Mark Watches ‘Farscape’: S03E15 – Infinite Possibilities, Part II: Icarus Abides

In the fifteenth episode of the third season of Farscape, fuck this show, I hate what y’all have just done to me. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape. 

Trigger Warning: For death/grief.

Well, Farscape is a bold show, I gotta give ’em that.

I don’t want to write about this, though, and I cannot think of anything more cruel than what “Icarus Abides” has done. It’s not just a shocking plot twist or a sad story; it’s one of the most upsetting things I could ever imagine Farscape doing. How? How do you bring Aeryn and Crichton so close over this season just to tear them apart like this? How does the same episode feature the two of them being cuter than they’ve ever been and then saying goodbye to one another?


I’ll start this off by saying that while I appreciate that this is a two parter (it gives the final scenes more space to unfold), the first half of “Icarus Abides” drags. A lot. The episode feels like one double cross after another with little development or movement of the plot. We know that someone has to use the device that Ancient!Jack has constructed, and we know the Scarran Dreadnaught is on its way, but for some reason, there’s not really a sense of urgency to what happens. There should be! For me, it wasn’t until Crichton and Aeryn returned to the base the final time that I began to appreciate the severity of the situation. (I also blame that on the fact that visually, I didn’t understand that Crichton had been dealt a massive dose of radiation from the displacement engine back when he closed the cover. I think the show could have demonstrated that better.) Of course, at that point, this episode becomes unbearably tense. Will Crichton survive whatever it is that device does? Will the device actually work? What if there’s some unknown side affect to using it?

Even before that, we’ve got the subplot of the Scarran aboard Talyn, which also wasn’t terribly exciting. I did enjoy that Stark and Crais appeared to bond with one another over the experience, and I imagine that Crais has a newfound respect for Stark because of what he does here. Still? I don’t know that I found this all that compelling.

I think the problem is not that there’s bad writing here or bad acting or anything of the sort. It’s hard for me to go back and think about anything in this episode aside from the final two scenes. In just a few minutes, we are given two shocking developments that will have ramifications for the rest of the series. How can you compare anything to it? How can you comment on the pieces of the whole when the whole is, in this case, so much greater than the parts?

It’s safe to say that I feel steamrolled by Farscape, more so than ever before. More than Zhaan’s death or “Eat Me” or anything else, because this show gave me a beautiful relationship and then killed off the protagonist who was a part of it. I know that there are two Crichtons, but this show just killed off its main character. THE MAIN CHARACTER. THE IMPETUS FOR THIS WHOLE CHAOTIC ADVENTURE. HE IS DEAD AND HE IS NOT COMING BACK. Not only that, but now we see what sort of hellish nightmare can be created from a wormhole. I’m sorry, did that wormhole open up to a star and release a giant, planet-destroying fireball? IS THAT WHAT SCORPIUS WANTS TO USE A WORMHOLE FOR?

I suppose what I really want to say is that I’m heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for Aeryn Sun, my lovely, courageous Aeryn Sun, who took a risk in opening her heart to a stubborn human man, who went on this frightening journey of companionship, trust, and respect, not knowing how to navigate this shit, not knowing how to just be with one person through the good and the bad and the awful and the terrifying. And she did it all while trying to save the universe or her friends or strangers. She did it all while struggling with her violent displacement from a culture she grew up in that valued none of these things. She hasn’t been comfortable anywhere for years, and in John Crichton, she found a way to be herself.

And it was taken away from her.

It’s ironic to me that the most soul-crushing scene in Farscape history is also its best acted, and Claudia Black and Ben Browder are simply unreal here. Could I re-watch it? Probably not, but I’m so satisfied with their ability to convey such difficult, gut-wrenching emotions like this. We didn’t need any other confirmation aside from Aeryn’s face to know the exact moment that Crichton died. Her expression communicated everything, and I think that’s a tremendous accomplishment.

I’m exhausted and worn out by this episode, so I’m not gonna talk about it right now. I might have more to say in the next review, but goddamn it, I’m too upset. THANKS, FARSCAPE.

The video for “Icarus Abides” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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