly 'like' or 'dislike' really, but less emotional displacement.

"Tom, we *do* have a medical/biological advisor, whose primary comment on the notion that a virus couldn't pass between one species and another..."We have yet to contact one other alien life form to make an analysis. We do not know for a fact that their biology will be radically different than our own. Until we actually make contact, it's as likely as not." A biologist works from what's known; unless you've got a specimen of alien life somewhere and aren't showing it to anyone, or you're simply making a guess, which is neither more nor less correct until we have something testable in our hands."

I'm going to hope not though, since we have enough problems with the illnesses we do have.  I do not want an alien cold.  >.>

"On one level, this does indicate that we really *are* crazy over here at B5. Here we developed this race for nearly two years. Developed their culture. Mentioned them prominently just last episode. Had them speak before the full Council (in "Long Dark"). Spent substantial amounts of money making them the biggest single alien group we've got (some of the group shots had 40-50 or more Markabs, all in full prosthetics and full costume)...and now, never to be seen again.

It couldn't be a race we've never seen before, not if it was to have the impact I wanted. It had to be a group that's been with us from the start.

In Council scenes for the balance of the season, the Markab seat remains empty."

They had pretty clothes too.  You have to love a series that has the guts to do that though.

"What Colin misses, obviously, is that not *all* of the markabs are "mindless religious fanatics," in that Dr. Lazarenn was not one, but that was mainly because he had long been exposed to human/outsider ideas, which most of his reclusive people are not.

Second, y'know, I get asked a lot, "Give us ALIEN aliens." So I do. And then I get gigged because they don't act like we'd expect humans to act. Sometimes I just throw up my hands...."

You really just can't win for losing sometimes.  I like them when they're more alien, but that's just me.

"I don't think his behavior was boorish at all. After a very long day, in which (he stated) he hadn't eaten a thing, he sits down in a cross legged position for (if you track the time in the story) 3-5 *hours*, alternately eating and meditating in a small, quiet room...who *wouldn't* fall asleep?"

Poor Sheridan.  Poor, poor Sheridan.  He did try so hard.  He wanted to impress Delenn... and actually eat.  XD

"We joked a few times about having a mass burial for the Markab prosthetics and costumes behind the stage...."

There are so many things wrong with that.  The main one being that they had pretty clothes that should not be wasted.  Also, I want Delenn's wardrobe.  Beside the point though.

Also, this episode is noteworthy because it is the first hug between Sheridan and Delenn.  And it's an angsty one.  A very angsty one.  It has great lines from Delenn as well.  The "Faith manages." from my icon for one.  And this lovely speech as well.  I'll see you again, where no shadows fall.

Almost through with season 2!  Four more episodes, all of which are pretty awesome.  Divided Loyalties, with all it's femslash glory.  The Long, Twilight Struggle, which just... guh.  G'kar feels.  So. Many. G'kar feels. That's the one we keep telling Nar about to wait for, because it has one of G'kar's most captivating speeches.  His orating skillz.  They are mind blowing.  Then the last two are too spoilerish to go into.  XD  Should be lots of fun though!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 24th, 2012 02:25 am (UTC)

for all we all not Jung at heart

**face in hands** I love puns, but that was terrible.

Acts of Sacrifice is just made of win all around.

To the question raised: yes, if Sheridan had shown the Lumati around, the request would have been made to him, as it was to Ivanova."
... I really kind of want an AU of that. Just because. I want to see Sheridan's solution to this problem, and if it would have been the same as Ivanova's.

Oh man, ME TOO. I can only imagine the hilarity that would've happened. XD

And I love the bit about Garibaldi and Londo's relationship. I always liked their friendship, and Londo trying to cling to it pathetically makes you just want to snuggle him.

Yes. T_T


T_T Poor Delenn with the reporters.

If it helps, I wouldn't've gotten the 1984 reference anyway, even if I had read it.

BUT VIR IS AMAZING! How dare those heathens try to write him off?

The helmet bears a striking resemblance to the mask of Morpheus, the King of Dreams

Of course JMS would put more allusions to dream-symbols in this show. Of course he would.

I get asked a lot, "Give us ALIEN aliens." So I do. And then I get gigged because they don't act like we'd expect humans to act. Sometimes I just throw up my hands...

You just can't win, JMS. You just can't win. (And I like the "Alien" aliens!)

Excited for more G'Kar speeches up ahead!!!
Jun. 24th, 2012 02:34 am (UTC)
He does make some pretty terrible puns...

If I were in B5 fandoms, I would request the Sheridan fic. Except, B5 fandoms scare me. So.

Vir is awesome. They should never write him off. Him and his wave. <3

Of course JMS would put more allusions to dream-symbols in this show. Of course he would.

Er... not quite? Well, sort of. But he's making a reference to the comic book Sandman and not really dream-symbols. The main character in Sandman was Dream, or Morpheus. You'd probably like the comic if you've never read it. It's got lots of literary references.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )