Mark Watches ‘Farscape’: S02E19 – Liars, Guns and Money: A Not So Simple Plan

In the nineteenth episode of the second season of Farscape, I don’t even know how to summarize this without spoiling anyone, so ZHAAN WITH AN EYEPATCH. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape.

WELL, ALL THAT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PART. I don’t know if this is a two-parter or another trilogy, but regardless? Holy shit, HOW DID ALL OF THAT HAPPEN IN A SINGLE EPISODE? HOW IS THERE MORE?

First things first: I love heists. Like, universally. Like, if you gave me a show of a ragtag band of misfits pulling off complicated heists every episode, I would be thrilled forever, and I’d be horribly biased and utterly forgiving of how unbelievable it was because SWEET GODS ABOVE DO I LOVE HEISTS. I’m letting you know this because this episode won me over five minutes in and it could have pretty much done anything from then on as long as there was a heist because it’s my Achilles tendon of fiction.

i love them I LOVE HEISTS.

Thankfully, there is so much more here beyond a really great and complex heist, so let’s discuss the reasons why this episode rules and why it’s also an incredibly important chapter in the show’s greater mythology.


You know, in hindsight, I realized there’s very little fanfare over Stark’s return, despite that he was a character who died dramatically WHEN THE ATOMS OF HIS BODY WERE LITERALLY DISPERSED TO THE WIND. I mean, he said that it was possible that he could come back, but I guess I didn’t expect that it was actually true. AND YET! Here he is, fully reconstituted, and with a very convenient plan to get D’Argo’s son back.

And he’s different. I mentioned that in the video for “A Not So Simple Plan,” and I’m sticking to it. It’s easy to imagine that his general vibe changed after BEING DISPERSED, but it’s also not entirely acknowledged by the script itself. I think some of that can be accredited to his attempt to manipulate the others into pulling off the depository heist. He was outright lying to these people, and it made him nervous. But I also think he’s hiding something else! I don’t know, it just seemed so convenient that he showed up with all the right blueprints and the “perfect” plan. Of course, he was lying about his intentions. So what other secrets is he keeping to himself?

The Shadow Depository

I still don’t understand how this show was able to create such massive sets and unique prosthetics/costumes/puppets EVERY WEEK. How? How did this show pull this off? “A Not So Simple Plan” gives us a fully realized world, one that’s detailed, complex, and utterly believable. The shadow depository in this episode works so well for the story told because this starts off being a somewhat justified heist (They’re stealing from criminals!) into an utter disaster. But the set speaks to the willingness of this show to worldbuild from scratch, and I love it. This episode is a bank robbery in space and IT BECOMES SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.

I think you can easily see that sort of courage in other aspects of this episode. Like many of the episodes this season that I’ve loved, the writers take a premise and commit to it. That includes putting Zhaan in the literal best outfit I have ever seen her in. That includes taking Crichton’s “justice” vendetta to it’s logical end. THAT INCLUDES THE EXPLOSION OF FEELINGS. That includes the endlessly bizarre and unsettling inclusion of the “Star Spangled Banner” near the end. There are so many things here that are ridiculous and ambitious, and Farscape doesn’t care. They’re gonna do it.

Scorpius and Revenge

Let’s talk more about this, because it was one of two things that was genuinely shocking about this episode. I figured that since we were still a few episodes away from the season finale, Scorpius couldn’t play that big of a part in this story. His presence exacerbated the difficulty of this heist, and he made everything more tense. It helped to up the stakes for everyone, and it gave us a number of great scenes between Stark and the others, and between Aeryn and Crichton. But I assumed that there’d be some short confrontation between Crichton and Scorpius, Crichton would get away, Scorpius would shake his fists in frustration, and we’d move on.


Truthfully, though, Crichton couldn’t have “escaped” Scorpius. That’s both because of the neuro-chip in his head and because Crichton wants justice. While the rest of these characters are determined to avoid ever crossing paths with Scorpius, Crichton more or less walks straight to him. From a writing standpoint, it’s actually fulfilling to watch because it’s a continuation of what the show had already established. We knew that the chip in Crichton’s brain that was installed in the Aurora Chair could control him in a number of ways, and we knew that it would do anything to keep Crichton alive and deliver him to Scorpius. So what happens when Crichton and Scorpius coincidentally arrive in the same place? They’re drawn to one another, inevitably so.

Crichton’s struggle is just as complex, since he sets out to destroy Scorpius, knowing that Harvey!Scorpius will physically prevent him from doing so. And really, I think that Scorpius underestimated Crichton’s mental strength. I’m certain that he didn’t expect that Crichton could fight the suggestions. I’m sure he never thought that Crichton could push beyond the physical pain and the control of his nervous system. So the fight we see in the end of the episode becomes this horribly visceral thing. Both characters have to rely on one another for their survival in some sick sense, and yet Crichton is entirely ready to sacrifice himself to ensure Scorpius’s death.

IT’S SERIOUSLY SUCH AN INTENSE SCENE. Obviously, I was waiting for what I thought was the inevitable end: Crichton would give in and be forced to save Scorpius’s life. Even when he resisted, I thought, “Oh, well, Scorpius will just put the rod in himself.” (Wow, there’s no way that sounds not filthy.) EXCEPT HE DOESN’T. AND HE APPEARS TO PASS OUT. AND THEN WE CUT TO MOYA AND CRICHTON IS TALKING ABOUT SCORPIUS DYING AND


DID THAT JUST FUCKING HAPPEN. I mean…. THIS IS A GENRE SHOW. I NEED TO SEE A DEAD BODY. And fuck, even that doesn’t always work, given that there is a previously-dead character in this very episode. But seriously, DID FARSCAPE SERIOUSLY JUST GO THERE? AND KILL OFF THE MAIN ANTAGONIST BEFORE THE SEASON FINALE?


As if that wasn’t enough to deal with?

To Be Continued…

I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THIS WAS A MULTI-PART EPISODE. Oh my god, what the fuck are those Borinium ingots??? They’re living creatures??? It’s clear to me that while Stark knew they’d probably be robbing Scoripus, he couldn’t have known what would be in Scorpius’s container. What are those things??? What new nightmare have they brought onboard? Are we going to rescue Jothee in the next episode? WHY AM I SO CONTINUALLY UNPREPARED?

The video for “A Not So Simple Plan” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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