Farscape: The Locket

Crichton: "I'm too old for this shit."

I've never liked this episode, not when it first aired, and certainly not this time around. But for a long time I couldn't put my finger on why. Call me dense, but an overly romantic episode about one of my favorite couples of all time should be a home run, right?

Nope, not at all. I'm unmoved. So why did this episode fall so flat?

I've finally come up with two major reasons why this one just didn't work for me. First, it wasn't about John and Aeryn. It was about Aeryn having a life we never get to see. While that's great for the character, it serves absolutely no purpose for the audience. We are told about her long life, not shown. We meet her granddaughter, but not her husband or children. In an episode that could've been like the wonderful Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 'An Inner Light', we got nothing more than an excuse to use old age makeup.

Here's one simple alteration to the basic plot that would've changed everything. What if the focus was on John and Aeryn discovering the hole in the mist and having a life on that planet together? They could've had children, and grandchildren, and been happy. Then Aeryn outlives him. The true differences between their species are illustrated in this heartbreaking situation where a lonely Aeryn finally returns to Moya and discovers all her crew-mates haven't aged a day. The dramatic opportunities there could have been great.

Or they could've literally done any plot that didn't involve Aeryn loving someone else and having a family and life totally removed from John and the rest of the crew. At one point John mentions that he spent time searching the entire region of space they were stuck in. That sounds far more interesting than what we got, at least from a dramatic standpoint. Or perhaps I'm just upset that this story wasn't done in a way that really utilized the mist/time travel plot device. Even if they had stretched the story out over several episodes, in the end the reset would've been incredibly frustrating.

That's the second big issue I have with this one though, the total reset. Zhaan and Stark are the only ones who remember anything, so the growth Aeryn achieved was for nothing. It could've been interesting to have all her issues with being a Peacekeeper resolved in one episode. What if she had been the only one who remembered, and had to live with the idea that the family she created might not even exist anymore? It could've given her a totally new way to act around John. Okay, that probably wouldn't have been a good thing, but damn -- this episode was pointless otherwise.

Bits:

The locket was such a forced symbol of the unexpressed love between John and Aeryn that even that moment at the end where John opens the locket and realizes that he was the love of her life fell flat.

Where the hell did Stark come from? He's been gone since the escape from Scorpius, then all of a sudden he's just there. Hasn't Moya Starburst like a dozen times by now? How did he find them?

The two planet thing made no sense. It was a plot device put in solely to create character confusion.

Why didn't anyone listen to Aeryn?

The woman cast to play Aeryn's grand-daughter had the right look and her performance was perfectly fine, but in the end the character was mostly superfluous.

The Jothee reveal didn't flow with the rest of the episode and felt tacked onto the end. It should've been something revealed at the beginning that D'Argo had to struggle with throughout the episode. He could've been angry about being stuck in the mists instead of looking for his son.

Perhaps I'm being unfair, but I can't help when something doesn't work for me.

2 out of 4 Massive plot flaws

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.

1 comment:

Juliette said...

I don't have the same issues with this one - I like the romantic aspects and I have no problem with the reset button (I am a Voyager fan after all) - I do remember it being just a bit slow and slightly dull, not as sweepingly romantic or tragic as Farscape is capable of.