April 4, 2008

If events are matched closely enough to course,

they have a way of restructuring themselves to familiar outcomes. A not-uncommon trope of science fiction and fantasy time travel. The line itself is from "Unrealized Reality," an episode of Farscape. It's also used in the novel Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. But this post isn't about time travel.

It's more of an addendum to Show, Don't Tell below. Something I forgot to mention there that's handled marvelously for being an incredibly sensitive subject: The rapes of Chiana and John Crichton on Farscape. They both happen mostly offscreen (we see far more of John's than Chiana's). They're both different and effect the characters differently, and they're almost never mentioned.

Chiana is raped entirely offscreen, between the 3rd and 4th seasons. The circumstances are almost irrelevant, except that she had been blinded by her special "sight." From that point on, her sense of security and what power she had (both tied up in her sexuality) are gone. She can't stand to be touched and when she uses her "sight" in later episodes, she's noticeably uncomfortable. She doesn't really start getting back to what viewers would consider normal until the Karen Shaw incident.

John, by the time we get to "What Was Lost," has already been mentally raped a couple of times ("A Human Reaction", "Nerve"/"Hidden Memory", "Won't Get Fooled Again"), the only noticeable effect is a slow slide from sanity after his trip in the "comfy chair." Well, in the "What Was Lost" two-parter, he gets mentally and physically raped. Using Heppel oil, Commandant Grayza takes John on the shores of Arnessk. In overcoming the oil, he has his first taste of lakka, a drug that he then uses throughout most of the season to avoid giving away that he has feelings for Aeryn.

The aftereffects of both of these events are seen throughout the rest of the season, but often with no direct explanation of why. It's encouraging that they thought enough of their audience to not have to spell it out all the time.