3.15 Infinite Possibilities 2: Icarus Abides
||August 3, 2001
Caught between a Scarren dreadnought and betrayal planetside, Crichton and Aeryn race to complete a secret weapon. But implementing it will call for sacrifice neither of them expected....
Crichton: Furlow, is it always about money?|
Furlow: Is there anything else? I mean, how much sex can you have?
Crichton: I don't know. Haven't maxed out yet.
Aeryn: All that new knowledge you've got in your head -- can you use it to get home?
Aeryn: Let's do what we have to here, and then let's go.
Crichton: How the hell can we have the only gun on the planet that doesn't work?!
Aeryn: It's your fault!
Crichton: My fault?
Aeryn: Yeah, if I was here on my own, it'd be working right now!
Crais: Thank you.
Stark: It may not happen again.
Furlow: Don't be a hero, John. Always be the one to walk away when the hero dies.
Crais: It is unanimous. We stay.
Crichton: Damn it, Crais, knock it off. Don't make me start liking you.
Aeryn: So it's your life for everyone else's?
Crichton: And you're different how?
Aeryn: I'm different because I love you.
Crichton: Then you know I have to do this. I'm coming back.
Crichton: Crais... you find the better part of yourself. You... have to take care of them.
Crais: I will. I hope you can believe that.
Crichton: Sparky, come here. My stuff... you can't have it.
Rygel: It will be hard... not to think of you.
Crichton: I'm gonna miss you, Dominar.
Aeryn: I'm very angry....
Crichton: Me, too.
Aeryn: We had good times.
Crichton: I wouldn't change it for the world... You make me a better person.
Aeryn: That wasn't hard.
Aeryn: I would have gone to Earth.
Crichton: I'm sorry you never got to meet my dad -- my real dad, I mean. Sorry I never met your dad. I'm sorry about a lot of things.
Aeryn: No. Don't be. I don't want you to go that way.
Crichton: I won't.
Crichton: They say... it's a lucky or an unambitious man who goes when he's ready. That said -- Scorpius is gone. I'm at peace. I don't hurt. I... I did some good things. I;'m proud of my life. And I'm with you.
Crichton: Don't worry about me. I've never felt better.
Before we begin, two things must be said. A) Anyone who didn't know John Black was going to go home or die by the end of the episode just hasn't been paying attention, and Your Faithful and Paranoid Tour Guides were betting rather heavily on the second. B) At least one of said Faithful and Paranoid Tour Guides was bawling like a baby with one of the Flunkies by the end of the episode. That said....
Amazing writing for both parts of this episode. Tight plotting, excellent characterization, the pace never faltered. Even knowing something angstful (and probably fatal) was going to happen by the end, we never knew exactly what. The entire Mad-Maxian fight scene in the little STV just rocked, the dreadnought was gorgeous, Jack's death morph was really impressive, and, well, I've already commented on the copious tears that were shed for the death scene. (Even Adam, well known for mocking death scenes to the point that no one else can "enjoy" them, was dead silent, which tells you a lot.)
We can't even take consolation in Harvey's death, 'cause there's still one of him running around in John's brain, and Jack is dead. No Ancient around to get rid of him for us. :P The whole thing where Harvey died was a little deus ex machina for me -- one second he's in control, the next second he's dead, just for the sake of mind-frelling us last week -- but what the hell. Of course, the second John looked up all happy and started snuggling with Aeryn, all four people in the room said something along the lines of "Oh yeah, he's dead," which took a lot of the fun out of it.
Death by radiation to save his friends, his crew and possibly the universe -- how very Spockian. < g > No, seriously, there were a few rude comments made early on, right after the radiation blast, but then we were too busy cringing and whimpering and reaching for the Kleenex. His farewell to Aeryn before he flew off in the module was wrenching enough -- and isn't John Green going to have a hell of a lot to live up to, to the hero who, after taking a fatal dose of radiation, still flew the mission. How is the John who's been steadily mentally degrading since Aeryn left going to compare to that? Sibling rivalry, taken to a rather ridiculous and awful extreme.... Anyway, the farewell was bad enough, but the death scene, as John says his goodbyes and dies cradled in Aeryn's arms? Ouch. And beyond, way beyond. Rest in peace, man. God knows you've earned it.
And you know, the thing I think I'm going to miss most about John Black is the banter. He and Aeryn were so damn cute towards the end, casually calling out "I love you's" as they separated to search and destroy. Aeryn's heart has now been thoroughly mangled, and the knowledge that there's another John on Moya isn't going to be any help, really. He's not the John, the one she's spent the last month or so having sex with, fighting with, playing with.... being uninhibitedly in love with. Instead of the banter and the happiness, we're going to have awkwardness and angst and unhappiness, and the reunion on Moya is just not going to be fun for anyone. And that's the way Kemper and crew planned it. This sucks.
And it is interesting that never once did anyone mention that there's another John waiting for Aeryn on Moya. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt....
Oh, and can I say that I'm also sincerely pissed that they killed Jack? Even knowing he was probably going to do his damnedest to kill John after the immediate threat passed (and have I mentioned how much I respect a practical man... um, alien?), he was cool, damn it, and I love Kent McCord! And I really can't blame Jack for wanting to keep that weapon out of everyone's hands. Watching that Scarren destroyer disappear.... good god. (Awesome FX!) And Scorpius has, unfortunately, proven his ability to find out everything no one wants him to know. No, I wouldn't have blamed Jack for trying, and I'm going to miss the character badly. And now they'll have to come up with another pretext to bring back Kent! < pout >
On the other hand, I'd do a happy stomping dance on Furlow's grave given the slightest opportunity. I won't dignify the bitch with any more analysis, except to note her skill with a triple-cross and her exceptionally poor taste in allies. :P See, the thing is, there's a difference between being practical to save the universe from itself, and being practical for the sake of your own hide and bank account. I'll take Jack over Furlow any day. And I hope we meet up with her again so Aeryn can do us the favor of killing her ass and giving me that grave to dance on.
It terrifies me that Stark and Crais prove to be a fairly effective team when forced to work together. Stark has developed a feel for when to tell the truth and how much lies to mix in since the last time he had to sell a story, which is impressive; between the two of them (three, counting Talyn), they really did a number on that Scarren. (And Scarrens just aren't getting any prettier. < shudder > Sometimes, the Creature Shop just does too good of a job.) Admittedly, the Scarren was no rocket scientist (how stupid is it to put something created by someone who's life you're busily threatening in your head? Huh?), but it was still a lovely con.
And I'm with John: damn it, I've gotten used to not liking Crais, I hate having to do another one-eighty. But he stuck around when he could have booked, he was steady and compassionate as John was dying, and I actually trust him to look after Aeryn and the others until they rejoin Moya. How scary is that?
I started breathing funny at Crais' farewell to Crichton, the sniffles started with that beautiful exchange with Rygel, and the serious bawling, of course, began with Aeryn. I didn't think anything could be worse than Aeryn's death; this was. Maybe because I believed it so totally.
Incredible performances throughout by pretty much everyone -- Claudia Black and Ben Browder never struck a wrong note (Claudia's performance was particularly heart-breaking), Lani Tupu was his usual fabulous self, and Paul Goddard was having a good time with Stark. Awesome FX, tight writing (we shold have guessed the radiation thing from the pointed comments about Jack not needing a containment suit early on), beautiful directing.... I don't think this could have been more painful, thanks. Now, I need to find another box of Kleenex and what's left of my dignity, because I just rewatched the death scene and I'm bawling again. Excuse me....
3.16 Revenging Angel
||August 10, 2001
Believing John has sabotaged his new ship, D'Argo sends him into a coma. As John fights for his life in an... interesting environment, the rest of the gang tries to stop D'Argo's ship from self-destructing, and taking Moya and Pilot with it.
Chiana: That was mature.|
Crichton: You're very wise.
Pilot: I don't get out much. So I read.
Chiana: Load the supplies. Do what I tell you. Children.
Chiana: Move, D'Argo. Let Mommy shoot it.
D'Argo: I hate to lose.
Chiana: Then why'd you let me go?
Jool: I did it.
Chiana: You usually do.
More coming soon!
Okay, so microbes don't automatically carry the ability to translate all languages -- everything has baseline programming of common languages, and all new ones or ones not in general use have to be updated and/or reprogrammed? On one level, this explains the whole thing about the V-chip reaction to profanity -- it just didn't get programmed in. But then we come back to the Aquavarans and the Deneans, who hadn't had interstellar contact recently, or at all, were able to understand Human/English? As was Moya's crew when John first came aboard? What's up with that? Kiki postulates some sort of specialized telepathy, which is why it doesn't work with the computer, but what does that have to do with programming?|
I've always said the only things keeping John sane are Aeryn and his sense of humor, and it's good to have that conclusively proven. And, of course, his subconscious has the huge advantage of no one else in the UC having ever seen a Bugs Bunny or Road Runner cartoon. Obviously, David Kemper and Andrew Prowse have seen far too many Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner cartoons -- they've got it all, from the truly ancient gags to the silly music and sound effects to the various in-jokes (Ozme? Froonium? Is there an in-joke they didn't toss in?!). It's a hell of a way to give Ben Browder most of a week off, let me tell you!
And can I say that that was some genius animation from Yoram Gross-Em.TV?!? The various incarnations of Aeryn were hilariously perfect, always distinctly Aeryn even when she was Madonna. Actually, D'Argo, John and Harvey were pretty dam perfect caricatures also, and nothing will ever match D'Argo racing through the wall instead of into it, and promptly coming back out impaled on the Enterprise. Beer and pizza to bait a trap, John scooting around on the Farscape 1, dropping an anvil on Harvey's head, as we've all wanted to do for a long time -- sick, twisted, brilliant fun!
And even back in 'real life', the sense of the cartoon continued. I haven't seen the combination of live action and animation done this well since "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (which they'd also seen too many times, evidently). The cartoon angles of the directing, Anthony Simcoe's dead-perfect performance of D'Argo E. Coyote (oh, he lives for this stuff, I just know it), the props department obviously having far too much fun.... Even Jool and Chiana's running fights, particularly the one in the corridor have the perfect comic timing of the best cartoons, and that incredibly over-dramatic discovery and run-to-save-the-day sequence was classic.
They thread an Afterschool Special into the silliness, of course -- love is stronger than revenge, which is a happy thing to know about John's mind. (It's also interesting that John's cartoon self was intent on getting away from D'Argo... and getting home. Jool makes the first tentative gestures of friendship towards D'Argo, D'Argo's temper gets him into Lots of Trouble, we investigate various ways of dealing with confrontations. But, mostly, this episode exists to give us a break from the angst, the crew some fantasy fulfillment, and Ben a few days off.
And, okay, maybe there's a little bit of character stuff scattered in among the insanity. It's nice to know John isn't the only person aboard who is having sanity issues, although I think John's pretty much outmatching everyone in that area still. (Except maybe the writers. The writers are clearly around the bend and there's nothing left that we can do for them.) Seriously, though, we haven't seen D'Argo in a really good hyper-rage for quite some time, and he certainly made the most of it. Oy. We have got to get him over his habit of automatically blaming John for everything, or I'm gonna drop an anvil on him!!! But he was sweet with Jool, and he's been refereeing between the girls for so long that his nerves have got to be shot. Still -- that's it! No. More. Freebies! Even if he is adorable and little-boy-gleeful when his ship starts working....
Jool is such a sweetheart a) when she feels like it and b) when no one's watching. And she's got a fairly rigid sense of honor under all that crap, feeling compelled to 'fess up to D'Argo before she knew she was blown. It took nerve to do that, to try to make the second move in a friendship with D'Argo even after the first one backfired so spectacularly. And, since D'Argo is constitutionally incapable of watching a woman, particularly a young one, cry, she pretty much had that nailed. And I wouldn't have waded through that dren for anything, so she's done her penance. But if she keeps gloating in front of Chiana, it's not gonna be pretty.
Chiana continues to be scary with the one-minute advance warning on everything, and it's hilarious watching her try to be the grown-up (and she and D'Argo still have all that subtext that they're going to have to do something with eventually! Preferably before she rips Jool's hair out...). And Pilot is wonderful, determined to save his crew even if he and Moya die. Such a darling.
And, if nothing else, John has his head on a little straighter than it has been later. This is important, since his equilibrium is gonna get shot to hell soon, and the fact that he managed to get it established without Aeryn there may be the only thing that saves both of them.
Does this episode have a coherent plot? No, not really. Ship about to explode due to a convenient plot device, Harvey giving John a catechism on revenge for no apparent reason... Is any of this important? Absolutely not. It's a gigglefest, it's insanity, it's a wonderful emotional purge after the horror of Icarus Abides. (And it's setting us up for some serious pain when Aeryn returns to this John who loves her enough to come back from the dead, but they wouldn't be Farscape if they didn't do that.) Farscape's saving grace has always been their willingness to make up to us in laughs what they torture us with in angst, and bless them for it.