Farscape 2.20-2.21: “Liars, Guns & Money,” Parts 2-3

Although, as it turns out, Rorg is mostly useless in terms of what they need him for, as it is female Vorcarians who have the advanced senses of smell, he refuses to sell out Crichton, even after Natira captures him, and only finally reveals any information after she takes out his eye. This is another particularly dark, difficult scene to watch. Although one could argue that karmically, Rorg deserves this treatment, given that the first time we met him, he was mercilessly torturing D’Argo, simply by putting ourselves in his position, the series manages to elicit sympathy for him, along with–again–how unbending he is in his assertion that he doesn’t know who Crichton is, along with the heartless way Natira refers to him as “Animal,” as if he’s nothing but an insect for her to dismantle. In the end, when he dies, he is again surprisingly human, his last words being to beg D’Argo to let his mate know what happened to him. Meanwhile, when Teurac realizes that he can’t conjure up a fireball to take out the generator, he instead sacrifices himself for them all, shooting himself and thus igniting a huge explosion. Rather than spending the rest of his life feeling old and weak, he instead decides to go out in a blaze of glory, helping his new comrades in the process. Meanwhile, Bekhesh continues to fight by their side the whole way through, unquestioningly, and is an enormous asset in the final fight. The episode weaves in a final dark irony when he leaves, thanking them for teaching him to kill again–another brilliant Farscape ambiguity, which leaves them feeling uneasy despite their triumph–but by the same token, he also agrees to bring the families of their deceased compatriots their share of the wealth, and from his manner while doing it, it really does seem as if he is going to honor that.

In a related twist, it seems that Crais might actually have changed after all, insomuch as he initially refuses to allow Talyn to take part in the fight, specifically because he doesn’t want to use Talyn for violence. He chides Aeryn for encouraging him to do so, after she had so repeatedly argued for him to teach Talyn to be peaceful, and argues against her moral relativism here. Now, as usual, it’s hard to tell if Crais is being honest. He, of course, also has a good reason to be so unwilling to help, which is that Crichton is far from his favorite person and he doesn’t want to stick out his neck for him. On the other hand, however, Aeryn actually goes so far as to offer herself to Crais if he will help her save John, and he still rejects it. The old Crais might just have taken her up on it, without question, although there is also the chance that the reason is that, although he wants Aeryn, he doesn’t want her to be with him simply because she really loves Crichton. But, again, it does show some level of growth, as well as potential commitment to his principles, and the very fact that she even makes her desperate offer shows just how much she does love Crichton, even though she hasn’t been able to vocalize it yet…at least in this timeline (see “The Locket”).

In the end, Crais does come to help, Talyn providing the firepower that finally destroys the Shadow Depository, demonstrating just how powerful this kid has become, and yet lest we think that Crais was pulling a Han Solo in returning to save the day after initially refusing, Crais instead confirms that this was all Talyn and against his wishes. Despite their link, Talyn still thinks for himself and wanted to save his mother and her friends. And as in “The Ugly Truth,” this proves to be both comforting and troubling. On the one hand, it’s good to know how devoted Talyn is to his mother, despite all that has happened. He does care for her and the people who travel aboard her. On the other hand, however, he is an incredibly dangerous piece of machinery and while Crais’ inability to control him could be seen as a good thing, there’s a downside. No one as immature and young as Talyn should have this much firepower at his control. It helps them in this situation, but it can and will cause trouble in the future, as well. Significantly, however, this also provides another sign that Crais has grown. It would have been the simplest thing in the world for him to have lied to Aeryn and acted as if it were his decision to come back, as it would have made him look fantastic to her, and yet he tells the truth, which is at least food for thought.

Other odds and ends:

–I’ve always loved John’s references to Mel Brook’s classic film comedy, Young Frankenstein, in this one, particularly when he calls Natira, “Frau Blucher”.

–Aside from “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” which is a slightly different situation, this is the first episode in which John and Harvey are seen meeting inside John’s head within a memory of his, either from a place from his actual life or a piece of pop culture. Here, they are by a lake where Crichton’s dad used to take him fishing and thus a sentimental spot for him. The moment in which Scorpy links into Crichton’s brain and meets the neural clone is one of those times in Farscape, where if I step outside of the show for a second, I can completely see why an outsider might find it incredibly hard to follow. If you saw that moment out of context and with no knowledge of previous episodes, it might be massively confusing. “Wait, why are there two of him?” I love Farscape for trusting its audience to accept these sorts of complicated scenarios but it is also the very sort of thing that often made it seem inaccessible to people who were more interested in an easier, comfort food show like Stargate, which trounced it in the ratings as soon as SciFi picked it up.

–Of all of the darkly funny/borderline disturbing things they’ve had Rygel do over the course of the show, practically designed to tell viewers, “I am not a Muppet,” my very favorite of all time might be in this episode, when he parades around with Durka’s head on a stick. He (a puppet) has effectively turned the corpse of his enemy into his own, inanimate puppet. It is gruesome and savage, but it’s also wonderful, and a fitting fate for this butcher who, if he’s anything like Crais was back when he was in power, likely adorned his walls with similar trophies of enemies he’d slaughtered.

–I’ve also always found the climactic battle sequence in which Aeryn’s night vision goggle fails to work to also be absolutely brilliant, firstly because the frell-up is so very Farscape, secondly because the POV shot through her busted goggle is a fantastic example of experimental filmmaking, she only seeing the fight one frozen, disconnected frame at a time increasing the tension of the moment while also allowing the show to save some money on actually staging a more elaborate sequence, and thirdly because it has two terrific comedic pay-offs: (a) that Aeryn finally fixes it as soon as the fight is done and (b) the revelation that Aeryn had fairly effortlessly held her own in the fight, even doing so completely blind, a very welcome piece of levity given the otherwise potentially oppressive darkness of the rest of the latter part of the episode.

–Another important point: John assumes that Scorpius wants to use the wormhole knowledge to take over the galaxy, but Scorpy surprises here by saying that that isn’t his goal at all. We won’t learn his actual, full motivation until next season’s “Incubator”. It is an interesting moment, however, in which we realize that Scorpy doesn’t see himself as a villain, as difficult as that might be to comprehend, particularly in a story like this.

Next: “Die Me Dichotomy”

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Author: Robert Berg

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  1. Farscape 2.22: “Die Me, Dichotomy” | DreamPunk - […] continuing our journey with John Crichton last week with “Liars, Guns, and Money,” Parts II and III, our Farscape re-watch continues this week…

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