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Farscape - Season 2 - Episode 06

Farscape - 2x06 - Picture If You Will - Originally Aired: 2000-4-21

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 5.38

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Synopsis
Chiana returns to Moya with a fortune-telling portrait she picked up from a passing trader. The picture foretells the deaths of the crew, and one by one, they start to die off. Zhaan realizes her old foe Maldis, an evil sorcerer, is behind the terrifying goings-on. He is trying to re-corporealize and is feeding on the fears of Crichton, D'Argo, Chiana and especially Zhaan. When Zhaan and Crichton are the only ones left alive, they are forced to travel into the sorcerer's dimension and confront him face to face. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 2, filler, but an enjoyable episode nevertheless. You can skip this one, but you'd miss out on some fun.
- No significant exposition, events, or consequences. A fairly enjoyable episode, but completely arc-irrelevant, unless you are dying for more closure regarding the fate of Maldis from That Old Black Magic.

Problems
None

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- Crichton: "You know what I say? I say we lock all of Moya's doors. We don't let anyone in, we don't let anybody out. That way we get no alien critters, no shape shifting bugs, no mind altering viruses, no freaky-deeky artifacts."
- Chiana burning up in the freezer.
- Aeryn: "Pilot, is my prowler ready?" Pilot: "No, it's still undergoing maintenance." John: "Take my module." Aeryn, visibly annoyed: "Bucket of dren."
- D'Argo being stabbed by Aeryn's prowler.
- Aeryn intimidating the junk dealer.
- Zhaan's mind meld with John revealing her true plan telepathically, shortly before she pretends to give up and push John into the electrical current.
- John to Maldis: "Haven't you read the super villain's handbook? This is where you're supposed to twirl your mustache and gloat." Maldis: "I don't have a mustache, John."
- Aeryn killing the junk dealer.
- Zhaan taking out Maldis in the virtual world.
- Zhaan shooting at Maldis in the real world with a DRD.
- Chiana explaining Maldis' convoluted plan to Rygel.

My Review
I wrote in my review of That Old Black Magic that Maldis was arguably more interesting than Crais as an antagonist because of his overwrought, almost deus ex machina level of abilities. As a consequence, in that episode, Crais seemed to be a less significant threat than Maldis, the malevolent super-alien who feeds on suffering. As such, it's logical to conclude that an episode which features Maldis as the primary (and only) antagonist might be a better story.

Unfortunately, it simply didn't work out that way. The first half of the episode was wasted on the rather drowsily paced "mystical painting that can see the future" plot and it isn't until the second half of the story that Maldis is actually confirmed to be behind the scenes. By the time we actually get to see him, he barely gets to do any mustache twirling at all before Zhaan swiftly dispatches him.

Along the way nothing new happens; it's basically just a repeat of the last encounter, but with less trial and error. Zhaan just takes him out like a well trained assassin, leading me to roll my eyes at her closing line of having been more scared in that moment than any in her life. I can certainly see why John would assume her panic was all an act. Zhaan's work was ruthless and professional.

That said, Zhaan's highly effective tactics are also what make this story as enjoyable as it is. A better story would have exposed Maldis earlier and made Zhaan's plan take longer, but the surgical precision with which Zhaan's plan was executed was delightful to watch. Plans which work right the first time are a rarity on Farscape indeed! We also get more tender character moments between Chiana and D'Argo, continuing to hint at a budding romance between the two. All in all, the episode is nothing special, but not so bad either.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Hugo on 2015-04-17 at 4:52am:
    Oh no, not another magic/metaphysical episode... ! I was waiting for a moment where Rygel would justify his presence on the ship, but that didn't come.

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