1.22 Family Ties
|Rockne S. O'Bannon
|January 28, 2000
Still hiding in the asteroid field from Scorpius and the command carrier, Moya and her crew are placed in further jeopardy by Rygel --- and Crais. A desperate plan may save them all, or leave everyone in even greater danger than before.
John: "What the hell did you just say?"
Chiana: "Something about his corpse... and a body function."
John: "Oh, that'll help."
John: "Look, is it possible he's just stalling for us?" [Everyone stares at him in utter disbelief] "Right."
Aeryn: "Uggghh! Just to be in the warm glow of all this testosterone..."
Chiana: "Don't tell me how to lie, it's one of the best things I do!"
John: "Well, it's a Jerry Springer kind of family. But, for what it's worth, Zhaan.. you are family."
Aeryn: "Off the throne sled, Rygel, and facedown on the ground."
Rygel: "Well, hardly. Then I'd miss your reactions to what's about to happen. And please, whatever your reaction -- don't let it include weapons fire."
John: "You're letting Rygel be your advocate? You're worse off than you look."
Crais: "I thought it was about my brother. It should have been about my brother. Somewhere along the line, my priorities... decayed. "
Chiana: "You saved my life."
John: "Pass it on... when someone else needs it, return the favor. You pass it on."
John: "'I have a job to do, and I am unafraid.' That's what you told them, when they asked you what it was like to walk on the moon. You did good, Dad. You taught me well.... This is John Crichton, somewhere in the universe."
D'Argo: "I hate this stuff."
John: "Chicks love it."
John: "How much time do we have after it starts?"
D'Argo: "She was vague to the point that I suspect she doesn't have a clue."
John: "Hey, D'Argo.. how come I'm not afraid?"
D'Argo: "Fear accompanies the possibilty of death. Calm shepherds its certainty."
John: "I love hanging with you, man."
John: "Hey, you bastards! John Crichton was here!"
(Before I get started --- thanks to the buds who got me a copy of this ep; Celli, Dee & Lizbet. And who got it to me a lot faster than I put this review up!)
Ow! Perri isn't kidding, you can get a severe case of brain sprain if you watch "Family Ties" back-to-back- with the season premiere. Even if you just jump in at the halfway point and then skip ahead, you risk a headache. The cool thing is, every ep before contributed something to this finale --- but you can watch it without knowing a thing about the series, and still enjoy yourself.
From the premiere, we have: the puzzle ring, John's monologues on the tapes, and the little DRD he fixed in the last scene. Some things about John haven't changed, and probably never will. No matter how attached he gets to that cool red PK jacket (which I'm quite fond of too!) he's still the same guy who fixes what's broken around him, and will always want to go home, even if that stays a dream he can't have. He's also the guy who's found a new family out in the UT, who's been tortured, shot at, had his head messed with in unquantifiable ways, and who can now nearly outmaneuver Scorpius with that shuttle run and bail-out. Ben Browder's stand-out scene with Crais in lock-up would not have been *possible* a year ago. If you put the Crichton of the premiere in the same room with the Crichton of this ep, he'd be as freaked by the guy he's become as he was at his first glance of D'Argo. But the older Crichton would probably still manage to somehow say the right thing to keep his more naive self from losing it. In the important ways, he's still the same guy --- which is why he's the Hero; horrible things happen to him, but he's still in there swinging and doing the right thing.
We had references to Zhaan's past---both as an anarchist and priest--- and to D'Argo's family and the hologram he carries of them, reminding the viewers of the most important things in their lives. We found out that (as one of our buds put it) Aeryn had the dream of every orphan come true: her parents wanted her. They couldn't keep her, but she was special to them, setting her apart from the vast majority of her comrades from the start, which may have given her that extra push to save her own life in the premiere--- the belief, underneath it all, that she *could* be more than one among many, something she's managed to prove true over the course of 22 episodes. All three of them have evolved from bright neon-cartoon archetypes into real people over the course of the year, with dark and light shadings keeping them unpredictable and fun to watch, thanks in no small part to the outstanding actors who portray them, and writing that's never let the audience take anything for granted.
The person who's changed the least is Rygel. He's still unpredictably predictable: scheming, obnoxious, selfish, short-sighted, and squishable. (Being a Muppet saves his slimy hide more than anything else, you know. Otherwise, he'd've been toast *long* ago.) But there's hints that he does know better, finally, and that the example of his crewmates is having a slow effect on him. The key to His Sneakiness is to not expect too much, as John very well knows (and shows) in that scene in his quarters. Rygel hates being underestimated--- he'll rise to the occasion just to prove you wrong, if nothing else. Let's hope he gets the chance next season to really surprise us.
I can't write anything better than what Perri expresses below about Chiana, especially the scenes with her and D'Argo, and her and John. It's simplest to just say: I can't imagine the show without her. Chiana's send-off feast reflects the one in "Through the Looking Glass" - and it's something the brat we met in "Durka Returns" never would have done. And it's to the credit of the writers and Gigi Edgley that they brought her in half-way through, and she's now as big a part of the show as anyone else.
Crais has evolved from a stock villain into someone a lot more dangerous --- those Hynerian heads were one clue, but the kidnapping of Talyn and the semi-subtle come-ons to Aeryn (ick! ick ick ick!) put the capper on it. He's lost everything, and now has nothing to lose. Super. Arghh! There's no telling *what* he'll do, if he runs across Moya and her crew again; try to date Aeryn, shoot them in the back, or ignore them, because there's no telling how sincere he was, in saying he didn't bear them any personal animosity any more. He sure left them in the worst position he could hope for, while chortling evilly all the way to the exit! Lani Tupu was having Too Much Fun. The next time we see Crais, he could be taking over planets or collecting more Hynerian heads, since he had to leave his collection behind. I vote for no mercy then--- out the airlock he goes!
Scorpius has become more dangerous too. Dead giveaway: the scary-scratchy Darth Vader voice keeps coming out. Eek. I noticed he *didn't* explain to that lieutenant why he let Crais escape --- unless it was just to get rid of Crais, since he expected to catch up with them all very easily, and he wanted the command. He is a guy who makes the most of his opportunities. But now he has three targets: Crais and Talyn, Moya, and John, D'Argo and Aeryn. Maybe that'll keep him busy enough that everyone can get away when we're back from break. (Well, I can dream, right?)
More echoes: Aeryn was on the fake Earth, she *did* meet Fake Dad, she remembers it all! The kiss (and whatever else did/didn't happen) was not Memorex. Thanks for finally telling us, guys! (Seriously... I was wondering if we were ever gonna know. Whew.) Another riff back to the premiere--- the last shot of Aeryn back in her Prowler, like she was in the beginning. Only this time she's there to save John and D'Argo and can't quite manage it, lost in the middle of all the other Prowlers as Moya leaves, unlike before, where she got sucked into Moya's wake. John's moment of talking directly to Moya (while a little odd from a logic standpoint) reflected back to his first finding out she was having a baby, convincing her not to kill them all to protect her child. Only now he was telling her to split and go after Talyn while she had the chance. Moya's a person now too, not just a ship: and I think the person she is will come back for them, hopefully in time to save them next season.
Nice little throwaway moment: M'Lee is on an outbound Marauder--- and Scorpius's security officer is missing. Hehehehehehehe. It's *not* funny. It isn't. Really. (evil grin) Well, okay, the bit where Scorpius wonders what happened to the poor guy is funny. But the thought of her lunching on the commandos in the Marauder, and then taking off, isn't. Why do I think we'll see her again?
The most traumatizing portion of the evening was watching William Shatner's attempts to sing in one of the commercials. Goddess help me, that was *cruel*. Really, really cruel. They shouldn't do that to us! It's just not right! But realizing the crew is splitting up--- and that I can not think of one single way for D'Argo, John, and Aeryn to get out of the mess they're in--- was the second most traumatizing. And cool; because if I can't think of a way out in six weeks, it'll be that much more fun when they get out of it in the premiere. (They better all get out of it. They *better* not lose someone, even if that puzzle ring drifted off! They wouldn't do that to us. Right?.... Arrghhh!)
Is there anyone out there who knows a good time/space wormhole to March 17th? This reviewer would pay money for directions....
First of all, let me get this off my chest: AAAAAIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!
Ahem. There. I feel much better. Well, no I don't, but I might survive until March now.
Wow, Rygel is scum. Not that this comes as a surprise to anyone who's been watching, but trying to sell out his crewmates is low even for our favorite Dominar. I'd give him credit for not leaving a trail back to Moya, but I'm sure it was only to preserve his currency. He has the grace to feel guilty for it after, even if he'll die before actually admitting it; I don't know if his decision to stay behind for D'Argo and John was actual conscience, or trying to get back into the good graces of the remainder of the crew, but I'd like to think it was the first. *Like* to think -- with Rygel, looking for his good side requires a very powerful magnifying glass. :P
< shudder > And we thought Crais couldn't get any worse. He has the distinction of being elevated from "throw popcorn at him" to "perform invasive surgery without benefit of anesthetic" level villain in this one. As if the gallery of Hynerian heads wasn't enough (how gruesome a hobby is that? it's not like they're attractive conversation pieces!), and seriously invading Aeryn's personal space wasn't enough, stealing Talyn instantly shoots him to the top of the "must die slowly, painfully and onscreen" list, way way way past even Scorpy. At least we got to see D'Argo beat the dren out of him -- that gave us a happy, and so did him getting declared "irrevocably contaminated." We love irony.
I commented to Kiki et all that anyone watching the premiere and the finale back to back, without any other knowledge, would wind up with terminal brainsprain. How far has John come from the pacifistic guy we met in the premiere, ready to try to talk his way out of anything, ready to place life (his own or his enemy's) above damn near anything? Now we have Sarcasm Boy in his red PK jacket, a John Crichton fully prepared to make a suicide run to save his crewmates, and to take an honor guard with him to hell. It makes perfect sense now, we can sure as hell understand not wanting to be taken alive -- but how shocked would we have been back then? Slowly and surely, he, Aeryn and D'Argo are turning into little clones of each other... and I'm sure they'd all be horrified if anyone pointed it out. Ben Browder wins major kudos for this entire episode, but particularly for the conversation with Crais, which may be the best thing Farscape has ever done.
One of the best scenes of the episode, is the short, easily overlooked argument between Chiana and D'Argo. Little Miss "Look Out for Number One" Chiana loudly refuses to tell a lie that could save her life, solely out of loyalty to Crichton and the others. D'Argo, who once wouldn't have given a damn about Chiana short of making sure she wasn't in-between him and his Qualta blade as he died a glorious warrior's death, now takes time to try argue her into that lie, and admits it is because he is fond of her.
We knew D'Argo was innocent, and it's lovely to get it confirmed, even from someone as loathsome as Crais. I think it would surprise D'Argo, though, to realize that most of his shipmates already believed it. And how about the male bonding happening? For two men who thought they could never be friends, John and D'Argo are fighting together -- for themselves and for their friends -- and << eep >> dying together. Pretty cool, in a scary, shuddery kind of way, given the circumstances.... And I did love D'Argo kissing the good luck charm.
Poor Chiana... Zhaan said the crew was family, and she was right, perhaps most especially in Chiana's case. If she's the teenager we're assuming, Moya has already become the best home she's ever known; and she's willing to fight for it, and for her new family. She's another one who's come a long, long way in about eight episodes, bless her sneaky little heart. She gloats over locking up Crais, purely out of sympathy for what he's done to her shipmates, since he's never done anything to her, and her scene with Crichton, as she tries to thank him the only way she's ever known how, is the most sniffle-inducing scene in an episode full of them. And John, as usual, handles her well -- enough of a kiss to let her feel she's done it, not enough to let it tip over to that 'wrong' side of the scale. She's still got so much growing up to do, and Zhaan just ain't gonna be enough. Reason #4,567 we've got to get everyone back together.
Finally, we get backstory on Aeryn! She had parents! And they loved her! And each other! She may not know anything else, but she knows that, and you have to wonder how much of a difference that knowledge has made. Knowing she was once loved, that such a thing is possible, may have been what let her make the jump from Peacekeeper to Moya's crew -- family -- as (relatively) easily as she did. And what a lovely scene of her talking to John! The smiles at the end made the whole episode worth it.
God, poor Moya. Losing her child and half of her crew in one fell swoop. The loss of Talyn, after everything she went through to keep him alive -- I don't care what anyone says, Moya loved him and would have done anything to keep him with her. Thank god she's also smart enough to listen to John, and get out while she could, but I am so not going to be happy until she's reunited with Talyn.
Overall, one hell of a slambang finale, replete with the incredible character development and moments of hilarious humor that we've come to expect from the Farscape crew. Nothing wavered, from the acting to the FX to the writing and directing. Now we just have to suffer for six weeks.... Excuse me, I'll be over in the corner screaming.