Still effective for its' "bad guy" dominance...but lacking the thematic punch of their previous two efforts.
The events of this episode can be read here. Thanks to the folks at terrafirmascapers.com.
Several plot threads to discuss...I'll leave my basic reaction to each of them in bullet form:
- Scorpius's evil knows no bounds. I have one question for the Farscape producers: why do you always "go there" with such brutality?! I mean...having Grunchlik forced to bite off one of his own fingers...really? (seriously...it's awesome that they always make me cringe...I'm still gonna complain about it though)
- Zhaan's decision to give up all of her spiritual energy to bring back Aeryn (because she believed Aeryn to be too important to Moya, Talyn and John) was well done. Of course this is all leading to one of the greatest moments in sci fi history - the episode in which Zhaan dies and Stark's madness is cemented. I do have one minor complaint, however. Stark was (understandably) outraged that Grunchlik was preventing people from dying properly by freezing them to use as donors to other living beings who still had a chance to live. Why then would he be furious at the prospect of actually letting someone die to save John's speech? That should be win/win as far as he's concerned. Someone gets their final restful death, John lives and speaks. I found the ethical dilemma a bit short-shrifted...you could have made an entire episode about soul-snatching for medical research...their treatment of this problem was too shallow for my liking.
- The strange detente between Crais and Moya's crew is really taking shape here. Crais and Talyn seem to be having effects on each other - Talyn more willing to use cold logical reasoning to solve problems and Crais less selfish in his various pursuits.
- Jothee and Chiana getting giggity...was understandable given Chiana's "I do what I like" personality...but I've seen more convincing trysts in my time, and I find it rather squickish that Chiana would spend a year obviously loving D'argo and then get scared by D'argo's desire to retire to a corn field with the two of them and get married and...do his son? This was pushing the boundary a bit too far for me.
Other than my general feeling of unease with a goofy illicit romance plot being jammed into a serious episode at the expense of a real exploration of bio-ethics or more gruesome Scorpius fun, this is a well written episode.
I think Matt Newton (Jothee) killed the chemistry potential in that badly executed affair. Otherwise, I have no acting complaints.
As noted previously, I think this episode was a bit weaker on the message front, though I am still impressed with both Stark and Zhaan for their defense of more than just biological life (their defense of the soul). This is a nice change of pace from the physicalist mentality in most science fiction.