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Farscape - Season 1 - Episode 09

Farscape - 1x09 - DNA Mad Scientist - Originally Aired: 1999-6-18

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 5

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# Votes: 16 19 3 8 26 6 5 11 19 17 11

Synopsis
An alien geneticist, Namtar, uses the DNA of each crewmember to determine the correct route to their respective homeworlds. Aeryn and Crichton are both disappointed; locating Earth is beyond Namtar's abilities, and Aeryn knows her way home but can never go back. It then transpires that Namtar has a hidden agenda. He injects Aeryn with Pilot's DNA, and she starts to mutate into Pilot! While Crichton desperately works out a way to reverse the process, his efforts are hindered by D'Argo, Rygel and Zhaan, who fight to be the first to go home. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Essential character development for Aeryn and Pilot.

Problems
None

Factoids
- Luxans are not prone to apologies.
- This episode and PK Tech Girl are examples of episodes with rather poorly thought out titles because they were merely working titles for the drafts. However, in the hustle of the production, the working titles ended up becoming the final titles, much to the embarrassment of the producers.
- The series was near cancellation during the development of this episode. This episode ended up being a sort of test to see if Farscape was worth keeping on the air. Luckily, the episode turned out well!

Remarkable Scenes
- Namtar determining the location of the homeworlds for each member of Moya's crew, then asking for one of Pilot's arms as payment.
- Zhaan, Rygel, and D'Argo cutting off one of Pilot's arms!
- John talking to Pilot after Zhaan, Rygel, and D'Argo took his arm.
- John: "When I find a way home, if I find a way home, I'll take you with me." Aeryn: "Me on a planet full of billions of you."
- Rygel calling Zhaan a "blue-assed bitch."
- Aeryn shooting a giant hole in Namtar and Namtar completely healing and regenerating it in seconds.
- Crichton discovering that Namtar was actually Kornata's test subject originally. She enhanced him into a monster.
- Kornata revealing that the crystal is bugged to erase all of Moya's memory and Crichton destroying it in front of Zhaan, Rygel, and D'Argo.
- Crichton telling Namtar of Josef Mengele. Namtar says he sounds like a visionary.
- Kornata restoring Namtar to his original form.
- D'Argo playing music for Pilot as a sort of unspoken apology.

My Review
In one of the most touching and chilling episodes so far, Pilot's front left arm becomes a casualty in a tragically fruitless endeavor for Moya's crew seeking to relocate their homeworlds. This episode finally confirms what we've all had to just assume so far: everyone on Moya's crew just wants to go home. Right from the teaser, this episode is fraught with tantalizing possibilities and Namtar was a spectacularly imaginative alien. I was fascinated with him well before he turned out to be evil simply because of his unusually alien appearance.

The plot dims somewhat following the teaser when the crew inevitably begins bickering over whose homeworld to return to first, then, when it's discovered that only one location can be extracted from the crystal at all, whose hoomeworld to visit solely. I was surprised that even Zhaan succumbed to the now signature Farscape bickering. These scenes greatly diminish the episode.

However, it did give Aeryn and Crichton a chance to bond over their mutual loss. I really enjoyed Aeryn getting some time to reflect on the irony of knowing exactly where her home is but being forever denied the opportunity to return to it, whereas the rest of Moya's crew would be welcomed to their homes with open arms if only they could find them.

When Namtar turned out to be evil, his motives only made him more interesting. His impressive intellect and impressive range of abilities made his thirst for ever greater perfection quite creepy and made him one of the show's most compelling antagonists so far; certainly among the most fascinating aliens, even if he's singularly unique and not a member of any particular race. The comparison to Josef Mengele was apt, if trite in the Godwin's Law sense.

All in all, despite the episode's failure to advance the plot in significant ways since our heroes' prize turned out to be a false one, this is still an essential and masterfully executed character development piece with only minor flaws. Easily the best episode since the premiere.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Lennier on 2010-05-30 at 12:31pm:
    I have to wonder why, whenever Rygel calls Zhaan a "blue-assed bitch", we the audience don't hear "blue-assed tralk"...

    Or does "tralk" mean "whore" or something?
  • From Muser on 2012-04-30 at 12:05pm:
    It always distracted me when watching this episode that "Namtar" is Rat Man backwards.
  • From Dana on 2012-07-29 at 2:21pm:
    Should have been some connection made to Zan's state of mind from the previous episode. Would have made her actions in this episode more understandable and would have continued the arc.

    Of all the use of disturbing imagery, the worst was the thought of Zan + Rigel.

    Very good dipictions of aliens in the Farscape universe. Refreshing to be away from the 'forehead' aliens.

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