Farscape 3.01-3.02: “Season of Death”; “Suns and Lovers”

And, of course, there are a few other consequences, as well. One is the fact that one of the Interions was killed in order to save Crichton, and since we later learn that Jool didn’t have the disease, there remains a small chance he could have survived being revived as well, even though her other cousin does not. And either way, there’s an ethical problem surrounding the fact that they don’t seem to have signed up to be donors. Before Jool or her cousin awaken, John demands that they take their “corpses” aboard Moya, perhaps to find a cure for them at some point, in order to atone for how he indirectly led to one of their deaths, which reasserts his renewed humanity. Even after all he’s been through, he really does care. And, of course, upon regaining consciousness, Jool will become a crew member for about a year.

Another major consequence is that Harvey doesn’t actually go away when the neurochip is removed, as I alluded to earlier. But although for a while, John despairs, believing the entire thing to have been an utter failure, Stark soon helps him realize that things aren’t actually as they were before. Cut off from the chip and any real power to either control John or shut off his brain as he did before, Harvey is actually now nothing but a remnant in his head. The implant had been in John’s brain so long that Harvey had effectively bled into it but is now effectively subservient to John’s whims, once he realizes it. At the start, Harvey encourages John to kill himself, in order to end both of their suffering, but it’s only later that we learn it’s because Harvey doesn’t want to stay stuck in John’s brain forever, with no one there to communicate with but him. This is what enables John to turn the tables, beat Harvey up (to offscreen audience’s cheers of “HELL, YEAH!” echoing in his head), and stuff him inside a dumpster. Once more, John is the master of his own head, thus beginning a whole new era of the John/Harvey relationship, in which what was originally a hated enemy, an almost literal devil in his head, becomes, begrudgingly a sort-of friend/dark Jiminy Cricket, someone he can conjure up to sort things out in his head. Harvey goes from being initially suicidal to actually starting to enjoy his personhood, even if it is just as a shade inside John’s head. It’s a pretty fascinating evolution.

And as far as the “real Scorpy” is concerned, the fascinating game this episode plays is to allow both our heroes and he to emerge victorious (other than the issue of Zhaan, of course). Because although Aeryn’s life is restored, John no longer has the chip in his head, and Harvey can no longer control him, Scorpius wins, as well. He manages to outsmart Grunchlk (perhaps not difficult, but still), turning him into a literal puppet with a mind control device and at one particularly disturbing point, forcing him to bite off his own finger; the Scarran spy who has been dispatched to kill Scorpy ends up being killed by John and D’Argo, which unintentionally helps him; he fakes his death at Crais’ hands, by using an overeager and overly cocky young PK pilot as a patsy, so that Crichton and the others won’t pursue him; and most importantly, he leaves the planet with the wormhole data he had been so desperate to attain. Now, what he doesn’t know is that he won’t actually know how to implement this information and will actually ironically need Crichton’s help to decipher it, but that all comes later. For now, the season which will arguably be the series’ darkest–fans have dubbed it the “Season of Death” after this episode’s title–and most wildly experimental opens in such a way that allows both sides to believe they’ve come out on top overall, at least for a time. And if anything, our heroes are the ones who seem to have drawn the short straw, as their “win” and the resurrection of one of their dearest friends means the loss of another vital one, along with the fact that John still has Scorpy in his brain, even if it proves to not be the same as it was before.

Other odds and ends:

–With this episode also comes the premiere of the new title sequence, which I love beyond reason. In addition to new, updated dialogue, which more accurately reflects where John is in his emotional journey now, referring to both the “nightmares” and “wonders” he has seen, and a new, more complex orchestration of the theme music, the clips chosen and the style truly shows off just how much the series has grown from wild and wacky space show into a dark, full-blown, grand opera of breathtaking proportions.

–I love the moment that Scorpy devours the bit of John’s brain attached to the neurochip. It’s just so twisted but so, so Scorpy.

–I also love that, the moment she comes back to life, Aeryn saves Zhaan and Stark’s lives by shooting two PKs with D’Argo’s Qualta blade. It’s a perfect encapsulation of who Aeryn is, both her badassery as well as her journey from PK herself to warrior against the PKs, fighting not for a huge, mindless system but in order to protect her friends from it.

–Browder gives an amazing reaction upon first being reunited with Aeryn, at first mimicking some of his earlier “crazy John” mannerisms, because he truly thinks that he’s once again descended into insanity, until she and D’Argo confirm for him that this is real and she is back.

–Another moment of this one I love: Aeryn shooting a hole in the Scarran, and John then stabbing him to death with an icicle. The irony of a Scarran being literally done in by cold is too perfect.

–And picking up on the chemistry from the previous episode, Chiana and Jothee finally have sex in this one. I spoke about the psychology behind this in the previous one, and here an additional element is added because, at the start, D’Argo yells at both of them, demanding they stay on Moya and not argue with him. In other words, he’s treating them both like they’re his children, which in the case of Jothee is a problem because he hasn’t had a dad in years, and in the case of Chiana is a problem because he’s her lover, not her dad. Which makes the dynamic particularly screwy, and inspires them both to rebel against him. One little writing moment that only reveals its significance on a rewatch is when D’Argo mentions that due to the cold on the planet, his nose is completely clogged and he can’t smell anything. At the time, this doesn’t seem to have particular significance, but in the next episode, his superior Luxan sense of smell will be able to detect Chiana and Jothee’s distinct musks on one another, and so the inevitable is merely being delayed here in a way that Chiana and Jothee don’t yet realize.

–There are a few excellent scenes that were unfortunately deleted from this episode but made their way to the DVD, the two best being one in which it’s revealed that Rygel is the one who swam down into the water to cut Aeryn’s body free of the chair, which is a shame to have lost from the completed product, as it’s another instance of Rygel showing his more loving side, as well as how much he really does care for Aeryn, and the second a small scene of Aeryn and Pilot reuniting. While there’s nothing groundbreaking in the latter scene, it had seemed an unfortunate oversight to not have included a scene of these deeply bonded friends reconnecting, so it’s nice to know they at least thought of it, even if it couldn’t be kept due to time constraints.

Author: Robert Berg

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  1. Farscape 3.03-3.04: “Self-Inflicted Wounds,” Parts 1-2 | DreamPunk - […] continuing our journey with John Crichton last week with “Season of Death” and “Suns and Lovers,” our Farscape re-watch continues this week with…

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