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Farscape - Season 2 - Episode 02

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

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 4.11

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# Votes: 47 9 13 10 11 18 34 12 5 15 9

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.

- 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.

- 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 8:12pm:
    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!
  • From Margaret J on 2019-06-15 at 2:46am:
    Well so far this season my rating and yours are 2 out of 2. You gave it a 3 and I did as well and I always rate the episode with my own little list of criteria before I read your review. Anyways I did not like this episode at all. three is the lowest I have rated any episode. I also agree that the female luxan oricon was completely unlikeable and the story a drag. It only got points from me for the little bit of characterr info we got and the fact that as awful as it was the plot was original
    Side note: so far. I know that you keithinov. liked the new looks but IMO Zahn's garish shinny metalmembellished neckline and arm what were they braces totally out of character. Up until now she has been portrayed as something like a new agey wise woman healer monk type character anything but materialistic, which is what the new embellishments scram. And John!s spiked up gelled hair, tight black leather pants and long leather black trench all I can say is bahaha
  • From Gary on 2020-07-13 at 4:24am:
    I could do with less "magic", but that seems to be Farscape's style, I can live with it.

    The new look: fine, interesting point that it could reflect "fitting in" a bit more - though I would much preferred it to have come at a time when there was any plausible way the characters (Crichton especially) could have "gone shopping". Not in the middle of this crisis.

    Finally, Crichton's new look, to me, symbolizes a major downturn in the characterization of Crichton himself. I get that he's going to be darker and less chipper, that's not the issue. What I dislike is that the show has placed him more and more into the role of the two-fisted hero. Sure he'll be a focus, and as the only human, an audience surrogate. But he was far more interesting as a scientist, fit and capable enough when he needs to get physical, but no warrior next to the professionals (D'Argo, Aeryn, and Crais).

    This episode wasn't particularly a problem, but the issue's been building, and a few back was particularly egregious when the alien botanist basically destroyed D'Argo in moments, yet was fought to a draw by Crichton. And on top of his fighting prowess, it's John that talks to Mora to get her to leave Talyn behind - as if he'd have a closer rapport to her than Aeryn, let alone Pilot.

    Let the other characters shine, and stop making Crichton "the star", please. Yes, I know I'm asking years after it's all been set in stone. Or celluloid. OK, digitized.

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