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Liars, Guns and Money, Part 2:
"With Friends Like These..."

The crew go in search of some old friends to help rescue Jothee, but in the end it's up to a true friend to do what he thinks is right...

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

So, the centrepiece of the big (almost) season ending trilogy, and as expected it is a lot more slowly paced, but not in a bad way. This episode stands as the more character-orientated piece of the overall three-part story. It fleshes things out that little bit more. Though initially, due to the slower pace, it doesn't quite have the impact of A Not So Simple Plan, but there are a couple of particularly wonderful scenes that were absolutely outstanding.

It's also interesting to note, as a little follow-up to the last review, that it seriously does appear that D'Argo has now completed his journey. After all, he's been on Moya all this time to find his son, and he's not really a prisoner, so what will he do now? Sure, he'll probably help rescue John (which I presume they will do), but after that there's little else, surely. Well, who knows with these Farscape people, but it sure seems like D'Argo's been fulfilled and there's little else for him to do.

So, Scorpy's definitely not dead, oh no. In fact, he's only gone and been his cunning, devious self and stole the information on the slave auction from Stark's console and purchased the lot of slaves, with Jothee, for triple the price. See, this is exactly why Scorpy is the best villain on television in a long time. He's cold and evil, but calculating. Like all the best, and successful, villains he chooses to take the thoughtful and devious approach as opposed to going for an all-out, guns blazing assault on Moya to get John. So, having purchased Jothee, he knows John well enough now that there's little he can do other than eventually turn himself over, knowing that Scorpy will kill Jothee eventually. The mind of a great villain is a complex one.

D'Argo then was again extremely angry, and who should he direct his anger at than John? Often in life when things go wrong people turn to their closest friends to place the blame, instead of the person who is really to blame. Technically it's really Stark's fault that the plan didn't work – it was his plan after all, but then John didn't exactly jump at the chance to try it out, so I see where he's coming from. Anyhow, he lashes out at John, but as a testament to their friendship, he tells Chiana that he in fact was ready to take John by force and hand him over to Scorpy in exchange for Jothee, but he couldn't do it. He sees a (remarkably accurate) vision of Jothee, the voice inside him telling him he knows what he should have done, but he couldn't do it. As a testament to his despair, he tells Chiana that Jothee is his blood and the last reminder of his wife, and asks why that is not enough. That short sentence alone indicates how torn D'Argo is between his close friends and his son, and also that he shares this with Chiana is also a testament to how far they've come this season, too.

Of course, John knows D'Argo's pain, and for him, when all else fails, there's little he can do but, as Scorpy predicted, turn himself in. On returning from Moya, when Aeryn mentioned that Scorpius will kill Jothee, the look into the camera clearly shows that he's realised he has no choice but to go to Scorpy, because it seems like all else has failed. He's descending further into "madness" at the hands of the chip that Scorpy put in his head, so he also wants the chip out rather badly. The only way to get it out and get Jothee is of course to go to Scorpy, so he does. The way it was played out was fantastic. We see "the look" from John, then cut to D'Argo again expressing his anger at John for leaving at a time like this, and generally not doing what he wants. Then comes the memorable and beautiful reunion between D'Argo and Jothee, made all the more touching because Aeryn is looking on with happiness. But the best moment of the episode comes when D'Argo asks Jothee how he escaped, and he says he let him go. Aeryn asks why, D'Argo cottons on and in a troubled voice says "oh no", but the look on Aeryn's face is priceless as she realises John has gone to Scorpy. Claudia Black is just so remarkable and manages to portray such a wide range of emotions it's quite astounding – she upset me with a simple look, you almost feel her sudden rush of fear.

Then of course, the final scene with Crichton and Scorpius was just amazing. John finally admits that he has what Scorpy wants; he wants the chip out, so Scorpy's won. When Scorpy replied "As if there was ever any doubt", it sent a chill down my spine. Ultimate villain I tell you! The thing that makes the whole situation so great is it seems so real; while the situation may be a bit farfetched, when you get down to the emotions they're all so real, and that's what I think draws us all to the show.

Additionally, the situation with Moya was extremely moving, as Zhaan, Pilot and the others realised the only way for Moya to survive would be to burn her – and cause her extreme pain. The scene where Zhaan realised she had to do it, and the vapour was released were excellent, and Pilot's wide range of emotions on display in full force. It was very touching, as was Chiana's assessment of what happened when John returns. Gigi Edgley played it subtly, but it made the scene have all the more impact.

A mention should also go to the visuals of this trilogy. Throughout they have been astounding – in particular the depository which just looks amazing, but at the same time so real. The visual effects have always been superb for this show, but they seem to get better all the time (admittedly they have three episodes worth of budget to spend on the sets, but still...). I also liked the fact that they brought back some of the races encountered earlier in the show's run. Yes, it was a little far-fetched that they could all get to the planets within a day when Moya's been travelling for months (or years) since, and also it was a bit unbelievable that they happened to find all the same characters from the previous episodes. But this show is not about realism in that sense; the realism comes in the character situations. Besides, it was quite a feat to get all the original actors back to reprieve their roles.

So, as the central episode in a trilogy, you expect a filler. In some ways at first it may seem as if that's exactly what we do get. But on closer inspection what we really have in this episode is a continuation of the previous story, but now we get into the gritty character situations, and also set a bigger plan in motion for the big conclusion to the trilogy, as a prelude to the season finale. So hats off to Naren Shankar for a great script (one of our trusted character writers...), and some nice, subtle direction. The cliffhanger was amazing, and quite honestly this is a great episode that deserves everyone's attention.

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?
D'Argo is finally reunited with his son, Jothee, for the first time since D'Argo was forced to abandon him following his wife's murder. But seeing his son came at the cost of losing a friend...

It's rather far-fetched to think that the crew were within transport range of all these other races' planets, and they just happened to come across the same people they've met before.

Natira and Scorpius seem to have alien sex in this episode, and they also appear to have a very long history between them.

Stark has a mental link with his people, and is attuned to the dying, so he knows when his people have been killed.

Related Episodes
Throne for a Loss
PK Tech Girl
They've Got a Secret
Till the Blood Runs Clear
The Flax
The Hidden Memory
Liars, Guns and Money, Part 1: A Not So Simple Plan
Liars, Guns and Money, Part 3: Plan B
Die Me, Dichotomy

Favourite Quote
Scorpius Clone: "It wasn't easy, there are vast regions of your brain that are filled with nothing but gibberish."
John: "That would be high school."

We have 170 images from With Friends Like These... online.
To view the gallery click here.

Episode Credits
Season 2, Episode 20 - Liars, Guns and Money, Part 2: "With Friends Like These..." (Part 2 of 3)
Writer: Naren Shankar
Director: Catherine Millar
Production number: 10219
First UK Transmission: 11th Dec 2000
First US Transmission: 12th Jan 2001
Guest Stars:
Wayne Pygram (Scorpius); Paul Goddard (Stark); Claudia Karvan (Natira); Jeremy Sims (Rorf); Matt Newton (Jothee); Nicholas Hope (Akkor); David Franklin (Lt. Braca); John Adam (Bekhesh); David Wheeler (Selto Durka); Phillip Hinton (Voice of Teurac); Thomas Holesgrove (Teurac); Jo Kerrigan (Rorg); Linal Haft (Zelkin); David Bowers (Kurz)
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