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1.17 Through the Looking Glass

Writer Director Tour Date Production Number
David Kemper Ian Watson September 10, 1999 1.17
In an attempt to prove that she is still capable of serving her passengers, Moya Starbursts, in spite of her pregnancy --- and then runs aground on a hyperspace sandbar, splitting the Leviathan into several different realities. While the crew tries to save Moya and themselves, something outside the ship intrudes, threatening all of the versions of Moya....

Best Lines
Rygel: Well, Moya has been, for as long as I can remember, our protector, our home, our companion and our friend.
Crichton: Amen.
Rygel: However, as relationships grow, they also change. Do you think we can trade her for a faster vessel?
Aeryn: Moya is not your possession, Your Lowness!

Crichton: What's so funny?
Rygel: You! You! You're making less sense than usual! But in a ... [head tilt]... in a cute way!

Crichton: I have got to get out of here before I end up like you!
Rygel: What, handsome with great sexual prowess?

Zhaan: I have always wondered what could be beyond height, width, depth and time.
Crichton: Nausea.

Zhaan: We stay together, the whole way, Chiana. No roaming.
Chiana: Yes, Mother.
John: No, Mom, plan has changed.

Chiana: Before I got here, did they believe anything you said?

Crichton: It's going to be harder to doubt you in the future.
Aeryn: Well, I apologize for my strengths.

Chiana: Do you know any good jokes?
John: Not besides the one I'm living.

Crichton: Hang tough, Sparky. Enjoy the personality.

Rygel: There is no expanse of the mind the will cannot traverse
Or physically the distance made across the universe
His blessings many in the stars save one lamented curse
That 16th Rygel glory me must travel in reverse!
(Thanks to Sarah Houck for the transcription)

D'Argo: One mippippi one, one mippippi two, one mippippi three...

John: Where are you?
Aeryn: Trying to find a way out of this place. I didn't know if you were coming back.
John: I'd never leave you.

Rygel: Should I disrobe so it's memorable?

John: You did not say that.
D'Argo: I did. I was very shameless in my youth.
John: And that worked?
D'Argo: Of course not. The girls screamed and I was almost arrested.

Chiana: Should I be telling you this?
Zhaan: My dear, I've kicked more ass than you've sat on.

Kiki Says
This episode was just a joy. Visually, verbally, emotionally, and with totally unexpected surprises in it. Cracker Jack! After a couple of angsty eps, the upbeat story here was especially welcome, and I'm just feeling gleeful that Farscape shows no signs of running out of steam.

First off, I was expecting another "mirror, mirror" kind of episode, and while that's always fun (and I'd love to see it sometime in the future) I did think that it was too early in the series to go there. I was relieved to get an ep forcing our Merry Crew to deal with a crisis as a true team, working in sync, even though they're split up. I have no idea if the science in this episode is possible, but who cares? It works. You have your Excedrin Headache Red world, the Screaming Blue world, and the Yellow Trippy world, and different problems coping in each one. (Although, I'm with Perri. Did we have to *see* John toss his cookies every time? The Yuck Factor of this show is definitely alive and well).

Even better was the fact that the crew (and the audience) was forced to figure things out throughout the entire ep, instead of giving us a set problem-solution set-up at the beginning. First I thought that those slashes were reality-rips; then I realized it was a monster (and Perri was right; they *did* look like the Mark of Zorro the first time you saw them), and I was just behind Crichton when he figured out the Prime Numbers thing and went in to talk to the Reality Coast Guard. Okay, so I wasn't counting the little slashes, and if it had been me on Moya we'd all be dead, so what? (I hate and love that he figures his way out of problems on this show before I do. I love that I can't see his solutions coming. I love that I have to pay attention in order to keep up. But sometimes I'm aware that he's the Hero, he's *going* to get it, and I'm not supposed to, and thus my camera angles are impaired. But I digress.)

We've got one of the funniest quote lists so far up there, but it really doesn't do those lines justice. There are whole sections in the Trippy Yellow universe that just can't be transcribed to get anything like the effect of Rygel's ears perking up and sending John off into uncontrolled giggles. Pilot squeaking out "we're *stuck*". Aeryn pantomiming the Qualta blade to signify D'Argo. Or the last scene, with everyone talking and chatting and happy, and Zhaan kissing Rygel and making him gag. And that's just the funny stuff; the more serious moments flick by real fast, but they're equally memorable. It's pretty obvious the cast was having Too Much Fun with this, and they should all get major amounts of chockie for their performances.

A really, really great episode for Pilot; I don't think they could do anything more to show how much having a crew means to him and Moya. Duty, sacrifice --- he's so cool. I'd kill for more backstory on him and Moya at this point, that's how much I'm liking him (and her). Chiana *works* in this episode --- she's carving a niche for herself on the crew and within the show that is uniquely her own, which I didn't think was going to happen. Having her interact with Zhaan and Rygel as she does here was brilliant. Aeryn's bits were... perfect. Nothing more to be said. D'Argo had less to do, but what he had was great --- especially keeping a straight face through "one mippippi, two mippippi..."

This show in particular pointed up the fact that Farscape basically revolves around Crichton. Which is reasonable --- he's from Earth, he's cool, of course it's easiest to tell all the stories with him as the main player and focus. He's like the Slayer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Or something. Just go with it, okay?) However.... There may be times, and stories, when it would be better if he weren't always center stage. I'm not complaining--- hey, I love watching Ben Browder, he amuses me *lots* --- just kind of hoping that we get a little more variety in the focus next season. (Wow. What great words. Next season. Isn't it cool? They can do *anything* if they're given another season to play with! So I'm not worried.)

This one is worth it just for the Lemon Giggles, but throw in the party scenes and the Aeryn-John stuff and I think it's going to be one of my all-time faves.

Perri Says
Outstanding! If I was going to get someone (else) hooked on Farscape, this would be the episode I would use -- great plot, lovely effects, good character interaction and some of the consistently best dialogue yet. The opening discussion/meal is excellent -- everyone is true to character in their stances on whether to stay with Moya, Chiana is amusing as hell without being obnoxious, and pooor Pilot and Moya! And things just get better from there!

The entire 'stuck in another kind of weirdspace' plot could have been just another Trek rehash, but instead is a very cool, very original, and often hilariously funny episode. The four Moyas and the fight to reintegrate her -- punctuated by Crichton's marathon runs through the iterations and the giggly breaks on Yellow Moya -- and the encounters with the other dimension (I did guess that the 'monster' wasn't, but didn't catch the prime numbers thing until John did)...

This is the episode of the Production Staff. The FX rocked, as we've come to expect, and everyone in production, from the director down, gets to strut their stuff. The disappearances, the 'claw' marks of the between dwellers, the effects of the different ships (kudos to the video editors for Red Moya and the sound guys for Blue Moya), the sheer disorientation of bouncing from Moya to Moya (I was feeling for John on Red Moya, but could have lived without seeing him to the psychedelic yawn *three* times!) -- if anyone in production had fallen down on the job even slightly, this episode would have been ruined, since so much of it depended on the disorientation and the timing. But everyone came through with flying colors.

And let's not forget the wonderful performances from the actors! Chiana is written and performed beautifully - bouncing between concern for Zhaan, immediately wanting to bail when things get hairy, gloating when Red Moya doesn't affect her, and collapsing when Blue Moya does, giggling it up with Rygel... they keep this up and I'm going to have to like the little brat! Crichton (and Zhaan for that matter) is handling her perfectly -- holding her hand at the same time that he's kicking her butt, and she responds like any teenager would.

Then there's Rygel, John and Chiana on Yellow Moya -- sheer drugged hilarity, even as John fights a losing battle to keep it together. Wow, everyone in the room was smoking something, or John found those hash brownies again! And he *never* calls Rygel by name during the entire ep! Pilot was wonderful, torn between apologizing for himself and Moya, dealing with their fear, and snarking off when the occasion calls for it (but Kieriahn is right; I kept waiting for Pilot to accidentally whack John in the head during their scene together). And the poignant offer he conveys for Moya to voluntarily miscarry, and his expression, when all of these weird people start laughing their asses off at the end -- perfect. Major kudos to Lani, Sean and company.

Even D'Argo and Zhaan get to have some fun -- D'Argo desperately trying to get John not to throw up in Red Moya's den, the entire 'Mom' riff Chiana and John aimed at Zhaan, Zhaan meeting John with a gun, Zhaan joining John in his instant rejection of Moya's offer, D'Argo's "one-mippippippi-one"... just a long sequence of great bits.

And *all* of the Aeryn/John interaction -- the pantomime on Blue Moya (Crichton's imitation of Rygel was *perfect*), Aeryn rattling off the sequence and her smug "I apologize for my strengths", and John's "I'd never leave you" and Aeryn's amused, touched response -- 'shipper or not, you gotta love it! Particularly that "apologize for my strengths" line from Aeryn, with that proud grin -- that's what I want to hear, Aeryn! You know, at this point, even if she could go back to the Peacekeepers, she couldn't. There's no way she could ever fit into the little square hole they had laid out for her -- her horizons have been broadened far too much.

And then it all ends with that lovely, happy, wonderful dinner party -- friendly bonding on a level we have never seen. Peaceful, laughing, swapping stories, D'Argo stealing John's drink, Zhaan kissing Rygel.. Too much fun, and the best ending for an ep we've had yet. It would get obnoxious if it happened every time (as Trek has amply proven) but every once in a while, it's nice to see. Gives the audience all those warm and fuzzy feelings and reminds us why we already love these characters so very much.

1.18 A Bug's Life

Story by Writer Director Tour Date Production Number
Doug Heyes, Jr. Rockne S. O'Bannon Rowan Woods September 17, 1999 1.18
An encounter with a disabled Peacekeeper Marauder and the commandos aboard kicks off a risky masquerade for the crew of Moya in an attempt to avoid re-capture. Unfortunately, the PKs brought along a guest to the party... one that rapidly becomes even more of a threat than the Peacekeepers.

Best Lines
Zhaan: If we're going to attempt this, Rygel, it will be without thrones!

Larraq: Awful big ship for one little girl.
Aeryn: Ah. I can handle big.

Rygel: I should make you wear a bell around your neck!
Chiana: Keep your fantasies to yourself, Grub Boy!
Rygel: About you? Eeuuuw.

John: No no no no no! This is working. They think I'm a Peacekeeper captain.
Zhaan: Certainly the uniform is convincing.
D'Argo: Yes, we're glad the Peacekeepers left it on board. You look very... uh, fetching.

John: You got lucky, he missed your heart...
Aeryn: Closer than you think.

Aeryn: What are you doing in here, anyway?
John: Oh, I just wanted to, umm... I'm... the... then---
Aeryn: Thank you.
John: Don't mention it.
Aeryn: Why would I mention it?

Kiki Says
Shush, Perri. Shush! Pleeeeease shush? (siiiiighhh... attempting something like dignity...)

Yeah, I went non-verbal, so what? Let's move on, shall we? It's not like she was doing much better! Gorgeous guys in leather acting detached have a baaaad effect on her. Between the over-bred accent on Crichton, and His Cuteness Captain Larraq, this was a pretty darn fun ep for fairly easy reasons. So, this review is going to be a tad long.

Ignoring the carbonated hormones.... "A Bug's Life" was good despite plot and story bits we've seen before in "Aliens", "Die Hard 2", and the first-season X-FILES episode "Ice." Not that it mattered; the pacing was fast, and the crew's impersonation of real Peacekeepers and their 'captives' gave the exercise a whole extra layer of deception. Plus, the actors were talented enough to play an enemy virus impersonating themselves, while still letting the audience know the difference between the two. The rattlesnake sound-effect and green-eye flare of the virus were also *really* effectively used to turn the screws on the suspense. I kept wanting to scream warnings at the characters on-screen, and if I want to do that, it doesn't matter to me if I've seen it before.

I've been waiting for John to get sick since he got to the UT; by all rights, he should be reacting to every bacteria he comes in contact with, if not dead from an exotic infection six months ago. But no, the first time it happens, it's an intellivirus. Boy just can't win. As with the tech in last week's episode, an intelligent virus may or may not be possible, but it works, so you can ignore the impossible in favor of the amusing. Part of the fun here came from the virus's slips and mistakes --- even though the organism obviously had access to all the hosts' memories, it couldn't quite get Chiana and Crichton note-perfect. Especially with John pretending to be someone else half the time (its accent slipped into Southern at the wrong moments...).

The straightforward nastiness of the virus deliberately stabbing Aeryn --- simultaneously hurting Larraq (whatever was left of him in there) and Crichton as much as possible--- gives you a pretty good idea of what a galaxy populated by its spores would be like. Seeing the PK transport go *BOOM* made me darn happy--- although not as happy as John. I don't think he's ever been that grim while dealing with an enemy before, not even Durka, and it's an interesting change. (More on changes in John in a bit, though.)

Our visible guest bad guys were also super; nicely individualized, consistent with what we know of PK's, and fun to watch. From the first second of their ultra-cool on-their-feet entrance from the Marauder, they defined menace and posed a believable threat to the crew of Moya. (Major, major kudos to the animation F/X department for that. Space battles are cool, but it's stuff like *this* that shows you what you can really accomplish with today's CGI technology.) Captain Larraq (cool, cute, competent, and nothing like Crais, yay) may not have been a totally bad guy --- for a PK --- but watching him and John try to out-macho each other ("Captain." "Captain.") was both hysterical and a good indicator of how the PK corps work. Do you get the feeling they operate by Klingon promotion methods, or is it just me? Aside from that, his interest in Aeryn seemed to be genuine on both the professional and personal levels, setting up a nice set of conflicts. Hassan was smart, a little scary, and competent, for as long as she lasted; and Thonn fulfilled his purpose, which was there to be muscle, of course. The first guy who died seemed to be wearing the aviator's cap from the Sheyang on PK TECH GIRL, and when I looked up his name, it turned out to be Rhed. No, no redshirts here!

Other great character stuff:

Zhaan was clearly picking up on something wrong with Chiana early on, as well as realizing that there was no way John would have hit her that hard, masquerade or no. Having her as the voice of reason during the Mexican Stand-off was a cool reversion to the beginning of this season; while I know she can't be trusted in all situations, it's good to know she can still come through in the crunch.

The Rygel and Chiana Show was a stitch. Neither of those two can *ever* leave well enough alone, whether it's a locked box or pushing their crewmates' buttons. They both paid for their part of the mess: Rygel by being locked in the sauna, and Chiana by stealing Larraq's access key from the virus -- even if the virus made it to the secret PK station, he wouldn't have been able to get aboard. Darnit, I like this girl, and I think it's mostly Gigi Edgely's fault (although Rockne O'Bannon's great writing in this ep couldn't have hurt). Anyway, I hold PK High Command and its stupid orders (they can't have seen "Aliens"--- or they're just twits!) and Thonn, who let that virus grab him when he should know better, much more responsible for the carnage than these two.

D'Argo was dealing with Issues --- and having the reason for those bone rings confirmed kind of mitigates his Attitude through lots of the ep. That, and his utter panic and concern for Aeryn when she gets stabbed. The rest of the crew are truly shipmates to him now, and not just fellow travelers in flight, and it's cool to see that come out. And I gotta say that hearing Pilot call anyone "Captain" is just wrong, allright? Pilot doesn't ever need any kind of Captain! Lani Tupu does an excellent job of infusing his lines with a self-conscious attempt at respect, but I never want to hear Pilot saying that word again, okay? Got it? Good. *shudder*

A few people on the BB were irked with Aeryn. Some seemed to think that she'd fallen for Larraq, or had big bad second thoughts about being with Moya's crew after contact with the PK's (especially in that last scene). I don't believe it was that simple. All we saw was Aeryn in her natural environment, talking and working with people she understood, enjoying the novel sensation of having their respect again--- all the while painfully realizing it was temporary and a sham. Then she got stabbed, after which life reverted to "all this fugitive crap." Aeryn is not having anything like a Good Day. Claudia Black continues to amaze me and make viscerally hurtful all the shifting emotions inside someone who never, ever talks about this stuff.

Ben Browder--- boy, he definitely got a workout this week, playing Crichton, Crichton-playing-Captain, virus-playing-Crichton, and virus-playing-Crichton-playing-Captain. Whew. *That's* enough to make my head hurt. The hilarious accent and attitude are typical of the r-dropping superior snootiness found at the 1950's School of Villains, and playing off the more macho Larraq made it even more perfect. (Either Crichton's been chased by Crais for too long, or he's watched a ton of bad scifi flicks. No more MST3K for you, dude.) At the other end of the acting spectrum, there was the lovely, awful stuff that came out of John's genuine guilt and regret over his part in Hassan's death, and his worry, hurt and confusion over the events surrounding Aeryn's stabbing.

Which brings up something that didn't get dealt with in either last week's episode or review. We never got a definitive answer about what happened between them in A Human Reaction, but I'm leaning toward the belief that whatever-it-was didn't go very far. I think their reactions --- either jealousy, guilt, or overt caring --- would have been more intense if they'd gotten together in AHR. I don't have a problem with that. I'm just thrilled and bemused that the writers have managed to keep John and Aeryn on this very tight tightrope for so long; one step forward, a step back, a tiny step forward, balance... So long as they keep moving forward, no matter how slowly, I'll be happy.

Summing up: great suspense, some terrific character stuff, lots of shooting and explosions, enjoyable and three-dimensional (to a point) bad guys, and Crichton giving his impression of a Nazi via the Royal Shakespeare Company. Almost too much for one episode to contain; and while some people found it all too painful, I'm looking forward to where it takes us in the final four eps.

I just wish we were getting them before January!

Perri Says
Wow. Hamana, hamana, hamana... While I, unlike my partner, am not reduced to 20 minutes of stutturing incoherency at the first sign of a British accent (much less one clad in leather), I will admit that the best part of this episode was the eye candy. Between John in Leather (and where did he get that cheesy 'I would not pronounce the consonant 'r' if my life depended on it' accent?!? Definitely too much Dr. Who) and Captain Larraq (whose name we couldn't remember, so were calling him Captain Cutie-Pie for the entire ep), if you were female, you were pretty much in good shape no matter who was onscreen.

But I digress. I have to agree with Kiki about the stolen plots -- but they were taking the stolen plot elements (body snatching, 'whose got the bad guy' and Die Hard) and integrating them with the PK masquerade into something uniquely and coherently Farscape. A lesson I wish some other shows (*cough*7Days*cough*) would learn. The 'Virus Among Us' plot was cool and I spent at least as much time shrieking at the screen as Kiki. And the pay-off for it -- that lovely scene with everyone pointing guns -- was worth every second. The image of five people pointing guns at each other and trying to talk while John's cover is blown and he's busy yanking people back on-topic... just lovely. I was torn between collapsing in laughter and biting my fingernails to the quick.

Of course, they were helped by a quite impressive supporting cast. All of the guests were great -- Thonn in particular was a joy to watch, doing the thug routine to the hilt. And Captain Cutie-Pie (eye candy value aside) was great, simultaneously a hard-assed PK captain and a really genuine, cool kind of guy. His interest in Aeryn was beautifully played and when he told her she was wasted where she was, that she belonged in Special Ops, was heartwrenching. And no, I'm not upset that Aeryn was definitely starting to fall for the guy -- I can't blame her. He in essence told her exactly the same thing Crichton did -- "You can be more" -- but said it as a Peacekeeper, a peer, someone who understands where she came from and what she is in a way John never can. And he meant every word of it. That kind of validation from some one who represents everything was, and wishes she could be again, was bound to hit her hard and deep. 'Shipper though I am, I don't have a problem with that. It doesn't have anything to do with her relationship with John -- only her relationship with herself. And I feel for her in a big, big way.

And so did John. Most of his unhappiness in the tag was a result of Hassan's death -- and there's no way in hell he's going to get over that one any time soon. He's killed before in self-defense, but he's basically a pacifist, our John (unless really pissed off) and killing in cold blood -- even when he wasn't operating his own body -- is going to mess with his head in a big, big way. But he's not dumb -- he also knew just how much damage Larraq's involuntary betrayal and subsequent death was going to do to Aeryn's still remarkably fragile heart, and he was hurting at least as much for her as for any wounded feelings regarding her that he might have had. I agree with Kiki, by the way -- I'm more sure now than ever that whatever happened in A Human Reaction, it wasn't sex. Aeryn's interactions with Larraq would have been far different if she'd slept with John; I doubt it's something she would do or take lightly.

D'Argo... Man, I understand the Issues thing, seriously, especially now that we know what those rings in your collarbone are for. But you almost blew the whole show and you know it. He covered his refusal to go back in chains well by going for John's throat, but seriously messed with any hopes John had of maintaining a command air. And he knew it, too. Not that anyone was doing a particularly hot job of maintaining their cover -- between Rygel breaking out of his cell every five minutes, D'Argo and Zhaan blithely ignoring their cells and Chiana breaking and entering at every opportunity, it's a wonder they kept the show going as long as they did. And it wasn't actually a bad plan -- if the Marauder had just needed repairs, it would have worked. Yeah, Aeryn would have done much better as the captain than John -- she's got the mindset and the attitude down much better than he does -- but ultimately, I don't think it would have made much difference in how things shook out.

And Rygel and Chiana are no longer allowed to play together. I don't think I even want those two on the same ship! What trouble one of them doesn't get into, the other does! I suspect Chiana's behavior -- her pickpocketing of Captain Larraq in particular -- is going to have serious ramifications in the upcoming eps, but still... Play nicely, children, or we'll take away your lockpicks.

Best moment (besides the aforementioned "Off topic!") scene? Pilot having to stop before calling John 'Captain'. I missed most of the lines after that because I was giggling so much.

This doesn't quite make it into my list of favorite episodes -- I couldn't tell you why, but something was just a tad off -- but it's a good, solid (if largely ripped-off) turn-out for the Farscape team.