Farscape 4.01-4.03: “Crichton Kicks”; “What Was Lost”

After continuing our journey with John Crichton last week with “Into the Lion’s Den,” Part II and “Dog with Two Bones,” our Farscape re-watch continues this week with the first 2 episodes of Season 4.

Just one important note: if you are new to Farscape, you may NOT want to partake of these posts, as I plan on including potentially major spoilers for later events. They are written not for the Farscape virgin but more for the viewer who–if not as obsessive about the show as I am–has at least seen it once through and can appreciate the bits of foreshadowing and long-term arc progression that the show sets up often far in advance.

4.01: “Crichton Kicks” Original airdate: 7 June 2002

"Crichton Kicks"

“Crichton Kicks”

I know that many people have problems with “Crichton Kicks,” and I can understand why: in many ways, it’s a deeply weird season opener that doesn’t even come close to resolving all of the dangling threads of the preceding finale, which often feels so murky and surreal that the first time I saw it, I wondered whether it was primarily composed of hallucinations, and which keeps viewers constantly off-balance. These are also the exact reasons that I love it. By this point, Farscape had long ago given up on ever appealing to a wide audience. Where other sci-fi shows might have attempted to be more welcoming to newcomers in their season premieres, scaling back on the crazy, and presenting a clearer, cleaner narrative, Farscape boldly goes in the dead opposite direction, which simultaneously reassures fans that it refuses to homogenize its art for ratings even while it promises an upcoming season that will be even stranger and more fearless than ever before. Visually, the aspect ratio switch to widescreen instantly announces a level of change, providing perfect accompaniment to the writing and artistic decisions of the episode, which go out of the way to make sure that we as viewers don’t get too comfortable. Farscape never has been and never will be “comfort food TV,” and here, it wears that as a badge of honor, loudly and proudly.

In many ways, the first handful of Season 4 episodes also seem to be a response to what happened at the start of Season 2, when the Farscape writers had hoped to keep the thread of how Moya’s crew would reunite after the fallout of the season 1 cliffhanger dangling until the second episode, but the SciFi Channel insisted they answer the questions right away, leading to their scrapping their original second season premiere and airing it later as a flashback. This time around, not only does everyone not reunite in the premiere, but it actually takes until the fifth episode for everyone to reassemble, and even given that, it takes far longer for all of the answers regarding what happened to everyone to emerge. And while this method might have created difficulties for the viewers in terms of patience when it first aired, it also allows the series to pay greater respect to the events of “Dog with Two Bones,” in which huge decisions were made, ones which it would have seemed rushed or too easy to simply tie up with a neat bow in the very next episode. By not restoring the “status quo,” so to speak, right away–and even at that, shaking up multitudes of elements, meaning the show is never exactly the same as it was–it allows the climactic events of the previous season to retain their impact.

And, in true Farscape tradition, it’s very cheeky about it, too. When the episode opens, John is in his module, just as he was at the end of the season finale, but now he has a big, bushy beard, deliberately calling to mind the series’ most despised episode, “Jeremiah Crichton” (only this time, Browder actually grew the beard, and then shaved it off on-camera in a later scene). For a split second, we are meant to think, “Wait a minute, has he been stuck in his module all of that time?!” until we realize an instant later, “No, that’s impossible. With no fuel, he would have frozen/starved/crashed/what have you.” But then John reasserts our initial thought when he says, “Pilot, if you’re there, almost out of fuel. Need a little help.” But, but…Pilot and Moya were swallowed up by a wormhole. Are they back?! What’s going on? Only then does John continue, “Look, I am trying to apologize. I accept my friends aren’t coming back from the womrhole. You’re on a beautiful old ship and I can’t leave you guys, so please let me back in! Yo! Your ladyship!” That’s when we realize and learn that this isn’t Moya nor our Pilot but instead an ancient Leviathan, Elack, and female Pilot who had come to the Leviathan burial grounds to die but had rescued John when his friends disappeared. In fact, a deleted scene from “Dog with Two Bones” had revealed this to be the very Pilot who had informed our Pilot about the mad Leviathan’s history, meaning this was likely always the plan to resolve John’s cliffhanger. I actually prefer it without that scene, however, as this way, the solution to his dilemma isn’t as immediately obvious yet it makes complete sense in retrospect.

In some ways, when we reencounter John here, he seems crazier than he has ever been before, but that also makes a great deal of sense. He has lost all of his friends and the woman he loves, who he knows is pregnant with what he assumes to be his (or at least John Crichton‘s) child, and he has spent the last number of months(?) alone on a dying, majestic but practically dessicated Leviathan with no one but his lovely but ancient and therefore often practically narcoleptic Pilot, his host of similarly corroded DRDs (a particularly great detail and bit of added mythology, that ancient Leviathans produce ancient-looking DRDs), and Harvey to keep him company, not to mention his dreams of Aeryn. With no indication that he could ever be reunited with his friends, it’s no wonder that he instead returned focus to the only obsession other than Aeryn that has driven his life the past few years: wormholes, because there is nothing left for him here. Even with that, however, he isn’t simply absorbed by his own goals. He is remarkably kind to this Pilot and cares a great deal for both Elack and her. They saved his life and he is eternally grateful, and when Elack is subsequently threatened by aliens who look a bit like Klingon pirates (and he even yells at them in Klingon!), he fights tooth and nail to help his new friends. He even forms a friendship with one of the DRDs, who he has dubbed 1812, painted red, white, and blue, and has taught to “sing” Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, who has arguably the strongest personality of any DRD we’ve ever seen. By the end of the episode, he even butts his “head” into John like a cat, in order to get him to start singing the 1812, with the two of them alternating lines.

Like “Dog With Two Bones” before it, “Crichton Kicks” has a fairly simple plot, which is by design, as it’s more of an atmospheric/psychological piece that takes stock of the current state of John Crichton, as well as one that provides an introduction to a new character, Sikozou, and begins to bring the band back together again than a plot-driven episode. The basic gist is: space pirates invade Elack, with big scary space dogs, and Crichton, along with Sikozou and a newly returned Chiana and Rygel, help defeat them. The space pirates have boarded in order to harvest “toubray,” tissue from Leviathan neural clusters, and Sikozou works for them but had actually meant to be fairly compassionate in her choice of vessel. Whereas the Grudeks would have been perfectly fine hijacking and murdering a young Leviathan (likely along with its crew), she reasoned that the burial grounds would be a good place to find an ancient, dying Leviathan who had already lived a long, full life, and so suggested they come here.

Sikozou proves to be a fascinating character over the course of her run on the series. She has some things in common with Jool, having some physical similarities, and fancying herself better and smarter than anyone else aboard, but in her case even more so as she had actually studied Leviathans in depth, although she soon discovers to her frustration that book knowledge doesn’t always equal practical application. Also unlike Jool, she doesn’t have “princess” tendencies. She just happens to think everyone else is incompetent–besides Scorpius, but that comes later. She’ll also prove to be arguably the only regular Moya crew members who so retains her own agenda that she can never really ever be trusted and never becomes a true part of the “family,” which is funny in retrospect because, at the start, she seems to be yet another person ultimately thrown aboard Moya who claims to be just in it for herself and plans on “getting her life back,” and therefore we naturally assume she’ll end up being like everybody else.

There are also some very interesting clues regarding Sikozou’s physiology that have a different, fuller context once revelations from the end of the season are taken into account, namely that she is a “bioloid,” basically an organically engineered android. For example, when she first reveals to Crichton that her body can’t accept translator microbes and that he will have to speak her language slowly to her and identify certain objects so that she can learn it, the swiftness with whcih she is able to pick it up might seem very strange. But on a later viewing, the answer seems to be that her bioloid brain is capable of processing this sort of information much faster than a regular person’s could. It similarly explains how she is able to reattach her hand after one of the dogs chomps it off, along with her ability to shift her center of gravity and walk on walls/ceilings, not to mention her air of superiority. The information about her having grown up in Scarran space as part of a slave race–she is modeled after the Kalish, who are indeed one–also pays off as the seasonal arc culminates and also explains a major reason that she comes to ally with Scorpius: they share an all-consuming desire to defeat the Scarrans.

And now we come to Chiana and Rygel, whose return in this episode is done in such an understated manner–their voice simply appearing on Crichton’s comm at the worst possible moment–that I wasn’t convinced it was really happening the night it first aired. But it turns out to be yet another example of Farscape subverting how any other show would do this sort of thing. There’s no musical swell, no big hugs or teary reunion–instead they just show up, not unlike Noranti’s mysterious appearance in the previous episode. And as we soon learn thereafter, they have returned for two reasons: (1) although they had thought they’d be safe from the Peacekeepers after getting Scorpius off their backs, as it turns out, now Grayza is hot in pursuit of all of them and has placed a huge bounty on their heads, dead or alive, and (2) Chiana’s powers have continued to evolve to the point that no longer is she seeing events a while before they occur but while they occur. She is able to basically “slow down” the present in order to see take note of minute details, but at the cost of her eyesight. Immediately after using her power, she gets blinding headaches and her eyes go temporarily gray and useless. The progression of her powers is quite fantastic, since the first times she used them, she was seeing events a long time before they played out, and the gap gradually closed over the rest of Season 3, and now months later, it has finally settled into this state.

And she had tried to use it to cheat at a casino but after winning an “unwinnable” game numerous times, the casino heads had taken her winnings, locked her up, tortured, and possibly raped her. Afterwards, she and Rygel (who it seems hadn’t gotten a chance to go their separate ways before confronting the PK reward beacons and likely collaborated on the casino scam) decided to return here, on the off-chance that they could either find their friends or perhaps a clue as to what had happened to them. And lo and behold, they came across Elack and noticed Crichton’s module in the hold. Again, however, just as when Talyn returned to Moya in “Fractures,” this isn’t the happy reunion it could/should have been because again they are being hunted, and Chiana is particularly frelled up by her powers and likely PTSD.

After they all finally overpower/outwit/throw out the pirates and get rid of the dogs, who are actually surprisingly good CGI creatures (John tricks one out an airlock, with help from 1812, in a particularly funny scene), Elack and his Pilot decide to repay their debt for Crichton and Co. having saved their lives (not to mention escaping any other potential pirate attacks) by leaving the burial grounds and delivering them to a planet where they believe more of his friends might be, a selfless act that truly touches Crichton, because they are giving up their dream of being buried there for him. Pilot responds, “No dream is guaranteed, Commander. The grace of age is we learn to accept.” Learning to deal with not getting your dreams exactly as you had always imagined them is a key theme of these episodes, and deeply resonates with the events of “Dog with Two Bones,” as well as with John’s fantasies of Aeryn, in which she is lying on a beach with him–significantly, the very beach he returned to “Earth” on in “A Human Reaction,” I believe–extremely pregnant, in a bikini, this dream reflecting the fact that he doesn’t yet know about Sebacean pregnancies and how they work, nor that it’s possible that the father isn’t him at all. It could even be Velorek, since PK women’s pregnancies have to actually be willingly “activated” or they remain in stasis, which helps prevent them from interfering with military campaigns and other duties, when they occur at inconvenient times. But what I love most about these scenes are how they reflect Aeryn’s scenes with Crichton’s “ghost” in “The Choice,” John having conversations with the woman he loves who, for all intents and purposes, is gone forever and trying desperately to suss out why she did what she did. Even the end is an echo of that episode, as John ultimately decides that he can no longer indulge in these conversations–they’re unhealthy for him and, particularly now that his friends are back in his life and he knows the PKs are once again on their tails, he has to return to the world of the living.

4.02: “What Was Lost, Part I: Sacrifice” Original airdate: 14 June 2002

4.03: What Was Lost, Part II: Resurrection” Original airdate: 21 June 2002   

"What Was Lost, Part I: Sacrifice"

“What Was Lost”

Usually, I prefer to handle each segment of a multi-part episode separately, for a number of reasons but most prominently due to the analyses growing too unwieldy otherwise. In this case, however, the first part can be such a baffling, deliberately cryptic one on its own, and the two are so tightly woven together in terms of revelations and plot twists that I thought it would make sense and be easier to handle them as a single unit. “What Was Lost” is a fascinating story whose first part in particular is one of the single strangest episodes in Farscape history, and that is saying something, and which introduces a number of key mythology threads whose significance couldn’t be fully grasped until The Peacekeeper Wars, meaning they were, at the time, setting up a long-term arc which actually ties into the fundamental make-up of the entire Farscape universe which they had likely planned to explore in the mythical fifth season.

At the start of the first part, thanks to Elack and his Pilot, John, Chiana, and Rygel finally reunite with D’Argo, Jool, and Noranti (whose name isn’t given until the end of the second part) on Arnessk, an extremely significant planet that is the site of numerous archeological digs by Jool’s people, the Interions, because history/legend states it was the location of a mystical/spiritual species called the Eidelons who were somehow able to facilitate peace between the Peacekeepers and the Scarrans for 500 cycles but who completely vanished without a trace 12,000 cycles ago after three weaponized probes were launched by their enemies, which turned their lush, fertile planet into a barren wasteland via deadly “magnetic summers”. As with the colony of Roanoke, they are presumed dead but there have been no remains found either of the Arnessk priests or their mythical temple.

Although one might wonder why Crichton and Co. knew to check this planet of all places, it is because this is where Moya had originally planned to deposit Jool, who had hoped to find her people there, before they were sucked up by the wormhole. This would have been a bit more clear had a scene in which Jool told Pilot about this very planet not have been deleted from “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing,” but we do at least know from the show that Pilot was going to be taking Jool somewhere to reunite with her people (although without that specific reference, it’s difficult to tell how they even know where they might be; luckily, the scene is on the DVD). And so, not having any clue where Moya might have been spat out, he decided to check this place on the off-chance they’d ultimately made their way there, as it was his only concrete lead, and, as it turns out, with Peacekeepers on the lookout for him, D’Argo had the same idea and has actually spent the past few months on the planet with Jool and a team of Interions, assisting with the dig. Moya and Pilot, however, are already gone, and we do not see them for any of this two-parter, which, along with Aeryn’s continued absence, contributes to the surreal, askew feel of these episodes, as does the fact that Jool has no memory of what happened aboard Moya after the season 3 cliffhanger, and although Pilot apparently spoke to Noranti about it, she’s on her own incoherent wavelength and so never discusses it, either, meaning these questions remain dangling, in a manner that implies that something unsettling occurred that no one is eager to speak about or remember. And so, even at the end of the third episode, “Dog with Two Bones”‘s mysteries still remain unanswered and not everyone has returned to the show, which doesn’t happen until the episode after next!

This pair of episodes afford a number of fantastic opportunities to explore certain facets of the characters, new and old. For example, although Jool is a deeply intelligent, well-learned individual, her “princess” qualities often distracted viewers from her more attractive qualities, such as her thirst for knowledge, and here, we finally get the chance to see her fully in her element, passionate about history, exploration, discovery, and ultimately the opportunity to act as a sort of ambassador to the newly awakened Eidolon priests (more on that later). Meanwhile, her less appealing qualities, particularly regarding her initially superior attitude, are given context in the form of the other Interions there, both of whom are extremely dismissive of the other species who have come to greet Jool, particularly the head of the dig, Vella, who makes especially pointed, racist comments about Luxans, in regards to D’Argo’s ability to help with the dig. At first, Jool tries to justify them by explaining to D’Argo that that is just how her people are, her decision not to defend him against Vella’s attack truly wounding him deeply, which is ironic due to the fact that at the start of their friendship in “Revenging Angel,” it was Jool who had been trying to reach out to him despite his temper, and now he is the one who has been hurt by her. Further, at the time, her admission that she liked him really threw him for a loop, and one wouldn’t necessarily expect that there would be romantic potential there, but this episode hints that in their ensuing time together alone here, their emotions have started to lean in that direction, evidenced by their farewell kiss at the end, after she has fully apologized for hurting him, in a moment that shows how much she’s grown since her first appearance and indicates that the skills she’s learned aboard Moya will serve her well in this new endeavor. Furthermore, it’s particularly refreshing that Chiana and her friendship isn’t threatened by whatever is going on between her and D’Argo. They are depicted as being closer to one another than ever before–true sisters. The sense of calm, peaceful, satisfaction D’Argo has found working with Jool here is also highly reminiscent of how he acted on the “tomorrow is a rest day” planet in “Thank God It’s Friday…Again,” reasserting his more poetic side that longs for a simple life of tending to a small farm with a family he loves, which is another reason he felt so stung here.

Meanwhile, John spends the majority of both episodes in a very dark place. He’s a still in a major funk, spending a lot of time inside his own head. After all, he’d been effectively alone for months with very little else but his thoughts, in an environment that looked like his home aboard Moya to a degree but was full of features that reminded him over and over again that he was lost and might never see his friends again, and is on top of that still missing the woman he loves. He hasn’t yet acclimated to this new situation. Enter Noranti, who begins to frell with his head even further with the same dusts and potions she used on him before, and then Grayza, who messes with his mind with her own drug. At least Noranti does so, however, with a noble purpose in mind. She is worried that Vella is only conducting her archeological dig in order to find the three probes, one of which remains missing, in order to use it as a weapon of mass destruction against a different planet. And so in order to convey to Crichton the gravity and importance of the situation, she uses her drugs in order to provide him with a vision of the era of peace that once reigned on the planet when the priests were still in charge. However, instead of simply showing him that, the spell works better than she had anticipated, giving him a detailed view of the day that the probes first fell, meaning he knows the general location of the lost one. At the time, it isn’t clear how this happened but the revelation at the end of the second episode that the priests had somehow been timelocked–to use a Doctor Who term–implies that John somehow tapped into that frozen moment in time when Noranti drugged him. It also leads him to find a small child’s tile inscribed with symbols from four different cultures–one Interion, one Sebacean, one unidentified–though, given the line about Peacekeeper-Scarran peace, possibly Scarran–and one human, ancient Egyptian, providing the first proof John has ever had that there is some sort of link between Interions and Sebaceans and humans, the explanation of which finally comes to light in The Peacekeeper Wars.

The episode depicts Noranti as a morally ambiguous figure, or at least one who values the greater good above all else. Once could qualify her repeated drugging of Crichton against his will as a violation, although she does it in the hopes of protecting potentially billions of people from Vella, and so, while she is certainly mad, we can understand her motivations. This becomes even more interesting when she feels the need to kill John at the close of the first episode. She doesn’t take any pleasure in it. She just knows that, if Grayza compels John to tell her where the probe is, the galaxy could be doomed just as assuredly as had Crichton let the PKs get their hands on wormhole tech. Now, in actuality, Grayza cares very little for the probes. She doesn’t seem to have any idea about what they are and is simply there for Crichton, and she only wants him because everyone else wants him. Surely someone that sought after by every Big Bad in the galaxy could be of use to her. And so in this way, Noranti isn’t any more correct in her assumptions about Grayza’s goals than the paranoid Scarran in “Look at the Princess” who assumed that Scorpy and Crichton were working together against him. It’s simply a confluence of unfortunate events. But, with that said, if Grayza were to discover the truth of the probes, she’d most assuredly try to use them to her advantage, so it is safest for that information to never reach her. And, in the end, John significantly is shown to respect “Granny” for having the guts to do that, even though it nearly cost him his life, which goes a long way towards we as viewers coming to accept her, even while knowing along with Crichton that she can’t be fully trusted. So very Farscape.

And now we must talk about Grayza, who emerges here for the first time as a central, spotlighted villain, and it is a mark of her portrayer, Rebecca Riggs’, commanding presence that, even garbed in outfits that accentuate her nearly-naked breasts, and even though she uses sexual manipulation as a key power-gaining tactic, what shines most prominently is her extreme intelligence, cunning, and impeccable sense of control, rather than her body. It’s as if with every line, she is challenging people to dare underestimate her or to stare at her body, because as soon as they do, that’s when she’ll  have them. A lesser show might not have known how to handle this sort of character or might have frelled up in regards to feminism when trying to present this sort of character. Grayza, however, isn’t defined by her sexuality. For her, it is simply a tool she has in her arsenal, completely divorced from emotion of any sort. And as Riggs explained in an interview on the DVD, this is another reason she had no problem with Grayza’s use of sex for power–if Grayza were a human, it might have been a slightly different story, however as a Peacekeeper, Grayza and all of her compatriots were raised to think of sex as a necessary biological function–as recreation–and that is all, so her actions are completely devoid of any moral hang-ups humans have regarding the subject. And, again, she isn’t a cooing, preening, camp vixen but a mature woman completely in control of herself and, generally, everyone around her. The fact that she has had a gland implanted within her body that secretes a sweat-like oil that she uses to force people to follow her commands but which will shorten her life by many cycles shows how scarily committed she is to gaining and maintaining power, and the fact that the only people who generally have this done are concubines forced into doing so is a brilliant detail, demonstrating how she has subverted what was originally intended to subjugate women into a weapon to aid her in her rise to power.

And in this episode, she uses it to control numerous men, one being Braca, and later Crichton. But that isn’t the only way she exhibits control. She also puts Scorpy in the Aurora Chair–a karmically fitting turn of events for him–and sticks a certain sort of rod in his coolant system that robs him of all of his motor and higher functions, and puts him in a collar and leash, leading him around like a dog, and at one point forcing him to lick the bottom of her boots–easily one of the most impressively perverse and darkly kinky images of the entire series. She does so in order to humiliate him but also in a rather sick attempt to prove to Crichton that she can be trusted. She has vanquished his enemy and in return wants the two of them to be “friends”. Later on, she proves herself further by having Braca shoot Scorpius at point-blank range, afterwards ordering her men to bury him, even though he still shows signs of life. But not wanting to simply rely on the hopes that she has convinced John to be on her side, she continues to use the oil on him, raping him numerous times by ordering him to have sex with her while he’s under the influence of the drug. Yet again, John Crichton is put in the stereotypically feminine role, violated in ways usually only reserved to women in these sorts of stories. And the show very deliberately refuses to eroticize or glamorize any of the encounters. There is no question that John is acting against his will, and at no point are we made to think that he is enjoying himself. Throughout, there is an uncomfortable feeling of utter wrongness. And yet, from Grayza’s perspective, again, there are no ethical dilemmas here. After all, her methods are clearly more pleasurable than Scorpius’, right? While not physically painful, though, there’s nothing actually pleasurable about it, as it’s the product of mind control that John can’t fight.

But, of course, although she won’t admit it, Grayza has a failing, which is her hubris. She is so convinced that she has certain people under her thumb that someone smart enough can defeat her. In this episode, we know that Crichton is one such person. He is actually able to emerge from his addled state long enough to trap a small insect whose guts, when snorted like cocaine, have the ability to “reveal the truth” and override the influence of other drugs, a tidbit that Noranti taught him in the previous episode. And so, when Grayza isn’t looking, John manages to do just that, and then, under the guise of being controlled by her sexual command, he ties her up…and then reveals himself to be free of her, leaving her strapped, humiliated, and furious. And that’s really what drives her to continue to hunt him down–not wormholes, not having accidentally killed a beloved relative of hers, but because this “inferior” had had the nerve to put her in the same weakened position into which she had forced so many others over the years. What isn’t immediately clear in this episode but comes out later, though, is that John isn’t the only person she wasn’t actually able to defeat. She shouldn’t have underestimated Braca because he, like she, is a scrappy, extremely smart individual who has managed to rise through the ranks, the only difference being he does so less ostentatiously than she does. She assumes that Braca hates Scorpy and would jump at the chance to put him in his place. However, he actually secretly remains his man throughout by playing into Grayza’s assumptions and helping him. As we later learn, Braca had staged Scorpy’s “murder”. She’s in much less control of him than she thinks.

Another thing the episode does extremely well are subversions. At first, Noranti thinks Vella is a threat, whereas a scary-looking amphibian monstrosity that looks like the Creature from the Black Lagoon is actually their friend, which itself is a great subversion, but then that itself twists in the second episode. As it turns out, Vella, though supremely unlikable, is not evil. In fact, it’s the creature who really wanted the probes for dark ends. He also is the one who actually murdered her, and not Noranti, as the writers had at first led us to believe, a device which creates a terrific surprise at the end while also keeping us on our toes regarding Noranti for the majority of the story.

What might be the episode’s greatest twist, however, is in what an exceedingly joyful manner the plot resolves itself, which couldn’t come at a better time for John. After a lot of very sad things happen, including the final loss of Elack and his Pilot, although they manage to take out some of Grayza’s ships in the process by crashing into them, as their last act, the end of the episode finally provides him with an unqualified win. With the help of his friends, he tricks Grayza into chasing him in the wrong direction, he defeats the creature, and he, Chiana, and Jool finally get their hands on the probes, and manage to reverse their original devastating effects. This world, which had been drained of all color and life, particularly near the end of the episode, as the magnetics became dangerously high, suddenly bursts into a Technicolor Utopia, and John and his friends laugh and revel as they haven’t in a long, long time. Additionally, the priests and their temple reappear, and all is as it should be. What they don’t yet know is that the key to saving the galaxy truly does lie here. What seems to have been lost forever is once again found. But thematically, within this one, this resurrection restores hope for John finally that he can find Aeryn again. If this dead world could be brought back to life, as vibrant and breathtaking as ever after 12,000 cycles, there is hope for him, as well. After a long stretch of the series characterized by darkness, it feels like a true relief. And, yes, there’s still a lot of darkness to come, but also some of the most uplifting moments in the Farscape saga. This is the scene that makes the promise that things will turn out all right for John Crichton and his compatriots in the end.

Other odds and ends:

–We learn in this episode that D’Argo has learned more about his ship, which he has named Lo’laa after his decease wife, Lo’laan–here, namely, that it can turn invisible on command, a useful tool for later adventures.

–Another favorite moment of mine is that, in John’s vision of the ancient Eidolon priests, he hears them singing the Farscape theme song, which may be meta on one level but also reveals that music to always have been connected to his quest for home, as it is sung by the race who, in a way, created humanity. More on that when we get to Peacekeeper Wars.

–Sikozou is also very interesting in this episode. They continue to not trust her, but she does prove herself numerous times, the best of which is when the three women–Chiana, Jool, and her–team up to take on the PK guards. At the same time, the reason they don’t trust her is directly tied into how she will later betray Moya’s crew, and that is, namely, Scorpius. After being shot, he whispers a PK code to her that saves her life, allowing her to masquerade as a PK top-level spy. This act will pay off later, as it is why Sikozou comes to trust him, regardless of the others’ distaste for him. From her perspective, though, he helped her when he didn’t have to (although at the time he undoubtedly did it to gain her loyalty, as well as to get her to attempt to convince Grayza not to bury him, regardless of it not working), and proves to be the smartest aboard the ship and her best chance against the Scarrans.

–The kindness that Rygel shows Elack are among the Hynerian’s most touching moments on the series. As we know, he has an affinity for Pilots, through his relationship with our Pilot, and also is deeply respectful of the elderly and wise. He may bite her on the nose to awaken her, but he doesn’t call her names or get overly angry when she messes up plans due to her losing coherence. With John occupied at the time, he is the one who gets to say goodbye to this Pilot and Elack, as well as to transmit his and the show’s love for the characters, who may not get to end up where they had hoped but at least go out helping their friends evade Peacekeeper capture.

–Important to note: 1812 leaves Elack along with Rygel, so he’s there with everyone else at the end on Lo’laa. Phew.

Next: “Lava’s a Many Splendored Thing” and “Promises”

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Author: Robert Berg

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  1. I really loved your analysis of Crichton Kicks and the two very difficult episodes that follow. John’s rape and D’Argo and Sikozou’s complicity upset me a lot when I first saw these episodes. D’Argo tells John that he has to take two for the team and knocks him out and lays him out for Grayza and the PKs to find — thus precipitating Grayza’s numerous rapes. I realize that John sacrificed himself for the good of the rescue of the crew, but there must have been a better way than throwing him back to the wolves. John never gets to heal from his time with Grayza. I believe it had a lot to do with his treatment of Aeryn and taking of drugs later. I’m not sure he would ever tell anybody about what happened (except maybe Chiana who would understand completely what happened to him). There is a scene of him sitting on the beach rocking in fetal position that is devastating.

    John’s face as he rides in his module alone while the others ride in Lo’La tells a story of his continued grief. He’s a mess. No wonder he loses a lot of trust i people and especially PKs and totally Grayza.

    Noranti drugging John seems to be a theme. He is so messed up by everyone. Season 4 is very psychological and frustrating in many ways.

    Thank you though for your great and thoughtful recap.

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  1. Farscape 4.04-4.05: “Lava’s a Many Splendored Thing”; “Promises” | DreamPunk - […] continuing our journey with John Crichton last week with “Crichton Kicks” and “What Was Lost,” our Farscape re-watch continues this week with the…

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