3.5 ...Different Destinations
|April 13, 2001
A rip in time sends members of the crew to a peacefull moment in the past -- which they promptly destroy with pulsar fire. Trapped away from Moya and their own time, our intrepid crew must fix the damage they did... or die trying.
Coming soon. Seriously. We Mean It.
Kiki made the mistake of going to UCSBDad's latest meeting and trying to match him and the vorlags beer for beer. I'm sure she'll return to the Land of the Concious and Coherent any time now....
Ya know, it's getting harder and harder to sit down and write Farscape reviews, because I'm always certain that I'm going to be pretty damned depressed by the end of them. Between people dying all over the place and everyone else angsting interminably about things they are or are not responsible for, Moya is no longer a Happy Fun place for Your Tour Guides to hang out. I'm expecting to see her crew diving for the airlocks at any moment.
Which is not to say that this wasn't an extremely kick-ass episode. Once again, Farscape grabs an sf staple -- time travel and the consequences thereof -- and runs with it in their own wonderfully warped and twisted way. Our crew goes back, they screw up history, and they attempt to set it right... and wind up screwing it all to hell. Great writing, outstanding directing and editing, great pacing, absolutely gripping up to the final moment of horrified realization. The use of the "time visors" to tell the first version of the story, and the ending of the second, was just too cool for words.
That said.... This was not John's fault. Zhaan's death wasn't his fault, and the death of the nurses wasn't either. They wound up back in that time and place by chance; John was the one who came up with the way to save the day, by releasing the general who would have been willing to make peace. It would have been nice, yes, if he'd gotten Aeryn and D'Argo in on the plan but, as you'll recall, they weren't real interested in listening, everyone being in a severely pissy mood this week. His one real mistake was in taking time on top of the wall to have a damn chat, instead of just shoving General Grynes over the edge and out of range at the first chance, but he's still an amateur. Of course he feels guilty as hell about the nurses' deaths, but he was not responsible. Damn it. < sigh > Not that anyone's going to be able to convince him of that -- the one positive sign is that, at the end, when he was being Uber-Depresso Boy, he was able to reach out to Aeryn. He's not over the edge yet.
Aeryn's life sucks, I freely admit this. First, she gets her illusions about brave Sub-Officer Dacon blown to hell, then she finds herself protecting and trying to take care of said Sub-Officer. Then she gets to watch the young, personable kid die on the off chance that his death will make everything better. And, of course, it doesn't. It would have been nice if she'd been a tad more supportive of John, but she's got serious questions about his stability at this point (not unfounded; Harvey in red cowboy boots? With 'Andy' written on the bottom of one? Lord save us....), and she's a brick at the end, trying to call him back to the present, to the land of the living. Even grieving for the loss of a boy she barely knew, and a hero who was all too human, she's still holding herself together to help John. Aeryn rocks.
And poor D'Argo... < sigh > The man has kid issues twelve miles wide, for obvious reasons, and if he didn't become quite as emotionally twisted up in this mess, he came close. Anthony Simcoe continues to astound with amount of sheer emotion -- from rage to tenderness -- that he can bring through all of that latex and makeup. Just fantastic. And you have to love how efficient he's getting at dealing with Stark. < snicker > But he and John and Aeryn have got to sit down and do some serious talking; the three of them were so busy ignoring each other and having Trust Issues that.... well, let's just say it contributed substantially to the eventual outcome.
I suppose that, if it's necessary to blame anyone for this debacle, we're gonna have to call Stark front and center. The Walking Plot-Device comes through again, wigging out at the worst possible moment to set up the worst possible scenario. The thing is, there are moments in this episode when the man is supremely cool, trying to care for the wounded and talking sane, rational sense to the freaking Nurse Kelsa. For a few minutes there, we got to remember the good old days when Stark was neat and rational and a good person to have around in the crunch. Then, of course, he went back to freaking out. < sigh > Paul Goddard does such a wonderful job when he's given something calm and meaty to work with; then he has to start chewing the scenery and being killable again.
But, as much as I'd like to blame His Annoyingness for this one, there really isn't anyone to blame. The timeline was screwed up from the moment Moya's crew arrived, almost; when the Horde came down on them, they reacted with the instincts of soldiers and fugitives who'd been on the run for two cycles -- they damn well shot back, with no idea of what the consequences would be. That those consequences were horrific -- I will hear Kelsa and Cyntrina pleading for their lives in my head for a long time, and John will, too -- every action they took in that timeline was made either unknowingly, or in a conscious attempt to put right what had gone wrong. And lacking Al Calavicci and a supercomputer named Ziggy, there was just no chance in hell once the General died.
Should they have stayed to face the Horde, to turn themselves over as martyrs to save the nurses? Maybe. But they thought leaving would be enough; and even if they had stayed, there's no guarantee the Horde wouldn't have started with them, and simply moved onto the nurses once th blood lust kicked into high gear. In fact, I think it's pretty damn likely. Small comfort to D'Argo and John and Aeryn, of course; no one's ever going to convince any of them that they couldn't have done something differently....
On the lighter sides, Jool is definitely allowed to stay. < g > Tammy MacIntosh is just priceless, just smart enough to be dangerous, too young to be taken seriously, too old to be as immature as she is. Her reaction to the painkiller ("I drank piss!" is far too funny, it really is; Jool provided some desperately needed levity without destroying the mood, which is a tricky balance.
But her best scenes were the ones played opposite Chiana, who is just not going to tolerate this crap -- never mind how much crap she made everyone else tolerate when she came on board. In comparison to Jool, the amazing amount of growing up Chiana has done in the last cycle or so is astonishing. She's together in a crisis, focused entirely on figuring out what the hell is going on and what needs to be done to help her friends. She won't rise to Jool's holier-than-thou bait, and she deal with the girl appropriately when it's called for. < snerk > The temptation to slam down on that would have been too much for me, too, babe. Way to go.
Not much to do for Pilot or Rygel; they're scenery for the most part. The guest stars turned in some damned amazing performances; Basia A'hern stole every scene she was in as Cyntrina; Marshall Napier adjusted fast to the prosthetics, getting an incredible amount of emotion and energy into his few scenes; Lucy Bell gave good stressed-to-the-limits as Kelsa; Dan Spielman as Sub-Officer Dacon was a sweet kid that made it genuinely painful when he bought it (as we knew he was going to do). As I said, they had the benefit of an awesome director and editing team; the transitions from the past to the present were spectacular. And let's give them props for continuity (the Vennek horde was a throwaway reference way the hell back in, we think, Durka Returns; way to keep track!) and for keeping track of reality -- of course no one on Moya was changed by what happened on the planet; it just wasn't that important in the grand scheme of the Uncharted Territories, no matter how much so it was to the participants. That says something either very profound, or something very sad.
So, oustandingly well-done episode. Now, how about we lighten up on the damn gloom-and-doom for a little while, 'kay? Between this and the ongoing angstorama that is Buffy (and they're about to kill someone off on Roswell, which is not going to help), I'm gonna need Prozac by summer!
3.6 Eat Me
|April 20, 2001
A damaged transport pod forces D'Argo, Crichton, Chiana and Jool to land on a dying Leviathan, with a population that ranges from the cannabalistic to the really scary....
Chiana: "See? Violence. You'll get the hang of it."
Kaarvok: "We're going to make babies."
Aeryn: "If you try anything when I am gone, whatever you have in place of mivonks, and wherever they are, they will be gone when I get back."
Aeryn stalks out
Rygel: "We give her 300 microts. Then we cut ourselves free from Talyn, and we Starburst."
Stark: "Talyn will recover. Crais may not. I suspect that now is not the right moment to abscond."
Chiana finds D'Argo chained and, ah, 'making babies'
D'Argo: "Um... help me."
Chiana: "Am I interrupting something?"
D'Argo:"Chiana, just hurry up."
Chiana: "Cause, you know, I can just leave you there if you want. It's no trouble."
Jool: "I've never shot myself with a pulse rifle!"
Aeryn: "How is... he?"
Rygel: "Still tied."
Kiki left her brain in the wilds of the planet Michigan; she'll be back as soon as the search party returns. (Judging from the amount of fellis necter they took with them, it could be a while....)
Okay, Your Faithful (if Quite Tardy) Tour Guides have something to admit here -- this episode messed with our heads. Severely. By the end of the second act, we were so wound up in the sheer grimness of the setting and the horror of "The bastards killed D'Argo now?!?" that, when we discovered the truth, both tapes had to be stopped for several very long minutes while Your Long-Suffering Tour Guides indulged in a bout of (literally) hysterical laughter. We didn't regain anything resembling control or sanity until several hours after the episode ended (which the L.A. flunkies will attest to, as they were on the third end of the phone call).
That admitted, this episode was one hell of a mind-frell. The setting -- a dead/dying body -- is reminiscent of Home on the Remains, but they got it right this time, using the utter horror of the decaying Leviathan, the feral Sebaceans eating the Leviathan, and the confined space to induce the most genuinely disturbing, horrible sense of claustrophobia I've ever had the pleasure to suffer through. (And I'm a practicing claustrophobic, I know whereof I speak!) I have no problems with Jool freaking; she actually reacted a hell of a lot better than I would have managed. Even when the laughs start -- Chiana's rescue of D'Argo, Jool's freak outs, and Chiana's initial reaction to her double -- the humor is as black as the rest of the episode, adding to the creepiness instead of detracting.
Chiana continues to impress with the sheer amount of maturity she's developed since we first met her. No bitching or screaming, just get done what has to be done, even if that means killing anything that attacks her or cremating her ex-lover's body to keep it from being eaten. Her interactions with John throughout are touching -- allowing herself to be talked into staying with the transport and, of course, that incredible funeral scene. (Gigi's performance through that was outstanding, aided by awesome directing and a perfect score in the background.) Her ability to cope with anything the ship throws at her makes her inability to deal with the death of her other self is all the more affecting. Seeing yourself die is not gonna top my list of Things Which Must Be Experienced.
Oh, John's psyche did not need this. He was in no shape to deal with any of what that ship had to offer, and finding himself faced with a clone is so not going to help. As usual, he copes with the ship, and the 'death' of his crewmates, by getting very loud and very Southern, but keeping his mind working as much as possible. He goes on the offensive, and hammers the Pilot into helping, and is, in general, showing his Aeryn-influence quite heavily. But he seems to have reached his coping point, judging by the endless round of RPS -- and can I just say how not fun that was to watch (again, fantastic directing from Ian Watson, once again surpassing himself in torturing us in this eerily silent scene). The whole question of "what is real?" is going to be lots of fun in the next few episodes....
Anyone else notice how D'Argo's first reaction to Bad Things Happening is still to start yelling for Chiana? grin To demand what the bad guy has done with her? That relationship is so not over. He got lucky in some ways -- he got to be unconscious or chained up for the worst of the ship experiences. On the other hand, he got crawled all over by the feral chick, which amused the hell out of us, but did nothing to improve D'Argo's day. Utterly fabulous scene from all concerned, by the way.
Jool's wardrobe continues to irritate me more than the girl herself does -- what is up with those hip things? She is trying -- trapped in a situation beyond anything she was ever taught to deal with, she picks up the pulse rifle and goes. Unfortunately, she whines and whimpers the whole way -- which is, actually, the sane reaction to finding yourself trapped in a horror movie, IMNSHO -- but she can't even manage to kill herself. :P Now, will someone please take the girl aside and teach her how to use a frelling pulse rifle?!?
Okay, that whole thing with the Pilot? I can't even talk about. Seriously. I thought we'd seen the worst that could be done to a Pilot, but we hadn't even come close. I still cannot watch John's first meeting with the Pilot with the sound on -- I just can't deal. It works with the environment in a seriously scary way, and it was brilliantly written and performed, and it wigs me beyond the telling of it. Moving on.
And our villain -- Kaarvok combines the worst parts of Namtar and Maldis with that polite, uber-classy little British accent and the lovely brainsucking, creating a truly icky villain completely in keeping with this episode. But he suffers from comparison with his surroundings -- he simply can't be as horrible as what he has created, and he loses a great deal of impact that way. I'm just grateful he met the exact end that he deserved.
The Talyn B plot is a gratuitous set-up for Things to Come, but I have no problem with that. I'm looking forward to finding out what happened to the baby, and to Crais, and at least it gave the rest of Moya's crew something to do while everyone else was wandering around in a horror movie.