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Farscape - Season 4 - Episode 13

Farscape - 4x13 - Terra Firma - Originally Aired: 2003-1-6

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 6.37

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The crew returns to Moya - in orbit around modern-day Earth - to find Jack and a contingent of Earth dignitaries waiting for them. The aliens are introduced to an amazed and apprehensive public, but soon find life in the public eye difficult. As Crichton tries to readjust to life on Earth, his relationships become strained, especially with Aeryn. Meanwhile, a monstrous assassin sent by Grayza hunts for Crichton, and will stop at nothing to accomplish its mission. [DVD]

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

- The plot plays it a bit fast and loose with the aliens being able to converse presumably in English with various human characters. The fact that they've been there for over a month before John arrives giving them all time to learn English helps, but that's still pushing it. Presumably some of the human characters took translator microbes? It would've been nice if the plot buttoned this up a bit.


Remarkable Scenes
- Jack revealing that Sikozu made first contact with Earth, in English, when IASA detected Moya in orbit 42 days ago.
- John being reunited with his friends and family.
- Earth officials examining the technology John brought back.
- Aeryn regarding John's pet cat: "Does he talk?"
- Jack: "Every nation's demanding equal access to the aliens and all the information we get from them." John: "Of course they are. We're gonna give it to them." Jack: "I don't see why. Why should we give them access to technology they can use against us?" John: "Because it's the right thing to do. Wouldn't worry about it, dad. Subcommittee will tie it up for years and load it down with a ton of guidelines." Jack: "Now you're being naive, son. The best and safest thing to do is keep it to ourselves." John: "Space travel was your dream to unite mankind. When did that change?" Jack: "September the 11th."
- Grayza communicating with her agent aboard Moya.
- Aeryn taking Jack on a trip to Saturn in her prowler.
- The alien monster attacking John's friends.
- Scorpius revealing to Sikozu that he is planning to kamikaze the wormhole if Grayza locates it and comes through.
- Jack doing as John asks and inviting all nations to participate in the ongoing Farscape mission.
- The alien monster attacking John's family.
- D'Argo taking out the alien.
- Aeryn: "Merry frelling Christmas."
- Aeryn pressing Noranti on the drugs John's taking.
- John resolving to leave Earth again, to protect it from alien attacks.

My Review
The setup pays off perfectly. John returns to Earth and the political consequences are explored with sufficient depth and nuance to make the climax of this arc well worth the buildup. I loved the detail that the September 11th terrorist attacks changed John's dad in a fundamental way, making him less idealistic and more predisposed to hoard any and all information and technology John has brought back with him so as to protect the United States against its enemies.

John, on the other hand, both lacking the experience of having lived through the event and being the only human to have lived through his perhaps worse experiences on the other side of the galaxy possesses a much different perspective. From John's point of view, the enemies of America are the Peacekeepers and the Scarrans. It's obvious to John from the very first moment that what he brings Earth is terrors beyond their imagination and that the best way to protect America, along with the rest of Earth, is to "get the hell out of Dodge" and get Earth off the radar of the Peacekeepers and Scarrans as quickly as possible.

John's decision to leave is a fateful one. John's no longer a man running away from his enemies. He's a man with a greater purpose. The only way he'll ever be able to return home again is if he finds a way to end the conflict between the Peacekeepers and the Scarrans, or at least end their lust over wormhole technology. John's immediate feelings over having to leave I'm sure are quite confused. The Peacekeepers killed off his best friend DK and DK's new wife. And his homecoming while not as absurd as A Human Reaction predicted was certainly bittersweet.

Meanwhile John's and Aeryn's confused relationship mirrors John's ambivalence regarding his homecoming. The two even after all this time still can't sort out their feelings for each other. But real progress has been made on both fronts. Aeryn's finally starting to understand why John acts the way he does by discovering his drug use and getting a grip on his cultural contexts first hand. As for John, his decision to leave Earth was the right call, even if it was a hard one. Both characters have begun a journey to regain their focuses on the things that matter to them most. An absolutely fantastic episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Ben on 2011-12-11 at 6:40pm:
    Why is the fan rating so low? This is one of the best episodes from season 4.
  • From Rob UK on 2015-01-28 at 4:57am:
    Between Kansas and Terra Firma this is Farscape at it's finest, the human reaction is in my opinion highly accurate as we bicker between each other not knowing the bigger picture, that being we are ant's to the rest of the universe who are all wearing very big boots and they wouldn't even need to use more than a single ship to destroy our entire planet yet we squabble over the few trinkets presented by our visitors and hoard our little secrets like they are worth something in this bigger picture, Chianna said it perfectly talking with Dargo as they left the big wigs party about maybe the reason we haven't left our planet is we are too busy fighting each other.

    When we look at the non fiction of our world today, the racism, bigotry, religions and wars and the idiots we have running our countries, the frantic dog eat dog of capitalism, the consumer machine chewing us all up and turning us all on each other over meagre possessions, if a real force from outside this planet came with intentions to destroy us we wouldn't have a leg to stand on, we'd bicker and squabble over who does what and why hoarding our secret tech that needed shared to put up any sort of fight back, more than likely turn on each other and try and form some sort of collaboration with the attackers protecting the people of one nation in trade for the people of another, we'd do the job for them.

    Like John said to Dargo in apology for the way he'd been treat, "We don't like anybody" when i was a kid i used to think we were getting better as a people and slowly but surely evolving but i was sadly deluded by my desires from seeing the big picture.

    My apologies I am normally much more positive in my postings on this site
  • From Hugo on 2016-09-08 at 8:54pm:
    This is the very first episode this season that I feel really excited about - in comparison all the others were quite a yawnfest. A kick-ass view to end it with too, John marching on looking badass...

    One thing though - Braca with the device on his forehead, poor actor having to go through that.

    I think Kent McCord is doing a great job, and the chemistry between him and Browder is great - and Aeryn is great in this ep.

    Whoa! Loved most of it!
  • From Will on 2022-02-06 at 3:47am:
    One of the best episodes of farscape. Agree with the other commenter that there is no way that this episode should have a 5.95 average rating. This is farscape at its best. Everyone's already made great points about why. This, Kansas, and Unrealized Reality are like a holy Trinity of season 4 and they were all super exciting to watch, like a good book you stay up all night reading.

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