Lucco Deradi: Are you really the Emperor? Emperor Londo Mollari: I sometimes ask myself the same question. Yes, I'm the Emperor. Here, you see? This is the seal of the Centauri Republic. Only the Emperor can wear it. So either I am the Emperor, or I am in a great deal of trouble. Or both.
The above interaction was from the Babylon 5 movie: In the Beginning. It was made over 10 years ago, and even now, I find myself smiling and wondering at the gruff yet gentle attitude of Londo Mollari, so admirably played by Peter Jurasik. Londo is a man who, if he hasn't seen it all, has likely seen more than he really wanted to. He has seen both the heights and the nadir of the Great Centauri Republic. He delights in telling stories of the halcyon days of Centauri conquests over the Xon and the Shogren ("Do you know what the last Xon said just before he died? AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!"). For all his bluster, he is unsure exactly where he is going in the arc of his own life ("I am meant for something greater. A greater darkness or a greater good, I can no longer say.") Yet through all of that, the one continuous goal he carries with him is service to his beloved Homeworld ("All I have ever wanted is to serve our people.").
He has been as much cause of his people's problems as he has been the solution. When asked by Mr. Morden, "What do you want?" his response demonstrates his hungry desire for the old days of power and glory:
Do you really want to know what I want? Do you really want to know the truth? I want my people to reclaim their rightful place in the galaxy. I want to see the Centauri stretch forth their hand again and command the stars. I want a rebirth of glory, a renaissance of power! I want to stop running through my life like a man late for an appointment, afraid to look back or look forward. I want us to be what we used to be! I want... I want it all back the way it was. Does that answer your question?
What he has no way of realizing is that Mr. Morden is far more than empowered to make Mollari's dream come true, and that when it does come true, it will be more nightmare than dream ... and thus enter the Shadows into the equation of Londo Mollari and Babylon 5 .
With all of that, Londo Mollari is not a man who is so clueless as to fail to recognize a mistake when the clear data is presented before him. He learns this in pieces, with the death of Emperor Turhan and the ascendancy of Cartagia the madman, and it finally seeps into his brain that Morden and his "associates" wield far more power than he is comfortable being responsible for. Sadly, by that time, Lord Refa has also learned of Morden and the power he represents. In time, Londo even manages to correct these mistakes: of Refa, Cartagia and Morden, though even with those corrections, the scale is not yet balanced, as we learn later.
One cannot mention the name of Londo Mollari without also mentioning his compliment: G'Kar. The two started out being little more than comic relief within Babylon 5, impotently bickering and arguing with each other about any topic available, until the arrival of Mr. Morden. Yet as time passes and the wheel turns, Londo evolves in how he sees the Narns, and this one Narn in particular, especially while in the hands of Emperor Cartagia. Londo and G'Kar become tolerant of one another, cooperate in the emancipation of Narn, even become grudging friends, though each knows at some level or other that they will be the end of the other.
It is because of all of the above and more which would not fit here that I find Londo Mollari the most human of all the characters of Babylon 5. Certainly he is the most flawed, at times near-fatally corrupt, but he was willing to learn from circumstances and, I believe, succeeded at meeting the criteria set by Lady Morella:
* He did indeed "save the eye that does not see:" G'Kar
* He did not "kill the one who is already dead:" Sheridan
and most horribly
* He did surrender to his greatest fear (the Drakh and the Keeper), and with barely a flinch. It may have meant his life in the end, but it also meant the eventual liberation of Centauri Prime.
I like Londo. For all his flaws and mistakes, I like the hell out of him ... and I would honestly give a lot to spend an hour or two with him, over a good bottle of Brivari and talk and shoot the breeze ... and be a friend.