This. This. This is the kind of show I can love.
But first: they changed the opening credits! Fancy! The new voiceover has a completely different spin, interesting. I like the new font. The new chanting sucks. The chanting at the end of the old credits was the best part. But I really love the new title logo, with all the debris floating around in a circle before coalescing to form the name. And then the title of the episode, Doctor Who-style!
This season is like Buffy S3 for me, where pretty much any episode is top-notch and each episode serves to drive the ongoing plot arc in some way. I now of course see why everyone laughed at me for complaining that the wormhole technology in John's head wasn't addressed way back in "The Hidden Memory," the episode after it was introduced. It really has been the driving force of the series, thanks to my man Scorpius.
So we start out strong with "Season of Death," which confused me at points because Scorpius seemed to be advocating Crichton's death. Dude, you had your chance. Don't change your mind now. You need an archnemesis. And Aeryn's alive again, whee! And Zhaan's dying, um. Oops. Oh, loved Crichton kicking neural Scorpius's ass ("Can I get a 'hell yeah'?" "HELL YEAH!"). Also, Chiana is frelling Jothee and I don't care.
"Suns and Lovers" is a decent episode, and it surprised me by (thankfully) addressing the Chiana/Jothee issue very early in the season. Go away, Jothee. You suck. Making D'Argo all suicidal.
Oh, "Self Inflicted Wounds." You take away Zhaan, and you give me Jool. THAT IS NOT A FAIR TRADE. I really think Moya needs some therapy after all the times she's been in danger of being obliterated. Now, I was completely unspoiled for this (I didn't get one of those "Next week: SOMEONE DIES!" promos, and I didn't know the meta reasons regarding Virginia Hey's health), and when Zhaan volunteered to sacrifice herself, I didn't believe it was for real. But then she gave a five-minute monologue (yo, Zhaan, time's running out, you know), which meant they were really killing her, no cheating. And then when the ship detached, I thought maybe they could run into her again somewhere. And then she disintegrated so um I guess not. Her death had the same effect as a certain death in some movie a lot of us saw this year: for the next several episodes, when a character looked like they were going to die, I thought they might actually die.
What do we need after the death of a major character? A wacky time-warp adventure! I liked "...Different Destinations," even though the time travel logic was crap, what with Pilot and the rest of them witnessing every change of the timeline in real time. Aeryn's hostility toward John in this episode seemed uncalled for, though. John was doing the most sensible thing you can do in a situation like that: try to set the timeline straight so that it matches with what you know as recorded history. Flaunting your anachronistic weapons is a terrible idea, Aeryn. Even though it ended up working (kind of) at the end. As a last resort.
Then we get "Eat Me," which on the surface looks like filler but turns out to be a pivotal episode. It was cool to see the inside of another Leviathan, even one with a crazy Pilot. Two Crichtons! Oh man.
"Thanks for Sharing" really kicks the season into gear. We learn what was on Crais's chip (which, apparently, the writers didn't know when they brought it up...ah, television writing), and the two Johns split up, creating a new paradigm of alternating episodes for a while. Xhalax Sun is evil! And Jool still sucks. All she does is scream and complain, and she's horribly annoying. And stupid-looking. And the fact that she has medical knowledge makes it even more painfully obvious that she's meant to be a replacement for Zhaan, which is insulting. She doesn't add anything to the team or the character dynamics, unlike Chiana. I also hate Stark. See, we thought he was just pretending to be nuts back on the Gammak base, but no: he really is nuts. Annoyingly nuts. I often wonder how the actors feel about playing characters who are not, on the surface, likable in...any way, really.
Ben Browder wrote "Green Eyed Monster," did he? Not bad, Ben. Not Ben. Really great exploration of the characters of Crais, Aeryn, Crichton, and yes, even Talyn. I love that this show can believably characterize living ships. The puppets must be hard enough. And speaking of puppets, I'm kind of tired of Rygel's constant and immediate inclination to leave everyone behind. He can be more layered than that, and we've seen that he's not that one-dimensional, so it bugs me when they resort to the "typical Rygel" reaction.
You know, it must be really hard to watch the show if you're not a John/Aeryn 'shipper. Because the story of John Crichton is almost as much about his love for Aeryn as it is about wormholes. And the show doesn't really provide any viable alternatives. I mean, I guess you could do John/Chiana and Aeryn/Crais, but if ever a 'ship was OMG CANON, it's John/Aeryn.
"Losing Time" has a typical Moya plot (something's on the ship, let's kill it!), but, very interestingly, we get a B plot over on Scorpius's command carrier. They're already testing out the wormhole technology, and...blooooood. Someone says it in a later episode, but the fact that both Scorpius and Crichton are unhealthily obsessed with wormholes, to the detriment of their compatriots, is fun.
Back to Talyn with "Relativity." Were there, like, budget cuts or something? Such that they could only afford to pay their main cast half the time? Anyway, another good episode where we discover that Xhalax Sun sucks a lot. And aha, finally we discover Crais's ulterior motive. I knew he wasn't completely all goody two-shoes. He wanted to take care of Talyn because Talyn could take care of him. He didn't want to the Peacekeepers to get him.
Mmm, "Incubator"! A Scorpius flashback episode! I had always wondered why, if Scorpius were half-Scarran and half-Sebacean, he was completely loyal to the Peacekeepers, practically considering himself a full Sebacean. Now we get to see why he hates the Scarrans so much, and...did they just make Scorpius a woobie? I liked that we also found out how he can tell when people are lying. One thing that sort of bugged me was the cliché fallback of "raping a pretty woman = sympathy!" When we found out the Scarrans lied to Scorpius, I had thought it would be a more interesting reversal: a female Scarran raping a male Sebacean. In any case, it was amusing to have a John inside Scorpius's head, even if we never saw him again.
Oh, "Meltdown." Why do you suck so much? Worst episode of the season, by far, and I'd put it on a worst of series list as well. It's a big frelling mess is what it is. I didn't even mind the fact that I couldn't stay awake since I knew nothing important or exciting was happening. John and Aeryn get horny, and Stark tries to save some ghost girl. And Stark magically becomes bonded to Talyn in a Pilot's den that sprung up when no one was looking? The hell? Hurry up and die again, Stark, and stop endangering everyone's lives with your selfish, impetuous actions.
Heh, "Scratch 'N Sniff." So cracked-out. But I like the offbeat storytelling style, especially the funky editing. And the evolving friendship between John and D'Argo is one of the great things about the show. And D'Argo dancing is...almost as funny as Angel dancing.
Okay. Shit. Here it comes. "Daedalus Demands" heralds the return of the Ancients, or at least one of them. And whoa, S1 continuity! Furlow! This was one hell of an episode, with Jack digging into John's head and Harvey hiding in bumper cars and fighting Charrids and approaching Scarrans and the fate of the world resting in the hands of whoever gets the wormhole technology. And Rygel's wounded badly! And OMG RETURN OF SCORPION.
Which, sadly, is short-lived in "Icarus Abides." Scorpion's kind of like Angelus. Except...damn, wow, Harvey's gone! Yay for John! And he now has the wormhole knowledge! And...eep, Scarran on Talyn! No, Furlow killed Jack! Double-crossing bitch! Triple-crossing bitch! Quad...damn, woman. But oooh, John can blow up a Scarran dreadnought with the power of
And then he dies.
OMGWTF I HATE YOU ALL. THAT IS SO NOT FUCKING FAIR. THAT WAS THE GOOD JOHN. THE ONE STUFF ACTUALLY HAPPENED TO. HE WAS SUPPOSED TO LIVE. HE HAD THE SEX WITH AERYN AND SAW HER MOTHER AND GOT RID OF HARVEY AND UNLOCKED HIS WORMHOLE TECHNOLOGY. MOYA JOHN IS CRAAAAAAAAAAP COMPARED TO HIM.
I can only guess this is the episode that made meghatron cry a lot.
And what do we need after killing off John Crichton? "Revenging Angel" brings us...cartoons! Which sometimes went on for too long, but really, when else would they get the chance to do this Wile E. Coyote shit? The rapid change of Aeryn's costumes was really funny. And it's a very interesting look at John's views on revenge, given his feelings for Crais and Scorpius. And ooh, cool new Luxan ship!!
And what does Aeryn need after they kill off John Crichton? "The Choice." It's a decent episode, and I really liked all the flashes back to various points of their relationship. Except for the stupid and random reference to "The Locket." Why does John grow up to have a deep Southern accent? THAT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. YOU MUST ACQUIT. I think Xhalax and Lianne should duke it out for Worst Mom in the Universe. But yay, no more Stark!
"Fractures" finally reunites our heroes, and...oof. Cold. But oh, so glad they used the old "message before I die" device. Thank you, John, for telling John everything so all your knowledge and experience was not for naught. And goddamn, that is some self-awareness there, with the advice about Aeryn. He knows what he'll want to do, and he knows he shouldn't do it. And the end aww. One of those "Who wants to volunteer for a suicide mission?" scenes. I love those! When Aeryn began walking, I thought she might be walking away entirely, but her standing beside John was an awesome moment. She was doing it for Other John; it's what he would have wanted. And where Aeryn goes, so goes Crais's nation. Oh, Moya John, I'm sorry I called you crap. You are still totally awesome and heroic.
PUPPET SEX EWWW.
"I-Yensch, You-Yensch" walked the line between filler and arc, since it seemed mostly designed to get them on the command carrier. But we had to sit through these stupid arf-arf alien robbers. It was worth it, though, to watch the temporary alliance between Rygel and Scorpius. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Also, Talyn is craaaazy! Literally. Speaking of crazy: are they ever going to explain Chiana's visions, or do they just expect us to assume they're a byproduct of her possession by the rider?
And then we head "Into the Lion's Den: Lambs to the Slaughter." Such a pleasant name. And man. So much has been leading up to this episode and its sequel. I can't even find the words. Here was everyone, ready to go all out for the fate of the galaxy. This episode is so packed. So many people with different agendas.
And then comes "Into the Lion's Den: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing." Which: that wasn't the season finale? Hell, that wasn't the series finale? This ragtag group of infamous outlaws blew up a Peacekeeper command carrier. And holy crap, Crais and Talyn died. I was wrong about you, Crais, and so was John. You really did change. Hell of an episode. Damn.
I must say I love the relationship between Scorpius and Crichton. One of the best hero/villain relationships I've ever seen. They've both got a little bit of each other in them, and they both grow to recognize that the other is not simply the polar opposite of their moral spectrum and therefore deserving of death. The way they relate to each other is full of many more subtleties. Crichton realizes that Scorpius really doesn't want the wormhole technology for his own gain; he just wants to keep the Scarrans from overrunning the galaxy. And Scorpius realizes that destroying Earth means nothing in the grand scale of things; it's just petty revenge.
Finally, we have "Dog with Two Bones," which is...weird. Another peek into John's psyche, and his very understandable fears about taking Aeryn back to Earth. What's with this wacky old witch woman? At least we get to see Jool die! I'm rather concerned by the fact that D'Argo's ship can take out a Leviathan in one hit. And speaking of ships: Aeryn has a Prowler again, yay!
Oh, the John/Aeryn angst. It's so believably drawn, unfortunately for the both of them.
The episode feels like a denouement of sorts, as everyone leaves. And then...Aeryn's pregnant. Oh crap. I don't know why I didn't expect it, since people are always getting pregnant on television, but it was still a shock.
But see, not as much of a shock as a MOTHERFUCKING WORMHOLE APPEARING OUT OF NOWHERE AND SUCKING MOYA IN. My mouth was agape. Motherfucking agape.
For some reason, the words aren't coming as to all the things I loved about the season, but I think people have already said it, the way it's such a culmination of the series as a whole, how so many major plotlines get tied together and resolved so gloriously. The way they don't take the easy way out and instead choose the outcome most painful to the characters. The way they've created unique drama out of the various sci-fi tropes they've allowed themselves to play with.
LET'S RING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH SEASON FOUR.