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Farscape - Season 2 - Episode 01

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

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 4.96

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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.

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

- 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.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Margaret J on 2019-06-15 at 12:38am:
    "These similarities are so striking that John's monologue in the opening credits doesn't even need the slightest tweak."
    Never noticed that but yeah..that is pretty funny! Now for the actual episode I give it/gave it an 8 so the 2nd time you and I have given it the same rating.I also agree that Zahn's spacey behaviour was weird. I never really took much notice of Chianna's jump hug I guess I just chalked it up to someone's idea of alien enthuiasum. All in allI enjoyed the episode I really like Scorpius as a villian but unlike you I would be ok if only saw a minimal amount of Crais and Talon/Talyn (note I did not say none I still wouldnt mind the odd update) unless of course they come back with a more interesting storyline

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