In the second episode of the fourth season of Farscape, I AM SO CONFUSED. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape.
Trigger Warning: For nonconsensual drugging and rape
I wanted to like this so much, and I certainly found some aspects of this to be a lot of fun or terrifying, but I am so lost, y’all. I think this might be another case where the next episode (or ones later this season) will provide me with the context I need to understand what I’ve just watched. That’s fair, and it’s happened before with this very show! So I want to give this a proper chance because Farscape has been a challenging show for me to watch, and I appreciate that. I also don’t need a show to spell everything out for me. It’s fun trying to figure out what’s going on, and there’s always been this air of mystery to how Farscape unfolds. It’s deliberately obtuse at times because that’s part of its tone and charm.
That being said? The same jarring problems I had with “Dog With Two Bones” – namely the way the writers introduce plots and characters – are even more obvious and grating here. Characters appear on screen and are never named; there are scenes in the “Previously On” segment that I’m pretty sure weren’t in the last episode; the tone jumps without any sort of transition; and there are innumerable moments or stories that aren’t explained at all, which is frustrating to me because I have no other way of knowing what’s happening.
Let’s first talk about REALLY GREAT THINGS. Like the reunion with Jool and D’Argo, which is just so infectious and joyous and beautiful and I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. (It also made me super sad because we still have been reunited with Moya, Pilot, or Aeryn, and I’m pretty sure that’s going to destroy me.) I also think our joy over seeing them again helps to establish that Jool is undeniably a part of the team now. Hell, her development in this episode alone is SO FUCKING GREAT, y’all. After meeting up with Chiana and Crichton again, she’s quick to try and share her excitement about what she and the other Interions have discovered. I admit that I was a little confused about this because I didn’t really understand how Jool came to be here or why she was so interested in archaeology or anthropology. I knew she was a medical student, but perhaps she studied something else? Regardless, this place was obviously important to her people for… reasons.
I’ll touch more on that in a bit. What’s significant about Jool’s exploration of this place is that it brings an uncomfortable truth to the foreground of her characters. I’m pretty sure I was meant to believe that D’Argo and Jool were attracted to one another, and if it’s soon revealed that they’ve actually had sex, I won’t be surprised. Regardless, it’s an awkward situation. D’Argo wants to spend more time with Jool, enough so that he’s considering not going with Crichton when Moya returns. And the feeling is mutual enough that Jool has to decide how much she wants D’Argo in her life beyond just being shipmates. Unfortunately, Jool’s species, the Interions, don’t exactly have the most flattering view of Luxans. It’s one of the most direct examples of prejudice for another species that we’ve seen between the main characters, and it’s not made easy for the audience to digest. Look, I’m rarely a fan of when non-white writers give racism metaphors to white characters because it generally feels crass, but I at least appreciate that this is portrayed here in a manner that shows us that no matter how nice Jool is, her beliefs about Luxans are damaging and gross. D’Argo has no reason to entertain a friendship with someone who holds such views! That doesn’t mean that Jool can’t change, nor does it mean that D’Argo can’t understand that she was raised to think this. D’Argo’s been through so much shit at this point in the show that having to hold Jool’s hand through her own anti-Luxan prejudice is just too much for him.
I was also fascinated by Sikozu, who didn’t need to help the others down on Arnessk. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she’d been concerned with her own self-preservation, given that so many of the runaway criminals who have been onboard Moya at some point have all entertained their own safety over the safety of others. Rygel’s quick to assume she’s going to leave them all behind, but she decides to use the only working module to fly down to Arnessk just to warn the others about the approaching Peacekeepers. SIKOZU WHY ARE YOU SO WILLING TO DO THIS you are awesome, that is why.
And while this review will take a turn right here – expect a lot of me yelling, my fists clenched and my face upturned to the sky as I shout WHY WHY WHY I DON’T GET IT – I don’t want this to seem like everything I discuss here is something I dislike. LIKE HELLO, CAN WE PLEASE TALK ABOUT THE AMAZING ROLE REVERSAL BETWEEN BRACA AND SCORPIUS? Actually, that’s a perfect segue so that I can bring up the problem I have with this story. I was so shocked by what Grayza had done to Scorpius and how she’d made Braca his… superior? WHATEVER YOU WOULD CALL THAT. (Captain, yes, yes, I know that’s the official rank, but he’s also Scorpius’s tormentor and THERE ARE SOME SERIOUS BDSM OVERTONES TO ALL OF THIS OH MY GOD.) The jarring nature of the reveal? I’m perfectly fine with it, because what better way to introduce this new turn of events than to parallel it with Scorpius’s own use of the Aurora Chair in season one?
Here’s what feels so weird: This feels less like a shocking turn of events and more like I’m missing 90% of the pieces. I had a lot of questions while watching “Dog with Two Bones.” Few were answered by “Crichton Kicks,” and now I have about a billion more, and this is getting a little frustrating. Here are the current things I need to know:
- WHAT THE HOLY HELL IS GRANDMA’S NAME AND WHY DO THEY KEEP AVOIDING ANY MENTION OF IT? (Actually, once I typed that out, I realized that that in and of itself might be a clue. Hmmm.)
- What is the name of that fish guy? Why don’t they ever say their name? Where did he come from? Why is he friends with Granny at first, but then he turns on her and tries to get Crichton to kill her?
- Why does Granny keep blowing mind-altering drugs into Crichton’s face???? PLEASE STOP DOING THAT, IT’S REALLY FUCKING UPSETTING.
- Where was D’Argo? Where has he been? Was he just hiding out in Lo’La the whole time?
- Why can’t Jool remember what happened after Moya went through the wormhole?
- Where did Moya go? Why did she and Pilot leave D’Argo and Jool on Arnessk?
- Was it just coincidence that Jool found other Interions on Arnessk?
- Why would Vella betray them all to the Peacekeepers?
- What the hell is the Darnez Triangle, and why were they looking for it in the first place? Okay, perhaps that’s a bad question. I think I understand what it was, which is the three probes that did… the thing… for reasons.
- I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE ENTIRE ARNESSKAN PRIEST BACKSTORY AT ALL AND SO MY QUESTION IS JUST: ?????? So, priests create a peaceful wonderland and negotiate a peace between the Scarrans and Peacekeepers for five hundred centuries, which seems to pre-date the time those two groups first developed a rivalry of sorts, but I guess not. Then they deployed the Triangle and the probes killed everyone and no one lived on Arnessk so…. Vella wants to use the Triangle again? But you just told us it kills everyone. I don’t understand, do you want to kill yourself? I only say this because it’s only in the beginning of this episode that we learn that Vella thinks she can reverse the effects and bring back paradise. Except she’s not doing that because… well, I can’t explain it further.
- If all the Arnesskan priests died, where are their bones? Hey, it’s a damn good question that I want to know the answer to!
- WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH GRAYZA’S SWEAT, I AM SO CONFUSED HELP ME WHAT THE FUCK.
- Why does Granny show Crichton that glimpse of the past?
- Is it really the past?
- Why does she imply that Crichton’s vision made it all real? Does that mean that this isn’t what really happened? Why do the “magnetics” make the suggested real? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.
- What is that weird pyramid, why is it important, what does it have to do with peace, how is Arnessk connected with Earth and the Egyptians?
- Wait, didn’t D’Argo kill Vella? He was the only one with the carver weapon.
- Will I ever recover from the image of Scorpius on a leash? (Spoiler alert: No.)
- When did Jool ever go on digs in the past?
- So… Grayza rapes Crichton in this episode, right? That’s what I’m meant to believe happened between them, yes? So, her sweat can compel anyone to be attracted to her, so she uses it to assault Crichton? I can’t nope this any harder than I right now, because NO THANK YOU.
- WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT FINAL SCENE.
I’m all for a mystery. I am less enthused by the show dangling a thousand carrots all at the same time, many of them introduced with no explanation whatsoever. This is a dense episode, so it has a feel as if the writers crammed in as many things as possible. The problem with this is that we’re left hanging constantly. I don’t know whether any of these things are going to be answered in the next episode, so I’m left wondering what I missed out on. Because honestly, this is what this feels like:
I missed out on something, and now the whole room is on fire, and I don’t get it. I want to get it, and I want to understand the clues given to me, but what the fuck just happened. Crichton can’t be dead. Again. Just… what????
The video for “Sacrifice” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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