Farscape Reviews

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

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 5.33

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 21 8 5 4 3 5 11 10 18 15 11

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, so exactly what John was testing in the Farscape One module and how it would lead to tangible advances in inter-stellar travel as the plot claimed is both unclear and unlikely.

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 3:39pm:
    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 6:23am:
    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 9:03am:
    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 - 5.04

Rate episode?

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

Fan Rating Average - 4.71

Rate episode?

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

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
None

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 - 4.84

Rate episode?

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

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: 1, partial filler, but has important continuity. I recommend against skipping this one.
- 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.

Problems
None

Factoids
- According to the DVD commentary, 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.
- Ben also mentions in the DVD commentary 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 5:33am:
    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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Farscape - 1x07 - PK Tech Girl - Originally Aired: 1999-4-16

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 5.32

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 17 4 9 5 5 8 10 19 19 11 6

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 5:02pm:
    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 - 4.33

Rate episode?

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

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.

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

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 5.08

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 12 9 2 7 14 5 4 6 11 12 8

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.
- According to the DVD commentary, 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.
- According to the DVD commentary, 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 4:31pm:
    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 4:05pm:
    It always distracted me when watching this episode that "Namtar" is Rat Man backwards.
  • From Dana on 2012-07-29 at 6:21pm:
    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 - 5.25

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 9 6 2 3 14 11 6 12 5 4 11

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 3:58pm:
    "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 10:17pm:
    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 4:22pm:
    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 - 6.17

Rate episode?

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

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 4:27pm:
    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.

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

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 4.33

Rate episode?

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

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

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5.58

Rate episode?

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

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: 2, filler, but an enjoyable episode nevertheless. You can skip this one, but you'd miss out on some fun.
- No significant events or consequences. The stuff between Crichton and Aeryn reoccurs independently later. However this is definitely a fun and enjoyable episode despite being nonessential.

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 4:39pm:
    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.

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

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 4.71

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 12 7 4 4 3 10 8 6 5 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 - 5.57

Rate episode?

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

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 9:03pm:
    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 9:59pm:

    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 8:12pm:
    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 4:44pm:
    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.

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

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 6.98

Rate episode?

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

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 1:23pm:
    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 4:59am:
    "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 11:39pm:
    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? 

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

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 6.13

Rate episode?

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

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 2010-03-08 at 3:21am:
    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 6:56am:
    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.

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

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 6.04

Rate episode?

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

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 - 6.95

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 3 3 6 6 6 1 16 3 6 17 28

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 7:27pm:
    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.

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

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 6.44

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 7 6 4 0 5 2 5 4 11 17 14

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 - 6.32

Rate episode?

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

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

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 6.33

Rate episode?

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

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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Farscape - 2x01 - Mind the Baby - Originally Aired: 2000-3-17

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 5.81

Rate episode?

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

Synopsis
Crichton, Aeryn and D'Argo are stranded in an asteroid field while Scorpius searches for them. Their safety depends on Crais, who is nearby in Talyn. Aeryn teaches Crais how to control the young Leviathan - the only thing she can offer in return for the lives of her friends. When Moya returns to the asteroid field to look for her offspring, and Crichton decides to remove Crais from control of Talyn, Scorpius finally sees his chance to strike. [DVD]

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

Problems
- When Talyn offers his neural interface to Crais, a puppeteer's hand is visible at the bottom of the screen controlling the tentacle.

Factoids
- D'Argo's makeup looks significantly different starting with this episode. I wonder if it is permanent scarring from his little spacewalk?
- This episode establishes that Chiana can jump really high.
- Hynerians experience airway seizure in situations of very strong emotions.

Remarkable Scenes
- The Sheyangs firing on Moya.
- D'Argo's reaction to Talyn: "Awful name."
- D'Argo: "As John once said, I would rather go down on a swing!" John: "... Swinging. You wanna go down swinging."
- Scorpius having some sort of blue rod inserted into his skull.
- D'Argo and John playing rock paper scissors.
- D'Argo tongue whipping Aeryn.
- Crais signaling Scorpius.
- John arriving on Moya with captured Crais and seeing jumpy Chiana (WTF?) and spacey Zhaan.
- Aeryn meeting with spacey Zhaan and giving her a hard time for refusing to have worldly concerns any longer, taking personal offense at Zhaan's unwillingness to help them.
- Talyn firing on Moya and demanding Crais be returned to him.
- Talyn embedding a neural implant into Crais.
- Crais kicking Aeryn off Talyn.
- Crais telling Scorpius that he killed John.

My Review
Mind the Baby is almost like a second series premiere for Farscape. There are many similarities between this first episode of season two and the first episode of season one. Once again the plot is largely wrapped up into a neat little package by the end of the episode, partly at the expense of depth. John is relatively safe for the time being, but has a different "insane military commander" chasing him. These similarities are so striking that John's monologue in the opening credits doesn't even need the slightest tweak.

There are important differences of course. Most remarkably the overarching story has grown in depth and nuance. Crais and Talyn being out there on the loose as ambiguous allies and probably guests in future episodes is certainly a fun prospect and Scorpius is definitely a more compelling villain than Crais was in season one. But at the same time, this season premiere makes it clear that we're once again not too terribly likely to see either of these two characters very frequently which is a trend I quite disliked in season one.

As for this episode's merits by itself, what we get is mostly good. Crais manipulating everybody was fantastic and Talyn himself is turning into quite a fascinating character. John's and D'Argo's antics in this episode were unusually funny and Aeryn dealing with Talyn slowly slipping away from her was touching, especially given the fact that she seems to have adopted Talyn acting as a sort of godmother to him.

But for all that the episode is jam packed with nice character moments, it's a bit too packed in. Several pieces of the story weren't given enough time to be really fleshed out and others were simply poorly executed. The most glaring weak portrayal for me in this episode was Scorpius. His role in the episode is distinctly uncomplicated. Chase Moya. His scenes amount to little more than your typical mustache twirler. As a character, he gains no more depth which makes him seem like little more than manufactured danger for our protagonists, which is a real shame after how strong he resonated as a deep and nuanced bad guy in Nerve.

Other oddities are things like Moya being attacked by the Sheyangs for no coherent reason and Chiana's strange reference to Zhaan having been put on trial during interim between last episode's cliffhanger and the events of this episode. What are they talking about? What happened? Speaking of Zhaan, her spacey behavior in this episode seemed out of character to me. Same goes for Rygel's emotional asphyxiation and Chiana's ridiculous jump hug. All of that was over the top and frankly campy. When I'm being reminded of Galactica 1980, then the story isn't doing a very good job.

But those oddities were brief and minor and much like the season one premiere, the season two premiere overall works and is quite satisfying, even if it's not quite perfect and could have been better in several ways. In the end, in the overarching plot sense we basically get more of the same, but it's more refined, it's deeper, and has more potential than season one did. I'd have certainly preferred something braver and darker, but this story certainly delivers in spite of that.

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Farscape - 2x02 - Vitas Mortis - Originally Aired: 2000-3-24

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 4.57

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# Votes: 16 8 4 6 5 6 8 10 4 9 6

Synopsis
D'Argo drags the others on a search for an old, dying Luxan, Nilaam. She turns out to be an Orican - a Luxan holy woman who wants D'Argo to help her die. D'Argo has no choice but to take part in the Luxan death ritual, but as Nilaam starts to cross to the next realm, she sees a chance to alter her fate. Changing the ritual, Nilaam, instead of dying, uses D'Argo's life force and emerges as a beautiful young Luxan. However, it soon becomes clear that the energy she used was not from D'Argo, but from Moya, and the consequences for the living ship are catastrophic. [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
- When Nilaam did her death ritual at the end of the episode and D'Argo's qualta blade fell to the ground, the ground shook visibly when the blade struck it, indicating that it wasn't solid ground with dirt on it as it was supposed to appear, but rather some flimsy surface constructed for the set in order to fake the appearance of solid dirt ground.

Factoids
- The title of this episode is Latin which literally translates to "Life Death" or more roughly translates to "Escaping Death."
- The tattooed markings on the bottom of D'Argo's face indicate that he is a general. However, this was a ruse to protect the real general that D'Argo served under from being interrogated because that general wouldn't be able to survive the interrogation.
- Nilaam has psychic and telekinetic powers which implies that these are natural Luxan abilities. However it's possible only certain Luxans can wield these abilities, explaining why D'Argo appears to not possess them himself.
- The normal lifespan of a leviathan is over 300 cycles. Pilot's species can live for over 1000 cycles. However, when they bond with leviathans they live no longer than leviathans do, drastically cutting their lifespans short.

Remarkable Scenes
- John to D'Argo: "You've got the bar codes of a general but you aren't one."
- Chiana getting frozen in Moya's amnexus fluids.
- Moya's inner hull breaching, Rygel being blown toward the breach, then Rygel's ass sealing off the breach.
- Aeryn taking a shot at Nilaam and D'Argo diving in front of the blast, only to be saved by Nilaam.
- Nilaam dying and restoring Moya's youth.

My Review
This is a fairly enjoyable character story with an alien of the week that thankfully doesn't exhibit any of the most annoying typical cliches. Nilaam was an established alien species (Luxan) rather than a new alien species of the week and she wasn't evil, nor did she have a hidden agenda. Instead, what we've got is an honest to goodness character development episode which, while not overwhelmingly spectacular, is well executed.

The particular highlights of this episode are the small character details sprinkled about. John, Zhaan, and D'Argo are sporting classier new looks, which while being more interesting for the audience to look at in superficial ways also more importantly reflects their growing success in coping with life in the uncharted territories. If John's finding time for fashion, you know he's starting to grow into his place in the universe.

Likewise, this episode plants seeds of an upcoming serious relationship between Chiana and D'Argo and we get some more fascinating information about D'Argo's background with the explanation of what his chin tattoos mean and why he donned them. Finally the tidbit about how Pilot sacrificed a large percentage of his lifespan in order to bond with Moya is fascinating as well. In short, this is a nice episode even if not terribly ambitious.

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Farscape - 2x04 - Crackers Don't Matter - Originally Aired: 2000-4-7

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5.03

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 35 3 3 5 11 6 4 10 9 15 22

Synopsis
The crew returns from a commerce planet with a load of crackers and a meek alien called T'raltixx, who promises he can alter Moya's electromagnetics to make her untraceable. Crichton is skeptical; it seems too good to be true. As they pass through a constellation of five pulsars, an intense paranoia affects the crew, turning them violently against each other. Crichton must fight against his own paranoid delusions to work out what T'raltixx is actually doing and how to stop him. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 1, partial filler, but has important continuity. I recommend against skipping this one.
- This is the first episode to feature Hallucination Scorpius.

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode establishes that humans have poorer eyesight than Luxans, Sebaceans, Nebari, Pilot's species, Delvians, and Hynerians.

Remarkable Scenes
- Zhaan beginning to photogasm as Moya passes through the pulsars.
- T'raltixx: "Crichton, and the rest on Moya. Do you like them?" Pilot, looking as though he never considered the question before: "You know, I don't think I do like them."
- D'Argo tongue lashing Zhaan.
- Pilot, about humans: "You have no special abilities, you're not particularly smart, can hardly smell, can barely see, and you're not even vaguely physically or spiritually imposing. Is there anything you do well?" John: "Watch football."
- John: "I hate it when villains quote Shakespeare."
- Hallucination Scorpius telling John to shoot D'Argo: "Go on, John, do it, then we can go to the beach! I know a place with naked Sebacean girls and margarita shooters!"
- John shooting D'Argo and assaulting Chiana.
- Hallucination Scorpius in a Hawaiian shirt.
- John: "Nobody has margaritas with pizza!"
- Chiana: "You've got the worst eyes out of all of us. That's why your optic nerves aren't being affected." John: "I got great eyes! They're better than 20/20 and they're blue!"
- John being equipped into his ridiculous protective suit to prepare for battle with T'raltixx.
- John's ridiculous battle with T'raltixx.

My Review
You'd think an episode all about how some pulsar light makes the crew bicker more might be cliched and annoying by now, but Crackers Don't Matter has that special comedic touch which makes it a fine episode in the tradition of The Flax. The absurdist comedy makes for an incredibly entertaining story while the danger of the actual plot manages to be both compelling for the immediate danger posed by T'raltixx as well as for the overarching danger posed by Scorpius.

The inclusion of a hallucinatory Scorpius was indeed a nice touch. This adds a delightful new element to the character of Scorpius, even if it's all in John's head. The real Scorpius of course isn't prancing around in Hawaiian shirts and talking about pizza and margaritas, but the next time John sees him will be colored by this experience. In effect, the experience of this episode adds a great deal of texture to how John perceives the character.

On a related note, this episode sees an uptick in the magnitude of irrelevant references to Earth, or John Sequiturs as I prefer to call them (others call them Crichtonisms). We now have clear evidence that the more crazy John is going, the more John Sequiturs get sprinkled into his dialog and internal monologue. It seems clear by now that these references are a kind of defense mechanism from letting his experiences make him completely insane.

Finally, it's worth noting that D'Argo's sincere apology to Rygel for the force feeding is more significant than it may appear, as in DNA Mad Scientist it was established that Luxans are not prone to apologies; it's incredibly hard for them to offer them. Overall, Crackers Don't Matter is an incredibly entertaining story, even if it doesn't advance the overarching plot much at all.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Lennier on 2010-07-12 at 2:53am:
    This isn't about the episode, but I just wanted to let the readers of this site know that Crichtonisms.com has expired as of 6.20.10 and is no longer available.

    Here's hoping it'll be renewed soon...

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Farscape - 2x05 - The Way We Weren't - Originally Aired: 2000-4-14

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 6.04

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# Votes: 15 2 1 4 7 6 1 9 21 15 11

Synopsis
A datacam tape is uncovered showing Aeryn as part of a Peacekeeper firing squad that executed a previous Pilot aboard Moya. The rest of the crew wants answers but Aeryn is recalcitrant about revisiting her past - especially her relationship with Velorek, the man charged with forcibly bonding a new Pilot to Moya. Pilot too refuses to communicate with the crew, not wanting to reveal his own complicity in the murky circumstances surrounding his instatement as Moya's guide. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Essential character development for and exposition about Aeryn and Pilot along with some important continuity with regards to Pilot beginning a natural bonding process with Moya and why Moya was equipped with a contraception device in season 1. Velorek will also become significant again in season 4.

Problems
- When Pilot is bonded to Moya, he sees images which are implied to be Moya's memories, but they are images of things which have not happened yet.

Factoids
- Pilot's ancient language is too complex for the translator microbes to properly translate, so in order to communicate with other species, Pilot must simplify his language.
- Pilot was not Moya's first pilot but instead was bonded artificially to her, a process that left Pilot in a great deal of permanent pain, up until this episode when the artificial bonding was severed. Pilot having to bond with Moya naturally will result in reduced control for up to one to two cycles.
- Velorek installed the Peacekeeper contraception shield to prevent Moya from reproducing so that Crais' project would never come to fruition.

Remarkable Scenes
- The flashback to Aeryn participating in the execution of Moya's original Pilot under Crais' orders.
- Aeryn revealing that she and Velorek were lovers.
- Pilot discovering the tape and assaulting Aeryn.
- The flashback to Pilot being installed into Moya.
- Velorek to Aeryn: "You can be so much more."
- The revelation that the artificial process which bonded Pilot to Moya left him in a permanent state of a great deal of pain.
- The flashback to Moya waking up to a different pilot.
- Pilot severing his connection to Moya, ending the pain.
- John and D'Argo playing rock paper scissors to determine which one of them will try to talk sense into Aeryn.
- The flashback to Aeryn betraying Velorek.
- John and Aeryn doing battle with Pilot's DRDs.
- Pilot revealing that he was rejected by the elders to serve as a leviathan pilot, leading him to have no choice but to participate in Velorek's shady business if he was to ever be bonded to a leviathan at all.

My Review
The Way We Weren't is a magnificently dark story which drudges up all sorts of uncomfortable memories for Aeryn and Pilot and fleshes all of it out quite well. What makes it such a strong story isn't simply that Aeryn participated in the execution of Moya's original pilot, but that Aeryn demonstrated at least some level of willful complicity in her actions aboard Moya when she chose to actively work against Velorek to service her own interests.

The tragedy of the story is that Aeryn's interests were not with her cover story of preferring Prowler duty, but instead with running away from her feelings of true love for Velorek. In effect, Aeryn's inability to deal with her feelings of love for Velorek led to not only his (probable) execution, but also cost Moya and Pilot their freedom, assuming Velorek's plan to stop Crais' black project could have been carried out successfully without Aeryn's interference.

In addition, other nice tidbits of texture are strung about as well. Aeryn rightfully sees hypocrisy in Zhaan's, D'Argo's, and Rygel's outrage at Aeryn murdering Moya's old pilot under Peacekeeper orders while they were willing to cut off one of Pilot's arms (even if they do grow back...) of their own free will out of selfish desire to go home. Likewise, Pilot is shown to not be entirely innocent either when he reveals that he knew that fulfilling his desire to be amongst the stars would cost one of his own kind its life.

This brings up the episode's only true weakness of course, which is at times Pilot's turbulent emotions cross the line into being significantly less rational than might be realistic. As Velorek said, Moya's original pilot's fate was already sealed, so Pilot's guilt is irrational. Likewise, Pilot's outrage at Aeryn is also irrational, though perhaps less so. However, as a consequence, Pilot's behavior and rage throughout the story seems grossly out of character.

It's worth noting that Pilot having lived in a constant state of pain for the last few cycles might easily substantiate his explosive breakdown in this episode, but the story may have been better if this were stated explicitly. Instead, we can't really know whether or not Pilot would have acted that way pain or no pain, which at best is an omission in the writing and at worst disservices Pilot's character. Overall though, the broad takeaway from this story is that it's an outstanding piece of drama and character development and among the best episodes of Farscape so far.

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Farscape - 2x06 - Picture If You Will - Originally Aired: 2000-4-21

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 5.85

Rate episode?

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

Synopsis
Chiana returns to Moya with a fortune-telling portrait she picked up from a passing trader. The picture foretells the deaths of the crew, and one by one, they start to die off. Zhaan realizes her old foe Maldis, an evil sorcerer, is behind the terrifying goings-on. He is trying to re-corporealize and is feeding on the fears of Crichton, D'Argo, Chiana and especially Zhaan. When Zhaan and Crichton are the only ones left alive, they are forced to travel into the sorcerer's dimension and confront him face to face. [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
None

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- Crichton: "You know what I say? I say we lock all of Moya's doors. We don't let anyone in, we don't let anybody out. That way we get no alien critters, no shape shifting bugs, no mind altering viruses, no freaky-deeky artifacts."
- Chiana burning up in the freezer.
- Aeryn: "Pilot, is my prowler ready?" Pilot: "No, it's still undergoing maintenance." John: "Take my module." Aeryn, visibly annoyed: "Bucket of dren."
- D'Argo being stabbed by Aeryn's prowler.
- Aeryn intimidating the junk dealer.
- Zhaan's mind meld with John revealing her true plan telepathically, shortly before she pretends to give up and push John into the electrical current.
- John to Maldis: "Haven't you read the super villain's handbook? This is where you're supposed to twirl your mustache and gloat." Maldis: "I don't have a mustache, John."
- Aeryn killing the junk dealer.
- Zhaan taking out Maldis in the virtual world.
- Zhaan shooting at Maldis in the real world with a DRD.
- Chiana explaining Maldis' convoluted plan to Rygel.

My Review
I wrote in my review of That Old Black Magic that Maldis was arguably more interesting than Crais as an antagonist because of his overwrought, almost deus ex machina level of abilities. As a consequence, in that episode, Crais seemed to be a less significant threat than Maldis, the malevolent super-alien who feeds on suffering. As such, it's logical to conclude that an episode which features Maldis as the primary (and only) antagonist might be a better story.

Unfortunately, it simply didn't work out that way. The first half of the episode was wasted on the rather drowsily paced "mystical painting that can see the future" plot and it isn't until the second half of the story that Maldis is actually confirmed to be behind the scenes. By the time we actually get to see him, he barely gets to do any mustache twirling at all before Zhaan swiftly dispatches him.

Along the way nothing new happens; it's basically just a repeat of the last encounter, but with less trial and error. Zhaan just takes him out like a well trained assassin, leading me to roll my eyes at her closing line of having been more scared in that moment than any in her life. I can certainly see why John would assume her panic was all an act. Zhaan's work was ruthless and professional.

That said, Zhaan's highly effective tactics are also what make this story as enjoyable as it is. A better story would have exposed Maldis earlier and made Zhaan's plan take longer, but the surgical precision with which Zhaan's plan was executed was delightful to watch. Plans which work right the first time are a rarity on Farscape indeed! We also get more tender character moments between Chiana and D'Argo, continuing to hint at a budding romance between the two. All in all, the episode is nothing special, but not so bad either.

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Farscape - 2x08 - Dream A Little Dream - Originally Aired: 2000-6-23

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 4.56

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# Votes: 12 5 4 7 7 8 2 8 14 4 1

Synopsis
While desperately searching for news of Crichton, the rest of Moya's crew find themselves on the planet Litigara - a world where lawyers comprise ninety percent of the population. Zhaan is jailed for a minor offense - a major complication given that Pilot is having difficulty stopping Moya from StarBursting away to look for Talyn. Zhaan is then unwittingly drawn further into the ugly domestic politics of Litigara when she is framed for murder. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 1, partial filler, but has important continuity. I recommend against skipping this one.
- This episode plugs minor plot holes present in 2x01 Mind the Baby.

Problems
- This episode and its original version Re: Union (included on the DVDs) are mutually exclusive because of one (admittedly minor) detail. In Re: Union, the vision of John's death was originally Rygel's dream, not Zhaan's.

Factoids
- This episode was originally called Re: Union and was going to be the season premiere. However it was decided not to use this episode as the season premiere and instead the material was reused and edited for this episode with the addition of the flashback framing device.
- There are only three differences between this episode and Re: Union. 1. The removal of the first and last scenes from Re: Union. 2. The addition of the flashback framing device so Zhaan could tell the story to John. 3. In Re: Union, the vision of John's death was originally Rygel having a nightmare, not Zhaan.
- The writer of this episode "Steven Rae" is really a pseudonym for series creator Rockne S. O'Bannon.

Remarkable Scenes
- Zhaan, regarding heart attacks: "My circulatory organ does not seize up!"
- Zhaan in the flashback correcting herself from calling John a human, deciding instead to call him a Sebacean so the people in the bar might know what she's talking about.
- Zhaan referring to Rygel as "dren-faced."
- Zhaan being framed for murder.
- Rygel's helium fart during court.
- Chiana's hyperactive behavior in court after consuming Rygel's drugs.
- Chiana and Rygel lighting the chair's leg on fire to trigger the "light of truth" and simulate the parable in the sacred texts.
- Zhaan to John: "Most of the time I have no idea what you're saying."

My Review
This episode was originally meant to be aired as the season premiere without the flashback framing device. However, after watching this episode, it's pretty easy to see why they opted to go with Mind the Baby as the premiere instead, despite the fact that it introduced some minor continuity errors that might leave you scratching your head when Chiana mentions in that episode Zhaan having been on trial along with Chiana and Rygel seeming so unusually happy to be reunited with John, Aeryn, and D'Argo. Had this episode (without the flashback framing device of course) preceded Mind the Baby, those scenes would have made sense. But it would have been a dreadfully boring season premiere.

The basic thrust of the story is to depict Zhaan's inability to assume a leadership role now that John, D'Argo, and Aeryn are unavailable. This by itself is a reasonably interesting exploration of Zhaan's character, but the plot device used to get us there is dreadful. Introducing: Litigara, the hyper-litigious planet where 90%(!) of the population is lawyers. Zhaan gets thrown in jail for jaywalking, then gets framed for murder. It's obviously supposed to be satire of a society's obsession with legal code run amok, but the portrayal is so ridiculous that it's painful to watch.

Frankly, everything about the satire is overwrought. How could a society function where 90% of the population is lawyers? Why imprison someone for jaywalking? What possible sense could it make to have lawyers suffer the same fates as their clients, even in the scenario where the attorney is arguing their case in bad faith? And finally, how the frell could the judge be so damn stupid as to be fooled by Chiana's, Rygel's, and Pilot's parlor trick with the "light of truth" simulation? And even allowing for that, why would she consider that admissible evidence? The whole damn thing is nonsense.

In spite of this though, the character moments the silly plot device affords Zhaan, Chiana, and Rygel are touching. Had they been integrated into Mind the Baby and the silly Litigara plot device been ditched, it certainly would have made for a nice season premiere. All in all, while I'm glad we got an explanation for the plot holes in the season premiere, I'm also glad this episode never ended up being used as the season premiere. That would have been even more annoying than it was as a flashback after the fact.

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Farscape - 2x09 - Out of Their Minds - Originally Aired: 2000-7-7

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 6.54

Rate episode?

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

Synopsis
When Moya is attacked by Halos-1, a hostile ship, the crew discovers that rather than being injured, they have all swapped minds. Zhaan, on a diplomatic mission to the alien ship, is the only one unaffected. The Halosians then plant an acidic weapon in Moya's neural cluster, so that not only is the crew in a state of bodily confusion, they must also deal with the acid burning through Moya's circuits. Zhaan, with no way of getting to the crew, must contend with the Halosians on her own. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- First appearance of Talyn and Crais since the season premiere. They have little screen time, but the events here will become more significant later.

Problems
None

Factoids
- Zhaan has the capability to collapse her fiber structures at will, sort of like intentionally breaking bones. This is what allowed her to escape her shackles. But doing so poses to her an extreme danger of losing full motor control.

Remarkable Scenes
- John regarding the hostile vessel: "Have we sent the don't shoot, we're pathetic transmission yet?"
- Zhaan discovering that Talyn had previously attacked the aliens.
- Moya taking fire from the hostile aliens, protected by the defense shield.
- Moya's crew exchanging personalities.
- Chiana inhabiting D'Argo. I love how you could tell just by the signature body movements.
- The aliens showing Zhaan the recording of Talyn attacking them.
- Pilot talking D'Argo through administering Moya's many functions.
- The Polaroid DRD.
- Rygel in John's body having to go pee at an inopportune time.
- Yoz revealing that Talyn merely defended himself and that they in fact fired first.
- John taking the opportunity to grope Aeryn's breasts while inhabiting her body.
- Everyone switching bodies again but still being in the wrong bodies.
- Zhaan convincing Yoz to take command.
- Zhaan escaping and taking over the alien ship.
- Everyone trying to explain to Zhaan why she needs to fire on Moya again.
- D'Argo to Chiana: "I really, really enjoyed being inside your body."

My Review
This episode is a great deal of fun. Watching the actors play each other's characters might sound like a silly farce, but the actors do a great job of selling it both realistically in the sense of exploring the implications of this science fiction plot device and delivering the inevitable resultant comedy.

On top of that this episode finally gives us some insight into what Crais and Talyn have been up to. Although I'd have preferred their involvement in the story to be more pronounced. Likewise, the alien antagonists of the week were not terribly compelling either.

Other than that, there's little else to say about this story. There's some cute relationship stuff between Chiana and D'Argo, as well as John and Aeryn, and the episode is filled with delightfully awkward switched-character moments.

I suspect D'Argo, and to a lesser extent Chiana now have some deeper understanding of just how different Pilot's life is compared to the rest of them, similar to though perhaps not as deep as the bond Pilot and Aeryn developed in DNA Mad Scientist. All in all, this episode is mostly just some good fun and great comedy. Not unlike The Flax or Crackers Don't Matter.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Dan on 2014-07-16 at 4:53pm:
    The Halosians look suspiciously like the "The Dark Crystal" Skeksis which are puppets engineered by Jim Henson.

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My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 6.21

Rate episode?

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

Synopsis
The crew travels to a planet under the rule of a benevolent monarchy. The Queen-to-be, Princess Katralla, has had her DNA altered by agents working for her avaricious brother, Prince Clavor. As such, she cannot find a compatible partner - one of the requirements of becoming monarch. By pure chance, it turns out that Crichton is a compatible partner, and he is encouraged on all sides to marry. Crichton thinks the proposal ludicrous, and Aeryn keeps quiet on the matter, refusing to reveal her hurt feelings. But when Empress Novia threatens to hand Crichton over to Scorpius should he leave Katralla standing at the altar, Crichton consents to the marriage. [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 that Scorpius' father was Scarran and his mother was Sebacean.
- Scarrans have superior strength than that of Sebaceans and possess a remarkable paralyzing heat emitting ability that seems to allow them to invade their victims' minds.
- Ro-NA was played by Ben Browder's wife, Francesca Buller.

Remarkable Scenes
- John walking in on D'Argo and Chiana having sex.
- John being coerced into marrying the princess.
- Scorpius confronting D'Argo.
- Scorpius giving John a big hug.
- The empress forcing John to choose between her daughter and Scorpius.
- John walking in on Chiana and D'Argo having sex to tell them that the royalty's planning to turn him and his new wife into statues for 80 cycles.
- John being assaulted by the rival prince's thugs.

My Review
Moya quite literally stumbles into relevance in this episode, her aimless wandering finally delivering the crew into non-filler plot advancement which has been sorely lacking in the season thus far. Unfortunately, the execution leaves much to be desired.

It's nice to finally see a full-blooded Scarran and his capabilities, as well as see the romantic relationships between the crew clarified. We now know for sure that D'Argo and Chiana are dating each other and that John and Aeryn would like to but can't sort out their feelings.

However, the relationship exposition isn't entirely new information. Most of this info was slowly disseminated over previous episodes. Astute fans would have already drawn these conclusions. What is new in this episode is the plot dealing directly with these relationships.

But the plot focusing so much on these relationships is part of the reason this episode doesn't work very well. Chiana and D'Argo are amusing comic relief, but John and Aeryn are just annoying. Frankly, Aeryn's behavior during this whole episode is highly irrational; since she's doing it to herself, I have little sympathy for her sadness.

But that's just the beginning of this episode's remarkable lack of focus. What I found even more striking was Zhaan's and Moya's role in this episode and especially Scorpius' role, or in both cases I should say lack thereof.

I'd like to think Scorpius just hanging out on the sidelines like this, waiting for things to happen is part of his clever scheming, but instead it comes off more like he was backed into a corner by the local royalty and has no choice but to play by the rules. That doesn't sound very Scorpius at all to me.

As for Moya and Zhaan, the broader implications of Moya's wandering into the (alleged) leviathan "builders" domain remain to be seen. Overall the episode is a disappointment. I don't care about the breakaway Sebacean colony and I'd prefer these long term story arcs to be handled with better focus to enhance the dramatic effect. Aimless wandering makes for a boring drama.

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My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 5.88

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Synopsis
Agents working for Prince Clavor try to assassinate Crichton, but their efforts are thwarted by Clavor's fiancee, Jenavian Charto. She turns out to be a secret Peacekeeper Operative on a mission to stop Clavor from taking the throne and making a deal with the Scarrans. Crichton goes into hiding, assisted by the Royal retainer, ro-Na. Meanwhile, Zhaan, Moya and Pilot meet the 'Builder' Kahaynu, one of the Leviathan creators. Angry over the birth of the gunship Talyn, Kahaynu orders nothing less than the immediate death of Moya. [DVD]

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

Problems
- John's exposure to vacuum in this episode was a bit lengthy for it to be realistic. Had the scene been about a quarter of the length it would have been a bit more realistic, if less cool. :)

Factoids
- The leviathan builders genetically engineered the leviathan species and gave them intelligence.
- Ro-NA was played by Ben Browder's wife, Francesca Buller.

Remarkable Scenes
- A Peacekeeper spy saving Crichton, believing him to also be a Peacekeeper spy.
- The floating orb trying to assassinate John and the princess.
- Rygel scheming with the empress.
- John trying to get Braca to mortally wound him, knowing Braca would be hesitant to do that since Scorpius wants him alive.
- John getting the orbital satellites to fire on the cargo vessel.
- John jumping from the cargo vessel to the transport pod into open space while the orbital satellites were taking shots at him!
- D'Argo to John just before he is to be statued: "Chiana and I are having fantastic sex."

My Review
Part 2 is basically a repeat of part 1 except it brings some fantastic action into the mix. John's spacewalk is of particular note. It's among the most badass scenes I've seen in all of Farscape so far! Unfortunately though, this episode does little to mitigate the previous episode's issues with focus. Aeryn is still incoherent and useless, Moya's still off in la la land with Zhaan, and the rest of the characters are unable to help John get out of his predicament, rendering them almost as useless as Aeryn.

As for Zhaan, we now know why Moya wandered off, but the reason isn't a very good one. It's intriguing to meet the leviathan ship builders, but for a race so advanced they seem to have rather primitive critical thinking skills. They can build leviathans, but seem to lack the ability to sterilize them. Thus, they decide to kill Moya to prevent her from reproducing further. A plot so ludicrous it almost belongs in the technical problems section.

Perhaps the most interesting thing in this episode was John hearing Scorpius' voice in his head telling him to focus in order to survive. Could this be a slow resurgence of hallucination Scorpius from Crackers Don't Matter? A less comical, more serious version of that Scorpius that exists solely to act as John's anti-panic mechanism would indeed make for some fascinating drama. As for the real Scorpius, I'm glad we saw him make an actual play to try and grab John, but it too was rather weak. I expected more from Scorpy.

Finally, on a lighter note, it was fun watching John masquerade as a Peacekeeper again in the teaser. I sometimes wonder if they'll be abusing that cliche for its endless comedic effects for the rest of the series. Overall, this episode is a step up from the last one, but not by too much. Scenes like John's spacewalk were undeniably badass, but do little to mitigate general poor plotting. Hopefully the next installment is a grand slam.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Lennier on 2010-05-09 at 6:01am:
    I was laughing through that entire scene in which John acts insane and manages to escape Braca. That was just hyperactivity at its finest.

    It also reinforces to me how much Ben Browder got to do, and how far he stretched, in Farscape and how little during his time on Stargate SG-1.

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My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 6.06

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Synopsis
Now married, Crichton and Katralla are frozen into living statues so that they may watch over the presiding governments of the next eighty cycles. Immediately, Clavor and the Scarran emissary Cargn attempt another assassination. Jenavian Charto again comes to the rescue, and she and the restored Crichton escape into the barren lands. Unfortunately for D'Argo, Chiana and Rygel, Empress Novia threatens the execution of every off-worlder on the planet if Crichton is not found. When finding John becomes a life and death matter, D'Argo turns to someone equally desperate to locate the astronaut: Crichton's enemy, Scorpius. [DVD]

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

Problems
None

Factoids
- The Scarran heat ability can be used in lethal ways.
- This episode establishes that Scorpius, like any Sebacean, is weak against heat. But his Scarran side loves heat, making him paradoxically even more vulnerable to heat than ordinary Sebaceans. Scorpius must thus wear a cooling suit. The rods inserted into his head are cooling rods.

Remarkable Scenes
- The Scarran decapitating John's statue and dumping the severed head into acid to burn away.
- Scorpius retrieving John's head, only to be assaulted by the Peacekeeper spy.
- Zhaan assaulting the leviathan ship builder.
- The Peacekeeper spy discovering John's not a Peacekeeper.
- The leviathan ship builder revealing he was testing Zhaan's worthiness to inhabit Moya, not trying to euthanize Moya.
- The Scarran killing the prince.
- John taking out the Scarran.
- The empress revealing that the princess was impregnated with John's seed.
- John recommending that Tyno take his place as regent, declaring that he'd be a good father to the child John will never know.

My Review
Part 3 mostly fixes the focus issues at the expense of some of part 2's action gains. John and Aeryn have sort of kind of maybe probably worked out their relationship tension, but it took extreme separation anxiety and near death experiences for them to sort of kind of maybe probably accept their feelings for each other. Meanwhile, John got a princess impregnated with his child, though not by his own choice. The idea that his daughter won't be born for another 80 cycles is intriguing, but also a convenient way for us to dispose of this plot thread forever, rendering it largely inconsequential.

The only plot of actual consequence is John's time with Scorpius. We get some interesting exposition about Scorpius and what his big black suit and the weird rods being inserted into his head are all about and we also get to see Scorpius both fail and in some respects deal with failure. At first I was annoyed that Scorpius couldn't hack it on Sebacean royalty planet, but now that we've spent more time with his character, I can see why. Scorpius isn't Crais. He's interested in getting John, yes, but he won't sacrifice his career in the process. Thus, we see a more nuanced Scorpius here.

We also see a weaker Scorpius. His thermal regulation weakness has been exposed and in fact Scorpius was mere inches from being killed by John. Why John didn't kill Scorpius in that moment I may never know. As D'Argo said, it was a mistake. A huge mistake. Maybe it's just a flaw in John's character. He can't kill poor old Scorpy even when he knows he should because he's just too darn nice a guy. Whatever the reason, it should have been made more clear to us. Instead, it looks like a quirky, snap decision John makes for no good reason. Overall, the three parter was decent, but largely a disappointment. With better focus in all 3 parts it could have been a much stronger story.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Ulkesh on 2010-05-09 at 6:44am:
    As for why John didn't kill Scorpius...

    I got the distinct impression that Harvey (the neural implant Scorpius in John's head) was exerting some kind of subconscious influence, preventing the killing stroke.

    This seems the only halfway-reasonable explanation at this point, but my knowledge of the implant is limited; I'm watching the series for the first time and am just about where you are in the reviews.
  • From DK on 2012-08-07 at 12:24am:
    The indecisive and flip-floping attitude of the princess and Aeryn were both so outrageous I don't know where to begin.  I guess the most outrageous part is that apparently we the viewers are to believe that this is acceptable behavior.  Although come to think of it, it is typical female behavior so I can't knock the show for being unrealistic but it did make me wish someone would choke the both of them.

    I did enjoy some of the original sci-fi thinking such as the *sweet or sour kiss* and viewing your unborn children at any age and being turned into a statue for a while to learn the government.  

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