3.1 Season of Death
||March 16, 2001
In the wake of the events of Die Me, Dichotomy, Moya's crew attempt to save John's life --- and remain out of danger themselves.
D'Argo: Don't make me tongue you!|
D'Argo: Whoooaaa! I hate the cold!
John: Freeze or fry!
John: Sounds like you've got a plan.
D'Argo:We're going to bring him out here and see if he likes being in the cold.
John: And what if he likes it?
D'Argo:Look, one plan at a time!
Aeryn: I shouldn't be here.
John:This is exactly where you should be. I love you.
Aeryn: I love you, too.
More on the way when the Tour Guides get a second to re-re-watch this with a notepad in hand
She who has no expectations will never be disappointed, and will always be surprised. I didn't quite manage that perfectly Zen state of mind this time, but I wasn't that far off, since most of the things I expected in this season opener didn't come true. And while I may not have been perfectly satisfied with how things ended up, I'm still happy enough to come back for more popcorn and Farscape.|
Well, we knew Aeryn wasn't dead, didn't we? And we were right. And we knew they'd fix John's brain trauma somehow, and we were right about that too. It just happened a *lot* faster than we expected --- and it would probably be pretty ungrateful of us to complain about that, now wouldn't it? (I mean, we keep claiming to not be masochists, so....) I think any let-down from this ep comes from the fact that it all happened too fast to process; any emotional ramifications got lost in the whole 'let's not get killed, save the Human, get Aeryn back, get off this ice block' craziness. Hopefully, we'll be given enough fall-out in future eps for us to believe it's all really over and that we didn't get cheated after all.
Can't claim we were surprised about Chiana and Jothee's little contretemps either--- although I am surprised that it happened so *fast*, and with so little provocation, maybe. For god's sake, they weren't even in a near-death-we've-got-an-excuse situation. They were just in the kitchen, being teenagers. That's obnoxious! Not to mention that they managed to skate out of getting caught because D'Argo has a cold!? Excuse me! That's just ... lame! *snort* Again, if there are consequences, we'll come to accept this, but I can't say this isn't irritating when it really, really is.
Okay. That takes care of the two most major quibbles I've got with the season opener--- there was lots to like about it, and enough that came out of the blue for me to be looking forward to Season 3.
Things I loved:
The cool new opening theme! They ramped up the music, added incredible graphics, overhauled John's monologue, and did an awesome job of editing it. *Very*, very nice work, people.
Scorpius. He ate. The BRAIN. < gag > And he made Grunschlk eat *his own fingers*! Oh my god!
Major eeweeeewwww!! Why on Earth should I be happy about this? I had to put a pillow over my face and have Perri tell me when it was over! Am I demented, that I'm glad he's still really, really evil? That his presumed-death count just went up to three? That he now has the ability to do horrible things with John's wormhole knowledge? I must be. I'm revelling in the unadulterated stuff here. Because all of this means he'll be back, and at this point, he's going to have to be a Durka-pop in order for us to believe he's not faking it again. Wow, I'm looking forward to this. Wayne Pygram was having too much damn fun. He must walk onto the soundstage wondering, "I wonder if they'll have me conducting a ritual sacrifice today, la di da.... It's good to be the villain..."
Aeryn's resurrection --- okay, having Zhaan "do a Unity thing" was kind of a cop-out. On the other hand, having her come *blasting* out of her coffin and taking out those commandos was awesome! The blowing hair thing and underwater lighting struck me as cheesy--- but the graphics and dialogue during Unity were lovely, and both actresses sold me on how hard Aeryn was fighting this, and how hard Zhaan was fighting for her. And having her show up once again to save John and D'Argo was also really, really wonderful. Plus, the earlier bit, where the PK's noticed that one of the coffins was opening? And we all thought it was Aeryn? And Perri and I were chanting for her to come out? *Terrific* fake-out there, guys--- an undead Scarran can in no way be mistaken for Aeryn Sun. Massive heart attacks all around! Which made it that much cooler when she finally did come busting back to life.
That hug, when John realized it really was Aeryn, not a trick, not a hallucination --- awwww! The kiss, bringing both of them to their knees, and the audience screaming in their seats --- yayyy! The moment when Aeryn says, "We can't be together" --- WHAT?! Oh, lord.... < roll eyes > I knew it, I knew this was gonna happen! Okay, I didn't know that it would be at the price of Zhaan's life (another thing I'm not sure I buy yet--- and I will be highly irritated if they persist in making her really truly about-to-be-dead), thus giving Aeryn even more reason to angst. But I knew she was going to freak as soon as she and John were back together. I just want to shake her and shriek, "Zhaan is dying so you can be with John, are you out of your mind?! She approves of sex! She's all for true love! She *wants* you to do this, you lunatic ex-Peacekeeper! Snap out of it!" But that wouldn't be very effective. Of course. Gahhh. And I can't even argue with it, because I know why she feels like this--- but they better not make her suffer about this *all* season, damnit. We all deserve better!
Crais and Talyn were also a fun to watch and cheer for, along with their usually wicked CGI, even if no-one believed Scorpy was on that transport. And hey, Crais still doesn't know that Aeryn's alive--- how cool is it going to be when he finds out? We *still* don't know what's up with that chip he had; we don't know what he wants from Aeryn; we don't know where he stands in the spectrum of good, evil, and out-to-lunch. Things To Look Forward To Finding Out, a lot. Especially with Lani in the credits now! Yesss!
Since we didn't get to see Scorpy axed, it was a trip to watch John kick Harvey's ass all over the mental backdrop of his mind. We *needed* that, man... Especially after the last ep! I'm sure Ben Browder was getting a lot of fun --- maybe too much --- out of that too. And every scene with D'Argo and John was just a joy, from D'Argo's determination to make sure John didn't kill himself, to his support against Harvey, to the fight with the Scarran. Heee! Can I have a stuffed D'Argo toy? Pretty please? I would love it and hug it and call it 'Ka!' Because Anthony Simcoe is invariably watchable and amusing and had the best lines out of this ep. (And next week he gets his heart broken... wahhhh!)
Aside from Stark's line about Grunsclk being "effectively" dead (which was a nice bit of evil fun), I found myself torn between wanting to slap him and ignoring him this time out.... But Paul Goddard is in the credits now, so *maybe* they'll give him consistent character development from now on. I can hang in here and wait, since they've taken the time to make it official; and if Zhaan's sick, he might get more to do. I won't throw popcorn if he doesn't give me a reason, all right?
Season openers are more a look at things to come, and a tie-up for new people coming in than anything else, and on that level, "Season of Death" delivers. (Speaking of which, the Farscape Undressed special was a riot. Man, those people are nuts. Heeee!) Not quite as good as last year's "Mind the Baby", but perfectly workable, with many great moments, and a lot of hooks for the rest of the season. Popcorn, in other words. But we all know I never say no to popcorn.
TGUT wants to thank our faithful supporters, the regulars at the TGUT bar, the authors who sent us fic over the break, and everyone else who wondered what we were in for with the show this season. Place your bets on how long John and Aeryn stay celibate, what Zhaan's final fate will be, what's on the chip, how long before Scorpy returns, and then settle in at the lounge: we've got the bags in the microwave heating up for you.
Gotta agree with Kiki, the new credits rock. I miss the Valkyrie wailing on sentimental principles, but Farscape wasn't been that bopping popcorn show for quite some time now, so the more dramatic opening works for me. Love the new logo, and I adore the fade into it from that gorgeous John/Aeryn kiss.
But who would have predicted way back at the pilot that the sight of Lani Tupu in the credits would have made certain Tour Guides start bouncing around the room in glee? Of course, who would have predicted the levels that Crais would have been taken to? He's come a long way from the guy whose sanity we could judge by the state of his ponytail. His insistence on retrieving Aeryn's body is interesting; concern for a comrade's last wishes, or something else? He's also a little too cocky, relying on Talyn's abilities and his own training too much; anyone without that absolutely faith in his own prowess would never have assumed that blowing up the Marauder killed Scorpius. I do want to see his face when the 'dead' rise and start getting in his face....
Now, on the other hand, seeing Paul Goddard in the credits caused a hell of a lot of groaning. I've got nothing against the actor, whose making the best out of some really dreadful writing, but I'm more than ready to kick Stark out the nearest airlock. He used to be interesting, resourceful, more-or-less sane -- a competent enigma who appeared to have some value, some contribution to make to the crew. These days, he's a sanctimonious plot device of a zealot intent on screaming and whining until everyone agrees with him about what is right or wrong. If the words "Crichton wouldn't want < blank >" had emerged from his mouth one more time to back up his own half-crazed declarations on universal truths, I was going to be strongly tempted to kick in the TV screen. I was ready to concede that he might be being driven by the 'souls' screaming in his head -- he is a notoriously unstable telepath -- but he lost any of that sympathy when he killed the helpless frozen guy. Whatever. His only saving graces are: A) that lovely "Effectively." that was like the Stark of old and B) that he genuinely cares about Zhaan, which only proves that he does have a few remnants of sanity left.
The worst part of it is that Stark seems to be infecting Zhaan with the whineyness. The whole "he wants to die thing" had me ready to administer some injections to her! But she snapped out of it, thank K'halan, and won a couple of serious cheers from the bar -- first by making Stark shut up for a while by knocking his butt out; second, of course, by refusing to give up on Aeryn and dragging her back to the world of the living. I'm mildly worried about the price she'll have to pay (and more than mildly confused by why, since "I love you and so does John" doesn't quite seem to be sufficient reason to kill yourself for someone who's already mostly dead), but I'm content to wait and see.
Thrilled as I am that John has finally gotten Harvey under control (and amused as I am by the thought of them moving into a warehouse to do that fight scene rather than worrying about sets, not to mention the indescribably priceless staging, with southern accent in full force), it was all more than a little too easy (a problem throughout the episode). We're talking massive amounts of therapy here, boys and girls; Stark telling him to fight, especially when three seconds ago he was totally suicidal, just ain't gonna turn that trick. Mind you, Ben Browder pulls off that fight scene in fine style and I was doing some serious sniffing when he hugged Aeryn. But I was expecting a lot more trouble, a lot more angst, and a lot more, ah, reality.
But yes, Aeryn lives!!!!! And came back in her usual fine form, emerging from death to take out a gang of PKs and going on to rescue John yet again by taking on a Scarren. I was somewhat less impressed with the "welcome to the afterlife" scene (I could have dealt with the blowing hair or the cheesy (albeit damned pretty) music; the combination took it way over the top), but once Unity began, there was our Aeryn, damned if she was going to let anyone sacrifice themselves for her.
But I do have one serious issue with the girl -- no sex?!? What the hell are you thinking?!? Get real! Like you're going to love him any less? Your emotions are already involved; not sleeping with him isn't going to do anything to keep your head clearer in battle. Hell, the sexual frustration caused by neither of you getting any will probably make things worse! So if you're already in deep kimshee emotionally, you might as well be getting the great sex along with it! < breathing hard > Geez louise!
Now D'Argo, he had some great moments; throughout the episode, he was a complete brick. From being incredibly tender with the injured John, to kicking Zhaan's blue butt out of the room when she went on her euthanasia kick, to fighting the Scarren without blinking. "Aeryn died so you could live," he tells John, and we sniffle. "One plan at a time!" he bellows, and we cheer. He charges the villain... and says "Frell!" when his knife breaks and we giggle lots. God, I love D'Argo!
But D'Argo does have to work on his dealing skills with the people he's trying to protect, when those people are teenaged hormone bombs (to steal an extremely apt quote). Jothee and Chiana have one thing in common at least -- the absolute need not only to rebel against authority, but to do their level best to blow it out of the water. Unfortunately, this combined with said hormones lead to what is going to be a damned sticky situation. It's about what I expected from Jothee who, let's face it, has not survived this long by thinking about anyone but himself, but I'd started to expect so much more from Chiana. I'm majorly disappointed in that girl.
That said, I also don't think there was nearly enough build-up to that scene; the whole set-up felt too rushed to be entirely believed. I do expect more from Chiana than to screw around for the hell of it with any guy she's known for about a week (yes, I remember who we're tlaking about, but I'd gotten the impression she'd started growing the hell up), much less with D'Argo's son. Sorry, guys; I'll accept it as a plot device, but I'm not buying it.
Rygel and Pilot are largely on the edges of the episode this time out. I was amused as hell at the teaser, with everyone hassling Pilot and him finally yelling; he so rarely gets the chance to cut loose. But, as Chiana said, Aeryn's death would have been particularly hard, as one of the only members of the crew he's actually managed to connect with. And Rygel knows damn well what happened with Chiana and Jothee; he's just waiting for the appropriate time to blackmail them or cause trouble. Goodie. Scorpius continues to be eminently killable, even if no one's succeeded yet; Lt. Braca continues to need a serious reality check; the Scarrens continue to be a cool and valid threat.
Overall, this was a reasonably solid season premiere, wrapping up the worst of the dangling plot threads from last season, rolling out some new ones to set up the season (I'm way intrigued by the threat to Earth implied in the credits). But I'm disappointed in the lack of repercussions so far -- it's not that I'm a sadist, I don't want to see John and Aeryn suffering. But it pushes my suspension of disbelief to the limit when they don't. Still, it's the first episode, and we've got a long way to go; my opinion may change as the season rolls on, and repercussions do, in fact, appear. I hope....
3.2 Suns and Lovers
||March 23, 2001
As the commerce station Moya is docked at faces destruction from oddly-directed solar storms, endangering Moya and her crew, D'Argo and Chiana's relationship faces a different kind of destruction.
Okay, see, remember those tax agents Perri was ducking a few weeks ago? Well, she might have kind of accidentally suggested they look over her partner's half of the books and, well... Kiki will be along just any time now. Really! While Perri hides in the bar.|
Can I just say that, as much as I never wanted details about Chiana and D'Argo's love life, I wanted even less to know about Chiana and Jothee's? Eww.
I'm having a hard time doing anything but despising Jothee. Yes, I'm the one who originally pointed out that the boy's been surviving by only thinking of himself for 8-some years. I understand that -- that doesn't mean I don't loathe the little bastard. That any child with D'Argo's genes could.. not only sleep with the woman he knows his father is in love with, but be completely incapable of dealing with anything but that. When the guy falls out of the cryochamber and dies, he stands around screaming for help. When the first storm hits and Moya is put in danger, he stands around worrying about getting caught with Chiana when even she is busy trying to help her ship and her crewmates. When his father does his damnedest to take care of him, he turns into a bitter brat (not that he doesn't have reason, but he's hitting the wrong target. Which is understandable, but infuriating). Chiana's life hasn't been a bed of roses either, by any means, but she still manages to think of people other than herself (not consistently, mind you, but she tries). Jothee has one hell of a lot of growing up to do, and until he does, I'm just as happy to keep him as far away from D'Argo -- and Chiana -- as possible. (And don't think we missed the irony in having D'Argo brand Jothee with a symbol of loyalty and commitment. I got it. < wince > Let's hope he does someday.)
As for Chiana.... < sigh > I love the girl, I really do, but I could just spank her! I'm absolutely not surprised she freaked at the prospect of D'Argo getting all serious on her, but her response to it was.... much less than I expected of her, as I've said. She wins back lots of points by being completely on the ball dealing with the crisis with Moya, and by obviously not being happy about the route she chose to take -- she was almost sick with guilt about it, in fact. She does care about D'Argo a lot -- her loyalty to her friends, to the people she loves, is one of her savings graces. I just hope she figures out a way to mend some of these fences, for the sake of everyone else aboard Moya as well as her own and D'Argo's.
By the way, I'll take her explanation as an acceptable rationalization of her actions (I was in Forever Knight fandom, I can rationalize anything), but I still regard the whole thing as blatant character assassination for the purpose of furthering a plotline and breaking up a relationship. As far as I'm concerned, Chiana was replaced by a pod person for two episodes, and the real one didn't return to us until Moya got hit by that storm. But then, Chiana is always at her best in a crisis.
But while I feel a little sorry for Chiana, who is, above all, just a kid and stupid with it, it's D'Argo that I really feel for, of course. Maybe Chiana freaked, and maybe she chose the surest way to end her relationship with D'Argo, but she also chose the cruelest possible way. His last marriage ended so horrifically that it took major courage for him to fall in love again, much less be serious about making that commitment again. And, being D'Argo, he got so caught up in his own enthusiasm that he forgot to wonder if Chiana would be as enthusiastic. Now, she's right in that he wouldn't have taken no for an answer, not our D'Argo. But I also don't think he would have pressured her once he realized how truly freaked she was. Well, not much. < g > It's going to take him a long time to get over this, but at least he seems to have worked through the suicidal impulses. Wow, I'm glad to not be on that ship for a while, though.... Awesome performance from Anthony Simcoe throughout -- from his quietly suicidal departure through the airlock to his less-than-quietly suicidal freeing of Moya, to his conscious decision to live, to save his friend and deal with everything else.... Just an amazing performance.
On a lighter note.... < giggling > I admit it, I love that John's reputation is spreading. But I get the feeling that this is not going to be a good thing. For everyone who leaves them alone out of fear, or out of admiration for 'his' consistent screwing over of Peacekeepers -- there's going to be someone else who wants to go up against the fastest gun in the UT. Not to mention that it's a lot harder to be inconspicuous with a Reputation than without one. So much for keeping a low profile -- not that they were ever much good at that, but still.... Let's remember that these are escaped prisoners who just keep giving the PKs more reasons to desperately want them dead. Oh, and note: don't let John drink just before a crisis. Not that it wasn't entertaining as hell to watch him trying to deal with all of this at least half-drunk, and not that I wasn't cheering when he bitched Chiana out, and sniffling when he went out of Moya to save D'Argo. All in all, Crichton had a Good Day.
And what the hell is Aeryn thinking? We can't do anything about being in love, except we can have sex? Obviously, I don't disapprove of this, as evidenced by the screaming last week, but how the hell does she convince herself that she can have sex with the guy she loves and it still won't mean any more than 'recreating'? In one way, it's almost funny. In the other, it's deeply sad -- I could work up a real case of mad for Peacekeeper Command, and the way their training absolutely emotionally cripples their soldiers. < shakes head > John and Aeryn are going to have a hell of a twisted time working their way through this relationship -- I hope one or both of them catches a clue soon. But Aeryn's journey through the sewer ducts was fantastic; I love, love, love that she dealt with finding and rescuing the children on her own, while John take care of the problems on his end. They both function perfectly well independently, but the end result -- the rescue of the children and the station -- comes about because they worked both ends of the same problem. That is my idea of a good relationship.
I almost adore Rygel for being the one to call Chiana on her actions, without using the knowledge to maliciously sow chaos, as he has been known to do. In fact, he seemed to be actually contemptuous of her (although I'm not sure if he was more contemptuous of her actions, or how blatantly stupid she was being with them). He didn't have a lot of time, of course, since Chi and Jothee weren't exactly being discreet, but he didn't tell D'Argo when he had the chance. The slug might be learning. I still admire his technique for dealing with villains -- "Just kill the bitch and get it over with!" That's my boy!
What can I say about Zhaan and Stark, except that I'm bored. Great makeup on Virginia, but what the hell is she dying of, exactly? Since we don't have any details and she seems to be getting around fine, apart from the mother of all bad hair days, I'm having problems caring. And we all know how I feel about Stark; suffice it to say that I'm glad he evidenced competence this week, but it's just not enough. And by the way, where the hell did Crais and Talyn get to? [ED: Okay, explained, no sweat, ignore.]
Kick-ass creatures this time out -- the makeup on the guards was fantastic (the subtle changes were deeply cool, and the way it ran into their hair rocked!), and the Scottish spider behind the bar was incredible! Truly the weirdest semi-humanoid I've ever seen. The whole episode that was actually plot, by the way, was super-cool; the religious fanatic, Borlik, was just excellent, well-written and beautifully directed and performed (major kudos to Leanna Walsmann). The martyr act sent shivers down my spine, and I was delighted when Rygel gagged her. And who didn't cheer when Pilot laughed as he ejected the bitca?!? (And yeah, the laugh was a bit disturbing, but Pilot was mad. I'd've been mad, too!) < giggling > And they named John's DRD!
A surprisingly solid episode overall -- many times, an episode of any show that is this heavily character-oriented wouldn't bother with a solid B-plot, or would phone one in. But Justin Mondo delivers a script that intertwines the character development with a gripping and logical 'real' plot that moves the whole thing along nicely. And if I have more than a few problems with that character development -- well, at least it's contained in an eminently rewatchable episode.