Farscape: Look at the Princess: Part 3: The Maltese Crichton

Scorpius: (to Crichton's head) "Your full on acid attack is all it takes. You're beginning to pit."

I think the creepiest part of this episode wasn't that John was turned to stone, it was that he was aware of everything that happened to him.

Can you imagine being decapitated and then tossed around and thrown into a vat of acid, only to be rescued by freaking Scorpius? Totally frelled up, if you ask me. During the entire sequence where John was decapitated, I kept trying to imagine what he was saying. The crap coming out his mouth would've been a hilarious voice over. All the acid stuff was pretty gnarly. We not only got John's disembodied head floating in it, we also got Chiana being hung above it, John threatening Scorpy with it, and Cargn getting kicked into it by Crichton. (I guess turnabout is fair play, since Cargn was the one that threw John's head into the acid first.) The one thing that bothered me more about the whole thing was, did John really have to show Scorpius mercy? I literally yelled at the screen, "Just kill him!".

I didn't quite buy Jena not killing Crichton, once she realized he wasn't actually a Peacekeeper spy. However, I did like what her actions said about individual Peacekeepers. As a whole the Peacekeepers are a merciless, monstrous, and fascist presence that easily parallel every nasty Imperialistic government ever to exist. Yet, the people once divorced from that indoctrination are as capable of compassion and mercy as anyone else. So although I thought their relationship was a bit forced, I liked Jena as a character. At the same time it bothered me that John slept with her, even though she was a gorgeous alien spy and the Kirk in him was totally overwhelmed by his libido. To me it felt marginally like he was cheating on both Katralla and Aeryn. So he totally lost points with me there.

The resolution of the entire trilogy was an interesting one, even if it was a bit convenient. Because John is human, his cells weren't strong enough to survive the crystallization process twice, meaning that he has to abandon his vows to Katralla, and more importantly, he'll never get to meet his future daughter. I want to say that the scene were John gets to interact with his future daughter, not just some hypothetical baby like we saw in the first part but the real physical projection of the child growing within Katralla, was very touching.

John's daughter will at least be raised by two good people (Katralla and Tyno). She'll also be rich, powerful, and the future ruler of millions, so that's something. But for John to lose family like that, literally the only biological connection he may ever have for the rest of his life, must've been devastating. Which is why the end of this episode was so significant. Not only did the reveal that John and Aeryn are biologically compatible give this entire trilogy meaning, it also allowed Crichton to hope that a real family could be in his future.

For Aeryn, the way I interpreted her smile after they kissed using the genetic drops, was that she fully turned away from her Peacekeeper past, and embraced the idea of being irreversibly contaminated.  Which I think was the whole point of Aeryn's sojourn into the wasted lands. It was all a trial of pain so that she could work through her feelings -- falling off the rock wall, breaking her leg, dragging a dying Dregon across the desert, and ultimately coming to realize that the potential pain of emotional risk was worth it. I guess for her character it was an important journey, since it was pointed out that she was trained to kill, not to feel. She grew up in a society that shunned emotions, that actually killed or imprisoned people for having attachments. It's easy to forget her journey isn't a simple one.

With all that other stuff, the Moya/Zhaan subplot is a little forgettable and ultimately irrelevant. It turned out that Moya being decommissioned was just a ruse to figure out if Zhaan was good enough to protect the galaxy from Leviathan gunships. That seems convoluted at best, but I suppose it makes a bizarre kind of sense. I'm not sure it fits though, because in Zhaan's rage over the Builder killing Moya, she tried to kill him. That doesn't strike me as a particularly good trait to base their decision on. Or should I look at it another way, that she was willing to kill to protect Moya? I don't know if I can buy that logic, but the Builders are an advanced alien species, so maybe they don't have the same values that we do.

Bits:

The Builder looked like Londo from Babylon 5, even though his makeup more closely resembled a Minbari than a Centauri.

Clavor really got what he deserved. It also showed that Scarrans are much like the scorpion that asked to cross the river, basically never trust them because their nature is to deceive and kill.

So Scorpy is immune to acid? Damn, either he's really bad ass, or his suit is.

D'Argo's sympathy for John was also a really nice touch, reminding us that he lost his own son.

So those blue rods that we've seen Scorpy put into his head are designed to balance his physiology. As half Sebacean, he is vulnerable to heat. With his Scarran side, he is at home in the heat. So he's literally at war with himself. No wonder he's so vile and hateful.

I loved Scorpy and D'Argo's conversations. They were noticeably missing from the second part of this trilogy. I thought that they had a nice bantering chemistry.

Quotes:

John: "Well there you go, good guys win for once. And I have a child that I'll never know."

D'Argo: "I cannot find Crichton's head anywhere."

John: "How Batman was that!"

Tyno: "Crichton, where are you going?"
John: "I don't know. I'll let you know when I get there."

Okay, this was a flawed story, contrived to bring our main couple (John and Aeryn) to a very specific place relationship-wise. Still, as a bridge from a 'will they won't they' to a full on romantic story, it wasn't so bad. There was more than enough good to outweigh the tedious and bad.

2 1/2 out 4 Holographic children for the whole 'Look at the Princess' trilogy.

6 comments:

Juliette said...

When I recently re-watched this as part of a huge marathon, I thought that John not killing Scorpy was one of the early signs of Harvey's influence - he literally couldn't kill Scorpius because the chip in his head was stopping him. Though I don't think I ever read it that way when watching the trilogy in isolation.

I totally agree on John sleeping with Jena too - that sort of came out of nowhere. I guess he was just a bit frustrated, after everything with Aeryn plus a wedding with no wedding night...

Suzanne said...

Even though this trilogy was uneven in places as you mentioned, I really enjoyed it overall. The ending looks on John and Aeryn's faces after they took the compatibly test were wonderful. I adore those two!

Juliette, I agree that when I first saw this I was really frustrated when John didn't kill Scorpy, and I couldn't understand why he didn't, but it makes more sense now knowing Scorpy is in his head and probably controlled him in some sense.

Jess Lynde said...

I basically agree that this was all worth it to get to that ending, I just think I found it a slightly more painful journey to endure. For me, most of this episode was downright tedious. But ... given how deeply ingrained Aeryn’s training is and how limited and damaging her experience with emotional connections has been, it makes sense that it would take the prospect of losing John, plus an arduous trip through a wasteland, plus an outside perspective to make her see that opening herself up to emotional connections can bring good, as well as bad. And the good just might be worth risking the bad. She’s a tough nut to crack. But how I loved that ending! Ben and Claudia played it beautifully, too. The expressionless turn giving way to small happy smiles was completely awesome. And I love your take on what this revelation means for John and his future, especially in light of what he just lost.

We also got several good bits with Scorpius, including several fun interactions with D’Argo, learning about his DNA tracker on Crichton, and, as you note, learning about his warring half-Scarran/half-Sebacean sides. And, as others have noted, we learned that Scorpius apparently did something to Crichton to make it impossible for Crichton to kill him. During that confrontation, I was just about to get super pissed at Crichton for being completely boneheaded about leaving Scorpy alive, but Browder played it like Crichton didn’t quite understand what he was doing. And they gave us that little flashback snippet to suggest that Scorpy had done something to override Crichton’s strong impulse to finish him. Forward thinking, that one. So, instead of being an annoying plot convenience brought about by a character acting stupidly, I think it played more like a legitimate reason for Scorpius to survive the encounter.

J.D. Balthazar said...

I am trying to review this from a unspoiled continuity basis, so that's why I didn't mention possible reasons for John's actions. Not killing Scorpy made little character sense at this point in the series, and I remember being frustrated as hell when this first aired.

Juliette said...

Good point JD. I suppose that's one of the problems in reviewing, especially something like this that benefits from a second viewing. I always find it difficult, as there's definitely another dimension to a lot of this season when you watch it a second time, which I think is an important part of watching it, but at the same time isn't relevant to a first viewing and would be spoilery for first time viewers.

Jess Lynde said...

But I think the way they played it --- especially with that little flashback clip, Crichton seeming somewhat confused, and Scorpy seeming knowingly satisfied --- conveyed that Scorpius had done something to him that stopped Crichton from killing him. The information presented in this episode alone sent that message.

Of course, I say that knowing things about the future. So it is easier for me to read the material in a certain way. That said, I still think it is possible for new viewers to have the same take away --- maybe after they are done screaming "Why the hell didn't you just KILL HIM!" and have time to reflect a little more. :)