In a season that’s been pretty much all about John, it’s nice to get an episode that concentrates on another character. Mental as Anything gives D’Argo a moment in the spotlight, but even a heartfelt performance by Simcoe as the big guy fails to raise this tale of warrior discipline and in-law rivalry out of mediocrity.
This story has a lot in common with Mark Saraceni's other Farscape credit, A Prefect Murder. Both feature flashbacks, and a central truth approached from multiple angles.
Sadly, Mental as Anything suffers from a lack of the imagination and mystery that graced A Prefect Murder, leaving us with a slow plod to a strangely uninteresting conclusion. D’Argo’s a nice guy - watching him go through this emotional wringer ought to have been a lot harder than it was.
Despite some nice set design, Katyoa’s alien dojo was horribly derivative of a thousand cheap martial arts films, without any of Farscape’s usual irreverent sense of homage to lighten the atmosphere.
Katoya himself was a cardboard cut-out sensei, having more in common with Mr Miyagi from The Karate Kid than the series’ usual colourful, believable aliens.
Still, we did get to see that Farscape rarity - a loose end tied up. And D’Argo got to keep his dignity. Just for once he didn’t say, "I will not be taken prisoner again," immediately before being clapped in chains.
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