Ivanova is promoted and given a diplomatic assignment. Londo seeks affirmation
from an unusual source.
Michael Ansara as Elric.
William Forward as Refa.
P5 Rating: 7.68
Production number: 203
Original air date: November 16, 1994
DVD release date: April 29, 2003
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Mike Vejar
- Every five years, the Drazi people divide by random selection into
two equal groups, green and purple, and fight for supremacy in a
contest that lasts a full year. The group that wins is the dominant
one until the next battle. Group membership isn't permanent and
has no deeper meaning than the color of cloth one happens to select
randomly from a container.
- The only son of the Centauri Emperor recently died, leaving no clear
successor to the throne. This has served to increase the scheming
among the Centauri nobility. At least one group, disgusted with the
decay of the Republic, intends to grab for the throne when the Emperor
dies; Londo has all but pledged to support that group.
- Where were the techno-mages going?
- Will they return or otherwise make their influence felt?
- How do they know about the upcoming conflict?
- What do they know about it? Are they aware of the Shadows,
- What part do Londo's new partners want him to play in their
- What repercussions will Ivanova's solution to the Drazi problem have?
- Were the winged creatures on Londo's back significant, or just a
meaningless practical joke?
- Londo seems to have made up his mind about following his ambition.
He appeared to be seeking the techno-mages' endorsement for his own
political gain, rather than for the good of the Republic. It remains
to be seen whether he'll have the willpower to follow through with
his newfound assertiveness when lives are at stake, though Elric's
statement about the future indicates he will.
- Londo is willing to trust Vir with other people's secrets ("He can
be trusted!") but not with his own (e.g., his reluctance to discuss
"Chrysalis.") Vir is gradually becoming more
assertive, more willing to stand up to Londo. Whether this will
cause Londo to respect or trust him more remains to be seen.
- The two Drazi leaders were clearly only in charge of the groups on
Babylon 5, as evidenced by the fact that the decision to up the stakes
of the contest came from the Drazi homeworld. What happens if one
group wins in one place and the other wins back home is open to
- Londo's reference to the techno-mages' presence at the founding of the
Republic, and his recognition of the human mages, suggests that the
brotherhood of techno-mages is very old, and crosses species
boundaries. Perhaps they have been around long enough to have
taken part in the great war recorded in the Book of G'Quan (cf.
and can see signs of the same thing starting again.
- The techno-mages seem to have found some technological way to emulate
the prophetic abilities of some of the Centauri, among others (cf.
"Signs and Portents.")
Such abilities are arguably related to time travel; perhaps it is
the techno-mages who supply the technology to bring Babylon 4 forward
in time (cf.
- When Garibaldi was playing with his weapon, it's plausible that he
was contemplating suicide. He has hit rock bottom. He has been
betrayed by a trusted member of his own staff and shot in the back. The
only person he really trusted (Commander Sinclair) is gone. And, he is
probably feeling that he was somehow responsible for the failure to
prevent the assassination of the EA President. He is a recovering
alcoholic, and he has lost the woman he had fantasized about marrying.
If true, this lends a different meaning to Sheridan's comment, "The
universe doesn't give us points for doing the easy things."
- Ivanova's broken foot in this episode wasn't originally planned;
Claudia Christian broke her foot, and it had to be explained in the
context of the show somehow.
- The end credits list Edward Conery as Devereaux (cf.
but he doesn't seem to actually appear in the episode anywhere.
Since he did appear in the previous episode,
and wasn't listed in its credits, he may have been listed here to make
up for the omission.
- Elric's warning to Vir is almost verbatim from Tolkien's Lord
Of the Rings, in which Gildor, an elf, tells Frodo (speaking
about Gandalf,) "But it is said: Do not meddle in the affairs of
wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger."
- Elric's name is from Michael Moorcock's series of fantasy novels.
- When Garibaldi turns up to rescue
Ivanova, there is a visual gaffe. The Drazi who starts to
get up to answer the door is the one in a red-accented suit
with epaulettes. When Garibaldi is admitted, it is by the
other Drazi, while the one who had started to get up is
- Michael Ansara, who plays Elric, also played Kang, a Klingon, in the
original Star Trek episode "Day of the Dove" and the Deep Space Nine
episode "Blood Oath."
- BTW, having now edited seven episodes, and seen several finished ones,
I think that of the first three, "The Geometry of Shadows" (#3) is my
personal favorite. "Revelations" is certainly a biggie, a staggering
chunk of the arc...but "Geometry" is just an absolute hoot, something
of a breather from the intensity, and largely for fun with some
undertones. If you liked "The Parliament of Dreams," you'll probably
- There were *substantial* differences made between the first draft
and the final, based on the fact that a lot of the physical stuff I'd
written for Claudia -- getting herself out of the problem she was in
with the Drazi -- had to be dumped because the actress had a broken
foot. So that aspect has to be remembered. We pushed her to the
limits, and I didn't want to push further.
- You hit on the head *precisely*. When Garibaldi was popping the
energy cap in and out of the PPG, he was on the floor, nominally in the
dark, thinking of killing himself. I didn't want to play it up, didn't
want to make it what the story was about...just show him doing it, over
over. And from Sheridan's face, seeing the last of this, it's clear he
got it...and I thought he handled the scene *perfectly*, by his whole
demeanor, but NOT talking about it except indirectly.
- If I told you what the 14 words were, they wouldn't mean anything
- I don't feel Sheridan was downplaying her promotion; he was sneaking
it up on her to surprise her, making it more of an unexpected delight.
- The idea behind the title "The Geometry of Shadows" was in a sense
a metaphor for the techno-mages; geometry bespeaking the use of math and
equations, the latter being generally something dark, or mysterious, or
- "The Geometry of Shadows" seemed to me a good metaphor for the
technomages; a mix of science with something dark and mysterious.
How do you work out the geometry of something that in one sense
doesn't really exist, but is a projection of something else that
DOES exist? That seemed to me as good a notion of technomagic as
- Be assured, Vir's position continues to be important, and he moves a
bit closer to the limelight as he does so...remember, he's the one
who has to watch Londo's actions like a man watching an accident in
slow motion, and try to do what he can to stop it.
- Sheridan wasn't talking to himself, but rather to the tech who just
seconds before asked if they should let the techno-mages go. (I'd
trimmed the first part of his speech which made this a little clearer,
figuring it'd be evident who he was talking to. What can I say...
sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.)
- Excuse me, but has *anyone* here considered that Sheridan just might
still be talking to the same tech he was speaking to not *five
seconds earlier*? He wasn't talking to himself, so much, or the
audience, though the push-in (the only shot we had) worked against
that. He *was* talking to the tech. Honest.
- The technomages are from various races and worlds; there are some who
are Centauri, some who are human, even other races such as the Vree
and the pak'ma'ra, though these in particular happened to be from
Earth. (If they were Centauri, why would Sheridan have been
interfering with their emigration?)
- Re: the Drazi...yeah, they all look different in that episode. Our
prosthetics folks did a great job with that, as did the actors, and I
think this one should earn Optic Nerve another emmy.
- And yeah, Garibaldi's "joke" was supposed to be pretty lame; we even
edited it to widen the awkward pause, to make it more difficult. He's
trying too hard, and his spirit isn't in it.
- No, actually, the technomage symbol (all of them, actually, including
the ones on the wall) are all derivations, specifically altered, of old
runes and the like. In some cases, we removed words and inserted
mathematical symbols. The fiery symbol is all one piece, and is also an
- Actually, Londo has two coats, a cloak, several different colored
vests (blue, black, others), often wears just his shirt, we've seen
him in his PJs...he's got a fairly large wardrobe.
- Also, Londo looks for the blessings of the technomages the same way
the witches performed that role in "Macbeth." There are other parallels
one might draw as well, though again they're still two different
- What happened to the Emperor's son?
Ah...a very sad case, that. Turhan's only child, his son, died during a
boating accident, of all things. He drowned. His personal guard, who
was apparently unable to find Turhan's son in the murky water, was found
dead several days after making his report; his own death was officially
ruled a suicide, out of grief. But there are always stories....
- How was it written before Claudia Christian injured her ankle?
Mainly it was written with Ivanova solving her problem on her own,
without Garibaldi being there.
- Re: Squaring the account of Ivanova's promotion with Comic #1,
"In Darkness Find Me"
The president spoke truthfully; Sheridan could petition for a
promotion for her, but it's up to Earthforce to grant it, so the line
still tracks. (Note also there's no pronoun there; "Giving her a
field promotion." The imperial We still stands, though.) Also,
Sheridan says he put through the paperwork the day after he got there;
which is fairly close to the time frame in the story in which the
President says they'll be giving Ivanova a promotion. There's no
- Actually, originally, the plan was for President Clark to indeed
notify Ivanova in "Points of Departure," but introducing a new
character in the General added some changes when we shot the scene.
But by then it was too late to modify the comic [#1, "In Darkness
Also, in the comic, Clark doesn't *specify* who's giving Ivanova the
promotion, just that it's being done. (And Sheridan comments that he
put through the paperwork the day after he arrived, which tracks with
- Ivanova did NOT take the kerchief off either of the Drazi leaders in
the council chambers; she walked PAST them, and signaled for two of
the regular Drazi to come down out of the cheap seats.
- Nope, that really was Claudia walking on her broken foot in the
council chambers. She's a trooper....
- "A race that speaks in macros" referred to the Drazi constantly
repeating their stance, Green must fight Purple, Purple must fight
Green, over and over...macros.
- Ann Bruice did a great job on the technomage costumes; I agree. She
found ways to implement what was described in the script that were
both creative and wore well, and fulfilled the function. I wanted
black, with fine silver lines, and an almost circuitboard look to the
patterns in places, but not *obviously* that, stylized. She took that
and came back with a true niftyness....
- In order to create more involved alien makeups, and because many
actors have a hard time with prosthetics, we created what we call the
Babylon 5 Alien Rep Group; last year about five, and this year about
12 actors who we have taken full head and (in some cases) body casts,
so we can use them in mid-level speaking roles as aliens and rotate
them in and out. Since we had fewer last year, you saw Mark more than
you'll see him this year. Green Drazi #1 in "Geometry" is one such
rep group alien.
We keep trying to find interesting solutions to interesting problems.
- The techno-mages were not a homage to ShadowRun games, since I've
never seen the game, and have never heard of it prior to seeing this
- Yes, Ivanova's title in the opening credits *will* be changed to
Commander, to reflect her change in rank. And we'll be adding a rank
for Lt. Keffer. It's kind of funny; we keep treating the opening
title this year as a work in progress, reflecting little changes here
and there...changes in faces, narration, little musical changes that
will come by about episode five or six.....