Over the years, however, it became clear this Farscape thing wasn't some weird show only Katie liked. It seemed to be pretty damn popular, and people kept singing its praises. One summer I had Netflix, and I thought, hey, I'll finally check out that Farscape show. I wanted enough time to get through the whole series, plus this miniseries that came after it or whatever. But instead I watched Dead Like Me and My So-Called Life and a whole bunch of movies. I did want to eventually see the show, though, really. Many of my friends really loved it.
Officially, I think the toaster goes to debetesse. cofax7 can use it on weekends, though. And ladydisdain225 can, I don't know, look at it. mrspremise gets an honorary toaster, though, for planting the seed so many years ago.
See, a couple months ago, WGN/WB started showing Farscape in syndication. Look! One episode a week, on my television, easy as pie! I could handle that. I decided to take the opportunity after debetesse's urgings.
The premiere was all right, but promising. The ensuing episodes were okay but not spectacular. The formula of A plot on some random planet and B plot on the ship became tiresome. But I was still interested in the characters and their dynamics. They all had such different backgrounds, and now that they were all forced to interact with each other as allies, they had to show certain cards and hide others. It reminded me of Firefly, in that despite all the inevitable space adventures, you could tell compelling enough stories on the ship itself.
Oh, and the ship is alive. Which is weird. And took me a long time to get used to. But I think it ends up working really well. I kind of *heart* Moya.
By about episode nine or ten, though, the show was getting really good. The character development was very impressive, as was the continuity. They didn't just forget their random space adventures; those adventures became a part of their shared past. The strange alien characteristics that appeared to be given for plot purposes in one episode carried throughout the season, becoming important when they needed to be. Characters constantly made quick, sly references to previous events, giving the impression—the kind of impression I love in my television—that this was one long story we were being told. This is where the medium of television trumps film, people. You can tell those long stories.
The last third of the season, the One Long Story really kicked into gear, and previous plotlines twisted together like twine into string to finally force me to declare my love for the show by the end of the finale. You do understand I'm being purposely vague to avoid spoiling people. The spoilers come afterward. I myself am almost completely unspoiled for the show, and I'd like to give a potential new viewer that luxury.
If you're on the fence about checking out the show, and my endorsement hasn't sold you on it yet, comment and I'll figure out what else I can say. Because I'm itching to get to the good stuff. Beware the comments, however, because I expect they'll be full of S1 spoilers. I DO NOT HOWEVER EXPECT THEM TO BE FULL OF SPOILERS PAST SEASON ONE.
So you want my more specific thoughts on the episode? Here they are, mostly culled from my posts at b.org, with some additions:
"Premiere"—The first five minutes or so were really bad. But then there were spaceships and aliens, so that was better. Even though I couldn't understand what the hell was going on half the time. It ended up being all right. I liked that he used his slingshot theory at the end. I know I'm not to expect greatness for many episodes yet, so I will sit tight.
I like the blue chick (whose name is apparently Zhaan), and I hate Liono (whose name is apparently D'argo). He's too I AM A MIGHTY WARRIOR OMG. I like Pilot, and Rygel is eh but has the potential to be good. Aeryn has a nice voice. I never knew about the thing being a prison ship and Aeryn being a Peacekeeper and all that. Sets up an interesting dynamic.
Oh, and I hate the music! Gah. Bear McCreary has spoiled me.
Second episode this Saturday.
"I, E.T."—It was all right. Zhaan still rocks, and this living ship thing is...weird. Like, I don't think I can deal with it yet. I want the ship to start talking or something, because it doesn't feel alive enough to me. They just keep talking about it like it's alive, and it kind of reacts like it feels pain, but...that's it.
Also, I was always under the impression that John Crichton was some sort of badass, but oh my God, you guys are right. He's such a dork. "It's like Louisiana...or Dagobah." They made this guy the hero of the show? Damn.
"Exodus from Genesis"—So my "Exodus from Genesis" opinion is as follows:
Claudia Black has damn nice legs.
Okay, there's more than that. I'm liking how the character dynamics are coming into focus. The fact that this is a ragtag group of fugitives who didn't really want to be stuck with each other, but they have to find some common ground if they're going to survive.
I'm a little wary of the way new alien abilities/weaknesses keep cropping up, because I fear they'll randomly introduce something for plot purposes that doesn't make any sense in light of the previous episodes.
"Throne for a Loss"—I apparently didn't bother to comment on this episode. Probably because, I mean, Rygel. Who cares? Oh, wait, this was the one with the magic gauntlet thing. Yeah, not one of the best episodes ever. OH WAIT THIS WAS THE ONE WHERE ZHAAN WAS GOING TO MAKE OUT WITH THE PRISONER. God, she'll fuck anything.
"Back and Back and Back to the Future"—That was fun! It was like Groundhog Day with aliens. And Aeryn cleavage. And—gasp!—D'Argo character development.
I loved how Crichton just started cutting everyone off once he'd had a couple futureflashes.
Oh, and this exchange was priceless:
"What's wrong with him?"
"He is Crichton."
But the sex dreams turned out to be totally gratuitous and pointless. Though I was surprised by how much they got away with.
One thing I began noticing is that the show is in love with in medias res. Like, they waste no time at all getting to the A plot. The A plot has already started before you even start the teaser. They hardly bother to tell you what's going on or let you get situated at the beginning of an episode. Something needs doing, and they're going to do it. Go!
The characters and their dynamics are growing on me. Rygel still doesn't seem like anything more than a plot device at any given time, though. I mean, technically, neither does Pilot, but I'm much more positive about him.
"Thank God It's Friday...Again—This "one Farscape a week" is getting to be...not enough. I'm not addicted yet, but I'm itching to get to the really good stuff. There was so much character development in this one. Aw, Aeryn learned science! Aw, Pilot thinks he's stupid! Aw, D'Argo wants to be happy! Aw, Zhaan wants to fuck everyone! Wait, I knew that already. Rygel is still a plot device.
I see now what debetesse was talking about regarding the alien guest star. Talk like a person, yo.
One thing that bugged me that characters do all the time on television is Crichton's not telling Aeryn what was up the first time. Like, how hard is it to say, "D'Argo and Zhaan are drugged up from the food"?
Another thing that's been bugging me is the strange disconnectedness between episodes. Like...where are they going? They just keep Starbursting from place to place. Aren't they going to run out of resources eventually? While the character arcs (and look at the continuity with Sebaceans not being able to stand heat!) are progressing nicely, the plot arc is...not. I know it's early, and I know it'll kick in eventually, but I'm just making observations as a new viewer who's wanting to see what all the hype is about.
"PK Tech Girl"—So apparently Peacekeepers like to eat each other's foreheads.
cofax7: Well, only the techs. They're a lesser subspecies, and they're not encouraged to breed. It's a whole thing.
spectralbovine: Oh. Weird.
cofax7: Err, now I feel bad. I was lying about the kissing. But not about techs being considered inferior.
spectralbovine: Oh. No fair taunting the newbie!
This was a decent episode, although I could never figure out what the hell was going on with the shields and the aliens and the coups and why the hell are we in the alien cockpit and listening to them talk?!
"That Old Black Magic"—While the introduction of, like, hardcore magic was a little weird, it was cool to let Crichton and Crais duke it out.
Peacekeepers' necks must be made of straw or something. It can't be that frickin' easy to break a neck.
Zhaan + angst = PSYCHO.
At this point, I downloaded the first season because one episode a week just wasn't cutting it.
"DNA Mad Scientist"—"DNA Mad Scientist" last night, which had a lot of good points. I was surprised by the lack of hesitation or deliberation in cutting off Pilot's arm, so I'm glad that it was, you know, an actual Issue. I'm not sure that the Issue wasn't lessened a bit by the fact that Pilot could grow another arm back easily enough.
I thought Aeryn's angst about not being able to go back home (which, hasn't she complained about it like thirty thousand times before?) was laid on a little thick, but I liked the new spin to it. Not, like, they won't let her back into their little club, but it's the only world she's ever known, and she's lost outside it.
Oh, the whole Zhaan/D'Argo/Rygel dynamic was great. I actually liked Rygel in this episode. And dear God, Zhaan will sex up ANYTHING, won't she? I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT RYGEL'S NAUGHTY BITS.
Pilot is totally awesome.
"They've Got a Secret"—Holy crap. D'Argo angst up the wazoo. He married a Peacekeeper? Criminy. And I guess being framed for that murder was what got him on Moya in the first place? I still don't understand why he started having these schizophrenic flashbacks, but I guess I'm supposed to attribute it to his near-death experience. I like D'Argo much more than I did at first, which is what debetesse said would happen.
The DRDs! Attacking! Cooool.
Oh, as soon as Aeryn was like, "Oh, I figured out the controls," I was thinking, "Ha, it's 'cause she had Pilot's DNA." And then Crichton went ahead and said it, and I know this is going to be just like Xander's military knowledge that comes and goes when it's convenient. [Note: Hot damn, was I ever wrong. Either that, or it's been convenient a lot.]
Moya's pregnant! I was spoiled for the fact that she has a child because of a description of an S2 episode, but I had no idea she became pregnant this early. So I still thought it was cool that she was trying to kill them all for whatever reason. I wonder who the father is. Some mighty seed got through the Sebacean birth control.
I'm kind of impressed by how layered most of the characters are already. It's like, they're on a ship, and they can't really do much in the way of plot, so let's just throw in some character development, and that should be enough.
I'm really liking the show now, and I'm close to loving it. I'm not sure whether it's too early for that because S1's not supposed to be good and I'm supposed to wait for S2, but I was biased to like it anyway, and I must be easy to please.
"Till the Blood Runs Clear"—This episode was all right. Surprising continuity of alien traits with, you know, the blood running clear. Of course, this was countered with Zhaan's inexplicable ability to do...whatever she did to hide from the bounty hunters.
Aw, Crichton and D'Argo are begrudging allies.
adds "ionic radiation" to the increasingly long list of Things That Get Zhaan Hot
"The Flax"—Aw, John and Aeryn almost had The Sex! Those crazy kids and their pent-up sexual tension.
"Rhapsody in Blue"—Very, very slow, but interesting. I had been wanting Zhaan's latent rage issues to come up again, though I didn't think she had some super special rage-suppressing powers that the rest of her species did not possess. That was weird.
"Jeremiah Crichton"—This was an episode title I'd heard a lot, so I wondered why people kept mentioning it. It was a pretty good episode. The teaser reminded me of the S2 BSG premiere, except it was kind of the opposite perspective. And while at first I kind of groaned at the cliché of Rygel just happening to resemble their savior, they explained it in a very cool way. Although I still wanted to punch that priestess in the face. A lot. Too one-note.
"Durka Returns"—Way to give away your teaser in the title, guys. But this was a very good episode after a string of so-so/good ones (I was all set to go from like to love, and then it...stopped being awesome). I'm incredibly impressed with the continuity ("Try not to fall off the ship this time" ahahahaha Crichton you rascal) and the fact that callbacks so often become plot points. Even though sometimes it feels obtrusive (I remember Zhaan's not a priest anymore, can't you just have previouslies?! ALSO YES I KNOW MOYA'S PREGNANT OMG).
I had been awaiting the introduction of Chiana (which I had been pronouncing "kee-YAHN-uh" in my head, oops) because I really liked her character design. Farscape has pretty awesome makeup people. Anyway, I'm not sure how I feel about her. She's a bit...nuts.
When Silas was found dead, I thought, "Oh, they assume it was Chiana. Which means it was Durka." And then I thought they confirmed that. And right before Crichton asked his final question, I knew what it was, and I thought, "Cooool. Good on you, show."
I still don't know how—oh, Rygel's stupid bomb snapped him out of it? Whatever. Must not be very powerful cleansing even though it takes ONE HUNDRED FUCKING CYCLES to complete.
But it was a good, exciting episode with lots of psychopaths running around.
"A Human Reaction"—This is a really good episode that explores how Crichton would actually be received when he returned to Earth. I was surprised they got him back to Earth so soon, but then I realized they were only doing it so that he could be forced back out into space with no more desire of returning home. And in fact, he would choose to go back to Moya, because, like Rose in Doctor Who, he's seen so much extraordinary that he can't go back to the fish-and-chips life. He doesn't have a whole lot to stay for besides his father, who is willing to let him go now that he's gotten his chance to say goodbye. And Rygel is dead, which was more shocking and sad than I would have anticipated, but no one will really miss him that much for very long.
And then it turns into every sci-fi movie made in the last ten years. It was all fake, made from your memories, blah-di-blah-blah. It was still cool, but less cool. It seemed like a lot of trouble for them to go through when they could have, I don't know, ASKED. Crichton has no reason to lie. And how the hell did they find him anyway? What the hell kind of powers does this species have that they can create fake wormholes and magical physical representations recreated from memories? And why didn't we get to see the hot and wild John/Aeryn sexapalooza?
The show is back to being really good again, though, which is yay.
"Through the Looking Glass"—Um, but then there was this pointlessly trippy filler episode. Okay, it was kind of cool. But pointless. And filler.
"A Bug's Life"—This episode was good. All right. Every sci-fi show needs an episode where people get possessed by something and everyone's suspicious of each other and you can do things without consequences. Unless you're Smallville, in which case you have three or four a season.
I'm rather enjoying the ability to watch this show mostly in a vacuum. I'm almost completely unspoiled except for, well, the death of a major character in The Peacekeeper Wars. And I don't have to deal with annoying fandom reactions. For instance, I wonder what the initial reaction to Chiana was. Because it seems weird to randomly introduce a new character to the team so late in the season. One thing I like, though, is that she's actually proving herself useful. She's got mad thievery skills. And she's hot.
I'm still not sure what to make of her, though. Her manner of speaking can be a little overdone and annoying, as can the very deliberately odd way she moves.
But back to the episode. The ending? Totally the kind of action-movie badassery I can get behind!! "Boom." Fucking sweet, Crichton.
"Nerve"—Holy crap! Finally, the show is becoming as awesome as I had been led to believe! Continuity so up the ass it's frothing at the mouth.
First of all, the direct consequences of the previous episode drive the plot of this one. Sweet.
When Aeryn mentioned that she needed a genetic match, I thought it'd be amusing if the match was Gilina. I knew we'd see her again from Consuela's reaction before, and I thought I recognized the actress's name in the credits.
The ident card! Whose purpose I was so confused about at the end of "A Bug's Life"! A plot point in one episode was actually set up in the previous episode! I love that shit!
Another note: they finally got a director whose little tricks actually worked. I haven't been mentioning it, but the use of slo-mo on this show blows. But from the opening scene, with the quick cuts to close-ups of Aeryn's boxing fists, I knew this guy was trying to be cool in a good way. And I really liked the fast swooshy dissolves; it really added to the tension.
There you are, Gilina! All hacking into everything and saving the day. Aw. And getting Aeryn her nerve, how nice of you. Also, dudes: it's a pipette! Just like in the last episode, they're using fucking pipettes! It's real lab equipment! I've used those things! I mean, actual pipettes don't act like syringes, but that's obviously what the props are designed around!
The Aurora Chair! Memories! Clips from the whole season. And despite being Crichton's memories, they're actually...clips from the show, shown from the camera's perspective. Which is a necessary device, I know. And whooooa, the Ancients gave him subconscious wormhole technology?! That episode is suddenly three times better!
I love that the relationship between D'Argo and Aeryn is built almost entirely on the fact that they're both "warriors." And yet you have to assume there's the subtext of his being married to a Peacekeeper.
Moya! Now is NOT A GOOD TIME TO BE HAVING CONTRACTIONS.
To be continued!!
"The Hidden Memory"—Scorpius is great. Anyone who puts Crais in the Aurora Chair is fine by me. I'm not sure if he's supposed to be Sebacean, though. I like that they now have a villain more formidable than Crais, who becomes less and less menacing the more we see of him. I mean, he's got daddy issues. You can't be afraid of a guy with daddy issues.
Aaaand Gilina is cute but a wee bit annoying. hobviously and peri_peteia dubbed her PK Anders, and now I know why. Come on, girl. You spent a few hours with Crichton and had a hot makeout session. You are not in love with him. Geez. And your daring escape is no time for you to discuss whether he wants you or not. You were a sweet, deluded girl, and I'm sorry you had to die an inevitable death. Poor PK Dead Girl.
Moya has a boy! And...I have no idea how this works, or how it's going to work. Will they get to ride around in him? Is he going to protect them with his crazy weapons? Or will he be a Peacekeeper ass and shoot them a lot when he gets hungry?
Oh: Aeryn kicks ass. Facing Crais the way she did and throwing in some gratuitous torture was awesome, and maybe now she'll stop complaining about not being able to go back to her precious Peacekeeper world.
I'm disappointed they didn't really follow up on the whole subconscious wormhole technology. I mean, I thought that was the whole point of the Chair, that they could pull that out of him. But I guess they kept focusing on whatever he was blocking because they assumed it was that. I do hope they come back to it. What I love about this whole plotline is it's so connected to the beginning. The story feels organic and natural and Crichton-specific. Things happen because of what happened before.
Almost done with the first season, and the second season is primed and ready to go. I'm all excited to see what happens next.
(People who will seek Crichton out and kill him, so far: Crais, Durka, Scorpius...)
"Bone to Be Wild"—I'm kind of impressed with the fact that they made both Amlee and Berni so grey. I mean, as soon as Amlee said, "I'm not hungry," I figured the twist was that she was the one eating everyone (especially because her "Save my family!"/"Oh, yeah, he ate them all by now" was totally sketch). But then there were like four more twists after that until I couldn't figure out whether either one of them was good or bad. They both had appropriate perspectives; it wasn't their fault those perspectives happened to be dangerous to others...right?
But...WTF ZHAAN IS A PLANT WTF? I mean, I was finally accepting the whole "living ship" concept, and now you throw this ridiculous "sentient plant" thing at me? I have no problem with sentient plants, actually; it's when they fucking look like people that it throws me off. I mean, THAT'S PLANT CLEAVAGE, DUDE. Wait...why the fuck would a plant need breasts? Yes, this explains why light makes her horny, but what about all that Unity shit? All those Delvians were living UNDERGROUND. And she has plant camouflage? And plant temperature regulation? And plant sex drive? WHAT THE FUCKING HELL IS THIS SHIT?
Although I do give props for the fact that Zhaan simply made an "animal-centric" comment and let it be rather than flounce away in a snit until Crichton apologized heartwarmingly at the end of the episode and resolved never to be so prejudiced again.
And speaking of Crichton and heartwarming: HE KILLED SOMEONE ELSE. Geez, dude. At this rate he's going to off half the galaxy.
I love that Aeryn was able to bond with Moya's child. It makes perfect sense not only because she's a Peacekeeper but also because she has Pilot's DNA. I mean, she's almost like the kid's mom and pop in one package.
Scorpius is awesome. I think he needs to rule the universe. I think he needs to fight Darth Vader. But I have no goddamn clue what is up with that ending, because I thought he was going to kill her, not...let her feed from him or something? Maybe the next episode will clarify what the crap that was all about.
"Family Ties"—OMG OMG OMG. See, this episode hit all my Buttons of Epic Sci-Fi. The tension! The suspense! The Making the Hard Choices! Oh, I can't take it when people are being all self-sacrificing; it just kills me. It's a strength of character I could never have because I'm too afraid of dying, but it's so admirable in others. To put others' well-being above your own is just...it's the stuff that makes me cry.
WTF Rygel?! I mean, of all the people on the ship, he's clearly the most likely to sell them all out, but I thought he had some sense of decency deep down under. You've been on thin ice with me the whole show, man, and I've only liked you in certain spots. It's going to take some time for me to forgive you for this shit.
Oh, Crais, you sad little man. You are so Scorpius's buttmonkey. But aha, you are less lame now! Drown Rygel, drown him!
That scene with Crais and Crichton was kind of awesome. Go Ben Browder with the single tear. And thank God Crais finally fucking admitted the whole thing was an accident and he was a fucking ass.
What I love about Scorpius is that he's smart. He's not some dumbass villain. He's always one step ahead of you, and D'Argo rocks for taking advantage of it. He's also incredibly self-aware, I think: he knows his desire for Crichton's wormhole technology is a weakness. He just can't do anything about it.
And oh man, for some time there I actually thought Crais was going to join our heroes' wacky adventures or something. I think he heard me call him "less menacing," so he decided to steal Moya's kid to get his villain cred back.
And okay, when Crichton and D'Argo are preparing for their suicide mission, there's all this suspense and tension, and really, there shouldn't be, because I know for a fact neither one of them is going to freaking die in the first season finale. But I just know something is going to go horribly wrong, and just because they don't die doesn't mean the mission is going to go just as planned. Tingles, man. Tingles! I also loved that they didn't really sit around and tell the audience the plan. I had to read betwene the lines to figure out that they were going to eject and be picked up by Aeryn.
Hold on, hold on, because I have to get this little character epiphany in before I finish, okay? I was thinking about the fact that I liked Aeryn because one of her primary conflicts is one of identity. All her life, she defined herself as a Peacekeeper, and now that world has been taken from her. What is she now? Who is she? She has to figure out who Aeryn Sun is, as a separate entity from Officer Aeryn Sun. And then I realized that all the characters are struggling with how they define themselves. Rygel must believe he is a dominar with a kingdom awaiting him at home. D'Argo is nothing if not a warrior. Zhaan must come to terms with her priestness. And Crichton...well, he is Crichton. They're all struggling to find themselves out here in space.
Okay, episode. Because holy mother of God, Crais has stolen Talyn, Moya has Starbursted God knows where, Aeryn can't rescue Crichton and D'Argo, and D'Argo's unconscious. UTTER CHAOS JUST LIKE I LIKE MY FINALES. Christ on a stick. This is a show!
OMG FRELL YOU ALL I MUST WATCH SEASON TWO RIGHT NOW OMG.