2.11 Look at the Princess 1: A Kiss Is But a Kiss
|Andrew Prowse & Tony Tilse
|July 21, 2000
It's Coronation Time at one of the breakaway Sebacean colonies, and the event's festivities draw John into a web of intrigue that could result in a royal marriage--- no matter what he (or Aeryn) has to say about it. Moya, Pilot, and Zhaan are nowhere to be found for a rescue, following an elusive trail to an unexpected outcome.
Aeryn: Personal indulgences can fracture a small crew.
John: I would never tell them... that you scented your hair.
Aeryn: No, no! I will not be a slave to your hormones!
John: My hormones?! Hey, I was lips, you were tongue!
Chiana: Want some free advice?
John: Not really.
Chiana: Makes me want to give it to you even more... Go fast with the body, slow with the soul.
Tyno: I want you to consider marrying her.
John: You would have to be on this side of my life to know how frelling insane that sounds.
Aeryn: It wasn't my door he was last seen sniffing around.
Chiana: Some women consider that a compliment.
Aeryn: Some women have to.
D'Argo: Whoa, whoa, whoa-oa... As entertaining as this is at the moment....
Rygel: Have you lost your mind?!
Aeryn: Do it! [grabs Rygel, applies the solution, then plants a big messy kiss on him before she pulls away] Sweet! I'm so pleased!
Rygel: Me too! How unexpected!
Random Sebacean Guy: I wish you both the very best of fortune. [exits, and ...]
Aeryn: Thank you! [waits one beat, and then, simultaneously: ]
Aeryn & Rygel: Bleaaahhhh!
John: I'm sorry, are you saying I should get married?
Rygel: I would.
John: You're a polygamist!
John: Rygel, there is no love, I'm the reverse King Arthur! I'm the one that can put the sword into the stone!
John: On my planet we don't marry people we don't love, unless they're critically ill billionaires.
John: Right after--- and I mean right after the ceremony--- they turn us into statues.
D'Argo: That. Is. Fascinating.
John: Excellent. D'Argo discovers science.
John: Humans do not live as long as Sebaceans, or Hynerians, or Delvians. When I get back, everyone--- my dad, D.K., my sisters, Cameron Diaz, Buffy the Vampire Slayer--- will be dead!
John: Hope is what keeps you going. You're gonna see you son. I'm gonna get home. Hope. I have hope, or I have nothing.
John:If I do this, you have to be my Best Man.
D'Argo: Um... I'm with Chiana now, John.
Aeryn: Eighty cycles as a statue?
John: Is better than Scorpius!
Aeryn: Is it?
John: He's in my head!... The back of my mind, the corner of my eye... and I can't shake him. He scares me, Aeryn.
Aeryn: I don't know what you're talking about, but there's never been anything we couldn't overcome together.
John: Except each other.
John:Aeryn, don't you think that there are things to say?
Aeryn: At this point, what else can we say except good-bye?
John: You're right. You're always right.... [Aeryn leaves, upset] ... Bye.
We are *not* getting paid enough for this. We just aren't.
Considering that we at TGUT manage this tourist's guide for free and for fun, and that torment like three-part cliffhangers and killer angst and the absolute messiness we just endured is grounds for a nervous breakdown, and that I personally will be out ten fingernails by the end of this arc, I had to seriously question *why* we're doing it at all.... I decided it must be love. Yes, we, Your Obnoxious Tour Guides, love you, our clients, our tour groups, our on-line support network, enough to experience mega-doses of suspense and sympathetic torture so we can guide you through the morass of the Uncharted Territories. I hope you feel loved. You people are probably the only reason why we didn't bug out until the end of the arc and then watch all three eps in a row. At least I hope so. Because the idea that we love FARSCAPE enough to *voluntarily* subject ourselves to this kind of psychological torment would suggest we need to check into a nice health care facility run by Scorpius, and that's something neither of us are ready to face yet. Large handfuls of chocolate will have to get us through the time until the next eps, 'cause that ain't gonna happen.
The set-up for "A Kiss" is pure Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon: innocent Earp-man is suddenly required, willing or not, to marry the Intergalactic Princess, darnit. Why the guys who aren't interested in power, money, prestige, or a no-strings attachment always end up in these situations is a question better asked of the Fates than a screenwriter; or maybe it's supposed to mean that Earth guys may be easy but they aren't *that* easy, thank you very much. Whatever your opinion on the premise, this time out it's fun not just because of the standard twisty court intrigues but because John and Aeryn
have just reached a very touchy point in their (non)relationship, which is what we *really* care about. That, and John getting home, an option which is equally in jeopardy.
This may be one of the trickiest situations they've ever been stuck in--- between the Empress's blackmail, Scorpy's presence, the Scarran emissary, and Moya's flit off to visit Vahalla, this is not a corner they can just fake their way out of. (As we saw in those last few seconds where John was taking a death ray to the face. Aiiieee!) But somehow, you can *almost* believe they could save John, however silly that thought might be, if only he and Aeryn would quit messing with each other's hearts long enough to admit their feelings, kiss, and then come up with a plan.
But noooooo. Aeryn and John's snail-paced romance/relationship has finally progressed to a point where John is unwilling to back off when Aeryn orders him to, and Aeryn is panicking because she's finally realized that she's in big trouble with him. All these outside factors may be pushing them apart, but if John wasn't totally discouraged about Aeryn's continued attempts to withdraw from him, and if she didn't feel that maybe letting him go so he can have a family and a life with someone with fewer emotional issues was
the best thing for him--- they'd be able to get out of this. Maybe because if they had a united front, Chiana, Rygel, and D'Argo *might* back them, Katralla could side with them, Tyno could work the angles.... Instead, John's trying to accept the idea of being Ken-Doll for eighty cycles, and Aeryn's running away as fast as she can. And even though I can't see John playing a garden gnome for a human lifetime, I'm wondering how the heck they're going to get past all that fear in order to do it. Yeeeeeee. You really can be your own worst enemy sometimes, y'know?
But then, that's why this is a three-parter. So they can have five separate villains, two separate plot-lines, and four separate layers of emotional interaction. And watch us bleed all over the carpet.
And how about those villains? The Scarran is ... yeeee! Strong, scary, mean, *ugh*-ly, psychic and psycho, with Death Breath that you can see--- and I don't think I've witnessed anything in a long while as frightening as the scene where he kicked Aeryn's butt. Partly because he made it look easy, and partly because it was just waay over the top for the circumstances. Usually our favorite ex-PK gives a better accounting for herself--- but now we know where Scorpy gets that charming personality from, don't we? Not to mention, a reason why he may have become interested in building an Aurora Chair in the first place. What could be more frustrating, than knowing that half your heritage is capable of that kind of power, and you can't do it no matter how hard you try? Scorpius himself is just as nasty as ever, although I have to question how smart he is in stampeding John toward the Cliffs of Marriage. Maybe he thinks John will make a run for it; maybe he's studied John's psyche-tapes for long enough to know how badly he wants to get home. Or maybe he has something else up his sleeve. I mean, it is awfully *convenient*, the way he just showed up.... ( ack! )
Prince Half-Wit is amusingly superior and snotty, and easily hateable; and his charming fiancee is equally silly and annoying. But you have to admire Empress Mom, cold-hearted wench though she may be. Smart, strong, and stylish, holding off both the Scarrans and the PKs from taking over her planet--- if she weren't willing to sacrifice everyone else for the sake of the system, I could almost like her.
But since she's merciless enough to make John and her own daughter pay for the fact that she didn't keep a tighter (or possibly kinder) rein on Half-Wit, and since this solution only delays the difficulties for a generation at most, I'm hoping she takes a laser or Scarran-blast between the eyes before this is all over. Think about it: any kids John & Katralla would have would possess half-Human, half-poisoned-Sebacean DNA --- their odds of finding someone with sweet kisses later on are even worse than their mom's! (Okay, plot hole. Maybe they just want to buy time to deflect their enemies? Not important, I know, I know....) This is all just a prime example of my take on monarchies (any system that depends on the sanity and smarts of one person is doomed) but who knows, maybe this mess will make them re-think a few things. Katralla herself is likable, trying to handle a very embarassing and painful situation with dignity, in spite of loving someone she can't have; and Tyno's a sweetheart. The actor's doing a great job with the duty-love-jealousy conflict in the background, enough so that I'm not sure exactly which way he'll jump if things turn sour, but I'm inclined to think the best of him.
Barely enough was shown of Moya's builders to have any idea what's happening next week, but this part of the story was drawn so well that I'm still dying to know what's up. The singing and bonding time between Zhaan and Pilot and Moya is what made the difference, I think; and the idea of Moya meeting her gods is on a par with John getting married, so the B-plot (or maybe it'll be A-plot next week?) works, with lovely-pretty-shiny beings as the eye-candy payoff.
Rygel is being pushier than usual this week, but more effectively also--- this is his playing ground, lying and cheating and figuring the angles, so let's just be glad that for now, he's on John's side. (So far.) Chiana is just a riot, being Chi and know-it-all and in-your-face at every turn--- but D'Argo's not wrong, there is clearly a very sharp brain under the fluffy bits. I love the big lug in this ep, not least for not killing John the second time he walks in on him and Chiana during a private primal encounter without even knocking! That's true friendship, listening to your bud angst about his love life at the cost of your own jollies. Give that man a cookie and some more alone time with Chi for a reward. Aside from her random freak-outs, Aeryn flips between hysterically funny in dealing with the other kissy-faces in the bar, and just heartbreaking when she sees John coo over the virtual baby. She may or may not be ready for a lot of things--- but you can bet that any kind of children are so far down on her list that they fall off the bottom of it. And now she knows that for John, they're somewhere up at the top.
All of the actors deserve chockie for their efforts here--- both for being good in and of themselves, and because their performances in what is an hour-long set-up for "more to come" leaves us wanting more.
We knew we were in trouble when we saw David Kemper's name on this puppy; paired with Prowse & Tilse on direction, it was pretty much time to lay in the Prozac-laced popcorn, and the terrible triad didn't disappoint. Aside from the aforementioned John-Aeryn intensity, we get John missing home like a razor to the heart, John dealing with past Scorpy issues, wonderful John and D'Argo guy-bonding scenes (especially considering they keep happening after Chiana-D'Argo (*snerk*) bonding scenes), great Pilot and Zhaan interaction (and how cool is it that he now calls her on her stuff? This never would've happened a year ago) and Rygel being obnoxious all over the place. Plus stunning visuals, from the matte pyramids to the dance scenes and pretty little tester bottles, to the Valhalla scenes with Moya at the end. There may be a few plot holes, but nothing we can't ignore, and nothing you'll catch the first time out anyway.
Now. If I can just find a manicurist who'll deal with these bitten-down nails, and a good supply of chocolate-covered Valium, I'll be set. At least for this week. Just remember: we're doing this for you. Really. Not because we have no self-control where FARSCAPE is concerned, no, no, no....
Kiki? I'm taking my vacation time *now*; I'll see you in two weeks
after all of this is over. We seem to have been hijacked onto the
Torture Tour by Kemper and Company and I don't wanna go!!!!! Oh, and the Chief Flunkie just called in dead, and I don't blame her! <
pout > Yes, this is us running the hell away from what promises to be
the most twisting, terrifying, emotion-abusing set of episodes since
Family Ties/Mind the Baby. Which wasn't that long ago, but the crew
has evidently been refining their 'screw with the fans' heads'
techniques in the last few months. And they really didn't have that
much room for improvement, ya know?!?
But seriously, all trauma aside, this first part of the Three Parter
from Hell is an interesting look at lots of people having Control
Issues. The Empress trying to control her kids and her planet; the
Princess and her suitor Tyno trying to control their lives and
failing because of events and responsibilities they have no control
over; the Scarrens wanting, well, control of the planet; the Crown
Prince wanting control over his life (and well, the planet would be
okay, too). And in the middle of this gets dropped John and Aeryn,
who are at a crossroads in their relationship -- the scary crossroads
which is about giving up control to someone you trust -- or not.
Which is not to say that Aeryn doesn't trust John, because she does,
as she's amply demonstrated. It's herself she doesn't trust, her own
emotions and hr ability to deal with them. Being friends, comrades,
partners with John is no problem; she was born and bred to handle
that. Having a real honest-to-god relationship is something entirely
different; even without the heinously bad ending to her one real
relationship, she would be totally out of her depth here; with it,
she's having lovely panic attacks. Which freak her out on all those
Control Issues, and just add anger to the fear. Not fun to be in
Aeryn's head right now.
Which leads to lots of frustration for John, as Aeryn pushes the
limits of her fear. Chiana is wrong on one point; Aeryn' doesn't want
what she can't have. She knows what she wants -- and she's
desperately afraid she never will get it, or that in getting it,
she'll lose herself. And she hasn't had herself for all that long --
only about 1.5 cycles since she left Officer Sun behind and started
finding out about Aeryn. The best analogy I can come up with it of a
15, 16-year-old in high school, learning how to be yourself at the
same time that you're learning about compromising what you want enough to have a relationship with someone else. It's a tricky balance that some people never learn, and there's no way to figure it out except by experimenting, and pushing those limits.
So Aeryn will put stuff in her hair to see if John notices, then
freak when he does, since that's something a lover does, not a
partner. She blames it all on John so she can get mad instead of
being scared (which she prefers), she shoves him away, he gets pissed off and goes stomping off to find someone else to play with, she gets angry at him for stomping away (since she can handle being angry better than anything else) and suddenly -- hello 90210. It's a
testament to Aeryn's courage that she is trying, however awkwardly,
and with however many set-backs. Telling John that "there's nothing
we can't overcome together" is the closest she's ever managed to make to a declaration of how much she needs him, relies on him. But when she finally managed to get it out, it just wasn't enough to break
past John's fears and Issues at that particular moment. Their
timing sucks, you ever noticed?
John is being remarkably unherolike through the episode, which makes him wonderfully human. He's not even thinking for most of it -- from the second Scorpy walked into room, he started operating on his
reptile brain, fight or flight response and nothing terribly more
advanced. Remind you of anyone else -- oh, say, Rygel? Cowering in
the depths of Moya rather than face the ghost of Durka aboard the
Zelbinion? Rather than face his torturer? John is in precisely the
same place, except that he knows his torturer is still up and walking
around. His panic attack is totally understandable, even inevitable,
but he desperately needed somebody to slap him out of it. The other
three, being the practical souls that they are, weren't doing it, and
Aeryn was busy dealing with her own Issues and couldn't. So he chose the safe path, the one that would keep Scorpius as far away as
possible, and didn't look aside until what he was sacrificing for
that safety hit him in the gut. Every choice sucks for everyone
involved, so he chooses the one that sucks the least. He chooses to
give up control over his life and destiny to keep that life -- which
Aeryn, of course, violently disagrees with, since she'll die before
giving up any control. Ergo, messiness. No idea how this is gonna
shake out, but it's not going to be pleasant.
Oh, and sisters?!? He does have sisters, we were right!
While I feel for John, I almost like the chemical "genetically
compatible" thing -- think what it would do for the bar scene! My
guess is that this particular Sebacean colony had a barely-viable
gene pool when they went renegade, and they came up with this to keep inbreeding to the absolute minimum, checking for bad recessive genes being reinforced, that sort of thing. Good system, but it does make life difficult for the royal family (although avoiding having George IV and half the royal family dying of hemophilia, one would hope). Still I feel for Katrala; the Scarren bastard who poisoned her was truly evil, taking away her chances for the throne she knows she can serve well, and a family she badly wants, at the same time. She deals with it well enough that I'm impressed with her; her life sucks, and she's dealing. Neat lady, and exceedingly well-cast.
Her mother is a stone bitch, of course, but that's all for the best
for someone who's been running a planet and apparently keeping two
factions from each others' throats by sheer force of will. Which is
not to say that I approve of her methods in the slightest; I can't
get behind anyone who uses lives as pawns, who uses people's deepest
fears against them the way she cold-bloodedly and calculatingly used
Scorpy against John. And she smiles while she does it. Die, die,
die!!! Not that anyone else on that planet is much better -- they
were heading for a revolution long before John showed up. Between the constant Peacekeeper threat, the Scarrens pulling a Richelieu behind
the throne (does that make our people the Five Musketeers?), the
tension of a crown prince who desperately wants control over his life
(and a planet coming with it is a nice touch).... These people were
going to come apart at the seams within a generation or two
Chiana may not know much about a lot of things in life, but when it
comes to sex, she's the Dr. Ruth of the Uncharted Territories.
Although she is better at dealing with other people's sex lives than
her own, and she does tend to ignore the Issues in favor of
practicality. Still, she's got Aeryn pretty well nailed -- the direct
approach wasn't working, John would be well-advised to get sneaky.
Pretend it's just sex, which she can handle, then let the love thing
grow on her when she's not looking. Unfortunately, it is way the hell
too late for that at this point, so John's outta luck.
Meanwhile, Chi and D'Argo are having a good time shagging anywhere
and anywhen. I'm a little surprised John's took the news so calmly,
but he's been a tad distracted. But wow, some of those scenes
were just TMI, ya know? Even if I *couldn't* figure out the relative
positions and, ah, interactions. But god, was it funny watching
John's face every time he interrupted. < giggling hysterically >
Still, there's no way they can go the distance in a relationship if
they're not genetically compatible -- D'Argo is far too much of a
daddy. Kids are an essential in his life. On the other hand, it's not
like they were forever anyway; Chiana's not going to settle down
anytime soon, and D'Argo has his Quest. And he dances like a white
boy, but we can let that slide... < giggle >
Rygel didn't get much to do, but I loved him doing the Dominar
routine, which he is always surprisingly good at. You tend to forget
the little slug was a ruler for a while there, but it may have been
the only thing he was really good at. He's actually remarkably
well-behaved throughout the episodes, sympathetic and attempting to
be useful as John is agonizing. It's not surprising, of course, that
he's in favor of the marriage -- John will be royalty, what Rygel
wants more than anything. I'm actually surprised that Rygel isn't
having a jealous fit. Maybe he's hoping John's new in-laws will be
sympathetic to a Hynerian rebellion? But god, the whole 'Aeryn
kissing Rygel' scene was far too hysterical for words, right
down to the simultaneous hack-spit over the bar.
AS for Pilot and Zhaan... Cooooolllll. < eg > Not enough happened
(except for Pilot forcing Zhaan to stop taking her panic attacks out
on him and Moya, and that indescribably gorgeous singing bit) to tell
what's going to happen but.. Moya's Builders? Far too cool!
Very pretty FX throughout; the planetary matte jobs and sets are just
gorgeous, and the nebulae where Moya winds up is gorgeous. Makeup and
Wardrobe did and equally good job (those Scarrens are icky indeed); I question Katrala's taste in eye makeup, and I'm wondering about the Clooney/Banderas fixation in men's hair, but what the hell.... <
There's lots of silliness in the plot, of course, since it's an
essentially silly plot. There's still no explanation of why the sperm
bank suggestion isn't viable, or why they're desperate enough to
accept a Human as Royal Consort, considering how rabid Sebaceans are
about genetic purity. (My personal approach would have been to kiss
Tyno the first time, lie my ass off about how it tasted, and
discretely find a good lab and an egg donor.) But who cares about
the plot -- it's just a excuse to stick Our Merry Crew and a bunch of
well-drawn guest characters into a deeply sticky situation and watch
how miserable they can make each other! Yes, yes, make their lives
hell so they appreciate it more when everything is fixed! (And I do
mean when. If this messy isn't cleaned up by the end of Part
3, Kemper will *pay*!)
2.12 Look at the Princess 2: I Do, I Think
|Andrew Prowse & Tony Tilse
|July 28, 2000
More plots fold and twist around John as the politics surrounding his engagement heat up; meanwhile, Moya's gods are *not* happy about what their little girl has been doing while she's been gone....
Chiana: Look Aeryn, all men are stupid, okay? Men: stupid! If you want them to know something, you have to tell them.
Cargn: I simply offer myself as a diversion. Besides, you never know, we could be extremely... compatible.
Aeryn: [takes the little kiss bottle, considers it, then throws it in the lake] Now, don't feel bad. It's not you, it's me. I don't like you.
Katralla:I've never seen anything like it before.
John: Obi-Wan had one... 'cept his was a lot smaller.
Jenavia: Poor Katralla. So unaware of what it takes.
Katralla:To be a slut, Jenavia?
Jenavia:To keep a man. I heard yours ran off rather than marry you.
Katralla: Somebody tried to kill him. Probably my brother, your fiance. What does that say about you?
Jenavia:Honestly? That I pick winners.
Katralla: You disgust me.
[Aeryn slams! both women into the mirror, face-first ] (Punctuated by various sotto voce gasps of "Let go of me!" "Ow!" "Bitch!" from Katralla and Jenavria)
Aeryn: Hello ladies! Hope I'm not disturbing. Now listen to me closely so that there's no misunderstanding. I don't know what game is being played on this little planet of yours, and I don't really care. What I care about is that a good friend of mine is not hurt--- in *any* sense of the word. And if he is I will personally take revenge on both of your overly made-up faces! [Lets go of both of them and stalks out, leaving the other two to straighten their hair and try to regain some dignity]
[The archivist knows that there's no way to do justice to this bit, but we gotta try.]
John: No no no. Human, Sebacean, Human, Sebacean! We're different. One wound and I bleed out! 'Oh, officer Fraka, what the frell have you--' Hmm? Hmmm? Fine! Let's do it! Let's do this thing! C'mon, shoot me, right here, right here-- no, no, not the brain, he wants the brain--- the heart. Here, here, shoot me in the heart--- ohkay, kinda your left, right, my left, *your* right! Here, John Wayne Bobbit, Vienna Boys Choir--- Ohhhhooooooo!!!!! Kill my sex life, now quick, kill my sex life now, shoot it, just shoot me! [pulls free] Mercy! [Reacts to ro-Na trying to approach] 'Back, get back or the white boy gets it!' 'Oh man, oh man don't let him kill me--' [She backs away...] You people are sooo dumb!
Scorpius's Voice in John's Mind: Focus, John. Panic is unacceptable, you will survive.
Scorpy Voice:You must survive.
Scorpy Voice:You've come too far to die.
Aeryn:Oh, so you've rationalized this all out, have you?
John: Aeryn, I'm tired. What am I supposed to do? What do I do when there's no fight left?
Aeryn:You run away.
John: With you?
Aeryn: With all of us, together. [near tears, as Crichton strokes her cheek, then lies back] What, you can't just quit!
John: I'm not quitting. I just can't go on.
Aeryn:Was I wrong? You're no longer the Crichton I knew?
[John doesn't answer. Aeryn leaves, angry and thinking hard]
Pilot: Moya has... slipped from my consciousness. She is gone... and I am shortly to follow. Don't-- feel sad... Our lives were good. Moya is right. We are... fulfilled.
Zhaan: Pilot--- it has been a pleasure.
Pilot: I am ready now. I have seen the stars....
Scorpius: You're making a... mistake, Crichton.
John: I don't think so. I had one request for a wedding present. That you be banned from this planet forever. Do you know what they said? [off Scorpy's look of inquiry] 'Yes, Your Highness.'
Katralla: (whisper) Pieces of different kindling often build the strongest fire.
John: Oh, this is not happening... Just, feel free to wake me up any time, D'Argo.
D'Argo: Well, now I can only speak truth, and that comes as good and bad news.
John:All right... gimme the bad news first.
D'Argo:The bad news is that you're married, and you must endure as a statue for eighty cycles in a strange world.
John: What's the good news?
D'Argo: Chiana and I are having fantastic sex.
[They glance at each other, pause, and then crack up as John flashes a Nixon-esque Victory sign, then falls down in pain]
Well, I think we've passed through strung-out and to the other side of numb now. My fingernails are still intact. The chocolate store is depleted. But
we're still hanging in there, despite plot-turn-burnout. It helps that this week's ep, while good, is nowhere *near* as intense as last week's. Second-of-three eps rarely are, and a good thing, too. Any more aneuryisms around here and we'd have no clients left.
Except for that whole killing-Moya thing. Whose good idea was *THAT*??
Surprises this week include the news that Jena's a plant, and not the cool Delvian type, either, but a nasty-twisty-spying PK plant; Aeryn going
off to concoct a plan to save John on her own, with Twinkie Boy in tow as a native guide (oh, please. She already said she didn't like him. No one out there thought for a *moment* that she was up to anything else. Right?); the squirrelly-looking servitor bought it in mid-treachery, and was played by Ben Browder's wife, Francesca Buller (she and the make-up crew must be like *this* by now); and John, poor John, has a latent psychotic hiccup waiting to convulse his brain if things get too bad, and it talks to him in Scorpy's voice. AIiieieiieeieee!
The villain count going up in the middle of the plot does make things more--- messy, especially since Jena (or Jenavria, whatever her real name is) is *quite* as capable of kicking butt as Aeryn, and ro-Na is an extremely hyper and unbalanced little servitor lizard. She doesn't seem to have a really good idea why she wants stuff, she just wants STUFF. And it's a riot! Any time someone that short in makeup shows up again, I'm going to be wondering if it's Francesca from now on, and how much caffeine they gave her this time.
But the real wicked villain during this interlude is Jonathan Hardy's Kahaynu--- good smoke, bad attitude, and hey, don't we know that voice? < wg > What works on Rygel is, when cubed by several degrees of intimidation and with all petty mortality removed, fairly scary, in a cool, calm methodical way. Logic is completely left out of the mix--- his plans are so *totally* unnecessary that I kept arguing with the TV during this sequence, so you know it worked. Poor Zhaan; Virginia pulls out the stops despite dialogue that goes clunky in mid-mourning, and she and Lani made me cry *again*. sniff Moya is too sweet to live, it's utterly flipping unfair, it has to be a setup, a test, a trick (it better be!)--- and I can't for the life of me figure out how they're gonna get out of this if it isn't. Arrggghhh.... Great cameo, Jonathan; great direction on the smoke, the god, the clouds, and the pain, Tony & Andrew!
John's luck with women just keeps growing, doesn't it? First Katralla's slapping him around, just like Aeryn did when they first met, then she seems to be trying to adjust to the idea of marrying him a little *too* hard. Don't know if that's pragmatism, romaticism, or a latent crush, but it's definitely interesting. Not to mention the great impression he made on Jena, PK Assassin Chick. Meanwhile Aeryn is still in the midst of her existential crisis, but remains true to herself by not doing something pointless and stupid by running off with Casanova-dude. Which is why we're still rooting for her. Even though she's can't help but be horribly aware that lots and lots of people, her shipmates, Crichton, even total strangers like Cragn and Tyno, have picked up on her feelings for John, at least she re-directs that frustration in a wicked constructive way when she smacks down Gena and Katralla at the same time. < chortle > Points for the Visiting Team! See, she focuses, and this is why she wins, ladies. And why I'm pretty sure she *will* get John out of this. (Eventually.) With John too panic-locked to think, she's decided that she'll have to come up with a plan--- even if he claims to not want to be saved. We should all be so lucky to have this kind of friend. I just hope John is in *shape* to be saved....
Rygel, Rygel... man, if he weren't doing such a good job of guarding John's back--- actually, wait. He didn't do that good a job. He was just a lot more entertaining during this ep, being actively manipulative and Dominar-esque in dealing with Empress Novia. Chiana has really got to stick to the seduce-kick-cry thing, because her idea of undercover *sucks*. And D'Argo is a hoot, especially his last attempt to cheer John up. TMI, Big Guy-- but nice try at supporting your buddy, backing him no matter what.
John--- uh, John goes a little Daffy Duck on us here. Who knew he was *that* serious when he said that Scorpy was in his brain? whimper Not to mention that flip-out ala' Mel Gibson and Cleavon Little-- one that just has to be seen to be believed, and I'm sure Ben enjoyed every silly minute of it. Half of that *had* to be ad-lib, don't tell me anyone could memorize that whole spiel! < snerk > (If he did, I'm even more impressed.) It's no wonder John's completely exhausted by the end of this ep; punched, gassed, blown out an airlock; courted, rejected, threatened, married--- you know, that statue might've started looking good just as a way to get a nap! The scene where he lies down, then curls up into a ball on his bed... Poor guy. *ow*
And for those of you who wonder, that zero-gee dive into space was just *barely* workable --- if this section was partially subjective time, and John did everything right, he *could* have survived that long. More on that in the FAQ later this week.
I think John is long overdue for another Acquavaran vacation or a complete psychotic break, but I seriously doubt his little time-out as a statue is going to count as either. I think Kahaynu is both capricious and heartless, and I hope Zhaan kicks his heiney next week. I think Aeryn has a cwever pwan up her sleeve (okay, not wearing sleeves, but so what). I think Scorpy doesn't give up this easy. I think....
That it's a darn good thing that I've got more chocolate stashed around here somewhere. And that this new nailpolish is pretty nigh un-chewable. *sigh*
Hope the rest of you are hanging on by longer nails than mine!
Yeah. Like I needed this stress on top of moving my entire life to a different apartment. < sigh > I tell ya, there were times this last week when I sympathized with John in ways you can only imagine if you, too, are in that kind of situation -- everything out of your control, no way out, no way back, and too damn tired to keep going forward. John ran out of steam about halfway through this episode, and I don't blame him, really; you can only cope with the impossible for so long before your brain shuts down and flatly refuses to have anything more to do with this so-called reality.
Personally, I would have given it up after the assassination attempt. I would definitely have checked out around the time Miss Fiancee turned out to be a Peacekeeper. And absolutely headed for the borders of sanity when the little serving chick went Dark Side. Hey, guys? Did you forget to pass something out before this episode started? Like oh, say, a scorecard?!? With everyone on the other teams busily betraying everyone else, the referee (aka Empress Chick) ignoring all of the various fouls, and his own teammates distracted with their own agendas (as usual), it's actually amazing the football (aka John) didn't pop a seam sooner. (But then, we might not have gotten that supremely hysterical scene aboard the stolen cargo ship, when John flipped out. He's an entertaining, if scaryashell, lunatic, but we really have to limit his access to Mel Brooks for, like, ever.) Seriously, though, the Aurora Chair did serious damage to John -- not only does Scorpius' presence freak him beyond the capacity for rational thought (understandably), but there seems to be damage beyond that. We've seen john's psyche manifest Scorpy at him before -- anyone remember the Hawaiian shirt in "Crackers Don't Matter"? Anyone else detecting a very scary trend? What the hell kind of prezzies did Scorpy leave in that chair, anyway? And, of course, he has to show up when John is alreadystressed. < sigh >
And nobody else was being even slightly helpful. D'Argo and Chiana meant well, but seemed to be too busy snogging to offer any real advice. D'Argo's sole contribution was "Go with the flow," which I'm sure was comforting, but not horribly helpful. And not what I expect from D'Argo, who is not one to tamely accept fate most of the time. He generally prefers to pummel problems into submission. Chiana was doing better on the advice side -- she's very good at running other people's lives; it's her own she screws up, which is not an uncommon phenomenon -- but reserved it for Aeryn. I have no idea whether that was a deliberate strategy (if she realized that John was non compos menti and advice to him would be pretty much useless; therefore, she needed to rally the troops) or if she just couldn't resist giving the Big Bad Peacekeeper advice on men. Personally, I think she might have done better have been kicking John's butt into coming up with a plan, instead of making painfully bad threats and passing time by annoying Aeryn. Still, her last, easy "I love you," to John was intensely sweet (and D'Argo's send-off joke was wonderful).
And, admittedly, it's not Chiana's job to kick John's butt -- that lot traditionally falls to Aeryn, who instead spends what little time they have to come up with a plan waiting for John to rescue himself. I have no idea if Peacekeepers have any concept of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, psychological damage to POWs, battle fatigue, etc. Either they don't, or they just don't bother to tell the grunts about it, or she would have diagnosed John a lot earlier, instead of stalking around assaulting people and fuming herself into a mental mess of her own. Fortunately, she seems to get a clue by the end of the episode; I have no idea what she's up to, but I wish she'd gotten around to being up to it about three days earlier, before we got to see John Solo encased in carbonite. < shudder >
No one else on the planet is acquitting themselves much better, of course. Katralla needs to grow a spine, the Empress needs to catch a clue (or leave that lovely little condo she's got in denial), the Loser Who Would Be King needs to learnt he meaning of Bad Alliances, and Rygel... Oh, I'm not even going to bother. Talk about worrying more about your own agenda! D'Argo and Aeryn should have throttled him when he withheld John's location.
Francesca Bueller is turning into the Robin Sachs of Australia (he who played five characters of four different races or some such numbers on Babylon 5). But she gives good twitchy psycho again (although I was having painful flashbacks to Dobby and Winky from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which made it a bit difficult to take her entirely seriously < snicker >). Didn't you almost feel for Scorpy's Lt., trapped a ship with Psycho Crichton, and the Leaping Lizard? Almost.
Meanwhile, off in another sector of the galaxy, Moya was dying! Aieee! There's a theory that you can tell a lot about a culture by the gods they worship, but I'm not going to buy it this time -- in fact, I have no idea how species as kind and wonderful as Pilot and Moya could be created by dorks like the Builders. Talk about blaming the victim!! Jonathan Hardy is quite creepy, helped by all of the smoke, and Zhaan does her usual great delivery of offended righteousness (I'm not saying she's wrong, my righteousness would be offended too! And was! But it's always either Zhaan's job or Crichton's. But I digress....), despite a few instances of desperately clunky dialogue. And yes, I sniffled when Pilot was dying. Truth be known, I would have preferred much more time on Moya, and cut some of the hijinks planetside. On the other hand, I kinda like that Moya's gods aren't standing around justifying themselves to 'lower life forms' -- it doesn't make me think more highly of them, but it's more.... realistic, I suppose, then for them to spare lots of time explaining.
The episode is definitely weaker than Part 1 -- you can tell where they stretched this sucker out that extra 42 minutes, and the pacing was rather badly off about half the time. But there was some nice character development happening (even if I didn't agree with it; D'Argo primarily got on my nerves; he's not that fatalistic), and it lays out the necessary groundwork for the slam-bang finale. Which had better be slam-bang after putting us through all of this! Like I needed more reasons to curl up in a little ball and suck my thumb this week.... Hold onto your popcorn, people; this last step's gonna be a lulu!!!