The discovery of a mysterious alien causes the crew to reflect on significant
events in their lives.
Production number: 109
Original air date: June 30, 1999
DVD release date: December 7, 2004
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Mike Vejar
- Gideon was an ensign on the Cerberus ten years earlier
when it was attacked by an alien ship, possibly a Shadow vessel.
The ship was destroyed while he was in the middle of a spacewalk to
survey some hull damage. Shortly after the Shadow ship withdrew,
the technomage fleet arrived and he was rescued by Galen.
After he returned to Earth, his story was met with skepticism by
- At one point, Gideon won a device called an "apocalypse
box" in a poker game. The box's previous owner killed himself
immediately after losing it, though apparently more to escape
the box's influence than because he was upset about losing it.
- Galen and Isabelle
("The Well of Forever")
were injured and stranded on a planet after being betrayed by
three other technomages. She died as he comforted her. Thereafter,
Galen refused to believe in any kind of higher purpose or design in
the universe, since it would imply that someone decided that Isabelle
deserved to die.
- Matheson was working at a secret Psi Corps base during
the Telepath War. He was asked to administer sleeper drugs to a
captured rogue telepath. The rogue convinced him to look at the
Corps in a less forgiving light; he ended up betraying his masters
and unwittingly helping the rogues destroy the Psi Corps base.
- Who did Galen apologize to, and for what?
- What were the circumstances of Dureena's previous
failure, and who died as a result?
- Who and what was the alien in the orb?
- Who attacked the Cerberus? The Shadows? Given that
Earth was allied with them during the Shadow War, why would they
attack an Earth Alliance ship?
- Was it just a coincidence that the technomage fleet
appeared in precisely the same location as the attack on the Cerberus?
- What was the apocalypse box? Where did it come from?
What happened to it?
- Who betrayed Galen and Isabelle? Why? What precisely did
- Was the message to Galen genuine, or did the alien cause
it to be sent?
- Since Matheson has been deep-scanned on at least one
("The Well of Forever")
it's possible that his role in the Corps base's destruction is known
to at least a few other people. Have there been any repercussions,
or does the fact that it was wartime (and, more to the point, that
the Corps was apparently on the losing side of the war) mean he
wasn't officially held accountable?
- The word "apocalypse" has two meanings. The commonly-used
one is a cataclysm, generally involving the destruction of life on
a large scale. But the word also means "a prophetic revelation."
Which sense applies to the box remains to be seen.
- Matheson's psi ability is stronger than P2, though
how much higher isn't clear.
- Galen's reason for refusing to believe in a larger
design echoes a comment by Marcus. He told Dr. Franklin that
he preferred to think that things didn't happen for a reason, since
otherwise it would mean that people deserved it when bad things
happened to them.
- This one is a favorite of mine as well. It was one of
the scripts written while we were still shooting the first 5, before
TNT got into the process. When that happened, they made it clear that
they *hated* this story, felt that nobody would be interested in all
this backstory...and asked for it all to be taken out, let them run
into this alien and make him an evil character, an emotional vampire
who drives them insane.
This was one of the first scripts where I dug in my heels
bigtime and refused to do what they asked. I knew it would be
powerful; they thought it would be utterly uninteresting. They were
- What was the ship that attacked the Cerberus?
That remains to be revealed.
- Was Lyta supposed to be in this episode?
Yeah, Lyta would've been in that ep but Pat was on a movie at
- Re: the Matheson scene...that one was cut back by about 40%
because the episode ran long. (That sometimes happens on dialogue-
intensive episodes.) The original version had it go over a longer
period of time, and showed him coming over gradually. It is a bit
abrupt as it is now, though I still think it plays.
- Why didn't the rogue have a beacon that sent out a
A device that small would run out of power if it were on all the
time, and might be detected. My feeling was that it was switched off
and had to be removed to power it up, then the telepathic signal would
activate the beacon and bring in the troops. You'd have a two-stage
process to a) avoid detection, and b) ensure that if it *were* found it
couldn't be used by anyone else to stage a trap.
- "I'm very curious where Joe's going with Galen's
Actually, Galen has quite a secret he's carrying around with
him. It formed the basis of scripts 114 ("To the Ends of the Earth")
and 116 ("End of the Line," which would've been the cliffhanger). It's
also a major element of the coming technomage novels. There's a very
small reference to it in the episode airing this week, when Galen
mentions that he and someone else have been "betrayed by our own kind."
It also ties into why they were in such a rush to get the hell
out of known space during the shadow war.