If you’re new to the book club, links to the previous episodes can be found here.
This week, it’s Season 3, Episode 12: “Sic Transit Vir”, recapped by Katherine! I’d like to take a moment here to acknowledge that Katherine is currently carrying this project, entirely, as I’ve just been fantastically busy. Excellent job picking up the slack, Ms. K.
It’s difficult to discuss this show without occasionally wanting to discuss the next one (or the one after that, or the one after that)… or referring to the pilot.
Speaking of which, we never recapped the pilot, and the pilot is worthy of attention, now that we’ve had the Kosh Reveal. Anybody who wants to recap the pilot, feel free to volunteer in the comments. If nobody volunteers, I’ll find a way to get off my behind and resume cultureblogging.
If you want to discuss something with a major plot point: please rot13 it. That’s a simple encryption that will allow the folks who want to avoid spoilers to avoid them and allow the people who want to argue them to argue them.
Hey, if you use Firefox, there’s a simple plug-in that makes this as easy as highlighting text, search Add Ons for “Leet Key” and you’re good to go.
Everyone sitting comfortably? Then onward!
Ivanova wakes up from a nightmare that she’s naked.
In the wake of being told, in an earlier episode, that he will one day be Emperor, Vir is taking a close look at the imperial throne on Centauri Prime when he is surprised by the Regent. The Regent tells him he’s doing a good job, but that he should stop letting Londo “edit” his reports and trust his own judgement, and shares a joke “What’s more dangerous that a room full of angry Narns? One angry Narn with the key!” Vir walks away, opens a door…and finds himself facing a room full of Narns.
Cue intro sequence.
At breakfast, Ivanova is complaining to Sheridan about her nightmares. Sheridan suggests that she may be feeling lost or out of place in the wake of their secession from Earth and is still working through it subconsciously.
Peter Jurasik gets to show off his comedic skills trying to kill a bug – first with a flyswatter, and then with his sword. It’s a testament to the actor’s talents, and one of the show’s great strengths that Londo can simultaneously be an absolutely atrocious person, and absolute comedy gold, and occasionally still a sympathetic character. Right after he manages to kill the bug, a beautiful Centauri women walks in. Shortly after, Vir arrives and Londo reveals that the woman is Vir’s wife Lyndisty. Their marriage has been arranged, and the wedding is in a few days, but she’s legally already his wife. Londo sees this as wonderful, given how lovely she is; you’d really think a man married to Marielle would have more sense. Vir says he wants to marry for love, and over the course of a few conversations and kisses, Lyndisty makes a lot of progress in getting him to fall in love with her.
Elsewhere, Sheridan and Delenn talk shop about the war for a bit, and Sheridan takes advantage of the temporary lull in the action to ask her on a date. So it’s going to be a romance episode.
Zack comes up to the main control room to talk to Ivanova . He’s noticed that more Narns than usual are coming through the station, and the Centauri who approved their passage is called – no kidding – “Abrahamo Lincolni”.
Vir walks into Ivanova’s quarters, and she immediately asks him about Mr. “Lincolni”, as the Narns’ papers came from his office on Minbar. Vir doesn’t try to conceal that it’s him. He says they bring Narn to Centauri Prime to help with construction and in the factories and work camps. He says he’s trying to help. (Being intelligent viewers, familiar with both basic Earth history and with Vir, our immediate understanding is that these work camps are not good things, and our understanding directly after that is that something along the lines of Schindler’s List is going on here. The reason Ivanova doesn’t pick up on it sooner is presumably because she doesn’t know Vir all that well and recent events have left her with a justifiably jaded view of Centauri.)
Sheridan makes a Minbari meal of flarn for Delenn in his quarters. It is, unsurprisingly, terrible, and she is, of course, far too polite to say anything.
A Narn comes at Vir with a knife and tries to kill him; Vir stands in front of Lyndisty to protect her. They just happen to be near Sheridan’s quarters (conveniently!) and Sheridan fights the guy off until security gets there. The Narn yells “Shon kar!” before being shot, which means a blood oath. Lyndisty calls Vir a hero, which he clearly likes.
Ivanova later tells Vir that they suspect another Narn will be after Vir, as the attacker arrived with his brother. Ivanova asks about Lyndisty and Vir goes into a flustered ramble that involves asking Ivanova for sex advice, and then way too much detail on Centauri anatomy (Ivanova’s expression is perfect), which gets embarrassing and hilarious really fast.
Delenn fusses over an injured Sheridan. and suggests romance is in the air on the station. Ivanova rudely interrupts an incipient kiss.
Ivanova and Sheridan stop by Londo’s quarters to inform him that Vir has been forging travel papers for over 2000 Narns, authorizing them to go to Centauri Prime for “work camps”. According to the travel files, all of those two thousand Narns are dead. Again, this really shows that Ivanova and Sheridan don’t know Vir, or they’d realize something is fishy and Londo would be the LAST person they’d reveal it to. If nothing else, you’d think the name “Abrahamo Lincolni” would be enough to tip them off. Londo reminds us why he’s genuinely evil by smiling and commenting, “Well, two thousand dead Narns. It’s a start! Good to see you showing some initiative, Vir.” Vir, anguished by Londo’s reaction, reveals that the Narns aren’t dead – he altered the records so they could escape and no one would go looking for them. They were women, and children, and injured, so he had them sent to other worlds, got them medical care, and moved them to Babylon 5 or other places where they would be safe. (If only he’d had the fortitude to keep it together, be thought the worst of for a short while, and then tell Sheridan and Ivanova sometime when Londo WASN’T around.) “My only regret is that I couldn’t have saved more of them.” But Londo’s very disappointed in him and that affects Vir’s view of his actions.
Lyndisty, in the middle of trying to comfort Vir, goes off on a racist rant that starts out deeply unpleasant and gets worse from there when she takes him to her room to see a Narn who she has tied up – a Narn who tried to kill her earlier. She wants Vir to murder him. The previous Narn attacker was after her as well. Her father was in charge of exterminating Narn, and she went around with her father to watch the killings, and the Narn being burned whole villages at a time. She’s murdered hundreds of Narns herself. Vir is horrified beyond the powers of speech. We don’t get to see how this interaction ends.
Londo has resolved all the political issues resulting from Vir’s actions; all records will be destroyed, and Vir is forbidden to speak about it to anyone. Well, it could have been worse; Londo’s not hunting down the Narns, because publicly revealing they’re still alive would have political repercussions for him. Londo ends Vir’s appointment as ambassador to Minbar and has him resume his position as his attaché. Lyndisty’s family have, happily, reconsidered the marriage now that Vir’s star is no longer on the rise. Londo praises her, saying she is “a good Centauri”. Vir sighs. “That she is.”
Ivanova’s popped into Sheridan’s office to use his security clearances to mock up a Centauri-type image of Sheridan named “Abrahamo Lincolni” to continue Vir’s work, as Londo doesn’t know about the alias. Since Vir’s already made the fake official, they may as well use him. Ivanova says her nightmares were partly because she’d lost her sense of purpose and direction, and working on this effort has brought it back. And she likes being sneaky.
Lyndisty and Vir say farewell. He still hopes she can be rehabilitated. She believes the same of him (“I hope not”, says Vir). They kiss goodbye; even after everything she said, Vir is apparently still attracted.