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Mental As Anything: Season 4, Episode 15


Mental As Anything is D'Argo's revenge story. Because Scorpius arranged for advanced training with an alien named Katoya, poor John has a special nasty Scarren training he's forced into. I always focus on his torture/training and skip D'Argo's trials fighting Macton.

It seems that whenever John is confronted with the more macabre and forced adventures, he reverts to asshole mode. He's like the class clown or disrupter venting his frustration with the sheer nastiness of whatever he is screwed up in. In this case, Katoya has placed a crystal that John names the "fairy crystal" on each student's forehead that will bore into the brain and kill them if they leave the holographic arena or school.

John fights his fear/discomfort at being at Scorpius' mercy through this snark but this time, it doesn't work. Scorpius has contracted with Katoya to find out what the critter was who killed DK and Laura. Katoya's payment was that the men of Moya complete his training. It also seems that Scorpius owes Katoya for his own training in seeking to live without the heat suit. He failed due to lack of patience (for a person who says they have infinite patience, Scorpius always seems to be in a rush pushing John beyond where he wants to go).

What's interesting is that John backs up D'Argo several times while the Luxan is distracted by the fact that Macton is part of the class. We learn quite a lot about Luxan hyper rage and how it works. It seems that D'Argo might have hit Lo'La while under its influence. Luxans marry older when they have learned to control the rages, but D'Argo married young. Macton messes with D'Argo's head but John can't do anything about it because he's in detention.

This episode has a lot of characteristics of the movie, A Bridge Over the River Kwai. In that movie, the Lt. Col. played by Alec Guiness, resists the Japanese commander of the concentration camp where the British military are held as Prisoners of War. He is continually placed in a hot box. The resistance is the thing: although Nicholson wins his point that Officers do not do manual labor, Nicholson weirdly pushes his men to work on a Japanese railroad bridge with the highest quality. His pride keeping him functioning in spite of the fact that this is aiding the enemy.

The music whistled by the men as they work on the bridge is a quiet rebellion against Nicholson's insistence that they build the thing as if it were their project. It's called The Colonel Bogey March.

I'm not sure whether Ben ad-libbed whistling the same music while stuck in the hot box, but it was quite powerful. I can't be sure how many people knew it was from the movie, Bridge Over the River Kwai, but the song has become a classic. John resists his special Scarren Resistance Training with the only tools he has: his odd sense of humor and extreme stubbornness, "It's not the HEAT, it's the HUMIDITY!" Katoya's Zen game of pick up the key in the hot coals to unlock the box, is infuriating. But, John works himself up into a wild stubborn push and burning his hands badly, retrieves the key.

External Publication

  • Farscape Screen caps
  •   Sunday, 09 July 2017
Off the Grid: Season 9, Episode 16
Die Me Dichotomy: Season 2, Episode 22

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