|"Throne for a Loss"|
Rygel's kidnapped, Zhaan tries to help a lost soul and the crew fight. A lot...
Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.
Straight from the off, I'm going to admit I'm a bit partial to Throne for a Loss. You see, I'd only seen one Farscape episode before this, there was a new episode later that evening and I bought the first two VHS videos on special offer. I watched Premiere and wasn't that impressed. Had it not been for this episode, I may never have watched Farscape again, and this site would never have been created.
The plot is quite straightforward – Moya's crew need money, something that these Tavleks offer them, so they let them come aboard. But the Tavleks decide instead to nab our trusty Dominar, who just happens to have a vital piece of Moya's propulsion system, and demand a ransom for his return. The crew must then go and get the piece of Moya back, and also rescue Rygel in the process. Simple. Or not.
This episode is mainly about action, and provides a plethora of it, and it works very well. From the Tavlek heist at the beginning, to the various fights on the planet, the action in the cell aboard Moya, we get to see four of the main cast go at it with someone, and it's a treat. But that's not to say there was nothing more to the episode than some action sequences...
Firstly, we had the situation with the Tavlek gauntlet. In a clear nod of morality regarding drug addiction, our crew must in the end overcome the problem at hand without its use. Firstly D'Argo goes all macho on us and wants to take over the ship, something clearly no one is happy about. The crew manage to get it off D'Argo, but Aeryn later uses it to try and get a solution. Though she gets the information she wants her plan was not without flaw, and she ended up fighting Crichton (although she did do that without the gauntlet, too). It's left to D'Argo to knock her out thus removing the gauntlet, but both of them clearly feel the effects of the drug. Crichton is next in turn, when everyone figures it's the only solution. Though it gets him to Bekhesh in time, he soon runs out of the drug so can't use the brute force that it supplies to get Rygel back. He notices, and all he has left is the gift of the gab, and he manages to use it to talk his way into getting Rygel back, all nice and peacefully. So, not only are drugs bad, violence doesn't solve anything. See? They're the underlying morals of the episode.
The other key aspect of this episode was to do with Zhaan. Again she takes the mothering (caring) role, attempting to help the young boy through his addiction to the drug and realise there is more to him than that. Though she thinks she has succeeded, sadly she hasn't and by the end of the episode he has succumbed to his craving and is back on the drug. But, it was his choice. That was the theme here – that the boy has a choice and makes it, and it's not Zhaan's fault since she tried all she could, but he didn't want her help. Sometimes all you can do is try – show people their choices – then they must make up their mind on their own. One of the other more interesting aspects of Zhaan's dealings with the boy was the dark tendency she's shown. Though in the previous episodes she's taken a motherly role, tried to show people how they can be more, helped people, she now shows some of her more aggressive side. She's extremely powerful – overcoming the boy with ease, and she does get angry too. Plus she has a strong mind. It's nice to know that she's not the perfect being she tried to look like over the past couple of episodes.
There were other nice moments too, including the ongoing relationship with Aeryn and Crichton. Becoming something of a dynamic duo, they bang heads all the time; hardly ever seem to agree yet there's definitely some tension there, sexual or otherwise. Again, Ben Browder and Claudia Black play their characters well – Crichton still trying to understand everything and everyone, and the way they react to him, and Aeryn who is still trying to overcome her Peacekeeper roots, trying to get along with the others that little bit more.
Also nicely done were the scenes between Aeryn and D'Argo. Though they clearly respect each other as warriors, and laugh at Crichton together, their personalities also clash and they taunt each other every chance they get. For instance, D'Argo want her to stop beating his wound till the blood runs clear, so she persuades him to let her carry on with a bit of reverse psychology and taunting. This provokes him into angering her and letting her continue, so she hits harder and eventually gets the job done. There's a nice "mutual respect" relationship building between them.
I would also like to give an honorary mention to Rygel, who despite being a puppet is just excellently brought to life, and just cracks me up every time he speaks. From his arrogance in the cell to the scene where he gives Aeryn back the crystal, he can't help but make me laugh, and I commend the writers for handling him well, and giving him some of the best lines of the show.
In addition, the episode was visually interesting, and good, with the Tavleks and Jotheb coming off looking different to what we see in most SciFi nowadays (in particular Jotheb), and although there is much better to come, visually this is perhaps Farscape's best outing to date. Also, the direction of this episode was superb – it moved at a blistering pace. Because of this I never found myself getting bored, despite the plot perhaps being a little thin, and not all that different. But out of all of Farscape's early outings, this is the one I would recommend watching first. It's action packed and thoroughly enjoyable, and gives many hints as to the future character developments. All in all, a very good early effort.
I love to hear your views, whether you agree or disagree, so feel free to e-mail me your feedback. Review by Dani Moure.
Did You Know?
This episode was another shown out of order in the UK – originally second, and although broadcast fourth in the US the episodes around it are out of order, causing some continuity errors.
A running joke through the episode was that Crichton kept calling the Tavleks the "Tavloids", and everyone had to keep correcting him. Aeryn was so annoyed she knocked him out!
This is the first episode where John Crichton's pop culture references, such as "Wile E. Coyote could come up with a better plan than that!" really have an impact, and they continue to show in many episodes hereafter. We call them "Crichtonisms".
John Adam, who played the Tavlek leader Bekhesh, could only see out of the metal helmet through the artificial bullet hole, dents and the screw holes. The helmet was made of fibreglass.
The cell floors were artificial and raised, so the puppeteer could stand half inside Jotheb to control the complex puppet.
This episode is the first in which we learn about Zhaan's superior physical strength, and hints at a darker side to her than what first appears.
A Luxan will die from a wound if the blood is dark red/black, unless the blood flows freely until it runs clear.
Liars, Guns and Money, Part 2: With Friends Like These...
Liars, Guns and Money, Part 3: Plan B
Aeryn: "Crichton should be back by now."
D'Argo: "Well he's probably at the wrong end of some Tavlek weapon somewhere."
Aeryn: "Imagine – somewhere out there there's a whole world full of Crichtons. How useless that must be."
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