Sunday, January 9, 2011

Classics: Farscape 1:10 - They've Got a Secret

Overall: 9.2

Moya's pregnancy is another stroke of genius, and D'Argo's backstory is very well presented.

Plot Synopsis:

Farscape World's summary is here

The Skinny:

This is a real turning point for D'Argo. Although I don't think much of the internathermia device (goofy sci-fi science strikes again!), I enjoy learning more about D'Argo's backstory -- and I really enjoy seeing more of D'Argo's softer side. All along, the writers have needed to inject some vulnerability into their characterization of the great Luxan; watching D'Argo intereact with "Lo'Laan" and "Jothee" finally fulfills that need. And by the way, once the writers give Anthony Simcoe something different to do, he proves quite conclusively that he's capable of transcending the one-note meathead persona. That scene towards the end - in which the whole truth about D'Argo's mixed-race marriage is finally revealed - is, for Simcoe, very nearly a masterpiece performance. I come close to choking up.

And speaking of choking up, this episode also launches one of my very favorite arcs: Moya's pregnancy. I believe I mentioned previously that one of the things I love about this show is the fact that the ship is a character in her own right -- a character with her own feelings and motivations. Well, here, the reality of Moya's independent intellect comes through loud and clear as the other characters struggle to understand why she would deliberately cut off their air (and Pilot's nutrient supply). What I find especially moving about this story is what the characters decide to do once the pregnancy is discovered. Indeed, the contrast between Crichton's actions here and the actions of Zhaan, D'Argo, and Rygel in DNA Mad Scientisit couldn't be more stark. While Zhaan, D'Argo, and Rygel cut off one of Pilot's arms without compunction because they believed him to be a mere "servicer," Crichton treats Moya as a partner. Once the realization sets in that Moya has been re-routing her resources to protect her child, Crichton speaks to her as an equal and begs her to consider her passengers. Again, when Crichton falls to his knees and attempts to communicate with Moya through the DRD's, I tear up. It's a really beautiful moment -- and what's great about this arc is that it will generate yet more scenes of this type.

Writing: 9.0

Moya's pregnancy? BRILLIANT. D'Argo's backstory? Necessary and moving. We also have some entertaining banter between Aeryn and Crichton to nicely round out the script.

Acting: 9.5

This is a break-out moment for Anthony Simcoe especially. Wow.

Message: 9.0

This episode teaches a genuine openness to difference without being preachy about it. Not only are the characters forced by the circumstances to take their ship's very real feelings into consideration, but Aeryn's upbringing with regards to the preservation of "bloodline purity" is also gently challenged. Nice work!


D'Argo: How many Peacekeeper devices do you expect to find anyway?
Pilot: There is no way of knowing. That is why we must continue with these sweeps -- and the DRD's all have their regular maintenance duties to perform. Despite this I have assigned two to assist you.
D'Argo: Two? Out of hundreds? How generous of you. How much longer do you expect this to take?
Pilot: That is not a legitimate question considering I have just stated I have no data on how many Peacekeeper devices may still be concealed. It will take as long as it takes. (Heh. I love those rare moments when Pilot gets snippy.)

John: Zhaan said this solvent should do the trick , but it's very strong, so I gotta get it only on the DRD gunk, not on your hand.
Aeryn: Right.
John: Then we have to rinse it immediately afterwards --
Aeryn: (impatient) Right, right, right. Let's just hurry it up, shall we?
John: Excuse me for being careful, but this stuff could eat through your skin so --
Aeryn: OK, so let's avoid that.
John: My thought exactly, so pipe down and hold still.
Aeryn: You know, I'm going to track down this cute droid and rip off both its antennae.
John: Tisk. Happy place, Aeryn. Go to your happy place. (LOL!)

John: 'Kay. Try it again. (Aeryn slowly tries to pull her hand away from the floor. She manages to raise it a little.) Good! Good, good -- it's working.
Aeryn: Oh, wonderful. At this rate I'll have two whole fingers freed by tomorrow.
John: That's good. You're being funny again. Y'know, you're lucky it only got your hand and your shoe. If you'd gotten this stuff on another body part, it'd be you and Pilot, permanent fixtures on this ship.
Aeryn: Oh. Let me guess - is that you being funny? (Hee! Their banter is pretty cute in this episode.)

John: Aeryn, you were born to this. I mean, this science, you've had it your whole life. You have no idea how advanced it all is to me.
Aeryn: I think I do.
John: No. I don't think so. Disease and death are rampant on my world. Bacteria and viruses destroy crops, animals, people at - at incalculable rates.
Aeryn: Well, each ecosystem has its own logic, so maybe yours is a simpler way of keeping populations under control.
John: No. No, no, no. This is a better way. The suffering that you've managed to avoid with your science is immeasurable.
Aeryn: Creatures still die out here. And we find new ways to suffer. And to make others suffer.
John: Well, I never said Earth had a monopoly on that.
Aeryn: But you say that you want to go back to this place, Earth, a place that you tell me has so much disease and suffering?
John: Well, you guys don't have chocolate.

Aeryn: What are we going to do about these? They're vital servicers. We need them operational.
John: Well, they are not exactly operational as it is, Aeryn. You missed that Hitchcock picture playing back there a little while ago. A flock of these little guys just tried to kill me. They are not shooting glue anymore. (Crichton was the germ, and the DRD's were the white blood cells. :))
Zhaan: Could this be related to what we've been calling the virus?
John: No, no, you're right. It's not a virus. These guys aren't bio-mechanoid. They're entirely mechanical - wires, gears, servos. No, a virus wouldn't have any affect at all. No, they only do -- (He trails off as he comes to a realization.) -- what someone tells them to do.
Aeryn: But Pilot is unconscious.
John: Pilot isn't the only one who controls them.
Zhaan: Moya.
Aeryn: You're saying that Moya wanted the DRDs to try and kill you?
Zhaan: The DRD's shut down the environmentals. Do you think that Moya was causing all of this?
John: Moya has an independent intellect, right? Well, maybe the explosion that D'Argo was involved in short circuited that. Or maybe she consciously cut off Pilot’s resources in order to prevent him from keeping us alive. Our beloved ship may be trying to kill us. (Oh, snap.)

John: D'Argo, you have to remember.
D'Argo: (sobbing) I don't want to.
John: You must. You must remember everything.
(At this, D'Argo attacks Crichton.)
Zhaan: Crichton!
D'Argo: YOU KILLED HER! To keep her from me. You killed Lo'Laan!
Zhaan: Her own brother killed her?
D'Argo: (to Rygel) I never had the chance. You were so young. I never had the chance to tell out why your mother and I went away from the world that we knew. (Fighting tears) Jothee, please understand. I had to send you away. I was charged with your mother’s murder. Before they arrested me, I got you to another planet, safely away. To a place where I prayed that Macton and others like him would never find you. I had no other choice, but I can't be sure you have remained safe until I see you again. I can't...
John: D'Argo...
D'Argo: Macton arrested me. He still had her dried blood on his hands.
John: Macton? I thought you were arrested by a Peacekeeper?
D'Argo: It was quite a coup for him.
John: Macton was a Peacekeeper?
Zhaan: If he was a Peacekeeper, then Lo'Laan was -
(D'Argo produces a chip and shows the others a hologram of his Sebacean wife and his young son.)
Zhaan: Your family.
D'Argo: I remember it all. (Terrific scene.)

John: Oh my God...
D'Argo: Crichton! What do you see?
Zhaan: John? John can you hear me?
D'Argo: Crichton, what do you see?
John: I'm not sure. Zhaan, how much do you know about - uh - Leviathan physiology?
Zhaan: Not a great deal, why?
John: Do you know how they reproduce?
D'Argo: Reproduce?
John: Yeah, I think -- I think Moya's pregnant.
Zhaan: That's why the particles are bio-mechanoid.
John: Yeah, it's a catalyst - the catalyst for pregnancy.
Zhaan: Then Moya wasn't trying to kill us after all.
John: (gazing at a roughly Leviathan-shaped creature that is suspended in Moya's womb) No, she's -- protecting her baby. (And thus begins one of my favorite arcs.)

John: (dropping to DRD level) Moya, I don't know if you can hear me through this DRD. Hell, I don't even know if you can understand me without Pilot translating. We would never hurt you or your baby. We're happy that you're having a child. But do we have to die so that your baby can live? (Awesome. I actually tear up a little here.)

D'Argo: Does it surprise you that such a Sebacean woman could love me?
Aeryn: D'Argo, it's ingrained in Peacekeepers from birth that we must keep the bloodlines pure. Such unions are evil.
D'Argo: Do you therefore think that my son is evil?
Aeryn: No. Because in his eyes, I see you. D'Argo, no matter what happens to us, I will never tell anyone about your son. (Very, very nice.)

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