FARSCAPE Revisited Mini-caps / Season 1, Episodes 13-16

22 Jul

Theme music time!  I wonder if you can yodel this tune?

Stewart here…and fair warning, some spoilers lie within…

Welcome back, fellow travelers of the Uncharted Territories, for another mini-cap on Farscape.  We’re now past the midway point of season one, and the escaped prisoners on Moya have been having quite a time.  In the last mini-cap alone, Aeryn got some of Pilot’s DNA in her (along with some leftovers afterwards), D’Argo starts trying to stop being a jerkoff to John, Zhaan had to deal with Delvian insanity, and, oh yeah, Moya’s pregnant.  Yep, a living spaceship is expecting.  So with that, let’s get to it.

“The Flax”

John and Aeryn’s shuttle trip gets cut short by a giant force field in space, and with resources running out, probably a shorter chance to survive.  And on Moya, a scavenger offers clues to what’s going on with this shield called the Flax and offers D’Argo a chance to get home.  A fun episode, with the very brief hookup of Aeryn and John, Rygel playing alien chess or something with the creators of the Flax, D’Argo getting hit on by…well, you should see that for yourself.  Again, John and Aeryn attempt to have near death sex!  They lose, but you as viewers win.

“Jeremiah Crichton”

Oh, where to start with this one.  OK, Crichton gets pissy and goes on a joyride in his shuttle, Moya unexpectedly starbursts, leaving Crichton stranded on a planet for a few months with a primitive culture, and then Moya and friends come back to collect him.  And then there’s Rygel being mistaken for a local deity.  This is probably the worst episode of season one, if not in the bottom rung of episodes the show’s ever done.  For the ladies though, you get shirtless John, but unfortunately, you get him with a bad stick-on beard.  You win and lose at the same time.

Shirtless Crichton. Bad beard. Bad episode. Win or lose? You make the call.

“Durka Returns”

Remember Durka, Rygel’s dead captor referenced way back in “PK Tech Girl”?  Well, he’s not dead, but part of a prisoner transport Moya takes in for repairs, and likely been rehabilitated, which should not be a problem.  Unfortunately, Rygel wants revenge, and finds a way to screw everything up.  Good enough episode, and introduces us to Chiana (Gigi Edgley), another prisoner who Crichton has to team up with to stop Durka.  Oh, and she may have brutally murdered her captor.  Maybe.

“A Human Reaction”

Crichton discovers a wormhole that takes him home, and once there, finds government officials who are highly suspicious of his return.  Things don’t get better when Moya and friends arrive and become lab rats, but a bigger question comes up when something else seems wrong with Crichton’s home.  It’s a pivotal episode in the show, and the best episode in this batch of eps by far.   There’s some really nice moments like John and Aeryn finally having sex (yes, that did happen, and the aftermath is quite a bummer for John) and some reveals and meetings that stretch out into the future of the show itself.

Besides having one of the worst episodes the series has ever done, this batch of Farscape adventures has one of the show’s best as well.  With the exclusion of “Jeremiah Crichton” (and really, there’s a lot of reasons to exclude this from discussion), there’s some advancements in the characters (along with the inclusion of a new prisoner to bounce off of) and in the series that starts paying off in later seasons.

We finally meet escaped prisoner, thief, murderer, and future relationship destroyer Chiana.

And now, note time (in episode order):

–D’Argo’s reaction to Staanz’s offer of “companionship”: priceless.

–Love Rygel’s little switcheroo in his space chess game.  Like a good chess player, thinking steps ahead.

–Watching Crichton’s reaction before and after getting injected with the death drug was just hilarious.

–I’d skip the notes for “Jeremiah Crichton” and point you towards the commentary for the episode with producers Rockne O’Bannon, David Kemper, and stars Ben Browder and Claudia Black (I have it on the Starburst edition from a few years ago, but not sure if it’s in the current DVD/blu-ray release; if it is or not, let me know).  Besides having tons of anecdotes about the show’s run, discusses the issues I had with the episode itself.  And, it’s a quite funny listen to boot.

–Yeah, I can see the pale Elvis comparison for Salis.

–So, 100 years in cryogenic therapy and Durka is the best result for Nebari mind control?  Not good.

–The Zelbinion mystery and the dead body mistaken for Durka from “PK Tech Girl” gets answered somewhat in “Durka Returns”.

–A near-perfect Rygel response: “I make allowances for stress on this ship.”

–Love the fact for “Human Reaction” they chose to not have substitute Australia (where the show was filmed) for some other city in another country like they did later on.

–Well, its kind of clear John and Aeryn did hook-up in this simulation.  Great dismissive reaction from Aeryn the morning after.

“Crichton, why is there a sexy schoolteacher outfit in your closet?”

–The backwards talking Aeryn does?  Not a effect or recording, but done live on the set.  Wow.

–There is an interesting bit of trivia about “Human Reaction” revealed in its commentary track: there was a scene afterwards that explained and wrapped up more concretely what happened to Moya and gang.  Of course, its not in any of the DVD releases, and seeing as how the film elements are currently MIA (hence the somewhat less than HD remastering on the recent blu-ray release), it may be lost forever.

–The filming of the conversation with John and the aliens also included material used later on in “Nerve” for, well if you’ve seen beyond this batch of episodes, you know why.

–Really?  John’s never been in a women’s bathroom?  That’s pretty dignified of him.

NEXT TIME:  Moya gets stuck in different realities in “Through The Looking Glass”; the crew has to contend with Peacekeepers and a lethal cargo in “A Bug’s Life”; and Farscape goes the multi-parter route for the first time as Crichton tries to save Aeryn’s life, and ends up being imprisoned by Crais and the show’s most iconic villain, making his first appearance in “Nerve” and “The Hidden Memory”.

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3 Responses to “FARSCAPE Revisited Mini-caps / Season 1, Episodes 13-16”

  1. elizabeth ann July 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    I want to reply and provide my own comments but I have been traumatized by Crichton’s beard.

    I do highly enjoy the commentaries though… especially when they admit that “the episode is crap and we’ll tell you why”…

    Nope, still traumatized.

    Oh… yay! Love how there’s no “moonlighting” torture for the audience- we don’t get to see the sex scenes (dammit) but we do get John & Aeryn getting it on (or at least making moves that way).

    Damn… I can still see the beard.

    I think Human Reaction is one of my favorite episodes of first season. It’s not the best episode of the series, but it strikes me because it owns the fact that we humans are fucked up and we would capture and essentially kill any aliens- the possibility of meeting aliens and it going well… it’s a pipedream. 😦

    My god… I’m gonna need therapy to recover from the beard.

    • stewartmoncure July 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

      I love the quip about from Ben Browder about growing an actual beard for the opening of the last season and getting more criticism for that being fake than the episode mentioned here.
      Speaking of facial hair, he was in a recent intro for one of the minisodes that are playing on the Nerdist YouTube channel sporting an moustache (apparently he’s in a upcoming Western episode of Doctor Who). It’s quite bushy.

      • elizabeth ann July 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

        Ben is 50! So… I’m betting that his facial hair is less red now and probably more of a dirty color like his hair. I saw a preview for a movie he’s in while I was at SDCC… made my brother and I laugh.

        I love all the commentaries with Ben and Claudia- their on-screen dynamic clearly translated to the off-screen. I’m finishing the season right now… the last eps commentary. ♥

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