Mark Watches ‘Farscape’: S04E21 – We’re So Screwed, Part III: La Bomba

In the twenty-first and penultimate episode of the fourth season of Farscape, everyone is forced to trust Scorpius to save them all. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape.

LORD. Well, I’m not quite sure what this episode is setting up for the finale, which actually feels a lot worse than if I knew what I was getting into. “La Bomba” itself is definitely finale material, given how huge it feels. Well, and confusing. WE’LL GET TO THAT.

Scorpius Saves the Team

It wasn’t hard for me to assume that Scorpius truly was doing what Emperor Staleek wanted. He’d already promised the Scarran ruler that he was going to manipulate Crichton’s trust, and lo and behold, that appeared to be exactly what he was doing. But could he manipulate everyone? Was that possible? Over the course of this episode, I gradually began to accept that this was all evidence that Scorpius had been enacting a long con on Staleek that was ten cycles long. I don’t think he necessarily ever had an endgame, but he knew that if he could get the Scarran emperor on his side, he could use that resource until the opportunity to destroy said resource was exhausted. I think that is what we see here in “La Bomba.” Scorpius finally found a way to significantly strike the Scarrans.

Of course, that isn’t remotely clear for at least the first half of this episode. When Scorpius is telling the crew that he was protecting them from their own terrible plan, I wasn’t inclined to believe him. However, all the cut scenes showed us that the plan would have failed, so… what was Scorpius doing? Why genuinely help them? Why tell Crichton that destroying the Chrysterium Utilia flower was so important?

BECAUSE STARK. HOLY CONTINUITY, NOW WE FIND OUT WHY SCORPIUS WAS TORTURING STARK WAY BACK IN SEASON ONE. This is where Stark used to live, and he knew more about the Chrysterium than anyone else Scorpius had come across in his life. Do I understand the Chysterium? Absolutely not. Apparently, they do something to the Scarrans’ power? And without them, they’d… regress or something? I DON’T GET IT, Y’ALL. So it makes them… not smart? This is probably not all that confusing, and I imagine that once we see Scarrans without the flower to eat, it’ll make visual sense. But I definitely felt like there was some mystery to these things that I wasn’t understanding.

Regardless, Scorpius proposes that the team help him in order to escape, and it’s just… y’all. Y’ALL. It’s such an incredible role reversal. The last episode, Moya’s crew went to save Scorpius, and now they’re being asked to assist him and he’ll rescue them and REMEMBER WHEN HE WAS JUST THE SCARY ANTAGONIST AND NOTHING ELSE? Character development, you are the air I breathe, I swear.

Harvey

Oh, I loved the whole sequence between Scorpius, Harvey, and Crichton. The New York City cop vibe was a lot of fun and a clever visual commentary on the dynamic unfolding in the story itself. Crichton was being compelled to work for his enemy. But it’s also through this that Scorpius learns that Crichton nearly fucked up the deal he made, and that “given the circumstances,” Crichton probably would have left Scorpius behind with the Scarrans. It leads to one of my favorite exchanges between these characters ever:

“You used me.”

“We used each other.”

“You’re better at it.”

“You’re learning. The bomb… clever.”

It’s fascinating to see the mutual development between these two characters, and I admit I like it when fictional narratives blur the line between hero and villain, protagonist and antagonist. Farscape is absolutely doing that here in these characters. They’ve become so embroiled in each other’s lives that they’re strangely inseparable.

Braca and Grayza

AHHHHHH MORE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. Y’all, it was just so fascinating to watch Grayza cope with the futility she was experiencing as Crichton and Scorpius fell farther from her grasp. So many of the characters in this show are obsessed with power and ambition, and I think there’s an element of that within Grayza, too. She realizes that she may have lost the chance to get wormhole technology from Crichton, and so she begins to rapidly prepare to assault the Scarran forces, well aware that she’s outnumbered and that what she’s about to do will irrevocably change the nature of the conflict with the Scarrans. It will be undeniable war.

What’s interesting here is Grayza’s justification: “It is for the greater good, Captain, and we shall all be remembered as heroes,” she tells him. She is so convinced that war with the Scarrans is inevitable that she’ll risk her life on it, as well as the lives of everyone else on the Command Carrier. I also had to consider that while Braca was justified in calling this a miscalculation, he was probably also working to protect Scorpius, who was still with the Scarrans. So his rapid promotion doesn’t just save the lives on the Command Carrier, but he still remains loyal to Scorpius.

Stark

THAT WAS A BIOLOID STARK??? Oh my god, even bought it. I don’t know what Scorpius’s assertion that the real Stark would never torture him. Didn’t we see Stark’s need for vengeance before? Of course, post-Zhaan, Stark’s been on such a different path, so I could be wrong here. OH GODS, STARK IS BACK, THIS IS SO WONDERFUL.

Scarran Hierarchy

At times, I kind of lost track of who was who amongst the Scarrans. Which one is Pennoch again? Rahzaro is the Charrid, right? BUT I GOT IT, and part of the help came from the physical differences between the different classes of Scarrans. There were distinct visual markers on them that designated how high up in Scarran society they were, which is UTTERLY INTRIGUING. And “La Bomba” is riddled with the complex internal politics of the Scarrans. Sometimes, I felt like it all went over my head, but I was able to appreciate how Ahkna’s rapid plummet here. The Scarrans value victory so much that any sort of failure is viewed as massive incompetence, enough so that a Scarran could lose their place in the hierarchy. Hey, look at Scorpius’s reaction towards the end of this episode when he fails to destroy the mother flower. It’s not all that different, is it?

Sikozu

Y’ALL, SHE IS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED TO BASICALLY BE A GIANT RADIATION BOMB TO SCARRANS AND SHE CAN KILL THEM IN A MATTER OF SECONDS AND THIS IS THE COOLEST THING EVER AND OH MY GOD. So I can read a lot into the fact that she falls for a half-Scarran, right? IT’S FORBIDDEN LOVE.

It’s also a little awkward because I guess I’ve never really thought of Scorpius in the romantic sense. Of course, that’s why his development over this series is so impressive. This is where we are now! Sikozu and Scorpius, sitting in a Moya….

The Bomb

(Was anyone else flashing back to LOST when the bomb dropped? No? Just me? Oh, well.)

Look, Farscape fucks with me on the regular, and that means I am more inclined than ever to believe that whatever threat they trot out into an episode, they’re probably going to do it. They have done this countless times. So, after a couple of utterly adorable scenes where Crichton and Aeryn get to be flirty and romantic and hilarious, Crichton drops the bomb he’s been carrying down the shaft into the Cryshterium chamber. He does this after securing a dissolution of his debt to Scorpius, who promises Crichton that this is more important that wormholes. MORE IMPORTANT. That’s a huge deal.

And right after he drops it, “La Bomba” experiences a tonal change that set me on edge. Did I believe that the show would kill off the entire cast in one go? No, not really, but I became increasingly worried that someone wouldn’t make it out of this alive. It’s a credit to the way Farscape is written that I don’t question shit like this anymore. I kept thinking of signs or possible foreshadowing in the episode itself. Maybe all the Aeryn/Crichton scenes were the final bit of happiness they’d get before they were blown to pieces. Maybe Rygel, Noranti, and Stark were in the wrong place and would die from the collapse of the base. Maybe Sikozu wouldn’t have enough energy to resist the radiation that flooded the drill. I DON’T KNOW, I QUESTIONED EVERYTHING.

Even the eventual resolution – Jenek is dead, the mother flower is destroyed, Chiana and D’Argo are knockin’ boots again, Pilot and Stark are reunited, EVERYTHING IS CUTE – felt wrong to me. And then the (metaphorical) bomb drops. It’s a quiet one, but it’s so devastating. I’d commented (what seems like long ago) about Crichton’s gradual change over Farscape into a man who would use violence to solve his problems. It’s finally caught up to him, and he’s consumed with guilt. I don’t know that he feels guilty about Scarrans dying so much as he’s terrified of what he might do next. This journey has been so fraught with terror and heartbreak and tragedy. At what cost will Crichton try to end it?

The video for “La Bomba” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

 

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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