Farscape - Season 2 - Episode 10
Farscape - 2x10 - My Three Crichtons - Originally Aired: 2000-7-14
A mysterious energy sphere implants itself inside Moya and envelops Crichton. When Aeryn fires upon it, it ejects not one, but three Crichtons! One of them is the original, one of them is a de-evolved 'Ape-Man Crichton', and the other is a super-evolved 'Future Crichton'. The energy sphere turns out to be a dimensional portal, and a transmission from this portal demands that unless one of the Crichtons is sent back, Moya will be pulled though in her entirety. It seems obvious to everyone to send the ape-Crichton back, but when he cannot be found, the original Crichton finds himself at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder. [DVD]
3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- No significant exposition, events, or consequences. And a lame episode on top of that.
- This is the first episode of the series that is truly a bottle show. No new sets and no guest stars. The only new elements required to film this episode were new visual effects and props related to the green sphere.
- Chiana encountering neanderthal Crichton.
- Another John emerging from the green sphere.
- The sphere demanding one of the Crichtons back.
- The neanderthal John sacrificing himself and the other clone to save the original John and the rest of Moya's crew.
This episode is like Star Trek Voyager's "Tuvix" but without the well played moral dilemma. Unlike Tuvix, the super smart John in this episode is portrayed as unlikable and self-absorbed to the point of being dangerous to the rest of the crew. That happenstance is merely a convenient trap door for the episode to get a free reset button. Now we don't have to deal with more than one Crichton, or deal with the issue that if only one Crichton can remain, a solid case could have been made to keep the smarter one around.
When John wondered and worried that the smarter, more evolved version of himself was the inevitable future of his race, D'Argo quite correctly consoled him by assuring him that it's only one possible genetic path. I enjoyed this detail, but it also underscores the more interesting question, what if the genetic path the sphere delivered was a likable, non-self-absorbed, non-dangerous version? What if super smart Crichton was as harmless as the original?
That would have made for a more interesting story. But, again, the episode's trap door makes it so we don't have to tackle the tough questions. Instead, we get a cliched action show and a set of confusingly preachy moralizing scenes. For example, Chiana sets neanderthal Crichton free to make some kind of high minded moral point, but as D'Argo said it was merely stupid. That move very easily could have cost everyone on Moya their lives.
Then original John paradoxically agrees to sacrifice himself just as he finishes lecturing his super-smart counterpart about the evils of him being remarkably indifferent to the lives of Moya's crew. Why would John do that? By this point he had all the evidence he needed that his smart counterpart would be the worse version for Moya to keep around, despite his enhanced abilities. John should have kept fighting for his life. I found it profoundly out of character for him to just give up like that and horribly convenient that his neanderthal counterpart let him off the hook.
That said, the poor neanderthal Crichton's story was indeed touching. Imagine living your whole life as a regular person, then being transformed into... that. In your diminished capacity, you're just lucid enough to know what you've lost, but not lucid enough to ever regain it. Indeed tragic. But the implications of John being cloned like this could have been much deeper and much more interesting. It's a shame the episode didn't explore it well.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Hugo on 2015-06-13 at 7:57pm:
It is still a very entertaining ep!