Farscape: Till the Blood Runs Clear

After his module gets damaged while creating a wormhole, Crichton and Aeryn are forced to put down on a nearby planet for repairs. While waiting, they discover Crais has been placing “wanted” beacons for D’Argo, Zhaan, and Rygel throughout the Uncharted Territories, and soon find themselves pretending to be bounty hunters to protect their shipmates from Blood Trackers.

A much better effort than last week’s. Actually, from a story perspective, the episode really wasn’t all that, but the character dynamics and interactions felt so much more natural and in-character that I left this one feeling pretty happy overall.

The basic premise was decent enough. Having Crichton modify his module to attempt to create another wormhole was a good idea. Now that his initial “fish-out-of-water” flailing about is lessening, I’m glad the writers are letting him become more proactive in his search for home. And introducing a new character with an interest in using wormholes for profit could be interesting. I’m not sure when or if we’ll see Furlow again --- she was fairly entertaining, so I wouldn’t be disappointed if we did --- but just the concept that wormholes could be more than a freak phenomena in this ‘verse, and that Crichton may hold the key to controlling them, opens the door to stretch the story beyond “running from an insane military commander and looking for a way home” territory.

Speaking of that insane military commander, I really like the addition of bounty hunters to the mix. After searching fruitlessly on his own, it makes perfect sense that Crais would put a bounty on the escapees’ heads and make them the “Unchartered Territories Most Wanted.” The situation for Moya’s crew has now become that much more untenable, and this turn of events could lead to some interesting encounters in the future. That said, I did not really enjoy Crichton’s alpha dog posturing with the Blood Trackers. It was kind of funny at first (Butch and Sundance from the Hole in the Sky Gang --- ha!), but it got tiresome very quickly.

At least the run-in with the Blood Trackers led to a cathartic confrontation between Crichton and D’Argo. At this point in their misadventures, it seems to me that Crichton has more than proven his mettle and his worth, and it made little sense that D’Argo was still giving him a constant rash of grief. It was a relief to finally see those two hash out their differences; to “stimulate the blood flow,” as it were, lest it become toxic. Now that they’ve had it out and agreed to be allies, I’m hoping we’ll see a lasting change in their relationship. (We all know how seriously D’Argo takes his responsibilities to allies.) I’d really like to see an end to D’Argo’s completely irrational and self-righteous attitude towards Crichton. He had some nerve giving Crichton a hard time for wanting to pursue a chance to get home after what he did to Pilot, and I was really glad to see John call him on it.

Crichton: “I just wanted to go home.”
D’Argo: “With no matter to the cost to the rest of us.”
Crichton: “What?! Oh, right. Remind me, who chopped off Pilot’s arm so he could get a return ticket? Huh? No, wasn’t me. I was too busy saving your ass. Keeping your deepest family secrets.”

Aeryn, on the other hand, had very good reason to be upset with Crichton. He lured her out in the module without bothering to tell her he was trying to open a wormhole. Did he even consider that she might not want to dive into the first available wormhole to see where it would take them? “You’re with me on this, right?” “Oh, now it occurs to you to ask.” Very selfish, indeed.

Other Thoughts

So, solar flare + atmospheric slingshot maneuver = wormhole. Got it.

Aeryn had some nice character moments this week, first pondering Crais’s offer, then having to cope with blindness, and, finally, once again using her mind to solve a problem. It was great to see her so proud of herself for devising the holo-recording plan. “Good idea.” “Best I’ve had yet!” The gigantic smile on her face while the recording was playing was awesome.

Zhaan’s photogasms were a riot. I especially enjoyed Rygel’s reaction to it all.

Rygel: “Zhaan. Are you fully clothed?” [Cover his eyes.]
Zhaan: [Laughs.] “I’m not wearing a scrap. I’m as nude [whispering in his ear] as a newborn baby.”
Rygel: “Then go away. And don’t insult my eyes with your naked blue extremities.”
Zhaan: “Which ones in particular don’t you like? (Seductively) Show them to me.”
Rygel: “No, thank you.”
[She uncovers his eyes.]
Rygel (with eyes still closed): “Aaah! Help, help! A mad Delvian exhibitionist is forcing herself on me!”

Before we watched, I kept telling my husband the upcoming episode was the one with the “dog-faced people,” having completely forgotten that Crichton had to interact with the Blood Trackers as though they were dogs. I was more right than I realized!

During the “outstanding expanse of sand” scenes, I kept wondering if they had filmed this episode in some of the same locations as The Road Warrior.

The badass desert walking music for D’Argo’s and Zhaan’s struts towards the town made me laugh.

We got a few beats referencing Moya’s pregnancy. Note how it is already becoming a problem for the crew. “Moya doesn’t want to put her baby at risk.”

Aeryn seemed to believe the guy trying to steal the module data was a bounty hunter. Hmmm. Seemed to me that he was operating at Furlow’s behest. We know she had a strong interest in the data, and she rather conveniently killed him when the theft went awry.

Quotes

Zhaan: “Be careful, John. This star is unusually erratic.”
Aeryn: “Sounds just like Crichton.”

D’Argo: “What is a pain in the ass?”
Zhaan: “Human speak, I believe. For someone irritating, stubborn, obnoxious.”
Rygel: “A simpleton. A dolt. Idiot.”
D’Argo: “I get the idea.”
Rygel: “Moron.”

Rorf (to Crichton): “Is this your fe-male?”
Aeryn: “I am no one’s female!”

Holo-Crais: “Abandon the human criminal. Return the Leviathan. Surrender Ka D’Argo, Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan, and Dominar Rygel XVI. Comply, and you will retire … honorably. With your commission fully restored. You have my oath, as a Peacekeeper.”
Crichton: “Yeah, well we know what that’s worth.”
My thoughts exactly.

Aeryn (re: Crais): “I always take him seriously.”

Furlow: “Why don’t you go for a nice little walk outside. Take in some of the sights.”
Aeryn: “What sights?”
Furlow: “Well, if you go straight out that way, there’s a truly outstanding expanse of sand.”

Crichton: “I’m tired of sticking my hand out, only to have you snap at it.”
D’Argo: “Every time I let down my guard, you disappoint me.”
Crichton (sarcastically): “Sorry. I’m only human.”
D’Argo (somewhat chastened): “You look so much like a Peacekeeper, I often forget.”

Crichton: “This isn’t gonna work, is it? We’re never gonna be friends.”
D’Argo: “Friendship is a lot to ask.”
[Long pause.]
Crichton: “Then how about respect? We can be allies.”

Aeryn: “What he means by ‘honorable retirement’ is a radiation-induced brain fever to bring on the living death.”
Crichton: “Well, if you knew the offer was bogus, why did you even listen to it?”
Aeryn: “Because it was nice, just for a moment, to believe it was genuine. That I could go back.”

Furlow: “You know, the ability to create a stable wormhole, travel through space and time, would be … incredibly …”
Crichton: “Profitable?”
Furlow: “Probably.”

Furlow (parting shot): “You sure you don’t want that thing detailed?”

Final Analysis: Not the strongest story overall, but a return to form in the character interactions department makes ‘Till the Blood Runs Clear’ feel like a much better episode than the last outing. Hopefully, this marks a step forward in the relationship between D’Argo and Crichton.

Jess Lynde is a highly engaged television viewer. Probably a bit too engaged.

4 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

Again, apologies for the delay between new episode reviews! My backlog is starting to dwindle, so I'm stretching out the time between postings a bit. I hope to get back on a one-a-week schedule soon.

Billie Doux said...

I think you're doing great with keeping up with Farscape... says the woman who is skipping doing a Star Trek review this week. :)

You're right -- this is a decent episode. I especially loved that the stereotypical surly mechanic character was played by a hefty woman; it was fun, and she was great. And Zhaan with her photosynthesisgasms were really funny.

Emma said...

Nitpick: Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan, surely? Not Zoltar.

Love the reviews. Farscape is one of my all-time favourite series, and it's great to look at the episodes from a fresh point of view. I should probably watch the whole thing again...

Jess Lynde said...

Thanks, Emma! That was definitely a boo boo, which has now been fixed. Oy!