Comes the Inquisitor
|"Comes the Inquisitor"|
|Babylon 5 episode|
Sheridan refuses to answer a question
|Episode no.||Season 2|
|Directed by||Mike Vejar|
|Written by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Produced by||John Copeland|
|Featured music||Christopher Franke|
|Cinematography by||John C. Flinn, III A.S.C.|
|Editing by||Skip Robinson|
|Original air date||August 8, 1995 (UK)|
25 October 1995 (U.S.)
Wayne Alexander (Sebastian)
"Comes the Inquisitor" is an episode from the second season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.
Ambassador Kosh informs Delenn that the Vorlons will be bringing an Inquisitor to the station to test her ability to lead in the fight against the Shadows. She explains the situation to Sheridan, who finds it odd but agrees to arrange an isolated section of the station for this test and to make sure the Inquisitor is met without incident. Sheridan is surprised when the Inquisitor is not only human, but appears to be from Victorian England. He curtly introduces himself as Sebastian and requests to start the test immediately. When Delenn arrives, Sebastian gives her a set of wristbands which can inflict pain on her, but she has the option of removing them at any time. However, if she does so, she will fail the test. Sebastian repeatedly asks her to identify herself, refusing to accept most of her answers related to herself or her titles. He refutes her statements that she is part of a larger prophecy and her ulterior motives.
Lennier comes searching for Delenn, and finds her in the isolated section while Sebastian is away. He offers to help her escape, but she insists on remaining and tells him to go. Lennier leaves but immediately approaches Sheridan, explaining the situation. Sheridan comes to Delenn's aid, but Sebastian instead starts to torture him with the same line of questioning. Feeling neither of them are worthy, Sebastian suggests finishing one of them off, but both of them beg Sebastian to take them instead. Sebastian concludes his test, revealing both of them have passed: they were willing to sacrifice themselves not for fame or glory, but for the life of a loved one in a isolated area that no one would ever hear of. He states that they are the "right people, in the right place, at the right time" for the upcoming war. As Sebastian prepares to leave, Sheridan reveals he has researched his background and concluded he really is Jack the Ripper, taken by the Vorlons from Earth in 1888. Sebastian affirms Sheridan's theory, noting that he, too, had thought he was chosen for a holy cause, which led the Vorlons to identify him as ideally suited to be a Inquisitor in the future. Sebastian leaves, his goal concluded.
Meanwhile, Ambassador G'Kar seeks ways to smuggle weapons onto the Narn homeworld to fight the Centuari, a costly endeavor according to his arms dealer. Garibaldi learns of G'Kar's efforts and warns him not to use Babylon 5 as a routing point for the weapons, but does offer an alternate, safer route to bring the weapons to Narn. G'Kar tries to convince the other Narn on the station to help with the cost of the weapons but they question if the effort would be of any value and wonder if G'Kar is fit to lead them. G'Kar makes a deal that he will get communication with one of the Narn families within the day or otherwise give up his leadership position. G'Kar begs Sheridan for help, and Sheridan decides this would be a proper task for the Rangers to complete. The Rangers are successful, and the station's Narn agree to support G'Kar further.
- This episode presents another example of someone, in this case the Vorlons, wondering whether or not Delenn has messianic delusions. (This was the reason given for her being removed from the Grey Council in "All Alone in the Night", and she ultimately breaks up the Grey Council in the cause of prophecy in "Severed Dreams". Neroon states she has messianic delusions in "Grey 17 Is Missing").
- The Vorlons have visited Earth in the past. According to Sebastian, they have been everywhere – and still are.
- G'Kar starts a public propaganda campaign against the Centauri.
- Sheridan states Sebastian's disappearance date as 11 November 1888 after "the last of a string of murders". The "last of the string" of Ripper murder victims, Mary Jane Kelly, was slain on 9 November 1888.
- Due to a mistake in the screenplay, Sheridan remarks that Jack the Ripper committed his murders in the "West End" of London, when in fact the murders took place in the East End. After the original airing, the line was dubbed over to correct this error, and the dubbed version can be found on the DVD release. The captions have not been corrected and still refer to the "West End" of London. With reference to the gaffe, writer Straczynski has stated, "So I content myself with the notion that it's west...of B5. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go shoot myself."
- Straczynski was in part motivated to write this episode to make the Vorlons appear more morally ambiguous. He wanted to point out that people should not instantly fall for what others say they are.
- Actor Wayne Alexander (who was raised in the San Joaquin Valley, California) spoke with such a convincing English accent that many UK viewers believed he was an Englishman. When he was told of this, Alexander was reportedly quite flattered.
Notable out-of-universe references
These are the historical, scientific, literary, cultural and other educational references found in this episode.
- Sebastian's observation, "No greater love hath a man than he lay down his life for his brother", is a paraphrase from the Gospel of John.
- Sebastian describes himself as, "Diogenes with his lamp, looking for an honest man willing to die for all the wrong reasons". Diogenes the Cynic was a Greek philosopher who is reputed to have sought "an honest man".
- Jack the Ripper slew at least five people in London in 1888.
- The limbo sets, camera motion, lighting, and the clipped cadence of the rapid-fire question-and-answers between Delenn and Sebastian were deliberately intended as an homage to "Once Upon a Time," the penultimate episode of The Prisoner television series from the 1960s. Joe Straczynski has spoken of how influential that series was to him on several occasions, and there are several other nods throughout the course of the series. This is the most detailed, however. He later wrote the foreword to The Prisoner's Dilemma (by Jonathan Blum and Rupert Booth), a novel of The Prisoner, in which he expressed his admiration for that series.
Out-of-universe media gallery
This media from Wikimedia Commons illustrates the references in this episode.
14th century Bible translation
Gospel of John
Diogenes looks for an honest man, painting, c. 1780s
"The Nemesis of Neglect"—There floats a phantom on the slum's foul air..., cartoon and poem, September 1888
Jack the Ripper
- Straczynski, J. Michael (Writer), Vejar, Mike (Director) (29 April 2003). Babylon 5: The Complete Second Season (The Coming of Shadows) (DVD) (in English, French, and Spanish). Burbank, CA 91522: Warner Home Video. Event occurs at disc 6, episode 21, "Comes the Inquisitor". ASIN B000087EYB. ISBN 0-7907-7605-7. OCLC 52143178. UPC 085392424221, Wikipedia Babylon 5 season releases. Archived from the original on 15 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
When the darkness comes, know this: You are the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
- Straczynski, J. Michael (13 July 2004). "Comes the Inquisitor (at Lurker's Guide)". The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5. Steven Grimm. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
He *hates* the memory of Jack; it's not his name, the one thing that is his...remember, he is caught up with "who ARE you?" and his answer to that is lost in the persona created by history...his true name, is what's totally forgotten to history.