Back to the Ice Coffins

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Farscape season three begins with a new opening theme and some upgraded cameras (though the show’s still in 4:3) but we go right back to where we left off at the end of season two on an ice world with coffins filled with dead people. Mostly dead.

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Season Three, Episode One: Season of Death

Crichton (Ben Browder) is still strapped down, screaming gibberish. Scorpius (Wayne Pygram) gloats while Braca (David Franklin), his second in command, holds Grunchlk (Hugh Keays-Byrne) at gunpoint. In a wonderfully disgusting moment, Scorpius takes his revelries to the point of actually ingesting the bit of Crichton’s brain leftover on the extracted neural chip.

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The episode reprises a bit of exposition from the previous episode where it was revealed that the donors whom the Diagnosan (Fiona Gentle) and Grunchlk keep frozen in coffins aren’t technically dead. Grunchlk explains none of them can be saved but each is preserved seconds before death to maintain the quality of their organs. It poses an interesting ethical problem, one Stark (Paul Goddard) wastes no time resolving. He grants the nearest donor a merciful death.

Illustration for article titled Back to the Ice Coffins

Of course, Aeryn (Claudia Black) is in one of these things, too. This is an episode filled with people rendered physically incapable of governing their own bodies. Crichton is strapped to a table, deprived of speech, Aeryn’s locked in a coffin, and Grunchlk gets his just desserts when Scorpius uses a mind control device to operate him like a puppet.

Illustration for article titled Back to the Ice Coffins

All three of the characters manage some form of revenge, though. Crichton’s being perhaps the most satisfying when he realises that, although Harvey (Wayne Pygram) is still trapped in his head, it’s Crichton who calls the shots, demonstrating this by tossing the neural clone into a dumpster.

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The mind is its own place indeed.

It’s in the mental realm that Zhaan (Virginia Hey) retrieves Aeryn from some ethereal plane, but only at great cost, which she will pay very soon.

Illustration for article titled Back to the Ice Coffins

Meanwhile, on Moya, D’Argo (Anthony Simcoe) is yelling at Jothee (Matt Newton) and Chiana (Gigi Edgley), forbidding them to go down to the planet, like they’re both his children. But when these two are alone, they aren’t acting like siblings, unless we’re talking about Lannisters. It’s pretty clear where this is heading and returns the show to the idea of Moya’s crew forming into an unconventional kind of family. The episode ends with Crichton and Aeryn refraining, on her insistence, from breaking a Peacekeeper convention in favour of a human one about relationships, a decision that will influence events throughout the season to come.


. . .

Farscape is available now on Amazon Prime.

This entry is part of a series I’m writing on Farscape for the show’s 20th anniversary. My previous reviews can be found here (episodes are in the order intended by the show’s creators rather than the broadcast order):

Season One:

Episode 1: Pilot
Episode 2: I, E.T.
Episode 3: Exodus from Genesis
Episode 4: Throne for a Loss
Episode 5: Back and Back and Back to the Future
Episode 6: Thank God It’s Friday Again
Episode 7: PK Tech Girl
Episode 8: That Old Black Magic
Episode 9: DNA Mad Scientist
Episode 10: They’ve Got a Secret
Episode 11: Till the Blood Runs Clear
Episode 12: Rhapsody in Blue
Episode 13: The Flax
Episode 14: Jeremiah Crichton
Episode 15: Durka Returns
Episode 16: A Human Reaction
Episode 17: Through the Looking Glass
Episode 18: A Bug’s Life
Episode 19: Nerve
Episode 20: The Hidden Memory
Episode 21: Bone to be Wild
Episode 22: Family Ties


Season Two:

Episode 1: Mind the Baby
Episode 2: Vitas Mortis
Episode 3: Taking the Stone
Episode 4: Crackers Don’t Matter
Episode 5: Picture If You Will
Episode 6: The Way We Weren’t
Episode 7: Home on the Remains
Episode 8: Dream a Little Dream
Episode 9: Out of Their Minds
Episode 10: My Three Crichtons
Episode 11: Look at the Princess, Part I: A Kiss is But a Kiss
Episode 12: Look at the Princess, Part II: I Do, I Think
Episode 13: Look at the Princess, Part III: The Maltese Crichton
Episode 14: Beware of Dog
Episode 15: Won’t Get Fooled Again
Episode 16: The Locket
Episode 17: The Ugly Truth
Episode 18: A Clockwork Nebari
Episode 19: Liars, Guns, and Money, Part I: A Not So Simple Plan
Episode 20: Liars, Guns, and Money, Part II: With Friends Like These . . .
Episode 21: Liars, Guns, and Money, Part III: Plan B
Episode 22: Die Me, Dichotomy

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