Farscape - Season 1 - Episode 16
Farscape - 1x16 - A Human Reaction - Originally Aired: 1999-8-1
Crichton shoots through a wormhole to Earth and finds himself back home, seven months after he left. The original wormhole, it seems, has been open the whole time, and Earth has been fearfully waiting for aliens to invade via the yawning portal. Crichton, though reunited with his father, Jack, is treated with suspicion, but when D'Argo, Aeryn and Rygel arrive in a Transport Pod, he is forgotten in the storm of xenophobia. Though the imminent danger brings Aeryn and Crichton closer than they have ever been, Crichton discovers that his father is not what he seems... [DVD]
0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- This episode may seem like filler, but it has extreme consequences at the end of the season.
- It's been 7 months since John's Farscape One mission.
- John recording a letter to his father.
- Moya finding a wormhole that leads to Earth.
- John crashing into Australia.
- John being reunited with his dad.
- John's dad revealing that the wormhole is still there.
- A pod from Moya coming through the wormhole.
- Rygel vivisected.
- John apologizing to Aeryn for screwing up her life so much.
- Aeryn in girly clothes.
- John realizing that everything he's seeing comes from his memory.
- The John's dad alien explaining the purpose of the farce.
This episode repeats the mistake of Star Trek Voyager's episode The Eye of the Needle: it's way too soon for this. It didn't take very long at all in this plot for me to realize that it was just gonna be a big fat reset button and that nobody was really going to Earth. As a consequence of this, all we get is a highly entertaining tease. This episode is filled with wonderful notions that if the writing actually went there for real would be very dramatically compelling.
First is the idea that the wormhole to Earth is still there. Who knows if that's really true, but imagine the consequences for Earth if it were! Of course this episode only barely scratches the surface of such a notion. Other fun details were the attention to detail paid to the translator microbes' implications, watching Aeryn react to Earth, and the numerous character moments the episode afforded the both of them. But then, once again, the episode corrupts this too. Will anyone besides John remember any of this happened? This much is not clear. For that matter, why did Aeryn, D'Argo, and Rygel come to Earth anyway? And why didn't Zhaan and Chiana?
The aliens of the week contribute to the half-baked feel of this story as well with their exposition in earnest occurring solely in the final act which serves as little more than epilogue for the story. Once again, we have an intriguing idea: there's an alien race that can make wormholes and control them at will? Why do they not have enough power to make many more? In all the time they've been searching for a friendly ally why haven't they found one yet? Is everyone in the galaxy as petty as the humans were in this story?
Getting some answers to these highly significant questions would have made the story more satisfying. Instead, what we get seems largely meaningless, if quite touching at times. In short, the writers should never take us to Earth again unless it's for real.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Remco on 2010-03-05 at 8:23am:
Apparently, Voyager didn't give me enough cynicism. I actually thought they were changing up the show with this episode! As the episode unfolded, I got a great charge out of the idea that Earth had been changed by the discovery of extraterrestrial civilizations, and that this would be the reason Chrichton would not be able to stay loyal to Earth. The wormhole was still there, and Earth was gearing up for war with whatever was out there: Peacekeepers. That would be so great!
Alas, it was all neatly tied up at the end of the episode.
- From Lennier on 2010-06-28 at 12:59am:
"Instead, what we get seems largely meaningless, if quite touching at times."
Indeed it seems this way upon first run, but could any of us have foreseen that this turns out to be arguably the most important episode of the series, even after the Premiere? :-)
- From DK on 2012-07-31 at 7:39pm:
Great to see Kent McCord back in action. Would have liked to have seen him even more often in the show but...
Only had enough power to transport their race one more time? How does an entire race with the power of wormholes, and obviously one of the most advanced in the Farscape universe, run out of gas with no way to fill up again?
- From Hugo Ahlenius on 2015-01-30 at 4:30pm:
The Ancients - they only base their decision on scenes created from Crichton's mind? I would have expected him to be more positive though!
Also: sounded to me like these Ancients had heard of Earth, Crichton should have asked for the way!