Thursday, August 08, 2019

If Tongues Could Talk (and they Can)

When a relationship runs into trouble on Farscape there's always a danger Scorpius or a Princess is waiting in the wings, ready to turn trouble into opportunity. Crichton and Aeryn's temporary spat turns into a problem about royal succession in the first part of a three part episode.

Look at the Princess, Part 1: A Kiss is but a Kiss

While teaching Crichton (Ben Browder) some manoeuvres in his module, Aeryn (Claudia Black) unexpectedly recoils when he compliments her new perfume. She warns him of the danger "personal indulgences" pose for fracturing a crew--though, of course, she's already chosen herself to use the perfume. Throughout the episode, poor Crichton's at the receiving end of clumsy insults from Aeryn, excuses so she can get some space and work through her sudden reticence.

She blames Crichton's "rutting instincts" and "hormones"--he replies in amusing indignation, "I was lips, you were tongue!" Now it's Chiana's (Gigi Edgley) turn to offer wisdom to the two who tried to guide her in "Taking the Stone", basically advising both of them that if they don't like who they're with, just go on to someone else. In Crichton's case, of course that's Chiana.

It doesn't seem to bother her that she's with D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe) now, though D'Argo makes it very clear he will not tolerate any sharing of the Nebari girl with another. Good luck with that.

After two episodes of the crew being stuck aboard Moya, it's refreshing to get to an episode where most of them end up stuck on a planet--Zhaan (Virginia Hey) and Pilot (Lani Tupu) decide to flee, hoping to lure off Scorpius (Wayne Pygram) when his Command Carrier shows up. No such luck.

Another nice change of pace is that Rygel (Jonathan Hardy) actually makes himself useful. When they're initially not allowed on the planet due to an impending coronation, Rygel actually succeeds in pulling rank as a dominar, convincing Tyno (Matt Day) that protocol mandates the Hynerian ruler and his retinue be accepted as honoured guests.

There's also an amusing scene where Aeryn forces Rygel to kiss her. In this civilisation of Sebaceans, genetic compatibility is tested with some kind of fluid in a vial which alters flavour depending on whether or not two people are computable when they kiss while each has a drop of the stuff on their tongues. To stave off an attempt from one suitor, Aeryn forces her tongue on Rygel's. I love the look on her face when she says, "I'm so pleased!" at supposedly finding him compatible.

Crichton, meanwhile, unexpectedly finds he's compatible with the Princess Katralla (Felicity Price). This is despite the fact that the Scarran ambassador, Cargn (Gavin Robins), had "poisoned her DNA", making her incompatible with any Sebacean, in order to ensure her Scarran-friendly scoundrel brother Clavor (Felix Williamson) takes the throne. Too bad none of them anticipated a human showing up.

This is the first glimpse we have of a full-blooded Scarran, an impressive piece of work combining costume and puppetry. The design evolves throughout the series and becomes even better by the fourth season but already this fellow is a scary enough dragon man, especially in a fight scene between him and Aeryn.

In addition to the Scarran, Crichton also has the half-Scarran Scorpius to worry about and so he finds accepting the Princess' marriage proposal may be the only way of ensuring his survival. The ongoing theme on the series of finding a firm, permanent place to belong takes on an extreme incarnation when Crichton finds out marrying the Princess involves being turned into a statue for eighty cycles (years). Surely there's a middle ground?

. . .

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

Season Two:

Episode 1: Mind the Baby
Episode 2: Vitas Mortis
Episode 3: Taking the Stone
Episode 4: Crackers Don't Matter
Episode 5: Picture If You Will
Episode 6: The Way We Weren't
Episode 7: Home on the Remains
Episode 8: Dream a Little Dream
Episode 9: Out of Their Minds
Episode 10: My Three Crichtons

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