|"Season of Death"|
A trip through life, and death, with one of the crew making a huge sacrifice...
Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.
Farscape blasts into season three in this jam-packed opener. Not only does it tie up most of the loose threads from the season two finale, Die Me, Dichotomy, but it also opens up a whole new realm of possibilities to take us through this new season. It's definitely not the opener I expected, but saying that is definitely a good thing. Although there could be some complaints that a few of the plot threads are tied up a little too quickly and suddenly, but the pace of this episode was so fast that it did seem to fit well, and let's face it, Farscape's never been about dragging things out.
We start off by getting a little reminder of how everything stands, as the crew are still to hear from the planet, oblivious to Scorpius' presence and John's brain being all over a table. We're then taken to Scorpius, and find out that it was actually Grunchlk who informed Scorpius of John's visit for currency. Well, as devious as Grunchlk is I didn't see that coming! Anyway, we then learn that Scorpius has little use for him now (and no intention of paying up), at least until Kobrin tells him about the delay of the Command Carrier. Of course, Scorpius then uses his new mind control device to take over Grunchlk, and lays in hiding. It was a unique idea to switch roles and have Scorpius being the one who has to hide from everyone, even more so because he's hiding through the fear of Talyn's huge arsenal, and that being under Crais' control.
So after Rygel finds Tocot laid out, the crew quickly comes to help, and after much talk (including the Scorpius-controlled Grunchlk trying to get Zhaan to kill John) they eventually get his speech restored, at least once Stark has killed on of the Interons. But John didn't want this. Still scarred from being the cause of Aeryn's death, he himself wanted to die too, even more so knowing that the Scorpius clone still resides in his mind. Stark steps up to the plate though, and tells John to be strong and show the clone he is in control, and in one of the funniest moments of Farscape yet, we see him fight Scorpius in a wrestling style environment, complete with crowd cheers ("Hell yeah!").
Stark was very good in this episode – he was not only used well but his character seemed so much stronger, and for all the Stark-haters no doubt much less annoying. He maintained his role of being with and comforting Zhaan, but he also showed strength and a loyal willingness to do whatever it took to help John, which I found very commendable.
D'Argo was equally well served, particularly during these scenes in the operating room. With John incapacitated, D'Argo stepped up to the plate and gave it everything he had. He was commanding, and again was determined to help John. It was great to see D'Argo in the leader-type role, although Chiana and Jothee may disagree (they weren't happy at being left on Moya). He also stepped up to fight with the Scarran twice, which is commendable knowing that the Scarran is much more powerful.
What a shock the Scarran was, too. It was certainly unexpected to see it step out of the cryogenic pod, and once again it was a formidable opponent. Interesting revelations came though when we found out that the Scarran are extremely eager to get their hands on Scorpius, so in effect he is on the run from them. It was ironic to see him put Grunchlk in a pod and make him "effectively dead", after all the fuss Grunchlk made about the donors.
As for Chiana and Jothee, well, it was brewing before, but they seemed to go full on here. It was interesting that Rygel appeared to have no clue as to what they were doing – he's usually so astute. Only time will tell if he truly did know though, and was just acting like he didn't. But quite frankly the repercussions of these actions look to be felt hard next week (from the preview), and it doesn't look like these actions will have a positive effect on D'Argo. What a love triangle...
Zhaan certainly took control of a situation too. She punches Stark and then uses his power to help her focus and link with Aeryn. The scenes with Zhaan talking to Aeryn were quite simply the best of this episode. Beautifully directed, well written and extraordinarily acted, the characters of Zhaan and Aeryn show what a long way they've come. It was just beautiful to see Zhaan say that she's helping Aeryn because she loves her, and even more when she said that more importantly John loves her, so Aeryn had to accept the gift for his sake. It was a remarkable scene, and the emotions were perfectly portrayed. It shows what an amazing friend Zhaan is to give of herself to such an extent for the sake of two friends. Of course, she didn't share some of her spiritual energy with Aeryn, she gave it, so by the end of the episode the puzzle is pieced together and we finally hear that Zhaan is well and truly dying. Whilst this may be true, and there have been many rumours on Virginia Hey leaving the show, I don't agree (and indeed she's refuted this before, but she would have to), there surely must be some way to save her, and John tells her he won't accept her death, even though she has. Expect an emotional rollercoaster to come over the next few episodes.
Also, the reunion between Aeryn and John was very moving, and another well-acted scene between the two. When Aeryn told John that Zhaan saved her, his emotions were wonderful and their hug really seemed to mean something. Then, back on Moya, they finally, good-and-proper this time, declare their love. But another stumbling block comes when Aeryn stops and says that she won't act on her emotions and allow anyone else to sacrifice themselves. It's an emotionally charged scene where we go from happiness to tragedy and sadness in a short space of time, but again it came across very well on screen.
The only other mentioning must go to Scorpius, who in the end has once again out-witted his opponents, who now think he's dead. With everything else going on no one really bothers to think that maybe it's another Scorpius trick, but of course we all know it was because we saw Scorpius and Braca afterwards. It was there where we also found out what could possibly become another driving force this season – that Scorpy has a new Gammak Base to implement the wormhole technology. Can you say "Uh-oh"?
In a nutshell, this episode was a great opener that sets up the season really well. I actually quite liked Aeryn's revival, although it did seem a bit of a cop-out, I think it will work in the long-term. There are many new threads left hanging, so in that respect for a season opener it works well too, as we get hints of what's to come. From the things I've read and the fact that a Scarran unexpectedly appears, I expect this season to have some interesting revelations on the Scorpy front. Hats off then to Richard Manning for a great story, and Ian Watson for more excellent direction, which made the episode fly by at a blistering pace. Farscape just keeps getting better and better, and with such a good opener I expect some big things from this season. I must quickly mention some brilliantly squeamish shots – Scorpius eating some of John's brain and more disgusting was Grunchlk having to bit off his finger. Can you say "BBC cuts"? I like the new credits too; they fit this episode very well (although the theme may take a little getting used to). So, good stuff, and with the events of this episode it's not hard to see why this truly was the "Season of Death".
I love to hear your views, whether you agree or disagree, so feel free to e-mail me your feedback. Review by Dani Moure.
To see Mary Wood's review of "Season of Death", click here.
Did You Know?
The Scarrans are after Scorpius, and will clearly go to great lengths to get him. Plonek, the Scarran in this episode, has been waiting in a cryogenic pod for a long time for Scorpius to return, just because he knew that this was where his cooling system was installed and he figured he'd return eventually.
Richard Manning also wrote the season two opener, Mind the Baby.
It's interesting that Aeryn managed to fire D'Argo's Qualta Blade numerous times before it ran out of charge, considering the last time we saw it was in Plan B when D'Argo was using it and it's charge ran out then.
Zhaan manages to bring Aeryn back from a state very close to death through Unity and the use of Stark's powers, in time honoured sci-fi tradition, but in a surprising twist she must give of herself, so is now dying.
Since they never get to see each other during this episode, Crais doesn't get to reveal to Aeryn what is on his chip (from Die Me, Dichotomy).
Thomas Holesgrove played the parts of both Tocot, the Diagnosan, and Plonek, the Scarran.
Jothee and Chiana apparently got it on, so to speak, in the food room.
Scorpius now has a mind control device, that allows him to force a host body to do exactly what he wants, and the host can even still be alive.
Scorpius also has a new Gammak Base ready to go into operation, which could spell trouble for the crew.
Mind the Baby
Look at the Princess, Part 1: A Kiss is But a Kiss
Look at the Princess, Part 2: I Do, I Think
Look at the Princess, Part 3: The Maltese Crichton
Won't Get Fooled Again
Liars, Guns and Money, Part 1: A Not So Simple Plan
Liars, Guns and Money, Part 2: With Friends Like These...
Liars, Guns and Money, Part 3: Plan B
Die Me, Dichotomy
John: "C'mon Scorpy, c'mon man, show me that ugly grin."
Scorpius Clone: "I'm warning you Crichton, now you stop..."
John: "Oh no, no, no, no, no, I don't think so. Out with the old, in with the new! Can I get a 'Hell yeah'?"
Crowd: "Hell yeah!"
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