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  • Question regarding President Clark

    Warning: Spoilers up to end of season 4


    My husband and I just finished watching the fourth season again last night, and I got to wondering about President Clark's final moments. More precisely, why he circles the letters to write "Scorched Earth". It occured to me that maybe he was trying to get a message past one of those (erm, excuse the lack of a proper term) shadow shoulder control bug... things. My husband and I were discussing it, and we came to some hypothetical conclusions that he was:

    1.) Just an absolute bastard (okay, this one is a given).
    2.) A bastard that was working WITH the shadows, but more in a way like Londo was.
    3.) A bastard that was working with the shadows with full knowledge of who they were.
    4.) A bastard who was working with the shadows, but then they decided to stick one of those things on him for extra measure.
    5.) (The most remote possibility) Was under shadow control prior to even President Santiago's death.

    Of course, given the interaction with the shadow ship on Mars, I can hardly give him the benefit of the doubt that he was working with them in a way similar to Londo's interaction.

    Anyway, my point mostly is, do you think that during the scene where he wrote that note that he was being directly controlled by a shoulder creature?
    Last edited by DantheDragon; 05-18-2007, 03:11 PM. Reason: spoiler warning

  • #2
    Hi, Dan, welcome!

    My feeling on Clark was that he was an absolute bastard but that he *might* have had that tendency enhanced by the Psi Corps who were working directly or indirectly with the Shadows. If he'd had a Keeper, would it have allowed him to suicide?

    Jan
    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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    • #3
      Hi!

      Oh yes, a Keeper! That's the term! Thanks

      Ohhh, yes, almost forgot about the Psi-Corps involvement. Though I thought about the same thing... why would it let him kill himself? Then I thought what if it made him do it? So he couldn't alert people, or have it be discovered. There is a timing difference between when he shot himself and when they burst through the door. I can't remember if the Keepers die if their host does, but if not, it could have escaped in that brief time period.

      In any case, I'm just speculating. It's kinda fun really ^^

      PS: It just occured to me, was there any alcohol on his desk I wonder? If indeed he had a Keeper, he could have used the same trick Londo did.

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      • #4
        PS: It just occured to me, was there any alcohol on his desk I wonder? If indeed he had a Keeper, he could have used the same trick Londo did.[/QUOTE]

        I looked back at the end of Endgame really quickly and I saw only a coffee cup on Clark's desk..but that could have been anything. I didn't see a bottle or anything like that. However..on the other side of the coffee cup there was a weird shaped looking thing that looked like a bottle but I couldn't quite make it out.

        Alex
        "The Babylon project was our last best hope for peace..It Failed...In the year of the shadow war it became something greater...Our last best hope for victory..the year is 2260..the place Babylon 5"--Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova (opening main title narration from B5)

        "Faith...Manages"--Delenn and Lennier from B5
        "Oh, boy, is this GReAT!!"--Stephen Furst as Dorfman (Flounder) from Animal House

        V--"For Victory. Go tell your friends"--Abraham Bernstein from V
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        • #5
          Well, I never had the impression that Clarke could have been under the control of a Keeper, mostly because we never got a single hint to that on screen - but I have to admit that this speculation is a fascinating idea.
          However, I have to agree with Jan: Clarke was a bad-guy-puppet, with a clear wish to be some kind of dictator, but heavily influenced by certain forces within the Psi Corps - who were working with the Shadows in one or the other way, regarding their meeting with our dear friend Mr. Morden in the Season 3 opener. This corresponds with what Bester says later (but Bester obviously was not part of the Clark/Shadows-conspirancy and followed his own agenda as always).

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          • #6
            I can't find the message in the archives, but I remember JMS shooting this idea down and then pointing out that plenty of actual Humans have managed to be vicious, murderous tyrants without being controlled by Keepers, including several of his models for Clark like Hitler and Stalin. There was never any hint that the man was coerced or doing anythiing other than enthusiastically cooperating with his new allies. (For that matter, Londo did most of his damage to everybody except the Centauri before he was Keepered, the Drakh attack on Earth being the only major exception.)

            Regards,

            Joe
            Joseph DeMartino
            Sigh Corps
            Pat Tallman Division

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Joseph DeMartino View Post
              I can't find the message in the archives, but I remember JMS shooting this idea down and then pointing out that plenty of actual Humans have managed to be vicious, murderous tyrants without being controlled by Keepers, including several of his models for Clark like Hitler and Stalin. There was never any hint that the man was coerced or doing anythiing other than enthusiastically cooperating with his new allies. (For that matter, Londo did most of his damage to everybody except the Centauri before he was Keepered, the Drakh attack on Earth being the only major exception.)

              Regards,

              Joe
              Indeed, might not a clue be that he got "scourched earth" from mutiple lines of "The ascension of the ordinary man". That seems very similar to "the rise of the common man" and isnt that related to Andrew Jacksons 19th century presidencey(with the nets help as US history isnt my strong point ) based on a common man using public nationalism?

              Might that give the impression that JMS viewed Clark as an extension of all the human xenophobia we see thoughout the series? Of all the "badguys" he is afterall the only one who gets almost zero characterization.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by moreorless View Post
                Indeed, might not a clue be that he got "scourched earth" from mutiple lines of "The ascension of the ordinary man". That seems very similar to "the rise of the common man" and isnt that related to Andrew Jacksons 19th century presidencey(with the nets help as US history isnt my strong point ) based on a common man using public nationalism?
                The note that had 'Scorched Earth' circled was a homage to Dr.Strangelove by John Copeland as per this JMS post.

                Jan
                "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DantheDragon View Post
                  "Scorched Earth".
                  Funnily enough: What Clarke didn't manage to do alone, mankind managed as a whole almost 500 years later.

                  I can't remember if the Keepers die if their host does,...
                  If I remember what's written in the Legions of Fire Trilogy correctly, it does.
                  What's up Drakh?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jan View Post
                    Hi, Dan, welcome!

                    My feeling on Clark was that he was an absolute bastard but that he *might* have had that tendency enhanced by the Psi Corps who were working directly or indirectly with the Shadows. If he'd had a Keeper, would it have allowed him to suicide?
                    If he had a keeper, the keeper would have known that he was going to get caught and who knows what information would be attempted to be extracted from him which may even lead to the discovery of keepers by the humans, who have an odd tendency to come up with handy gadgets to nullify things.

                    So I think if he did have a keeper it would have probably forced his suicide.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jan View Post
                      The note that had 'Scorched Earth' circled was a homage to Dr.Strangelove by John Copeland as per this JMS post.

                      Jan
                      The Strangelove message didnt use the same phase though did it(be along time since I watched it) so I wouldnt say that rules out "The ascension of the ordinary man" having some meaning towards the B5 plot.
                      Who are you?
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                      • #12
                        the Dr. Strangelove note was P.O.E - Peace on Earth or Purity of Essence. Colonel Ripper in the film is obsessed with keeping himself pure - his psychosis leads him to believe that the Russians have put something in the American water supply.

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                        • #13
                          Maybe Clark was making a bold statement about his forward-thinking social policies?

                          Or maybe he was just looking for a phrase that happens to contain all the letters in 'scorched earth'?

                          Maybe writing it out over and over was a way of boring his keeper to sleep?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Joseph DeMartino View Post
                            I can't find the message in the archives, but I remember JMS shooting this idea down and then pointing out that plenty of actual Humans have managed to be vicious, murderous tyrants without being controlled by Keepers, including several of his models for Clark like Hitler and Stalin.
                            I suspect that this posting by JMS applies

                            http://jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?ID=1-1792

                            Latest Ep 6/10/98

                            {original post had no questions}

                            Well, do bear in mind that the events in "War" were 17 years
                            after the fact, so the shadow allies could have come at any time;
                            Sheridan didn't fully understand what a keeper was, and also bear in
                            mind that there is no reason to suspect anything in this situation.
                            People can indeed start wars without having keepers on them, you know.
                            We do it all the time. He would have to have some overwhelming
                            proof...and even then, if he says anything to Londo, he might risk
                            changing the timeline, and that would have potentially disasterous
                            consequences.

                            jms
                            Andrew Swallow

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                            • #15
                              Perhaps JMS got the idea of scorched earth from world war 2. Adolf Hitler had a project called "Verbrannte Erde" (= scorched earth) to destroy completely the own country when the war was lost. He also planed to detonate an a-bomb in the centre of Berlin - fortunately time and a lot of scientists were not on his side.
                              Last edited by Whyruss; 05-22-2007, 07:17 AM.

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