4.7 John Quixote
||July 26, 2002
Chiana drags John into a VR game, which drops the duo into a skewed reality at the worst possible time. Ogres and witches and Scorpius, oh my!
Stark Avatar: You say you were on a transport pod. Alone? Just the two of you? That's not very smart.|
Crichton: I have. Some questions.
Chiana: The path. Up -- is down. Start looking. Kiss the princess -- you gotta like that.
Crichton: I have a list of reasons why I ain't gonna like any of this.
Big Ugly Blue Guy: Relax. I am Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan, tenth level Delvian priest. Blood kin to the piezor who beat Scorpy's ass. And you, and you, are invading my parking space. Now frell off.
Crichton: Where's Chiana?
D'Argo: Ah, too bony. You don't want to eat her. The bloody. Bitch. Bites.
Jool: And what am I? Chopped liver? How come no one ever wants to eat me!
Crichton: This would be vaguely amusing if I wasn't in a hurry.
John Headroom: It's your funeral. What brings you here? Business? Pleasure? That's a nice sword. Ever slay any dragons with it? You should give it a name. Like Cameron. Or Uma-Uma-Uma. First floor, little lost girls. Have a good day.
John Headroom: Yes, I know. This elevator sucks. My job su-su-su-su-sucks.
Crichton: He's not the ogre?
Aeryn O'Hara: What, Harvey? Oh, heavens no, he's jutht an incorrigible liar. And a butler. So... can I help you find thomeplace to sheathe that sword?
Aeryn O'Hara: Why do you have to be such a monthter?
Ogre: At least I don't spend my days redecorating.
D'Argo: The plan is, we hunt him down.
Crichton: Like that plan.
Crichton: You up for this? Could be fun.
Chiana: Let's screw the pooch. I'm all about fun.
Stark Avatar: I know! Maybe you have to do more than just kiss her. Maybe 'kiss' is a metaphor for showing her a reeeeally good time.
Zhaan: This Stark wishes to keep you here. He believes I died for the love of you.
Crichton: Lot of people died because of me.
Zhaan: What do you want of me, John Crichton? Have you wasted my death? And the deaths of so many others?
Crichton: I don't know.
Zhaan: Then I suggest you find out. Before anyone else dies for the love of you.
Chiana: Hey. We're not dead. How drad is that?
Noranti: Please, don't thank me. It's been 150 cycles since I... felt for someone. The way you do for her.
So, if the game was based on John's neural impressions -- John and Stark's reality -- at the time Stark left, there could be no Noranti and no Sikozu on the ship. Fair enough. So why was Scorpius aboard Moya, not as a hostile invader, but as an escapee? That's from reality considerably post-Stark.|
If you heard an anguished scream rising up from the general direction of Australia during the promos for this episode, that would be Ben Browder seeing his way-cool surprise twist ending get completely blown out of the water by the twits in charge of making said promos. I'd like to think that we at TGUT would have figured out the princess thing without the hint (read: great, big, screaming declaration that Zhaan will show up in this episode at some point), but it was sure as hell easier with it. And considerably less fun. Ben, dude, we sympathize. Seriously. We're incredibly not happy about getting the way-cool twist ending spoiled either. (And I'd like to formally apologize to the guy I teased about living so spoiler-free he wouldn't watch promos. Some people are just wiser than others, apparently.) Sci-Fi Channel, or whoever puts those promos together -- try thinking next time, 'kay? (And while I'm on it, does Sikozu have to be being a total tralk with every other character in all of the bumpers? It's creepy. And annoying.)
That stated... Ben Browder really needs to be forcibly removed from his PlayStation, or whatever he's been obviously spending too much time gaming on. < g > Not that we don't appreciate getting to see the studio parking structure, and don't delight in seeing lots and lots of old cast members returning, but either he's bonded with his computer, or he has joined the ranks of Farscape writers on smoking some serious monkey crack and not sharing. The sheer silliness of the characters in the game, coupled with the various and assorted mind-frells along the way, kept us thinking frantically even as we occasionally dropped the phone from laughing too hard. I might even consider playing this game, except the manual read like the one for Myst, and I'm not that much of a masochist.
We can proudly say that we figured out almost every twist before it was tossed at us, or immediately afterwards. I popped off with, "They're still in the game" when Aeryn landed that second kick on John; Kiki mentioned worriedly that, "I hope he's got the right Chiana," pretty much right as John grabbed her from D'Argo's clutches; and both of us said, "Wrong princess!" as soon as John kissed Aeryn O'Hara. Your Sneaky and Extremely Paranoid Tour Guides would like to claim some sort of higher insight or intelligence, but mostly, we're settling for being slightly smug about the whole thing.
As usual with a silly-season episode, everyone is having a wonderful time chewing on the scenery, being as out-of-character as possible and relishing every moment. Blonde Aeryn was a truly frightening experience, and the lisping southern accent was a masterful touch. < shudder > There was much cheering when the Lani-Ogre appeared (even if his sexiness factor was somewhat impaired by the ridiculous makeup), and even Stark wasn't greeted with the usual boos of "Oh, god, not the Walking Convenient Plot Device again!" Which, by the way, he manages to be even when he's not on the ship -- what the hell was he doing selling impressions of his thoughts, much less the inside of John's head, to any geeky game developer?!? Dork. Entertaining dork, as he always is when Paul Goddard is legitimately chewing the scenery, and a much more tolerable type of insane than usual, but dork, nonetheless. And did anyone else have a Sir Didymus-on-crack flashback when Rygel showed up as the gatekeeper?
Nice shell game with the two Chiana's -- you got me even if you didn't get Kiks, and I'm disgusted with myself -- although D'Argo as some kind of gingerbread witch/Pinocchio hybrid was distracting and, um, disturbing. And silly, did I mention silly? But trust D'Argo, man -- even in a computer game, he manages to get trapped in a room with both of his girls. Yay, Jool was back!!! A witch who wants to be eaten and we're so not getting into the subtext there, but back nonetheless. And Gilina, now that's continuity! And deeply cool. And yes, Rowan, we did notice that you got to be in front of the camera this time! < giggle > And you were very cool as a big blue stoner Zhaan, if hugely and grossly disgusting from time to time. Ick.
And even cooler getting cut apart to be Zhaan! Our Zhaan! Wheeee! Took a second to recognize Virginia for sure, since she didn't shave her head (can you blame her?) and it completely messed with her skull shape. But she was neat and awesome and on-screen for entirely too short of a time and we missed her!!!! And we want to get Stark into therapy for these Issues he seems to still be having with John. < rolling eyes >
Speaking of whom. While I love and adore John and always will, and totally sympathize with everything he went through in this episode, since the entire universe seems bent on messing with his head in the most literal sense of the phrase, and really, really loved him for smashing in John Headroom, who was very funny until he got very annoying... where was I? Sentence got away from me... oh, yeah. While I adore and sympathize, this does not negate the urge to slap him very hard upside the head for blowing Aeryn off like that. Either he did it consciously, or her took Noranti's cool drugs -- either one is just wrong and stupid. Oh, I know where this is coming from -- a lot is the trust issues, but just as much is not wanting anyone else to die "for the love of you", as Zhaan said. Keep her at a distance, you've got a perfect excuse, oh yeah, Crichton. That'll be good. < sigh > Somehow, I don't think that's what Zhaan meant.
For the sake of the Fun, I'm going to ignore the amazing convenience of Chiana happening to find a copy of the VR game designed around Stark and Crichton's neural impressions, a fairly major coincidence, and simply enjoy the fruits of the CPD. Anyway, this isn't the show of the writer, not entirely -- this is the crew's baby, man! The set and prop guys went to town, with new and fun details popping every time you watch -- loved D'Argo's den, and the goose in the Avatar's room. The costume department was also obviously having way too much fun, and indulging their latent desire to work for Steven Sondheim, but it worked wonderfully! Except for one question: why is it that, every time they put John in any kind of armor, he winds up looking like Joxer the Mighty? < snicker > Even the editors got to have a hell of a time, with the bops between realities and the incredible bizarre cuts Tony Tilse supplied us with (not to mention his usual motion-sickness inducing camera angles). And we won't discuss the split-screening -- so, 24 has made it to Australia, huh?
It'd take too long to go through and note every detail that makes this a ride fun in the extremely disturbing ways that Farscape specializes in. John's brain continues to scare the rest of us intensely -- the twisted fantasy world with john Headroom and the white trash princess contrasting with the 'real' world where Scorpius on the loose perpetrating all of the horrors John's paranoid and deeply hating mind can come up with, writing wormhole equations in his own blood when even Aeryn has turned against him. Effective as hell, and even cooler the second time around. Massive kudos to Ben.
4.8 I Shrink, Therefore I Am
||August 2, 2002
Once again, armed gunmen invade Moya, intent on collecting Grayza's bounty on Our Merry Crew, but this time, the leader has a cool new shrink-ray toy, and a dirty little secret.
Crichton: Let me talk to Captain James T. D'Argo.|
Pilot: Ka D'Argo is currently... helping Rygel with his... laundry. And Aeryn's writing some.... poetry.
Crichton: Uh-huh. What about Chiana and Sikozu?
Pilot: Enjoying each other's company, preparing a meal for.... everyone but Rygel. He's... not hungry.
Crichton: Right, well, tell them to save me a plate, I'm starving.
Noranti: Isn't that lovely? Everyone's getting on so well.
D'Argo: Aeryn, I think we should negotiate. [Aeryn gives him a 'what are you on?' look] I really think we should negotiate.
Everyone begins speaking all at once, untranslated
Sikozu: Not with these frelling cuffs on, I can't.
Chiana: These what cuffs? [Sikozu looks disgusted and Chiana giggles] I am so glad we extended your vocabulary.
Crichton: I'm going wabbit hunting.
Scorpius: You can't take them all at once?
Crichton: How dumb do you think I am? I'll take them down one by one -- the Die Hard way.
Scorpius: By luring them into an ambush? You could do with some assistance.
Crichton: You really think our relationship has progressed that far?
Crichton: Why don't you come down here and find me, Gort? Klaatu barada nikto.
Scorpius: And you have a weapon that works.
Crichton: Nope, this bazooka's out of ammo. You can have it.
Scorpius: I may well have joined the wrong side.
Scarren: So. Crichton's more formidable than I thought.
D'Argo: I told you, but would you listen?
Rygel: No, they never listen.
Crichton: So we've gone from Die Hard to Honey, I Shrunk the Hostages.
Sikozu: Hynerian, wake up!
Rygel: My name is not Hynerian. It's Rygel XVI. You may call me Dominar.
Rygel: Do think this is all just a hallucination. Do you like that explanation better?
Sikozu: No, but I simply cannnot comprehend--
Rygel: Neither can I. Who cares. We're here, they did it, and that's that. You consider yourself intelligent?
Sikozu: Yes. I do.
Rygel: Then stop behaving like a child.
Sikozu: I am not a child!
Rygel: No -- you're an infant. You've studied, but you haven't experienced. You know nothing of life.
Sikozu: And you do?
Rygel: I've been around long enough to know how ignorant I am. I don't assume the universe obeys my preconceptions. But I know a frelling fact when it hits me in the face.
Scorpius: How did you survive this far?
Crichton: Charm. Good looks. Winning attitude.
Chiana: It's just... the dark. You don't know what's coming and there's nothing you can do. I hate that feeling.
Scarren: It will be my honor to see you returned to your birthplace.
Scorpius: It will be my honor to see you dead.
Scorpius: Could work. Probably won't.
Crichton: [rolling the container back and forth in time] Don't. Be. Small. Minded.
D'Argo: Can we trust Scorpius?
Crichton: More today than yesterday.
Crichton: Donde esta la cucaracha? [followed almost immediately by a commercial for an exterminator. We're easily amused.]
Crichton: Yeah, Ryg?
Rygel: There's a wrinkled old woman floating outside the forward portal.
Crichton: Oh, gigantic oops.
Crichton: Look on the bright side -- it can't be as bad as some of the places we've been lately.
Aeryn: Trust me. It can.
< rolling eyes > Do we even need to bother to ask why the translator microbes fail when everyone started talking in a crowd? I'd take a guess at translation overload, except that they've never done it before (given many opportunities; god knows no one on Moya has any problems with getting into a multi-party shouting match). So I guess we'll chalk it up in the "Yeah, it makes no sense, but wasn't it cool!?!" category of directing and move along....
You gotta love how this crew functions even when they can't even make eye contact on a plan -- D'Argo and Aeryn slip into distracting Scarren Boy from John's presence with barely a blink, and even Rygel picks up on the main in seconds, plus knowing every move Crichton's going make. And Aeryn's distraction for D'Argo's tongue grab of the comm unit, and Aeryn reading off information even as she's about to get Wow, those four have been doing this together for a looong time. And even 1812 gets to be integral to the rescue -- wonderful use of the details of DRD tech! (Although I miss Rover -- where'd he go?)
Noranti's entertainment value is dropping rapidly. She's still intriguing, but anyone who feeds someone else drugs to get over a broken heart, particularly when that someone is John, drops rapidly on my list of Favorite People. I'm starting to be with D'Argo -- let's space her and get it over with.... except that doesn't seem to work too well, does it? :p I can't tell if Noranti's up to something, or if she thinks she's genuinely doing the right thing somewhere in her drug- and senility-fried little brain -- either way, she's just not trustworthy on a fundamental level.
Scarren Boy is pretty smart for a halitosis-brained bully -- the magnetic-telepathic-pain cuffs are really cool, in an awful sort of way (and seriously multifunctional; loved everyone getting magnetized to the walls of the 'cells'), and the use of the shrink ray is just damned ingenious! Not to mention turning Grayza's bounty to his advantage -- you've got to admire his technique. I mean, why promise the soon-to-be-betrayed minions your money when you can promise them someone else's?
There really are days when you just have to love Rygel, man. Working with the others to distract the Scarren, giving Sikozu a smack-down she richly deserves.... Ever think you'd hear Rygel giving someone else a lecture on dealing with reality? Sometimes, that little pain in the ass just seriously rocks.
And then there are the days when you just have to smack John. See above re: how unhappy I am about those damn drugs, and how much my heart breaks watching him fight against loving Aeryn. I don't really know what's going on in his head, except thinking that loving her makes him weaker, or more prone to let bad things happen, but he needs to be dopesmacked. Hopefully D'Argo will do so sometime soon. A captain's gotta be useful for something.... Still, John is very good at coming up with plans, so we'll give him a hella lot of points for that. < g > And poor Chiana, too, still using her weird seeing thing even when the consequences, the blindness, scare her so much. Very, very proud of her, oh yes. And at least the banter was happening amongst everyone.
Oh, how, how, how unhappy does it make me that they don't a frelling cell that can hold Scorpy! Gng! Of course, I enjoyed watching him get shot, and shrunk, otherwise beaten up, and seeing John getting a little of his own back, even if they broadcasted the whole "give Scorpy an empty gun" with the Die Hard reference. But no matter how useful Scorpy is in the short-run, having him running around loose just can't possibly be a good idea in the long run. (BTW, I love Wayne Pygram. He is just so damn cool. Scorpius is getting more than his fair share of the good lines, and that probably because Wayne always delivers. Creepy and funny in an awful way that's totally different from Harvey even when it's exactly the same. Just too damn cool. But I still hate Scorpius.) And I have an equally bad feeling about Tormented Space -- like the notion that I know where Aeryn was when she was off Moya.....
But wow, the movie references were running rampant -- The Day the Earth Stood Still (or Army of Darkness depending on your generation), Die Hard, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and god knows how many others I missed. Plus, cool use of blue screening and forced perspective on the whole shrinking thing, particularly Aeryn hitching the ride on 1812-- the FX guys really had a blast. They cut a few corners, like the effect that size would have on sound, and the fact that I don't think Aeryn weighed enough knock herself out in a relatively short fall, but I won't complain too much, since they also did Sikozu's whole riff on brain size/complexity, and air molecules, which was totally accurate and interesting. Still didn't explain how they did do it, but hey. It's sci-fi. And entertaining, fun, action-packed sci-fi, at that!