Television Series: Crusade
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
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
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
taking back to the Excalibur, despite Max Eilerson
The opaque globe actually contains an alien inside of it, which
somehow attracts several members of the crew. Captain Matthew
, Commander John Matheson
, and Galen
. Each of these three
characters goes to the alien (being held in the med lab
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.
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,
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.
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, 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
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.
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."