Day 09 - A Ship That Makes You Dance For Joy
I have literally experienced this reaction for this pairing.
John Crichton and Aeryn Sun from Farscape.
This is another of those pairings that introduced me to the fandom, rather than vice versa. I was vaguely aware of Farscape in season 1 when it first aired on BBC2 (back when they still had a cult/scifi slot at 6.45pm - who remembers that?) and thus also vaguely aware of John and Aeryn. I was very much geeking over Voyager and Deep Space 9 at that point so it didn't really hit my radar.
I actually discovered it properly during my first year of university. The episode in question was part one of the "Look at the Princess" triology, which obviously focuses quite a lot on John and Aeryn. And obviously, it was a cliffhanger. As was the next one. And then it was "The Locket", by which point I was braindead from the shippiness and already completely hooked. OH GOD and then there was "Die Me, Dichotomy" and the Season of Death and GAH. I watched religiously from that point onwards.
Season 3, the so-called Season of Death, aired during my second year of uni. I was going through quite a bleak period then, still somewhat adjusting to having quit my OT course and still unfortunately living with people from that same course because halls decisions had been made the year before (there were two halls near to the OT campus and obviously that's why I chose it). I purged all of my RL angst into endless season 3 episode tags, and became known as the Queen of Angst. It was the most effective purging I've ever experienced, and nothing has compared since. I was insanely productive for months, and I think even now my Farscape fics on FFN outnumber all of my other fandoms on there - though Buffy comes a close second. :)
During this period I was also very very active on the 'Scape message board on the BBC Cult Forums, back when they still gave a damn about us. I met winter_jasmine through this (as well as sweeterthing and several others), got into fic-related flamewars and topped 500 posts - at that point I was doing special 'theme' posts every time I hit another 100. ;)
They were fun times, for the most part. Unfortunately I predominantly remember the boards being populated by idiots and jackasses, and getting into a lot of arguments. We reached a decision to stop posting, talking about or even alluding to fanfic on there, because during a hiatus we had written a rolling story and a couple of people moaned that it was "clogging up" their board view (we did tell them they could change the view from nested to list, but they didn't pay any attention and said they shouldn't have to). As a result of that small-minded minority's opinion, those of us who did actually enjoy fanfic came to the rather petulant decision never to mention it again - we would mention FFN in terms of "THAT website" or "the usual", in tiny little one-off posts. ;)
I stopped posting there in the end, because it was getting bad for me. I found myself becoming more and more annoyed by the people there. My participation during season 4 tapered off somewhat, even more so after the BBC chose to announce after "Bad Timing" that it was the last episode EVAR and the board filled with newbies going on and ON about it, after we'd campaigned for months to no avail.
Er, anyway, none of this is specifically about John and Aeryn. As I say, they got me into the fandom in the first place. They actually completely took over my brain - every single one of my 'scape stories involves them. Season 3 in particular is my favourite. I can still remember after the "Infinite Possibilites" double-bill getting SO FRUSTRATED with idiot fangirls (again on the BBC board) who simply could not comprehend why Aeryn was so cold towards John Green (or MoyaJohn as I called him). Just... WHY IS THIS NOT OBVIOUS? They were all like, "But it's still John!" To me the difference was as obvious as Zhaan being blue. Aeryn has shared memories and experiences with John Black (TalynJohn), which she does not have with John Green. She has watched him die and mourned him and gone briefly frelling insane with grief over him. You can't undo that just by seeing his clone, even if they're exactly the same person on the inside.
A lot of people just didn't get it. At least, not until that bit where Aeryn mentions their experience with a budong, then realises it was the Other John who shared that experience. Just, seriously? Am I really the only person to get this?
Uhm, here’s some pictures.
“A Human Reaction” – season 1. I’m still not convinced this is actually the real Aeryn, and did have a very complicated theory as to why at one point, which I have now obviously forgotten. :P But still. This scene was shadowed in “The Choice” brilliantly…
“Look At The Princess: A Kiss Is Just A Kiss” – season 2. John challenges Aeryn after her “No, no, NO, I will NOT be a slave to your hormones!” line. (Most. Quotable. Show. EVER.)
“Unrealised Reality” – bonus Chiaerynaith. BECAUSE IT’S TERRIFYING.
“Bad Timing” – even though we did get a mini-series eventually, for a long time, this was the end. :(
All pictures from Farscape Caps.
I think getting into the pairing quite late, comparatively, is the reason it broke my brain. Season 3 in particular was heart-rending, and I remember on about my 12th re-watch of "Dog With Two Bones" eventually just... giving up and whimpering. Season 4 was hard to watch, for many reasons, the imminent cancellation being only one of them. By the time we got to "Twice Shy" and the John/Aeryn reconciliation, I literally ran around the room squealing. So yes, I have danced for joy to this pairing.
It has also caused me to fall off my bed from utter excitement. (I really wish I was joking; thankfully nobody saw me and the embarrassment was merely my own.)
It's the only known pairing in the universe to take me from euphoric giggling to sobbing disbelief in the space of five seconds. And anyone who has seen the final scene of the season 4 finale will tell you the same thing.
The thing I like most about this pairing is the fact that it was always the intention of Kemper & Co. It was always meant to be endgame. They threw a few curveballs in there (I really think this is the only show IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE to have killed every single one of its characters at least once, sometimes twice - maybe even more if we take "Revenging Angel" into account!) but in the end, Farscape was only, ever about John and Aeryn.
In a lot of ways, this pairing really taught me about shipping, about the subtle differences and why it’s such an integral part of fandom. My Trek-ships always felt like a bit of a practice run, in much the same way as Mulder/Scully did – I was younger and more naïve at that time. Mulder and Scully turned me into a shipper; Voyager officially turned me into a fanfiction writer, as that’s the point when I learnt about the term, and that other people did it apart from me. John and Aeryn taught me about fandom, how one common interest can bring so many different people together. It taught me how to write – my style improved with each and every story I wrote. It taught me about catharsis, in the same way. John and Aeryn were entirely responsible for that, as without them I wouldn’t have discovered Farscape at all.
With John and Aeryn, the entire ship was just… absolutely amazing. It blew me away – the power of it. Sometimes it still does. Ben Brower and Claudia Black deserve every award on the frelling planet for their ability to portray most of the relationship without words. In fact, it’s one of the best examples I can think of where words are simply not required. (Norma would be proud. :P) I love the circumstances of it: that obviously John will fall for the most unattainable and difficult woman in the entire universe, and that obviously she will fight it as long as possible or kick his ass for trying. And she really can kick his ass. I love that John simply does not give up his chase for her, even when he’s trying to save the universe. I love that Aeryn let herself fall in love, let it destroy her, then did it all over again.
I just… I don’t know. I thought this ‘ship had fallen out of my brain, but writing this post reminded me that it hadn’t. For all the times this pairing broke my heart, it filled it with joy only episodes later. It’s one of the crackiest, angstiest, realest things I’ve ever seen – especially for a science fiction show.
And I seriously need to do a re-watch to remind myself why.
Thankfully, I get a grace period of one day for tomorrow's post, before the epicness that will be Day 11. Oy.