Rashomon Effect, this episode was an exploration of character that turned out to be one of the most successful episodes of the season.
There was a bit of set up before the credits establishing the situation. Basically, Crais had come to the realization that Talyn was a bit unstable and far too prone to use his canons first and ask questions later. This was an interesting choice for Crais because it showed a level of concern and responsibility for Talyn that actually gave him a touch of sympathy. Of course, most of that sympathy was destroyed when Crais ran off, abandoning the crew in a pod after Talyn suddenly fired on a Placavian ship for no apparent reason.
Aeryn's perspective was probably my least favorite. She respected Crais to a degree and recognized a bit of her own struggle in him. Unfortunately, her interpretation of Zhaan, John, and D'Argo was a bit troubling. She seemed to view Zhaan as indecisive and prone to over think things, and D'Argo as aggressive and overbearing, and almost incapable of rationally considering the situation in a peaceful way.
Probably the most interesting and unfortunate thing was how she viewed John. While she obviously respects his council, strength and presence, she painted him as paranoid and unyielding, and unable to get over his hatred of Crais and consider the possibility that he might be telling the truth. Or at the very least she is tired of Crichton's opinion of Crais. Overall, Aeryn's version of events felt very subdued and the few moments of aggression that showed up were easily kept in check. Which fits the calm deliberate personality that Aeryn is growing into.
Zhaan conferred with Stark almost exclusively, and treated him as an equal. She saw Crais as thoughtful, reasonable, and almost an ally. The rest of the crew... well, she seemed to view them almost like her children. At very least she sees Crichton, D'Argo, and Aeryn as all simple warriors who need everything to be explained to them. She didn't seem to consider D'Argo's outburst as anything more than a fit of hyper-rage induced by stress over his missing son. Suffice it to say, it was a touch disappointing to see her opinion of her crewmates, but not unexpected. She does consider herself above them to an extent. That, or she was lying to protect everyone. It's kind of hard to tell.
Stark's point of view was the most inconsistent with the rest. One thing is for sure, he very much likes and respects D'Argo, Aeryn, and especially John. It was also the shortest segment, skipping over most of the dialogue seen in the other stories. This is probably because we don't know a lot about Stark, and his point of view isn't as relevant, especially in this episode which was mostly an exploration of our core characters.
D'Argo definitely has an ego issue, and thinks of his friends as almost his subordinate crew. Although John basically just supported everything D'Argo said, and Stark was practically a raving lunatic, at least none of the characters felt totally off. The main difference between his story and the rest was what he thought about Stark's guilt. Also that D'Argo needs to be the center or leader of the group. Still his viewpoint was totally in character, and it did illustrate more about how he views himself over how he views the rest of the crew.
Of course John had the most realistic interpretation of the events, probably because he knew exactly what happened from the get go. Switching off the manual controls allowed Talyn to act independently, and in a way the ship did a noble thing by trying to protect Moya. John's way of seeing the rest of the crew is remarkably close to how we see the crew. This could be because he's the viewpoint character, and it could also be because he still views himself as an outsider to an extent. Still, he did conceal the most important detail about Talyn's involvement in the shooting from the Placavians, even with the threat of death looming over his testimony.
The fun change up to Crichton's testimony was the recordings of the rest of the crew overlaid on his face. The other big detail was an interesting fact about the Placavians, that they all have exactly the same perspective, the entire race could testify and produce exactly the same results. That's kind of a fascinating detail. Does that mean they all have exactly the same kind of mind? John also got a lot of the details incorrect. Although the names of things aren't really important, it's a fun character detail for him.
When John woke up, he was immediately worried about Aeryn. Then he tested the boundaries of his confinement. In contrast, D'Argo woke up angry and went right for Stark's throat.
The way Stark was executed looked like a particularly awful way to die. His mysterious face light was darkened during his execution too. Did this have something to do with the abilities he mentioned that might allow him to survive dispersion? I thought Stark's sacrifice was noble, and definitely made his character a bit more sympathetic.
The introduction of the Placavians was well done: shadowy figures with large heads and strange crutches, screechy voices and something dripping from them that proved that the liquid Aeryn was suspended from was a kind of acid. Their makeup was well done, but the ooze covering their faces wasn't too convincing.
The Chiana and Rygel plot was mostly filler, although I liked some of the moments between Pilot and Chiana. Her level headed approach to convince Pilot and Moya to go back for the rest of the crew was a really nice moment.
The interrogation chair looked really uncomfortable.
The emotional fallout scenes were a lovely capper to the episode, each member of the crew expressing their reaction to Stark's sacrifice. D'Argo was unable to understand why Stark acted the way he did, Aeryn wondered if Stark might've survived, and Zhaan of course grieved.
Crais: "You don't believe me, Crichton."
Crichton: "Only because I know you."
Crichton: "And that's how I saw it. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye."
Crichton: "Sooner or later, one of us is going to have to find a bathroom."
D'Argo: (laughing hysterically, then dead serious) "I really wish you hadn't said that."
D'Argo: "Where the Hezmana are we?"
Crichton: "Some kind of floating hubcap."
D'Argo: "Hoob cap? (shakes his head) Where's Aeryn?"
Crichton: "Good question."
D'Argo: "Bad answer."
Rygel: "Pilot, has Talyn grown bigger since last we saw him?"
Chiana: "Ahh, his cannon sure looks bigger!"
Crichton: "This is the weirdest hoosegow I've ever been in- slammer, clink, jail, prison."
Aeryn: "Just how many have you been in?!"
Crichton: "Just what are you implying?"
Crichton: "Oh, God! I missed you so much! I was so worried about you! (whispering) Play along."
Aeryn: (flatly) "I missed you too John. Hold me."
I thought this was a very strong episode, with a lot of really good character moments.
3 1/2 out of 4 Points of view
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.