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londovir- by iamsab

Episode #4 in the Era of No Vir: "Strange Relations"

Morden, Minion of the Shadows
Morden, minion of the Shadows


Which Babylon 5 Villain are You?
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Heh. I've always believed Morden was the coolest baddy. He was possibly the best personification of temptation ever written for television.

Regarding the Era of No Vir: I made Vir my icon for a reason- I love him. I adore him. I want to jump through the screen, kidnap him, take him home, and make him my teddy bear.

Ahem. Anyway, unfortunately for me, between "The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari" and "Meditations on the Abyss" Vir pulls a very convincing disappearing act. JMS will have to forgive some of us viewers for believing he had an unfortunate accident in an airlock somewhere. I understand the issue with the contracts, but would it have hurt to at least acknowledge his existence every once in awhile? Maybe a line from Londo mentioning that Vir would represent the Centauri in his absence? Or something? Vir had more of a presence when he was assigned to Minbar for Great Maker's sake!

All right, now that the mini-rant is out of the way...

"Strange Relations"

Overall Grade: B-

This was an average episode with some good moments.

1. The award for favorite scene goes to Londo in the Sanctuary. (Aside: You all should probably know that I will be flying my bias towards Londo, G'Kar, and Vir like a banner. Don't say you weren't warned.) As ever the soul of fatalism, Londo gives us our foreshadowing moment of the day:

"I don't know why or how or where. But I can feel it to the very core of my being, Mr. Allan. This is where it begins to go badly for all of us."

But beyond the foreshadowing, this scene is interesting because it further emphasizes Londo's isolation from his own homeworld. Without trying to and without expecting it, he has become emotionally attached to this tin can and the people who live within it. The higher Londo climbs and the more power he gains, the more affinity he feels for Sheridan, Delenn, and G'Kar (and the less he feels for his own people) because Sheridan, Delenn, and G'Kar understand the curse of vision.

Babylon 5 is on one level the story of great individuals. Sheridan, Delenn, G'Kar, and Londo are all visionaries, gifted leaders, and patriots- and all eventually find themselves staring across a gulf that divides them from the people they seek to serve. Sheridan leaves Earth Force and his ties to home to seek a more ecumenical relationship with other races. During the Minbari civil war, Lennier observes of Delenn that she exists in a world that is separate from that of the others. Delenn's choice to seek a relationship with the Humans- to follow her vision- and to abandon the provincialism of her own world leads to alienation from her society, an alienation that I believe still exists despite her ultimate position as a revered and honored figure. In a similar fashion, G'Kar's horizons are expanded as he comes to understand the common bonds that unite the races. He suffers and bleeds for his people, but his revelation keeps him apart from them. After Narn is freed, he stands before his people... and finds a lack of comprehension.

And then there is Londo. Londo, who sacrifices his soul in an attempt to achieve his vision. Londo, who does many great and terrible things in the service of his people and ultimately finds himself without real friends among the Centauri, save Vir.

No wonder Londo and G'Kar become so attached to each other. They are alike in their alienation.

2. Bester is delicious, as usual. His confrontation with Lyta and his intimacy with Byron are definite highlights.

3. Lochley never excited me as a character, but I like her here. She firmly establishes herself as a credible counter-point to Sheridan's to-hell-with-policy approach. However, I was never convinced that these two characters ever did the horizontal mamba together, and I fail to see what this revelation actually added to the plot.

4. I must admit, I'm in the hate-Byron camp. Parables? Who does he think he is? Jesus? Unfortunately, there is very little commentary from JMS on these episodes at Lurker's, so it is hard to divine what precisely JMS was intending. If JMS intended for Byron to come off as a cult leader, then I may revise my opinion of the character somewhat. The bad romance dialogue, however, will forever irritate the bejesus out of me. Sorry.
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Comments

I actually like Byron, because I think he was intended to come across as a very flawed religious leader - the counterpoint to Sheridan's perfection, and in a way a criticism of it. Byron is interesting because he's nowhere near the messiah-like figure he thinks he is.

You're right about the romance dialogue, though.
Byron is interesting because he's nowhere near the messiah-like figure he thinks he is.

Yes. Again, if JMS intended for us to think of Byron in these terms, then the character was successful. But if he was meant to be heroic...

Of course, I will have more of an opportunity to examine the problem of Byron in next week's episodes, which cover a large chunk of his arc. But one thing I will mention now, since it has already been hit on in the show, is Byron's lack of comprehension of and/or respect for the desire of "mundanes" to maintain the privacy of their own thoughts. His refusal to use the standard methods to block out the thoughts of others and his casual scan of Garibaldi are chilling examples of this attitude. To me, this seems rather like deliberately walking in on someone when they're in the shower. Our thoughts are chaotic, unformed, and sometimes uncouth- we are vulnerable in our own minds, and we deserve to have that vulnerability protected.

Thinking about this deeply, I begin to understand why an organization like the Psi Corp came into being. (I have not read the Psi Corp trilogy, by the way, but it is on my reading list. I imagine that series goes into more detail on this subject, yes?)

PS: Tomorrow I will post my promised anti-Sheridan rant focusing on "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars"- I taped this one, and I have not yet gotten around to taping over it. *eg*

back online after the weekend...

...and catching up with fascinating posts.

Re: Byron. I understand your irritation but I believe he's meant to be flawed. See Zack's comment to Lyta, for example. Also the fact JMS has a self-confessed soft spot for Bester. Basically, Byron's demand for a telepath world and his attitude re: casual scanning are just as Psi Corps, only he doesn't realize it.

Psi Corps Trilogy: possibly the best written threesome of the B5 books. The first one covers the origin of the Psi Corps, plus some fascinating family background for Bester and Lyta both, and the second and third are about Bester specifically.

More later...
I'm also fascinated by the Byron/Lyta romance, which I think was my favorite of the canon romances (not like there were so many to choose from...all the good romances are in the subtext.) It just seemed to fit both of their emotional problems so well to be with each other. Lyta needs to be swept away, to be part of something bigger than she is when she's in love. Kosh was a perfect partner for her. (I'm convinced that Lyta was in love with Kosh - and I think it wasn't so unrequited, either.) Byron has no boundaries, and he needs to be with a woman who won't demand any from him. I really liked their love scene with everyone watching. I thought that was just so them. The only thing I thought was done wrong - and given the constrains of TV, couldn't really have been gotten right - is that I can't imagine their relationship was monogamous. I think it was strongly implied that Byron was sleeping with all his followers, and I'm sure once Lyta became his lover she was doing the same thing. At least I hope so.

Looking forward to the deconstruction of 'Deconstruction.' Let's have a Sheridan-bashing party. I'll bring my pike.