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"A Prefect Murder"
On a planet of warring clans, Chiana plays with the locals while Aeryn is accused of murder...

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

"A Prefect Murder" was another one of Farscape's more stylised episodes, utilising a harsh style of editing that introduced various plot points before they were actually fleshed out and explained. Of course, while I found them stylish, and for me they added to the intrigue of the episode, I could see how some people could view them as nothing more than padding and filler. However I really did rather like it, as I felt it added a certain flavour to the episode that would have otherwise been lacking.

The entire teaser (the portion of the show before the opening credits) and a fair number of scenes after were made up of fragments of conversations that we then later got to see either in full or from a different character's viewpoint. Despite a few minor discrepancies with the later scenes in wish the fragments were explained, I found this to be an interesting change of pace from the usual story-telling methods. It's by no means a new concept, but one that I thought fitted the narrative tone of the episode really well, and found it very appealing. It wasn't so overused that it ended up being confusing, but for me it had just enough snippets of information to keep me really interested until the full conversations were revealed and the pieces of the puzzle started falling further in to place.

It was also great to get out on location for this episode, having had several Moya-heavy episodes in a row. The planet looked fantastic and really drew me in, with the dark and dull look only emphasising the conflicting nature of the planets inhabitants. The marketplace seemed a suitably disturbing place for the murders to take place, with so many people around also being drawn in unexpectedly. The woods also looked fairly varied and it was easy to get lost in the surroundings and get the impression that this really was a huge world (as opposed to say, "Relativity", where the jungle set did look good but rather repetitive), and all this simply added to the atmosphere.

There was also yet another bout of great acting on display here, notably from Gigi Edgley, Raelee Hill, Claudia Black and Ben Browder. Gigi really continues to shine this season, and it was nice to see that while the writers continue to allow her character to grow, they don't forget her roots. While she has definitely grown and matured this season, she nonetheless sometimes falls back to that free spirit that she always is at her roots, and it's nice to see that the writers understand this kind of subtlety in their characters, as it makes it all the more realistic. After all, as people grow and change, often under certain circumstances they'll return to their older traits that they know, and considering Chiana is an alien and so doesn't behave by our rules at all, it's a nice thing to see, and Gigi plays the alien extremely well. Sikozu's short-lived romance was also interesting, revealing a new, more caring side to her character, and also managing to insert herself fairly prominently into the relatively few scenes she was in. So far, her character has managed to fit right in with the rest of Moya's crew, and I think that's fantastic. There was also a lovely little piece in the scene at the end, where she goes to collect Chiana who is with the priest, and they touch heads, and it was on of those Farscape subtleties that I really loved.

Claudia Black was excellent in showing the effects of the flashbacks, particularly in the early part of the episode and during the scenes where she's trying to remember the murder itself. She was extremely convincing in her portrayal of not being able to remember, and gradually realising certain things. Ben Browder was also particularly good when he became an assassin, and the various scenes between John and Aeryn as they facedown, pointing guns at each other so forth worked really well and were, as per usual, very enjoyable to watch (it's that believability factor again – these actors make us believe their characters are in these situations). Also, John's initial reactions to Aeryn when he found her after the killings was interesting, showing a reluctance that at one time would've been comfort.

In fact, there were several subtleties in the ongoing John/Aeryn saga that appeared here, in particular the way John's reluctance does in fact turn to comfort by the end of the episode. The aforementioned initial reaction was quite heart-warming in that poor Aeryn had no idea what was going on, and was somewhat crushed having killed so many people. Then after the numerous confrontations as they're trying to suppress the urge to kill each other while they're on their way to rescue Chiana, knocked to the floor by the others, John touches Aeryn's hand with his finger, and shortly after she holds his hand. I could almost hear the shippers scream out in excitement at that scene! It was another nice little character moment, then of course the tail end of the episode sees John go and place his hand on Aeryn's shoulder to comfort her. It all added up to some nice subtleties in the characters' emotions, and served to remind us that neither has forgotten their relationship. Add in the fact that John chose not to sniff the drug (even if it was partly because Aeryn called him), and you have signs that John perhaps can't keep his distance from Aeryn.

One other character I really liked in this episode was Paroos, the priest. Clearly he was being operated in a similar way to Rygel, but that didn't matter as the Creature Shop did another fantastic job of making a great new one off character. He looked different, sounded good and I felt that the character really added a bit of mysteriousness that would have been missing without him. He had some interesting words of wisdom too!

Having mentioned all the nice subtleties and character points, and that I generally liked a lot of the episode, some of it didn't fit and there were a few things that annoyed me a little.

One such point that didn't necessarily make sense was Chiana using her visions to watch E'Alet spawn the bugs. I mean, was that really necessary? She said that again her blindness lasted even longer this time, and yet there really was no need. Surely given the conversation she heard, even if she couldn't have seen the bugs at normal speed she knew what was going on? And then she complains about the effects. Well, in the words of the priest, don't use it. There really was no reason, unless she expected something else important to come of it. But that whole segment kind of baffled me in a way.

That being a minor niggle, really my biggest is that the episode, while good, didn't have too much meat to it. It would've been nice, having created such a rich world, to get a bit more in depth in the clan wars and the ways of the clans. It just felt like we were merely scratching the surface of this planet and its inhabitants, and in that way it left me wanting a bit more than what we got, which ended up being a relatively simple plot of a leader using bugs to instigate violence between the clans through assassinations. While I enjoyed what we got, the teaser of what it could've been ultimately left me wanting more.

So while "A Prefect Murder" was highly enjoyable, with it's interesting, if somewhat gimmicky style drawing me in, it did leave me feeling like I wanted a little more, and as such while the episode is a solid 3, and recommended viewing, I couldn't help but wish for just a little more.




I love to hear your views, whether you agree or disagree, so feel free to e-mail me your feedback. Review by Dani Moure.

Second Opinion
To see Mary Wood's review of "A Prefect Murder", click here.

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Did You Know?
Moya was hit hard travelling through Tormented Space, and had to be shut down for rest.

This planet is the first in 20 in Tormented Space that contains drinking water, hence the crew wanting greatly to work things out on the planet.


Related Episodes
Crichton Kicks
Promises
Natural Election
I Shrink Therefore I Am

Favourite Quote
D'Argo: [to John and Aeryn] "You can fight against it."
John: "D'Argo, just hit me! Knock me out!" [John hits him to little effect] "Hit me harder you big sissy!"


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Episode Credits
Season 4, Episode 9 - "A Prefect Murder"
Writer: Mark Saraceni
Director: Geoff Bennett
Production number: 10409
First UK Transmission: 25th Nov2002
First US Transmission: 9th Aug 2002
Guest Stars:
Raelee Hill (Sikozu); Melissa Jaffer (Noranti) [does not appear in episode]); Bruce Spence (Prefect Falaak); Ivar Kants (Gaashah); Peter Whitford (Jabuka Clan Chieftain); Brett Stiller (Zerbat); Jason Chong (E'Alet); Shardyn Faheyleigh; Gitanjaii Seymour
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