Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Never Get Off the Boat

Assassination attempts, marriage, intrigue, the value of material possessions, the nigh-vacuum of space, and living spacecraft euthanasia are just some of the things that factor into one very busy episode of Farscape.

Season 2, Episode 12: Look at the Princess, Part II: I Do, I Think

This episode also has one of Aeryn's (Claudia Black) best lines. When a handsome local still won't stop flirting with her, she tosses away his vial of kissing sauce and says, "It's not you, it's me. I don't like you."

Aeryn's ongoing trouble with her feelings of attachment are backgrounded a little bit, though, as this episode focuses more on the attempts to kill Crichton (Ben Browder). The previous episode ended with some thugs using a weird ray to try to scramble his skull. This episode begins with an unexpected rescue by Prince Clavor's fiancée, Jenavian (Bianca Chiminello), who turns out to be a Peacekeeper agent sent to ensure Clavor (Felix Williamson) doesn't take power, which would give an edge to the Peacekeeper rivals, the Scarrans.

She must be a particularly good agent, too, since, in addition to her martial arts expertise (I bet she could even beat Bruce Lee!) we now know she managed to maintain her cover under the effects of the Scarran ambassador's (Thomas Holesgrove) heat ray.

This attempt on Crichton's life being foiled, he immediately stirs up trouble by not pretending Clavor hadn't been behind it, an unheard of breach of etiquette. This angers the woman Crichton's being forced to marry, Katralla (Felicity Price), until a floating sphere intrudes on their conversation with an attempt to kill both Crichton and Katralla together.

Rescued this time by Ben Browder's real life wife, Francesca Buller, playing the seemingly meek servant ro-NA, Crichton's soon after sent into orbit as per a scheme hatched by Rygel (Jonathan Hardy), who still commands an atypical degree of respect in this episode. He's even able to convince the Empress (Tina Bursill) his ideas are good.

The voice of Rygel, Jonathan Hardy, pulls double duty in this episode, also playing an ethereal being whom Moya and Zhaan (Virginia Hey) encounter. In a subplot unrelated to anything else in the episode, Zhaan is unsuccessfully attempting to prevent Moya's builders from decommissioning her--forcing her to commit suicide--because Moya's shown she's capable of giving birth to war ships like Talyn. This will be resolved in the third episode so it may be best to talk more about it then but in this middle episode it's perhaps the most thematically resonant portion in a story otherwise devoted to plot and action.

Though this episode has some really nice character moments for Crichton. Going into what turns out to be his very temporary exile from the planet, he has a conversation with ro-NA about material possessions, something ro-NA's people apparently don't believe in (though ro-NA herself will shortly prove to be a bit of an ill-starred maverick). I felt Crichton's pain as he suddenly realises he's millions of miles away from access to the nearest recording of Charlie Parker. Maybe all this contributes to the first proper instance of Crazy Crichton business.

Sure, he'd acted a bit loony in "Crackers Don't Matter", but he was under the influence of exterior forces. Here, arguably the strain of his new life finally gets to him when he realises Braca (David Franklin), holding a gun on him to keep him prisoner for Scorpius (Wayne Pygram), can't actually kill him because Scorpius needs him alive. Still, it's a gutsy move to do what Crichton does, effectively taunting Braca to kill him using quotes from Blazing Saddles and Aliens. He seems to have to untether himself from rational behaviour slightly, something he finds all too easy, and he develops it into a positive talent in future episodes.

This leads to some desperate EVA in which Crichton, without a helmet, uses a gun as a makeshift thruster, a bit remarkably similar to a scene in Cowboy Bebop (from the episode "Heavy Metal Queen"), though I don't know if it was an intended reference or just a coincidence. Though it's worth noting Spike Spiegel is also a big fan of Charlie Parker.

. . .

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
Episode 11: Look at the Princess, Part I: A Kiss is But a Kiss

No comments:

Post a Comment