Farscape Rewatch! — “Through the Looking Glass,” “A Bug’s Life”

WEEK NINE
[Permanent Archive Here]

Apologies in advance: this is the longest one of these suckers yet. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to either of these episodes, but in both cases I was pleasantly surprised. I think I must have been way, way dumber two years ago. Like, my brain cells must have multiplied exponentially, or maybe just my ability to conduct electricity up there or whatever is, like, a thousand times better or something. Or maybe it’s just because in those two years I have gotten a lot of practice writing about TV, and a lot of practice reading other people’s writing about TV, and you know what they say about practice. Regardless, my understandings of these two episodes was so ridiculously different than the first time that I’m beginning to wonder how I even functioned at all back then. I mean, the surface is nice and all. It’s warm and cozy and safe, but all the fish are deep down, if you know what I mean.

“Through the Looking Glass” is a solid episode that sets the foundation for the end of the season, and in addition, it’s got some seriously tight plotting and thematic character work going on. “A Bug’s Life” isn’t without faults, but it is also a solid episode, despite being built on a pretty flimsy A-story. Both of these episodes also feature some classic Farscape lines and moments that I’d all but forgotten about.

1X17 — “THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS”

It’s an alien feast. Blue gunk, pink gunk, brown crunchies, green crunchies . . . weird rainbow looking things. And everyone’s gathered around, discussing the merits of sticking together as a group or abandoning each other at the first chance. D’Argo wants out, and Zhaan seems to agree, but John says they’re stronger together than apart. Aeryn also seems to be disgusted in particular at the thought of abandoning Moya. Anyway, all of this is stemming from the fact that Moya still can’t Starburst at her normal rate because of the whole pregnancy thing. Chiana is hilariously shot down by the entire group when she asks if she can say something, which just feels right for some reason (she hasn’t earned it yet). But the entire thing is moot anyway because Moya is traveling at a glacial pace and there isn’t a planet in sight. Then everyone starts jumping down John’s back, saying that he has other motives. In the middle of this argument, poor Pilot makes his presence known, saying that he and Moya have something to say — which is what Chiana has been trying to tell them, that the DRDs have been listening to their entire conversation. He says that Moya has heard their concerns and that she wishes them to stay. To prove that she can still take care of them, she has initiated Starburst fifteen hours before they expected her to be ready, and obviously this doesn’t go well. There is a bright flash of light, a lot of turbulence, and everyone is thrown to the floor.

Back from the credits, everything’s all effed up. Zhaan’s “arm fibers” are torn, Rygel is missing, there’s a strange growling sound, and Pilot is incommunicado. They can’t figure out what happened. D’Argo starts bossing everyone around, but before anything can get done, he’s sucked up into nowhere in a flash of red light, and when Aeryn tries to get to Command, she’s sucked up in blue light. Panicked, Crichton heads to Command where he finally contacts Pilot, who tells him that he also has no idea what’s going on, and that all systems are down. He also gets locations for the missing Rygel, D’Argo, and Aeryn, and on his way to find them, he has to talk Chiana down from her figurative panic tree. He’s good at that sort of thing. Later, while John is searching for Aeryn to no avail, the camera movement lets us know that something ooky is aboard and then John is sucked into the same kind of red flash as D’Argo. Suddenly, we’re on an alternate Moya, one bathed in a red light that hurts Crichton’s eyes so badly he vomits. Blindfolded for his own protection, he searches Moya for someone, anyone, but no one is there. Not even Pilot, whose controls seem to be moving up and down of their own free will. Finally he meets up with D’Argo, who is also in major pain, actually even worse pain than Crichton. When we’re in D’Argo’s POV, the camera flashes and gives us this weird triple exposure that is missing in Crichton’s. And then just like that, he’s pulled into the blue world, where a massively annoying sound is omnipresent. He finds Aeryn but neither one of them can hear jack shit of what the other is saying, which leads to an awesome game of charades, with Aeryn doing D’Argo and Crichton hilariously doing Rygel, before they figure out how to block the sound and communicate. Hey, do you guys remember that these two have had sex with each other?

So, yeah, Moya looks pretty in blue, but those scratches the ooky beast is leaving in the fabric of reality don’t look so nice. As they’re searching Rygel’s quarters, Crichton get sucked into the previously unseen yellow Moya, where he finds Rygel laughing and giggling like a crazy person, like he’s high. Crichton grabs Rygel (Hands on the Puppet!) and hauls him to Command. This trip to the yellow dimension brings Crichton to his senses, so to speak, and he finally starts to actively look for ways to travel between the different Moyas. He heads down one of Moya‘s vagina entries like it’s a water-slide at a summer theme park, and then he’s back in the “normal” reality, complete with Chiana, Zhaan, and Pilot. With Pilot’s help, they work out a theory that Moya is currently being split by a dimensional schism, wherein light and sound are disjointed into base elements — red, yellow, blue. Moya‘s pregnancy caused her to enter Starburst without adequate thrust and now they are stuck. By the way, right now (at 23:35) Crichton’s arms are looking particularly yummalicious. I mean, Pilot is telling Crichton how to fix things. Yeah. In turn, Crichton comforts Pilot and it’s really sweet. Have I told you guys that I absolutely love Pilot? Anyway, Crichton pulls Chiana with him into the red-dimension, which doesn’t affect her in the slightest. They brief D’Argo on the situation and Crichton tells him how to activate the engines, which they have to do for each Moya dimension in exactly half an hour in order to get back to real space and time. Upon entering the blue dimension, Chiana is paralyzed with pain and Crichton has to carry her, screaming in agony. He drops her into the yellow dimension before going to find Aeryn, who already knows what to do because of that whole sharing Pilot’s DNA thing.

But even with the engines on full power, they still can’t escape. While he and Pilot try to figure it out, the ooky creature shows up and Crichton realizes it’s been trying to communicate with them. In a soothing female voice, amid weird tentacle things and a white light, the ooky thing tells Crichton that to get out they must go forward, not backwards, and if they can’t get out, she’ll have to destroy them. Crichton re-visits all the dimensions so they can put the engines on forward instead of reverse, which leads to shenanigans of course, my favorite being D’Argo, who counts out his “Mississippi’s” as “One Mippippippi, two Mippippippi, three Mippippippi . . .” I paused the DVD to laugh for an entire minute about that one. The good thing about waiting years in between rewatches is that you forget all this little stuff and it’s brand new again. So when the moment comes and everybody does their thing, there’s this huge shudder and then everybody is literally laying on top of each other in Pilot’s den, and they’re all laughing hysterically, and Pilot literally goes, “I fail to see the humor in this situation.” The laughing keeps going as we transition to another alien feast, but this time it’s a fun one. They’re telling stories and getting to know one another and making fun of Grandma Crichton’s biscuits, when Pilot pops in on his clamshell to tell them that he doesn’t understand why they’re having such a good time, and THEN he tells them that Moya‘s baby is coming very, very soon, which just gives them another thing to celebrate, which just makes Pilot more confused. Go with it, gentle friend. You’re gonna see much weirder shit than this in the next four years. As Crichton says, “This is one of the good days, people.”

Trivia

  • The title “Through the Looking Glass” is a reference to the 1871 sequel to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which was called Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.
  • “Through the Looking Glass” was originally pitched by David Kemper as an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which the Enterprise comes across a derelict ship, which an away team finds empty, but there’s actually a creature on board that leaves slime on the walls and has taken over the ship. It gets larger, and so it has to move on to the Enterprise. Of course, the idea went through many re-writes before becoming the episode you see here.
  • The working title for this episode was “The Fifth Reality.”
  • [SPOILER!] Zhaan’s arm is made up of fibers that regenerate when torn, which is yet another hint at her true nature.
  • The parallel Moyas are supposed to exist in the base elements of light and sound, but the base colors of light are red, blue, and green not red, blue and yellow.
  • This episode was one of the hardest episodes to produce; hence it’s placing near the end of the season, because of the difficulty in conceptualizing it. It was difficult for everyone to grasp exactly what the creature and multiple dimensions would look like.
  • Crichton’s nickname for Chiana, “Pip,” is a reference to Adam Warlock’s companion from the Marvel universe, Pip the Troll. It could also be a reference to Pip from Dickens’ Great Expectations.

Metaphorically Speaking

The most obvious thing about this episode is that it begins with arguing, with fractures and disagreements and a general sense of unrest, and closes with the opposite. These are people existing alone in a cluster; they are not a group, they are not a unit. They’re fighting about food — which is admittedly an important topic — and all they can see is the bad stuff, the stuff that isn’t the way they want it to be. And while they’re doing this, they’re having probably their most important discussion yet: whether to stay on Moya or leave at the first chance. Is Moya a home and a friend, or is she just a ship, one who is failing in her duties to protect them? John and Aeryn are pro-Moya, obviously. John because he understands the power of the community, of being together as a whole, and Aeryn because she loves Pilot and Moya like no one else on that ship. They are quickest to form loyalties, mostly for reasons I’ve discussed before having to do with that little thing called Home. Where is home? Rygel is strangely one of the first to say it. He also calls Moya ‘companion’ and ‘protector’ and ‘friend,’ right before asking if they can trade her in. (“Moya is not a possession, your Lowness.”) “We’re stronger together than apart,” says John, and he’s right, as the rest of the episode attests. It’s like Lost‘s whole “Live together, or die alone” thing, except that doesn’t happen until almost five years later.

The people aren’t the only fractured things in this episode, and that’s by design. The whole A-plot features Moya literally splitting into four parts, each part representing a certain perspective. Sight, sound, hearing . . . together they make up the senses, but pulled apart they are disruptive and jarring. The red dimension makes D’Argo and John dizzy and nauseous, the blue is deafening, and the yellow alters perception. Furthermore, the physicality of these universes highlights the differences between the crew members, differences acting as additional fracturing elements. Chiana is not affected at all by the red light, whereas D’Argo is nearly incapacitated by it. In the blue dimension, Aeryn and Crichton are on par with one another, but it is Chiana, who presumably has superior hearing, who is incapacitated. There is also something very powerful about the image of these people being in the same places at the same time, i.e. in Pilot’s Den at the end of the episode, but not being on the same plane of existence. There’s also the whole Alice in Wonderland thing to consider. Through the Looking Glass, the novel, is largely concerned with answering the question, “What is on the other side?” In Alice’s case, it’s a mirror she wonders about, but the object in this question is kind of irrelevant, because in whatever context you ask that question, you’re always really asking the same thing, which is: Wouldn’t it be neat if I could know that thing you can never know until it’s too late? (Crichton: “Once more into the looking glass, Alice.”) You can only know, only decipher the backwards text, once you’re there.

The end scene, then, is the mirror image of the beginning. This is a unified group, giggling and laughing and genuinely enjoying one another’s company. They all had to work together in order to save themselves and are now giddy with the joy of it. I’ve been asking since I started this fool project, when is the first time they act like a family? This is it. And as if the happy tableau weren’t proof enough, Pilot’s news takes it further. “We’re going to have a baby!?” shouts John. Babies and families are his thing, so no news makes him happier than this. That moment — that “we” that they all acknowledge — that’s what this whole first season has been about. It’s the perfect set-up to finish the season on, and these next five episodes absolutely would not have worked without that solid foundation: we are a family.

Some final thoughts: Pilot and Moya are most gratified and fulfilled when serving others. They are not fulfilled as beings unless they are part of a living, breathing community. Pilot’s confusion is also noteworthy; he can’t understand how the terror of near-death can be celebrated, but it’s the life they’re celebrating. The discovery that they like one another, that laughter and happiness is a profound emotion. Aeryn was full-on smiling with her usefulness in the blue dimension. She’s really coming into her own; that standoffish Peacekeeper who rejected everything and everyone is almost gone. Other stuff: There are SO MANY good one-liners in this episode, but my favorite has to be Rygel, with: “Should I disrobe so it’s memorable?” Chiana is the odd duck now, and Crichton is one of the gang. It’s like when you’re the new kid in elementary school, until another new kid comes along and all of a sudden you’re in. Chiana has to earn her dues, just like he did. And finally, about halfway through, I figured out what this episode reminds me of: a video game. It’s that feeling you get when you’re trying to complete a quest or a mission or whatever, and you keep having to do the same things over and over again, find those key spots in the game, punch the right buttons, find the cheat codes, that sort of stuff.

Trash Bin

Aside from the science of this episode being completely bonkers, which is the usual state of affairs on Farscape, I don’t really have much to complain about. In fact, I might even venture to say that this episode is quite nearly thematically perfect.

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1X18 — “A BUG’S LIFE”

Zhaan is putting D’Argo in chains. She probably does want to have sex with him, but that’s not what this is about. A squadron of Peacekeeper Commandos aboard a Marauder is about to board Moya, and instead of killing them or trying to outrun them, it’s Crichton’s bright idea to trick them. Trick them into thinking Zhaan, D’Argo, and Rygel are still prisoners, that Chiana is a slave, and that he is their Captain. The Peacekeepers enter, wearing spiffy maroon uniforms (much better looking than what Aeryn and Crichton are wearing, salvaged from the PK Commandos that died back in “Exodus From Genesis,” I think) and introduce themselves, guns at the ready. The Captain’s name is Larraq and he’s a handsome fella; his blonde companion is much more unfortunate looking, poor thing. Larraq is in the middle of comparing dick sizes with Aeryn when out struts Crichton, or should I say, Captain Crichton. He’s sporting a Boss-Man look on his face and the world’s worst British accent. Neither does him much good, however, as Larraq informs him that he is on a “Priority Red One” mission and that he and his crew are taking over Moya. I’m sure that will go over well.

Back from the credits, the DRDs start going apeshit and shooting everything in sight. “Well, I think not,” says British Crichton. He’s like, you want my help? You ask for it, Bitch. And Larraq gets all pouty with his giant girl-lips, but acquiesces. There’s a little bullshit party as Crichton and Aeryn give Larraq a tour of the ship, including the “prisoners,” and Larraq says that he needs transportation to a nearby Gammak base (science/military), but he won’t tell them the nature of his mission. Meanwhile Larraq’s crew are unloading their important package when Chiana comes in. The bald PK assumes she’s a “server,” hits on her, eye-fraks her a little, and then tells her that they’ve spent over a cycle looking for “this creature,” as he gestures toward the large container on the floor, which the unfortunate blonde opens using a key he apparently keeps on his belt. After she “accidentally” spills a drink on him, she manages to get an imprint of the key and leaves. Aeryn shows Larraq to the food, and we learn that his team is special ops, or as Aeryn calls them “Black Ghosts.” There is some MAJOR flirting going on between them, you guys. Crichton releases the prisoners from their cells. D’Argo wants to just storm the PKs now, and Zhaan expresses concern over Moya‘s impending labor, but Crichton wants to keep playing (Zhaan: “Well the uniform is certainly convincing.”) We also get a nice little bit of history from Aeryn as she tells him other vehicles she’s flown; she’s genuinely enjoying this (and he is very good looking, circumstances willing, she would have pulled shenanigans ala “The Way We Weren’t” if you know what I mean — don’t look that up if you haven’t watched before).

Chiana and Rygel are down in the cargo bay scoping out the goods. Both of them are too stupid and greedy to think that there might be reason the contents of the box are locked up so tightly. They open it. Inside is an unconscious and quite disgusting yellow alien with a glow-in-the-dark stomach. Before they can decide what to do with it, Bald PK comes in, and while Rygel and Chiana hide in the shadows, touches the ooky alien and obviously becomes infected with something. It quickly becomes apparent that Bald PK (whose name is Thonn) is now evil when he kills one of his companions. This murder forces D’Argo and Zhaan out of their charade, all the while Thonn — or “Infecta-Thonn” as I’m now going to call him — is killing the ooky alien for some unknown reason. Sadly I don’t get to call him Infecta-Thonn for long because he totally sticks his tongue down a panicked Chiana’s throat and passes the Infecta-thing over to her. She cricks her neck. Aeryn and the other PKs discover the dead body and the passed out Thonn, which prompts Larraq to tell them everything. His mission was to capture an intellant virus, a single entity that had been causing destruction across this part of the universe, and who can only possess one body at a time, and bring it into Peacekeeper custody. Infecta-Chiana comes out of hiding and points her finger at Rygel, and since Thonn has no memory of what happened, they believe her. Then Aeryn totally rips Crichton a new one because he honestly kind of sucks at being Captain.

D’Argo and Zhaan have a run-in with the PKs before Crichton can bullshit his way out of the situation. Everyone slinks around the ship, looking for Rygel, who is found hiding in the center chamber and is quickly captured, despite protests of his innocence. During all the chaos, the virus apparently decides to choose another body, and chooses Crichton. Meanwhile, Larraq is all sad because of how many crew members he’s lost, and he tries to woo Aeryn into joining special ops, which is obviously not an option. Down in their cells, Zhaan and D’Argo have figured out that the virus was being tricksy, while upstairs Infecta-Crichton brutally murders the “hot lips” Peacekeeper, trashing the stasis weapon in the process. He is acting extremely bizarre, even for Crichton. Finally Aeryn is beginning to catch on, but just then the others storm into Command and announce that the virus is in Crichton. This puts him/the virus into defense mode, and after literally everybody attempts to restrain him, there’s this great moment where they all suddenly realize at the same time that they shouldn’t have touched him. The virus could be in anyone. And then it’s awesome because everybody is pointing guns at everybody and the pretend-games are over and Crichton is yelling obnoxiously with his real accent, which is my second favorite version of Crichton, and it is ANARCHY.

Later, after all the anarchy has subsided to merely trepidation with guns: the entire group has moved to the central chamber, where the body of dead Hot Lips lies. While Zhaan mixes some sort of concoction, Crichton stares at the body, trying to come to terms with the fact that he is the one who ended her life. One by one, the group is tested with Zhaan’s concoction, Aeryn first (“Told you,” she says, rather snottily). When it gets down to D’Argo and Larraq, both start screaming for the other to lower their weapon. After Crichton shoots up D’Argo, Infecta-Larraq gets himself out of there fast. As they’re wandering the halls looking for him, Infecta-Larraq jumps Aeryn, but not like that. I don’t think viruses are sexually attracted to Sebaceans. Thonn comes around the corner and Infecta-Larraq shoots him dead. Only one PK left, and he’s half virus — these guys are dropping like flies. He holds Aeryn hostage as D’Argo and Crichton also come around the corner. There are threats and the virus acts desperate some more, and then it totally stabs Aeryn for no good reason at all other than it is the most asshole of all the viruses, and that is including Herpes. If there’s one good thing you can say about Herpes, it’s that Herpes doesn’t stab people. Crichton and Chiana — unable to be re-infected by the virus — head after Larraq, as D’Argo and Zhaan take care of the injured Aeryn. Chiana is quickly overpowered by Larraq, but she does manage to rip some sort of disk from around his neck (plot point! remember it for later!) before she goes down. Finally, Crichton lets Larraq escape in the damaged Marauder, which is still leaking fuel, and then gives the order for Moya to initiate Starburst. The spark from her tail ignites the fuel and BOOM, both Larraq and the virus are now nothing more than space debris. This might sound like a happy ending, but on top of Crichton having become a murderer who also beats up blue people, and all the PKs being dead (who were the first decent PKs we’ve met), Aeryn is, well . . . stay tuned for next week!

Trivia

  • “Cats and dogs living together!” is an ad lib by Ben Browder, referencing Bill Murray’s classic line from Ghostbusters.
  • This is the first episode in which John Crichton deliberately takes a life (not counting the drak), although technically he was inhabited by the intellant virus at the time and thus not in control of his own actions.
  • When the Sergeant in Larraq’s team sees Chiana, he calls her an “honorary server.” Apparently, the Nebari had been classified by the Peacekeepers, and therefore wouldn’t be subject to the “purity regulations” mentioned by Crais in the pilot.
  • This episode is presumably a reference to the Disney/Pixar film of the same name, but it obviously bears no relation to that film’s plot.

Metaphorically Speaking

This one is all about deception. The lies we tell other people, the lies we tell ourselves. For whatever reason. I guess it’s fitting that after having their very first bonding moment in “Through the Looking Glass,” the crew should once again be reminded that it’s not all hugs and puppies; they still have a long way to go. In the first act, we’ve got deceptions galore: PK’s keeping secret cargoes secret, Crichton pretending to be Captain, Aeryn pretending to take orders, Chiana pretending to be meek, and the three others pretending to be prisoners. You can tell by the way that he walks that Crichton thinks this is fun. And then when Act Three comes around, all the secrets are busted wide open and a shit ton of people are dead and/or murderers. By act four, like I said, anarchy. It isn’t the cleanest or tightest episode, but it gets its point across.

I also like what it does with character, in a succession of mostly little moments that have large resonance. I like that it’s Zhaan who notices the odd behavior of Chiana and Crichton. I like that nobody really notices that Chiana is acting oddly because nobody really knows Chiana yet. That Crichton’s plan goes horrible wrong because he’s just not the PK Captain type, and because he is absolute shit at pretending to be something he’s not. And I like being shown that not all PK’s are assholes. Larraq is charming, sincere, and really seems like a good guy (for a Peacekeeper, anyway). And once again the show is dangling the carrot in front of Aeryn. I would say it’s too much, that we’ve done this whole story before where Aeryn is tempted by a Peacekeeper into missing her old life, but I think her response is worth it. She’s just resigned now, and she doesn’t actually spend a moment believing she might ever go back to that place, even if it did have good moments for her.

Which brings me back to the pretending thing. The Moyans have only now just started getting along, and then this virus comes along and fucks everything up. For a moment, they’re all back to mistrusting each other, each man for themself, but I think it’s important to note that none of them like this turn of events. They want to trust each other. When Crichton punches Zhaan in the face, she’s unbelievably hurt for a second, but her trust in him kicks in and she asks herself, Would Crichton act this way? Isn’t he kind and gentle, not cruel? And that’s the only reason she solves the mystery. The idea of a face you love hurting you, no matter who’s inside, is something the show will come back to again and again, particularly involving Crichton and his infamous world-destroying body. This whole virus thing is just an extended metaphor for our very real inability to ever truly know one another. You never know when it’s just an act, when somebody is just pretending. Not for sure, anyway, if you’re being honest with yourself. That’s where trust comes in. Trust is the thing you have to have in order to live in the world and not go mad.

I also think it’s neat the way Crichton’s ruse serves as another distraction in the story. Nobody can tell if anybody is acting strangely because they’re all pretending anyway. It’s all just an act, so isn’t this odd behavior just another a part of it? It also has nice parallel structure for Crichton, who spends the first half fucking up royally because of his inability to kill or be cruel as a Peacekeeper would, and then in the second half he literally becomes the thing he was pretending to be. The intellant virus acts just as a PK Captain would, even more violent and cruel, in many ways. The moment when Crichton realizes he has committed murder, or at least his body has, is a very effective one. Without words, Browder conveys Crichton’s shame and guilt. It doesn’t matter to him that it wasn’t his actions that committed the murder, it was enough to know that it was his hands. In Farscape, your body is never far away from your self; your body is you. [SPOILER!] This episode also sets up Rygel nicely for the next four episodes. “I’m sure he has learned his lesson, D’Argo,” says Zhaan. But has he? If you’ve watched before, you probably know the answer to that question.

Trash Bin

Let’s just get this out of the way: Ben Browder’s British accent is absolutely atrocious in this episode. There has been a lot of debate about this, actually, as Browder was trained in London and is married to a British woman. He should know better. I mean, it’s so hellaciously atrocious that it makes him unlikable, which is the exact opposite of what British accents usually do for me. I think the best way to look at this, though, and I’m not just saying this to defend Browder, is that of course Crichton would be horrible at the accent. He’s horrible at the rest of it, isn’t he? And why would John Crichton ever have needed to learn to speak British? Especially given later episodes in the series when he does a much more credible job with the Queen’s English, it’s an explanation I tend to believe.

[UPDATE 5/3/10: I've just been combing old chat transcripts for a television theory paper I'm writing (on Farscape, of course), and I came across this gem from Ben Browder:

BlackTee: The trick with last week

BlackTee: was keepin the accent off a bit

BlackTee: when John was doing it

BlackTee: and more on when it was the virus

So that should forever clear up any misunderstandings any of us have over Ben Browder's acting skills. The man is talented. End of story.]

Other things: Zhaan’s make-up at the beginning of this episode is totally wonky . . . the lip liner makers her look like a cartoon, and that’s saying something. Of course all the PKs die and none of the Moyans; very convenient. It’s almost like someone wrote it that way . . . hmmm. Although this episode was far, far from being a waste, the virus plot has been done before and done better. It was just very convenient writing over all, as if the ends were more important than the means (although the ends were pretty cool, but still). The logistics of the virus, that it makes everyone forget, and you can only tell where it’s been afterwards . . . it’s all very written.

- – -

Crichtonisms

  • “Oh, Salmonella! What the hell is that?”
  • “I thought you were Junior Miss Tough Chick of the universe.”
  • “I don’t know what you been smokin’, Buckwheat, but we’ve got a serious problem here.”
  • “D’Argo, I haven’t heard of anything like anything before. My planet doesn’t even go to the moon anymore.”
  • “And then Rygel’s up walking around the ship, coughing up spores, cats and dogs living together . . .”

PuppetWatch!

  • The floating puppety type things in the Beastie’s lair look like they came from the Creature Shop, but otherwise nothing out of the ordinary in “Through the Looking Glass.”
  • The ooky alien was kind of cool, but I think that’s probably because it was yellow. And it glowed like E.T.

- – -

“Crackers Don’t Matter!”

  • Interstellar swearing: “Shellak” is a Luxan expletive analogous to “shit.”
  • A Farscape Glossary: To “snurch” means “to steal”; “kinkoid” means crazy or weird; “tinked” is an expression of disbelief, as in “Are you tinked?”
  • John’s wearing a green t-shirt at the beginning of “Through the Looking Glass.” Where did that come from? The interstellar space Gap?
  • “This is one of our good days.” Ha ha ha. So true.
  • Gigi Edgley’s Chiana accent was still in the works in these earlier episodes. She sounds very British and/or Australian.
  • “I can guide, but you must provide your own thrust forward.” THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.
  • I mostly get really pissed when men call women “baby” but it sounds SO SEXY when Crichton says it.
  • “My dear, I’ve kicked more ass than you’ve sat on.”
  • D’ARGO: If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this fiasco, it’s that I will never be chained up again.
    ZHAAN: I pray that will be the case.
    D’ARGO: You can pray all you like. I was expressing a fact, not a hope.
    (D’Argo is a BAMF.)

- – -

Classic Moments in Farscape, #9

[The camera pans around to each person in turn. They are feasting. Everyone is laughing constantly as they share anecdotes we only hear bits and pieces of.]
D’Argo: Everyone, is it just me, or is the best food that we have ever had?
Zhaan: Nothing like the taste of death to clear the palette, eh?
Aeryn: I suppose there isn’t a thing here that I couldn’t live on for a cycle.
Chiana: Except . . . except maybe this.
D’Argo: Now I was assuming that because of the lack of taste in that, that it was a garnish.
Crichton: Yo, yo, yo, yo. Those are Grandmother Crichton’s famous buttermilk biscuits.
Rygel: What’s in them?
Crichton: Self-rising flour, uh, salt, shortening, buttermilk . . . touch of honey.
Zhaan: But we have none of those ingredients, John.
Crichton: Yeah. Maybe that’s the problem.
[They all laugh even harder and throw biscuits at Crichton. Pilot buzzes in over the clamshell.]
Pilot: I’m sorry to interrupt your meal, but how can you all be so jovial after our near miss?
Aeryn: We were affected profoundly by it, Pilot. How are you two handling it?
Pilot: Well enough to alleviate your concerns about our Starburst problems. There’s been a change in the status of Moya‘s baby.
[Silence, as everyone waits, expecting to hear bad news.]
D’Argo: Is she in any danger?
Pilot: Doing fine. Actually, more than fine.
Crichton: [excited] We’re going to have a baby?
Pilot: Yes. There’s no exact time table for Leviathan gestation, but Moya feels confident the day is coming.
Rygel: Oho! Well in that case, tell her if she’s so inclined, when it is born she can name it after me!
Chiana: That would only work if it was a runt.
Rygel: Watch it.
Crichton: This is one of the good days, people. To a healthy, happy baby.
[They all toast. Zhaan kisses Rygel. It is happy.]

- – -

Coming up on the Farscape Rewatch: “Nerve,” “The Hidden Memory”

Comments
7 Responses to “Farscape Rewatch! — “Through the Looking Glass,” “A Bug’s Life””
  1. myoctober says:

    It might be time for me to have a short Farscape marathon.

  2. zaelyna says:

    I want to express some psychology nerdiness I gained from last semester: for the colour schemes, our professor referred to it as “red,” “blue,” and “green-ish yellow.” That therefore qualifies Farscape as still being true to fact ;)

    Anyhoot, thanks for sharing (O_O wow, pun totally unintended there, hehe). I love reading recaps and ideas from others only to realise there are so many more layers to Farscape that I’ve yet to peel back. Must pay more attention to my 5th/4th run of the show. ^_^

    Final thought:
    You said “my understandings of these two episodes was so ridiculously different than the first time that I’m beginning to wonder how I even functioned at all back then.”

    That’s the beauty of revisiting stories after time has passed. As we age and (hopefully) grow wiser, stories change in meaning. We understand them more (or at least differently) than we did as children. Or we realise new ideas about them that weren’t clear before for whatever reason. Huzzah to fine story-telling!

  3. Mike says:

    I really enjoyed “Though the Looking Glass” and I’ve been looking forward to your write-up of these episodes.

    One thing that struck me about TtLG, is that you don’t always realize how big Pilot actually is until you see one human-sized characters near him. Since he’s almost always shown as an image on a screen, or in a solo shot while flying Moya, there is never any sense of scale. But when they all end up piled on and around Pilot at the end, you realize he’s actually really big!

    I did love Pilot’s confused reactions to their merriment after narrowly escaping certain doom (again). And D’Argo’s “Mippippippi” were hysterical.

    I do have to point out one thing about your analysis regarding the parallel, colored Moyas. I don’t think you are quite accurate when you say that red, green, and blue are the “base colors of light” rather than red, blue, and yellow. There really aren’t any “base colors of light” since light is simply a wavelength range on the EM spectrum. The ranges of wavelengths that are most “pure” to our perception are what we tend to refer to as the base or primary colors, i.e. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. But you don’t actually need all seven primary colors to represent the spectrum, you only three. Human vision is trichromatic (meaning we have three basic photoreceptor cells to perceive color), so we pick three primary colors. In fact, the selection of the primary colors are essentially arbitrary. For example, early photographic processes used orange, green, and violet as the primaries.

    RGB (reg, green, blue) is simply one color model used to reproduce a subset of that spectrum, mainly because it is an additive model (i.e. you combine pure light sources of the primary colors to produce other colors). It is ideally suited for human vision, and thus is used in electronic displays and projectors. When the trichromatic theory of vision was proven, the RGB color model was established because researchers found that the three types of human cone cells absorbed the most light at the red, green, and blue wavelengths.

    The traditional primary colors we were all taught in school are red, blue, and yellow. The RYB color model is a subtractive model, in that other colors are produced by starting with a white light source and absorbing other wavelengths to produce other color shades. RYB was used as the basis for pigments and dyes (hence it’s popularity with artists). It is still used in art to form the primary colors of the traditional color wheel.

    Both RYB and RGB produce color triangles that fit very nicely with the human perception of color, hence the reason those models are most commonly used.

    But I digress. A lot.

    Anyway…if Moya was actually being split along the base colors of light, she would be split into seven parts. I have a feeling, however, that having seven parallel Moyas would have been way too crazy a problem to solve in 45 minutes.

    Most likely, the art department decided to use the traditional red, yellow, and blue primary colors more or less because those are most most people know as the primaries.

    • Ashley says:

      You know, I have absolutely no idea who is right about that light thing. I actually know nothing about this. I pulled that particular piece of trivia from a Farscape wiki, so if it’s wrong, it’s their bad. If you’re right, that makes me feel slightly better about the writers and their grasp of science.

      The Big Pilot thing always gets me, especially with Aeryn for some reason.

  4. Larry says:

    Through the Looking Glass:

    The initial argument is interesting because D’Argo, Zhaan and Rygel are being inordinately selfish for wanting to leave. At first glance, it seems like Crichton and Aeryn are advocating what’s best overall. However, in analysis, the others point out that Crichton has ulterior motives: running around the Uncharted Territories together is convenient for his wormhole research, but he offers platitudes and half truths instead (however valid they may be). Aeryn fairly calls him out for dissembling. The others are being forthright in their personal desires; he should be equally honest, to them and himself.

    I love the fact that when the splunkie hits the fan, the Moyans pull together, despite their previous discussion. They’re at their best in a crisis. Except for Chiana, who wants to act on her flight instinct. It’s served her well up to now, why not continue? She hasn’t learned to dig deeper and face what makes her afraid. Big Brother John anchors her and sets her to a task.

    The dimensional schisms seemed more subjective than founded on actual science. If you sundered light, sound and physical/psychological experience from the whole of our existence, how does your body react to those particular combinations of estranged aspects?

    Rygel telling really bad jokes with such gusto made me laugh, and laugh, and laugh. He’s so often a cretin, it’s good to see him without his airs or ill manners.

    A Bug’s Life:

    The thing I found interesting was what Larraq represented to Aeryn: the missing connection and comraderie between PKs, which she can’t get from any of the Moyans, not even Crichton. She gets to talk shop, go back over her accomplishments and feel appreciated, even wanted. Larraq is as good an opportunity as she could have asked for: PK Special Ops, a decent leader to his grunts, appreciative of good skill and experience, attracted to her, good looking to boot… if only she were still a PK. Old ways are fun to fall back on and enjoy, up to the point that reality sets back in.

    If she had not been irreversibly contaminated and stuck on Moya, would Aeryn have ever met Larraq and if so, seen past her bias of Black Ghosts to consider a job offer with him, had he offered? Possibly not. Larraq is all the more poignant because of what’s befallen her.

    Still, when he makes his job offer to her, he’s busy bagging the bodies of two comrades. A hard fact to miss; Black Ghosts don’t live long.

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