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I've just watched Babylon 5 Season 5 Episode 8, "Day of the Dead", in which a Brakiri festival causes a number of dead people to reappear and visit those inside the 'Brakiri zone' with whom they have some kind of unfinished business. Specifically:

  • Captain Lochley is visited by a close friend from her young wild days, whom she found dead in their flat and never knew whether it was accident or suicide.
  • Londo Mollari is visited by his lover Adira, who was murdered on her way to come and see him (sparking off a whole series of other significant events for the Centauri).
  • Mr Garibaldi is visited by the marine Dodger, with whom he almost began a relationship before she went and got killed in action.
  • Lennier is visited by the late Mr Slimy Bastard Morden, an agent of the Shadows whom, as far as I remember, he'd never actually met while he was alive.

Why did Mr Morden, of all people, appear to Lennier? All the other visits we saw were, to quote Captain Lochley, "intensely personal". Surely someone close to Lennier has died at some point? Why did he have the misfortune of being visited by one of the most unpleasant characters in the show?

  • I thought Captain Lochley's visitor was her sister. – Paul Johnson Sep 13 '18 at 7:26
  • @PaulJohnson Nope, I don't think so. She talks about "my father" and "my mother", not "our". – Rand al'Thor Sep 13 '18 at 11:40
  • @Rand_al'Thor I found a copy of the script. You are right. My bad. – Paul Johnson Sep 13 '18 at 14:00
  • Lots are saying Lennier had no one die who was close to him. I think Marcus would have been an excellent choice. They probably couldn't get the actor. – Heather R Feb 23 at 5:36
  • @HeatherR: Given he ends up in cryogenic suspension, maybe Marcus is not sufficiently dead for the mystic powers of the day of the dead to kick in. – O. R. Mapper Feb 23 at 16:15
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The choice of Morden makes sense when you consider the things he told Lennier.

  1. Delenn doesn't return his love and never will
  2. He is going to betray the rangers (by leaving Sheridan to die)
  3. He also implies that Lennier is going to die soon when Lennier says that at least he now knows there's life after death and Morden says something like "not necessarily, but you'll find that out soon enough."

At this point in the story, Lennier is running from his problems. He refuses to face the fact that his love for Delenn is unrequited and that he is extremely jealous of Sheridan. His whole reason for joining the Rangers was to simultaneously run away from his problems and to somehow prove himself worthy of Delenn. Basically everything Lennier does during this part of his story is a bad idea.

If you were Lennier and a long lost loved one came back from the dead and told you that everything you're doing is wrong and will lead you to a bad end, you might be inclined to take the warning seriously. You would at least hear what they had to say. But, for the story to work out like Straczynski intended, Lennier had to ignore those warnings and keep running from his problems.

To that end, Morden is the perfect choice. He was a known traitor and liar and therefore, it's easy to simply say that he's lying or up to something bad and move on. Lennier, who is looking for any reason to deny the truth of what Morden is saying, does just that. Lennier wouldn't have such an easy time dismissing the message if the messenger were someone he loved and trusted.

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    This episode was written almost entirely by Neil Gaiman, who JMS let pick and choose what characters he wanted to use. Per JMS, it was Gaiman's choice to pair Lennier and Morden, not his (Guide Page: "Day of the Dead"). So while I agree that Morden visiting is a sign of Lennier's problems and temptations, I don't think that it's because JMS was keeping his writerly thumb on the scales here. – Dranon Sep 6 '18 at 13:36
  • @Dranon I wasn't aware of that. Thanks. – Alarion Sep 6 '18 at 13:38
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    Thematically, regardless of which writer picked the character, it works similarly. Morden is pointing out Lennier's dark side, which Lennier has both tried to ignore and allowed to drive his choices. Morden is definitely the guy to do that. If Lennier had tried to be more self aware, he would have taken Morden's appearance as the warning it was, rather than tried to dismiss it, much like he tried to dismiss his longing for Delenn. – Radhil Sep 6 '18 at 15:58
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    Morden was a known Shadow agent, and not really a traitor (particularly given Earth's dealings with the Shadows). He lied only when he had a strong need to (like misleading Londo about Adira's death), and he had no need in that episode. This made him a very good choice to warn Lennier. – David Thornley Sep 6 '18 at 16:12
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    This is an excellent answer from an out-of-universe point of view (upvoted). However, I'm more interested in an in-universe justification, if such exists. Morden makes a lot of sense w.r.t. plot, as you've explained, but how can this choice be justified in terms of the characters themselves and their motivations? Why would Morden want to warn Lennier, for that matter? – Rand al'Thor Sep 13 '18 at 11:46
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"intensely personal" to the dead or to the alive ones? Who did the choice and who was chosen? The dead chose to visit these alive persons (see below about Dodger).

Both Captain Lochley & Londo Mollari are visited by important persons from their past. They were extremely frustrated by their death.

Lennier is experiencing his strongest feelings, frustration. Lennier couldn't be visited by Delenn, she's not dead. Probably Lennier has no dead friends, so they could want to visit him during the night.

Actually, Mr Garibaldi looks like even more of an exception, not Lennier. Mr Garibaldi has strong feeling to Lise (also alive), not to Dodger. If only it is Dodger who has chosen to pay a personal visit...

Lennier was frustrated and Mr Morden was attracted by it, he always hunted for strong feelings & itches.

  • Actually, Kosh visited Sheridan on that episode, but since they could not meet, he passed the message to Lochley's visitor, so the "Choice Theory" makes sense. But why Morden goes to see Lennier...? Could it be a personal agenda? – LudovicoN Sep 12 '18 at 22:56
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    "Probably Lennier has no dead friends" - this is what I have trouble believing. By this point, his people have survived not only taking part in the universe-spanning Shadow War but also a destructive civil war between castes. Is it really believable that nobody he cares about has died by now? – Rand al'Thor Sep 13 '18 at 11:45
  • "Mr Garibaldi has strong feeling to Lise (also alive), not to Dodger." - a strong feeling of attraction, yes. Yet, the way Dodger's visit ended up, it's well conceivable he has a very strong feeling of regret (about a missed opportunity, and I don't mean merely due to the missed out one-night stand) concerning Dodger. – O. R. Mapper Feb 23 at 16:12

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