Thursday, January 19, 2012

Classics: Farscape 3:20/3:21 - Into the Lion's Den

Overall: 9.3

In many ways, these episodes exemplify what this series is all about: a good person who tries to do the right thing but is consistently presented with the crappy choices of a deeply depraved universe.

Plot Synopsis:

Part I: Lambs to the Slaughter is recapped here.

Part II: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing is recapped here.

(With thanks to the Farscape Wiki.)

The Skinny:

If you're ever called upon to explain to a non-native speaker of English what it means to be "between a rock and a hard place," you should point to John in these episodes. On the one hand, he has zero reason to trust that Scorpius won't abuse wormhole technology should it ever fall into the half-breed's hands. On the other hand, the Scarrans may represent a genuine existential threat to the Sebaceans, not all of whom are rat-bastards like the more militant Peacekeepers. So what is John to do? The only thing he can do, really, which is to act upon the information he has available and deal with the consequences later -- or, as John himself puts it, to fight "one evil at a time." And did John do the right thing by sanctioning the destruction of Scorpius' command carrier? That's something we will never know for sure.

The video I've posted below covers the high points from the destruction sequence at the end of part two, and I've included it because said sequence is an absolute tour de force from start to finish. Seriously: There is so much concentrated awesome here that I'm not quite sure where to begin -- but I think I'll start with the general absence of triumphalism. The crumbling statues in the park, the screaming children, Henta's immolation -- all of these properly convey the tragedy of the situation. Of course John would prefer not to imperil the lives of thousands of innocent people, but as I suggested above, the only available alternatives are at least equally terrible.

At the same time, I can't help but feel a little sympathy for Scorpius as he watches his life's work go down in flames. He may be a vicious, untrustworthy snake, but oddly enough, I actually prefer his outlook to Grayza's. Craven capitulation is no way to deal with an aggressor like the Scarrans. Were Hitler's ambitions appeased at Munich in 1938? No -- such an evil must be fought, and fought vigorously to the point of absolute defeat. And as for Crais and Talyn? WOW. That's pretty much all I can say. I don't think the writers could've devised a more fitting end for those two characters. And once again, Pilot makes me cry as he looks upon the results of Talyn's sacrifice and breathes, "Yes, Moya. I see it."

Overall, I think the take-away message of Into the Lion's Den is astonishingly mature -- and something every blame-America-first leftist and Paul-bot needs to hear. Yes -- it is true, for example, that we helped the Taliban remove the Soviets from Afghanistan during the Cold War. But this is a fallen world; like John, our leaders are only capable of dealing with one evil at a time. During the aforementioned Cold War, the Soviet Union was that one evil we were battling -- and personally, I'm not sorry that we did everything we could to force that regime into the dustbin of history, even if it does mean we now have to deal with the sequelae.

Writing: 10.0

As you all know by now, I love political intrigue -- but in this case, the competing interests on display in the story are especially well-conceived.

Acting: 9.0

The performances are not wholly flawless, but they are still terrific.

Message: 9.0

See the discussion above.

Video Highlights:

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