September 28th, 2019

Then Again

Another Wheel in Space



After lingering in pain for a few episodes, Zhaan's final episode of Farscape arrives. Of course, it's in the middle of a crisis.



Season Three, Episode Four: Self-Inflicted Wounds, Part II: Wait for the Wheel

The title comes from a story Crichton (Ben Browder) tells D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe), something he heard from his grandmother. Everyone is strapped to a wheel, sometimes it puts you face down in the mud, sometimes it lifts you up into the light. If you're going through bad times, you have to wait for the wheel. What does this mud look like?



In addition to Zhaan (Virginia Hey) being on the verge of death, it turns out the alien crew of the vessel merged with Moya are going about invisible, sabotaging the Leviathan, and there's a giant, flying snake. Plus there's still the problem of the ships being merged. This episode is one of the best showcases for the series' common, dizzying, twisting steadycam shots of crew rushing about the corridors, sometimes colliding, sometimes walking and talking, or, more often, running and talking.



Stark (Paul Goddard) starts to come off even crazier than usual even as he seems to be fitting in with the team better in repairing Moya. Goddard's performance is particularly good, making even his functional dialogue about Moya's technical problems sound like the bitter mental manifestations of a nut. Then he nearly loses control when Jool's (Tammy MacIntosh) complaints begin to drive him to distraction.



Zhaan has individual moments with most of the crew, in this episode and the previous, where each is allowed to say farewell. A lot of the emotion onscreen is genuine--both Virginia Hey and Gigi Edgley broke down in tears in their final scene together several times. Hey is good in the episode, portraying a Zhaan who's reached a peaceful conclusion to her journey of inner spiritual conflict. Even apart from Zhaan, though, the episode features many moments that make it function as a commentary on the series and the characters so far.



The most amusing example being when Jool in frustration exclaims everything she's seen so far has been "despicable" to which Crichton, with zestful irony, replies, "Welcome to the Federation Starship S.S. Buttcrack!" before rushing off to another of those steadycam shots of chaos.



The final comment comes from Zhaan, though, who says she feels she can be at peace because the crew has become "a family," bringing to a temporary conclusion the overarching theme from the first season of misfits defining a new kind of family in the absence of their homes and kindred. We'll see how long that lasts.

. . .



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

Episode 2: Suns and Lovers

Episode 3: Self-Inflicted Wounds, Part I: Would'a, Could'a, Should'a