Sunday, April 24, 2011

Classics: Farscape 2:3 - Taking the Stone

Overall: 4.0

Alas, this one is worse than last week's. We seem to have hit a bad patch of episodes.

Plot Synopsis:

Farscape World has a recap here.

The Skinny:

Fandom's opinion regarding this episode is not very positive. The principal complaints that I see - and embrace - are these:

  • Not enough Chiana! This episode is supposed to be about Chiana and how she deals with her grief. Yet for long stretches, she disappears, presumably to engage in some other risky behavior with the clans. I understand what the writers are trying to do here; they're trying to show us that Chiana is depressed and is consequently seeking cheap thrills to "feel alive." Still, it's a bad sign when an episode's focus character is not actually the focus character.

  • The guest characters aren't interesting or likeable. Again, I think I know what the writers are hoping to accomplish with the clans; they are attempting to show how the certainty of an early death might affect a culture. Unfortunately, the writers spend too much time on the effect and not enough time on the cause. What we see are brat kids who've embraced nihilism full-stop and consequently spend their days getting high and attempting to kill themselves. We don't really feel the tragedy of their situation. The upshot? I believe DS9's The Quickening is a much better rendition of this basic idea.

Personally, I also have a problem with Aeryn's great "insight," which to me sounds like an endorsement of the absolute freedom to destroy oneself. It is not the compassionate course to let someone "work it out on their own" if this involves the real potential for bodily harm. No -- in this, Crichton was right. Chiana might've hated him for a while, but Crichton should've been permitted to knock her out and carry her back to the ship. In the real world, people who are exhibiting signs of suicidal ideation are put on involuntary psychiatric holds. In the real world, the medical establishment understands that we have a moral responsibility to prevent an entirely needless death and that this responsibility can and should trump an individual's liberty.

Writing: 3.0

In this case, trying to do many things at once turned out to be a bad idea. No storyline was well-handled.

Acting: 7.0

Gigi, Ben, and Claudia have a few nice moments, but I wasn't overly impressed with the guest cast.

Message: 2.0

It's true -- everyone grieves in his or her own way. But we really must draw the line at reckless and potentially suicidal behavior. Our autonomy should never be treated as a hard absolute.

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