3.9 Losing Time
|June 29, 2001
A pair of unexpected visitors aboard Moya take up residence in members of her crew -- but even finding the hitchikers might not be enough to save their reluctant hosts....
Crichton: I am bleeding and I have no wounds! So either I'm St. John of the Uncharted Territories, or there is something very, very wrong with me!"
D'Argo: "Ah-ah-ah! Girls, we will all sit down and watch John. Off we go."
Chiana: "What if I have to piss?"
D'Argo: "Well, then, we will all urinate together."
Chiana: "You promise?"
Chiana: "You having fun yet?"
Jool: "Galaxies of it."
Crichton: "Anything strange happen to you guys?"
D'Argo: "I live on this ship. Something strange always happens."
Jool: "You're the warrior, shoot him now!"
D'Argo: "All right, with what? My nose?"
D'Argo: "This plan is so bad, it has to be ours."
Tallip: "What are you doing here?"
Crichton: "Oh, relax, I'm not here to interrupt your blissing. Too much make you go blind, though..."
Jool: "I feel like I had a spiritual enema."
Kiki is moving her office to another part of the station, having lost that argument with Stark (she needs to sleep; he evidently doesn't). Anyone want to help load boxes?
This whole thing of splitting the crews up is working out far better than it has any right to, seriously. It's a little tough, only getting some crew members every other week (I could go into some serious D'Argo withdrawl here), but... it works.
Isn't it just some kind of lovely cosmic justice that John features as prominently in Scorpy's nightmares as he does in John's? Don't you have to love that? And what was that head scientist dude thinking, getting up in Scorpy's face like that? I knew he was toast from the second he shot his mouth off. You've got to admire Scorpy's approach to management, though.... If not his adherence to the scientific method. He and his merry gang automatically assume that there's something wrong with Sebaceans, rather than there's something wrong with the wormhole. Your Tour Guides and their Flunkies had a rather interesting debate over this point, in fact. There's all kinds of things that could explain the Pilot Soup -- lack of shielding on the Prowler, a basic instability in the created wormhole... the only time we've seen anyone other than John in the wormhole, they were in a landing pod, part of a creature designed to Starburst, or it was a wormhole created by the Ancients who certainly know how to do it right, if they weren't faking it all. Scorpy's got a long way to go.... and regardless of all of the above, seeing him frustrated and mad just gives us this great, big, warm fuzzy feeling all over....
And it's damned interesting to finally have background to Scorpy's damn obsession with wormholes. Self-defense, my ass -- I'd rather just let the Scarrens and the Peacekeepers wipe each other out, but I think the Peacekeepers are marginally easier to deal with than the Great Big Uglies. Just a fascinating glimpse of the politics behind this great big universe we've watched being built... very cool.
Well, without Aeryn there to hold his leash (and distract him), John evidently gets even more obsessive than usual; it's to his crewmates' credit that they haven't strangled him yet, if they had to tolerate it for ten days. But I've got to say, if things don't stop assaulting John and messing with his body/head, he really is going to go around the bend, and strangling him might be a mercy. That scene with the blood? Wig-out city, man, I'm telling you. I'll give the writer's credit -- this looked to be a rehash of the intellent virus from A Bug's Life, but it so wasn't. Setting up the two sides of the fight -- with neither of those sides attractive in any way! -- resulted in one hell of an interesting (and deeply upsetting in spots) episode. Although I would like to know whose good idea it was to leave Chiana, the most injured member of the crew, alone, in the most crucial position in the plan to kill Tallip, not to mention the one least able to move in the position where she'd have to. Whatever.
Nice FX throughout, as usual, from the CGI folks and the set and lighting crew; the floating form of the alien was cool; Tallip's 'red dragon' form was too cool; and all of the Starburst chamber sequences were gorgeous.
Gigi Edgley gets major kudos for her performance -- as usual, her Chiana is wonderful, tolerating Crichton with exasperated affection, and gutting her way through situations far out of her control, including interrogations and near-death explosions. Yuck. (And don't think we didn't notice that the question about who killed Salis, still dangling from Season 1, remains dangling....) But as the energy rider, she was fabulous. The voice was more than a little irritating (yes, folks, once again, Your Faithful Tour Guides were reduced to turning on the closed captions to get half the dialogue), but Gigi sold it with dramatically different body language. The change between the vulnerable, scared 'little girl' in the Starburst chamber, and the flatly psychotic chick in the corridors was really well done -- Gigi rocks.
And wow, I can't wait to see what effect having that energy rider in her for that long, presumably 'extending' her mind, really had on her. That little bit of clairvoyance with D'Argo was.... interesting. Very interesting.
Of course, at this point, I pretty much have to admit that you can screw with any member of the crew and I can deal (some better than other, but I can deal.) But keep your mitts of Pilot, damn it!!!!!!! nothing is more disturbing than seeing sweet, sarcastic, wonderful Pilot changed into something cruel and alien (and I use that word very deliberately, in all senses). Tallip was so reasonable and calm to begin with, he just had to be eeeeevil. Maybe he didn't start out that way, but brother, it sure ended there. And it messed with Pilot! It says something about the incredible performers behind Pilot (puppeteers and Lani the Deeply Cool) that his possession sets off so many buttons. Don't mess with the Pilot, man -- the only good thing about him being out of commission was the way it let us talk to Moya again. I love it when Moya gets to be as much of a character as anyone else, especially when she's cool and helpful and emotional. (And they killed the DRD! The bastards! < g >)
For his part, D'Argo reminds me of nothing so much as my old Girl Scout leader at some points. Bet he never banked on becoming The Sane and Adult one when he sighed up for this cruise! But with John non compos menti at the best of time, and seriously out there are the worst, he's pretty much taken on Zhaan's job of keeping the natives from killing each other. He does deal well with everyone -- the scene where he corrals the girls back to watch John is classic! -- but losing his virginity at 7?!? Methinks we've either got a vast difference in age calculation methods, or Luxans mature very quickly. Which, considering they evidently live lots longer than humans, is not of the norm, and suggests some interesting things about their evolution... Ahem. Sorry. Xenoanthropology Geeker Girl made a break for it there....
Thank you, God, they got Jool a new outfit! This one is a vast improvement on the collar and hips things (insert bondage/chick in chainmail joke here), and the top and skirt are actually quite cool. Jool herself is still self-centered as hell, but she's still in there thinking, when she's not running. Tammy did a lovely, vulnerable job of delivering Jool's story about being frozen (a Noatian gem mine? Is that good? Or bad? She obviously upset someone), and kept it up throughout the 'tasting', as she tried with varying success to hide the fear behind the attitude; I seriously felt sorry for the girl. Until she pulled the pulse pistol on Chiana, of course.... for someone who never knew how to fight before Moya, she's gotten awfully shoot-happy since. But after all that, she took care of Chiana in the corridor, carefully cradling her, and sucked it up to do her part of save the ship. There's a heart under all that black leather, some guts and some compassion. Therefore, there's potential.
So this whole splitting the crew thing is getting some people -- like Pilot and Moya -- more screen time than usual, giving Jool time to develop, giving up precious John/Chiana scenes and John/D'Argo scenes that we don't normally get... Yeah. I'm liking this. Bring on the other half!
|Rockne S. O'Bannon
|July 6, 2001
While Talyn hides out on a planet to recover, Xhalax Sun closes in on her prey, and Aeryn prepares to face her mother -- over loaded weapons.
Rygel: "I may be small, but allow me to remind you that that places me at caastration level."
Stark: "What's wrong? Didn't sleep well?"
Rygel: "How could I, with them on the other side of this very thin bulkhead? ?"
Stark: "A bit noisy, were they?"
Rygel: "She was bad enough, but Crichton... He was louder than she was! He actually sounded like he was exerting himself. What kind of a male is he, anyway?"
Stark goes over to listen at the wall
Rygel: (disgusted) "They're between bouts. Give them a few microts."
Stark: "Friend or foe, friend or foe, friend or foe?"
Rygel: "Will you shut the frell up! Of course it's a foe, we have no friends!"
Xhalax: "Good news. Your shares have just increased."
John: "You lied to us! You betrayed us and you used us!"
Crais: "I used all my assets to stay alive, and those assets were you!"
Aeryn: (intercut with the recording) "You cared enough then to risk everything to meet the child that you conceived. You can't have burned that love away completely. I am that child. I am aprt of you. I am part of Talyn. The Peacekeeper way isn't the only way -- it's not too late for you."
Rygel: "I've. Been. Filleted."
Xhalax: "I would take you back, attempt to redeem you if I could, but your corruption is too advanced."
Aeryn: "My 'corruption' began the moment I was conceived!"
Aeryn: "Don't you see, my independence comes from you anyway? I grew up wanting to be like the woman I'd only seen once."
Xhalax: "You are a traitor!"
Aeryn: "I am the part of you that wanted to be a rebel, the part of you that knew deep down inside what was right!"
Xhalax: "Shut up!"
Aeryn: "You've resisted Peacekeeper doctrine before--"
Xhalax: "Shut up!"
Aeryn: "--Why can't you do it again now?"
Xhalax: "You are an aberration!"
Aeryn: "I am your child!"
Did we mention the audit? I'm sure we mentioned the audit....
And the Rock-meister himself is welcomed back aboard the good (if incredibly immature) ship Talyn, aka the Boat o' Angst. But not everyone's lives suck -- aside from (finally!) getting the sex, Aeryn and John get a classic chance to mess with Stark and Rygel. Treasure the opening sequence, 'cause there ain't a whole lot of laughing happening for the rest of the episode.
Let's get this out of the way -- the opening scene was worth the price of admission. We few, we frustrated few, we band of 'shippers, have been hanging onto the implied sex of A Human Reaction (and only the Canadians and Brits got the good implications) and the occasional smoochies for two years. Finally seeing John and Aeryn together -- not just the sex, but the happy, joking, in-love part, too.... well, it kind of makes two years of will-they/won't-they almost worth it. Which, of course, means that something is about to go Dreadfully Wrong.
To the writers' credit, they're not doing stupid thing with the relationship (aside from that intensely perplexing thing they started the season with, which has obviously been forgotten and wow are we grateful); while Bad Things do, in fact, happen after the sex, they are not Bad Things that make John and Aeryn's relationship revert. This is a Good Thing. It's a relationship, not a plot device and not Moonlighting, and I somehow doubt the fact that the two parties involved are sleeping together is going to make that relationship any less fascinating -- or any less traumatic for said parties. < g > Just a hunch, knowing our lovely writers as we do (the same lovely writers who fit This Week's Exposition regarding Talyn's status in as pillow talk, by the way < rolling eyes >).
This is actually a relationship episode even outside of the romantic one. Talyn's crew splits up early on into teams, and some fascinating examples of interpersonal dynamics (ooh, SAT words....) -- mother-daughter bondage... er, bonding; man-to-man bondage... er, bonding; and Stark doing surgery on Rygel (and what kind of a rotten person stabs a Muppet, anyway?!?). Certainly a interesting planetfall for Our Stalwart Crew....
The Stark and Rygel show continues to be the funniest thing around short of Chiana and Jool (and how much do I love this show for tossing the damnedest characters together and watching the fur fly?). Stark is infinitely more bearable with Rygel around needling him non-stop, and god knows Stark is willing to smack Rygel around as needed. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship -- if they don't kill each other. Seriously, Your Tour Guides were Shocked and Aghast that anyone could actually stab our favorite Dominar; as annoying and obnoxious as the little jerk is, stabbing him is just wrong. And he just had to be a jerk and not thank Stark for it, but that's our Rygel -- but give the little slug points for walking around with a major stab wound and managing to cut the others loose. Stark also wins points from me for some inventive emergency medicine and a hell of a lot of compassion which, in all fairness, he's never been short of. He's a little too overflowing with it most of the time, in fact; it tends to short-circuit his brain. :P
John and Crais are a different kettle of fish entirely -- I hadn't thought about Crais' long-range plans involving Talyn until John laid them out, but, of course, he's right. Crais is just exactly that sneaky and, when not obsessing over things like his brother dying, is quite capable of thinking 12 moves ahead. That said, I'm not sure that he would have, at the time, regarded Moya's crew as that much of an advantage -- Talyn was the one with weapons, Crais the one with the cold-blooded survival instincts. Still, one never turns down potential allies, especially when they're part and parcel of the baby warship you're planning on stealing anyway..... John over-reacted a tad to this insight; it's like he didn't know Crais was up to something from Day One -- why is thinking ahead so far to blackmailing Moya's crew into helping him, so much worse than kidnapping Talyn in the first place? Whatever. And knowing that Crais is the secondary target of Xhalax and her merry band isn't that much of a revelation, either; I always thought Crais got away from the Peacekeepers a little too easily -- but in all the fuss over Talyn, we always forgot that his Captain is regarded as quite the renegade by more people than ours.
Still, watching these two go at each other in damned interesting -- Crais is obviously fighting back some fairly strong feelings regarding the change in John and Aeryn's relationship, judging from his very careful expressions half the time. And that whole thing of John leaving Crais tied up as bait... I don't disapprove of the strategy, by any means, and Crais sure as hell would have done the same, situations being reversed. But it gives me the willies to see John acting like one of the bad guys, however justified. I also don't particularly like him going off to that extent on anything that occurs to him because he was talking to Harvey; there's just nowhere good that can wind up. But at least he didn't let Aeryn kill her mother....
Then, of course, there's the Sun family reunion. Xhalax Sun is the very definition of a tough, ruthless old bitch, and normally I respect the hell out of that. I'd respect it now if all of that bitchiness was directed in precisely the wrong directions, and apparently bound to remain that way no matter how often her nose is rubbed in the fact that she's on the wrong side! I find it incredible that even the Peacekeepers would send Xhalax out without telling her she's after her own daughter; I find it more incredible that she can refuse to regard that daughter as anything other than a traitor, when she's the one who killed her child's father. Gotta love Peacekeeper standards. Still, it makes a horrible kind of sense, in some ways. Xhalax evidently made the decision a long time ago that she would place her personal survival above all other considerations -- her daughter, the life of her lover.... Not surprising, considering that Aeryn's choice, when confronted with a similar decision in the form of Velorek, was very much the same.
But Aeryn, given a second chance, made a very different choice -- maybe because she'd had fewer years to justify her actions, fewer years to have convinced herself it was the right decision, because anything else means she did something unthinkable. If there had been a John Crichton for Xhalax, if Talyn the Elder had survived, if, if, if.... There's very little to admire in the woman Xhalax has become, except for the genes which produced an exceptional daughter. I don't, by the way, believe Xhalax is dead; we didn't see her die, Crais is not particularly trustworthy on anything, and she's just too fascinating of a character to waste. And I'd like to see her get one more chance to match her daughter.... although she's not allowed to go anywhere near Talyn ever again. Either one. (and does anyone else find it a little odd that they get the apparently lower-ranked and, hence, less valuable, member of that relationship to kill the higher ranked one? Does that say something about the Peacekeepers, or about the odds that Talyn the Elder is actually dead?) Linda Cropper is an amazing actress, and an inspired casting call from the producers.
And how bitter is the irony that the one of the things that has most shaped Aeryn's life, the thing she has clung to, one of the things that made her reach to be "something more" -- is the thing that led to the destruction her mother's chances of ever doing the same? That childhood moment in the cargo bay made Aeryn special, was the first step that led her to Moya and John Crichton. But that same moment betrayed Xhalax and Talyn to the Peacekeepers as being special themselves, and effectively killed them both. And Aeryn gets to live with that, with knowing her specialness lead to her father's death, and turned her mother into... well, that, before she died at the hands of Aeryn's shipmate. Aeryn's guilt is going to be pretty heinous... and her sense of betrayal. I do not want to be the next enemy Peacekeeper to cross her path.... An equally amazing performance from Claudia Black, particularly as she hears Xhalax die. Fantastic.
Great directing throughout, particularly the last scene of Act four, and the John/Aeryn scene in the tag; gorgeously framed and lit. Kudos to the matte people and the set and location guys -- that was deeply creepy swampiness for everyone to be wandering around fighting. And to the Creature Shop, as well; that was some impressive makeup and prosthetics on the Colartas (the bounty hunter critters), along with another interesting look at internal Peacekeeper dynamics. For all their xenophobia, and insistence on being superior, they're not above using other species' to do their dirty work -- or is that just a Xhalax thing? Regardless, the Colartas seemed to be under some kind of weird indentured service thing -- 10 successful missions in a row, and they get to go home. Quite the carrot there... Not terribly likely, given their evident problems with gravity, etc., but lots easier to live under than slavery with no hope of freedom. Peacekeepers suck.
An incredibly tense episode, weaving together plot threads from first season, and sending more spinning forward; god knows where they'll end up. Despite all of the angst of Xhalax Sun's reappearance in Aeryn's life, she's got John to hold onto, Crais is tied even more tightly to poor Talyn, which might keep him out of trouble, but won't do much for Talyn... and Stark says Zhaan is out there somewhere, watching over them. Now that's something to cling to.