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Sic Transit Vir


Vir's star seems to be rising on Centauri Prime. His reports from Minbar have been well-received (save for the notice that "parts of your reports sound like they were written by Ambassador Mollari"), and his mission to Minbar is considered a success.

With Vir's new position come new rewards: namely, an arranged marriage to a girl from a good family. Lyndisty (Carmen Thomas) is a beautiful young woman from a high-ranking Centauri family. Her family and Vir's family have arranged the marriage without Vir's knowledge. Now, as he arrives on Babylon 5 during a return trip from Centauri Prime to Minbar, Lyndisty is there to greet him - a "surprise" from Londo. And when this beautiful young woman seems purely enthusiastic about the idea of marrying Vir, it doesn't take long for Vir to adjust to the idea.

All is not bliss for the young couple, however. A Narn is shot by security while attempting to kill Vir and Lyndisty. The Narn is not alone; his pouch brother is also on the station.

But why, Sheridan and Ivanova wonder, would anyone want to target Vir...?


"Thus Passes the man, Vir."

For the past season's worth of episodes, Vir has been coming more and more into his own. Gradually gaining confidence through the first season and the early second season, the attaché who pleaded with Londo not to create a war with the Narn in The Coming of Shadows was a far cry from the bumbling "comedy relief" character who stumbled his way on-screen in Midnight on the Firing Line. The strength of Vir's convictions showed itself in his confrontation with Morden in In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum. His feelings of guilt at being unable to stop Londo and Morden were vividly displayed in his "apology" to G'Kar in Comes the Inquisitor.

That last episode was a key one in Vir's development. When G'Kar's response to Vir's apology was to demand to know how the young Centauri could possibly apologize to the dead, Vir was unable to answer. "I can't," he said weakly. "Then I cannot forgive," G'Kar replied, his voice hoarse with physical pain, barely repressed fury, and utter grief.

In this episode, Vir finds an answer to G'Kar's question. He can't apologize to the dead, but he can do something for the living - and he does, in his own, quiet and unassuming way. "I've never been a hero before," he says goofily to Lyndisty, when she dubs him a hero for standing between the attacking Narn and her. But we discover as the episode goes on that he is a hero, and in fact has been one for months. That Vir himself never seems to recognize how impressive his actions have been (when found out, he simply cries that he had to "do something") seems entirely in keeping with the modest little man faced with the impossible task of being Londo's conscience. However, his operation - created and executed with enormous success in the very short span of a few months - also demonstrates Vir's innate resourcefulness. A man who is able to so successfully turn the weaknesses of the Centauri system against it is a man I can see becoming Emperor someday - and a damn good one, at that.

I also like the fact that Vir becomes utterly smitten with his fiancée, and never at any point stops being smitten. I actually quite enjoyed Lyndisty as a counterpart for Vir.

In her own way, Lyndisty completes Vir because she is as much an innocent as he is. Where Vir is innocently good and moral, however, Lyndisty is innocently and naively evil. She speaks of her growing love for Vir with the same breathless, adolescent naiveté (complete with amateur poetry) that she uses to speak of killing Narn, of culling the herd, and of watching Narn villages go up in flames. She displays no self-awareness at all. Murder is a fun game, one she delights in the same way a child might delight in a game of tag. There is no spite or viciousness whatever, which enhances the chilling quality when she recites Nazi-like rhetoric. She is a beautiful woman and a small child all at the same time, talking of mass murder in the same tone of voice she might use to speak of the beauty of a firefly, making her both disarming and terrifying at the same moment.

The script does manage to neatly tie the "A" story with Vir into the subplot with Susan's nightmares, as well. Vir's work is discovered... but the discovery gives Susan an idea which helps her to deal with her own feelings of powerlessness. It's hardly revolutionary writing, but the dovetailing of the subplots is nicely done.


Okay... so what happened to the Narn that's tied up at the end of the episode? Obviously, Vir isn't going to kill the Narn, not even with Lyndisty making googly-eyes at him. Just as obviously, he can't let the Narn go; having sworn a Shon'Kar, the Narn would immediately go after Lyndisty again. Presumably, he calls Security and lets the Babylon 5 staff sort it out from there. Still, it would have been nice to have seen the resolution to that particular fade-out. The unresolved fade-out here is atypically sloppy for this series.

Also, not a note against the episode itself, but watching the original episode preview on the DVD made me very happy that I had already seen the show, as the promo gives away the plot twist! (Not that it was a particularly difficult twist to see coming, but still... bad form, PTEN).

My Overall Rating: 7/10. Not nearly as strong as the handful of episodes preceding it, but good-humored and highly enjoyable.

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