Farscape: Through the Looking Glass

In an effort to prove herself late in her pregnancy, Moya attempts Starburst and winds up split between four dimensions.

‘Through the Looking Glass’ was a reasonably entertaining episode, with a fun sci-fi plot and some good character beats. I enjoyed the initial mystery regarding what the heck was going on, and liked the various character interactions as they attempted to resolve their dimensional schism problem. However, things did tend to bog down a bit during Crichton’s extended solo treks through the various dimensions (especially the cheese-tastic slow-motion running shots at the end), and it certainly didn’t take long for the visual distortion from the Red Dimension and the noise from the Blue Dimension to really bug me. Still, the episode featured some memorable quotes and an exceedingly goofy Giant Brain Jellyfish, so at least it gave me some good chuckles to balance the annoying visual and aural effects.

Moya’s pregnancy was, yet again, at fault for their precarious situation, but I actually didn’t mind it this week. This time, instead of just being a random side effect or a typical “I’m protecting my baby” issue, Moya’s attempt to Starburst stemmed from her fears and desires and gave us a chance to explore her and Pilot’s relationship with the crew. We often get caught up in the needs of the people living on Moya, and it can be easy to forget --- the baby issue notwithstanding --- that Moya and Pilot are beings with their own feelings and needs. As Aeryn rightly notes, Moya is not a possession to be tossed aside in favor of the next fastest vessel to cross their path. Nor are she and Pilot slave laborers being forced into service. They are happiest when serving others and take great comfort in the presence of the crew. As such, when Moya and Pilot learn the others are thinking of leaving for fear of getting caught if she can’t Starburst, it’s only natural that her fear of abandonment and her desire to serve her crew would drive her to attempt Starburst even though she wasn’t truly ready.

When she fails miserably, putting them all in even greater danger, we again see how much value Moya places on serving others when she offers to willingly lose her baby to give the rest of them a chance at survival. After all the trouble she’s caused these last few months trying to protect her baby, I was simply blown away by this proposal. Even if it was true that the baby wouldn’t survive if none of them did, Moya’s willingness to go on without her child so that she could best serve the others was a tremendously powerful testament to just what her relationship with her crew means to her. All the same, I was much relieved when Crichton and Zhaan immediately quashed the idea.

Other Thoughts

I liked the juxtaposition of the two meal scenes. Even though there was a lot of disagreement, I thought the opening dinner discussion was a fairly interesting look at everyone actually trying to function as a crew and come to a somewhat mutual decision about their course of action. The heated debate also gave us a greater appreciation for the joyousness of the latter scene. But my favorite shot of everyone bonding was the giddy, relieved laughter in Pilot’s den after they survived the failed Starburst. “I fail to see the source of your amusement.” What a fun way to see the entire cast together!

Well, it seems there wasn’t a whole lot of fallout from last week’s episode. Crichton is still trying to find a wormhole back to Earth, and there didn’t seem to be much change in Crichton’s and Aeryn’s relationship. They were both going to stay with Moya, but it didn’t seem to be out of a desire to stay together as a couple. We really only got a brief hint that they are more than just friends when he said he’d never leave her and then called her “baby.” Of course, he then did the same with Chiana a few moments later. “Give me seven seconds, baby --- we’ll come and go together.”

I find Chiana’s fluctuating accent entertaining. She mostly sounds American, but Gigi Edgley’s native Australian accent slips in at fairly regular intervals.

While really gross, I still found some of the vomit jokes in the Red Dimension amusing. And I did love the charades gestures that Aeryn and John used in Blue Dimension to discuss finding D’Argo and Rygel.

We learned a bit more about how Starburst works. Moya is able to enter the energy stream between space-time dimensions, then ride it until she’s pushed out at random. Huh. Randomly jetting from place to place doesn’t seem like the best way to travel the Universe. I guess it’s just supposed to be a defense mechanism.

Zhaan’s return to the priesthood was rather underwhelming. It almost felt like an afterthought. “Oh yeah. Seemingly imminent death made me realize that, deep down, I’m still a priest, so I’m just going to start wearing my vestments and praying again.” OK, then. Moving on.

As noted, the brain/jellyfish hybrid was fairly ridiculous looking. I kind of like the idea that there’s a big weird alien in the “space between” repairing fractures between dimensions, but the visuals didn’t really work for me.

Quotes

Rygel: “Moya has been, for as long as I can remember, our protector, our home, our companion, and our friend.”
Crichton: “Amen.”
Rygel: “However, as relationships grow, they also change. You think we can trade her for a faster vessel?”
And here I thought Sparky was suddenly a more thoughtful and compassionate being. Should have known better.

Crichton: “Moya is protecting her baby, D’Argo. Do you blame her?”
D’Argo: “That is selfishness masquerading as reason.”
I initially thought D’Argo was saying that Moya was being selfish and was like, “Whoa, buddy! What’s that they say about glass houses and throwing stones? Didn’t you cut off Pilot’s arm to get a chance at finding your child?” Then I realized he meant that Crichton was being selfish.

Crichton: “Listen, Sunshine, you want to be part of this crew?”
Chiana: “On your good days.”
Crichton: “This is one of the good days. I thought you were Junior Miss Tough Chick of the Universe.”
Chiana: “Yeah. When I can kiss or kick or cry my way out of it. This is way, way, way, way different.”

Crichton: “Look, I’ve gotta get out of here before I end up like you!”
Rygel: “What? Handsome with a great sexual prowess?”

Zhaan: “I’ve always wondered what could be beyond height, width, depth, and time.”
Crichton: “Nausea.”

Chiana: “Do you know any good jokes?”
Crichton: “Not beside the one I’m living.”

D’Argo: “One Mippippippi. Two Mippippippi. ...”
I know it’s silly, but I’ve always loved this one. I’ve been known to actually use D’Argo’s lingo when counting off seconds.

Zhaan: “My dear, I’ve kicked more ass than you’ve sat on.”

Crichton (toasting): “This is one of the good days, people. To a happy, healthy baby!”

Final Analysis: A decent enough episode, featuring some nice character development for Moya and the “crew as family” dynamic.

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

4 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Great review, and I completely agree, Jess. There were several things I thought were wonderful -- the dinner scenes, Crichton and Aeryn doing charades, all of them in Pilot's "seat" at once. And "One mippippippi, two mippippippi" was hilarious. But the transitions between the different spaces got old pretty quickly. The stories are getting better, though, and the cast is coming together.

Billie Doux said...

Oops, I forgot to mention -- the photo you chose is absolutely gorgeous.

Mom2mykids said...

I love this episode! When I'm in a Farscapey mood, this is one of the first ones I think about and reach for. I love the whole charades bit between John & Aeryn. The expression on Claudia Black's face when Ben Browder does his Rygel impression is priceless. And we do the "one-Mippippippi" version of counting seconds, too.

Diane C said...

I really quite enjoyed this episode – I cannot vouch for its scientific accuracy but the idea of being “trapped” in four different dimensions was a good one, even if it has probably been done to death on other SF shows.

I only have a smattering of knowledge regarding astronomy and cosmology, and so to see the dimensions colour-coded did ring a bell, especially red and blue (both used as part of the Doppler Shift formula in relation to light waves in the electromagnetic spectrum – long waves register a red shift; short waves register as blue. Both colours are at opposite ends of the spectrum, with all the other sound and light waves in between, including yellow!)

Because of this I was quite fascinated by the science, and the way the dimensions were easily represented not just by colour but also by sound, and the rather unlikely “laughter” as represented by yellow. It was quite fun seeing our guys move through different dimensions through small “wormholes” found on Moya itself. And even though the subsequent alien beings were not all that “OMG” to look at, it was still a very interesting episode.

Yes it was a bit hard on the viewer, especially when Crighton and co were in the blue dimension and the piercing noise (which affected Chiana the worst, while she was almost immune from the sickly light when in the red dimension). And a word about Chiana – even though she was eating with the rest of the crew during the opening scenes, she was still seen as the outsider, and not to be fully trusted. Which reminded me of when Crighton first came aboard Moya in the Pilot episode, and he too was kept at a safe distance from the others until eventually – and with the sage advice from Zhaan – he won their trust through actions, time and being honest and open with them.

So when things went a little pear-shaped in this episode Chiana quickly revealed her true colours (no pun intended) and just wanted to get the hell out of Dodge and to hell with her compatriots. But this time it was Crighton who calmed her nerves and told her to become a team player through thick and thin otherwise she will never be part of the team at all.

Although this was very much a standalone episode it did offer a bit more insight into Moya and Pilot’s respective characters and how they interact with the crew, especially Moya, who was willing/desperate enough to sacrifice her baby if it meant the crew as a whole might be able to survive via a starburst. It also gave more prominence/importance to the whole maternal story arc, which up until now had just been rumbling on in the background in previous episodes.

4/5