|Season 2: Best of...|
The top half of season 2 ranked...
By Dani Moure
Season 2 had some real greats packed in there. I didn't think I'd enjoy season two as much as I did, but in truth it was this season, particularly the latter half, that really opened my eyes and made me realise exactly why this show was ahead of the pack, and better than anything else on television right now. I dished out 6 top scores, which just goes to show the level of quality that the season really held. The problem was that the season started out rather ropey, with some very inconsistent jumps in quality. As such, I dished out four "2" scores. You can see them in the season 2 "Worst of..." article, and that can be read here.
But what follows is the "top half" of the season as I've ranked it, in reverse order.
The format for this article is the same as for the season one version, so the top five will have longer comments; with the other six only brief comments. The original review score appears in brackets after the episode title, clicking it takes you to the review. So here, without further adieu, are my top eleven episodes of season 2.
No. 11: Crackers Don't Matter (4 out of 5)
This episode was quite a shocker, in that it started off with amusing undertones but then took a dark turn. At times it got quite disturbing, one scene between John and Chiana in particular, despite the underlying comedy, but it was great to see some of the crew's interactions, and who ended up "working together". Not to mention that it was the first hint of the Scorpius-clone arc that dominated the latter part of the season.
No. 10: Liars, Guns and Money, Part 2: With Friends Like These... (4 out of 5)
Naren Shankar pulls out another character-based episode for his third, and final, Farscape script. It suffered from having to set things up for the final part of the trilogy, and serve to intertwine the plot with part 1, but it really pulled out on the emotional front. Watching Moya get burned was very sad, and the final scenes were an emotional rollercoaster – D'Argo meets his son, Aeryn realises where John's gone (the look!), and John is... well, in the arms of the enemy.
No. 9: A Clockwork Nebari (4 out of 5)
At the end of this episode, we'd been on quite a journey. Finally we discovered more of Chiana's past, her brother, and her emotions; it really was a tour-de-force from Gigi Edgley. Not to mention that the first hints of the Nebari's true intentions are revealed, and there's some great performances from the mind-cleansed cast. And massive bonus points for the effects, most notably the gruesome eye-removal scene.
No. 8: Look at the Princess, Part 3: The Maltese Crichton (4 out of 5)
The final part of the "Princess" trilogy, Farscape's most epic story at that time, really delivered. It did a great job of wrapping up all the plot lines about the princess, marriage and so forth, as well as evolving the relationship between John and Aeryn. Some nice hints were dropped with Scorpius there, and the final scene was absolutely priceless. Just amazing chemistry there.
No. 7: Look at the Princess, Part 1: A Kiss is But a Kiss (5 out of 5)
A gripping episode from start to finish, this episode really was enthralling, and really presented this new story in a way different to most other Farscape episodes. The emotions between Aeryn and John, and the rest of the crew were all believable, as were their motives. The return of Scorpius was extremely welcome, as he was back to his menacing self, and the introduction of the Scarrans and how they relate to Scorpius was riveting.
No. 6: Liars, Guns and Money, Part 1: A Not So Simple Plan (4 out of 5)
Yes, I scored it lower than "A Kiss is But a Kiss", but I also mentioned in the review that this episode raised the bar for those that came before it, and it really did. This was just amazing from start to finish, as the huge sets, amazing characters and involving storyline truly were unlike anything that the show had given us before (including the other trilogy). It worked amazingly well, too, with the plot moving along at a fine pace, and the whole robbery and encounter between Scorpius and Crichton was just edge-of-the-seat stuff. An excellent episode was rounded with incredible performances, not least of all Virginia Hey as Zhaan, with her rendition of Zhaan as a pirate.
Click "next page" to move on to numbers 5 to 1...
No. 5: Out of Their Minds (5 out of 5)
Ah, the body-swap episode. It's a science-fiction cliché, done a zillion times before, but never quite like this. "Out of Their Minds" really took the format and ran with it, and from the moment the cast switch places for the first time it takes on a whole life of its own. The actors actually become the other characters, with all the nuances that go with them, and provide some stellar performances throughout. The episode is so convincing, because it presents some of the situations that you'd expect to arise if body swapping really did occur. Witness Rygel in John's body learning to pee, Chiana in Pilot's body trying to control Moya, and plenty of other priceless moments. Not to mention that just when you think it's peaked, the characters swap bodies again! The episode mainly serves to dish out some great laughs, and prior knowledge of the characters is probably necessary to actually "get" a lot of it. As such, it's probably not a great episode to introduce new fans to the show, but it does demonstrate just how good Farscape is at doing something different with a tired old story.
No. 4: Liars, Guns and Money, Part 3: Plan B (5 out of 5)
Yet another stellar episode, this story from Justin Monjo manages to surpass the first two parts of the trilogy and bring it to a stunning conclusion. One of the most visually superb episodes to date, "Plan B" also wastes no time in bringing in the first inklings of conflict between D'Argo and son Jothee. The crew set off to rescue Crichton from the hands of Scorpius, but as always it doesn't all go to plan. The interactions between the various characters work so well in this episode; Scorpius and Natira continue to shine in their scenes, with both being as devious as each other, while Scorpius and John continue to provide gripping interplay. Also notable are the few scenes with John and Natira, as he makes her realise Scorpius' true intentions. D'Argo admits that he was wrong about John, and the lengths he, and the rest of the crew go to so they can save him just exemplify why these characters are so good. The rescue is breathtaking, with guns firing, explosions, windows smashing, and an absolutely superb final showdown between the rescuers and Scorpius in the corridor. Of course, it's all overshadowed by the awesome visual of Talyn completely destroying the Depository, and then things are intensified even more with John's final plea to D'Argo.
No. 3: Won't Get Fooled Again (5 out of 5)
This episode often splits fans. Like "Crackers", it places humorous situations over a very dark and disturbing backdrop, and a few scenes in particular really don't rate well with many fans who just don't want to see that sort of thing. For me, I loved it. It was an episode that just amazed me when I first saw it, as it was basically a character study of John, and I'd never seen something quite like "Won't Get Fooled Again" before. The whole episode takes place in John's mind, as he is actually being tortured by a Scarran, and as such, the world created inside his mind presents numerous unbelievable situations, that just get more and more odd. From seeing the regular characters in amusing roles, to down right emotionally hard scenes such as those with John confronted by his dead mother, they all serve to "break" John, so the Scarran can find the truth. Much of the episode is amusing though, such as the aforementioned characters in bizarre roles (Aeryn as nurse by day, slut by night, Rygel as the head of the Farscape project, D'Argo as an astronaut and so on), and the cast again delivers in spades. Extra points go to Lani Tupu, for actually putting on the high heels and carrying the poor dog! In the end though, the episode does serve a larger role in the show's story arc, in that what Scorpius did to John in the Aurora Chair is revealed, and the whole neural clone arc really kicks in. This episode is just excellent, and Ben Browder gives a stunning performance.
No. 2: The Way We Weren't (5 out of 5)
Coming at a time in the season where we'd been given a fair few stinkers, this was truly a breath of fresh air. Naren Shankar's first script for the show proves to be one of the best for the show yet, with spot on writing for all the characters. When Chiana discovers a vidchip with Aeryn on she shows it to the crew, and it is not pretty. It shows Aeryn on Moya in the past, participating in the execution of Moya's previous Pilot. As the episode continues, much more of Aeryn's past is revealed; including a man who she had great feelings for but in the end betrayed him. We also get to see some of Pilot's past, as well as finding out what Crais' prior involvement with Moya was. Claudia Black really steals the show here, with an amazing performance that demonstrates just how damn good an actress she is. Not to mention the scenes she has with Pilot, which manage to be so emotionally charged that you really forget Pilot is really a puppet. It's quite nasty in the brutal revelations that come out, but the story is just excellent, and presents some amazing conflicts among the characters. And what's so great about it is that by the time it's resolved, many of the characters have really gone somewhere, which is rare nowadays in a weekly television series.
No. 1: Die Me, Dichotomy (Part 1 of 2) (5 out of 5)
I've raved about this episode so much ever since I first saw it, but to sum up the second season finale in one word, it would have to be "outstanding". Or something along those lines. Stellar, superb, amazing, delightful, any of those words could be used, but they still wouldn't quite convey just how good this episode really is. It starts off nice and subtle, with John gradually being overtaken by the Scorpius clone. The crew try to restrain him, and plan to have Scorpius' chip removed by the Diagnosan who is healing Moya. Things don't go quite so well though, and John eventually escapes Moya and starts signalling for Scorpius, hence revealing Moya's location. Aeryn, already burned from John finally telling her he loves her, only to have her head smashed against the wall because it was the Scorpius clone talking, goes after him. After a dogfight comes a scene which makes me ball every time I see it. Claudia's performance, and the reactions from the rest of the cast always set me off, and when I first saw the episode, I just cried my eyes out as I couldn't believe Aeryn was actually plummeting to her death. Then comes the beautiful funeral scene, which is even more emotional, as each of the crew pays their respects. As if the emotional scenes weren't enough, just when John's having the chip removed, Scorpius returns to steal it, seemingly kill the Diagnosan, and condemns John to live, leaving his brains hanging out all over the operating table.
"Die Me Dichotomy" is a true marvel, and at the time was Farscape's best episode ever. It has some great action, sublime emotional scenes, and a shocking cliffhanger. It does everything a great season finale should, and then some. I absolutely adore this episode and wholeheartedly recommend it. It's brilliant.