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Rita Lewis Avalon, Parts 1 and 2: Season 9, Episodes 1 and 2
02 August 2017
: what a fantastic job reviewing these controversial episodes and explain to this Scaper why Ben pla...

We're So Screwed, A Trilogy

La-Bamba

We're So Screwed (as the trilogy was named in the United States but not in the United Kingdom) deals with the rescue of Aeryn Sun, the re-appearance of Harvey and the subsequent rescue of Scorpius; all from a hidden Scarren base called Katratzi. There are major surprises in store regarding what makes the Scarren empire successful and a questionable strategy by John Crichton used to keep him and his shipmates safe during this perilous undertaking.

 

Fetal Attraction: Season 4, Episode 19

thumb were so screwed fetal attraction 34874883482 oSeason 4 of Farscape, according to David Kemper, was the ¾ mark of the novel about John and Aeryn. As such it reached a dark nadir where none of the characters were in good places. Fetal Attraction saw John Crichton and the crew of Moya land on the space station that guarded Scarren space. Their goal was to get through quarantine safely but then they discovered that Aeryn's captor's ship was also docked and as is typically the case with our crew, they moved on to Plan B: chaos.

I think the ethical compromises of Noranti in giving Rygel a real case of Hynerian Dermafolica thus endangering Kalish and Sebeceans (and John) wounded the Traskan wise woman deeply until Rygel gently told her, "Welcome to Moya." Meanwhile, Sikozou compromised her resistance movement to allow the physical release of Moya from the station and John had to act as a randy, sex-starved Sebecean mercenary to deceive the nurse who was desperate to prevent Aeryn from contracting the deadly disease.

John got to Aeryn as the head Kalish had kidnapped Chiana (as Nebari can't get the disease) and had used fierce sharp steel probes to drill into Aeryn's body to lock her down. John witnessed this torture and Aeryn's agony along with D'Argo's need to save Chiana. Both men violently attacked the captors to free their women.

Ben's look of fierce determination and terror at what those rusted probes were doing to Aeryn's body was terribly difficult to watch.

Luckily, the men got away with their women but not before Aeryn, deeply drugged, fought The figment of John to prevent her captors from discovering him. It was so sad.

The tag echoes the ending of Terra Firma where Aeryn asks John to stay with her after she plaintively asks if he's real. He's again wearing gloves (a metaphor for the protection he feels so desperately to need) but this time, he takes her gently by the hand -- the gloves not needed anymore against Aeryn -- and promises her he's staying by her side to protect her and himself. They fall asleep in their prison clothes: perhaps a clue that the foulness they've been through isn't over. Aeryn's hand is gently caressing John's head when Hell comes calling.

In the episode Promises, Scorpius supposedly removed Harvey from John's head. But, in a dream sequence straight out of a classic Vampire movie, Harvey rises from the dead, the true Nosferatu, out of his coffin. He's there to say that because John betrayed Scorpius and abandoned him to his enemies, thus never intending to turn over wormhole tech, Harvey 2.0 has risen who knows everything John knows. Thus, John realizes with horror that he must take the healing Aeryn back into Hell to rescue Scorpius, their enemy, before he spills the wormhole beans on Katratzi, the center of the Scarren imperial world.

Thus, the danger escalates on Farscape just as peace supposedly descends. It's Aeryn who now comforts John as he realizes what needs to be done.


Hot To Katratzi: Series 4, Episode 20

thumb were so screwed hot to katratzi 34874883452 oThere is so much going on in his episode emotionally, physically and politically that it's difficult to manage while watching it only once. It takes multiple viewings to realize. John is terrified and as usual, is hiding behind what

  • John is terrified and as usual is hiding behind what Grayza accuses him of, namely big and bold and bragging as he arms himself with a wearable atomic bomb and dances on tables distracting the enemies with talk of selling out.
  • John probably is the only one who understands the term he uses "Cold War" and it's meaning in his world, namely brinkmanship. Who will blink first? It's a dangerous game and he's highly aware of this. He's testy with his crew mates who are supposed to provoke a riot under cover of which Scorpius can be rescued. He truly IS a nuclear terrorist and his entire sense of himself falls apart with his naming himself.
  • For the first time, he admits his anger and grief when he confronts Grayza with what she did to him. He gives it a name, too. Rape. And in so doing maybe frees himself in a small way of his feeling of powerlessness and filth because Grayza has backed herself into a political corner by appeasing an enemy who has no intention of honoring deals. She's been stripped of her power as John was stripped of his manhood.
  • Aeryn is John's shield, his strength, and his comfort. The dance in the elevator is so beautiful because for a few moments the two lovers discover another facet of their relationship: the ability to just be together. John shows Aeryn again how to be more when he lifts her up onto his feet like you would a young woman and shows her how to dance. Her enjoyment of the experience is secret music to John that keeps him going.
  • John again has to stay stoic while witnessing the torture of another, again Scorpius, while being highly aware that Aeryn must see it too so soon after her own experience. John's ability to withstand Scarren heat probes weirds out these enemies. It's part human ability to withstand high temperatures and partly his stubborn ability to stay honorable. He tells the truth, only it's his truth. Meanwhile, we learn more about Scorpius' ability to manipulate truth: he's been double-dealing between the Scarren and Peacekeepers for years so as to gather the intelligence he needs to destroy the Scarrens.
  • Then there are the bewitching flowers. Bird Of Paradise. Hidden away and protected. Another secret and the power behind the Scarren imperial power. And in a fit of nervousness, John betrays Earth by a flippant statement that they grow in his mother's garden. They're nothing. He speaks of his mother in the same breath as he thinks he's just throwing sand in the Scarrens face on a beach not understanding the big picture. Again, he shows his innocence and how little he really knows. He is always dancing and pretending and it's a dangerous game.
  • Aeryn seems to be healing from her trauma by watching and protecting this man who is brave enough to challenge the powerful with only words and stubbornness. She learns to trust him thoroughly. Dancing on his feet in this place of deceit and ugliness. She tells jokes to strengthen herself and John and believes them. It's the hat belittles Akhna, quotes from spaghetti westerns ("What flowers? We don't need no stinking flowers.") belittles Staleek. Making your enemies small is empowering. Aeryn is able to March into the Command Carrier's medical wing under Braca's nose.
  • John and Aeryn are finally totally together and it takes this disastrous place to make them whole.

La Bomba: Series 4, Episode 21

thumb were so screwed la bomba 34874883152 oIs John Crichton a hypocrite? "You used me. You're better at it. " is it a fatal flaw when you are manipulated into something, such as rescuing an enemy because you believe they can destroy all that you love? Scorpius wanted John on Katratzi because he needed his help to destroy the flowers that provide the Scarrens with intelligence. So, he let himself be caught knowing as a double agent supposedly loyal to Staleek that he would not be killed.

The three-way discussion that takes place partly in John's head where Harvey creates the scenario of the crooked cop and the snitch, and partly in reality where John tries to give himself an excuse for leaving Scorpius behind, is brilliant writing that has to be watched several times to realize all the nuances. It bounces between John who is furious that he is in any way equivalent in ruthlessness and duplicity to his adversary (but secretly maybe agrees that he is) and Scorpius who has bigger fish to fry than wormhole tech. Flowers outrank wormholes.

I was deeply bothered by this scene because of John's guilt. He really did use Scorpius badly, yet the half-Scarren was highly aware and knew John would never set foot on Katratzi if he didn't feel required to come due to the lie that Harvey had been upgraded. John's anger was embarrassment and self-loathing doubled by the fact that he'd also betrayed his planet as a place where Bird of Paradise grew wild but he didn't know the significance at the time of his slip up. That doesn't excuse him.

Ben plays this angry and guilty scene not as an innocent who's been wronged, but as someone who's been caught red-handed. Learning about the power of the flowers is such a shock given that he let slip the information about Earth. Meanwhile, look closely on Harvey's police room table: a growing specimen of Bird of Paradise.

The episode is full of behaviors that are out of character, such as John sitting in the dead Wonkavator asking for a vote whether to use the bomb but planning to drop it anyway. While Chiana votes twice not to use it, John numbly and almost flippantly drops it down the hole the elevator made into the waiting hands of the Scarrens. It almost plays like a joke. I'm not sure that John didn't just give up on the ethics of his action and do it because they were all trapped. Lesser of evils, which he has repeatedly said throughout the show. One evil at a time.

Ben plays John's deep grief when all are safe on Moya as part mourning for his own humanity: his ability now to maybe kill more children tomorrow as well as his unique ability to grieve for his enemies. I guess that's what makes John human.

 

External Publication

  • Ben Browder Network
  •   Sunday, 25 June 2017
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