Captain Hornblower Rates the Farscape Episodes

The Captain gives "Promises" a rating of:

4 Moyas

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 less than fair episode
0 Moyas-a poor episode


"Promises" is an episode that should have come a lot sooner. This is the episode that has finally kicked the plot of Season 4 into forward motion.

This episode marks Crichton and company's long awaited reunion with Aeryn, Pilot, and Moya. But, it also sees them confronted with Scorpius, who appears to be the only person capable of helping a heat delirium inflicted Aeryn. As for the long lost Aeryn, she is dubious at best about where she has been, but she has made some alien bad guys very mad at her. The ones who caused Aeryn's heat delirium, the bad guys demand information from Aeryn that she is not willing to give, and she will not even tell Crichton why.

"Promises" really has everything just about that Season 4 has lacked so far. The dramatic depth is omnipresent in this episode, as is its wonderful mixture with fantastic characterization. We have Crichton attempting to work through his emotions about Aeryn while at the same time trying to help her. He is also dealing with conflicts with both the real Scorpius and the neural clone of Scorpius residing in his head. Aeryn is trying to keep some secret while at the same time treading very carefully with John, not knowing whether she wants him to help her or let her die to protect her secrets. Chiana's protectiveness of Pilot and Moya is also a very strong element, as is Sikozu's interactions with Scorpius. Scorpius, as always, seems to have one agenda, but his motives are definitely open to question.

All of this is mixed with great action, suspense, and plot. By the end of the episode, the conflicts and story of this season is finally kicked into gear.

Aeryn has returned to Moya, and it is clear that she and Crichton have many things to work out. The main obstacle to their relationship now is the list of questions Aeryn is unwilling to discuss with Crichton. The end of the episode seems to say that Aeryn wants Crichton to accept her back with him, but in what capacity she is not as clear on. It is also clear Crichton will demand some answers to some of those questions before their relationship can resume. When he walked away from Aeryn, he made it clear to her that he is putting the ball in her court. Its up to her now: if she wants to resume a relationship with Crichton, in whatever form that relationship may manifest itself in, she has to provide Crichton with some answers.

Pilot's announcement that Moya and he wish for the crew to select a Captain also indicates a change in the relationship between the crew and their ship and pilot, one that will make for interesting plot later on. Scorpius' presence on Moya will obviously be a source of tension, as will the crew's suspicions about Sikozu's connections to him.

Also, at long last, the Scorpius neural clone in Crichton's head is gone. All I can say is-its about time. While the clone served its purpose once, it had long last past its prime as being an effective plot device. Its demise finally allows Crichton to move forward in his personal journey as well.

But this episode also shows that while the clone may be gone, Crichton's personal demons are not. Guilt, pain, hatred, loss, emotional confusion-they all still remain in John, as especially evidenced by the scene in which Crichton confronts an image of Aeryn in his mind that looks and acts like Scorpius. Though it is likely the clone created that image, it is also clear that it did so by tapping into guilt, pain, and doubt Crichton carries within his own mind and soul. Now, with the clone gone, these inner demons will in all likelihood still haunt John Crichton, but will do so in ways different than the neural clone did. Thus, the emotional drama of Crichton facing his inner turmoil will be allowed to manifest itself in different ways. The potential for this part of Crichton's story has just been busted wide open.

Unfortunately, will all of this set up for forward motion, and despite the fact that Season 4 of Farscape has finally been kicked into forward gear, there is still something slowing down the forward motion. There are still very big questions left from the end of Season 3 unanswered. Did D'Argo catch up with Macton, and if he did, what happened? What happened to Moya when she went down the wormhole? Is Aeryn really pregnant? These questions need to be answered. The delay in their being answered remains a scar on the story of the season. As much as the show may move forward, these unanswered questions will remain a distraction that needs to be taken care of.

All in all, "Promises" was indeed an excellent episode of Farscape. Well written, acted, and constructed. It is also an episode the viewer should have been shown earlier in the Season, because this is the episode that at long last puts Season 4's story into forward momentum. The episode sets up Season 4's potential at last. Of course, it still remains to been seen whether the promise (forgive the pun) of Season 4 set up in this episode will be realized. On a personal note, at long last, my interest is peaked.

Well, what did you think of "Promises", or this review? Feedback is, as always, welcomed.

Captain Hornblower
Keeper of Jenavia's Jewel Gun
Worshiper of Aeryn's Remarkable Vessel
Caretaker of Porthos, the Enterprise Dog


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Originally aired in the US July 12, 2002

Written by Richard Manning

Directed by Geoff Bennett

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