"The truth is sometimes what we believe it to be, and sometimes it's what we decide it to be."
REVIEW: An extremely spare bottle episode, Intersections in Real Time (damn, these titles are pretentious) is essentially a two-hander between Sheridan and his nameless interrogator, played in a single, monochromatic room with only three pieces of furniture, each act playing out as a single scene in real time. It's efficient, to be sure, but as time/money-savers, it's also plenty audacious. If Sheridan is deprived of food, light, quiet and stimuli, we too suffer a deprivation of a kind. It has the kind of Eastern Europe feel we'd associate with Orwell's 1984 or Kafka's The Trial, and in fact, dips deep into those two works for inspiration. The truth, we're told, is fluid and subjective, a theme in both aforementioned works, and the interrogator goes out of his way to both tell the truth and exemplify that idea, contradictory though it seems. A real chameleon, the interrogator can be friend or foe, devious trickster or sound counselor, and proves his point by presenting things with absolute earnestness, though they may later be proven false (the time of day, the broken Drazi, Sheridan's execution). The point is that these things feel true and so are true, though that truth can change without notice.
It's very interesting that though "subjectivity" is supposed to justify Sheridan's surrender - after all, Earth's truth is as good as any, and far less painful to believe in - Sheridan spins it the other way. He cannot win, that's the truth the interrogator wants him to accept in the end, but he can turn anything into subjective victory, in his case, a string of victories, one for each time he says "no". The people Sheridan is presented with are playing roles, mutable ones, so it's ironic for Sheridan to find his one absolute truth, his rock and foundation, is a hallucination of Delenn. The one fake person in the room is the only one he can trust, and so long as she provides sanctuary for his mind, he'll be able to resist. The strategy of resistance he exposes to the Drazi is exactly right - he need only say "no" more times than they say "you must". Or if you will, he need only hold out until he is rescued by a repentant Garibaldi or friends from Babylon 5. And if he never is, he made his peace the day he instructed his people to carry on without him, that the mission was always more important than the man. One thing that seems completely impossible is his ability to escape. Help must come from outside. But by then, what will be left of his psyche?
As the interrogation starts over with a different interrogator working from the same script - a scene evoking Kafka, yes, but also The Prisoner - we see how far Earthgov is willing to go to change Sheridan's narrative. As we move forward, I hope we see one or more new interrogators making him relive the cycle until they get it right. It would be a fitting continuation of this abstraction.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORMHOLE: The episode must live in the shadow of "There are four lights", but manages it with some aplomb.
REWATCHABILITY: High - A bold, Spartan episode, deliciously twisted and taking its cues from great existential and absurdist literature and television.