Saturday, December 3, 2011

Classics: Farscape 3:14/3:15 - Infinite Possibilities

Overall: 9.5

This is why it was a genius idea to twin Crichton and split the cast.

Plot Synopsis:

Part I: Daedalus Demands is summarized at the Farscape Wiki here.

Part II: Icarus Abides, meanwhile, is summarized here.

The Skinny:

Characters are killed and resurrected in sci-fi and fantasy all the time. Spock is a classic example -- and let's not forget Daniel "Oops, Died Again" Jackson. Indeed, when a character dies on a genre series, your typical fan is liable to declare, "I refuse to believe it until I see the body -- and even then, that corpse may not guarantee a character's permanent demise." There's usually an out -- some sort of technology or magic that can bring the dead man back to life.

Does Farscape adhere to the above-described trope? In one sense, yes. Because they duplicated their star player, the writers were able to pen a dramatic death for one John while keeping the other one in the wings, thereby circumventing the whole "we can't kill off the hero" problem. In another sense, however, Farscape manages to subvert the grand old sci-fi tradition entirely because that other John - the one on Moya - is not the same guy. He has not spent the past several episodes forging a physically and emotionally intimate bond with Aeryn. He doesn't know about Aeryn's mother -- or anything else that has transpired on Talyn in the intervening time. Because the writers separated the Leviathans, the two Johns have been traveling on utterly divergent paths. And that means Aeryn -- and we, the viewers - can experience the death of Talyn-John as a genuine blow. If you don't cry during the final minutes of Icarus Abides, you have no soul. And I'm saying this as someone who isn't an "OMG AERYN/JOHN FOREVER!!!!!!!eleventy-one!" shipper. I enjoy that relationship, to be sure, but my mind is also focused on other things.

Speaking of which, I once again must put in a good word for two of my favorite characters:

  • I love what the writers do with Rygel here. He's such a self-interested jerk much of the time, but deep down, he does have a heart of gold -- and a capacity for bravery that is worthy of sympathy and even a little admiration.
  • I also love what they do with Stark. Crais can snark all he wants about Stark's brain damage, but the fact remains that Stark successfully outwitted a Scarran soldier even with most of his sanity tied behind his back. I'd call that a win for our poor, mentally-disturbed Banik.

It should also be mentioned that the cliffhanger at the end of Daedalus Demands is extremely creepy and effective -- and also well-performed by both Ben and Claudia. Harvey still has the potential to be very dangerous. We shouldn't be fooled by the signs that the neural clone is "going native" and having fun in the recesses of John's mind.

And as for the weapon-of-mass-destruction that is the displacement engine? This time, I'm going to have to agree with the "God-like alien." That should not fall into anyone's hands if we can possibly help it. The temptation such power would present would be too much for most fallen sentient species to handle, let alone the species who happen to populate the region of space near the Uncharted Territories (otherwise known as The Galactic Den of Horror and Evil). "I have no prayer for that," Stark breathes when the Scarran dreadnought is destroyed, and I have to say that I concur with the sentiment.

Writing: 10.0

The writers don't simply press the reset button here. In fact, they do the exact opposite -- and that makes me very happy.

Acting: 9.5

I'm not 100% impressed with all of the performances I see here. I didn't really like the Scarran soldier's line readings, for example. But Talyn-John's death is definitely knocked out of the park by everyone involved.

Message: 9.0

"Jack's" wormhole weapon makes the atomic bomb look like a piddly firecracker -- and that's why I'm comfortable with the episode's assertion that no one should have it.


Aeryn: (tearfully) I'm very angry.
John: Me too.
Aeryn: We had good times.
John: I wouldn't change it for the world. You made me - a better person.
Aeryn: That wasn't hard. (A beat.) I love you... so much...
John: I love you.
Aeryn: I would have gone to Earth.
John: I'm... sorry you never got to meet my dad - my real dad. I'm - sorry I never met your dad. I'm sorry about a lot of things.
Aeryn: Don't be. I don't want you to go that way.
John: I won't. (They sit in silence for a long moment.) Huh.
Aeryn: What?
John: They say - it's a lucky - or an unambitious man who goes when he's ready. That said - Scorpius is gone. I'm at peace. I don't - hurt. I... I did some good things. I'm proud of my life. And I'm with you. (Aeryn leans her tear-stained face over his and kisses him, long and passionately.) Don't worry about me. I've never felt better. (*SOB*)

1 comment:

  1. "They say it's a lucky person...or an ambitious man...who goes when he's ready. I say...Scorpius is gone, I have peace...I don't hurt anymore. I did some good things...I'm proud of my life. And I'm with you." *and SABR Matt dies of drowning in his own tears*

    Ugh...that just wasn't fair.