Captain Hornblower Rates the Farscape Episodes

The Captain gives "We're So Screwed, Part 1" a rating of:

5 Moyas

Captain's Rating Scale:
5 Moyas-one of the best episodes
4 Moyas-an excellent episode
3 Moyas-a good episode
2 Moyas-a fair episode
1 Moya-a not so fair episode
0 Moyas-a poor episode

Review:

"We're So Screwed, Part 1" is one of those gem of an episodes that keeps you on the edge of your seat from almost the first few minutes of the episode. The tension is high in this episode's story, which sees the crew rescue Aeryn from the Scarrens, only to have Scorpius captured by them.

Now, there is one thing that one could nitpick about this episode-how is it that they just happen to go the same border station that the transport carrying Aeryn arrives at? Moya's crew could not possibly have been that lucky. But, personally, I think this is a very forgivable plot point because many things in life happen by chance. No one seems to question when unlucky things happen to characters in stories (such as John happening to stumble into a Gammack base that Scorpius was at in "Nerve", and thus started most of his troubles over the past few years).

But with luck on their side for once, Crichton and crew are presented with a golden opportunity to save Aeryn, but one that requires a diversion and a means of keeping the Scarren transport at the station. That is where the disease and quarantine idea comes into the picture. This plot point on its own was an ingenious one, because it created even more emotional drama for Noranti because she releases a plague that kills several people (some of them innocent) and has to deal with the consequences. This also gives her character much needed exploration, because up to now she has been mainly a smart, but annoying, old witchdoctor. But this plot element, along with her struggle not to perform a procedure on Aeryn to take her baby and put it in Chiana, gave a chance for her character to finally have some depth of feeling. The final scene with her and Rygel also gave his character one of those rare moments of compassion and caring that shines through his greedy exterior.

The action in this plot is driven by the drama, and the drama is carried by the action. Aeryn is put through the meat grinder once again in terms of torture and the threat of having her baby taken from her, which causes a great deal of emotional reaction from her as well as a continued break down of her mental faculties. Crichton, meanwhile, is desperate to save Aeryn, and has a very limited frama of time to do it in. He tries a rash plan to get her out which doesn't work, though almost did. Then, he has to act swiftly and with determination to free the woman he loves. The actions he takes to free Aeryn also show an dramatic character element for Crichton, because he has resort to cold, swift, and deadly violence. The system administrator, who was threatening to kill Aeryn, is spared in an important moment of self-reflection for Crichton. He doesn't kill him, only wounds him, because, by his own admission, he recognizes the extent of the violence that he has had to resort to in order to free Aeryn. In both cases, the action drove the drama, and the drama was in turn carried by the action. This interplay that goes back and forth was extremely well done by the director, writer, and actors involved.

This also gives Crichton a chance to play the hero for once without having to be rescued by his friends. In the past, with the climaxes of Seasons 1, 2, and 3, Crichton tries to save someone or help save someone, but then gets into trouble and must himself be saved by the others. This may yet happen to him again (I hope not, because it is getting old). But this time, John saved Aeryn, even having to carry her out in his arms like a knight rescuing his lady love in distress.

One of the best things about Farscape is, of course, is that Crichton is NOT the white knight who always saves the day. He's the guy trying to survive, getting his but kicked all over the universe but getting in a few good strikes at the bad guys along the way. Yet, it was nice for once for Crichton to be the white knight, the undisputed champion and hero of the situation. And the climax of this was the scene in which he lays Aeryn down on her bunk, and there is a tender exchange between her and her hero. She doesn't want him to leave her to join the others, because she is frightened, weak, and disoriented, and wants him there to comfort and protect her. Aeryn has never been more vulnerable than she was in these moments, and it through this tragic chapter in her life, she has proven to be a character who has become a fully functioning individual, a truly well rounded character. Ben Browder and Claudia Black have proven, once and for all, the depth of their abilities to draw out the emotions of their characters in this episode.

And the final scenes set up the action for the continuing story to come. Scorpius was not able to escape, and is now in the hands of the Scarrens. The crew, well in character, say "who cares". But, one line sets in motion why they have to go back for him. "Scorpius knows everything you know, John." These words cause Crichton to realize that he must rescue Scorpius, because if he does know everything Crichton knows, then the monsters that tortured Aeryn could get wormhole technology, could know the location of Earth, and could become a menace that could threaten the universe. Thus, to save the universe, Crichton and crew now must rescue one of their worst enemies, and in so doing put themselves all at great risk. Its an interesting dilemma to say the least.

There is something I like about this plot element, but something I don't like as well. What I do like is that it once again puts the viewer in the not at all easy situation of possibly feeling sorry for a character we have all grown to despise for his evil. I actually felt a tinge of sympathy for him when the Scarren Captain was torturing him at the end of this episode, and it reminds me of the sympathy I had for his character in the Season 3 episode "Incubator" (when we get his backstory). Its a great dilemma for the viewers that makes watching that much more interesting.

But the one thing I didn't like about this-the return of Harvey. This Scorpius character in Crichton's head got old by early-Season 3, and I was so pleased to see it go in "Promises" this season. One thing I have truly liked about this season was not having that worn out plot element to contend with. Bringing it back makes me cringe. Its been done to death folks-leave Nosferatu in his grave already!!!! (Though, I did like the tribute to the 1922 horror classic "Nosferatu" in that scene).

"We're So Screwed, Part 1" is an incredible episode for its depth of characterization, drama/action interplay, writing, tension, portrayals of characters-everything was done to perfection. Without even having seen the whole trilogy of "We're So Screwed" yet, Part 1 on its own is already one of the best episodes ever. Not only is this episode one of the best Farscape episodes, it is one of the top five episodes in my book.


Captain Hornblower
Keeper of Jenavia's Jewel Gun
Worshiper of Aeryn's Remarkable Vessel




 

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Originally aired in the U.S. February 28, 2003

Written by David Peckinpah

Directed by Geoff Bennett

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