A group of escaped prisoners turn up on Moya, just as Talyn's crew returns for the reunion...
Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.
Surely to the delight of a number of fans, some of which no doubt belong to the group that have disliked the "darker" nature of Farscape during this season, "Fractures," more so than any other episode this season, could quite easily have come in either season before it. A little tweaking to the script and voila... you could have a "Fractures" in season one or two. That is by no means meant to be derogatory towards this episode, but nonetheless despite the death count in "Fractures," it's one of those in-betweeners that is neither dark (like most episodes this season) or light (as a few this season have tried to be), but is very much in the middle.
At its core, "Fractures" is a whodunit mystery; not a murder mystery, but a who-sent-out-the-messages-and-shot-a-couple-of-visitors mystery. But this mystery was layered with a big, huge spread of character interaction, most notable as it's the first time in ten episodes (since "Thanks for Sharing") that the entire crew of Moya and Talyn are back together again (well, with the exception of Stark, and John-black if you really want to be pedantic). This reunion definitely sparks some of the most interesting scenes in the episode.
Firstly, there's the initial joy within Crichton, once again played superbly by Ben Browder, at the thought of seeing Aeryn once again. He faffs about deciding whether or not he should wear his black or green shirt (and in some kind of dramatic irony, D'Argo convinces him to wear the black one as it looks "better" on him), and is generally Mr. Smile. He's a little disappointed when the prisoners step out (more on that side of things below), but when Talyn is detected he's subtly yet clearly overjoyed again. But all does not go well, and when he's passed an uneasy Rygel and Crais, and he finally sees a "familiar face," his joy ends. When Aeryn says "Hello John" and walks off, his whole demeanour changes and Ben Browder manages to make it crystal clear that 1) John knows something is up and 2) his happiness has just been torn down in that instant. It's one of those classic, subtle yet dramatic scenes that Claudia Black and Ben Browder manage to pull off really, really well. In fact, Claudia's expression, almost heartless yet somewhat afraid, at seeing John is absolutely beautiful to see.
Once John's found out about his twin being killed, we see another great John-Aeryn moment. When they end up left alone in a corridor, he wants so badly to speak to her, but her back is facing him, and he takes a long hard look at the back of her head before walking away. You could really feel the pain as John did this, and it made the moment stand out in my mind.
Again, the two are together, not really speaking when they're fixing up Moya, and John is asking her for tools. It becomes almost robotic as he asks and she passes without words, until he throws in some funny lines to try and break the ice. It fails, and so he cuts to the chase. He hasn't seen her in ten episodes (i.e. a very long time, half a cycle according to SciFi's journey log) and not really knowing what happened he wants to talk. But she doesn't. So he starts to talk and says how sorry he is, and she just gets up and walks away. Once again you could just feel the man's pain, as he at least wants to know how she is feeling, after all he doesn't know exactly what they went through (although I'm sure he could easily guess most of it), but she obviously isn’t in the mindset to talk. Even D'Argo wants to offer him advice, but has none, and realises it must be hard as he feels it was "the copy" that died, whereas Aeryn sees him as "the copy."
The next time John and Aeryn are together it's on D'Argo's ship, and yet another heart-rending scene for Aeryn came when they were about to hook on to the pod, and she forgot for a moment which John he was, and recalled the moment on the Budong (in "Green Eyed Monster"). That was just very well played by Claudia Black, and then the two carry out their plan and rescue Rygel and return to Moya safely.
But if the John and Aeryn scenes were the layers of the story, the core plot of the episode was about the prisoners. For the most part, this plot worked well. It was great to see more escaped Peacekeeper prisoners, particularly when they're Nebari, Scarran and Hynerian. In particular, we've never seen another Hynerian before, so I was quite excited having read the preview. Unfortunately, and this is my major gripe with the episode, Orhnn did not seem quite... real. It was pretty blatant that she was made from an old Rygel puppet/cast, because quite honestly she looked like Rygel if he was a cross-dresser. Sadly, the fact that she didn't look as real as other puppets took away from Rygel in their scenes together. Particularly, funny though it was, we could have done without the on-screen kissing between the two, because that really detracted from my immersion in this episode. Due to their very nature, the puppets can't kiss properly. Fine when you have a human actor like Claudia Black to compensate, but when it's two puppets with stiff mouths, it just looks plainly unrealistic.
Besides the fact that she didn't look real, I actually liked some of the interaction between her and Rygel, and also between Chiana and the Nebari Hubero, and D'Argo and the Scarran Naj Gil. They all showed loyalty to their respective guests nicely, and the loyalty aspect was well-placed throughout the story. The PK Tech was a little peripheral though, and only seemed to be there as a means of having an obvious first suspect. It was also great to see more of Chiana's new ability to foresee aspects of the future, and the ongoing interactions between Crais and Jool. I even found the Boolite somewhat funny (although the rather amusing scream was extremely out of character for Crais). The resolution to this story was well done, and quite sad for Rygel to be turned on by one of the few people he immediately trusted. It seemed to be the first time it hit home for him how long he'd been away from home, in that he was so quick to fall for one of his own species again.
But Rockne O'Bannon saved the best until last, and once that whole traitor plot was done and dusted, we were left with two absolutely brilliant scenes. The first was the message from Stark, which actually turned out to be a message from the dead John to John on Moya. What really struck a chord were Aeryn's reactions as she overheard the whole scene, and the way the John on Moya was really upset deep down about the whole ordeal. With the story of wormholes told, dead John tells John that he must not let Scorpius get his hands on wormhole technology, and then tells him to take it slow with Aeryn. That, and the final rock-paper-scissors in which the two finish tied again, was really sad to watch, particularly because as mentioned both John's reaction to his counterpart in the message and Aeryn's reaction on over-hearing were so well played.
The final scene was extremely poignant. With the entire crew (or what's left of it) lined up, John explains his next mission, the one that will catapult us in to the final four episodes of the season and probably have repercussions into the next. He's off to take the fight to Scorpy. As both myself and Mary Wood noticed, it was great to see John finally take control and become the hunter over the hunted, as these latest events have finally led him to take charge. Not only was just that realisation a joy, but so was the fact that Aeryn was the first to join him. The way it played out, as everyone watched on as she slowly got up and walked to his side, was great to see. It signifies the beginning, and it is only the beginning, of what was mentioned in my review of "The Choice" – she's beginning the healing process, taking the first step to moving on. It's a small step, and only the beginning, but it's a start, and that's what counts. It was also very poignant to have Crais join him too, although I was left wondering if it will just be the three of them, and if so, how will the rest of Moya be involved - will they be left for a rescue or involved in some other way?
Those questions and more will be answered in the final four episodes of the season, set to air in the UK in January, and the US in April, following the usual hiatus, and I cannot wait to see where the story is headed from here, as I truly believe we're still only scratching the surface in many ways. In the end though, for me, whilst "Fractures" was a very good episode, and one that catapults the story in a new direction with a number of possibilities for the remaining arc of the season, it was not outstanding, and had it been in an earlier season it probably would have scored a 4. But in this season, which has been exceptional as a whole (and in which, despite how it may seem, I've been harder on episodes than in the past), with barely a dud in sight, it gets a stamp of "recommended" and a solid score of a "high" 3.
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 "Fractures", click here.
Did You Know?
The crew of Talyn and the crew of Moya, split in Thanks for Sharing, are finally reunited here, ten episodes later. According to SciFi's Journey Log, that amounts to half a cycle.
Chiana's lingering ability to foresee the future, hinted at in the final scenes of Losing Time, appears again here as she predicts the pulse blast that ends up injuring Naj Gil.
Crichton has set himself a new goal, and for the first time he is planning to take the fight to Scorpius.
When she and Crichton are attempting the rescue of Rygel, Aeryn refers to the cabling they use as the same as they used on the Budong, which took place in Green Eyed Monster, and soon realises it was with the other John.
We never actually saw Naj Gil, the Scarran, killed. Though he is assumed dead, and it looked like he was shot, he was last seen standing behind Crais in the crossfire with the Peacekeeper Tech.
This episode is the last in the US until the final four episodes of the season, no doubt dealing with Crichton's new mission, air in January 2002.
Thanks for Sharing
Green Eyed Monster
Infinite Possibilities, Part 1: Daedalus Demands
Infinite Possibilities, Part 2: Icarus Abides
Chiana: (to John) "She's gonna be walking off that pod, I know it."
Jool: "Chiana's right – Aeryn's fine. I'm sure the other you has taken extra good care of her. I mean... All I meant was that I'm sure that he did everything that you would have done if you had of been with Aeryn all this time..."
John: (to Aeryn, as she steps off the pod) "Well there's a familiar face..."
Aeryn: "Hello John." (Walks off)
John: "We choose our own path. This one is mine. I'm going to the Command Carrier. I'm going to stop Scorpius."
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