Farscape: A Human Reaction

When Pilot discovers a wormhole that appears to be a gateway straight back to Earth, Crichton takes what may be his only chance at returning home. But upon arriving, he soon discovers his dream of home could easily become a nightmare.

A fascinating and emotional episode that takes Crichton’s notion of what it means to return home and completely turns it on its head. Although this version of Earth was merely a construct to determine whether humanity would provide a welcoming new home for some powerful aliens, Crichton must recognize the underlying truth in what he experienced, and I’ve got to think it would give him pause in his search for a way home. Is Earth really his home now? Moya’s crew have become his trusted allies and friends, and he cares for them a great deal. Does he really want to return to a place that may now consider him a potential threat and would likely murder his friends in the name of scientific discovery? Or did this devastating nightmare vision make him realize that home may not be as far away as he previously thought? I’m sure he still longs to see his dad again, but even that potential happiness could be short-lived if he’s faced with being locked away, constantly shadowed, or on the lam. Crichton appears to have made the choice to stand by his otherworldly friends --- “Are you with me? Or them?” “I’m with you, Aeryn” --- and I’m looking forward to seeing how this experience affects his search for home going forward.

I’m also eager to see how it affects his relationship with Aeryn. When rewatching, I remembered that everything happening on Earth was the work of aliens using Crichton’s mind to test humanity. But I couldn’t remember how much of it was real and how much was in his head. For instance, I could not remember whether D’Argo, Rygel, and Aeryn were all constructs, or if they, too, were experiencing the hallucination. I think that we learned it was the latter. “Jack” seemed to indicate as much when explaining things to Crichton, and the short exchange between “Jack” and Aeryn at the motel appeared to confirm it. Her double-take when “Jack” seemed to understand what she said to him, struck me as a reaction the real Aeryn was having, not some hallucinated version of Aeryn created from Crichton’s memories.

All of which is my roundabout way of concluding that Crichton and Aeryn have now officially sealed the deal. She didn’t want to linger on the emotional consequences the next morning, so my guess is that they won’t be all couply moving forward, but they did finally act on the sexual tension between them, this time in a ”last night on Earth” moment. Yea! I think. Don’t get me wrong --- it was a great scene and I’m glad they went there. (I loved how the sound dropped out of the moment and the hesitant way they gave into their shared feelings --- a striking and smart contrast to their almost coupling in ‘The Flax.’) Yet, somehow it wasn’t quite the moment I was expecting. It lacked some of the emotional punch I felt during their earlier goodbye scenes on Moya. Their connection just felt so much stronger to me in the moment when Aeryn couldn’t even look at John during her pained refusal to join him on Earth, or when she couldn’t bring herself to say goodbye, but simply acknowledged his “’Bye” with a tearful nod of the head and a quick look away. Those moments felt so tragic and epic, and I guess I found the quiet desperation of the latter moment a bit underwhelming in contrast.

Speaking of those initial goodbye scenes --- damn. I knew it wasn’t goodbye, but the characters believed it was, and I found myself getting completely caught up in the emotion of the moment. The connections these characters have forged have become so strong and deep that it was truly heartrending to see them parting for what they believed would be forever. Just the emotion in D’Argo’s voice as he said “Goodbye ... John” killed me. The tears started flowing and just kept coming as Zhaan, D’Argo, and Rygel sadly bowed their heads when Crichton finally left, while Aeryn looked on stoically with tears in her eyes. Oof. I’m welling up again just thinking about it. I love this show.

Other Thoughts

Ben Browder was outstanding in this episode. He really ran the full gamut of emotions --- elation, confusion, stunned shock, righteous anger, emotional devastation, and crazed desperation --- all very convincingly. Claudia Black was wonderful as well. The scene between them in the autopsy room, when she held the gun on him and confronted him about who’s side he was on, was incredibly powerful --- primarily because both actors so effectively conveyed the strong emotional undercurrent to John and Aeryn’s frightening and upsetting situation.

Aeryn: “They took D’Argo somewhere, and when they came back for me, I was ready for them.”
Crichton: “Where’d they take him?”
Aeryn: “I don’t know, but I’m not waiting for them to come back.”

Has it really been only seven months since Crichton first arrived? That doesn’t seem possible. He spent three months of that time chilling on the Hynerian outpost planet, so that means everything from ‘Premiere’ through ‘The Flax’ took place in four months or less. Seriously? It seems like it has been a lot longer than that. Maybe we’re supposed to pretend ‘Jeremiah Crichton’ doesn’t exist and, therefore, that the three-month gap doesn’t exist. I can live with that interpretation.

Moya’s pregnancy had absolutely nothing to do with the plot this week. It wasn’t even mentioned. Yea!

Chiana is still with Moya’s crew, even though she barely put in an appearance in this episode. Sounds like she hasn’t been there all that long, but she’s already annoying everyone to no end.

It was rather nice to see Crichton get to experience the initial joy of seeing the ocean and the sky again. “Hello, skyyyyy!!!”

On the other hand, seeing D’Argo and Aeryn strapped to stretchers as they were wheeled away from the transport pod was really chilling. And what they did to Rygel … I remember being shocked and devastated the first time I saw his little corpse all splayed out on the table like that. So wrong.

I love how this experience completely undercuts the morally superior stance Crichton has consistently taken with Aeryn regarding the Peacekeepers. “You know, Crichton, Peacekeepers wouldn’t even kill their prisoners to study them.” Plus, it confirms all of Aeryn’s worst fears about “fitting in” on Crichton’s world. If he’s still trying to get back there, I doubt she’ll ever be willing to join him now. No matter how strongly she feels about him.

Claudia Black looked lovely in that floral print dress, but it was an exceedingly strange look for Aeryn.

Crichton’s sudden realization that he recognized everything and everyone in the constructed world reminded me very much of a key reveal in a Season 1 Stargate: Atlantis episode (which I’m intentionally not naming --- wouldn’t want to spoil it for those who might be interested in watching that series someday).

I didn’t care for the “You stole my memories!” scene. The line was very cheesy (so, of course, they repeated it twice), and it reminded me of ‘Jose Chung’s From Outer Space’ from The X-Files, which undercut any seriousness they were going for in this scene. Plus, the use of Ben Browder’s childhood photos really took me out of the moment.

I also didn’t like the strange dissolve cuts between Crichton and the alien after it revealed its true visage. Odd editorial choice. (But what a cute little alien dude!)

Quotes

Crichton: “I miss the sun. Days, nights. Simple things.”

Crichton (to Zhaan): “I know that you didn’t expect me to be here, but thanks. You saved my life. All of you.”

D’Argo: “Crichton, I understand the fear. If you don’t do this now, you will regret it forever. You must – go – now. Do it, John.”

Wilson: “He’s got foreign microbes in his brain stem. And the Farscape module has been modified by non-human technology. You know how this works, Colonel. Once we confirm John poses no threat, then you can see him.”

Crichton: “They have worlds out there --- people out there you wouldn’t believe! But they do not have chocolate.”

D’Argo: “Which one of us do you think they’ll kill next, Crichton?”

Crichton: “You’re wrong, what you’re doing here, Cobb. You’re wrong!!!”
Cobb: “You’re not gonna shoot me, are you?”
I actually thought he might for a moment. He looked so enraged about all they had done to him and his friends. But that’s not really Crichton’s way, is it? At least he got in a good, “That’s for Rygel” kick.

Crichton: “Sorry.”
Aeryn: “What for?”
Crichton: “Everything. What’s happened here. Getting you stuck on Moya. If it wasn’t for me, you’d still be the happy little Peacekeeper dominating the lesser races.”

Aeryn: “I won’t be recaptured, Crichton. They will have to kill me, if they come to take me tomorrow.”
Crichton: “I know.”

Alien: “... the highest lifeform on the planet is also the most destructive. Your humans would kill us.”

Alien: “... we continue searching for a home.”
Crichton: “So will I.”
But what does that mean now? A home, or Earth home?

Final Analysis: A powerful episode that should have some significant effects for Crichton and Aeryn moving forward.

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

4 comments:

Trousers said...

So, the idea was that I would get caught up and then start watching farscape at the same speed as the reviews. Well, that went well, as I sit here on Season 2, Episode 3. And I'm loving it, so thankyou Jess for getting me through the periods of season 1 that were garbage and convincing me that good stuff lay beyond.

Onto this episode, not entirely thrilled. Felt like a holodeck episode from moment 1, and thus it turned out to be. It's also a little bizarre to introduce a new character in one episode, and then ignore her the next. Not that I was bothered by this when I watched it, I hated Chiana at the time. (A few scant episodes later, she's one of my faves, and I'm more invested in her relationship with Chrichton than Aeryns!)

All in all, not the best episode, but good solid plot development for the future.

Jess Lynde said...

Thank you, Trousers! I'm so glad to know that you hung in there and are really enjoying the show now. It is also great hearing from everyone who decided to revisit the series because we're covering it on the site. Thanks so much for following along and for sharing your reactions! I can't wait 'til we get to the really good stuff! I'm eagerly anticipating diving into the next run of episodes. I wish I had more time to write the reviews so that I could watch the episodes faster!

As to this episode, to be honest, I'm not actually sure I liked it all that much the first time I saw it. But this time, it really worked for me. I love when a previously ho hum episode just starts clicking in the right way!

Billie Doux said...

Great review, Jess. I think this one has its flaws, but I loved that it showed how much Crichton has changed and how much his shipmates matter to him. Before, it was all about going home. Not any more.

Mark said...

The Peacekeepers, as an organization, might not kill prisoners to study them. But they sure don't mind looking the other direction, when it comes to torturing ("Nerve"), or dissecting (Crais' threat in the pilot episode) prisoners to study them.

Even though "Jack" understood what Aeryn was saying, I imagine the real Jack would have said the same thing. Crichton has so much empathy, he must have gotten some of that from his dad. The first time I watched this, figured Jack could guess the intent behind her words, and he responded to that.