Season 3, Episode 1:
“Season of Death”
****3/4 out of *****
“We’re going to bring him out here, and see how HE likes the cold!”
“What if he likes it?”
“…ONE! PROBLEM! AT A TIME!!”
This is really the best premiere episode that Farscape has. The whole cast is together (okay, so Aeryn’s dead, but she doesn’t stay that way), and it runs pretty much on all cylinders in terms of giving all of the characters something to do as well as tossing a compelling plot at us. Also, we get new opening credits!
And in terms of that aforementioned plot (you can tell this is a quality blog because I use words like “aforementioned” and “tossing”), one of my favorite aspects about it is that the tables are turned here. Scorpius, usually the pursuer, is forced to hide from Moya’s crew and—more importantly—Crais and Talyn. Is Farscape the only show to ever do this? Of course not, but it’s uncommon enough to be fun, and of course it’s always fun to watch Scorpius being clever. (Sometimes it’s also highly disturbing, too, but, ya know, in a fun way.) This angle gets even better when the Scarran wakes up to make things even worse for him.
On the character side, Aeryn’s death is of course affecting people. Pilot, who had his own special sort of bond with Aeryn, is especially on edge and cranky. Have we ever seen him yelling at people as much as we do here? D’Argo’s still about the same as he was before, with Luxan anger-hormones spewing everywhere—er, figuratively speaking. And of course this further exacerbates the situation with Chiana and Jothee which develops into full-on Jerry Springer territory as they hook up in the kitchen. They’re just lucky that the cold is affecting D’Argo’s sense of smell.
It won’t last.
It was interesting to see Zhaan and Stark/D’Argo come in on different sides of the debate about letting Crichton commit suicide or not. Zhaan wants to respect his wishes (and not kill another to save him), D’Argo isn’t about to let his friend kill himself, especially when he’s still grieving, even if it’s to put him out of his misery. Meanwhile Stark is perfectly willing to use Crichton’s situation to put a donor out of HIS misery—which I suppose from Stark’s view is more of a spiritual misery—killing the donor in order to free his soul and save Crichton.
And, Stark being the leap-first sort of guy, effectively ends the debate by doing what he wants to do anyway. I’m not usually a big fan of Stark, especially post hubcap-dispersal, but as a writer, characters like that are a godsend when you’ve got people who won’t stop debating and DO something.
Speaking of Stark, his coaching of Crichton to take control from Harvey is a rare moment (for me) where he gives great counsel in a compassionate and inspiring way. The fact that it turns out later that Stark wasn’t sure at all that his advice would work (“It just sounded good!”) doesn’t lessen its value, because when Crichton beats the crap out of Harvey, it’s a great cathartic moment for us viewers. Finally we get some triumph after a long bout of compounded, traumatic misery.
The only thing I didn’t like about this episode was how Aeryn returned. I did want her to come back, so I’m not complaining too much, but the whole “unity thing” (as Aeryn put it) feels a little too easy. Wasn’t Aeryn just, ya know, completely dead already before they were able to pull her out of the water and stick her in the chamber? On the other hand, it’s not done without a major price to be paid for Zhaan, so I won’t complain too much. But I did use it as an excuse to take off a quarter of a star, because, I dunno, I’m a jerk like that.
While I stand by my statement about the tendrils last ep being the grossest thing, Scorpius eating the bit of brain attached to the chip is…still pretty high up there.
So is Grunchlk being forced to bite off his own finger, come to think of it.
I fell for Scorpius’s trick myself, the first time I watched it. (Did you?)