Fearful but brave
First of all, my definition of bravery is the ability to act despite fear. If people are not afraid in the first place, in my opinion they're not brave - they're fearless.
Vila has a lot of fears - e.g. darkness, claustrophobia, blood, and violence - especially personal. But he can conquer them if he tries, and almost always operates well under fire (e.g. on the neutron blasters, picking locks), often while making jokes and wisecracks. He can get very frightened though if he has nothing to do and time to think, particularly if he's alone. He was terrified by Travis on Exbar (personal violence) and panicked badly afterwards in the storage room after being kicked by Avon (claustrophobia and violence).
He is brave when he's mentally occupied or can use his skills. He can be very brave to help others, e.g. pulling his gun on Kayn to help Gan; staying by the life pods to wait for the crew after the Andromedan war when he could have left; conquering his claustrophobia, fear of the dark and loneliness to set up Avon's Anna cave; rescuing Tarrant on Terminal and trying to rescue Cally; his 'one-man rescue mission' in 'Games'.
Vila almost always objects to violence and murder, (even of the supposed assassin Cancer). His ethics are individual - he considers it immoral of Avon to consider a deal with the London crew (and even suggests killing him in self-defence though he wouldn't do it himself), but crookedness per se is OK. In other words, crimes against property are acceptable, but not against people, especially him. He retains his ethics and personal standards (even if they're not as high as Gan's or Cally's) throughout the series despite physical and verbal abuse from fellow crew members. He describes himself fairly accurately as harmless; he rarely harms anyone intentionally, certainly never a friend or ally. He never pays anyone back for bad treatment (e.g. abuse from Dayna, Tarrant and Avon), though this is probably due to fear of retribution.
He has no qualms about operating the weapons console on Liberator however, and cheers when he scores a hit. It's impersonal; he doesn't see the results. He can delude himself that it's not the same as killing someone face-to-face.
Vila is fairly honest about himself, possibly because he would be a bad liar anyway, with that expressive face which shows everything he feels. He's quite honest about being afraid, lazy, and a thief.
Vila says he is pleased that Cally is back after her capture and torture by Travis, and forces Avon to say so too. He often offers drinks and comfort to crew members who are shaken or hurt, notably Avon in 'Rumours of Death', and is usually the one to ask after anyone who has been hurt. He was even concerned for the unconscious Dorian, trying to make him comfortable in a Scorpio flight chair. And it's always Vila who tries to cheer others up with jokes, drink, or food. :-)
Vila trusts and likes Blake which is why he stays with him, though he considers leaving after Gan's death; he loses a lot of his trust at that point. He also mostly trusts Avon until Malodaar, and certainly also trusted Gan, Jenna and Cally. He consistently mistrusts Tarrant with good reason.
He loses his trust of all of them when no-one stands up for him against Tarrant in 'City', but was probably reassured by his welcome back - for a while anyway.
He is also fairly trustworthy in the big things (but not what he thinks of as the small things - staying alert and awake on watch and teleport duty). He is the only person Avon trusts after Cally dies though he doesn't say so - Vila is the only one ever left in sole charge of the Scorpio, and is even trusted to go off in it and return to pick the others up ('Cancer' and 'Gold').
Resilient and cheerful
Vila bounces back from being terrified or emotionally hurt very quickly in the first three seasons; he's extraordinarily resilient. People insult him or ignore him, and he is usually only briefly hurt (watch his face) but comes back cheerfully for more like a puppy, eager and still hoping to be liked.
In season 4, the systematic denigration (vilification?) and contempt from the others, and the absence of Cally's sympathy and support, demoralise him so much that he loses much of this resilience, is driven to drink, and rarely smiles.
A brilliant thief but not a compulsive one
Although Vila has been a thief from early youth, he steals very rarely in the series, and never on his own account; I can think only of the Feldon crystal necklace off-hand. If he'd been a compulsive thief, he'd have robbed the crew blind, and everyone else encountered, despite the consequences. I imagine he was branded compulsive because he couldn't be conditioned - the Federation bureaucracy stuck him in a handy box because he didn't fit their usual categories.
He seems to get his kicks from demonstrating his cleverness in picking locks regardless of any profit. It's certainly the only thing he's proud of about himself. Perhaps he's a compulsive picker of locks rather than a compulsive thief as such. He loves the challenge, and it's probably the only thing that was ever valued about him.
Taking Blake's watch and going for his wallet was so clumsy and out of character, especially for the skilled master thief he is, I think he did it deliberately in Jenna's sight to look foolish and inept, and therefore no threat to any of the tough characters in the holding cells.
Obviously his second-greatest talent, and he's brilliant at it, even when very nervous and under fire.
The sarcophagus alien says he is a genius pretending to be an imbecile, and later that he has an unusually sharp intelligence. Despite what must have been a rudimentary education, probably not much beyond primary level (given he was in the juvenile detention wards before being shipped to a penal colony at age 14) he has an excellent vocabulary, and learns very fast. He already has detailed technical knowledge related to locks (which would include computers, electronics, magnetic and force fields etc) when he joins the crew, and picks up other skills quickly - the neutron blasters, maintenance, the teleport, even some piloting, and other technical tasks on the Liberator.
He's good enough at chess and the pyramid game for Avon to enjoy playing him.
Although he asks some stupid questions at times (possibly through lack of attention to what has gone before) he can be very astute, as in almost the entire episode of 'Volcano'.
I think he learned very early not to show his intelligence to his fellow Deltas, in sheer self-defence. Being a clever thief though obviously had some social cachet as he never conceals that; indeed he's very proud of it.
He's largely self-educated, but does seem to have a lot of knowledge one wouldn't normally expect from him - e.g. how freighters are pressurised in flight, how to fix a hull breach with a local force field.
I think he's well-read too because of his vocabulary and his love of a good story.
Yes, Vila is irresponsible, and I can understand why. In the criminal world, prison, and penal colonies, responsibility for an action or idea which went wrong would have dire, possibly fatal, consequences. He'd prefer to be a 'technical advisor', or just stay on the fringes. In 'Stardrive', he uncharacteristically makes a suggestion: using a meteorite to disguise their approach, then decides it will go wrong, which it does. His next suggestion is very indirect - a 'drunken' spiel about how to fix the damage without involving him.
He often seems to act like a big kid - "Ooh, I like stories!" - and shows a quite endearing innocence at times, which I'm amazed he ever retained after imprisonment as little more than a child. His 'passes' at women are so inept, they look like those of an inexperienced adolescent. He grows up a lot in season 4, but I'm not sure it's a change for the better, as he also loses his bouncy cheeriness and becomes quite bitter and more withdrawn.
Hey, so am I! People say it like it's a bad thing!
In the first two seasons, Vila often complains of aches, pains, illnesses etc. He seems to suffer more than others after being thrown about the flight deck. He's humorous when he complains about it, but I think he's really unwell. If he'd just been through another attempt at conditioning before being deported to Cygnus Alpha, he would have been affected physically, and the nerve damage heals gradually. Blake never sneers at him for it (perhaps he understands) and though Avon does sneer and joke about it, he seems concerned for Vila before he comes round in 'Dawn of the Gods'. I suggest nerve damage, as it could give him his 'pins and needles' when very stressed (e.g. on Exbar, when Avon and Blake accept this as a quite valid excuse and tell Inga to look after him).
I don't count the various excuses Vila tries to use to get out of dangerous missions ("I've got a weak chest") but I don't think he expects those to be believed.
Vila says he comes from the Delta service grades and I see no reason to doubt that. His accent isn't as upper-class as the others, he uses more contractions in speech and small grammatical errors like 'me' instead of 'my'. He says he 'chose the wrong parents' and bought his grade 4 ignorance rating. From this I'd say he was born a Delta, tested as a higher grade, didn't fancy the hard work and possible danger involved, and bought a low rating so he could live in indolence, obscurity and safety.
I think a lot of the contempt (but not all) the others hold him in is due to his class. No matter how clever Vila is, he can never be an equal to most of them, rather like a southern US black before the 60s. Note who treats him the best. Blake, who is a revolutionary opposed to the repressive Federation system, treats him as well as he treats other crew members (no wonder Vila likes him). Cally who is an alien from outside the Federation, likes Vila and sympathises with him. Gan, a lower grade than the others, and traditionally from another planet, is his only friend. Soolin, also an outsider, seems to accept him well enough after her bad first impression of him. Oddly enough I don't think it even occurs to Vila that class prejudice might be a factor.
Wine and women
Vila enjoys his drink, either adrenaline and soma or wine, but he doesn't need it as an addict or alcoholic would, at least not in the first three seasons. He goes quite long stretches without it, and he is rarely seen actually drunk. He drinks a lot on season 4 (understandably - he's quite badly treated and driven to it) but only appears the worse for wear a couple of times.
Vila often talks about women, and about pleasure planets etc, but I think this is just that - all talk, partially to amuse others, maybe also partially to say "Hey, I'm an adult male" to those who treat him as at best an adolescent. His laughable 'passes' at Dayna and Soolin are attempts to lighten the mood and relieve tension. I think he'd be quite unnerved if one of them took him up on an offer! Note that Kerril makes the first move. I don't think he's the hedonist some make him out to be; see his goals.
We hear what Vila really wants in life only a couple of times - safety, security, a family (swimming in the moonlight with his children). Poor guy. The other over-the-top stuff like the palace with the diamond floors and the virgins in red fur is only to amuse - in this particular case, an almost manic Avon on the Malodaar shuttle who appears to be friends again with Vila.
Vila doesn't want revenge or power or some high unattainable ideal like the others. He really isn't cut out to be a rebel. He just wants happiness, security and love, and the chance to show his lock-picking talents off.
But he'd settle for a friend, and sadly he doesn't even have that after Gan dies.
E for extrovert - obvious: he's friendly and gregarious and can't bear to be left alone.
N for intuition - he senses danger and people who can't be trusted - very often, but he's usually right. He has a fertile imagination, also a feature of Ns. Also, Ns form their world-view internally rather than based on external influences, and as I said above, Vila is consistent in his.
F for feeling - as an extrovert he shows all his feelings very openly, and uses feeling rather than logic for his decisions.
P for perceptive/playful - he's very playful, and enjoys the process rather than the end result.
What is an ENFP like? Some comments I found - I think they match Vila very well:
ENFPs have a great deal of zany charm, which can ingratiate them to the more stodgy types in spite of their unconventionality. They are outgoing, fun, and genuinely like people. As mates they are warm, affectionate, and disconcertingly spontaneous. However, their attention span can be short; ENFPs are easily intrigued and distracted. Less mature ENFPs may need to feel they are the centre of attention all the time, to reassure them that everyone thinks they're a wonderful and fascinating person.By the way, I'm an INTP, which is what a lot of people say Avon is, yet I find Avon cold, arrogant, and in season 4 often quite repellent, and Vila the most attractive personality of the lot.
ENFPs often have strong, if unconventional, convictions and ethics.
ENFPs are pleasant, easygoing, and usually fun to work with. They come up with great ideas, and are a major asset in brainstorming sessions. Follow-through tends to be a problem, however: they tend to get bored quickly, especially if a newer, more interesting project comes along. They also tend to be procrastinators, both about meeting hard deadlines and about performing any small, uninteresting tasks that they've been assigned.
ENFPs hate bureaucracy and authority, both in principle and in practice.
ENFPs are very friendly. Most are really enjoyable people. Some of the most soft-hearted people are ENFPs.
ENFPs have what some call a "silly switch." They can be intellectual, serious, all business for a while, but whenever they get the chance, they flip that switch and become CAPTAIN WILDCHILD, the scourge of the swimming pool, ticklers par excellence. Sometimes they may even appear intoxicated when the "switch" is flipped.
ENFPs like to tell funny stories, especially about their friends.
Close enough is satisfactory to the ENFP, which may unnerve more precise thinking types. Amazingly, some ENFPs are adept at exacting disciplines such as mathematics. (Or picking locks - Nico)
Friends are what life is about to ENFPs. They hold up their end of the relationship, sometimes being victimized by less caring individuals. Some have real difficulty being alone , especially on a regular basis.
People have suggested this was because of his low status (Delta service-grade 'boy'), or because there may have been a relative widely known as Restal. I think the answer's simple. He has been wanted all his life under the name of Restal. I can imagine him living in obscure comfort in a sub-leased apartment, always using cash, and being known only as Vila to acquaintances and drinking buddies at the local pub. The law's enquiries for a Restal wouldn't turn him up easily. After that, it would be pure habit; he'd be very uncomfortable being called Restal.
Why didn't Vila go with Kerril?
Vila did try to explain in the little time he had, which made him sound like the compulsive thief he isn't (although he may be a compulsive lock-picker). He says first that there's nothing to steal on Homeworld, he then goes on to say that he breaks into safes and vaults etc because he can and no-one else can. He depends on technology and its intellectual challenges, and what would there be for him on a pioneer world? Kerril has seen him at his best - breaking into a very difficult vault, solving problems, and being brave, charming and kind - she probably wouldn't like 'what was left' - Vila would not be good at whacking nails into wood and raising barns, and he'd miss his intellectual pleasures: chess, reading, good conversation.
Vila's 'kill' and the 'blooper'
Vila's credited with one kill, of a Federation trooper on the Feldon crystal planet, and it looks very callous, especially for him. People also complain that the trooper has disappeared in a later scene. However Vila had a Scorpio gun, and they had different clips. Vila would have only used a stun clip; anything else would be out of character. I notice that even so, he lets almost all the troopers run by, attracts the last one's attention with a whistle, then stuns him - with his eyes squeezed tightly shut! The trooper isn't there later because he's come round and crawled off.
Why couldn't Vila be conditioned?
Why could Cally feel Vila's pain?
Why was Vila 'got at' on Ultraworld?
Why did Vila go on his Space City binge?
Why did Vila have so many teleport accidents?
I don't know why Vila couldn't be conditioned, but he must have had some unusual mental ability to avoid it. As I think he did, which nicely answers the other questions in this group, I'd say he had a method of shutting his mind off from the conditioning.
Cally said she could receive only from another Auron, but she could sense Vila's pain when he was on Chenga. He was also mentally 'got at' by the Sarcophagus alien (more so than anyone but Cally) and in 'Ultraworld' (the only one besides Cally). So I think he has some form of telepathic sensitivity without knowing it. He can probably pick up and receive vague impressions from others, though certainly not thoughts as such - perhaps a heightened awareness of others' feelings. He is after all quite a sensitive person.
Perhaps he could sense danger as well; he said he did, and was usually right too.
If he was more susceptible than the average human, perhaps the other-dimensional alien who influenced Cally in 'Shadow' also was able to induce him to hide Orac and go on his binge (which was an attractive thought to him anyway) - an incredibly stupid action, and a very dangerous one for him personally, and the others, with a million credits on their heads.
Vila was also prone to teleport accidents, starting with landing on his backside (Avon says 'head' as either a joke or mistake) when teleporting to the alien vessel in 'Sarcophagus'. That accident was due to the alien's influence; Avon and Vila were only able to teleport back with Cally's help. Vila's accidents start after that. I think he lost his trust of the teleport, and somehow affected its working properly for him. Teleports must be very sensitive to telepathy, as Cally was able to make it work with her mind-power, so Vila's subsequent distrust and fear affected it adversely.
Speculation, but it fits a lot of the facts, and I'm using it in a story I have planned.
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Last changed on 26th of October 2001