Following the harrowing events of Fractures…
Naj Gil is on his way to recovery and Moya has rendezvoused with a Scarran medical ship that will take him. Jool considers an offer to go with Naj Gil - the fight with the Peacekeepers definitely isn't hers - and Chiana says she's outta here first habitable planet they pass. D'Argo and Rygel are off to meet with Scorpius. There's no turning back now. D'Argo and Rygel do indeed meet with Scorpius and Lt. Bracca in a restaurant (presumably in some neutral location). As agreed upon, our little segment of Moya crew is unarmed. As expected, Scorpy is immediately followed by a contingent of Peacekeepers and orders the execution of D'Argo and Rygel.
But, the order of execution is followed by a nice, long pause on the part of Scorpy and company and little or no fear or irritation on the part of D'Argo and Rygel. They expected a test like this from Scorpy to see if anyone else came with them as a backup rescue team. With his little experiment over, Scorpius sends all the Peacekeepers except Lt. Bracca back to his ship (well, all whom D'Argo didn't knock out) and settles down to talk. The Moya crew wants full amnesty and relocation to a planet as free citizens and in return, Crichton will help Scorpy in his wormhole research. Why, Scorpy asks? Because Crichton knows that someone will eventually get the technology; either the Scarrans and Charrids, or Scorpy. And Crichton would rather that Scorpy had it.
All the while, the cook and waitress/owners/couple/whatever who seem to be running the restaurant are extremely uptight about having Peacekeepers of this caliber in their establishment and are just hoping to get out of this alive.
Naj Gil has just taken the derelict transport pod from Fractures to the Scarran medical ship and Jool decides at the last second to go after him and take him up on his offer. Chiana catches her in the hangar though and tries to persuade her not to go, saying she saw herself mourning for her (this after having had a eerie flash of Peacekeepers earlier). When diplomacy fails, Chiana simply hits Jool to keep her on board Moya. True to Chiana's first flash, Peacekeeper ships start showing up. Unable to Starburst until they're free of the Scarran medical ship, they have Talyn keep cannons aimed, just in case. "Just in case" only lasts a few seconds as it becomes immediately apparent that the Peacekeeper ships are targeting Moya. Talyn is given the order to fire. The Peacekeepers are quickly destroyed, but Talyn panics and also destroys the Scarran medical ship.
Jool is in hysterics, furious with Crais for allowing Talyn to do this, despite Crais' insistence that Talyn acted of his own accord. She's also angry with Chiana, insisting that she had to have known. A dazed Chiana swears she only saw herself mourning and thought it was just for Jool. Crichton seems to be trying to deal with one crisis at a time, asking Pilot for immediate Starburst. But Moya won't do it. Talyn is unresponsive and Moya won't leave him.
Elsewhere in the universe, Scorpy, D'Argo, and Rygel seem to all be in agreement. Except for a minor detail; D'Argo and Rygel want some kind of guarantee, other than kind words, that Scorpy will hold up his end of the bargain. Apparently having anticipated this, Scorpius orders Lt. Bracca to haul out the I-Yensch bracelets. Scorpius orders Bracca to put one on and invites Ka D'Argo to don the other. He invites Rygel to hit Bracca and when he does, both Bracca and D'Argo feel it. Each will feel everything the other feels, suffer whatever the other suffers. If one dies, so does the other. The deal sounds acceptable enough until Scorpius says Crichton will wear one and Bracca will wear the other. Rygel laughs it off, saying that Scorpy won't hesitate to kill or injure Bracca. Scorpy insists with unusual emotion that he will not wear an I-Yensch bracelet. No bracelet, no deal, says Rygel. Then no deal it is says Scorpius. There's no time however to mend the broken deal as 2 burglars burst into the establishment, weapons firing.
It's apparent the robbery was premeditated, but the presence of Peacekeeper officers wasn't in the plan. They order the cooks to go cook something and establish with an expectedly calm Scorpius that there are no other troops and no comms (D'Argo had destroyed the comms). Bracca tries to get one of the robbers' guns and is shot in the leg. Still wearing the I-Yensch bracelets, both Bracca and D'Argo are injured. As the robbers re-hash whatever plan they had, Rygel suggests they think bigger. Let him and D'Argo go and hold the Peacekeepers for ransom. He then figures out through bits and pieces of the robbers' nervous chatter what their real plan was. They were hired by the male cook to burn the place down for insurance money. They decide to go with Rygel's suggestion instead. As they go over the cliched plan of asking for ransom and a fast ship (it's apparent by now the robbers are slow-witted at best), Scorpius suggests they go for Rygel instead. As Dominar of Hyneria, surely he can fetch a much higher ransom.
Talyn regrets what he did but regret won't bring back the 600 Scarrans killed in his attack. Crais concedes that something must be done. This kind of paranoid behavior has happened before and will happen again. He suggests a complete systems shutdown until they can repair the flaws in his character. Basically; lobotomize Talyn. Moya is less than crazy about the idea. Pilot offers to speak with her, but it doesn't last long. Moya won't move, she won't talk to anyone, Talyn is just as unresponsive. Standoff. Aeryn asks John if he has any ideas, prompting a brief, tense, "We can still work together" moment between them. John says Talyn will only listen to Moya at this point. Someone has to talk to her and John says Aeryn is the best one for the job. Moya knows that Aeryn loves Talyn. Aeryn gives it a go, swearing to Moya that they will do everything to protect Talyn and bring him back with minimal damage. Moya reluctantly agrees that it's necessary and explains it all to Talyn. He powers up as if to allow Crais and company on board, but instead, fires on Moya. He doesn't destroy her, but she's certainly sustained some damage. While Chiana and Jool tend to Moya, Crais, Aeryn and John approach Talyn in a transport pod. He allows them to dock.
Rygel, the new star hostage, insists that the robbers get water and food for Bracca, who is fast succumbing to his injuries. This means D'Argo is in danger too. The robbers are acting, well, like most slow-witted robbers on TV act. Like they're top dren and in full control of something that is obviously way over their heads. As is too often the case, you have the one who thinks they should just stick to the original plan before anyone gets hurt or killed (Wa), and the other who gets especially cocky and dangerous (Sko). Scorpy and Rygel in the meantime are quietly assessing the situation between them. Apparently having come to an unspoken agreement that they need to trust each other, Scorpy tells Rygel the combination to Bracca's I-Yensch bracelet. As the robbers work out a rudimentary plan, Scorpy and Rygel keep playing devil's advocate. You'll never outrun his ship. You can take mine but the dying Luxan is the only one who can fly it. Adding to the confusion, Voodi, the cook who initially hired them, comes bursting out of the kitchen insisting that the deal's off and that they leave. When he lunges at them, Sko kills him. So now we know they're prepared to kill. While all this is happening, Rygel gets close enough to D'Argo to give him the code to Bracca's I-Yensch. D'Argo struggles to keep Bracca awake, lest D'Argo fall unconscious as well.
Aboard Talyn, Crais, Aeryn, and John try to talk with him as he keeps guns trained on them all. It's Aeryn who gets through to him though, speaking to him quite maternally. In short, she tells him he's sick and he knows it and assures him that all will be well. "Let us take away your pain."
Sko is still trying to stay on top of the situation and talks to Rygel to find out what they were doing here. Rygel tells the truth; they're escaped prisoners negotiating their freedom. Sko decides to put Rygel to the test. Having Wa keep a gun on him, Sko hands Rygel his gun and orders him to kill Bracca. Rygel reminds him that if Bracca dies, D'Argo dies, and no one will be able to fly the promised getaway ship. Sko orders him to kill Bracca anyway. Deviously, Rygel confirms that Sko wants him to kill a Peacekeeper to test his loyalty, so turns the gun on Scorpius instead, and fires.
Alone with Aeryn, John offers to finish up on Talyn, knowing that this is hard for her. Aeryn, still with the emotional defenses up, says she's fine. But she is just a bit softer than she was in Fractures. When all is set, Crais has a final word with Talyn, again assuring him that they're all there to help him, that no one holds him responsible for what is happening, and that he is indeed very brave for going through with this. They shut Talyn down, effectively putting him in a coma.
Essk, the waitress, is drunk with nothing more to lose (having lost Voodi) and has clued Rygel in that she's left a knife under a plate. Sko is really kill-happy now, preparing to kill Essk for no good reason. Rygel talks him out of it, then goes behind the counter where Scorpy has fallen, telling Sko he wants a kill souvenir. Scorpy is very much alive, just playing dead, and asks Rygel how he knew that he was wearing body armor. He didn't, but took an educated guess. Rygel tells him about the knife and asks Scorpy if he has anything to contribute. Out of the device in his head that holds his cooling rods, Scorpy produces a particular rod. One pulse charge, use it well. He does, and in a flurry of action, D'Argo slaps Bracca's I-Yensch on Wa, putting him out of commission, Scorpy lands the knife in Sko's back, and Rygel effectively blasts Sko through a wall. Without missing a beat, Rygel turns to Scorpy. "About our deal..." Scorpy decides there is indeed a basis for trust.
Rygel and D'Argo rendezvous with Moya, explaining they couldn't call in as the restaurant sort of burned down (apparently, Essk went for the insurance money after all). They inform the rest that the deal is on. Aeryn is off by herself again and John joins her. She has a bad feeling about the whole thing, though she knows it's necessary. "Some things you die for" John nonchalantly tells her. This breaks the ice. She tells him she can't watch that happen again, though she seems well aware that's an extremely emotional and un-Peacekeeper attitude. She notes that they were perfect together and this John is just like him - is him. John corrects her, saying he's not the same guy. He was here on Moya. He asks her not to go with them. She says they started this together, and that's how they'll end it.
I-Yensch, You-Yensch is a definite setup episode. I think that especially considering the final four of season 2, The Powers that Be are definitely viewing the "final four" as just that; buildup and climax of the grand season ender. Works for me!
First up, the continued grit and risk-taking of Farscape. If this were Trek, (sorry to always pick on Trek, but it is the behemoth of modern SciFi TV and something of it's parent), Talyn wouldn't have destroyed a ship full of 600 innocents. We'd have time-traveled our way out of it, or it would turn out that the Scarrans were really the bad guys of the episode. Once again, I applaud Farscape for taking this leap, allowing the heroes to make huge, fatal mistakes.
Following that, the first of many curious character bits. John seems surprisingly unconcerned about the Scarran ship. His initial reaction is to impatiently ask Pilot why Moya hasn't Starburst. This is not at all the John of the first or even the second season. Character evolution? I hope so. There are several such evolutions of character in this episode and I do hope they're intentional and planned, and not just a case of the script being a little off-character. I hate to say, but seeing Matt Ford's name in the writing credit made me a little suspicious of that. Of his previous 2 scripts, Eat Me was right on target, but Meltdown had some serious holes in this reviewer's opinion. Still, I'll give Ford the benefit of the doubt as I haven't seen any subsequent episodes yet. To that end, it is very interesting that John seems to be all business here and just a little cold to the 600 Scarrans who just died as a result of Talyn's erratic behavior.
Next up, Jool and Chiana. Chiana seems to really have taken Jool on as a pet project. She doesn't seem to be able to stand our red-haired princess, yet protects and looks after her. It'll be interesting to see where that goes.
Talyn. Only the Jim Henson Company, upon making us believe that Pilot and Rygel are as alive as Chiana, D'Argo, or Aeryn, can also convince us that these ships are truly alive and with real personalities. It's a wonderful combination of direction, just the right visuals, and most of all, acting on the part of those characters who aren't spaceships. Gigi, Lani, Claudia all play a huge role in making me believe they're mourning for or interacting with a real, living being in Talyn or Moya. We also don't get the luxury of treating the ships like service animals. It's not like they're technically alive but really machines to us. They have will and personality and character, and "I-Yensch, You-Yensch" is another great showcase for that.
Aeryn. For all the naysayers crying "reset button" on the character of Aeryn, I can only hope they saw what I saw here. It's Aeryn about to have to face the fact that she really can't put all the toothpaste back in the tube. Her "let us take away your pain" speech to Talyn seemed almost like the kind of thing she needed to hear herself. I wonder if Claudia Black knew when she took this job just how emotionally deep this character would go? I wonder if she thought she'd be mostly the cold soldier throughout the series with just an occasional Aeryn-got-upset-but-now-she's-her-old-self-again episode? As arduous as her job must be at times in terms of schedule and the physicality of the role, I have to believe that as an actor, it's largely this kind of emotional growth of the character that keeps her coming to work every day.
Then we have plotline 2 of "I-Yensch, You-Yensch." I have to admit, the robbers really, really got on my nerves, but much of that was personal. On a level of personal taste, their monkey-sounds really annoyed me. Yes, I know they're supposed to be annoying, but did they have to be soooo annoying? On a critical level, I did find them to be awfully clichéd, but not quite enough to be that critical of them. Fortunately, they were really just a backdrop.
Rygel. Rygel-Scorpy was the star pairing of the show and Rygel was the singular star of the show in my opinion! Rygel's unusual bravery at the start - showing no fear with Scorpy's surprise attack and even asking them to aim for the head - was a real twist on his character. Once more, I hope this really is an evolution of the character and not a one-time fluke. David Kemper reminded us once that Rygel was born and bred as a dominar and we must think of him in those terms. Here, he really is acting like royalty. The change is that he's no longer the run-and-hide Rygel we've gotten to know. That side of him who can also be a shrewd negotiator seems to be taking over. He was absolutely delicious in this episode! I also rather liked the way he stood up for Essk. Just when we get to thinking of Rygel as so cold-hearted, he'll do something like that.
Even more interesting, Rygel and Scorpius spent the episode gradually finding common ground. It makes sense in a way. Who else can connect with the likes of Scorpius except the most devious, self-serving mind on Moya? By the episode's end, both men seem to have earned a bit of respect for the other's position of I-don't-like-you-but-I'm-willing-to-deal-with-you-if-it-benefits-me. This makes for an extremely interesting setup for the next three episodes!
So, while "I-Yesnsch, You-Yensch failed to knock me off my feet - between the annoying robbers and the kind of slow feel as it is an obvious setup for future episodes - it served its purpose. I definitely wouldn't put it on my list of "initial episodes to show to newbies," as its only real virtues are inside storylines that only us regular fans can really appreciate. But it does serve as a solid setup episode.
Agree? Disagree? Comments? Questions? Email me! Written by Mary Wood.
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Scorpius: How did you know I was wearing body armor?
Rygel: I wasn't sure but, 131 cycles in Peacekeeper captivity teaches you a few things.
Scorpius: And what if you were wrong?
Rygel: Not so bad for me either way.
Click here to read Dani Moure's review for this episode.
Click here to read Dani Moure's synopsis for this episode.
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