In the climactic scene for finale of season 3 of Babylon-5, Captain John Sheridan goes to Z'ha'dum with his presumed deceased wife, Anna Sheridan. She brings him to an underground complex in their capitol city.

He sends a remote signal to his spaceship telling it to activate two 500 megaton nuclear weapons aboard it and plunge directly into the Shadow's capital city. As he waits for the spaceship to descend and destroy the city, Anna and two Shadows corner him on a balcony overlooking an abyss in the Shadow city. Kosh tells him "Jump! Jump now!"

How did Kosh know to tell him to jump?

Does the novelization or any canon source say the Vorlons knew what/whom was at the bottom of abyss?

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    This event is the only known instance of a pebble voting during an avalanche.
    – PhasedOut
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


Because Kosh knows that Lorien is there. The Shadows certainly do.

From Season 4 Episode 2 "Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi":

Lorien: You're the first to make it this far.

Sheridan: Do they [the Shadows] know?

Lorien: Of course. That's why they come back to Z'Ha'Dum every time they're driven off. Because I'm here. They think they're showing respect. They don't understand. They used to. But that was a long time ago. A million years.

Sheridan: You don't look a—

Lorien: No, I don't. Well, not at the moment.

Glowy thing: Who are you?

Sheridan: That was you.

Lorien: Perhaps. We all have secrets and surprises. Did you know you have a Vorlon inside you? Well, a piece of one.

Kosh (in flashback): If you go to Z'Ha'Dum, you will die.

Kosh (in flashback): Jump. Jump now!

Sheridan: Kosh.

Lorien: Is that its name? I think I met it once long ago.

Sheridan: He told me to jump. Did he know?

Lorien: That I was here? Almost certainly.

(Transcript taken from Springfield! Springfield! and made more readable by me as I rewatched the relevant part of the episode.)

To be completely nit-picky, there is not 100% confirmation that Kosh knew, but I doubt Kosh would tell Sheridan to jump down into the deep pit with Lorien in it without good reason. And Lorien certainly seems to think that Kosh knew.

Since the Shadows knew that Lorien was there, since the Vorlons share information with each other, since the Vorlons and the Shadows both know things about each other that they're not interested in telling the younger races, and since the First Ones all seem to respect Lorien, it seems plausible that the Vorlons in general know that Lorien is there.

Additionally, JMS has a couple of things to say (quotes taken from the JMS Speaks section of the Lurker's Guide page for Z'ha'dum).

[Question:] Did either side foresee Sheridan's leap?

[JMS:] I think the two sides have been too caught up in their own agendas to realize what was happening right under their noses until it was too late... except for Kosh, whose last traces did what they did...for a number of reasons.

This strongly implies that Kosh knew.

[Question:] 1) Why has Z'ha'dum not been destroyed by the Vorlons et al in one of the previous wars to prevent the Shadows return?

[JMS:] Funny, that...you'd think maybe there was something of interest there.

This strongly implies that the Vorlons knew.

  • According to your quote, the Shadows have been driven off Za'ha'dum many times. We know for a fact about once, the last Shadow war, in which the Mimbary already did participate. That's how the Mimbary knew about the Shadows and that planet. Before using "the device", Delenn had Lenir ask Kosh "Have the Shadows returned to Za'ha'dum?" and the answer was "yes". So there is definitely knowledge that the Shadows keep returning to Za'ha'dum. It is highly unlikely that nobody ever investigated why they keep doing that. The Vorlons even know the First One so it's not that hard for them to figure. Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 8:30
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    @user1129682 *Minbari Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 10:15
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    @Eight-BitGuru is that my only typo? must be a good day then! can't edit the old comment though :-( I'm fairly surprised that Za'ha'dum is actually spelled this way :D Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 11:11
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    @user1129682 It isn't, it's Z'ha'dum. (The Minbari one just stood out a lot more and was annoying during the reading - at least to me.)
    – Jasper
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 11:52
  • @user1129682 Another possible reading of that line is that they're driven off from the galaxy at large in each war and not Z'ha'dum in particular, but that they eventually all regroup on Z'ha'dum. Especially since the Vorlons and Shadows go out of their way to leave each other mostly alone in the wars before the one shown in B5. I'm not really wedded to either interpretation, though.
    – Dranon
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 13:38

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