|January 7, 2000
The wound Aeryn received from the intellivirus-infested Larraq in A Bug's Life damaged one of her vital organs--- and the only treatment is a compatible tissue graft. The only place to get such a graft is the Gammak Base that the commandos were headed to. So John and Chiana take off for the PK base in another deadly masquerade, while D'Argo and Zhaan try to keep Aeryn from deteriorating. But old and new enemies may prevent any of them from coming out of this alive.
Aeryn: Do Humans have some sort of ritual for occasions like these?
Crichton:Well, there's the handshake. Then, 'good luck'.
Aeryn: [Takes his hand, shakes it.] Good luck.... How's that?
Chiana: Mmmm... I could get real fond of this place... The raslac here is good and strong.
Heskon: Is that how you like it?
Chiana: Mmm... Strong and hot. Makes the mouth tingle. Helps it go down smoooooth... and sloowww.
Chiana: I'm going back to the lounge. Let our good friend Mr. Chief Security Officer buy me another raslac.
Crichton: Come home *alone*.
Rygel: Oh, um, I came to see how you were doing.
Aeryn: You came to see if I was dead so you could start going through my possessions.
Rygel: Oh! I resent your unfounded accusation! Furthermore, you have no possessions worth taking.
Aeryn: How inconsiderate.
Rygel: Yes, how terribly inconsiderate.
John: Damn, don't you hate it when the batteries go dead?
Insane Roommate: This is my side, that's your side! This is my side, stay on your side! My side, your side! My side! Your side! My side! Your side!
John: Danger, danger, Will Robinson... Beware the chair... Beware... The chair....
Aeryn: I'm not going to die?
D'Argo: As you once said to me, you will die... but not today.
Aeryn: Where is he, I want to see him [John].
D'Argo: You will. Soon.
Okay, who do we hate more --- Scorpius for torturing John, or Richard Manning and Rowan Woods for torturing us? Hands in the air, people! Left for Scorpius, right for the production crew! [Pause for counting] That's right, Manning and Woods, ladies and gentlebeings! Let's give 'em a big hand for starting the scream that echoed 'round the world with that "TO BE CONTINUED"! Arggghhh.... Five more days, five more days....
Much as I loved this ep, I wanted to smack John. Several times. Not because he was willing to risk so much for Aeryn --- that had me eeping and jumping with joy--- but because he just was *not* planning ahead! No other quibbles with the rest of the plot, and I noticed great in-show continuity --- references to both previous experiences and character development over the first season. But if it hadn't been for Chiana and Gilina, John would've been busted much sooner. This flyboy approach to danger has got to stop! Sheesh.
sigh Something which I'm sure his little experience in the Mental Dental Chair from Hezmana has undoubtedly made clear to him. Those sequences were standouts in an already great show. Classic Torture-the-Hero stuff straight from Buck Rogers, but staged about twenty times better. Ben Browder was *wonderful* portraying both the physical pain and John's growing fear of what he might say, and his half-crazed amusement with parts of the situation (which could also get him killed real soon!). Add on his sweet moments with Aeryn, the almost note-perfect impersonation of Larraq (down to the body language and accent), and his amusing chemistry with Chiana, and the man should get his own mini-Emmy for this ep. And another one to Richard Manning, for exploiting every possible emotional angle in this sitch.
Chiana, well.... I hereby forfeit all my membership dues in the Maybe-Hating Chiana Club. I *like* her. The seductive moves in the bar and her flirty interaction with John were hysterical, but her conversation with Gilina about John & Aeryn was even better. Gigi Edgley did an awesome job, and it was really obvious that Chiana is *alien* here--- her physical movements give her away every time, no matter how bad of a wig you perch on her head. Plus, killing Commander Javio didn't seem to phase her at all. Even while she acts a little more responsible and kind to her friends, she's still got that off-balance anger toward anyone who threatens her; I'm very much hoping she survives until next season, so we can see more of her.
Gilina. Hmm. You know, I never *hated* Gilina... and I'm feeling awfully sorry for her now. She's the Betty, the Sweet Good Girl, and who wants to be that? It's a thankless, boring job. First she overrides the DNA scan, then she gets the tissue sample for Aeryn, then she contacts John so they can retrieve it, and finally, she authors Chiana's escape. All because she's a nice person ... and she's very hung up on John. Who, it's obvious after one attempted kiss, is no longer quite as interested as he was eight or so months ago. He's changed a *lot*--- been marooned, almost been killed, had to kill a few more people--- and it shows. John staying behind to let Chiana help Aeryn finally clued Gilina in that there's no hope for them. Ouch. But she still did the right thing, and didn't whine about it. That's class. (And applause to Alyssa Jane Cook, who had her own thankless job playing Gilina, and made her poignant and real.)
So why do I get the feeling she's wearing a shirt with a big ol' target right now? If she survives this entire four-episode arc, I'll eat one of Rygel's marjol things. (Assuming he'd let me near them....)
Scorpius looks like a corpse that was left out in the sun too long, but he *is* a first-class Bad Guy. He has the cool evil toys; he has the power. He's smart. Controlled. Patient. And so arrogant, he doesn't have to prove he's smarter than you. You don't matter that much. Eep! As a continuing bad guy, he has a lot more potential than Crais--- when these two are in the room together, it's obvious who's the bigger threat. All the questions we have about Scorpius (what species is he, how did he hook up with the PK's, is that chick his daughter or his apprentice or his personal dentist) make him even more intriguing. But you know what? When John was giggling because they outsmarted Scorpius, I knew exactly how he felt, and all that mattered was that Scorpius lost. Ha ha ha! Hate this guy! Yeah! Good! Now, if only he's even worse off at the end of next week's episode, *I'll* be happy....
Aeryn didn't have much to do this time, except drift in and out of consciousness, but before things got too bad, Claudia Black did her usual stand-out job of portraying her. Whenever I think I know how Aeryn's going to react to something, I'm wrong--- she's much stronger than anyone you'd imagine. Facing certain death, she's angry about it, but after one breakdown, she keeps any fear or grief so completely to herself that you'd almost swear it wasn't there--- except in the little, tiny giveaways that make her scenes with Crichton so good. Gilina may be the Good Girl; Chiana may be an Alien Chick with Attitude; but Aeryn is the Heroine. No doubt about it.
D'Argo, ahh, D'Argo. That's the voice I want reading me bedtime stories. Absolutely lovely stuff from Anthony Simcoe all the way through, showing D'Argo caring for Aeryn and trying to help Zhaan keep her alive. Good enough to inspire a new groupie section on the BB --- those who want Aeryn and D'Argo to get together, or think they're going to. Aeryn and John are more than shipmates to him now, even if he never says the words; they're friends, almost family, and his reaction to John's predicament next week should be just as fantastic as his help with Aeryn was during this ep.
Not much Rygel, Zhaan, or Pilot in this episode, but what little there was rocked. Rygel's would-be graverobbing continues (although I think he also wanted Aeryn to be okay, just a little bit), Zhaan did her medico stuff with compassion and panache, and Pilot continues to be the best back-up you'll ever find. And Moya gets kudos for helping keep Aeryn stable. Is it next week yet? Please?
Did I love "Nerve"? Oh yes. Plenty of angst, giggles, torment, continuity, and suspense. The kind of things we live for in a show. Although having this episode air more than two months after A Bug's Life *did* screw up the flow from one ep to another, especially since it takes place only days after the end of the last one. Still, that's a minor quibble. The *BIG* one is labelled "TBC" -- and the only cure for that will be given to us on January 14. < whimper > If I last that long....
I'm with Kiki, someone's gotta die. Not that the episode isn't wonderfully, thrillingly, nerve-tinglingly, nail-bitingly excellent. Mostly because it's... well, you know. Like the first part of any multi-part arc, the episode is essentially setting up the next three, but it does so without drawn-out exposition, or any exposition at all. And there's lovely character development for Chiana (I officially adore this child), some great John moments, and reappearance by our old friend Gilina, and terrific continuity. Watching 'Nerve', it almost feels like the entire first season has been leading just to this.
Almost -- introducing Scorpius, our brand-new uber-baddie, somewhat out of the blue interfered with the sense of motion a bit, but I'm not going to complain. Crais, while delightful to throw popcorn at, is really hard to take seriously as a villain. Scorpius doesn't have that problem. He is most definitely an ick; far too intelligent for his (or anyone else's) good, takes himself entirely too seriously, and had no discernible emotions or soul. Still, that lack of humor about himself looks to be his only weak point -- he did not like having John laughing at him. Uh-uh. Looking forward to seeing what this guy can do. Then looking forward to seeing him die. Oh yeah.
Still, the episode moved. Unlike many other shows, Farscape is throwing new viewers into the deep end and assuming they're intelligent enough to pick things up without having it all laid out in nice, neat, boring exposition. There are no drawn-out rehashes of 'PK Tech Girl' to explain about Gilina, the back-story for Crais and 'A Human Reaction' is inserted logically and necessarily into the story itself, the Larraq/bug stuff gets handled in dialogue and John's memory flashbacks (I knew he was gonna be making like a clip show during the torture, I just knew it. Kudos to the editors, by the way, nice work). Really nice, not only building on the past stuff, but setting up the future, with Scorpius and the wormhole knowledge in John's head.
It's the John/Gilina/Chiana show for this installment, and Chiana, for the first time, really comes through. The lifted ID card from last week, the insistence on joining John (although how much of that was really wanting to help and how much was hoping to pick up a highly-ranked PK sugar daddy remains to be seen), the expert playing of every male in sight... she did good. She did real good. I particularly loved the scene with her and Gilina -- Gilina knowing Chiana is lying about John loving her instead of Aeryn, but willing herself to believe it, and Chiana willing to say anything to keep their ally. Really great work between the two actresses.
And I love seeing Gilina back, although I have serious doubts about her life expectancy. She's a nifty and non-deus ex machina plot device to save their butts, but serves as even more. By comparing the John she first met, who would have raced across the room to hug her, with the John she meets now, who holds a gun on her until convinced she's not going to do anything bad, we can really see the changes in John, as if it's been six, eight months since we last saw him, too. And if she manages to stop talking herself into believing John is in love with her, things are going to get interesting. Excellent work from Alyssa-Jane Cook, and from Ben.
Back on Moya, Aeryn gets to be sick again, and we get to see more changes by watching the people around her. Flash back to D'Argo at the beginning of the show -- brash, hot-tempered, with no patience for weakness. He can lay a hand on Aeryn's shoulder as she prepares to die for them, but that's all. Now, he takes the lead in caring for her instead of Zhaan. He holds her hand, refuses to leave her side, and is determined to get John back, not so much for John's sake, I think, but for Aeryn's. Methinks she's reminding him just a bit too much of Lo'lann, no? Masterful job by Anthony Simcoe; it never fails to amaze me how much he can convey from behind all that latex.
And as for John... Poor John. More torture. As if the man hasn't been through enough. Ben Browder is doing an awesome job, and I don't think anything more really needs to be said. < shudder > It's been lovely, but I'm going to go scream now. See you in a week.
1.20 The Hidden Memory
|January 14, 2000
As Pilot, Chiana and Rygel try to help Moya give birth (and survive the process themselves!), D'Argo, Zhaan, and a shaky Aeryn saddle up to rescue John, who's still being tortured by Scorpius back on the Gammak Base. Escape may be possible --- but not for everyone.
Crichton: I'm not... blocking... anything! [giggles] ... about wormholes.
Stark: Stop! If you don't stop, I'll have to kill you.
Crichton: Give it a couple days. I think Scorpy and Peacekeeper Barbie will do it for you.
Rygel: I am calm! I... I've conceived hundreds of progeny! And those were just the official ones, with my wives.
Chiana: Then you should be able to help. You must know what to do---
Rygel: I was never present at the births!
Chiana: Not one?
Rygel: Well, of course not! I think this is a trifle different, don't you? My progeny were tiny. Tiny and handsome--- like their father.
Scorpius: I know you're living on a stolen Leviathan with escaped prisoners, and I know that the Leviathan is pregnant.
Crichton: Do you know who the father is? [giggles]
Scorpius: What is that, hmmm?
Crichton: I don't know. Kind of looks like an episode of Melrose Place.
Stark: Ironic... What made me a slave now keeps me alive.
Stark: Who is *she*?
Crichton: *That* is... the radiant Aeryn Sun.
Stark: How many Peacekeepers do you know on this base?!
Rygel: Excuse me, I'm just making myself comfortable.
Chiana: What is *that*?
Rygel: Um... what?
Rygel: Oh, it's nothing.
Chiana: Where's your hand?
Rygel: It's down... there.
Chiana: Oh, no! Keep it in your caftan, pal!
Aeryn: I am irreversibly contaminated. Now do you know who I am?
Crais: Aeryn... Sun.
Aeryn: Does this contaminate you, Crais? [leaning in closer to him]
Crais: As a Peacekeeper, you took a blood oath to obey your commanding officer. 'Til death.
Crais: I am still your commanding officer!
Aeryn: But I am no longer a Peacekeeper!
Crais: You are a Peacekeeper for life! On the oath you took!
Aeryn: Your oath means nothing to me, you made sure of that! You destroyed everything, I lost everything, because of *you*!
Crais: Aeryn Sun!
Aeryn: Do you know what I learned while I was away from you? Everything I lost... isn't worth a damn. And I don't want to go back to your past.
Crais: I... order you!
Aeryn: You order me! [Yanks the key off his neck] You will never order me again!
Crais: I will track you down and kill you, Officer Sun! On that I give you my vow!
Aeryn: And do you know what I give you, Crais?... Your life. [Goes over to the Aurora Chair controls, flips some switches] I will make you watch your life.
[Aeryn exits without looking back as Crais starts screaming in agony]
Gilina: Do you think... that if things had been different... that you could have loved me?
John: [no hesitation at all] Yeah.
The mark of a really good pulp serial (and some people would say that's an oxymoron, but we know better) is that it keeps you hanging in there, begging for more. Not the space battles; not the spandex'd eye candy; not the bizarro aliens. The suspense. No matter how weird or melodramatic the plot may sound, no matter how improbable the escapes or surprises, if the audience is screeching for the next installment, it's lived up to its potential. It's a rare TV show that can do that. It's even rarer when it does so *without* leaving its heroes in explicit jeopardy every week. After last week's cliffhanger, we should feel let down, instead of just as on-edge as before. Good thing Farscape isn't your average space opera.
Getting the easy stuff out of the way first --- Zhaan had nothing to do. Nada. Except, she has a spiffy new cream-and-gold robe (finally!), and I approve of that. D'Argo also had nothing to do, except be a really good shot with his Qualta blade. I approve of that, too, although I would've liked more of a welcome-back from both of them to John. Still, they were about to get into a firefight, there wasn't much time for it. Next week, though... I want to see more of them. I better get it. Or I'll be cranky and start throwing popcorn for no reason.
The long-awaited birth of Moya's baby was visually stunning--- glorious colors and action, and Baby Boy Moya is definitely a departure from his mom: sleeker and much more deadly. The revelation that he's a battleship came as a surprise to *me*, although there's been long-standing speculation on the BB about this possibility for months now. The whole new slew of plots that can be kick-started from this development should keep the crew busy well into the next cycle, too. Cigars all around to the godfathers and godmothers who came up with this twist, and presented it so well.
The Rygel & Chiana show was a hoot, as always, although that quick little visual reference to Titanic was the most hysterical part of it. Monjo & Watson are sick puppies. < snicker > It was also great to see Chiana still being helpful (unlike His Obnoxiousness, who sinks to new lows), continuing her trend toward some kind of maturity --- and Pilot was wonderful. Lani Tupu deserves some kind of ambidextrous batter's award for giving such a nice performance as Pilot this week while getting tortured in the Aurora Chair as Crais at the same time.
Which takes us past the easy, popcorn parts of the show, and into the Jujubes and chocolate-covered almonds.
Rygel's marjols are safe from me; Gilina's quite definitely dead. Yes, we all saw it coming, but it's still sad. It's not the bloody wound that kills you on a space opera, it's the type of send-off you're given --- and a final kiss from the man you love as you dream of a lovelier world is about as permanent as it gets. Super work from both Alyssa-Jane Cook and Ben Browder here--- I could've sworn John was just deeply in denial about Gilina's chances, right up until his voice broke before that last kiss. And I felt so bad for her.... *sniff* Gilina knew darn well that his heart was entangled with Aeryn, which made it worse; the 'might have been' for them is going to haunt John for a while, along with the 'if only' of wondering how he could've saved her. Which, of course, messes up his feelings about Aeryn again... have I mentioned before that these writers are geniuses who don't miss a trick? If not, I should have.
Speaking of tricks, they slipped Stark right by us, didn't they? The guy who first appeared to be a one-shot character several screws short of an aircraft is now revealed to be a smart, tough, possibly telepathic self-preservational guy with a good sense of humor, an angsty past, and a great voice. Wow. I have no problems with that. At all. Personally keeping my fingers crossed that he sticks around for the long-term, especially since both Crais *and* Scorpius are going to be problems next season. We deserve something fun to balance those scales, darnit.
Scorpius continues to become more loathsome; watching him torture Crais was worse than watching him torture John in some ways. You don't expect the bad guys to turn on their own, and Scorpy found it so *amusing* that Crais would try to hold out on him. Errrk. < shudder > Crichton's comments on PK Barbie aside (which I kept repeating, and giggling over; all that plastic costuming *did* make her look like a Barbie doll!), Niem is acquiring her own aura of menace, too. Scorpius looking like an Excedrin headache ad at the end makes me quite cheerful --- and his personal responsibility in killing Gilina assures that we *will* see him again. Payback's a bitch, Scorpy. Prepare yourself for the worst.
The best scene, though, was the one between Aeryn and Crais. Aeryn had been sneaking around, still a little sick and shaky, plus unnerved at the return to what she'd known before, as she was in "A Bug's Life." Crais was completely unbalanced by his experience in the Chair, facing his past losses and sins again. To have a showdown, while both of them are in complete turmoil.... I transcribed the whole thing for the Quotes above (which may get chopped down as we edit the page) because both the dialogue and the acting made it a stand-out moment in a great episode of a first-class show.
I hate to classify this as art, but only because you might think I'm exaggerating or off-base, and I'm not. The sheer righteousness of Aeryn's declaration that she is no longer a Peacekeeper, contrasted to Crais's venomous avowals that he's going to kill *her*, now, as well as Crichton, couldn't be more satisfying or believable, given what we know about them. It's a wonderful reversal of the scene in the Premiere where Crais declares her contaminated without a second thought, and poor Officer Sun doesn't get a word in edgewise. No matter what the genre (space opera, scifi, drama, comedy), when you hit all the character notes buried in a scene, it *is* art, not just popcorn. Monjo, Lani Tupu, and Claudia Black all deliver in spades.
I'm counting on getting more Zhaan (the commercials seem to be reassuring in that direction), and more D'Argo next week. *Hoping* we get to see John and Aeryn deal with Gilina's death, but not counting on it. Still nervous. Still wondering what happens next. Still wishing the next ep were tonight. And wondering what you get for a Baby Leviathan shower.....
Good god. I think my partner covered most of the high points, and brother, were there a lot of them. One or two were eminently predictable (why didn't they just put Gilina in a red jumpsuit and be done with it?), but one or two put me on the floor in shock (not an easy thing to do; I have a nasty, suspicious mind, but Moya's baby surprised me, and Aeryn's scene with Crais made me forget about little things like breathing).
I wish I could say I'm going to miss Gilina, but we didn't really get time to get used to having her around. Still, she was a helluva chick -- dates a weird guy for three days, and is willing to risk her life over an extended period to save him and his friends. Alyssa-Jane Cook delivered the goods -- Gilina could have come off as pathetic or dumb or completely adolescently infatuated or any combination of the above. She didn't. She was a tough lady deeply out of her league using every weapon at her disposal, and using them well, to help someone she cared about. In the end, her only mistake was in following him too late, and not being willing to fire the damn gun. Crichton has good taste.
Claudia Black, however, we fully expect to deliver the goods, and boy does she. Physical weakness leaves Aeryn stronger, in some strange way; the question of leaving Crichton on the base never comes even, even despite literally getting off of her deathbed to go after him. No discussion, no debates. They're going. So she goes through air vents and right through Peacekeepers and gets him. And, along the way, she gets revenge that's been pretty long in coming.
When thinking about Crais, we tend to get distracted by his fixation on Crichton, and John's determination to get him over it. But we forget that Aeryn has as much reason to hate Crais as he has to hate Crichton -- Crais took everything from her. She likes to blame John, because he's convenient, but it was Crais who declared her irreversably contaminated because she was in his way, Crais who kicked her out into the world as her only chance to avoid his death sentence. She doesn't talk about it, rarely mentions his name. But when Aeryn gets Crais in a helpless position, we suddenly realize that this a day she's dreamed of. Her revenge is at hand. And it's the most natural, obvious thing in the world. Of course she hates him, violently and passionately.
The weird thing is, she's also, under all that anger and hatred, grateful. He took everything of her old life -- and inadverantly gave her the chance at a new one, one that is, if not yet better, certainly full of more possibilities than the old one. There could have been a Larraq for her in the old life; there is a Crichton in this one; there would have been comrades in that life, and there are in this one. And this one also has a Pilot, and a Moya, and a chance to be more than just a Peacekeeper. I don't think we're going to be hearing Aeryn pine for her old life much anymore, now that she's gotten her revenge for its death, and finally buried it.
Wow, that went on for a while. Um, right, Baby Moya. I was on the floor for about two minutes, in an utter state of shock. Then reverted (as with Aeryn and Crais) to "Duh! Of course!" Peacekeeper catalyst caused the pregnancy, they said it all along. Why assume it was something natural when it makes much more sense that it was a Peacekeeper plant? And of *course* they'd be trying o breed Leviathans with weapons!
And of course Rockne and company would think of that. A little miniature Moya doesn't have much to offer the show at this point, which is why I wasn't getting axcited about the birth. But a Baby Moya with weapons, giving them the ability to defend themselves.... A Peacekeeper-engineered baby, with who-knows-what else embedded in its DNA... the possibilities are endless. Bravo, guys! You set it up over nine episodes, and it paid off in spades in number 10!
And how about Chiana! We knew she was competent, after last week. Now, we know that she's got the brains and courage to use that competence. As soon as there's no one to cry on, no one to hide behind, no one to convince to do it for her, Chiana sucks it up and gets the job done. I admire that. All of it, actually. < g >. I started out disliking Chiana on general principles, but Gigi and the writers are doing an awesome job of developing her. Outstanding. And the image of her and Rygel trapped in that pod will be with me forever (although, for someone who was having cows at Zhaan coming onto him a while back, he sure is getting enthusiastic about "body breeders" all of a sudden. Ick. And I say again, ick). But nice continuity back to the helium. < giggle >
Stark... I'm not sure what to think of this guy. Nice development of an initially one-note character, but I'm kind of hoping he doesn't hang around Moya too long. Seems like a useful kinda guy, but we're getting cast-heavy. And, let's face it, the last thng Moya needs is another nutcase with an agenda wandering around. That said, Stark amused the hell out of me, and the interaction between him and John was utterly priceless, especially during the Big Fight Scene (TM). He certainly seems to be one of the good guys, and I'll enjoy him for however long we have him.
Severe lackage of Zhaan and D'Argo, as Kiki pointed out, but how much did I love seeing Zhaan casually and calmly upgrading the explosives, while complaining about primitive they are. < snerk > That was one of my big giggles for the night. And Scorpius... wow. He put one of his fellow bad guys in The Chair. This blows my mind. The perfectly, eminently logical thing to do givent the situation (nice work, Gilina! If you can't dazzle them with dexterity, baffle them with bullshit!) and he actually did it! And seeing Crais tortured certainly didn't hurt my day, nor did the knowledge that Peacekeeper Command now knows (or, at least, Scorpius knows) that he's been a bad, bad boy.... < g >
One hell of a payoff for about ten episodes worth of set-up -- you may all soon prepare to visit TGUT's new chapel for the Worshippers of the Order of Rockne and David (WORD) (updated to give credit where credit is due). It's time, since I caught myself giving him the ritual hereby preserved only for the Great God Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Join me now as we conduct our first rite:
"Ave Rockne and David. The bastards!"
1.21 Bone to Be Wild
|David Kemper and Rockne O'Bannon
|January 21, 2000
While hiding from Peacekeeper scans in an asteroid belt, the crew receives a distress call from one of the asteroids. While John, D'Argo and Zhaan go down to investigate the attack by a "creature" upon the inhabitants, Aeryn tries to communicate with Moya's baby--- whose PK genesis could make him betray the crew to Crais and Scorpius.
Chiana: Distress call. Directed at us.
Crichton: [chortles] How stupid is that?
Zhaan: Are you picking up any being's scent?
D'Argo: Zhaan, let me explain to you what's going on inside my nose. There's large pieces of green mucous and gunk, which are--
Crichton: D'Argo, no. Stop it with the Luxan poetry.
Zhaan: I am also flora.
Crichton: Yeah, right. [blink] Say what?
Crichton: It was instinct, D'Argo. You understand instinct, every single thing you do is based on it.
Crichton: That is a very impressive machine... My aunt had one.
Crichton: M'Lee? Take it outside, M'Lee. Us Southern boys don't make good eatin', not without a fight.
Br'Nee: She's not dead, and no harm will come to her.
Crichton: She's in a test tube, Jack.
Zhaan: There is much cruelty in the universe.
Crichton: Yeah.... We seem to have a treasure map to it. Bon appetit.
Scorpius: We must know when to be strong, and when to show compassion.
M'Lee: Thank you!
Scorpius: As a matter of compassion, we must sometimes be willing to give of ourselves.
| Okay. What the heck happened to Stark? Did they drop him off on a commerce planet? Did he throw himself out an airlock? Was he hiding on one of the upper decks, meditating through this whole episode, or what? While he wasn't a permanent cast member, he was enough a part of last week's episode to merit some mention of where he went. Throw some popcorn at the screen on his behalf.
Some episodes, like the last two, are Godiva chocolate truffles. And some are popcorn, like this week's. Oh, well. It's not like I hate popcorn. That's what got me here in the first place. It's also a nice break; gives my blood-sugar levels time to recover before the finale. Where they will no doubt shoot through the roof on the adrenaline rush.
Yayy! Gigi's in the credits! Nice clip, guys! Which pretty much makes up for her having nothing to do this week except shiver and snipe. Besides, she had lots of fun in the last two. Rygel's in the same boat, but I heard he's real busy next week. Fair enough (if your name isn't John Crichton or Moya, sometimes you just gotta wait your turn on the screen-time merry-go-round). D'Argo's having fun shooting things and getting shot, and man, do I sympathize with those allergies. *sniff*
The baddies are both a good mix of visual weirdness and Keyser Soze-level mendacity. Br'Nee's bushiness and double-mouthed ugliness is at odds with his cultured voice (okay, cultured if you're an American, all right?) so the second he opens his mouth, you believe he's not the bad guy. M'Lee, on the other hand, got on my nerves within seconds by not shutting up once she was rescued ('save me save me, oh please, look at me, I'm so freaking helpless, save me---' Can I hold her head under water? For a long time? Please?) and was so entirely passive that I *hoped* she was a bad guy. *Excellent* job on her makeup, with all those creepy spines and pointy teeth--- M'Lee's transformation makes you scream kill it! Kill it now! With a really big mallet!
I was sympathizing with the starving-to-death-screaming-in-pain calcivore by the end, though, and wanting to bonk Br'Nee on the head repeatedly; M'Lee's needs were dictated by a rather savage Mother Nature. Br'Nee doesn't have her excuses. Not the worst we've seen in evil, but definitely two for the books.
More fun than watching the bad guys was realizing Zhaan's a plant. A vegetable. Animal, vegetable, mineral... she's more closely related to a tomato than she is to John. How weird is that? And how cool is it, that so much about Zhaan now makes even more sense? I'm delighted. The writers have broken new frontiers here. Forget interspecies romance or friendships; we've got inter-kingdom ones on this show!
Scorpius and Crais are... odd this week. I mean, yes, it's a power play. Yes, Scorpius has the upper hand. Otherwise --- enh. For me, anyway. But this is most definitely a set-up for next week, so we'll let it go. For now. Of more interest is --- um, was Scorpius going to feed some soldiers to M'Lee on *purpose*? Ack! I wouldn't bet she walks away from this alive, but I doubt she was the only one who got scragged by the end. Ick.
A unique thing about this ep: the B-plot is as pointy and well-done as the A-plot. Usually the B-plots are fluff. Watching Aeryn bond with Baby Boy Moya was both pretty-bright-shiny! and emotionally cool. Pilot's concern for mommy & child, and Aeryn's amazed delight with her new friend were wonderful--- all children should be welcomed by their godmothers this way. (I want a baby Leviathan! I do!) The set & CGI designers, and the (fictional) PK Leviathan War-ship designers, should take bows: they've created a thing of beauty with its own personality already. Next season's gonna kick!
But, we gotta get past the Season Finale first. And then six or so weeks of reruns. Hmmm. Special. My blood-sugar levels are already starting to spike.... Anyway, this was a good break in the arc to impart new information, strengthen relationships and characters, and mess with our heads. Enjoy the serenity while it lasts (all four days of it).
Most of the fun in this ep lies in seeing how many ways your brain can be twisted around. Is M'Lee a good guy or a bad guy? Is Br'Nee George Washington Carver or Dr. Mengele? Who do we root for, who do we trust, who do we run from? And Zhaan's a plant?
The answers are both, neither, no one, no one, everyone, and yeah, in that order. < g > Which is the good part of not-great-but-solid episode. A typical "run from the creature, defend the innocent scientist" episode gets turned on its ear, when the first problem is figuring out which one is the monster. When the eventual monster is dangerous as hell, but not by choice, and the innocent scientist is damn well responsible for his own problems, or his people are, anyway.... well, things are gonna be interesting.
M'Lee is a scary, twitchy, nicely drawn character (and the perfect woman for Scorpy!); you don't want to be anywhere around her, but you do feel sorry for her, against all odds. She's alone, the last of a species that was used, abandoned and forced to heinous acts simply to survive. And there's no way out. I don't blame her for eating Br'Nee's people, and I wish her luck on the Peacekeeper command carrier. I just don't want her anywhere near Moya ever again.
And Br'Nee, who initially looks like the monster then doesn't sound like one, might well be. Oh, he's not a NamTar level ick, but he's got a very skewed sense of priorities, when plant life is the only important kind -- and even that is important only for what it can give. M'Lee and her people were not human to him, which is understandable, if reprehensible. And Zhaan isn't human to him, which is completely incomprehensible. By the end, was there anyone who didn't want M'Lee to munch on him?
Speaking of Scorpy, ever think you'd feel sorry for Crais? Watching his power, his command, his ability to quest for vengeance being stripped away from him, Crais is helpless to stop it -- Scorpy's blackmail material would steal it all away anyway. But Scorpy better watch his back, or he's gonna get a knife in it. Or maybe not -- he's still ruthlessly competent, and growing more obnoxiously so by the day. And not only smarter, but stronger... this guy could turn into a major pain in the ass.
My, John's in a bad mood through this entire episode, not to mention uber-protective of Zhaan and D'Argo. Which is not unexpected -- while nobody talks about what happened last week, John's had a bad couple of days, and doesn't want to lose anymore friends. Which doesn't stop him from hauling off to rescue someone else in distress; good to know some things will never change. I did love that John casually brushed off fixing the transport pod, like it was no big deal. That boy's been doing some serious studying.
And now, back to that first question... Zhaan's a plant?!? Well, like we lay out in the FAQ, it actually does make a great deal of sense out of some strange anomalies throughout the show, but it's weird! And deeply cool -- this one, I don't think anyone's done before. Except for Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and that doesn't count! And the one time she gets into John's face -- "How animal-centric of you!" -- is both cool and off-kilter; the plants John's talking about are nothing like her, any more than a lab rat is like John. LKess, in fact; a lab rat is aware, if not sentient. Talk about hair triggers... Great, something else for Zhaan to be twitchy about.
D'Argo got to laze around being wounded, but got in a good line here and there, and his scene with Zhaan was terrific -- "Sweet D'Argo" again? Well, okay, he was. < sappy grin > < snerk > Pilot, Chiana and Rygel were largely underused, except for the occasional good lines. And, while Aeryn's bits are truly wonderful, the bonding with the baby got short shrift to the planet-side story; it needed lots more screen time.
But still, Aeryn as godmommy, talking to the baby and getting answers! Speaking of being overprotective... Moya's crew (or Chiana and Rygel, at least) are just seeing the baby as a source of protection; Aeryn -- with her access to a pilot's POV -- is seeing a child. And also seems to have discovered her maternal instinct; it's going to be great seeing where this goes. In fact, I wish we'd seen more of this week -- lots more. < pout > But as much as I adored Baby in Moya's womb, I love him even more outside -- what a charmer!
Season finale coming up -- make sure all seats and tray tables are in their fully upright and locked position....