Mark Watches ‘Farscape’: S04E19 – We’re So Screwed, Part I: Fetal Attraction

In the nineteenth episode of the fourth season of Farscape, the crew tries to rescue Aeryn by infecting an entire Scarran base with a disease. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape

Trigger Warning: For consent issues, body horror.

THIS IS TOO MUCH, I’M SO OVERWHELMED.

Heist Time!

Seriously, this is another heist episode, and Aeryn is what the crew tries to heist. There are plenty of elements here that are familiar when viewed against the Farscape mythology. This is not the first time the group has relied on people simply not knowing who they are in order to infiltrate a secret base of sorts. We’ve seen that happen in this very season! It’s actually something I find super compelling because it’s a form of very subtle worldbuilding. Space is fucking huge, y’all, and despite that there is interstellar conversation, it’s entirely believable that deep in Scarran territory (is this still Tormented Space?), there are Scarrans and other races who simply have no clue of the drama unfolding between the main parties here. I didn’t think of it as a convenience of the plot! Plus, Jenek was on a secret of mission of sorts, so Scorpius brilliantly hides in plain sight. He positions himself within the Scarran hierarchy as part of the Ministry of Dissimulation, and it’s through this that he’s able to get as close to Jenek as possible. The secretive nature of both of their “missions” works in Scorpius’s favor.

Meanwhile, this buys time for everyone else. Well, let me be honest here: Noranti is the one who provides the biggest distraction. And holy shit, this is such a brilliant subversion of a trope once you think about it. I assumed that she’d created fake symptoms in order to secure the base lockdown, but then she reveals that SHE ACTUALLY GAVE RYGEL DERMAFOLLICA. SHE GAVE HIM AN INFECTIOUS DISEASE, AND IT’S DEMONSTRATED TO BE HORRIBLE, AND PEOPLE DIE, AND THEY ALL LOSE CONTROL OF THE SITUATION SO BADLY.

Still, it’s a heist episode, and it’s a damn fine one.

Sikozu and the Kalish

We’d heard that the Kalish had allied themselves with the Scarrans, but this is the first time we get to see that in action. Like Vreena, the Kalish value their own survival, but we also see that they take their role on the base seriously. In particular, both Dr. Trayso Tarnell and Karohm have very clear allegiances, and they’re both committed to this border station. Sikozu does her best to blend in with the other Kalish, and I’m sure it was a weird thing to finally be back among her people. I think that’s why she’s so adamant about giving up. This episode showed me how willing the Kalish were to compromise themselves in order to stay safe. That’s not to suggest they are without standards or morals, because that’s definitely not the case, and Dr. Trayso’s commitment to the quarantine is a good example of that. But despite his reservations to the transfer of Aeryn’s child to Chiana, he quickly does exactly what Jeken orders of him. So when Sikozu is on Moya, certain that they shouldn’t leave Scorpius, it’s actually a fascinating moment where she actually fights for sticking around. In the last episode, she was adamant that they leave the wormhole where Grayza might find them.

And yet? Here she is, recommending that they remain at the border station to rescue Scorpius, despite that it’s incredibly risky. When Crichton says she still hasn’t learned, I think he’s actually wrong. Yes, it’s strange to all of them that she has any affinity for Scorpius, but don’t the people on Moya constantly risk their lives to do what’s right? Scorpius genuinely helped them at the border station, and leaving him behind is fucked up.

HAHA OH GOD, IF ONLY I KNEW WHAT WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.

Aeryn / Chiana

Nope. NOPE NOW AND NOPE FOREVER. Given how disturbing the last episode was, I completely believed that we were about to watch one of the most fucked up things ever once Jeken insisted that Aeryn’s child be TRANSPLANTED INTO CHIANA TO AVOID DERMAFOLLICA. Is there a worse case of the crew’s plan backfiring than this? Because I can’t think of one. I mean, thankfully, it doesn’t happen, but y’all. I was terrified. Terrified.

Claudia Black is still fantastic in this episode, even if her role is a lot more limited than usual. It’s a complicated thing that she has to portray, since Aeryn is so traumatized by the experience that she can’t even trust the reality that’s in front of her. That’s why it’s so heartbreaking when she begs Crichton to stay with her towards the end of the episode. SHE ISN’T SURE HE’LL BE THERE WHEN SHE WAKES UP. ahahaha I’m not hurting, not at all.

Noranti

Y’ALL. Y’ALL. This episode features Noranti in a very familiar role – she does some “thing” and it complicates everything and ~whimsy~ – until she begins to openly defy the usual pattern she plays in this show. There’s that scene early on where she angrily tells Crichton that she had to do something to keep the border station lockdown, even if it was ridiculous. But I was not prepared for her tearful admission of guilt – TO RYGEL, OF ALL CHARACTERS – that we were given at the end of “Fetal Attraction.” It’s such a wonderful thing that the show has finally given her something to do besides being silly and wacky and chaotic in the background. Rygel’s offer of forgiveness (along with a welcoming to Moya) was wonderful, but it also seems rather late. Noranti has been here all season, and it’s only in the 19th episode that she’s given any sort of detail to her beyond the humor. That’s… weird.

Harvey

YES. YES. YES. THE NOSFERATU REFERENCES. THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN. SCORPIUS LIED, HARVEY WAS THERE AND IMPROVED THE WHOLE TIME, OH MY GOD OH MY GOD THIS IS SO FUCKING RIDICULOUS AND I LOVE EVERY BIT OF IT. I need to see the further implications of this! This truly means that Scorpius knows absolutely everything about Crichton, right??? At the very least, it means that Crichton has to rescue his arch nemesis. This is a thing the show has committed to, and I love it so much for that.

The video for “Fetal Attraction” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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