Farscape: Suns and Lovers

Aeryn: "Frell me dead."

A strange combination of disaster film tropes and deep interpersonal drama, this episode was uneven at best, despite having a couple of strong character moments.

Things start off with Moya docked at a commerce station situated near a religiously important star system called the Twin Suns of Qell. Through exposition throughout the episode, we find out that there were originally three such stations and the other two were destroyed under mysterious circumstances, drumming up the idea that all three were cursed. Then the third station is damaged in a massive solar storm, and things go sideways for the crew.

The A-Plot primarily dealt with the fallout from the damage the storm inflicted on the station and Moya. Aeryn searches for children trapped in a part of the station, Zhaan and Stark try to help the bartender impaled by support beam, while Chiana, D'Argo and John spend a good chunk of the episode trying to free Moya from the docking lines she was tangled up in. On paper, all those things are fine, and even in execution some of them are well done (although the sets and special effects were a little underwhelming).

Even the mystery at the center of the story, dealing with the whys and hows the stations were all destroyed, was mildly interesting but not really engaging. I didn't really care for Borlik, the villain of the piece, but her religious motivations and strange gravity powers were kind of cool, and a little bizarre. What didn't really work for me was all of these pieces working together, because there was no real cohesive plot.

That being said, the real strength of this episode was in the B-plots, focusing on the developments between our two primary romances (John/Aeryn and D'Argo/Chiana). John and Aeryn are still kind of circling each other, unsure of how they can work as a couple or even if they want to pursue that kind of a relationship. Although a bit frustrating, given everything they have gone through recently, it is nice to have even a small step towards the two of them finally coming together, even if at the end of the episode it got delayed yet again.

On the other hand, there is the massive drama dealing with Jothee and Chiana having an affair. Both of their motivations made sense, and I never expected Chiana to simply marry D'Argo and go fulfill his dream of a quiet life on a farm. It was just the awful way she went about sabotaging the relationship that hurt the most. Anthony Simcoe had some pretty amazing scenes dealing with the emotional fallout from finding out about their tryst. From his drunk walk on the surface of Moya, to watching the two of them on the holoshell confess to each other why they slept together while quietly sobbing, it's hard to pull off that kind of emotion under that much makeup, but it honestly made the episode worth watching for me.

Bits:

Thomas Holesgrove got to use his real voice for the first time as Moordil, the ill-fated bartender. He is a mainstay of the series, playing several characters throughout its run.

Borlik's makeup was probably the most interesting aspect of the character, with bright yellow eyes and patterns on her face that blended into her hair. It was a simple makeup, but effective.

I loved how Pilot was almost manically gleeful sending Borlik to her death. With that cackle of a laugh, he showed some of his inner darkness, which we rarely get to see.

Quotes:

Borlik: "You know, I heard he destroyed a Peacekeeper Gammak Base. Murdered an entire Nebari battalion, even laid waste to a shadow depository. Guy was a devil. He raped and pillaged, he popped eyeballs."
Zhaan: "Calm yourself, Stark. Please. You're the expert here. You've witnessed more death than anyone else. So many dissatisfied souls dying before they felt ready."

Stark: "Yes. I'm an expert on dying... I'm just not an expert on you dying."

While the A-plot was not super thrilling, the long term importance of the B-plots made up for some of it.

2 out of 4 relationships gone sideways
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J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.

4 comments:

Mallena said...

Not the best episode, especially following a very good one. Sounds like Aeryn is having second thoughts about not getting physical with John, can't blame her for that.

Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

This episode is actually one of my favorites, mainly because for me the Chiana/D'Argo/Jothee plot is the main plot, and I'm a sucker for brutal emotional drama. This is probably the worst thing that ever happens on the show to D'Argo, and it has consequences reaching over seasons.

However I do agree that the designed "A-plot" leaves a lot to be desired. Thanks for the review ;-)

Unknown said...

Poor Jothee. This episode makes me hate D'Argo. No child should be treated that way by their parent

Lynda said...

This episode is mostly character study, i found it hard to really hard to invest much in themotive for Borlick's terrorist plot to destroy the station. Although i did enjoy hearing of Crichton's growing reputation (inaccuracies and all) in the Uncharted Territories and the way Pilot took her out by detaching the panel/door she was attached to.

Pilot's maniacal laugh was great, Pilot is growing in confidence to speak his mind not just be subservient to the crew.

Rygel was revealed to be a creepy old voyer, watching the video feed of Chiana and Jothee having sex a little too long and intently. Then acted all morally superior and quite mean when he tells Chiana to keep her legs closed. Am i the only one who finds it odd that Rygel wasnt on the commerce station he is usually lookimg for a deal?

Back in Look At The Princess Chiana and D'Argo learned they werent compatible wrt having a family, at that point I thought both were on the same page about the nature of their relationship being temporary. Yet now that Jothee is back, D"Argo wants to settle down into a very quiet life unlikely to suit either Jothee or Chiana; and seems to have totally forgotten about the need to clear his name, where is the warrior we know?

We are reminded again that Chiana can be quite calculating, she used Jothee to avoid a difficult conversation with D'Argo but also very immature she didnt really think through how irreparable the fallout might be for the father and son relationship. Nor about remaining on Moya and needing to see D'Argo day after day after her actions.

That said happy Jothee is gone for now (dont really need whiney teenager on board nor Matt Newton to taint a great show) next time we will see him he is improved and matured in character and played by a different actor.

Glad D'Argo came through in the end with freeing Moya, he has been hurt deeply but hopefully finds the time, space and perspective to find some peace.

Zahn's sore were nasty but true to form she put welfare of the bartender ahead of her own concerns.

My favourite moments were of course between John and Aeryn. The tension is clearly getting to Aeryn, she suggests an emotion free friends with benefits arrangement. Unfortunately John views this as a pity offer ‘I got two hands, I can alternate, I can release all the tension I want’ of course he is running his hands down Aeryn's chest as he says this, teasing her and the viewer. If not for a failure in the pipe, I think John would have relented, as it appeared he was going to reconsider at the end had Aeryn not revoked the offer.