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Farscape - Season 1 - Episode 17

Farscape - 1x17 - Through the Looking Glass - Originally Aired: 1999-9-10

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 5.86

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Synopsis
After a botched Starburst, Moya becomes stuck in a dimensional schism; divided into different planes of existence, with the crew scattered and lost throughout these planes. Crichton is witness to various strange phenomena as he explores the fabulously changed Moya. A decision is made to reverse Moya out of the schism, but as this plan gets underway, an alien source warns that their carefully thought out plan will lead to Moya's destruction. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 2, filler, but an enjoyable episode nevertheless. You can skip this one, but you'd miss out on some fun.
- No significant exposition, events, or consequences. A fairly enjoyable episode, but completely arc-irrelevant.

Problems
- Did Rygel's song really rhyme in both his native language and in English?

Factoids
- This episode establishes that Starburst can't quite be navigated, but instead takes you to random places.

Remarkable Scenes
- The crew arguing over whether or not to abandon Moya because of the dangers posed to them by her pregnancy.
- John transferring from the red dimension only to stumble onto the perhaps worse blue dimension in the blue dimension.
- John and Aeryn trying to communicate.
- The yellow dimension that makes everything funny.
- Chiana immune to the red dimension.
- D'Argo: "Have you ever heard of anything like this happening before?" John: "D'Argo, I haven't heard of anything like anything before. My planet doesn't even go to the moon anymore."
- Chiana's extreme reaction to the blue dimension.
- Aeryn devising a way to communicate in the blue dimension.
- Aeryn demonstrating that she already knows how to do the full reverse that Pilot wanted.
- John meeting with the aliens in the starburst world and realizing that they have to go forward, not bakckward.
- D'Argo's mispronouncing Mississippi as "Mippippippi."
- Everyone appearing on a unified Moya in Pilot's den.

My Review
This episode's outrageous plot with no consequences is little more than an excuse to have some light-hearted comedy and some fun character moments, but on this the episode delivers quite well. The overall thrust of the story is more or less a rehash of Exodus from Genesis. In both stories weird stuff starts happening to the crew and on top of that they have to fend of an alien attack, but the alien turns out to not be hostile after all by the end. Though to Farscape's credit, this is perhaps one of the most common formulas in science fiction in general.

The principal purpose behind the dimensional shift and incorporeal monsters plot device was to get the bickering crew to reunify in spite of the fact that they're all scared that Moya's pregnancy could be a liability to them. This seems like a manufactured conflict to me. Why are they all suddenly worried about this now? Despite this rather faulty premise, there are plenty of nice character moments to be had.

Pilot and Moya don't want to be abandoned and lonely so they go to great lengths to curry favor with their passengers, Chiana finally starts acting like one of the crew by taking an active role in solving the problem and not whining about it (too much), and Crichton utters such choice lines to Aeryn as "you know I'd never leave you" and "back at you baby." And while the excessively cheerful bonding at the end of the episode may have been overdone and somewhat creepy, it too was enjoyable. Overall a fine episode. Not amazingly great, but not bad either.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Remco on 2010-03-07 at 10:21pm:
    I was watching this episode with earplugs in the train, and that added a lot to the immersion of the episode. The blue dimension was emitting that excruciating noise. Well, let me tell you that it had the same effect on me as it had on Chiana. ;)
  • From Ben on 2010-03-14 at 1:56am:
    This is a real gem, one of my all-time favorite episodes. It's one of the very few times Farscape does a Star-Trek like optimistic alien encounter, and it does it very well, showing the crew working together to slowly put together the pieces and solve the puzzle behind everything. What's remarkable is that the episode accomplishes all this and manages to be consistently intriguing despite no new sets, barely one guest character, and minimal special effects.
  • From Hugo on 2015-02-07 at 6:59am:
    I liked it, but the background/setup felt forced, as well as the ports between the dimensions.

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