Passing Through Gethsemane

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"Passing Through Gethsemane"
Babylon 5 episode
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 4
Directed byAdam Nimoy
Written byJ. Michael Straczynski
Production code305
Original air dateNovember 27, 1995
Guest appearance(s)

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

Episode chronology
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"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.


Telepath Lyta Alexander returns to Babylon 5 along with Ambassador Kosh on his ship. The station's staff are surprised, learning she has been to the Vorlon homeworld though cannot speak of it, and that small health problems she had before she departed are now gone. She explains she will be stationed on Babylon 5 in doing various jobs for Kosh and others.

Sheridan and Ivanova are introduced to Brother Edward by the Cistercian Order's leader Brother Theo, who considers Edward one of the most respected members of his order. Edward also meets with Delenn and Lennier to have an enlightening discussion of their respective belief systems. During this, Edward talks about one of his faith's most defining moments, the time that Jesus had waited in the gardens of Gethsemane knowing he would be taken to the Crucifixion the next day, accepting his fate rather than prolonging it by running away.

Edward is disturbed by seeing a black rose fall out of his bag that he was not aware of, and when he returns to his quarters, sees the words "Death Walks Among Us". He contacts Garibaldi, but by the time Garibaldi arrives, the words have disappeared. He offers to investigate further. Edward tells Theo he feels he might be going insane. When Edward later returns to his quarters, he passes by a Centauri that briefly touches him. As Edward continues, he starts to have a vision of a murder of a young woman in a back alley. Finding himself back in his quarters and contacting Garibaldi about the experience, Edward has the computer use information about what he saw. At the same time, Theo contacts Sheridan, explaining what little knowledge they have of Edward's past, and hopes he can help identify Edward's source of anxiety. Nearly the same time, both Edward and Sheridan learn that Edward was originally a serial killer known as Charles Dexter, the "Black Rose Killer". Dexter had been sentenced to "death of personality", wiping out his original one and putting in a new personality that would be willing to serve. Sheridan suspects someone is trying to prey on Edward's past, and Garibaldi confirms that someone had set up certain events designed to trigger Edward, such as paint that only remains visible for a few minutes on the wall of his quarters, and that Edward is now missing. Knowing that the "death of personality" cannot be broken without help of a telepath, Sheridan suspects the Centauri that had touched Edward was responsible, and brings him in. When the Centauri doesn't talk, Sheridan has Lyta use her abilities to locate Edward.

They converge on the spot to discover Edward bound to a piece of metal as if crucified. They discover the lead culprit, one of the family members of those killed by Dexter, who had been searching for Edward for many years. Edward is taken off the metal, but has suffered mortal injuries. He tells Theo that once he knew his past, he believed it right to stand up to face it rather than try to run. Theo releases Edward of all his sins and prays for God as Edward dies.

Sheridan and Theo discuss what happened when Theo introduces a new member of the Order, the same person that led the attack against Edward, but now having had his own "death of personality". Sheridan is initially hostile towards him, but when Theo reminds him about forgiveness and that he will be returning to their monastery on Earth to train him, Sheridan shakes his hand and wishes him good luck. Elsewhere, Lyta reports to Kosh in his quarters without the need for special breathing apparatus. Kosh draws in an ethereal substance from her body to his own.

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.


  • Matthew Baker, a science fiction writer, has sold the rights to a short story called “Life Sentence” to be produced as a film by Netflix.[2] Straczynski tweeted Mr. Baker, citing a similarity to the episode with Mr. Baker's story.[3]


  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
  2. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (Netflix, Matt Reeves To Win Auction For Matthew Baker Futuristic Short Story ‘Life Sentence’), (2018-2-23), 'Netflix, Matt Reeves To Win Auction For Matthew Baker Futuristic Short Story ‘Life Sentence’'
  3. ^ Straczynski, J. Michael (JMS tweet), (2018-2-25), 'J. Michael Straczynski on Twitter' J. Michael Straczynski’s Twitter Account

External links[edit]