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Farscape - Season 2 - Episode 02

Farscape - 2x02 - Vitas Mortis - Originally Aired: 2000-3-24

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 4.42

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Synopsis
D'Argo drags the others on a search for an old, dying Luxan, Nilaam. She turns out to be an Orican - a Luxan holy woman who wants D'Argo to help her die. D'Argo has no choice but to take part in the Luxan death ritual, but as Nilaam starts to cross to the next realm, she sees a chance to alter her fate. Changing the ritual, Nilaam, instead of dying, uses D'Argo's life force and emerges as a beautiful young Luxan. However, it soon becomes clear that the energy she used was not from D'Argo, but from Moya, and the consequences for the living ship are catastrophic. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- No significant exposition, events, or consequences. And a lame episode on top of that.

Problems
- When Nilaam did her death ritual at the end of the episode and D'Argo's qualta blade fell to the ground, the ground shook visibly when the blade struck it, indicating that it wasn't solid ground with dirt on it as it was supposed to appear, but rather some flimsy surface constructed for the set in order to fake the appearance of solid dirt ground.

Factoids
- The title of this episode is Latin which literally translates to "Life Death" or more roughly translates to "Escaping Death."
- The tattooed markings on the bottom of D'Argo's face indicate that he is a general. However, this was a ruse to protect the real general that D'Argo served under from being interrogated because that general wouldn't be able to survive the interrogation.
- Nilaam has psychic and telekinetic powers which implies that these are natural Luxan abilities. However it's possible only certain Luxans can wield these abilities, explaining why D'Argo appears to not possess them himself.
- The normal lifespan of a leviathan is over 300 cycles. Pilot's species can live for over 1000 cycles. However, when they bond with leviathans they live no longer than leviathans do, drastically cutting their lifespans short.

Remarkable Scenes
- John to D'Argo: "You've got the bar codes of a general but you aren't one."
- Chiana getting frozen in Moya's amnexus fluids.
- Moya's inner hull breaching, Rygel being blown toward the breach, then Rygel's ass sealing off the breach.
- Aeryn taking a shot at Nilaam and D'Argo diving in front of the blast, only to be saved by Nilaam.
- Nilaam dying and restoring Moya's youth.

My Review
While this is a fairly enjoyable character piece on some levels, this episode feels much more like "Thank God It's Friday, Again" than the more recent, considerably better material. Some of the worst cliches were thankfully avoided though, such as Nilaam being an established alien species (Luxan) rather than a new alien species of the week and she wasn't evil, nor did she have a hidden agenda.

The particular highlights of this episode are the small character details sprinkled about. John, Zhaan, and D'Argo are sporting classier new looks, which while being more interesting for the audience to look at in superficial ways also more importantly reflects their growing success in coping with life in the uncharted territories. If John's finding time for fashion, you know he's starting to grow into his place in the universe.

Likewise, this episode plants seeds of an upcoming serious relationship between Chiana and D'Argo and we get some more fascinating information about D'Argo's background with the explanation of what his chin tattoos mean and why he donned them. Finally the tidbit about how Pilot sacrificed a large percentage of his lifespan in order to bond with Moya is fascinating as well.

But the little details aren't enough to sustain a great story. They just make a largely unremarkable story a bit less drab.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Hugo on 2015-03-12 at 4:12pm:
    I found this the worst episode so far, worse than Jeremiah Crichton!
    * No, not magic, please
    * We are thrown in to the story a little too abruptly, no background on how they got there, and why...
    * The sudden style/dress change for Zhaan, Crichton and Aeryn felt jarring to me
    * I found a story a too one-way: and no b-story, no twists, no mysteries

    Although I do appreciate the background details on the characters!

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