Season 3, Episode 9:
***1/2 out of *****
“I am bleeding and I have no wounds, so I’m either St. John of the Uncharted Territories, or there’s something very, very wrong with me!”
Having spent an entire episode with black-T-shirt Crichton aboard Talyn in the last episode, it’s time to swing back to Moya to spend entire ep with green-T-shirt Crichton! (Well, almost an entire episode, but we’ll get to that later.) I’d say this is a weird one, but this is Farscape, and they’re ALL weird ones, right? That’s why we love it!
This ep is somewhat akin to Farscape‘s take on the X-Files, as odd as it seems to say that a show crawling with aliens is taking on a show about hints of alien contact on the fringe. But it’s the loss of time, the strange physical after-effects of experiences forgotten, and the mystery of a body-possessing creepy-ass alien species that never quite reveals itself that moves me to make the comparison.
But do I like it?
Yes! Before we really know what’s going on with John’s unexplained bleeding, passing out, and everyone’s black-out on-camera wiggle-party, it’s mysterious and creepy. Once the “energy riders” make themselves known, some of the mystery gives way to plain ol’ danger, and the creepiness never withdraws until the very end. Jool’s reaction to her own ordeal of being “tasted” compounds that feeling, and actress Tammy McIntosh does a great job of letting the trauma show through after the fact. Sure, we’ve seen Jool cry before, but this is really the first time it’s in a way that’s so sympathetic, and it’s downright unsettling.
Speaking of acting, Gigi Edgley gets an extended period of being possessed, and the weird inflected voice she does is halfway between sensual and disturbing. As I was making my notes while watching, I changed that to “really more 2/3rds of the way between sensual and disturbing” before I further updated that to “also pretty irritating after a while.” But it definitely was different, and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting in a sci-fi show.
While all of this is going on, we also get a glimpse of how things are going with Scorpius, which is the first time we’ve checked in with his real version since the start of the season. Not only are such scenes sprinkled throughout, but they bookend the episode. The story is completely unconnected to what’s happening on Moya, so it’s tacked-on, but given the subject matter, I don’t mind. Scorpius is always a fascinating character.
For instance, is Scorpius angry that Drillic pressed for live pilot trials too early and got someone killed, or is he angry that the trials failed and the project isn’t moving as quickly as he’d like? I’m honestly not sure, but somehow I get more of a vibe on the former. Scorpius does have a care for taking care of his people, when they do well. I think it’s part of what inspires Braca’s loyalty. Scorpy’s a complex guy, and that’s why I like him.
Not Farcape’s best episode, but interesting, and good enough for three and a half stars from me.
“You missed it. You missed the whole thing! Game over!”
This is the start of Chiana getting her…time-weirdness. (That’s the technical term for it. Look it up!) I do wonder, did they know where they were going with this when they started, or did they just toss it in to see what might happen? I’m good with either, but I am curious which it was. Anyone know?
I like how the episode starts, giving us a WTF moment with Scorpius and Crichton that looks like something out of a Smashing Pumpkins video. (Yeah, that’s how old I am.) The WTF gets boosted when we realize we’re watching a dream from Scorpy’s point of view, which is a first for the series.
This episode gives us more background on the Scarren/Peacekeeper political situation. Scarren warriors outnumber Peacekeepers 10 to 1, and the only thing stopping the Scarrens from invading may be the bluff that the Peacekeepers have wormhole weapons. This is pretty important information for, oh, just the entire rest of the series.