Babylon 5 Season 1, Episode 13. Written by J. Michael Straczynski, directed by Janet Greek. Originally aired on May 18, 1994.

Primary Plot: A mysterious man, Morden, comes aboard station and asks all of the major ambassadors one question: What do you want? He then helps Londo recover a priceless artifact, seemingly out of the goodness of his heart.

Secondary Plot: Ivanova investigates increased raider activity in the sector.

Commentary: This is the first plot-heavy episode. It introduces Morden (Ed Wasser) and The Shadows, major players in the series. JMS says he got the "What do you want? idea from a certain group psychotherapy approach in which "Who are you?" is asked over and over again--and the inquisitor refuses to take the same answer twice. It's supposed to "peel away the fabric of what the person is." This exact strategy is actually used later in the series, when Delenn is interrogated by a Vorlon emissary in Season 2's Comes the Inquisitor.

Note that G'Kar and Londo--the representatives of the only two species of the "major players" that are established as not being on the path to enlightenment--are the only two ambassadors that give Morden an answer to the question he asks.

The title of the episode is a reference to On a Note of Triumph, a radio drama written by Norman Corwin at the end of World War II:

"Signs and portents! It was no furtive tapping on the window sill at night, but clamorous pounding in the public square."


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