Farscape: Exodus from Genesis

While hiding from a Peacekeeper Marauder in a strange debris cloud, Moya is boarded by an alien species intent on completing its reproductive cycle. When the temperature starts rising and Aeryn’s health is threatened, the crew discovers the massive infestation, as well as some uncanny duplicates of themselves.

‘Exodus from Genesis’ is funny, freaky, and gross, while also featuring some serious moments that further develop the relationships amongst Moya’s crew. The focus this week was on Aeryn and her slow but steady transition from detached outsider to respected member of the team --- both from the perspective of the crew and in her own mind. At the beginning, she told Crichton she needed neither friends, nor family, and was clearly upset about getting caught up in “this little mutiny” before she could become a Marauder commando, an elite force vaunted for their discipline and ruthlessness. Even as she’s succumbing to the heat sickness, she can’t fathom why the others on Moya would want to help her. “Why would the others care? My kind imprisoned them. I’m sure they haven’t forgotten.” It takes a brush with the living death to make her truly see that, despite her background, the others do care about her, and there may yet be some value in friends and “lesser life forms.”

Meanwhile, the others are starting to realize that she is more than just a Peacekeeper to them. When John accuses D’Argo of wanting Aeryn to die because of what she is, D’Argo says he sees her as a comrade now and admits that “the part of me that wants Aeryn to live, is greater than the part of me that wants all Peacekeepers to die.” Likewise, after working with Aeryn, Pilot is surprised to discover that he sees her differently than other Peacekeepers. “It is strange to be so close to a Peacekeeper I do not fear.... That, is a compliment.”

‘Exodus …’ also devoted some time to Crichton’s ongoing struggle with his new life and relationships. Just opening the doors is a challenge for him, much less figuring out how to gain D’Argo’s and Aeryn’s respect. As Zhaan tells him, it is going to take actions, time, and patience. I really enjoyed John’s little “therapy sessions” with Zhaan. It was nice to see there’s at least one person on the ship who doesn’t berate and belittle him, and Zhaan is a wonderful listener and advisor.

As they come to terms with their place on the ship, John and Aeryn are also starting to form a deeper relationship. They had some moments of genuine connection in this episode, including the “sickbed” scenes and their final scene on the terrace. I especially loved the look on Crichton’s face as he refused to end her life, and again after she asked him if he could have kept his promise (which, by the way, he never made). He’s certainly developing strong feelings for her, even if at this point it may be nothing more than a “comrade in arms” bond born of shared circumstance.

Other Thoughts

Rygel also continued to build on his progress from last week, by exploring Moya’s walls and “communing” with the Drak monarch on behalf of the crew. “Rygel is not my sovereign.” “He is today.” Sure, at this point he’s mostly being forced into helping and really just doing things that will also save his own bacon, but he’s still slowly becoming a team player.

Zhaan’s role and abilities continued to get fleshed out. She’s a priest, a healer, a counselor, a biological scientist, and a painter! Quite the jack-of-all-trades. And she makes it seem so effortless!

Some of the effects this week were pretty cheesy looking. The baby Drak dance in front of Crichton (and his subsequent fight with it) was so silly it had me laughing out loud. Plus, some of the doubles in the same frame weren’t very effective and the shot of Rygel entering the nest didn’t look great.

Even though some of the effects shots with the Draks were weak, the creatures themselves were shuddery. Like giant cockroaches from hell! I was literally getting the shivers every time we heard them skittering about in Moya’s walls. I really hate roaches.

Several scenes were very reminiscent of Alien and Aliens, particularly Zhaan examining the dead bug, the giant hive, and the birthing of the eggs.

World-building details: the dentic for cleaning one’s teeth; the Marauder commandos (“Five man crew. Highest level of training. Success measured by body count.”); Sebacean heat delirium (“As our cells overheat, the nervous system shuts down. First short-term memory, then motor functions, the last to go is long-term memory.”); and Delvian spirit painting.

Moya’s terrace is pretty darn cool. How awesome would it be to stand on that thing, looking out into the vastness of space?

Quotes

Crichton: “Look, you’re not in this alone. Everybody on board has had their lives derailed from what they thought they were gonna be --- should be. We’re stuck together. And as long as we are, we might as well be …”
Aeryn: “What? Family? Friends? [Laughs.] I want neither.”
Crichton: “Somebody’s gotta be there when you need it.”

Crichton: “With Aeryn and D’Argo, it’s like everything’s a test. It’s like I’m in some never-ending frat hazing at Alien U.”

Zhaan: “John, they’re soldiers. Win their respect.”
Crichton: “Exactly how do you do that? I mean, short of cutting someone’s throat.”

D’Argo: “Sebaceans lack the gland necessary to regulate extreme thermal increases.”
Crichton: “Wait. Crais and those other bastards chasing us are cold-blooded? Literally?”
D’Argo: “It’s a weakness not enough of them die from.”

Crichton: “Sounds like an ugly way to die.”
Aeryn: “We don’t die. Our body lives on in that state. It’s called the living death. It’s the only time we kill our own for mercy.”

Zhaan: “And how will you tell us from them?”
D’Argo: “We will cut off the tip of our small finger for identification.”
Crichton: “How about something a little less permanent?”

Rygel: “It’s hotter than squag! Gah!!!”

Rygel: “If I sit perfectly still they don’t advance. Yet, when I move … they get disagreeable.”
D’Argo: “Right. [Pause.] Don’t move.”
Rygel: “If we ever survive this, Luxan, you must become my advisor.”

Aeryn: “Before the living death takes hold, you have to be prepared to kill me. Promise.”
Crichton: “No, not a chance.”
Aeryn: “You said I’m not alone. A friend would do this for me. Family would do it swiftly.”

Zhaan: “Time and patience.”
Crichton: “Time and patience. Is that your answer for everything?”
Zhaan: “Yes, because it’s always the right answer.”

Aeryn: “You know … I always thought that lesser life forms were useless. Just something to be squashed.”
Crichton: “Yeah, it’s humbling when you realize that … [smiles] You’re not talking about the Draks, are you? [She smiles back.] Fine. Well on behalf of lesser life forms everywhere, I accept the … compliment.”

Final Analysis: The Drak genesis was an interesting sci-fi tale, featuring giant space cockroaches and replicants, but the real meat of this episode is the shifting crew dynamic and character development, especially for Aeryn Sun. Good stuff.

Jess Lynde is a highly engaged television viewer. Probably a bit too engaged.

5 comments:

Mark Greig said...

Great review, Jess.

This is one of those episode were I vividly remember all the characters moments, mainly the ones with Aeryn and John, but completely forgot about everything else.

Thanks for the refresh.

Iago said...

This was the first episode of Farscape that got really enthusiastic: I enjoyed the Premiere but this episode really set out the stall for truly unique sci-fi.

While it was the look of Farscape that drew me in (and more than 1 years later we've still not had anything that comes close to the originality on display) it was the characters that kept me interested.

I absolutely love the interaction between Zhaan and Crichton in this episode: how gentle and kind she is and how open-minded he is. Comparing how everyone treats each other here with the season finale shows how profound a journey they go on and the audience gets to see all of that.

The actual plot was fairly sci-fare fare, but that's okay - some stories get reused because they're actually pretty fun and Farscape managed to draw a decent allegory with the other developments which most shows don't bother with, so it gets points for that.

I agree that the Drak models and effects failed and ended up looking decidedly dodgy, but it was awesome that they tried. Give me Farscape's failed experiments over other sci-fi's bumpy foreheads and weird ears every time.

Moya's observation deck is really cool and also the setting for one of my all-time favourite TV scenes.

Jess Lynde said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. I kind of wish I was completely caught up so we could all get into some discussion about how things evolved over time. But it's been years since I've seen the series, so only certain developments and scenes have really stuck with me. I feel like I can't even remember my favorite moments yet! (Although I can certainly remember the most devastating ones.)

I can't wait to rediscover the favorites! Especially with the Billie Doux community. The first time around I just got to enjoy the show with my best friend and my husband. I'm excited to have extra company this time through. So keep the comments coming! I want to hear what you all loved or hated about a given episode! But let's try to keep things relatively non-spoilery, just in case we've got some series newbies following along.

Billie Doux said...

This is the first episode that really feels like Farscape to me. I can even remember the moment I started liking the show -- it was when D'Argo yelled, "Don't swallow the dentic!"

Great review, Jess. You're doing a wonderful job with this show. Of course, you do a wonderful job with everything you review. I can tell Farscape holds a special place in your heart, though.

Diane C said...

As I quite often do after coming to closure with a compelling TV drama series, I have a strong desire to flip back to season 1 more or less straight after the credits have rolled on the very final episode of the very final season.

Farscape is no different, and after finishing season 4 I decided I wanted to go back to season 1 and rewatch most, if not all of its episodes once more while still fresh in my memory (And giving me an opportunity to make comments on this forum as I go along).

As others have said, this is an episode where Farscape begins to take shape with its main characters. By only having a relatively small crew you soon pick up each individual's names, traits, positions, skills, dispositions, out look on life etc.

It is fortunate that most of the characters in this episode are fleshed out quite well, and not just 1 dimensional cutouts we've seen a million times before on other SF shows, including the more established Star Trek offerings.

Clearly John is still out on a limb, trying to adjust to being the outsider trying to look in. His associations with D'Argo and Aeryn are still a little cold and sometimes caustic. But as Zhaan tells him, it will take time to "fit in" and win their trust and vice versa.

The writers also wanted to headline the fact the the whole John/Aeryn thing would be one of the major story arcs for the entire life of the show; and the heat delirium plot would gently nudge the two together, not in a personal manner, but as comrades and more importantly caring friends - which to Aeryn is an alien notion!

It feels good to be back at the beginning once again!

3/5