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Farscape - Season 1

Farscape - 1x01 - Premiere - Originally Aired: 1999-3-19

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 4.39

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Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 68 12 5 13 6 9 12 14 26 30 14

Synopsis
Astronaut John Crichton's experimental Farscape module is swallowed by a wormhole and spat out on the other side of the universe - in the middle of a pitched space battle. Taken on board Moya - a huge bio-mechanoid "living ship" desperately trying to escape captivity - Crichton is confronted by alien life forms: Ka D'Argo, the fierce Luxan warrior; Rygel XVI, the sluglike Dominar of the Hynerian Empire; Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan, the serene blue Delvian priestess; Pilot, a four-armed creature physically and neurally bonded to Moya, and Officer Aeryn Sun, an enemy Peacekeeper. In order to repair Moya, Zhaan, D'Argo and Rygel are forced to a Commerce Planet. Pursued by the ruthless Captain Crais, Crichton must use his primitive earth science to devise a means for Moya to slingshot out of range of Crais' ship and into the Uncharted Territories. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Series premiere, not filler by virtue of so much exposition.

Problems
None

Factoids
- The Farscape One mission's stated objectives were to "overcome atmospheric friction and exponentially increase its speed using only a planet's natural gravitational pull" ostensibly for the purpose of developing new spacecraft propulsion techniques.
- John's father was an astronaut and has walked on the moon.
- John went up in a fictional space shuttle named Collaroy.
- In this fictional quasi-contemporary universe, John works for an organization called IASA, which probably stands for International Aeronautics and Space Administration at which John holds the rank of Commander. IASA is likely meant to be a more internationalized version of the real-world US NASA program.
- Translator microbes colonize language-capable species at the base of the brain and facilitate the function of a universal translator. It is common to receive them at birth.

Remarkable Scenes
- John's trip through the wormhole.
- John, upon discovering he's in some kind of asteroid field with other ships flying around: "Uh... Canaveral?"
- Farscape One colliding with another ship, destroying it.
- Farscape One being pulled into a giant ship.
- John confronting the little robots aboard the ship and meeting the aliens aboard.
- John being injected with translator microbes.
- John discovering he's fallen in with escaped prisoners.
- Crais discovering that his brother was killed while colliding with Crichton's ship.
- John being knocked unconscious by one of the alien's tongues.
- Rygel to John, regarding translator microbes: "Why you weren't injected at birth I cannot fathom!"
- Officer Aeryn Sun confusing John with a member of her race, demanding his rank and regiment.
- Zhaan: "It's time for us to eat." John, a bit scared of her intent: "Eat what?"
- John explaining who he is to the aliens.
- The helium fart.
- Aeryn and John escaping Moya.
- Crais to Crichton: "You charged my brother's prowler in that white death pod of yours!" Crichton: "Wait a minute, are you talking about that near miss I had the first minute I got here? That was an accident." Crais: "That was no near miss for my brother."
- Crais declaring Officer Sun irreversibly contaminated.
- Crichton demanding that they all leave on Moya together.
- Crichton using his slingshot maneuver to save Moya from the Peacekeepers' "frag" cannons.
- Crichton after kind of fixing the little yellow robot: "See? You're fixed. Go play."

My Review
When looking for a compelling drama, I typically gravitate toward stories set in the past or the future because imagining settings other than the contemporary is an important part of the fun for me when experiencing the art of storytelling. Since Farscape is a contemporary science fiction drama, it should instantly lose points for me because it's set in the quasi-present day, but it doesn't. Because minutes into the premiere we're transported into a fantastical universe as imaginative as any future-set science fiction story.

The characters in this galaxy far, far away are so far removed from anything Earth that this story might as well have been set in the future, given the technology levels. The Peacekeepers (Sebacean race) even conspicuously look like humans. The narrative makes a distinct point out of this without necessarily chalking it up to some goofy coincidence; a forced cliche to do yet another western imperialism allegory where the Peacekeepers are meant to bear a striking similarity to the irrepressible and often criticized forces of western civilization on Earth in the real world.

Instead, while the curious similarity between the Sebacean race and real humans is quite obviously a good way to save money by doing less of that stupendous alien makeup work for the characters, it also serves as just one of many fascinating mysteries for John Crichton to uncover the source of. The most pressing questions for John to answer though of course are where is he and how did he get there?

The treatment of the science behind how John got where he went is mostly good. The slingshot stuff is all perfectly within the realm of real science. The only fishy stuff concerning that is what possible scientific benefit there could have been to John's Farscape One mission in the first place. The physics behind how slingshot maneuvers (or more correctly "gravity assists") work has been fairly well understood since the 1970s, and the specific maneuver John appeared to be testing was an aerogravity assist. Indeed, had John's experiment been performed at that time in the real world, it would have been the world's first test of an aerogravity assist. But the newscaster claiming this would somehow help us develop a means of interstellar travel is nonsense.

As for wormholes, that's all just fantasy, speculative science. But I'm fine with that MacGuffin. As with the conspicuous similarity between the Sebaceans and humans, the narrative of the premiere makes it clear that the nature of this wormhole phenomenon will be explored in more depth some time later. John's primary mission, of course, is to reverse engineer wormhole physics and find a way home.

The biggest weakness of the premiere has mostly to do with not enough time being spent developing the primary antagonist, Crais, as a rich and interesting character nor giving sufficient context to the conflict between him and Crichton. They meet in only one short scene in which a conversation that is hardly rational takes place. Crais mostly just comes off looking like an insane madman, which is precisely how John describes him in the subsequent opening monologues this season. It makes you wonder how Officer Sun could have ever condoned serving under such a man's command. Though she seems loyal to a fault.

Likewise, the conflict between the Peacekeepers and the rest of the prisoners is similarly poorly defined. All we know is D'Argo killed a superior officer while serving his people, Zhaan was a member of some sort of anarchy movement among her people, and Rygel was deposed from power over his people. Of these three wayward souls, Rygel comes off as the most sympathetic despite being the least likable, excluding Pilot and Moya herself, who appear to be sentient enough creatures that their enslavement was immoral.

Overall, knowing more about how Rygel, D'Argo, and Zhaan managed to escape from captivity, take the vessel by force, and expel all its crew, and why exactly they were all being held by the Peacekeepers in the first place seems less like a tantalizing mystery and more like a prerequisite for having sympathy for these characters.

In spite of that, in some ways less is more. By focusing the premiere solely on John's perspective, we get to really experience what he experiences as the story moves forward. We're confused when he's confused and we're surprised when he's surprised. This also magnifies John's bravery and cunning in the face of certain death when he heroically applies his knowledge of gravity assists as a means to help Moya and her crew escape danger; demonstrating once and for all John's tangible value to the crew. Indeed, John has finally stepped out of his father's shadow. More importantly, in a situation like this where a bunch of strangers each with their own agendas have formed temporary alliances, being valuable is preferable to simply not being a threat to the others.

Overall, as much as I enjoy the intense focus on John Crichton's bewilderment and awe surrounding his newly stumbled upon fantastical adventure, a good story requires an ensemble of characters. Right now I only feel like I know John. Hopefully that will change as the story continues because I want more of the the tantalizing taste of rich and fascinating diversity we got in the premiere. Truly the Farscape universe is among the most imaginative settings in science fiction in spite of its contemporary underpinnings.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Remco on 2010-01-28 at 10:39am:
    This comes as a nice surprise! I recently started watching Farscape, and I'm at episode 7. When did you decide to start reviewing the show? Right after watching the premiere?
  • From Kethinov on 2010-01-29 at 1:23am:
    I've already seen Farscape a couple times all the way through. When I finished my reviews of BSG and Firefly I needed a new show to go through alongside Caprica, so I started drawing up a short list of sci fi shows that I felt would make good review candidates. I ruled out Stargate early on for its premise issues. The finalists were Babylon 5 and Farscape. Farscape won.
  • From Chris on 2012-06-09 at 5:03am:
    Just found this review site of yours and I'm glad I did! I've been looking for an objective viewpoint to counter mine, as I'm thinking of watching the whole Farscape series again. I consider this to be one of my top 5 favorite shows of all time. I may drop in some more comments as I go through the episodes again. I like your review style.

    I noticed you also considered watching Babylon 5. If you ever get a chance to do so, just do it! I can tell that you're into character development and complex stories and B5 is rich with it! =D

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Farscape - 1x02 - I, E.T. - Originally Aired: 1999-5-8

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 3.67

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 44 8 3 6 9 7 9 9 12 12 2

Synopsis
Unable to shut off an internal alarm within Moya that is emitting a Peacekeeper tracking signal into space, Pilot makes the desperate decision to crash land Moya on a planet. Once on the planet the crew discover the alarm is deeply embedded in Moya's neural system and they will need to operate to get it out. While searching for a pain-killing agent for Moya's operation, Crichton meets some of the planet's inhabitants - beings who have never before encountered extra-terrestrials. The surgery on Moya is hindered when local military capture D'Argo, and Crichton is forced to choose between Moya's safety and D'Argo's life. [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
- How could the natives on the planet understand the crew of Moya and visa versa without translator microbes? Do the microbes occur naturally on their planet?

Factoids
- Rygel's race the Hynerians are amphibious.
- Chlorium (a common element, an atmospherically induced isotope of trillium) is one of six forbidden cargoes on Leviathans because it numbs them.

Remarkable Scenes
- John unable to stop twitching due to the siren.
- Moya landing.
- John, regarding the planet: "Kinda like Louisiana. Or Dagobah." Aeryn looks confused. John: "Dagobah. Where Yoda lives." Aeryn: "Who's Yoda?" John: "Oh, just a little green guy. Trains warriors." Aeryn: "Oh."
- John being paralyzed by the boy with the alien energy weapon.
- John discovering that he's made contact with a species that's never seen aliens before.
- Rygel biting Aeryn's arm.
- Moya's lift off.

My Review
I, E.T. is an episode with a good premise that tackles an interesting issue but suffers from a fairly poor execution. The most interesting theme dealt with here is John's role reversal with our aliens of the week. It's delightful that so early in his journey with Moya that John should encounter a race which has never encountered aliens before. Unfortunately, these aliens diminish rather than enhance the episode.

While the boy and his mother who John encounters are fairly interesting characters, their potential isn't fully realized because of the irritating and clumsy military plot thread. Instead what I find interesting about the people on this planet is that they're so technologically primitive compared to the vast sums of advanced aliens they're surrounded by. I'm surprised they haven't encountered aliens before given how close they are to so many other aliens.

A better episode would have explored the implications of first contact in more depth. I'd like to have seen these aliens confront the fact that they're very close neighbors to a universe teeming with technologically advanced life. Instead they were merely a plot thread to present a secondary level of danger to Moya's crew as placing Moya's life in jeopardy by itself was apparently not enough for the writers, not to mention the threat of the Peacekeepers tracking them down too.

Other minor themes were touched upon in nice ways as well, but also with very little depth. John begins adopting alien curse words, saying things like "what the hazmana is it?" when referring to the Peacekeeper siren, mimicking D'Argo. Aeryn expresses dismay over repeatedly betraying her people. John tries to acquire star charts from the aliens to determine where in the universe he is relative to Earth. And Zhaan continues in her role as a stabilizing force among the crew, this time both physically and emotionally.

The idea to focus on a story about disabling a Peacekeeper tracking device on Moya was a smart move, but all the manufactured danger surrounding removing this device was unnecessary. It would have been enough that the device forced Moya to land (a dangerous thing for her), and that the locals had never seen aliens before. There was enough potential in those two implications alone to justify a decent drama. Instead, we got the kitchen sink and it comes off only partially satisfying as a result.

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Farscape - 1x03 - Exodus from Genesis - Originally Aired: 1999-3-26

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 4.31

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 38 7 3 11 15 6 16 7 19 10 8

Synopsis
The source of a mysterious rise in Moya's temperature turns out to be an infestation of Draks, a race of intelligent insectoid creatures. Aeryn quickly succumbs to Sebacean heat delirium, a potentially fatal illness, forcing Crichton to bargain with the Draks, who agree to lower Moya's temperature in return for inhabitation of Moya until their breeding cycle is complete. However, this uneasy truce is shattered when lethal Peacekeeper Commandos under the command of Captain Bialar Crais raid the Leviathan. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 1, partial filler, but has important continuity. I recommend against skipping this one.
- Has exposition about Sebacean heat delirium along with a partially relevant subplot concerning the Peacekeepers chasing Moya.

Problems
- Why not put Aeryn in a shuttle to isolate her from the heat? Shuttles have their own heating and cooling systems...

Factoids
- Sebaceans lack the gland necessary to regulate extreme thermal increases. Thus they experience "Sebacean heat delirium" when it gets too hot, a debilitating weakness that leads to "the living death" which renders them brain dead but still alive.

Remarkable Scenes
- John cleaning his teeth with a "dentic" creature.
- Zhaan's painting of Rygel.
- John freaking out about alien bugs in his quarters.
- John: "What's her problem?" D'Argo: "Sebacean heat delirium." John: "What?" D'Argo: "Sebaceans lack the gland necessary to regulate extreme thermal increases." John: "Wait, Crais and those other bastards chasing us are cold blooded? Literally?" D'Argo: "It's a weakness not enough of them die from."
- Zhaan: "How will you tell us from them?" D'Argo: "We will cut off the tip of our small finger for identification!" John: "How about something a little less permanent?"
- Pilot: "It is strange to be so close to a Peacekeeper I do not fear."
- John figuring out the motives of the alien and mediating the situation.
- Peacekeepers boarding the ship, confronting the clones of the crew.
- Crichton's bluff to the Peacekeepers.

My Review
Continuing the theme from the premiere of Crichton struggling to be useful, this episode explores the psychology behind his struggling to be relevant quite well. I loved the detail about his not being able to figure out how to work all the controls on Moya along with Zhaan's astute observations and counseling. Once again she seems to be a stabilizing force among the runaways.

Likewise, even D'Argo presents some interesting facets as he admits that he wants Aeryn to live in this episode, declaring that while she was a Peacekeeper, she's now a comrade. D'Argo calls John a comrade too. It's touching how these people are slowly becoming more like friends and less like ambiguous allies. Indeed, John proves himself once again by applying his skills and his human perspective to solve the problem of the week. He adapts quite well and has earned the respect that he's now built up.

A particular highlight is Crichton's bluff to the Peacekeeper commandos who boarded on the marauder ship. They will undoubtedly return to Crais and give a report that will undoubtedly be all manner of confusing to Crais, though I doubt it will much motivate him to call off his search. That would be too easy. At best, it will buy John some time as Crais plans a more careful chase.

Easily the best theme of the episode is the theme of symbiotic life discussed between Crichton and Zhaan at the end of the episode. The parallelism between the dentic, the translator microbes, Moya herself (along with Pilot), and the monarch aliens is definitely a nice touch. I like how John appeals to the better parts of his nature, chiding himself for reacting so fearfully and violently upon witnessing all of these alien life forms at first. Though I suspect he will still encounter trouble with this instinct as time goes on.

Overall, Exodus from Genesis is a fairly enjoyable episode, particularly the character drama. The Crais plot strictly speaking may not have been too terribly relevant, but it's nice to see that the Peacekeepers are still chasing them, despite the questionable competence of the chase.

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Farscape - 1x04 - Throne for a Loss - Originally Aired: 1999-4-9

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 4.36

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 26 12 7 5 8 9 19 7 8 12 7

Synopsis
Rygel borrows a valuable crystal essential to Moya's survival, hoping to impress Tavlek Traders interested in business. However, the Tavleks' real business is holding important hostages for ransom, and they kidnap Rygel and the crystal. Crichton and the others obtain a powerful gauntlet weapon from a captured Tavlek to aid their rescue of Rygel, but they find that using the Tavleks' weaponry is almost as deadly as the Tavleks themselves. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Lame episode, but has significant continuity such as exposition about Zhaan's healing abilities, exposition about D'Argo's Qualta Blade, and exposition about how Luxan wounds are not cleansed until the blood flows clear. The Tavleks will also show up again in late season 2 in a pretty significant way.

Problems
- The term "solar day" first gets used in this episode, which is a pretty annoying piece of Farscape jargon. Like "arn" or "cycle" it's meant to connote a unit of time analogous to Earth measurements of time divorced from the historical (and astronomical) sources of how we measure time here on Earth. Think of it like a sort of metric system for time. Unfortunately unlike the other terms the show invents, this specific term creates more problems than it solves. "Solar" is supposed to refer to our sun, Sol. There's no way the aliens in Farscape would know the term. Even if we take it to mean a generic adjective for any star, which is also incorrect but a common usage error, the term is still sort of incoherent. The correct way to do that would be to say "stellar day." But that wouldn't make any sense either because how do you map a "day" to a star? There isn't really a good way to resolve this other than to say the translator microbes got this wrong and John didn't notice.

Factoids
- In the battle on Moya during the teaser, Ben Browder (John Crichton) actually injured himself in a stunt, cutting himself on the forehead. Though I wasn't able to locate any visible injuries in the final cut.
- Ben Browder also mentioned that he cut himself again on a tree branch in the scene when Aeryn first puts on the gauntlet and he stands up to confront her.
- Luxans when injured are in the most danger when the blood is opaque. Proper first aid is to continue to beat the wound until the blood flows clear.

Remarkable Scenes
- D'Argo trying in vain to use the aliens' weapon.
- John confusing Pilot by making a Star Trek reference by referring to Moya's "docking web" as a "tractor beam."
- Nude Zhaan.
- D'Argo subduing Aeryn with his paralysis tongue.
- Aeryn: "Imagine, somewhere out there there's a whole world full of Crichtons. How useless that must be."
- Rygel revealing his true status to his cellmate.
- Aeryn beating D'Argo to heal him...
- John's gauntlet running out of fuel.
- John mediating a truce with the Tavleks.

My Review
This episode has little to redeem it except some amusing humor and some interesting minor exposition about our characters. The drug addiction plot is understated at best and poorly executed, the heavy metal tones in the score are annoying, and most of the characters act even more petty than usual; I shared Zhaan's annoyances with the rest of the cast's seeming unceasing bickering. As a consequence of the understated drug addiction plot, the Tavleks made for rather lackluster antagonists. It's sad that the most enjoyment I got out of them was John constantly referring to them incorrectly as the "Tavloids" instead. Other than that, there is very little else of note in this rather straightforward and partially filler story.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Ben on 2010-02-07 at 12:33am:
    Thrilled you're doing Farscape. I always thought this was solid episode though. Dumb, fast-paced action is fine every once in a while, and Crichton's attempts at the end to talk the Tavlek leader into giving up Rygel always crack me up.

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My Rating - 1

Fan Rating Average - 3.6

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 54 7 9 10 13 10 16 12 9 7 9

Synopsis
While evacuating survivors of a disintegrating Space Cruiser, Crichton is exposed to a mysterious force field that causes him to jolt randomly back and forth through time and see possible futures. One of the survivors, the seductive Matala, entrances D'Argo, but harbors a more insidious purpose. As Crichton uncovers Matala's plan, his visions of the future become more and more disastrous; no matter what he does, he repeatedly perceives his actions resulting in Moya's destruction. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- No significant exposition, events, or consequences. And a lame episode on top of that. The stuff about D'Argo's "true crime" is brought up again later; it's not necessary to watch this episode in order to follow that arc later.

Problems
None

Factoids
- The Ilonics are blood allies to the Luxans.
- D'Argo's been away from the Luxans for 8 cycles.
- 3 cycles ago a war broke out between the Scorvians and the Luxans/Ilonics. The Scorvians were the aggressors.
- Rygel's been aboard Moya longer than anyone else besides Pilot.
- This episode establishes that D'Argo has been hiding his true crime. Only John knows this.

Remarkable Scenes
- John discussing his flashes of Matala with D'Argo.
- John discovering that he's seeing future events.
- John discussing his future flashes with Zhaan, speculating that they might just be him going crazy.
- Matala pitting D'Argo against Crichton in a future flash.
- Aeryn revealing that Matala is a Scorvian.
- John confronting Matala in a future flash and Moya subsequently imploding.
- John telling Aeryn and Zhaan all the things that won't work.
- John confronting D'Argo about his true crime.
- Matala imploding.

My Review
This slow paced episode has very little to offer except some interesting character development concerning D'Argo. Apparently his "true crime" is something he's even more ashamed of than his previously stated crime of murdering a superior officer. The Ilonics as allies to the Luxans along with their mutual war with the Scorvians adds some interesting texture to the geopolitical status of this part of the universe, but instead of showing us the war itself, all we get is this rather silly Scorvian spy plot.

The idea to develop a weapon out of a quantum singularity is an interesting one, but given far too little of the plot's time. A better story would have given us not only more focus on the politics between the Luxans, Ilonics, and Scorvians, but also the motivation for and implications of developing a black hole weapon. Instead it's merely the episode's MacGuffin, serving as a plot device to do the quirky time jumps John was experiencing and as a way to create some generic conflict.

Overall this is Farscape's weakest offering so far. Between its almost total lack of relevance and the generally boring plot, this one's a real dud.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Ben on 2010-02-08 at 4:54pm:
    Always considered this one of the best of the early episodes. It's a pity we don't see the Scorvians or the Ilonics again, but I always thought the time travel here was interesting and well-stylized. And John deliberately smashing the mask is such a great moment - it's a perfect insight into his frustration and a great example of the constant defiance of his lost/confused/isolated status that makes him such a great character.

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My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 3.68

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 41 8 8 12 9 9 13 12 4 9 7

Synopsis
The crew follows D'Argo down to the city of the Sykarans, and is made welcome by the monarch Volmae. D'Argo, along with the general populace, has become a slave to the addictive, mind-altering tannot root. The artificially euphoric people work endlessly for the powerful Volmae, their minds clouded by the tannot. In his efforts to free D'Argo, Crichton encounters the Sykaran resistance movement who force him to let a large live worm eat its way into his belly as protection against the tannot. In order to free them all from the planet, Crichton realizes that he must break Volmae's hold over her people. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- No significant exposition, events, or consequences. And a lame episode on top of that. The stuff about Luxan hyper rage comes up again later, but it's not necessary to watch this episode to understand the later material.

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode establishes that Luxan males periodically experience bouts of poorly substantiated "hyper rage" which is directed at other males.
- The Sykarans are distant cousins of the Sebaceans.

Remarkable Scenes
- The crew explaining Luxan hyper rage to John.
- D'Argo going from hyper rage to silly contentment.
- Aeryn: "She gives me a woodie." John looks at Aeryn strangely. Aeryn: "Woodie. It's a human saying. I've heard you say it often when you don't trust someone or they make you nervous they give you--" John: "Willies! She gives you the willies."
- Rygel's explosive body fluids.
- Aeryn breaking off one of Rygel's whiskers.
- John faking the contentment.
- John defying Snow White.
- Rygel's explosive pee.
- Zhaan discussing D'Argo's mutually exclusive dreams with him.

My Review
Another slow, largely filler episode. This one's better than most of the others so far because there are a few nice details. John makes note of the fact that the Sykarans, humans, and Sebaceans all seem like similar species, and Aeryn confirms that the Sykarans are distant cousins of the Sebaceans, but the overall significance of this remains unexplored. Also, the brainwashed slave labor serving a purpose in the Peacekeepers' military industrial complex was a nice touch. Finally, unlike Throne for a Loss, this episode has some very nice scoring.

But aside from these amusing tidbits, the episode is largely a flop. By far the most annoying detail is Volmae's trippy behavior. She constantly talks reeeeally sloooow and is always acting like she's spaced out on hallucinogenic drugs, despite being established in the plot as immune to the tannot root. Likewise, similar to the narcotic plot point in Throne for a Loss, the plot point in this episode about expanding Aeryn's horizons with science is overplayed to the point of being preachy and doesn't quite resonate as a consequence. Overall, a fairly weak story, but at least better than the last two.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Boscalyn on 2015-02-07 at 9:57pm:
    I actually have a soft spot for this episode. I mean, the climax is literally "Rygel threatens to pee on a minefield," but there are so many cute character moments here: D'Argo's atypical bliss, John and Aeryn's ridiculous fake smiles, D'Argo and Zhaan's talk at the end, etc. And John's adorable pink vest is adorable.

    Some very cool satire here as well-- I mean, it's basically about a massive organization which forces local farmers into monocropping for said organization's exclusive benefit, undermining their economy, right? So basically Monsanto. And it's on a plantation run by a lady who is literally white. I mean, the white supremacy subtext is done a lot better (and funnier!) in "Crackers Don't Matter" but doesn't everything come up short compared to that film?

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Farscape - 1x07 - PK Tech Girl - Originally Aired: 1999-4-16

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 4.54

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 46 4 11 5 17 9 11 31 23 12 7

Synopsis
Aboard a derelict Peacekeeper Command Carrier, the crew discovers a young female Tech, Gilina. Crichton is immediately attracted, and Aeryn finds herself fighting unfamiliar feelings of jealousy. Rygel is also uncomfortable, forced to confront his convict past. When a gang of fire-breathing Sheyang scavengers arrive and commence hostilities, Zhaan helps D'Argo play diplomat, a role that goes against his Luxan training, but one he must play to keep them all alive. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- This episode has long term arc significance due to critical character development and significant plot events. Gilina will also come back in a later episode.

Problems
None

Factoids
- The Zelbinion was the first ship Rygel was tortured on.
- John has a doctorate in "cosmic theory."
- D'Argo reverted to his native language when he was enraged, which implies that when Luxans experience certain levels of rage, the translator microbes have trouble keeping up. Either that or perhaps D'Argo was just uttering unintelligible gibberish that the translator microbes couldn't make sense of.

Remarkable Scenes
- The crew discovering a derelict Peacekeeper command carrier.
- John, Aeryn, and D'Argo stumbling on a surviving crew member that Aeryn recognizes from her old ship.
- The Sheyangs preparing to attack Moya and Zhaan transmitting enraged D'Argo's image to them to scare them off.
- John telling Gilina that killing Crais' brother was an accident.
- The Zelbinion shield absorbing the blast from the Sheyangs.
- Rygel confronting the corpse of his former torturer.
- The Sheyangs sending pods to attack Moya.
- John: "They spit fire?! How come nobody tells me this stuff?! How come nobody tells me they spit fire?!"
- John saying goodbye to Gilina.
- John: "Hey." Aeryn: "A greeting I shall never understand." John: "It's kind of all purpose. Lets the other person decide what they want to talk about." Aeryn: "What if they don't want to talk?" John: "Then they say hey back." Aeryn: "Hey."

My Review
This is the first episode since the Premiere to move things forward in a significant way. Aside from being a fantastic character piece for several of our main characters, the episode also furnishes Moya with a spiffy new (okay, slightly used) defense screen which they can use to raise some defensive shields in the event of another attack. This could perhaps buy Moya some time to starburst which could make the fugitives harder to catch.

The episode is also furnished with several nice tidbits of continuity. I liked the touch about how Gilina was astonished that John was not Sebacean, as well as how impressed John was with Peacekeeper technology, despite its purpose being for war. I also enjoyed the detail about how Aeryn's entire unit was demoted upon her defection, though this continues the somewhat annoying theme of Crais acting significantly less than rational.

The space battle with the Sheyangs was a nice spectacle and the tactics used were unusual and amusing. I quite enjoyed how Zhaan was thinking on her feet when she used D'Argo's rage to their advantage. And the Sheyangs firing on the Peacekeeper shield right as it's finishing its deployment was a very nice piece of visual effects. Unfortunately, the Sheyangs themselves were not the most compelling aliens. Had the antagonists been more interesting, the episode might have been worth another point.

The two most compelling pieces of storytelling in this episode were Rygel confronting his demons and jealous Aeryn. Rygel's story finally made me have some sympathy for his otherwise difficult to care about character. Nobody, not even Rygel, deserves the torture he endured. Though we only got a small glimpse of it in a flashback, Rygel's pronounced emotional reaction was touching and tells us all we need to know.

As for jealous Aeryn, this plot point could have been painful and gimmicky, but instead came off as awkwardly touching. She likes John, but the culture she comes from made it difficult for her to express those feelings. What's worse is that culture she holds in such high regard doesn't necessarily apply to all Sebaceans; the tech girl clearly had fewer inhibitions. John's gallivanting with Gilina was overplayed at times, but the overall thrust of the plot was a strong choice, so I mostly forgive it.

In total, this episode is a nice change of pace from all that filler. Farscape needs more episodes like this. And it could have been even better with a bit more polish.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Dana on 2012-07-29 at 1:02pm:
    Don't know of star trek did it first or not but the antagonist is very much the same as the one in season 3 episode 7, day of the dove. Also, chriton mispronounces Crais's last name; calls him 'bly-ar' in one scene.
    Enjoyed the work of the actor who played Maldis, in the beginning at least.

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Farscape - 1x08 - That Old Black Magic - Originally Aired: 1999-6-11

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 4.58

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 16 5 6 4 2 8 7 13 6 5 5

Synopsis
Crichton is transported into the supernatural realm of the evil Sorcerer Maldis, where he is faced with his arch-nemesis, Crais. Though their confrontation is fierce, they are merely pawns in Maldis' realm. Finding Crichton's body apparently dead, Aeryn and D'Argo try vainly to storm Maldis' fortress. Zhaan attempts a rescue on a spiritual plane, but to do so she is required to invoke the deepest, darkest part of herself, a part she had hoped never to reveal. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Directly addresses main plot of season 1, the Crais chase plot. Crais and Crichton meet for the first time since the premiere.

Problems
None

Factoids
- Liko's race looked similar to Zhaan's, but red and with hair. I wonder if they're at all related?
- This episode establishes that Zhaan has telepathic and possibly telekinetic abilities. Its power is diluted by physical distance.

Remarkable Scenes
- A merchant at the market knowing things about John and his childhood and whisking John away to his lair.
- Crais being ordered to withdraw from the uncharted territories and cease his chase of Crichton.
- Haloth transporting Crais to his lair.
- Haloth pitting Crais against Crichton.
- Zhaan inflicting pain on the little bird beasts with her mind.
- John: "My species is so primitive, we all live on one planet!"
- Maldis bringing in an image from Crais' past.
- Zhaan and Liko reaching into orbit and giving pain to Rygel. Zhaan: "Part of me enjoyed that." Yeah, part of me enjoyed that too.
- Rygel declaring John dead and claiming his possessions, starting with his shoes...
- Zhaan intervening and saving Crichton.
- John waking up on Rygel.
- Crais executing his lieutenant for what she knows.

My Review
A good episode with a poor framing device. Crais and Crichton meet for the first time since the premiere, but the mystical noncorporeal alien plot device used to get them to meet weakened the drama. The alien himself wasn't as annoying as most of the aliens of the week so far, largely because of his awesome, almost deus ex machina power. He represented an incredibly significant menace and was portrayed in a reasonably compelling way for what he was.

The trouble is the implications of what he was somewhat erode the danger Crais presents to Crichton. We spend much of the episode more focused on the more interesting implications of a super-alien who feeds on suffering, rather than the conflict between Crais and Crichton. As a consequence of this, it was a total necessity for the plot to destroy the alien somehow by the end of the story, so that future stories weren't dominated by the existence of such a powerful super-alien.

This of course necessitated expanding Zhaan's mystic powers. The implications of this are both fascinating and troubling. On one hand, it's nice to see a darker, more tortured side of Zhaan, something the story explores very well. But on the other hand, Zhaan's abilities seem nearly as overwrought as Maldis' and turning Zhaan into a supernatural being would make it much more difficult to identify with her and have sympathy for her. In short, we need less mysticism and more realism.

The episode does fairly well with the Crais-Crichton conflict in spite of the poor framing device of the mysticism. We got to see a snippet of Crais' past, his ambivalence towards ever becoming a Peacekeeper, and his guilt toward his failure to protect his brother. We also see Crais acknowledge Crichton's point about the killing of Crais' brother being a total accident and Crais also acknowledges Crichton's regret. Despite acknowledging all of this, Crais still wants to take his anger out on Crichton.

I found it interesting that Crais can understand and even agree with Crichton's argument, yet still be unable to let go of his revenge motive. It still paints Crais as woefully irrational, but we're closer to understanding that irrationality now. He invested so much of his self worth into his and his brother's career that he feels unable to cope with the loss of his brother without killing Crichton, even though he knows Crichton didn't kill his brother on purpose.

Finally, Crais' surprise move to execute his first officer because of her knowledge of Crais' orders to call off the search for Crichton was an interesting twist. All those poor officers are on Captain Ahab's ship now, hunting Crichton the whale. Overall a fine episode, but it would have been better without mysticism as a framing device.

No fan commentary yet.

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

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 4.97

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 16 17 3 8 26 6 4 11 17 17 10

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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Farscape - 1x10 - They've Got a Secret - Originally Aired: 1999-6-25

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 12 6 2 15 17 18 8 17 5 5 12

Synopsis
After an accident on Moya, D'Argo starts treating the crew as if they are figures from his past. Simultaneously, Moya takes control out of Pilot's hands and aggressively attempts to expunge all onboard! To work out exactly what triggered these events, Crichton, Aeryn, Zhaan and Rygel have to keep up the charade as D'Argo's past acquaintances, and in the process uncover the Luxan's troubled, phenomenal history. The crew is to discover also that somewhere inside Moya, an amazing change is taking place. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Essential exposition about D'Argo and Moya.

Problems
None

Factoids
- Pilot's arm mysteriously returned in this episode without explanation. We'll just have to assume that they grow back...
- This episode establishes that Luxans can survive an explosive decompression and vacuum for up to a half hour.
- Zhaan's body carries no bacteria.
- Sebaceans are ingrained from birth to keep the bloodlines pure.

Remarkable Scenes
- D'Argo being blown into space.
- A DRD attacking Aeryn and Crichton.
- Crichton in awe over how Peacekeeper science has managed to eliminate almost all disease. But Earth is still better, because the Peacekeepers don't have chocolate. ;)
- D'Argo mistaking Rygel for his son the way he mistook Zhaan for his wife.
- Crichton reaching D'Argo just for a brief moment.
- Crichton being attacked by a horde of DRDs.
- Crichton speculating that Moya is trying to kill them.
- Zhaan and Crichton manipulating D'Argo with his surfacing memories.
- Crichton discovering that Moya is pregnant.

My Review
Another great offering from Farscape, They've Got a Secret offers yet more essential character development, this time for D'Argo and Moya. But before we get to that, I am strongly irritated by Pilot's arm's mysterious reappearance; we're just going to have to assume Pilot can regrow arms. That said, it's annoying that it was never explained to us on screen. The audience shouldn't have to fill in these gaps themselves. Also, the pacing of this episode dragged at times due to the overall blandness of a plot about Moya being infected by a virus. But the ending of the story and its significant consequences make it well worth it.

Aeryn's special connection with Pilot resurfaces as a significant plot point, making at least that part of DNA Mad Scientist's plot have permanent consequences. But the real meat of the story is Moya's pregnancy and D'Argo's past. With regards to Moya's pregnancy, it's fascinating that the Peacekeepers install a contraceptive device to prevent leviathans from conceiving in the first place, in addition to the control collar. This also leaves me wondering who the father is. ;) Or do leviathans reproduce asexually?

As for D'Argo, we've learned more about his character in this episode than in all previous episodes combined! D'Argo married a Peacekeeper named Lo'Laan and conceived a taboo hybrid child, named Jothee. Lo'Laan's brother, Macton, eventually discovered this and killed Lo'Laan out of disapproval of her marriage, then framed D'Argo for the murder and had him arrested. Jothee was then sent into exile, hidden away by D'Argo. This means that not only was D'Argo falsely imprisoned, but his son is still out there; a fugitive!

Another nice detail was Aeryn, of all people, promising D'Argo to tell no one of the existence of Jothee. Aeryn's character has really grown over the last few episodes from a cold Peacekeeper into a loyal friend to this band of escaped prisoners. Overall, while this episode is somewhat more straightforward than the last one and lacks its darker, grittier aesthetic, They've Got a Secret comes off as a very strong piece as well.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Remco on 2010-02-21 at 10:58am:
    "Pilot's arm mysteriously returned in this episode without explanation. We'll just have to assume that they grow back..."

    This was mentioned in the previous episode:

    "Don't concern yourself Chrichton, I'll be fine. My species has superior regenerative capabilities."

    Still, it would have been nice to have seen the new arm develop over a few episodes.
  • From Kethinov on 2010-02-21 at 5:17pm:
    Superior regenerative abilities doesn't automatically mean regrow the whole frigging arm. They really should have been more explicit about it. For example, he could have said, "my arm will grow back."
  • From DK on 2012-07-30 at 12:22pm:
    The Dargo/Rigel scenes were priceless.  Esp. the indignation that came across in Rigel's wit. 

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Farscape - 1x11 - Till The Blood Runs Clear - Originally Aired: 1999-7-9

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 5.75

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 8 8 5 2 2 6 24 17 16 7 7

Synopsis
After a close encounter with an unstable wormhole, Crichton and Aeryn take the Farscape Module down to the desert-locked Dam-Ba-Da Depot for repairs. They leave it in the hands of the money-grubbing mechanic Furlow. However, two wolf-like Blood Trackers, Rorf and Rorg, are hunting the crew, and when they capture D'Argo, Crichton actually takes part in torturing the Luxan to maintain anonymity. Meanwhile, Aeryn considers a secret offer from Crais: a tempting proposition to sell out the crew in exchange for her old Peacekeeper life back. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Essential plot advancement concerning wormholes and the Crais chase. Also, Zhaan's photogasms and Crichton's enhanced module are relevant again later. We will also see Furlow again later in the series.

Problems
- Right after John says "D'Argo, cover me!" and he stops leaning on the wall, you can see that the wall was hollow on the inside rather than the solid rock it's supposed to appear as because Ben Browder's weight was depressing it inward slightly.

Factoids
- This episode establishes that reproducing the wormhole phenomenon is within Crichton's means and wasn't just some completely crazy fluke in the premiere.

Remarkable Scenes
- John flying his module around, enhanced by technology on Moya.
- John encountering another wormhole by doing the slingshot thing around a planet during stellar flare activity.
- Zhaan's photogasming.
- Crais' bounty beacon.
- Crichton playing alpha male.
- Crichton referring to himself as Butch and Aeryn as Sundance.
- Alien bounty hunter: "I am Rorf." Crichton: "Worf?" Rorf: "Rorf!"
- Aeryn unlocking Crais' offer of amnesty from the beacon.
- Furlow and Crichton picking at each other for wormhole knowledge.
- Blinded Aeryn.
- D'Argo attacking Crichton.
- Crichton's bluffing against Rorf finally failing.
- Aeryn and Furlow reprogramming Crais' message.
- John giving up his wormhole data as payment to Furlow.

My Review
This episode is sort of a mosaic of different ongoing plots. Advancement on all of them is appreciated but there's also a bit too much going on at once which renders the story slightly out of focus. The most obvious highlight is the return of wormholes. We now know with more study and luck, John may be able to create wormholes and possibly find his way home. He's confirmed that stellar flares and doing his slingshot maneuver in his module can create new wormholes, but this finding is a long way from being able to create a stable and directed wormhole.

It was interesting that John was so tantalized by his accidental discovery that he was willing to fly into the wormhole blind. He was lucky to survive the last trip through a wormhole and of course the odds that this new random one he created would take him anywhere near Earth were astronomically low, but something in him wanted to keep the faith that it might take him home anyway, even though it almost certainly wouldn't.

Paralleling this tragedy for John was Aeryn confronting Crais' apparently insincere offer of amnesty. She knew all along it was insincere, but like John wanting to believe a random wormhole could lead to Earth, Aeryn wanted to believe Crais was offering a sincere amnesty. Both of them just wanted to hold onto their hope. Despite this, the pragmatic sides of them are still clearly invested in their present situation. Aeryn assists in repairing John's module and John forms the beginnings of a real friendship with D'Argo.

The parallelism between John feigning alpha male with the bounty hunter aliens and John confronting D'Argo about his need to always be an alpha male was a nice touch. The bounty hunters contributed little else to the story though except some manufactured danger and an excuse to do gun fights and have action scenes. Maybe these scenes would have been more enjoyable if the scoring wasn't in the heavy metal style like Throne for a Loss.

In any case, the real weakness of the story is pairing the Crais chase bounty hunt with the wormhole story in the first place. A more enjoyable episode would have been either all chase, or all wormholes. I suspect I would have enjoyed a story focused solely on John haggling with Furlow for the entire episode. I would like to have seen more of her lust for wormholes fleshed out; perhaps even some kind of collaboration between them. Overall though this is a solid story.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DK on 2012-07-30 at 12:27pm:
    Not that it made much sense but I liked the exposition of Zan's  pau levels.  Wish the writers had the imagination to put even more structure to the level attainment and the abilities they confer especially since the levels seem so central to the idea of being a pau.
  • From Hugo on 2014-12-27 at 4:23pm:
    Not a bad episode. I liked the design of the station in the desert, looked very cool.

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Farscape - 1x12 - Rhapsody In Blue - Originally Aired: 1999-7-16

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 4.46

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 7 10 8 9 5 3 3 3 1 16 2

Synopsis
A false distress signal brings Moya to the home of a young Delvian Priestess, Tahleen, who sent out the signal in order to summon Zhaan. While the crew is made welcome, Zhaan is puzzled by Tahleen's motivations; it seems the young but powerful Delvian wants to join in 'Unity' with Zhaan in order to curb her dark side. In the process, Zhaan is forced to confront her own insidious past, and when the Unity goes horribly wrong, Crichton must come to Zhaan's aid, and risk his very sanity to save her. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Despite being a lame episode, this story has essential exposition about Zhaan's past.

Problems
None

Factoids
- There are over a billion Delvians on Delvia.
- Zhaan gained a level in her Pa'u skill in this episode, becoming a level 10.

Remarkable Scenes
- John's flashback to Alex.
- Moya being lured to a colony of Delvians with Zhaan suspicious of their intent.
- Tahleen altering one of John's memories.
- John being mistaken for a Peacekeeper by Tuzak.
- John experiencing Zhaan's memory of murdering her lover.
- Zhaan revealing that she murdered her lover because he seized power illegally and brought in the Peacekeepers to enforce his rule.
- John being planted with a false memory of Alex coming with him on the Farscape module.
- Tahleen taking Zhaan's knowledge by force, diminishing Zhaan's ability to control her dark impulses.
- John arguing with his fictitious, figment wife.
- John and Zhaan sharing unity.

My Review
We finally learn in this episode precisely what Zhaan was imprisoned for. She assassinated her lover, who was the leader of Delvia and illegally held onto power by force using the Peacekeepers after his term ended. After this, many Delvians were driven from their home, probably fleeing tyranny and set up colonies far away from Delvia, such as the one featured in this episode.

The telepathic powers of the Delvians becomes a central plot point once again, which is quite appropriate for an episode all about Delvian culture. But unfortunately the presentation comes off as little more than kooky mystical voodoo. The pace of the episode is also considerably slow, as it spends so much time "acid tripping" (as John called it) all over the Delvian telepathic powers.

A better episode would have spent more time exploring the politics of Delvia and the moral implications of Zhaan's ends-justify-the-means murder of her tyrannical lover. Instead, most of the episode just stumbles around in a murky stupor, failing to make a coherent point by the end of any more complexity than "use your powers for good, not evil."

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Hugo on 2015-01-11 at 2:16am:
    This series continues to impress me with the elaborate sets!

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Farscape - 1x13 - The Flax - Originally Aired: 1999-7-23

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5.62

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 14 4 3 6 6 10 17 17 13 13 8

Synopsis
Whilst flying a Transport Pod, Crichton and Aeryn become ensnared in 'The Flax', an immobilizing net-like weapon under the control of ruthless Zenetan Pirates. An eccentric ex-pirate, Staanz, comes to Moya's aid before she too is captured, but he is being pursued by the dangerous hunter Kcrackic. After D'Argo abandons them to search a nearby Luxan vessel caught in The Flax, Crichton and Aeryn are faced with a serious problem: they must depressurize the Pod to make repairs, but they have only one space suit - meaning one of them must die. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- The Zenetan Pirates show up again in late season 2 in a pretty significant way.

Problems
- John should have sustained far more injuries from his explosive decompression than he did. I suppose we'll have to assume the pod removed the oxygen and replaced it with another gas to maintain the atmospheric pressure.

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- John's flying lessons.
- Rygel and Zhaan noticing that Staanz' genitals aren't where most bipeds' are.
- The ridiculous inside of Staanz' ship.
- Aeryn suggesting that one of them be temporarily killed and then resuscitated so they can vent the oxygen and do repairs.
- Crichton teaching Aeryn CPR.
- D'Argo and Staanz escaping the flax.
- Aeryn temporarily killing John and performing the repairs.
- Aeryn abandoning the repairs to save Crichton's life.
- Rygel revealing he lost on purpose to make Kcrackic leave the ship thinking himself victorious.
- Aeryn and Crichton suddenly making out and D'Argo interrupting them.
- Staanz revealing that he's the female of the species and coming on to D'Argo.
- John to Aeryn: "You are the female of your species, right?"

My Review
An enjoyable episode with delightful comedy and some great character moments for John and Aeryn especially. The performance of Staanz was also remarkably good. The actor knocked the comedy out of the park and delivered a performance that was delightfully absurd. I loved almost every scene his character had from his ridiculously broken down ship to his coming on to D'Argo at the end of the episode. The parallel but more serious story of Aeryn and Crichton falling for each other was a satisfying development, but I'm a bit annoyed it wasn't explored in more depth.

After Aeryn's and Crichton's rescue, they both decided it best to forget their mutual attempt at a last shag before death ever happened, something which I find annoyingly immature, if admittedly realistic. There's clearly something between them, something that's been clearly implied for quite some time. But like Odo and Kira on Star Trek DS9, neither of them seem to want to admit it. Hopefully a permanent pairing won't be dragged out for quite as long as it was on DS9.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DK on 2012-07-30 at 12:39pm:
    Dargo's constant illogical gruff behavior is irritating and off-putting much of the time.  Smaller doses would maintain the character attribute and prevent me from wishing he would get throttled at every turn.  Aeryn is guilty of the same offense but at least her behavior often seems appropriate for the situation.
  • From Hugo on 2015-01-16 at 4:37am:
    a) I love the bickering and chemistry between Aeryn and Chricton. Claudia Black is amazing!
    b) The ruse in the game with Rygel was excellent, as well as the reveal!

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Farscape - 1x14 - Jeremiah Crichton - Originally Aired: 1999-7-30

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 4.63

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 16 7 4 5 4 19 10 7 7 10 3

Synopsis
After apparent abandonment by Moya, Crichton retreats to an Eden-like planet and ekes out a simple existence in a community of humanoid aliens. He becomes attached to a native girl, Lishala, but others have designs on Lishala that endanger Crichton's life. When D'Argo and Rygel come to the rescue unexpectedly, the locals treat Rygel as a God, but even this apparent blessing has dire consequences for the trio. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 2, filler, but an enjoyable episode nevertheless. You can skip this one, but you'd miss out on some fun.
- Despite the extreme amount of time that passes in this episode, there are no significant events or consequences. It is however a fun character piece for Crichton.

Problems
- At the beginning of the celebration a camera can be seen in the bottom left corner of the screen in one shot.
- Shortly after Kato-Re says "seize him!" ordering Rygel captured, a shot on the camera is blocked by some kind of obstruction in the top right corner.
- There is a great deal of evidence that Crichton's beard is fake in this episode. The color doesn't quite match his hair and it shifts positions a few times throughout the episode.
- I'm told one of Rygel's puppeteers is visible in a shot where he's deposed, but I was unable to confirm this independently.

Factoids
- This episode establishes that Luxans have multiple hearts.

Remarkable Scenes
- Moya starbursting away while John was off the ship in his module.
- John eking out a living many weeks later hunting seafood on a primitive planet.
- D'Argo saving Crichton.
- D'Argo: "You smell like dren. You look like dren."
- D'Argo revealing they've been searching for Crichton for the last three months.
- John: "Look around D'Argo, there's a lot worse places. Since I left my home, I've been hunted, beaten, locked up, shanghaied, shot at, I've had alien creatures in my face, up my nose, inside my brain, down my pants... This is the first time, the first place where I've found peace."
- The people of the planet worshiping Rygel.
- Rygel discovering the history of his ancestor Rygel the 10th and the fact that he condemned the people of the planet to live without powered technology.
- Moya's thermal storage casing message arriving just meters from Crichton and D'Argo.
- John discovering how Rygel can deactivate the device, then Rygel accidentally fulfilling the prophecy.

My Review
This is a charming story not unlike Star Trek DS9: Paradise. This story is actually somewhat more enjoyable than the Star Trek episode and could have earned a well above average rating but unfortunately the episode filled with flaws that drag down the quality. The premise of this story is lots of fun. What happens to Crichton when he's left behind on an alien planet for three months; left to fend for himself? Indeed, the idea is explored well. But the execution has several issues. First is the basic substantiation for how John ended up on that planet.

His bickering with the rest of the crew in the teaser was painfully immature. As D'Argo said, he left Moya during a time of crisis. I had little sympathy for him at first because of this. But what's worse is he just so happened to be luckily near a habitable planet when Moya disappeared. It would have been nice if the story substantiated this better by saying Moya was in this region for a reason, but instead it expects us to believe Crichton got lucky by finding such a planet in range, which stretches realism.

Still worse, on the planet is a species which looks exactly like humans. For all we know they could be Sebaceans that were subjects of the Hynerian Empire for some reason, but the audience shouldn't have to fill in these blanks themselves. Finally, as noted in the problems section, there are numerous production gaffes in this episode which if you notice them could take you out of the moment in the story.

That said, otherwise the story is a great deal of fun. This is one of the best character stories for Crichton so far and I distinctly enjoyed the bold move the writers took in allowing Crichton to be down on that planet for three whole months. It allowed Crichton a vacation of sorts and proved to us how dedicated his friends up on Moya were to retrieving him. I also enjoyed Crichton's surprise at the fact that they were willing to search for him at all. Now he's learned what he means to them.

Rygel too was a good deal of fun in this episode. It's nice to see him in his element, in a sense, and I also enjoyed how he wasn't instantly blinded by his royal treatment. He was mindful of its potentially tenuous nature and naturally curious of its origin; being willing to read the ancient texts of these people and being able to correlate it with his own knowledge of his ancestry. With a little more polish, this episode could have been worth perhaps a rating of 7.

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Farscape - 1x15 - Durka Returns - Originally Aired: 1999-8-13

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 5.31

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 11 9 11 13 6 15 18 19 11 10 14

Synopsis
Moya's crew encounters an old enemy, Peacekeeper Captain Selto Durka, who is now the brainwashed slave of a mysterious species, the Nebari. Durka and his new Nebari master Salis are returning Chiana, a Nebari criminal, to her homeworld to be 'mind-cleansed'. When Rygel attempts to kill Durka, the Captain's evil personality returns, and he immediately tries to wrest control of Moya from the crew. To save Moya, Crichton desperately needs Chiana's assistance, but she may be better off if Durka succeeds. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Introduction of Chiana, a new main character.

Problems
None

Factoids
- The Nebari possess ships powerful enough to take out a Peacekeeper Command Carrier.

Remarkable Scenes
- Moya colliding with another ship.
- Rygel's torturer from 100 cycles ago appearing on Moya.
- John being mistaken for a Sebacean.
- Chiana revealing her crime and the culture of the Nebari cleansing.
- Rygel attempting to assassinate Durka.
- Durka reverting to his old self and running amok.
- John: "Nebari mental cleansing doesn't get the tough stains out."
- John: "Durka's gone Hannibal Lecter on us!"
- Rygel taunting Durka during the torture session.
- John taking out Durka and almost getting blown into space in the process. A poor DRD wasn't so lucky though. :(
- John suspecting that Chiana murdered Salis.

My Review
We finally have an alien of the week with some long term potential with the Nebari, a fascinating and evidently xenophobic culture who use mind control technology both on their citizens and the aliens they come in contact with. What's more, they have the military resources and technology at their disposal to hold their own against the Peacekeepers!

Having Salis parading around a mind controlled Durka was a lovely choice to give Rygel something truly menacing to contend with and the apparent retaining of Chiana as a recurring character was a nice change of pace. It's nice to see Moya picking up new passengers along the way rather than just an endless stream of aliens of the week we'll probably never see again.

Chiana herself failed to capture much of my interest, but the fate she was running from is truly sinister. Even Zhaan, who strikes me as among the most tolerant of the crew was outraged at the notion of Nebari mind control. It's not made entirely clear how or why Durka's mind control came undone (or if it ever worked in the first place), but I think it would have been disappointing to not see him revert back to his old self.

Aside from the joy of seeing Rygel scared witless at the notion of a reverted Durka, it was also enjoyable to see Aeryn trying to reconcile her mutually exclusive hero worship of Durka with her objections to his conduct both on moral grounds (unwarranted cruelty) and on Peacekeeper honor grounds (abandoning his crew). Perhaps the greatest moment of the episode is Rygel taunting Durka in the midst of being tortured.

What doesn't work in this story is the distinct lack of context afforded to the Nebari. It would have been nice to see their planet or even one of their ships given their amazing stated capabilities. Instead, what we're shown is entirely one sided. The Nebari are wrong and Chiana is right. The issue is presented in such a one sided manner that neither I nor John apparently seems to care much that Chiana may have murdered Salis. I mean, can you blame her? With more context given to the Nebari, the issue might have been more interesting.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pemmer Harge on 2010-12-11 at 4:03pm:
    Whether it was due to her or not, I definitely think Chiana's arrival marks the approximate point where Farscape got good. Before this, the show felt like a pretty generic space opera - like a more exotic version of Star Trek. From this point on it started getting a lot more distinctive.
  • From Alex on 2011-12-19 at 4:59pm:

    How did Durka survive, exactly?? I can buy him escaping rather than going down with the ship -- but preparing a fake corpse? How did he manage that? I think that should go into "Problems" section.
  • From Kethinov on 2011-12-22 at 3:12pm:
    The plot covers that. Durka while attempting to escape killed a junior officer and dressed him in his uniform hoping the Nebari would believe he had committed suicide so he could escape unnoticed. It didn't work and the Nebari captured him anyway.
  • From DK on 2012-07-30 at 12:44pm:
    What happened  when an over aggressive, bully kind of guy actually would have helped to track down and hunt one renegade bad guy?  Dargo trips over his own shoelaces (or something), drops his gun, and gets shut in a cage for the last third of the show.  His character traits would have been an asset rather than merely annoying for once had he not fell to the first trap set.
  • From HUgo on 2015-01-26 at 8:17am:
    I am a bit suprised that John didn't get more upset with Rygel for trying to bomb him (together with Durka) - he could have died there!
  • From Boscalyn on 2015-02-07 at 10:45pm:
    The most interesting thing about this episode that although the Nebari are ostensibly master brainwashers, the only instances of their technology we see in this episode are a BDSM collar and Durka, whose FULL CENTURY of conditioning is almost immediately undone. So is Durka just really, really evil, or is Chiana playing up the Nebari's evil so that she can make John let her out? The episode leaves it ambiguous whether Chiana's in the right while still establishing her as basically sympathetic.

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Farscape - 1x16 - A Human Reaction - Originally Aired: 1999-8-1

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 6.23

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 2 14 1 4 3 7 11 3 8 20 13

Synopsis
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]

Filler Quotient: 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.

Problems
None

Factoids
- It's been 7 months since John's Farscape One mission.

Remarkable Scenes
- 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.

My Review
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!

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

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 5.91

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 9 1 2 6 16 10 8 24 17 9 8

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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Farscape - 1x18 - A Bug's Life - Originally Aired: 1999-9-17

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 5.88

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 4 4 3 13 9 16 14 5 16 9 13

Synopsis
When Moya is forced to dock with an approaching Peacekeeper vessel, Aeryn and Crichton masquerade as Peace-keepers guarding the rest of the crew. The PK soldiers bring on board a mysterious crate; within is contained an intelligent virus, which accidentally infects Chiana. The virus is exceedingly deadly, taking over the minds of its victims. The two crews form an uneasy alliance in order to track down the virus, but it is nearly impossible to tell who will be infected next... [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Aeryn's injury is highly plot relevant in the next few episodes. Also the Peacekeeper clothing acquired in this episode is reused later.

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode establishes that the Peacekeepers left uniforms aboard Moya which are what were used to pull off the charade in this episode.

Remarkable Scenes
- John and Aeryn masquerading as Peacekeepers.
- John drafting his "prisoners" into helping search for Rygel.
- John suddenly assaulting Hassan.
- The crew subduing Crichton then arguing over who the virus ultimately ended up in.
- Larraq stabbing Aeryn.
- John killing Larraq.

My Review
A story with a lot of potential for drama and intrigue ruined by Rygel's and Chiana's petty greed. It's as if they collectively unleashed boredom itself on the poor plot. Frankly, I didn't really care what was in the crate. Sure, maybe I'd have been disappointed if the plot never revealed it, but then I'd have also been okay with something mundane like a prototype for a new Peacekeeper weapon. The point is, focusing the story on Pandora's box wreaking havoc wasn't too terribly compelling. What was compelling was the whole delightful idea of John and Aeryn masquerading as Peacekeepers.

Seeing John walk around the ship like he owned the place Peacekeeper style complete with that silly excuse for an accent just made me giggle over and over. Sadly though, a novelty is all we get. The potential for drama upon their covers being blown was largely erased by the need for collaboration to eliminate the virus. Likewise, what also failed to quite stand out was Larraq's attraction to Aeryn. Who cares? Aeryn seemed flattered, but other than that largely unfazed. Besides her stab wound almost nothing of consequence happens as a result of these events which is a real shame given all the potential in the premise.

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Farscape - 1x19 - Nerve - Originally Aired: 2000-1-7

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 6.17

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 8 16 10 9 6 2 16 4 8 24 35

Synopsis
In order to secure a vital tissue graft to save Aeryn's life, Crichton and Chiana disguise themselves as Peacekeepers and infiltrate a secret PK base there. They meet up with Gilina, the Peacekeeper Tech who Crichton met on the Zelbinion. Gilina is able to help Crichton obtain the graft, but before he can get it to Aeryn, Scorpius - a Sebacean/Scarran hybrid - exposes Crichton's charade and subjects him to the Aurora Chair: a torture device used to extract memories from its victims. Scorpius discovers a memory implanted in Crichton's head by the Ancients that Crichton himself was not aware of: information about creating wormholes. To access this hidden knowledge, Scorpius is willing to destroy Crichton's mind. [DVD]

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

Problems
None

Factoids
- The energy signature of humans is quite different from Sebaceans.

Remarkable Scenes
- Aeryn revealing she's dying from her knife wound.
- John proposing going to the Peacekeeper base to get Aeryn a compatible tissue sample.
- John flying the prowler to the Peacekeeper base and mincing words with the air traffic control guy.
- John impersonating Larraq.
- John somehow passing genetic scan as Larraq then Gilina showing up out of nowhere and revealing she tweaked the program to let him through.
- John being outed as an impostor.
- Scorpius discovering hidden knowledge of wormholes embedded in John's brain by the aliens from A Human Reaction.
- Crais meeting with Scorpius.
- Chiana's weak attempt to convince Gilina that Crichton loves her and not Aeryn.
- John deducing that Crais is bluffing about having captured the Leviathan because he doesn't know about Aeryn's injury.
- Chiana killing the commander.
- Aeryn to Chiana: "You make a worse Peacekeeper than Crichton."

My Review
Wow! This episode is so densely packed with things to love it's hard to decide where to start. Nerve ties together many things from previous episodes all into one dramatic climax. John's love for Aeyrn, Aeryn's injury, John's relationship with Gilina, Crais' chase of Crichton, John's desire to unlock the secrets of wormholes, and perhaps even Moya's pregnancy are all brought to the forefront here. Plus we have tantalizing new elements such as the delightful character of Scorpius and the idea that John has valuable knowledge of wormholes locked in his brain somewhere, given to him by the aliens from A Human Reaction.

Scorpius does indeed steal the show here, a villain that is decidedly menacing and mysterious in ways that the other Peacekeepers simply aren't; unlike the others he could tell John was an impostor simply by looking at him. We learn little about him in this episode other than the fact that he's running a research project on the development of new weapons and it's strongly hinted that Scorpius' aim has been to develop a wormhole weapon. Though his rank is not stated, he seemed to outrank the commander of the base and take orders from no one, not even Crais. As for Crais, he's someone we've seen far too little of this season, so it's nice that he and Crichton are finally having their inevitable confrontation.

I was less fond of the idea of a love triangle between Gilina, Crichton, and Aeryn, but the execution was so subtle and flawless that it only added brilliant texture to the episode. What's more, I love the fact that memories of Aeryn didn't come up, not even once, while Crichton was in the Aurora chair. Clearly Crichton is trying to protect her. This episode also repeats the plot device of having Crichton masquerade as a Peacekeeper, but this time it totally works. None of the mistakes of the previous episode were repeated here, so we get to milk it for all its worth. Almost like a do over.

The episode ending on a cliffhanger is also somewhat new. Farscape's been more or less an arc-driven show since the beginning of the series, but each episode has also been more or less wrapped up by the last scene, even if not in an entirely neat package. Instead, this story ramps up both the threat level and the drama and a more drawn out story spread across multiple episodes is the perfect way to dive deep into the nuances of all the plot threads that are converging here. Obviously we can expect Aeryn to stage a foolhardy rescue mission for John and it looks like Moya will have her baby soon too.

This is the most compelling episode of Farscape so far. It's utterly gripping, exciting, and ruthlessly dark. Never before has John's life been in this much danger and for the first time I feel like all the players in the story are fleshed out enough and realized enough for the drama to get all the focus rather than wondering why certain things are the way they are or certain characters act the way they act. Not only that, but the story is 100% relevant to the premise of the show: the freak accident that brought John to this part of the universe. Scorpius wants the wormhole knowledge that John didn't know he had and Scorpius will torture John to get it. Powerful stuff.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DK on 2012-07-30 at 3:27pm:
    I love the Gilina character.  What I like the most is what they didn't do to her.   So often now days writers (this show included at times) feel the need to put women characters in a position where they are, often gratuitously, tough, smart, aggressive and in control of any situation and find a way to make male characters less than (if a man is needed at all).   It was refreshing to see a female character portrayed at least partially supportive, submissive, and non emasculating in their relationship.
  • From Hugo on 2015-02-21 at 8:41am:
    Great episode! More great sets, love the design of the Gammak base. But the Aurora chair and that red-head lady didn't really match the rest of the design - I found all that very pulpy, almost like 70ies B-scifi, including the giant rotating fan in the background.

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

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 6.12

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 9 6 6 0 19 2 11 4 15 21 16

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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Farscape - 1x21 - Bone To Be Wild - Originally Aired: 2000-1-21

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 6.05

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Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 7 4 2 5 3 6 13 16 12 15 4

Synopsis
Still on the run from Crais, Moya responds to a distress call and lands on a highly vegetated asteroid. The crew saves a helpless alien, M'Lee, from a formidable monster, Br'Nee, and in the struggle their transportation is disabled. Stranded for the moment, the crew discovers that Br'Nee was in fact part of a research team that was annihilated by the 'bone eater' M'Lee. When Zhaan then disappears, it seems there are even darker truths to be revealed. [DVD]

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

Problems
None

Factoids
- Zhaan's body temperature self regulates under most conditions which causes her to be unaffected by profound cold temperatures.
- The opening credits of this episode were altered to add Chiana to the list of main characters.
- Zhaan is flora, not fauna. She has cartilaginous fibers instead of bone.
- Zhaan has a natural camouflage ability, though perhaps only when around other plants.
- Scorpius is physically stronger than Sebaceans.
- M'Lee was played by Ben Browder's wife, Francesca Buller.

Remarkable Scenes
- D'Argo and John accidentally shooting up the transport pod flushing out the monster, trapping them on the asteroid.
- Aeryn boarding Moya's baby.
- Zhaan revealing that she evolved from flora, not fauna. John: "Ah... that's why you like the light so much. Photosynthesis."
- John almost being eaten by M'Lee.
- Crais: "You've gone too far, Scorpius. You've directly questioned my command." Scorpius: "Your command begs question."
- M'Lee asking John to take her off the asteroid so she won't starve.
- Crais attacking Scorpius.
- D'Argo offering the Peacekeeper vessel to M'Lee.
- John getting Zhaan back from Br'Nee, killing him in the process.
- John feeding Br'Nee to M'Lee. John: "Bon(e) appetit."
- M'Lee working her way aboard the command carrier.

My Review
"Bone To Be Wild" is not as compelling a story as the previous two episodes but still manages come off as a fairly strong piece. I was contemptuous of the whole "distress call targeted at Moya" plot from its very inception and it indeed wasn't a very noteworthy story for much of the episode. We've already seen enough episodes where a monster attacks our heroes. However, M'Lee and Br'Nee both redeemed themselves by being slowly revealed as nuanced and interesting characters. They both took their turns as monsters, then we learn that they're in fact both sentient and complex life forms.

M'Lee was a particularly pleasant surprise. The notion of a sentient life form that can only dine on bones trapped in a place where people are her only source of food is terrifying both for us and for her. I was pleased that the plot humanized her by making her willing to try and serve the greater good. She did indeed control her hunger on numerous occasions so that she and her would-be meals could figure out a solution that would better benefit both of them. I was less interested in Br'Nee, but I did at least enjoy the parallelism with regards to how he exploited M'Lee for his own personal gain as well as attempting to repeat the same sin with Zhaan.

Even though M'Lee and Br'Nee turned out not to be anywhere near as boring as I had expected, the real meat of the story is with Aeryn's bonding with Moya's baby and with Crais' conflict with Scorpius. I found it fascinating that after all Scorpius was able to subject Crais to, that ultimately Crais was able to retain command of his carrier and that Scorpius had to spend much of the episode slowly undermining Crais' command rather than just take it from him instantly by revealing Crais' history of dereliction of duty to the crew. It was clear that Scorpius didn't immediately carry much weight aboard the command carrier and had to slowly earn his credibility.

As for Aeryn, her Peacekeeper past and her experiences in DNA Mad Scientist converge in a fantastic way making her the perfect candidate to establish a dialog between Moya and her new baby. All the scenes aboard the new hybrid Leviathan were fascinating and I can't wait to see more of the ship. I'm also especially curious about exactly what Peacekeeper project ultimately led to this hybrid's conception. As John said in the previous episode, I'd very much like to know "who the daddy is." We know it's the Peacekeepers, but who? Crais, since Moya was in his fleet? Or someone else?

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Hugo on 2015-02-24 at 8:40am:
    The scenes with Crichton running around in the woods chased by a man in a monster suit - that reminded me of the Space:1999 episode "Rules of Luton"
  • From Hugo on 2015-02-24 at 9:11am:
    Where did Stark go... ?

    The trope twisting was Whedon-esque!

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Farscape - 1x22 - Family Ties - Originally Aired: 2000-1-28

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 5.84

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 5 5 17 3 5 12 2 4 4 25 13

Synopsis
When Rygel offers Moya's crew to Scorpius in exchange for his own freedom, it falls to D'Argo and Crichton to engineer a diversion that will allow Moya to escape. On board the Command Carrier, Rygel is witness to Scorpius supplanting Crais as Commander, and also to Crais' own crisis of faith. Crichton sees only one way for Moya to escape: he and D'Argo must carry out a spectacular suicide mission to stop Scorpius in his tracks. [DVD]

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

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode establishes (for the first time on screen) that Scorpius is a Scarran/Sebacean "half breed" as Crais calls him.
- Many attempts have been made to create hybrid Leviathans like Talyn, but none were successful because all the mothers had control collars.

Remarkable Scenes
- Rygel fleeing Moya in a transport pod.
- Aeryn: "Remember Rygel, Moya's baby has weaponry!"
- Rygel offering the Peacekeepers Moya and her crew in exchange for his freedom.
- Rygel bringing Crais aboard Moya and Crais asking for asylum from Scorpius.
- Zhaan: "You went there to sell us out, Rygel." Rygel: "You bet your shiny blue ass I did. But I didn't. So make the most of it now."
- Crais to John: "Do you think it's no accident our species are so much alike?"
- Crais admitting that he understands that John didn't mean to kill his brother; that it was an accident.
- Crais being pronounced irrevocably contaminated by Peacekeeper high command.
- John's response to Rygel asking why he'll let Rygel have all his possessions if he dies: "You're a material kind of guy, Rygel, have some material."
- John to D'Argo in the middle of their transport pod stunt: "How you doin'?" D'Argo: "I have to pee."
- Aeryn naming the baby Leviathan Talyn, after her father.
- John and D'Argo blowing themselves into space and the transport pod crashing into Scorpius' research base, destroying it.
- Crais stealing Talyn.
- Moya Starbursting, leaving John, D'Argo, and Aeryn behind.

My Review
Family Ties is perhaps the most epic story of Farscape so far and features the boldest stunt yet from Moya's crew: the targeted destruction of Scorpius' entire research base! On top of that, both Rygel and Crais undergo some radical character development which takes both of them to fantastic new places. Rygel's turncoat move was both something that doesn't surprise me at all but at the same time shocks me. I'm glad the Peacekeepers weren't buying what he was selling, but at the same time I'm glad the writers went there with the duplicitous green little slug. As for Crais, he quasi-forgives John, but at the same time abducts Talyn. (I wonder if Crais even knows Talyn's name?) I love the gray portrayals of these too dangerously selfish characters.

John takes his heroic growth to the next and bravest level yet, as does D'Argo in their collective stunt to destroy Scorpius' research base. I loved watching the two of them bond over their mutual bravery and I especially enjoyed watching John giggle like a madman, taking an almost perverse pleasure at destroying Scorpius' work. The episode also offers valuable little tidbits too, such as confirming beyond a shadow of a doubt that at the very least Aeryn experienced John's false Earth from A Human Reaction too and that rather than a planned genetic selection, she was conceived out of her parents' love, a taboo in the Peacekeeper ranks.

But unfortunately there are too many of these tidbits which makes the episode just shy of being worthy of a perfect score. While most of Aeryn's stuff was fantastic, the episode gave us way too many warm and fuzzy character moments. Everyone's so busy telling each other how they feel and saying goodbye because they all think they're gonna die, that the pace of the episode begins to drag at times. Certainly the show has earned most of these character moments by now by painting a deep and nuanced cast of characters, but it often felt overwrought, such as when Chiana whips up everyone's favorite dishes. And what's with her coming onto John like that? On a lighter note, I wonder if Moya can grow more transport pods? ;)

Overall Family Ties is a stellar end to the season. While it's pretty clear that John, D'Argo, and Aeryn are probably not going to die here, it's at the very least possible they may end up stranded in a very miffed Scorpius' captivity. I can only imagine what means of interrogation Scorpius could cook up to extract information from Crichton in the absence of his Aurora chair.

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