Sunday, April 17, 2011

Classics: Farscape 2:2 - Vitas Mortis

Overall: 5.0

If this episode had focused more on the temptation to seize immortality and less on D'Argo's random and incomprehensible feelings for Nilaam, it would've earned a much higher score.

Plot Synopsis:

Farscape World has a recap here.

The Skinny:

As I suggested above, there is a germ of a good idea here. Nilaam's fear of the Rite of Passing and her consequent choice to try the Rite of Renewal instead could've been a launching point for something truly insightful: an exploration of our own culture's denial of death, which has led to a host of societal ills, including the worship of youth over age and wisdom and the abandonment of tradition in favor of what is fresh and novel. Unfortunately, this potential is overshadowed by the ridiculous relationship that takes all of five seconds to blossom between Nilaam and D'Argo.

I mean, what the hell? At the start of the episode, Nilaam and D'Argo are complete strangers to each other. Yet as soon as they experience the Rite of Renewal together, they start rutting like farm animals? Poor Anthony Simcoe. He really tries in this episode, but all of the emotion he pours into his performance feels utterly contrived because, again, D'Argo has just met Nilaam. Why in the world is he so profoundly conflicted over whether he should allow Nilaam to continue to sap Moya's life-force? Why, indeed, should he cry over the sacrifice Nilaam must make to keep Moya alive?

The writers manage to generate a couple of laughs back on Moya (it's kind of silly, but I do like that Rygel's big fat butt saves the others), and the general message of the episode is not that bad. But those are the only things that keep Vitas Mortis out of anti-feature territory.

Writing: 3.0

The romance the writers try to shoehorn into this episode is embarrassingly out of place. Ugh.

Acting: 6.0

Despite their best efforts, the actors largely fail to rescue the script.

Message: 6.0

I certainly can't object to D'Argo's defending Moya's right to life. But this message has already been done and done better.


Chiana: Is this a good time to tell you that, uh -- I can't feel my feet?
John: If we had any idea how Moya made it, we could patent this stuff.
Aeryn: (as she throws down her tool) Useless! I wonder if I've got any grenades left. (She trots out.)
Chiana: (urgently) She was kidding, right? Tell me that she was kidding.
John: Well, with Aeryn -- you never know. (Heh.)

Rygel: (gasping) Help! Help!
Chiana: Well, what do you know? He has made himself useful.
Rygel: I'm-I'm stuck!
Pilot: Decompression has ceased. What happened?
John: We got lucky. Sparky's got a big ass. (ROTFL!)

D'Argo: Nilaam, you have already tried four different incantations. It is not working.
Nilaam: I know. Your transport pod -- how far can it get us?
D'Argo: Leave my friends?
Nilaam: Some distance between me and Moya might -- stop the energy drain. I --
D'Argo: And if it doesn't?
Nilaam: D'Argo, it is just a ship!
D'Argo: MOYA IS NOT JUST A SHIP! She's alive! And you are taking her life to restore your own.
Nilaam: The life of a Leviathan for the life of an Orican!
D'Argo: How can an Orican justify taking life? Have you forgotten who you are?
Nilaam: Have you forgotten what I can do?
D'Argo: I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN WHAT YOU CANNOT DO, WHICH IS RESTORE MOYA’S LIFE! (He pauses a moment to regain self control.) Does that suggest to you that you have taken something that you really should not have?

D'Argo: John -- Nilaam isn't evil.
John: That doesn't change anything.
D'Argo: Moya, Pilot, Aeryn -- they will never forgive her. They may never even forgive me. But you -- you must understand.
John: I understand -- what she's doing is killing Moya.
D'Argo: She didn't mean it.
John: Doesn't matter.
D'Argo: She honestly thought it was my energy that restored her youth. She's trying everything she can to restore Moya’s health.
John: D'Argo - I don't - know - what she intended. What I know - is that it's murder. And you're the only one who can stop it.

Aeryn: Pilot, what is the normal life span of a Leviathan?
Pilot: Uh, many have lived over three hundred cycles.
Aeryn: What about your species?
Pilot: Normally, a thousand cycles or more. However, when we bond with Leviathans, we live no longer than they do.
Aeryn: So, when Moya eventually does die...
Pilot: I will go as well. I would not have it any other way. (Aww.)

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