Celebrating Farscape, Part Two

castThe beloved sci-fi TV series Farscape celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. It was a true space opera with epic and inventive storylines and colorful characters. Farscape starred Ben Browder as John Crichton, an astronaut from Earth that got sucked into a wormhole and was stranded on the other side of the universe. Crichton quickly made friends and foes as he first struggled to survive, then tried to find a way to get back home. One such person he met during his travels would become the most important person in his life.

A Star-Crossed Affair

sunOut of all the exotic alien beings John¬† Crichton met in his spacefaring adventures, the one he connected with the most was Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black). In a clever bit of irony, the show’s creators had her antagonistic alien race, the Sebaceans, look exactly human. Coming from the harsh and militaristic Peackekeeper culture, Aeryn was disdainful toward Crichton, who she saw as weak. Actually she was hostile towards him because she blamed him for being stuck with the Moya crew, who were escaped convicts. She was part of the Peacekeeper force trying to re-capture Moya , a living ship, in the pilot episode, but her fighter ship was accidently pulled into Moya’s docking bay. Though she tried escaping, Aeryn was unable to return to her people because she was considered contaminated from her prolonged exposure to aliens, including Crichton. Eventually she became part of the crew and one of Moya’s fiercest defender. Crichton and her began to feel something for one another but tried to deny them. In the time-travel yarn “The Locket” the idea of them having a relationship was explored when old, future versions of themselves were shown to have been in love with each other.

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However, things weren’t so clear cut with them. For many episodes there was a “will they or won’t they” aspect as they bickered with each other and had other relationships. In the second season finale “Die Me, Dichotomy” Crichton admitted his love for her when it seemed that she died. Spoiler: She did die but was resurrected by fellow crewmate Zhaan (Virginia Hey). Things took a strange twist in the third season when Crichton was duplicated by a mad alien scientist (“Eat Me”). During that time the crew of Moya was split up with one Crichton remaining onboard Moya, while the other took off with Aeryn onboard Talyn, Moya’s offspring spaceship. That Crichton and Aeryn fully developed their romance and he actually found a way to return home, but tragically died at the end of the two-part episode “Infinite Possibilities”.

Meanwhile, the Crichton on Moya was unaware of all this and was expecting a happy reunion with her when the two ships finally made their rendezvous (“Fractures”). Instead he found a heartbroken woman who was unable to reciprocate his feelings. As far as he was concerned they were back to square one. This constant back and forth would’ve been tiresome to watch in your standard TV show but this was Farscape; it was provocative and scintillating.

Always In His Mind

John Crichton had an additional emotional bond with another alien, but in the other extreme. He had a burning hatred towards the creepy Scorpius (Wayne Pygram), who first appeared in the episode scorpius and chick“Nerve” and quickly became the main villain in the series. Clad in a thick leather suit and tight-fitting cowl, Scorpius had a cadaverous appearance with his pasty white, scaly skin, bloodshot eyes and short, dark teeth. He was a cold and calculating person who spoke in an unexpectedly eloquent and sophisticated tone and who would stop at nothing to achieve his goals. Scorpius is one of the greatest sci-fi villains and that is due to several factors which include Pygram’s performance and the character’s back story.

As explained in the episode “Incubator” the alien is a hybrid resulting from when a humanoid Sebacean female (who make up the Peacekeepers) was raped by a reptilian Scarran. When his mother died at childbirth, Scorpius was raised harshly by his Scarran caretakers who looked down at him as a halfbreed to be tortured and experimented on. After reaching adulthood, Scorpius escaped and joined the Peacekeepers with the goal of defeating the Scarrans. It should be noted that the Peacekeepers and the Scarrans were bitter rivals constantly on the verge of war. This episode went a long hidden memoryway to explaining Scorpius’ motives and the revelations added more dimension to his character. The viewer understood why he was so ruthless and brutal and why he was so determined to get Crichton. When he is introduced in the two-part episode “Nerve”/ “The Hidden Memory”, he learns from torturing a captured Crichton that the astronaut has buried knowledge in his subconscious on how to create wormholes. Crichton unknowingly received this information by advanced aliens he met in the episode “A Human Reaction”. From then on, Scorpius became an alien version of Javert, who was obsessed with capturing his very own Jean Valjean.¬† Scorpius was desperate to gain Crichton’s buried knowledge in order to construct weapons and use the wormhole-based weaponry against the superior Scarrans.

An interesting development was that before Crichton escaped Scorpius’ clutches in their first encounter, Scorpius implanted a sort of neural clone into Crichton’s mind. During times of great stress or danger, an imaginary version of Scorpius would appear to Crichton, usually as part of bizarre hallucinations. Sometimes this implant saved Crichton’s life, other times it kept him from killing Scorpius. The interactions between Crichton and “Harvey”, as he called the implant, were the highlights of many episodes. Their discussions unveiled many insights into Crichton’s character, sometimes they were humorous, other times they were poignant. Continue reading