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In Babylon 5 S3E10: Severed Dreams, the station along with the EAS Alexander and EAS Churchill are attacked by the EAS Agrippa and EAS Roanoke, plus supporting ships. After some initial fighter engagement, Sheridan orders the station's defence grid to target all its weapons against the Roanoake (32:40). We then see 'good guys' landing three big hits. First, the Churchill, having taken a hit to primary systems, rams the Roanoake, because the captain knows her own ship is about to explode (33:10).

Churchill rams Roanoake

Not long afterward (33:45), the Alexander moves into position and opens up on the Agrippa with her forward guns.

Alexander fires on Agrippa

The scene then cuts to station security fighting hand-to-hand with invading troops, then Sheridan giving the order to fire (34:09). However, what we see is the Agrippa being hit, not the Roanoake.

Station fires on Agrippa

Sheridan then orders the Roanoake to surrender, and we see a destroyer exploding, which looks like the Agrippa to me, though I couldn't find a clear image.

Agrippa explodes

Notably, the interrogator in S4E18: Intersections in Real Time clearly blames Sheridan for the destruction of the Roanoake (21:55), but doesn't mention the Agrippa, or the Pollux, which is destroyed during the attack at Proxima 3 in S4E15: No Surrender, no Retreat (though not directly by Sheridan).

So, did Sheridan really destroy the Roanoake? Is there anything to explain the fact that the defence grid hits the Agrippa rather than the Roanoake in Severed Dreams, or is this just a continuity error?

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I believe it's a continuity error, based on this quote from JMS:

About Sheridan asking the Roanoke to surrender

Yeah...the reference was kafuffled. There was so much going on, so many EFX shots, so much rearranging of shots to make everything work (we literally delivered this 2 hours before the process for uplinking started) that this slipped past. I'll assume that Sheridan got excited and said the wrong name. It'd happen to anyone. Right? Right?

This is documented on the Lurker's Guide page for Severed Dreams


To clarify - as @Radhil points out in the comments - the EFX were the error here; the dialogue of Severed Dreams and Intersections in Real Time would be coherent if the EFX actually showed the Agrippa (not Roanoke) being rammed at 33:10 and the Roanoke (not Agrippa) being hit at 34:09 and then destroyed as a result. The fact that the two shots were cross-labeled were the "kafuffled reference."

This is more easily understood if you're familiar with JMS's habits - whenever he blames or attributes something to a character in the manner he does here ("Sheridan got excited and said the wrong name"), he's actually indicating that the "real world" (JMS, producer, director, EFX, somebody) screwed up and is using the tongue-in-cheek humor of blaming the characters to excuse it. If you read through the various quotes collected in the Lurker's Guide, you'll see it - when he describes actions by an actor, he's straight up. When he describes actions by a character, then he's either imparting a deep philosophical understanding of the story or hanging a real-world snafu on them.

  • So Sheridan meant to order the Agrippa to surrender. If we assume that he intended to fire on the Roanoake, but that this was unexpectedly destroyed by the Churchill, then everything would make sense (more or less), except the interrogator in S4E18. Why would he blame Sheridan for the destruction of Roanoake, but not mention any other ships? – Ian Thompson Jun 20 '17 at 22:10
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    @IanThompson - I think it's better to assume the error is in the VFX, which would let the dialogues and separate episode scripts be consistent on their own. – Radhil Jun 20 '17 at 22:41
  • @Ian, I would assume the interrogator considered Sheridan responsible for the loss of both ships, but had some other reason to be more concerned about the Roanoake. Perhaps he had a relative or friend on board? – Harry Johnston Jun 21 '17 at 1:30
  • @HarryJohnston - that's more a matter of tacking on charges they know they can prove, and giving the whole confession lie a touch of rock-hard truth to make it more plausible. Somewhere (whether from spies, camera blackboxes, or after-battle reports) they have a record of B5 focus firing on the Roanoke, or of Sheridan giving that order. It's possible he knew someone, but given how they operate, that would've been known and another interrogator would be brought in. They're professionals. – Radhil Jun 21 '17 at 10:35
  • @gowenfawr --- The quote from JMS did seem ambiguous; first talking about effects and then saying that Sheridan made a mistake. The edit clears everything up. – Ian Thompson Jun 21 '17 at 11:09

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