"If kisses could kill, that one would have flattened several small towns."
REVIEW: The focus on Vir makes this episode principally a comedy, and where Vir himself is concerned, it certainly works. Stephen Furst is excellent at reacting in a humorous way and is a great blurter of awkward statements, giving or receiving all the best lines. Making the conversation between Vir and Ivanova about Centauri sexuality actually work is a difficult proposition, but it does. Furst makes sex noises funny, while still selling how terrified his character is of going all the way to 6, and Ivanova's numerical value metaphor made me laugh out loud. If only the rest of the comedy worked as well. Ivanova's struggle with having dreamed she went to work naked, requiring everyone to say the word "naked" in her presence falls mostly flat (and seems gratuitous when you know JMS tried to court Claudia Christian), and the character's comical asides when no one is present feel staged. The romcom elements of Sheridan and Delenn's slow courtship seem to be on repeat at this point, mostly focused on interspecies cooking problems and badly timed interruptions. As for Londo trying to kill bugs in his apartments, it at least has the virtue of a psychological inference - that Londo is trying to kill his demons/Shadows.
In Vir's new wife Lyndisty, we find another of JMS' broadly evil caricatures I find so at odds with what he's doing with the regular cast. It may be a question of Carmen Thomas' acting, but only in part. She only ever has one tone, and it's that of the aggressively supportive wife. She might be a seductress à la Londo's 3rd wife, really only in it for the political advancement, or culturally brainwashed to dutifully love her husband-to-be regardless, or even a needy child-wife who only needs attention. She's all three, depending. We have to take whatever she says, when she says it, at face value, because the acting doesn't allow for any ambiguity or subtext. So it's very annoying when she turns out to be a psychotic racist killer of Narn going on and on about their lack of sentience with the same smile on her lips. Again, how can JMS write protagonists (Londo included) with so much texture, but have guest-stars like Lyndisty or the Nightwatch who are so obvious and one-dimensional as this? This image of the "good Centauri" created here is of a young girl skipping along, culling people like cattle, la la la. It's a gross simplification of a state's genocidal agenda and those who carry it out, and rings false.
This is all at odds with Vir's own national guilt which has led him to abuse his current station by providing transit papers for Narn refugees and faking their deaths so they would be left alone. Vir's good follows our definition of the term as opposed to Londo's "official" one (though his own guilt is perhaps more about the means than the ends), but if he can exist, psychologically and culturally, as a Centauri, then Lyndisty can't have that simple a portrayal. And no matter how much Centauri males are slaves to their lust, there is no way the final lovers' farewell is acceptable. Lyndisty is an abhorrent individual and Vir shouldn't be falling for her (especially if she's never going to appear again, as happens to so many guest-stars). In a way, that's the complex and ambiguous reaction I would expect from Vir, but Lyndisty just never earns it.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Some of the comedy works, but the flat villain threatens to sink the entire enterprise.