In The Gathering, after Kosh joined, somehow Sinclair poisoned Kosh. However poisoning would require physical interaction, and since Kosh was sealed inside his encounter suit. How could he be poisoned?


3 Answers 3


The assassin was wearing some kind of device that fooled Kosh into thinking he was meeting Sinclair. He literally extended the hand of friendship and had a patch slapped into it.

Q. Why did Kosh cooperate with the effort to poison him?

JMS: Kosh extended a hand...because he recognized Sinclair. Which is all I'll say for now.



JMS: It didn't have to get past the encounter suit; he was distinctly shown extending a portion of himself outside the suit.


As to how he was poisoned, that boils down to the Vorlons having a physical form.

Remember, they do have a certain physicality about them, even in that form, and the nature of the poison was such that it would affect that kind of life form using a crystalline base (note in the pilot the screen reads analyzing crystalline structure, and you filter light or refract or distort it using a crystalline structure).


Notably, they're only ethereal at certain times, and presumably with a great psychic effort.

Q. Was Kosh actually poisoned or did he just fake it for the natives?

JMS: No, he wasn't faking it. Understand that their appearance as a being of light is only how they want to appear; they are life forms much the same as many others, and can be poisoned if one knows the right combination of substances.



This quote from JMS, of unknown provenance from August 1st, 1997, from here:

Though the Shadows were still "sleeping" their servants were still out and about, doing a lot of their work. There was a Dilgar/Shadow connection in this way...and if anyone's going to know how to poison a Vorlon, it's a Shadow. This information would've gotten to the Wind Swords through Deathwalker during her years of protection by them, and when they decided to sabotage B5 and undermine the whole thing, why not use this to turn the Vorlons against the whole operation? (Since only the Shadows would have this information, and if they could make it appear that Sinclair was responsible, that would mean Sinclair = Shadow agent, and that, as they say, is that...though that's one reason why they wanted or would have preferred to bring him back to Vorlon to check this out more carefully.)

This doesn't provide an actual explanation, but suggests that Straczynski handwaved it as that the Shadows would known how to poison a Vorlon, and so they arranged for it. The rest of the thread has a lot of speculation about organic containment suits, the possibility that Kosh was playing along with "dying" to further his own plans, etc.


This is pure speculation, but I always thought that most plausible explanation is that it was all just a show orchestrated by Vorlons themselves - they did many questionable things, like Mr.Sebastian's "inquisition trial", letting millions, billions to die just because they dissobeyed, or to prove a point to Shadows, genetically modifying younger civilisations to see them as gods (i.e. cheating in Shadow-Vorlon game)..

I never thought of them as "The Good Guys(TM)", more like "we had a good idea, but it was so long time ago so now we do weird stuff just because our ancestors did that too.." So I think it would be fitting Vorlon's character if this was some convoluted play to find out who is who and/or how humans perform under pressure, or perhaps some supercomplicated plan to let Kosh manipulate Lyta when she scanned him.

But I mostly like not knowing exact details of this incident, even though I suspect Vorlons, because I feel not knowing this details adds to the mystery of the Vorlons, and (I think), this was the main (JMS's) purpose - to show how mysterious they are, what effect they had on people.. what really happened isn't actually that important in my mind.

I feel that if someone would have added some explicit description (like: ..poison isomatrix coagulated with midichlorians in vorlon's mindmap and percolated through polydimensional metaliver which caused nonlinear time shift in spandex underwear after which vorlon polyneuronic pathways decayed..) - that would just spoiled the mystery - similarily to what "Prometheus" and "big pale human engineers" did to "the space jockey" in Alien franchise - all mystery was lost forever..

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