Farscape Rewatch! — “Bone to Be Wild,” “Family Ties”

WEEK ELEVEN
[Permanent Archive Here]

Despite having now written just over 55,000 words about Farscape, which is equivalent to a small novel, I am ashamed. I have not spent as much time on this project as I would have liked. So, even though it’s taken me about three months longer than I thought it would, we’ve finally reached the end of Farscape‘s first season. And by “we,” of course, I mean “me,” because you’ve all probably finished the series twice in the time that it’s taken me to get my act together. But school is winding down now, so all that space that is usually busy being eaten by writing papers and grading papers is totally free to do nothing but read, go to the movies, watch TV, and write about Farscape. I’m going to try to stick to my two-episodes-a-week original plan, posting on Mondays, which should have us in season three by August. See, now that I’ve told you that, I have to do it. That is the power of the written word.

“Bone to be Wild” is a strange little episode that wraps up some loose ends, but its main function is to fast-forward the Scorpius/Crais storyline (something the show will benefit from immensely). The events of “Family Ties” then act as the culminating event the series has been building to since “Premiere,” solidifying the Moya family and opening up the series to a larger mythology.

1X21 — “BONE TO BE WILD”

Moya and her newborn are floating in an asteroid field. Inside, everyone is huddled around a table in the dark, shivering and wrapped in blankets, as Pilot tells them that a Peacekeeper scan is about to pass right over them. Crais is out in his Command Carrier, searching for them, and the only way they’ll remain undetected is by giving off the least amount of energy possible.  The only one who isn’t freezing her ass off is Zhaan, and we’ll learn why in about fifteen minutes. Their misery is interrupted by a faint distress call coming from a nearby asteroid; Pilot says the signal is so weak that it’s unlikely the Peacekeepers picked it up. A pale, very weird looking (even for this show) alien flickers into view, begging for help. Some creature is attacking her family. Chiana deadpans, “They’re asking for help . . . from us.” Crichton starts laughing like a complete nutter, and in between cackles manages to get out: “How STUPID is that?”

Up on the Command Carrier, one of Crais’s lieutenants, a dude called Braca, is informing Crais that their scans are pointless. There are just too many asteroids that the fugitives could be hiding behind. This isn’t what Crais wants to hear. Oh, and hey, here comes Scorpius, who is now just as invested in recapturing Crichton as Crais is, and it’s pretty clear who the Alpha male is in this situation, despite Scorpius’s professions of fealty to PK hierarchy. He tells Crais to refocus his strategies on the fugitives’ weak spot: the newborn Leviathan, but Crais is so busy caring about his own shit that he completely ignores the sensible advice. Apparently he’s an idiot as well as a dick. Crichton, Aeryn, Zhaan, and D’Argo prepare to fly down to the asteroid (with minimal thrusters, of course), but Pilot asks Aeryn to stay behind. The asteroid is a lush paradise of plant life, which both D’Argo and Crichton are allergic to, but which Zhaan absolutely loves. She notes that there are no animals for the flora to compete with, and that it’s some sort of Eden: who knows what treasures might be growing there. Some high-pitched screaming brings them to a clearing across the forest, where John saves the weird looking alien thing from the distress call (which turns out to have like, lights on its head, or something). Her name is M’Lee, and she claims to be the last of her kind. She asks them to save her, to take her away. But the creature is waiting for them on the transport pod, and along with fuel lines and controls being shot in their defense, D’Argo is seriously injured.

Back on Moya, Aeryn has come to see Pilot. He tells her that the Peacekeepers have altered Leviathan DNA to create a PK/Leviathan hybrid, an attack vessel, and that Aeryn is the only one he fully trusts to help him. He tells her that the offspring is aware of his differences, and that Moya is having a hard time bonding with him. Pilot wants Aeryn to board the baby and gain his trust, which she does. Inside, the baby is bathed in red light, and the panoply of weapons systems it was born with is, to quote Aeryn, “unbelievable.” Almost immediately, the baby begins trying to communicate with her. It makes these cute video game noises and flashes its lights at her. Meanwhile, Scorpius is waiting in Crais’s quarters for an ambush, where he basically tells Crais that his time is almost up and that he better enjoy these opulent living conditions for now, because they’re going to be gone soon. While he’s sidling on out like Death dressed up for some naughty sex, Zhaan is trying to get D’Argo to take his medicine. And when M’Lee starts weirdly smelling people, we get the revelation that Zhaan is not an animal but a plant, and that Delvians are “flora-evolved” and have cartilaginous fibers instead of bone, etc, etc. It’s pretty cool, actually. Then M’Lee takes off for no reason, and Crichton chases after her, leaving Zhaan to get herself kidnapped by the creature (despite deploying a neat Delvian plant-camouflage trick). M’Lee tells Crichton she’ll take him to the creature’s eating grounds to save Zhaan, but what really ends up happening is that M’Lee’s appendages start growing and her head turns red and her teeth get sharp and she tries to eat Crichton. Luckily, the “creature” saves him.

On Crais’s Command Carrier (CCC), Crais sends for Scorpius so he can yell at him about being undermined, but honestly, Crais? He’s only taking advantage of the situation your crazy ass made in the first place. Your crew would rather follow Scorpius, who is scary as hell and only half-Sebacean to boot, because for the past year, you have been acting like an insane fucko. Plus also, you complete IDIOT, he knows about you killing your first officer and ignoring orders so you should just give up now and be done with it. You are so over. Anyway, back to the plot. Crichton has been reunited with Zhaan, who is in no way a captive. The creature’s name is Br’Nee, and he’s a botanist. He tells them that M’Lee is a calcivore—an eater of bone—that it was Br’Nee ‘s ancestors that seeded this asteroid as basically a giant science experiment, and also, that M’Lee ate his entire family. Zhaan and Br’Nee leave John to guard Br’Nee’s samples while they heal D’Argo, but M’Lee soon shows up. She’s HUNGRY, JOHN. The best part is she needs him to know the truth before she eats him. She says that Br’Nee’s people brought her ancestors to the asteroid centuries before to rid it of all non-plant life, essentially dooming them to die upon the extinction of their food supply. She says she won’t eat any of them if they promise to take her back to her people. Crichton decides to help her, but Br’Nee tricks him into believing M’Lee has captured and eaten Zhaan, so he goes looking for her, pissed that she’s broken her promise.

All of a sudden, he remembers that Zhaan doesn’t have bones for M’Lee to eat and yo-yo’s back to Br’Nee, who has shrunken Zhaan with some phlebotinum and stuffed her in a jar, all in hopes that M’Lee might eat Crichton and become passive so Br’Nee might kill her. Up on Moya/Moya’s baby, Aeryn has made friends with the baby, and she finds herself defending him from Chiana and Rygel, who want to use him to escape. On the asteroid, M’Lee confronts D’Argo in the transport pod, and he basically tells her to eat all the Peacekeepers on CCC. It is awesome. Then Crichton kicks Br’Nee’s ass, unshrinks and de-jar-ifies Zhaan, accidentally killing Br’Nee in the process. M’Lee then eats Br’Nee’s remains, so everyone is happy except for Br’Nee, who is in fact, dead. Reunited on Moya, the crew look forward to departing. Pilot tells Aeryn that Moya wishes for Aeryn to be the one to name the baby. This makes Aeryn teary eyed. And finally: Scorpius, having officially taken over CCC and charged Crais with insubordination, among other things, sends PK scouts to the asteroid looking for the Moyans. M’Lee pleads with Scorpius using the same excuses she originally gave the others; it’s very convincing. With M’Lee embracing him, he tells Braca, “Sometimes we must be willing to give of ourselves.” M’Lee’s lights turn red in anticipation.

Trivia

  • This episode was written by show creators Rockne O’Bannon and David Kemper, and directed by series supervising director Andrew Prowse, who directed the very first episode of Farscape, and who is largely responsible for the show’s visual tone.
  • M’Lee is played by Ben Browder’s wife, Francesca Buller. She returns as a different character in each of Farscape‘s four seasons.
  • David Franklin was only signed for his role as Lt. Braca on Farscape one day before he shot his first episode. That meant the costume department couldn’t create a complete Peacekeeper uniform for him before the shoot, so they gave him a pair of galoshes instead of proper boots, and had him wear a borrowed costume.
  • Gigi Edgley (Chiana) joins the regular cast as of this episode.
  • Crichton’s line, “D’Argo, D’Argo–no no no no no, stop it with the Luxan poetry” is an allusion to the Vogon poetry in Douglas Adams’ book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where Vogon poetry is known as the third worst poetry in the universe.
  • There was originally a line explaining where Stark had gone after “The Hidden Memory”, but it was cut. An explanation was saved until his return in Season Two’s “The Locket”.
  • This episode was nicknamed “Monster Girl” during production.
  • This episode is one of Andrew Prowse’s favorites of the first season, because he loved working with Francesca Buller.
  • M’Lee’s animatronics took eight puppeteers to operate.

Metaphorically Speaking

The A-Story in “Bone to be Wild” is pretty straight-forward: it’s about a monster. But, as with all monster stories, the trick is to figure out just who the real monster is. The episode has fun playing with our expectations, first in the appearances of M’Lee and Br’Nee (one being small, female, and white, the other being large, covered in scary things, and male), allowing us to sink into our assumptions about them, and then ripping the rug right out from under us. It is easy to flip a 180˚ in our emotional loyalties after seeing M’Lee transform into the red-eyed beast from Hell, and after getting a closer look at Br’Nee, who turns out to have mushrooms growing from his head, so like, how can you take that guy seriously, right? And just when we’re comfortably with Br’Nee being the good guy and M’Lee being the bad guy, it turns out that his ancestors essentially doomed hers to death for their own selfish needs, and that while M’Lee certainly wants to eat one of the Moyans, she wants to do so according to a natural, if cruel, biological urge. In opposition to this, Br’Nee dismisses her as a monster and refuses to acknowledge any part that his own goals might have had in ruining her life. On TOP of all that, we have Br’Nee trying to “collect” Zhaan as a plant-specimen, which practically cements him as a dude who doesn’t give two shits about the sanctity of life. So yeah, he never killed anyone and M’Lee has, but it’s not that simple. Murder, in this case, is no indication of good or evil, if those words even have any place in the discussion at all. It’s all very gray. Or, as Zhaan would say, “There is much cruelty in the universe.”

All of those monster plot twists lead us to question our assumptions, which is something Farscape always wants us to be doing. Things that we understand to be true without thinking, that we take to be a given, are not necessarily so in the show’s universe (and if you take that to it’s metaphorical conclusion, in our universe as well). This is exactly why revealing Zhaan’s true nature is such a perfect fit for this episode. It seems like something we shouldn’t even have to think about, that all ambulatory, sentient beings are animals . . . but Zhaan is a plant. Crichton is visibly flabbergasted upon learning this new piece of information. There isn’t really that much more to be said of Zhaan’s plant-biology, other than it’s a really great idea, but it is nice to see Crichton’s reaction. That sense of wonder that he exudes at all times hasn’t gone away, despite all that he’s been through. It’s something that he will never lose. It’s also something that is very valuable not only to the crew of Moya, but to the show as well, to have a character that can experience such wonder. Of course, that’s not to say that Crichton hasn’t changed in the year he’s lived aboard Moya, because he has, but I’ll come back to that with “Family Ties.”

In a rare occurrence, my favorite part of this episode (besides Browder’s delivery of “How STUPID is that?”) turns out to be the Peacekeeper scenes, and not the Moya ones. My dislike of Crais as a straight-up villain is well documented, and any sense of real tension that is missing when he’s used in this fashion turns into a complicated enjoyment of Crais’s egomaniacal insanity whenever Scorpius is in the picture. Scorpius is the real bad guy, and Crais looks like a child in comparison. His tableau is decidedly messy. He’s got unkempt beard growth and his hair is escaping his ponytail. Everything about him screams desperation, and Scorpius is as cool as ever. It also becomes clear in this episode that Scorpius is actually extremely intelligent and much better at being a Peacekeeper than Crais is, despite his alien physiology (which no doubt causes his fellow PK’s to see him as tainted). Scorpius is intelligent and devious, and very good at what he does. He has no emotional weaknesses to get in the way (that we know of yet). Crais is powerless, and Scorpius exudes power. On a story level, Crais has only ever been motivated by a thin and unrealistic anger, but Scorpius has real, tangible, if selfish and greedy, goals. Even though both men seek Crichton as an answer to their problems, it is Scorpius who poses the real danger to our hero, because most importantly, Scorpius is terrifying.

The final things to consider when talking about this episode are Moya‘s newborn offspring, the Leviathan/PK hybrid, and Aeryn. We’ll find out much more about the baby, soon to be named by Aeryn, in the next episode, but for now it’s interesting that his introduction is contrasted with M’Lee’s bone-eating self. “Bone to be Wild” is obviously a pun on “Born to be Wild,” but the awfulness of that pun is sort of redeemed by the content of the episode. The best part about M’Lee as a character is that she isn’t evil. She can’t help that her body requires her to kill and eat other living creatures. She can’t help that her ancestors were transplanted 300 years before from an environment that could presumably sustain them to one that couldn’t. She was born that way. Similarly, Moya‘s son didn’t choose to be a PK hybrid. He was, and please forgive my use of this pun, born to be wild. Without spoiling too much, I think it’s fair to say that from his very first appearance, we can tell that he will be trying to reconcile his peaceful Leviathan nature with his genetically modified PK traits for the rest of his life. In much the same way, Aeryn has had to reconcile her PK upbringing with her burgeoning/latent humanity, so of course she’s the first to bond with the baby, and of course Moya invites her to name him. Moya choosing Aeryn for this purpose has other significance as well. In a weird way, he’s not just Moya‘s baby; he belongs to everyone. It’s an important moment for Aeryn: she has a family.

Trash Bin

Logistical question: I might have missed it, but how did Crais and Scorpius find out about Moya’s baby? Are we meant to assume that it was just one of the many things they found in Crichton’s brain during his stay in the Aurora Chair?

– – –

1X22 — “FAMILY TIES”

We enter in the middle of a crisis. With Moya and baby still floating helplessly in the asteroid field, Rygel has taken a transport pod, heading straight for the Peacekeepers, and he won’t listen to reason (or threats, even when D’Argo basically tells him he will do extremely nasty things to his corpse). Aboard the Command Carrier, Crais and Scorpius are puzzled by the appearance of the lone transport pod. “Maybe he’s come to join your collection,” says Scorpius, nodding to a severed Hynerian head that is displayed on a pillar. But what Rygel wants is something much more selfish: he wants his freedom, and he will trade the lives of Moya, her baby, and everyone aboard in order to get it.

Back on Moya, after briefly considering that Rygel might be stalling for them, Crichton proposes what sounds an awful lot like a suicide mission. If someone were to fly a transport pod loaded with explosives into the Command Carrier, he says, it might give the two Leviathans time to escape. (I know Crichton’s bad plans are legendary, but this has to be the stupidest of them all.) Zhaan mixes up some concoctions from the Delvian version of the Anarchist’s Cookbook, and both she and Crichton express regret for what seems like the imminent break-up of their dysfunctional little family. In Pilot’s den, Aeryn expresses concern for Pilot, and he lets his affections for her slip out, suggesting that she take her Prowler and run. When she refuses, he asks her what she’s chosen to name the baby, because “in case something happens,” Moya “doesn’t want him named by the Peacekeepers.” Very emotional, Aeryn tells Pilot that she won’t name the baby out of fear, that she hopes he will live with the name she chooses in freedom. Crichton is once again speaking into his tape recorder, leaving a message for his father that his father will probably never hear. As Crichton becomes frustrated with his inability to say what he wants, Aeryn walks in. She asks him if his father is anything like the man she met. They speak easily to one another, with affectionate familiarity. She tells him that he’s lucky, and that all she knows of her mother is a meeting in the middle of the night and a whispered story, and of her father even less. Crichton pushes the recorder towards her, “Well, leave him a message. You never know. He might get it.”

In Crais’s quarters, Rygel is stuffing his three stomachs while Scorpy paces around trying to figure out a way to get what he wants without giving Rygel anything. When he brings up the Aurora Chair, Rygel says it won’t work; Hynerian physiology can’t handle the stress. He would die almost instantly. Scorpius doesn’t believe that Rygel’s offer is sincere and tells the guards to imprison the treacherous little shit. He tells Rygel that they will capture the others “in due course,” but Rygel knows better. He says that he knows him, John Crichton, and he won’t be captured alive. Later, Rygel’s bath is interrupted by Crais, who first tries to drown him, and then warns him that Scorpius has no plans to honor their arrangement. As soon as Crichton is in custody, he will execute Rygel as a lesson to all traitors. He says that he has no life with the Peacekeepers beyond court martial, imprisonment, and execution, and he proposes that they escape together.

Before we know it, the Moyans are preparing for Rygel’s return, believing it to be some sort of trap. But before they can even get to beating up on Rygel, Crais comes waltzing in. Crichton laughs, D’Argo glowers  . . . D’Argo gut punches and kicks Crais repeatedly. Then there’s a whole bunch of fun stuff that is too detailed for me to talk about. Most of it involves Rygel and Crais attempting to explain themselves, and the other Moyans gloating with this heady little thing called power. Aeryn and D’Argo have a nice moment as well. Back on the Command Carrier, Braca informs Scorpius that Crais still hasn’t reported in, but it’s clear Scorpius was expecting as much and that he plans to use Crais for his own ends. Meanwhile, Crichton is sitting outside of Crais’s cell, watching him like nobody’s business, gun in hand. They have a pretty wrenching heart to heart in which Crais admits he was wrong. Crichton lets him out of his cell to help with strategy. They formulate a new plan that involves torching the moon where Scorpius’s Gammak Base is located, and using Crichton as bait. Chiana tries to thank him for his heroic sacrifice by having sex with him. I make it all of this sound quick and simple, but it’s actually kind of devastating. And over elsewhere, Scorpius has gotten exactly what he wanted: Crais deemed irreversibly contaminated so that he might take over his command.

While Crais and Aeryn are inspecting the baby, Crichton tells Rygel he can have all of his stuff, which turns into a Crichton-shaming-Rygel lovefest. Last minute preparations: Chiana makes everyone their favorite foods, and Crichton finally leaves a message for his father, summing up this whole gosh dang experience. After some quick words from Crais, and a non-goodbye from Aeryn, D’Argo and Crichton are off. The plan is to activate the explosives, jump ship and wait for the moon to catch on fire, and while the PK’s are distracted, Moya will Starburst out, carrying the baby along in her wake. After they’ve gone, Aeryn will pick Crichton (who will be wearing a spacesuit) and D’Argo (who won’t) out of open space with her Prowler. It is literally an insane plan. While all of this is going down, Pilot and Moya can’t get the baby to cooperate. Pilot contacts Aeryn, who tells Pilot to call the baby by his name: Talyn, after her father. Crichton and D’Argo cement their friendship, just before jumping out into space like brave idiots; Crichton gives D’Argo his father’s good luck charm. They’re out, the moon is exploded. But just as everything is going according to plan, Crais decides to be a douchebag and commandeer Talyn, and Aeryn can’t get to Crichton and D’Argo, who are floating freely in space, because there are too many PK Prowlers lounging around who would shoot them down almost immediately. With Crais and Talyn gone, Moya refuses to Starburst, and Crichton has to convince her to save herself. She listens to him and Starbursts away, with Zhaan, Rygel, and Chiana aboard. The episode ends with Aeryn watching the two men she has come to love dying in space, and there is nothing she can do about it.

Trivia

  • Hynerians appear immune (to some degree) to Scorpius’s lie-detecting ability. Scorpius claims that Rygel is lying about his offer to help capture Crichton, when it is quite clear that Rygel (at the time) was not.
  • When John says, “This is John Crichton, somewhere in the universe,” he is mimicking the famous WWII war correspondent Edward R. Murrow, who often began broadcasts, “This is Edward R. Murrow, somewhere in London”, etc., which was meant as a security measure against the Germans pinpointing his location and stopping his broadcasts. The line had originally been intended for the pilot but was cut; Browder ad-libbed its use in this episode.
  • The final shot of the season that was filmed is the shot where D’Argo lets go of John’s good luck charm. The entire cast and crew were present to see it.
  • David Kemper had pictured the burning moon for some time before work on the episode began.
  • This was the final episode shot at Fox Studios in Sydney. The stage was required for shooting the new Star Wars movie.
  • The episode also marks the last time Garner MacLennan Design do the visual effects and John Eccleston’s final work as Rygel’s puppeteer.

Metaphorically Speaking

As a season finale, “Family Ties” has three goals: 1) To tie up most of the loose story threads from the entire first season, 2) To set the stage for season two, and 3) To showcase just exactly how much these characters have evolved since “Premiere” (and by extension, how much the show itself has evolved).  By design, Farscape was a show that lent itself very easily to change, in both storytelling formats and character actions. “Family Ties” goes a long way in both book-ending the season thematically and still setting the stage for different types of conflict. In many ways, the first season was about Crichton coming to terms with his new home, and a large part of that had to do with Crais, the psychopath who chased him halfway across the galaxy. So with Crais out of the way as of the end of this episode (or, rather, out causing another sort of trouble), Scorpius is free to step in, with his wormhole obsession, and bringing a whole mess of other junk with him. The season also slowly established the Moyans as a family unit, and it did so with such seeming ease and subtlety that we didn’t even know it was happening. The contrast in the behaviors of each of these characters from the beginning of “Premiere” with their behaviors at the end of this episode is simply staggering.

Most obviously, we have Crichton, who was an unwelcome stranger, but who has now built up reserves of real affection for each person aboard Moya. He went from being a man who thought that Earth was the center of the universe, to a man who has essentially renounced his human ties in the face of a much larger universe that forced him to acknowledge the vast possibilities it might hold. And, as evidenced by his last tape recorded message to his father, he is now willing to accept that his life aboard Moya is now his reality. And then there’s Aeryn, who has shown the most growth out of any character on the show. Her experiences aboard Moya have taught her how to be a person, how to build emotional relationships and to trust and care for others . . . and what it’s like to have others trust and care for you in return. But the best part about Aeryn is that she’s not done growing. D’Argo was a wild, aggressive teenager (in Luxan years), but here we have him spouting Luxan poetry just before essentially sacrificing himself for a group of people he hated not a year before. Zhaan was a spiritual superior know-it-all, but their experiences have reminded her that your past isn’t something you can ignore. Pilot and Moya were prisoners, and now they are free. Chiana hasn’t done much evolving yet, but give her time. And then there’s Rygel, who, well . . . is just Rygel. He sells them out, they let him back in, and in Crichton’s case, love him anyway.

What makes this episode so emotionally affecting is that it is essentially an episode about saying goodbye. This is actually brilliant on the part of Rockne O’Bannon and David Kemper, who wrote the episode, because ripping relationships apart is the perfect way to show that you have ties to dissolve in the first place. The threads that bind people together are largely invisible until they’re threatened, and then you can see where the strongest ones exist just by looking at how much pain they cause when they’re stretched apart. There is much pain caused by the pairs and pairs of goodbyes in this episode (and therefore much strength): Aeryn and Crichton (whose affection for one another is palpable as they refuse to say goodbye), Aeryn and D’Argo (who had the most to overcome), Aeryn and Pilot (whose goodbye was absurdly emotional), John and Zhaan (who so clearly understand one another that they can’t help but love each other), John and Chiana (whose relationship is still young, but filled with much gratitude on Chiana’s end), Crichton and Rygel (whose goodbye was ridiculously amazing, both in showing Crichton’s aptitude for forgiveness, and Rygel’s very imperfect flaws), and D’Argo and Crichton (whose goodbye at this point in the series is by far the most important). Very soon in the near future of season two, as the importance of the Crichton/Aeryn bond escalates, the D’Argo/Crichton friendship evolves into one of the most comfortable friendships to be portrayed in science fiction (and probably television in general) and so is rarely the center of story conflict. In the first season, however, the Crichton/D’Argo relationship is emblematic of Crichton’s (and the other Moyans’) entire emotional journey through the series so far. And then of course there’s the final scene, as Aeryn watches the two men she cares for most, her family, sacrifice themselves for her, and she is helpless to save them.

Even Crichton and Crais have a “goodbye,” because of course, Crais and Rygel are at the center of this episode, in almost direct opposition to both the Moyans and the Peacekeepers. Rygel’s betrayal is in character, is rationally expected even, but it offends us nonetheless. We expect our TV families to be unfailingly loyal to one another, to never make mistakes, or at least, to never make mistakes that really harm others. Rygel’s selfish desires and fears are understandable, but if they had succeeded, they would have cost the others their lives. On top of all that, he doesn’t even apologize for almost handing them over. And yet, we can’t hate him, because Rygel is above all else the perfect incarnation of every horrible trait we wish we didn’t have. We see ourselves in his greedy puppet eyes. But Crais, he’s a different story. The scene with he and Crichton in Moya‘s cells is so good simply because of the sheer raw emotion of it. Both men are utterly honest with one another, Crais admitting he was wrong, and Crichton, in confronting the man who has ruined his life, finally lets the cracks show. The two will build a very complex relationship on the grounds built in this scene. Even though Crais will go on to desert the Moyans, I believe that he means what he says in that scene. He’s simply, like Rygel, only concerned for himself. The imperative to survive is his driving force. But in the end, methinks, all of these characters (yes, even Rygel and Crais) will learn what Crichton has learned (and which was teased in the pilot by Papa Crichton): how to be their own kind of hero.

Trash Bin

In quiet places, the music is still awful. I really don’t like it. Every time an awesome scene is on I have to pretend not to hear it. (In the scene where they blow up the moon, the music is suitably operatic.)

– – –

Crichtonisms

  • Chiana: “They’re asking for help . . . from us.”
    Crichton: [laughing hysterically] “How STUPID is that?!”
  • “Absafudginlutely.”
  • “Well, it’s a Jerry Springer kind of family, but for what it’s worth, Zhaan, you are family.”
  • “Why don’t I just start screaming and leave him a really happy memory.”
  • “Sparky, Spanky, Fluffy, Buckwheat the 16th . . . you tried to sell us out.”
  • “This is John Crichton, somewhere in the universe.”
  • “I figure the right thing starts at the beginning of the day, not after you’ve been caught.”
  • “Ignition! Look at that mother burn! Hey, you bastards. John Crichton was here.”

PuppetWatch!

  • M’Lee is pretty much a Henson Creature Shop masterpiece. Creepy, and very cool.
  • Br’Nee on the other hand . . . I could have done without the mushrooms.
  • The severed Hynerian heads in Crais’s quarters were severely horrible. I wonder how much money went into making them? I know the Rygel puppet alone cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars per season.

– – –

“Crackers Don’t Matter!”

  • Interstellar Swearing: “Eema” is Luxan for “ass.”
  • “Bone to Be Wild” reveals the true nature of Delvians — that they are flora (plants), not fauna (animals) — which has been set up since the pilot.
  • In “Bone to Be Wild,” D’Argo says to Rygel: “You do not have to go down there, Your Flatulence,” and then hits him. I love D’Argo.
  • Crichton is still wearing his PK duds, which makes me happy because he looks damn sexy in them. It’s kinda creepy, actually, but maybe he just got sick of wearing all that black leather . . . oh, wait.
  • In “Bone to Be Wild,” I LOLed extra hard when D’Argo was complaining about his boogers and Crichton told him to shut up with the Luxan poetry, because even though it was funny out of context, now that I know it’s a Douglas Adams reference it’s even awesomer.
  • It kinda freaks me out when Francesca Buller is on the show, because while the rational part of my brain knows that she is married to Ben Browder and they have three kids, the dumb as shit part of my brain is just screaming “CRICHTON + AERYN 4EVA!!!!” like, constantly.
  • The art department has really stepped it up since we last saw Crais’s Command Carrier. The black, red, and white color scheme and official looking symbols on both the Command Carrier and on Talyn are very slick and quite appropriate, and they will remain an integral part of PK set design until the end of the series.
  • “If your hand is still there in one microt, I’ll snap it off and use it as a good luck charm.”
  • “Let’s be anything but surprised. Our weakest link is often the smallest.”
  • “I will shoot him in such a way that he will still be able to answer all of your questions.”
  • Zhaan: “You went there to sell us out.”
    Rygel: “You bet your shiny blue ass I did.”
  • Holy SHIT, you guys! I forgot Chiana and Crichton kissed! With tongue!
  • “She was vague to the point that I suspect she doesn’t have a clue.”
  • Crichton: “Hey, D’Argo, how come I’m not afraid?”
    D’Argo: “Fear accompanies the possibility of death. Calm shepherds its certainty.”
    Crichton: “I love hangin’ with you, man.”

 

 

– – –

Classic Moments in Farscape, #11

[Crichton is sitting outside of Crais’s cell cradling a gun, not an inch of smile on his face, but no anger, either. We can see Crais through a hole in the grating.]
Crichton: How you doin’?
Crais: Why would you ask?
Crichton: I look at you . . . and I get homesick. I’m desperate for human male to male conversation, and I figure, cars, football . . . they’re out of the question.
Crais: Do you think it’s an accident, our species are so much alike?
Crichton: Do you know the answer to that?
Crais: [slight pause] No. It’s one of the mysteries I will miss solving.
Crichton: Yeah. Kinda makes you feel your mortality, doesn’t it? Being in there. That’s what it’s like for us, every day. Every hour. Every minute. [A single tear falls down the left side of his face, but he doesn’t lose the grit in his voice.] Every second with you riding our asses.
Crais: I understand you didn’t mean to kill my brother. It was an accident. I realize that now, as I look back and try to understand it all.
Crichton: Do you have any idea what you put me through? All of us through?
Crais: I thought it was about my brother. It should have been about my brother. [Pause, as he gets up the courage to actually say it.] Somewhere along the way, my priorities . . . decayed. I realized I’d become more concerned with my own image and career.
Crichton: Do you mean to help? Now’s the time.

– – –

Coming up on the Farscape Rewatch: “Mind the Baby” and “Vitas Mortis.”

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Comments
8 Responses to “Farscape Rewatch! — “Bone to Be Wild,” “Family Ties””
  1. Dan says:

    I truly love the development of John and D’Argo’s relationship in this episode. The scene right before they put The Plan into action is one of my favorites from the whole series.

  2. Friso says:

    I keep reading these awesome posts – and rewatching some episodes at the same time: nothing much to add to your insightful thoughts but some trivialities:

    1) I thought i was a nice touch that the last ‘person’ that Crichton ‘confides’ in before leaving on his suicide mission is also the first to learn to trust him on Moya: a repaired DRD (recognizable by the blue tape)

    2) I suppose the loss of the lucky charm at the end would forebode bad things for the near future? I forget now, but can’t wait to find out when the item shows up again in the series.

  3. Jen says:

    I can’t figure out how the bad guys found out about Talyn, either. They must have picked it up in Crichton’s mind unless I missed it too.

    When I think about the bone-eating chick, I wonder if there is some sort of database onboard Moya that would catalogue species and avoid surprises like this. I would think the peacekeepers would have had some sort of copy of their general database on board. Is there a database? I’m blanking on whether or not they have mentioned it. It’s possible she wouldn’t have been in there, though, which renders my point moot.

    Br’Nee is kinda gross. The puppet creators seem to have a fascination with creating creatures that make my skin crawl, whether there is stuff growing out of their faces or something disgusting oozing out of them.

    I got the Luxan poetry reference, Crichton is pretty well-versed in geek. It made me smile.

    I may be a die-hard shipper, but I hate when real-life spouses guest-star on TV shows. I don’t want to be reminded that my characters are being portrayed by actors that aren’t really in love with each other :P

    • Ashley says:

      Well, if you hate it when that happens, you’re gonna be kind of disappointed, because she has three more appearances to go (one in each season). Luckily, she’s always covered in absurd amounts of make-up, so at least that illusion is never shattered.

      I think the Creature Shop probably had a thing to see if they figure out the grossest thing imaginable each episode. It usally worked. Ugh. Both Br’Nee and M’Lee are pretty stomach churning.

  4. Larry says:

    Bone To Be Wild:

    Braca, Braca, Braca. Easily one of my favorite secondary characters. He is the perfectly syncophant. The things he has to do for Scorpius in coming seasons.. I’d almost feel sorry for him ;)

    This episode is about deceptive appearances, reversal, and restraint. The Crais-Scorpius situation is the obvious one. Scorpius may only be a chief science officer, but like an evil Spock, he uses the depth of his intellect and nigh limitless patience to bend the situation to his need. Crais is too blind and consumed by his chase after Crichton to see the dangers that Scorpius poses until it’s too late. We don’t like Crais, but how do we feel about him being undone by an even worse villain?

    The whole M’lee/Br’Nee situation is even more topsy-turvy. The situation reverses so many times. M’lee appeals for help, claiming Br’nee is after her, which puts the Moyans on her side. She’s a bit monstrous, but Br’nee is abhorrent and Big Footish (he’s enjoyed the fruits of his own research too much, methinks), so the playing field is level on appearances. But then M’lee gets hungry and Br’nee seems more rational: his only purpose is science and oh what science! John and Zhaan are enthralled. Besides, he’s the true victim, M’lee is the true predator. And if you’re going to split hairs, Br’nee is only covered in plants, whereas M’lee is spiky and dangerous looking. Shift in Br’nee’s favor. But then we see another layer of deception: M’lee and her folks are victims of a cold-hearted science experiment run by Br’nee’s kind; the welfare of M’lee’s kind is none of Br’nee’s business. M’lee is acting on instincts, whereas Br’nee is acting without conscience. Point in M’lee’s favor. M’lee gets bonus points for showing restraint, controlling herself to the Moyans, suffering the ravages of her own hunger. Br’nee’s intellectual greed runs rampant, miniaturizing Zhaan and deceiving the Moyans to attack M’lee. And yet there’s no doubt of how feral M’lee is when she devours Br’nee’s bones. It’s a mixed bag, whom to feel for.

    This ep also builds the grounds for Rygel’s betrayal. Both he and Chiana are getting anxious about being cornered — in an asteroid field, PKs looking, Moyan unwilling to move away from her child. Neither Chi nor Sparky are feeling their flight instincts kicking in badly, and they want out. Aeryn collars them both and keeps them under control.

    Family Ties:

    Which makes me wonder, what was Aeryn thinking by bringing Crais over to see Talyn? Isn’t Crais supposed to be under lock and key? No field trips for new prisoners!

    I also had to wonder what it was about Crais that made him the Hynerian head hunter. That’s pretty grim. You’d think Rygel would have had more to say about that.

    Rygel’s opening act of betrayal is hard. For all his conniving, he’s forced to go back with his tail between his legs. But he is forgiven by John because he IS family. John’s redemption won over Chiana, and now it’s redeemed Rygel. Rygel even offers “to go down with the ship”, to wait until John, D’Argo and Aeryn are back aboard before starbursting to safety. Crais’s betrayal is worse, and more telling. After all he’s done to them, his appearance on the ship is accepted as a sad twist of fate. He and Crichton have their little bonding moment. But where Chiana and Rygel come to accept their places in this unusual family, Crais sees only opportunity. He resumes behaving badly, abusing the kindness of the Moyans to abduct Talyn. Crais’s failings will only grow over time.

    The idea of a moon covered in oil, set aflame for hundreds of years, is one of the most awe-inspiring, straight out of astronomy sort of ideas, ever done on TV.

  5. Luke Parson says:

    Your thoughts on Farscape are interesting and well written.
    Did you quit reviewing these, as I noticed that you stopped last year.

    • Ashley says:

      No, I didn’t quit. I fully plan to finish . . . I just kind of got overwhelmed with life. Actually I’m finishing up the next post this weekend. I am! How’s that for a promise.

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