Farscape Rewatch! — “Durka Returns,” “A Human Reaction”

WEEK EIGHT
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This is the one I’ve been waiting for; if you’ve never seen it before, I hope it doesn’t disappoint you. And if you have seen it before, well, AREN’T YOU EXCITED, TOO!?! I may be overreacting, but I don’t think so, and anyway it’s not important because of hedonism. It’s a thing.

Both “Durka Returns” and “A Human Reaction” are very good episodes, actually. Both are sophisticated, well-executed, funny, moving, and original. It’s just that “A Human Reaction” holds a special place in my heart because it marks the moment I fell in love with Farscape. You’d think there would be a limit to how many times a person can fall in love, to how many special crevices inside the heart where we keep our stories and our friends and our fantasies warm and safe can open up . . . but no. There is always room for more. I fall in love all the time, and sometimes it really sucks. Because even if the depths of my heart are endless (shut up), my wallet is only so big — in fact, not very big at all.

1X15 — “DURKA RETURNS”

Moya’s ride is all turbulent, and Rygel in his Rygel-pajamas is gonna hurl. I guess that’s what pregnancy does to you whether you’re human, or Leviathan. After determining that it’s just not working at the moment, Moya hops out of Starburst, only to get hit smack-on by another spaceship. WHABAM! And because he’s cool like that, instead of letting the other dude die in space, Pilot brings the ship aboard Moya using the docking web. In creepy foot cam, we follow Lucius Malfoy a man in a black coat with long white hair and an eye patch, who is stealth-walking across Moya’s deck like he owns the place. All guns are pointed at him, and everyone except Rygel is present to greet (or kill) their visitors. Eye-Patch tells the Moyans he and the other two aboard his ship come in peace, and that they are unarmed, despite those wicked scars under his eye-patch saying otherwise. While Patchie is calling his crew to come on out, Rygel jazzies on in, eating a doughnut or some such space-equivalent, and almost chokes on it when he hears Patchie’s voice. The episode helpfully flashes back to “PK Tech Girl” as Rygel fairly spits out that Patchie is in fact, Durka, feared captain of the Zelbinion. The others have to hold him back, while Aeryn tells him he’s mistaken (Aeryn once again with excellent hair), Durka having died over a hundred years before. But no, says Patchie — er, Durka — he’s not wrong, and Durka he be. Dun dun DUN.

Back from the credits, Rygel is still freaking the fuck out and everybody else is still waiting for their brains to catch up with the conversation when out walks this black and white and gray dude who calls himself Salis, and who tells them they have nothing to fear from Durka. He and his people spent over a hundred cycles making sure that Durka would never hurt anyone again. This seems a tall statement, to say the least, but it’s Farscape, so just go with it. Salis and Durka, who are both talking in this weird, slow cadence, request permission to use one of Moya’s containment cells to hold a prisoner,  a “dangerous criminal.” Enter another Nebari, a female in chains, who looks pretty miserable. Her eyes look like dying birds. Or something. And anyway, I already like her more than the other two combined, and we’ve only known her for about five seconds. Durka and Salis throw her tiny girl body into a cell and slam the door. From her knees, she blinks up at Crichton with those eyes, and we can pretty much tell where this is going right away because he can’t resist them, either. Crichton wants to know what her crime was. Durka is mum, and so is Salis. At this point the prisoner, whose name is Chiana, begs Crichton for mercy, saying that her captors won’t admit her crime because they’re embarrassed, and that Crichton probably wouldn’t even consider it a crime. Salis squashes her down like a bug with these implant things on his forehead, which seems to be attached to the collar that Chiana is wearing. Crichton is unsettled by this whole encounter.

Later, Salis is explaining how they tamed Durka using mind control, or as Salis calls it, “neural realignment,” a process which strips undesirable neural pathways from the brain, which is what they did to Durka after they captured him from the Zelbinion. He also casually lets them know that it was the Nebari who downed the famed ship in the first place, and that a similar Nebari ship is on its way to them as they speak. In Rygel’s quarters, Rygel is boning up on his weapons, stashing knives all over his little person. He doesn’t trust Durka’s personality makeover one bit, despite Aeryn’s warning to him. And anyway, we can’t trust Aeryn’s judgment right now because she’s clearly gone all fangirl over Durka. She corners him and starts badgering on about all the stuff she studied in school about him, but he remains calm and unimpressed. Crichton is trying again to bond with Chiana. It’s a pretty complex scene in which we learn way too much for me to summarize: about the Nebari, about what kind of a person Chiana is, and about Nebari mental cleansing. Curious after his encounter with Chiana, Crichton confronts Durka, but during their conversation Rygel sets off a flashbomb, the resulting explosion knocking them off their feet and setting Durka’s brain back to Evil for a minute, as he tries to kill Rygel. The others are pissed and lock Rygel up, and Salis tells Zhaan that he expects them to hand Rygel over when the Nebari Host ship arrives so that they may correct the flaws in his character. And then Zhaan begins to understand just what kind of an ass-wipe Salis actually is.

Chiana, having escaped her cell, tries to get Rygel to help her off the ship, but the little toad narcs on her the first chance he gets. While everyone is searching, someone murders Salis, and Chiana’s collar is found laying next to his body. Meanwhile, Durka reveals himself by attacking Aeryn and Rygel in command and attempting to take over the ship. With Aeryn and Rygel tied up, Durka slices off his long white hair with a knife, and when Rygel wakes, it’s the old Durka staring him in the face. Who murdered Salis (or did he?). Who intends to take over Moya. Too bad he doesn’t know about Moya’s pregnancy, and when he tries to Starburst, it all goes to pot. Miraculously and awesomely, Rygel grows balls, or maybe he just pulls them out of hiding. He tells Durka off, but Durka isn’t about to just roll over. While all of this is going on, Crichton is taming the shrew, or rather, the fiery hellcat, and convincing her to help them defeat Durka. He bops her on the nose and says: “Bait.” I love these two together; it’s like the ideal brother/sister relationship, except more incestuous. Crichton’s plan almost works, but Durka catches on, shoots Chiana, and attempts to kill Moya’s baby using the cannon in the damaged Nebari ship. Just in time, Crichton throws one of Rygel’s bombs at the ship, pushing it out into space. Durka begs Crichton to let him back in, and then threatens to hunt him down and kill him if he doesn’t. (He doesn’t.) And with the addition of Chiana — whom Zhaan calls “a brat” — the crew of Moya is up by one more morally ambiguous criminal.

Trivia

  • The character of Chiana was originally going to be killed off in this episode. The scene where she is shot by Durka was later changed, giving the character a minor wound so that she might live. She remains a part of the main cast for the rest of the series.
  • Gigi Edgley notes that this is one of her favorite episodes from the first season, partly because she got a lot of opportunities to play around, even though she was still getting to know the character.
  • Despite looking blue under the lights, Nebari are in fact completely black and white.
  • The bomb that Rygel sets off really did burn Ben Browder. Because of the way the shot happened, he was totally obscured by the flame and was smoking from his behind, but he says it was worth it because at least he could give the real John Crichton look of fear.

Metaphorically Speaking

There are two main focuses for this episode: Rygel and Chiana. For Rygel, this episode does what “PK Tech Girl” failed to do, giving him closure and a depth that the limited amount of screen time in “PK Tech Girl” didn’t allow for. What’s more, by bringing the Durka character back, the show utilizes him in a much more engaging way. Before, it was just that he was a part of Rygel’s past, and he was hidden in shadow. But this episode works to humanize him and use his monstrous image in service not only of Rygel’s character, but a larger metaphorical point. Specifically, it explores the idea of choice in relation to morality, but I’ll come back to that in a moment with Chiana.

Chiana. All duck-footed and bendy, like a sexy praying mantis. Sex and innocence. The point of Chiana is that she is free to be whatever she wishes, and that caging her up as her fellow Nebari wish to do (as they have done with Durka), is akin to murder. She’s free will incarnate, a permanent child in a constant state of flux. She’s Farscape‘s answer to Alex DeLarge. If you haven’t read A Clockwork Orange yet, I very much recommend it, not only because it’s a wonderful book, but because the concepts it examines are used over and over again in Farscape. Case in point: this episode, which is about trying to erase sin (or perceived sin) by taking away the sinner’s ability to choose. How can a person be good if they don’t have the ability to resist evil?

“Padre, these are subtleties. We’re not concerned with motives, with the higher ethics. We are concerned only with cutting down crime–and . . . with relieving the ghastly congestion in our prisons. He will be your true Christian: ready to turn the other cheek, ready to be crucified rather than crucify, sick to the very heart at the thought even of killing a fly! Reclamation! Joy before the angels of God! The point is that it works.”

The Nebari believe that by getting rid of undesirable behaviors, they are fixing their subjects. Durka can no longer murder or torture, so Durka is good. Chiana will no longer wish to do her Chiana things, so Chiana will be good. It’s that Calvinist thing where people associate the act with the intention. You have committed an evil act, so therefore you must be evil. You have done something good, so therefore you are good. No matter that bad people do good things, or good people do bad things or any other permutation in between. The Nebari world view is — big surprise here — very black and white. A clockwork orange is a machine; it has no soul. “When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man,” says the prison chaplain. Durka is not a man, but a neutered pet. Actually, there is another episode later on, I think in season two, called “A Clockwork Nebari” that brings this whole issue up again. If the Sebaceans are the NAZIs, killing or imprisoning the alien, the Nebari are the ones who kill you with kindness. Who give you the easy fix that isn’t really a fix at all.

I love the ambiguous nature of this episode. Everything is so up in the air, gray areas everywhere. We’ve got the tragedy of the neutered Durka mixed with the murder of Salis, which is never solved. We’ve got the ambiguous nature of the mental cleanse, which is good on paper, but morally reprehensible in reality. We’ve got Aeryn Sun and her attachment to the idea of Durka, the Peacekeeper legend, which is shattered by the end of the episode. And we’ve got Crichton telling the new girl, “This isn’t a prison transport, Chiana. You can get off whenever you want.” So once again it comes back to the idea of community, and the rules that the Moyans have made for themselves, only this time it’s pretty clear by now that there is more holding this crew together than just the need for survival.

Trash Bin

It’s obvious that the whole cryogenic process is just a big retconned excuse to bring Durka back, but I guess I’m willing to buy it for the sake of the story that follows.

1X16 — “A HUMAN REACTION”

It’s a quiet day aboard Moya, says Crichton, talking into his tape recorder father. By “quiet,” Crichton means nobody is trying to kill them, and there are no dangerous microbes roaming about or dimension hopping going around, because Chiana and Zhaan are being less than “quiet,” bickering up and down the hallway. Crichton looks after them with what can only be called affection. He likes them, and I think at least right now, he likes it here. Which of course is the perfect time for a wormhole to show up and ruin everything. But I’m skipping ahead. Crichton’s still talking to his dad. He misses the sun, and he found his first gray hair. Proof that life is still happening, I guess, whether he wants it to or not. Now, here’s the wormhole. Chiana and Rygel are less than impressed, and Chiana still hasn’t got the hang of the particular brand of anarchy that goes on around here, but Crichton is fixated on the tiny blue planet that has appeared at the end of the wormhole. Earth. It looks too good to be true.

And obviously, Crichton is going through the wormhole, despite objections. He tries to persuade a moist-eyed and stoic Aeryn to come with him, but she can’t yet. He tells a teary Zhaan goodbye, shakes hands with D’Argo, and gives Rygel all his stuff while Aeryn watches from the corridor. It is heartbreaking, you guys, and we are only six minutes in. I can’t take all this emotion! And by that I mean I LOVE IT. And so he’s gone, out into space, and he thinks he’s made the right choice. After all, who are these people in comparison to Earth? They’re nobody. A passing adventure. But despite all of that, he wavers, hovering at the edge of the wormhole afraid to go in. Finally, with urging from Pilot and D’Argo, he’s gone, through a rocky blue blur, and next thing we know, he’s on a beach. Right where we first met him. The ocean roars, and so does Crichton. While he’s attempting to find out where he is — Australia, he thinks — men with guns and scary black helicopters approach. One man shoots him with a tranc gun, and just like that, we’re back to frightening, and Earth isn’t feeling that much different from out there. Crichton on the run, being shot at by scary-ass people with big guns. They bring him to a white room, examine him, and then lock him up. Crichton doesn’t know what’s going on, so neither do we, but it soon becomes apparent that they’ve detected the translator microbes lodged in Crichton’s brain, and despite his protests that he knows his captor — a man named Wilson — nothing changes. And then in comes Papa Crichton, who says he’s been waiting for two days and he wants to see his damn son. He’s not buying the whole John might be a danger thing.

After some finagling, Papa Crichton manages to get inside, and after asking John some questions only John would know the answers to, they bear hug. Papa Crichton tells John that nothing has been the same since he left; the wormhole never closed, and people are freaking out. Even when Papa Crichton manages a temporary jailbreak, people are watching them. They don’t trust Crichton; they don’t know what he might do. And then all of a sudden out of the wormhole pops one of Moya’s transport pods, setting off a whole series of alarms and protocols. Crichton’s heart beats a little faster. His worlds are coming together! As soon as he manages to stop the humans from shooting the ship down, Aeryn, Rygel, and D’Argo get the lab rat treatment. And then there’s this really awesome awful horrible scene when Crichton is inside the cell, and we can hear them speak as he hears them speak, but we can also hear them speak as the others hear them speak. It’s very familiar and foreign at the same time — isn’t that the uncanny? — anyway, it sounds really cool. Upon Aeryn’s urging, they went to check out the wormhole and got sucked in, and now Rygel is feeling sick and D’Argo is angry. Aeryn seems resigned. The humans outside are freaking out (first contact and all). And then all of a sudden, Rygel is dead, open on the table, and they’re saying he died from an allergic reaction, but we know that’s not what happened. I can’t look at his little guts open on the table; it’s so wrong. Shit really hits the fan when Aeryn escapes. They took D’Argo somewhere, and she doesn’t know where, but she was ready when they came back for her. John looks into her eyes and turns his back on humanity, just like that.

Outside it’s raining, and Aeryn has never seen rain before. She’s just delighted by it, which makes her delightful to watch. She’s wary about this motel, which was suggested by Crichton’s father, but John says they can trust Papa Crichton. Inside, they drink beer and think about how shitty life is, but also awesome because of the sex. They’re like two people alone, because they are two people alone, but you know what I mean. Anyway, they’re in it together, whatever is going on. So of course Crichton picks now to make his move. He’s like a giant puppy nuzzling for affection, and Aeryn totally gets it. And who can resist a puppy? Not me. The next morning, Crichton is moaning from his bed all nekkid and stuff, and Aeryn is cutely dressed in his clothes, but they don’t say a word about doing it and stuff, except for Aeryn, who’s all “Yes it’s fine, John, it’s just not top priority right now,” which is amazing. They need to find a place to hide, but Crichton makes Aeryn change into a pretty dress, because God knows she can’t go outside looking like a one-night stand, and this was before that whole Walk of Shame thing came into being. Aeryn in a dress is hilarious, mostly because she has no idea of its social implications. But she is very pretty. Just then, Papa Crichton knocks on the door, and Aeryn has her gun in hand so fast I’m not even sure where it came from. Jack tells them to get out, and that he’ll stall for as long as he can. Aeryn finally puts down her gun and says something in Sebacean, which absolutely drives me crazy. I know the translation is on the internet somewhere, but I just can’t find it. Anyway, Jack thanks her and she gets this strange look on her face. It’s all very up in the air.

Outside, John finally starts to realize there’s something funny going on. All the people he sees, he knows them. All the places he’s been, he’s been before. It’s not real, none of it. He heads back to the base to talk to the man in charge, which is Jack, but he’s not Jack. Not-Jack explains that it was all a simulation, and that he did very well. “Most species don’t do as well.” He says they needed “a human reaction,” that his species — a race called the Ancients — is looking for a new home, and they wanted to know if Earth could be that place. (It isn’t.) Jack shows Crichton his true form, and it is seriously funny looking, but the deep voice coming out of it gives it a kind of gravitas. He gives Crichton back his father’s good-luck charm, and they part ways. “Maybe we’ll meet again some day,” says the Ancient. “Maybe,” says Crichton.

Trivia

  • Claudia Black came up with her own “Sebacean language” for the scene where Aeryn speaks to Jack, and her voice isn’t artificially modified in it. The clicking sound you hear in the back of her throat is her version of a backwards ‘T’.
  • This episode and “Durka Returns” were aired out of order in the US, which caused a bit of a continuity problem. Chiana appears in this episode as an established member of Moya’s crew, but she isn’t introduced as a character until “Durka Returns.” When “A Human Reaction” aired originally the scene was cut out, so the continuity problem didn’t become apparent until it was included as part of the episode in the first DVD set. The last two DVD sets (the second ones from ADV and the current A&E ones) have the episodes in the correct order.
  • Originally the weather was supposed to be sunny, but when they filmed Aeryn and Crichton outside of the safehouse it was raining. Claudia Black improvised Aeryn’s infamous reaction. The director liked it so much, he kept it.
  • The scene showing the morning after with Crichton in bed was not included in the U.S. version, leaving the result of the night before more ambiguous.

Metaphorically Speaking

The reason this episode is one of my favorites isn’t because of The Sex–although that is certainly most awesome–but because it’s very humanist. In essence, this episode is about John coming to terms with his humanity, or rather, his divorcement from it. What I mean by this is that all the things that are wonderful about Crichton are not exclusive to humans. They are also found in Sebaceans, Hynerians, Pilots, and Luxans. In my recap I said that John turns his back on his humanity to side with Aeryn, but a more accurate description would be that he’s simply widening his definitions. Aeryn, D’Argo, and Rygel are friends, and that to John is a higher classification on the scale of importance than loyalty to some larger idea of race and species that has no real affect on his life. What did being a human ever do for John Crichton, other than make him different? But more importantly what he’s doing, I think, in choosing his friends over his species, is making a statement that race doesn’t matter. He’s certainly been fighting to prove that to the Moyans every day of his life, and they in turn to him. Certainly the episode goes out of its way to posit that we are all afraid of being nothing more than our bodies, that old fear of being pulled apart and studied, looking for something that’s completely intangible. I think the best part about all of this, though, is that all of the events that happen in the episode–his friends being captured and studied and killed, being hunted and torn apart–those are Crichton’s fears and not the reality. This is what Crichton thinks of his own people. It’s not a very flattering picture.

This episode also brings back into focus the series-long trope of searching for home. Crichton will always act like a crazy person when it comes to wormholes and finding Earth, but I think it’s worthwhile to note his behavior in comparison to that of his shipmates’ in “DNA Mad Scientist.” As soon as his search for home begins to harm his friends, Crichton’s priorities become very clear. I also think that he gets an inkling of the future in this encounter with the Ancients. He’s been thinking of home as some sort of safe haven, as a place he can return to and that will welcome him home, unchanged in the time since he’s been gone. But we can see in this episode that you can’t really ever go home again, in the sense that either you or your former home will have changed in the time you’ve been gone. Crichton is simply a different person than he was six months ago and he hasn’t yet realized that it was the old Crichton that loved Earth, not the new one. Can the new one ever feel completely at home on that tiny blue planet again, knowing what’s out there? After this episode, Crichton loses some of that boyish innocence because what he’s lost is his childhood. Other reasons I love this episode: the way it subverts fiction cliches (letting the leads sleep together without even acknowledging it, without any dramatic fallout whatsoever, letting their space-based TV show “go to Earth,” etc.) Farscape is a show that revels in doing well what other shows avoid like the plague.

I also love Aeryn in this episode, not only because she’s finally beginning to realize that she cares for Crichton, feels companionship and affection for him, but also because she’s playing the traditional man-role here. I also love how the episode pushes her to fear being left by Crichton, the person who has changed her life irreparably, and how it partially reveals Aeryn’s feelings on sex. It is a casual thing for her, not something to be remarked upon. We’ll learn more about Aeryn’s feelings about sex at a later date, but what’s great for now is that her reaction to this whole sex-with-Crichton thing fits perfectly with what we’ll learn later. I feel like I’ve missed something, but this episode is so dense it would really be impossible to cover it all.

– – –

Crichtonisms

  • “They have worlds out there, people you wouldn’t believe. But they don’t have chocolate.”

PuppetWatch!

  • The Rygel autopsy puppet in “A Human Reaction” gets me every time. It is gross and horrible and it makes me sad. His widdle feet sticking up all over, and his widdle guts all exposed. So, gross but effective.

– – –

“Crackers Don’t Matter!”

  • Interstellar Swearing: “Draz”is a Nebari expletive, probably a cousin of “dren.”
  • This is something I wonder about through the entire rest of the series: how in the world does Gigi Edgley keep her stomach so flat? She must work out a thousand hours a day.
  • Chiana: “I changed my mind. You adapt to me.”
  • In Browder and Black’s commentary for “A Human Reaction,” they mention that one of the cinematographic and tonal influences of this episode was The X-Files, which isn’t something I would have picked up on, but now that they’ve mentioned it, I totally get it.
  • Number of times each character has “died” as of “A Human Reaction”: Crichton, 5; D’Argo, 3; Rygel, 3; Zhaan, 1; Aeryn, 1; Pilot, 1; Moya; 1.

– – –

Classic Moments in Farscape, #8

[A military safehouse. It’s raining, and Crichton and Aeryn are drinking beer and being moody. Crichton is staring out the window at a rainy Sydney.]
Crichton: Sorry.
Aeryn: What for?
Crichton: [with long pauses between each sentence] 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: Hmm. I’ve got a lot to blame you for, Crichton.
Crichton: [there is a loud clap of thunder] Look at that.
Aeryn: What?
Crichton: That’s it. Earth, minus the sunshine.
Aeryn: You know, you were right. It’s actually very beautiful.
[Crichton turns around and walks over to sit next to Aeryn. They are shoulder to shoulder.]
Crichton: Were you scared? To join me when I left Moya.
Aeryn: [after a long pause, she nods] Yes. [another pause] I won’t be recaptured, Crichton. They will have to kill me if they come to take me tomorrow.
Crichton: I know.
[They both sigh. And then, Crichton lowers his head to Aeryn’s shoulder, nuzzling her. She lets him. And then, slowly, they kiss. Let your imaginations take you from there.]

– – –

Coming up on the Farscape Rewatch: “Through the Looking Glass,” “A Bug’s Life”

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Comments
14 Responses to “Farscape Rewatch! — “Durka Returns,” “A Human Reaction””
  1. Dan says:

    I love the Nebari episodes! If I hate Delvians with a passion, I love Nebari in equal measure. They’re kinda like evil pandas. Also, it did not take long for Chiana to become my favorite character.

    I think you said it earlier that “A Human Reaction” is the turning point for the series, when it stops being like every other sci-fi show out there and shows us that it’s got something far grander up its sleeves. (I may be paraphrasing a little bit.) I honestly never really thought that a lot of the stuff that was introduced in this episode would become the driving force of the rest of the series…of course, now I can’t imagine anything else.

  2. zaelyna says:

    Good to know I’m not the only one who associates Durka’s initial appearance with Lucius Malfoy ;). Starting this series 10 years later, spoilers were hard to avoid, so I knew of Chiana’s arrival ahead of time, and I worried. How could a new main character come in and ruin the chemistry that’s already formed amongst the other cast members? It always shifts the chemistry of every show I watch to something less tasteful. Not this time. The MICROT Chiana appeared, I knew she was a character I loved (kudos to Gigi for that).

    As midpoint eps for the first season, I think both did a fine job expressing the overall feel of the series. I agree with the cast/crew commentaries that “DNA Mad Scientist” marks the beginning of Farscape’s elevation to its true elements.

    “A Human Reaction,” however, marks the point where Farscape reaches out and fully reveals its potential, touching on everything the show will continue to travel on over the next three seasons. Agreeing with Dan’s comment ^ above ^, it’s the ep where it exits the scifi highway (though the Farscape spin is still superior to others I’ve seen) and creates its own road.

  3. Ashley says:

    Part of what I love about this show is that it’s always changing, and it nearly always becomes a better show for those changes.

    It’s funny. I have a friend who absolutely HATES Chiana but loves Zhaan. I wonder . . . is it possible to love them both?

    • zaelyna says:

      It *is* possible to love them both. I should know, because I do. :)

      I respect and admire Zhaan for the complexity of chasing a spiritual path after entering as dark a phase as she did. I adore Chiana’s childish nature and adore how it’s far from innocent.

      Here’s a thought that just came to me: what would Chiana have done were she on Moya during “DNA Mad Scientist”? We know Aeryn & Crichton were against the amputation of Pilot’s arm, but their reasoning was partially based on the fact that they wouldn’t benefit from it; they had no way to get home. Similarly, the gentle/wise/maternal personality of Zhaan leapt at the savage opportunity. So how would Chiana react in that situation?

      • Ashley says:

        I think Chiana would have been with Aeryn and Crichton, or not have cared at all (getting off at the next port or whatever) because she’s in the same boat as Aeryn. She has a home, she’s just not welcome there. Additionally, unlike Aeryn, she has no wish to return; it probably never felt like home to her in the first place.

  4. Jen says:

    I am totally with you guys on the Lucius Malfoy comparison. That is immediately what sprung into my head as well.

    Sad Rygel autopsy puppet :( That was when I was absolutely sure it couldn’t be real, even though I was highly skeptical from the beginning. I was also relieved that THEY were real, just the situation was not. Otherwise Crichton and Aeryn would not have had sex, and I would have been very mad.

    Sexy praying mantis is kind of a perfect description of Chiana.

    Aeryn’s flowery pink dress is like, the most out of place thing ever, but she looks good!

    I couldn’t take the alien being seriously at the end when it changed from his father to the weird American Indian-inspired stick creature. I kept laughing, which I’m sure was not really the goal of the whole scene.

  5. Larry says:

    Durka Returns:

    You know, the first time I saw this episode, I couldn’t have given a toss about Durka because there was Chiana, the brilliant spritely little Siamese seal-point sex kitten (purr for me, dear). Gods. I’m sorry, were the rest of you doing something this episode?

    But on repeated viewings, the whole grayness of the episode really becomes apparent. Here’s Salis the (bastard) Nebari who wants to cleanse everything uniformly to a humdrum, complacent, obedient gray. There’s Chiana, another prisoner (and thus an obvious tie-in to the other castaways). She’s obviously the victim, John responds to that. But then Salis turns up dead, Durka doesn’t really own up to killing Salis (why would he ask for confirmation?), and you can see John turning it over in his head: is Chiana really as dangerous as Salis suggested? In one episode, she establishes herself right alongside D’Argo, Zhaan, and Rygel as being as a victim and cutthroat. But he gets that she’s really a rebellious kid who doesn’t get consequences or larger pictures. She’s far more of the moment, and John’s got to pull the big brother, simmer down now, attitude, which Chiana responds instantly to, for reasons we find out later.

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE that they pervert and undermine the legend and horror of Durka. He’s a victim too, of Nebari mental neuterin… cleansing. Zhaan questions Salis closely about it (she’s a big blue hippy after all). But Durka’s even more dangerous than Chiana when he slips his leash, taking over Moya so casually. Except that he really isn’t all that great nor that brilliant. He’s a coward at heart. His cowardice got him captured by the Nebari (rather than an honorable death) and made their pet, and damn if he won’t end up that way again when the Nebari show up. Rygel gets peace in seeing Durka for what he truly is, while Aeryn loses another precious memory.

    I wish the writers explored the true danger hinted at with the Nebari. A standard vessel took out a PK flagship, and they have big plans, as A Clockwork Nebari reveals. So much potential for setting the galaxy aflame. :: sigh ::

    A Human Reaction:

    This hit me MUCH harder in repeated viewings. I have a hangup about fantasy/sci fi shows bringing reality into it. SG-1 gets away with it because they established the hybrid from the start. Farscape, I assumed would be off and away from Earth/reality once Crichton went through the wormhole. Having him come back made me upset, the division had been breached. So I disbelieved a lot of what was happening out of irritation.

    This time was different: the parting was a LOT harder. Aeryn has this cute little eyebrow twitch when Crichton looks at her :: whimper :: and I love that Zhaan makes up one excuse after another to delay Crichton. Even Sparky is downcast when Crichton leaves. Chiana? Yeah whatever, she’s got stuff to steal :)

    The whole interrogation thing where John’s being imprisoned by Wilson = teeth grinding frustration. The sight of the transport pod filled me with dread, and Rygel’s corpse… man, that was cold. Yeah Rygel’s an ass, but he doesn’t deserve THAT. Then D’Argo’s taken away and it’s all Crichton can do to keep Aeryn from going down in a hail of gunfire. Plot is caught in a spiral deathtrap. I can only wonder how you pull up from this nosedive.

    The interesting aspect of the exchange between Aeryn and Crichton before they tuck in for the night is the reversal of situations. Aeryn is the outsider finding the wonder and beauty of this violent place while Crichton watches in despair as his beloved Earth disappoints and betrays him. He’s irreversibly contaminated by the Moyans, both literally (translator microbes) and metaphorically (they’re his buds now); he can’t go back to his former life either.

    The unexplained exchange between Aeryn and John’s dad is beautiful. She was certain he was working against them, up to the point that he says go and don’t tell me where, they’ll get it out of me. I think she thanks him for sacrificing everything he can for them, and says something like “I see where John gets it from.” So when his dad thanks her, because he reads her body language, it confuses her: he can’t have understood her words, so how did he know…? Hee hee hee.

    The revelation that “This Was All A Dream (TM)”… never have I been happier for someone to pull that stunt. Yeah, we are pretty bad. Those Ancients are gonna have to find a world where even the dinosaurs haven’t established themselves. Good luck with that. Hey, the Acquarans are probably gonna abandon their world. Maybe you could set up there. Look at the brochure… Pacific Island paradise!

    • Larry says:

      Two more things!

      The Nebari are Farscape’s answer to the Vulcans. An emotionally neutral species that regards emotional outbursts and nonconformity as dangerous, and show a dangerous tendency to impose that on others.

      They also raise an interesting issue: they’re making the universe safer. neutered Durka is creepy and unnatural, but safer than uninhibited Durka. collared Chiana is painful to watch, but she’s a loose cannon on her own. We want our world to be made nice and safe, but real life really isn’t. It’s dangerous, people can be nasty and in your face, you could even lose your life, but it’s far more vibrant and lively.

  6. Caren says:

    Am I missing something, or did no-one mention the biggest plot point of all in this episode: the Ancients implantation of wormhole tech into Crichton’s mind??? Talk about a little thing that becomes THE central storyline for the entire rest of the show.

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