4 thoughts on “Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “A Tragedy of Telepaths””

  1. One issue in the telepath arc that never got explored was how the telepathic members of other species would react. It’s not just human telepaths who were deliberately engineered by the Vorlons, it’s all of them.

    Would the Alliance (aka Delenn and Sheridan) try to suppress that information getting out? Should they? (As Lyta said, the Vorlons are gone and what’s done is done.)

    1. The interesting thread to pull on is, I think, that if the Vorlon creation of telepaths is explored, that leads inevitably to the widespread awareness that the Vorlons modified the genetic make-up of species more generally — with regard to their religious impulses.

  2. Having listened to the podcast, some scattered thoughts:-

    – The voiceover *is* strange. If it’s intended to help the viewers catch up, why this episode in particular?

    I have a vague sense that it may be there to explain why the situation with the telepaths is so static when the previous episode seemed like it was hurtling towards the conclusion. But that rather suggests that JMS is aware that he has one episode too many in here (as Chip suggested last episode). In which case, why not cut one of the episodes and do something else with the time?

    In which case, I fall back on the idea that JMS just likes voiceovers as a device to set the tone. It’s not the only area where JMS shows an affection for making things work that “everybody knows” that screenwriters shouldn’t do. (See also long speeches with lots of exposition, formal dialogue.)

    – Na’Toth’s appearance is, I think, pure fan service, but I mean that in a positive sense. It’s tying up a loose end by showing what happened to a character who was at one point a reasonably significant part of the show. Which really is fair enough as far as I’m concerned. And I believe that new viewers who were watching the TNT repeats of earlier seasons knew all about Na’Toth by this point, so this is not just for the people who’d been there for S1 first time round.

    I suspect that her limited appearances and dialogue are related to a desire to minimize the amount of time that Julie Caitlin Brown had to spend in make-up. Our hosts are right that this means that the viewer has no sense of the strength of personality that Brown brought to the original Na’Toth in S1.

    This is an aspect of the story that does leave a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth, becayse Na’Toth here is really just a McGuffin to be rescued. That she’s been broken by what she endured is realistic, of course — but the problem is that we’ve seen not one, but two, male characters, G’kar and Sheridan, heroically resist, defy, and —in Sheridan’s case — come through quite unaffected by an equivalent experience.

    1. I’d disagree that G’kar and Sheridan had equivalent experiences. Their captivities were both far shorter than Na’Toth’s and Sheridan in particular was shown as being very near his breaking point in the episode where he was rescued, even if they didn’t follow up on it later. G’kar’s captivity was brutal, but he also had an end in site for the worst of it due to his deal with Londo. Na’Toth has been a prisoner for over a year at least, and to me seems more physically than mentally broken. She is ready to hand out the threats to Londo even if less forcefully than she would otherwise.

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