Mind War:  Season 1, episode #6 
A Race Through Dark Places: Season 2, episode #7 
Dust to Dust:  Season 3, episode #6 
Ship of Tears:  Season 3, episode #4 
Epiphanies:  Season 4, episode #7  
Moments of Transition:  Season 4, episode #15 
The Face of the Enemy:  Season 4, episode #18 
Rising Star:  Season 4, episode #22 
Strange Relations:  Season 5, episode #6 
Phoenix Rising:  Season 5, episode #10 
The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father:  Season 5, episode #13

 Mind War:  Season 1, episode #6

Jason Ironheart was Talia's instructor and lover at the Psi Corps Training Academy. After she graduated and went into commercial telepathy, they kept in touch by letter - until a year ago when his letters stopped. As Ironheart recounts, he volunteered to undergo genetic and biochemical modification he thought was intended to make him a stronger telepath. The experiment turned out to be an attempt to make him a stable telekinetic, and after many months and hundreds of injections it worked - stunningly! Ironheart became able to see through any mind like glass, and manipulate matter and energy both. He discovered then that those in charge were after offensive military applications for TK, like secret assassination. So, he killed the head researcher (the only person who could duplicate the work) and fled to Babylon 5, still undergoing changes to his mind and body.

This was our first meeting of Bester, and he quickly established that he was going to be an important character to keep a close eye on.  Walter Koenig took many fans by complete surprise by his performance, but  not JMS who knew how much talent and range Walter truly had.  Each new episode in the five year run that featured a return of Bester the Psi Cop was eagerly awaited.  Before it was finished, there would be 11 episodes with our favorite, smirking Psi Cop.  It would be impossible to imagine the B5 universe without the Psi Cop "we love to hate."

jms speaks
Funny incident today at lunch. Walter Koenig joined some of the cast members at their table for lunch, and as he came to the table, they all stood up at attention. When asked why, they explained that it's protocol for junior officers to stand when a senior officer comes to the table. It was kind of a nice moment.

Today is Walter Koenig's 2nd day working in the B5 universe as a Psi Cop in "Mind War." He's doing well, taking part in some very difficult scenes (fight scenes and the like), and it's a very powerful performance, not at ALL what people have seen before. He's a terrific performer when given a role with some meat to it. And the dailies look great. I think this episode will wake up a lot of people who have never seen Walter as anything other than Chekov.

Chekov is just one character, which was created by another, and played by Walter. Agreed, too many people have seen him as just this one person; but there's a talented actor with a great range behind that character, able to do *many* other things. I'm glad we've been able to let him show that range a little.

"JMS is on an anti-typecasting crusade."
That's actually true, in a lot of ways. My sense is that here we have many actors who created enduring works because they were good at what they did; they're *good actors*. But because they were so good at it, they got typecast as only able to play that. How many people snickered, wrongly, when they heard Walter was going to be Bester? "Chekhov in the Psi Corps," was the usual lament.
Until they *saw* him. And saw what he could do.
To work against the typecasting is simply payment on a debt to those who created enduring characters.

In a tip of the cap to a SF writer, the Koenig character in "Mind War" is named Alfred Bester.

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A Race Through Dark Places: Season 2, episode #7

The Corps got started because of our own fears.   The sudden appearance of real psi abilities in otherwise unremarkable people caused so much concern among the general population that those showing such talents were gathered together into a group that could be more easily controlled.  The Psi-Corps was born, and its members were deeply conditioned to prevent any psi from using his or her talents to dominate normal people or disrupt society. But this conditioning isn't absolute.  Shunned by the rest of humanity, it isn't surprising that the loyalties of the telepaths turned to the Corps itself. Soon Psi-Corps gained control of itself, and eventually the organization began pursuing its own goals. The leadership began to exert ever greater control over the lives of the members, in an effort to enhance the abilities of their people, extending even to marriage and reproduction.

Eventually the newly awakened psis began seeking ways to escape. The Psi-Cops exist to counter this, to search for and either capture or eliminate psi talented people who escaped early detection or who fled Psi-Corps.  They are organized, ruthless, and determined to pursue their own agenda, so enter Bester who has come back to Babylon 5 to ask Talia to investigate an "underground railroad" of unregistered telepaths.

The core of Psi-Corps indoctrination was summed up by Bester.
You were raised by the Corps,
Clothed by the Corps.
We are your father,
And your mother.

What Psi-Corps has become was also demonstrated by Bester in a scene that took place on Mars Colony.  Standing with another Psi-Cop, he looks down at a captured rogue telepath who he has just forcibly mind-scanned. "He's dead," the other Psi-Cop says. "It doesn't matter," Bester replies, apparently assuming she was concerned he wouldn't be able to read the man any more. *Judy Levitt, who plays the Psi Cop opposite Bester in the scene on Mars, is Walter Koenig's wife.*

Talia doesn't see this brief scene since it happened on Mars Colony, but she does meet a stream of rogues who are on B5, in transit through the "underground railroad." From them she learns, first hand and with undeniable truth, that the experience she has had with the Corps is far from unique. Indeed, her experiences were mild compared to the stories she hears. Abductions. Experiments. Breeding programs that don't rely on volunteers for subjects. And as a telepath speaking to telepaths, she can't avoid the full truth and force of the events she hears.

The scenes between Bester and the rouge telepaths were intense and dark in nature.  They bring to mind the overbearing power and fear of the SS in Nazi Germany and the efforts of resistance groups to fight this terror.  We now realize that we have not seen the last of Mr. Bester by any means!

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Dust to Dust:  Season 3, episode #6

When it becomes apparent that dust is making its way to Babylon 5, this promts a visit from our favorite Psi Cop, Bester.

Dust, an addictive drug, allows non-telepaths of several races to probe the minds of others, experiencing all the victim's memories and thoughts in the space of a few minutes. Unfortunately, this leaves the victims unconscious, and telepathic victims never recover. The more often Dust is taken, the more is required to achieve the effect the next time. Dust was originally developed, and is apparently still being produced, by Psi Corps in an attempt to induce permanent telepathy in normal humans; the experiment has been a failure so far.  The Narn used to have telepaths, long ago, but they and their families were exterminated. The genes for telepathy were too weak in the survivors to allow the Narn to breed natural telepaths, but their abilities can still be unlocked, briefly, by Dust.

jms speaks

Walter [Koenig]'s first appearance this season will be in "Dust to Dust.  An interesting thought...as for Bester's personality, keep an eye out for "Dust to Dust," episode #6, where you see Bester from a different and very interesting angle. He will talk about doing what's right as he sees it.  'Course, whether or not one should *believe* anything he says is another question altogether. I'd decided a while ago that the next time we saw him, he either had to win, or he had to be right. If he lost again, it'd cut his credibility out. This gave me a chance to do some interesting things with him. He's a fascinating guy...a creep, and I wouldn't trust him for a second, but fascinating nonetheless....

The female Psi Cop here *was* the same as in ARTDP, played by Judy Levitt, who is also Walter's wife.  Everyone turned in great performances in this one, very intense and layered.  "Dust To Dust" - Looks like a non-arc episode initially, but by the end it has a strong effect on the overall storyline, and makes some permanent changes in one of our characters. Combines Bester, the telepathic-assault drug Dust, weapons dealers, and brings to a head a major part of the G'Kar/Londo thread.

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Ship of Tears:  Season 3, episode #4

Bester finds himself at odds with others within the Psi Corps and seeks Sheridan's help, offering information about the Shadows in return.

This is a real turning point in how we view Bester's position in the Babylon 5 sphere.  The more we see of Bester, the less we seem to actually know about him.  What other secrets is he holding onto?  Who is the real Mr. Bester?  Is he really capable of love as we think of it?

Telepaths who refuse to take sleeper drugs to suppress their abilities, or to join the Psi Corps, are sent to reeducation camps, one of which is on Mars. The Corps refers to them informally as "blips."
The Shadows killed most of the Narn telepaths a thousand years ago. They were driven off by G'Quan and the remaining telepaths.

Telepaths can disrupt the link between Shadow ships and their non-telepathic pilots. The Shadows have thus been infiltrating Psi Corps, taking control of it from inside to prevent it from being used as a weapon against them. They are also capturing rogue human telepaths and altering them with cybernetic implants, possibly with the intent of using them as telepath-proof pilots.
Telepaths can locate ships by focusing on the occupants' thought patterns. Their range is greatly expanded in hyperspace. Psi Corps kept that a secret to prevent the Earth military from putting its members on the front lines.

Even someone as highly ranked as Bester isn't immune from the Corps' rules about arranged marriages. On the other hand, given his obvious sense of genetic superiority, he may feel it's his duty to the future of the human race to help breed a better telepath.

The mere presence of Bester stopped the Shadow warship from attacking the White Star (assuming it didn't stop to avoid risking damage to the "weapons components.") Was that because it couldn't get close enough to attack without Bester interfering with its pilot's bond? A telepath who consciously chooses to disrupt a Shadow ship might be even more dangerous to them, though that isn't clear.
The Shadows may also be looking for telepaths for use as hyperspace trackers; presumably they know about the scanning abilities revealed by Bester.

The cybernetic implants were perhaps put in place at the Mars facility.  If so, it implies that the Corps, or some component of it, was abetting the Shadows in their quest to make human telepaths useless as weapons. However, the presence of the unidentified aliens, both on the cargo ship and in Carolyn's flashback, strongly suggests that the operation was performed elsewhere, or without the Corps' assistance.

Carolyn's entanglement is slightly reminiscent of Draal's attachment to the Great Machine in Epsilon 3 ("Voices of Authority.") When she said that telepaths prevent her from "hearing the machine," was she talking about Shadow ships, or something similar to Epsilon 3?

The White Star can no longer be considered even remotely secret now that Bester has been allowed to wander around the bridge. Even if he truly opposes the Shadows, his primary motives might prompt him to tell others about the ship.

Bester is presumably still safely in his position at the Psi Corps; even if he's unable to get any Corps telepaths to help combat the Shadows, he'll likely be able to arrange for Franklin's underground railroad to continue its work unmolested, providing the army of light with a supply of telepaths with which to man its ships.

His discovery of the Shadows and their involvement with the Corps, though, indicates that he's not above unauthorized scans of his own people if it suits his purposes. Presumably he's very careful to only scan people he's confident won't be able to sense him; or he scans them on some other pretense and they're unable to tell that he's pulling Shadow information from their heads too.

Bester claimed he last saw Carolyn four weeks earlier, but never elaborated on what happened to her after that. Was she spirited off on official pretenses, or did the Shadows or their agents kidnap her out of the middle of a Psi Corps installation on Mars?

Bester's entrance into the army of light bears similarity to Marcus' and Sheridan's. All three vowed to fight on the side of light after a loved one was killed or taken by the Shadows.
Bester quotes from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado."

jms speaks
Today Walter Koenig and Bill Mumy had a scene together; this (saith Bill) marks the first time a Lost in Space regular and a Star Trek regular have acted together in the same scene.
Bester's line about being the only thing standing between humanity and the abyss in "Dust to Dust" wasn't as arrogant as it sounded.
Yeah...we're slippery that way....
Why didn't Bester stay with Carolyn?
Logically, he can't just go away indefinitely, and it's going to take a long time before they can get Carolyn in shape. A very long time. If he stays, he'd be noticed and hunted down by the Corps, which ends his usefulness. His staying served no purpose.  It'll be a long time before Bester's ladyfriend comes anywhere near being whole again.
Will Bester covertly help B5?
Yes, that'll be something Bester will do now.
Was this change of heart planned from the start?
Yes, this was definitely intended from the start with Bester.
"If the theme of the relationship is "All Bester needed was to love and be loved, or he wouldn't have been the slimeball he is today", I will be a bit disappointed."
Then you won't be.  "It's just a little too simplistic."  One mongoose can love another; that won't change its attitude toward pythons.

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Epiphanies:  Season 4, episode #7
Bester arrives with news of an Earth Alliance plan to further isolate Babylon 5.   What an interesting scene at the table when Bester tries to scan everyone and ends up with a bit of a headache from Lyta who is able to block him!

With his Shadow allies gone, President Clark now views Babylon 5 as a significant threat to his power. There are still elements of the Psi-Corps loyal to the Shadows.

The telepaths rescued from the Shadows in "Ship of Tears" are being kept aboard Babylon 5 in cryonic suspension until a means can be found of disentangling them from their implants.
Lyta's telepathic powers have definitely been enhanced by the Vorlons, to the point where she can easily block a scan by a P12-level telepath while making telepathic contact across several light-years.

Z'ha'dum has been destroyed, but not before the Shadows' allies left with unknown quantities of Shadow technology and artifacts.
Bester founded the Black Omega Squadron.

Even Bester isn't let in on the entirety of Clark's plan, just the part involving the Black Omega squadron. What else is planned? Bester's superior said the plan involves the Ministry of Peace and the Nightwatch, at least.

Apparently Bester either isn't strong enough to scan his superior without being detected (telepathic strength may determine one's placement in the Corps, so that's not surprising,) or he's loyal enough to the Corps as a whole to simply accept his boss's statement that he doesn't need to know the entire plan.

Bester took quite a personal risk by warning Babylon 5 of Clark's impending plan. The entire plan was known only by a select few, according to Bester's superior; presumably only Bester and his superior knew about the Black Omega operation. If that was the only part of the plan that failed, some degree of suspicion would naturally fall on Bester as head of the squadron, subjecting his recent activities to scrutiny. And if even one Nightwatch member noticed Bester's presence on Babylon 5 -- not too farfetched, since he entered through a public customs area -- Clark's people would presumably be able to put two and two together and conclude that Bester must have leaked the information.

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Moments of Transition:  Season 4, episode #15
Bester makes an offer to an increasingly desperate Lyta.   An absolutely priceless moment with perfect timing as Bester says to Lyta, " I want your body."

Unable to find work, Lyta has rejoined the Psi Corps in name only, striking a deal with Bester to give him custody over her body when she dies so he can try to understand what the Vorlons did to her. In exchange, the Corps will list her as a member when potential clients try to do a background check on her.

Bester is directly involved in whatever was done to Garibaldi. Among other things, Bester's plan is to pull Garibaldi further and further from his former associates, though the ultimate purpose is still unclear.

Bester's contract says he gets Lyta's body if she dies of natural causes. Would the telepath disease in "Conflicts of Interest" count as natural causes? If so, Bester and the Corps may have a specific reason to want to gain control of the cure. Perhaps Bester was the one responsible for sending the telepaths to try to procure it.

Lyta is slowly lifting the veil of secrecy she's maintained about the Vorlons and their changes to her. In "Epiphanies," she was only willing to obliquely acknowledge the possibility that something might have happened. Here, she tacitly admitted it to Bester, and told Garibaldi in no uncertain terms that she wasn't a mere P5 any more.

Will Lyta be more willing to scan Garibaldi now that he has, from her point of view, turned against her? If she were to discover evidence of Bester's involvement in whatever was done to Garibaldi, she'd presumably want to investigate and find out what Bester was up to. Of course, she might still consider Garibaldi's privacy a more compelling concern, and presumably whatever programming he received would prevent him from agreeing to be scanned.

jms speaks
What was wrong with Walter Koenig's hand?
As for Walter...he made the decision to play Bester with a deformed or useless hand, which he's compensating for as a teep.
Then how does he put his gloves on?
Ask Walter.
What's been great about B5 has been the chance to give many talented actors like Walter and others a chance to show the many other hues and colors they are capable of delivering, but which were rarely seen because the material didn't allow them the opportunity. I know Walter's loved it, and it's been great for us as well.

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The Face of the Enemy:  Season 4, episode #18
Bester is chilling as he reveals to Garibaldi just what was done to him.  At no other time did Bester seem more dangerous, more layered than in this one scene.

This indeed is a very intense episode in which Walter Koenig excells in his performance.  As he sat across from Garibaldi and methodically recounted everything he did to him, time seemed to stand still as we were drawn to look deep into Bester's eyes despite ourselves.
 
The telepath virus described by Wade and Lise in "Conflicts of Interest" is indeed real, as is the drug to suppress it -- but the virus was developed by Edgars' company. It is airborne, 100% contagious, and completely harmless to normals. Telepaths have to take the cure every two weeks, or they'll die. Edgars' plan was to release it on Earth and use control of the cure to effectively enslave all the telepaths, preventing them from ever gaining the upper hand over normals. Bester believes the virus was developed with the help of the Shadows, who had a vested interest in wiping out telepaths.
The Shadows decided that given his innate paranoia, Garibaldi would be easiest to cause to turn away from Sheridan's cause, thus sabotaging the Army of Light in Sheridan's absence. The Psi Corps was given the assignment of programming Garibaldi. They took him to a secret facility on Mars, where Bester intervened and added some programming of his own.

Bester was aware that some kind of action was being planned against the Corps, but he didn't know what or by whom. Given Garibaldi's proven track record at ferreting out conspiracies, Bester instructed his colleagues to leave Garibaldi's personality largely intact, and to accentuate his natural sense of paranoia and distrust. Garibaldi's resignation was an unexpected bonus that put him in a perfect position to infiltrate Edgars' organization. Garibaldi's mission was to gather information about the threat to the Psi Corps if the opportunity arose, then signal Bester.

Bester has removed Garibaldi's programming, leaving him with full memory of what was done to him and what he's done to Sheridan.

The Corps has engaged in clandestine operations in the past. While Lyta was interning with the Psi Cops ("Divided Loyalties") someone started murdering telepaths. The Corps engaged in illegal scans of civilians, and eventually found the killer. Rather than simply kill him, they twisted his mind. According to Lyta, he's now in a cell in a secret facility on Beta 2, straitjacketed 24 hours a day to keep him from clawing out his own eyes to stop the nightmare visions only he can see.

The Corps has gone even further with the establishment of "bloodhound units," special undercover detachments of the Earth military who are accompanied by telepaths. Their mission is to perform random scans of the public and arrest any members of the resistance they come across.

Lyta believes there's likely to be a war between telepaths and mundanes some day, when word of such operations gets out and the trust the Corps has managed to build up evaporates as a result.
Bester's manipulation of Garibaldi was foreshadowed in "Dust to Dust." Bester told Garibaldi, "I enjoyed working with you. We made a good team. Perhaps we'll do it again sometime."
It was also foreshadowed, if obliquely, in "Divided Loyalties," in which Garibaldi pretended to have a personality implant, if only as a joke.

And before then, ironically, in "The Quality of Mercy," Talia and Garibaldi shared a moment of mutual foreshadowing when she said to him, "Things that live inside us, Mr. Garibaldi. Terrible things. Terrible."

Bester referred to the Corps as "my telepaths." This echoes his comment to Ivanova in "Ship of Tears" that he had plans for Earth's telepaths and didn't want the Shadows interfering. Apparently he considers himself responsible for Earth's telepaths, even if he's not officially in charge of the Corps.
Bester's supposition that the virus was developed with the help of Shadow technology is consistent with the courier's claim in "Conflicts of Interest" that coming up with the cure was a job beyond the capabilities of Earth's biologists, and that alien help had been enlisted.

If Bester is right about the Shadows helping create the virus, it means Edgars was in contact with the Shadows, even if indirectly. And indeed, Edgars and Wade seemed to espouse something like the Shadow philosophy: the enslavement of normals by telepaths or vice versa was a natural consequence of evolution.

References to the Nazis abound: Edgars described his plan as a solution to "the telepath problem," an echo of Hitler's "Jewish problem." Bester told Garibaldi that he had just prevented a Holocaust.
Bester's release of Garibaldi was, in some ways, an act of arrogance; in essence, Bester was saying that he didn't consider Garibaldi a threat. Given Garibaldi's determination in the past, he'll likely seek revenge or justice, and he won't rest until he has it.

Despite Bester's apparently accurate warning that Garibaldi's old comrades wouldn't want to have anything to do with him any more, Garibaldi did try to get in touch with Babylon 5. How will he be able to prove his story to them, and prove that he's no longer under Bester's influence? One obvious answer is to submit to a scan by Lyta, whose Vorlon-enhanced powers appear to far exceed Bester's. She would easily be able to verify Garibaldi's story, and her word might be enough to convince the others.

Edgars' order to Garibaldi to fire Lyta ("Moments of Transition") may, ironically, have been his downfall. If Edgars hadn't forced Garibaldi to get rid of her, she might have eventually detected Bester's handiwork and removed it, and Edgars would still be alive.

Why didn't Edgars release the virus? What was he waiting for? In "The Exercise of Vital Powers," he seemed satisfied that the virus worked, and even asked that a test of its effectiveness be terminated.
Since his aim was to control the telepaths, not simply wipe them out, perhaps he needed to wait until he had enough of the cure manufactured to supply to millions of victims.

Edgars' plans didn't amount to anything in the end. He was the only known credible threat to the Psi Corps. Now that he's dead and the Corps has control of his weapon against them, and Ivanova is continuing the rebel advance even in the face of Sheridan's capture, Edgars' fear of Clark panicking and giving increasing amounts of control to the Psi Corps may well become a reality.

Of course, Sheridan may have anticipated that problem, and the frozen telepaths may be his answer.The problem may have gotten even worse thanks to Edgars: if the Corps has the virus, they'll presumably spend a good deal of effort studying it. The virus selects its victims via the presence of the telepathy genes. Developing that selectivity from scratch may have required the aid of the Shadows, but it might not be beyond Earth's biotechnology to use it as a blueprint and produce a modified version that selects for the lack of the telepathy gene -- thus giving the Corps the same power over normals that Edgars wanted to gain over telepaths.

Or the Corps could use the virus to cement its own control over all human telepaths. By releasing the virus and only giving the cure to members of the Corps, they'd eliminate the problem of rogue telepaths overnight. Latent telepaths like Ivanova would no longer be able to hide themselves from the Corps.

Bester could possibly also use the virus on Lyta; death by the virus might be considered natural causes under the terms of her contract ("Moments of Transition.") Of course, such an operation would be very risky, since Lyta would be contagious.

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Rising Star:  Season 4, episode #22
Is this the final curtain call for Mr. Bester?  No....there is going to be some very interesting developments in season 5.

Bester goaded Sheridan about Garibaldi by telling him that only a scan performed by a member of Psi Corps would be admissible in Earth court if Garibaldi's memory were used as evidence. The implication was that since Bester controls the Corps to some degree, no Corps telepath would cooperate. But Lyta is now a Corps member, officially anyway ("The Exercise of Vital Powers") and is certainly no friend of Bester's. To refute her credentials in court, he'd have to reveal the deep-cover program he's using to give her the appearance of Corps membership.

Sheridan told Bester he knew what it was like to lose someone, only to find them again and lose them again, clearly a reference to Anna ("Z'ha'dum.") He said he'd never wish that on anyone.

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Strange Relations:  Season 5, episode #6
Bester arrives to try to retrieve the refugee telepaths.

Lochley was stationed on an outpost on which a rogue telepath murdered two crewmen. Bester and his people arrived and tracked down the rogue, saving the lives of additional people under Lochley's command.

Byron's people have a sixty-day reprieve, at least until Bester either decides Lochley was lying or that he's waited long enough. If Byron's people aren't allowed to leave the station before then, what will they do when the sixty days are up? That deadline may be what sparks the hostage situation shown in "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars," if indeed Byron's people (or some non-pacifist faction of his group) were the ones holding Garibaldi hostage.

Zack described Byron as a martyr. If that's literally true -- if he is indeed fated to die for his cause (and he does appear to be willing to do so) -- then his death might also incite his followers to violence. Of course, his death and the expiration of the sixty-day grace period aren't necessarily separate events; Bester's people are willing to injure him at the very least.

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Phoenix Rising:  Season 5, episode #10
The telepath situation becomes critical and Bester attempts to take control, triggering a strong reaction by Garibaldi.

The situation with the telepaths on Babylon 5 reaches the critical point with a shocking conclusion.  I guess it came as no surprise how far Bester was willing to go in order to get his "hands" on Byron.  In the same episode he finally reveals to Garibaldi what he implanted to assure that Garibaldi wouldn't be able to take that long looked for revenge. At one of the Star Trek conventions, Walter revealed that it was his idea to shoot the scene where he would open one eye while waiting for Garibaldi to shoot him.  Nice touch Walter!  A true Bester moment.

Byron grew up in the Corps. He was rated a strong P12, so was inducted into the Psi Cops and served as Bester's protege. During one mission, Bester ordered Byron to destroy an unarmed ship full of mundanes who were helping smuggle telepaths out of Psi Corps' reach. Byron followed the order reluctantly, but shortly thereafter fled the Corps, convinced that telepaths could build a society based on nobler principles than violence.

To avoid being taken by the Psi Corps, Byron and the militant faction of the telepath colonists have killed themselves. The other members of Byron's group have been allowed to go free, despite Bester's objections.  The Psi Corps headquarters on Earth has been bombed. The bombers haven't been found, but they did leave the message, "Remember Byron."

During Garibaldi's conditioning, Bester implanted a modified version of one of Asimov's Laws of Robotics: Garibaldi is incapable of harming Bester, or through inaction, allowing Bester to come to harm.  As far as Garibaldi knows, the prohibition doesn't apply to all telepaths, just Bester. His inability to exact revenge has driven Garibaldi back to drinking.

Bester had more than one reason for wanting to take the telepaths alive. Had he gained custody over them, he might well have been able to extract whatever information they gained from the alien ambassadors. He would also have discovered the information Lyta broadcast to the group while making love to Byron in "Secrets of the Soul." Of course, he might already know all about the Vorlons' actions by other means, such as the Corps' previous association with the Shadows.
Byron's experience with Bester echoed Lyta's experience with the Psi Cops: she was made to do something traumatic (in her case, helping to plant images in a murderer's mind to drive him insane, as she described in "The Face of the Enemy") and decided that she had to leave the Psi Cops. She left by transferring to another division of the Corps rather than running away entirely, but the similarity of experience begs the question of how many other former employees of the Psi Cops have left under similar circumstances.

If Lyta does take Byron's place and become a champion of rogue telepaths, she may be vulnerable to blackmail by Bester. In "Epiphanies," he claimed to know secrets about her that she wouldn't want revealed. Whatever those secrets are, they may still hold some sway over her.
On the other hand, Lyta implied she'd received secrets from Byron, so she may be able to counter-blackmail Bester just as easily.

Bester claimed that all races dealt with telepaths through laws, religion, or extermination. That contradicts Garibaldi's assertion in "The Paragon of Animals" that Centauri telepaths "can do whatever they want." The Minbari treatment of telepaths ("Legacies") might arguably be religious, but it's really more cultural: telepaths are treated with respect and are expected to devote themselves to serving others. It's unclear how other races treat their telepaths, though, so Bester might be right in most cases.

Garibaldi's return to the bottle might not be quite what it seems. It's possible that "alcohol" is the answer to his question, "Are there any drugs that can suppress a telepathic block?" In that case, Garibaldi faces a choice between confronting his alcoholism once again and being powerless to take revenge on Bester.

Asimov's Laws of Robotics are:
A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.  A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Garibaldi's programming only includes the first law, not the first two as Bester claimed (though arguably Bester was referring to the two rules contained in the first law.)
It's also possible Bester implanted the second law but didn't quote it to Garibaldi. In that case Garibaldi would have to follow Bester's orders. There's a slight hint of that possibility in Bester's mocking request that Garibaldi turn out the lights when he leave (though that could just as easily be simple baiting.)

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The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father:  Season 5, episode #13

Bester pursues a murderous telepath, using the pursuit to train two rookie Psi Cops in the finer points of their new jobs. Walter Koenig as Bester.

Bester appears for the last time in Babylon 5's five year run.  How appropriate that this final performance should revolve entirely around the Psi Corps.  We finally get a look into Bester's life when he isn't raising havoc on B5.  Although over the years we have had little peeks into Bester's life, JMS gave us all a wonderful gift with a great story that showcased Walter Koenig.  Personally I just want to say thank you to Walter for his facinating portrayal of a telepath over the years.

Very high on the Corps' list of priorities is that mundanes believe that nothing ever goes wrong within the Corps. To that end, and because they justifiably don't believe mundane security forces would be of much use in capturing rogue telepaths, they use the Psi Cops to track down rogues with a minimum of publicity.

The Psi Corps maintains a fleet of large transport ships in hyperspace, where they're used to ferry shuttles back and forth between jump points. Eventually they'll be used for some other unspecified purpose. Nobody outside the Corps is supposed to know the ships exist.
Psi Corps field operatives must be able to maintain a mental block against a telepathic probe for at least one hour to ensure that they're safe against attack by untrained rogues. Even the most powerful rogues, according to Bester, can't sustain a psi attack for more than 30 or 40 minutes.
Bester's parents were killed in an accident when he was barely a month old. The Corps found him thanks to a random DNA screening, and raised him from childhood. The official Corps propaganda about Bester is that he entered its ranks at age 10.

The Corps is training some of its members in offensive skills known as "mind shredding." A P10-rated shredder is a danger even to a P12-rated telepath, and a P12-rated shredder can kill a mundane telepathically in a matter of seconds.

If a telepath has multiple personalities, each of the personalities can exhibit different levels of psi ability. The Corps' screening program doesn't detect multiple personalities.
Even new Corps trainees are willing to act as judge, jury, and executioner for mundanes who kill telepaths.

According to the Corps propaganda film, 42.5% of telepaths who leave the Corps commit suicide within nine months of leaving the Corps. How many of those "suicides" are thanks to the Psi Cops? Even if the Cops don't kill a significant number of rogues directly, the very fact that a rogue is being relentlessly pursued might make suicide or an accident more likely.
And of course, Gordon only said that the suicides were committed by people who'd left the Corps, not rogues; how many of the suicides were telepaths forced to take sleeper drugs like Ivanova's mother?

Why didn't anyone in the Corps communicate telepathically within their own walls? As Bester told Sinclair ("Mind War,") telepathic communication saves time. It's perhaps understandable that the Corps would want its members to speak to each other verbally while in public, to avoid appearing needlessly strange to mundanes, but that consideration wouldn't apply within the walls of a Corps training academy. Perhaps telepathic communication requires more effort than speech.
Bester believes that to be a telepath is to be something special, and that telepaths have to stick together and protect one another, even more so than mundanes. That's very similar to Byron's philosophy ("The Paragon of Animals.")

What was Bester doing with the mirror just before his departure for Babylon 5? Since he didn't glean any useful information from his vision of Harris, it was most likely just an exercise in intuition, a moment of deep concentration to try to figure out some reason why Harris might have committed the murder.  Bester keeps his disabled hand gloved even when he's home by himself.

The Corps motherships are perhaps not as well-kept a secret as Bester would like to think. There are probably lots of rogue telepaths who learned of them before leaving the Corps. For example, Byron would almost certainly have known about them (he had gone out on missions with Bester) and thus it's plausible that some or all of the other members of his group know as well. Since they have no particular stake in keeping the ships' existence secret, information about them might well have already leaked out.

When Lauren mentioned to Bester that she wished there were a way to record thoughts, he said, "Give us time." Is the Corps working on such a capability? Does that imply that they've discovered a technological means for reading other people's thoughts? If so, the implications could be far-reaching, not least the possibility that mundanes could be equipped with simulated telepathy.
Abbut's recording of Talia's thoughts ("Deathwalker") indicates that the process is possible, though perhaps not without the involvement of a living brain.

The Corps' inability to detect multiple personalities is consistent with Talia's hidden personality ("Divided Loyalties.") Talia was in close contact, even linked briefly, with a group of telepaths ("A Race Through Dark Places") who failed to detect her alternate personality.
If different personalities can have different psi abilities, the Corps might not have gotten anything useful out of their examination of Talia after she returned to them ("Dust to Dust.") Her Ironheart-enhanced psi abilities ("Mind War") might have been destroyed along with her original personality.

Lauren's visualization of the attack/block exercise had a subtext she probably didn't recognize: the attacker was probing with spikes not dissimilar to the spines on a Shadow vessel, while the attacker was encased in what looked like shards of ice, not unlike the ice surrounding Sheridan's vision of the Vorlon in "Into the Fire." Vorlons created human telepaths and the Shadows wanted to destroy or undermine them, which is consistent with that imagery.

The love of Bester's life is Carolyn Sanderson, who is most likely still in stasis awaiting removal of her Shadow implants ("Ship of Tears.") Whether or not she's still on Babylon 5 isn't clear; Sheridan mentioned transferring her to Earth for further medical study ("Rising Star") but that might not have happened yet.

The rogue's name was Jonathan Harris. That name might be familiar to some fans; another Jonathan Harris played Dr. Smith on the original "Lost in Space" TV series, which also starred Bill Mumy (Lennier) as Will Robinson. However, that's not the reference here. By coincidence, Jonathan Harris was the name of the winner of a raffle run by the B5 Fan Club at a convention (the 1997 Worldcon in San Antonio.) The raffle's grand prize was the winner's name appearing in an episode.
One of the interns, Chen Hikaru, shares a name with Hikaru Sulu of the original "Star Trek." Sulu was a colleague and friend of Chekov, played by Walter Koenig (Bester.)

jms speaks
Bester is NOT a nice guy...but not everyone sees him in that light, which is why I did one episode from inside the Psi Corps this season, to show how others in the PC see him....
Even Hitler painted roses.

Shouldn't the other Psi Cops have been afraid of Bester?
I don't consider it a mistake at all...you never heard much of other Psi Cops talking about Bester, and they would have more knowledge of him than anyone else. As with Dirty Harry, some of the other officers above and below him liked him...and he scared the crap out of others. Same here.

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This condensed look at the 11 episodes featuring Bester comes for the most part from The Lurkers Guide to Babylon 5.  For very detailed information on all the episodes of Babylon 5, be sure to visit Lurkers, the best source of information for B5 on the Internet.  I just want to say a big thank you to Lurkers for a job well done.  I know many of us visit Lurkers all the time, and we should all realize how much hard work it takes to keep a site like that up and running.


  
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