Passing Through Gethsemane

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Passing Through Gethsemane"
Babylon 5 episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 4
Directed by Adam Nimoy
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Production code 305
Original air date November 27 1995
Guest appearance(s)

Brad Dourif (Brother Edward)
Patricia Tallman (Lyta Alexander)
Louis Turenne (Brother Theo)

Episode chronology
← Previous
"A Day in the Strife"
Next →
"Voices of Authority"
List of Babylon 5 episodes

"Passing Through Gethsemane" is an episode from the third season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.


A Vorlon transport docks at Babylon 5 with Ambassador Kosh and the human telepath Lyta Alexander aboard. The senior staff of Babylon 5 is, to say the least, curious about what Lyta's seen on the Vorlon homeworld, where no human has ever been. But she is silent on that point. When she's examined by Dr. Franklin in MedLab, however, she is given an even cleaner bill of health that she had before; even remnants of childhood injuries and congenital defects are gone.

One of the brothers of the Cistercian Order on the station, Brother Edward, receives a small package with a black rose while he's conducting a business transaction for his Order. It remains a mystery to him, along with some writing apparently in blood. Brother Edward starts to hear voices and have flashbacks of a woman's murder. He raises his concern that he may be going insane to Babylon 5's security chief Michael Garibaldi and the head of his order Brother Theo.

Brother Theo petitions Captain Sheridan to use Babylon 5's resources to find out what Brother Edward is tormented by before he does. But Brother Edward finds out first that he was the Black Rose Killer, a Jack the Ripper-like serial killer on an Earth colony. Several women died before he was caught nine years ago and sentenced to "death of personality", the 23rd century response to the death penalty that obliterates a criminal's mind and restructures it (previously referred to in The Quality of Mercy) so, minus his criminal tendencies and his memory of his previous life, he performs constructive rather than destructive acts for the rest of his days.

However, several family members of the Black Rose Killer's victims have come to Babylon 5 seeking revenge, and they've hired a Centauri telepath to reawaken memories of Brother Edward's past life. Sheridan, Ivanova, Garibaldi, and Brother Theo arrive just in time to find Brother Edward beaten and hanging from construction beams shaped like a cross. Edward is grateful to die for his crimes, and also because he wanted to know if he would have the courage to face his persecutors the way Jesus did in Gethsemane.

In the final act, one of the revenge killers is apprehended, gleefully taking credit for the murder of Brother Edward. The killer is sentenced to the same "death of personality" punishment as his victim. The sentence is carried out and, in a twist of reconciliation, the killer is welcomed into the Order by Brother Theo as Brother Malcolm. Theo is willing to forgive him for what he's done and challenges Sheridan that forgiveness, while a hard thing, is always something worth striving for. After first being enraged at seeing the "new" Brother Malcolm, Sheridan grudgingly sees the wisdom in Theo's words and wishes Brother Malcolm well.

The episode ends with Lyta and Kosh (with his environmental suit open) having an energy stream flow between them; Kosh is using Lyta to carry part of his essence. She also displays gills around her neck, freely breathing the Vorlon atmosphere without her usual oxygen mask. These are apparently the result of modifications the Vorlons have made to Lyta's physiology which better adapt her to carrying pieces of a Vorlon's consciousness inside her and/or surviving on the Vorlon homeworld without artificial aid.

Arc significance[edit]

  • Lyta Alexander returns to the station, now working for Ambassador Kosh.
  • The popular form of penalty known as Death Of Personality apparently doesn't completely remove the memories of the criminals, but can be retrieved by telepathic deep scan.
  • Lennier explains to Brother Edward that the spiritual leader Valen is "a Minbari not born of Minbari". This is similar to the reference in Macbeth to how the character of Macduff is not "of woman born". It also foreshadows events that will occur in "War Without End".

Production details[edit]

  • The title is derived from the garden of Gethsemane in which Jesus waited and prayed before he was arrested and crucified, as Brother Edward recounts in the episode.
  • This episode was originally developed for the show's second season but had to be "scuttled" because a fan posted a story idea on GEnie that was very similar to the plot of the episode.[1] Legal steps had to be taken to clear the situation up before the story could be put back into the production pipeline.


  • Brother Edward's name before he was mind wiped was Charles, which in American English is shortened to Chuck. This is likely a reference to the movie Child's Play, in which Brad Dourif gave voice to the murderous doll Chucky.
  • Also, Brother Edward's former identity being "Charles Dexter", this is very possibly a nod to Howard Philips Lovecraft's character Charles Dexter Ward.


  1. ^ Straczynski, J. Michael (From: Jms at B5 To: AOL), (1996-2-21), 'Re:" Original Ideas ", etc.', The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive, © 2008 by Synthetic Worlds

External links[edit]