.Do NOT use any of the images for icons or other graphics. Do NOT repost these anywhere, not even on tumblr.
.For picspammy's nineteenth challenge second chance: compare and contrast.
.Spoilers! Lots and lots of them.
My flist has been... fortunate enough, ahem, to be by my side through all of my Stargate marathon. And now we can add a new obession to that: Farscape. Both shows are amazing. For entirely different reasons that I'm not going to get into now, but one very important reason is Claudia Black as Vala Mal Doran and Aeryn Sun. They're both great characters, and they're so very different. At least at first glance. But once I actually thought about it in depth, I discovered more and more similarities between both women. Claudia Black's portrayal of both Vala is vastly different from that of Aeryn, and it's thanks to her incredible acting that I could never mix the two characters up.
Three warnings, before we go into the picspam slash essay (I may have gone overboard): One. This contains for all of SG-1's seasons nine and ten, including Ark of Truth, but not Continuum (because I hadn't seen it at this point), as well as spoilers for all of Farscape, but not The Peacekeeper Wars (I still haven't seen this, but I plan on doing it soon, so please don't spoil me for that!). Two. I've only watched Farscape once so far, so if I get any facts wrong, I'm sorry. Feel free to point them out to me, and I'll fix them. Same goes for SG-1. I have seen Vala's seasons two or three times now, but I've probably still forgotten important bits. Three. I ship John/Aeryn and Daniel/Vala. The former is canon, as we all know, and while the latter has been hinted and many times, a lot of people refuse to see it as canon, with the ending and all. Which I understand; and I won't try to make you ship them. I know that the writers wrote many Vala and Daniel scenes because they wanted to make a clear distinction between SG-1 and Farscape, which is why we (unfortunately) don't see Vala and Mitchell together a lot. Just be aware that this picspam does focus on both John/Aeryn and Daniel/Vala.
(P.S. I have mostly collected Farscape quotes, I'm sorry for the lack of SG-1 equivalents.)
Credit for this item (and, by extension, the entire picspam, because it's all built on this one comparison) goes to the darling book232. She pointed out the similarity between the way Vala was introduced and the way we first got to know Aeryn, and I'm pretty sure SG-1 did that on purpose. Both women appear on screen in a black full-body uniform. We don't know anything about Aeryn's uniform yet, but Vala is wearing that of a super soldier, one of the bad guys. That's why we were all surprised to see... a woman appear when Vala took the helmet off.
1.2 BEATING UP SIGNIFICANT OTHER
Shortly after the reveal of who's behind the uniforms, both women beat up who's later going to be their respective significant other. Aeryn comes out the winner of the fight, obviously, but Daniel eventually (kind of) gets the upper hand when Vala tries to beat him up. Even this early on, you can see the striking differences between both women. Whereas Aeryn is just fighting to get out of there, Vala says "You know, we could just have sex instead." To her, it's nothing more than a game. And if Daniel hadn't resisted, she probably wouldn't even have hit him. Aeryn, on the other hand, was taught not to trust anyone she doesn't know.
Both women undergo drastic changes to fit in. Vala from a
Aeryn. It's my duty, it's my breeding since birth. It's what I am.
John. You can be more.
Aeryn. What for?
John. Everything. What's happened here. Getting you stuck on Moya. If it wasn't for me, you'd still be the happy Peacekeeper dominating the lesser races.
Aeryn. I've got a lot to blame you for, Crichton.
Both Aeryn and Vala are not from Earth, and the shows they're in are both set in space somewhere. SG-1 is set mostly on other planets whereas Farscape is mostly set on Moya. This makes both of them aliens, although you could argue that technically, Crichton is the alien in Farscape. Both set foot on Earth, but (as far I know) only Vala actually stays there. The fact that they're both not from Earth makes for some funny scenes where they don't get pop culture references right, or where they try to make such references themselves but mix things up.
2.2 LIFE CHANGE
I already mentioned the life change they undergo. Aeryn is a Peacekeeper when we first see her. Peacekeepers are (mostly) evil. They "dominate the lesser races", as Crichton describes it. And Aeryn is as ruthless as any of them. She doesn't quite shake that part of herself until later, but the moment Crais declares her irreversibly contaminated is also the moment her entire life changes. Step by step, she starts to realise that the Peacekeeper way might not be the best way, after all, and she learns to live her own life, not dictated by Peacekeeper protocol. She experiences genuine friendship, love, even, and eventually starts being thankful for being taken away from a life as a Peacekeeper.
Vala's life change is a lot more sudden. She was once host to a Goa'uld symbiot, but the series never really deals with that. (I know, it comes up in one of the films and the audiobook.) We meet her when she tries to steal the Prometheus, and after that arc, she's gone again for quite a while. It's only when we meet her again and find out she got married and pregnant that she eventually joins SG-1. We do see the
Aeryn. You and the others are trying to get home avoiding Peacekeeper territories. My home is Peacekeeper territories; it's just that I can't ever go back there. Ever.
Crais. All the times that I have endangered your life. All the times that I have lied to you. Hurt you. Starting from the moment I declared you irreversibly contaminated.
Aeryn. Listen to me. That was the beginning of my life.
Mitchell. The hard part about being part of this team is not risking your own life. It's watching your friends take chances with theirs. Congratulations. Now you really are one of us.
Vala. I'm a different person than I was two years ago because I genuinely wanted to change. I didn't see it as means of escape.
Vala. I don't exactly know where my place is, but I hope it's here.
Excuse me while I fangirl their hair for a while. IT IS SO PRETTY. And I want it. .... Okay, done. (For now.)
Despite the fact that Claudia Black plays Vala and Aeryn, they've tried to make her look different on SG-1, and I think they've succeed. Aeryn looks harsher, in a way, because her hair is very straight most of the time, or tied back into a ponytail or braided, Peacekeeper-style. Vala's hair is curlier and... bigger, making her look much softer. Vala also wears all kinds of sparkly hair pins and cute pigtails, whereas Aeryn would never be seen with any of those. (Admit it, the mere idea makes you laugh, too!)
Yet another striking difference, and probably something Claudia Black loved about Vala, and something the SG-1 people did on purpose to make Vala look less like Aeryn. Vala wears... everything. We see her in standard SG-1 uniforms, greens, black and beige, but also in the shortest jeans-shorts I've ever seen and a top that barely covers the upper part of her stomach. She dresses to look pretty, whereas Aeryn dresses to be practical. Aeryn wears mostly black leather (mmmm...) and a few grey tops, but also some green. The only time we see her wear something else is on Earth, but even there, she admits she feels more comfortable in her own clothes. (I'm not going to comment on the last set of pictures. Hehe. Just... I love how cracky Farscape was at times.)
Personality-wise, they're both almost complete opposites. Vala, despite the fact that she, too, has gone through a lot (family, Qetesh, who knows how many husbands), is still one of the most cheerful people you'll ever meet. She loves shiny things and is almost always smiling. She flirts with everything that's male and has two legs, and if the world was one giant playground, Vala Mal Doran would not mind. Of course she's quiet and sad, too, at times, but I'll willing to bet all of the scenes that she's not happy in combined couldn't even make one full episode. (That's if you don't count Memento Mori, of course.) Aeryn, on the other hand, is much more withdrawn and silent. She doesn't show her emotions when we first see her, in fact, she barely even has any, but as time passes and she experiences new things, she learns to show her feelings, too. Unfortunately, a lot of the things the crew on Moya go through are bad, which makes for some pretty awful moments for our poor Aeryn. (Claudia Black looks even more gorgeous when she cries, though, if that's even possible.) That said, Aeryn does have happy / funny scenes, too, especially around the time of Meltdown (possibly my favourite episode). She has a childlike curiosity, especially when it comes to Earth. Discovering rain comes to mind, for example.
Aeryn. No offense, human, but what could I possibly need from you?
John. Manners, personality, stock tips.
Aeryn. I am no one's female!
Vala. The last time I was this bored I took hostages.
Daniel. I was there.
Vala. There's nothing I hate more than a bold-faced lie.
4.2 TOUGH WOMEN
Despite all their differences, they're quiet similar in some aspects. Especially in the fact that they're both very tough women. Aeryn probably more so than Vala, but they're both incredibly strong. Have to be, really. And they both know how to handle a gun, which is always nice. They're fighters and will defend their lives and those of their friends with everything they have, until the very end. They're both not people to give up easily, although they do have different tactics. Aeryn is all about fighting until the end, whereas Vala has let herself be captured if she didn't see another way, and then broken out using some trick or ruse later.
5. LIFE AND DEATH
Both women are pregnant at some point, although with vastly different outcomes. It takes forever until we find out whose baby Aeryn's pregnant with. We actually don't even really get to see her pregnant on the show. Since I haven't watched PKW yet, I can't really comment on what becomes of the baby, but I'm pretty sure it'll be a much better person than Vala's child was. Vala's pregnancy is very mysterious, as she swears she didn't sleep with anyone that could've gotten her pregnant. Turns out, it's a child the Ori want, a race hellbent on dominating the entire galaxy. And Vala's kid is their leader, the Orici. Vala tries to get through to her several times, but when she realises there's just no chance Adria will ever break away from the Ori, she eventually gives up. Not that I can blame her, really. Who wouldn't be freaked out if their kid not only grew up within days, but also planned on dominating millions and billions of people, probably killing just as many in the process.
5.2 RAPID AGING
(This is one of my favourites.) Both shows have episodes that deal with how the main people age rapidly compared to the outside world. FS's The Locket and SG-1's Unending. While I'm not particularly fond of (but also don't not like) The Locket, I absolutely adore Unending. I can write entire essays on how much I love that ep, it's definitely one of my favourites. But now. Aeryn gets stuck on a planet that's somehow outside of normal time, I think? I don't remember how exactly it worked. But she ages normally to what looks like maybe seventy
It's basically the same on SG-1. Different premise, of course, with the entire team being stuck on a spaceship for many, many years. In this, Daniel and Vala grow old together, admitting their feelings for each other (or not, really) in what is one of my favourite scenes of the entire show (Michael Shanks, ILU). Contrary to what happens on Farscape, here we get to see the ups and downs of being stuck with the same six people for the rest of their lives, and it does take their toll on everyone. It's not always pretty, but that's what makes it so perfect. And we see the more vulnerable side of Vala. Aside from that, the dynamic between the characters doesn't change, not even after fifty years. Of course they (and by "they", I mean Sam, with Cam's help) figure it out after all that time, and manage to turn back time. The only one who remembers is Teal'c, and he won't tell anyone what happened, not even when Vala tries to nag him into telling her who she hooked up with.
5.3 DEATH AND RESSURECTION
Funnily (or not) enough, both women die at some point. Let's start with Vala, because it's a very short scene. Vala is pronounced evil by the Ori-followers and must therefore be sacrificed. Daniel is forced to watch while they set her on fire, and he's right by her side even after she dies. Thankfully for everyone (and I'd never thought I'd say this), an Ori Prior shows up and resurrects her. She's only dead for a few seconds, maybe minutes, but it's enough to shake both her and Daniel.
Aeryn's death and ressurection are much more painful and drawn-out. The worst thing about it may just be that it's Crichton who inadvertently kills her. Where Vala is burned alive, Aeryn drowns because she can't get out of her ejection seat, and Crichton has to watch her die without being able to do anything about it. This time, it's a friend who saves her, Zhaan who shares unity with her to show her that she needs to come back for Crichton. Aeryn refuses, knowing what it will mean for Zhaan if she accepts, but it still works. Zhaan ressurects her, and she is reunited with Crichton. Aeryn's death still remains one of the most painful moments of the entire show for me, though, despite knowing she'd come back some way or another.
John. Baby, you're not gonna die like this. You are not gonna die like this.
Aeryn. I hope you meant what you said in the neural cluster. I did.
John. Aeryn, forgive me. I love you.
Aeryn. I shouldn't be here.
John. This is exactly where you should be.
6.1 OUT OF CHARACTER
There are several similar plots on both shows. One of them is the common out-of-character experience. "Aeryn" plays the princess John (thinks he) has to kiss to get out of a mind game. Princess!Aeryn is a lot like Vala, actually, just a lot dumber. She's the biggest cliché ever, really, which is why she's so hilarious. I'm sure Claudia Black had a blast doing these scenes after all the angst Aeryn went through. There's not much else to say about this moment.
Vala has more interested out-of-character experiences. One in another of my favourite SG-1 episodes, 200, where she tries to convince a TV show producer to get her her own show. Pretending to have the most exciting stories to tell, she ends up telling him The Wizard of Oz and a few other well known tales. Those scenes are so ridiculous they're absolutely brilliant. And then there's of course the less cheerful experience, with Vala suffering from amnesia (I'll get to that later) and working in a diner as "Val". She still kicks ass even when she doesn't remember her own name, and it's wonderful to watch.
Another SciFi trope, bodyswitching. Both Aeryn and Vala are stuck in the bodies of their significant others for a while, and vice versa. For different reasons, of course, but the idea is the same. Vala uses a device that lets her trade places, so to speak, with Daniel so she can tell SG-1 about what's happening to her, about her pregnancy and the Ori. It does not end well, though, she is discovered using the device and accused of working against the Ori by her own husband. Aeryn's version is surprisingly more hilarious. Moya is being attacked by another ship, and since she has her shields at a certain strenght, she's not destroyed by the other ship's weapon. Instead, the people on her merely switch bodies. Rygel, Aeryn and Crichton are stuck in each other's respective bodies, and hilarity ensues. I have no quotes for this, unfortunately, but there are two scenes I love in particular: Rygel having to pee while stuck in Crichton's body, and Crichton (as Aeryn) explaining him how to do it, and John discovering Aeryn's breasts while stuck in her body. Favourite.
Vala. That's funny. Daniel always wanted to get into my pants, and now I'm in his.
Oh the pain. :( At some point, both women are lost. In entirely different ways, but lost all the same. Two amazing episodes, probably among my favourites, but so painful. The Choice and Memento Mori. Aeryn is grieving for Crichton, in a self-destructive way that looks impossible to get out of again. She's on some planet, drinking herself into oblivion, more or less, and not doing anything else. She sees Crichton, talks to him, even, but it's all in her head. Rygel and even Crais try to get her out of this place, try to get her back, but to no avail. In the end, it takes her mother (so to speak) to get her away from the planet and back onto Moya. Vala is just as lost for a while, not because she lost someone she loved, but because she lost herself. She was on a
Aeryn. Was it easy to be a hero? Leave me behind?
John. You never think... you're gonna die. I didn't know.
Daniel. Now it's time to come home.
7. FAMILY & FRIENDS
7.1 FAMILY TIES
They both have family problems, one way or another. We learn that Vala's mother is dead, and her father is a thief and a liar. Not unlike Vala herself, actually, although she has changed ever since joining SG-1. Something that absolutely can't be said for her father. He basically tries to gain her trust, and then betrays her. But she expects it, even talks about it to her friends, so I assume it doesn't hit her all that hard. Not anymore, not after all the things she's seen him do. Aeryn's story is much more painful. Peacekeepers breed, but aren't allowed to have any contact to their children after birth. Aeryn's mother genuinely loved her father (and vice versa), and she also loved Aeryn, and even spoke to her when she was a child. In the end, though, the Peacekeepers found out, which resulted in the death of Aeryn's father. Her mother, as it turns out, starts hating everything about feelings. Even Aeryn herself, so she tries to kill her more than once. Aeryn tries to get through to her because she knows her mother loved her at some point, but it's no use. It ends in pain, as most things on Farscape do.
Vala's father. Hug for daddy?
Vala. You're lucky I'm not allowed to kill you.
Vala. I earned their trust.
This is a much happier item. Friendships. Let's start with Aeryn. As already mentioned, it takes her a while to fit in, but once she does, she finds amazing friends. Zhaan, to start with; Pilot, whose DNA she shares; Crais, once he's no longer one of the bad guys, finally understanding what it' like to be free; Thalan, Moya's son, who has a unique connection to Aeryn; and of course Crichton, who's not only the love of her life, but also her best friend. And there's of course D'Argo and Rygel and Chiana, but I think her main friends, the people she can relate to the most, are the ones mentioned above. Once they realise all they have left now is each other, they start to rely on one another. So does Aeryn, and in the end, they all have her back. The same holds true for Vala and the rest of SG-1. We don't see her having many deep moments with people other than Daniel, but there are those tiny scenes, sometimes just single lines, that tell us she really is part of the team, and they all love her and care for her. Especially in Memento Mori, when they all start looking for her. I would have loved to see more Sam and Vala interaction. She had so much time with Daniel, and even an entire episode with Cam, which (in retrospect) I loved (it's amazing how those two actors can play a ridiculously hot couple and (equally as hot) close friends and making both look absolutely believable). She also didn't have enough scenes with Teal'c, but I'm not sure what those two would've talked about, to be honest. But from the few scenes she did have with Sam, it makes me wonder what else could've happened between them. They had such great potential for BFFs. That shopping scene, for example? Love. And in general, by the time Unending happens, you can just tell she's become an integral part of the team. They all love and respect her.
John. Aeryn, you are the one thing which has kept me from doing a kamikaze in the transport.
Sam. I have an idea about that, but it's pretty risky.
Vala. Well it's probably better than our plan.
Sam. Why, what's your plan?
Daniel. We don't have one.
Vala. Welcome back, Samantha. We really did miss you.
Sam. Thank you. It's good to be home.
8.1 ONE IMPORTANT MAN BEFORE
Aeryn and Vala both had one important man, in a way one meaningful relationship, in their lives before they met their significant others. Again just with a vastly different outcome. Vala, as already mentioned, has had many husbands before, and probably even more men she just slept with, and she didn't get married to Tomin out of love, either. She found out she was pregnant and needed a husband for cover, so she married him. Turns out, he's not a bad person or a bad husband at all, but he does follow the Ori, which makes it pretty much impossible for Vala to stay with him, especially after Adria is born. They meet again several times, always with Tomin on the side of the Ori and Vala obviously on the side of SG-1. In the end, he realises he's been wrong all along, that the Ori aren't gods to be worshipped. They part ways in friendship.
Aeryn's story is yet again more horrible. Peacekeepers are allowed to "reduce fluid levels", as they call it, when they feel the need to. Whenever and how many times they want or need to. There's no such thing as love. Velorek tries to show her otherwise. He sees that she can be more, the same thing Crichton sees in her later. But where Crichton succeeded, Velorek failed. She ends up betraying him, using him as the means to an end. At the time, that was a horrible thing to do, especially because he most likely died for it, for her, but that is what even gets her in the position where she can meet Crichton and the crew on Moya in the first place. I don't know what you want to call it, I call it fate. Sorry, Velorek, I thought you were hot (hotter than Crichton, even).
8.2 PRETTY SIGNIFICANT OTHERS
They are both very good looking, that much is obvious. Let's start with Daniel Jackson. He's an archaelogist and speaks more than twenty-three languages. He's a huge geek and supercute, I don't care what anyone else says. Despite the fact that she beats him up and tries to steal the ship, he still vouches for her when she joins SG-1. He tries to understand her, tries to help her fit in, and it's beautiful. He's often annoyed by her, but then again, so is everyone else. That's just her personality, and we can't really blame him for it. But he still helps her whenever she's in trouble. Take the audiobook, for example. Sure, he'd do it for other members of his team, but he was the only one who was able to get through to Vala in Memento Mori. I wish their relationship had been explored more. But Unending basically gives me everything I need. (Okay, I think I may have to picspam that episode next.) Daniel's trying not to get hurt again; we all know he's not had the best of luck with women, and he thinks Vala's just toying with him. As it turns out, she's not, and they keep each other sane while they're stuck on the ship.
As for Farscape... John and Aeryn. Oh, John and Aeryn. Yet another thing I could write entire essays on. John Crichton is an astronaut. He's cocky, he's funny, he talks in pop culture references. And he loves Aeryn more than anything. When she's in danger of being used by his worst enemy, he shuts his feelings away and pretends he doesn't love her to keep her safe. It's obvious to everyone they're obsessed with each other. He's the one who shows her she has a heart and that she's allowed to have feelings for other people, for friends, for him. They follow each other everywhere. And once they do get together, it's so, so beautiful. After all the obstacles, they find each other and have the best time of their lives together. Until, well, things get bad again. Cue the angst. But even after that, they're still such an amazing couple who would die for each other. They have some of the best dialogue of all TV ever, and they've broken my heart more times than I can count. It is fate, okay? Okay.
John. I would be lost without you.
Aeryn. Then you'll never be lost.
John. No matter what happened, you have worked your way into my heart.
Aeryn. You showed me that I had one.
John. I love you.
Aeryn. I love you, too.
John. I don't need your charity.
Aeryn. And I don't need your emotion. But we can have sex if you want.
John. You see that one? That's that star right there, the bright one. It's my point of reference. My guide... and it always becomes the centre of my chart. I always name it Aeryn.
Aeryn. You say it's your guide...
John. It's my one constant.
Aeryn. I'm different because I love you.
Aeryn. Do you love Aeryn Sun?
John. Beyond hope.
Vala. We can't all be polylingual ultrageeks like Dr. Daniel Jackson!
Daniel. Polylingual ultrageek? Did Mitchell teach you that?
Daniel. Do you believe I could have any kind of serious feelings for you? (...) At best you're an emotional unstable wreck! (...) We are so completely opposite and wrong for each other it's not even funny!
Daniel. You better not be messing with me.
9.1 SO PRETTY
Random moments of beauty, no words needed. (P.S. One reason alone to love Farscape? Lots of close-ups on Claudia Black's gorgeous face / eyes.)
Aeryn. No, no, no, I mean bad frell.
Their stories do not end. ♥
John. From the first moment I laid eyes on you, I could never see the end.
Aeryn. What scares me is I always could.
Sam. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Vala. Life is too short.
Teal'c. Good things come to those who wait.
10.1 VALA AS AERYN
BEST. THING. EVER. Only Stargate can pull stunts like this and still be amazing. Remember how I said Vala was trying to sell her "ideas" to that TV show producer? Well, all the ones she gave him, he (obviously) already knew, but then she told him about this, and he admitted he'd never heard of it before (alluding to the fact that Farscape isn't really well-known, sad as it may be). And just... It's brilliant. I love that they cast Daniel as Crichton here, again making it obvious they're meant to be together (also, they look hot together, not even gonna lie), but they also cast Mitchell as Stark, Sam as Chiana, Teal'c as D'Argo and Thor as Rygel. Seriously, forever laughing. I can watch this episode a million times and not get tired of it.
10.2 CLAUDIA BLACK
Too pretty for commentary. ♥