Television Series: Crusade
Production number: 109
Original air date: June 30, 1999
JMS Suggested Order: #9
Written by: J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by: Mike Vejar

The fourth epsidode of the Babylon 5 spinoff series, Crusade. Originally broadcast on TNT.

Synopsis
The crew of the Excalibur cannot gain access to a chamber on an ancient, dead world. Writings in many different languages surround the closed chamber, all of which say that to gain entry, one must follow the Path of Sorrows. Upon hearing that, the Technomage Galen suddenly and without explanation begins berating Dureena, the female thief who was trying to gain entry to the chamber. He belittles her, asks her 'have you ever failed someone? and did they died because of it? and didn't you promise you'd never fail again, in their memory?' Galen pushes Dureena so far that she sheds a single tear. With that, Galen takes that tear upon his finger, and wipes it across the portal, which opens in a flash of brilliant green light.

Inside, they find an opaque globe, which Captain Gideon insists on taking back to the Excalibur, despite Max Eilerson's objections.

The opaque globe actually contains an alien inside of it, which somehow attracts several members of the crew. Captain Matthew Gideon, Commander John Matheson, and Galen. Each of these three characters goes to the alien (being held in the med lab facility) and trys to talk to the alien. The alien speaks in subtitles, but is almost completely silent (some form of telepathy). The alien proceeds to show each of the characters events from their past that they feel guilty about.

  • Captain Gideon
    Gideon was an ensign aboard the EAS Cerberus, when it was damaged by an unknown energy attack. The captain of the Cerberus ordered Gideon to take an EVA team to assess the damage. Gideon went 'ten degrees off axis' to get an overview of the damage. While he was somewhat distant from his ship, their engines powered up, giving the ship a surge of accelleration. Seeing that he was about to be left behind, Gideon radioed the Cerberus, asking what was going on. His only response was the Captain ordering the ship to jump to hyperspace. As the jump point formed, a black, spined ship (no, not a regular Shadow ship) destroyed the Cerberus, as Gideon looked on in horror.

    As Gideon floated in space, alone, with his oxygen running out, he saw other ships. A massive fleet of small ships (they were delta shaped, with fins on the top), was passing through the sector he was in. Gideon called out for them to help him, so that there might be someone to speak for the dead crew of the Cerberus. But, as they flew past him, he despaired. Until one of them broke away, and flitted over to him, opening an airlock, allowing Gideon to enter. The interior was black, with no details visible. A single main stood in the ship, bald and clad in black. Gideon asked him, 'who are you?', to which the man replied, "I am Galen."

    Gideon's vision flashed forward, to a debriefing he was being given by a senior Earthforce officer. The man wanted to know what had happened to the EAS Cerberus, but wouldn't believe Gideon's story of a black ship destroying it. The officer made it very clear that the subject would not be a good one for Gideon to pursue (a conspiracy, no doubt).

    The vision goes ahead some amount of time, to a card game Gideon is playing in some grungy bar. All the other players have folded, except for Gideon and another man. The man does not have enough money to make the bet, so he asks if Gideon would accept some 'collateral'. The man produces an 'apocalypse box', which he says is 'older than mankind'. Gideon accepts the box, and calls. Gideon's hand beats the other man's, and he begins to haul in his winnings. The other man starts to laugh, and Gideon laughs along with him for a moment. But when the other man starts laughing a disturbing amount, Gideon starts to look at him funny. The man proceeds to tell Gideon about how the box 'lies'. 'Not all the time, but just enough' he says. The man proceeds to jump in front of a 'skimmer' (a car) and gets himself hurt really badly. Gideon tells him he'll call an ambulance, but the man says 'no', that this is the only way out. Creepy.

  • John Matheson
    Matheson approaches the opaque orb with the alien inside it after Gideon has finished. He sees the alien, and asks him if he needs anything, and if he is in pain. The alien replies with, 'it is you who are in pain.'

    Matheson's vision takes him back to his days in the Psi Corps, at a secret Psi Corps base during the Telepath War. He is called in to talk with one of the higher-up telepaths. Matheson is asked to administer 'sleeper' drugs to a captured rogue telepath, because all of the Psi Cops are out in the field.

    As Matheson is administering the injections in the woman telepath's cell, she tries to appeal to his conscience. She tells him to check Psi Corps records, to see that all captured Resistance members are dead. Matheson doesn't believe that the Corps could do anything like that, but he checks anyway and finds that she was right. He stops the injections, and allows her to broadcast a homing signal for the Resistance to find the secret Psi Corps base. Matheson pilots a shuttle away from the base, while the base comes under attack.

  • Galen
    Galen, after riding around in the Excalibur's transport cars for an entire night, comes to the alien. He is immediately hostile with it, and tells the alien that it is a 'leech', that it preys on the emotions of others because it has none of its own.

    Galen's vision is one of the last moments with his beloved Isabelle, who is dying. Galen refuses to concede that she will die, and desperately wants to go to the next village to find help. He says that they were betrayed by three of their order (they're both Technomages), and that Isabelle was wounded in a battle with them.

    Isabelle tells Galen that when she passes, she will find a way to send him a message. Galen does not believe in a grand design (or a god), which sharply contrasted with Isabelle's beliefs in a higher order. She then dies.

    The alien ends the vision with 'I forgive you', the same phrase that he ended the Gideon's and Matheson's visions with. Galen is furious at the alien for bringing forth this particular memory, and threatens to destroy the alien (conjuring a fireball into one of his hands). Gideon and Matheson burst into the laboratory, and Gideon shouts 'Galen, you're not a murderer! Don't do this!'. Galen comes to his senses and leaves the room fuming.

    Later, as Galen is walking through a corridor aboard the Excalibur, Matheson approaches him and tells Galen that he's received a communication. Galen is skeptical, because no-one knows that he is aboard. The communication seemingly originated from nowhere, and consists only of Galen's name, and the word 'Love'. Galen is astonished, but ultimately crumples the paper containing the message up and throws it upon the deck.

    The episode ends with Matheson and Gideon contemplating the alien, which they return to the chamber from which they found it. They conclude that the existence of a creature that cannot judge, only forgive, is a wonderful gift. Probably left for travelers such as themselves.

    Analysis
    The Path of Sorrows is an episode that the network executives at TNT really hated, because it had no action in it, and was all character development. It turned out to be one of the superior episodes of the short-lived Crusade series. The idea of the alien in the clouded globe was somewhat hoky, although that was not really the major point of the episode. The major point was to help expose some of the back stories behind the characters of Crusade, showing what drives and motivates them to do the things that they do, and to be who they are.

    JMS Comments
    From the Internet

    This one is a favorite of mine as well. It was one of the scripts written while we were still shooting the first 5, before TNT got into the process. When that happened, they made it clear that they *hated* this story, felt that nobody would be interested in all this backstory...and asked for it all to be taken out, let them run into this alien and make him an evil character, an emotional vampire who drives them insane.
    This was one of the first scripts where I dug in my heels bigtime and refused to do what they asked. I knew it would be powerful; they thought it would be utterly uninteresting. They were wrong.

    Actually, Galen has quite a secret he's carrying around with him. It formed the basis of scripts 114 ("To the Ends of the Earth") and 116 ("End of the Line," which would've been the cliffhanger). It's also a major element of the coming technomage novels. There's a very small reference to it in the episode airing this week, when Galen mentions that he and someone else have been "betrayed by our own kind."
    It also ties into why they were in such a rush to get the hell out of known space during the shadow war.

    Cool Quote from The Path of Sorrows
    Matheson, "You like going nowhere at 120 miles an hour?"
    Galen, "Of course. That is man's natural condition."
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