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londovir- by iamsab

"Today he is a man." Vir's back! Yay!

"Meditations on the Abyss"

Grade: A-

Okay, that grade might be a touch inflated because of my excitement over Vir's return, but this episode was in fact quite good.

First of all, this episode has the best Delenn scene we've seen in quite awhile, displaying the strength and initiative that until this point has been somewhat in eclipse in the fifth year.

"You broke my finger!"

"True. But you have nine others, for the moment."


Heh.



G'Kar, meanwhile, seems to be bearing his new burden well, though I definitely have a somewhat lower opinion of his followers. His speech in the sanctuary is absolutely deserving of its fame among the fans.

"What we perceive as God is the byproduct of our search for God. It may simply be an appreciation of the light, pure and unblemished, not understanding that it comes from us. Sometimes we stand in front of the light and assume that we are the center of the universe. God looks astonishingly like we do. Or we turn to look at our shadow and assume that all is darkness. If we allow ourselves to get in the way, we defeat the purpose, which is to use the light of our search to illuminate the wall in all its beauty...and all its flaws...and in so doing better understand the world around us."

As I said yesterday, I am a believing Catholic, but this speech resonates even with me.

This episode also gets quite a few points for Londo's evil humor, which improves any episode in which it appears. Taunting the Drazi ambassador about his "unfaithful" wife is classic Londo. Muahahaha.

Then there's Vir. (Yay! Vir!) Vir learns in this episode that when you slam a sword into something hard, it hurts. Hee. I admit, at first this scene makes me laugh. A lot. It's Londo's reaction that makes it funny. It's Zack's re-telling that makes it even funnier. Upon reflection, however, I see the darker edge to all of this. As Sheridan correctly observed, Vir has never lost his temper like this before. But I believe it makes perfect sense now. We've seen other signs that Vir is beginning to fray around the edges- his nightmare in "No Surrender, No Retreat," his public emotional outburst in "The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari," etc. His sword-wielding tantrum here fits into this pattern. I think the Drazi's ridicule hit a very personal nerve and unlocked a whole lot of bottled up frustration and anger. Thinking about this scene this way, I am impressed with how emotionally true it really is.

And speaking of fraying around the edges, we have the true focus of this episode- Lennier. Lennier's quiet scene with Delenn was painful in all the ways it should have been. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. His slight hypocrisy with Findell is psychologically interesting as well- at this point, he still has not truly examined his own selfish motives for joining the Rangers.

And all through this episode, I felt the coming tragedy rushing ever closer...
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And all through this episode, I felt the coming tragedy rushing ever closer...

That was my problem with much of Season 5, actually... I wanted to watch, but I always had to nerve myself up for it. Garibaldi, Lyta, Londo, Lennier - all rushing towards horrible disasters. It was worth it all, but the sense of impending doom was certainly hard going.
Indeed. Starting tomorrow, I might become a touch unhinged in these entries with all the of tragedy we're about to be gobsmacked with. The final chapter of Londo's arc hits me the hardest personally ("The Fall of Centauri Prime" contains Babylon 5's absolute best scene ever, IMO- a scene that literally made me sob), but the other arcs hurt as well.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

*cries*

The first time I saw that Delenn/Lennier scene I burst out in tears, and I just sat there with the remote control re-watching that scene and crying.

It's funny how just about all the comments I've read on that scene say either 1) she was utterly clueless and just treating him as a friend or 2) she was manipulating him so he'd be willing to die for her. Both of which seem like nonsense to me - Delenn is far from clueless, and Lennier would have died for her without any manipulation whatsoever. What it looked like to me was that she needed reassurance that he still loves her. That's the only way the whole setup makes sense - meeting in a way that makes it look like she's calling him there to seduce him, the way she doesn't take her hands off him for the entire scene, that sort of thing.

All through the series I had been thinking - so when is Delenn finally going to be asked what she wants? And it happens right there, when Lennier says to Delenn "What is it that you want from me." Does she answer accurately? I don't know, but I think not. That's what made me cry. In that moment she becomes less than she could have been, and Lennier is doomed.

You already know that I think she was in love with him, at least in some way and in some sense, even if she couldn't admit it to herself. I also think that the reason she chose him for this mission has nothing to do with him being the most competent person for the job, and much more to do with her need to sacrifice herself by sacrificing him.

I also need to say - I'm not so impressed by the business of how Lennier's motives for joining the Rangers were corrupt. I mean, they were and they weren't. He tells Montoya that on the Maria he may have finally found a home. And maybe he could have. I think he'd have been an excellent ranger, if Delenn would only have left him alone long enough. And complete purity of motive - that whole idea is introduced by Sebastian. It's the Vorlon purity obsession, which in itself is destructive.

Oh, I'm babbling because this episode makes me so upset.

The Vorlon purity obsession

Being someone who sees humanity in empiricist terms, I think you are right about the destructiveness of the purity obsession. Self examination and striving for goodness are necessities in a well-lived life, but purity is something that is impossible to achieve. We all have our self interest, though I do think it is realistic to hope that such self interest is enlightened. When I mentioned Lennier's "hypocrisy", I didn't intend for it to be a flat-out condemnation. Hypocrisy is a part of life.

The key is not living a life completely without self delusion or selfishness, but rather, taking responsibility when you do make a wrong turn. This is how I have always understood the purpose of Catholic confession- confession exists because sin is inevitable and God, in his mercy, has provided for us a means to take responsibility for that sin. [/Catholic-ness]

Perhaps that clarifies things?