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Old March 24th 15, 11:14   #31
Mororless
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Re: EpDis: Divided Loyalties

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Originally Posted by Mororless View Post
Talia being the mole was as I understand it always planned just pushed forward in the story, Not sure whether that means the Ivanova relationship was always planned as well or whether JMS felt it was a good way to use the character.
(snip)
It is a bit strange looking back now given how much more liberal US TV has become but having openly gay/bisexual characters in a more obvious and prolonged relationship would likely have put JMS under a lot of pressure...
So, first I liked your take (even though I quoted only this).

Second, I was wondering why you felt that the Talia character being a mole was planned. I'm not saying you're wrong. I don't know. But to me it seemed extremely abrupt. I like the way it was done but it also really bummed me out because she really was developing and I felt like she died.

Third, I totally agree. Back in '94 anything potentially homosexual was nearly taboo. I applaud JMS and the rest of the crew for including it and even more, making it seem like it's no big thing. No one gave it a second thought. The way I take it is that humanity in the B5 universe has turned it's xenophobic tendencies outward.
JMS has if I remember correctly always stated that it was a "trap door" for her but beyond that the fact we got Kosh essentially recording her personality in season 1 to me suggests he intended to use the plot at some stage regardless. The obvious plot to me if AT sticks around seems to be that the recording is used to create her original personality, either right away or sometime latter.

We didn't really get to see a wider reaction to the relationship as Delenn was the only person Ivanova ever told, you'd expect she personally would have no prejudice against it although she never comments on it. Incidently wasn't the original plan for Delenn to have her not just shift to a human hybrid in season 2 but also to shift sex as well? that is starting off as a male character in season 1. That would certainly have been pretty brave, especially if a romance involving her was then going to be a big focus of the show.

The interesting thing with a wider reaction we didn't get to see would be unlike Trek you still have very clear religions in the B5 universe, Ivanova herself is a jew albeit not a highly observant one.

With the morality issue of essentially killing someone by erasing there personality(which is all the more obvious given that this is an future method of execution in B5) I think a better route to take would be to simply limit it to the command staff who were in the know and so could take the risk willingly. As Sheridan points out the knowledge of Lyta's presense isn't known outside the command staff(Talia I assume only picks up on it due to Ivanova's asking about her) so they are the natural people to scan.

I think that situation has potential for great drama as by limiting suspicion you also increase tension among the command staff, not just a small chance it might be you or a friend but a belief it very likely is. A debate whether to do it at all and a decision that it must be done for the greater good then tension rising as each of them is cleared coming down to the last person(I'd assume Ivanova) thinking there likely about to die. Lyta could then test Talia much as she does but without any say so from the others which would perhaps be a good hint at her latter beahvour.

Theres another moral debate as well of what do with the replacement personality as well if it is one of the command staff. Talia going back to the Corps was dangerous but not fatal, one of the those in on Clarks schemes going back means him finding out and very likely everyone involved(Hague as well) at least spending along time in prison and maybe(punishment for treason never revealed was it?) sentenced to death or killed off on the quiet. You could I spose argue that the replacement personally is a "murderer" as its "killed" the original personally so deserves death and as I said I can definitely see Ivanova especially saying something along the lines of "You can test me if you promise me one thing, you'll kill the replacement personality if its me".
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Old March 25th 15, 19:43   #32
Springer
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Re: EpDis: Divided Loyalties

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JMS has if I remember correctly always stated that it was a "trap door" for her but beyond that the fact we got Kosh essentially recording her personality in season 1 to me suggests he intended to use the plot at some stage regardless. The obvious plot to me if AT sticks around seems to be that the recording is used to create her original personality, either right away or sometime latter.
Originally, back in the pilot, the sleeper agent was going to be Takashima, and she would have shot Garibaldi in Chrysalis. I think JMS kept hold of the sleeper agent idea, but I haven't read anywhere that he had specifically moved it to Talia until Divided Loyalties – correct me if I am wrong though.
(Edit – some comments on the Lurker's Guide page do indicate that Takashima's sleeper personality plot was moved to Talia between the pilot and the series, but I don't see anything from JMS outright confirming this. I'm sceptical, otherwise surely Ironheart would have known about it? Talia's character seemed to be heading in a different direction).

Jan made an excellent point in another thread that if Kosh was recording her personality he was going about it in a strange way – recording 'fear', 'terror', 'surprise' – this doesn't seem like he was recording a personality. Maybe he was recording her thoughts related to these to use against her, or someone else, in the future as a weapon. This is implied at the end of Divided Loyalties – Sheridan says that they need to find someway to protect themselves from what Talia could do to them, and then Garibaldi remembers Kosh.

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I think that situation has potential for great drama as by limiting suspicion you also increase tension among the command staff, not just a small chance it might be you or a friend but a belief it very likely is. A debate whether to do it at all and a decision that it must be done for the greater good then tension rising as each of them is cleared coming down to the last person(I'd assume Ivanova) thinking there likely about to die. Lyta could then test Talia much as she does but without any say so from the others which would perhaps be a good hint at her latter beahvour.
I love love love this idea. It fits more with how TV is written these days, than back in the days of B5 when, even though it was telling a story arc, was still episodic in how it went about that. You could imagine that were it being made, this plot line could take up the second half of the season, building up the tension – we know that one of our beloved characters is not who we think they are, but who? Make more of making us think it's Ivanova, build in more red herrings, show the characters all becoming more and more suspicious as they deal with not knowing who to trust, and agonising over whether they or their colleagues are dead people walking, as soon as that telepathic signal is sent, and then the denouement in dramatic fashion.

Last edited by Springer; March 25th 15 at 19:50.
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Old March 26th 15, 08:51   #33
Mororless
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Re: EpDis: Divided Loyalties

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Originally, back in the pilot, the sleeper agent was going to be Takashima, and she would have shot Garibaldi in Chrysalis. I think JMS kept hold of the sleeper agent idea, but I haven't read anywhere that he had specifically moved it to Talia until Divided Loyalties – correct me if I am wrong though.
(Edit – some comments on the Lurker's Guide page do indicate that Takashima's sleeper personality plot was moved to Talia between the pilot and the series, but I don't see anything from JMS outright confirming this. I'm sceptical, otherwise surely Ironheart would have known about it? Talia's character seemed to be heading in a different direction).

Jan made an excellent point in another thread that if Kosh was recording her personality he was going about it in a strange way – recording 'fear', 'terror', 'surprise' – this doesn't seem like he was recording a personality. Maybe he was recording her thoughts related to these to use against her, or someone else, in the future as a weapon. This is implied at the end of Divided Loyalties – Sheridan says that they need to find someway to protect themselves from what Talia could do to them, and then Garibaldi remembers Kosh.
I'm going from memories of discussions years ago but I do remember the idea that each character had a "trap door" being raised with this example specifically rather than having the trap door there to be potentially used my multiple characters.

Whilst Kosh's recording wasn't clearly of her personality I think you could take that as JMS not wanting to be too obvious, maybe also because he wanted to give himself some leeway with future alterations as well along the lines of what actually happened. Really though I never saw that as a good fit and wasn't supprized that it was never mentioned again. The threat from sleeper Talia wasn't that she would come back to B5 and need to be chased off, it was from what she knew and would take back to the Corps.

You could also argue that it would not need to be her entire personality as Passing though Gethsemane showed that the similar "mind wipe" wasn't nearly as final as was suggested and maybe recordings of Talia's emotions could have been used in a similar fashion to bring back her original personality.


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I love love love this idea. It fits more with how TV is written these days, than back in the days of B5 when, even though it was telling a story arc, was still episodic in how it went about that. You could imagine that were it being made, this plot line could take up the second half of the season, building up the tension – we know that one of our beloved characters is not who we think they are, but who? Make more of making us think it's Ivanova, build in more red herrings, show the characters all becoming more and more suspicious as they deal with not knowing who to trust, and agonising over whether they or their colleagues are dead people walking, as soon as that telepathic signal is sent, and then the denouement in dramatic fashion..
I would agree there B5 didn't leave specific points of drama hanging across multiple episodes to the degree a lot of modern TV does, indeed I think that difference could make a potentially rebooted series more interesting

My point was more that I think that this episode could have been spilt into two parts each of which would still have been quite self contained. The first part could have had the Ivanova/Talia hook up and a more extended plot around Lyta's return with a cliffhanger about the sleeper/mole at the end that could have been delt with in a the second episode.

Lyta's return was rather brief being delt with via a hefty chunk of exposition that could have been broken up over the episode plus obviously the potential for a good deal of action. Have some of the main cast travel to Mars of elsewhere looking for her(maybe even have her down below on B5 itself) after being told by someone in the know that she had vital info and tangle with the Corps and Clarks associates then obviously have her react negatively to them in a surprising manner at the end thinking they maybe the sleeper.

Likewise I think if JMS had been allowed to make it more obvious the Ivanova/Talia relationship could definitely have benefited from more time. Theres a tendency these days to view gay storylines in this kind of context as mere fan service/titillation but I think here JMS actually had an interesting matchup for potential for good drama and some chemisty. The characters obviously have a connection though the Corp who Talia would be further rejecting and both were obviously emotionally quite guarded with as you say the whole thing being partly a setup for what happens latter with Ivanova/Marcus.

If you have the whole of the second episode to deal with the sleeper I think that would provide a lot more room for raising the drama/tension the way I suggested. If you flesh out the Ivanova/Talia relationship as well then that gets even more of a punch, as it was I felt the sleeper Talia gloating to Ivanova was already very effective.

Again my guess is that JMS's problem was that AT leaving cropped up partway though Season two and left him having to deal with it rather more quickly than would have been ideal. The tail end of the second season really is packed with great episodes(still probably my favourite run of the series) and I think emotionally provides a lot of the backbone for the show as a whole, not sure you can lose any of them. The chinks of light you start to see from the end of the Long Twilight Struggle into the next two episodes and especially Sebastian's message really depend a lot on things falling to bits and the self sacrifice within in the episodes prior.

Delenn knows what she's letting herself in for when she follows the Markab into isolation in Confessions and Lamentations and Ivanova knows what she's likely in for trying to say goodbye to Talia searching for any sign of the previous personality. No smart comeback or threat given in response just taking the emotional punch to the gut because its the right thing to do. In these kinds of programs the threat of death is so ever present that I think that kind of emotional sacrifice if anything often makes more of an impact.

Last edited by Mororless; March 27th 15 at 05:57.
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