Farscape: Home on the Remains

In a desperate move to stave off starvation, Chiana leads Moya to the remains of a gigantic space creature, where she hopes a colony of miners she and her brother briefly lived with (then robbed) will provide food and supplies. Meanwhile, starvation causes Zhaan to begin transforming.

‘Home on the Remains’ had a number of really fascinating world-building tidbits and provided a new glimpse into Chiana’s past, but, strangely, still managed to feel a bit “been there, done that.” I think that lingering feeling stems from the main character dynamics, which were largely things we had seen before and which didn’t really provide new insight. We’ve seen Zhaan in her red-eyed, savage state before, and we’ve seen her lash out at Aeryn for her Peacekeeper past. Likewise, we’ve seen Aeryn challenge herself while trying to find non-military or brute force solutions to help her friends. Moreover, we’ve previously seen that, despite her frequently selfish actions, Chiana will go the extra mile to help a friend in need, prostituting herself to accomplish her goals, if that’s what it takes. And Crichton, D’Argo, and Rygel pretty much just did their usual thing here. I’m definitely down with character consistency, but it is also nice to get new shadings to the characters and their relationships. This episode mostly felt like well-trodden ground, and didn’t give us an interesting or fun story to make up for the general lack of development or progression.

To be fair, I suppose we did get some progression on the potential relationship between D’Argo and Chiana. After that kiss, there is now no question that he’s not interested in being her brother. Of course, nearly everything else that transpired between them in this episode indicates that he’s also not really interested in being her partner. He may have romantic feelings for her, but he doesn’t seem to respect her independent spirit or her choices. “Does he make all of your decisions for you? That’s not the Chiana I knew.” He oozes utter disdain for the way she approaches life, and he certainly doesn’t see her as an equal. Rather, he views her as a child, who needs protecting from the world and from her own worse impulses. “Don’t tell me what to do!” “Well someone has to!” He seems to think of her as some sort of wild mustang that he can tame. Moreover, he doesn’t trust her. None of which is the basis for a relationship. Certainly not a healthy one.

First off, if you don’t have trust in a relationship, you have nothing. Equally important is loving your partner for who she truly is, not who you think she can or should be. Encouraging your prospective partner in ways that allow her to grow as an individual and to find new strengths and abilities (a la Crichton and Aeryn), is totally different than failing to recognize her innate qualities and needs, and attempting to impose your own morality on her.

Chiana: “D’Argo, I do what I do to survive.”
D’Argo: “Can’t you just let it go?”
Chiana: “I can only let go when I feel safe.”
D’Argo: “You are safe.”
Chiana: “Am I?”

I get that D’Argo cares for Chiana, but if he truly wants to be her romantic partner, he needs to stop trying to change and repress her. Right now, their dynamic seems like a recipe for disaster.

On a related note, this episode did give us one really intriguing new insight into Chiana’s moral boundaries. I was quite surprised when she didn’t outright kill B’Sogg, and I’m not quite sure what it means that she didn’t. Either B’Sogg had it right when he said she isn’t capable of cold-blooded murder, and she settled for wounded him to exact some revenge. Or she just opted to give him a slow and agonizing death, instead of a quick, painless one. I’m thinking it was the latter. After mercy killing Temmon earlier in the episode, she noted that “once that stuff touches you, you’re dead anyway” (meaning the acid), and as she slowly walked away from the maimed B’Sogg you could hear him screaming “Don’t leave me here to suffer!” Whoa. We’ve certainly seen her kill to defend herself, but this strikes me as something entirely different. I guess she really is evolving as an individual, scary and dark as that may be.

Other Thoughts

The Keedva was really the highlight of this episode for me. First off, it managed to be creepy and ridiculous, all at the same time. It was like a cross between a yeti, a grizzly bear, and a rancor. It also called to mind the Morlocks from The Time Machine (at least the way I pictured them when reading the book). Second, I got a huge kick out of Crichton’s fight with the thing. He took it down by kicking it in the ‘nads, taunting it with a flashlight, and then rancor-ing it! Freaking hilarious!

I also really dug learning more about Zhaan’s species. When suffering from severe deprivation, Delvians revert to a sort of feral plant state, then become immobilized. So they evolved buds as a defense and survival mechanism. If an animal tries to eat them, the buds poison the animal, allowing the Delvian to consume the dead animal’s meat and thus survive. Fascinating.

The size of the budong was really impressive. “One of the largest creatures there is.” Even the idea of a space creature so large you could turn its corpse into a mining colony (with room to spare) is wicked cool.

I hope Chiana sticks with this new outfit. I like it better than the leopard-spotted thing with the puffy fur on the shoulders.

B’Sogg’s physical appearance reminded me of the family from ‘Home’ in Season 4 of The X-Files. Shudder. And Chiana sticking her hand into the cleft on his head to arouse him was so, so gross. Possibly more gross than the melty hand scene. Maybe. It could be a toss up.

I couldn’t help chuckling at the extremely inconvenient timing of Temmon getting fatally wounded by the Keedva. He’s been doing just fine, all this time since Chianna left, but as soon as she shows up desperately needing his help, he gets killed. Does Moya’s crew have crappy luck or what? Bad timing, indeed.

All the mining and claim-jumping talk made me wistful for Deadwood.

The massive dose of sunlight definitely wasn’t one of Aeryn’s smartest ideas. Ah well. Her heart was in the right place. At least her “transport pod containment” idea was much better. And she did find a way to talk Zhaan down long enough to subdue her. “Cut through the haze, Zhaan. Think. You’re a Delvian tenth level Pa’u. You’ve trained your mind to control your thoughts. Do it now.”

Quotes

Crichton: “You can eat anything, if its fried.”
Except dentics, apparently.

Aeryn (disgusted): “Oh, that’s just great. I get to stay on board with the blooming blue bush, and you get to play with your favorite little trelk.”

Crichton: “You’re gonna use your dead brother to play on his sympathies?”
Chiana (irritated): “I have a plan.”
Crichton: “D’Argo, it’s okay. Chiana has a plan.”

Zhaan: “Need meat.”
Crichton: “No. No, look you don’t want meat. Meat’s bad for you. It’s got cholesterol, hormones.”

Vija: “You’re just a lousy cheater.”
Rygel: “I’ll have you know, I am an excellent cheater. I’m just not at my best right now. This outrageous hunger is affecting me!”

Crichton: “I ain’t your lunch.”
Rygel: “The dentics tasted better.”
Crichton: “You tasted worse.”

B’Sogg: “Chiana. You’re a thief and a trelk, but you’re not a killer.”
Chiana: “I’m evolving as a … as an individual.”

Zhaan (with a mouthful): “Mmm. It’s wonderful.”
Crichton: “Yep. Carolina-style Keedva. Best barbeque this side of a budong.”

Final Analysis: Some cool new world-building bits, but a relatively average episode.

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

2 comments:

Patryk said...

In season 3 they show how a live budong looks like. :)

Suzanne said...

Thanks for the great review as usual! I remember finding certain aspects interesting as you did but not liking the overall story that well. However, I am finding Farscape to be very uneven as a rule. Sometimes it is really great, but other times it tries something creative that just doesn't work out. Only on rare occasions has it been truly awful, thankfully.