THE LIONS DEN: PT I - THE FADOP REVIEW
I own nothing but the sword and the paperwork. I've just hijacked
Pilot for a couple of arns! J
start, a quick explanation;
the Friends and Defenders of Pilot who campaign tirelessly
for the greater inclusion of a certain four-armed, amber eyed
alien into episodes of Farscape, have recently revived an old
tradition of writing Pilot-based reviews. Now the members are
taking it in turns to write these little gems and since I saw
the ITLD two-parter a good three months before my fellow FaDoPi,
I've been given the honour of reviewing it. My review takes the
form of a fic because- well what the heck, I'm that kind of person
(awkward J ) and it proved easier for me at least to do
it that way! It's supposed to be an amusing but thought-provoking
piece of fun and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please tell
me so! If you don't well.
last thing the claw rating. This is our way of ranking
the episodes by the amount of quality Pilot moments within them.
One claw is little or no Pilot content (alas all too frequent)
up to five claws, the impossible Nirvana, an episode of nothing
but Pilot! Unfortunately, the four claw TWWW is closest we've
come. But we live in hope!
Into the Lions
Den Part One; A FaDoP Review by Jess Pallas.
A dull silence
has fallen over Nirvana, a surprising quietness that echoes in
corners and flows across the gentle curves and occasional signs
of devastation that are scattered, half-unseen on the walkway.
In the centre of the Den, Pilot is a motionless presence, gazing
down wearily at his console with his carapace slumped against
one claw. In the distance, far away, the shouts and cries of
distant FaDoPi drift on the wind.
With a slow
whirr, the door draws back Pilot glances up with a mixture
of curiosity and horror dawning on his features to see an ordinary
looking figure with long brown hair and a large golden sword
strapped across her back stagger into the den under the weight
of an enormous pile of paper. Awkwardly, she pauses, lifting
one knee as she clamps the pile with her chin to avoid a fatal
cascade into the oblivion below and her eyes fix upon the imposing
presence of Moya's navigator. She grins and tries to wave but
a sudden shifting of paper makes her think better of it. With
a shrug, she starts across the walkway.
she greets merrily, pausing to pick her way through the scattered
debris of rope, old socks and cake making equipment. "Where
as if afflicted by the memory. "Outside the kitchen. One
of you idiots left Renfield in there for a couple of months and
now we have to get him out before the room becomes unsalvageable."
He shakes his head. "I dread to think of what it
must be like in there."
The new arrival
pauses, her expression one of mute horror. "Great goddess"
she mutters under her breath. She nudges the mess with one foot.
"Is that what all this is for?"
"Otomo has a plan something about dancing cupcakes."
The girl examines
the hole-ridden sock in front of her. "What are the socks
a face. "I didn't like to ask." He glances up at the
girl abruptly as if seeing her for the first time. "I know
you," he says thoughtfully. "You're that girl who sits
in that corner scribbling notes or ranting at the walls about
goodness knows what. Joss Pillow"
Pallas!" The girl corrects irritably. "You ought to
know my name by now, I've been here nearly a yeara cycle."
are so many of you." A pained look crosses Pilot's face.
"It's so hard to remember you all. And anyway, you never
say anything at least not to me. You just sit in your corner
in awe of you!" Jess grins again. "And anyway, I thought
that was what you wanted! You're always complaining about how
much we FaDoPi harass you. I was doing my best to be a model
follower sitting quietly and writing stories that can make
other misguided Scapers see the wonder that is you! Besides"
Jess breaks off as her stack of paper wobbles with distinct intent.
After a moments struggle she manages to bring the wayward documents
under control and continues her journey. "I was designated
your official protector and the job of a bodyguard is to lurk
and look threatening. I stick to what I'm good at."
You?" Pilot examines the average looking British girl with
is vaguely predatory. "Pretend to be an Internet pop-up
ad. You'll see what I mean."
shifting paper. "Never mind. How long do you think the other
back, his gaze following the distant sounds of battle. Cries
of distress and the distinct aroma of Renfi slobber waft from
the direction of the kitchen.
he offers with considered aplomb. "Perhaps you should go
and help them."
"Not likely! I still haven't got the drool out of my tunic
from my initiation! They can take care of themselves."
It is Pilot's
turn to snort. "Can they? You didn't see their preparations!
I have never seen chaos so frenzied not even the day D'Argo
caught Rygel in his underwear! They'll be lucky to come out of
there alive! Baking powder, flour, socks, netting! And I don't
know who let all those hobbits in here."
again. "Sounds exciting. Sorry I missed it."
grows curious. "Where have you been?" he inquires abruptly.
"You may not always speak much, Miss Pallas but you're usually
lurking somewhere in the shadows."
been busy." With an abrupt thump, Jess deposits her huge
stack of paper on top of Pilot's console. "Doing this!"
she exclaims proudly as the papers flutter around Pilot in a
wave of papery satisfaction. The navigator eyes the stack suspiciously.
are these?" he asks cautiously.
Jess replies brightly as she hauls herself up onto the console
beside her load.
Pilot looks instantly wary. "What review?"
Why a FaDoP
review, of course! The one I'm trying to write for Into The Lions
of disquiet flickers across Pilot's face. "I thought you
people had abandoned that idea," he comments, trying to
keep the apprehension from his voice.
It's just been on hiatus." Jess leans forward tiredly, patting
him on the closest arm, joyfully oblivious to his discomfort.
"I volunteered to give it a try because I thought it would
be fun. More fool me. I didn't think it would involve actual
Pilot humphs loudly. "I didn't think you people knew the
meaning of that word!"
Jess sits bolt upright, a protest on her lips "I'll have
you know that I have a job now! I'm only a bum part time
these days!" She pauses, adjusting herself in an attempt
at a dignified manner. "And anyway, I'm doing this out of
love for you! The whole point of these reviews is to raise your
net profile so that even more people will love you and flock
to Nirvana in worship! So stop complaining and give me a hand!"
She gestures to his multiple limbs. "Out of all of those,
you must have one to spare!"
But Pilot is
too busy looking horrified. His wide amber eyes are bulging in
their sockets. "Raise my profile?" he gasps. "You
mean, bring more of you people here? More." He gulps.
abruptly back to his console. "You're on your own! There
are quite enough of you people already!"
A look of hurt
flits across Jess' face she looks down, twitching a loose
paper with her fingers. "That's rather ungrateful!"
she exclaims irritably. "Honestly! We come here every day,
polish your carapace, clean out the DRD closet"
LOUNGE!!!!" Tanika's irate voice drifts from behind the
distant doorway over the sound of timedancer's kettle boiling
smoothly in the background.
lounge," Jess corrects hurriedly before sweeping on. "We
defend your name across the net, promote you, drag you into every
conversation we get involved with, keep you company and entertain
is more like" Pilot mutters under his breath.
be so bored if we weren't here," Jess retorts at once.
ecstatic!" Pilot shoots back, shifting position as he tries
to reach his panels through the scattered mass of paper blocking
his view. The task quickly proves beyond him. "I might even
get some work done!"
our idol! We love you!" Jess makes big puppy
dog eyes as she helpfully tries to gather her random notes out
of Pilot's way. "Just picture it Pilot hordes of fans
across the net making pilgrimages just to bask for an instant
in your glorious presence. If this works you'll be universally
adored! King of the Internet! Think of the glory. Think of the
admiration. Think of the merchandising!"
up. There is a vague interest in his expression. "Adored?"
for just a couple of arns of your time." Jess leans forward,
aware that she may be onto a winner. "I'll polish your carapace.
I'll clean up the socks. I'll even help chase those hobbits away"
temptation gleaming behind his eyes. "Well"
ingratiatingly. "The more you help, the quicker I'll be
done. The quicker I'm done, the quicker I leave."
noticeable at this prospect. "Oh, all right."
let's get down to it!" Jess declares joyously. "The
FaDoP review for Into the Lion's Den Part One, with a rating
of two and a half claws for fairly good Pilot representation!"
on realising that Pilot is staring at her. "What?"
you talking to?"
nonchalantly. "I don't know. Just concentrate on the papers!"
With a sigh
the navigator picks up a sheet. His eyes abruptly widen as he
gazes at the vast tangled sprawl of minute writing crammed in
across its surface. He regards Jess incredulously. "Is this
supposed to be legible?"
read it." Jess is examining a sheet with a determined expression
with only a slight twitch of the eyes, she slowly rotates
it through 180 degrees. "Well, most of it."
Pilot is shaking
his head. "I cannot translate any of these no, wait.
This one says something about Moya."
see." Jess reaches over and takes the sheet from Pilot,
examining intently. Her eyes widen in recognition.
I remember! I was writing rude things about Kemper for hurting
you and Moya AGAIN." She pauses, her expression twitching,
her eyes shadowed as she slips softly into literary mode. "I
can remember it even now the fear, the horror, the terrible
anticipation that this could be it and my worst fears were coming
true! Ice shivering down my spine, the hollow fluttering of my
stomach, my mind a-whirl with."
feeling all right?" Pilot is staring at Jess' drawn up form,
her arms half-stretched out, her fingers clutched in claws. She
looks as though she's having a seizure and Pilot is getting alarmed.
Jess shakes herself abruptly, she drops back into her casual
slouch. "What happened?"
an eyebrow. "You were spouting poetry sort of."
Jess hurriedly checks her watch, examining the freckle on her
wrist thoughtfully for a moment before remembering she left said
watch on her dresser. Sighing, she reaches into her pocket and
draws out a bar of chocolate that she then proceeds to bite into
with enthusiasm. "Authorial moment," she explains between
mouthfuls. "I got jumped by my own psyche because I missed
my medication." She waves the chocolate bar briefly before
returning to the more important task of eating it. " It
happens to me sometimes. I have that kind of muse. The little
bugger will sneak up on me in the oddest places." She pauses
thoughtfully, swallowing her last mouthful with a sigh. "What
were we talking about?"
things I don't understand," Pilot comments wearily. Spotting
Jess' frown at the unhelpful answer, he prompts her. "Me
Jess sits up abruptly. "Great Goddess, they put us through
the wringer! I was so scared! I have to say I have been worried
for Moya throughout the season the way she's been shunted
about, pushed into the background and ignored I've been
concerned that The Powers That Be are getting tired of her and
wanted to move the show to a more for want of a better
word- exciting base. A base like Talyn."
the crew might be leaving?" Pilot pulls a face. "I
Jess' correction is firm. "Because in order to do it, they
would most likely kill off Moya."
Moya?" The horror on Pilot's face is genuine.
what worries me." Jess sighed. "And then with Talyn's
attack in IYYY, I really thought Moya was for it. The pain she
and you were obviously in at the beginning of the episode
it was hard not to think that the assault had done more lasting
damage than had been revealed and that they still might pull
could you?" Pilot looks puzzled. "Talyn is brain dead.
The crew could not survive aboard him."
brain dead now," Jess points out. "But Crais seems
to think he can be rebooted with fresh memories. And if Moya
was to die, perhaps you might be installed aboard Talyn to guide
him maybe even at Moya's dying request."
look on Pilot's face gives Jess pause. "Okay, maybe I was
worrying too much," she admits reluctantly. "It wouldn't
be the first time. But who can blame me after what happened next
Chiana's premonition followed by that awful Peacekeeper
attack that blasted Moya out of StarBurstThat had to hurt!"
She pats Pilot's claw sympathetically as he shudders at the memory.
"And then they made me wait!" Jess growls under
her breath like D'Argo in a hyper-rage. "They made me sit
there, desperate to know if Moya was alright, whilst they meandered
through the other plot, without thought for my feelings at all!
I WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT MOYA!!!!!!"
Pilot has used
the outburst to edge as far away from Jess as is physically possible
for a being tied into a ship by his tendrils.
it better when you ranted at the walls," he mutters.
Powers That Be!" Jess continues to rage, oblivious. "It's
Kemper, that's who it is! Why must he make Moya suffer in every
single episode she's in? If you look back at all the episodes
so far, more than half feature Moya being subjected to some kind
of pain or torture! No wonder she and you are a bundle of nerves!"
me?" Jess glances over at Pilot, who has tentatively raised
one claw in the air, his expression more than slightly daunted.
He appears to have revised his opinion about Jess' ability to
be threatening. "But. Who is this Kemper? I've heard him
mentioned before in your rants. You always seem intent on beheading
one hand is itching unconsciously towards her sword.
is an evil genius," she drawls irritably. "It's not
Scorpius you want to blame for everything bad that's ever happened
to you it's him. He's the driving force behind everything
Crais, Scorpius, the lot. He is the one ultimately responsible
for all the harm that has ever come to you and Moya. And unlike
Scorpius, he cannot be negotiated with. He can't even be stopped
at least not whilst he has a contract."
Pilot's brow is furrowed beneath his carapace. "If this
Kemper is responsible for harming us and you FaDoPi knew
about this why have you never done anything about it? You
especially, since you call yourself my protector!"
to squirm. "Hey! I've been planning to kill him it's
on my to-do list!"
this one?" Pilot lifts a long, soggy, hot chocolate stained
scrap of rough paper from with the tangled pile of review notes
amongst the entries are such goals as "Become world
famous author", "Get bigger sword", "Win
an Olympic medal" "Finish my fic" and "Eat
less chocolate". Scrawled roughly at the bottom in red ink
are the words "Behead Kemper."
her lip. "It's probably the most realistic one there."
"This just isn't good enough, miss Pallas! How many times
in the last three cycles have you threatened harm to Kemper?"
Jess is staring
at her feet. "A few"
many times have you acted on it?"
Jess protests loudly. "Shout me an air fare to Australia
and I'll have his head stuffed and mounted on the wall!"
his head. "Excuses, excuses"
ignores him. "Moving on." She exclaims.
time," Pilot mutters. "This is taking forever!"
try staying on the point!"
Jess picks up a piece of paper. "If you want me to do a
"Fine! On to the moment when we finally saw what had happened
to Moya and what a moment! That was a scene I had been
dreading for three cycles; Moya back with the Peacekeepers!"
been dreading?" Pilot exclaims. "How do you think
added new levels to my fear that Moya was going to be written
out," Jess continues, ignoring the interruption. "What
if she stayed a PK prisoner? What if she was re-collared? Would
that be the quest of the crew next season trying to free
Moya again?" Jess waves her arms in an emphatic gesture.
enjoy being so melodramatic?"
of course!" Jess grins. "It's part of my charm!"
at that comment speaks volumes more than words.
I did notice." Jess is squinting ominously at her notes.
"When Moya went into StarBurst to try and escape from the
marauder, we saw a shot of the StarBurst energy climbing up through
your chamber. But in Losing Time, I thought it was implied that
that was an abnormal and possibly deadly occurrence for you!
I thought something had gone wrong before StarBurst because of
that the first time I watched I didn't spot the red beam
until later. So why did it happen?"
forward curiously. If she had not also left her glasses on the
dresser, she would have peered over them.
"I don't know."
appalled. "What do mean, you don't know? I thought you knew
her with a long amber stare. Jess sighs. "Oh never mind.
What next? Oh, yes! It was so nice to see John showing such concern
for you and Moya both in his negotiations with Scorpius and later
when you were captured! He's been so rude and cold towards you
this season for no apparent reason, stretching right back to
SIW so it can't be blamed on the twinning! I always liked
the way you two got along and it's such a shame that that's been
lost!" Jess' eyes abruptly light up and she starts rummaging
frantically through the papers. "In fact, I've got a virtual
dissertation on the way you've been isolated by the crew this
season in here somewhere if I can just"
Pilot is gazing
at the ceiling of his chamber in weary resignation. "Is
it relevant to this particular series of events?" he declares
"Well, no. Not really, I guess."
her with a pleading expression. "Then could we possibly
leave it for now?"
once more. "I guess." She brightens. "I can always
use it next time!"
flickers with mild horror. "Next time?" he says, a
distinct tremor to his voice. "What next time?"
Once more Jess
fails spectacularly to notice. "Well, I suppose I ought
to wrap this thing up," she exclaims, rummaging through
her notes. "There probably isn't anything here that I can't
leave or postpone."
the mountain of paper incredulously. "All this for that?
You didn't really say much about the episode, did you?"
"You weren't in it much. This is a FaDoP review, you know!"
her eyes. "Make up your mind! First you want me to stop,
and then you want me to say more! Fine!"
up a random, tattered piece of paper fluttering in a mysterious
breeze. Scrawled across its top edge in large letters are the
words "Other stuff that happened but didn't matter because
Pilot wasn't involved." Jess waves it irritably. "I'll
go through this then, if it'll make you happy!" She scans
over the notes with a quick eye.
Firstly this episode was incredibly rich in plotlines that are
apparently being set up for next season D'Argo's quest
for Macton Tal, Rygel's cousin being in disfavour although
considering the information came from Lt Braca, can it really
be trusted or are they just being told what they want to hear?
One thing this could imply, which I personally think would be
great, is that season four may return to the wider focus on all
the characters that characterised season two, rather than the
more John and Aeryn-centric season three, which I didn't enjoy
nearly as much. There is more to Farscape than shippiness and
I think season three lost track of that rather, to it's own detriment."
Jess pauses to grin ruefully. "I've probably just made myself
a whole host of enemies saying that, but it's what I believe
her list. "The Scorpy clone, Harvey. I found his defection
a little bit easy considering the season long battle they've
been having but it is in his character to think of his own preservation
so I don't mind. But I still wouldn't trust him any further than
I could throw a command carrier."
of the command carrier, it was really interesting to get that
insight into PK life a look at the enemy in their lair
often leaves them a little less frightening. Although the whole
symbolism of the place had definitely Nazi overtones in its design."
cleavage or Mele-On Grayza, as it should be really
well there were hints that she may be around for the duration.
I've only seen her the once so I'm reserving judgement but there
were a few echoes of Servalan and the Intendant from DS9 in there
and would a PK commander who must have worked her way up
through the ranks just like everyone else really wear that dress?
And why is it the two most senior officers we've ever seen for
this so-called society of Xenophobes -Scorpius and Grayza- don't
look entirely Sebacean? And does her arrival imply that Scorpy
might go renegade? I hope not since, they already did that with
girlfriend. No. Bad writers! It just didn't work. I couldn't
tell you why but it didn't. And jet packs? What is this, Flash
Gordon? Although I am thinking of making John's plaintive "This
is just not fair!" my motto in life!"
the award for the most Crichtonisms packed into a single episode
goes toRicky Manning! My God, John was making so many references
he was all but incomprehensible! Are we sure that Tocot fixed
his speech centre properly?"
at least as much as it is possible for him to do so. "I
never know what he is talking about anyway. Or you for that matter."
me?" Jess adopts her best "land of hope and glory"
posture. "I happen to speak the Queen's English!"
her. "Perhaps you should give it back."
There is a distinct edge to Jess' tone as she attempts to retrain
the retort hovering on the verge of her lips. "You'll be
pleased to hear that's it! I'm all done!"
Kahenyu," Pilot mutters with sincerity.
him. "And in accordance with the poll up at the FaDoP message-board,
this episode has been awarded two and a half claws for fairly
good Pilot representation!"
"But you already pointed out that I was hardly in it!"
"Don't look at me! The rating was decided by a message board
poll. Blame them!" She gestures in the direction of the
kitchen. The distant sounds of whimpering can be heard. "Anyway,
what you got was better quality, rather than just "Oh here
comes the bad guy" or "oh dear, Moya's going to blow"
stuff like it is so often. That makes a difference!" Jess
grins. "Personally I liked the episode, although I would
have liked it more if you'd have had more to do. Well, maybe
next time we'll have more to discuss!"
up at the reference. His expression is one of mute resignation.
miss Pallas?" he says with tentative distress. "Did
you say something about a next time?"
Jess has been making some effort to tidy the scattered drifts
of paper that are now coating the den but the task is easily
beyond her. She gives up and instead turns to Pilot cheerfully.
"Well I still have to do Part two don't I?"
contort with resigned suffering. "Parttwo?" he gasps.
So I'll see you next week!" Beaming cheerfully, Jess kisses
her fingers and leans across to tap the kiss onto Pilot's carapace.
The navigator, whose head has once again sunk into his claws,
down off the console, her eyes flickering across the devastation
in papery form she has left in her wake. "You don't mind
if I leave these here, do you?" she exclaims. "Only
it saves me lugging them all the way back to Blighty."
A sound not unlike a muffled sob emerges from Pilot's cradled
head. Jess, her mind already on her next review, takes this as
she declares. "Well, I'll see you this time next week then!
Oh, Pilot it'll be great! We can examine all the events together
and go through that dissertation I was talking about! And you
can read up on the rest of my notes to tell me if I've missed
anything!" She checks her wrist freckle. "Better be
and skips her way across the walkway, dodging piles of socks
and baking powder and scattering a flurry of paperwork in her
wake. Pilot remains in unmoving silence, slumped at his console.
A murmured whimper slips from his lips.