Babylon Podcast #98: Ship of Tears (Season 3)

Welcome to Show #98!

So, how do you like the Babylon Podcast Season 3 open?

Deep Geeking: This week, we talk about “Ship of Tears”, an episode with a tour de force performance by Walter Koenig. We get to see Bester as his usual menacing self, and we’re surprised with a suprisingly human and vulnerable aspect to the character we’d come to despise.

Alliances are shaken and shifted. Lines are being more clearly drawn in the upcoming battle between the forces of Order and Chaos.

Feedback: Jeffrey’s really jonesing to get to that jacuzzi, so we buzz through a couple of emails really quickly.

Babylon 5 Information Gathering: Can we and should we mount a Babylon 5 propaganda campaign, in order to get sales of The Lost Tales to the point where Warner really really wants to greelight more volumes of TLT? Let us know…

Summer still wants to find the long versions of the B5 promos that ran on TNT prior to Season 5, the ones narrated by Keith David… anyone have any old VHS copies of S5 they taped from TNT? Specifically, the :30 spots, one featuring Ivanova and the other G’Kar… they were part of the series of ads TNT ran promoting the addition of B5 to their lineup.

Your feedback does matter, and is welcome! You can call us , or email us and tell us what you think… and likely hear it played or read on the show. Please try to keep the voicemail comments as brief as possible.

Babylon Podcast Social Communities:
Twitter: @babylonpodcast

Babylon 5 Information Gathering: If you know of a dead or abandoned B5 related website that may be in need of a new home, let Summer know! Maybe we can mirror it here or house it on a sister site.

If you can, Please Donate to the funding of the show!

Promo: Playing for Keeps
Promo: Voices of Babylon: Three-Edged Sword, Season 2


  1. Jhonny from Uppsala says

    The opener sounds kind of scary… TLT volume 2… failed? Have I missed something?

    Talking about Narn telepaths. I to got the impression that they were killed by the other Narns when G’Kar answers the question about them with something like: They and their families were exterminated long ago.

    We know that Narn was a shadow base and that the Shadows were driven of “with the help of the last mindwalkers”. This indicates that there had been a purge of telepaths during the Shadows reign. Unfortunately one can not say if the Shadows actually used Narn telepaths them selfs, but it sounds more like they just tried to kill them of.

    If the few remaning telepaths simply died out or were killed by xenophobic Narns or by vengeful Shadow minions no one knows I guess. But in the end the Narn should be able to produce new telepaths with a good long term breeding program. The Narn do, after all, have a telepath gene.

  2. Andrew Swallow says

    Show #98 – “Ship of Tears” Deep Geeking.

    G’Kar told Lyta that the Narn telepaths had been wiped out in “The Gathering”. This made us sound like the Narns did it.

    The Narn telepaths could have been wiped out by an anti-telepath virus. A virus would make the teeps ill before killing them and they would have died at different times. This is consistent with the Narn V. Shadow ship battle from 1000 years ago.

    A Shadow virus would find all the Narns with teep genes where as a normal search would miss some.

    The human anti-telepath virus in Season 4 could be some sort of Mark 2 virus.

    Andrew Swallow

  3. GaryTheGreat says

    I love the new opening. It was everything I thought it hope it would be. (Summer please don’t leave us in Season 5. Leann Mabry or Mur Lafferty just wouldn’t be the same.)

    JMS’ writing skills are really shown off with the Bester’s character in this episode. The range of his emotions, and responses to his character’s plight are amazing to watch unfold.

    It’s interesting that there was no one else for Bester to turn to except B5. I guess the Psicorps is also more screwed up then we thought. Is there an organization anywhere in the known universe that the Shadows haven’t messed with(other than B5 and the Rangers?)

  4. Jhonny,

    it’s a play on words. Remember we were supportive of the efforts to get WB to greenlight TLT Vol 2 right after their happy surprise at how well Vol 1 was selling?

    I couldn’t think of anything else to refer to using “It failed.”

  5. Jhonny from Uppsala says

    Aha. I’ll blame it on an early morning and the lack of coffein. Tired, dizzy, heard the words “TLT” and “Failed”. I’m afraid I paniced.
    ; )

  6. ZackfromCali says

    TLT2 failed? Don’t give them any ideas!!!

    And the production value has been better on the past openings. It sounded like Summer was talking with the show running in the background, Summer is too good for that guys! Mike has a new board and you have that next tech backing, give Summer the polish her voice deserves.

  7. I did too dude. A TLT Vol. 2 would hopefully have two good segments as opposed to only one, right?

  8. GaryTheGreat says

    I’m hoping for a three segment vol.2.

    Volume 1 was suppossed to have three segments, but was cut back to two due to budget restrictions. Hopefully they’ll increase the budget to allow for three.

    And I want them all to be good! πŸ™‚

    Faith Manages

  9. Zack, calm down, man! πŸ™‚

    That’s intentional…. since it’s podcast season 3, we’re using the B5 S3 opening music, and the music is better on this opening than on previous ones because it came from the CD and not the DVD. Didn’t you notice the season theme music behind Tim’s voiceover for seasons 1 and 2?

    And the opening was pre-recorded, and it sounds good to me (it has to, since we’ll be hearing the rest of the year)!

    And when the writers approve the new contract this week, that opening will be the shortest-lived joke in podcasting.

    Or does that mean we should have done it sooner, and by extrapolation, helped the strike end sooner? All this temporal fun and games gets me confused…

  10. Maybe I should have said “our last best hope to push for an immediate greenlight for Lost Tales Vol 2”

  11. ZackfromCali says

    “Our thoughts form the universe, they always matter.”
    — G’Kar to Zack in Babylon 5:”The Hour of the Wolf”

    TLT2 TLT2 TLT2…..

    Oh and why I am at it…Babylon 5: The Feature Film…

  12. tim the First One says

    Summer, now you’re delving into cause and effect, which we see is all sorts of topsy turvy in “War Without End”.

    AS for the opening, we were working from JMS’ belief that the strike would run for at least nine months. And we all know the Great Maker is infallible, yes?

    I agree with those who hold that the Narn themselves eliminated their teeps. If it had been the Shadows, I think G’Kar would have made reference to tha fact, e.g. “They and their families were exterminated by the Ancient Enemy.” Just my two credits.

  13. Zack (and everyone else),

    I didn’t mean it as if we 500% failed to get Lost Tales Vol 2.

    I meant it based on JMS’ comments on when Vol 1 first sales reports came out… that there was a tiny window for WB to go ahead with Vol 2 at that point in time. That window closed and JMS went on to other projects.

    So, in terms of taking advantage of the moment while it was there is what failed… not us ever getting TLT Vol 2.

    Hell, I wanna see TLT Vol 10 come out in honor of B5’s 20th anniversary. Call me a hopeful dreamer, but dammit, that’s what I’d like to see, and to have all of us still be around to celebrate that moment.

  14. Tim,

    I will disagree with that sentiment, just because I don’t think that’s something G’Kar would have left out. Not a shred of regret or remorse at the thought of what his people had done to themselves once they realized hundreds of years later the larger cost.

    Could you imagine what a Narn telepath could have helped do during the first Centauri occupation? I also think the existence of Narn telepaths in the current universe would have caused the Shadows to take a different tack when they started having the starfaring races move against each other.

    I do kinda like that it’s ambiguous… gives us one more thing to argue about πŸ™‚

  15. Jhonny from Uppsala says

    To me it was a kind of unspoken statement from the wise G’Kar. “They were different, of course we killed them in our ignorance.” Kind of thing.

    I dont think G’Kar would have shown so much regret. He is indeed a philosopher but a practikal one. So I figure he always considered it natural that they had to pay for their own stupidity.

  16. This is just a comment on your meeting Lou Ferrigno, Summer. Congrats on meeting him and I’m glad to hear he’s still in great shape, but he’s not pushing 70. He’s just 56. I think his 56th birthday was in November, according to IMDb. I know they are not all-knowing, but I’d say they’re right about his age or at least close. I will check further, elsewhere, just in case they’re off. I LOVE the Babylon Podcast and the new opening is awesome. Thanks for all of you discussing a great science fiction program that made a big impression on a lot of fans.

  17. Since I am still catching up on these shows in between listening to the new shows, I do not know if this has been presented by anyone else, but here is my take on the Narn telepath situation:

    It was my impression from G’Kar’s reading that the die-off of the Narn telepaths came suddenly, and as a complete surprise to the Narn. I think what happened is that the Vorlon playing G’Quan discovered that telepaths could be used against the Shadow ships. When the Shadows figured out the new tactic, they retaliated with what was probably the first virus programed to target a races’ telepath jeans. In the centuries between the wars, the Vorlons started their program of accelerating the evolution of telepaths among the emerging races. When the Shadows returned to begin the next round, they decided to capture some of those telepaths to put in their ships to counter the new Vorlon strategy.

    A telepath virus would explain why the Narn were never able to breed new telepaths. Like the Human version Bill Edgars obtained, the virus would be dormant in and harmless to the Narn “mundane” population, but would immediately hit any offspring unlucky enough to have the jean turn on. Would be just another of the many deadly childhood diseases G’kar alluded to in the episode where he explained that Narn children were only given temporary names until making it to adulthood. The high child mortality rate could also indicate that the Narn breeding program had actually been successful — they only think it failed because the virus is killing their many successes before they can be identified!

    The analogy that Bester’s falling in love with a blip would be like a Nazi falling in love with a Jew is to me a bit off the mark. To me it would be like Bester falling in love with a (horrors!) mundane. A more correct analogy would be the Nazi falling in love with a girl from a German family that had been arrested for hiding Jews. As for Bester himself, I think his villainous ways must be a lingering side effect of the bug Kahn inserted into Checkov’s ear in “The Wrath of Kahn”.

    • The problem with any virus that attacks any specific gene in any race is that viruses mutate over time (either by nature, by having to adapt to new environments and immune systems, and coming into contact with different strains of itself in the same host), and you run the risk that it’ll begin to affect a wider segment of the population than initially intended, and far faster than anyone ever expects (read Frank Herbert’s The White Plague for an awesome story about just such a genetic attack… but give the final quarter of the book the benefit of the doubt).

      So after 1000 years, such a virus would have killed off most of the Narn population (see also the plague that killed off the Markab in “Confessions and Lamentations”). We know that the telepath gene is receessive in any race, and since known telepaths would have that trait dominant, and most if not all of them were killed off fighting alongside G’Quan, then G’Kar’s statement that there weren’t enough left to recreate a successful breeding pool is accurate. For Earth references, read about how scientists had previously assumed the massive loss of buffalo breeding stock over 100 years ago might have wiped out the genetic trait that created a natural white buffalo, until the little calf that was born a few years ago. It’s entirely possible that latent Narn telepaths had cropped up from time to time, but given the extensive extermination programs that happened under Centauri occupation, it’s not hard to surmise that they might have been killed off before they got old enough to either manifest a talent at puberty, or grow old enough to pass on those genes to children.

      As for Bester, for me, it seems more like a scenario of a German Intelligence officer falling in love with a member of the French Resistance.

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