|We're So Screwed, Part 1:|
The crew attempts to rescue Aeryn, as another threat rises from the coffin...
Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.
Another episode down, as we're into the final four. As the first part of a trilogy, "Fetal Attraction" has quite a lot to do. It should move the story in interesting directions, and to a degree, it certainly does. However, unlike past end-of-season multi-part episodes, for the most part, the story has been flowing consistently since "Bringing Home the Beacon". Sure enough, we near enough pick up from "Prayer", a good episode which I felt was somewhat flawed. "Fetal Attraction" jumps forward slightly, as we're now moving along with the story. And yet, we're still not at Katratzi.
In many ways, "Fetal Attraction" suffers in the same way I felt its predecessor did. While the story does move forward for the most part, we're still not where we want to be (well, we actually are; we're where Aeryn was, but we've been led to believe that would be Katratzi), and even with some interesting twists there are some parts that really don't work.
I won't deny that one of my biggest problems with this episode is the inconsistency carried through from "Prayer". At the end of that episode, Aeryn said, "I am now willing to make a deal with anyone, with anything to save my child. Not because I can... but because I have to." That was one of the episode's most powerful moments for me, and it's all but glossed over here, as Aeryn is reduced to little more than whimpering the whole time. She doesn't have to make a deal with anyone, she doesn't have to do anything to save her child. Instead, she stays in her restraints, having delusions of John, and whimpers every now and then when they try and do something to the baby, like swap it over for Chiana to carry. Now don't get me wrong, I think Claudia Black put in a fine performance with very little dialogue. She came across as pretty much broken, at her wit's end. I just found it somewhat frustrating that there was no follow through from her decision at the end of the last episode to do whatever it takes to save her child. She really has little to do other than wait to be rescued, and I think I expected more from her than that.
Speaking of the baby swap, that really did perk up the story, and would've have made a killer twist. I was really hoping that they would actually go through with it, as it was something that I don't think anyone really would have seen coming. What would have been the repercussions had it happened? How would John and the rest of the crew reacted? Would they all have survived? Alas, the reasons for not going through with it are clear, but it really picked up the pace of the episode and perked things up as we were heading towards the end. The tension added by the suggestion was great, and the transplant device looked suitably painful. It also served as a nice reminder of just how ruthless Scarrans can be when trying to attain their goals.
Although I did wonder what was going on when the Charrids went to bring back Chiana, and suddenly she has the strength to knock the vast majority of them down before being ganged up on. Granted, Charrids don't seem to be the cleverest aliens, but they do seem to have some strength, and so Chiana's fight back, while it looked good, felt a little implausible given the number of Charrids there.
One of the greatest aspects of "Fetal Attraction" was that it gave the supporting cast a fair bit to do. The way they broke apart pretending not to know each other worked well, and showed again that they can work well as a team when they have a decent plan. Noranti got a lot to do, Sikozu was active, and most everyone played a good role. Well, with the exception of Pilot, who, for simple plot purposes, seemed to be made into a bumbling idiot who can't tell that Charrids have forcefully boarded Moya until they've got a hold of Chiana. That seemed awfully silly, and I'm sure they could have come up with a better reason for the Charrids getting on board than that.
Noranti was excellent in this episode, which is always wonderful because I love the character. It's interesting to see her reactions, having been forced to incite Rygel's illness, and then her guilt at what she did. She's always been extremely mysterious, and although some will probably complain that she almost became Zhaan version 2 in this episode, personally I'd disagree. She is far, far more than just a healer (as was Zhaan, in different ways), but this episode was an opportunity to get something of an insight in to her character. Her biting back at Chiana saying she will fix it was a little scary, and her concern for Aeryn and Chiana, and not knowing what she could do, was genuine and a side to the character we haven't much seen. Her final scene with Rygel, where she is reflecting on having killed so many people was beautiful, and once again demonstrated why Rygel is such a wonderful character too. He may be ruthless and selfish, but he is very wise, and his words were just lovely. It's moments like this that remind me just why I think Rygel is great. "By my actions, I have taken innocent lives." "Welcome to Moya." That was such a fantastic exchange that was so perfect.
Sikozu also had a fair bit to do, and what is up with her, anyway? It was great to see how the whole Scarran/Kalish interactions worked on the station, and the Kalish we saw all seemed like interesting characters. But seeing Sikozu with more of her people was all the more interesting, and of course, there was a big, huge hint at something when she fried the panel with her hand. It seemed an awful lot like a Scarran heat probe, which definitely left me wondering if she's actually a Scarran spy. A lot of people will have considered it (especially after "Unrealized Reality"), and this episode just added all the more fuel to the fire. It should be interesting to see how much farther this goes.
Then there's Scorpius. Forced to masquerade as a member of Scarran intelligence, his interaction with Jenek and the others on the base said a lot about the Scarrans. Clearly, Jenek had no idea who Scorpius was, so it's likely he is not as notorious as one may have thought. Additionally, there was something of a nonchalant reaction to him being a hybrid, which clearly shows that hybrids can't be all that uncommon. Indeed, from what we've seen in the past, we know Scarrans experiment with such things often, but I must admit I expected the reaction to be more like the Peacekeepers (where purity of the bloodline means a lot) than it was. It was interesting, nonetheless. And the posturing between Jenek and Scorpius was fascinating. Clearly, even though Scorpius had the relevant codes, Jenek did not trust him at all, at least not enough to tell him what was so important about what he was doing. Sure enough, it's Scorpius that has to tell Jenek what he knows about them holding Aeryn, and so forth, which made a change to what often might happen in a similar situation. The battle between Jenek and Scorpius was quite fun, in seeing Scorpius initially having the upper hand, but gradually being overpowered then heat probed. Of course, Scorpius is captured, and this could cause great problems.
Which leads to John. Poor, poor John. It was said after "A Constellation of Doubt" that he has really snapped, and all he cares for is Aeryn. And his actions to that end have become quite scary. Here, he is killing people left, right and centre, without a second thought. His only concern was getting to Aeryn, and his actions did enable that. But it's more his lack of remorse that tells you what kind of place he is in right now. The only semblance of it is his comment of how high his body count was, when he opts not to kill Vakali. He has taken a very, very dark turn and is on a not so nice path. But the great thing about it is it that it's so Farscape. This is what happens in people's lives. Yes, John's actions will have an impact on the entire galaxy, but he doesn't care right now, all he cares about is Aeryn. If that point hasn't been hammered home enough by now, then it never will be.
Anyhow, thanks to his actions in this episode, and the help of everyone else (again, nice to see everyone in the thick of things), John does indeed get Aeryn back. Of course, Scorpius is now captured, and on his way to Katratzi, presumably. The scenes with John and Aeryn back on Moya are nice. More so their actions than what they actually say. The touching of faces, them holding each other, once again a lot is said without words. Aeryn's questions like "Is this real?" and "What about the baby?" shows that she is first and foremost concerned with her baby. It will be most interesting to see what, if anything, she makes of John's actions recently.
Then come the revelations. It's very well done, and the hints were there all along. Harvey is back from the dead. He rises out of the coffin, Dracula-style, revealing that he wasn't removed by Scorpius back in "Promises" like he was supposed to be, but instead he was upgraded. Harvey is now loyal to Scorpius. But that's not all. Harvey has been broadcasting. Echoing comments and themes in "John Quixote" (the antenna in John's head, game-Chiana telling John that Scorpius can hear everything, Harvey's appearance when trying to rescue Aeryn), Harvey has been constantly broadcasting everything from John's mind to Scorpius, and that includes wormhole technology. So Scorpius knows. He might not know the key to unlocking it, may not understand it, but Scorpius has the wormhole technology. A masterful stroke from Scorpius, that could spell immense trouble for John and the crew, because it means that the Scarrans effectively have the wormhole technology, only they probably don't know it, so the crew really will have to go and rescue him. They just can't get a break.
Also of interest with regard to Scorpius was another hint at... whatever it is being hinted at. Scorpius now has Scarran intelligence codes. What with the Scarran blood vow and the "mother tongue" comment in past episodes, I'm still not entirely sure what to think.
The episode had a lot going for it. Seeing John and Chiana working for Scorpius was fun, and echoed "Nerve", and with Noranti and D'Argo and then Sikozu all working independently, all for infiltration to rescue Aeryn, it was also reminiscent of "Liars, Guns and Money" in season two. The crew rescued Aeryn, and there was plenty of action and some nice character stuff. And yet, again, this episode didn't sit entirely right. I have a feeling it was my mood (I was under a lot of pressure last week). It had a lot of good elements, but that nagging feeling that we're still not at Katratzi, and that Aeryn was, until the end, blundering through, just didn't sit well. "Fetal Attraction" (or, as I prefer to call it, "Foetal Extraction") is a promising start to the final four episodes, and kicked things off nicely. The performances were excellent, and nothing can take away from the supporting cast in particular. It's a good episode, and the twists at the end left me extremely hopeful of what's to come. It's very close to a 4. Think of it as a 3.9.
I love to hear your views, whether you agree or disagree, so feel free to e-mail me your feedback. Review by Dani Moure.
Did You Know?
Shane Briant, who plays Trayso in this episode, previously played Kaarvok in season three's Eat Me.
Patrick Ward, who played the Charrid Ralnaht in this episode, also played the Charrid Zylar in last season's Daedalus Demands.
When this episode debuted on the BBC in the UK, because it aired at 6.45pm, before the 9pm watershed, the BBC were concerned with the trilogy of episodes being titled "We're So Screwed," so were provided with an alternate opening just using the subtitles for all three.
The title "Fetal Attraction" is a nod to the movie Fatal Attraction, starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close.
Scorpius knows Scarran Ministry of Dissimulation identification codes, despite apparently despising all things Scarran.
Harvey returns, apparently having been upgraded to Harvey 2.0, rather than removed, in Promises. He has been transmitting to Scorpius what is in John's mind all the time, including wormhole technology, and is now fully loyal to him.
This is the first episode where we see more of Sikozu's species, the Kalish. They were first mentioned as being conquered by the Scarrans in Crichton Kicks.
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
Infinite Possibilities, Part 1: Daedalus Demands
Infinite Possibilities, Part 2: Icarus Abides
I Shrink Therefore I Am
Bringing Home the Beacon
A Constellation of Doubt
Trayso: [of D'Argo] "A Luxan assistant?"
Noranti: "Oh, yes. Luxans make fine pilots, exceptional bodyguards and superlative lovers."
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