Saturday, December 21, 2002

Maayan said this, remember:

To say that Farscape--its heart--is about the girl is, to me, selling it short. It's passing by a lot of love along the way. It's that chaotic web of lives which makes Farscape special. (Don't struggle, the trap will only tighten around you.) That's the heart of the series, over a single strand.

In response to Ben's comment that Every Great Story is about The Girl.

Can't help but agree with M, but it got me thinking -- what if it were? What if Farscape were about the girl, what if this were Aeryn's story, or, rather, the story of Crichton's pursuit, the story of, the glory of capital-L Love?

2:57 am and I can't sleep but I can almost, almost see it, enough that it made me get up from bed to put my fingers to work and follow where she goes. Enough that I can squint in the dark and nearly see what it looks like.

The universe, perched on the back of a great turtle (and what's underneath that? Why, it's turtles, all the way down) and held together like the best kind of fable, where all the hints get dropped and at the end (oh and let's not, for a moment, worry about that, about Farscape and The End, let's exist outside linear time and look at it as if it Was and not as if it Will Be -- because as a fable, Farscape has always existed, and every story was already told in the Bible or Shakespeare, world without end amen) it all comes together in a six word moral: And They Lived Happily Ever After.

On the right hand. A boy just barely out of school sets off to seek his fortune. Got the father he can't live up to and the mother he wasn't able to love in time. Needs to become a hero for himself and for dad, needs to love for his mother and for Her. Got the culture too primal for his provinciality, Earth, the universe's teething baby brother. He doesn't know what he doesn't know: Unconsciously Incompetent, my father would say, playing in Freud's sandbox and never venturing too far from his mother's teat. Knows nothing, drooling, dumb and wide open.

On the left hand. A girl raised on regiment, no family, no love. A clone of a soldier; for all the world, a blank slate. Got the culture too rigid for its own mortality -- ostensibly infinitely aware of the Wonders She's Seen and too afraid of all of them, walls up, weapons trained on. Knows everything, terrified, dwarfed, locked away.

Ask Crichton the moral of Farscape and he whispers in awe: "Earth needs to know the wonders I've seen."

But as far as he's concerned (and therefore as far as we're concerned, as far as we can fathom, as far as we go, turtles all the way), it's about The Girl, about Earth, Crichton-embodied, meeting glory and evil, love and hatred head-on, Aeryn and the Peacekeepers, the Uncharted Territories, knowledge and war.

So it becomes what he has to sell (blissful ignorance, solitude, youth, security) to let her in, and what she has to sell (defensiveness, training, cellular memory) to allow for the possibility that the galaxy's eternal knowledge of right and wrong might not be exacting after all. What Crichton has to sell -- what Earth has to sell -- to become part of the galactic community, part of a larger story they were never exposed to. What Aeryn has to sell -- what the ages-old politics of the UTs has to sell -- to return to innocence again; to find Love.

Because we've been convinced (the fable, again), that Crichton and Aeryn can't come together until Earth takes its place among the stars, until the UTs breathe again with that wide-eyed wonder of rebirth and everybody's seeing it new for the first time.

Their Love will stop wars; their union endures, not with the human (that's lowercase h human, humanity of a kind) need of two against the world, isolated and clinging to one another while the plague rages on around them -- but ONLY with the approval of the universe (enter Einstein, Find Your Way Home), handshake and an agreement to return to that most primal of treaties and introductions, Boy Meets Girl.

In other words, to get Crichton and Aeryn together, the fable says, the universe (the whole goddamned ever-expanding expanse) must learn to Love.

Friday nights, Maayan's spot-on. We see shreds of it bubble to the surface, battle of Jericho and the walls come tumbling down. We see the sidelong winks of love, in all our people, the kids on Moya, the rare humanity in the wink of a soldier, the tugs of selfishness and self-protection that create dictators and start and end wars. Good actors and good writers offer it up ever week, whether it's Braca returning to Scorpius' side or Chiana asking D'Argo one more time for forgiveness.

That's the tapestry, the background, that's the Whole Story.

But what if...

What IF it was just about The Girl?

What if we removed her from context and imbued her with all the symbolic responsibility of her culture and her pocket of the universe, and we stood her up, nose to nose with Our Hero and said I Dare You?

Maybe it's the same thing, only broader? Or more narrow? Maybe it's a quest with a moral only Einstein knows.

And next time I put hand to keyboard I'm back in a foxhole again, with that clingy all-too-human need and the plague raging on, but you never know -- (we're still Earthlings, after all, drooling and provincial and turtles all the way down) maybe it is just that one perfect kiss and we're back in the garden of innocence again; the universe gets a Do Over.

And maybe after four years out there Crichton's getting hints of it too (not the whole story, of course, never the whole story), and that's what he means (though he doesn't know it, not yet) when he talks about the Wonders He's Seen. And when Einstein broke him free and set him reeling, daring him to find his way home, maybe that's what he meant too.

So anyway, if you wake up tomorrow to find that innocence has reached out to take the hand of forgiveness, if you wake up to find peace on the mountain and the slate wiped clean, maybe that was all it took, Our Hero and Our Heroine finally making it work, humanity taking its place among the stars, the stars with open arms ready to accept it, spears into plowshares into valentines, Boy Meets Girl.

Anyway, what if.