Captain Hornblower Rates the Farscape Episodes

The Captain gives "We're So Screwed Part 2" 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 2" continued what its preceding installment started, which was to deliver a powerhouse trilogy of Farscape episodes that keeps the audience on the edge of its seats. But what is interesting about it is the fact that while it is similar to part one, it is also a slightly different style of story than the preceding one. Both are action-adventure dramas that see the crew infiltrating a Scarren outpost with the goal of rescuing someone. Each installment also gives Crichton plenty of exposition as the heroic figure, bringing his own brand of bravado and intelligence to the situation.

However, the first installment's drama was based more in the emotional realm, and its action centered more solely on Crichton as the hero. In this episode, the drama comes from the intrigue of the situation and the nuances of power being played with. The action, while still focused a great deal on Crichton, is more reliant on all of the members of Moya's crew and their opponents.

Also, Crichton played more of the deadly serious type of hero in part one due to the fact he was trying to save Aeryn and her baby. In this case, his heroics show more of the John Crichton wit and craziness. This aspect is well alluded to at one point when one of the Scarrens calls Crichton crazy, and Aeryn remarks "fun, isn't it?", or something like that. Crichton's heroics are more of the fun kind in this episode rather than the deadly serious variety.

What is so great about John Crichton as a character is that he can do both kinds of heroics. At other times, he can also be the guy who's heroics falter due to his own screw ups, or by the actions of others. But it was nice seeing Crichton having most of his enemies by their mivonks in this episode, with his nuclear device in hand allowing him to make his enemies kow-tow to him for his wormhole knowledge.

Part two also clearly showcases what has made great story elements in Farscape going back to the first season. These elements have also been somewhat absent from Farscape's story for a good deal of this season's episodes, namely the more mediocre ones. But while they are time honored plot elements, they also show evidence of evolution through the course of the series, i.e. they don't unfold exactly the same way that they used to.

First, we see the crew working together to solve a problem. In this case, we see them infiltrating the Scarren base at Katratzi, creating a civil conflict between the Charrids and Kalesh who serve the Scarrens, so that they can get Scorpius out of there before he can reveal any secrets of wormholes to the Scarrens. Every member of Moya's crew has a part to play, and Crichton must rely on them all in order to help his plan to succeed. Their unit is one that is now battle-harderned, experience, confident, and up to the task, after many a failure and barely achieved success in the past four years.

Perhaps for the first time since the death of the other Crichton in "Infinite Possibilities" last season, the dynamic duo of John and Aeryn are at the center of the conflict, and are showcased working together as a team. This has always been one of my favorite elements of Farscape, and it has been one I have personally missed over this past year. Besides the romantic angle of John and Aeryn's relationship, they just make one hell of a great team, backing each other and supporting each other through crises and relying on one another to get out alive.

Yet, like the teamwork of the crew, the teamwork element of John and Aeryn is a time honored part of Farscape's stories that is given new dimensions in this episode. Over the course of the series, their team dynamic has gone from being thrust together by circumstance and having to learn to get along and endure together, to learning to coordinate and get used to each others actions and ideas, to the firm confidence we saw in their partnership by mid-season three (with the other, now deceased, Crichton of course). But now, we see them as one complete pair in just about every way, able to balance their romantic connection with their teamwork.

Its a more fluid, often quirky, pairing that sees John and Aeryn totally literate with each others' senses and thoughts so they may freely feed off of each other's strengths and bolster each other's weaknesses. John can be deadly serious like Aeryn at times, while Aeryn can be quirky, witty, and spontaneous like John when called for. This shows the incredible talent that goes into making these characters work. I'm sure it is also reflective of a working partnership between Ben Browder and Claudia Black that is four years old now, with life imitating art in terms of them being used to each other's idiosyncrasies just as John and Aeryn are now.

The twists and turns continue as always in the story, with Scorpius' connections to the Scarrens now being brought to the surface somewhat, though the capacity of their connection is not entirely clear at this point. Ultimately, something makes Scorpius prevent his own rescue, and what that is will have to wait until part three in order to be revealed. The revelation that Sikozu is a bioloid (android) like the fake Aeryn was in "Bringing Home the Beacon" also adds new questions to the mix. The return of Stark also adds a new dimension to the story, because he doesn't return as an ally of Crichton and crew. Rather, he returns as their de facto enemy, as he is trying to aid the Scarrens in getting wormhole knowledge from Scorpius.

It is kind of an interesting dual feeling that one gets at seeing Scorpius tortured in this episode. On the one hand, we kind of feel sorry for him enduring the pain and humiliation that he is suffering. We almost one to cheer him as he is defiant with one of his torturer, taunting the female Scarren with sexual innuendos. On the other hand, Stark's appearance and the part he plays in the torture reminds the viewer of all of the pain Scorpius has inflicted on others through torture, especially in the aurora chair. So, while we might feel some sympathy for Scorpius' plight, it is tempered by the reminder that Scorpius is getting payback for all of the pain he has caused to Stark and others.

"We're So Screwed Part 2" also leaves the audience with a cliffhanger filled with questions. Why did Scorpius prevent his own rescue by betraying Crichton? Is Scorpius really a Scarren spy? Will Scorpius make it possible for the Scarrens to capture and torture Crichton? What is the significance of the plants in the underground cavern so closely guarded and held to high importance by the Scarrens? This episode not only presents an awesome story with great characterization, action, drama, and humor, but also leaves the audience begging for more. With these first two installments, "We're So Screwed" is well on its way to being the best multi-part set of Farscape episodes ever, and part two along with part one belong in the list of the top five Farscape episodes ever.


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



 

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Originally aired in the U.S.
March 7, 2003

Written by Charleton Eastlake

Directed by Karl Zwicky

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