4.1 Crichton Kicks
|June 7, 2002
Cut off from Moya and most of his crew, Crichton struggles with pirates, a dying Leviathan, a danger-prone know-it-all and his own precarious grip on reality.
Coming soon, probably with Kiki's review.
Okay, nobody die of shock; I know, it's been a while since an ep review went up on time. But I'm slowly getting caught up, Yay! Unfortunately, this is not one of the episodes that makes you itch to go write a review. It's more like one of those episodes that makes you drag yourself to the VCR, moaning, "I have to try and figure this out again?" My only consolations is that I have yet to talk to anyone to whom any of this episode made sense, so I know it's not just me.
Well, okay, so some of it made sense -- the shooty bits with the Leviathan killers were relatively straightforward. But for the rest of it.... the Farscape writers have nothing to prove as far as ending a season goes -- they are past masters of action and angst and really torturous cliffhangers. But as far as opening a season goes... well, suffice it to say that these are the people who thought 'Re:Union' would be a good way to kick off season two, and then tossed us right into the middle of Mind the Baby when they were shouted down by saner heads. The word "huh?" being a popular one for the first 10 minutes of that year, as well. (Of course, the opposite extreme was Season of Death, which was as close as Farscape gets to predictable. Happy medium, guys.) I understand how hard it is to crank back into gear for a new season, but it's not like they didn't leave us dangling at the top of a cliff to end the last one -- you'd think the drop down would be a little more exciting. (Dianne La Flunky compared it to riding a roller coaster through all the drops, then cranking up the very highest point... and having to get off the car and walk back to the beginning. She's not wrong.)
it's the pacing that really throws us, that and the assumed time passing. Sure, we're all smart, we can eventually figure out how John came to be aboard the old leviathan, seeing as how they were in a burial ground. And if you were paying attention, you might have caught Chiana and Rygel's signal in the background -- I didn't. They appeared out of nowhere as far as I was concerned. Lovely to see them, but serious problems with suspension of disbelief, as I had to leave the universe long enough to figure out where the heck they showed up from. Sure, we don't want to do a Trek season opener where all dangling threads are neatly knotted and Our Crew is Once Again Victorious -- but it'd be nice to not spend the first 45 minutes just trying to figure out what inning we're in, much less the score.
Anyway, that's not to say that there wasn't some fun stuff going on. John going insane is always good for some giggles (although, don't get me started on Crichton's beard -- they're really got to stop with the facial hair on Ben. Bad Things always happen). 1812 is a darling DRD, and I hope Crichton takes the insane little monster he created with him when he returns to Moya (although Rover might get jealous). It's very typically Crichton, trying to introduce familiarity and control into a situation that is totally out of control, no matter how much more insane his effort make him look to us. But his hold on reality was even more tenuous than usual by the time Chiana and Rygel caught up with him -- not that you can blame the guy after the year he had. Trapped on a strange leviathan, alone except for the pilot and 1812 and Harvey, knowing the woman he loves is out there somewhere, pregnant and alone.... Is it better to go insane by stages, over three years, or to do it all at once?
And yes, cool to see Chiana and Rygel, and wow, sympathy for Chiana and those vision migraines. (Getting uncomfortable flashbacks to Cordelia on Angel, though; butI can deal since killer headaches seem a logical aftermath of brain-expanded activities. And getting her fixed up will be a worthy goal for everyone to focus on. Plus, watching them use it to their advantage by sending her to scout the bad guys was fun. < g > Trust this crew to turn physical/mental Issues into a tactical advantage.) But I missed D'Argo and Pilot and even Jool, and dream Aeryn wasn't nearly close enough to real Aeryn to satisfy me. I'm sure the guys enjoyed the bikini shots, until the pregnant belly showed up. And I bet there are guys who enjoyed it despite that. < g > Possibly because of it. There's no telling with guys.... < ducks, runs from UCSBDad and company >
And how weird is it to see a Muppet with a black eye? Would have loved to have seen the fight in that casino, oh yes. < g >
I did love the old leviathan and his equally old Pilot -- what a sweet lady. Are all pilots just naturally sweethearts? Is it a requirement? But both she and Elack have guts and honor -- leaving the burial ground to help someone who helped her is heroic in the best possible way.
But I do have one more complaint to register -- another chick? Another way-too-smart, way-too-naive/stupid chick with red hair, a ridiculously long name, superiority issues and an attitude problem? Didn't we pick up one of those when Jool came aboard? And after 12 or so episodes, I was just getting to the point of tolerating her, much less actively liking her. Now they toss a Jool clone into the mix? Why? We've been there, done that, and frankly, was much as I like that there have always been a good assortment of strong women on Farscape, the estrogen overload is going to kick in any time now. How about some beefcake for us girls? As much as I love Crichton and D'Argo, they are sadly outnumbered. (Pilot doesn't count as a guy, sorry, and Rygel certainly doesn't. I miss Crais. < sniffle >)
I have the greatest respect for the Farscape writers' ability to take even the most unlikely character -- be he Muppet (Rygel), cardboard (Crais), irritatingly unstable (Chiana) or merely annoying (Jool) -- and make them real, three-dimensional characters; if not likable, at least enjoyable. But they're not starting off well with Sikozu; the translator microbe glitch was initially interesting, one weakness in someone who doesn't appear to have any outside of her basic lack of experience with Real Life, but just died away way too fast. She claims to have problems communicating, then is carrying on complicated, slang-ridden dialogues in a language that only one person in the UT speaks within half an hour? Even with the benefit of Crichton's microbes for his half, that's just not working for me. So, irritated by her presence until her worth is proved to me. (I get the impression the actress, Raelee Hill, has a very strong fan following in Australia, so she's probably pretty good. We'll see.)
So, it was a season opener. A few things set up, yet another new crew member introduced, Stark isn't in the credits (yay!), and Crichton's voiceover becomes more obscure by the season. Which is okay, it keeps things interesting. I'm going to sit back with my popcorn and hope the writers can get themselves back into gear by episode 2.
4.2 What Was Lost 1: Sacrifice
| Justin Monjo
| Rowan Woods
|June 14, 2002
A reunion with D'Argo and Jool brings Moya's crew to a planet that was once the site of a great peace, followed by a greater destruction. Crichton gets caught between the Interion archaeologist trying to find the Ultimate Weapon, and Commandant Grayza, who'll settle for stealing it -- and anything else she can get her greedy little hands on.
Sikozu: Help me! My hands are still too weak.
Rygel: Oh, right. Pull the other one and I'll whistle "Felanusen."
Crichton: What's the matter?
Chiana: I've got a feeling.
Crichton: Is that a feeling, feeling, or....?
Chiana: Just... a feeling.
Crichton: Okay, now I'm getting a feeling. Are you...?
Chiana: Nope, no feelings.
Chiana: Then again, I might have had a feeling.
Tarnet: Who is this Peacekeeper and why is he with this tralk?
Chiana/Crichton: He's not a Peacekeeper!/She's not a tralk!
Jool: Can you believe it? We're here, and we're alive, and nobody is trying to kill us!
Vella: Tarnet said I'd find you here. I see why he mistook you for a Sebacean. Same size, weight, coloring. Though the brain cavity appears smaller.
Crichton: Yeah, but my choppers are first class, and I do an excellent turn-my-head-and-cough. [Jool and Crichton both cough]
Chiana: Did the Peacekeepers capture you, and steal your brain, and replace it with whatever you're using now?
Crichton: Damn, Grandma. You need a bath.
Old Woman: Never bathe, never bathe. It washes off the juice.
That's... more than I want to know.
Crichton: She's carrying my child... my DNA.
Old Woman: I didn't keep that secret from you. Aeryn did. I just wanted you to accept Aeryn's decision. And now, I can help you forget. [grabs bug from the wall] Likar. It's all over this planet. Only on this planet. Squeeze the juice meat out of it and stick it up your nose and for 500 microts, nothing bothers you!.
Old Woman: Ask Vella -- if all the priests died here, why are there no bones? [stops, think] Why are there no bones?
D'Argo: I think we've got something here -- we should clean it up and show Vella. Stick it up her nose.
Vella: It's a prayer wheel, found on every wall in this site. And it would never fit up my nose.
Crichton: Listen to me: I don't even know this old lady's name. She came on board our ship like a really bad smell and she won't go away. I am not a threat to you. I just want Moya to come back so I can get the hell out of here. That's it. Except one thing.... [punches Tarnet] Do not point guns at people!
Old Woman: That's right, hit him again!
Old Woman: Oh, go on, Crichton, let me show you, like this! And-- [punches Tarnet again] See!
Jool: Most Interions think Luxans are inherently inferior. That's just the way it is.
D'Argo: What do you think?
Jool: Don't ask me that.
D'Argo: What do you think?
Jool: I think... that you've unusual for a Luxan.
D'Argo: Yeah. Yeah, I am that.
Jool: D'Argo, you can't blame Vella, she thinks she's smarter than you.
D'Argo: No, but I can blame you.
Jool: I believed that any of you cared what I thought.
D'Argo: I care. And just so you know, if some one had criticized you, or insulted you, called you a stuck-up, arrogant little princess... I'd have defended you.
Braca: This is for all the times I had to say 'yes.'
According to the official website, if Moya survived the wormhole, she was headed toward Arnessk, a planet where Jool's people had an archeological dig. Which is how Crichton knew to go look for them there. Which is the first we've heard of it. Pffttt. Next time, file a flight plan with the audience, guys.
Plot, schmot. We're not watching Babylon 5 here, with it's infinite detail to continuing long-term development, but we knew that going into this, didn't we? Yes, people, when we tune in to Farscape, it's for the characters and the action, and this ep delivers both. Villains and heroes each have a field day, with the supporting characters getting in some good stuff along the way.
Villains first. Didja ever think there'd be a day you'd look at Scorpius on a leash, and say, "That is so wrong?" Me neither. Of course, the fact that Grayza's the one holding the leash, and I already loathe her like I loathe dental work sans major anesthesia probably helps. This show is hell on my ability to consistently and whole-heartedly hate anyone on it, you know that? First they go and semi-reform Crais and give him an awesome sacrificial send-off (*sniff*) now they've got me feeling sorry for *Scorpius*. What is wrong with this universe?!
Which is not to say I like him any better than last year. His list of Obsessive Genius Crimes is too long to let a sad childhood and some PK abuse wipe the slate clean. I still think he ought to die die die, and the day I *trust* Scorpy--- well, it's not going to happen. However, this boot-lickin' foaming at the mouth has to stop. That's just... graceless. Wayne Pygram foams and seethes quite well, and his scenes with Braca are a viscerally awful viewing experience. I can't believe he's going to stay *anyone's* lap-dog for long, though. Whatever else we've felt toward Scorpius, he always rated a certain measure of respect for his professionalism (most of the time), and there were lines he didn't cross. He's got brains and priorities, and I have to believe he'll get out of this.
Grayza, by comparison, has waltzed over those lines, and then danced a can-can on them. She seems okay at first, and what we saw last season, very briefly, was threatening and impressive. She's smart, cold, and *mean*. But then the torture of Scorpy in the Aurora Chair starts, and my skin starts to crawl from the air of smug this chick exudes. And any woman who gives a briefing from a frozen margarita sure won't be passed over come promotion time, not with that managerial style. She reminds me of those cartoons of girls celebrating in champagne glasses --- and she's probably supposed to --- but I have to wonder if her personality froze the bathwater.
No matter how much Braca's enjoying himself, this is not a sitch you want to be in with your boss. Waaay too twitchy and open to ways to mess up your career. Plus, her Aphrodisiac Sweat is *extremely* unappealing, while her detachment and thinking-out-loud as Braca dissolves into a puddle of hormonal goo is ... amusing, but shudder-worthy. Braca loses all pity points later with his treatment of his ex-boss; so far he's survived Crais and Scorpius, but I have a feeling that if he keeps supporting Grayza like this, either she or John is going to do for his career/life by the end of the season.
I already despise and fear Commandant Cleavage as much as I ever hated Scorpy. Seeing Scorpius degraded --- there is no way to enjoy that. And her drug-rape of John is just... beyond bleah. *Especially* with Braca and Scorpius watching. (And whose idea was that, I ask you? Miss Exhibitionist, or Braca the Weirdo?) Not to mention, where the heck is Harvey during this? Probably kibbitzing and fuming that someone else is messing with John's head *again*. It's all bad, but in a fascinating, wormhole-explosion way, and I can't be sure yet if her handling of John is an approach based on what she thinks will actually seduce him or threaten him; she's an anomaly in the PK universe, a politician, more than a warrior or soldier. Either way, Rebecca Riggs packs a lot of menace into her low-cut costume. Kudos to Grayza for moving up in the rankings of Villains We Hate faster than anyone we've seen in a long, long time.
I still find Sikozu annoying, but we'll give her credit for smarts, such as hotwiring the module when it's necessary. Her intellectualism is similar to Jool's, but the attitude isn't--- it's worse. "Smackable" is the word that comes to mind. The kid's still on probation until she manages to bond with anyone or prove her trustworthiness, but the fun with anti-grav and ability to think fast may keep me engaged while we get used to her. No dissing of Raelee Hill here; it's the way the character's being written that's failed to hook me in yet.
By comparison, I'm delighted with Grandma/Wrinkles. What a whack job! She's on probation too, but only because I want to be prepared for disappointment, just in case she gets annoying. But I like her brand of senile spiritualism and dippy-hippie ex-druggie humor better than I ever liked Stark's insanity, and her ability to be ruthless when she deems it necessary keeps her from becoming a harmless caricature. Plus, I already feel like she's bonded with John over Aeryn's secret, and it's clear that D'Argo and Jool have spent enough time around her to mock her ("stick it up your nose!"). Excellent job from the the actress, who's got energy to spare and just enough ticks to be interesting without wholly annoying.
Rygel and Chiana get the least to do this week --- partly because we're introducing new characters, partly because there isn't much for them *to* do yet. Still, Gigi's performance continues to be edgier since her time away from Moya, and Rygel gets in some sweet/sour stuff with the old, dying Pilot. Who is a total sweetheart, and another example of the show's expertise in making me care about Muppets. D'Argo is one of the few bright spots this week, despite his and Jool's imminent break-up. I breathed a sigh of giddy relief when we saw the big guy again on the planet; it's just been too long, since he was barely in "Dog With Two Bones." Jool herself is finally likable as we watch her obsession with the archaelogical dig; *this* is where she belongs, it's clear, both by inclination and training. That this is incompatible with D'Argo's personality is also clear, even without the eavesdropping scene and subsequent confrontation. Some people are just bright spots that pass through your life... and it looks like that's what it's going to be here for these two.
John, of course, gets to find a new and horrible way to get his head messed with. The look on Ben Browder's face when she drugs John, the horror and arousal--- and then the destroyed posture on the beach afterward--- are the saddest damn things I've seen since John got the chip out. I got the definite feeling that John was receiving a mental message from Granny not to fight the suggestion-seduction techniques, to go along with it until later. Whether that was the case or not, let's hope he has time to get his head together before trying to figure out what's going on with the Darnaz Probes.
Oh, yeah, them. Did you forget our McGuffin? Probably. Don't feel bad, I think everyone did. That aside: the archaelogical site is cool and convincing, the stone-freezing toys are quite fun, and the make-up on the Black Lagoon guy is nicely tropical and original. Pretty eye-candy ep, in other words; when combined with a kick-ass villainess and some intriguing new character arcs, this is a good hook to pull us into the second half of the two-parter, even if the literal cliff-hanger lacks some punch.
(And where. Is. Aeryn? Waaaah! Want Aeryn! Want Moya! Want Pilot! ... Tantrum over. Tune in next week to see if the characters and reviewer are dealing better.)
Whee! Another episode which leaves us all scratching our heads going "What the frell?", but which promises some actual answers in the second half. And also gives us more than our share of major, massive icks in the form of Commandant Cleavage, more angst from D'Argo than should be allowed only two episodes in, and proof that Another Crazy Person has joined Our Happy Crew. But Granny seems to be having fun with it, and so are we.
God, I feel so bad for that ancient Pilot and her leviathan. But John is so sweet with her! That's why we love him -- no matter how much his life sucks, no matter how many reasons he has to curl up into a ball and start screaming, or just stop caring, he doesn't. But how long he's going to hold up under the current mental tug-o-war, with Granny messing with his head one way, and Commandant Cleavage yanking at him the other way... I want Aeryn. Here. Now. Watching John huddled in on himself on the beach, in the classic rape victim ball, was just bad. Ben's doing a fabulous job -- a little too fabulous for my comfort, in fact. Yee. More on that in a second.
Gotta love the reunion with D'Argo and Jool -- D'Argo's bear hug and Jool's hyper enthusiasm for Chiana were just too cute for words! Followed immediately by John being depressed because D'Argo hadn't heard from Aeryn, but hey.... I'm really annoyed that I've got the strong suspicion they're going to replace Jool with Sikozu, because I really am starting to like her -- and here, at an archeological dig, in a scholarly environment that is obviously her rightful milieu, she truly shines. And burbles. And bounces, even. Except for the thing where she's still a specist, but hey -- give the kid credit where it's due. Yeah, she should have stood up for D'Argo, but the fact that she's willing to accept him as a friend, as 'unusual' for a Luxan, is the first baby step out of the pit of cultural blindness she's been trained in since birth. Judging from Academic Elitist Chick and Red Shirt Boy, Jool is a very unusual Interion to be able to do that much -- to claim a Luxan as a friend and want to keep him with her, even when she firmly believes doing so won't be in her own best interests. Given more time, she might actually keep growing beyond her cultural limitations, and I'd kind of like to be around to watch it keep happening, like it did with Aeryn. But left with people (and I use the term loosely) like Vella, there's no chance.
Which is not to say that I didn't feel for D'Argo when Jool didn't defend him -- obviously their enforced time together on Moya and dig has done a lot to increase their tentative friendship, and maybe started something more. Only to have D'Argo feel that friendship betrayed, and just when he was really starting to settle in and enjoy himself in a peaceful place. Starting to think of that peaceful life and love he's always dreamed of again. But at least he has his cool ship back -- Lo'La, named for Lo'Laan, is fabulous continuity, thank you. And wow, wasn't Chiana jealous of Jool's closeness with D'Argo? < g > Yes, I still hold out hope for those two, probably always will.
Granny is just way too much fun, I have to say. She reminds me of the early days of Stark, when his insanity was unpredictable and hilarious instead of merely annoying. The whole dust-blowing thing and playing with people's minds is going to get old, but she seems to have good intentions. And she's as surprised by her occasional bursts of sanity as anyone else -- the bit about "Where are the bones" was truly classic. Melissa Jaffer rocks the house down already, although in that makeup, she looks more like a Muppet than Rygel does (Dark Crystal flashbacks anyone? Aughra?). The voices in her head make me nervous, but when 293 years old you reach, be as sane you will not, hmm?
The set crew gets kudos for gorgeous detail work on the entire dig, from the little critter going up the wall to the big critter out in the water, to the pictographs and the groovy little excavation toys. It almost makes up for Vella being such a freakin' typical academic -- totally convinced of her own intellectual superiority, totally involved with being the one who solves the puzzle without stopping to wonder if she should solve the damn thing. Plus... she's a bitch! And a patronizing one, at that. Can't think of a better ending than for her to get 'eaten' by her own tool. And how much does it say about Interions that one of their highest rank seem sto be Instructor? Either a species built around knowledge, or an entire race of academic elists. :p
And speaking of bitches. The question that always comes to mind when we see Commandant Cleavage is, What the hell kind of bra does she have built into that shirt? Seriously, the question is, What does she see in Braca? Or maybe it's, How long do we have to wait for Aeryn to come back and kick this chick's ass to the other side of the UT? Using feminine wiles to get your way is one thing. Using pheremones, or Rohypnol, or whatever the hezmana she's secreting in her sweat to make men your helpless love slaves -- that Just Ain't Right. I don't actually care if she uses it on Braca, aside from the fact that Braca should not be getting anything approximating sex from anyone, because that's also Just Wrong. He might reproduce or something dreadful like that. (Do worms need sex to reproduce?) But using the sex mojo on John? John who already has so many psychological complexes that they're running out of things to do to him? John, who really didn't need to add attempted rape to his package of fun? Kill her. Dead. Right now. Please. DK and company, you've found someone as hateable as Scorpius, congratulations. Now kill her. I promise, Your Faithful and Seriously PO'd Tour Guides will help.
And wow, ever think you'd feel sorry for Scorpius? Not that I have problems with Scorpius suffering on the way to an agonizing death, and the sight of him in his own Aurora Chair gave me kind of a nice, irony-laden happy. But Scorpius was an enemy to be, if not liked, then at least sort of respected. In an evil, kill-him-given-any-chance-and-improve-the-universe kind of way. But crawling and bootlicking and drooling and letting that little bastard Braca smack him around.... that is Just Wrong on an epic scale. He's smarter, he's tougher, he's cooler, he's scarier than Commandant Cleavage ever dreamed of being, and him being degraded by her is... hideous.
So, much fun all around this week. The Black Lagoon critter is a nice make-up job and interesting to have around, the puzzle of the death of the priests and the ultimate weapon is an interesting one, and Our Peacekeeper Guests become more killable by the moment. I'm still trying to figure out how Crichton and company managed to find D'Argo and Jool, since the last time I looked, they had no clue where the wormhole had sucked Moya (did I miss something? If so, tell me, but if I did, I missed it on both viewings), but that's a minor niggle; I can rationalize much worse plot holes (and have. I survived Forever Knight!) . We're clicking our way up that first steep hill, and the first drop looks like a lulu! Look out below!