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Liars, Guns and Money, Part 1:
"A Not So Simple Plan"

Quite a difficult plan, actually...

Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.

First, I think I should mention that this episode kicks some serious ass! It's true - an action all the way episode with some serious trouble and drama thrown into the pot for good measure. We begin another mini-arc with the last four episodes of season two. This is slightly different to last season, and quite odd in itself, in that those four episodes contain a trilogy then a single episode as the finale. Of course, the story carries on from the previous episodes, but the structure is weird. It's also odd in that once again these episodes required a four-month wait in the US, which had to wait till January, whereas the UK continued their run and we people actually got them in December.

Anyhow, if you remember back to some chats and interviews, The Powers That Be have mentioned a few times that one of the characters will complete their goal at the end of season two. Well, my guess is D'Argo, since this whole trilogy is based around the crew's attempt at rescuing his son, Jothee. That's the "Liars, Guns and Money" trilogy, wrapped up in a sentence. It doesn't do part one justice though, because this is an awesome episode that, in my opinion, raises the bar for everything that will come after it. It is just magnificent, but more about that at the end of the review, for we must get on with some analysis.

The episode opens with the return, once again, of our loveable Banik slave Stark, who says he's found a way to save D'Argo's son. Not bad for a man who, when we last saw him (in The Ugly Truth), was all set to be dispersed. He apparently procured maps and other items that will aid in an attempt to break in to a Shadow Depository (i.e. criminal hang-out, where they all store their stolen goods). But of course, it's a pretty far-out plan, and the others are sceptical. Except D'Argo, who so wants to see his son that he runs off and sets the plan in motion himself. Okay, so now John and Aeryn follow, and the entire plan goes well, with Zhaan turning Rygel into a statue so he can then switch the container with him and some boxes in for one containing much wealth. It all goes well, that is, until Scorpius arrives to make a withdrawal of his own, and it just so happens that his goods are those that Rygel switched. In the end though, after an intense battle with Scorpius, John and the crew get away with their money and everything going so well that they can get the slaves and have wealth. Apart from one thing – their money is alive!

One of the episode's strong points, other than the action and intensity, was the continued conflicts within the characters. At the start of the episode, a rift formed between D'Argo and John immediately when John said the mission was impossible. D'Argo, obviously driven badly by his desire to see his son, wants the plan to go ahead, whereas John sees that there are many factors that make this almost impossible to pull off. D'Argo gets angry and asks if he ever refused to consider one of John's plans. Well, I'm sure it happened in some early episodes but it sure hasn't since they've become real friends, so it obviously cuts D'Argo quite deeply that everyone – John, his best friend, Aeryn, and Chiana – all abandon him. This leads to a rather sad scene later, when John goes to see how D'Argo is and they start to argue, and Chiana has to intervene. The bluntness that D'Argo conveys really does make the whole situation seem tragical.

In addition, there was of course the conflict within John, between himself and what we later find out is the neural clone in his brain, that's been searching his memories and personality for the wormhole technology. It's beginning to take over him, and he's clearly losing control. There's also the conflict between John and the real Scorpy, which all comes to a head in a battle of rather epic proportions. In a superbly acted scene, Scorpy's cooling rod gets overheated from the paste that John put on it earlier, and explodes in his nurse's hand. He tries to get John to change it, and says something extremely interesting: John can't kill him any more than he can sacrifice John. That one thing could have huge repercussions. But for now, John manages to fight the impulse to save Scorpy and throws the rod away. He crawls away in agony, singing "Oh say can't you see..." whilst Scorpy tries desperately to grab the rod, and fails. Apparently, he's dead, or so John thinks.

There were plenty of other great moments too. Seeing Zhaan for the first time in her pirate outfit had a profound impact, she looked awesome and her whole criminal demeanour was amazing. It looked as though Virginia Hey had a wonderful time playing this rather different role. Also, Chiana was brilliant as her trusty assistant. It was so funny when Zhaan told her to get a move on pushing the goods, and Chi seemed to forget what she was doing and told Zhaan to push it herself, but quickly corrected herself.

The interplay between John and Aeryn was subtle, yet evident in this episode too. On two occasions John attempts to tell Aeryn how he feels about her, but in the end she reveals that she knows, and its wonderful to watch her hold him when he is clearly in such pain. Quite honestly, their faces say it all.

Then there was Natira, the rather awesome looking administrator of the Shadow Depository, who seemed to have an interesting relationship with Scorpy. Part time lovers, and haters, they seem to have quite a back-story, which it must be said will provide some interesting television. This was evident in this episode in part, when Natira reveals she knows a lot about Scorpy, and spent some time licking him down, no less. It was quite a disturbing image, too. Nevertheless, she seems to be a very interesting character, and I for one will enjoy seeing her history revealed.

There were plenty of other good moments too, including the priceless "KFC" moment. Hmmm... unique in the galaxy, well not in my town! The story was sharply written and expertly directed – it flowed extremely well and seemed to just fly by. The problem in rating this episode is that it really does raise the bar for things. If it was a season one episode, I'd have no problem in giving it a "5", but if I did, it'd pose a problem because I have of course seen what comes after, and quite frankly it blows even this episode away. So although it gets a four, consider the bar raised, and it's a fantastic episode that deserves not to be missed. As a testament to that, I have actually seen this episode no less than literally ten times (I watched it five times in the week between this and part 2), and I still enjoy it.




I love to hear your views, whether you agree or disagree, so feel free to e-mail me your feedback. Review by Dani Moure.

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Did You Know?
Stark's race apparently see their bodies as shells. When he was dispersed, he travelled out-of-body where he wanted to go before reconstituting his body. The question I have is why then couldn't he do this all the time? Can he only reform himself once he's been dispersed and not disperse himself at will? It would seem so.

Matt Newton, the actor that plays D'Argo's son Jothee, was credited as a guest star even though he didn't appear in the broadcast version of the episode. It can only be assumed that he appears in the unedited version.

Both Lt. Braca and the Peacekeeper Nurse could be dead, because we simply see them knocked out (or killed) and then cut away from that action.

John thinks Scorpius is dead, and he appears to get that feeling from the neural clone, but we never see his dead body – someone could have quite easily helped him after we cut away.

In season one's two-parter Nerve/The Hidden Memory at some point Scorpius places the chip in John's brain, but we never actually saw him do it.


Related Episodes
Nerve
The Hidden Memory
Liars, Guns and Money, Part 2: With Friends Like These...
Liars, Guns and Money, Part 3: Plan B
Die Me, Dichotomy

Favourite Quote
John: "You ever heard of KFC?"
Akkor: "KFC?"
John: "It is to my knowledge, unique in the Universe and unique is always valuable. Now, we have managed to procure the eleven secret ingredients..."


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Episode Credits
Season 2, Episode 19 - Liars, Guns and Money, Part 1: "A Not So Simple Plan" (Part 1 of 3)
Writer: Grant McAloon
Director: Andrew Prowse
Production number: 10218
First UK Transmission: 4th Dec 2000
First US Transmission: 5th Jan 2001
Guest Stars:
Wayne Pygram (Scorpius); Paul Goddard (Stark); Claudia Karvan (Natira); Matt Newton (Jothee); Nicholas Hope (Akkor); David Franklin (Lt. Braca); Jennifer Fischer (PK Nurse); Adrian Brown (Gan)
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