Recap / Babylon Five S 03 E 12 Sic Transit Vir

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Vir's new bride is a killer.

Sic Transit Vir

Centauri Minister: Oh, I heard a new joke. Hehahaahhh. What is more dangerous than a locked room full of angry Narns?
Vir: Heh, I don't know. What is more dangerous than a locked room full of angry Narns?
Centuari Minister: One angry Narn with the key!
(Vir laughs, turns around, shakes his head and goes to his room, which is full of Narns)

Ivanova shows up in C&C in a bright, chipper mood ready for a new day…except for the fact that she forgot to get dressed. As she realizes this, she startles herself awake.

Vir is on Centauri Prime admiring the throne in the palace when Minister Virini comes to congratulate him on a good report, even though it clearly had Londo’s touch in places, something they found irritating. As Vir goes off to prepare for his trip to Babylon 5, the minister tells a joke about a room full of angry Narns. Vir laughs nervously then goes to his room which is full of Narns.

Ivanova is venting to Sheridan about the dreams where she shows up to work totally…unprepared. Sheridan tells her it’s just her subconscious trying to make sense of all the changes, and it could be worse, she could be having the kind of dream where she’s naked.

Londo is in his quarters fighting a cunning enemy, an insect that has taken up residence in his kitchen, and since he can’t get an exterminator, he has to deal with it himself. Just as he vanquishes the first of them with a sword a beautiful Centauri girl arrives at his quarters.

Sheridan finds Delenn and invites her to dinner, since it’s the first quiet time they’ve had in a while and he wants to make the most of it before the next crisis, and Delenn agrees.

Vir arrives at Londo’s quarters, who has just hidden something in his room and nonchalantly lounges on his couch reading a paper. He asks Vir about the royal court, and Vir says it's more or less the same. After a few more coy questions, Londo finally brings out his surprise, the girl from earlier, who somehow knows Vir’s name. Londo introduces her as Lyndisty and tells Vir she is here to become his wife. Vir is…floored.

They spend some time getting to know each other. The marriage was arranged by her mother and his uncle. She says Londo has told her all about him, to which he jokes it only the good parts, “It was a very short conversation!” Vir had wanted to marry for love but Lyndisty assures him when the time comes it will be.

Zack shows up on C&C with some reports of heavier than usual Narn traffic, which was arranged by someone name Abrahamo Lincolni, which is obviously not a Centauri name. When Ivanova checks which office they came from she’s struck speechless.

Vir and Lyndisty take a walk through the zen garden, Lyndisty flirting shamelessly, eventually kissing him, which overpowers Vir’s defenses.

Sometime later, Vir manages to pull himself away to meet with Ivanova. She wants to know about the transit papers. He didn’t have the authority to approve transfers, so he created someone who did. It’s to get the Narns away from Narn and to Centauri Prime, where conditions are generally much better.

In Sheridan’s quarters, he’s showing off his dish, flarn. Delenn is surpised and delighted at first but as she tries it her face changes and she asks about a picture behind him, adding salt while his back is turned. Before long a call comes in of an attack. Vir and Lyndisty are being attacked by a Narn, and Sheridan rushes off to help. He manages to keep either of them from getting killed, getting his arm sliced for his trouble, but as security shows up, the Narn yells “Shon’Kar”, and tries to attack again. Zack shoots and kills him.

Later Sheridan and Ivanova discuss the implications. The Shon’Kar means it’s personal and Sheridan orders her to look into the Narn attacker.

She calls Vir to her office again and says there may be another Narn, the first one’s brother, and since Shon’Kar compels the family to fulfill their revenge, he is probably still in danger. She asks again if there’s anything he can tell her but he’s still clueless. When Ivanova asks about Lyndisty, he tells her that she’s his wife…almost wife, she is but not yet…it’s a long story. He then takes the opportunity to ask what women want. Ivanova flails around for an answer for a while, especially after Vir tells her he’s never gotten past One before.

Vir: We have six…we have six. Each one representing a different level of intimacy and One is like “eh-ngh” and by the time you get to Five it’s like, *pant, pant*…
Ivanova: Vir, I got it, I got it, I got it, I got it! I really don't know what to tell you, Vir. I've never really gotten this relationship thing down myself, okay? So I'm the last person in the world that should be giving out advice on this sort of thing. All I can say is enthusiasm, sincerity, genuine compassion and humor can carry you through any lack of experience with…high numerical value.
Vir: Oh, I’m going to remember that!

As he leaves she muses to herself, “Six, whoo!”

Delenn comes to see how Sheridan is doing, and starts helping him dress since his arm is still hurting. As they gaze at each other they start to move closer together, closing their eyes for

She tells him they have a serious problem, and asks him to meet her in Londo’s quarters, while Delenn hastily leaves. There Ivanova presents her findings. Vir had forged the transit papers, which Londo is surprised by, but the worst is that all of them, two thousand, are dead!

Ivanova: No wonder the Narns are after you, and anyone close to you!

Meanwhile, Lyndisty walks through a corridor, with a Narn following closely.

Londo is actually quite impressed, much to Sheridan and Ivanova’s disgust, but Vir protests that they’re not dead. He faked the deaths to allow them to go into hiding, since no one cared about dead Narns. He had them sent to colony worlds where they could get medical care and then return to Babylon 5 or other friendly ports. Londo is not happy, especially since he’s the one who sponsored Vir’s appointment. And there’s still one problem: Why is there a blood-oath on him?

Lyndisty finds Vir in the Zen Garden. She takes him to a “surprise”, the Narn who was stalking her earlier. She hasn’t killed him, she saved him for Vir. She tells him how her father worked on Narn essentially as an executioner, and trained her as well. This Narn came from a village they burned to the ground, and she presents Vir with the dagger he was going to use on her, encouraging him to kill the Narn with his own weapon.

Later, Vir is with Londo who has arranged for the closing of the Minbar mission. He’s making sure the records are purged and forbids Vir to speak of it ever again, and he will stay on Babylon 5 under Londo’s tutelage. It also puts the marriage on hold for the time being.

It isn’t the end of it, as Ivanova has usurped Abrahamo Lincolni, who still has the authority Vir gave him and isn’t known to Londo, to continue helping Narns escape to safety. She feels a little more complete now that she has another purpose beyond parking ships.

Vir is bidding farewell to Lyndisty, and each expresses the hope that the other will be able to change and get over their “backwards” ideas. She gives him one final kiss then heads off.

Vir: Well, what relationships don’t have their ups and downs?

This episode contains examples of:

  • Adorkable: John Sheridan may be in charge of a space station five miles long and a quarter of a million people that just broke away from Earth and earned the (sometimes dubious) distinction of being the only human victor over a Minbari warship in naval battle, but put him in front of the girl he likes so he can ask her out to dinner, and he turns into a bashful schoolboy.
    • When Vir is introduced to Lyndisty his first reaction is to hide behind Londo's hair.
  • Almost Kiss: Sheridan and Delenn (damn you, Ivanova!)
  • Ambadassador: Vir
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Centauri. Complete with resistance from within in the form of Vir Cotto.
  • Answer Cut: Ivanova asks who's office Lincolni's papers came through. Cut to Vir.
  • The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: The apocalypse on Narn brought out the best in the former buffoon Vir.
  • Arranged Marriage: Vir has become important enough for noble families to start trying to match him up with their daughters.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Through recordkeeping, Vir has freed thousands of Narns. How? By declaring them dead in Centauri databases, then smuggling them offworld.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Sheridan and station security when Vir and Lyndisty are being attacked.
  • Big Secret: Vir has been smuggling Narns to safety while registering them as dead in Centauri databases. He seems to think that the fewer people who know about it, the better (and is justified when you remember who the Centauri Emperor is). This gets him suspected for actually killing them.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Vir explains to Ivanova that the Centauri have six... Well, they have six.
  • Breather Episode: After the heavy events of the last few episodes, this one has some much lighter material.
  • Bright Is Not Good: Lyndisty likes bright colors. She also likes to kill Narns.
  • Bug War: Londo finds himself having to deal with the insects that have invaded his quarters since he can't get an exterminator in.
  • The Bus Came Back: Vir is back on the station.
  • Call Back:
  • Catapult Nightmare: Ivanova has one in the beginning of the episode.
  • Character Development: An important episode in Vir's story.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Lyndisty.
  • Deadly Euphemism: The Narn are being "put to sleep" by Lyndisty and her family.
    • Earlier in the episode Vir is the first to acknowledge that the "work camps" are forced labor camps.
  • Death Faked for You: Vir is able to smuggle Narns offworld by officially declaring them dead, as no one on Centauri Prime cares about a dead Narn.
  • Defector from Decadence: Being sent to Minbar seems to have this effect on the Centauri. Vir found a way to help the Narn and according to Word of The Great Maker the last envoy dropped his Centauri citizenship and was last heard of trying to grow a bone.
  • Desentienzation: Lyndisty comments that the Narn she's captured isn't really aware.
  • Did Not Think This Through: More Narns than usual have been arriving on the station, many of them with papers approved of by "Abrahamo Lincolni". Ivanova discovers that Vir has invented Lincolni. Vir and Lyndisty are then attacked by a Narn with a Shon'Kar against at least one of them. Nobody investigates Lyndisty, instead Ivanova discovers that the Narns that have been arriving on the station are declared dead in Centauri databases and confronts Londo about it. She proceeds to not listen to Vir's attempt at interrupting her and blows his cover.
  • Disappointed In You: Londo tells Vir that he had expected better.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In-universe example: Londo's Bug War resembles the Centauri view of the Narn. Bugs look bigger if you're scared of them, and Londo's estimation of how big they were was quite off. He also said that they are evolving right before his eyes, and the Narn are now working for station security.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Vir first meets Lyndisty he gives her the same wave he gave Morden.
    • We first see Vir in a subtle reminder that he will one day become emperor.
    • Ivanova's advise to Vir is that "enthusiasm, sincerity, genuine compassion and humor can carry you through any lack of prior experience with high numerical value". This is a description of Marcus.
    • The minister makes a joke about one angry Narn with a key being dangerous. A few episodes ago G'Kar called the humans "the key".
  • Go Through Me: Vir gets between Lyndisty and an angry Narn.
  • Hero of Another Story: Vir has been this for the first half of this season.
  • Humble Hero: Vir "I've never been a hero before" Cotto doesn't think he did anything heroic when he saved 2000 Narns. His uncle told Lyndisty that he is capable of a "quite enchanting and well deserved humility". Lyndisty notes that she's not quite sure what he meant with that, but she's sure it is good.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Lyndisty manages to capture the Narn that was stalking her.
  • I Can Change My Beloved: Both Vir and Lyndisty think the other one can change. Vir hopes that he doesn't.
  • I Regret Nothing: A variant is used. Vir doesn't regret that he smuggled Narn to safety, only that he wasn't more effective.
  • Jumped at the Call: Vir took his chance to smuggle Narns to safety.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Ivanova smoothly covers over her embarrassing dream while still getting the point across by saying she was completely unprepared for work (ie, naked).
  • Lawful Evil: Played with. Lyndisty didn't break any Centauri laws, but there are probably interstellar treaties that the Centauri see as "ink on a page".
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: In an unusually dark example of this trope, Londo tells Vir that he's not to speak about what he did on Minbar to anyone. It may indeed be a good idea not to tell other Centauri, but Londo made it clear that he was more worried about the "scandal".
  • Literal-Minded: Delenn's reaction when Sheridan asks if he can "see her tonight" is to ask if he's not seeing her now and joke about being invisible.
  • Longing Look: Sheridan directs one of the wistful, "I can't believe I'm that lucky" type toward Delenn after she accepts his dinner invitation, in a lighter example of the trope. That man is besotted and it is adorable.
  • Meaningful Echo: Both Sheridan and Vir say that they "had to do something". Sheridan about Vir and Lyndisty being attacked, Vir to help the Narn.
  • Moment Killer: Ivanova's video call is automatically answered when Sheridan and Delenn are having a moment.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Londo's Bug War (see above).
    • The moment where Sheridan officially declares Ivanova the official Babylon 5 Sneak, complete with swelling music. He then tells her to get away from his workstation.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ivanova's face when she realizes that she had just confronted Londo about what turned out to be Vir's Underground Railroad.
  • Never Our Fault: Lyndisty tries this when she hears that Vir's problems has to do with the Narn.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: When they are attacked Lyndisty refuses to leave without Vir.
  • "Not Wearing Pants" Dream: Ivanova has the fully naked kind in the beginning.
    • Claudia Christian apparently had the option of doing it naked or in her nightgown. She opted for naked because it was funnier that way.
    • Interestingly, the fact that she's short on clothing is only the second thing we notice wrong with the scene. The first? Ivanova is actually chipper in the morning.
  • Out of Focus: This is the first episode that Garibaldi isn't in.
    • Despite the focus on Narn-Centauri relations G'Kar is nowhere to be seen.
  • Out of Order: This episode and A Late Delivery From Avalon were swapped. This explains why there are Drazi, Vree and Minbari ships outside the station in both Ivanova's dream and reality, they were supposed to have signed up to protect the station in the previous episode.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Played with. The Centauri don't realize that Abrahamo Lincolni isn't a Centauri name. The humans laugh at it.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Ivanova doesn't tell Vir that she's taking up the mantel as Lincolni.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Sic Transit Vir" could be translated from Latin as "So Goes Man" or "So Goes Vir", referring to Vir Cotto.
    • The phrase "Sic transit" is often used in the phrase "Sic transit gloria mundi" which translates to "Thus passes the glory of the world".
    • In addition to that [sic] is used when you quote something with an error to say that you're quoting it directly. This is averted in the episode since the transit papers had Abrahamo Lincolni's name on them and not Vir Cotto's.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Lyndisty is perfectly nice when she's not helping her father on Narn.
  • Reaction Shot: Ivanova gets a few of these. Notable examples are when Sheridan notes that her dream could've been worse and during Vir's explanation of the Centauri's Bizarre Alien Biology.
  • Running Gag: Everyone except Londo reminds Ivanova of her "Not Wearing Pants" Dream.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: Vir would've rather stayed on Minbar.
    Vir: They're not dead!
    Ivanova: They're not?
    Londo: They're not? Well, then you do have some explaining to do. Can't count on anything anymore.
    Ivanova: But the records Vir.
    Vir: I altered the records so nobody would go looking for them.
    Sheridan: Why?
    Vir: Because I had to do something! There were females and children... some of the local leaders the ones who kept their language and their beliefs. Most of them were injured from us bombing their world and sending them to forced labor camps. They weren't getting proper treatment. If I hadn't gotten them out they would've died. Instead, I had them sent to other worlds, got them medical care and when they were healthier, I had them filtered back here to Babylon 5 or sent elsewhere.
    Sheridan: Then why do the records say they died?
    Vir: Because back home nobody cares about dead Narns, only living ones. While I was here there was nothing that I could do. But while I was running the diplomatic mission on Minbar I had the chance to do something, and I took it. My only regret is that I couldn't have saved more of them.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: The Centauri policies don't stop Vir.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The pak'ma'ra takes one look at the Narn, Vir and Lyndisty before turning around and walking away.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Lyndisty figures out how to stop Vir from rambling.
  • Social Climber: Implied with Lyndisty. When Vir points out that they don't know anything about each other Lyndisty demonstrates that she knows what his title is.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Lyndisty sounds like she's describing a nice and sunny day with lots of flowers when she's talking about killing whole villages on Narn. In fact, she compares the fires burning everything to "brilliant flowers, embracing the spring".
  • So Proud of You: Blink and you'll miss it, but when Vir explains that he had the Lincolninarns sent to other worlds and got them medical care Sheridan smiles at him before the camera cuts away.
  • The Spymaster: Ivanova spends a great deal of the episode trying to figure out what her role is now that the station's no longer under EarthForce. She eventually decides that she's the station's resident "sneak".
  • Stealth Insult: Oh, don't worry, Vir. I only told her the good parts. It was a very short conversation
  • Sue Donym: Sheridan and Ivanova are investigating reports of a Centauri who apparently has ordered the deaths of thousands of Narns. The name? Abrahamo Lincolni. Granted, the Centauri probably wouldn't recognize the name of a major Earth historical figure, but to humans, especially a Fan of the Past like Sheridan, it's a very obvious case of an assumed name.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Vir quickly insists that he didn't touch a thing in the throne room.
  • Take Up My Sword: The Narn Shon'Kar is basically an oath for anyone in the family to take revenge on a particular target when the opportunity presents itself, whether or not the original oath maker has failed. In this case he has, and his brother picks up the hunt.
    • In a more figurative version of this, Ivanova decides to continue Vir's ruse of "killing" Narns in order to lead them to safety, as the "Abrahamo Lincolni" fake identity was never compromised.
  • Tempting Fate: Played with in the beginning of the episode. The minister tells a joke that involved a locked room full of angry Narns and Vir walks into a room full of Narns. Later we find out that they don't have any reason to be angry at him.
  • The Talk: Once Vir realizes he's been shafted into an arranged marriage, he takes the opportunity to ask Ivanova for advice about courting women.
  • Token Good Teammate: Vir establishes himself as this and agrees with Londo that Lyndisty is a true Centauri.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The ads made no bones about Lyndisty's actions, prompting JMS to warn the fans on message boards to avoid them if they could.
  • Trash of the Titans: Sheridan's kitchen is quite the mess when he's been making flarn.
  • Underground Railroad: Vir has been running one to smuggle Narns to safety.
  • Uncanny Valley: Lyndisty's eyes are always wide open and she rarely blinks.
  • Villain of Another Story: This is the only time we see Lyndisty.
  • Wham Line: "They're not dead!"
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Lyndisty has captured the Narn she offers Vir the honor of killing him. Vir is obviously reluctant, but to refuse might expose his true sentiments... and we never see how the scene is resolved.
    • Word of God is that a deleted scene included a line about the Narn being in Medlab. Or, rather, the next scene was trimmed by one line...that one. His defense is that it was a late editing session.
  • With Friends Like These...: Londo is at his nicest when Lyndisty tells Vir that he told her everything about him while they were waiting.
    Londo: Oh, don't worry, Vir. I only told her the good parts. It was a very short conversation.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Some fans' reaction to Vir lamenting that no one would ever think him a hero for his efforts. They point out that surely the Narns he smuggled to safety must surely appreciate his efforts.
  • You Are Not My Type: Inverted. Vir is worried that he is not Lyndisty's type.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Both played straight and inverted. Vir is clearly not happy when Londo approves of his "mass-murder" and even less happy when Londo's berating him for actually saving the Narns he declared killed. In both cases the shame seems more directed at Londo, since Vir does not regret what he did.
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