Hobsonphile (hobsonphile) wrote,

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

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

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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.
Tags: babylon 5

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