• The new B5TV.COM is here. We've replaced our 16 year old software with flashy new XenForo install. Registration is open again. Password resets will work again. More info here.

The Gathering


Beyond the rim
Ok, this has always bugged me as the one biggest and most important Makes-no-sense CheesyMoment of B5, and the fact that it comes in the pilot doesn't help, so someone elighten me.

HOW do you poison a being that's pure energy???
And given the secrecy in which the Vorlons have always shrouded themselves, HOW would the Mimbari assassin have gotten a poison that would affect a Vorlon?
that implies that they're able to be poisoned.. I don't see how a being of pure energy is even capable of being poisoned.
I don't see how a being of pure energy is even capable of being poisoned.

A being of pure energy wouldn't be capable of being poisoned. But JMS has always said that the Vorlons are not beings of pure energy. (Notice the neon jellyfish form that both Kosh and Kosh II have during their final battle. Is that a form a being of pure energy would assume? Why? Notice also that they are physically wrestling with one another in that scene.)

The Minbari may have known what could poison a Vorlon from traditions that survived from the last Shadow War. (When Vorlons allowed themselves to be seen, and took an active role in the fighting.) The Shadows may also have passed the information along through cut-outs, so they could stay in the background. Deathwalker is a candidate. The Dilgar may have uncovered Shadow tech on worlds they conquered and occupied, which Jha'dur later used in her research and experiments. The Shadows may even have indirectly encouraged both Jha'dur's work and the Dilgar invasion. (While the Shadows on Z'ha'dum were asleep at the time of the Dilgar War, their servants, agents and even off-world Shadows may have been active, preparing for their predicted return. The Dilgar invasion certainly fit with their idea of evolution through conflict, as did Jha'dur's "work")


Could you or someone please remind me which episode the two Koshes square off in? Title and season, please, if possible. Thanks.
Thanks, apparently I had just misunderstood the physical make-up of a Vorlon.

Takes one to know one... Thans, Joe. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
Actually what really bugged me about this, is you seeing Kosh "shake hands" with "Sinclair." That is the only time in all of B5 that you even get the IDEA that Vorlons have "hands." For that matter, how would your "run of the mill" Minbari even THINK he would have hands to even poison him in the first place? The idea of Kosh just sticking out a hand from a sealed encounter suit still is something that confuses me though...

Could you or someone please remind me which episode the two Koshes square off in? Title and season, please, if possible. Thanks.

Falling Towards Apotheosis (Season 4)
I always wondered that too, Derian. But since it's from JMS, I just smile and nod and go along with it, knowing he's got a plan for everything. /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
When Kosh presents his hand to Sinclair, he does not address him as Sinclair, he addresses him as Valon. Valon would know what a Vorlon looked like, Sinclair at this time would not.
When Kosh presents his hand to Sinclair, he does not address him as Sinclair, he addresses him as Valon.

When Kosh presents his "hand" (tentacle, whatever) to "Sinclair" he doesn't address him at all. He doesn't say a word. He thinks to himself, "Entil'Zha Valen", because he recognizes Sinclair as the Minbari he met 1,000 years ago. And he seems surprised by this.

IIRC the Vorlons set the conditions for Kosh's arrival. They demanded that all the scanners be turned off at the docking bay. They may also have demanded that Sinclair initially greet Kosh alone, before they joined the rest of the reception committee. It is possible that they did this because Kosh planned to scan the Human commander. Vorlon telepathy may be like Human telepathy - it may be enhanced by physical contact. Certainly it seems to require a special receptive state of mind when used over long distances (G'Kar is drugged, Sheridan exhausted, Talia distracted and confused when Kosh touches their minds.) Maybe it needs physical contact to work well at shorter ranges.

The assassin may be some "run-of-the-mill" Minbari. Whoever planned this thing isn't. They may have expected this handshaking business. (Perhaps the Minbari even asked the Vorlon to scan Sinclair, to verify that Sinclair didn't remember his missing 24 hours. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif) So they would have realized that this moment was their one and only chance to poison him.


This is a bit off topic (not much, I hope) but I'd imagine what the assassin saw was a hand. During this time, I'd say, everyone was still seeing the Vorlons as the angelic forms most (all?) the younger races had been conditioned to see. Of course, Kosh could have specifically made it (somehow) that Sinclair / Valen saw his true squidy body. If it was the angelic (Minbari in this case since the assassin was Minbari) form, the assassin would have seen a hand that was prime to attatch the tab. I always got the impression Dr. Kyle and Lyta saw the angelic Kosh and not squid boy.

And how come everyone (including the audience) saw the real Koshes during their battle? Was it because no one believed them benevolent angels anymore? Did Kosh Naranek make it so since he no longer thought his people should use and abuse the other races like that? Did their true appearance just manifest during times of great stress or rage? Whatever ... it was pretty damn cool! /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
A few years ago I got thinking about 'the Gathering' and what exactly was the deal with Kosh. I wrote an article which I hoped to get published in a magazine, but didn't succeed. Basically I looked at all the questions that the Pilot throws up, eg the poisoning, and devised a hypothosis to make sense of them.

Here is part of that article.


During the season one episode ‘The War Prayer’, Sinclair asks at one point, how did Kosh get poisoned when his hand should have been completely covered by the encounter suit. That question has never actually been answered and once one question is raised, more follow. Such questions as why are the Vorlons so eager to take Sinclair back to the Vorlon Homeworld when previous expeditions have disappeared?; Does Lyta Alexander know Del Varner, as she is seen talking to him a number of times?; Why was it a Minbari and not a Narn that was the assassin?; How did Del Varner manage to get onto the station if he is wanted so badly by Earthforce?; etc.
After events in ‘Falling Toward Apotheosis’, matters are even more confused. If the true form of a Vorlon is that of a flying jellyfish, what did Dr. Kyle see in Kosh’s encounter suit?; and, If it took the combined efforts of Kosh, Sheridan and Lorien to kill Kosh2, was Kosh ever actually in danger of dying from the poison in the first place?

Answer: the Vorlons were behind it all.

B5 timings indicate that the Icarus reached Z’Ha’Dum late in 2256 and that The Gathering begins on 3rd January 2257. This would mean that Kosh knew about the Shadows’ return when he arrived at the station. Considering the Vorlon’s involvement with the Minbari during the previous Shadow war, it is likely that they also knew that Sinclair was destined to be Valen. It is plausible then that the entire assassination attempt was just an excuse to get Sinclair to the Vorlon Homeworld where he could be ‘programmed’ ready to be sent back in time to take on the role of the great Minbari leader. How else could a whole Vorlon fleet manage to reach the station within twelve hours when Kosh’s ship took almost a week, unless they had planned to be there.
The Vorlons planned the assassination, but they needed help from the other races. The Minbari at this time are their only allies so they are enlisted to provide the assassin. It is interesting to speculate that perhaps the Minbari chosen is actually a Ranger. The Rangers were around at the time, but only in a dormant role.
The assassin could not involve other Minbari, so approached the Narn, with a suitable explanation, to provide transport to B5 and help in procuring the changeling net. Del Varner is contacted to smuggle in the net, but as he is wanted on a number of counts of tech running, he will need help to get on the station. Contacts he has in organisations such as the Homeguard will arrange access through their B5 agent Lieutenant Commander Takashima.
It is common knowledge that Laurel Takashima was the original recipient of the Psi-Corps secondary personality and would have been involved in the assassination of the President, so it is safe to assume that she assisted in the Kosh assassination attempt. She would not be aware of the Vorlon involvement although it is likely that she was in contact with G’Kar. She could tell him of the early arrival of Kosh, though that was probably already known by the assassin, and would have halted the transport tube that delayed Sinclair.
At the time of the actual assassination attempt, the Minbari assassin is nowhere near the docking bay, which is why no one is detected going in or out. What happens is that Kosh enters the bay, looks around to see that he is alone, then poisons himself, knowing that he will come to no harm. He then sets off the alarm and plays dead for Garibaldi and Sinclair.
In Medlab, the Vorlons send a signal that the encounter suit is not to be opened. Perhaps they have covered every eventuality or they think they know Sinclair well enough to predict that he will go in anyway. Kosh is ready and projects the image of the angel to Dr. Kyle, which confirms the humanoid form of a Vorlon. He discovers the poison in Kosh’s system and from the Vorlon manipulated readings, estimates how much time he has left. During the examination, Kosh plants a suggestion within Dr. Kyle’s subconscious to have Lyta scan him to identify the assassin.
Dr. Kyle discusses the possibility of a scan with Takashima, who objects at first, but quickly gives in, as implicating Sinclair is all part of the plan. Lyta too seems to be almost too easily persuaded, but she begins the scan, Kosh’s encounter suit opening conveniently just when it is needed. She then sees what Kosh wants her to see; Sinclair poisoning Kosh. The fact that Lyta thinks it is a real scan and not a false memory is that the Vorlons have somehow already had contact with Lyta and programmed her, to respond in the correct way. Perhaps that is why she does not know the story of the first four Babylon stations, and also why she was seen talking to Del Varner/Minbari.
When it gets to the hearing, G’Kar does most of the talking as he knows the details of the official plan, including contacting the Vorlons although he is unaware that they are behind it all. At the vote, Delenn abstains because she knows what is going on and to say yes or no would be tantamount to a lie.
Del Varner’s body is then found, which might be the complication that G’Kar mentions to the assassin, or perhaps Takashima is threatening to expose them if she feels threatened. If this happens, the Vorlon involvement would become public, which cannot happen.
The second attempt on Kosh is therefore the assassin’s way of drawing all attention to himself so that the Vorlon involvement is kept secret. He is willing to die to ensure that the Vorlons’ intentions are not revealed until they are ready.
Right on cue, Takashima ‘discovers’ the changeling net information, saving herself and effectively clearing Sinclair, but scuppering the Vorlon plan. She is also the one that suggests the recorder and transmitting the signal to the Vorlons. All that the fleet can do is play along and watch as the Minbari fights Sinclair and sacrifices himself.
All that remains then is the clearing of the debris. Delenn provides information that neatly explains why the assassin was Minbari, and the counter agent to the poison works better than hoped in restoring Kosh to full health.


Also remember that we don't know what the hand looked like that they assassin saw. Remember Lyta said that she would see her OWN body when she was in Kosh's mind. What we saw was her hand, not Kosh's hand.
Elenopa, forgive me for disagreeing with you. I think the Vorlons would never have risked one of their number -- especially Kosh, who seems to be fairly influential. There are simply too few of them to risk it, and besides, it seems wildly out of character. By attacking Kosh they would be creating chaos. Definitely NOT their way.

As to my take -- the reason all the scanners were turned off was because Kosh was going to extend his "human" hand (that is, in his human/angelic form) to Sinclair. Giving Sinclair a glimpse, out of respect. After all, why else would the scanners be turned off, when Kosh is in his encounter suit?

The poison may very well have been from Deathwalker, as the Wind Swords were the ones who a) sheltered her and b) provided the assassin. As to who was behind it all -- it was made fairly clear in the pilot itself that G'Kar was responsible, making trouble to further his own ends.

Also, in answer to someone's question above, I believe that Kosh and Ulkesh were both in their "jellyfish" form because it was already obvious that Sheridan had seen through the whole angel routine. No point in concealing it any longer.
I think the Vorlons would never have risked one of their number -- especially Kosh, who seems to be fairly influential. There are simply too few of them to risk it, and besides, it seems wildly out of character.

I said that Kosh was faking being poisoned and so was in no danger at all. It was all part of their big plan.

Don't take my theory too seriously. It was just some fun I had a while back to try and make sense of 'The Gathering'. I even worked out how Morden could be in CnC /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif