Mark Watches ‘Farscape’: S03E21 – Into the Lion’s Den, Part II: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

In the twenty-first and penultimate episode of the third season of Farscape, season of death. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of burning/fires, body horror, and death.

Seriously, season of death. I’m never going to recover from this season, and somehow, there’s still another episode left, and THEN AN ENTIRELY NEW SEASON. How? How is any of this possible?

Let’s just get through this so I can sob some more.

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

I now fully understand the reference this episode’s title is making: Crais was always a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but it’s only in this episode that he categorically chooses a side. His ambiguity is spelled out here – he’s always been a selfish character, one who is interested in exactly what gets him what he wants. That’s not a surprising development or admission. But after his entire life was pulled away from him, he’s had to constantly re-evaluate his allegiances, his values, and his own self-worth.

It makes sense, then, that he threw himself into Talyn and grew with that ship. Talyn wasn’t a distraction for Crais, and qualifying it as such would be reductive. But that was part of his obsession. It was easier for him to concentrate on raising Talyn and being the only person to pilot a Peacekeeper/Leviathan hybrid than to think about what his life used to be. So I was initially very disappointed in Crais’s choice to become a wolf in sheep’s clothing, to sell out Crichton and Crichton’s friends just minutes after agreeing to help them. (My god, how many times has a plan of theirs fallen apart within an hour??? THESE PEOPLE, I SWEAR.) Look, it’s not that I thought he’d become best buddies with all these people. Their alliance with him had always been shaky, and while I certainly believed that they’d tolerated him, there had never been a perfect sense of trust between all of them.

That being said, I thought that he’d support them in the end, so I was incredibly disappointed that Moya was captured and her crew locked up. Crichton was justifiably furious, but I was also fairly positive that this was all a demonstration of power on Scorpius’s part. His desperation to beat Commandant Grayzer to the punch influenced his behavior here, so I believed him. I believed that Scorpius would be consumed with a need for vengeance if Crichton didn’t deliver, I believed that he’d kill all of Crichton’s friends if need be, and I believed his deal with Crais. As for Crais, I felt PERSONALLY BETRAYED. By a FICTIONAL CHARACTER. He was willing to betray all these people just so he could have his ship back? It seemed to fly in the face of all the character growth he’d gone through in the past two seasons!

Which was the point. Because Crais was a wolf in sheep’s clothing to Scorpius. It’s a heartbreaking thing to watch because Crais is so open about his reasons for choosing to sacrifice himself and Talyn. He is a man with nothing left to lose because everything had already been taken from him. No parents, no brother, no community, no ship. Selfishness only got him so far, so he wants to go out in one noble act. He’ll have Talyn starburst inside the Command Carrier, causing it to implode and dying along with it.

I don’t know what I expected. Another solution? Another option? It never presented itself, and it was clear that this was the end of Crais’s journey. Hell, there was even a selfish reason for him to sacrifice himself: he could get vengeance on Scorpius for taking away his command. Even then, he dies excoriating Scorpius and the Peacekeepers themselves, all while giving Talyn a noble end to his fragmented, violent life.

Season of death, y’all. Fucking hell, Talyn and Crais in one go. AND MOYA BEING UPSET ABOUT IT, NO THANK YOU. This show makes me cry over spaceships UGH WHAT HAVE I DONE TO MYSELF.

Equations, Wormholes, and Destruction

Everything about “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” feels like a finale. The scope of this episode is unreal. Y’all, Crichton and Scorpius travel in a wormhole together while in Farscape-1. THAT SCENE WAS A CULMINATION OF YEARS OF STORYTELLING AND IT WAS INCREDIBLE. And it’s just one piece of a master framework for this show, and I seriously don’t understand how there’s a season four, let alone another episode in season three.

That grandeur manifests in so many surreal and shocking ways. Crichton’s betrayal of Scorpius (yet another explanation for this episode’s title!) brings with it a sense of sadness that was really conflicting to experience. Scorpius is a brutal character, make no mistake. You need only look to the cold open of this episode to see that. But after Scorpius realizes what Crichton’s done to the Command Carrier and his life’s work, he deflates. It’s one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen from his character, and bless Wayne Pygram for being able to portray that. Much like Scorpius took Crais life from him, Crichton has just done the same thing. So when they finally confront each other amidst the crumbling of the ship, it’s remarkably sad. Is this the end of an era? Does Scorpius have a purpose anymore? With all his wormhole technology gone (both destroyed and wiped out of Co-Kura’s mind), what does he have left to face? Grayza’s scrutiny? Assassination or execution? The inevitable destruction of the Peacekeepers at the hands of the Scarrans? Y’all, he’s just so viscerally disappointed in Crichton at the end here, AND IT’S REALLY WEIRD, WHAT IS THIS SHOW MAKING ME FEEL.

Nothing about the end of this arc – and this truly feels like the end of a massive arc – is neat or organized, though. So it’s not surprising that I had the reactions I did. I went from disappointment to sadness to anger to shock and to a million other things in between. It’s a relentlessly dramatic episode, and from the moment that Talyn starbursts within the carrier’s belly, I was treated to a goddamn spectacle. These were some of the best sets and special effects, and the visuals will haunt me for a long time. But they have to. Despite that they accounted for the evacuation of the Peacekeepers in the plan, that doesn’t mean that their hands are clean of the blood of hundreds to thousands of people. Aeryn watches in horror as her old friend Henta is burned alive in front of her, all for doing what she was trained to do. How many of those escape pods crashed into ships surrounding the carrier, spinning off to their doom? How many people in that hangar died when Talyn starburst? How many never made it to an escape pod, or how many did, only to discover that they weren’t operational?

Gods, there’s that scene where Scorpius leaves the lab, only to discover his ship flooding, and he stands there in silence, watching the destruction, keenly aware of what Crichton has done to him, and EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS IS SO FUCKED UP. Y’all, what if Crichton didn’t do the right thing? What if the Scarran threat is completely valid, and Crichton just doomed everyone? Shit, this is so complicated, and I admit that I understand why he chose to do this. He had plenty of options, but none of them seemed to have an optimal solution. But this is meant to be messy and confusing. If we accept that Crichton’s developed a propensity for violence over the course of this show (something I commented on earlier this season), then this is him having to face the ramifications of that behavior. Unfortunately, there’s no hint as to what the future holds. We don’t know if Scorpius survived, though I imagine he did. We don’t know if there will be a new antagonist or what role Scorpius will play. We don’t know how the Scarrans will react to news that the Peacekeepers have been severely weakened.

And we don’t know where these characters are going. Moya’s crew is going to separate? CAN WE NOT. CAN WE PLEASE NOT, YOU’RE GOING TO BREAK MY HEART. Of course, that means Farscape will probably intentionally ruin me, since that’s what they do.

Oh god, how is there another one of these?

The video for “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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