Look At The Princess II: I Do, I Think
Written by David Kemper, directed by Andrew Prowse and Tony Tilse
Season 2, Episode 12
1st US Transmission Date: 28 July 2000
1st UK Transmission Date: 18 September 2000
1st Australian Transmission: 18 August 2001
Guest Cast (for the whole trilogy): Wayne Pygram (Scorpius), Felicity Price (Princess Katralla), Bianca Chiminello (Jenavian Charto), Matt Day (Counsellor Elka Tyno), Tina Bursill (Empress Novia), Felix Williamson (Prince Clavor), Aaron Cash (Dregon Carzenonva), Gavin Robins (I) and Thomas Holesgrove (II & III)(Cargyn), Francesca Buller (ro-NA), Jonathan Hardy (Kahaynu)
Synopsis: Having saved John from an assassination attempt, Prince Clavor’s fiancée, Jenavian, reveals herself to be a PK operative whose mission is to kill Clavor if he ascends to the throne. John allows her to believe that he is also a PK agent. He then slaps Clavor around a bit and tells him not to try and kill him again. However, Jenavian vaporised the assassins so there is no proof of the attempt.
The Empress begins to doubt John’s sanity and Princess Katrella slaps John around a bit in turn for humiliating her – she refuses to believe her brother would kill anyone and thinks John is lying. When a floating gas bomb nearly kills them both, she changes her mind (although we later learn the gas bomb was sent by Scorpius).
Rygel and the Empress conspire to send John, along with ro-NA and a contingent of personal guards, to a cargo ship in orbit where he can hide until the wedding. Unfortunately ro-NA has sold John out and Lt. Braca is waiting for them. He kills the guards and contacts Scorpius. John, realising that he is too valuable to be killed, counts on Braca not shooting him, and arms the weapons systems, which attracts the attention of the weapons satellites, which open fire on the cargo ship. Ro-NA is killed, Braca abandons ship and John is forced to jump across open space to the transport pod without a suit. When he returns to the planet he finds nothing has changed and the wedding still has to continue. He takes his vows and is turned into a statue…
Moya meets one of the Builders, who has decided to decommission her because she gave birth to a gunship. Moya accepts this and shuts herself down. Pilot is dying, and Zhaan is left alone on a ghost ship.
Buck Rogers Redux: When he realises that Braca can’t shoot him dead, John improvises madly, telling him that humans bleed out and die from a single wound, so he can’t be shot in the arm or leg either. The insanity we saw in the first few episodes of the season finally flowers and he entirely loses his mind on the cargo ship, almost seeming to wish that Braca would kill him.
Back on the planet, he realises he still has no choice but to go ahead with the marriage and all the fight goes out of him; he’s finally had enough, and being a statue for 80 cycles suddenly seems like a pretty good way out of things. Also, there’s an air of self-sacrifice, going through with it to prevent Clavor starting wars and getting millions of people killed. He leaves messages for Zhaan, Aeryn and Pilot. Back home on Earth he had a collection of Charlie Parker CDs and a ’62 T-Bird.
That Damn Peacekeeper Bitch: Aeryn tries to affect the situation by threatening Jenavian and Katralla that if they hurt John she’ll sort them out, but it’s a futile gesture and only serves to demonstrate her own powerlessness. Aeryn tells Carzenonva to get lost, but then, having walked out on Crichton again, takes him with her on an exploration to the Barren Lands outside the city.
Big Blue: ‘I am so filled with uncharitable rage.’ Despite her best efforts to convince the builder, Zhaan is powerless and furious as Moya dies around her.
I Was A Teenage Luxan: We get a good display of the friendship and rapport he has built up with John when he tells him that whether he chooses to fight, run or marry, he will back him up.
Buckwheat the Sixteenth: Rygel again proves his worth as a negotiator and his innate understanding of court intrigue and politics. He builds a nicely conspiratorial relationship with Empress Novia when planning to secrete John on the cargo ship, and gleefully mutters ‘I smell power again’ at the wedding ceremony. He’s been teaching D’Argo the rules of politics.
Your Favourite Little Tralk: Chiana again takes Aeryn to task over her treatment of John: ‘Look, Aeryn, all men are stupid, okay? Men = Stupid. If you want them to know something, you have to tell them.’ She uses her race’s reputation to try and intimidate the Scarran into leaving John alone–it’s a ballsy move, but it’s a bluff doomed to failure. Chi tells John she loves him when she hugs him goodbye, but in a sisterly way.
In The Driving Seat: Pilot accepts his fate and tells Zhaan that he feels as fulfilled as Moya does and is ready to die.
Nosferatu in Rubber: ‘Oh, to be there when the scales fall from John Crichton's eyes.’ Scorpius plays a clever game. He gasses John, but ensures he doesn’t die by having ro-NA save them. He knows this will flush John out of protective custody and make him vulnerable. If only he hadn’t made it so clear that John was unique he’d have got away with it, too. Then again, he was so sure John wouldn’t be taken alive at the Gammac base that he should have foreseen John’s suicidal tactics. John requested before his wedding that Scorpius be forbidden from ever visiting the world again, and they granted his request. We get to see that freaky head thing he does again–last seen in ‘Mind The Baby’–but we still don’t know what it’s for.
A Ship, A Living Ship: The Builder allows Moya to speak so Zhaan can hear, and she says it’s okay that she’s dying, she doesn’t mind, and she feels fulfilled by her life. The Builders created Leviathans as emissaries of peace, and gave them souls.
The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: Aeryn tells John she’s proud of him for fighting back and staying alive, but stops short of telling him how she feels, although he gives her another opportunity to. His defeatist attitude and acceptance of the marriage finally forces her to give up and leave. She does not attend the wedding.
Hi, Harvey: When the cargo ship is under fire and it looks like John’s for it, he hears Scorpy’s voice in his head telling him he mustn’t die yet.
Disney On Acid: When he sees the floating gas bomb John remarks that Obi-Wan had one similar, but smaller. This was the floating gizmo he used to train Luke on the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars. In his mad moments on the cargo ship he also riffs on Blazing Saddles, Ace Ventura and Apocalypse Now.
Alien Encounters: The Peacekeepers have a unit called the Special Directorate who deploy spies to act as disruptors. The Builders can manifest themselves as tendrils of smoke that can penetrate Moya’s hull. Ro-NA is a Jekench, a species who do not believe in the acquisition of possessions.
Get Frelled: John holds Braca’s gun to his right hand and screams: ‘my sex life… kill my sex life! Now, quick, shoot, just shoot!’ The award for funniest moment on Farscape to date goes to D’Argo’s farewell speech to John just before he’s frozen:
D’ARGO: Now I can only speak truth, and that comes as good and bad news.
JOHN: All right, give me the bad news first.
D’ARGO: The bad news is that you're married and must endure as a statue for eighty cycles in a strange world.
JOHN: What's the good news?
D’ARGO: Chiana and I are having fantastic sex.
Indeed, Chiana screams so loudly that security guards storm their room at night.
Stats: The statue freezing machine is only calibrated for Sebaceans and causes John a lot of pain.
Logic Leaps: Would a human survive a space walk, sans suit, of that duration, or indeed of any duration?
The Verdict: The detour to the cargo pod doesn’t move the story forward and it seems likely that it was this element that was added when the story moved from two to three parts. Still, Ben Browder’s mad Crichton is terrifying, Francesca Buller is marvellous as ro-NA and there are a lot of thrills and laughs on offer. It feels like a middle episode, in that we don’t learn anything new, but it’s still gripping stuff.
Verdict redux: Little to add to my initial assessment. The intrigue gets slightly overcomplicated–I had to explain the gas bomb manoeuvre to the wife–but it’s lots of fun, and the sequence on the cargo ship, despite being narratively redundant, is one of my favourite bits of the season.