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Farscape - Season 1 - Episode 04

Farscape - 1x04 - Throne for a Loss - Originally Aired: 1999-4-9

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 4.36

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Synopsis
Rygel borrows a valuable crystal essential to Moya's survival, hoping to impress Tavlek Traders interested in business. However, the Tavleks' real business is holding important hostages for ransom, and they kidnap Rygel and the crystal. Crichton and the others obtain a powerful gauntlet weapon from a captured Tavlek to aid their rescue of Rygel, but they find that using the Tavleks' weaponry is almost as deadly as the Tavleks themselves. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Lame episode, but has significant continuity such as exposition about Zhaan's healing abilities, exposition about D'Argo's Qualta Blade, and exposition about how Luxan wounds are not cleansed until the blood flows clear. The Tavleks will also show up again in late season 2 in a pretty significant way.

Problems
- The term "solar day" first gets used in this episode, which is a pretty annoying piece of Farscape jargon. Like "arn" or "cycle" it's meant to connote a unit of time analogous to Earth measurements of time divorced from the historical (and astronomical) sources of how we measure time here on Earth. Think of it like a sort of metric system for time. Unfortunately unlike the other terms the show invents, this specific term creates more problems than it solves. "Solar" is supposed to refer to our sun, Sol. There's no way the aliens in Farscape would know the term. Even if we take it to mean a generic adjective for any star, which is also incorrect but a common usage error, the term is still sort of incoherent. The correct way to do that would be to say "stellar day." But that wouldn't make any sense either because how do you map a "day" to a star? There isn't really a good way to resolve this other than to say the translator microbes got this wrong and John didn't notice.

Factoids
- In the battle on Moya during the teaser, Ben Browder (John Crichton) actually injured himself in a stunt, cutting himself on the forehead. Though I wasn't able to locate any visible injuries in the final cut.
- Ben Browder also mentioned that he cut himself again on a tree branch in the scene when Aeryn first puts on the gauntlet and he stands up to confront her.
- Luxans when injured are in the most danger when the blood is opaque. Proper first aid is to continue to beat the wound until the blood flows clear.

Remarkable Scenes
- D'Argo trying in vain to use the aliens' weapon.
- John confusing Pilot by making a Star Trek reference by referring to Moya's "docking web" as a "tractor beam."
- Nude Zhaan.
- D'Argo subduing Aeryn with his paralysis tongue.
- Aeryn: "Imagine, somewhere out there there's a whole world full of Crichtons. How useless that must be."
- Rygel revealing his true status to his cellmate.
- Aeryn beating D'Argo to heal him...
- John's gauntlet running out of fuel.
- John mediating a truce with the Tavleks.

My Review
This episode has little to redeem it except some amusing humor and some interesting minor exposition about our characters. The drug addiction plot is understated at best and poorly executed, the heavy metal tones in the score are annoying, and most of the characters act even more petty than usual; I shared Zhaan's annoyances with the rest of the cast's seeming unceasing bickering. As a consequence of the understated drug addiction plot, the Tavleks made for rather lackluster antagonists. It's sad that the most enjoyment I got out of them was John constantly referring to them incorrectly as the "Tavloids" instead. Other than that, there is very little else of note in this rather straightforward and partially filler story.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Ben on 2010-02-07 at 12:33am:
    Thrilled you're doing Farscape. I always thought this was solid episode though. Dumb, fast-paced action is fine every once in a while, and Crichton's attempts at the end to talk the Tavlek leader into giving up Rygel always crack me up.

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