Whenever a friend of mine whom I’ve told to watch Farscape comes back to me and says, “I’m sorry, I really tried…but I couldn’t get past the first couple of episodes,” I want to show them this image and this shot and read them this analysis of it:—from …And Wash Away the Rain, Jacob Clifton’s recap of Back and Back and Back to the Future, Farscape 1.05, on Television Without Pity
This next bit is both good and bad, because it provides a major plot point for the episode, gives you some serious visual symbolism about the Peacekeepers and Aeryn herself, and is wonderfully done….The squared circle in which their “physical conditioning” is [done is] a mat, maybe six yards on a side, emblazoned with the Peacekeeper emblem. Which we’ve seen before, but it’s never taken up the whole screen, so let’s get that out of the way. The PK symbol is taken from a Third Revolution Russian agitprop poster from 1919, and people get really excited about it because it’s one of maybe five things that even if you’re completely disinterested in this stuff, you have to pay attention to it, because the way it’s used is always choreographed to an almost balletic extreme. It’s a red Communist wedge breaking through a white area, into black. The black space into which it’s intruding is soft and curved, the red wedge is pointed and hard. Okay?
Back to an overhead shot: Aeryn unconscious, almost completely contained within the red PK wedge, one hand thrown over the line and into the white. It’s the percentage of her that’s—so far—out of her black radius: the hand [John is] holding. And as though that wasn’t enough of a slap to the head that you should pay attention (no camera angle is by accident; it’s weird how you eventually have to realize that nobody ever just dropped the camera and let it roll, except student filmmakers), one leg is cocked up (there’s a discontinuity here as well, slightly, that tells you she was positioned this way for the shot and I’m not always making this shit up): Trump XII, the Hanged Man. (Originally “the Traitor,” okay.) The Hanged Man’s about going through turmoil and storm in order to change: not because you’re strong enough to ask for it, but because the universe demands it of you. The saint who looks demonic, unrecognizable, anathema to the people she leaves behind, heading out of the red and into the white, dragged by that one tiny hand. The woman becoming something different, something better; the woman dying in her change. The woman just beginning her tutorial. The woman who could be more.
#so important#the arc of aeryn sun remains to this day one of the most phenomonally complex intricate oceanic-scale arc i’ve ever encountered#she’s a lady sword and a lionheart and an exile and a lover and a winter-soldier style rebel ascending out of her past#but also none of those things and so much more than those things#and the show refuses to soften her edges or hone them in order to appeal to some notion or cliche of what a character like her should be#it takes left turns into darkness when you expect shining heroics and right hooks into blazing joy when you expect brutality or coldness#it never ever sacrifices what it has built in aeryn - or rather what aeryn builds in herself - for the sake of narrative#above anyone really; this show is aeryn’s; because aeryn in her transformation and her self#reflects the state of the universe; colonized by peacekeepers and slowly starting to be torn down by the falsities of the myth#of peacekeepers (of herself) and remaking herself into something new#which the peacekeepers cannot (though they try - and are corrupted or perverted for it in various ways because their reasons for trying to t#to transform are violent and cruel where aeryn’s are drawn from love and hope and - yes - desperation to survive#and more than survive to *live*#so she succeeds where the empire that built her into what she was cannot#she is torn down (both by herself and by the universe - the uncharted unmapped uncolonized territories into which she flees -#and rather than finding nothing in the wreckage#finds multitudes(via)