Babylon 5: Sic Transit Vir
November 17, 2018 7:49 AM - Season 3, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Vir's new fiance, Lyndisty, arrives on the station. Ivanova investigates reports of missing Narn. "Are you not seeing me now? I would assume that you see me every time we meet. Unless I have become translucent, or insubstantial, and no one has thought to inform me until now."

-Sheridan asks Delenn out for dinner, prompting the pullquote. He cannot cook worth a damn.
-Vir's fiance, arranged by Londo, is an over-the-top, passionate foil for Vir's awkward virginal never-been-kissed thing. She's also extremely racist against Narn, having claimed to have personally murdered many Narn and to have been present for the executions of thousands. Farce ensues.
-Vir has been acting a bit like Chiune Sugihara or Oskar Schindler, and forging Narn passes under the transparently false name "Abrahamo Lincolni." Somehow this has gotten Vir involved in a blood oath a Narn has taken on for his dead brother, putting Vir's life in danger.
-Turns out all the Narn Vir smuggled out have been killed, thus the blood oath. This thrills Londo. But they're not actually dead, they were smuggled out for medical treatment.
-Vir's fiance brings him to the blood-oath-Narn, captured and bound. It is strongly implied that Vir frees him, to his fiance's chagrin, but the resolution was apparently accidentally edited out of the episode. It's also discovered that the blood oath wasn't against Vir, but Lyndisty, because of the aforementioned "cold-blooded Narn murderess" thing.
-Vir is recalled from the Minbari embassy, as Londo feels he needs hands-on tutoring... and Londo also had to call in a metric tonne of favours to hide Vir's actions as Abrahamo, and had to blame it all on undue Minbari influence. Ivanova takes control of the Abrahamo alias to continue Vir's work, minus the killing.
-Londo has a space-roach problem in his apartment.
posted by flibbertigibbet (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Whatta mess.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 7:49 AM on November 17, 2018

Oy, Lyndisty. That girl. Oy.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:47 AM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

"Thus passes the man" is the translation of the title. Messy episode; Vir is a great character with both comic & tragic potential, but sometimes the show goes too hard on the comic.
posted by nubs at 9:24 AM on November 19, 2018

Yeah, this hasn’t aged well. I’m like “Vir being a war criminal is not something you just get over!”
posted by corb at 9:26 PM on March 25, 2019

I know Straczynski was sole scriptwriter for this season, and so many of his scripts are great... but I wish he'd farmed this one out to Peter David, or another writer. Given the parameters "Vir meets his intended bride for the first time," the revelation "Vir is aiding Narn refugees to escape" and the result "Vir is recalled to Babylon 5", there was a good episode there to be written. But this ain't it.

Partly, I think, it's that JMS has always presented the Centauri conquest of Narn as something to be taken seriously. We watched (with Londo) as the planet was bombarded with illegal WMD, we were told that the casualties were in the millions, we saw Londo's brutal coldness and G'Kar's grief and rage. If we as viewers accept the world of the show, those things are real to us.

So to have war crimes suddenly played for comedy feels... weird. Vir's rescued 2000 Narn refugees? Great, absolutely in character for Vir. But then Vir finds out that Lyndisty has assisted enthusiastically in the mass murder of Narn people... and instead of being horrified and going "oh HELL no", he somehow still fancies her because... she's a great kisser! Ha ha, folks!

It undermines Vir; it undermines the world of the show. The botched resolution to the "what happened to the bound Narn/how did Vir get out of killing him" scenario is the final rock in the gears.

Really, the best thing about this episode is Peter Jurasik as Londo being disgusted by a bug.
posted by Pallas Athena at 11:28 AM on April 27, 2021

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