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19 October 2004 @ 11:36 am
I am become Death, destroyer of worlds  
I've been musing a bit about Crichton's arc, how he starts the show with this nearly superhuman reserve of adaptability. Not only could he take the immense traumas and end up back on his feet, he still had emotional energy to spare on making the crew of Moya work. At one point the show claimed that Zhaan was really the character who forged the emotional bonds, but when you actually look at episodes, Crichton is the one most often promoting thinking of the crew as a family, stepping in to break up fights, having heart to hearts with crew members. Then in second season the chip slowly breaks him, to the final desperate point where he is free of the chip and safe... and he still no longer wants to live.

He gets better from there, but he never gets completely well. Even into fourth season, it doesn't take a lot of stress to have him go manic. So one of the most brilliant things they did last night is to show that that was a necessary part of the story. Because a John who wasn't damaged would never have conceived the attempt, and a John who hadn't shown near-insanity at the peace conference would never have been believed by the Emperor and Grayza. But they had seen him walk in with a nuke on a dead man switch slung over his shoulder, and seen him _use it_.

And again, I loved how ambiguous they made it. I thought it was so perfect and telling that as he collapses and Aeryn screams agonizingly for help, all the others hesitate. Because they may love John, but they've just seen him throw open the gates to hell, give away all their lives without asking permission.

On edit: I also found it fascinating that Einstein was apparently waiting for him to reach that point. The first 'time...' dialogue ended on 'time is... relative', that John comprehended the dangers of wormholes to change time. Here, 'time... ends'; John understands their apocalyptic potential, and _then Einstein gives him the key_.


ETA: My favorite line from a review (on televisionwithoutpity.com):

Also loved Aeryn's line "Oh NOW you cry." It's like, "yeah Mom, all I've heard was shooting the whole time I was in the womb. The silence is scary. Please tell me more about how to load to weapons."
 
 
 
grime and livestock: Aeryn off the Rails -- Saavacofax7 on October 19th, 2004 04:10 pm (UTC)
Because a John who wasn't damaged would never have conceived the attempt, and a John who hadn't shown near-insanity at the peace conference would never have been believed by the Emperor and Grayza. But they had seen him walk in with a nuke on a dead man switch slung over his shoulder, and seen him _use it_.

Aha! Ok, now that is insightful.

but they've just seen him throw open the gates to hell, give away all their lives without asking permission.

And yeah, I was bothered that not even Rygel argued with Crichton opening the door to the apocalypse; on the other hand, they were unlikely to get out of that battlefield alive, with Moya as damaged as she was. It was a chance, if a horrifying one.

It is, however, consistent with the end of Season 4 as well, though, where the whole crew followed Crichton blindly into Katratzi, despite the fact that he was clearly off his rocker. I mean, c'mon, a Nuclear Bomb? Argh! *grin*
Lauratavella on October 19th, 2004 10:07 pm (UTC)
Aha! Ok, now that is insightful.

Thanks! Hey, do you know any mailing lists or bbses that have good in depth farscape discussion and analysis? Most of the stuff I've found poking around is kind of... shallow.

It is, however, consistent with the end of Season 4 as well, though, where the whole crew followed Crichton blindly into Katratzi, despite the fact that he was clearly off his rocker. I mean, c'mon, a Nuclear Bomb? Argh! *grin*

Yeah, that's another fascinating development, the way he ends up so clearly the leader by 4th season. Not that he isn't the main character from the beginning, but there's this gradual movement to the point where people just... do what he says, without much debate. I mean, there's still debate over general direction, but when he says 'can you do there and do this?' they go there and do that.
grime and livestockcofax7 on October 19th, 2004 10:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Hey, do you know any mailing lists or bbses that have good in depth farscape discussion and analysis? Most of the stuff I've found poking around is kind of... shallow.

Funny you should ask. *g*

I co-administer Wormhole, a Farscape list Fialka and I set up a couple of years back. Right now we're having some mini discussion, so come on in!

I mean, there's still debate over general direction, but when he says 'can you do there and do this?' they go there and do that.

I actually do kind of miss the arguing, because everyone always did have their own agendas, and I wish they'd all remember that more often. But for the purposes of the mini, there just wasn't TIME.
Lauratavella on October 20th, 2004 08:14 am (UTC)
I actually do kind of miss the arguing, because everyone always did have their own agendas, and I wish they'd all remember that more often. But for the purposes of the mini, there just wasn't TIME.

I think it started before the miniseries, though. I'm going to have to see when I rewatch the season in whole, but about the time they got to tormented space -- or perhaps more significantly the time John started to be able to call wormholes to heel -- there seemed to be this shift were John would say what to do and there wouldn't be any bitching about 'you aren't the boss of me'. It came through really strongly on Earth, which might have been because it was his homeworld, but also elsewhere.

I remember it particularly because in "Twice Shy", I was noticing John reeling off commands to Pilot, and neither Pilot nor 'Captain' D'Argo caviled at all. And then the MoW said just a few minutes later "they listen to Crichton, they don't listen to you" and I had a "I was just thinking that!" moment.
Time Is Like A Kiss: farscape moya starburst by elishavahjenlev on October 30th, 2004 02:15 pm (UTC)
hello, very nicely described. and that scene with john on the table with the nuke. every time i watch that i'm astounded not just at the character but at the whole dialog. beautiful and insane. and when one of the folks at the table comments on john's insanity and aeryn says "yes, isn't it fun?" that's just a wonderful moment.

an i agree at how arthurian the imagery was when john is zoned after the wormhole knowledge is apparently taken out. i say apparently, because i'm wondering if things had gotten to the point where the ancients were limited. perhaps they had to in essence create a place to put it? (equipped with mental firewalls)i wonder if at a certain point removing it completely would have destroyed john? just pondering, mostly because i'm imagining what happens next.

john's need to create a community and a family may be fresher than the rest of the crew because he had so recently been in one that he idealizes to some degree? well, maybe only a little.

i adore the scenes with einstein. unrealized realities is pure movie making magic. and yes, i'm completely biased. heh.

ps. my favorite line from the mini series is john saying "this is your universe, this is your universe on wormholes." abso-frelling-lutely. ;)
Lauratavella on October 30th, 2004 07:46 pm (UTC)
i adore the scenes with einstein. unrealized realities is pure movie making magic. and yes, i'm completely biased. heh.


Oh, me too. I think in some ways Unrealized Realities is _the_ key episode of 4th season. It looks backward -- we have this joy in John as he is transported back into his first sight of those who would become friends and lovers -- and then it anticipates what I think is John's darkest moment. More dark than his bargain with Scorpy (he's made deals with the devil before), more dark then his dropping a bomb into a field of flowers (he's wrought the destruction of vast ships before.) The moment when he condemns innocents who wear his friends' faces to death.

When I was going through old archives of comments, there were a lot of remarks about how the writers were unaware of how insane John appeared to viewers, how it was bad writing, and I don't see how people could think it was accidental. The entire last half of S4 is one hammer blow after another showing how broken John is; Unrealized Reality, where we get a brief glimpse of the joyous John from long ago; Terra Firma showing how utterly alien to his old self and his once-home planet he's become; Twice Shy, where we have the oft seen circumstance where someone begs for help from Moya's crew, and John, who once so openheartedly drew Chiana in when she was hard to love, is one of those turning away (there really isn't any *purpose* to that episode beyond showing that); Constellation of Doubt, where they *diagnose on screen* his PTSD, even as he is displaying it... and then we watch him cut a deal with his personal demon. Hot to Katrazi, where he drags Sikozu-Stark to the body of Aeryn-Chiana -- the woman he loves, the girl he's always protected -- and forces her to use her power, even as S-S is sobbing, knowing she condemned Aeryn-Chiana to death by telling John "I can only cross over someone I love." Again, there's no reason to make them doubles of Moya's crew -- they could have been random aliens -- except to emphasize how twisted what John is doing is. La Bomba, where John casually drops the bomb, and then curls in upon himself over it.
Time Is Like A Kiss: daniel jackson in robe by salierijenlev on October 31st, 2004 05:49 am (UTC)
it's what makes this show so great. they show the real connection between experience, emotion, and functioning. the viewer can expect discomfort with how this plays out; but it represents an honest kind of story telling.

ultimately the endurance of all of their spirits, as well as their determination to keep building a life that matters, makes them and the show remarkable. it's not a bad life lesson. ;)
*g*
Kernezelda: manwhosoldkernezelda on December 8th, 2004 10:39 am (UTC)
Hello.

I've enjoyed your insight into the mini. It's lovely to read that enthusiasm and analysis, and I hope to see you enjoying the show and the fandom more as you are able to watch the complete series.
Lauratavella on December 9th, 2004 08:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I want going to watch on SciFi as they reran the series, but I got so annoyed at the cuts that I'm doing it via the new Starburst DVDs instead. Though I did watch the Flax the other day.

I've got the first DVD tucked away waiting for the end of school (and the Lost hiatus), and I have this plan to review my way through it.