And now, on Farscape…
If you really wanted to know more about Scorpius and his backstory, then this is the episode for you. If you didn’t, well...
Okay, I'll admit that I had never really watched this one all the way through, before. The first time I watched it was years ago and I fast forwarded through most of it, because I thought that it was a bizarre and awkward tale. Now having watched the whole thing, I haven’t changed my mind.
Scorpius is still working on his wormhole travel problem and decides to have Crichton help him with it. Scorpy has the chip that he took out of Crichton’s brain at the end of season 2, so he implants the chip into his cooling rod system and has a little chat with Chip John.
I really didn’t like the dreamscape or whatever that was supposed to be. It was obviously just an empty set with fog machines working overtime, and different colored lights to make it more interesting; which only made it look silly. I kept expecting the cast of Starlight Express to roller skate into the scene. Chip John was also kind of obnoxious. I think maybe Ben Browder was trying to make Chipy seem different from the John who is having an emotional journey with Aeryn, and the John who is on Moya.
Scorpius’s backstory is tragic and sad, but the way it was shown just didn’t work for me. The young actor playing little Scorpy tried his best, but it was just hard to feel anything for the character who was all slimy skin, claws, and crazy Einstein hair. He was being tortured or taught life lessons, I suppose, by a female Scarran. She was really weird and there was something wrong with her face. Her lip movements didn’t match the words that she was saying. Scarrans that appear later in the series are much improved, so they must have worked on their techniques since then. There was a goofy fight between Scorpy and the Scarran which involved rods that were stuck in eyes, much flopping around, and loud dramatic music.
Amidst all that silliness, we get to see the real John or one of them anyway, on Moya. He is chasing wormholes and driving everyone crazy. D’Argo thinks that John is sexually frustrated and at loose ends, and he is not wrong. They are visited by the scientist lady who should have been with Scorpius and working for him, but she wants to defect and ride off into the non-sunset with Moya, all by herself. She will trade her secret formula for wormhole stability or phasing, or whatever, for Pilot and Moya. Pilot doesn’t think that that is a bad idea; he’d like to go deep space exploring, instead of being chased by Peacekeepers and in constant danger all the time, so why not? John and crew don’t like the idea at all, but they do have some conversations about only being guests on Moya; it’s not like they own her or anything. The question becomes moot when the scientist starts to melt anyway, and her data is proven wrong.
Scorpius does get points for exposition. We are shown what happened to his mother, why he hates Scarrans, and why he wanted to join the Peacekeepers. We find out a little more about his physiology, and why he needs the cooling rods. We were not shown how he got the cooling rod mechanism installed, or how that large of a hole in his head didn't cause brain damage. The problem, I think, is that this episode didn’t really make me care about any of that. I like Scorpius; he is a very good villain. He can be very scary, quietly charming, well spoken, rather funny, and downright demented; often at the same time. However, this episode just didn’t hit the right emotional beats and seemed like a weird dream that someone was having.
Episode VIP: Lieutenant Braca. He was so great in that scene when he had to get the chip and the overheated rod out of Scorpy’s head. His expressions were very funny as he juggled the chip and the very hot rod in his burning hands; then fumbled with the cold rod as he put it in place. I replayed that scene about three times; it was the best part of this whole thing.
I did feel bad for Scorpy’s mother. She was only 22 and was driven mad by the awful things that were done to her; then she died. That's sad.
I didn’t get the point of the whole thing with the scientist lady. Her visit to Moya just felt like filler. It did make me think about Pilot and his feelings a bit more. Pilot could have had a better life on a more peaceful journey, instead of where he is now.
During the backstory on the planet with Scorpy’s mom and her companion, I kept thinking that the set and the blond actors in their matching blue outfits looked like a dozen generic Star Trek episodes that I could think of, or maybe Logan’s Run.
Scorpius: “You know so little of me. Let’s remedy that.”
Chip John: “Let’s not and say we did.”
Scorpius: “My earliest memory...”
Chip John: “Oh, god.”
Scorpius: “...is pain.”
John: “We’re going to test it first and until it works, all she gets is a guest room.”
Chiana: “Just what we need, another guest.”
Jool: “Didn’t you come on board as a guest?”
John: “That’s the point, we’re all guests here.”
John: “If you’re here to give me another lecture, go away.”
D’Argo: “Well, if you are going to be as sour as an unmated flibisk, I will go away.”
John: “What the hell’s a flibisk?”
D’Argo: “…if you prevent it from mating, it gets very disagreeable.”
John: “Hell, who doesn’t?”
I guess I just don’t like episodes that involve a fake or dream character talking to another character about things that just don’t feel compelling. Scorpius did get some data from Chip John and we did learn some interesting things, but overall this was just weird and silly. It could have been much better; it was just not a coherent or enjoyable tale.
One out of five Flibisks
Mallena loves her DVR, her Pug, almost anything in the sci-fi, fantasy, and supernatural genres, and her family. Well, maybe not in that exact order.