"And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder"
Forgive me- for the next few days, I'm going to be crying into my journal.
I think selenak said it best:
Falling in love with Londo is the most heartbreaking exercise. One never recovers...
Truer words were never written.
(BTW, you must read her latest. Timov has spoken to her this time, and the results are fantastic.)
A few months ago, I rented the first season DVD's off of Netflix so I could show the early episodes to my younger brother, who was new to Babylon 5 at the time. He started watching when the Sci Fi Channel was into the second season, and thus he didn't get my Londo thing. He still doesn't completely get it, but I think he understands it a little more. *g* I could tell he thought I was the height of weird when I burst into tears watching "A Voice in the Wilderness"- "But don't you see, Matt? He's so funny and compassionate and wistful and he could've been so much more than he was and..." *sound of weeping*- but I did see the light of comprehension in his eyes too.
"We Centauri live our lives for appearances. But when I look beyond the mask I am forced to wear, I see only emptiness. Then I look at you, and I say, 'To hell with appearances.'"
"Something my father said. He was... old, very old at the time. I went into his room and he was sitting alone, in the dark, crying. So I asked what was wrong, and he said, 'My shoes are too tight. But it doesn't matter, because I have forgotten how to dance.' I never understood what that meant until now. My shoes are too tight, and I have forgotten how to dance."
"When I was a young and foolish Centauri, I swore that I would die on my feet doing something noble and brave and futile. Perhaps that was not so wild a dream as I thought... or as foolish."
JMS killed me with moments like the above. Damn it all, but he made me care very much about what happened to this character. That is the brilliance of Londo. If he had been introduced as a villain, his choice in "The Coming of Shadows" would not have been as crushing. If he had stayed a villain in the aftermath of the Shadow War- if he had not kept his promise to free Narn, if he had not helped Sheridan fight Clark, if he had not apologized to G'Kar- his last days before the victory of the Drakh would not have reduced me to tears. If Londo had showed no guilt during the years of his association with the Shadows, and if JMS had not given Londo a kind-hearted companion- namely, Vir- who carried the torch for Londo's essential goodness despite it all, I would not have hoped so deeply and so completely that Londo would turn around.
"And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder" captured the sense of dizzying, out-of-control panic the situation demanded almost flawlessly (hence the A). It could've gotten bogged down in the procedure of the council meeting, but it didn't- this episodes transcended the problems of pacing that troubled much of the fifth season. There was not a single unnecessary scene, and while not every scene packed the same wallop, there were many, many top-flight moments, including:
1. G'Kar assuring Londo that his acceptance of the assignment as Londo's bodyguard was absolutely sincere and not a front to spy on Londo. G'Kar's newfound attachment to Londo is the most poignant element of this storyline- ultimately, it leads to what I consider the Best. Scene. Ever. But the gush on the romance of Londo/G'Kar is for Thursday's entry. *g*
2. Londo's reaction to Lennier's evidence. I could say Peter Jurasik is a master until I'm blue in the face, and it still wouldn't be enough.
3. The goodbye scene between G'Kar and Delenn.
4. Garibaldi blowing his assignment, which ultimately leads to war. This is the terrible, tragic mistake we've been building towards.
5. The aforementioned Vir scene, which made me feel honest-to-God afraid for Vir.
6. Londo's final line as he gazes at the moonlight filtering between the bars of their cell.
7. Delenn's candle speech, which left me weeping a few minutes after the close of the episode.
The only reason "And All My Dreams..." didn't get a plus is that there are episodes that are even better than this one, if you can believe it.