|Infinite Possibilities, Part 2:|
John is left to try to destroy the Scarran dreadnought, but after some back-stabbing, more tragedy occurs...
Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.
Where to start, oh where to start? It's episodes like this that I find difficult to start writing a review for, simply because it's so hard to put what is seen on screen in to words that do the episode justice. Yet I find that once I start, I can hardly stop and the words just flow. In a supreme nutshell, "Icarus Abides" is superb. Outstanding. Fantastic. Awesome. Oh, and highly emotional. After viewing it for the third time, I am about to attempt to put what I have just seen on my TV into words, and attempt to convey just why you simply must see this episode.
Unsurprisingly, we waste no time at all in resolving the supreme cliffhanger from last week, and once you've seen the rest of the episode it's not hard to see why it had to be over so quickly to move the plot along. So the Scorpius clone took over John to try and get Aeryn to kill him, but the twist is that the clone only did this so that John would die too, because he is also dying. This is, as far as I can remember, the first time it has lied outright for vindictive purposes, and was a great way for him to go. Not only that, but it confirms something we've expected from Aeryn all along; if necessary she would be willing to kill John to save him. After all, she had fired at him, and had it not been for Jack, John would have been a goner. Of course, we all know how it turned out...
Jack wastes no time in unlocking the wormhole technology, and starts building the Displacement Engine, a device that pretty much turns wormholes into the ultimate weapon. However, everyone seems to pretty much forget the other person here – Furlow. They seem quite happy to let her standby and be left alone, even knowing how double-crossing and scheming she is; especially driven by money. Did they think she wouldn't realise that this unique device would be valuable? Well, whatever they were thinking, it cost Jack the Ancient his life, when she turned and shot him before bringing in the Charrids. The constant double-crossing definitely built a bit of excitement, as it was hard to tell whose side any of the guest stars were really on. Magda Szubanski continued to do a great job as Furlow, and just seems to be made for the role, and I was really happy with the way Furlow left, because as always the writers stayed true to her character, and didn't choose to make her the good guy.
Over on Talyn, they had a crisis of their own. As predicted last week, something was indeed up with the cargo bay, and a Scarran comes aboard. The great thing about this was it showed how useful Stark can be in helping the crew, and how he and Crais, and indeed the whole of Talyn's section of the crew, have grown together. The interplay between Stark and Crais was a joy to behold, as they set the Scarran up perfectly, and perhaps for the first time were on the same wavelength. Another thing this brought was the decision that, when John was about to launch the module to destroy the dreadnought, Rygel, Crais and Stark unanimously agreed to stay and see it through. Again, it's a great show of camaraderie between the offshoot crew of Talyn, and is a signal of how they have grown together.
But, in the end, the episode was ruled by one relationship – John and Aeryn. They just ruled the screen in every scene they were in together. They say so much without words, and yet their relationship is so sexually charged, emotional and believable. The chemistry between Ben Browder and Claudia Black is phenomenal, and the two shone in "Icarus Abides." From the scene when they hug once the Scorpius-clone is dead, to the scene when John tells Aeryn of his exposure to the radiation, to the scene when Aeryn is wondering whether John is still alive after the dreadnought encounter, the two played their parts with supremacy, as always, and just blew me away. Their interplay is always a joy to watch, but for this episode they just took it to another level (don't they always?).
The most standout scene of the episode came in the form of the end. Quite simply, this was one of the most emotionally charged, superb pieces of television I've ever seen, ranking up there with "Relativity" and "Die Me, Dichotomy" in terms of impact. John-black, Talyn John, or whatever you want to call him (remembering that he is still John Crichton), has been exposed to radiation, and is dying. In fact, he dies in this scene. Needless to say, if there's a dry eye in the house, then there's a problem, because this was just so sad to watch. Crais' final words with John, and John's request, were the perfect way to end their relationship. After all that happened, Crais has finally realised that John is a good and honourable man, and John asks him to find the better part of himself, and to take care of everyone. As if that wasn't tear-inducing enough, Rygel's final moments with him were even better. They played on an old joke (from "A Human Reaction") with John saying that Rygel can't have his stuff, and they both laugh. It was a delightful moment, and the tears kept rolling when Rygel said it would be hard not to think of him. I don't know how the puppeteers and Jonathan Hardy do such an amazing job with Rygel, but they pull it off every time. Likewise, Stark's final moment, using his energy to soothe John, harking back to their first meeting ("The Hidden Memory"), and without words, John just pulling Stark's hand back to his forehead, was just beautiful.
As always, the best was yet to come, because for the last time, John and Aeryn shone above all else. Claudia Black has the most amazing face I've ever seen, and she can set me off at a whim with her expressions. The dialogue during their final scene was just fantastic and sounded so right. Both Ben and Claudia deserve credit for pulling off such a difficult scene; this is perhaps Ben Browder's finest hour yet. Yes, he's a superb actor and always does a great job, but he took it to such a high level here. Only one person stood above him, and that was Claudia Black. Her expressions, her movements, her responses, were just so right. The last moment, after John had passed and she closed his eyes, and then crawled under the covers and snuggled up to him was just so emotional, and it's safe to say that few scenes, even in Farscape, come close to this.
Despite all of "Icarus Abides'" greatness, not everyone liked it. One of the most annoying complaints I've seen about this episode is that people have called it a "reset." It's a classic science fiction tool; something happens and all the previous events of the episode are forgotten. To the people making these accusations I can only ask, "are you watching the same show as me?" Farscape has only once ever used a "reset" ("The Locket", and even then it wasn't a complete one), and how people can call John black's death a reset just astounds me. Firstly, the entire crew on Talyn have been profoundly affected by his presence, and will not just forget him (and will no doubt have a problem with the other John on Moya). Secondly, all the events, such as Aeryn's mother's death, the Scarrans attacks and the like, have all taken place. Finally, and the most clear of all is Aeryn. She finally took that extra step ion their relationship, and they were finally a true couple. But now her John is gone, and how she is going to react to the John on Moya is anyone's guess, but I'm guessing it won't be pretty. This is no reset.
However, it was predictable. You could see it coming a mile off. One of the Johns had to go eventually, and it would always be this one. He has had the most profound impact on others, he has done so much more, and he had Aeryn. She agreed to go home with him. He was always going to be the one to die. The writers set up the twinning so they could give the characters a good old shuffle and take them to hell and back, and they have. The thing with Farscape, and this episode in particular, is that it's all about consequences. In real life, eventually, everything we do has a consequence. In Farscape, every choice the characters make and everything they do has consequences. Aeryn's choice to open up fully to John on Talyn will have a consequence. John's twinning will finally have a consequence. Eventually, in real life and indeed in Farscape, what goes around comes around. And that is the point of the show. David Kemper and his band of evil geniuses have always said that they want this show to be as real as it can be, and they have succeeded in that area continuously. Everything has a purpose. Every choice and action and event has consequences. And that is how it should be, at least in my eyes. If everything was hunky-dory for the rest of the series, even for non-shippers like myself (although I enjoy watching the relationships they are only a part of my purpose for watching the show), things would start to dry up. They have to put the characters through these events to keep the story going. I just can't see what the problem is. It was a predictable end to the John twins saga, but one that will truly have enormous repercussions.
It would also be true to say that this story could have easily formed the final episode of the series, either as-is or modified. Yet the mere fact that it is a mid-season story in season 3 shows that the writers clearly have something better to go with for the series' end, and even the season's climax, and to be honest, the thought of that scares me just a wee little bit!
This is how a two-parter should be done. A delightful storyline that drives the overall arc of the series forward big-time, the wrap-up of a number of old plot threads, and of course spades, and spades, and more spades full of drama. Rarely can a series reach me like Farscape. It took the characters on a journey, and saw it through, and I think it's safe to say that things will never be the same again. It was an excellent two-parter, superbly written and directed, with a great balance of action, suspense and characterisation. The musical score was once again a masterpiece, and was a perfect fit for the various moments in which it was used, particularly the final scene. It was also visually stunning, in terms of both sets and computer graphics. The CG was just stunning, and how Animal Logic manage such greatness on a tight budget is just beyond me. The story does indeed have infinite possibilities, as there are so many directions things could go from here, particularly with the potential of the wormhole weapon. But what shone above all else was the characterisation, and the superb acting. Lani Tupu was great. Paul Goddard was great. Rygel was sweet, and well done by the puppeteers. Ben Browder was outstanding, and Claudia Black was just... perfect. There's no other word for her. Amazing.
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 "Icarus Abides", click here.
Did You Know?
Scarrans are notoriously hard to kill. It took two of Talyn's guns, with the Scarran held in place, on continuous fire to take him down.
John, with the unlocked wormhole secrets, could have gone home, and Aeryn would have gone with him.
We finally get our first glimpse of the thing that has been driving Scorpius – the wormhole weapon, and it proves enormously destructive.
Crais and Talyn have begun to regain their vision.
John Crichton is dead. At least, the one that was on Talyn, leaving only the one on Moya to continue the journeys in the Uncharted Territories. The question is, how will everyone, particularly Aeryn, react to seeing him when they finally rejoin.
There's a continuity error when images appear as John remembers how the wormhole technology works. An image is shown of John preparing to unlock the equations for Scorpius (from Incubator), yet that John was the one inside Scorpius' chip.
The subtitles of this two-parter are based on Greek mythology. Daedalus is a person from Greek mythology, and Icarus is his son. You can find more information here.
Till the Blood Runs Clear
A Human Reaction
Won't Get Fooled Again
Die Me, Dichotomy
Season of Death
Self Inflicted Wounds, Part 1: Could'a, Would'a, Should'a
Self Inflicted Wounds, Part 2: Wait for the Wheel
Infinite Possibilities, Part 1: Daedalus Demands
Crais: "Scarran dreadnought, this is Captain Bialar Crais; Peacekeeper. Approach any closer – you will be engaged, and destroyed!"
Stark: "They must be terrified."
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