Farscape Rewatch! — “Look at the Princess” Parts I-III

WEEK SEVENTEEN
[Permanent Archive Here]

I said Wednesday, but wouldn’t you know, I actually meant Friday. Funny how things work out, but I should have known to give myself extra time and not commit. I did, after all, have an extra episode tacked on in this post, and I also tried out something new with the episode summary. I did all three episodes by memory instead of writing them as I was watching. I think it added something that was missing before, a little pizazz. A little panache. Some more swearing.

“Look at the Princess” as a whole is good, and really fun to watch, but it’s not perfect. “A Kiss is But a Kiss” and “I Do, I Think” are the strongest of the three, with some really nice reflective moments for the characters, but “The Maltese Crichton” takes the problem spot; there are some weird holes in that thing that even I can’t ignore. The final minutes of the trilogy manage to make up for almost any flub that occurred, but while the first 2/3 of the episode is happening, you can’t help but think . . . really? “I Do, I Think” also manages to stand out for the sheer insanity of what happens to Crichton, and I mean that quite literally. All in all, these three episodes are a pretty good representative of where the series is at at this point in its run. It’s capable of some seriously awesome things, but there’s still some clunking going on in there as they figure some things out.

2X11 — “LOOK AT THE PRINCESS: A KISS IS BUT A KISS”

The crew, sans Zhaan and Moya, become stranded on a Sebacean Breakaway Colony planet when Scorpius shows up in his Command Carrier. After fighting with Aeryn over some kissing related matters, Crichton & Co. head down to the Royal Planet, which is in the middle of a coronation. The inhabitants, among other weird practices, kiss one another to determine genetic viability as potential mates. Crichton is soon being kissed by every woman who sees him, which disgusts a still frustrated Aeryn, and his presence doesn’t go unnoticed by the Prince Clavor (brother to the Princess Katralla, soon to be Empress) his fiance Jena, and their Scarran cohort, Cargn. Clavor, with the help of Cargn, has poisoned his sister’s DNA so that she might not be able to find a viable mate in any Sebacean male, and so be ineligible for the throne. Unluckily for him, Crichton is human, and when Katralla kisses him, it is quickly apparent that he is a genetic match.

Of course then Crichton is swept up in all this genetic espionage, and the Empress tells him it’s either marry Katralla, or she’ll turn him over to Scorpius. This terrifies him, apparently even more than the prospect of being made into a statue for eighty years (to preside over the Royal Senate and learn the intricacies of the law). On top of all this, he’s got D’Argo and Rygel telling him to go for it, and Aeryn telling him he’s stupid (because she’s just now realized that she does in fact, want him). But the Empress and Katralla don’t really care about any of that. The Empress just wants to keep Clavor off the throne because she knows the first thing he’ll do is make an alliance with the Scarrans, and Katralla just wants babies (which Crichton can give her), even if her one true love, Tyno, can’t. It’s a big, fun mess that all ends with Crichton’s face being swoozled and barbecued, thanks to Clavor, and then TO BE CONTINUED. Oh, and also, Moya meets her maker, literally.

Trivia

  • All three parts of the trilogy were written by David Kemper and co-directed by Tony Tilse and Andrew Prowse.
  • While filming the scene where Aeryn kisses Rygel, Claudia Black’s cell phone rang while in her possession, and they had to do another take. As punishment, she had to buy a case of beer for the crew.
  • The royal servant, ro-NA is played by Ben Browder’s wife, Francesca Buller, last seen in season one’s “Bone to be Wild.” Aaron Cash, who plays Dregon, was last seen playing Bitaal in the episode “Rhapsody In Blue.”
  • “A Kiss is But a Kiss” is a lyric taken from the song “As Time Goes By” by Herman Hupfeld, a song that was made famous when Sam played it again in Casablanca.
  • The trilogy title “Look at the Princess” comes from an inside joke between Rockne O’Bannon and David Kemper.
  • In a chat session on June 15, 2000, David Kemper said that “The ‘Princess’ Trilogy is my love poem to the cast.”

Metaphorically Speaking

I think the key to “getting” this episode on more than just a superficial level actually lies in the title of the trilogy: “Look at the Princess.” The title doesn’t make much sense out of context, but when you hear the referent line (which is almost inaudible), everything just sort of clicks, especially on a second viewing. It comes just after Crichton has kissed Katralla: you hear a woman in the crowd, off to the left somewhere, “Look. Look at the Princess. She’s smiling.” The undercurrent that becomes clear in this scene, and that runs through the episode, is that thin line between fear and hope, how it takes just a little bit to push you over on either side. And because Crichton gives Katralla something she’s been missing — hope — a whole bunch of shit starts happening. Hope is a good thing. It’s what keeps you from slitting your wrists when something bad happens, or from becoming that lonely asshole in a recliner drinking two six packs of beer a day, but hope is also dangerous. It can lead you on, tell you things are going to be all right when they’re not. It’s the thing that allows to you take chances, but it’s also what makes you vulnerable. So sometimes (a lot of the times) giving into the fear is actually the easier option, because hey, then at least you know what side of the line you’re on. And all of that is what Crichton gives to Katralla when he kisses her.

Straddling that line between hope and fear is exactly what most of the characters in “A Kiss is But a Kiss” are doing, and it is seriously messing with their heads. Aeryn is afraid of giving in to Crichton and starting a relationship; she’s never had one before. It’s a new experience, and it could go very, very badly, something she isn’t ready for. The more you want something, the more disappointed you’ll be when it goes to hell. And she wants Crichton very badly. Crichton wants Aeryn, obviously, but nothing about love has ever terrified him. He loves love, he loves relationships. He’s a giant girl. No, what scares Crichton is what he can lose: his sanity, his family, the chance at going home again . . . that’s what keeps him going. Giving into his fear of Scorpius, his fear of having his brain scraped around in and raped, necessitates leaving all he loves behind, his family (both Moyan and Earth-bound), the dream of Home, Aeryn . . . Crichton and Aeryn are the most central to the story of “Look at the Princess,” but fear (or hope, in some cases) is on everyone else’s mind as well. The Empress fears the future if her son were to take the throne; Katralla fears failing at her duties as heir, but part of her still hopes she may find a way to be with Tyno; Rygel fears for the safety of his own green little hide; and as for Chiana and D’Argo, well . . . with Chiana there’s always the fear of not surviving, but she also fears being tied down (remember her advice to Crichton about taking it fast with the body and slow with the soul?), and D’Argo basically fears the opposite: that he’s doomed forever to be untethered, searching and searching for his son and a home. [SPOILER!] It’s really interesting to me that what is attracting these two together now in their little “game” is exactly what will come between them by the end of the season.

Some final thoughts: Like any good fairy tale (which is what this trilogy is, a sci-fi fairy tale), it’s got princesses and magic kisses and evil, conniving princes, and most importantly, a big bad scary villain. I absolutely love the ‘magic kiss’ thing; taking that fairy-tale element and finding a way to make it believable sci-fi is a stroke of genius, as far as I’m concerned. And I love how this whole episode (this whole trilogy, really) is just filled to the brim with kissing. All the set-up this episode does, not just for the trilogy but also for the rest of the season, should also be noted. So many new characters were introduced (Clavor, Tyno, Katralla, Cargn the Scarran), and we get some backstory on Scorpius finally (he’s half Sebacean, on his mother’s side). The fact that he’s a half-breed, and that we get to meet the race that comprises his other half in this very episode, begins to lay a lot of pieces on the table that will be picked up and expanded upon greatly in the future. Moreover, the episode does all this introducing, along with the actual plotting of the story, in an extremely competent and fun manner. The script is extremely well-paced and very witty, with just the right amount of suspense in all the right places. David Kemper really went all out in giving us some great individual moments as well, like Aeryn kissing Rygel to get all the men to leave her alone, Chiana and D’Argo’s sexcapades, the beautifully singing Zhaan (one of the few times you will see me giving her a compliment), and my personal favorite scene: the second time Crichton interrupts the sexcapades. It’s hilarious; he just plops right down in the middle of it, not even seeming to notice or care that Chiana is buck naked and writhing around, because he’s just so damned stressed out and needs advice from his best buddy (naked D’Argo is naked). No sense of privacy; it’s all very un-American. I also want to comment on something that I’ve been ragging on for the past couple of posts: the set design. The sense of atmosphere is perfect, absolutely complimentary to what’s going on in the script: the costumes, the sets, the tone, the acting, the music . . . everything. And finally, some stellar acting on Claudia Black’s part, as usual (sad Aeryn is sad).

– – –

2X12 — “LOOK AT THE PRINCESS: I DO, I THINK”

After not one, but two, attempts on Crichton’s life, Rygel and the Empress cook up a scheme to hide him from everybody, including his friends. Cargn the Scarran was orchestrator of both plots. The first attempt: guys attacking him at the end of “A Kiss is But a Kiss,” which he was saved from by Jenavian, who turns out not to be a dippy idiot engaged to the prince, but a PK special ops agent assigned to pretend to a dippy idiot engaged to the prince so that she would easily be able to kill him should he ascend the throne. Second attempt: some sort of mini gas Death Star, and that one almost got Katralla, too, but ro-NA, the extremely weird and squeaky Jakensch royal servant, saves them. But it turns out she only did it for Scorpius, who wants Crichton very much alive. Together, she and Scorpius hijack Rygel and the Empress’s plan and steal Crichton away in an untraceable ship, which turns out to have Lt. Braca aboard. At this point, Crichton goes crazy — like for real — and fights Braca until he jumps out of the ship with the only space-suit. In all the fracas, ro-NA gets her weird blue self electrocuted, and then for real, Crichton jumps out of the ship into empty space without a space-suit because HE IS A FUCKING PSYCHOPATH.

Meanwhile, Moya has met Kahaynu, one of the beings who helped give Leviathans souls, and he’s pissed because he created them to be “emissaries of peace” and how DARE she give birth to a gunship? He convinces her to decommission herself, despite Zhaan’s protests, and it is simultaneously stupid and really fucking sad. Back in Crazy Town, population John Crichton, Crichton has floated back over to Moya‘s transport pods, from which he can safely get back to the planet and seek both medical and psychological care. He talks with both D’Argo (who urges him to think of all possible consequences) and Aeryn (who tells him not to give up, and in response he just says, “I’m tired”) about his choices. In the end, he decides to marry Katralla, because it’s both easy and right, and he’s very, very tired. He doesn’t want to be responsible for starting a war when he could have prevented it. He marries Katralla, but Aeryn doesn’t attend the ceremony because she is MONDO pissed. The episode ends with Moya sinking in space as Crichton is frozen in bronze, much like Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back, except nobody is going to try to save him.

Trivia

  • Jonathan Hardy, who voices the regular character Rygel, makes an on-screen appearance as Kahaynu, Moya’s builder. The “Look At The Princess” trilogy is the only time we get to see what he actually looks like. Hardy gave the character a Welsh accent after he saw his costume for the part.
  • Originally, Dave Elsey, one of the Creature Shop artists was to play ro-NA. He was unable to hit this into his schedule, however, and Francesca Buller (M’Lee from “Bone to be Wild”) was asked to play her second role on the show.
  • Crichton’s reference to a 1962 T-Bird was an ad-lib by Ben Browder, and refers to a college friend of his who owned one of these classic cars. (This also means that Francesca Buller’s lines as ro-NA, in which she plays with the syllables in ‘T-Bird,’ were also ad-libbed.)
  • Kahaynu’s face in the steam is a homage to the 1999 movie The Mummy, which includes a scene in which Imhotep’s face appears in the sand.
  • John’s response of “I know” to Chiana’s “I love you” before being turned to stone is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Han Solo and Princess Leia’s exchange in The Empire Strikes Back. John’s squinting expression with bared teeth is also similar to Han’s once encased in carbonite.

Metaphorically Speaking

This episode is a bit weird to get a handle on, both because it comes in the middle, where plot-things traditionally take on a brooding or wallowing or stewing or even falafelling nature, and also because there originally WAS no second episode when this “trilogy” was conceived. There is some definite falafelling going on in this episode, mostly by Crichton, who has found himself trapped in a situation that is the absolute epitome of the whole rock/hard place thingy-mabob. Of course this is also the most interesting part of the episode. We’ve seen before that Crichton’s response to sticky situations is to go crazy, but it’s never been as bad as this before. There’s a certain type of insanity that comes from being locked inside a cage with nowhere to go, and if you add that on top of Crichton’s penchant for already being a little bit insane, well, you get a screaming Southerner jumping out of a space-ship without anything but a gun. That scene with Crichton’s space-dive is the hub of this episode. It’s the climax of all the frustration he’s felt at being trapped on this planet with these people, so of course when he literally becomes trapped on a space-ship, about to be delivered to his arch-nemesis Scorpius, his brain breaks. He tells Braca to shoot him, holding the gun to first his head, then his heart, and then other more humorous (and more scary) regions. (“Kill my sex life! Kill my sex life!” referring not to his penis — which was represented by the Vienna Boys Choir — but to his hand. You gotta love this show.) But the best thing about Crichton’s space-dive is that it’s not something that he magically comes up with as a move to save his life, no, it’s the last move of a desperate man, and you can see it in his eyes, he genuinely doesn’t care if he lives or dies. Frankly, dying would be easier. At least he wouldn’t have to worry about doing the wrong thing.

“I Do, I Think” also touches on a couple of other ideas, but none of them are fully developed, but of course they are all tied in to this big choice Crichton has to make by the end. Should he leave or should he run? He spends a lot of the time (when he’s not crazy) thinking about the idea of power and responsibility, and musing on the things that really matter. The discussion he has with ro-NA pops into my mind. She’s lying through her teeth about to betray him, but he’s dead serious. “To what end does possessory wealth serve?” she asks. He says that in his experience — you know, losing all of his possessions and his friends and family and being forced to exist on the fringes of an alien society while running for his life — you discover quickly what you need, the things that matter. Doesn’t stop her from fucking him over, though. She’s tired of being the run-down servant, and I guess I can’t blame her. And when his insanity spell is over, and jumping into cold space didn’t kill him, all that’s left is one tired Crichton. It becomes even more apparent in this episode that the Royal Planet is a hub of political relations, that the Scarrans or the Peacekeepers having them for allies is important to both factions, and Crichton has to take that into consideration. He has to consider the ramifications of any action he might take.

I didn’t really get into the Moya storyline for “A Kiss is But a Kiss” because nothing really happened, but in this episode shit starts to get real, and some of it is way awesome. I also think parts of it are really awful. The way Kahaynu is written (at least in this episode) is just really awful and kind of dumb. If he’s some all powerful and benevolent being, then you’d think he would take the time to listen to Zhaan and hear the entire story, like you know, how it wasn’t Moya‘s fault, and how, hey, your request to shut Moya down is completely illogical because the Peacekeepers will just DO IT TO ANOTHER SHIP, so by your logic lets just kill all the motherfucking Leviathans. It’ll be a party. It is SO DUMB and it makes me hate Kahaynu. A lot. On the other hand, because of that dick, we do get the amazingly moving scene that sees both Zhaan and Pilot hearing Moya‘s true voice for the first time, and it’s to tell them that she’s okay with dying if it’s the right thing to do. “Moya willing,” she says. And the actual sequence of her systems being shut down, as we see her sinking tail first into dead-space, is just kind of haunting and horrible, especially when paired with John’s mental breakdown. And it’s kind of the same thing, both Moya and Crichton are giving up, but it’s more like taking the choice that’s not really a choice: it’s impossible for these two to being anything other than what they are, to do anything but what is “right.”

It’s also interesting to think about Aeryn’s actions in this episode. She gives a couple of funny scenes in the midst of her despair. First, she rejects Dregon in the best way ever, then she waltzes into the ladies room and smashes the two primping, made-up princess girls into the mirror. It’s just a wonderful visual image, because Katralla and Jenavian are there for at least a minute before Aeryn comes in, pulling their curls and examining the minutest details of their skin with no results whatsover, and then Aeryn comes barreling in in the least glamorous way possible, her hair all crappy, wearing no make-up and black leather clothes that aren’t exactly couture, and she just kicks their asses. Unfortunately for Aeryn, this awesome moment is prompted out of genuine misery. She’s about to lose her closest friend in the universe, the person who quite literally made her the person she is today, and she is phenomenally pissed about it. You can see how much Aeryn admires the general Crichton spirit when she tells him how proud she is that he keeps “putting yourself into position to get your ass kicked. Fighting. Never giving up.” For a moment she lets herself believe that this means he will run away with her, back to their old life of carefree criminaldom. But here’s the thing, she can’t even say that it’s for her, this running away. She lumps all of the Moyans into it because it’s easy and safe. “Run away with you?” Crichton asks. “With all of us, ” she says. She loves the crew and doesn’t want her stable “family” rocked, but it also means that she doesn’t want to submit to the idea that she loves John, or at least is too proud and scared to admit that she wants him to know, even though he totally does know. She still can’t say it. And she’s so upset that she can’t see he’s doing the right thing by marrying Katralla; all she can see is that he’s abandoning her, and it feels awful.

Other stuff: Crichton bitch-slapping Clavor is one of the great moments of Farscape. That dude doesn’t even deserve a proper punch and Crichton knows it. I loved the emergence of The Dominar in Rygel. “Magnificent, I smell power again.” He does have his uses, it turns out. ro-NA is absolutely delightful; kind of wish they hadn’t killed her off so soon. And everybody say it with me now, “Awww, Crichton’s first wedding.” How cute. Also cute, or maybe SEXAY would be the right word, the expression on Crichton’s face as he’s frozen in bronze. Not a dignified memorial, not even in the least. [SPOILER!] This episode also marks the first time time we meet “Harvey,” although if you haven’t seen the series before, you have no idea what I’m talking about because it’s almost a throwaway moment that entirely fits in with Crichton going completely crazy.

Trash Bin

The Foley guys went a little nuts with the hitting sounds at the beginning of this episode. Whenever Katralla smacks Crichton in the face it sounds like WAKTOOOSH. It’s completely ridiculous.

– – –

2X13 — “LOOK AT THE PRINCESS: THE MALTESE CRICHTON”

After Crichton gets his bronzed head chopped off by an angry Scarran, and then dropped into a pool of acid by Clavor, a confusing series of events and alliances are set into motion. Everybody wants Crichton’s head, and for different reasons. Scorpius rescues it from the acid pool only to have it taken away from him by Jenavian, who, still intent on fulfilling her mission, insists on putting Crichton back together and reconstituting him. Then they go and hide for a while and everybody else freaks out. The Empress halts all traffic off-world until Crichton’s head can be found, and she’s just a step away from executing every off-worlder in retribution. This causes everyone to do very strange things. Cargn murders the prince, Scorpius and D’Argo make an uneasy alliance, and Chiana gets kidnapped and tortured for information by the Scarran as a result of D’Argo inexplicably telling him that she knew where Crichton was. Even though this makes no sense, Scorpius and D’Argo are soon off to the acid pool chamber. Scorpius attacks Cargn but is overcome by the heat of the room. Crichton, who has magically appeared from his naked poolside frolicking vacation with Jenavian, fails to kill Scorpius, but does manage to kill Cargn. D’Argo rescues Chiana.

Meanwhile, Aeryn and Dregon have been rock climbing all over the continent. Well, actually, Dregon turns out to be the biggest wuss of all time, despite his overly muscular body, and gets both himself and Aeryn seriously injured falling off a giant cliff. She literally has to drag him home with a broken leg. And then of course, since he’s a Teutonic pansy, he starts lecturing Aeryn about emotion, but he’s actually right. He tells her that she may be trained to deal with physical injury, but that is exactly why emotional injury scares her so badly. You can’t prepare for it. The whole Moya thing turns out to be a trick. After Kahaynu “decommissions” her, out of anger Zhaan sucks him into an engine, which is weirdly what he wanted because it turns out that he was testing Zhaan, not Moya. He was fully aware of his ridiculous behavior, understanding that Moya wasn’t to blame for giving birth to Talyn. Instead, he simply wanted to be sure that Zhaan and her friends could be trusted with Moya‘s gentle, loyal friendship. They head back to the Royal Planet and pick up the others. The episode ends with Aeryn holding up a kissing vial for Crichton, and their smiles afterwards seem to confirm that they are, in fact, compatible.

Trivia

  • Both Claudia Black and Aaron Cash (Dregon) took an indoor rock-climbing lesson before shooting their climbing scenes, which were filmed in Darling Bay, an area north of Sydney that has some notoriety as a dumping ground for dead bodies.
  • It took the make-up department two hours to free Ben Browder from the body cast after he posed for the statue, because they used the wrong material.
  • The Crichton statue remained at the top of the stairs at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop at Homebush Bay for the rest of the series’ shooting.
  • The “Look at the Princess” story was originally written by David Kemper as a two-parter, however after filming, there was about eighteen minutes of footage left over, all of which was considered good, and so the decision was made to expand the story, and in three weeks David Kemper wrote eleven extra scenes and threaded them in throughout the story. The bulk of the “new” scenes take place in Part II, and it’s because of this that it is out of sequence in terms of production number (Parts I and III were already assigned ‘10210’ and ‘10211’ respectively, and the late Part II was assigned ‘10221’).
  • The title is a reference to the 1941 John Huston film noir, The Maltese Falcon, in which private detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) gets involved in a hunt for a valuable statuette. The film was based on a novel by pulp writer Dashiell Hammett, and was actually the third filmed version of Hammett’s book (so much for remakes being inferior), the previous two being The Maltese Falcon (1931) and Satan Met a Lady (1936).
  • The love scene between Jena and Crichton took four hours to shoot.

Metaphorically Speaking

It’s the end of the trilogy, it’s time for endings. Clavor and Cargn are taken care of, Scorpius is outwitted for the present, and Crichton is given an, admittedly painful, way out of the whole Katralla/Eighty Years as a Statue/Ruler of a Planet thing. Oh, and something’s going on with Scorpy and Crichton, but Scorpy’s not telling. Crichton is finally out of danger, and when Tyno gives him a way out — the bronzing process would supposedly kill him a second time — he immediately takes it. Until he finds out about his daughter, that is. That is like John Crichton’s Holy Grail, his sine qua non, his windmill dragons: Family. John Crichton has a kid? John Crichton is taking care of that kid. He fucking loves babies. He’s a nester; he makes nests. It’s what he does. You rip apart his nest, tell him he can’t have his “Without Which Not“? He gets upset. In that moment, there’s no question that he’s going to be a statue for eighty years and wake up to take care of that baby. But he can’t. It’s horribly tragic, but lucky for Aeryn, who probably would have become an assassin or something just to get out all her lady love pain. And even when she gets him back, she STILL can’t say it, not with words (and she’s not talking to him anyway). But at least she can tell him with lips.

I will admit to you guys now, because I have absolutely no shame, that I cried like a little bitch the first time I saw “The Maltese Crichton.” Specifically, I cried like a little bitch when Crichton got to see his daughter, and then he never gets to see her again. I know I’m doomed when I start crying at things like this. And then he says things like “And I have a child that I will never know” and “Take care of my little girl,” I just LOSE it. It’s also kind of hilarious to think of a whole line of Crichton’s rolling into the future, ruling an entire planet for centuries to come. He’s even worse than Kirk with the seed planting. But at least that kiss with Aeryn at the end gives him hope. Some day maybe they can make another baby, together. Awwwww. In that way, the end scene satisfies the two main themes: that line between hope and despair is still there, but at least our heroes aren’t giving up.

Other stuff: We learn some more secrets about Scorpius’s biology. Cargn the Scarran tells D’Argo and Crichton that his Scarran half seeks out heat while his Sebacean half is destroyed by it. It’s a miracle of science that he’s even alive, with those cooling rods in his brain, and his temperature regulating suit. It’s not much, but it is important. Also important is the fact that Crichton is unable to kill Scorpius. This has multiple ramifications, none of which I want to get into right now because they’re spoilery. There’s not much to say about the Zhaan/Moya/Kahaynu plot, other than it was nice to hear Moya‘s voice again, and how it was laughable that Zhaan though she could kill a god (essentially) by sucking some vapor into a puny little engine. And lastly, what was the point of the Aeryn/Dregon story? To show how Aeryn is better than everyone? That’s pretty much a good enough reason, but I also think it was a nice contrast, kind of a character illumination. Aeryn may be physically more capable than Dregon, but he’s leagues ahead in terms of emotion. I think it was good for her to hear it from someone outside their group. Oh, it’s because Dregon is a giant girl, too, like Crichton except worse. Aeryn is attracted to those. Or, they’re attracted to her. Dragging Dregon across half the continent lends new credence to the phrase “emotional baggage.”

Trash Bin

Um, why don’t they just ask Katralla who chopped Crichton’s head off? “It was Cargn and Clavor, Mum!” “Thanks, baby.” “You’re welcome.” The whole thing could have been resolved in like five seconds! Or did you guys forget that you could do that, even though we just saw they could do that five minutes before when D’Argo and Chiana talked to Crichton? Or ten minutes from now when Jena talks to Crichton’s severed head? And hey, look, a convenient acid bathtub! Let’s drop things in there! (Okay, seriously, though. What is that thing?) I have some other questions: How does everyone and their mother know about Clavor’s alliance with Cargn EXCEPT CLAVOR’S MOTHER? The local animals are carnivorous after dark so we can’t go back to the castle, but we can strip naked and make sexy times in the lake . . . okay. And while I’m at it . . . Hey, Zhaan! Instead of just saying, hey, you shouldn’t do this, you evil bad man, why don’t you give him a REASON. Oh, wait, because then he wouldn’t be able to trick you as much. Got it.

This episode has so many plot-holes, and I wasn’t even trying to look for them. And I’m famous for my ability to leap many plot-holes in a single bound. Sooo much taaaalking. Not enough doing. As soon as the Scarran dies, though, the episode picks up and gets back to territories of awesome, and we can forget any of those nasty plot-holes even happened.

– – –

Crichtonisms

  • “What, at a timeshare in his condo in Hell?”
  • I am the reverse King Arthur. I’m the one who can put the sword into the stone.”
  • “On my planet, we don’t marry people we don’t love. Unless they’re critically ill billionaires.”
  • “Eighty cycles. My college loans will be delinquent. I’ll miss the strippers on my hundredth birthday. I’ll get a utility bill for three trillion dollars for a single porch light that I left on and everybody I know will be dead.”
  • “Do not try to kill me again. It makes me angry.”
  • “No, no, no. Human, Sebacean, Human, Sebacean! We’re different. One wound and I bleed out! ‘Oh, officer Fraka, what the frell have you–‘ Hmm? Hmmm? Fine! Let’s do it! Let’s do this thing! C’mon, shoot me, right here, right here — no, no, not the brain, he wants the brain — the heart. Here, here, shoot me in the heart — okay, kinda your left, right, my left, your right! Here, John Wayne Bobbit, Vienna Boys Choir — Ohhhhooooooo!!!!! Kill my sex life, now quick, kill my sex life now, shoot it, just shoot me! Mercy! Back, get back or the white boy gets it! Oh man, oh man don’t let him kill me — You people are so dumb!”
  • “We’re so screwed! And we’re gonna die!”

PuppetWatch!

  • The Scarran puppet head didn’t bother me at all the first time through, but after having seen the whole series and the Scarran make-up that is to come, it looks incredibly stupid. His mouth can barely move and his head is ridiculously large.

– – –

“Crackers Don’t Matter!”

  • Interstellar Swearing: “Crag’s ass” is a Sebacean vulgarity analogous to “rat’s ass;” “for the love of Chilnack” is analogous to “for the love of Pete;” and “Vigelar” is a Hynerian personal insult.
  • Pop Culture References: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cameron Diaz, Star Wars, Blazing Saddles, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Apocalypse Now, Batman, and Casablanca.
  • D’Argo dancing in “A Kiss is But a Kiss” is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, and it’s a completely throw away moment.
  • Cargn has an absolutely GIGANTIC head. Later Scarrans will look much less stupid.
  • CARGN: I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure.
    AERYN: Yes, I’ve heard that about Scarrans.
  • “Now, don’t feel bad, it’s not you, it’s me. I don’t like you.”
  • Crichton’s space dive is seriously the most insane thing I’ve ever seen on TV.
  • AERYN: There’s never been anything we couldn’t overcome together.
    CRICHTON: Except each other.
  • “I had one request for a wedding present. That you be banned from this planet forever. Do you know what they said? ‘Yes, Your Highness.'”
  • “Pieces of different kindling often build the strongest fire.” Yeah, no shit, Katralla. That’s why he and AERYN are so fucking awesome together. Hope you have fun being an inanimate object for eighty years.
  • D’ARGO: Well, now I can only speak truth, and that comes as good and bad news.
    CRICHTON: All right, give me the bad news first.
    D’ARGO: The bad news is that you’re married, and you must endure as a statue for eighty cycles in a strange world.
    CRICHTON: What’s the good news?
    D’ARGO: Chiana and I are having . . . fantastic sex.

– – –

Classic Moments in Farscape, #17

[Crichton enters the maintenance bay where Aeryn is doing pull-ups.]
Crichton: Zhaan says the surgical re-constructors did an excellent job on your leg. There’s no sign that it was ever broken.
[He climbs into the Farscape-1 module and starts fiddling with things.]
Crichton: Yeah, I was, uh, worried about you when you didn’t show up for the wedding.
[Aeryn continues exercising and does not respond in the slightest to anything Crichton is saying.]
Crichton: Anyway, I’m . . . I’m just glad you’re okay. And I have noticed that you’re not talking to me.
[Aeryn stops what she’s doing, picks up one of the Royal Planet kissing vials, and holds it up for him to see without saying a word.]
[When Crichton understands, he just kind of sits back and waits for her to come to him. She holds out the vial and he takes it, placing one drop on his tongue and then one on hers. Both of them are still very silent. They kiss.]
[Neither Crichton nor Aeryn’s expression changes in the least after the kiss is done, but when Aeryn turns away from Crichton, she allows herself a small, happy smile. After she’s walked away, Crichton touches his lips and he smiles, too. They’re compatible.]

– – –

Coming Up on the Farscape Rewatch: “Beware of Dog,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

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Comments
22 Responses to “Farscape Rewatch! — “Look at the Princess” Parts I-III”
  1. Eva says:

    I’ve seen this episode countless times yet you gave me insight I hadn’t considered, especially on the hope/despair theme. I agree, those last few minutes make up for any problems that precede them (I completely ignore the scene by the lake).

    Thanks for such fun and insightful analysis.

  2. Mark says:

    Although Kahaynu annoyed me too, he had a point. Every other Leviathan died trying to give birth to a gunship. Moya didn’t. Doesn’t matter that it was not her fault, it made her a potential source of gunships if she was ever captured again. Which is why Zhaan was being tested. The only way to keep Moya from producing gunships (besides decomissioning) is if Zhaan is a dedicated protector.

    I will sometimes pop in this DVD, just to hear Claudia’s reading of the Dregon rejection. Makes me laugh every time.

    You mentioned hope for the middle story. One review of this episode (on another website) pointed out that Crichton does not become “tired” until Aeryn crushes his hope. (He is willing to run away, with her, but she says “with all of us”.)

    • Ashley says:

      Every other Leviathan died giving birth in captivity because of the control collars, or at least that was my impression. The reason that the experiment worked with Moya is because she was free. If that’s true, then ANY Leviathan could potentially give birth to a gunship. Anyway, I knew the POINT behind the story, I just think it could have been handled without all the hamfisted idiot dialogue that Kahaynu was given. I hold Farscape to a very high standard.

      As for the Crichton thing, that’s interesting to think about, but I don’t think it holds up for me. Crichton was defeated before Aeryn asked him to run away. He was defeated the moment he threw himself out of that ship into black space.

      Anyway, thanks for commenting! I really appreciate it. I KNOW people are reading this because of the stats, but I guess everyone is just shy or something : )

  3. zaelyna says:

    Ohhh, much to say!

    I asked the Terra Firma boards that question about why they didn’t just ask Katralla who chopped off Crichton’s head. We came up with some interesting stuff. Most of it related to Katralla’s reluctance to incriminate her brother–and this theory has previous scenes to back it up.

    …didn’t Harvey *technically* first arrive in Crackers Don’t Matter? He was wandering around “saving” him from Traltixx’s influence while the astronaut went fahrbot.

    As with many Farscape episodes, I love the way this trilogy takes popular themes and makes them fun–and HILARIOUS. Like you said, giving the kiss a scifi spin = Brilliant! ^_^

    Favourite quote? “I’m the reverse King Arthur. I’m the one who can put the sword INTO the stone.” Ohh, euphemisms!

    Best of the best =
    the very beginning:
    Crichton and Aeryn sitting in her Prowler. Flirting. Making out. <3 <3 <3

    the very end:
    I'm a hopeless romantic, so happy tears the whole way through. It says so much and gives that special layer to Aeryn's character that makes her my #1.

    But to go deeper, I love watching this scene as a reminder of how well Ben and Claudia can just stare at each other for several minutes, without a word, yet same more than lines of dialogue ever could. I think DK said that in a commentary, how he can just put "John and Aeryn stare at each other for a while" in the script and the rest just happens. :')

    • Ashley says:

      If you’re going by the writer’s intentions, then no, Harvey didn’t technically arrive until now because the Scorpius hallucination in “Crackers Don’t Matter” was written before they’d conceived of him, but it’s occurrence is something that fits easily into what comes after.

      I’ve always thought of this as Harvey’s first appearance solely because there are no outside forces acting upon his brain at the moment. It’s all coming from inside.

      If the John/Aeryn scenes don’t get to you, you don’t have a soul.

      • Friso says:

        “If the John/Aeryn scenes don’t get to you, you don’t have a soul.”

        Hate to admit it, but I am a gian girl then…

      • Larry says:

        You could write off the image of Scorpius appearing to Crichton in Crackers as a halluncination – his worst fear coming to life. Harvey makes his formal appearance in I Do I Think because John’s technically given up and has accepted death; that triggers Harvey who induces John to make the leap into space.

      • Max says:

        As far as John/Aeryn goes: It’s all about the ending of Green Eyed Monster. Most epic kiss ever.

  4. Eva says:

    “Ben and Claudia can just stare at each other for several minutes….”

    Funny you mention that…I like to edit Farscape music videos (don’t laugh!) My daughter was looking on and commented “Boy, they sure stare into each other’s eyes a lot!”

    But they do it so well!

  5. zaelyna says:

    “If the John/Aeryn scenes don’t get to you, you don’t have a soul.”

    ^_^

    ““Crackers Don’t Matter” was written before they’d conceived of him, but it’s occurrence is something that fits easily into what comes after.”

    Again, why Farscape is pure genius.

  6. Friso says:

    “D’Argo dancing in “A Kiss is But a Kiss” is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, and it’s a completely throw away moment.”

    Watching that scene is like a drug – I got to go back and back for more – and it cracks me up every time!

  7. Friso says:

    Oh, and I remember you making a grossed-out comment on one of the first episodes in Season 1 about everyone using the same needles.. a similar thought comes to mind for all those little vials of “test fluid” for genetic compatibility being passed around at a big party..

    Just in case it hasn’t been apparent yet – I absolutely love these blog posts and do look forward to reading more of them – especially as my own rewatch has currently progressed to “the Locket” – that is how I found this blog in the first place.

    • Ashley says:

      Glad you’re enjoying!

      • Friso says:

        Yes Ashely, you bet I am enjoying – I understand from your posts that you are crazy busy at the moment with school and everything (good luck with that!) and that this Rewatch project appears to have gotten a bit onto the back burner – but in case this was not obvious yet I hope you will continue writing about the series when you have time again. I shall be there to comment, hopefully more in real-time.

  8. Friso says:

    Although I love the show, there are a few small items in these particular episodes that are clearly marked for the Thrash bin:

    1) Has anyone ever seen a solid bronze head float ? I understand for the plotline that a floating head is more conducive to being fished out later by Scorpius (acid diving anyone?) .. but .. really??

    2) The scene where almighty Kahaynu somehow gets sucked into the engine had me laughing out loud, because it makes no sense at all: NOT the omnipotency one would associate with a deity.

    • Larry says:

      Kahaynu isn’t omnipotent, any more so than any Greek deity. They’re bloody powerful compared to mortals, but they can still be bested under the right circumstances. Besides, Kahaynu is only one of Moya’s builders, which means there are more of his sort out in that cloud.

  9. John says:

    Ok I am curious why you dislike Zhaan so much?

  10. Larry says:

    LATP:AKIJAK:

    Some of the very best quotes come from this episode. I offer these in particular:

    Crichton: “You would just have to be on this side of my life to understand how frelling insane that is!”

    Tyno: “Others would die for this chance.”
    Crichton: “See, DIE. There’s the problem. There’s the ‘die’ part.”

    And there are so many great moments!
    — Rygel forcing Crichton to acknowledge that he was right to bargain their way onto the Royal Planet (now that he knows how little regard others have for him, he’s gonna prove himself useful).
    — D’argo putting up his hands and backing off as Chiana and Aeryn go at it the second time.
    — Scorpius hugging Crichton and then smiling sweetly when Crichton proposes.
    — D’Argo wrapped up in a blanket while he weighs the benefits of being a statue.

    And yes, I agree. This episode is all about people acting on fears and the fragility of hope. Aeryn’s fear of getting closer to Crichton banks on the hope that they can continue running and there will be more time. Tyno and Katralla hope for some happily ever after despite being incompatible. Clavor hopes for the throne. Suddenly Crichton and Scorpius appears, and people do dangerous things out of fear. Really cool episode. It’s out of the frying pan and into the deep fat frier, then twice baked in the oven, doused with alcohol, set aflame and served on a plate that’s hot.

  11. Larry says:

    I Do I Think: A lot of fun. Three assassination attempts in one day? A very tight schedule for any ruler and John hasn’t even been coronated.

    – John telling Jenavian with “you know I can’t tell you [which branch of PK Special Ops]” – nice bluff
    – roNA’s eyes glowing through the gas as she leads Katralla and John out of the bedroom? Creeeeeeeepy.
    – Rygel bargaining with the Empress :: love ::
    – the return of Braca! Oh dear Braca, you poor lackey. What is it about you that keeps you from being cast aside like all of the others?
    – the exchange between roNA and John over possessions and wealth. She so clearly desires it that she repeats and rolls the words around in her mouth, savoring them, while he’s just giving it away.
    – John holding his fingers to his head as if he’s going to shoot himself, and then calls roNA and Braca dumb for falling for that :)
    – Zhaan shouting for Kahaynu: damn, she has anger.
    – People at the wedding scene: Tyno and Scorpius across from each other, both denied the person they want thanks to this marriage. Jenavian digging her fingers into Clavor’s arm to silence him. Rygel looking pleased with himself as the successful kingmaker. Interestingly, the only person who might have spoken out (Aeryn) is missing, because she’s given up fighting this as well, and is off sulking in the Barren Lands.

    Favorite quotes:

    Katralla: “I doubted you. I’m sorry.”
    John: “It’s all right. It’s the burden of being right all the time.”

  12. Larry says:

    The Maltese Crichton:

    Man the plot holes! Can’t dodge them all, we’ll just have to four-wheel it over them :: thud thud thud thud thud :: I have no idea why people have open pools of powerful acid boiling away in their palatial basements.

    I found it funny that John has some sort of James Bond nekkid sexy time going on with Jenavian, although I was upset that he was shacking up with someone other than Aeryn. BAD CRICHTON, BAD.

    I was impressed with Zhaan sucking Kahaynu into the module’s engines. He is gaseous after all. Why not use science against him? Suppose Zhaan had muttered some mumbo jumbo, inscribed symbols around the engine, and sprinkled powder, to the same end. Would that have made Kahaynu’s trap more believable to viewers?

    Also, I don’t think the Empress was unaware that Clavor and Cargn were in kahoots, but she had little reason to stop it. Probably powerful nobles who’d make things difficult if she acted against Clavor, not to mention offending the Scarrans and inviting their kind of trouble. No, best to let them plot away pointlessly Except for the genetic poisoning. I’m uncertain why that’s not an instant death sentence, but (a) e is royalty, they have get-out-of-jail cards automatically and (B) momma has a massive soft spot for her gangling baby boy.

    And the end scene: wow. Aeryn still can’t bring herself to express her feelings in words, so she lets actions speak for her. Damn. And Crichton holds his game face so as not to ruin things. Fantastic.

  13. Larry says:

    Oh, this has been bugging me: Katralla and the Empress both have swept-up-to-a-point hair styles that remind me of the Argolin from the The Leisure Hive episode of Doctor Who.

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