Captain Hornblower Rates the Farscape Episodes

The Captain gives "Prayer" 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 not so fair episode
0 Moyas-a poor episode


"Prayer" is a story about the dual journeys of two people, John Crichton and Aeryn Sun. Both of them are on a perilous path that could see them loose who they are, even loose their sanity, in their quest that will ultimately end in the same place: reunion of one with the other.

John Crichton is desperately trying to find the location of the Scarren base where Aeryn has been taken. He makes a deal with his worst enemy (even taking a blood oath), and is willing to kill the innocent in order to find what he wants. His journey has had times of darkness before, but none as dark as the point where he is now. The stakes have never been higher for him personally, and this episode shows just how far John Crichton is willing to go to save Aeryn.

As for Aeryn herself, her journey is ultimately more dangerous, because not only is she in danger of losing her sanity, she is also in danger of losing her life. The Scarrens' torture of Aeryn is some of the hardest sequences we as Farscape viewers have ever had to watch, because the proud and strong Aeryn we the viewers have come to know is being broken down. She is fighting a losing battle against time, pain, and the knowledge that the Scarrens will ultimately obtain about her pregnancy. In the end, this does not turn into one of those clinched cases of someone overcoming their tormentors and winning the battle of wills. Aeryn is broken, and in the end, she is willing to do anything necessary to save her child's life, and admits to the Scarrens that the child is almost certainly John Crichtons.

And, in a touching way, we see through this process of coerced admission just how much Aeryn really does care for Crichton, saying that there has only ever been Crichton, no one else, in her heart. This statement is for the viewers, because it asuades any doubt about whether or not Aeryn had been with someone else while away from Moya or that her child could be anyone's but Crichtons.

Finally, it must be said that while most villains on Farscape have been shown to have some kind of ambiguity, some shades of goodness or at least some source of sympathy. But in the case of the Scarrens, they are the exception to this rule. Even in the modern age of television, where good guys and bad guys often seem to have shades of good and bad, there is still room for the completely unsympathetic and evil villain. The Scarrens, certainly, are some of the best villains of this category ever created. Their methods of torture, forced breeding with other species, enslavement, breaking the will of those they attack, all strike a cord in some of the baser instincts of the human consciousness. They are revolting in appearance, deed, and attitude. They are the embodiment of evil for the Farscape viewer, even surpassing the Peacekeepers or the Nebari in this area. Any attempt to somehow humanize the Scarrens or make them more sympathetic at this point would be useless, and it is a path I hope the producers would never attempt to do. The Scarrens are too good as the unambiguous evil villains, and this episode adds to their legacy of evil on the show.

All in all, an excellent dramatic episode and character piece.

Captain Hornblower
Keeper of Jenavia's Jewel Gun
Worshiper of Aeryn's Remarkable Vessel


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Originally aired in the U.S. February 21, 2003

Written by Justin Monjo

Directed by Peter Andrikidis

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