And so on the one hand, the others are right to be furious with Crichton here, while on the other, D’Argo at least behaved no better when he faced a similar decision recently (significantly, Zhaan is more willing to accommodate John, which I think is at least partially due to her regret, though she also of course has her own agenda, which I’ll discuss later). After D’Argo is captured by the Vorcarians, Crichton saves his life, although D’Argo doesn’t initially see it that way. John had actually very cleverly managed to embed himself among them by pretending to be a bounty hunter himself, making up for his lack of physical strength to match theirs by sounding as loud, gruff, and mean as he possibly can. He manages, through sheer strength of will, to trick them into submitting to him, by acting the role of the alpha dog, demonstrating remarkable bravery since they could tear him apart, as well as smarts.
When they bring in D’Argo and start torturing him, cutting one of his tentacles with a serrated knife, causing black blood to flow from the wound, John says that he’ll continue the interrogation, squeezing the wound until the blood runs clear (another example of an earlier, carefully laid piece of mythology–this one from “Throne for a Loss”–paying off later). But Luxan’s tentacles happen to be extremely sensitive, and so from D’Argo’s POV, Crichton is torturing him, and even putting aside his good intentions, he blames him for getting them all into the situation in the first place.
This inspires a fantastic argument between Crichton and D’Argo where they lay all of their cards on the table for the first time, D’Argo admonishing him for failing him every time he starts to emotionally let down his guard with him, and John finally telling him to his face that he’s tired of constantly having to prove himself to him–as he told Zhaan in “Exodus from Genesis”. What’s particularly interesting, though, is that in simply admitting that Crichton’s inspired him to let down his guard, D’Argo is indirectly saying that he had considered friendship with him. And even though the decidedly unsentimental text of this scene ends with John and him agreeing that while they may not ever be friends, at least they can be allies, ending on an Earth handshake, the subtext–which they may not even consciously realize–is that they are becoming friends.
John defined it for him in military terms–ever since Zhaan gave him that pep talk in “Exodus,” he has become particularly good at eventually finding the right language with which to speak to various people, such as with the Vorcarians–which leads D’Argo to treat him as he would an ally, which also happens to be not dissimilar to how one treats a friend, and so the true seeds of their best-friendship starts here. This is the last time D’Argo truly considers leaving Crichton behind somewhere. And so, as with the harsh lesson learned at the end of “DNA Mad Scientist,” at least something good does come from this experience.
Other odds and ends:
–Furlow is a fantastic character. Firstly, it’s wonderful that the kind-of-greasy mechanic is a woman, and that she’s as shady and conniving as any similar male mechanic character in a sci-fi show would be, and even more so given that she’s depicted as being significantly smarter than the average male mechanic character in this sort of story. The way she plays only slightly dumb while implying with every line that she’s much more aware of exactly what’s going on is terrific. It’s an excellent, extremely memorable performance by Magda Szubanski, and sure enough, she will return in Season 3.
–We get yet another clue about Zhaan’s biological status as a plant (and only an episode before we meet a lot more Delvians in “Rhapsody in Blue”) here, when it comes to her photogasms. That’s right: intense sunlight can actually cause her to writhe in ecstasy. Virginia Hey plays all of Zhaan’s material here brilliantly, as she blissfully luxuriates in the golden rays of the solar flares. This is yet another early moment that is so very Farscape, depicting an already very sensual alien character essentially masturbating–on a spiritual level, no less!–for nearly an entire episode. Zhaan is serenely joyful here to an extent we haven’t seen before, which surely goes even further towards helping her regain her spiritual balance, although, also in true Farscape fashion, that will be threatened again in the next episode. Her being very playfully seductive with Rygel is also a lovely and funny twist on her more calculated, dark attempt to seduce him in “DNA Mad Scientist”. It’s also cool to learn another Delvian Pa’u power, when she is able to mystically hide herself and her scent from the Vorcarians.
–It’s also great to see Aeryn being forced to use her brain again to solve a problem. Although her eyesight is temporarily gone, she comes up with the idea of digitally manipulating the beacon to make it seem like Crais has called off the bounty. Claudia Black also has a great moment when Aeryn first finds the secret message, in which Crais promises to be merciful with her if she’ll turn herself and the others in. Even intellectually knowing Crais would backstab her if she did, she momentarily entertains the idea, at least allowing herself to imagine how it would feel to go home, just as John did this week. It’s a quiet but important scene, which again underscores the fact that, although John may be far from home, Aeryn’s is the one that seems to be truly lost forever.
Next: “Rhapsody in Blue” and “The Flax”
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