1.14 Jeremiah Crichton
|Doug Heyes, Jr.
|July 30, 1999
|Crichton's burst of temper at exactly the wrong time leaves him stranded when Moya unexpectedly starbursts while he's off in Farscape 1. When the crew finally manages to track him down, wackiness ensues when D'Argo and Rygel are stuck on the planet with him, and some really naive natives mistake Rygel for their god.
Lishala: "She knows nothing of my heart and less of my sleeping habits. She should get some of her own."
Zhaan: "We need to locate the most highly developed organisms."
Aeryn: "That leaves out the three we're looking for."
Aeryn: "I can't believe this, but I need Crichton."
Crichton: "Hakuna Matada, Masada."
D'Argo: "These people are preparing for the return of their savior."
Rygel: "Then we're frelled."
Crichton: "The slug who would be king."
|John's return to Moya and reunion with Zhaan, Aeryn and Pilot. It would have been a lot more interesting that the visit to the Hawaiian Tropics, not to mention much pointier in terms of character interaction.
Also... do the Aquavarans have translator microbes in *their* water supply too, like the Deneans? Or did they inherit microbes from their (presumably) microbe-injected ancestors? Or do they have some fun tribal ritual, whose sense it loss to time, where they inject the microbes into their kids when they're born? Whatever the reason is --- how does Crichton learn their language while *his* microbes are working? Does he just block them out, or zone, or... ahem. Silly details. Silly details that make us go "hmmm."
|Okay, my best guess is --- the writer dreamed this up after a lot of margaritas, and the production crew decided that they wanted to do an episode at the beach, so this sounded just fine. Definitely the worst episode so far, even if it is a lot better than most of everything else on TV. If it had something more --energy, action, or or funny riffs on "The Man Who Would Be King" and Robinson Crusoe movies--- this episode might work. Since it doesn't, we'll put most of it down to mid-season exhaustion and vacation wish-fulfillment, then shrug and toss back a strawberry daiquiri while we watch.
The plot is way too convenient, but it is coherent, and no one is massively out-of-character. So I don't hate this episode even though I was saying half the lines five minutes before the actors, which is never a good thing. We do actually get some good Rygel stuff, with His Eminence exhibiting a sense of responsibility when you least expect it. Having just wished for additional Aeryn and Zhaan time, I can't bitch about their scenes, since they're pretty good too (even if all they're doing is snap at each other and then work together). D'Argo's being enjoyably angsty and Luxan, and John was long overdue for a culture-shock temper tantrum by now. Neera is a royal bitch, the other guest actors aren't bad, and the last confrontation scene has the feel of an American football game --- block the guard, grab the Dominar, run to the idol for a touchdown! Scooooore! Really silly. If the rest of the show had been like that, it would've been a lot more fun.
Instead, the audience gets an ep with Crichton shirtless (and what's up with the beard?); a guest almost-bad-guy who is severely aesthetically pleasing; Rygel impersonating Sean Connery; and some neat dancing from the villagers. Crichton gets a three-month break from his life-as-it-is-now. Rygel gets some good food. The crew gets Crichton back as well as a small attitude adjustment due to guilt and missing him. And the people of Acquavar lose a priestan but gain a Dominar. It could be worse.
|Okay, the bad news is that this is not exactly Farscape's most shining moment. The good news is that even mediocre Farscape is better than 90 percent of the dreck out there. But the episode leaves us all with one really pertinent, pressing question -- what crawled onto John's face and died? <shudder> Really dreadful makeup job on that beard, guys, not quite made up for by the shirtlessness, as much it was appreciated.
Rygel gets an outstanding episode -- he is quite happy to see John again and, while he's more than willing to resume the pleasures of life as a Dominar, he is genuinely appalled to be cast in the part of their deity, and does his damndest to live up to his responsibilities to the people his ancestor stranded. Very impressive performance from the little slug. For everyone else, it's Frankie Avalon time -- there's a few good scenes on Moya (watching John finally lose it was worth the price of admission; even his incredibly healthy sense of humor can only last so long), watching Zhaan and Aeryn bicker was cool, D'Argo and John's reunion was really nice, and D'Argo and Aeryn jointly refusing to call off the search rocked. But the couple of really priceless lines ("Hakuna Matata" and "The slug who would be king.") were somewhat less wonderful since the viewing audience had been making those same jokes for half an hour.
If the episode had stuck to the character-driven, and admittedly angsty, plot they originally set up -- Crichton finds himself abandoned for three months as Moya searches frantically for him -- and the repercussions thereof (after three months, all character interaction is going to be completely different, for one thing), this would have been a much cooler episode. Instead, the potentially outstanding A-plot get almost completely ignored in favor of 'Robinson Crusoe' meets Joe vs. the Volcano meets the entire Ewok plot of Return of the Jedi. Not unentertaining and logical in its own way, but seriously fluffy, after a streak in which we've been taught to expect better. Evidence: It took us about eight months to get around to watching it again to get the best lines. The only episode to beat that is 'Back and Back and Back to the Future'.
1.15 Durka Returns
|August 13, 1999
Moya gets some unexpected guests when an accidental Starburst crashes the Leviathan into another ship, carrying: Salis, a Nebari jailor; Chiana, a young Nebari malcontent and thief --- and the infamous former Peacekeeper Captain Selto Durka. None of them are exactly safe people to invite over for coffee, as the crew soon learns.
Pilot: We are about to exit Starburst. There is no reason for concern.
John: Famous last words.
Aeryn: You deserted your ship?
Durka: I have done far worse in my time.
Durka: Hello, Rygel. You undid the Nebari mental cleansing. Isn't that the most superb irony?
John: Looks like Nebari mental cleansing doesn't get the tough stains out.
Aeryn: You're not a legend, Durka, I take that back. You're a disgrace.
Durka: Do you think your shipmates would care if I were to rip your face off right now?
Rygel: Go ahead and find out, I don't care. Because the all-powerful Durka is a failure! It's the truth! You tortured me without mercy, but you never broke me! You only made me stronger. And even if you kill me, I'll still be laughing at you. Because the last thing I'll be thinking of will be *you* on Nebari Prime for another 100 cycles, being ground back down into nothing!
John: How's the patient?
Zhaan: She's a brat!
John: You want we should kick her off the boat?
Zhaan: Ask me tomorrow.
John (to Chiana): One question: where were you when Salis was murdered?
Durka Returns: and how. Yikes!
I take back what I said several eps ago during PK TECH GIRL: that Rygel's C-plot about facing his own demons was pointless. The unsolved mystery of What Killed the Zelbinion? gets resolved too, and gives us a great lead-in to this ep. I *know* no one believed Durka was reformed --- or at least would stay that way--- but it was fun wondering when he was gonna lose it, and how, and how badly... and they didn't disappoint us. The boy just went full-bore psycho, like Ricardo Montalban in "Wrath of Khan," only with less chest. Chew that scenery! Turn it into pulp! That's it, masticate those lines! Hiss! Snarl! You are the villain! Don't let anyone tell you that subtlety is good, because you don't need no stinkin' subtlety, Durka!
Seriously, I loved it. Creepy and psycho has its place, and that place is getting blown out an airlock. Wheeeee! Anyone who makes me flinch while menacing Aeryn (and Rygel, for heaven's sake) like this guy does, deserves the full ALIENS exit routine. Go, dude. But come back for another guest appearance so we can torment you some more.
Chiana. Chiana, Chiana... I could get sick of this chick awfully fast. Not that she's unamusing; kind of a cross between a Pierrot marrionette and low-rent Catwoman. Gigi Edgely twitches to great effect --- you're never sure if this girl's brain is firing on all six cylinders, and whether that's a deliberate act or if she's just got too many toys in her attic. She reminds me of Faith on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" -- abused victim hitting out in all directions and losing her own balance. If she ends up with more going for her, and forming bonds (*other* than the mutual sex-tease routine she and Crichton were engaging in) with the rest of the crew, she can stay. If she can't do that... well, John kicked her butt. Which means Aeryn can *really* wipe the floor with her. Ten to one on the ex-PK commando.
Salis is the subtle creep in this ep; happy shiny calm hypocritical shuddery kind of guy that he is, I don't see anyone missing him. The bad part is... now Moya's crew has probably managed to alienate a race that took on a PK carrier and walked all over it with cleats. This, as John would say, is Not Good. Especially if Salis is typical. Eeep. Who killed him, Durka or Chiana? Hard to call--- there's equal evidence both ways, both of them look guilty as hell, and I think it's something we're not meant to know right now. But I bet this issue doesn't stay buried with Salis.
D'Argo and Zhaan don't get to do much except run around in the funhouse that Moya became this episode, and Pilot's clearly wishing that the Leviathan's pregnancy came with an instruction manual at this point. I began to think the director saw THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT prior to filming this, and got a few too many ideas. This may be a matter of individual taste, though; so just take this note as a warning, and pack Dramamine before your trip.
I'm with Aeryn: Rygel was just having *way* too much fun airing out those issues with Durka. Still, you gotta admire his style. No one else can insult you like a pissed-off Hynerian Dominar who's reached his limit. Aeryn had some nice subtle stuff too, this episode --- meeting one of her 'heroes' and seeing him for what he was, is one more nail in the steel door between her and any return to the Peacekeepers. She never backed down during the fight, either; they didn't make her wimp out at any point. Yay for the writer for not going for any cliche's on this one. John, of course, gets to do the hero thing again, but with enough pizazz (I wouldn't have thought of the bomb, I have to admit) to make it work. But while the scenes with Chiana were sexy (does this man just have chemistry with every female he meets, or what?) I'm really praying they don't get silly and try to hook them up. No. No no no no no. Outta the question. I'll get up a collection to buy Aeryn another dozen pulse rifles, if that's what it takes.
So, a new friend (?), a new enemy (and possibly a whole new race of them), one DRD lost to space (*sniff*), and a whole new set of problems. The fallout from this is going to be even more fun than the cargo bay explosion.
Okay, let the Great Chiana Debate begin! Let me just say up front that, no, I don't like the little brat -- no one could. But Gigi Edgley is doing a nicely creepy and unpredictable job playing her, and, in her rare sane moments, Chiana shows a bit of promise. That said, I still think she murdered Salis (not that I blame her, particularly), and I would rather clean Grand Central Station with my tongue than be trapped on a leviathan with her. We'll see if she discovers anything along the lines of sanity or maturity in the upcoming eps, but the psycho junior sex kitten routine is gonna get real old, real fast, I guarantee. Come on, guys, don't we have enough headcases wandering around Moya already?!?
And admit it, didn't you cheer when they found Salis' body? Seriously? Geez, this guy is a betazoid taken to the sanctimonious extreme of the scale -- mind-rape as the basis of a legal system. < shudder > Like I said, I don't particularly blame Chiana if she killed his cleaner-minded-than-thou butt, but I'll bet real money John not going to see it that way.
And Durka... You know, more and more, I'm starting to find myself agreeing with Rygel about handling villains. He quite correctly wanted to shoot Tahleen and company and be done with it in 'Rhapsody in Blue', and wanted Durka taken out right off here. And he was right. Durka is most certainly an ick, yet another weight on that 'Peacekeepers suck' side of the scales. Aeryn and Gilina (and, to an extent, Lt. Teague) are just not enough to outweigh the pond scum in their ranks. Oh, and I'm not believing he's dead until I see the body... and probably not even then.
This was the ep of the villains and the new babe, but there were nice moments had by all. Zhaan's disgusted "She's a brat", John finally winning a wrestling match with a chick (please, oh gods of Farscape, keep his taste and brain good enough not to set up a stupid love triangle, please), Rygel facing down Durka, Aeryn not thanking him for it... But if Rygel ever... *ever* tries to blow up Crichton again, there will be all hezmana to pay, I'm telling you! And Mr Director Tilse? Enough with the slo-mo and moving camera angles, okay? Please? We were getting nauseous by the end of Act 2 and it wasn't just because of the Nebari.
1.16 A Human Reaction
|August 20, 1999
In an amazing bit of luck, a wormholed leading back to Earth opens up, and Crichton decides to take his chances and pilot the Farscape 1 home. But it isn't quite the homecoming he'd hoped for --- and it just gets worse when he's followed by Aeryn, Rygel and D'Argo, who are then captured by Earth authorities.
Crichton: I miss the sun. Day. Night. Little things....
Aeryn: I can't go with you.
John: Aeryn this is our last chance ---
Aeryn: No, this is your last chance. I can't go with you. I'm not certain I'll belong there.
John: You would. You will. I promise.
Crichton: Listen miss, I know this is going to sound insane, but this is Australia, right?
Aeryn: You know, Crichton, Peacekeepers wouldn't even kill their prisoners to study them.
Aeryn: Are you with me or them?
John: I'm with you, Aeryn. Trust me.
Aeryn: Rain. Is that what you call this? I like it.
Aeryn: What for?
John: Everything. What's happened here. Getting you stuck on Moya. If it weren't for me you'd still be a happy little Peacekeeper, dominating the lesser races.
Aeryn: Got a lot to blame you for.
DK! Where was DK! Even if it was only in John's mind, whenever he talks about home, he talks about both his dad, and his best friend, yet DK wasn't even mentioned. While he might not have had the clout to bull his way into the detention area, there should have at least been some mention of the man!
A lot of people wanted to know how they created the weird-and-cool voice effect of Claudia Black's alien dialogue. Nicholas Breslin, one of the many talented members of the production crew for Farscape, e-mailed TGUT with this to say:
"As the Dialogue Editor on the episode I can assure you this is not a created effect. The talented Ms. Black can actually create that bizarre clicking sound with 'backward sounding' speech naturally! - Playing it backwards only reveals this truth. (There would also be enormous technical difficulties encountered with shooting the picture to backwards mimed dialogue. - Sync would be a nightmare.) Furthermore, obviously we have access to the location sound tapes -- and what you hear is what she said. Pretty cool."
Thanks, Nick. Couldn't have put it better ourselves. And kudos to Claudia Black for being her own sound F/X creator!
My, my, my. Listen to all the people screaming. It was good, it was bad, it was fair, it was a cheat, did they, didn't they, live or Memorex? Eeeeeeeeee! Any episode that generates this much strong feeling and controversy can't be a bad thing. Shows live off the emotions of fans, and I'd say Farscape will live a *long* time off the intensity expressed over this one episode.
That said.... I'm personally having real mixed feelings about it. As Perri says, everything that happened before John went down the wormhole was exquisite. There is no way it could have been done better; Aeryn's pain, John's hesitancy, Zhaan's tears, that great good-bye from D'Argo--- perfect. It's what happened after the expected White Light(TM) took John to La-La-Make-Believe-Land that can make you nuts or very, very happy, depending on what you think was real.
I knew from the commercials and just the fact that no *way* would they kill Rygel for real, that this Earth was not John's real Earth. John's not much of an optimist in his subconscious, is he? Then again, I think the aliens were setting up the ultimate Worst Case Scenario, in case that's the position they ended up in--- and while I find it also the most unlikely case scenario, I can't discount a bit of wisdom from another show, Alien Nation. "We aren't ready for aliens to come *here*. We want to meet them out there, on equal terms." If you start from that, everything that Wilson and Cobb do during this ep makes perfect sense.
So, we get Project Bluebook and the Oz version of the MiB glaring at John through plate glass; not fun (for him--- I'm sure most of the rest of the female audience was just as happy as I was about those tank-shirt shots), but not unexpected, really. John's dad shows up and is his quite cool self --- I know John has issues with the guy, but I can't help liking him, whether he's real or imaginary. Ben Browder was outstanding in these scenes with Kent McCord (and his later reaction to finding out it *wasn't* his dad is wrenching; he'd almost rather it was, even if it meant his life was really sucking).
If only John's pals hadn't shown up, this would have ended pretty well, probably. Since it *can't* be that simple.... well, the inevitable happens. Earth shows its worst side (since John's brain contains the awareness that there's a lot of Not Nice people running around down here), and the aliens decide it's not the Happy Hunting Ground after all.
More importantly, D'Argo, Rygel, and most importantly Aeryn get a good look at what John's people are capable of, and it's not very pretty. How's *this* going to change the dynamic on the ship? Are his shipmates going to look at him differently, now that they have a frame of reference for Earth, and how brutal the primitives can be? How is this going to effect John's earnest wish to go home? He's going to have to be a sight more careful and deliberate about making that return trip, at the very least; now that he's faced in theory what might in fact happen when he comes home. Don't freak the natives, John. You know how they get.
Additionally, his friends now know --- and John knows --- that he would blow off Earth's evil bureaucrats for them, and give up his home again if they were in trouble. Hopefully, that will foster a little more trust and friendship with D'Argo and Rygel. But what can it mean to Aeryn? She did exactly the same thing for John in the premiere--- albeit more for the sake of a principle and an inarticulate hope for a better life, than because of anything she might have felt for him on 12 hours' acquaintance. Which makes it great, and lovely that he just did the same thing (even if it was a holodeck experience). Yay.
But! Is Aeryn really going to want to go back to a place she's experienced as extremely unpleasant just because John asks her to? [Except for that really neat rain stuff (I loved that bit! Claudia is a genius!), and John's dad being a stand-up guy] She had a hard enough time saying good-bye to him once. Is she going to be able to do it again, or face the possibility of becoming a prisoner if she goes back with him? Now she *knows* how well she might not fit in. You have to applaud an episode (and a writer) which manages to raise so many questions with one little well-worn scenario.
Some of the answers to these questions might turn on that "did they or didn't they" and the "Aeryn or Not?" thing.... Right now, the jury's still out. I know what *I* think would be best for the show and the characters right now, but that doesn't mean I'm right. The evidence is sloppy, at best. But I am now convinced that the writers of this show are happy little alien beings who like to mess with our heads as much as the Puppet Guy messed with John's. I salute them even as I shriek in pain!
Other things --- great speech stuff for Aeryn and Rygel. As alien as the dialogue for Zhaan and D'Argo in the premiere, so they get consistent coolness points there. Wilson and Cobb and those other Aussie villain yotzes did a good job of making me want to shoot them as badly as Aeryn did. Awesome continuity on the good luck ring. Great dress choice for Aeryn; Claudia looked fabulous (although, um, why did John have that dress lying around in that bungalow?). I don't want to *know* what Rygel was eating in the waiting room--- it's enough that he was never dead, and that he's enthusiastically saluting the catering staff. Go, Your Dominarness! The alien Spokesman was the one unconvincing FX element of the whole show; probably exacerbated by the constantly shifting lighting, which was really distracting the second time around. The rest was perfect. And I'm reassured that John has never been in the Ladies' Room. It's nice to know he's not that kinda guy.
Ultimately, this one comes down to consequences. We better --- and I mean better!--- get some payoff to that kiss, guys. And about what may or may not have happened afterward. Discussions, slapped faces, rejections, reactions, unplanned pregnancies, accusations, freak-outs, anything! It's bad enough we have to wait four weeks to find out how Aeryn and John are coping with these events--- I don't want to be cheated out of ever knowing for certain what those events were!
I have to say this may be the most brilliantly written and executed Farscape episode yet -- with absolutely the most frustrating ending in television history! Grrr! Who was real, who wasn't? Was that Aeryn John was making out with in the hotel room, or was it all in his head? Were D'Argo and Rygel ever there at all? Has Aeryn now met an approximation of John's dad, seen his planet, been traumatized by his MIBs? Are we ever going to get any of these questions answered?!?
Ahem. Excuse me, I'm having issues. < deep breaths > Okay. Like I said, outstanding episode; like Kiki, I was 99.9% sure from flash-of-white-light on that this was a dream sequence/hallucination/what have you situation, which allowed me to enjoy the ride with slightly less trauma. I'm a veteran of Star Trek. Which did not make it any easier to see things like Rygel being autopsied < shudder >. But first things first -- John getting his chance to go home, the intense parting from Aeryn after she turns down his invite to go with him, D'Argo urging him through the wormhole as Aeryn watches in frozen misery -- all of this was beautifully written and portrayed.
But the fun didn't really start until we hit planetside. I would like to think John's subconcious is really freaking paranoid/dark, or that the aliens were pushing for a worst-case scenario -- I'd like to think we'd behave slightly better than this towards alien visitors, even with 7 months of working themselves into a frenzy about the open wormhole. But it's nothing I can guarantee, unfortunately -- the Wilsons and Cobbs of this world are always going to be around. The only humans who scored well were the Crichton boys, one of whom wasn't. :P But beautiful, lovely touches throughout the ep -- hearing D'Argo, Rygel and Aeryn speak their native tongues, when we'd forgotten for so long that yeah, they speak languages that sound way different from ours. Deep, deep coolness.
Finding Rygel, as I've already said, was deeply disturbing; as much as the little spud annoys me on occasion, he never deserved that. It was one of the times I was covering my eyes saying 'It's just a dream, it's just a dream.' D'Argo's reaction to be captured again was just wrenching, and Aeryn... damn. Give Claudia Black a raise -- whatever she's making, she's worth more! All of her scenes were stand-out -- the utterly classic rain scene, telling Jack she'd protect John (that's got to be the rough translation), telling John that not even Peacekeepers would kill their prisoners to study them.. Claudia just could not put a single foot wrong. Aeryn would fit in on Earth, but only with the people like Crichton -- the best of us.
And Crichton... Jeez. You have to feel for this guy in the worst way -- his dream come true of home turns into the nightmare from hell, and he has to choose between doing what the home team requires and exiling himself to protect his friends. Somehow, I think he's going to have a lot more sympathy for Aeryn's position with the Peacekeepers in the future. And as for John and Aeryn.... I hope that really was Aeryn and that that wonderful, incredible kiss was real. I'm also damn near certain no sex was involved, IMHO; neither of them was in any shape for that, John in particular. But if it was the real Aeryn, then they sure got some real bonding done, which is always a happy -- but she also saw where he comes from, good, bad and ugly. And she tasted beer. :P We'll see what the afteraffects are.
If it wasn't the real Aeryn, of course, status quo ante and cut off the supply of Star Trek: Voyager to Australia. :P And there is evidence for it not being the real Aeryn -- we didn't see her in the holding cage with D'Argo and Rygel at the end, her reactions when John started freaking were off (telling him to keep it down instead of going for her gun when he started yelling that something was wrong)... I think she was real, but it's impossible to be sure. Which is really freaking frustrating!!!
As for the whole alien thing -- too Trekkian for my taste (I like Trek, seriously, I tape Voyager every week; I just have no illusions about it) but an interesting set-up, and it gave us a chance to have an episode with the very cool Kent McCord. John's dad is exactly what we'd expect (and man do those two have issues) and, Human or alien, appears to be a good guy to have on your side. But, in alien form, the FX fell just a bit short (the only time in the episode, btw, outstanding job by the CGI guys throughout); I couldn't quite believe the insect-Dad was real. Of course, it wasn't like telling real from false through the whole ep wasn't a pain in the butt. :P I'll judge the entire episode after I get my answers.
[Note: Okay, it was live, not Memorex, and this rocked!]