Babylon 5–Passing Through Gethsemane (1995)   5 comments

Brother Edward


Among the character pieces early in the third season my favorite is Passing Through Gethsemane, the sad tale of Brother Edward.

The framing story is the return of Lyta Alexander, who left the station and headed for Vorlon space after Divided Loyalties, late in the second season, in which she exposed Talia Winters as the host for the Psi Corps-implanted spy personality.  Lyta, no longer part of Psi Corps, is working for the Vorlons, who have modified her, and for whom she conducts missions and errants, carrying Ambassador Kosh within herself.

Brother Edward is a gentle man, a model of charity and goodwill in deeds small, medium, and large.  He lives on board Babylon 5 as part of the community of Trappist monks which arrived two episodes ago.  He engages in his community’s work, which is to seek the other names and faces of God from members of alien species.

In one scene he interviews Minbari Ambassador Delenn and her aide, Lennier.  The Minbari diplomats explain their culture’s spirituality and the character Valen, a Minbari not born of Minbari–the founder of the Minbari nation as it exists.  (Pay attention:  Valen is pivital in the series.) Then Delenn asks Brother Edward to explain his faith, specifically the hook, if you will, on which it hangs.  It is this:  Jesus did not have to remain in the Garden of Gethsemane, but he chose to be there when the guards came for him.  Edward does not know if he would have had the courage to remain in the garden.

Edward has a secret of which he is unaware.  In 2260 there is no more capital punishment.  The worst criminals, such as serial killers, face the penalty called death of personality, in which the authorities mindwipe the convicted criminal and implant a new personality determined to serve society.  Until 2251 the person now known as Brother Edward was Charles Dexter, the Black Rose Killer.  Some relatives of Dexter’s victims have hired a Centauri telepath to undo the mindwipe partially, prompting Edward to have troubling flashbacks he does not understand at first.

Brother Theo, head of the Trappist community on board Babylon 5, counsels Edward to leave everything in God’s hands.  But the guilt-ridden Brother Edward takes matters into his own hands and searches computer records until he finds a news report with the image of Charles Dexter:

The angry relatives of the murder victims catch up with Brother Edward and leave him for dead.  The man pictured below leads them and does what he considers necessary and proper to exact revenge:

With Lyta’s help the station security forces locate Brother Edward yet find him close to death.  Brother Theo administers the last rites and the guards arrest Edward’s murderer.

Last Rites for Brother Edward

A few days later, Brother Theo introduces the newest member of the Trappist order to Captain Sheridan.  Brother Malcolm has wanted to serve others as long as he can remember.  Does his face look familiar?

Brother Malcolm (Left) and Brother Theo (Right)

Forgiveness, Captain Sheridan tells Theo, is a hard thing.  Nothing is more difficult, Theo agrees.  This, I think, is true.  And the episode has haunted me since I saw it in first run syndication, late in 1995, when I was a student at Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia, U.S.A.  Now I encourage you, O reader, to watch it, become haunted by it, and share it with others.



All images are property of Warner Brothers, and I do not profit from said images.

Posted July 19, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Babylon 5 Season 3

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