There always seems to be a catch with pleasure planets in space operas. On Farscape, it turns out to be a drug trade that involves kidnapping and “milking” party goers of precious fluids. Where’s Sterling Hayden when you need him?
Season Three, Episode Thirteen: Scratch and Sniff
I’m referring to his role in Doctor Strangelove but it may have been appropriate to refer to one of the films noir he was in as this episode was, according to the wiki, originally meant to have a noir vibe by writer Lily Taylor. Unfortunately, director Tony Tilse opted for a Trainspotting pastiche that has not aged well.
After having been temporarily kicked off Moya by Pilot (Lani Tupu) for arguing too much, Crichton (Ben Browder) and D’Argo (Anthony Simcoe) end up in a bar with Chiana (Gigi Edgley) and Jool (Tammy MacIntosh) tagging along. Lots of party music with brass instruments and peculiar edits set the tone of a comedic episode. But after Crichton and D’Argo get rolled by a couple of unscrupulous dames, they meet a mysterious alien named Raxil (Francesca Buller, Ben Browder’s wife in yet another role) who tells them Chiana and Jool are in danger.
One of the highlights of the episode is the weird mantis alien Raxil takes the boys to see. It’s another of Farscape’s famous scenes of people’s eyes getting messed with, this time it’s tentacles that show recordings. A side effect is that it allows D’Argo to see Harvey (Wayne Pygram) when both D’Argo and Crichton are plugged into the tentacles, a moment that’s kind of amusing but with no real pay off.
The plot is a bit reminiscent of The Big Sleep, which was also the basis for The Big Lebowski, but the choice to go a comedy route here just deflates the tension with nothing especially funny to replace it. It’s a shame because the previous episode by Lily Taylor, “A Clockwork Nebari”, is so good and she didn’t get another chance to write for the show after this.
. . .
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):
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
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
Episode 1: Season of Death
Episode 2: Suns and Lovers
Episode 3: Self-Inflicted Wounds, Part I: Would’a, Could’a, Should’a
Episode 4: Self-Inflicted Wounds, Part II: Wait for the Wheel
Episode 5: . . . Different Destinations
Episode 6: Eat Me
Episode 7: Thanks for Sharing
Episode 8: Green Eyed Monster
Episode 9: Losing Time
Episode 10: Relativity
Episode 11: Incubator
Episode 12: Meltdown