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Farscape - Season 1 - Episode 20

Farscape - 1x20 - The Hidden Memory - Originally Aired: 2000-1-14

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 6.18

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Synopsis
Determined to rescue Crichton, Aeryn infiltrates the secret Peacekeeper base where Crichton has been imprisoned. Between grueling torture sessions in the Aurora Chair, Crichton is locked in a cell with Stark, a Banik slave who is being subjected to the same torture. Eventually Gilina comes up with an ingenious plan to break Crichton and Stark out of their cell. Meanwhile, back on Moya, Chiana and Rygel contend with the difficult birth of Moya's child. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Numerous major long term plot threads are serviced here.

Problems
None

Factoids
- According to Rygel, he has conceived hundreds of progeny, and an unknown number more unofficially with females who weren't his wives.

Remarkable Scenes
- Moya going into labor.
- Scorpius: "I know you're living on a stolen Leviathan with escaped prisoners and I know that Leviathan is pregnant." John: "Do you know who the daddy is?"
- Gilina programming a false memory into John's mind, turning Scorpius against Crais.
- Aeryn meeting with Gilina and getting into John's and Stark's cell.
- Stark: "How many Peacekeepers do you know on this base?"
- Scorpius finding out about Crais murdering his Lieutenant.
- Moya having to depressurize her living space in order to give birth, causing Chiana and Rygel to frantically find an independently pressurized environment.
- Rygel helium farting in the pressure chamber just inches from Chiana.
- Aeryn confronting Crais, renouncing her status as a Peacekeeper, taking his keycard, and sparing his life, but leaving him in the Aurora chair to be tortured continuously.
- Moya birthing a Leviathan genetically modified by the Peacekeepers to be have integrated weapon systems and Moya having trouble giving birth due to the unnatural modifications.
- John revealing to Stark that the secret he was keeping from Scorpius was about a time he "kissed a girl."
- Moya's baby shooting itself free from the birthing chamber.
- Scorpius killing Gilina.

My Review
The resolution to the last episode's cliffhanger continues to be a wild ride and itself doesn't entirely wrap up the story, leaving several more loose threads hanging, such as the uncertain nature of Moya's baby and Moya's resultant Starbursting disability as a consequence of the birth. However, the crazy pace of the last episode slows considerably here and on top of that I think the Gilina, John, and Aeryn love triangle is wrapped up too quickly. It had the potential to get far messier. The episode paradoxically spends both too much and not enough time on this muddled plot thread.

There are two conflicting motives surrounding it and neither gets serviced quite adequately. The first motive is to simply use Gilina as a plot device so John and Aeryn can escape the Peacekeeper base relatively unharmed. This is definitely milked for all it's worth, but the love triangle stuff comes up at inappropriate times, slowing down the action and taking the audience out of the moment of danger. The second, opposite motive is to service the love triangle as much as possible because it's quite obviously of paramount concern to Gilina. She wants her prize if she is to betray her people.

The story attempts to serve both motives by making Gilina a conflicted character and indecisive at the critical moment. A better story would have downplayed the love triangle and let it live almost exclusively in subtext. After the escape, they could have started fleshing out the love triangle conflict completely and made it an A plot rather than a B blot. Instead, Gilina's love for Crichton just plays as a cheap plot device and her convenient death right after they escape together is wrapped up just a bit too neatly.

That said, little else in this episode suffers from this problem. Along with Moya and those who live within her, Crais is left in an incredibly precarious position as a result of this episode. Perhaps most interesting of all, now John's going to have some time to think about the knowledge the aliens from A Human Reaction gave him subconsciously. He might start actively seeking the knowledge Scorpius was trying to extract from him and we can be sure Scorpius will begin chasing Crichton too, much like Crais.

A final remarkable facet of John in this episode is his increasingly unstable behavior. John's seemed a wee bit wacky since the premiere, but this and the previous episode really ratchet it up. It's as if his bizarre references to Earth in conversation have been a coping mechanism for the extraordinary and frequently terrifying things he has experienced. He has to constantly remind himself of where he's from and where he's going along with allowing himself to find humor in the things he experiences, even when they shouldn't be funny, least of all to him.

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