Sheridan is ruthlessly interrogated by the Earth Alliance.
- Bruce Boxleitner as Captain John Sheridan
- Claudia Christian as Commander Susan Ivanova
- Jerry Doyle as Michael Garibaldi
- Mira Furlan as Ambassador Delenn
- Richard Biggs as Dr. Stephen Franklin
- Stephen Furst as Vir Cotto
- Bill Mumy as Lennier
- Andreas Katsulas as G'Kar
- Peter Jurasik as Ambassador Londo Mollari
- Jeff Conaway as Security Chief Zack Allan
- Jason Carter as Marcus Cole
- Patricia Tallman as Lyta Alexander
- This is the only episode to feature only one regular character: John Sheridan. Delenn also has two cameo appearances, but she has no lines and appears only as an illusion. Susan Ivanova and Michael Garibaldi appear in flashbacks in the beginning as a form of exposition, but their footage is taken from the previous episode and has no impact on the story.
John Sheridan is alone in a cell and can only remember Michael Garibaldi's betrayal and Susan Ivanova's objection to him believing him. A man enters with a briefcase, two others bringing in table and chairs. The man, William, begins interrogating Sheridan, warning him he'll be punished if he even hesitates to answer. Sheridan approaches him, only to learn the hard way he has a Narn pain collar on. William declares he does not want to hurt Sheridan, and does not care about him one way or the other – he only wants Sheridan's cooperation. The two officers come in again to forcefully strap Sheridan into the chair. William asks about any health conditions he should be aware of. Sheridan answers in the negative, and he begins.
Sheridan now has a bright light shining on him while in the chair alone. The interrogator arrives, takes the shackles off and with the matter-of-factness of the average office worker, wishes him good morning. Sheridan declares it isn't morning due to the lighting, but it is actually all artificial. William organizes his papers on the desk and shocks Sheridan for contradicting him. He continues to organize, taking his time before starting to interrogate. Seeing the time, take a bite of a sandwich. Then, he notes Sheridan's record does not show an interest in politics, which he finds interesting since his current mission is overthrowing the government. William supposes Sheridan has been acting under external influence. He notes down Sheridan's denial as a "fabrication." He then teases Sheridan by talking about his sandwich, since it's been two days since he ate. He declares it's lunchtime and asks Sheridan to confirm the obvious lie in order to have the sandwich. Sheridan responds it's lunchtime "somewhere" and William gives it to him, assuring him that poisoning him does no one any good.
William then talks about perception and its relationship to the "truth." He notes his mission is to have Sheridan "decide to believe" but Sheridan dismisses it. William claims that, during the Earth-Minbari War, the truth was that the Minbari were the enemy. Afterwards, soldiers were told they were not the enemy. Earlier, he took an oath to Earthforce, but now they are the enemy because of what he believes and what others tell him. He argues that truth is subjective, and that soldiers have to accept that. Sheridan evades the challenges and William then oddly claims it's supper time, picking up his things. As he goes, he explains that the sandwich was poisoned, but it won't kill him. William himself has built up an immunity to it. He will be back when the toxins have finished.
Sheridan is lying down when William returns, noting the toxins must have passed through. The interrogator apologizes for it, and says they have to break Sheridan physically before they can mentally. He notes that the room is being recorded and offers a drink of water. Sheridan gives him a distrusting look and he assures Sheridan he is always telling the truth and that it is safe. He insists he is Sheridan's only ally there. Sheridan decides to drink and William starts to try filling gaps in the records, starting with Ivanova's. Sheridan gets in the chair and William says his father is being held in another facility. Sheridan thanks him for telling him that, and William then turns to a confession for Sheridan to sign and read. Sheridan demands an attorney and military tribunal, but William angrily declares there is none for him and leaves.
William returns with his briefcase and wishes him good morning. With the usual matter-of-factness he shuffles some papers. Then, two officers bring in another prisoner, a Drazi. William asks him to repeat something from another cell. He confesses he was part of the conspiracy to overthrow the government and influenced Sheridan. He then says Sheridan wasn't responsible for it. Sheridan implores the alien not to break. The alien is clearly weak, and admits to being afraid. Sheridan insists he not give them what they want, and the alien sits up and agrees, saying he will not cooperate any further. The interrogator comes in close to confirm carefully, and the alien does so. The two officers then enter again and strap him to a gurney while Sheridan pleads with them to let him go.
The interrogator continues with the records for Ivanova and asks about contacts with the Resistance. Sheridan demands to know what they will do with the Drazi. William responds by saying he, and all there, including him, are expendable from the moment they arrive in the facility. Sheridan, however, is not deemed expendable, as they need a truthful breaking so that other resistance members might turn themselves in. The lights then go dark as a scream is heard.
William then presses a button and a loudspeaker continuously declares Sheridan will confess, wraps up his things and leaves for the day.
The next day, William enters and stops the recording. He takes the IV away and says even that will be held from him unless he continues to not cooperate. William drops the confession on the table again and insists Sheridan is keeping himself there and all he has to do is sign. Sheridan notes they will kill him, and William then admits they will eventually, after he has been forgotten. They need Sheridan as a symbol to remind others that they cannot beat the system, however, it means Sheridan can live and live well. Sheridan spits on the papers.
William insists he wishes Sheridan hadn't done that, and that he does not have control over what happens next. He leaves.
The interrogator returns, now with much more urgency, and demands Sheridan's focus. He declares that, because Sheridan is a war hero, others listen to what he has to say. Since he's a threat to authority, the best way is for Sheridan to sign the confession. The other way, is a posthumous confession which, while not as good, is acceptable to them at this point. William says he can save Sheridan's life, if he lets him. Sheridan then notes the interrogator's past statements, that, if truth is fluid, then the fact is one can beat the system, as long as just one person refuses to be broken. Challenged on whether he can win, Sheridan responds affirmatively, every time he says "no." William then stands up and formally asks him if he will sign. When he gets his answer, he presses a button. Officers forcefully put him on a gurney, and the man asks if he understands it is his last chance just like he did with the alien. Sheridan simply puts his head down.
Sheridan is moved through a hallway while a minister says a prayer for him. In the other room, a cloaked person gets ready. The person leaves the room and the officers put Sheridan on another chair and restrain him. They leave, but the cloaked person stays. Without explanation, another interrogator enters and starts off the same way William did. The cloaked person reveals himself – it is the same Drazi prisoner (but apparently not a prisoner), smiling.
- The title of the episode comes from the fact that each segment ("Intersection") of the episode is a single continuous scene ("in Real Time").
- In a touch of symmetry, Wayne Alexander, who previously tortured Sheridan in Comes the Inquisitor, plays the Drazi 'prisoner' who is involved in his torture this time.
- This is the only time that an entire episode passes with only a single main cast member speaking. Delenn appears as a hallucination but never says anything, and no other main cast member appears.
- Except for the title sequence and stock footage, the Babylon 5 station does not appear in this episode.
- Wayne Alexander, who plays the Drazi, also played Lorien in the first few episodes of season four, as well as Sebastian the Inquisitor from the season two episode “Comes the Inquisitor” (his first role in the series) and the Narn G’Dan in the season three episode “And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place”. He would also go on to portray a Drakh in two more episodes (“Movements of Fire and Shadow” and “The Fall of Centauri Prime”) and the TV movie Babylon 5: A Call to Arms, and as a soul in the TV movie Babylon 5: The River of Souls, playing by far more roles on the series than any other actor.
- Although it has been claimed that this episode was inspired by the series The Prisoner, and many other sources, J. Michael Straczynski has explicitly denied drawing inspiration from any other source.
- This episode is very similar to the dungeons in the Ministry of Love from the novel 1984. In 1984 prisoners are kept in cells without windows and are subjected to torture used to break down their psyche and brainwash them into love for the party and confessing to crimes against the state. Sheridan is tortured to sign a confession of crimes against EarthGov and to embrace President Clark's regime. Room 17 is similar to 1984's Room 101 where prisoners are taken to meet their worst fears. Additionally the interrogator who questions Sheridan reveals that after he signs the confession Sheridan will be set free, and after he is forgotten he will be killed silently. The same thing happens to everyone who is released from the Ministry of Love in 1984. This is to prevent them becoming martyrs.
- With reference to the series' five-year story arc, this episode was originally intended by Straczynski to end Season Four. However, because the fifth season could not be confirmed by Warner Bros. in advance, the story was brought forward in order to wrap up the ongoing plots in the event of the show being cancelled.
|Babylon 5 Season 4 "No Surrender, No Retreat"|
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