Ave Atque Vale, Vir

Sometimes I have to wonder, and I know I’m not alone in this, if this show is cursed.

As everyone probably knows, we lost Stephen Furst last week. A very good actor, a huge presence in Babylon 5, and by all accounts I’ve seen a very good person.

Furst, as Vir Cotto, comes on seeming to be the bumbling comic relief sidekick to the comic relief main character. It would have been easy to leave him in that role, largely inconsequential to the bigger story. But Babylon 5 never went for easy.

Jon suggested I write something about Furst and Vir this week, but I’m having a problem with that. I’ve never seen Animal House for whatever reason. Never really watched St. Elsewhere. And while I watched Babylon 5 in its initial run my memory is terrible. I can remember general themes and vague impressions but not many details. I’m almost seeing the series for the first time after having dreamt it or had someone describe it to be in vague detail on a long train ride.

But I do remember one bit, the one everyone remembers. Vir was the one who actually stood up to Morden, when no one else would. From this awkward, nerdy fellow, this was a triumph.

Vir was the conscience of the show, the everyperson with a heart of gold and the best intentions, even if he didn’t always know how to achieve them. I may not remember many specific details about the show but I know that Vir was a good man in a very complicated and difficult situation. I look forward to getting to know him again.

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