Monday, September 24, 2012

Farscape Geekwatch: Season 3 Endgame

It's been nearly a month since I sat down to examine some Farscape.  The move has sucked up all my spare time and energy, and I've got a deadline approaching for the Field Manual V2.  Still, gotta make time for the things you love, no?

S03E17: The Choice is the last episode to follow the Talyn/Moya dichotomy.  Aeryn retreats to a planet of mystics to deal with her grief, and encounters her mother and, possibly, her father.  Stark also departs, though he won't be gone forever.  Because Crichton is hardly in this one at all, just a few visions, no geek references to speak of. 

S03E18: Fractures deals with the inevitable reunion.  Things are complicated by a transport pod full of prisoners who were to be the subjects of a Peacekeeper weapon test.  Things go badly, of course.  By the end of the episode, John has decided to pick up where the other Crichton left off and make sure Scorpius can't ever use the wormhole knowledge from the chip. 

In terms of the geek, one good reference: John calls a hynerian woman, whom Rygel is smitten with, Barbarella.  Some Disney characters are also namechecked as part of a list of parts.  So too is William Burrough's classic novel Naked Lunch, though I haven't actually read the book. 

S03E19: I-Yensch, You-Yensch follows up on John's conviction, as Rygel and D'Argo meet with Scorpius and Braca to secure passage to the Command Carrier.  Oddly, the threat comes not from Scorpius but from a bumbling pair of arsonists who plan to burn down the meeting spot for the insurance money.  Meanwhile, Talyn finally breaks down and fires on a hospital ship, then Moya, leaving the crew no choice but to shut down his higher functions with the intention of giving him a complete retrofit and a new personality.

No real geek here, though.  Yensch sounds very yiddish, doesn't it, but refers to the I-Yensch bracelets introduced here, which transmit pain from one wearer to the other.  Crichton will wear one, Scorpius the other, so no betrayal is possible.

S03E20-21: Into the Lion's Den (with the terrific subtitles Lambs to the Slaughter and Wolf in Sheep's Clothing) is a terrific almost-season-finale.  Under the guise of helping Scorpius, John finds out that the entire Command Carrier is part of the wormhole research project.  The only way to set Scorpy back far enough is to blow it up.  The gang turns to Crais, as former captain of the ship, and ask him if it's possible.  Crais tells them yes, but then sets them up for a full pardon... or so we think.  Actually, he uses the distraction to gain access to Talyn and reactivates him, starbursting from INSIDE the carrier, causing a chain reaction that destroys the ship.  The cost is his own life, and Talyn's.  Scorpius reveals that he has located Earth, but with his research destroyed he seems doomed to banishment or worse from the Peacekeepers.  He and John release their bracelets and go their separate ways... for now.

I love the noble sacrifice Crais makes.  He's come a long, long, LONG way from the one-dimensional villain we met in the pilot.  (No, not THAT Pilot, the other pilot.  Though, of course, Lani Tupu does play Pilot too... but I digress.)  There is some great imagery in the episode too, like the shot of Scorpius standing in front of his ship with water running down the stairs.  You don't think of water on starships, but of course they must have tons. 

There's a bit of geek too.  My favorite is the introduction of a long-running nickname for Scorpius: Grasshopper, from Kung-Fu.  It shows up a few times in these episodes, then quite a bit in season four.  There's also a double-whammy sentence: "I've got Dick Tracy's freakin' neural bracelet linkin' me to Bram Stoker's nightmare."  There's also the awesome line, "Flying through wormholes ain't like dustin' crops, farmboy," a paraphrase of Han Solo's quip to Luke from A New Hope.  Less geeky pop-culture nods include The Caine Mutiny ("Scorpy's in Captain Queeg mode. Somebody's stolen his strawberries") and John ironically calling Scorpius Ghandi.

S03E22: Dog with Two Bones caps off the season.  It's an odd episode, coming down from the high that was Into the Lion's Den.  Absent the threat of Scorpius, the crew disintigrates, and John and Aeryn go their separate ways.  We do meet a new character, unnamed as of yet, an older mystic woman with three eyes.  In some ways, she's stepping in to the role that Zhaan filled.  Despite a large number of dreams of Earth, no real pop culture references here.  It's a ton of fun to see Chiana hanging all over Jack Crichton, though! She sure looks hot in human garb.

That's it for season three!  Overall, probably the strongest of the four offerings.  One was two slow, and four has an odd vibe to it.  Two was pretty terrific, but the two Crichton story arc gave the whole show terrific momentum.  We also benefit from the increased presence of Scorpius, one of the best sci-fi villains ever.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Ark Addendum: Apeface's Transform

Hola, amigos!  I know it's been a long time since I rapped at you, but I've been HELLA busy with my move to Albuquerque.  I love my new home, but between closing the deal and repairing all the minor things wrong with it and unpacking and furnishing it, it's sucked up just about all of my time.

Anyway, it's been a couple of weeks, but I should be back on track for a while as life calms down.  So, checking on Martin's tally of my missing model sheets, I come to... APEFACE!

Full disclosure: I don't have the model sheet of his transformation to jet mode.  I dunno why, I just don't.  I do have both sets for Snapdragon, so look for that soon.

My main memory of Apeface is trying to hunt down a spare gun for him.  You see, you can snap his gun into either side of his jet mode, but that seemed awkward to me, so I went ahead and got an extra.  The gun isn't perfectly symmetrical, so that doesn't work 100% either, but it was neat at the time.  He never got a lot of screen time, but in the Underbase arc he used his own arm to bludgeon another Decepticon into pulp.  You gotta love that!