In the sixteenth episode of the third season of Farscape, D’Argo’s fit of rage sends Crichton to a very strange place. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape.
This show doesn’t give a shit, I swear.
Oh, there are so many big and little things here that were seeded in past episode, all to be brought up again in bizarre and fascinating ways. I had honestly forgotten about the ship that D’Argo had brought aboard because… well, shit, y’all. That happened a billion years ago, basically. BASICALLY. But it’s the prime focus of “Revenging Angel,” not only because it’s the impetus for D’Argo’s fight with Crichton, but because there’s now yet another ship that is part of the ongoing narrative. Granted, it’s not a living one this time, but I imagine it’ll play an even bigger role in the future. The arguing we see here over who accidentally triggered the self-destruct mechanism on the ship is also a continuation of what we saw in “Scratch ‘N’ Sniff,” proving that both characters really haven’t learned how to get along with one another. (There’s a reason for that, and I’ll get to it in a bit.)
Let me finally put this part in a review: this is the third time Chiana has said something mildly prophetic. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH HER. I can’t even remember when that first started happening, which means I can’t even formulate a theory as to the cause. I’ve managed to notice when it occurred each of the three times, but never remember to actually stick it in a review. SO THERE.
OKAY, I AM SO THRILLED WITH WHAT THIS EPISODE DOES FOR HER CHARACTERIZATION. We haven’t really had an episode that was Jool-centric, and I wouldn’t count this one as one either, but it moves her characterization forward in a really sweet and touching way. It’s clear that it’s acceptable for everyone to treat Jool as the butt of every joke, though she has become a part of the crew by this time. Still, she reveals here that she’s well aware of the fact that she’s not an easy person to be around. She’s assertive and loud and eager to state exactly how she feels. Of course, her arrival came with the death of Zhaan, so I’m sure that made her presence feel even more jarring than it might have been. But as she’s spent more time with these people, she has started to grow closer to them.
In particular, we discover that she was on D’Argo’s ship prior to the mishap with Crichton, and it’s because SHE WANTED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT IT SO SHE WOULD HAVE SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT WITH D’ARGO. Oh, my heart. That is seriously too much, and look at the way D’Argo looks at her after she reveals this. Well, that’s great. MORE OF THIS.
While there’s nothing really new explored through this episode in terms of his rage, I did appreciate that “Revenging Angel” examined why D’Argo was so angry as of late. I think there’s a parallel to Crichton’s own frustrations, too, and it helps to explain why they’re both so quick to argue with one another. I’ll touch on Crichton in the last section of this, so let’s first discuss D’Argo. It’s uncomfortable at times to watch him last out at others in this episode, to see him cast his Qualta blade away in a moment of frustration, because his anger seems more pronounced than ever before. But why now? What’s exacerbating him to this point?
D’Argo’s guilty of projection in this case, since he’s projected all of his loneliness and insecurities onto the mysterious ancient Luxan ship. I noticed that he seemed genuinely happy when he was able to make it fly during the cold open, and then he became unbearably furious as soon as it crashed. It’s night and day for him, and it’s because of this that I realized he was extremely invested in making it work. However, it took D’Argo spelling it out to me to understand why. He lost Chiana and Jothee. His other friends – Aeryn, Stark, and Rygel – are all far away, off in some unknown part of the galaxy. His plans to settle down on a farm? Destroyed. What does he possibly have to look forward to anymore? So he sees his mastery of that ship as the only hope he has left for… well, anything.
Here’s to hoping it’s only better from here on out. Who am I kidding? That won’t happen.
I found myself confused about the impetus for this bizarre and surreal adventure because I wasn’t sure why Harvey was pushing Crichton so hard for revenge. Actually, I still don’t really get it, though I suspect everything about this was metaphorical. It’s not an easy thing to conceptualize, though the show has done Crichton’s internal monologue and his conscious mind incredibly well over this and the last season. Plus, I’d forgotten that both Crichtons had a Harvey clone in their mind, so it’s clear that Harvey isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Still, while I enjoyed the wacky ride, I kept feeling like a huge piece of the puzzle had slipped me by.
This was about Crichton’s survival. After he slipped into a coma because of D’Argo, his mind, more or less, had to find a reason to keep living. I think? Except that throughout every scenario, D’Argo is the antagonistic force, a physical representation of what’s preventing Crichton’s conscious mind from coming back. I think? Look, this was super confusing to me, though it didn’t ruin the experience for me. It was just distracting at times because I kept waiting for the show to explain it further and it never happened.
But oh lord, this was one of the most pleasant surprises in Farscape history. I grew up on Looney Tunes, and I can definitely verify that everything here – from the music, the tone, the sight gags, and the humor – is a spot-on homage to that type of animation. The only real exception we get to the Looney Tunes motif is when Aeryn cycles through various women for Crichton. (Was that last one Nancy Reagan??? Crichton, what the hell, dude.) This whole narrative device is something that Farscape pulls off with glee and abandon. We don’t get one animated sequence; we get a ton of them, with entire gags happening in animation. And it’s yet another demonstration of how far this show is willing to go. IT’S SO RIDICULOUS, and Farscape does not care. They trust that their audience will go along with them for the ride, and they respect that we’ll do our best to try and see what they’re trying to do.
Sure, I felt a little too bewildered at times, but that’s par for the course. What other show could have pulled this off? At the end of the day, “Revenging Angel” feels like it belongs on this show, and that’s the most impressive thing about it. It’s a jarring thing to watch, but not because it doesn’t fit within the greater style of Farscape, you know? It’s not an easy thing to represent a person’s mind in a visual medium, but this show leaps right into it, time and time again.
ANIMATED D’ARGO IS THE CUTEST THING EVER, BY THE WAY.
The video for “Revenging Angel” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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