Saturday, October 15, 2011

Classics: Farscape 3:8 - Green Eyed Monster

Overall: 8.2

Obviously, I rather like this one, but I think my reasons are somewhat unusual.

Plot Synopsis:

Talyn tries to ditch John while trapped inside a giant space monster. For more details, check out the article at the Farscape Wiki here.

The Skinny:

The chief purpose of this episode is to bring Aeryn to the realization that she loves John and really can't live without him. And I would venture to guess that if there are others who like Green Eyed Monster as much as I, they like it primarily because of that central plot. As I suggested at the start, though, I'm a bit different. While I absolutely understand the appeal of the romance - indeed, I've highlighted all the key John/Aeryn scenes below in deference to that appeal - I enjoy everything else about this episode.

For example, Talyn's malicious attempts to drive John out of Aeryn's life - which, oh by the way, include attempted murder (!) - really ratchet up the sentient ship concept to a whole new level. In the past, Our Heroes have occasionally been forced to negotiate with Moya because the older Leviathan's desires and theirs have been at cross-purposes -- but through it all, Moya has always been a fundamentally gentle creature. Generally speaking, it's not difficult for Moya and her crew to reach some sort of accord. Trying to talk sense into Talyn, on the other hand, is like trying to talk sense into a confused and angry juvenile criminal. And personally, I think it's interesting that Talyn's crew has to deal with the ever-present threat of Talyn himself.

Meanwhile, I love, love, love the dynamic duo that is Rygel and Stark -- the noble versus the former slave. This is one context in which the class warfare undertones are actually appropriate. And the slapstick works too. Ben Browder's instincts as a writer were absolutely right here: it is hilarious to watch Stark shove his arm down Rygel's throat. And Rygel's puking all over Stark? Comedy gold.

Writing: 9.5

As it turns out, Ben Browder is a man of many talents; he can actually write as well as act.

Acting: 9.0

And speaking of Browder's acting, the expository scenes in this episode work mainly because Browder, Black, and Tupu are fantastic when it comes to communicating subtext. Watch the scene on the command deck after John sees the footage on that doctored vidchip for a good example of what I mean. The facial expressions there are awesome.

Message: 6.0

There's no real theme here, though, which unfortunately keeps this very entertaining episode out of the A-list.


John: Hey, you want to mess with me?
Crais: What seems to be the problem?
John: Keepin' the DRDs over my head workin' 24/7 so I can't sleep!
Crais: Repairs to Talyn --
John: (interrupting) All of the doors - locked! The shower? Ice-cold, so I'm freezin' the boys off!
Aeryn: John, what are you talking about?
John: It's not really a problem, but you do not mess with my stuff! Where's Wynona?
Crais: What?
John: (slowly pronouncing each syllable) Wy-no-na!
Aeryn: His pulse pistol.
John: My gun!
Aeryn: Well maybe Rygel came -- (But John cuts her off.)
John: Rygel and Stark have been on recon for more than a day!
Crais: John --
Crais: Crichton then. Are you accusing me of theft?
Aeryn: (rolling her eyes upwards) Talyn, you've seen them both naked. Perhaps you can tell us who's bigger. (Heh.)

John: So we're gonna use this high-grade hardware like a mooring harpoon?
Aeryn: Unless you have a better idea.
John: It was my idea. But it'll work?
Aeryn: Well, the cables are iridium alloy. As long as we hit bone, we should hold fast.
John: Good. I must be smarter than I look.
Aeryn: That would be easy. (Ba-dum-bum!)

Aeryn: Where are you going?
John: You heard the man. Nothin' for me to do.
Aeryn: John, wait.
John: Aeryn, you do not want me there.
Aeryn: I-I do want you there.
John: Why? To throw rice? Forget about it. I've seen my share of hardware insertion. I'm not watchin'.
Aeryn: It's been modified!
John: Yeah, I heard that.
Aeryn: Less invasive. It's-it's safer.
John: (losing his temper) Yes, it's new! It's improved! It's the Finger of Friendship 1995! But wait kids! There's more!
Aeryn: (angry now) What's the matter with you? This is the right thing to do.
John: For who?
Aeryn: For all of us! He needs my help to control Talyn to get us out!
John: Aeryn -- do what you have to do.
Aeryn: I will.
John: Fine, but do not sugarcoat it for me! 'Right thing to do' my ass!
Aeryn: And what's that supposed to mean?
John: It means that you do things the way you want to - when you want to - with who you want to do them.
Aeryn: It's got nothing to do with what I want!
John: It's always about what you want! So yes -- walk back in there and let Crais stick a spike in the back of your neck!
Aeryn: Listen to me!
John: It'll be a brave new universe Aeryn! You and Crais! You can finally rejoin that Peacekeeper family you've been pining for from the moment we met!
Aeryn: You have got this so -
John: JUST DON'T PRETEND TO ME -- that it wasn't what you've always wanted!
Aeryn: (after a long pause during which they stare coldly at each other) You finished? (John simply glares at her.) You're right. I don't want you there. (Ouch.)

Stark: I know you think I'm overreacting, but I'm not. I'm keeping us alive! A Budong is a killing machine -- death incarnate. Five cycles I spent on a Budong mining operation. Thousands went in. None came out. And those Budongs were dead! This one's very much alive! (Gagged, Rygel mutters something unintelligible in response, and Stark turns to look at him.) What's that? (Rygel repeats his muffled statement, and Stark glares.) My mother sucks what? (Stark yanks the cloth out of Rygel’s mouth, and Rygel spews forth a fountain of green vomit. Dang. Why is Stark always the one who gets barfed on?)
Rygel: You heard me.
Stark: (shrieking in disgust) What have you eaten? Oh! Oh! Ughugh-! Oh! I think I'm going to --
Rygel: Waste funnel's in the back. (Rygel grins with satisfaction as Stark rushes off and starts to wretch.) I love that trick. (And I love these two characters together. LOL!)

Rygel: (patronizing) Is the Budong far enough away? Yes! Is it watching us? Noooo! Well, let's power up and escape while we can.
Stark: (eyeing a glob of Rygel's vomit on his finger) That's it!
Rygel: That's vomit.
Stark: No! That's it! (He hits the comms and calls eagerly.) Aeryn! Crichton! Crais! I see it! A plan! Aeryn! Crichton! Crais! Why don't they answer?
Rygel: (matter-of-factly) Because they're dead.
Stark: Give it to me!
Rygel: What?
Stark: You pulled the comm's relay circuit! Give it to me!
Rygel: (determined) Get back! They are dead! And we are leaving! (As Stark gapes in disbelief, Rygel makes a big show of swallowing the aforementioned circuit.) Now be a good little Banik and help me power up this pod.
(And with that, Stark lets out a mad howl and shoves his hand down Rygel's throat. ROTFL!)

Aeryn: What's your problem?
John: Shouldn't you be with Crais?
Aeryn: He's sleeping. Answer the question.
John: Aeryn, I am doing everything I can to get us out of this absurdly large space monster. I am doing the good little soldier bit. What else do you want from me?
Aeryn: I want you to stop acting like a drannit.
John: You know what? I have no idea what a drannit is.
Aeryn: No, don't play dumb with me. That hasn't worked for over two cycles, John.
John: Aeryn, I am dumb! I don't understand you half the time, and I have no idea what a drannit is!
Aeryn: Fine! Forget the drannit!
John: (who starts to smile a bit at the absurdity of the argument) Fine! Screw the drannit! (Aeryn senses the ridiculousness of the spat as well and can't help but return his smile tightly.) What?
Aeryn: You really have no idea what a drannit is, do you?
John: (after a beat) What's a drannit? (LOL!)

Rygel: (horrified) You flew across its eye?
Stark: I had to be sure it would follow.
Rygel: Well, it is! And it's gaining!
Stark: (perkily) This pod could never outrun a Budong! We just want it to eat, 'cos we're candy!
Rygel: Candy?! You've killed us all, you trankass! Mother always said I'd die from incompetence! I finally know what she meant! That's why we keep people like you chained in the first place! Your entire race -- (But Stark cuts Rygel's bigoted tirade short with a punch to the face.)
Stark: Shut up! (Hee!)

Aeryn: OPEN THE FRELLING DOOR! (She uses the transponder to try and override Talyn from within, but between their opposing wills, the inner door just stutters in its track like a sticky elevator door.) OPEN IT!
Crais: (finally taking an ethical stance with his ship) Talyn! I recommend you do as Officer Sun requests! (But a poor moral upbringing isn't so easily corrected, and back at the airlock, Aeryn is forced to abandon the war of wills with Talyn. She and John stare helplessly at each other through two windows and the insurmountable expanse of the small airlock as Crais' time call is heard via comm.) Detonation in 80 microts!
(Aeryn turns away from the portal, breathing heavily, trying to think of something, anything that might sway the implacable ship. Unable to arrive at any solution, she resolves to return to the ship what it has given.)
Aeryn: Talyn, I want you to share something with me -- before he dies. You can taste something that is denied to Peacekeepers -- something that you will never know. (She closes her eyes and focuses on Talyn’s sense structure back on the Command -- then she shows him the face of John, in his space helmet, gazing at her and speaking her name softly, questioningly. She goes on to explain the image to the mutant Leviathan.) Can you feel that? Good. Talyn -- that is what it is to need someone. You don't need me. You never will. (Good scene.)

Aeryn: Have you seen - (She tosses the doctored vidchip onto John's bunk beside him and then sits down next to him.) - this?
John: Yeah.
Aeryn: When did you see it?
John: Aeryn, I'm not your boyfriend, I'm not your husband, I'm not your anything. You can do what you want. (He picks up the vidchip and tosses it away like a disagreeable piece of trash that he doesn't want on his bed.)
Aeryn: It's not real. You know that, don't you? The - um - the last part. Talyn altered the image. I never recreated with Crais. (A beat.) Not that it should matter.
John: It does.
Aeryn: It never did before. See, uh -- I had this life. I liked it! It had rules - I followed the rules - and that made everything right. And then you come along and you frell everything up. S-strange human, with arrogance, stubbornness --
John: (offering a word of his own) Dumb.
Aeryn: Let me finish. You saw the recording - and you didn't say a word. You are like a plague, John Crichton. And you have ruined my life. And yet I just -- keep coming back. (Aeryn falls into silence for a long moment.) You can talk now.
John: Let me show you something. (He crawls back into his bunk, which is situated so the head of it is at the portal looking out into space.) Come here, I'm not gonna bite. (She hesitates and then crawls in after him. They lay on their bellies, propped on their elbows, looking at the stars out the portal. John unfolds a roll of rough paper.) This is a star chart. These are the names I give the stars.
Aeryn: They've already got names.
John: Yeah, I know, but Mintaka 3 sounds boring to me. Anyway - (He points to marks on his map.) - that's Hughie, Louie, and Dewey. You see that one? (He taps another notation on his chart) That's that star right there. (He points out the port at the actual star, a pulsing point of light bigger than all the others.) The bright one. That's my point of reference - my guide - and it always becomes the center of my chart. I always name it Aeryn.
Aeryn: You say it's your guide?
John: (softly) It's my one constant. Would you like to name some stars?
Aeryn: There's a lot of them.
John: And we could take our time. (And then they kiss. Awwwww.)

1 comment:

  1. You're correct...though I do enjoy Stark and Rygel having humorous antics, I was very drawn to the romantic plot...but then...I'm a romantic at heart.