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londovir- by iamsab

From fannish5:

Name the five scenes that make you melt in True Fannish Love. Every. Single. Time.

Five? Five?! I can't do that!

Look, I can break it down into two current fandoms, but even then, I don't think I can keep it to five. Let's see:

Farscape

I. The scene that pimped me into Farscape was in DNA Mad Scientist when theycutoffhisARMOMG! I remain uncertain as to what this says about me, but I have always had a fondness for shows that allow their purported heroes to do Very Bad Things (See also: DS9). In a similar vein, I've decided that I like that Aeryn and John were forced by their desperate circumstance to rape Stark, even though the scene in question makes me sparkle with a distinct moral indignation. Oh, and the fact that John gradually becomes a murderer is a point in the show's favor as well.

And argh! See, I've already mentioned TWO. And I'm not nearly finished yet!

II. The scene between Aeryn and Pilot in Family Ties, wherein they discuss naming Moya's child, is a definite gooey moment for me, as was the scene in the same episode wherein John, floating about in his space suit, convinces Moya to preserve her own life first before going after her kidnapped child. (Two more!) I can't quite put my finger on why I love these moments so much. There was just so much... regard for Moya's feelings that I truly felt her- and Pilot too, as her liason- as a living, sympathetic being. That honestly doesn't happen in an ordinary show.

III. In the next case, a picture is worth a thousand words:



IV. Farscape's character deaths are by far the most moving. Stark's reaction to Zhaan's death is so visceral, so biological and so utterly wrenching that I can't help but be affected by it every time. Talyn John's death, ditto. And Chiana's reaction to D'Argo's death? Ditto times two. And that's really three scenes, but I'm past the point of redemption already.

V. Humor! Specifically, Aeryn and John's under-fire wedding/childbirth, but honestly, so many other scenes come very close. The class warfare between Stark and Rygel in Green Eyed Monster leaps immediately to mind.

On a slightly related note, you might be interested to learn that I recently won a bet with my little brother soulonds9, the terms of which involved me forcing him to watch an episode of Farscape. (He did watch the mini with me, but I still don't have him completely sold on the series itself.) My time being limited to one hour, I couldn't show any of the wonderful multi-parters. I had to select a relative stand-alone that I felt was a solid reflection of what I like about Farscape. The episode I selected? ...Different Destinations (though I also entertained the idea of showing him Green Eyed Monster). FS was compared to jazz at Burbank, and DD is a good example- it took a popular sci-fi plot (time travel) and abandoned the usual conventions. It didn't fall for the usual conceit of one little change affecting The Whole Galaxy. And in the end, the damage could not be fixed- not completely. Plus, DD showed us a quieter, deeper, more subtle Stark. And it introduced us to the concept that the Peacekeepers came from an initially honored history, which opens the door for the revelations in the mini. The result? He seemed to like it. The mission to Scape my brother continues.

Babylon 5

aka The Londo, G'Kar and Vir Show

In rough chronological order, with rampant cheating:



I. Born to the Purple, which could've easily been titled "Londo in Love." "You make me alive, you fountain of passion!" Only Londo can say this and make me believe him. *g* I love this entire episode for its adorableness and its sadness and for everything it sets up for later. "We Centauri live our lives for appearances. But when I look beneath the mask I am forced to wear, I see only emptiness. Then I look at you and I say: To hell with appearances." *melt*

II. The garden scene with Vir in The War Prayer, which again features Londo's signature wistfulness: "It was 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. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, 'My shoes are too tight. But it doesn't matter, because I have forgotten how to dance.' My shoes are too tight, and I have forgotten how to dance." This scene also has the added bonus of foreshadowing what will become Vir's singular relationship with Londo.

III. "Mr. Garibaldi- whatever it is, it can't be that bad." "Try to kiss me, and I'll break your arm." Oh, Londo was so kind and so funny and so affectionate here, it makes me all wobbly now.

IV. "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." *sobs* Stop making me love you! *pulls out hair*

V. The Coming of Shadows. The drink. OMGthedrink! And Vir! And G'Kar's breakdown! And Londo's dream! And... *incoherent muttering and whimpering* Hands down my favorite of the Hugo Award winners.

There, you see? I'm at five, and we're not even done with the second season yet!

VI. Vir's scene in There All the Honor Lies- the most underrated scene in the series. You really get a sense of Vir's strain here, not to mention a revealing glimpse at his family life.

VII. The Long, Twilight Struggle- the window. The destruction of Narn and Londo's nonverbal reaction. JMS kept using that shot for a reason.

VIII. The scene on the transport tube between Vir and G'Kar in Comes the Inquisitor. I remember reading an interview once in which Stephen Furst admitted the scene made him cry, it was so intense.

IX. Two enemies, stuck in an elevator, about to die. JMS checks off another box on his Slash Cliche Clipboard, and we get treated to some wicked dark humor, not to mention an insight into how far G'Kar is willing to go at this point to accomplish his vengeance.

X. The rape of Londo and G'Kar's epiphany- the heart and soul of Dust to Dust. We must never forget that G'Kar literally had to climb over Londo's broken body to find enlightenment. I love that. I love that more than words can express.

XI. Sic Transit Vir. What more can I say that I haven't said already, repeatedly? *g*

XII. If someone put a gun to my head and demanded that I pick Peter Jurasik's very best performance, I think it would be his performance in Interludes in Examinations as we watch Londo's emotional arc from breathless anticipation of his lover's arrival to broken despair upon the discovery of her death. And that final scene with Morden? Oh! I hear the lines in my head right now, and I can still feel the rage: "All I want now is revenge. They took from me the one thing that I have ever truly loved. And you will help me, Mr. Morden, to strike them down. Give me this, and the safety of my people, and let the rest of the galaxy burn. I don't care anymore."

XIII. Londo and G'Kar's death in War Without End. "Are you there, my old friend?" *wibble!* What was that Valen thing again? Old!Londo makes me cry just by breathing. His scenes in In the Beginning have a similar effect.

XIV. And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place is so wonderfully, so cleverly written and so rich in Centauri intrigue and angst that I can't resist it. The angst, of course, comes in because we the viewers see the plan play out from Vir's perspective as he is used for Londo's ends. Vir is the sympathetic focal point, the true victim, in all of this, and by the end, it's evident that he and Londo have reached a point of no return in their relationship.

XV. I suppose here I should just say "the Centauri arc in the first six episodes of fourth season." Because a novel can be written on these episodes alone. Every scene between Londo and G'Kar crackled with quiet intensity. We discover the extent of G'Kar's strength and bravery. We discover that Londo's capacity for compassion and his honor have not been lost. We see moments shared between Londo and Vir that are truly poignant, truly moving all on their own. And we see the lengths Londo will go to save his world.

XVI. The long scene between Londo and G'Kar in No Surrender, No Retreat- one of those scenes in which the score and the content all come together to create something truly wonderful. I cried, mysteriously, the first time I saw this scene. I am still awed by it now. "Because while I do not know who the enemy is any longer, I do know who my friends are, and that I have not done as well by them as I should. I hope to change that. I hope to do better. Before war broke out between our governments, you bought me a drink. I wish to return the favor. For the first time in a hundred years, we have something in common beyond hatred. I find that most extraordinary. And so, a drink to the humans. And to the bridge they created between us- in the hope for a better future for both our worlds."

XVII. The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari. For G'Kar, obviously. But also for Vir- for the way he presses his hand up against the window and pleads with Londo not to die. And for this: "You must let go of this, or you will die here, alone, now." "Perhaps that is for the best then." "No. Not for the best." "Why not?" "Because... I will miss you." "And, I suppose, that I would miss you." Vir is Londo's reason to be better.

XVIII. And last, but certainly not least, the Best. Scene. Ever. Londo and G'Kar in The Fall of Centauri Prime. JMS says Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas were genuinely moved while filming the scene- that all of the emotion you see is real. It's really not hard to see why. This is the reason why there needed to be a fifth season. Though Londo and G'Kar's arc chronologically ends with their fated deaths, it emotionally ends here in a moment of love and forgiveness.

Now you'll have to excuse me- I have to go cry now. *sob*

Comments

I must say, I have an almost completely opposite impression of Stark in DD. Chronologically:

And his initial hysteria with the helmet - no given reason, just hysterical ol' Stark being cartoonishly hysterical to add a comic note to the back-in-time sequence.

I don't read that as hysteria at all. Fearful resistance, yes, but not hysteria. The hysteria didn't come until later, when they sought out the time tear again, pushed Jool through, and Stark felt for the first time the effects of the time line change. That was hysteria. But it was hysteria for a clearly identifiable, sympathetic reason, not Stark screaming his lungs out- and later babbling incoherently- for the hell of it. He had just felt trillions of people die.

It doesn't show his grief to have him imitate Zhaan's prayer there, it's just an excuse to get the crazy man to act crazy and use a silly voice.

You're right, but that was not the only time Zhaan was mentioned. In the very beginning of the episode, we saw Stark mourning for Zhaan. When John approached him, we saw him murmur that Zhaan's voice was "gone now." And that wasn't played up for laughs. John's sympathy was a signal from the writer that Stark's feelings were to be taken seriously.

Moving on: After Jool was returned to the future, we had the scene between Stark and the little girl. "Why were you crying?" she asked. "Because of all the pain." Stark's line was quiet, completely non-hysterical, deeply poignant and meant a whole hell of a lot, as did the tearful hug that finished the scene.

Then: Well, yes, when John was tied to the statue and threatened with the business end of a weapon, Stark did get a little manic there. Wouldn't you in his place, if you knew what he knew? That moment didn't seem silly or overblown to me- it seemed completely understandable.

And following that scene, we had the scene between Stark and the nurse among the freshly dug graves, with Stark solemnly praying over the dead. "Fear is good. Keep that. But travel light. Forget hate." That is such a good- such a famous line- and it was delivered by Stark in utter lucidity. Nothing to mock here.

Meltdown: I think my impressions of Stark in this episode may be influenced by the context somewhat, as I didn't like the episode overall, with the ridiculous Lava Boy and the bad porno music. Come on.

And regarding the aftermath of DD: Write it, she demands. *g*


The resistance to the helmet, with no exploration of Stark's reasoning, was comic relief, whether you call it hysterial or fear. It was an example of "Hey, Stark's panicky, so let's show him panicking, cuz that defines him as a character, right?" It was a superficial characterization, not a deep one.

Having Stark scream or get hysterical in reaction to trillions of people dying may be an event for the character you have sympathy for, but that doesn't make it a good characterization or sympathetic portrayal. It seemed perfunctory; "We have Stark in the scene, so we'd better have him react the way we already know Stark's supposed to react, or it'll look funny". We don't get any insights into the character - he's little more than an object, reacting predictably to stimulus. Put large-scale deaths in, get hysteria out - and, you know, now that I think about it, even LGM treated it with more delicacy than that, it was a far more nuanced set of reactions. I don't think that's the writers doing any favors for Stark. He's still two-dimensional there, his reaction is portrayed simplistically. That you sympathize with what he's going through and understand the reaction is a different matter.

It's similar for John's sympathy - because John sympathizes, or is making the effort to, it's not the same as the writer extending sympathy to Stark. Simply because an emotion is expressed doesn't make it the authorial intent - it may not even be more than superficial for John. Stark's feelings aren't taken seriously once in that episode, or none of it would have happened in the first place. The mask would never have been shoved on his face. As far as the Moya lot is concerned, Stark might as well not be there, save for the fact that he got them into this mess and he's the one who can find the rift to get them out.

The scene with the girl, I've already pointed to as the one I liked. :)

Okay, that good and famous line... I do actually have a problem with it. It's not terrible. There are things I like about it. But I find "Fortune Cookie Stark" mode a little painful. It's screams B-movie mystic, and you can look at any kung fu film to find the exact same delivery and the exact same "profound" sentiments, heck, even Yoda, to some extent. It's fun, it's bite-sized and entertaining. It's a nice serious moment that doesn't in any significant way diminish the character, and shows a serious, thoughtful side. It's not good characterization. So I have mixed feelings - I liked that moment, and it made me cringe at the same time.

The porno music was an audio joke, like most of Won't Get Fooled Again was a visual joke. It was supposed to be funny, and I think it worked. :) Lava Boy was... generic. No feelings either way.
Stark's feelings aren't taken seriously once in that episode, or none of it would have happened in the first place. The mask would never have been shoved on his face.

Disagree. John is trying to help, in his own way, but he's assuming he knows better than Stark does what will help, and he's showing more good will than good judgment. It's the entire episode in microcosm.
No, I disagree. :) John's trying to help, but he's not taking Stark's feeling's seriously. The woman he loved got killed, and John forces him, over visible reluctance, to look at an interactive museum exhibit to make himself feel better. How belittling is that, "Hey, I know what'll make your grief better - read this Park Service plaque! No, I mean it! You'll read it if I have to hold you down! It's a good historical recreation, the museum did well! It'll make you feel better about that death thing!" He's just not taking Stark seriously.
Yeah, but that's John, y'know? :)
Yes, I do, and that's why I can say with no hesitation that Stark's not taken seriously in this episode, and an expression of sympathy from John can't be taken as deeply meaningful. :)
Okay, now that I'm awake again and have read through the conversation that took place while I was in the land of Nod, I feel compelled to defend the other half of my OTF. *g* Seeing as John is not telepathic and doesn't have one of those convenient little windows into Stark's head, I'm a little at a loss as to what you expected him to do in that opening scene. Plus, I think you vastly mischaracterize what John was doing. He saw a friend in pain and he was trying to gently distract him. And when Stark expressed fear, he assured him, again gently, that it was perfectly safe and that it was something his lost love might've enjoyed. How was John to know that this wasn't what Stark needed? Or that the helmet would interact with his energy for that matter? Bottom line, he wasn't holding Stark down or coercing him into anything. He was trying to do the right thing, as a friend. He might've misunderstood Stark's signals, but that in no way means he wasn't taking them seriously. Save the rape comparisons for the mini, 'kay?
Distracting a friend in pain is good. Insisting is not. Telling him Zhaan would have liked it is simply manipulative, and not the last time he tries to manipulate Stark by invoking Zhaan - see, for instance, Meltdown. :)

No person with any amount of serious compassion is going to think that the loss of one's love can really be overcome by an exhibit, however affirming. When Aeryn died, would John have responded in any way to a similar action from his friends, or told them to treat his grief with the seriousness it deserved? And given that he had so recently gone through that, this was just self-centeredness on his part, or, at best, rampant idealism disconnected from any actual perception of the situation. When it comes to grief and distracting friends, any reasonable person says that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink -- and to do so when they're hurting could be harmful. Well, John insists that he drink. Yeah, he certainly didn't know what would happen, but he was being stupidly insensitive.

Personally, I think making a rape comparison even about the mini is a bit melodramatic, so that's all you bringing that into play. :)
I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this. I still think you're attributing certain intentions to John that just aren't there. I don't think John believed, for example, that a museum exhibit would overcome Stark's grief- I think he hoped that it would help a little. I do think you're over-stating the level of coercion. And I don't think he was manipulating Stark in this instance by mentioning Zhaan- it just doesn't cross that line for me. (Now, the mention of Zhaan in Meltdown on the other hand- oh, yes, that was full on manipulation.)

And yes, I'm melodramatic about the mini. *g*
I think you're misreading my argument - I'm not saying he thought he was gonna fix all Stark's problems and went about plotting how to do so. He was just stupidly oblivious to the situation - he wasn't paying any attention to Stark in front of him, just to his preconceptions about Stark. He wasn't paying any attention, he just wasn't listening. And that's not taking Stark's grief seriously, whatever the expressions of sympathy. It's not an uncommon reaction in people, and it's not really an uncommon reaction in John - good-hearted, means well, is genuinely sympathetic, but can also be sort of oblivious when it's not about him.
And we go right back to that not-having-a-window-into-Stark's-head thing. I think he was paying attention and was listening, but just didn't know how to interpret Stark's signals. Stark is not the clearest of beings afterall, you've got to admit.

I think you can take something seriously and still do the wrong thing if you just don't have all the information.
John has a really bad habit of taking things on assumption and acting before thinking, and, in a way, this whole ep was about that. It's what he did in the end when he left the nurses in that spot and assumed it'd all work out, and it's what he did to get them into the whole story, by blithely plunging in and assuming it'd all work out. The point of the story was that he learned that he can't; that making those assumptions and relying on having good intentions to make it work out has consequences. He sure didn't have all the information, and some of it he didnt have because he didn't bother to have it, he assumed good intentions would see him through.
I think that's true, but I don't think that in any way makes him non-serious. It does make him innocent.

And personally, when the episode is put into these terms, I think it further emphasizes that the storyline was worthwhile from a character development perspective.
I don't think it does necessarily make him innocent. In some cases it does. In some cases it makes him naive. In some, it makes him a product of privilege. I don't think it made him innocent in this episode - in one case, he was gambling with people's deaths, and crossed his fingers to hope for the best, and in another, he was crossing his fingers and hoping for the best with a friend's emotions. Even if you can argue that he hadn't learned enough about death to know better about the former, to be so casual over something as everyday as grief, which he did know about, shows a self-centered attitude, the guy who can't step outside himself long enough to empathize, even if he can sympathize. It's not uncommon. I don't think it makes John a bad person, or even unusual. But it's failing to take Stark seriously, where he could reasonably be expected to, based on an average human upbringing.

It's a character development for John. You were arguing it's a good Stark ep, and John making a discovery about life doesn't make it a good Stark ep. I would argue that this is also a lesson for John that he's learned already, and this ep seemed like a step backwards in his development. This is S3, John's already learned that the universe screws the powerless, he's already learned that the innocent get hurt and die, he's already learned that sometimes you can't save people. And in this ep, he acts surprised by those things. This is an S1 ep sitting in S3.
Actually, in the very beginning, I argued that this was a good episode for a number of reasons beyond Stark.

Again, we're going to have to agree to disagree. I just don't understand how you can say that what John was trying to do was "not uncommon," that many people react the same self-centered way, and then turn around and expect him to act differently from other ordinary people and, when he doesn't, criticize him for it and call him "non-serious." I think that is fundamentally unreasonable