Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

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Sexual Protocol on a Living Ship

In its first two seasons, Farscape had already been extraordinarily frank about sex for a space opera but the third season takes things even further. At the same time, Moya's crew might have to deal with a dangerous solar storm.

Season Three, Episode Two: Suns and Lovers

Taking their Shadow Depository loot to a space mall, the crew's shopping experience is interrupted by calamity when the station is rocked by a storm. In the chaos, Moya's crew are compelled to play heroes (for once) and help repair the station as well as rescue some children trapped on one of the levels.

Crichton (Ben Browder) and Aeryn (Claudia Black) take on the latter task, and Aeryn takes the opportunity of being alone with Crichton to propose having recreational sex despite not committing to a real relationship. This connects two Peacekeeper ideas previously established about relationships--we'd seen in "The Way We Weren't" that casual sex was common and encouraged in the ranks but later we learned that Peacekeepers are not permitted to form attachments, or relationships of commitment and emotional depth. This seems like a much more sustainable idea in a culture built around it, the idea of Aeryn pulling it off with Crichton (pardon the pun) sounds less feasible.

Meanwhile, Chiana (Gigi Edgley), Jothee (Matt Newton), and D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe) are busy proving Aeryn's point. Chiana and Jothee's rapport has indeed led to the two having sex with each other and they're discovered in the act by Rygel (Jonathan Hardy) who now has a hidden perv cam.

He clearly seems to be getting off on it but when he confronts Chiana in the corridor later he indignantly calls her a slut. That's some pretty credible sexual hypocrisy for a puppet.

Of course, D'Argo eventually finds out and spirals into drunken depression. I don't feel a lot of sympathy for him--early in the episode, when D'Argo bought some tattoos for himself and Chiana, Crichton tried to gently tip off the big Luxan that Chiana might not be marriage material. We've seen her try to frell Crichton a few times since she and D'Argo had been together and she never seemed especially enthusiastic whenever D'Argo talked about plans for the future. It seems like the Chiana who exists in D'Argo's mind is a bit different from the real Nebari girl. Similarly, his attachment to Jothee is based on the fact that the two were separated for most of Jothee's life. Arguably, D'Argo's even less acquainted with his son than he is with his girlfriend.

This returns us to the first season theme of characters trying to find their way back to their homes and their cultures. D'Argo's imposition of his cultural concepts is so strong it blinds him to the real nature of the people he's dealing with. Chiana and Jothee, as young people who have both been exiled from and in some ways rejected their heritage have an easier time freeing their minds. Though whether that's ultimately good enough for Chiana remains to be seen. As for Jothee, this is the last we see of him until the Peacekeeper Wars when he curiously seems to have gone full Luxan.

One might be forgiven for thinking this episode was conceived after 9/11 because it features essentially a suicide bomber from a religious cult (Leanna Walsmann) but this episode first aired in the U.S. in March 2001. Which makes the character's treatment in the episode rather curious--she's finally foiled in a way that makes her look ridiculous and even Pilot (Lani Tupu) indulges in a very uncharacteristic sadistic laugh at her demise. Altogether, this episode does not paint a rosy picture of commitment to cultural values, unless maybe it's Aeryn's.

. . .

Farscape is available now on Amazon Prime.

This entry is part of a series I'm writing on
Farscape for the show's 20th anniversary. My previous reviews can be found here (episodes are in the order intended by the show's creators rather than the broadcast order):

Season One:

Episode 1: Pilot

Episode 2: I, E.T.

Episode 3: Exodus from Genesis

Episode 4: Throne for a Loss

Episode 5: Back and Back and Back to the Future

Episode 6: Thank God It's Friday Again

Episode 7: PK Tech Girl

Episode 8: That Old Black Magic

Episode 9: DNA Mad Scientist

Episode 10: They've Got a Secret

Episode 11: Till the Blood Runs Clear

Episode 12: Rhapsody in Blue

Episode 13: The Flax

Episode 14: Jeremiah Crichton

Episode 15: Durka Returns

Episode 16: A Human Reaction

Episode 17: Through the Looking Glass

Episode 18: A Bug's Life

Episode 19: Nerve

Episode 20: The Hidden Memory

Episode 21: Bone to be Wild

Episode 22: Family Ties

Season Two:

Episode 1: Mind the Baby

Episode 2: Vitas Mortis

Episode 3: Taking the Stone

Episode 4: Crackers Don't Matter

Episode 5: Picture If You Will

Episode 6: The Way We Weren't

Episode 7: Home on the Remains

Episode 8: Dream a Little Dream

Episode 9: Out of Their Minds

Episode 10: My Three Crichtons

Episode 11: Look at the Princess, Part I: A Kiss is But a Kiss

Episode 12: Look at the Princess, Part II: I Do, I Think

Episode 13: Look at the Princess, Part III: The Maltese Crichton

Episode 14: Beware of Dog

Episode 15: Won't Get Fooled Again

Episode 16: The Locket

Episode 17: The Ugly Truth

Episode 18: A Clockwork Nebari

Episode 19: Liars, Guns, and Money, Part I: A Not So Simple Plan

Episode 20: Liars, Guns, and Money, Part II: With Friends Like These . . .

Episode 21: Liars, Guns, and Money, Part III: Plan B

Episode 22: Die Me, Dichotomy

Season Three:

Episode 1: Season of Death

Tags: farscape, sci fi, science fiction, television, tv show
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