|What Was Lost, Part 1:|
More of the crew are reunited, and while they discover the secrets of an Ancient civilisation, a serious threat looms...
Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.
Well, this episode leaves us with a lot to discuss. On one hand, it reunites the crew with Jool, D'Argo and the Old Woman from "Dog with Two Bones", on the other it shows us some rather extreme power shifts in the Peacekeeper ranks, and on another it also introduces an intriguing new plot in which Crichton is poised to discover a link between a planet and Earth, and all these aspects gradually come together. Sort of. Oh yeah, and this episode could easily be entitled "Farscape does bondage, part 1"...
The episode opens with a "previously on..." segment, as has somewhat become the norm for Farscape. What is most unusual is that this episode's recap contains completely new footage. According to David Kemper it was cut footage that was placed here to bring viewers up to speed on the few changes in the Peacekeeper ranks, so they could get on with the plot now and have the exposition later. The scenes first show the formidable Commandant Grayza chatting with now Captain Braca, and him threatening to execute her if a superior officer orders it. Then we see Braca effectively betray Scorpius for Grayza; as Scorpius tries to convince Braca that she is a manipulator, he simply retorts that Scorpius no longer has a ship to command. It's a very interesting scenario in which Scorpius' former "yes" man has now become one of his main enemies, and given the events that take place it wouldn't be too difficult to foresee Scorpius become a lucrative ally for Moya's crew in the future.
In his new role as captain, Braca has shown his true colours as a "consummate Peacekeeper", and has become a far more intriguing character in his own right. He stands at Grayza's side seemingly to follow her in whatever she desires, and definitely gets a kick out of finally being able to get back at Scorpius for all the times he had to say "yes". Of course, the question arises as to exactly why he is following Grayza, although that is alluded to during the episode, as Grayza's role in the events of the episode is considerably important. For a start, we learn a lot more about her and her "abilities". She seems to be able to use her sexuality to her advantage, and the results aren't pretty. She has some sort of sweat-like fluid on her chest (and no, it's nothing to do with her cleavage, she doesn't have a handful of breast, it's her chest), which she can apparently use to bring men (well, we've only seen her use it on men so far) under her "mysterious and dangerous allure". She gets some on her fingers, and with a quick smidgen of the stuff on Braca's lips he becomes like a sick little puppy-dog, hanging on her every whim and trying to kiss her. Later, she gives Crichton a whiff of this substance that her body apparently excretes and he wants her. The disturbing thing about it is that in essence, it's rape. Thanks to some incredible acting by Ben Browder you can see that his character does not want this, and he is trying to resist but he can do little but offer her anything she wants. And for all intents and purposes, it would seem that she got some of Crichton.
Which can only bring up the question, what does this bode for Crichton? After all, if he couldn't resist now, will he be able to resist later? In theory, Grayza could use him for anything she wants. It's even feasible that she may use him against the rest of the crew in some form or another; a scary (but intriguing) thought indeed. It wasn't just the fluid though; it was also her eyes. The camera closed in on her eyes a couple of times, suggesting that they have some hypnotic quality, only adding to her major manipulative traits. Also, and much more noticeable in this episode than her debut appearance in "Lambs to the Slaughter", she appears to be some kind of genetically enhanced Sebacean or some kind of hybrid. On first glance she does look Sebacean, and she could easily pass as one, but certain effects on the character's makeup give her a blue/silver tint highlighting certain features like her cheekbones. When you throw in her unusual abilities and it looks as though we don't have a run-of-the-mill Peacekeeper on our hands.
But poor old Scorpius. This is not a good time for the hybrid, as he really is humiliated in this episode. It would appear that Grayza's manipulation techniques either don't work on him, or she doesn't want him on her side (possible, so she could use him as bait), but she puts him through the wringer here. First, he is subjected to the Aurora Chair, something that should never happen to him. Then, courtesy of Braca, who insists that he was the one who made Scorpius; he is incapacitated by a special rod that apparently affects his motor stimulus, pretty much incapacitating him. He is then put on a leash and, dragged in on his hands and knees drooling, offered to Crichton as a show of good will from Grayza, but not before he is forced to lick her feet. Other than being a wildly disturbing scene, since although he has been the adversary for so long it is sad to see such a sharp fall from grace, it is also Farscape doing bondage for the first time (and from the preview of part 2, it would appear it's not the last). Honestly, in this scene Scorpius resembles some sort of bondage gimp dressed up and being dragged around for pleasure. That's probably not the intended depiction, but at times it sure looked that way!
Away from the Peacekeeper aspect of the episode, was the main plot. It's interesting in that to start with, more of the crew are reunited. Jool and D'Argo have an extremely nice reunion with Crichton and Chiana, with D'Argo and John hugging, and Jool surprisingly happy at seeing Chiana again. The episode really allows us to see much more of Jool, since the dig team is Interion in of itself. Her enthusiasm for the project, and the time she's spent here is an aspect of her character that we haven't seen before, and it's a refreshing change to see the intelligent, happier side come out over the bratty side we've seen in episodes past. Her relationship with D'Argo has also grown somewhat, as the two spent a lot of time together here. Quite how D'Argo arrived here is anyone's guess, but this, along with what happened to Moya after being swallowed by the wormhole, will be explained in due course, so for the time being we'll have to bide our time. Anyhow, D'Argo and Jool have come closer, much to the chagrin of Chiana, who is still suffering from her rape and torture during the time she was away from the crew. Clearly, this aspect is seriously affecting her behaviour, and she is not happy at the thought of "the princess" and D'Argo together.
While Jool and D'Argo had been close up until now, D'Argo overhears that Interions think Luxans are inferior, and he's upset that Jool doesn't stick up for him, even though she thinks he's "unusual for a Luxan". D'Argo's hurt is quite understandable under the circumstances, as it's clear he'd enjoyed the time he spent with Jool greatly and he considered them very close friends if not more. Where this relationship, which has been building for a while, goes from here should be interesting. However, Jool expressed her desire to remain with the dig team and study, and although that was before the few remaining Interions on the planet were killed, it'll be interesting to see if she really does decide to stay, at least for a while. The plot certainly leaves an easy way for the character to leave temporarily, which could be a sign considering it would appear that, at least for the a short part of the season, Tammy MacIntosh will be juggling her performance as Jool with a guest role on another Australian series.
Another reunion is with the Old Woman from "Dog with two Bones". In "Sacrifice" this character is superbly portrayed, and Melissa Jaffer does a remarkable job of bringing her insane qualities to life on screen. When she initially meets John again, she is unsure and acting crazy, hearing voices in her head and suchlike, continuously changing from one personality to another. One minute she sounds insane, the next all serious. But nonetheless she is hearing the voices of the Arnesskan Priests, who are urging her not to let the dig team, or anyone else, get a hold of the weapon that is on this planet to use it for evil. You see, the planet once held peace with both the Scarrans and Peacekeepers at the same time for over 500 generations, but their secret was lost when Darnaz probes were launched by those who opposed the peace, completely destroying the planet (causing the magnetic problems) and killing and driving away the people. The dig team is searching for the secret, and has found two of the three probes that make the Darnaz triangle, which will give them the ability to reverse the devastating effects, but could also be used as a powerful weapon.
So the Old Woman gives Crichton visions, so that he can see what was lost (sorry, have to keep getting the title in there!), but the planet's magnetics interfere with her projections, making the suggested become real. This means that John has seen too much, so after the Old Woman discovers that Vella was killed and finds out from John that he knows the location of the final probe, she decides he must not live. Her bizarre behaviour throughout the episode, which again carried a wonderful mystic, weird quality, where she tries to get Crichton to kill the members of the dig team can be attributed to this – she's actually working towards the goal of keeping anyone from discovering the third probe so they are unable to use the weapon for evil. As such, she also realises that if Vella would be bad, Peacekeepers would be much worse, so Grayza can never discover the weapon. Of course, this presents a problem, as Crichton falls under Grayza's allure. The Old Woman continually appears to him muttering that for peace there must be sacrifice.
So after John's disturbing time with Grayza, he's all alone curled up, apparently hurt and upset, probably at losing control of himself and what he's just done. It's then that the Old Woman finds out that John knows too much, and as Braca arrives to presumably get a hold of Crichton, he turns and with her egging him on, jumps off the cliff. It's actually a very well done scene; Ben Browder portrays the feelings John has after his encounter with Grayza extremely well without words, and Melissa Jaffer continues her strong presence with the Old Woman being intriguing and commanding at the same time. The look on Braca's face as he turns and jumps off the cliff is absolutely priceless.
So we're left wondering, not whether John will survive (it's obvious he will), but how he will survive, and it has to be said that the plot is extremely intriguing and leaves one anxious to see it unravel, which is what will happen to an extent next week. The furthering of Grayza and her presence will be interesting to watch, as will how the rest of the crew reacts to John's behaviour. This isn't even mentioning the discovery of the child's tile, an artefact that contains what appear to be Egyptian symbols, suggesting a link to Earth.
One of the problems with this episode stems from the number of inconsistencies found. Generally I wouldn't call the show on certain things, because I am well aware that Farscape is a programme that unfolds as you watch, and often we get answers to questions that come later. But here, some things were a little annoying. The story goes that Elack is taking John, Chiana, Rygel and Sikozu to a planet called Arnessk, a place where an Interion (Jool's race) archaeological team set down and dig whenever they can, determined by the current magnetics of the planet. This is where Moya was headed before, and so Crichton is assuming that at least Jool and Moya will be there, as long as they could manage it, since it was their original destination. The problem with this is that we've been given no indication whatsoever before that they were planning on visiting this place, and certainly when the crew split in "Dog with Two Bones" there was no sign that those who remained on Moya (Jool, Crichton and the Old Woman) were going anywhere in particular. To a lesser extent, we've also never had it suggested that Jool even knew of an Interion team any place in this close range (assuming it's close because the dying Leviathan was able to get there from the sacred burial ground before shutting down). Granted, it sounds like a bit of a nitpick but it was frustrating. Amusingly, another annoyance, also pretty minor is why was Jool's hair red throughout this episode? When she originally joined the crew we were told her hair turned from the usual gold to bright red when she was nervous or uneasy. In "Lambs to the Slaughter" her hair is red throughout, but that was understandable as she was under stress on an enemy's Command Carrier. Here, she is with her own people and really has no reason to be nervous or have any bad feelings, so why is her hair red?
"Sacrifice" is a tough episode to score. On the one hand, while the plot is quite intriguing, and asks hundreds of questions without providing many answers, the discovery of an artefact on another world with a connection to Earth does have something of a "been there, done that" kind of feel, even if it was a story that probably had to come sooner or later. The furthering of Grayza's character makes for interesting viewing, and I look forward to learning more about her and her powers. The reunion of the crew was fun in that it didn't go the happy way many reunions might, and the presence of the Old Woman really added some interest and intrigue to the episode. But while it was a good episode, and well worth watching, it was nothing outstanding by Farscape's standards. It has a decent plot that will no doubt kick in to high gear with the second part, and some great characterisation. When I first watched "Sacrifice", I felt somewhat let down and disappointed. I don't know why and I couldn't explain it. Yet I had a yearning to watch it again like I have never had before. Having now watched it a total of three times, I can safely say that it does reward multiple viewings to reveal many of the nuances, especially with parts of the dealings between John and the Old Woman. So a good episode not without its problems, "Sacrifice" is well worth a watch.
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 "Sacrifice", click here.
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Did You Know?
The Egyptian symbol Crichton recognises on the child's tile is the Eye of Horus, which is associated with regeneration, health and prosperity. For more on the mythology see here and here.
When the Old Woman shows Crichton visions of the priests, and later when she hears their voices in her head, they can be heard chanting. The chant is the same tune used for the "vocal" chant part of the current theme music. (Thanks to Mary for pointing that out!)
With Scorpius no longer having a ship to command, he has fallen from his high position in Peacekeeper ranks and his second, Braca, has switched to Commandant Grayza's allegiance and been promoted to captain.
Commandant Grayza has the ability to use fluid from her body to bring people under her control, effectively making them want her sexually. Her eyes also seem to play a part in this effect, which she has used on both Braca and Crichton.
D'Argo has spent much time with Jool on Arnessk, along with the Old Woman. Pilot and Moya left them there to go and search for Aeryn, who has not had any contact with the crew since she left. The Old Woman apparently knows what happened to Moya when she was swallowed by the wormhole, but refuses to tell Crichton, although she did tell Pilot.
Into the Lion's Den, Part 1: Lambs to the Slaughter
Into the Lion's Den, Part 2: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Dog with Two Bones
Grayza: "Remember me?"
John: "Oh yeah, I remember a couple of things."
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