Saturday, June 29, 2019

An Inconvenient Crais

Farscape returned with a second season première that was already an improvement on what came before. Tension between Crais, Aeryn, and Crichton is reconfigured with Moya's warship baby Talyn in the middle.

Season 2, Episode 1: Mind the Baby

We last left Crichton (Ben Browder) and D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe) helplessly EVA, orbiting a burning planet. We meet up with them recovering amid some anonymous ruins on an asteroid with new suntans.

It's quickly established that Aeryn (Claudia Black) rescued them in her Prowler and has been secretly working with Crais (Lani Tupu) to protect and supply her two friends with food and water.

When D'Argo complains about Talyn's name, Aeryn mentions again that she named the ship after her father. This isn't necessarily a crucial plot element so the fact that it's reintroduced draws thematic attention to it. Now Crais, Aeryn's former captain and essentially a father figure, is a father figure for an entity Aeryn has basically been a surrogate mother for. Just a few episodes earlier, Aeryn had left Crais to be tortured by Scorpius (Wayne Pygram). Now She has to work with him for the good of someone they both care about. And although Crais is an asshole on certain points, Aeryn and eventually Crichton are both forced to discover Crais can actually be relied on.

The crew are much more suspicious of Crais than they'd been in the first season finale--really, as suspicious as they ought to have been all along but there were a lot of details for the writers to handle at that point. Having some breathing room obviously benefited thinking on how to utilise the character. This is highlighted in a scene where Crais finds himself back in a cell on Moya, talking to D'Argo. Crais expresses some respect and even regret while still candidly acknowledging that the idea of a relationship between a Luxan and a Sebacean, D'Argo's late wife, disgusts him. But he also says that, having walked away from other aspects of Peacekeeper society, perhaps it's time to re-examine the notion of Sebaceans being "contaminated" merely by exposure to other species. It becomes increasingly clear there's more to Crais than the hot headed madman.

We get a few hints of an adventure that Zhaan (Virginia Hey), Chiana (Gigi Edgley), and Rygel had while separated from Crichton, D'Argo, and Aeryn that we'll actually get the full details on later in the season. But Zhaan is an especially vivid example now of someone lost in her own madness, having confined herself to quarters to commune with a crystal and a shrine. It seems like Chiana has basically been in charge for a while. I only wish we could've seen more of what that was like.

. . .

This entry is part of a series I'm writing on Farscape for the show's 20th anniversary. My previous reviews can be found here (episodes are in the order intended by the show's creators rather than the broadcast order):

Season One:

Episode 1: Pilot
Episode 2: I, E.T.
Episode 3: Exodus from Genesis
Episode 4: Throne for a Loss
Episode 5: Back and Back and Back to the Future
Episode 6: Thank God It's Friday Again
Episode 7: PK Tech Girl
Episode 8: That Old Black Magic
Episode 9: DNA Mad Scientist
Episode 10: They've Got a Secret
Episode 11: Till the Blood Runs Clear
Episode 12: Rhapsody in Blue
Episode 13: The Flax
Episode 14: Jeremiah Crichton
Episode 15: Durka Returns
Episode 16: A Human Reaction
Episode 17: Through the Looking Glass
Episode 18: A Bug's Life
Episode 19: Nerve
Episode 20: The Hidden Memory
Episode 21: Bone to be Wild
Episode 22: Family Ties

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