and analysis by Dallascaper
we last saw Farscape, Aeryn had left Crichton, D'Argo was going
after Macton, Moya was swallowed by a mysterious wormhole, and Crichton
was left adrift in his module. Crichton Kicks takes place
"Some Time Later," which by the length of Crichton's hair
and beard, is at least two or three months.
after the events of Dog With Two Bones, an old, sickly Leviathan
named Elack who had come to the Leviathan burial space to die in
peace rescued Crichton from certain death. Populated only by a dying
Pilot and a small assortment of useless DRDs, the ship provided
Crichton with a safe place to develop his wormhole theories. Alone,
except for an old DRD named 1812, and apparently acquiring
a taste for homemade wine, Crichton's mental condition seems somewhat
unstable. Bordering between his obsession with wormholes, and insanity
brought on by loneliness, Crichton's demeanor brings to mind the
18th century story of Robinson Crusoe. However, Crichton's
world of wormholes and musical DRDs, however quirky, is brought
to a crashing end with the arrival of a small vessel.
destroying much of Crichton's wormhole data, along with his wine
distillery contraption (I know, wine isn't distilled, but...whatever)
a female alien named Sikozu arrives with a tale of danger. A band
of heavily armed men, known as Grudeks, are on the way. Grudeks
kill Leviathans by "harvesting" valuable neural tissue
from the gentle ships. Sikozu worked for "The Organization"
and therefore helped the Grudeks find the burial space where dying
Leviathans would make easy prey. Unfortunately for Sikozu, she was
betrayed by the Grudeks and is now hunted by the merciless killers.
Crichton, somewhat upset at seeing his research destroyed, and Sikozu,
who sees Crichton as a drunk, don't exactly hit it off with each
other. But there's no time for arguments, the Grudeks ram their
vessel into the side of Elack and attempt to fumigate her passengers.
the deadly gas and in no mood to run, Crichton confronts the Grudeks
in Pilot's chamber. Outgunned and out-manned, Crichton and Silozu
must retreat into the depths of the Leviathan. Not wanting to waste
any more time with the Human or Sikozu, the Grudeks release a Brindz
Hound to finish off Sikozu and "the pathetic bearded one."
The Brindz hound, a cross between a very nasty dog and a gargoyle,
runs around the ship trying to take a bite or two out of Crichton
and his guest, with some success.
and Sikozu are developing a plan to thwart the Grudeks when Elack
is boarded by two more visitors. Chiana and Rygel, arriving on a
worn out transport pod, are finally reunited with their human companion.
It seems Chiana and Rygel left Moya before it was swallowed by the
wormhole in the last episode. Chased by Peacekeepers, jailed and
raped, Chiana has had a difficult time away from Moya. Worn by a
life on the run, and tortured by more powerful and disturbing visions,
Chiana seems short tempered and in no mood to put up with Sikozu.
the Grudeks on the verge of killing the sickly Elack, and with no
way of escaping the Leviathan, Crichton and company must dispose
of the pesky hound and dump the raiders. Relying on Rygel's heroics
(see: bait), Chiana's visions, Sikozu's intimate knowledge
of Grudek ways, and Crichton's repelling skills, our heroic band
fight back to retake the Leviathan. The Grudeks would seem to have
nothing to worry about.
fourth season opens with a bang, but does almost nothing to resolve
the cliffhangers left over from last season. Apparently, revealing
what happened to Moya's crew is a task left to upcoming episodes.
It may seem strange for a show not to use its season opener to resolve
old plot issues, but it's not unheard of. In fact, Farscape tried
this once before.
first season ended, literally, with our heroes
hanging between life and death. The plan was to broadcast the season
two premiere titled Re-Union. That episode dealt with the
adventures of Zhaan, Chiana, and Rygel on the planet Litigara and
did nothing to resolve the cliffhanger from season one. However,
TPTB chickened out and shuffled the episode order a few weeks before
the new season started. Renaming Re-Union to Dream
a Little Dream and broadcasting it as a flashback later
in the season, TPTB chose Mind The Baby
to premiere the new season. Apparently learning from the season
two premiere fiasco, Farscape premiered season three with Season
of Death, a logical continuation of the season two story.
Unfortunately, Season of Death did its job too well, tying
up loose ends so quickly it all seemed too easy. This brings us
to Crichton Kicks.
with a two-year contract with the Sci-Fi Channel, TPTB are now bold
enough to experiment with the Farscape story by not resolving the
cliffhangers at the beginning of the season. It's an interesting
approach that may or may not pay off for Farscape viewers. One point
is certain, as a stand-alone story, Crichton Kicks is a fun
and entertaining episode.
for the new character, Sikozu, it's hard to say exactly what her
roll in Farscape will be. She is smart, like Jool, beautiful, like
Jool, and somewhat annoying, like...you guessed it, Jool. I forgot
one more detail...she likes to wear leather, like...never mind.
Guess we should rename the show Crichton's Angels, or something.
Interesting to note that every permanent new character added to
Moya's crew since the first episode has been a female alien of some
sort. Aside from Wrinkles, they (Chiana, Jool, and now Sikozu) have
all been young and beautiful. I read somewhere that Claudia Black
(Aeryn Sun) has a nudity clause in her contract. Basically, she
can refuse any nude scene the show's producers present to her. I'm
starting to wonder if Ben Browder (John Crichton) has a hunk clause.
Basically, he has the right to be the only handsome male character
on the show. I'm only half-joking about that. Don't get me wrong,
I love beautiful women, but I can't help but notice that with all
the actors that come and go with the series, there's still only
one rooster in the hen house.
Hornblower Rates the Farscape Episodes
The Captain gives "Crichton Kicks" a rating of:
Captain's Rating Scale:
5 Moyas-one of the best episodes
4 Moyas-an excellent episode
3 Moyas-a good episode
2 Moyas-a fair episode
1 Moya-a not so fair episode
"Crichton Kicks" is, on its own, a so so action/adventure
episode. If this had been episode 4 or 6 or 14 of the season, it
might have gotten a slightly better rating. But this was not just
an ordinary episode. This was a season premiere.
Now, before I criticize the episode's quality as a season premiere,
I want to acknowledge one thing. A lot is expected of a season premiere
of any TV series. This is especially the case for a season premiere
that follows up on a cliffhanger. I have tried to take this into
account when formulating my assessment of this episode. But even
after doing this, I found this episode wanting as a season premiere.
Season premieres usually follow two functions: 1) They resolve,
in full or in large percentage, the conflicts left to the viewer
with the finale of the previous season (especially when a before
mentioned cliffhanger is involved), and 2) It sets the tone and
starts the next season into motion, thus moving the series' story
forward. For this case, let us compare Farscape to a car with an
automatic transmission (okay, a race car given the intensity of
this show). When you end a season, you put the show into "park"
and you leave it idling until the beginning of the next season.
The season premiere should shift the series into drive, and allow
the show to continue forward. In the case of the Season 3 premiere,
it shifted it not just into drive, but into high gear. But in the
case of this season premiere, "Crichton Kicks" merely
shifts the series into neutral. The engine is running, and is even
reved up a little, but there is not forward motion.
This is not nearly the case of a season getting off to a slow start.
Rather, season 4 has not even gotten out of the gate yet. This season
premiere does not really move the series forward at all because
very little of the plot points left open by the cliffhanger have
been resolved. And really, the new season's story has not really
been given a good start either. Now, this is not to say that a season
premiere has to resolve ALL of the plot points left by a cliffhanger.
But it needs to satisfy a large percentage of them. This season
premiere failed to do so. This, along with the failure to really
give the new season's story a good start, makes this episode a failure
as a season premiere. The show's story has not moved forward, and
we the viewers are left stuck in neutral. Forward motion is good,
neutral is boring. Boring is not good, especially for a show like
Farscape, which prides itself on keeping viewer interest by its
fast pace storytelling.
Plus, the fact that they set the episode "some time later"
leaves me with a deep sense of forbidding about the first part of
this season. I am worried that the first five to ten episodes of
this season will be just focused on filling in the gaps of finding
everyone again, getting them together, and finding out what has
happened to them in the space between the season 3 finale and season
4 premiere. In my view, this could make for some boring episodes
to come, just filling in the backstory and leaving the show in neutral.
All looking back, and very little forward momentum with the story.
Now, putting aside the season premiere angle of evaluating this
episode, let's take a look at it on its own merits. Overall all,
I found this episode to be extremely confusing. I got certain elements
of it, such as why the bad guys were there and why Sikozu was there.
But what was not clear at all was how Crichton and company were
going about stopping the bad guys. We saw Crichton, Sikozu, and
Chiana flying up and down on some ropes, there was some shooting,
Chiana used some of her new abilities so slow down time, and Crichton
show up some wires, causing an explosion. After this all occurred
(to the sound of the 1812 Overture playing in the background), I
was left asking "okay, what did they just do?"
That was really a question that bugged me through the whole episode.
"What are they doing now?" I don't know about other viewers,
but I was confused for much of the time about what Crichton and
company were doing. This made for a very hard to follow and confusing
episode that was clearly made as a shoot em up type of ep. Making
a pure action/adventure episode is not a bad thing at all on Farscape.
This show has done some marvelous ones in the past (Exodus From
Genesis, Throne For a Loss, Beware of Dog) are just a few that come
to mind. But even an action/adventure shoot em up needs a clear
story and clear plot. You have to at least make the point of the
action clear. This episode did not have that.
In fact, for an action/adventure episode, I even found the action
to be not only confusing, but even boring at times. This is not
a good thing at all for an "action" episode for the action
to be BORING.
Now, for this new character, Sikozu. This episode was clearly also
designed to introduce the viewers to this character, so an examination
of her bears some attention (now, get your minds out of the gutter
if that was what you were thinking I meant by "examination").
So far, Sikozu just appears to me to be a Chiana/Jool cross. She
has a sort of sqeaky voice and jumps around a lot like Chiana does,
and she is a first class smart ass that screams quite a bit like
Jool does. She even has red hair like Jool. (Note: I do not mean
that Chiana and Jool are only made up of the traits I describe.
I only mean these are the traits that the producers seemed to take
from these two characters to create Sikozu). In other words, besides
a new element of tissue regeneration, there is nothing new here
for this characters. That being said, I think it is way too early
to make a fair assessment of this character. It took several episodes
for both the before mentioned Chiana and Jool to evolved into more
complex characters. The same could very well hold true for Sikozu,
and would fit the motus operandi of the producers when introducing
new characters. Therefore, I will reserve my judgment of this character's
quality for now. But so far, based on what we know to date, I am
not very impressed with Sikozu.
As a whole, this episode was disappointing on two counts. As a season
premiere, it failed to effectively introduce the new season. As
a stand alone episode, the story was very confusing and lacking
in plot development. Therefore, I'd say this episode, while not
poor, was less than fair. Not a good start for Farscape's 4th Season.
I better be impressed by these next few episodes, or at least more
pleased with them than I was with this one. My confidence in Farscape
is not shaken by this one disappointing episode, but it is nudged
Keeper of Jenavia's Jewel Gun
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With Two Bones.....Episode
Guide.....What Was Lost, part 1 >>
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