September 9th, 2019

Then Again

All the Aliens Together

A call back to some of the best makeup and puppet work from Farscape's first season happens when Crichton decides to assemble a team for another raid on the Shadow Depository, this time to rescue D'Argo's son.

Season 2, Episode 20: Liars, Guns, and Money part II: With Friends Like These . . .

The previous episode ended with the crew making off with a lot of loot, ready to bid at the slave auction where D'Argo's son is being held. But when they arrive, they find Scorpius (Wayne Pygram) has beat them to it. He offers a deal--Crichton (Ben Browder) for D'Argo's son, Jothee (Matt Newton).

After being introduced in the first season through flashback, and appearing in a couple more flashbacks and images, Jothee finally properly enters the story here. In the clutches of Scorpius and Natira (Claudia Karvan), he receives some verbal abuse from Braca (David Franklin), Scorpius' second in command, for being a half-breed. Scorpius overhears the remark and asks Braca if he has a problem with half-breeds--a good question, considering Scorpius is himself half Scarran and half Sebacean.

More precisely, as Natira puts it with a kind of sinister feigned innocence, Scorpius' Sebacean mother was raped by his Scarran father--she asks Jothee if that was the same in his case. There's an interesting powerplay behind the way racism is used in conversation here. First Braca reflexively attempts to intimidate Jothee with the typical Peacekeeper attitude about race, then Scorpius knocks Braca off-balance by rejecting the premise of his racism--this functions as a casual display of dominance for Scorpius. And then Natira, an alien herself, picks up on the subtext and makes it clear to Jothee that she'll buy into the idea of half-breeds being the inevitable product of rape by brutish aliens. It makes no sense which is also part of the intimidation tactic--Scorpius and Natira walk into the room and they immediately take control of all of the logic.

This is another episode written by Naren Shankar, whose previous episode, "The Way We Weren't", dealt heavily with indoctrinated Peacekeeper ideas of racial identity. Now he brings the idea to D'Argo and his family. Anthony Simcoe as D'Argo gives a surprisingly passionate performance in a scene where he tells Chiana (Gigi Edgley) how close he came to trading Crichton for Jothee. "Crichton is your friend," says Chiana. But Jothee, replies D'Argo, "is my blood. Why isn't that enough?"

This is a marker of how far the crew's relationships have evolved since the first season. In the beginning, most of the crew would probably have sold out any other member of the crew in an instant for the chance of being reunited with their family, home, or people. But the crew of Moya no longer operate on that level alone--they have become a family.

Meanwhile, the loot turns out to be an infestation of metal eating bugs, an inconvenience since Crichton, Aeryn (Claudia Black), Rygel (Jonathan Hardy), and D'Argo are each alone rounding up cohorts for a raid on the Shadow Depository and these mercenaries need to be paid somehow. Aeryn tracks down one of the more impressive aliens from season one, the fire-breathing Sheyang.

This all starts to come together into a nice Dirty Dozen/Ocean's 11 style plot. In the process, Rygel finally gets his revenge on Durka (David Wheeler). One needs to remember just how long Durka tortured Rygel--around a hundred cycles, if I remember right. It's a sudden and unexpected bit of catharsis for the little Dominar and, as we'll see later, he's happy to carry the memento.

. . .

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