Passing Through Gethsemane
Ivanova and one of the monks, Brother Edward, are discussing a dangerous situation... Sheridan's chess game as he plays against Brother Theo. The game ends with Theo checkmating the captain after which Ivanova is called to the docking bay. Kosh's ship has just docked but he's not on it. Lyta Alexander has returned from Vorlon space. In Sheridan's office she explains that she'd been felt drawn there ever since scanning Kosh's mind and now she's working for him. Ivanova has concerns about what Psi Corps will do when they find out she's there, but Lyta insists Kosh will protect her.
- Garibaldi: Nobody's ever been to the Vorlon homeworld and back again, yet she goes and comes back like she just took a trip to the corner store. And now she's working for Kosh. is anybody else as creeped out about this as I am?
The others raise their hands.
Brother Edward is negotiating with a business woman when he finds a black rose that fell from his bag. He's not sure how it got there.
Delenn finds Garibaldi in the security office to ask about some security arrangements, but Garibaldi wants to see this news story about a murderer getting a mind wipe, which he finds satisfying.
In Medlab Franklin is examining Lyta, and finding her to be in excellent health. Surprisingly good health, actually. Several chronic health issues she's had her entire life are gone, but she can't say how it happened. The only thing he can find amiss is an unusually high level of oxygen in her bloodstream, but she insists she be allowed to get to work.
Brother Edward enters his quarters to find a message on his wall written in blood.
- DEATH WALKS AMONG YOU.
When he brings Garibaldi to see it, it's gone.
Londo accosts Lyta in the corridor. He tries to pump her for information on the Vorlons, which he would pay greatly for. When she blows him off he threatens to inform the Psi Corps about her, and she counters by threatening to plant a nightmare deep in the mind of whoever ratted her out, and make them spend the rest of their nights alive screaming. Londo watches he leave with a contemptuous "Fine!"
- Londo: Nightmares...the way my life has been going lately, who'd notice?
Despite the scare, Edward continues his rounds, which includes interviewing various aliens about their religious beliefs, as he does with Delenn and Lennier. In the course of their conversation, he talks a little about Jesus Christ and how He waited in the garden of Gethsemane before being taken to his death. Edward wonders if he would have had the courage to remain there.
On his way home, a Centauri bumps into him. Almost immediately he is beset with the sound of screaming and voices calling for someone named Charlie as he loses his bag and sees more bloody messages before stumbling on the body of a woman with a black rose stuffed in her mouth.
Edward is sitting in his quarters, running what he saw through his mind over and over, until Theo comes in. He asks if anything is bothering Edward, who tells him about the things he saw, and how he's not sure if they're real or in his mind. Theo tries to comfort him, telling him to put it aside, but Edward is still disturbed. Despite Theo's counsel not to, he begins researching the things he saw.
Theo goes to Sheridan and asks that he find out what's going on, before Edward does.
Garibaldi finds Edward in the corridor outside his quarters, presumably looking for his bag, but he's staring at the wall where he found the second bloody message. Garibaldi has gotten back that there was no trace of blood on the wall, but he's got people checking for anything else.
- Edward: Tell them not to bother. Why would an uneasy conscience show up in a lab report?
Garibaldi promises to keep an eye out for anyone trying to sell his bag.
Edward is in his quarters when his search turns up something: Brother Edward was once Charles Dexter, the Black Rose Killer. He killed several women, put the roses in their mouths, was arrested and sentenced to death of personality. Garibaldi has found the same thing, and briefs Sheridan. Dexter was presumed killed during a fire, but survived, with a personality programmed to serve society, which he did by joining the monks. Furthermore, Edward already knows.
Theo finds Edward in Downbelow and begs him to come back. Edward doesn't think he can.
- Edward: How could they do it? They say it's humane... merciful. Do you know what it's like to wake up one day and discover you're a monster, a murderer? What if I had died, never knowing what I had been? How can I confess my sins to God if I don't even know what they are? The mind forgets, but the stain remains with the soul. The blood of innocent people is still on my hands. My memories are the creation of somebody else, and my soul is the soul of a killer, and everything that I have done has been a lie.
- Theo: Edward... Edward! If you ask God to forgive your sins, He knows what they are, even if you've forgotten. Leave it in His hands.
Edward says goodbye and walks off.
Garibaldi's investigation hits a lucky break when someone tries to sell Edward's bag. The recorder he was using during his interview with Delenn was inside and he forgot to turn it off so it caught all the screams and everything he thought was in his head. Security also found a residue on his wall of a chemical that would resemble blood then vanish. It's clear someone is out to get revenge. But to restore his memories, they'd need a telepath, but Psi Corps has rules against that. The only one it could have been is the Centauri Edward mentioned.
Edward is by himself praying when a crowd of people emerge from the shadows. The lead one asks if he knows who they are, the families of the women he murdered. They're here to make sure justice is done, but they wanted him to know what he'd done first.
Sheridan and Garibaldi manage to find the Centauri telepath, but he's being less than cooperative, so they have Lyta come in and get it out of his mind. Once she has a location, Garibaldi moves out. They arrive to find Edward strapped to a beam like a cross, on the verge of death.
Edward asks Theo to forgive them, he knew what was going to happen when he left.
- Edward: I always wanted to know if I would have the courage to stay at the garden of Gethsemane. Now I know, Theo. Now I know.
Zack pulls Sheridan away to see they caught the ringleader. He proudly admits it, saying Edward had it coming. Zack has to hold Sheridan back as the guy is hauled off. As Edward dies, Theo forgives him of his sins, so he can pass into the next life guilt-free.
Since he doesn't bother to deny it, the ringleader is quickly tried and sentenced.
Theo meets with Sheridan to give him something Edward had been working on but didn't get to finish. Sheridan ponders on the difference between justice and revenge, and has to face it himself as Theo introduces the newest member of his order, Brother Malcolm, the murderer, now mind-wiped and programmed with a new personality to serve society. Sheridan has to restrain himself as Theo reminds him that forgiveness is a hard thing, but something ever to strive for.
Sheridan reluctantly agrees, and wishes the new monk well.
In Kosh's quarters, Lyta stands as streams of energy flow out of her and into the encounter suit.
This episode contains examples of:
- Amnesiac Dissonance: When Brother Edward's memory is telepathically jogged he starts remembering who he used to be.
- Artistic License Religion - Catholic confession specifically addresses sins that the sinner has forgotten (since this is a frequent, practical concern). The more pressing issue would be that Brother Edward was coerced into wanting forgiveness.
- Brother Edward, the one who has only now become aware of his previous crimes, is the one most concerned about this. Brother Theo is far less concerned; he replies that even if Brother Edward doesn't remember, God does.
- The Atoner: Upon learning who he was, Brother Edward seeks to be this.
- Be All My Sins Remembered: Brother Edward feels this way after he finds out who he really is.
- The Bible: The title of the episode comes from when Jesus waited in Gethsemane for the Jewish temple guards led by Judas. Brother Edward gives a detailed account to Delenn and Lennier.
- Call-Back: Lyta recounts what happened to her after she left the station last time. She also says she's felt drawn to Vorlon space ever since scanning Kosh.
- Mindwipes have been referenced before as a form of capital punishment.
- The Minbari concept of the soul as a reflection of the universe trying to figure itself out was shared earlier with Sheridan.
- Brother Theo references a phrase spoken by Delenn: "Faith manages."
- When Lyta recounts how she tried entering Vorlon space, Garibaldi references how any ship entering Vorlon space have never come back.
- The choir chant briefly heard while Edward is praying and before the families of his victims arrive are the same as the one heard by Sheridan during a Vorlon lesson of "beauty in the dark"
- Continuity Nod:
- Death of Personality: And the new personality is horrified when he discovers who he used to be.
- Didn't See That Coming: The Centauri telepath wasn't counting on a rogue human telepath tearing the information from his mind.
- Dies Wide Open: The body Edward find stares up at him with blank, lifeless eyes.
- Face Death with Dignity: Edward describes Jesus Christ waiting for His killers in the Garden of Gethsemane, and after he remembers what he is, Edward waits for his killers in the monks' darkened meeting place.
- When offered to place a bet, Edward politely rebuffs that gambling is one of the lesser sins, and his opinion was that if you're going to sin, you should go for the greater ones. If only he had any idea...
- His discussion with Delenn and Lennier about Jesus waiting to be taken in Gethsemane; he wonders if, in the same situation, he would be able to do the same. At the time, he doesn't know. By the end of the episode, he has his answer: Yes, he can — and he did.
- After the interview with the Minbari, Lennier starts to talk about Valen, who was "a Minbari not born of Minbari."
- The ease with which Lyta was able to rip information out of the Centauri Telepath's mind despite being a lowly P5 is a portent of her later development.
- Brother Edward questions how forgiveness can be given to a man like him. As he lays dying, Brother Theo grants him this.
- Later, Brother Theo and Sheridan discuss forgiveness and Sheridan makes a comment he will strive for it when Brother Malcolm, the man who killed Brother Edward in cold blood comes before Sheridan because Theo requested him. The Captain needs to be reminded of what he just said.Brother Theo: "[F]orgiveness is a hard thing... but something ever to strive for."
- A Moral Dilemma regarding Death of Personality is highlighted: How can someone even seek forgiveness for their sins if their memory of them is intentionally wiped by the State? The episode's villain flips this dilemma on its head, and insists on restoring Edward's memory before getting revenge so that he will know why he is suffering.
- Gaslighting: When the messages on the wall and the threatening voices start appearing, Edward believes he is going crazy. After digging and finding out he used to be a murderer, he believes it is his past life resurfacing. Turns out, the messages were real, and the voices came through the PA system to try and harass him.
- He Who Fights Monsters: The husband/brother of one of Edward's past victims becomes a cold blooded murderer in his quest for vengeance.
- High-Voltage Death: Discussed. Garibaldi says he sometimes wishes for the days of the electric chair, then says that electric bleachers would be more appropriate.
- Interfaith Smoothie: Sheridan claims to believe in a little bit of everything, claiming to be eclectic.
- Ironic Echo: Sheridan was just wondering aloud how "Forgiveness is a hard thing... but something ever to strive for" when he is introduced to Brother Edward's killer, now mindwiped, renamed Brother Malcolm, and is pretty much in the same position Brother Edward was. With Sheridan seething with anger and initially refusing to shake Malcolm's hand, Theo echoes Sheridan's words on forgiveness moments ago. Sheridan relents and shakes Malcolm's hand.
- It Was Here, I Swear!: Brother Edward encounters the message "DEATH WALKS AMONG YOU" scrawled in blood on a bulkhead; it's gone when he tries to show it to Garibaldi. Fortunately, Garibaldi knows better than to ignore the report, and found traces of a chemical sprayed onto the walls that looked like blood, then reacted with air and disappeared.
- Let Me at Him!: Sheridan would probably have pummeled the ringleader into another life, if Zack hadn't been there.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: The families of Charlie's murder victims come back for Revenge, as they believe that Death of Personality was too light a punishment. The ringleader gets arrested and subjected to the same verdict as Charlie.
- Police Are Useless: Averted. Instead of simply dismissing Brother Edward's claims, Garibaldi takes the time to do an extremely thorough investigation of the wall and the voices, discovering the above-mentioned Gaslighting. Sadly, he's too late to stop Brother Edward from being killed, though he does at least arrest the ringleader of the people who came for vengeance.
- Redemption Equals Death: Brother Edward, rather than trying to run, waits calmly and praying for the family of his victims to come and pay him vengeance for his sins.
- Shout-Out: Charlie Dexter, and his two lives, are something of a homage to H. P. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
- Delenn's opinion of Garibaldi's "eye-for-an-eye" attitude echoes that of Mahatma Gandhi, who had famously said, "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."
- Surprise Checkmate: Theo checkmates Sheridan in the teaser. Theo just says it was divine inspiration.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: Brother Edward's encounter in the corridor seems to be a case of this at first, but it's eventually subverted; every aspect of it has a rational explanation, and Brother Edward was targeted intentionally. The bloody message was essentially written in the future version of disappearing ink, the voices in the corridor were projected by speakers, and the flashback to the unfamiliar memory was triggered by a Centauri telepath he'd just encountered.
- The Unfettered: Lyta explains that since she's not in the Corps anymore, she doesn't have to follow their rules, and Londo better keep that in mind if he decides to tell them about her.