Mark Watches ‘Farscape’: S04E16 – Bringing Home the Beacon

In the sixteenth episode of the fourth season of Farscape, I just realized that the title of this episode spoils the big plot twist, and I had no clue. I was not ready, y’all. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of body horror/gore and queerbaiting.

This show is so unfair. My gods, I’m so close to the end of this season and the end of the show, and I can’t even start to think about that because the final scene of “Bringing Home the Beacon” is just so fucked up. And that’s saying a lot for this show because have you seen all the horrible things it has done to its characters.


Girls’ Day Out

I’m way into the fact that we get to see Noranti, Chiana, Sikozu, and Aeryn all spend time with one another away from all the men on the ship. I LOVE WATCHING AERYN AND SIKOZU WORK TOGETHER. They are an incredible pair who are well-suited to one another, and it was such a pleasure to finally experience that. They’re so much more efficient than everyone else! Of course, it’s only fair that I point out how incredible the negotiation sequence is in the opening of this episode because these four women worked together, each using their best tactic to get what they want. THEY SHOULD BE IN CHARGE OF ALL NEGOTIATIONS FROM HERE ON OUT, Y’ALL.

Anyway, this dynamic was one aspect of this episode that made it so satisfying to watch. It’s a great companion to “Mental as Anything,” though I definitely liked this one a lot more. Is there any argument as to which one is better??? Okay, so maybe that’s unfair, given how much happens here. BUT STILL. Girls’ Day Out is way better, right??? Look at this set! Look at all the new creatures and races introduced to create an immersive experience! LOOK AT ALL THE INCREDIBLE ACTING. Yes, please.

Meeting of the Minds

Remember when this show made me think there was a traitor and then we found out why Grayza just happened to end up on the same dead Leviathan and I actually said – out loud – that I was glad that I didn’t have to think about who betrayed the crew? Yeah, I’m a mess.

I think that some of the series’ finest acting was right here in “Bringing Home the Beacon,” particularly the electrifying scenes between Rebecca Riggs and Francesca Buller. Watching Grayza and Ahkna discuss a perilous treaty was ridiculous enough, but both actresses were able to convey a sense of palpable tension to the conversation. These were giants of their species, but both had come to this meeting with ulterior motives. Neither was present on the orders of their superiors, and they were eager to gain more power for themselves. So what we get is a rather intense version of verbal chess, a calculating conversation that left me on the edge of my seat. Of course, the implications of what they were discussing were far-reaching and frightening, presenting Sikozu and Aeryn with a tough decision. Can they allow Grayza to sign a treaty that’ll forgo claims to the Luxan lands just to maintain “peace”?

Just… y’all, this episode features Aeryn and Sikozu agreeing to assassinate Grayza and then they have to save her. IT’S SO FUCKIN UNREAL TO WATCH, Y’ALL. This is a real thing that’s happening!!! Meanwhile, Chiana and Noranti are busy GENETICALLY CHANGING THEIR OWN BODIES. Which is so goddamn cool! I just wish that this show wouldn’t tease us again with queerness like it does with these two just for a visual joke or for entertainment. Like… how can you do that to me??? LOOK HOW MUCH CHEMISTRY THOSE TWO HAVE. I never even once thought about that pairing, but now I can’t stop, and it’s all Farscape‘s fault. BAH, give me some real queer characters, not straight people pretending to be gay!

Empty Threats

As I said before, the way in which these characters are forced to examine their alliances and their actions is so fascinating to me. But there’s an important threat hanging over this entire episode that might very well last until the end of the series: The Scarrans cannot learn that the Peacekeepers have not developed wormhole weapons. The solution to this seems simple at first: kill Grayza to prevent her from signing the peace treaty. But once that’s done and Ahkna betrays Grayza, it makes sense to kill them both. But then Grayza has to point out that no one can escape if she’s dead, given that a Command Carrier is orbiting the Leviathan. And for the briefest moment, they have to help their biggest enemy. This is a real thing that happens, and I can barely believe it.

But that’s why all the previous context for this is so important. We have to believe that the Scarrans are as frightening as the story tells us they are; we have to believe that the Peacekeepers will lose in a fight with the Scarrans; and we have to believe that the wormhole technology is the key to everything. There’s so much serialization built into this episode, and I love it. That’s not a new thing, of course, and I know I’ve written extensively about this show’s commitment to its own canon. But it all comes together so convincingly here!

Real Threats

And if there wasn’t enough here to convince me of how terrifying the Scarrans are, then let the final moments of “Bringing Home the Beacon” speak of that. I was fairly certain that the Scarrans had somehow planted a beacon on the transport pod. It was a possibility, given that Rekka and his assistant had access to the ship. They could have betrayed them for money. (Yes, I’m trying to validate my commentary at the beginning of the episode regarding the difficulty in having to constantly trust total strangers in order to survive.)

But what the hell. WHAT THE HELL. A BIOLOID. How am I ever supposed to not see the horrible image of Aeryn’s face blown away? WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME? To say that this development – that the Scarrans can create these awful biological androids – is upsetting is to sell this moment short. It’s awful. It’s awful to watch the realization dawn on Crichton’s face and spread as he convinces himself that the woman before him is not Aeryn. It’s awful watching him accept that he spent time with this replica of her and he never noticed anything different. And then he shoots her in the face in front of everyone, exposing the bioloid, and EVERYTHING IS AWFUL. It means that there’s a copy of Grayza and Braca out there spying on the Peacekeepers, and everyone else is still on the Scarran Dreadnaught. Probably being tortured for information.

IT’S TOO TERRIBLE. That has to be the most despair-filled ending of an episode yet. Why? WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?

The video for “Bringing Home the Beacon” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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