Farscape: Twice Shy

"My plans suck. People die. It's always a mess."

Chiana tries to do a good deed but, this being Farscape, it blows up in her face.

I'm horribly arachnophobic, so any episode featuring a giant spider is going to give me some chills! Talikaa does a good job of stirring up emotions among the crew before she grows eight legs, with results that range from the dramatic to the hilarious (Chiana testing the fact that she's lost her sex drive, which is comedy gold). Her vicious attack on Sikozu also brings out Scorpius' sort-of-tender side (as in, he immediately swears horrible vengeance). I'm fascinated by the relationship between these two, and by the way they seem to feel for each other while also, undoubtedly, using each other.

The quote at the top of the page isn't from Chiana, although she was the one who brought Talikaa on board; it's from John. Crichton is in a downward spiral – he's affected by Talikaa and starts to despair, losing his hope and fight, but it takes a while for anyone to realise what she's done, as he's not in good shape anyway. He's taking drugs from Noranti to help him forget about Aeryn – and eventually Aeryn has finally had enough and confronts him about it...

For me, the rest of the episode is honestly completely unimportant because it's all about that final scene between John and Aeryn, when he comes clean, explains that they are being spied on by Scorpius, and they kiss. For one thing, the two lead characters are actually communicating honestly and openly with each other – they'd have had a lot less trouble over the years if they'd done that more often! But even that isn't the most important thing. The most important thing is that John and Aeryn are finally, properly (albeit secretly) together.

Crichton and Aeryn is one of my favourite romantic pairings in television history. I can't think of another couple with the sheer light-up-the-screen chemistry these two have. Of course, it helps that they're running around in black leather most of the time!

But it's more than that. The writing is just as important. However frustrating the endless delays and roadblocks to this relationship have been, they have felt real. Not literally – it's unlikely too many people have struggled to deal with the surviving clone of their lover reminding them too much of his exact duplicate – but in the characterisation of John and Aeryn and their reactions to all the crazy things that have happened to them. And the acting has been phenomenal – Ben Browder and Claudia Black have sold every twist and turn and been completely convincing.

To see this real, complex, heartfelt and also extremely hot relationship finally come to fruition is so, so satisfying. I also remember the palpable sense of relief I felt at the time that Crichton had been faking his coldness all along. The writers and actor hadn't back-pedalled that far after all, this wasn't another manufactured delay – it was a carefully thought-out plot, both in universe (by Crichton) and outside it (by the writers). And the absolute and complete, entirely unspoken, understanding between Crichton and Aeryn once he's explained the situation is just the cherry on the cake.

Bits and pieces

 - Aeryn still scares John a little bit. Of course.

 - There are a lot of hints of other SFF classics in here: Talikaa's MO of taking away a primary character trait matches Red Dwarf's Polymorph, while a bad guy making an astute observation about a romantic couple has echoes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

 - Only on Farscape would everyone happily sit around and eat the bad guy at the end. Love it.

Quotes

Talikaa: You are hers and she is yours. Or am I wrong?
Crichton: No, you're right. You're absolutely right.

Crichton: Along came a spider, exploded beside her!

The final few minutes of this episode are quite possibly my favourite scene in all of Farscape, so I'm giving this four out of four secret plans just for that, even though most of the episode is, in all honesty, a bit more run of the mill!

Juliette Harrisson is a freelance writer, classicist and ancient historian who blogs about Greek and Roman Things in Stuff at Pop Classics

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

I remember loving this episode and for all the reasons you mentioned, Juliette. Lovely review.