Wed
Nov 21 2012 2:00pm

Farscape Rewatch: “Look At The Princess III: The Maltese Crichton”

Farscape, Looks At The Princess III: The Maltese CrichtonLook At The Princess III: The Maltese Crichton
Written by David Kemper, directed by Andrew Prowse and Tony Tilse
Season 2, Episode 13

1st US Transmission Date: 4 August 2000
1st UK Transmission Date: 25 September 2000
1st Australian Transmission: 25 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: Prince Clavor and Cargyn cut the head off the Crichton statue and drop it in acid. Scorpius fishes it out but is shot by Jenavian, who reconstitutes Crichton and takes him to a tent outside the city to recover. She realises he is not a PK, but she senses he can still be a useful ally in stopping the Scarrans.

Cargyn kills Clavor because he dissolves their partnership. Cargyn and Scorpius are both looking for John, so the Scarran kidnaps Chiana to use as bait. D’Argo and Scorpius unite to attack Cargyn.

Farscape, Looks At The Princess III: The Maltese Crichton

John and Jenavian return to the city where everyone is very glad to see him alive, because the Empress had been threatening to have all off-worlders executed in punishment for his disappearance and Clavor’s death. John kills the Scarran, D’Argo rescues Chiana, and Scorpius is left for John to kill. But for some reason John can’t kill him, and walks away.

Crichton is about to leave the planet when he discovers that Princess Katralla was impregnated with his DNA, and he insists he be refrozen for the sake of his child. Unfortunately his human physiology would not survive a second freezing, so he convinces the Empress to freeze Tyno instead – the public will never know there’s been a switch, and Katralla and Tyno love each other. John leaves knowing all is settled, but he will never see his daughter.

Farscape, Looks At The Princess III: The Maltese Crichton

In the barren lands Aeryn and Carzenonva have a climbing accident and Aeryn has to haul the useless idiot back to the city with a broken leg.

On Moya, Zhaan takes revenge on the Builder by sucking him into the engine of the WDP module. However, he re-appears and reveals that Moya and Pilot are fine – they were only testing whether Zhaan was worthy of being Moya’s protector. They conclude that she is and they are all released.

Buck Rogers Redux: ‘I’m a regular boy scout, I do what I have to do.’ It’s a defining moment for Crichton’s character when his decision to leave is instantly revoked the second he knows he’s going to be a dad: ‘A child deserves two parents. My child deserves a father. Make me a statue.’ Could you ever imagine Jim Kirk saying that, or Buck Rogers? Crichton is a 21st Century hero. When the machine shows him the daughter he will never know, his heartache is palpable, and it forges another bond between he and D’Argo – both separated from their only children. It’s his idea to let Tyno be the regent, because he knows he’s a good man and will be a good father to his child: ‘you take care of my little girl.’

Farscape, Looks At The Princess III: The Maltese Crichton

That Damn Peacekeeper Bitch: Aeryn gets it all out of her system by climbing rocks, but when it all goes wrong and she breaks her leg it’s hard not to conclude that it’s exactly what she wanted – something extreme to take her mind off things. Carzenova, like Chiana, reads Aeryn like a book and tells her: ‘you’re not trained to deal with emotions, so you’re afraid of them.’

Big Blue: Zhaan’s fury is something to behold, and though she instantly regrets her action, she ruthlessly sucks the Builder into the WDP’s engines. When he reveals the true nature of his mission, she is unforgiving and throws him off the ship immediately. She and Pilot never tell the others what happened with the Builders.

Farscape, Looks At The Princess III: The Maltese Crichton

Buckwheat the Sixteenth: Rygel was initially intending to remain on the planet as an advisor to Crichton, which implies that although he’s already very old, 80 cycles is a drop in the ocean to him.

Nosferatu in Rubber: Scarrans love heat; Sebacens are killed by it. Scorpius, as a Scarran-Sebacean hybrid, is a slave to heat. He wears a thermal regulator suit, and the rotating thing that comes out of his head contains cooling rods to maintain his body temperature. He hates Scarrans, and they consider him a ‘biological mistake.’

Farscape, Looks At The Princess III: The Maltese Crichton

He again promises D’Argo that if given Crichton, he will release him unharmed after he has extracted the wormhole information. He sampled John’s DNA when he was in the Aurora chair and can use it to track him, even when he is a disembodied bronze head (really!?).

D’Argo assures Scorpy that John will never be taken alive, but Scorpy replies, cryptically: ‘you underestimate the strength of a relationship, even your friend does not yet understand.’ John tries to throw Scorpy into the acid but cannot, and after he’s left Scorpy runs his fingers through the liquid, indicating that it wouldn’t have hurt him anyway – he was very much in control of the situation.

A Ship, A Living Ship: Moya could be used to breed an army of warships, but the Builders know that both she and Pilot are pure souls. They need to ensure that her crew will not misuse her, so they test Zhaan. Moya is given a voice one last time and requests that Zhaan sing to her.

Farscape, Looks At The Princess III: The Maltese Crichton

The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: Back on Moya, Aeryn produces the compatibility chemical and she and John share a kiss that will tell them whether they are compatible or not. Judging by the smiles on both their faces, they are. Of course any relationship they did embark on would be adulterous, because John is now a married man.

The Ballad of Chiana And D’Argo: D’Argo dives across a vat of acid to save Chiana, and she tells him how proud she is of him, and gently mocks that he ever thought they weren’t compatible. There’s a genuinely tender edge to their scenes alone and they seem happy and on the same wavelength.

Farscape, Looks At The Princess III: The Maltese Crichton

Alien Encounters: Scarrans are extremely hard to kill – Cargyn takes numerous gun blasts and still remains standing. It takes an acid bath to finish him off. He again tries to force the truth out of someone using his special powers, this time D’Argo, and again gets only lies.

Hi, Harvey: Why could John not kill Scorpy? When he tries, he has more flashes back to the Aurora chair and this time we see Scorpy inserting the needle he brandished in the previous episode’s flashback, and burying it in the back of John’s head.

Farscape, Looks At The Princess III: The Maltese Crichton

Disney On Acid: D’Argo’s acid-spanning leap makes John shout: ‘how Batman was that!’

Get Frelled: John and Jenavian do the deed, so his sex life no longer consists solely of his right hand.

Seen It All Before: John being frozen is very Han Solo.

Logic Leaps: The Empress and her cohorts want to know who beheaded Crichton, who reconstituted him and where he is now. Since they can communicate with the statue of Katralla using headsets, why don’t they just ask her? A plot-hole this big really, really bugs the crap out of me. John’s head is in the acid for at least an hour or so and he didn’t even lose any hair!?

Bloopers: Just after D’Argo saves Chiana look closely at his nose – it’s all askew where it’s come off Anthony Simcoe.

Farscape, Looks At The Princess III: The Maltese Crichton

WHAT did you just say?: Jenavian’s response to John’s life story: ‘That’s either the most pathetic fabrication I’ve ever heard, or the most pathetic life I could ever imagine. Either way...’

The Verdict: Were the Cargo Ship section of episode two, the un-engaging Barren Lands section of episode three, and the Builders subplot removed, this would have been a tight, focused, scorching two-parter. But it’s nice that the show felt confident enough to do something epic and took its time with the story to allow the characters and the situation room to develop and deepen. Certain elements don’t gel, but while the trilogy may not be the most water-tight, economical piece of storytelling, you’ll ever see it still has lots to recommend it, and the world of Farscape is a lot richer and more complex after it than it was before, which can only be good.

Farscape, Looks At The Princess III: The Maltese Crichton

Verdict redux: When Jenavian jumped John, my wife lost all patience with the episode and there were cries of ‘it’s all gone silly’ (she did not baulk at any other elements of the episode!). Again, not much to add. The trilogy’s a bit sprawling, a bit of a mess at times, and on an episode by episode basis is narratively quite unbalanced, but there’s far more good than bad here, and the effect is to deepen and broaden the characters and the wider Farscape universe in ways that will impact the ongoing storylines hugely, and for the better.


Scott K. Andrews has written another blog this week, about his next big thing.

Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com: ‹ previous | index | next ›
16 comments
Jack Flynn
1. JackofMidworld
I realize that I'm a pushover, but the scene with John and his yet-to-be-born daughter gets me every time.
Elizabeth Heckert
2. silhouettepoms
I love the last scene personally. Total AWESOME. I was like, yay!

But I thought the side plot with Mr. "Casanova" (was that name choice intentional...) was hilarious. Aeryn basically went off with him out of spite over the whole Crichton getting married thing, to prove she didn't need him, and he winds up being a total anti-Crichton. Getting into trouble and needing his useless a** saved. I think it really made her appreciate John's ability to get out of a mess even if he created it himself...
alreadymadwithjohn&aeryn
3. alreadymadwithjohn&aeryn
Seriously all this going round and round in the story of John and Aeryn at this point was extremely aggravating. And while Aeryn herself goes round and round, John does not seem to have a problem snagging some other Sebacean or two or three if you include the one that was artificially inseminated.
Melissa Shumake
4. cherie_2137
i had forgotten about how irritated i was with the builder's b.s. to zhaan. and yes, that bit with john and his future daughter is great. =) and i actually never got too irritated with john and aeryn going around and around...
Iain Cupples
5. NumberNone
I thought John and Aeryn's plotline was actually handled reasonably well for a long-term will-they-won't-they situation.

The one criticism I do have is that any potential alternative romantic interest for Aeryn was rare, handled with kid gloves, and seldom led to so much as a kiss, whereas the writers apparently felt the need to consistently have women pretty much throw themselves at John in the meantime and handled these situations in a pretty casual manner. The Jenavian thing here is a good example, so I do sympathise with your wife's reaction to it.

Other than that, this is a pretty solid ep and actually I thought the trilogy worked OK in terms of the balance. A double ep might have worked better, but the trilogy gives the characters time to breathe.
Elizabeth Heckert
6. silhouettepoms
Mwahah, it's so wrong of me to say, but as a woman, I can understand why women are always throwing themselves at John. :P

In this case I excuse them both for looking elsewhere as I think they were doing it to spite each other basically. ETA: er, not that that's healthy.
Christopher Hatton
7. Xopher
John’s head is in the acid for at least an hour or so and he didn’t even lose any hair!?

It's been a while since I watched this episode, but I have watched the entire series many times over, and IIRC, they said the statues were essentially indestructible. So while that dumb Scarran (and for long-face Scarrans that's pretty redundant) and idiot prince may have thought they were destroying John's head, they really should have known better. Especially the idiot prince.

You're right about not asking Katrallla, though.
alreadymadwithjohn&aeryn
8. lvsxy808
@2: silhouettepoms
Mr. "Casanova" (was that name choice intentional...)
This is a show that has a whole race of lawyers called Litigarans and a whole race of doctors call Diagnosans. I don't think such a blatant use of a famous name is anything like a coincidence. I do think it's just as lame as the others though.
Rob Rater
9. Quasarmodo
When the Builders said they were testing Zhaan and entrusting Moya to her care, I couldn't help thinking "But what happens when she leaves the show?"
Keith DeCandido
10. krad
BTW, in the comics we did an alternate timeline (or, rather, an unrealized reality) where John and Aeryn never met (indeed, Aeryn never wound up on Moya), and so the results of this trilogy were much different: Katralla wound up not becoming a statue and joining John on Moya. We look at this timeline in a post-Peacekeerp Wars timeframe, so Katrana is a few years old, and I had a GREAT time writing her.

The story is in the trade paperback Gone and Back.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Elizabeth Heckert
11. silhouettepoms
"This is a show that has a whole race of lawyers called Litigarans and a
whole race of doctors call Diagnosans. I don't think such a blatant use
of a famous name is anything like a coincidence. I do think it's just as
lame as the others though."

Well, we can always blame it on the translator microbes ;) Litigara was a groaner, but I always found Diagnosans funny mostly because I put the emphasis on diag"NOSE"ans, since they sniffed out the problem...
Elizabeth Heckert
12. silhouettepoms
"
BTW, in the comics we did an alternate timeline (or, rather, an
unrealized reality) where John and Aeryn never met (indeed, Aeryn never
wound up on Moya), and so the results of this trilogy were much
different: Katralla wound up not becoming a statue and joining John on
Moya."

But what about Tyno??
Keith DeCandido
13. krad
silhouettepoms: Tyno died valiantly saving the planet from the Scarrans. I had so much fun with that alternate timeline, figuring out various permutations. For one thing, the crew didn't meet Scorpius until much later, and he was a friend, as they encountered him when John was doing wormhole research. (They never went to the Gammak Base because there was no Aeryn to get injured to force them to go there.)

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
alreadymadwithjohn&aeryn
14. AtrediesDreamer
I wondered why Moya couldnt be steralised instead of killed?
alreadymadwithjohn&aeryn
15. AtrediesDreamer
Iam watching edited broadcasts so important stuff may be missing; but iwas sorry Mr Casanova & Ayrin didnt get it on. Its more" believable "that she would have "revenge"sex after theGoodbyes with John. & As all girls know, some one night men, very fast, become a real Drag!
also:Huge Cudos to the Design team for the Palace / City exteriors & the stylish costumes for the Royal Court & the Club scenes .
the colour coordinating was beautifully done.
(I am former Art Director, so I know that was a superb job).
alreadymadwithjohn&aeryn
16. AtrediesDreamer
Cant find the page for Princess 2, Ido,I Think.
so:in 2nd ep. I thought John leaving the damaged cargo ship without any space-mask was poor. He stomped around enoughbefore leaving to have picked something up to put on. Like the blue- lights mask he recovered in?
Looks like the green screen /wire flying was done before Design/props had time to deliver anything.
loved him slamming Ro-Na into the cables to fry her! Hope he apologised at home later! I can see her teasing him for ever with that squeaky , yes -your "Highness".

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